Me262B nightfighters info

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wiking85, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    I just discovered that there was an operational Me262 nightfighter unit around Berlin starting about October 1944; does anyone have any more information about it? Was it successful, how many aircraft did it have, what was its mission, etc.
    Thanks.
     
  2. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    #2 mhuxt, Jun 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
    10./NJG 11.

    Not a lot of good stuff on the net - better to search this site, especially for Erich's stuff. FWIW, most of the aircraft were single-seat jets, IIRC the two-seaters only flew five sorties or so, but that's from memory. I believe Herbert Altner got a Mossie in one, versus the loss of at least one of the two-seater jets, radar operator killed, due to flame-out.
     
  3. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #3 stona, Jun 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
    The experimental Me 262 night fighter unit 'Kommando Welter' was formed at Rechlin-Larz on 2nd November 1944. Only single seat Me 262s were available and so equipped Welter himself, and various other pilots who joined the unit through November and December, flew 'Wilde Sau' type missions. Welter claimed his first victory on 28th November.

    'Kommando Welter' was redesignated 10./NJG 11 on 25th January 1945 with an establishment of 12 Me 262s.

    The unit didn't collect its first two seat, radar equipped, night fighters until the end of March 1945. These were conversions undertaken by the Deutsche Lufthansa workshops at Berlin-Staaken. Herbert Altner collected the first on 22nd March but it was destroyed by bombing at a stop over at Lubeck and never made it to the unit.

    Four two seaters saw service with 10./NJG 11 flying a handful of sorties, as mentioned above, and claimed three Mosquitos. Altner with radar operator Fryba did indeed shoot down a Mosquito of 305 Squadron (flown by Sqn.Ldr. Hanbury) on 6th April. The two claimed on 19/20 April cannot be matched with any British losses.

    Altner claimed to have been the only Luftwaffe pilot to have flown the two seat version on night fighting operations.

    "On 6th May I flew with my mechanic Karl Braun in good old 'Red 12' from the motorway near Reinfeld to Schleswig-Jagel where the Luftwaffe's last two Me 262 B-1a/U1s were surrendered to the RAF. That was the end of the war for me and I had done my duty. I remember with pride that I had flown the world's first operational jet aircraft, and to have been the only pilot of the Luftwaffe to have flown the two seater version on night-fighting operations."

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  4. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't the M262 too fast to do night fighting work even against Mosquitos or could they slow down enough not to overshoot or collide with their target? Also as an aside how effective were Wildesau missions in general? It seems like a fools errand to me for the effort and losses taken. Plus IIRC the British tried that during the Blitz and got bad result, so ended up stopping it.
     
  5. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    They had to plan their attack very carefully as they were considerably quicker than even the Mosquito. Hans Becker described exactly this problem.

    "I had caught a Mosquito illuminated in the search lights at about 8,500m, in a good position for an attack. However, because I had not managed to manoeuvre my Me 262 into the proper position, the rapid closing speed forced me to break off before I could finish my attack."

    He also illustrates the favoured target, an aircraft already illuminated by searchlights. The 'Wilde Sau' also enjoyed a running commentary from fighter controllers on the ground, similar to their daytime colleagues. It wasn't quite the fool's errand undertaken by their RAF counterparts in 1940/41, but it wasn't much more successful.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  6. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    #6 mhuxt, Jun 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
  7. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    #7 mhuxt, Jun 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
    double
     
  8. Koopernic

    Koopernic Active Member

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    #8 Koopernic, Jun 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2014
    When the Nachtjagdt started using the faster piston fighters such as the He 219 they faced the overshooting problem as well, the problem with the jets is that they are even more slippery and decelerate even more reluctantly. I would imagine it would be better to have a very fast night-fighter able to make an intercept and then face the problem of planning and careful deceleration in the final phases of the intercept than to never get an intercept at all. One of the problems faced by the German night fighter force was greatly worsened by the slowness of much of its night fighter force. RAF Bomber Command would run a number of spoof raids and feignts that would turn out to be Sterlings on mine laying missions and (I think) Mosquitos dropping foil or a small force splitting of in such a way as to look like a larger force.

    When the spoof was discerned and the correct target revealed the night fighters would burn fuel and burn out engines trying to slowly overhaul the only slightly slower bombers, often to no avail. Speed is often of more value than range to an intercepting night fighter.

    Another problem was the presence of allied night fighters; for this speed could be a great protection. The other 'protection' some of the night fighters had was tail warning radar that was integrated in some of their main raiders as well as a microwave radar homing device called 'naxos' which could warn of an microwave radar equipped allied fighter.

    The latter German night fighters such as the DB603 engined He 219, BMW 801 engined Ju 88R and Ju 88G1 and the Jumo 213A engined G6 and Jumo 213E engined Ju 88G7 had a fair amount of speed but they were often limited in supply.

    The Arado 234 jet was a better platform than the Me 262 it would seem, there were some improvised Arado 234A bombers converted to night fighters by Sigfried Knemeyer, they used gun packs on the bomb racks (called a Magirius Bombe) and a radar operator somewhat claustrophobically in the tail. It wasn't a success as the curved glass lead to reflections that could disorient the pilot at night but served as a good experiement, the plexiglass wasn't too good in flying through debris from a shootdown. The Arado 234C3, also a bomber, but with provision with a side by side second crew member was seen as a better idea for a conversion but the proper version was the Arado 234P which was designed with a night fighter cockpit from the beginning: this meant flat glass, bullet proof windshields etc.

    There were some radar equipped Me 262B1a produced which were based around a two seat trainer version of the aircraft. This version had limited fuel supply as Center of Gravity issues would crop up from rearranging the aircraft to seat the second crew member. A version with a properly stretched fuselage was supposedly complete and ready for testing at the end of the war.

