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What if Germany had introduced the Me-262 earlier in the War?

5/21/2010 • Discussions

 Aviation History Reader Poll

Germany introduced the Messerschmitt Me-262 jet to combat late in World War II, after the Allies had already gained air superiority. How might the air war have been different if the 262 debuted a year or more earlier as planned?

Give us your thoughts in the comments box below.

55 Responses to What if Germany had introduced the Me-262 earlier in the War?

  1. James says:

    Such an introduction might have made all the difference, even as late as early 1944. They might have made a huge difference in the brutal air battles that began in March.

    The problem, however, lies in the uses to which the aircraft was put. If it has been used soley or largely to regain air superiority, especially if were specially equiped for such a mission, it might have succeeded in that role. But the use of them as ground support and for ground interdiction roles from late 1944 to the end of the war was a gross misuse of them.

    • tom wolak says:

      Yeah it was designed as a air superiority fighter but hitler wanted it as a bomber which was not something it was designed best to do.It is interesting to note that several well known historians have said flat out that if germany would have had this masterpiece in 1942 while the 8th air force was in it’s infancy it is entirely possible that it would have changed the course of the war .My father god rest his soul was a waist gunner in a b24 for the 458th bomb group and saw a few of these actually in combat and he said there was no way to track them or get a good lead on them as they were so fast they were gone as soon as they became visible .He saw 5 bombers go down from a single pass by five me 262’s on one mission .

  2. Bob says:

    For awhile they would have dominated the skies but due to their engines not lasting long, their numbers would have dropped off plus training pilots on jets would have been short, meaning there would have been many lost due to accidents.

  3. Gunner says:

    I do not believe it would have mde much difference. They was more to Germany’s defeat than the air war. The Easten Front would not have been changed; The Allies would have stil landed in France; the Allied Navies still controlled the seas; the allied leadership was quickly outpacing the German leadership due to Hitler’s ineptude of relieving and killing his best leaders. No, the plane wouldn’t have made much difference.

  4. Andy says:

    Just how early are we talking about? And under what conditions? The Me-262 was an astonishing plane, but it had limited air time because of fuel consumption. The jet was also misused in a ground-attack role by the Nazi high command. If the Messerschmitt had improved range, air time, purpose, and numbers, then of course things may have changed…somewhat.

    I still believe the Messerschmitt would’ve been a strictly defensive warplane. Improved factors would have contributed to pushing back the Allied bombing effort. The superior Allied numbers and German lack of resources, however, would have led to the same outcome–just at a later time.

  5. Sensemaker says:

    According to wikipedia, Me262 damages its first enemy aircraft on the 26th of July 1944. If we make this happen a year earlier it would be in late July of 1943. By that time the “turning point” battles of Stalingrad and El Alamein has happened and it is too late for this aircraft to have any impact on the important battle of Kursk the allied invasion of Sicily (operation Husky) in July and August. The battle of the Atlantic and the battle in the Pacific have also turned. Thus I conclude that it would not have an effect on the actual outcome of the war, it would not make Germany win the war.

    However if you look at the air war specifically or at the general time table of the war (id est at what time Germany would be defeated), the picture becomes different. By July of 1943 Germany was fighting the allied air offensive back quite efficiently. The Schweinfurt-Regensburg mission in particular demonstrates that deep penetration was very, very costly for the allied bombers. What changed this was the appearance of the P51 Mustang that could escort it. However a Me 262 could easily outrun a Mustang by more than 100 mph so it would have offered little effective protection for the bombers against Me 262.

    The air offensive against Germany would have become much less cost effective -it would pretty much remain what it was in 1943 all the way through 1944. The invasion in Normandy would have had to be made in an air superioirty situation rather than a still an air supremacy situation making it harder but still doable. With less damage to their industry Germany would have been able to put up a stronger resistance in Russia and Italy but you don’t win a war by resisting.


  6. jbird says:

    over all the jets would not have made to much difference. also there was the mustang, yes it was somewhat slower but not that much it was an exceptional aircraft and our fighter piolets were an exceptional lot. then there is also all the facts already stated and never forget that god was along for the ride in those mustangs.

