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Thread: Messerschmitt Me 262.

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    Default Messerschmitt Me 262.

    While the Germans did get the Me-262 in service first, it still does not hide the fact the Jumo 004 engine was not fully developed, poorly manufactured and of dubious quality. These problems prevented the Me-262 from reaching it's potential and contributed to the deaths of many pilots.

    The average flying time for each engine was 20 hours if you were lucky, compared to 200 plus hours for piston engines of the period.

    Regards Digger.

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    I dont agree, sure they have a changing time of 20-25 hours but that doesnt mean they were poorly constructed, if that was so the engines probably exploded in no time.

    I read somewhere that the Luftwaffe was limited in the supply of some steel hardeners alloys like the chromium and nickel, that perhaps explain the low life espectatives in the Jumos.


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    sure there were problems with the the enginges, but despite this the 262 was by far the most modern and most potent fighter to be put in service during WW2. there were not enough examples and also a constant lack of pilots, so the effectiveness was limited indeed. the plane itself was a very good one without any doubt, even if some always hardly try to underrate it.

    just my 2 cents ...

    jens
    "Wo bleibt denn unsere Artillerie?" "Du bist die Artillerie!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Digger View Post
    While the Germans did get the Me-262 in service first, it still does not hide the fact the Jumo 004 engine was not fully developed, poorly manufactured and of dubious quality.
    On the other hand, somebody might ask was there any product during WWII that wasn't poorly made at first? :-)

    Many designs (tanks etc) had to sent back to factories from frontlines to fix the early production errors.

    And it's even more normal during the last war years, when Germany was running short of several materials or quality of materials were poor, and slave labourers was sabotaging parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Digger View Post
    These problems prevented the Me-262 from reaching it's potential and contributed to the deaths of many pilots.
    But even the limited potential that was reached was impressive - compared to any other aircraft of the era, IMO.


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    And these are the problems that were faced by the pilots of the Me 262. I have never said it was not a good aircraft. In fact with the introduction of the R4M rockets in the last weeks of the war the Luftwaffe at last had an aircraft that could break up the bomber boxes easily.

    The fact development of the Jumo 004 engine was slow, as was most German aero engine development, hindered this aircraft in it's introduction to service and as there was little possibility the German aircraft industry could overcome the problems of poor materials, poor workmanship, slow deliveries the Me 262 would not reach it's full potential.

    Because of these problems it would be rash to say the Me 262 was a great fighter, but it had the potential to be a great fighter.

    Regards digger.

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    Because of these problems it would be rash to say the Me 262 was a great fighter, but it had the potential to be a great fighter.
    ... due to the performance-level it reached in fact, I would still say it was a great fighter, but a fighter with some drawbacks at least, there is no doubt.

    jens
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    Messerschmitt Me 262
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Me 262
    Manufacturer Messerschmitt
    Designed by Willy Messerschmitt
    Maiden flight 8 April 1941 with piston engines
    18 July 1942 with jet engines
    Introduction April 1944[1]
    Retired 1945, Luftwaffe
    1957, Czechoslovakia
    Primary users Germany
    Czechoslovakia
    Number built 1,430
    The Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe (German: "Swallow") was the world's first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft. It was produced in World War II and saw action starting in 1944 in bomber/reconnaissance and fighter/interceptor roles. Officially named Schwalbe, because the swallow is one of the fastest birds known when going into a dive to capture and eat an airborne insect, German pilots nicknamed it the Turbo, while the Allies called it the Stormbird. While the Me 262 had a negligible impact on the course of the war (approximately 150 Allied aircraft losses for 100 Me 262 losses), its design was highly influential on postwar aircraft development.

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    Design and development
    Although often viewed as a last ditch super-weapon, the Me 262 was already being developed as project P.1065 before the start of World War II. Plans were first drawn up in April 1939, and the original design was very similar to the plane that would eventually enter service. The progression of the original design into service was delayed by a lack of funds, as many high-ranking officials thought that the war could easily be won with conventional aircraft, and therefore most of the available government funds were used for the production of other aircraft.

