What type of Me 262 is this?

Discussion in 'Aircraft Requests' started by JonOlsen, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. JonOlsen

    JonOlsen Member

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    Hello everyone,

    A while back I stumbled on this photo of an unusually camouflaged Me 262. This photo intrigues me. If anyone has any information or insights about this Me 262 I'd love to know! The squiggle-type camouflage was usually applied to reconnaissance Me 262s, so at first glance I'm tempted to think this is a reconnaissance version. However, when I look more carefully I think this is actually the bomber version ( Me262A-2a Sturmvogel). I think I see a cannon in the gun bay and the cannon barrel in the lower cannon trough (starboard side). I'm assuming then that this Me 262 is armed with the two lower cannons only, as most sturmvogels were . It appears that the upper trough, which is now visible, was formerly faired over. Is this what it looks like to you too? I'm a bit confused by the upper portion of the nose cap. It appears to me that there is a bit of a box-shaped bulge or something. If so, I have no idea what that bulge might be. Is there even a bulge or are my eyes deceiving me? Any thoughts? :)

    I look forward to any and all thoughts or interpretations!
     

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  2. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Me 262 A-4a, Behelfsaufklarer? Not many built but I'm not sure what else fits the bill. Would have been fitted with a small SSK camera and retained two MK 108 cannon.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  3. JonOlsen

    JonOlsen Member

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    Thanks for the info, Steve. :) I had never heard of an me 262 A-4a before. I'd like to learn more. I tried to find info. about it on Google but found nothing. Would you happen to know anymore about this variant? You mentioned that not many were built. Any idea as to how many? Also, would you happen to know of any references I could check out?

    Thanks!

    >Jon
     
  4. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I don't know that it is an A-4a. I think it could be, which would make it rare indeed.

    From Smith and Creek (Me 262 Vol 2)

    "Some mystery surrounds the Me 262 A-4a designation. In a Flugzeug-Baureihen-Blatt of 1st November 1944 the aircraft is described as a Behelfsaufklarer, unarmed but carrying to RB 50/30 cameras. Production programme 227/1 indicates that the variant was fitted with a small SSK camera but armed with two MK 108 cannon. This source indicates that three aircraft had been completed by the end of November 1944, and at least another one hundred were planned for assembly by the Eger factory. Certainly one A-4a (W.Nr.500095) was reported damaged on 20th February 1945. It is unlikely that many aircraft wee completed as a Baureihen-Ubersicht of 1st January 1945 records that the A-4a designation was 'unallocated'.

    I just think the camouflage fits a reconnaissance unit and the aircraft clearly is not an A-1a/U3 as the aft part of the bulges to accommodate the large RB 50/30 cameras would be visible on the panel behind the cannon bay.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  5. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    Great info Steve. The camo pattern on the wing uppers is quite fetching as well. Looks like a splinter scheme with a very light grey.
     
  6. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Let us not discount shadows as the cause of the splinter scheme on the wings...just sayin'
     
  7. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Here's a photo of a Me262A-1a/U3, "Weisse 26" of 1./NAGr6 (thought to be WkNmr 500100) at Lechfeld, April 1945.

    You can see the bulges in the cowling (and photo equipment mostly intact), which are not evident on the airframe seen in the original post

    image.jpg
     
  8. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    This is a Google Translate, from "Messerschmitt Me 262 Sturmvogel Typen und Tecknik im Detail"...

    "The reconnaissance variants have been discussed already in September 1941, and a vehicle equipped with cameras hull model was inspected by the RLM 5 February 1942. One of the originally pre-produced aircraft should be converted to a prototype of the reconnaissance, but this project fell due to other events in oblivion. Some reports said that an unarmed tactical reconnaissance aircraft should be renamed Me 262A-4, but it was discovered no conclusive material to prove this"


    Geo
     
  9. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    I am sorry my friends. I am not seeing anything special about the original photo. I attribute the "there is a bit of a box-shaped bulge or something" to a dented nose cone. Again, just my uneducated opinion.
     
  10. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I agree.

    It looks to me like a battered A-1/a airframe shoved into the scrap heap like so many Luftwaffe aircraft suffered after the war.

    I will say that it has a great and unique camo scheme (late war had the best, too) and it's a shame the photo wasn't an old Agfa chrome color shot...I'd love to see what it's colors actually were.
     
  11. JonOlsen

    JonOlsen Member

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    #11 JonOlsen, Jan 7, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
    Thanks for the replies! Since so few A-4a variants were made, I would be amazed if this was one of those, though I suppose it's possible. Steve did cite a source which mentions that this variant was equipped with 2 cannons (even though it was meant to be unarmed? I definitely think I do see a lower cannon in the armament bay. Supposing this Me 262 did have the two cannons, I wonder where the camera would have sat? Just above the the gun camera in the nose tip, there is a small rectangular indentation or something. Does any one else see this? What could that be?