    • tom wolak says:

      Sorry but the p51 was over a hundred mph slower than a 262.It’s 4 30mm cannons would have shredded any mustang that got in it;s sights .For all the accolades the p51 gets the 262 would have made sure the p51 died on the designers table if it had been brought out in early 42 as there would have been no need for the p51 as a bomber escort as there would not have been a bomber over germany had the 262 been exploited for it’s unbelievable technological edge it held over anything the allies had.

  7. OldPOP says:

    I believe that Goerings cancelling of the 004 engine research, missiles and the Me-262 project, lost to Germany, her technological advantage that she had at the beginning of the war. This was a management issue. However, it must be understood that Germany needed to focus her industries on war production because this was going to be a war of attrition. Wonder weapons were not going to help. They all used special metals and technology, none of which the German’s could produce in sufficient quantity. I am reminded of Lenin’s words: Quantity has a quality of its own.

  8. Galand says:

    Introduce the 262 in 1943 in force, and the entire war would have changed. The 262 was light years ahead and would have devestated the allied bomber forces.

    Germany would have control of the skies and be able to blast anything out of the sky at will.

    One of the biggest blunders by Germany during the war, not to utilize their superior technology.

    One of the big what if questions of WW 2.

    • Larry C says:

      I do not agree with this. How many P-51’s did the 262 knock out of the ski? How many 262 were knocked out of the ski by P-51’s? Now repeat this about the Spitfire. The German 262 pilot had much less training on type. That is very significant. Do the math. The bombers would have suffered significantly.
      Numerous P-51 pilots would loiter very high near German airfields and totally unexpect at the airfield would catch the 262 coming in with little fuel and knock them out. At times it was a turkey shoot.
      In the end the Allied fighter would have won.

      • Ken says:

        Had the ME 262 and the Dornier 335 come out 15 months earlier (say late 1942 or early 1943) and continued in sufficient quantity, there was have been no successful allied bombing campaigns or terror raids over German or greater German industrial airspace. the P-51 while great would have been no match for these in the air. It is hard to hit a target that can exceed 600MPH. The point is German industry and ability to produce material and fuel would have been able to continue to wage the war and that would have provided all the difference on the fronts before they were reversed.

      • Douglas says:

        By the time the P-51s (and more prevalent Hawker Typhoons and Republic P-47s) were able to loiter about LW airfields in search of Me262s, the Siegfried line had been pierced, the Red Army was on the Oder river, and the war was all but won anyway. Even the Soviet ace Ivan Kozehdub bagged himself one near Stargard in Feb ’45.
        Being able to deploy the Me262 in ’43 assumes that they’d solved the jet engine development AND had adequate supplies of strategic metals for same, which competed with things like tank armor and cannons. That’s why Germany held on in the Dniepr bend , even allowing a “mini-Stalingrad” there to squeeze out as much production of nickel from the Nikipol mines as they could (“lose Nikopol and we lose the war” said Hitler). For being the first combat jet plane the 262 was a fairly good effort, with its advanced swept-wing technology. Still, it had limited range and its manueverability was mediocre, so it was more an interceptor than a dogfighter. It would have made the butcher’s bill higher for Allied bomber crews, but the role of strategic bombing in the defeat of Nazi Germany has long been overrated anyway. The Brits had the Glouster Meteor going as well (and wisely relegated it to catching V-1s), and we had the P-80 in development. I can imagine that the LW would have kept the 262s stationed about key strategic war production facilities, but would have been unable to stop the Allied air offensive against the Atlantic Wall prior to and in direct support of Overlord. It was that diversion, BTW, that enabled the Germans to ramp up their war production in ’44 to the highest levels ever. The Allies were only able to resume the strategic bombing once the European weather turned too bad for close air support (which made the Battle of the Bulge possible), and even then, the real death blow came from roving fighters and light bombers that shot up trains and virtually anything that moved, from bases on the Continent. The Me262 could have done little to impede that.

    • tom wolak says:

      Yup ;if they had had it in 42 when they had their best pilots yet it would have stopped daylight bombing cold .Just imagine 300 of these ridiculously advanced aircraft coming up when the 8th hit schweinfurt and regensburg without fighter escort ‘my god the 8th would have lost everything they had sent especially if the abbeyville kids were in them.

