IXO Models IXJ200607 German Messerschmitt Me 262A-1A Jet Fighter - Major Theodor Weissenberger, Geschwaderkommodore Jagdgeschwader 7, February 1945 (1:72 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, occurring 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. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 6.75 inches
Length: 5.75 inches
Release Date: September 2006
Historical Account: "Nowotny's Namesake" - Jagdgeschwader 7 (JG 7) Nowotny was a Luftwaffe fighter-wing of World War II and the first operational jet fighter wing in the world. It was created late in 1944 and served until the end of the war in May 1945, operating the Me 262 jet fighter exclusively.
JG 7 was formed under the command of Oberst Johannes Steinhoff, with Kommando Nowotny (the initial Me 262 test wing ) renumbered III./JG 7. Under the command of Major Erich Hohagen III./JG 7 was the only element of JG 7 ready to operate against the Allies. Throughout its existence JG 7 suffered from an irregular supply of new aircraft, fuel and spares. With such a radically new aircraft, training accidents were also common, with 10 Me 262s being lost in six weeks.
The technical troubles and material shortages meant initial tentative sorties were only in flight strength, usually no more than 4 or 6 aircraft. Flying from Brandenberg-Briest, Oranienberg and Parchim, the Geschwader flew intermittently against the huge USAAF bomber streams.
By the end of February 1945 JG 7 had claimed around 45 four-engined bombers and 15 fighters, but at this stage of war this success rate had no effect whatsoever on the Allied air offensive. During March JG 7 finally began to deliver larger scale attacks against the heavy bomber streams. 3 March saw 29 sorties for 8 kills claimed (one jet was lost). On 18 March III./JG 7 finally managed their biggest attack numerically thus far, some 37 Me 262s engaging a force of 1,200 American bombers and 600 fighters. This action also marked the first use of the new R4M rockets. 12 bombers and 1 fighter were claimed for the loss of 3 Me 262s.
The total numbers of aircraft shot down by JG 7 is difficult to quantify due to the loss of Luftwaffe records, but at least 136 aircraft were claimed, and research indicates as many as 420 Allied aircraft may have been claimed shot down.