Me 262 file photo [147]

Me 262 Schwalbe

ManufacturerMesserschmitt AG
Primary RoleJet Fighter
Maiden Flight18 July 1942


ww2dbaseMe 262 Schwalbe jet fighters were the most advanced fighters introduced during WW2. The research that produced the first operational jet-powered combat aircraft in history began in fall 1938. In May 1943, top German leadership (including Adolf Hitler, Erhard Milch, and others) was introduced for the first time to this new machine. Although this test flight in Bavaria in southern Germany was marred by mechanical failures, Hitler was nevertheless impressed. His enthusiasm would be misplaced, however; while this jet design was what Germany needed to counter the increasing threat from the new Allied fighters and bombers, Hitler demanded that jet technology was to be used for bombers rather than fighters. It was only through secret dealings that Albert Speer and others were able to continue the jet fighter program. The first operational Me 262 jet fighters were deployed to France as early as Apr 1944. According to some such as German fighter ace Adolf Galland, had the deployed numbers been greater, the Allies would never have achieved air superiority over the French coast, thus the Normandy invasion would have been much delayed or even averted; while this was merely counter-factual speculation, it was without a doubt that Hitler's meddling in this arena limited the German Air Force's capability. On 1 Sep 1944, American General Carl Spaatz expressed his fear that these new jet fighters would inflict heavy losses on Allied bombing missions; indeed, many Allied bomber crews recalled their horror in seeing enemy fighters moving so quickly at them. On 18 Mar 1945, 37 Me 262 jet fighters intercepted a force of 1,221 bombers and 632 escorting fighters; during the engagement, the German jet fighters shot down 12 bombers and 1 fighter for the loss of far fewer. Although in the large picture they had only shot down 1% of the attacking Allied aircraft, these kinds of small scale tactical victories gave the Germans a little morale boost at a time when it was badly needed.

ww2dbaseUS Army infantry officer Charles Scheffel was attacked by a strafing Me 262 jet fighter. As he survived the first strafing run, he looked up and saw that

[f]lames shot out of cylinders under the plane's wings while it stood on its tail, rocketing straight up. Then the plane nosed over, pirouetted gracefully, and headed back toward us for another pass, wearing black and green camouflage paint, a white cross on its side, and a swastika on its tail.

ww2dbaseThe aircraft that attacked Scheffel's ground formation was likely a jet from Luftwaffe's I Gruppe, Kampfgeschwader 54 (KG54) ground attack unit.

ww2dbaseBy the end of the war, 1,433 Me 262 jet fighters were built. Captured examples of Me 262 jet fighters and the participation of former German engineers in US and Soviet programs led to American F-86 and Soviet MiG-15 designs being heavily influenced by the Me 262 design.

Robert Dorr, Fighting Hitler's Jets
Colin Heaton, The German Aces Speak
Charles Scheffel and Barry Basden, Crack! and Thump

