Mosquito pilot encounters bare-metal Me 262 in combat

Discussion in 'Stories' started by JonOlsen, Mar 27, 2016.

  1. JonOlsen

    JonOlsen Member

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    Lately I've been reading up a bit on bare-metal Me 262s. For some time, I've wondered whether there was any evidence these were flown operationally. I've long assumed that they were, even if just in small numbers. Anyhow, I've found this account told from the perspective of a mosquito pilot, Lt. Richard Geary. In this mission, Geary recalls having come face to face with an apparently bare metal Me 262.

    Here's the most relevant excerpt concerning this Me 262 encounter:

    "Dust flew up from the floor, emergency maps came off the wall and loose material floated in the cockpit. The Me262 hurtled directly over me, seemingly a few feet from the cockpit canopy. There was just one big flash of silver chrome as the uncamouflaged jet shot by. He had me in his sights but my unexpected action put us on a collision course. Instead of shooting at me, the jet pilot had to use all his talents to avoid a midair collision. That both the German pilot and myself lived through the encounter, I credit to his reflexes."

    You can read the full account at
    German Jet Encounters

    Interesting, huh? Any thoughts? :)

    Regards,
    Jon
     
  2. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I don't think it's particularly unusual. By that stage in the war, finishing German aircraft with a pristine camouflage scheme was probably a low priority, even if paints and manpower were available.
    There are a number of photos of '262s in bare metal, bare metal part primed, part painted etc, with those in woods alongside autobahns not just dumped, but in some cases ready for, and possibly seeing action, before being 'immobilised' as German forces retreated.
     
  3. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the above. Also the Mosquito crew were looking up at the underside of the Me 262 and it wasn't just this type which was uncamouflaged on the underside late in the war.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  4. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Agreed. FW190s, for example, were often at least partly in bare metal on the under-sides, and some Messerchmit '109s were in bare metal.
    By late 1944, German aircraft, if painted at all, needed camouflage mainly for when they were on the ground, or low flying, such as approach to landing, as they were vulnerable to the masses of Allied fighters and ground-attack aircraft out strafing airfields and anything that moved.
     
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  5. JonOlsen

    JonOlsen Member

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    Very interesting and insightful comments! Regarding the undersides of late-war Me 262s being unpainted, "Black X" is one well-known and documented example that comes to mind. Painting the undersides certainly does seem like it would have been a waste of time. Needless to say, most photos of Me 262s are black and white and don't allow clear views of the undersides anyhow, so there couldn't possibly be much in the way of photographic evidence.

    It's certainly possible that the mosquito crew had seen one such Me 262 (with only the underside largely unpainted). However, the pilot did get an extremely close up view of the Me 262 (though he obviously had a clearer view of the underside than anywhere else), describing the Me 262 as having been only "seemingly a few feet away from the cockpit canopy." Now if we take the Mosquito pilot's words at face value, then the Me 262 presumably was largely bare metal overall. The pilot described the Me 262 as having been "uncamouflaged." The explicit reference to the Me 262 being "uncamouflaged" suggests to me that the pilot certainly believed the Me 262 to have been unpainted. But who knows...

    By the way, while doing some more surfing on the net, I came across some interesting information in a book entitled, "Bodenplatte: The Luftwaffe's last Stand" by John Manrho and Ron Putz. The author mentions that on the same day that Me 262s from 2./KG 51attacked the Eindhoven airfield in support of Operation Bodenplatte, "a Dutch eyewitness spotted a silver coloured Me 262 flying over the Eindhoven airfield, but this cannot be confirmed by any documents." The author notes that the witness had reported seeing this particular Me 262 at "around 11:30 hours."

    Because the eyewitness was not a pilot and had only seen the Me 262 from some distance away, his testimony is arguably less compelling than that of the Mosquito pilot. But still... this report does nonetheless point to the operational use of largely unpainted Me 262s. Doesn't it? :)

    Regards,
    Jon
     
  6. JonOlsen

    JonOlsen Member

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    Here's the link for that second source: Bodenplatte
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Which is reflected in the replacement of the grey 74/75 camouflage with the olive (both a brown and a green version) and green 81/82 scheme (we'll leave 83 out of this!).
    81 and 82 replaced the older colours 70 and 71 which had been used on fighters very early in the war and were current on bombers and transports. The RLM was reverting to a colour palette suitable for hiding aircraft on the ground which was a reflection of the state of the air war.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  8. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Though it's possible these eye witness accounts are accurate, I would not rely on pilot's reports and other observations taken during the heat of battle to draw conclusions on aircraft colours, or lack thereof.
     
  9. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Me neither. Some are obviously mistaken, but in the case of unpainted Me 262s I think it is quite possible. The wheels were really coming off German aircraft production and all sorts of short cuts were being taken.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
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