Me-262
Northwest Europe 1944–45

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Author Robert Forsyth
Illustrator Gareth Hector
Jim Laurier

 

ME-262 is the 6th 80-page paperback book that is in the Dogfight Series of books that are available from Osprey Publications.

The Me-262 was the world’s first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft. It was designed and produced by the German company Messerschmitt during World War II. It was faster and more heavily armed than any Allied fighter, but it had many problems with its engines and fuel supply. It also faced interference from Nazi leaders who wanted it to be used as a bomber instead of a fighter.

The Me-262 had several variants, such as the Schwalbe (Swallow) for air-to-air combat, the Sturmvogel (Storm Bird) for ground attack, and the Nachtjäger (Night Hunter) for night fighting.  It also influenced many post-war jet designs, such as the F-86 Sabre, the MiG-15, and the B-47 Stratojet.

The Messerschmitt Me-262 was a fighter aircraft and fighter-bomber that was designed and produced by the German aircraft manufacturer Messerschmitt. It was the world’s first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft. The design of what would become the Me-262 started in April 1939, before World War II.  It made its maiden flight on 18 April 1941 with a piston engine, and its first jet-powered flight on 18 July 1942.

The Me-262 was faster and more heavily armed than any Allied fighter, including the British jet-powered Gloster Meteor 1.  The Allies countered by attacking the aircraft on the ground and during takeoff and landing.  One of the most advanced WWII combat aircraft, the Me-262 operated as a light bomber, reconnaissance, and experimental night fighter.  The Me-262 proved an effective dogfighter against Allied fighters, German pilots claimed 542 Allied aircraft shot down, although higher claims have sometimes been made.  The aircraft had reliability problems because of strategic materials shortages and design compromises with its Junkers Jumo 004 axial-flow turbojet engines. Late-war Allied attacks on fuel supplies also reduced the aircraft’s effectiveness. Armament production within Germany was focused on more easily manufactured aircraft. Ultimately, the Me-262 had little effect on the war because of its late introduction and the small numbers that entered service.

Using rare first-hand accounts from Me-262 pilots, Robert Forsyth examines what it was like to fly the world’s most advanced interceptor in the deadly skies over Germany in 1944–45.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1
    • In Battle
      • An all-action account from the cockpit of an Me-262 assigned to Jagdgeschwader 7.
  • Chapter 2
    • Setting the Scene
      • Design, development and production of the Me-262.
  • Chapter 3
    • Path to Combat
      • Charting the training and careers of two Luftwaffe pilots who flew the Me-262 in combat.
  • Chapter 4
    • Weapon of war
      • A brief technical appraisal of the Me-262.
  • Chapter 5
    • Art of War
      • This chapter analyses the evolution of the three-aircraft Kette formation used by JV 44 and variations used by JG 7, as well as differences in attack tactics.
  • Chapter 6
    • Combat
      • This chapter contains first-hand narratives from Me-262 pilots (both aces and lesser known Jagdflieger).
  • Appendices
  • Listing of Me-262 aces and performance data
  • Index

Filled with specially commissioned artwork including action-packed ribbon diagrams, battlescenes, armament views and maps, Robert Forsyth offers the definitive technical and historical guide to the state-of-the-art Me-262, using rare photographs and pilots’ first-hand accounts.

Right from its operational debut in the summer of 1944, the Me-262 outclassed anything the Allies had in terms of speed and firepower ratio, offering a formidable punch with four 30 mm Mk 108 nose-mounted cannons, and a Jumo 004 jet engine.

The problem the Luftwaffe faced, however, was one of numbers. Towards the end of the war, availability of machines and trained pilots was scarce, and it is only thanks to the exploits of a handful of veteran Jagdwaffe aces such as Adolf Galland, Walter Krupinski and Johannes Steinhoff, that the aircraft made a significant impact on the air war and was the source of considerable concern to the Allies.

Summary

The book is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the Me-262, early jet fighter combat operations, the Allied strategic bombing offensive, and collectors of this series. Dogfight 6 is filled with specially commissioned artwork including action-packed ribbon diagrams, battle scenes, armament views, and maps.

Since this book uses rare first-hand accounts from Me-262 pilots it is of special interest to the modeler, aviation enthusiast and gamer. The aviation enthusiast will gleam many details from all the first hand accounts. The modeler can use the battle scenes to create vignettes that are interesting to both the modeler and those that will view the vignette. Finally, the gamer will get technical details that they can add to their games. Overall, Me-262 it seems to be a great read for those interested in military history and aviation.

Me-262, Northwest Europe 1944–45 is an 80-page paperback book that is 10th book in the Dogfight series that is available from Osprey Publications.

Paperback $23.00
eBook (ePub) $18.40
eBook (PDF) $18.40