What if the Me 262 had 20mm cannons?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by DerGiLLster, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    What if the Me 262 had 20mm cannons? How would it have fared against fighters? Also, how would it have fared against the Gloster Meteor? If the engines had moderate reliability, would it have proved superior in a dogfight? How would giving the Me 262 some 20mm cannons instead of 30mm cannons have done to it?
     
  2. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The Me262 was not a dog fighter.

    The notion that the Me262 was a fighter like the Spitfire, P-51, A6M, etc. is a huge misconception. It was an interceptor, sometimes called a "heavy fighter". There are several occasions where the Experten did successfully engage Allied fighters. There were many more instances where the Me262 came up short in a confrontation. So they tended to avoid being drawn into a fight.

    It's strengths were intercepting bombers and recon aircraft, delivering terrible damage with their Mk108 30mm cannon. Replacing the 30mm cannon with a 20mm would reduce it's effectiveness to a certain degree.

    As far as the Meteor versus the Me262, it's an age-old discussion that's popped countless times over the years.

    Here is a great thread that covers that in great detail: Which jet was better, the Me 262 or the Gloster Meteor?
     
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  3. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    There's a sizable camp that thinks the Me 262 was the most important fighter of the war or even the best fighter of the war.

    It was neither.

    It was probably the most important fighter of the second world war with respect to post-war jet fighter development but, in WWII itself, the Me 262 was not very important or very good.

    When both engines were running it could attack or withdraw at will, but did NOT stem the tide of 1,000 plane raids or even make a real dent in them. It came up quite short when attempting to pick on Mustangs most of the time, and would have come up the same if attempting to pick on Spitfires ... but the Spitfire wasn't exactly a long-range escort fighter. It would have similar lack of success against Tempests. But if it concentrated on one-pass attacks and regain altitude for another attack on bombers
    until fuel got short was effective enough to be a thorn in our side.

    The Me 262 had speed and good armament. Against a nonmaneuvering target, like a B-17 or B-24, or Lancaster / Halifax, it was dynamite period within range of fuel quantity and engine reliability. Against a maneuverable fighter who knew it was coming, it was not much trouble to avoid and a counter-strike was possible easily, especially when the Me 262 needed to slow down and land. If bounced when slow, it was a fat, slow-moving target.

    But it DID lead to F-84s, F-86s, Hunters, MiG-15s, and many other jet fighters that owed their very good design features to the Me 262's pioneering design. The lack of ability to maneuver and/or accelerate was not all that big of a fault when the competition had similar aircraft with similar power and wing loading and similar powers of maneuver. By leading the way, I'd call the Me 262 the most important WWII fighter that influenced post-war jet fighter design. Paradoxically, the Me 163, which outperformed the Me 262 in almost all areas except endurance and range, had almost no effect at all on post-war fighter design and even less effect on WWII. Rockets simply weren't, and still aren't, the way to go. But the DID scare the hell out of a bunch of guys for awhile.

    Just my opinion and opinions vary.
     
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  4. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Well Greg, unlike the Me163, the Me262 could engage in a turning fight *IF* (and I use that word strongly) the pilot knew the aircraft well enough.

    There were several instances where an escort got into a scrap with a Me262 and came up short (the Mk108 was NOT kind to any airframe smaller than a bomber) and even though these were isolated instances, they did happen.

    So the Me262 was not a helpless child in the wilderness...it did have deadly potential when in the hands of a pilot who knew how to coax the best out of it.

    If you read the memoirs of the "top gun" pilots of the Me262, you'll get a fascinating overview of what it was really capable of.
     
  5. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Memoirs are the result of one person's experience. If he managed to surprise ANY aircraft, the Me 262 could dish out a very hard hit; probably a fatal one. If the piston fighter pilot KNEW the Me 262 was coming and saw him, it was another matter entirely. There never was an Me 262 that could engage in a turning fight with a piston fighter and win it. He could engage, and get out-turned and leave the fight to re-engage, sure. But he wasn't going to out-turn a piston fighter that saw him coming in once it got to a turning fight.

    At that point, the Me 262 pilot, if he kept his speed up, was going to overshoot and depart to either go away or re-engage. If he slowed down to engage, he was a REAL target, so they MOSTLY kept the speed up for the ability to shoot and scoot, which was a sound tactic and did have success on unwary foes. Their mission was to shoot down bombers, and they weren't bad at it, as their armament would tend to make you think anyway. Their mission was never to shoot at fighters. The fighters weren't killing Germany; the bombers were.

    If the Me 262 pilot thought much about fighters, it was mostly how to get past them and hit the bombers and how to get past them when he slowed down and landed and when he took off, before he built up speed.

    We may disagree on this one and that's OK.

    Sure, there were people like Heinz Bar, who claimed 5 P-51's and 6 P-47's. How many of these never saw him coming? If you didn't, the Me 262's 30 mm cannons packed a very hard punch with first-hit probability of a kill. The Germans claimed about 64,000 aerial victories in WWII. Some 750 plus or minus a few were Me 262 claims. That's about 1.17% of the claims. Some may consider that significant. I'm not among them. It was a decent score considering the few Me 262's around; but nothing for the Allies to get concerned about in late 1944 - early 1945. By April 1945 the Luftwaffe had all but ceased effective operations. It's tough to field a good defense when the enemy is throwing 1,000 bombers and 700 fighters at you in one raid while swarms of other fighters and attack planes are flying around looking for movement.