    • tom wolak says:

      Exactly ‘ what if galland had gotten his way and the 262 was in service in 42.There would not have been a bomber over germany with this plane in the air .For all those calling the p51 the best you can thank your lucky stars that germany was run by retards who could not see the war winning weapon they had at their disposal.

  9. SL4636 says:

    It would probably bought Germany a little more time, but the British had the Gloster Meteor and the Vampire coming and the U.S. would have had the Lockheed P80 by early 1945.

  10. DENIS hIGGINS says:

    In Korea we had early jets and props and the props proved far more useful in ground support missions. Air combat was minimal. Thank God for the Corsair and the guys who flew them in ground support. BASEBALL LEGEND tED wILLIAMS WAS ONE OF THESE PILOTS.

  11. Kendall Lacey says:

    The 262 could have drastically hindered the allies on both fronts in the air . The Russians wouldn’t have been slowed much and probably gained all of Germany. With communism strong in Franceand possibly Italy. The effort to invade France may have been far more costly because of the air balance and the need to keep the Russians from grabbing all of Europe. It is very possible that the atom bomb’s first target would have been in Europe. British night bombingagainst 262 night fihters would have increased the losses ,already nearly 100 airplanes per mission and the daylight bombers would have been decimated. The P-51 was intrduced AFTER the jets could have been in service. Only a massive and lengthy effort to produce our own jets would have countered the 262 and what would have stopped the V-1s and V-2s without boots on the grround to overrun their launch sites?. History would have been greayly altered. Hitler ,in many ways , helped our ca /se immensely

    • tom wolak says:

      Bigtime ‘had galland been in charge instead of hitler and the fat one he would have had the 262 perfected and in force when the 8th was still in it’s infancy and the losses they would have suffered would have been so horrible the united states would have had to cancek daylight bombing for good ‘not even the mustang would or could have saved the 8th air force if germany had squadrons of these deadly aircraft to counter them as the p51 was 100 mph slower.

  12. dallan007 says:

    It’s also possible that deploying the 262 in numbers in 1943 would only have pushed the development and deployment of the Meteor and the P-80. It might have delayed the invasion of Normandy, which could have allowed the Russians to take the entirety of Germany.

  13. krb says:

    An earlier intro of the ME-262 would not have prevented the inevitable. Germany would have had to fill the skies with them and the technoloy was just too new and cutting edge to allow for that to happen. It might have prolonged the war for maybe 6 months at best, but with England and the US developing their own jet aircraft, it was just a matter of time before that threat would have been neutralized.

    The interactives of war spurs development of counter measures to every threat. The bombing campaign would have slowed but not stopped until effective escort aircraft could come online. Plus, the US development of the A-bomb might would have been directed toward Germany had the war lasted longer.

  14. Barrie says:

    since the Jet engines were not available earlier and still had some problems when it was first introduced it just wasn`t possible, also after early encounters by RAF pilots it was felt not to be too much of a threat to fighter aircraft, and if it had been the Gloster Meteor was flying and I know it had straight wings, but still held the world speed recoed after the war and the Me 262 swept wings were only about 18 degrees, not enough to help and only done to move the engines back a little to improve weight distribution.

    • Larry C says:

      This is correct. The 262 was faster but the Spitfire and P-51 were far more manuverable. They could easily twist out of the way and once the Allied pilots go the feel of the 262, they quickly developed tactics to take out the 262. I personally knew a P-51 pilot that had a 262 kill in the air and not during the landing phase. He said that he looked forward to duking it out with 262’s

  15. Stan says:

    The ME262 would have certainly made one big difference with an earlier introduction. That is as an air superiority fighter over the critical oil fields and refineries that kept the war industries and the armies running.

    As others above have said however, it would only have delayed the inevitable.

  16. Thomaz Vlanilev says:

    The 262 would have decimated the allied bombers AND fighters from the Europe skies in 1943. The moral effect is being 100% neglected on the above comments! Imagine you flying a fat ball of iron like the P47C when suddenly, out of nowhere, a 262 blast past you like if you’re stalled on the air? The 200km/h+ difference was too much to overcome!