    Swept wings had been proposed as early as 1935 by Adolf Busemann, and Willy Messerschmitt had researched the topic from 1940. In April 1941, he actually proposed to fit a 35° swept wing (Pfeilflügel II, lit. Arrow wing) to the Me 262. Though this suggestion was not implemented, he continued with the projected HG II and HG III high-speed derivatives of the Me 262 in 1944, which were designed with a 35° and 45° wing sweep respectively. The production Me 262 had a leading edge sweep of 18.5° primarily to properly position the center of lift relative to the center of mass and not for the aerodynamic benefit of increasing the critical Mach number of the wing (the sweep was too slight to achieve any significant advantage).[2] The aircraft was originally designed as a tail-dragger and the first (Me 262 V1) through fourth (-V4) prototypes flew with this configuration, but it was discovered on an early test run that the engines and wings "blanked" the stabilizers, giving almost no control on the ground. Changing to a tricycle landing gear arrangement, initially as a fixed undercarriage on the fifth prototype aircraft, then a fully retractable one on the sixth and succeeding prototypes, immediately corrected all of these problems.

    The first test flights began in April 1941, but since the BMW 003 turbojets were not ready for fitting, a conventional Junkers Jumo 210 engine was mounted in the nose, driving a propeller, to test the Me 262 V1 airframe. When the BMW 003 engines were finally installed the Jumo was retained for safety which proved wise as both 003s failed during the first flight and the pilot had to land using the nose mounted engine alone.

    The V3 third prototype airframe became a true "jet" when it flew on 18 July 1942 in Leipheim near Günzburg, Germany, piloted by Fritz Wendel. This was almost nine full months ahead of the British Gloster Meteor's first flight on 5 March 1943. The 003 engines, which were proving unreliable, were replaced by the newly available Junkers Jumo 004. Test flights continued over the next year but the engines continued to be unreliable. While the production of the aircraft was slowed mainly by engine trouble, an order from Adolf Hitler that the new Me 262 must also be part bomber contributed to the delays in getting the Me 262 into operation. Airframe modifications were complete by 1942, but hampered by the lack of engines, serial production did not begin until 1944. This delay in engine availability was in part due to the shortage of strategic materials, especially metals and alloys that could handle the extreme temperatures produced by the jet engine. Even when the engines were completed they had an expected operational lifetime of approximately 50 hours, however in the real world situations, most 004s lifetimes were 12 hours. A pilot familiar with the Me 262 and its engines could expect approximately 20 to 25 hours of life from the 004s. The swap out of 004s was listed as a job able to be done in three hours, but changeouts typically took eight to nine hours due to poorly made parts and inadequate training of ground crews.

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    Turbojet engines have less thrust at low speed than piston engines and as a result, acceleration is relatively poor. It was more noticeable for the Me 262 as early jet engines (before the invention of afterburners) responded slowly to throttle changes. The introduction of a primitive autothrottle late in the war only helped slightly. Conversely, the higher power of jet engines at higher speeds meant the Me 262 enjoyed a much higher climb speed. Used tactically, this gave the jet fighter an even greater speed advantage in climb rate than level flight at top speed.

    With one engine out, the Me 262 still flew well, with speeds of 280 to 310 mph (450 km/h to 500 km/h). However it was highly recommended to avoid attempting to land with one engine out as it was considered a hazard.[citation needed]

    Operationally, the Me 262 had an endurance of 60 to 90 minutes.


