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On 25 March 1942 the first flight with turbojets took place although it was not very successful and only the normal engine in the nose saved the plane from a sticky end. Work progressed and by the time of the fourth prototype's flight in April 1943 the plane had an impressive performance. The engines needed perfecting and Hitler's demand that it must be able to carry bombs slowed the development until 1944 when the first test planes were delivered to a squadron (by this time Meteors were in use with 616 sqn RAF). Unlike the other early German jet fighters the Me 262 handled very well but the short engine life and continued problems with its guns jamming hampered it in combat. Several special weapon versions were made but even the bomber failed to cause the havoc expected. The Me 262 was technically impressive but only served as a last death rattle of Nazi technology coming too late to have much effect.
Messerschmitt Me 262 Picture Gallery
Total produced (est); 1,400
Maximum speed; 866km/h (538mph)
Range 1050km (650miles)
Weapons; normally 4x30mm cannon.
|Germany's Secret Weapons in World War II, Roger Ford. A fascinating look at the huge number of secret weapons that were developed in Germany during the Second World War, amongst them the massive Maus tank, the V-1 and V-2 vengeance weapons and a wide range of increasingly exotic aircraft [see more]|
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