Last Major Revision: May 2007

Me 262 Schwalbe Timeline

18 Jul 1942 Prototype jet fighter Me 262 V3 Schwalbe took its maiden flight with Fritz Wendel in the cockpit over Leipheim, Germany.
22 May 1943 Adolf Hitler, Erhard Milch, Adolf Galland, Willy Messerschmitt and others previewed the Me 262 jet fighter at Lechfeld, MĂŒnchen-Oberbayern, Germany. Hitler liked the jet and demanded it to be used as a bomber.
7 Sep 1943 Willy Messerschmitt met with Adolf Hitler. During the meeting, Messerschmitt pushed for further support for the Me 209 fighter project at the expense of the Me 262 fighter project. Furthermore, he agreed with Hitler's notion that Me 262 jet aircraft should be redesigned to carry bombs, thus making it a high speed bomber.
26 Nov 1943 The turbojet powered Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter was demonstrated at Insterburg, Ostpreußen, Germany (now Chernyakhovsk, Russia) before Adolf Hitler, who, to everyone's surprise, insisted that it should be developed as a bomber.
20 Dec 1943 Adolf Hitler ordered Wehrmacht officers to devote utmost effort to the production of Me 262 jet fighters. He stressed that these jets could serve as an anti-invasion weapon, dropping bombs on Allied beachheads.
31 Mar 1944 The newly-formed German Jagdverband 44, flying Me 262 jet fighters, flew its first mission out of MĂŒnchen (Munich), Germany.
18 Jul 1944 German Luftwaffe Hauptmann Werner Thierfelder, commander of the special test unit (Eprobungskommando) tasked with evolving tactics for the new Me 262 jet-powered fighter was killed when his plane crashed in flames near Landsberg, Germany. The cause of the crash was not determined, but it was likely to be either a mechanical failure or due to poor fuel quality.
26 Jul 1944 Leutnant Alfred Schreiber, flying a Me 262A-1a jet fighter, damaged a Mosquito aircraft crewed by Flight Lieutenant Albert Wall and navigator Albert Lobban No. 544 Squadron RAF. This was the first air-to-air combat involving a jet aircraft. Although the Mosquito aircraft would ultimately make an emergency landing at Fermo, Italy, Schreiber received a victory for the engagement because he had observed a large piece broken off from the British aircraft and was convinced that the aircraft could not be in flight for long; the piece he observed was actually just the outer hatch door.
15 Aug 1944 Feldwebel Helmut Lennartz scored the Luftwaffe's first Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter kill on an American B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Lennartz survived the war with eight Me 262 and five Bf 109 victories to his name.
28 Aug 1944 Oberfeldwebel Hieronymus Lauer became the first to be shot down by US fighters while flying a jet aircraft. His Me 262 fighter was shot down by Major Joseph Myers and 2nd Lieutenant Manford Croy, Jr. of 82nd Fighter Squadron of USAAF 78th Fighter Group, both flying P-47 fighters. When Lauer was shot down at 1915 hours, his guns were not even loaded, as he was on a ferry flight between Juvincourt, France and Chievres, Belgium. Lauer survived the subsequent crash landing.
3 Oct 1944 The first Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter unit was established at Achmer and Hesepe near OsnabrĂŒck, Germany under the command of Austrian-born ace Major Walter Nowotny. The unit had 30 aircraft distributed among two squadrons and was given the task of intercepting USAAF day bomber raids on the heart of Germany.
14 Feb 1945 Oberstleutnant Heinz BĂ€r was appointed as Geschwaderkommodore of III/EJG 2, the Luftwaffe unit tasked with the operational training of pilots for the Messerschmitt Me 262 Jet fighter.
27 Feb 1945 The rocket-boosted Messerschmitt Me.262C-1a made its maiden flight. Fitted with a Walter HWK rocket motor in the tail this machine, in trials, attained an altitude of 38,400 feet from a standing start in under 4.5 minutes.
4 Apr 1945 Eduard Schallmoser, flying a Me 262 jet fighter, scored the first kill of German Jagdverband 44. The kill was accidental, however, as he unintentionally rammed an American P-38 fighter in the tail.
9 Apr 1945 FĂ€hnrich Hans Guido Mutke, flying a Me 262 jet fighter, claimed to have reached supersonic speed while diving on a P-51 fighter. This claim would be disputed by most.
30 Sep 1945 A captured Me 262 jet fighter flew over Freeman Field in Indiana, United States with test pilot Harold Watson in the cockpit. The flight was observed by German test pilot Karl Bauer.


MachineryTwo 1,980 lb (900 kg) thrust Junkers Jumo 004B single-shaft axial turbojets
Armament4x30mm MK 108 cannons
Span12.60 m
Length10.60 m
Height3.80 m
Weight, Empty4,000 kg
Weight, Maximum7,045 kg
Speed, Maximum870 km/h
Service Ceiling11,500 m
Range, Normal1,050 km

MachineryTwo 1,980 lb (900 kg) thrust Junkers Jumo 004B single-shaft axial turbojets
Armament4x30mm MK 108 cannons
Span12.60 m
Length10.60 m
Height3.80 m
Weight, Empty4,400 kg
Weight, Maximum6,400 kg
Speed, Maximum800 km/h
Service Ceiling11,500 m
Range, Normal1,050 km

MachineryTwo 1,980 lb (900 kg) thrust Junkers Jumo 004B single-shaft axial turbojets
Armament4x30mm MK 108 cannons, 2x500kg bombs
Span12.60 m
Length10.60 m
Height3.80 m
Weight, Empty4,000 kg
Weight, Maximum7,045 kg
Speed, Maximum755 km/h
Service Ceiling11,500 m
Range, Normal1,050 km


Me 262 resting at an airfield, date unknownMe 262 aircraft viewed from atop, Germany, 1944-1945; Nazi German government propaganda photographMe 262 jet, Italy, 1945Me 262 jet, Italy, 1945
See all 17 photographs of Me 262 Schwalbe Jet Fighter

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed  Bill is Mr. Anonymous says:
18 Feb 2009 03:52:19 PM

info on second photo: Me 262 V3 code (PC+UC)under tests at Leipheim 1942. Later aircraft would be nosewheel eqipped.
2. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
25 Oct 2009 04:45:36 PM

Speed of Sound:

On April 9,1945 Oberfahnrich (Leading Cadet)
Dr. Hans-Guido Mutke took off for a planned
high-altitude flight climbing to 12,000m or
36,000ft. listening to radio conversations
that P-51 Mustangs, were attacking the plane
of another pilot. Mutke went into a steep
40 degree dive passing through 12,000m the
Me 262 started to vibrate, the speedometer
stuck against its limit of 1,100km/h or
682mph. The aircraft started buffening and
shaking. He fought to regain control and
reducing speed to 500km/h. After landing, it
it was found that his plane was missing
many rivits and the wings were distorted.
Due to the nature of Mutke's flight, it is
impossible to determine the exact speed of
his aircraft, and it is also difficult to
estimate the exact speed of sound at that altitude.
It is not possible to either prove or disprove his claims. In 1999 at the Munich
Technical University, a computer performance
analysis of the Me 262, has shown that the
Me 262 could exceed Mach I.