    [edit] Operational history

    Me 262A-1a camouflaged on a German airfieldIn April 1944, Erprobungskommando 262 was formed at Lechfeld in Bavaria as a test unit to introduce the 262 into service and train a core of pilots to fly it. Major Walter Nowotny was assigned as Commander in July 1944, and the unit redesignated Kommando Nowotny. Kommando Nowotny was essentially a trials and development unit, but it holds the distinction of being the world's first jet fighter squadron. Trials continued slowly with initial operational missions against the Allies in August 1944, allegedly downing 19 Allied aircraft for six Me 262s lost, although these claims have never been verified by cross-checking with USAAF records. The RAF Museum holds no intelligence reports of RAF aircraft engaging in combat with an Me 262 in August 1944,[citation needed]although there is a report of an unarmed encounter between an Me 262 and a DH98 Mosquito.[3] Nowotny himself was shot down and killed on 8 November 1944 by 1st Lt Edward “Buddy” Haydon of the 357th Fighter Group, USAAF and Capt Ernest “Feeb” Fiebelkorn of the 20th Fighter Group, USAAF. The "Kommando" was then withdrawn for further training and a revision of combat tactics to optimise the 262's strengths.

    By January 1945, Jagdgeschwader 7 (JG7) had been formed as a pure jet fighter unit, although it would be several weeks before it was operational. In the meantime a bomber unit—I Gruppe, Kampfgeschwader 54 (KG54)—had re-equipped with the Me 262 for use in a ground attack and fighter role. However, the unit lost 12 jets in action in two weeks for minimal returns.

    Jagdverband 44 (JV44) was another Me 262 fighter unit formed in February, by Lieutenant General Adolf Galland, who had recently been dismissed as Inspector of Day Fighters. Galland was able to draw into the unit many of the most experienced and decorated Luftwaffe fighter pilots from other units grounded by lack of fuel.

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    During March, Me 262 fighter units were thus able, for the first time, to deliver large scale attacks on Allied bomber formations. On March 18, 1945, 37 Me 262s of JG7 intercepted a force of 1,221 bombers and 632 escorting fighters. They managed to shoot down 12 bombers and one fighter for the loss of three Me 262s. Although a four-to-one ratio was exactly what the Luftwaffe would have needed to make an impact on the war, the absolute scale of their success was minor as it represented only one per cent of the attacking force. In 1943 and early 1944, the USAAF had been able to keep up offensive operations though enduring loss ratios of 5% and more, and the few available Me 262s could not inflict sufficient magnitude of losses.


    Side view of a Me 262 night fighter (converted two-seated trainer)Several two-seater "B" trainer variants of the Me 262 had been adapted as night fighters, complete with on-board radar and "deerhorn" antennae. Serving with 10 Staffel, Nachtjagdgeschwader 11, Night Fighter Unit, near Berlin, these few aircraft (alongside several single seat examples) accounted for most of the 13 Mosquitoes lost over Berlin in the first three months of 1945. However, actual intercepts were generally or entirely made using Wilde Sau methods, rather than AI radar-controlled interception. As the two-seat trainer was largely unavailable many pilots had to do their first flight in a jet in a single seater without an instructor.

    Despite its deficiencies, the Me 262 was clearly signalling the beginning of the end of piston-engined aircraft as efficient fighting machines. Once airborne, it accelerated to speeds well over 800 km/h (500 mph), over 150 km/h (93 mph) faster than any Allied fighter operational in the European Theater of Operations.

    The Me 262's top ace[4] was probably Hauptmann Franz Schall with 17 kills which included six four-engine bombers and ten P-51 fighters, although night fighter ace Oberleutnant Kurt Welter claimed 25 Mosquitos and two four-engined bombers shot down by night and two further Mosquitos by day flying the Me 262. The vast majority of Welter's claimed night kills were achieved in standard radarless aircraft, even though Welter had tested a prototype Me 262 fitted with Neptun radar. Another candidate for top ace on the aircraft was Heinrich Bär, who claimed 16 enemy aircraft while flying the Me 262.


    [edit] Anti-bomber tactics
    The standard approach against bomber formations, which were travelling at cruise speed, called for the Me 262 to approach the bombers from the rear at a higher altitude, diving in below the bombers to get additional speed before zooming up again to their level and opening fire with its four 30 mm cannon at 600 m (656 yard) range.