    Ppl mentioned the P51; that allied pilots would have ‘learned’ the 262; that they would invite the 262 to a turninng dog fight; that they would wait for the 262 to land; etc. Gee, don’t you ever consider the german reaction to the above pointers? German pilots would NEVER EVER get into a turning dogfight with Spitfires/Tempests/P51/etc!!!!!!! Of course they would fight a vertical battle (climbing/diving) or just using their speed to get freed of ANY allied fighter!

    NOT to mention the german regular 109 and 190 fighters!! I can’t believe how biased ppl are towards these great opponents… the germans would have ‘learned’ to use the normal fighters to scort the 262s during takoffs and landings! Not to mention alternative tatics like using 262s to lure away the escorting figthers and let the bombers east pray for the 109 and 190s…

    As for the west side of the war, the 262 would have delayed everything, if entered in regular service (that means, adequate number of planes ready for combat, with adequate pilots, trained and ready for battle) 1+ year before. Could you imagine all of the above if the 262 was delivered for regular services in as early as Jan/Feb 1943?? My “what if” answer towards the 262 on the West is that Germany would have avoided the great destruction it got off the carpet bombing, thus keeping its war production at a constant pace and keeping development of new technology.

    Now for the EAST, I think that the 262 would not have had a big impact as in the WEST, as Germany held the tech advantage over Soviet planes into as far as late 1944, when they were overcomed by the flood of (good) soviet fighters/bombers. Nonetheless in mid 1943 the Soviets were still learning how to fight off the Luftwaffe, what if a schwarm of 262s arrive at the scene? I thinkg the emotional effect would be greater than the ‘material’ one. However, due to the nature of the fighting in the EAST, my opinion is that it would have delayed by no more than 3/4 months the inevitable. What Hitler should have done on the EAST was to allow his great generals (like von Manstein) to freely operate all over the front, adopting flexible and mobile warfare tactics instead of concentrating on t strongpoints like the ‘fortress cities’, which the Soviets were good at overcoming.

    • tom wolak says:

      Agreed’had the 262 been on line when germany still had it’s best pilots the allied air offensive would have been devastated and completely stopped ‘everyone is saying the 262 was nothing compared to the mustang’ I beg to differ as the 262 was 100 mph faster and carried 4 30mm cannons which would shred any mustang with a single burst’ laud the p51 all you want but had the 262 been in the war in 42 it would have won the war for germany.It was that far ahead of anything we had.

  17. Mei says:

    I think an introduction of the ME-262 a year earlier would have either caused a stalemate in the war in Europe or would have caused the war to drag on into late 1945 or so with the dropping of atomic bombs on German cities. Germany had pretty much regained air superiority over most of Europe by the summer of 1943 and didn’t really lose it until the beginning of 1944 with the introduction of the P-51.

    Had Germany been able to maintain air superiority, German industrial production would have been able to increase much more dramatically than it did. This in turn would have slowed or stopped the loss of territory, loss of materials from mining, given the Germans more time to bring even more advanced weapons online (think about the other aircraft being developed, and the new generation of u boats for example).

    Don’t forget too that the development of the ME-262 would have continued with better and more powerful engines, a newer design, better pilot training etc.

    But the bottom line was that Germany was the sole Axis “super power” with the ability to fight a high tech total war, there were three “super powers” on the Allied side. Germany also had practically no ability to strike at the Allies industrial production while the Allies could devastate the Germans.

    • roy says:

      What are you talking about “the A-Bomb dropped on Germany”? Don’t you realize that all of the the A- Bomb technology came from Germany in the first place, some German scientists escaped to the US with the unrefined technologies in hand, true, but the remaining smart German scientists where about to perfect the A Bomb at almost the same time as the US, if the war could have been delayed some or even won via ME-262, you should rather ask who would have used the A-Bomb first and on whom. You should thank God the ME-262 was to late in mass production.

  18. Frank says:

    I agree with most of the posters that the war would have been delayed, possibly as long as a year or two. If proximity fuzes would have been fully developed, that and the ME262 would have been very influential. Imagine the Allied bombing effort, facing ME262s and then much more effective flak. That would have stopped “daylight precision bombing” and made night time area bombing much more costly. Would the increased war materials production, higher killing effect of artillery and air superiority through 1944 and 1945 in the East would have made a difference on the Russian front. I don’t know. The poster who quoted Stalin “quantity has a quality all it’s own” had it right. In the end, it may have allowed the Russians to occupy most of Germany but delayed it to 1946 or 47.