Last Mission Landing in Switzerland
On April 25, 1945 Hans-Gudio Mutke lands his
Me 262 at Dubendorf, Switzerland with 80 liters or 21.13 gallons of J-2 fuel left,
giving him about another two minutes flight time left.
The Swiss kept the aircraft until 1957 and
returned it to West Germany, it is now at
the Deutsches Museum, Germany it is the most
authentic Me 262 in the world.
3. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
25 Oct 2009 05:44:27 PM

"Oberfahnrich"(Leading Cadet)Dr. Hans-Gudio
Mutke. March 25, 1921-April 8,2004 Retired
from the Lufwaffe in 1945,After the war,he
worked as a Airline Pilot, and as a Doctor
of Aviation Medicine.

Dr. Ernest Mach: Austrian Physicist of the
19th Century.
The speed of an object,measured in multiples
of the speed of sound Mach I (761mph) or 1,225km/h will experience shock waves, an object moving twice as fast as the speed of
sound, is traveling at Mach II, and so on.
4. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
16 Oct 2010 06:46:24 PM


Me 262 project is a company formed to build
reproductions of the Messerschmitt Me 262. The project started with the Texas Airplane
Original drawings, plans and fixtures plus
production jigs, many engineers, designers and technicians spent hours working on the

The jet is powered by two General Electric GE-J85 jet engines with 2,500 lb thrust each.
equipped with new avionics the aircraft are
for sale at $2,000,000 US Dollars each.
5. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
16 Jun 2012 01:05:20 PM

I'm listing the Messerschmitt P.1101, this was a proposed single-seat, swept-wing, turbo
jet-engine, supersonic fighter.


When US troops found this aircraft, it was like something out of Buck Rogers sleek with swept-back wings, no propellers and powered by a turbo-jet engine.
The aircraft was 80% completed and was hidden
at the Oberammergau facility in Bavaria found a few days before the end of the war in Europe. German engineers hid technicial data on microfilm However, the French found this information and the race was on to capture not only the wunderwaffen's but the engineer's, technicians and specialist who worked on these weapons.
The P.1101 was powered by 1xHeinkel-Hirth
He S 011 jet engine, the Junkers Jumo 004B was planned for flight testing, but this was never carried out.
Armed w/20 or 30mm cannons, X-4 air-to-air wire guided missiles. A nighfighter version was also proposed, by never flew.


The US, USSR, France and England raced against time to capture as much information as possible along with the personnel who worked on these projects. The Americans had the prototype P.1101 fighter but lacked the technicial information and the French were dragging their feet and after a while they weren't about to share anything with their Allies.


The US shipped the P.1101 prototype back to Bell Aircraft for test and evaluation, but the fighter was damaged in handling and was never flown, and used only in static tests.


Bell Aircraft used the P.1101 for their own
experimental aircraft, called the Bell X-5 this aircraft looked like the Messerschmitt
fighter in basic design and was test flown
unlike the German design, where the wing could be swept back on the ground, the Bell X-5 could adjust its wings in flight this was called variable geometery.
This design, was later used on the Grumman
F-14 Tomcat, General Dynamics F-111 and the
North American-Rockwell B-1 Bomber.

I'm no expert, but do the best I can to provide ww2db with best information available
6. Melvin Hoskins says:
1 Apr 2014 04:49:01 PM

Many have suggested that "only if" the Germans had introduced this aircraft earlier in the war, we would not have gained the near-absolute domination of the air over Germany that we did. But, what if we had perfected the atomic bomb in 1944, and dropped several on selected German targets?
7. Mark says:
19 Mar 2017 08:48:55 PM

I have the instruments (some) and the control stick from 1 of 2 Me-262's that were used to aid in the design of the P.1001 that was removed by a US Army servicemen at Oberammergau

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More on Me 262 Schwalbe
Notable Figure:
» Galland, Adolf

Related Books:
» Fighting Hitler's Jets
» The German Aces Speak

Me 262 Schwalbe Jet Fighter Photo Gallery
Me 262 resting at an airfield, date unknown
See all 17 photographs of Me 262 Schwalbe Jet Fighter

Famous WW2 Quote
"All that silly talk about the advance of science and such leaves me cold. Give me peace and a retarded science."

Thomas Dodd, late 1945

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