    I DO believe the Me 262 was revolutionary; but not to the outcome of WWII. It was revolutionary to the post-war air forces of the world. It certainly was historically significant to WWII, just not to the overall German war effort. It simultaneously pointed squarely at the future and, at the same time, ate up significant resources for very little result.

    Altogether an Allied win. Post-war, we got the research and the war damage was slight by comparison with losses to all causes.
     
  6. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    We'll have to disagree here, but that's OK.

    Sure, there were people like Heinz Bar, who shot down 5 P-51's and 6 P-417's in the Me 262. I'd say most if not all of those never saw him coming. Certainly if the Me 262 got a hit, the probability of a kill was high; the 30 mm cannons were bad boys,

    I consider the Me 262 as very significant to post-war aviation, but rather insignificant to WWII results. It managed about 750 claims of some 64,000 - 68,000 claims, depending on who you believe, which is some 1.2% of claims or less. That was never going to worry anyone and by April 1945, the Luftwaffe had all but ceased being an effective force.

    Certainly the Me 262 is historically significant. Just not really significant to the German war effort. It was a clear Allied win. It simultaneously ate up a lot of German resources and caused little damage with respect to losses from all causes. But the contribution to post-war jet fighter design was rather apparent for decades after the war. It was brilliant; but not really effective, for a combination of reasons.

    This does not disrespect the Me 262 in any way as far as I can see. It just means the Me 262 didn't accomplish the task of slowing the Allied bomber streams and materially lengthen or reverse the way the war was going.

    And it also wasn't going to out-turn a P-51 or a Spitfire or any other piston fighter. If it stayed fast, it had no hope of out-turning or turning with a piston fighter. If it slowed down, it was meat on the table. I doubt seriously if the Me 262 ever outnumbered the opponents ... perhaps on a rare occasion. So if it DID slow down, it would attract a crowd of piston fighters rather quickly.
     
  7. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Re. the opening question - it does not change the outcome.
    Weakness of the Me 262 was not armament, but the too late introduction, too small a number in service in a given day of 1944, less-than-ideal engines, low endurance.
     
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  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #8 FLYBOYJ, Feb 14, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
    Some points;

    A "brick" could win a turning dogfight if the "brick pilot" knew how to fight in the vertical, use the "yo-yo" and perform energy maneuvers. Although many of these tactics weren't well documented during WW2, they were well known.

    A first generation jet like the Me 262 did have a lag in spool up but I think this has been overplayed. The closest aircraft to a first generation jet fighter I've had the opportunity to fly was a T-33 and I could tell you there is a lag in spool up (especially when compared to later contemporary types) but if you stay ahead of the aircraft, it could be easily handled.
     
  9. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    In regards to a turning fight with the Me262, Luftwaffe flight instructor Hans Fey did state that: "The 262 will turn much better at high than at slow speeds and, due to its clean design, will keep its speed in tight turns much longer than conventional type aircraft."

    The veteran jet pilots knew, this and if the situation called for it, would engage Allied aircraft.

    In regards to the original question, there were different armaments tried, but the 30mm Mk108 proved to be the best weapons for the Me262's primary mission.

    A prototype Me262A-1a/U1 was armed with (2) Mk108 30mm, (2) Mk103 30mm and (2) MG151/20 20mm cannon.

    Another, Me262A-1a/U5 had (6) Mk108 30mm cannon
     
  10. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    All jets turn much better at lower speeds. High speeds increase the g-load in a turn if the radius stays the same. Turning much better at lower speeds does not mean turning much better then a piston fighter ... it means it turns better than the same jet at higher speeds turns.

    C'mon Graugeist, you aren't going to take an Me 262 at 11,000 - 15,500 pounds with high-speed aerodynamics and tell me it will turn with a P-51 that is somewhere near 9,500 pounds or less with a wing optimized for piston fighter performance, are you? The early jets don't have much instantly-available static thrust. It loses speed in a hard turn quickly and regains it slowly. It's NEVER going to roll with a single-engine piston fighter because of the engine out there under the wings. The P-51 doesn't snake around when you are trying to aim it at another aircraft, either.

    Now, I'm not claiming the Me 262 was turkey by any stretch of the imagination. I'm saying it had somewhat less turning performance than an escort piston fighter that was optimized for best turn at lower speeds and is coming it at a lower weight since it just flew a LONG way into Germany. It might be interesting against, say, a heavy P-47. I have not looked very hard at that one. But against a P-51 over Germany, the Me 262 was never going to turn with it as long as the P-51 knew the Me 262 was there. Naturally, if the Me 262 could surprise the P-51, then the Mustang was in big trouble. The same could be said in reverse, though the six .50's weren't going to assure a quick kill. But a stray 50-cal round in a Jumo engine was definitely going to wreak some havoc, even if it just threw turbine blades.