  19. Mikey says:

    The ME 262 would’ve made a big difference if it had been introduced anywhere from the beginning of the war to early 1943. but then again, England already had a jet fighter by the 1945, and the Americans were developing jets. And the Soviets were just destroying the Germans, and the 262 might’ve slowed them down, but I could see the 262 just buying Germany more time.

  20. Barrie says:

    More what if`s, the problem was the Me 262 was introduced late 1944 at first in small numbers, it could not have been introduced earlier becaise the Jumo engines were not available and even when it was in service not reliable. It was also found by RAF pilots to not be as dangerous as had been thought, Some 1400 were made and only about 200 ever flew. Fighters like the Spitfire and Tempest were able to deal with them. The Meteor F III when sent to Belgium never encountered any. The end result is they made no difference.

  21. Myrmidon says:

    Actually, the Germans could have jet fighters much earlier, but as always the German high command was lead by people who were after their own gain and not thinking strategically. German HQ especially in aerial strategy displayed numerous strategic mistakes, mismanagement, lack of vision, etc. First operation jet aircraft was He 178 with 1st flight in august 27th 1939. Since it was privately financed by Heinkel HQ was not interested and was in favor of old fashioned Bf109. Later Heinkel introduced He 280, first turbojet aircraft in 1940, but yet again HQ was not interested. After Luftwafe conceded severe blow in battle of Britain, and devastating campaign in North Africa HQ started to look for alternatives. Even then Heinkel was not seen as 1st choice but Me 262 was created and too late to make any difference. German government was more like several private undertakings full with bureaucracy than a solid government. If it was lead by competent people (which is big argue since it was ran by madman, sociopaths and ego maniacs) from engineering perspective Germany would have air supremacy. To make things more interesting Britain had 1st jet engine design, but UK HQ thought it is non-sense. Germany used that design in designing it’s own jet engine. WW2 is full of bizarre events, but at the end economy of scale would prevail and Germany would still lose no matter what. For example US produced more aircrafts in 1943 than Japan in 7 years of their war campaigs, not to mention navy, armor, etc. By the end of war US had GNP almost 50% of rest of the world combined. Now, Me262 would make impact in war duration, but not in outcome.

  22. Barrie says:

    The Heinkel flew in 1939, it was not an operational fighter, a top speed hardly better than current piston engine fighters, very low acceleration and extremely short range. Jet engines were not ready for use even when the Me 262 was put into service in late 1944, the me 262 was not able to be used for air superiority, it did not do well against the RAF fighters, the Spitfire and Tempest at the time.

  23. king says:

    Nothing would have happened because you cant change the past

  24. Craig says:

    What is being missed in the above comments is how this development would have assisted Milch in damaging allied bomber formations enough to create longer pauses in those bomber campaigns.

    Germanys war production grew rapidly ( from a crappy base ) during the period 1942 – 1944 in spite of the allied bombing campaigns, but they were always starting from behind because of earlier neglect and they losses increased also and the number of fronts requiring some air power was also multiplying.

    My understanding is that Milch saw the need to first secure Germanys airspace as the first priority – if Germany could deploy the jets in 1943 while their most skilled pilots were still alive with plenty of aviation fuel to keep the training stream of upcoming pilots on track, then I have no doubt that much more damage would have been caused to allied bomber formations – and enough damage to cause much longer pauses to the campaigns than those already created due to allied losses – for example in late August 1943 without any jets, the Germans inflicted terrible losses on the RAF over several night bombing of Berlin – at the same time the German monthly aircraft production numbers were climbing strongly.

    At that time Milch’s production plans were looking to be producing 2000 fighters a month by March 1944. The point is if the jet were deployed at that time even in small numbers, any interruption to allied bombing would allow respite – respite for fighter production to grow and pilots to be trained – even 6 weeks would have made a massive difference to the fighter \umbrella\ over Germany, and any resumed bombing mission would have been met with comparatively massive German forces (compared to German forces 3 mths prior)

    A bombing force of (for example) 600 planes that suffers losses above 60 planes would consider the losses too high – that is all the Germans needed to do is cause enough damage to make the allies give up – they didn’t need to actually shoot down every plane to cause that!

