Armour Collection B11B298 German Messerschmitt Me 262 "Sturmvogel" Jet Fighter - Walter Nowotny, Jagdgeschwader 54, Achmer, Germany, 1944 (1:48 Scale)
"It was as if an angel is pushing you..."
- Adolf Galland, discussing his first flight in the Me 262 jet fighter
The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.
The first design work on the Me 262 began in October 1938, with the first test flight, piloted by Fritz Wendel, occuring on April 18th, 1942. Tests continued well into 1942, although by this time the Me 262 was outfitted with two highly-efficient BMW turbojet engines. When he saw the aircraft for the first time in early 1943, Hitler insisted that the plane be designed as a low-level bomber instead of a fighter, which undermined the sleek aerodynamic properties of the jet aircraft. After much in-fighting among the Luftwaffe's upper echelons, the plane was eventually converted back into a high level interceptor, with series production beginning in the spring of 1944. The first jet fighter unit, commanded by Major Walter Nowotny, was formed in the summer of 1944 and was composed of many of the Luftwaffe's leading aces.
By war's end, 1,433 Me 262s had been produced, far too few a number to have much of an impact on the Allies strategic bombing campaign. In the end, the Allies' superiority in numbers overcame the tremendous technical achievements ushered in by the Me 262 program.
This particular 1:48 scale replica of a Me 262 was flown by Luftwaffe ace Major Walter Nowotny, who claimed 258 aerial kills over the skies of Europe during WWII.
Wingspan: 10.4 inches
Length: 8.5 inches
Historical Account: "The Austrian Menace" - Walter "Nowi" Nowotny (December 7th, 1920 - November 8th, 1944) was an Austrian fighter ace of World War II with 258 confirmed victories in 442 missions, 255 victories over Russian pilots.
Flying a Messerschmitt Bf 109 he shot down his first two enemy aircraft (both Polikarpov I-153 biplanes) over Saaremaa on July 19, 1941, and was shot down the same day by Alexandr Avdeev and spent three days in a dinghy in the Gulf of Riga. At year's end he was credited with ten victories.
In 1942, Nowotny continued to increase his successes, shooting down five aircraft on a single day in July and seven on August 2nd. He was shot down again on August 11th and sustained moderate damage in a crash-landing. In September, he was awarded the
Ritterkreuz, having achieved 56 victories. He was made Staffelkapitan of 1./JG 54 on October 25th.
In January 1943, JG 54 started converting to the Focke-Wulf 190 fighter. With the new aircraft, "Nowi" scored at an unprecedented rate, often averaging more than two planes a day for weeks on end. He scored his 75th victory in March and his 100th in June - shooting down forty-one aircraft that month. In August, he was promoted to
Oberleutnant, made Gruppenkommandeur of I./JG 54, and shot down forty-nine aircraft. On September 1st, he scored ten victories in two sorties. He claimed his 200th victory on September 8th, which earned him Eichenlaub (Oak Leaves) added to his Knight's Cross, and a promotion to Hauptmann. The Schwertern (Swords) were added to his Knight's Cross a few weeks later.
On October 14th, 1943, Nowotny became the first pilot ever to reach 250 victories, and his Knight's Cross was augmented with
Brillanten (Diamonds). He was the eighth recipient of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds, and was withdrawn from combat and given a long series of propaganda activities. He had shot down 255 enemy aircraft: 196 in 1943 alone.