    Allied bomber gunners found that their electric gun turrets had problems tracking the jets. However, due to the jets' straight-line approach, traverse rates were actually not as important as target acquisition itself, which was difficult because the jets closed into firing range very quickly and had to remain in firing position only very briefly using their standard attack profile.

    Eventually new combat tactics were developed to counter the allied bombers defenses. Me 262s equipped with large numbers of R4M rockets would approach from the side of a bomber formation where their silhouettes were widest and, while still out of range of the .50 caliber guns, fire a salvo of these explosive rockets. The explosive power of only one or two of these rockets was capable of downing even the famously rugged B-17. While this tactic came too late to have a real effect on the war, it was nonetheless effective. This method of combating bombers became the standard until the invention and mass deployment of the guided missile. Some nicknamed this tactic the "Luftwaffe's Wolf Pack" as the fighters would often make runs in groups of two or three, fire their rockets, then return to base.

    On 1 September 1944, USAAF General Carl Spaatz expressed the fear that if greater numbers of German jets appeared, they could inflict losses to the USAAF bombers heavy enough to cause cancellation of the Allied daylight bombing offensive.


    [edit] Counter-jet tactics
    Many accounts from Allied bomber crews cited that they were surprised by the speed of the Me 262. Allied intelligence was aware of German jet development, but not all combat units were fully briefed about the Me 262, and it is probably true to say that Allied intelligence slightly underestimated the speed of the Me 262.[citation needed]

    Tactics against the Me 262 developed quickly to find ways of defeating it despite its great speed advantage. Allied bomber escort fighters (specifically P-51s) would fly high above the bombers— diving from this height gave them extra speed thus reducing the speed advantage of the Me 262. The Me 262 was less maneuverable than the P-51 and trained Allied pilots could catch up to a turning Me 262; but the only reliable way of dealing with the jets was to attack them in the takeoff and landing phase of their flight, and on the ground. Accordingly, Luftwaffe air fields that were recognized as jet bases were frequently bombed by medium bombers, and Allied fighters patrolled over the fields to attack jets that were trying to land on their bases. The Luftwaffe countered these moves by installing Flak alleys along the approach lines in order to protect the Me 262s from the ground, and providing top cover with conventional fighters during the takeoff and landing phase.

    Another experimental tactic was installing nitrous oxide injection into Mustangs. When chasing an Me 262, the pilot could press a button injecting the nitrous oxide into the engine, producing a quick burst of speed.

    Other Allied fighters that encountered the Me 262 included the British Supermarine Spitfire, Hawker Tempest and the Soviet Lavochkin La-7. The first recorded Allied destruction of a Me 262 was on 28 August 1944, claimed as destroyed by 78th FG pilots Major Joseph Myers and 2nd Lt. Manford O. Croy flying P-47s. Oberfeldwebel

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    Hieronymus "Ronny" Lauer of I KG(J) 51, on a landing pattern crash landed his 262 to get away from the Allied fighters, which then destroyed the Me 262 in strafing attacks[5] The first Me 262 shot down in combat was on 5 October 1944 by Spitfire IXs of 401 RCAF. The 262 pilot was H.C. Butmann in WNr 170093 of 3./KG51. The Lavochkin was the only Soviet fighter to shoot down a German jet, with La-7 ace Ivan Nikitovich Kozhedub fighting and downing one Me 262 jet on February 15, 1945 over eastern Germany. Kozhedub apparently later said that his success was mainly due to the Me 262 pilot attempting to out-turn his more maneuverable plane.


    [edit] High speed research

    Me 262 interiorWilly Messerschmitt regarded the Me 262 as it went into production only as an interim type. His interest in high-speed flight that had led him to initiate work on swept wings starting in 1940 is evident from the advanced developments he had on his drawing board in 1944. While the Me 262 HG I (Hochgeschwindigkeit, high speed) that was actually flight-tested in 1944 had only small changes compared to combat aircraft, most notably a low-profiled canopy to reduce drag, the HG II and HG III designs were far more radical. The projected HG II variant combined the low-drag canopy with a 35° wing sweep and a butterfly tail. The HG III aircraft had a conventional tail, but a 45° wing sweep and the jet turbines embedded in the wing root.