    In Milch’s mind, once the airspace over Germany and her production facilities, transport and synthetic fuel and imported fuel was secure from the bombing, and able to be kept secure, then the massive lift to production would allow the Luftwaffe to re-enter the various front theaters in force – when you can achieve local air superiority, you can use the old Stuka bombers and other ground support aircraft to great effect, because they don’t get shot down by enemy aircraft – the Germans defeated massive soviet armies in 1941.

    Okay, early soviet army leadership was crap, but the fact is the Germans invaded the soviet union with 2 – 3000 tanks, whereas the soviets had 20,000 but still got their asses kicked, partly due to better German tactics, but mostly due to German air superiority.

    The eastern front as it was by March- June 1944 was completely defendable if the Germans re-established air superiority in the field.

    In addition, in the lead up to Normandy, the entire prospects for success in the landings would have had a cloud over them as the Germans could have built up enough strength to defend French airspace in depth, while in the preceeding months honed the Fritz navel bomber numbers and crews, and been able to deploy them with strong fighter protection for their launching aircraft.

    You can see how a revitalised Luftwaffe with massive fighter numbers with still many excellent experienced pilots (not having been shot down) and with production-replacement numbers rising to 50%+ levels, and enabling other production such as U-boats and tanks to also commensurately increase – that the idea of the Germans holding their armoured forces back from the invasion area ready to deliver the Panzer \kick to the balls\ in concentration, with no impediments to railway transport, or to the movement of forces toward the battlefront etc can begin to make more sense.

    The Luftwaffe strength was always the key, and the tragedy of the Luftwaffe was that the neglect of the skies over the home-front was the thing that caused everything else to unravel.

    • tom wolak says:


  25. Barrie says:

    If they could use them in 1943, the simple fact is that the Me 262 first flew with a piston engine because the original jet engines did not work, after the Me 262 was modified and fitted with the Jumo jet engines there were still problems, in fact late 1944 when they finally did enter service they still had reliability problems with the Jumo and of over 1,400 made only about 200 flew, this was far too few to make any difference and the Me 262 was not a good fighter, it could perhaps have shot down bombers but it was vulnerable to piston engine fighters.
    In 1943 the Luftwaffe was already in big trouble and having to use pilots with little training for the tasks being given to them.
    Any thought of Germany being able to stop the D Day invasion or defend Germany from bombing is just daydreaming.

  26. Carlos says:

    Yes, that was a big problem. For instance that is what killed Mölders, according to witnesses. He probably pushed his enginbes too hard and they caught fire way up in an air combat. On teh other hand, Germany had no access to the necessary materials to build better jet engines. We know that the evolution of these engines ment bigger rotor blades, this requiri9ng stronger and more heat resistant materials.

  27. tom wolak says:

    Wish all you want mustang fans but had the me262 been perfected in early 1942 there would not have been a bomber over germany ‘my father was a gunner in a b24 liberator and witnessed a few 262 attacks on his bomber formations ‘he said there was no defense against them as they could not be tracked due to their great speed ‘he watched mustangs futily attempt to engage them and were left in the dust .Imagine a squadron of these revolutionary aircraft in the hands of the ABBEYVILLE KIDS ‘or JG26 with GALLAND commanding them ‘another factor that everyone seems to forget is towards the end of the war all of germanys best pilots were dead and the 51’s were up against green scared kids ‘Also everyone touting the 51 as the best fighter of the war should consider this ‘The P47 pulled the weight until the 51 came along and was responsible for shooting down all the top german pilots NOT THE MUSTAND everyone seems to fawn over .AGAIN’ THANK GOD THE GERMAN HIGH COMMAND WAS CALLING THE SHOTS AND NOT GALLAND CUZ THE 262 COULD HAVE DEFINITELY CHANGED THE OUTCOME OF WW2.

  28. Barrie says:

    There is no way the Me 262 could have been perfected in 1942, it barely even flew then, it was not perfected in 1945, The P 47 and P 51 both faced a very weak Luftwaffe, by 1943 the Luftwaffe was short of planes, pilots and fuel, they did not have enough Me 109`s or Fw 190`s the Me 262 late in the war was just a waste of resources. The Me 262 could not have changed anything.

