schweizair
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ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Thu Apr 15, 2004 10:46 am

Does anyone know the real reason the Nazis built the ME262? The history books keep contradicting each other. One book says Hitler wanted to use it as a supersonic bomber, which I think, was a bad idea, the speed makes it better with missiles, not bombs. Another says his generals argued with him all the time because they wanted it used to knock out Allied fighters. Were any in use on June 6, 1944? Was the ME262 ever produced in enough numbers to form a viable fighting unit?
 
L-188
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Thu Apr 15, 2004 10:49 am

The Me262 was designed to be an interceptor, the Luftwaffe wanted it as an interceptor. However Hilter was big into "vengance" weapons and therefore managed to put the plane a year behind by ordering it into service as a high speed bomber.

There where some 262 units formed. Most of them where also assigned Fw.190's to provide fighter protection for the field during takeoff. The allies quickly learned that was the time to hit the aircraft.
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IndianFlyboy
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Thu Apr 15, 2004 12:41 pm

This was one of Hitler's greatest tactical faults . If you size up the Me 262 and the Meteor which was its competition , as a fighter the 262 outperformed the meteor on all fronts.The hurricanes and the spits were never a serious threat to them. If the project had not be delayed trying to convert this to a bomber it would have really taken the fight to the allies . The 262 went into production 2 years before the Meteor and had been tested fairly well. The delay just screwed up everything. Neither did the 262 get the battle experience it required nor did the bomber version perform too well. By the time the bomber finally came out , it was too late .

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L-188
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Thu Apr 15, 2004 2:40 pm

The hurricanes and the spits were never a serious threat to them.

Shoot a Tempest, Griphon(??) powered Spit and/or a Mustang had a hard time catching one.

Which is why allied tactics where to hit them on takeoff when they where the slowest and least manuverable. And why FW.190's where assigned to Me262 units.
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GDB
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Fri Apr 16, 2004 5:02 am

While it looked advanced, it was a bit overrated.
Engines very unreliable, as things got worse production became tougher (and people still think the RAF and 8th AF raids were a waste of time?), it took up inordinate resources when Germany was really loosing the production war, shortage of any fighter aircraft was a real problem.
I suspect it was more development problems than anything else, which delayed it's service.
By the time it was in service, shortage of experienced pilots to fly this unforgiving machine was also a problem.
As L-188 pointed out, experienced pilots in Allied aircraft would learn to counter it.
Meteor and ME.262 never met in combat, had they, then you have to look beyond the paper statistics, like reliability, ease of handling, skill level of pilots, rate of fire of the Meteor's 4 x 20mm cannon, compare to the ME's 4 x 30mm guns.
Given a better production and resource environment, better engines, plenty of good crews, it could have been a real problem.
But you have to see the air war as a whole, beyond direct comparisons of aircraft.
Meteor F.3 could have coped probably, had the war been prolonged, Meteor F.8 could have coped even better, had the war continued, F.8 of course would have been around a lot sooner.
 
david b.
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Fri Apr 16, 2004 11:57 am

Teenage-know-it-alls should be shot on sight
 
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RayChuang
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Sun Apr 18, 2004 12:32 am

In my opinion, the Me 262 was a bit of an overrated combat plane.

Yes, it was fast, but its poor manueverability and poor performance on takeoff and landing made it a bit vulnerable to the faster Allied piston-engined fighters such as the North American P-51D, Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XII or later or the Hawker Tempest V. And it probably would not have fared well against the de Havilland Vampire Mk. I, Gloster Meteor Mk. III or the Lockheed P-80A.
 
jwenting
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Sun Apr 18, 2004 5:46 pm

Of course had the war lasted until the Vampire and P.80 entered squadron service the Me-262 would also have evolved or been replaced by more advanced models.

You might as well say the 262 would never have survived against an F-16...
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EMBQA
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Sun Apr 18, 2004 11:36 pm

The History Channel just did a GREAT 2 hour show on the early German jet devolopment. Much of the show was around the Me-262 and talked about everything. If you get a chance watch it......I'm sure it will answer any questions you may have.
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Spacepope
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Mon Apr 19, 2004 1:37 am

2 P-80s were based in Italy near the end of the war, and at least one reportedly went off looking for a fight. The ME-262 wasn't that bad of a design considering how primitive jet tech was back then. Could you imagine the U.S. trying to throw a P-59 in there as a jet-powered counter?

Now as a jet bomber, the Arado Blitz was a real threat, but was never used operationally to effect.
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osteogenesis
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Mon Apr 19, 2004 4:32 am

IndianFlyboy

This was one of Hitler's greatest tactical faults

Hitler made so many tactical mistakes I would consider this one of the smallest. The German armed forces performed like maybe no other army in history. Not to mention the superior technical capabilities in almost all weapons. It is sad that all this human intelligence and courage where used for such a stupid war and for the stupid Nazis.