    Messerschmitt also conducted a series of carefully controlled flight tests with the series production Me 262. In these dive tests, it was established that the Me 262 was out of control in a dive at Mach 0.86, and that higher Mach numbers would lead to a nose-down trim that could not be countered by the pilot. The resulting steepening of the dive would lead to even higher speeds and disintegration of the airframe due to excessive negative g loads.

    The HG series of Me 262 derivatives was estimated to be capable of reaching transonic Mach numbers in level flight, with the top speed of the HG III being projected as Mach 0.96 at 6 km altitude. Despite the necessity to gain experience in high-speed flight for the HG II and III designs, Messerschmitt undertook no attempts to exceed the Mach 0.86 limit for the Me 262.

    After the war, the Royal Aircraft Establishment, at that time one of the leading institutions in high-speed research, re-tested the Me 262 to help with the British attempts at breaking the sound barrier. The RAE achieved speeds of up to Mach 0.84 and confirmed the results from the Messerschmitt dive tests as accurate. Similar tests were run by the Soviets. No attempts were made to exceed the Mach limit established by Messerschmitt.

    After Willy Messerschmitt's death, the former Me 262 pilot Hans Guido Mutke claimed to be the first person to break the sound barrier on 9 April 1945 in a Me 262, in a "straight-down" 90° dive. This claim is disputed because it is only based on Mutke's memory of the incident, which recalls effects that other Me 262 pilots have observed below the speed of sound and a high airspeed indicator reading, but no altitude reading, which would be required to determine the actual speed. Furthermore, the pitot tube used to measure airspeed in aircraft can give falsely elevated readings as the pressure builds up inside the tube at high speeds. Finally, the Me 262 wing had only a slight sweep incorporated for trim (center of gravity) reasons and likely would have suffered structural failure due to divergence at high trans-sonic speeds.


    [edit] Production
    As the Me 262 was widely-regarded as the Luftwaffe's top priority, all expendable materials were put into 262 production. While Germany was bombed repeatedly, production of the Me 262 was dispersed into low-profile production facilities, sometimes little more than clearings in the forests of Germany and other occupied nations. Large, heavily protected underground factories were constructed to take up production of the Me 262, safe from bomb attacks, but the war ended before they could be completed. Per German doctrine at the time, several components of the Me 262 were built in forced labor camps. In the end, slightly over 1400 Me 262s of all versions were produced. Due to fuel shortages, pilot shortages, and the lack of many airfields that could support the Me 262 (concrete runways were recommended as the jet engines would melt tar runways), as few as 200 Me 262s made it to combat units.


    [edit] Postwar evaluation, history and design influence

    Reproduction of a Messerschmitt Me 262 at the Berlin Air Show 2006.After the end of the war the Me 262 as well as other advanced German technology was quickly swept up by the Americans, British and Soviets. Many Me 262s were found in readily-repairable condition and were confiscated. During testing, the Me 262 was found to have advantages over the early models of Gloster Meteor. It was faster, had better cockpit visibility to the sides and rear (mostly due to the canopy frame and the discoloration caused by the plastics used in the Meteor's construction) and was a superior gun platform; as the early Meteors had a tendency to snake at high speed and exhibited "weak" aileron response.[6] The Me 262 did have a shorter combat range than the Meteor.

