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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter
Nickname: "Schwalbe" (Swallow)

Photos

  • Messerschmitt Me 262V3 prototype
  • Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter productio
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A fighter
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-1A Schwalbe fighter
  • Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter
  • Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter

Design

In 1938 design work first began on the Messerschmitt Me 262 and the first tail wheeled prototype flew on April 4, 1941 / April 18, 1941. It had a nose mounted Junkers Jumo 210 piston engine.

A Junkers Jumo 211 was installed and it was flown in 1940.

On November 25, 1941, the first jet aircraft with BMW 003 turbojets that produced 1,000 lbs of thrust. The piston engine was still installed and was needed on the 1st flight as the jets failed just before liftoff.

In addition to Hitler's insistence on making the Me 262 into a fighter-bomber there were problems with the engines.

Canopy

The canopy of the Messerschmitt Me 262 was well received as it allowed for excellent visibilty.

Engines

Every 10 hours the turbojets needed extensive maintenance and were worn out by 25 hours of flight time.

Fuselage

The Messerschmitt Me 262's fuselage was an all metal monocoque construction.

Wings

The wings were all metal construction and had a slight sweep back on the leading edge.

Landing Gear

Initially the Me 262 prototypes had conventional landing gear but tricycle gear was eventually installed.

Tail

The Me 262's tail was all metal construction.

Bomber

The bomber models had a glazed nose in which a bombardier laid down in.

Prototype

The 1st / 3rd prototype of the Me 262 took flight on April 18, 1941, with a Junkers Jumo 210 G conventional engine in the fuselage.

After the 3rd prototype the BMW engines were replaced by a Junkers Jumo 004 (1,850 lbs of thrust) and resulted in the M3 262's all jet powered flight on July 18, 1942. This jet powered prototype was flown by Fritz Wendel.

On July 23, 1943, the Me 262 was presented to Herman Göring. On November 26, 1943, the Me 262 was presented to Adolf Hitler. At which time it was ordered into production by Hitler as a bomber.

Production

The first Me 262A-1a, production model, entered service in June 1944.

These delivered from March 1944 to April 1945. Of these about 500 were lost to bombing. Out of the rest there were about 200 that became operational.

  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-1: 1
    • Production: 1942
  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-2: 1
    • Production: 1942
  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-6: 1
    • Production: 1943
  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-9: 1
    • Production: 1944
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-0: 13
    • Production: ? - October 1943
  • Messerschmitt Me 262B-2a: 1
  • Total: 1,430, 1,433
    • Manufacturer: Messerschmitt A.G.

Variants

  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-1: Had two Jumo 004 A engines.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-2: Had two Jumo 004 A engines.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-3: First all jet prototype. Had Junkers 109-004A-0 turbojets (1,852 lb thrust).
  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-6: Had Jumo 004 B engines.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-7: Pressurized cabin.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262V-9:
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A: First production version.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-1: Fighter.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a/U1: Night fighter. Added 20 mm guns.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a/U2: Reconnaissance version. All weather fighter.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a/U3: Unarmed reconnaissance.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a/U4: Had Mauser 50 mm MK 214 cannon mounted but was never used in combat. Only two aircraft had it fitted.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-1b: 24 air to air rockets under the wings.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-2: Bomber.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-2a: "Sturmvogel" (Stormbird) was a fighter bomber. Could carry up to 1,102 lb / 2,205 lb / 500 kg / 1,000 kg. Had four additional 30 mm guns.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-2a/U1: Dive bomber.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262A-2a/U2: Bomber with added bombardier that was put in a prone position.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262B: 2 seats for training.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a: Night fighter. First flew in April 1944. Fewer than a dozen were constructed.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a/U1: Trainers converted into night fighters with radar. Had air to air rockets.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262B-2a: Night fighter with radar and increased fuel.
  • Messerschmitt Me 262C: Experimental with a bi-fuel BMW 718 rocket motor in the tail.

Usage

Used by Germany. Only about 1/4 of the Me 262s produced became operational before World War II ended.

The Me 262s were responsible for about the destruction of 100 allied aircraft.

Pilots enjoyed its high speed, but at low speeds it was awkward to fly.

Kommando Nowotny

Major Walter Nowotny formed the Kommando Nowotny in October 1944 with Me 262s.

