A myth about the Me 262?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jenisch, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #1 Jenisch, Aug 1, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
    Adam Tooze, The Wages of Destruction, página 462:

    I'm not surprise to read this. Actually, claims of "utter stupidness" conducted by military and civilian leaders of any country must be viewed with skepticism. I don't know if this information that the Me 262 could not have been produced earlier is indeed factual, therefore if someone objects it, let's discuss.
     
  2. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Looks like the author is leaning toward a little bit of revisionism...

    The author also disregards the fact that the Germans had jet aircraft technology available to them since the 1930's, the first jet flying on 27 August 1939. The RLM was not interested.

    The He280 is available in 1941. The RLM is a little interested.

    The Me262 is available in 1942. The RLM considers it.

    History and the scores of missed opportunities by the RLM speak for itself.

    Heinkel and Messerschmitt would have never collaborated, Heinkel was forever bitter towards Messerschmitt.
     
  3. silence

    silence Active Member

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    My guess would be, as usually happens with these "AH vs. the Military" themes, that the truth lies somewhere in-between: lack of raw materials, Goering's halting of all long-term projects, and Evil Al's insistence on a Schnellbomber. Etc.
     
  4. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The RLM's response to the He178 at the time, was that it had no use for jet aircraft.

    The RLM, after seeing the He280 best a Fw190 in both speed trials and dogfighting, still wasn't impressed. Also keep in mind that when the He280 did this, the Me262 prototype had not yet made it's first flight under jet power...

    I think that Adam Tooze either has VERY limited access to historical records or sees history from his own perspective.
     
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  5. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #5 GregP, Aug 1, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
    I think Hitler DID meddle, but not to the extent popularly believed. The pacing item seems to have been the turbine blades ... the metalurgy was dicey. Galland was a leader, but if they had listened ONLY to him, would the conduct of the war have changed materially? I can't say.

    To me, the issue was more the number of fronts, the timing of opening them, and of not following through with plans that were well considered before they were initiated.

    Hitler always bit off just more than he could chew. He started the war before the readiness plan was complete, he opened the battle of Britian before he had the people and equipment to follow through with it, he occuiped North Africa before the supplies could be placed, and he invaded the Soviet Union before he had the troops and materiel in place and logistics trail to finish the job.

    When they lost so many planes in the Battle oif Britain, he didn't put top priority on replacing the losses and producing the new pilots to fly them. He never did finish the U-boat flotillas as planed and approved before the war started. He didn't support the building of a strong Navy after losing the Graff Spee, Bizmark, and Tirpitz.

    Face it, he would NOT listen to his advisors who were, one and all, more qualified to lead and fight a war than he was. Udet and Galland were consumate masters of the air with very competent lieutanants abounding. Rommel was a great ground commander. Doenitz was certainly qualified to organize and lead a Navy. But Hitler knew better and did what he did regardless of advice from the experts.

    He was his own worst enemy and I believe that while he did hinder the Me 262, it's development went about as fast as it could have given the fact that there was a war on. In a perfect world, it might have been deployed somewhat earlier, but I have no way of knowing how early that could have been.

    It certainly would not have been as much as ayear eariler ... the turbine blades were just not ready at that time for mass-production, even had it been so ordered.
     
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  6. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    I'd like to see the author give some evidence that the RLM "seized the opportunity of jet technology with every possible speed". Plenty of evidence points to the contrary, more or less.

    Greg, the Tirpitz was lost long after the leadership hoped to get a strong surface Navy, it certainly played no part in the decision to abandon that idea. And by golly, that was an idea that should've never been there in the first place.
     
  7. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Dunno, Greg...if Udet hadn't insisted that all thier bombers be dive-bomb capable, that would have changed a great deal right there.

    Also, regarding the RLM's lack of interest in the jet program, had they taken an interest in the jet program in 1939 and funded R&D, this would have allowed the engineers to develope the Hirth, Jumo and other engines far before it became a crisis. They would have had jet aircraft far sooner than they did and in a wider variety than just a heavy interceptor, a bomber and a desperate plywood last-ditch effort at war's end.

    Of course, none of it matters now, because unlike Tooze's speculation, no matter how many jets they built, Hitler's Reich would have still gone down in flames. It might have taken a little longer and more effort, but the end would have still been the same.
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Dec 1941. Jumo 004A engine passes 10 hour endurance test.
    8 Feb 1942. Albert Speer appointed Minister of Armaments.
    .....During his first year in office Albert Speer had power over weapons production so complete that he was armaments dictator for all practical purposes.

    1943. Jumo 004A engine passes several 100 hour endurance tests.

    Albert Speer pushed BMW801 engine into mass production at a time when service life was considerably less then 100 hours. If he had ordered Jumo 004A engine into mass production then Germany would have operational Me-262 jagdgeschwader at least a year sooner then historical.

    I'm not knocking Herr Speer. Hitler thrust an amateur into the armaments minister position and that's what he got. Speer had to guess which aircraft and engines were worth producing. It's not surprising he made some mistakes.
     
  9. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Did you perhaps mean the 004B?
     
  10. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    In 1941 Germany didn't have much demand for a fighter with 2 vacuum cleaners under wings, in the main theatre of war in SU it would have been useless on the primitive front line a/fs from which most of LW fighters operated. Same to North Africa. Only in the West it would have been useful, but West was a sideshow in 41-42. And e.g. Willy was clearly more eager to sell 209s than 262s before Göring cancelled 209 program against Willy's will.

    Juha
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Jumo 004B engine did not achieve 100 hour reliability until early 1945. The switch to hollow turbine blades caused vibration problems which required time to sort out.

