Misuse of the 262 good or bad?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by B-17engineer, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    If this is a dumb question I apologize but in an interview with Galland he said Hitler misused the 262 because he wanted it for the blitz but then he went on to say

    Galland: I had been telling Hitler for over a year, since my first flight in an Me-262, that only Focke Wulf Fw-190 fighter production should continue in conventional aircraft, to discontinue the Me-109, which was outdated, and to focus on building a massive jet-fighter force. I was in East Prussia for a preview of the jet, which was fantastic, a totally new development. This was 1943, and I was there with Professor Willy Messerschmitt and other engineers responsible for the development. The fighter was almost ready for mass production at that time, and Hitler wanted to see a demonstration. When the 262 was brought out for his viewing at Insterburg, and I was standing there next to him, Hitler was very impressed. He asked the professor, 'Is this aircraft able to carry bombs?' Well, Messerschmitt said, 'Yes, my F├╝hrer, it can carry for sure a 250-kilogram bomb, perhaps two of them.' In typical Hitler fashion, he said 'Well, nobody thought of this! This is the Blitz (lightning) bomber I have been requesting for years. No one thought of this. I order that this 262 be used exclusively as a Blitz bomber, and you, Messerschmitt, have to make all the necessary preparations to make this feasible.' This was really the beginning of the misuse of the 262, as five bomber wings were supposed to be equipped with the jet. These bomber pilots had no fighter experience, such as combat flying or shooting, which is why so many were shot down. They could only escape by outrunning the fighters in pursuit. This was the greatest mistake surrounding the 262, and I believe the 262 could have been made operational as a fighter at least a year and a half earlier and built in large enough numbers so that it could have changed the air war. It would most certainly not have changed the final outcome of the war, for we had already lost completely, but it would have probably delayed the end, since the Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944, would probably not have taken place, at least not successfully if the 262 had been operational. I certainly think that just 300 jets flown daily by the best fighter pilots would have had a major impact on the course of the air war. This would have, of course, prolonged the war, so perhaps Hitler's misuse of this aircraft was not such a bad thing after all.
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    During 1941 Germany made a strategic decision not to mass produce the Jumo 004A jet engine as it required substantial quantities of chromium and nickel for special steel alloys. Consequently the Me-262 fighter aircraft had to wait for development of the Jumo 004B engine. Development of the Jumo 004B engine began during the summer of 1941.

    The Jumo 004B1 engine was not certified for 25 hours of service life until September 1944. That's about the minimum acceptable service life for use in a mass production combat aircraft.

    The Me-262 prototype which Gen. Galland flew during 1943 was almost certainly powered by a Jumo 004A engine. Had that engine been placed into mass production the Me-262 would probably have been operational before the end of 1943. Engine reliability would not be an issue as the Jumo 004A passed several 100 hour endurance tests during 1943 and was eventually certified for 250 hours of service life. As good as many WWII era piston engines.

    In summary.....
    The story about the Me-262 being delayed due to the addition of hard points under the fuselage and wings is bogus. Almost all fighter aircraft had such hard points by 1941 for the attachment of drop tanks, bombs, rockets, camera pods etc.

    Me-262 Fighter Aircraft with R4M FF Rockets on Wing Hard Points. The ultimate B-17 killer.
    Me 262: Stormbirds at War - R4M Rocket
    [​IMG]
     
  3. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Thanks for the explanation Dave!!!
     
  4. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    Ok lets play devils advocate and argue for Hitlers decision, when you consider the way the 262 was able to make hit and run attacks against allied air bases in Holland pretty much with impunity, what could regular massed attacks with well trained pilots have achieved against allied air power during the winter of 44 for instance?

    is there realistic argument to say they could have destroyed considerable numbers of aircraft on the crowded allied airbases (thinking bodenplatt here)and as such could have been a more effective use of air power as an offensive weapon than chasing aircraft around the sky?
     
  5. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    #5 Njaco, Jul 21, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
    When Hitler made that statement, Willy didn't take it to heart and it was months later when Hitler asked about the bomber jets only to be told there were none. That is when he demanded all jets made for bombers. But by this time there were already fighters being worked up for operations and in any event a unit was retained for that purpose and continued to evaluate and train on the fighter.