    • tom wolak says:

      Of course it could have since they had a prototype back in 1939 but stupid hitler [thank god] did not think the war would last long enough for it to be useful’ galland wanted it brought up as soon as he saw the first 4 engine allied bombers over europe but the two imbeciles hitler and goering shot him down every time.If they would have had it in the hands of their best pilots like jg26 aka the abbeyville kids’ there would not have been a bomber over germany in 1943.

  29. Frank says:

    I Believe If The German High Command Would Have Pushed Hard For M E 262 To Be Developed In Large Numbers Shortly After The Very First Jet Aircraft Was Successfully Test Flown In Germany In The Fall Of 1939 (The Heinkel H E 178) This Would Have Made An Immense Difference In All Of Germany’s Theatre Of Operations. Especially If The Battle Of Britain Would Have Been Postponed While The 262 Was In The Early Stages Of Production. In My Opinion, If The 262 Would Have Been Pressed Into Action This Early Using Germany’s Best Pilots, It Would Have Certainly Prolonged The War & Pushed The U.S To Begin Research On Their Own Jet Fighter. Ultimately The Germans Could Never Defeat The Russians & The Americans At The Same Time. However, A 262 On The Drawing Board In Late 1939/Early 1940 Could Have Changed The Fight In The Battle Of Britain, North Africa, & The Early Stages Of The Battle With Russia.

  30. Leo says:

    It could have absolutely been perfected by 1942. Goring in 1939 shut down the Jet fighter development because he thought at that time that they already had air superiority over Poland and France. Wasn’t until 1943 that Germany reopened the jet fighter development and the ME 262 was operational by mid to late 1944. If Goring didn’t shut it down in 1939, having fully operational jet fighter in 1942 was very realistic and would have able to scramble the Allies strategic bombing raids which devastated Germany in 1943 til end of the war. With Germany’s industrial production still intact, that could have changed everything in Stalingrad and even at Kursk because at the very least, the air support for Stalingrad could have been successfully and so would von Manstein’s plan to rescue Army group B and avoiding them to be cutoff. If battle at Stalingrad could have been saved, Germany had a very very good chance at defeating Russia, and who knows what could have happened if Germany defeated USSR by early 1943.

    • Barrie says:

      The Me 262 could not have been ready for service in 1942, as it was it was not ready for service in late 1944, only being rushed into production . Germany did not make a successful jet engine, in fact Addolf Galland flew a Gloster Meteor after the war and was very impressed, his comment was if only we had engines as good as the RR Derwent, the Me 262 would have been a much better fighter.

  31. Frank says:

    I Agree With Leo: Barrie Your Logic Is Not Looking At This Correctly. You Are Saying The ME 262 Could Not Have Been Ready By Late 1942. However, Are You Suggesting That If Germany Pressed Hard For The ME 262 To Be Developed In Early 1940 That They Could Not Have Completed This Aircraft By Late 1942 In Time For Stalingrad? Then How Did Germany Create The ME 262 Starting In 1943 And Had It Going In Late 1944? For You To Suggest That Germany In 1940 Would Not Have Accomplished Building An ME 262 By The End Of 1942 If They Had Set Their Minds To It Is A Denial Of The Evidence.

  32. Barrie says:

    Very easy, the Me 262 was under development before the war started, the first flight in April 1941 was just with a piston engine then in November 1941 both jet engines flamed out and fortunately the piston engine was still in place. After the change to Jumo engines the first jet powered flight was July 1942, these engines still had problems which is why the Me 262 could not enter service earlier, in fact they were still unreliable at the end of the war.
    The facts speak for themselves.

  33. warsprite says:

    they could have got the 262 in 1943 if they pushed for it. like they did the He 162 which went from planning to production in 90 days. having jet fighters also would have helped with the fuel problem they used a low grade fuel which was easier to make even after the fuel plants had been bombed. yes i know people will still harp on about the atom bomb will be used to defeat the Germans but if ur bombers are getting shot down it wouldn’t be easy to get the bomb to the target like it was over japan. at the end of the war the Russians were starting to run short on troops they were even having to use prisoner freed from over run German camps. so few more mouths of production therre would have been more assault rifles, better tanks, more jets better u boats.

