Core: The Nazis made many magical weapons. However, these jets were not made early enough or in the amount needed to change the situation.
The Germans knew the bombers were coming, and they prepared even when the 457th US Bomber Group first gathered in the morning sun in distant London. On March 18, 1945, the invasion of Berlin included more than 1,220 Allied bombers and a number of North American P-51 Mustang fighters competing with severe German debris and at odds with the German Messerschmitt Me-262 fighter jet that flew fast using air-to-air rockets operationally for the first time.
Twelve Thousand Feet Jump
It was the last major aerial battle of the European war, which would be the deadliest meeting for many American leaflets and almost like that for Oberleutnant Gunther Wegmann, commander of the 9th Jagdgeschwader 7th Jet Squadron Jet-262. Wegmann led his squadron in loose formation towards the incoming bomber. He and his two wings fired their R4M rockets into a tight formation of around 60 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers from a distance of 3,000 feet. A number of rockets created destruction, with flying debris, smoke, and fire erupting from the bombers’ formation.
The squadron is then scattered for the flight home. That’s when Wegmann saw another formation of enemy bombers and turned to pounce on them with his MK 108 “cannon machine”. He stormed in from Astern and came within 600 yards of a bomber before opening with a staccato of fire that ripped the engine cover off one of the target machines.
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Wegmann rejoiced and began sending his victory to the base when the enemy’s gunfire hit his jet, crashed into the canopy, threw instruments from their panels, and crashed into his plane with bullet holes. Even worse, his right leg is numb. Reaching out, he found a large hole just below his knee. But he felt no pain at the time when his plane shot 18,000 feet above war-torn Germany.
He desperately pushed his jet shot down, and at 12,000 feet he saw fire leaping from his right engine. It quickly ruled out a landing that would turn the plane into a giant fireball. He decided to push the control stick forward, sever the seat strap, remove the retaining bolt from the aircraft canopy, and be sucked from the cockpit at 250 miles per hour. Wegmann bounced off the tail and fell free. He counted five seconds before pulling his parachute release rope and drifting down toward the town of Wittenberge, 60 miles northwest of Berlin. He swept the treetops and succeeded, barely, to land on a small meadow.
“German Pilot!” he shouted loudly when an old woman walked towards him. Wegmann’s luck survived. The woman is a nurse who quickly ties her thighs over her right knee and uses a tourniquet. Within four hours he was rushed to the hospital where his leg was amputated.
The others were not so lucky that day, including five American fighter pilots who failed to return home. Sixteen Allied bombers were hit by bulletproof attacks and fell on their approach to Berlin or managed to make an emergency landing behind the advancing Soviet line east of the German capital. Another 25 Allied bombers were destroyed with the loss of only two German jets. The pilots freed themselves well that day from extraordinary possibilities, but the efforts of the German jet fighters were to prove too little too late in the face of the relentless Allied attacks from air, land and sea with their extraordinary war matrices and their supply seems endless. labor.
“Feels Like Being a God”
Me-262 did have a significant influence in the later stages of the war. It was the first operational turbojet fighter in the world, and only defeated the plane that was flying at the time. Reportedly can reach speeds of 540 miles per hour with a cruise speed of 460 miles per hour and a range of about 650 miles. The Me 262 has a ceiling of 38,000 feet, and can rise at 3,940 feet per minute with two Junkers Jumo engines, which produce 1,980 pounds of thrust each. In its standard configuration, one-seat jets are armed with four MK-108 30 mm cannons and the aircraft can be modified to carry 1,000 pounds of bombs.
It was the development of the feared R4M rocket that sealed the fate of many Allied leaflets over Germany in the face of Me-262. “The rockets gave us an extra hit,” said Me-262 pilot Leutnant Klaus Neumann. “Fire rockets, do damage, weaken the integrity of the tight formation of the bombers, and then release those who are handicapped,” he said.
“It feels like being a god in a certain way,” added Neumann, who had seen battles with Messerschmitt Me-109 and Focke Wulf FW-190 piston controlled over Russia. The jet was “fast, has great firepower,” and gave one confidence when pitted with fully armed enemy aircraft, he said. The R4M 55mm rocket contains a high explosive shell filled with Hexogen and mounted under the wing on a specially designed wooden rack with 24 rockets that are usually attached to each jet.
Initially, there was a problem because rockets often failed to shoot. Reports of problems reached Generalleutnant Adolf Galland, head of the Luftwaffe jet arm. An electrician was immediately called. The electricity quickly identified the problem with the copper electrical trigger connector. Since then, the connector has been strengthened with silver or nickel, and the difficulties have been overcome.
Each of the four Me-262 Me-262 30mm cannons can pump more than 650 revolutions per minute. The specially manufactured MK cannon is considered a masterpiece of weapons engineering because of its stopping power, compact size, and ease of manufacture. German engineers noted that it could bring down enemy bombers with minimum ammunition while remaining out of enemy attack range.
The newly developed Jumo 004 engine presents a challenge, occasionally pulling debris after an enemy plane breaks, damaging the compressor, and causing a fire to go out. Flying with one engine, the Me-262 cannot easily take evasive actions or even outrun the Allied P-51 Mustang, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, or De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito. In that situation, the Me-262 pilot must reach a friendly base as quickly as possible. Galland was very dissatisfied with the jet power plant. The German war economy lacked many of the special metals needed for jet engines which, on average, lasted less than 12.5 hours before needing to be replaced. The problem became much worse towards the end of the war as nickel and chromium supplies subsided. Many of the engines that had just been dismantled at the time did not even make it through the testing process on the ship before they failed and needed to be replaced.
Nazi engineers knew that the engine compressor had to be raised to speed before the turbojet ignition. They use a small two-stroke petrol engine located behind the engine nozzle, while many postwar jets come to rely on high torque electric motors or air flow from small starter turbine engines.
The Me-262 starter engine relies on an electric starter, with a pull-wire starter with a handle that acts as a backup. One can only imagine the frustration of a Luftwaffle mechanic who needs to, at times, tug on the lawn mower-pulling cable to start a sophisticated jet engine. The jet comes with an armored windshield and armored back seats but does not have an ejection seat. The pilot must take off the canopy, gently topple the plane, and slide out or stay flat and let the aircraft speed suck it out when Wegmann chooses to do so at the end of the war.
First Flight of Jet Fighter
The Me-262 first flew on March 25, 1942, when the pilot pilot Fritz Wendel reached a test flight speed of 541 miles per hour, nearly 100 miles per hour above the speed of Mosquitoes or whatever Americans could do. The smooth, shark-shaped plane was surrounded by controversy almost from the start, with Hitler insisting that it was used as a fast bomber. Designers Willi Messerschmitt, Galland, and others made a few small talk at Hitler’s request, most moving forward with their initial plans for a warrior while planning to make the Arado 232 fill the role of a future jet bomber. However, Hitler’s constant interference, attracted valuable time and resources from the development of fighter aircraft to produce modified Me-262 bombers. Some 232s were also developed as reconnaissance aircraft and others as night warriors.
Galland remained critical of using 262 as a bomber, a role not designed to be played. He remained convinced that fighter jets could be put into battle “at least a year and a half before” without Hitler’s intervention, “and built in large enough quantities to change the air war.”
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