    I don't think this caused as great a delay as the engines did which as davebender says, were eventually straightened out.

    All in all, it wasn't just one single thing, event or order that failed to get the 262 operational in time - it was a collection of problems/events that prolonged the 262.
     
  6. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    #6 Thorlifter, Jul 21, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
    I think Galland hit the nail right on the head.

    Would it have made a difference if mass produced as a fighter in '43? Yes.

    Would it have changed the outcome of the war? No.

    It is a good thing it was not mass produced as a fighter, which would have delayed the end of the war? Yes.

    Remember, if the 262 was successful as a fighter earlier, it may have made a difference in the defense of the Japanese mainland considering they had the Nakajima J9Y Kikka in development. What if it entered production a year earlier?
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Early production of the Me-262 with Jumo 004A engines would make a considerable difference in the air war. However something else must be deleted from the German war effort in order to make enough chromium and nickel available for production of the Jumo 004A engines.

    With the benefit of hindsight Germany could delete the massive Type XXI submarine program as it won't be ready in time to do any good. But you don't get hindsight in the real world.
     
  8. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    In the same article Galland told Hitler to cut the Me-109 since it was in his eyes 'obsolete' so if something were cut would it be the 109?
     
  9. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    I don't think the 109 would have been cut - it was too successful, and already in production in the large volumes the LW would need to fight a war against Russia. The Type XXI program is a more sensible target for cuts in hindsight, but at the time the KM was sure that the U-Boat campaign could go beyond the near-success of the 1917 campaign and drive the UK out of the war. At the time the Jumo 004B was in development, that wasn't too crazy a belief, and the initial success of Operation Paukenschlag in early 1942 would have reinforced it.

    The idea of the Me262 as a high-speed interdictor/strike aircraft is interesting, but I'm not sure it would have made a huge difference against the sheer volume of forces deployed against Germany, especially on the Eastern Front. The Allies were more than capable of replacing the losses caused by such activity. OTOH, developing a large and fast jet bomber with a heavy payload could, IMHO, had a decisive effect in pounding Bomber Command and 8th AF bases in the UK, blunting the strategic bombing offensive and also launching a counter-offensive against the ports and infrastructure used to funnel troops and materiel into Europe. Fortunately for the Allies, the LW never believed in such a course of action and never seriously attempted to develop appropriate equipment for it.
     
  10. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    to keep things in perspective Galland needed 1000 262's, as the US was quite efficient at ground strafing you can imagine where this would of gone had more jets been available the US Stang pilots would of had a hey-day trying to outdo each other in shooting down jets daily with high scores over their fields
     
  11. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    So either way the Luftwaffe would have limited numbers of 262's?
     
  12. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    always. one of the little know probs was that it seemed to take forever to have a night fighter unit developing the 262 for night op useage, Kurt Welter nearly had to kiss the Fat man's feet to allow him to fly one on experimental missions and only in December 44 was he given the go ahead and this was much too late to alter anything in the skies over Germany.
     
  13. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    How much nickel and chromium were used to produce a DB605 engine? I doubt it was anywhere near as much as a pair of Jumo 004A engines required. So cancelling the Me-109 program won't be enough to put the Jumo 004A engine into mass production. That massive submarine program is a different story.
     
  14. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Would Germany have suffered in the Atlantic if they stopped subs?
     
  15. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    Not if they canceled the Type XXI program, as only a very few were actually commissioned, and didn't get very far due to lack of fuel and massive Allied air superiority. By the time those boats entered service, the KM had long since lost the Battle of the Atlantic and it's remaining subs were having little or no impact on Allied shipping.
     
  16. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Anyone know which heavily escorted British cruiser Schnee in U2511 made the mock attack on?

    There was another Uboat with a special hull coating that patrolled and sank some ships in the English Channel very late war. The ship sinkings were attributed to mines. Another 'not in time'.

    Is the Wilhelm Bauer still around?
     
  17. looney

    looney Member

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  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I know this engine was reliable. But what sort of fuel economy did it have? That will determine the combat radius of Me-262s powered by Jumo 004A engines.

    Could Me-262s based in France escort bombers over the British Isles? Could Me-262s based in Italy escort bombers to places like Bari, Naples and Anzio?
     
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