What if the ME-262 , first jet fighter plane, came early?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Agrippa, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. Agrippa

    Agrippa New Member

    The Messerschmitt ME-262 was the first jet plane that came into combat service. It was designed as a fighter to counter the Allied Bomber offensive. 'Hitler, however, wanted it redesigned as a bomber to bomb Britain back. Later, he reversed himself, but it was too late and only a few appeared in the closing months of the war' (page 444, Planes over Europe, Picture History of World War II by C.L. Sulzberger.)

    What if the ME-262 got into mass production in early 1943?
    cavtrooper likes this.
  2. crj

    crj New Member

    I think there would have been some advantage for Axis. Probably more victories on sky fights. Maybe the Allies would have developed something new to counter that.
  3. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Where did you get the source of ME-262 production was delayed due to Hitler's order to make it a bomber? From what I know, it was delayed because there was still problem with the engine.

    If the Germans were able to field ME-262 earlier, they still might not with the war. One thing for certain, they will be able to shoot down more allied planes, but it will not be enough. Allies could produce more planes than Germans can shoot them down even with ME-262. Besides, Germans were on the defensive in air campaign, thus they are the one taking more and more damage on their "fatherland".

    As the matter of fact, most ME-262 were destroyed on the ground. Because the allies realized how hard it is to deal with them in the air. So they concentrated to bomb any airfield as soon as they are identified as base for ME-262. If the Germans had produced jets earlier, they would face bigger, more massive bombing. Sure the allies would have lost more planes, the German industry simply couldn't handle the sustained damage.

    Not to mention the soviets on the east side would still be able to push west, with or without air superiority. Although if without air superiority, the Russians would have taken more casualty, but they would not lose the war.

    So nope, ME-262 alone couldn't possibility win the war for Hitler. To win the war, they indeed need a bomber version of the jet. To strike at allies' industry, airbases, command centers.
  4. Agrippa

    Agrippa New Member

    Please refer to my original post. I cited my source. You can look it up.

    Yes, i agree superior planes alone won't win wars. And as you mentioned, a bomber version of the ME-262 would have been handy.
  5. Agrippa

    Agrippa New Member

    Here's more details, taken from wikipedia:

    In mid-1943, Adolf Hitler envisioned the Me 262 as an offensive ground-attack/bomber rather than a defensive interceptor. The configuration of a high-speed, light-payload Schnellbomber ("Fast Bomber") was intended to penetrate enemy airspace during the expected Allied invasion of France. His edict resulted in the development of (and concentration on) the Sturmvogel variant. It is debatable to what extent Hitler's interference extended the delay in bringing the Schwalbe into operation.[16][17] Albert Speer, then Minister of Armaments and War Production, claimed in his memoirs that Hitler originally had blocked mass production of the Me 262 before agreeing in early 1944. He rejected arguments that the aircraft would be more effective as a fighter against Allied bombers destroying large parts of Germany, and wanted it as a bomber for revenge attacks. According to Speer, Hitler felt its superior speed compared to other fighters of the era meant it could not be attacked and so preferred it for high altitude straight flying.[18]
  6. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    To win the war with air force alone, Hitler would need both a jet version of interceptor, and a jet version of bomber. So Germany could have the ability to both attack and defense. Lack any one of the above will not work.

    If Germany had only the bomber, then allies would still be able to bomb Germany, probably they would concentrated more of the bombing on any German bomber bases and factories. With no interceptor, Germans would be unable to defend bomber bases.

    With interceptor alone, you have seen the results. These interceptors are not long ranged jets. They could only be used on short distance air defense. As the matter of fact, Germans were unable to defend even their own jet bases. From what I have read so far, the allies had "regular fighter patrol" over any German air base identified as ME-262 base. That is a weird one though, I thought at least the Germans could use their jets to control the sky over their own (jet) air fields.
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  7. Susime

    Susime New Member

    A special Luftwaffe fighter unit, JV44, was formed towards the end of 1944 with the objective of giving cover for the landing & taking off of jet fighters. The unit consisted entirely of FW-190D fighters & the underside of the wings & fuselage were painted a stripy red & white.

    I'm not sure what the success rate of the unit was, but the Luftwaffe having to fall back on using makeshift runways in the form of highways hints at not very good. Bearing in mind the amount of allied aircraft patrolling the skies of German held lines it is to be understandable.
  8. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    It was also strange to me how the Germans suddenly lost the control of air space over Europe. They had thousands of air craft by the time allied forces started to raid German targets.

    Yeah, the allied aircraft were patrolling German sky toward the end of the war. I have heard that it was hard for Germans to train new pilots, because there was not a single place safe from allied aircraft. Many newly recruited German trainees were shot down during training.

    Having the jet fighter alone it can only be used for defense without the ability to launch effective strikes against ground targets.
    Where were the allied airfields located in late 1944 and early 1945? Was the Germans able to strike those airfields?
  9. Susime

    Susime New Member

    It's due to a number of factors as to why the Luftwaffe lost control of the skies. The first being that Attrition. German forces were so widely spread that it was obviously difficult to get replacement aircraft to the front lines, what with constant bombing of industries and such.

    Control was lost gradually over time I feel. During the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe came up against a modern air force like their own that was able to match them on equal terms and when Operation Sealion was postponed, it left a strong air force which was able to re-cover, build up & take the fight back to Germany in the form of "Rhubarbs" over France & the fighter clashes over the channel. Not to mention the night time raids bomber command were conducting.

    When America entered the war that's when things really kicked up a gear. The Allied bomber offensive was massive. Sending an average of over 500 aircraft to bomb industries & airfield daily. I think the Luftwaffe were simply overwhelmed by numbers.

    Airfield, as the front lines moved, squadrons also moved with it, taking up hastily prepared landing grounds, or captured air fields. Raids were probably conducted against Allied fields, but the most notable one is during operation Bondenplate during January 1945. Many Luftwaffe aircraft swooped in & strafed Allied airfields close to the front lines while the remains of German armour made a last chance push against Allied forces.
  10. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Well I know during the Battle of Bulge, Luftwaffe conducted their final massive strike against allied airfields. They destroyed hundreds allied aircraft parking on the runway, but did little damage to the pilots. It takes a lot of time and effort to train qualified pilots, thus they are much more valuable than the aircraft themselves. I heard allied air force were able to recover those lost aircraft within a week time. Germans must feel it was ridiculous when they heard of that lol.

    I know allied air raid against German industry was intensified in 1944 for the purpose to gain control of the air superiority over west Europe before D-day.
    The kind of massive air bombing raid by allied forces before D-day were mostly from UK if I am not mistaken. Germans should have raided those air bases in UK since there were massive amount of bombers parked there.
  11. pilot2fly

    pilot2fly Member

    The ME-262 was too little too late. It scared the crap out of our pilots though. If the Germans had these planes in the years before the war ended, it could very well have turned the tide. However, this was not the only factor. Hitler was very greedy, and wanted to invade nearly every nation in Europe. He got too power hungry and I believe that really hurt him.
  12. cavtrooper

    cavtrooper Member

    The Luftwaffe MAY have been able to turn the tide in the air campaign using it,but to have truly won the air war,they'd have needed it by 1940,to defeat the RAF,and prevent the USAF from getting a foothold in the UK.The US would have have then had to divert carriers from the Pacific THeater,to even stay in the war.
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