 
DeltaMD11
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Mon Apr 19, 2004 10:35 am

I pretty much agree with everything that has been stated here, but just to elaborate on a few points made:

As far as reliability was concerned, the Jumo's had an average service time of 10 hours. This was due in part to primitive design, as well as shoddy metals. It's purported that some of the internal components of the engine were fashioned out of ceramic/porcelain due to a scarcity of metals. They had common problems with overheating. A point of interest is that the 262's did not have electric starters. There is a small hand grip attached to a wire cable in the center of the engine. You basically started it like a lawn mower. The aircrfat did not have a steering system built into the nose wheel, thus you had to steer on the ground with brakes and varying the engine output on either side. Anyways, if a 262 experienced a flame out or for whatever reason an engine quit, they had to dive the aircraft to get the fans spinning fast enough to kick in some fuel and restart the engine. It's all very interesting.

And some of the posters above were right on. Hitler wanted the 262 as a high-speed bomber (of which is could only carry two small bombs...not very economical if you ask me). If he had scrapped that idea and put them all into service as fighters they would have been much more effective. Luckily for the Allies, Hitler failed to realize this until it was too late.

It's performance issues aside, it had a one-up on the fastest allied fighter at the time, the P-51D. At maximum performance, the 262 would have on average a 100-120 mph advantage over the 51. This notion alone is devastating to the -51's capabilities.

As I spend a lot of my time with a local aircraft preservation organization and museum and actively work with a 262 (and I'm in the process of helping to restore a Lockheed P-80C Shooting Star), I get the chance to speak to some of the people that were around to experience the pressure the 262 put on the allies at the time---she made a huge difference. A member of our museum staff was a bombadier in the 8th Air Force. He often regails of of stories about the war. He told us that when the 262 finally was put into service all of the bomber crews were told to "Look for planes without propellors". That's what they had to go on. Luckily him or his group never were haggled by 262's in combat. The 262 also sported some air-to-air rockets. Even though they had a very poor hit ratio, this scared the bejesus out of the allies. She was a formidable threat--some would argue more of a mental threat than an actual physical threat though.

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www.dvhaa.org

You'll notice some of the pictures on the site were taken by me (Bryan Painter)

[Edited 2004-04-19 03:39:02]
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GDB
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Tue Apr 20, 2004 2:16 am

I would imagine that a 262 with 30mm cannon would be worrisome for any bomber crew, any info on the 2 seat, radar equipped night fighter version?
Even so, when the Luftwaffe was short of conventional fighters, you have to question the wisdom of piling scare resources into 'wonder weapons' of all types.
On the other hand, they were badly outnumbered, so it might have seen to be a good idea.
One reason that Meteors did not meet them, was that the ones available were intercepting V1 flying bombs.
 
DeltaMD11
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Tue Apr 20, 2004 5:08 am

A 30 'mil with a few shots place in the right area can cut a B-17 in half easily. The 262 could pack a punch. I love the look of the 262 nightfighter with those radar antennae on the nose...reminds me of a catfish.
Too often we ... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
 
L-188
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Tue Apr 20, 2004 7:06 am

reminds me of a catfish

I think some of them in the black and white shots from the time look a lot like Whale Sharks.
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RayChuang
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Wed Apr 21, 2004 5:57 am

I think except for the fact the Me 262 was nearly 100 mph faster than the P-51D Mustang, the plane is definitely overrated as a fighter.

Consider the following problems with the plane:

1. The Jumo 004B engines were notoriously unreliable.

2. Acceleration at low altitudes left something to be desired.

3. Manueverability was actually quite poor.

4. The MK 108 cannons on the plane were prone to jamming.

Just the poor manueverability of the Me 262 would have made it vulnerable to the Lockheed P-80A Shooting Star and the de Havilland Vampire Mk. I.

By the way, the Arado Ar 234B wasn't that great of a plane either--it's low top speed when powered by two Jumo 004B engines was only 461 mph, only a touch faster than the P-51D Mustang and the Griffon-powered Spitfires. Arado did build the far faster Ar 234C powered by four BMW 003A turbojets, but that plane didn't enter service when the war ended.
 
Alessandro
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:23 am

I think all of them where grounded so they could be rebuilt into dive-bombers,
like the Stukas.
I think it was Hitlers idea to use the loudspeakers when it dived, to make
that scary noise the Stukas made...
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L-188
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Thu Apr 22, 2004 10:16 am

The Stuka noise came from a siren that was built into the landing gear legs. It was air driven.
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Alessandro
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RE: ME262: What Did Hitler Really Want?

Fri Apr 30, 2004 10:22 pm

Thanks L-188, the people in Stalingrad called "musicians", musikant. Brrrr...
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