    I'm intrigued by the suggestion that this is a standard Me 262 airframe with a dented nose. I originally thought it was an A-2a version as these were usually armed with two cannons. In the photo, only the lower cannon is visible in the armament bay and the upper gun trough (now open) is outlined by what I think might be traces of a fairing that used to cover it up. In any case, I wonder if anyone knows of photos that show Me 262s that have dented nose cones. If so, perhaps we could compare those photos with the one above.
     
  12. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Which I think is incorrect. Original documents make it clear that A-4a was assigned to a 'Behelfsaufklarer' though how many were actually built is not known. 100 were originally intended, but as with all late war programmes this certainly didn't happen.

    The designation A-5a, originally intended for a single seat night fighter version with FuG 353 and FuG 120 equipment, was abandoned and in November 1944 re-assigned as the designation for a reconnaissance type which would have been similar to the A-1a/U3. It would however have a purpose built nose and be armed with two MK 108 cannon, each with 66 rounds. It would carry two Rb 50/30 cameras and like the A-1a/U3 the camera magazines would be covered by bulges, though these were to be slimmer and more refined than those on the earlier type. It was also to be fitted with provision for two 300l drop tanks under the fuselage. As far as we know none were ever built, but the correct designation for the reconnaissance version was intended to be Me 262 A-5a.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  13. JonOlsen

    JonOlsen Member

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    Hello guys,

    I was just admiring a close up view of this Me 262 a1a/U3 and it reminded me of this thread. I couldn't resist myself! Regarding the original photo I posted, Capt. Vick earlier suggested that the strange shape of the front nose was caused by a dent. Looking at this photo, I am now inclined to agree. This Me 262's front nose is dented, and so has been somewhat deformed. To my eyes, the front noses of both me 262s are shaped very similarly. Also, in this Me 262 a1a/U3 you can see an opening through which the single Mk 108 cannon protrudes. The Me 262 in the photo I posted likewise has an indentation (opening?) on that area of the nose cap, though it perhaps appears a bit less oval shaped. These visual similarities suggest to me that the mysterious Me 262 that inspired this thread was formerly used as an me 262a1a/U3 reconnaissance version. The presence of the two lower cannons is consistent with the typical armament configuration of standard Me 262 a2a sturmvogels. I believe it was reassigned and reconfigured for this role. Thoughts? :)
    e Me 262 U3.png
     
  14. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    There are no bulges to allow for the space needed to fit the camera magazines in the original photograph. It might be a reconnaissance version, but not to the U3 standard.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  15. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Like has been mentioned before, the original photo of the scrapped Me262 is simply a battered and stripped airframe of a Me262A-1/a and it appears that the upper deck of Mk108 cannon have been removed but at least one of the lower Mk108 cannon is still in place.

    The photo I posted (post #7) and then reposted in post #13, is an A-1/U3 airframe: White 26 of 1./NAGr6, found at Lechfeld in April of 1945.

    To simplify and streamline manufacturing, the forward cowling of the Me262 was standard to most of the Me262 variants and the U3 had the cannon ports covered, the bulges necessary for the camera equipment were added to the cowling.
     
  16. JonOlsen

    JonOlsen Member

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    Hey guys. I appreciate your insights. Just to clarify, my hypothesis is that the Me 262 originally was equipped with the reconaissance camera blisters. I believe these were subsequently removed. Of course I could be wrong. White 34 is an example of an me 262 that had its camera blisters removed when it was reassigned for the fighter role. But that one obviously had a replacement nose wheres this one looks like it might still have the original nose (minus the camera blisters...maybe...) The camouflage scheme waz also typical of reconaissance-type camo. But maybe it was just a fighter all along...but I'm not sure why the Me 262a2a possibility should be dismissed.

    , Jon
     
  17. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    #17 GrauGeist, Mar 29, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016
    If the blisters had been removed, then you would see the attempt to cover the holes where the blister's rivets had been...

    I should add this diagram (below) for the A-1/U3 which shows that the recon aircraft was equipped with a single Mk108 extending through the custom nose cone. Additionally, you can see that the standard Mk108 ports do exist (though covered) however, there is no provision for a gun camera in the nose cone, which White 26 has.

    If they were going to convert an A-1/U3 to an A-1a configuration out of desperation, I seriously doubt they would take the time to completely replace the nose cone to accept a camera. There is also no need to remove the blisters, as they don't affect the Mk108's or the aircraft's performance to any degree. If they were going to up-arm an A-1/U3, simply remove the camera equipment, install the gun decks, remove the 4 cannon ports and cover the single port in the nose...but that's an aweful lot of work considering they had quite a few Me262A-1/a aircraft sitting idle due to lack of pilots and fuel.

    Me262A-1aU3_detail.jpg
     
  18. JonOlsen

    JonOlsen Member

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    You make a lot of great points. That's also an excellent diagram, and it does validate your comment about the nose gun camera. I suppose that if camera blisters had originally been installed, some traces of rivets or something should have been visible. I agree. I think that makes a lot of sense. I would just like to point out that the upper cannon troughs appear to be surrounded by an outline of some kind. This outline is explainable if the upper troughs had originally been covered, which was sometimes done on the airframes of Me 262 a-2a fighter-bombers.

    Regards,

    Jon
     
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