    I have read, via Adolph Galland, that there were never more than about 50 - 60 Me 262's in service at the same time. I think that was a lucky break for the Allies. A large formation of Me 262's would certainly have been a major threat to the bomber streams; but not necessarily to the fighters. It might have been easy to miss an Me 262 coming in alone or in a pair, but it would have been hard to ignore a flight of 16+. Large formations get your attention much quicker than small groups do, and my bet is they would have been seen easily as in large groups.

    Perhaps you think I am saying the turning difference was huge. That is not the case. But it was different enough that the Me 262 was never going to be a dogfighter with piston fighters. It was always going to be an ambush predator versus Allied piston fighters ... shoot and scoot.

    Well. that's what a few former Me 262 pilots have said at the monthly events at the museum, anyway. Of course, we never had Adolph Galland there while I have been a member. Maybe he had a different take on it. He was always a great self promoter and could spin a good story at will ... not that they were not based in fact. But, let's say his take on German planes rarely matched the observations of people like Eric Brown or other Allied pilots who flew German equipment that was captured or surrendered.

    Perhaps the same could be said in reverse. Someone familiar with a plane would probably have a different view of it than someone flying it for the first time, regardless of relative skill levels.
     
  11. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Well Greg, you seem to put a lot in the stock of Memoirs and experiences of individuals when it suits your argument.

    "This guy at the museum said this..."

    So what is the difference?
     
  12. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #12 GregP, Feb 14, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
    I put a lot of stock in the opinions of people who were there. Not too sure the fliers in WWII ever heard the word "yo-yo" in an aviation setting. I stated my opinion. If anyone in here thinks otherwise, they are certainly entitled. And I'm not trying to say that I'm right the they're wrong.

    I can say that the Me 262s shot down, in reality, some 500 to 520 Allied aircraft out of some 750+ claims and had something around 100 losses. Allied pilots submitted and were awards some 140 victories against them. That's the data I have. Yours may vary, and I'm not going to debate the difference.

    So instead of the above post, why not say your opinion of the Me 262 versus P-51 discussion. I think mine is clear. It's good they didn't field a lot of Me 262's versus the bombers because they were a tough opponent for the bombers. It would appear you think the me 262 was also a tough opponent against the piston fighters, too. The few English translations of combat reports I have read described surprising Allied fighter and bombers with speed (short time for recognition of attack) and firepower (those big 30 mm cannons).

    Since you live in Germany, perhaps you have read more extensively of the Me 262 combat reports? Maybe post a few in English from both sides?

    Hey, you think what you think largely because of what you have read, heard, and thought about. Me too. I am assuming, of course, that there are some German combat reports available for you to read. If not, then we are left with raw numbers that can be interpreted several ways. I try not to read personal bias into numbers. That is, I have no problem posting a victory tally, but I also have no idea how many were difficult fights and how many were easy ambushes unless it shows up somewhere. My bet is the combat reports are the best source for that type of information, and you live in Germany and can read German. So ... you'd probably have some insights I would have no way of getting, probably including talking to more former German jet pilots than I have heard speak.

    Want to to share what you think? I'm interested and have no axe to grind here. I get my ideas about WWII from the things I read and hear. I don't pick out reports that support some idea I made up out of thin air. I have also bought what I thought were some good books, only to have others in here say that author is not a good source; such as the Fw 190 book by Heinz Nowarra. I suppose that happens. But I also bought some of the recommendations from in here and have read some of them. The cumulative effort for me is to learn about it, not write a book on it.
     
  13. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Greg, in my earlier comment:
    This wasn't some guy reminescing, this was Hans Fey, a well established test pilot and flight instructor. That quote of his that I posted, was given to Allied interrogators when they were gathering data on the Me262.

    So I'd imagine that Mr. Fey wasn't talking out his azz when he was explaining how to properly fly the Me262...
     
  14. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Isn't that what memoirs of Me 262 pilots are? From people that where there?

    So how is that different from what you read and hear?

    Why do you discredit those 1st hand accounts.

    As for the rest of your post, I respond to the parts I wish too. If I choose to call you out, you will have to learn to deal with that.
     
  15. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    He did not speak at Greg's museum, so it does not count and is not true.
     
  16. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    :evil4:
     
  17. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Seem to me like I agreed with him. "All jets turn better at lower speeds than higher speeds."

    This is too much like talking with me ex-wife ...
     
  18. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Maybe that is an indication that you, not her was the problem?

    :D
     
  19. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    GregP you just won my thread for today, I didn't read the other threads but your opinion effectively changed my stance on the Me 262, had the Germans perhaps improved the Fw 190s for fighting against the P-51D Mustangs and use the Me 262s on slower, heavy moving planes, it certainly would have been an effective combination for air superiority. :D
     
  20. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    It wasn't the quality of the aircraft that needed improving . Though the Fw190 certainly could have used better high altitude performance, and the Me262 could have used better 30mm cannons ( higher velocity, longer range).

    It was quantity that was lacking, not enough aircraft in the air, and not enough experienced pilots to fly them.
     
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