Messerschmitt Me262A-1a

The Me262 was the only jet that approached wide spread service during World War II.

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After the jump, a brief look at this pioneering jet.

We’ve already looked at several early jets on this site.  But what set the Me262 apart was just how wide spread its deployment was. In addition to several test groups and special deployments, one entire Wing, JG 7, was equipped with this type.  That could have meant a couple hundred aircraft, but because of maintenance and supply problems only a portion of that was ever operational.

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Nonetheless, about 500 kills were credited to JG 7 making it responsible for more victories with jet aircraft than all other operators combined.

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The Monogram and Tamiya Me262A-1a.  The shape is good on both, but the Tamiya is clearly more detailed and better fitting.

This build represents an aircraft flown by Oberfeldwebel Hermann Buchner who had 12 kills in the Me262, all four engine heavies.  This plane was lost on April 21, 1945 during a low altitude sweep.  It was shot down by light anti-aircraft fire, the pilot survived.

This example is from the classic Monogram kit with Aeromaster decals. It was a lot of fun building a kit like this, a relic from my childhood.  No doubt it is less detailed and less well engineered than more recent kits from Dragon or Tamiya.  But it is well shaped and builds into a nice replica.  I tried to hide a few fit problems with weathering, looking at it now I’d call the result heavy handed. But such old kits can be made to look like what they’re supposed to.

Me262 undergoing testing post-war (from airwingmedia.com)

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The stylish jet jockey, circa 1945.

Related Post: Messerschmitt Me262A-1a

 

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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20 Responses to Messerschmitt Me262A-1a

  1. Pierre Lagacé says:

    Funny you should post this Dave…

  2. Very nice work Dave. Beautiful finish, makes me want to build one! 🙂

  3. Pierre Lagacé says:

    I will take a look at JG 7 history.
    Got curious.

  4. Pierre Lagacé says:

    I won’t start a new blog, but I will probably learn more while restoring my Me 262 later this month…

  5. Definitely could have changed the war had it been in full production and supplied. A nice kit there.

    • atcDave says:

      I think German technology and infrastructure were too far behind to make this work on a large scale. Especially since the 262 required better alloys than German industry could provide.
      I seriously think they would have done better putting more effort into advanced piston engine designs. Planes they could have produced and supported in meaningful numbers.

      It all makes for a number of what ifs we could have fun arguing over for years!

      • I think you’re right. Had they been in a stronger position and more focused then maybe. Hitlers desire to conquer all and eventual loss of direction ruined the potential of this and other developments. Spreading your skills force too thinly will inevitably fall foul. A good piston engined design, fully developed and tested, and mass produced, would no doubt had had the desired effect, eg P-51 etc. what ifs are wonderful when added to a splash of hindsight!

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah absolutely. And the declining months of the Third Reich are loaded with intriguing projects.

  6. jfwknifton says:

    A very well made kit of a beautiful aircraft. The Meteor was used in reasonable numbers over England against V-1 flying bombs but was never used over Germany in case one was ever shot down and its secrets discovered by the Nazis. It never fought against an ME-262 but it might well have surprised us all.

    • atcDave says:

      I think the Meteor was a more practical design, and more fitting for British abilities at the time. One on one the 262 is probably the better airplane; but on a squadron level it was tough to do much better than 20% in service, while the Meteor might manage 70-80%!

  7. ..they were real gas-guzzlers the 262s – 45 minutes endurance if you were lucky, given that the pilot would have to factor in a reserve in case his field was unavailable. Nice builds!

  8. ..WW II game changers – no I don’t think so. They were mostly constructed either underground in huge bunkers complexes or in Waldwerke – forest factories – and built by slave labour to be flown off to their units along the nearest Autobahn…far too little far too late far too much desperation. The Meteor was a much more ‘mature’ design..even if it didn’t look as ‘sexy’

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I did a little more compare/contrast on the Meteor post.

      I think you’d have to say that as a technology it was indeed a game changer; but more for its impact on the post war era. I do agree completely the Meteor was a more mature design, but in spite of mechanical limitations the 262 was aerodynamically more advanced. There’s no way the 262 could have changed the course of WWII.

  9. ..we agree on that one that’s for sure. Another factor often overlooked in the story of the 262 was the shortage of pilots to fly it. When the machine was first deployed to northern France with KG 51 -as a bomber, with no bomb sight, far too late for D-day – only nine pilots had been trained to fly it!

    • atcDave says:

      Wow. I knew the German pilot shortage was bad but not that bad! I know ultimately a lot of bomber pilots were converted over too.

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