    One problem of the Me 262 and the Arado 234 was that they lacked air brakes/dive brakes. Gloster had added these on the Meteor III (the Meteor I not being so equipped), I suspect that Me 410 style brakes could have been fitted to the Me 262.

    Now, I think the air brake issue would eventually become mute because automatic interceptions were coming in.

    German Luftwaffe aircraft had very good 3 dimensional autopilots from Patin and Siemens. Not only could heading and altitude be 'dialed in' but so could ascent and descent rates. This system was uncannily accurate and why the Luftwaffe thought it could be used to crash pilotless aircraft fitted with massive hollow charge warheads into ships, bridges and dams.

    The Luftwaffe had started to use telemetry via the Berhard/Bernhardine navigation beacon to vector its night fighters since Bernhard/Bernhardine was for practical purposes unjammable. (It gave the heading of the targets on ticker tape).

    Since 1942 they had been working on a system for automatically firing the guns of a night fighter called "Pauke" just using aiming by their lobe switching radars which were capable of centering a target directly ahead. However by 1945 parabolic tracking dish microwave radars such as the FuG 240N3a "Berlin" were coming into service on Ju 88G6 (and G7). Latter versions of this radar were to have conical scan as used on the Wurzburg FLAK gunlaying radars which would thus allow accurate tracking and even track locking and firing by the night fighter by "Pauke" with the Pauke circuit (by now called Eule or "Owl") simply injecting the heading/aiming data into the autopilot in the manner of bomb sights such as the Lotfe 7 and Norden and firing the guns when a firing solution had been attained.

    Hence the planned Luftwaffe night fighter would intercept the bomber by taking telemetry directly from the ground station radar into the autopilot at which point the fighters own sensors would takeover to make high speed firing passes, probably of deadly accuracy given the 'computer' control.

    Not only large canon but large proximity fused unguided rockets such as the R100 or R100 BS were to be aimed by this method.

    With such weapons even radar directed gun turrets as seen on late war Lancaster's (Village Inn), B-29 and B-36 would be of virtually no use.

    It's not for no reason that the RAF, after the success of the Mosquito, abandoned armed Bombers after the Canberra and the V-bombers. Speed and jamming systems were the only practical defense given that the interceptor is likely to have more powerful longer ranged weapons.

    See Gebhard Adders "History of the German Night fighter force"

    The kind of systems latter seen in NORAD's SAGE (Semi Automatic Ground Environment) that was designed to vector F-106 delta darts onto Soviet Atomic bombers was incubated in the technology of WW2.
     
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  9. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Altner did claim a Mosquito on the night of 3/4 April, over Berlin, which, given the propensity for errors to occur in the dating of these claims, might well be that one.

    Altner suffered a double engine flame out on 27th March 1945 for the reason you give. This had tragic consequences for his radar operator Reinhardt Lommatzsch, who was killed whilst bailing out. Altner reckoned that he had struck the fin of the Me 262 which either killed or disabled him, preventing him from deploying his parachute.

    Steve
     
  10. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    THERE IS MUCH NEW INFO'S THAT HAVE COME TO LIGHT THE LAST 2 YEARS ON kOMMANDO wELTER......WAIT FOR IT SOME DETAILS ON THIS THREAD ARE INCORRECT
     
  11. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Any idea how long we have to wait?
     
  12. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Glider it will be a few years yet the co-author and I are still fighting cancer but new pics of the twin seaters have arrived directly from Germany. most likely more serious approach will be after Theo Boitens new releases on the Nachtjagd in which I have sent him helpful info on his Kurt Welter coverage but of course not all ..... the Welter bunch is a very confusing and mythical unit full of mis-conceptions about the realities of the unit and personell
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #13 FLYBOYJ, Jul 13, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2014
    Early jets took a while to build up speed and once moving they did not slow down quickly. Speed brakes solved this problem (as far as slowing down) and made landing operations easier providing you didn't get behind the jet while in the pattern. As far as intercepting aircraft, a speed brake will slow a jet down to pick up a slower moving target but the lack of should not be an issue if the pilot was able to get a good fix on the target, manage his airspeed and set up a firing solution while being vectored by his radar operator. "Automatic intercepts" would have nothing to do with this.
     
  14. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    if I may lets all remember what Welters Kommando was originally designed for that was single seaters intercepting LSNf and NF mossies, later Welter knew it was a waste of time and resources and wanted to bring along the twin seater which he was not really sold on, but knew the war was really be waged by BC 4-engines and the twin seater seemed to be the initial answer even if being non tried and untrue, 6 missions flown with possibly 3 unconfirmed victories and flown by 3 pilots // Altner only being one of those pilots; and yes please let us confirm that Welter in NO WAY has all confirmed the many Mosquitos in his career
     
  15. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Hi Erich. I have a 262 B in the stash and want to do one of Welter's rigs. Hope to get the best info from you on that for schemes,
     
  16. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    the 3 photographed so far are the best so far, many make the camo too light except for red 10 . the new pics I hae not seen yet so cannot say which numbered units maybe red 9 and 11 ? not sure yet have not been given the data, in the line up at the far end is an all black single seater as well as a very dark overall grey, the last single seaters in the Welter unit in April?may were typical day fighter schemes.
     
  17. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Cheers mate! The well known red 10 and 12 are certainly possibilities but it would be neat to do another.
     
  18. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Altner claimed, in writing, to have been the only Luftwaffe pilot to have flown the two seat Me 262 night fighter operationally. If anyone can contradict that it would be interesting to see the evidence. Altner is not here to defend himself or that claim.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  19. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    we have his story as well from a living former kamerade he was sick during our interview with him personally yes he feels he is the only one that flew and has stated he was the only one to claim a kill but that is not entirely true in the 2-seater.
     
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