    The USAAF compared the P-80 and Me-262 concluding: "Despite a difference in gross weight of nearly 2,000 lb (907 kg), the Me 262 was superior to the P-80 in acceleration, speed and approximately the same in climb performance. The Me 262 apparently has a higher critical Mach number, from a drag standpoint, than any current Army Air Force fighter."[7] The Army Air Force also tested an example of the Me 262A-1a/U3 (US flight evaluation serial FE-4012), an unarmed photoreconnaissance version, which was fitted with a fighter nose and given an overall smooth finish. It was used for performance comparisons against the P-80. During testing in May-August 1946, the aircraft completed eight flights spanning four hours and 40 minutes. Testing was discontinued after four engine changes were required during the course of the tests, culminating in two single-engine landings.[8]

    These aircraft were extensively studied, aiding development of early US and Soviet jet fighters. The F-86 Sabre was partially influenced by some of the features of the Me 262.[citation needed] The F-86 used a slat design similar to that of the Me 262 and some German parts were used on the prototype[citation needed].

    The Czechoslovak aircraft industry continued to produce single-seater and two-seater variants of the Me 262 after World War II. These were kept flying as late as 1957. Both versions are on display at the Prague Aero museum in Kbely.

    In January 2003, the American Me 262 Project completed flight testing to allow for delivery of near-exact reproductions of several versions of the Me 262 including at least two B-1c two-seater variants, one A-1c single seater and two "convertibles" that could easily be converted between the A-1c and B-1c configurations. All are powered by General Electric J85 engines and feature additional safety features such as upgraded brakes and strengthened landing gear. The "c" suffix refers to the new J-85 powerplant and has been informally assigned with the approval of the Messerschmitt Foundation in Germany.
    [edit] The Me 262 in popular culture
    In the PC flight simulator Chuck Yeager's Air Combat, a virtual Chuck Yeager voiced by himself, states that Allied pilots used the term "Blow Job" for Me 262s.
    The American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult portrayed an Me 262 on the cover of their 1974 album Secret Treaties. The album also contains a song, Me 262, inspired by the real-life jet. The lyrics are written from the point of view of a Luftwaffe pilot on a bomber interception mission in April 1945. The song is generally technically accurate, correctly identifying the aircraft's Junkers Jumo 004 engines, and describing how the pilot's Me 262 is armed with R4M air-to-air rockets, which were operational at that late stage in the war.
    Clive Cussler's famous fictional character Dirk Pitt owns an Me 262, which he acquired when he helped excavate a hidden airfield that held a number of the aircraft.
    The game B-17 Flying Fortress:The Mighty 8th! features ME-262s that the player can fly if he/she chose an interceptor role.

    [edit] References
    ^ Price 2007, p. 36-37. Quote: "In April (1944), a service test unit, Erprobungskommando 262 was formed at Lechfeld in Bavaria...
    ^ a b Loftin, L.K. Jr. Quest for performance: The evolution of modern aircraft. NASA SP-468. [1] Access date: 22 April 2006.
    ^ Smith 1971, p. 103. Quote: "On 25 July 1944, a Me 262 from EK262 recorded the world's first interception of an enemy aircraft by a jet fighter. A photo-reconnaissance Mosquito from No. 544 Squadron RAF was flying over the Munich area when the observer, F/O Lobban spotted an enemy aircraft in the distance. The pilot, F/Lt Wall, quickly accelerated the machine, but was surprised to see that the enemy was still closing rapidly. After evading five firing passes from the Me 262 (Editors's note: piloted by Lt. Alfred Schreiber), Wall managed to dive into a cloud bank, eventually crash landing the Mosquito back at Fermo, near Venice."

    [edit] Related content
    Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
    Messerschmitt Me 262Related development
    Focke-Wulf Ta 183 - advanced jet fighter designed as the successor to the Messerschmitt Me 262.