    • Barrie says:

      The Me 262 was rushed into service in late 1944, the biggest problem was the jet engines which were not up to operational standard, the He 162 was a desperate move in 1944 when they first flew. it was not a good fighter in late 1944 there were a few Me 262`s in use, slightly more in 1945 but they were outclassed by existing piston engine fighters and of over 1,400 Me 262`s built only just over 200 flew.
      More assault rifles, better tanks and jets would have made no difference, Germany had lost by 1942 and everyone knew it except Hitler. Germany copied and made the British Sten gun in 1944 because they needed weapons that were simpler, quicker to make and easier to maintain. The U boats were as good as finished by 1943, what people forget when they say Germany needed more time is that in the same time everyone else was also making a lot, The best tanks and field guns at the end of the war were not German, the same applies to planes and ships.

  34. tom wolak says:

    Everyone on here claiming the 262 was not a war changer can take solace in the fact that no one will ever know if it would have won germany the war ‘ but given the fact that it was light years ahead of anything the allies had it certainly brings a strong argument that if this beauty had been brought online when the u.s was not yet in the war germany could very well have won the battle of britian and taken their country which would have resulted in no place to base the american bombers that bombed the reich later .Had that happened there is no telling what germany could have done .

  35. David says:

    I don’t think Germany could have introduced the Me-262 any earlier. The limitation wasn’t airframes, it was engines. The engines were not mature. They could do, at best, 10 hours and had to be replaced. The technology was too immature.

  36. Vincent says:

    If the ME 262 had been deployed in early 1943, in numbers, and with the cadre of experten pilots still on the active duty at the time. I think it is reasonable to say the deep penetration daylight bombing campaign into Germany would have been suspended until a long range fighter was developed.

    One of the problems that appears to have hampered the Luffwaffe, is that Germany didn’t have in-depth training program that could produce 3000 well trained pilots a month. Mass production of material wasn’t even a priority until ” Total War’ in mid 1943. From Sept 1039 until Mid-1943 Germany was still on a ‘ short war” footing. They even invaded Russia without ever have made good the Luttwafee losses in 1940’s Battle of Britain.

  37. Tim Baxter says:

    July 18th 1942 ME 262 took off. on it’s Test flight. it 450 mph & went to11,500ft. Later it flew at 550+mph had 4x30mm cannons each had 80 shells. Could also 24 wing mounted Air to Air rockets. So Vinny is correct when he says ” f the ME 262 had been deployed in early 1943, in numbers, and with the cadre of experten pilots still on the active duty at the time. I think it is reasonable to say the deep penetration daylight bombing campaign into Germany would have been suspended until a long range fighter was developed.”
    Long Range Fighters for the U.S. would have had to come in big numbers to win against the 262.

    • FEDUPWITH GOVT says:

      I highly doubt that if germany had the beautiful and revolutionary me262 perfected by early 42 the P51 mustang would have even been conceived beyond paper specs’ the p51 was 100 mph slower than the 262 and its armament of 6 50’s was laughable compared to the 262’s 4 30mm cannons’ my father was a gunner in a B24 LIBERATOR over europe and he saw a few of the 262’s during his tour of duty’ he said he never saw anything so scary as a plane you could not track or even have any hope to hit due to it’s speed ‘ he witnesses 5 262’s attacking a bomber formation below him one day over schweinfurt and in one pass 5 262’s shot down 5 american bombers ‘that was only 5 jets fighters; imagine 300 of these all coming up at one time ‘he said if germany had had as many 262’S and experten pilots as prop driven fighters there would have not been any daylight bombing missions’ the losses would have been 100 PERCENT on every mission.

  38. FEDUPWITH GOVT says:

    Had this game changer been perfected and put into the hands of their best pilots it’s entirely possible that germany could have won ww2. Think about it before you blow off the idea’ if germany had these wonder weapons when they took on britian’ they would have easily won that battle and launched operation sea lion and invaded britian and then occupied it’ leaving no bases for the american bombers who came later to launch attacks from.With no threat of daylight attack from the air’ german industry would have easily kept up supplies to their soldiers and possibly even beaten russia if they would have had the good sense to attack in early summer and not just before winter came’ THE RUSSIANS NEVER BEAT THE GERMAN ARMY ‘ GENERAL WINTER DID.

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