Specifications

  Messerschmitt Me 262A
Type Fighter, Fighter Bomber, Ground Attack, Reconnaissance
Crew 1
Engine (Type) 2: Junkers Jumo 004 B turbines
Thrust 1,980 lb each
Fuel Capacity 566 gallons
Dimensions  
Span 40' 11.5", 41'
12.48 m, 12.5 m
Length 34' 9.5"
10.6 m
Height 12' 7"
3.8 m, 3.83 m
Wing area 234 sq ft
21.7 sq m
Armament  
Nose 4: 30 mm Mk 108
Bombs - Under Fuselage 2: 250 kg
OR 1: 500 kg
  Messerschmitt Me 262A-1
Engine (Type) 2: Junkers Jumo 004B-1 OR -2 OR -3
Weight  
Empty 9,742 lb
4,419 kg
Loaded 14,101 lb, 15,500 lb
6,396 kg, 7,045 kg
Performance  
Speed at sea level 500 mph
805 kph
Speed at 19,685' / 6,000 m 540 mph
869 kph
Speed at 22,960' / 7,000 m 525 mph
840 kph
Climb 3,937'/minute
1,200 m/minute
Climb to 26,240' / 8,000 m 11 minutes
Service ceiling 37,565', 39,360'
11,450 m, 12,000 m
Range on internal fuel 526 - 652 miles
846 - 1,049 km
Armament  
Nose 4: 30 mm, 30 mm MK 108
  Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) 2: Junkers Jumo 109-004B-4 turbojets
2: Junkers Jumo 004 B-1
Thrust 1,980 lb each, 1,984 lb each
900 kg
Dimensions  
Span 40' 11", 41' 1/8"
12.5 m
Length 34' 9", 34' 9.5"
10.61 m
Height 12' 6.75", 12' 7"
3.83 m
Wing area 233.3 ft2
21.68 m2
Weight  
Empty 8,818 lb
4,000 kg
Loaded 14,101 lb, 14,936 lb
6,775 kg
Performance  
Speed at 19,685' / 6,000 m 540 mph
Speed at 22,965' / 7,000 m 541 mph
870 kph
Speed at 26,965' / 7,000 m 541 mph
870 kph
Climb 3,937'/minute
1,200 m/minute
Service ceiling 36,090', 37,565'
11,000 m
Range 525 miles, 652 miles
845 km
Armament 4: 30 mm
Nose 4: 30 mm, 30 mm Mk 108
A-1a/U1: 4: 30 mm and 2: 20 mm
Wings A-1b: Rockets
Rounds A-1b: 24
  Messerschmitt Me 262A-2
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) 2: Junkers Jumo 004B-1, -2, or -3 axial flow
Thrust 1,980 lb each
Dimensions  
Span 40' 11"
12.5 m
Length 34' 9"
10.58 m
Height 12' 7"
3.83 m
Wing area 234 ft2
21.73 m2
Weight  
Empty 8,738 lb
3,800 kg
Loaded 14,110 lb, 15,400 lb
6,400 kg, 7,000 kg
Performance  
Speed 540 mph
870 kph
Service ceiling 37,500'
11,450 m
Range @ 30,000' /
9,000 m
650 miles
1,050 km
Armament  
Nose 2: 30 mm Mk 108
A-2a: 4: 30 mm
Bombs A-2a: 1,102 lb
A-2a: 500 kg
  Messerschmitt Me 262B
Type Trainer and Night Fighter
Crew 2
Dimensions  
Length 38' 7"
  Messerschmitt Me 262 B-1a/U1
Type Night fighter
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 2: Junkers Jumo 004 B-1, Junkers Jumo 109-004B-1
Thrust 1,980 lb each, 1,984 lb each
900 kg
Dimensions  
Span 40' 11", 40' 11.5"
12.48 m
Length 34' 9", 37' 10"
11.53 m
Height 12' 7"
3.84 m
Wing area 233.6 sq ft
21.7 sq m
Weight  
Empty 10,110 lb
4,585 kg
Loaded 14,101 lb, 14,515 lb
6,585 kg
Performance  
Speed at 19,685' / 6,000 m 503 mph, 505 mph
813 kph
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 6 minutes 54 seconds
Service ceiling 35,600', 37,565'
10,850 m
Range 652 miles
1,050 km
Armament 4: 30 mm
Nose 4: 30 mm Mk 108
  Messerschmitt Me 262C
Dimensions  
Span 40' 11.5"
12.48 m
Length 34' 9.5"
10.6 m
Height 12' 7"
3.83 m

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  3. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
  6. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
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