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    [edit] Variants

    Me 262 A-1a circa 1944
    Me 262 A-1a/U4
    Me 262 B-1a/U1 or B-2a night fighter
    Me 262 A-1a
    Me 262 B-1a/U4A-1a Schwalbe - production version Jäger (fighter) and Jabo (from German: "Jagdbomber", fighter bomber).
    A-1a/U1 - single prototype with a total of six nose mounted guns, two 20 mm MG 151 cannon, two 30 mm MK 103, and two 30 mm MK 108 cannon.
    A-1a/U2 - single prototype with FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN 2 radar array and Hirschgeweih antenna array in order to test the Me 262 as a night-fighter.
    A-1a/U3 - reconnaissance version modified in small numbers, fitted RB20/30 cameras mounted in the nose (sometimes one RB 20/20 and one RB 75/30). Some retained one 30 mm cannon as armament, but most were unarmed.
    A-1a/U4 - two prototypes with a 50 mm tank cannon in nose.
    A-1b - as A-1a but powered with BMW 003 engines. Few built- two are known to have existed at experimental establishments; maximum speed of 497 mph (800 km/h).
    A-2a Sturmvogel - definitive blitzbomber version with only two guns.
    A-2a/U1 - single prototype with advanced bombsight.
    A-2a/U2 - two prototypes with glazed nose for accommodating a bombardier.
    A-3a - proposed ground attack version.
    A-4a - reconnaissance version.
    A-5a - definitive reconnaissance version used in small numbers at end of the war.
    B-1a - two-seat trainer.
    B-1a/U1 - B-1a trainers converted into provisional night fighters, FuG 218 Neptun radar
    B-2 - proposed night fighter version with stretched fuselage.
    C-1a - single prototype of rocket-boosted interceptor with Walter rocket in tail.
    C-2b - single prototype of rocket-boosted interceptor with BMW rockets mounted in engine nacelles.
    C-3a - single prototype of rocket-boosted interceptor with Walter rockets in belly pack.
    D-1 - proposed variant to carry Jagdfaust mortars.
    E-1 - proposed cannon-armed variant based on A-1a/U4.
    E-2 - proposed rocket-armed variant carrying up to 48 R4M rockets.
    Japanese design patterned after the Me 262:

    Nakajima Kikka
    Postwar variants:

    Avia S-92 - Czech built A-1a
    Avia CS-92 - Czech built B-1a
    A-1c - American privately built, based on A-1a configuration
    B-1c - American privately built, based on B-1a configuration
    A/B-1c - American privately built, convertible between A-1a and B-1a configuration

    [edit] Operators
    Czechoslovakia (post-war)
    Germany: Luftwaffe
    General characteristics
    Crew: One
    Length: 10.60 m (34 ft 9 in)
    Wingspan: 12.51 m (41 ft 0 in)
    Height: 3.50 m (11 ft 6 in)
    Wing area: 21.7 m² (234 ft&#178
    Empty weight: 3,800 kg (8,400 lb)
    Loaded weight: 7,130 kg (15,720 lb)
    Max takeoff weight: 6,400 kg (14,100 lb)
    Powerplant: 2× Junkers Jumo 004B-1 turbojets, 8.8 kN (1,980 lbf) each
    Aspect ratio: 7.23
    Performance
    Maximum speed: 870 km/h (541 mph)
    Range: 1,050 km (652 mi)
    Service ceiling: 11,450 m (37,565 ft)
    Rate of climb: 1,200 m/min (3,900 ft/min)
    Thrust/weight: 0.28
    Armament
    4x 30 mm MK 108 cannons (A-2a: two cannons)
    2x 250 kg (550 lb) bombs (A-2a only)
    24x 55 mm (2.2 in) R4M rockets

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    remember, all from wikipedia, the article i got this from has citations too but i have not put them in, but i can, just request them.

    it is in so many posts because the article was almost 30,000 characters long

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    Thanks panzerpete, that pretty much covers the basics and I'll post something later tonight for anyone who requires further reading on the subject.

    Still by virtue of it's protracted development, late entry to the war, continued problems and poor quality of engines, difficulties of working the type up to service level and poor loss to kill ratio, the Me 262 was not a great fighter.

    If the war had dragged on, then it would have had a legitimate claim to being a great fighter.

    Regards digger.

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