    Jumo 004A was an earlier variant of the same engine which Germany chose not to place into mass production. 80 prototypes were built to allow Me-262 airframe testing and to gain experience with jet engines in general.
     
  12. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Adam Tooze is the unquestionned expert on Nazi German economy. However ... he is clueless about military affairs. He definitely sees things his own way. His book, Wages of Destruction is famous for his thesis that Hitler went to war with Russia to get the resources to attack the US.

    And when it is about the first jets. I think we all need to put outselves in the position of those in charge in 1941. Germany had the best fighters in the world and nobody knew a thing about jet propulsion and the importance it was going to acquire. Maybe they should have invested more in the technology, but I can understand that they preferred to stick with what they knew instead of a brand new experimental technology.

    Btw Dave, I think the hollow turbine blades came at the end of 1944, with the 004B-4.

    Kris
     
  13. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Member

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    In Hugh Morgan's 'Stormbird Rising' Adolf Galland writes in the introduction

    "I am of the opinion that with only 300 Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighters we could have on any day shot down a minimum of 200 bombers. If this would have continued for a week or two, then the day bombings would have had to be stopped.
    As a consequence, the dimensions of the destruction of the targets in Germany would have been diminished.
    As a negative consequence, the war would most probably have been prolonged and the Russians allowed more time to conquer further German territory.
    So let us now be satisfied with Hitler's mistakes towards the legendary Me 262".


    Yes he blames Hitler - and he undoubtedly did hinder tyhings - but he is obviously convinced that no 'wonder weapon' could fundamentally alter the balance of power, 262 or other, Germany still loses.

    The jet engines themselves were the prime cause of the delays but had the potential been seen earlier (and Germany was hardly alone in that, the UK USA took time to see the possibilities of jet power worthwhile enough to go over to them) things might have been different....in the detail.

    You still end up with a bunch of nutters running the show in Germany picking a fight with most of the rest of the developed developing world.
    I cannot see any way they win that one.

    Personally having read up on the subject some I think the electro-boat (type 21 U-boat) had much more potential to alter things as they turned out to knock the UK out of the war - and given that in large part even it was firmly rooted in it WW1 U-boat tech I think that would have been a better bet for Germany, the large investment in the less capable type 7 class need never have happened saving resources giving the KM a much more deadly weapon at sea.
    Pre-fab'ed construction (once the bugs were ironed out) could have had them spitting them out like sausages.
     
  14. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    German failure in management and leadership was comprehensive, and not limited to just Hitler. Hitlers mismangement was significant, but then so too were the failures of nearly ever significant figure within the Nazi regime. There were a few exceptions to this blanket indictment, like Speer and Milch

    However, WWII in the air was a war a of numbers more than quality. So much of the losses were simply attritional over service related, that reducing numbers, to make way for the introduction of a new type simply made no sense.

    The big lie is not that Hitler did or did not oppose the early introduction of the 262. The big lie is that the early introduction would have fundamentally changed the air war.

    1400 262s were built. They shot down about 150 allied aircraft. That is not the hallmark of a war winning tech. its the hallmark of an abject failure
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    By 1943 USA and Britain/Canada were spitting out ASW ships and aircraft like sausages. Germany could not even maintain control over coastal waters which U boats had to transit to/ from port. Difficult to see what any diesel electric submarine could accomplish in such an environment.
     
  16. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    1400 is what has been published but a person who has done a lot of research on the Me262 says the number is closer to 2000.
     
  17. silence

    silence Active Member

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    And as I remember reading somewhere it was difficult just to get them to the squadrons.
     
  18. OldSkeptic

    OldSkeptic Active Member

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    The problem was (again) their dysfunctional engine manufacturing/R&D effort. They went for an axial flow design, chasing 'perfection' at the expense of getting something that works.
    It took years before axial flow engines were perfected.

    At the time the centrifugal flow engine was by far the best bet, since it could directly use expertise in superchargers.
    For example, RR had done the 5,000lb Nene by the end of the war and the production engines they had were all better than what the Germans had (performance, reliability and fuel economy).
     
  19. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    #19 Juha, Aug 1, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
    Ah, Galland was one of those who agreed in the production conference chaired by Milch on 31 Mar 43 that it would be an error to follow Oberst Dinort's proposal to drop 209 and concentrate everything on the 262.

    And greatest number of 262 day fighter sorties flown was 76 on 10 April 45, USAAF lost 19 bombers and 8 fighters on that day, but 31 Me 262s were shot down. And because USAAF fighters strafed extensively on that day (they were credited with 309 strafing kills altogether) at least some of US losses fell to the Flak.

    Juha
     
  20. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Member

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    I think the point is Dave that the type 21 was the first true submarine and because it turns out the tech isn't especially 'special' they could have had it in place of the type 7's.
    Obviously without the late sensors acoustic matting....but a U-boat with underwater speed range as the type 21 had in 1939/40 might have seen the UK lose the BoA and be forced out of the war.
    Given that as it was the type 7's gave the UK Gov sleepless nights aplenty I don't think it too big a stretch.
    ASW tech of the time would have a very hard time dealing with the much faster electro-boat (especially with its submerged speed).
    Lose that and no D-day how likely is the USA to go it alone?


    You were expecting consistency?
    I think the thing going on here is Galland had time to think about it later, after the war, and saw Me 262 making no difference to the outcome, just the level of ruin to Germany (which was catastrophic as it was) and the degree of western European Sovier occupation.

    ...and it should be not be forgotten buying the Nazi leadership more time to pursue their revolting program of industrial murder.
     
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