Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

What if the Me-262 was created earlier?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by Terror of the Skies, Oct 13, 2007.

  1. Terror of the Skies

    Terror of the Skies Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Messages:
    125
    Likes Received:
    7
    The Me-262 came too late into the war and didn't see the action as planned.

    But what if the Me-262 was developed, built, and deployed in a good quantity in 1942 when the U.S. Daylight Bombing started to begin?

    Since fighter escorts didn't come in later, and the early B-17s had little defense, would those jet engines have prevented daylight bombinb all together, possibly costing the war?
     
  2. FalkeEins

    FalkeEins Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    75
    ..the Me 262 wasn't too late at all.....when did it first fly....1942..?
    the problem was the technology of the jet engines ...German designers had a multitude of problems to overcome and were unable to 'fix' the design for mass manufacture ..the useful life of the Jumo was never more than around ten hours or so..far too low for service.. ...
    so yes with reliable engines even as late as 1944 with the escorts the 262 could seriously have jeopardised the bombing offensive...
    however your supposition tends though to suggest that you think day-light bombing won the war...personally I don't....
     
  3. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    1,281
    Likes Received:
    85
    If the Me-262 was deployed earlier, it would've scared the daylights out of the pilots of the Allied bombers. However, I believe that the Allies would have put in a lot of research resources and eventually deployed their own jets.
    The Sturmvogel was faster than any Allied piston fighters but it was a notorious gas guzzler and had unreliable engines.

    Once the Allies have adapted, the daylight bombing campaign would have resumed in earnest. Also the Me-262 wouldn't have any effect on the night bombing raids of the RAF.

    The early deployment of the Me-262 would have delayed the bombing campaign. Unfortunately for the Luftwaffe, they wouldn't be able to keep large numbers of the jets in the air. because of events in the fronts, Germany's diminishing fuel reserves and production wouldn't be able to sustain the gas guzzling Me-262. Of course, the timeline of the war would've been lengthened. I can't say what the changes would be but one thing I'm sure, D-Day would also be delayed until the Allies have regained air superiority.

    Germany would be defeated because its economy was never designed for a prolonged two-front war.
     
  4. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    760
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    The other accompanying question is: What would the Allied response have been? After all, they too had jet engine technology. After all, the prototype US P-59 Airacomet made its first flight on 1 Oct 42 and the British were already testing their Meteor I.
    I woud suspect that the Germans would produce a relative handful of Me 262 and introduce a single unit with 20 or so servicable aircraft into operational service. The Allied response would be mild alarm and they would immediately press their own aircraft manufacturers to get comparable aircraft in production as quickly as possible. I would also think that they would push the envelope with some of their more advanced prop aircraft further than they had already as an interm measure. The other thing I definitely would expect is that they would work out tactics to deal with the Me 262 until they had their own jets.
    By mid 1943 the Germans would have found themselves now faced with overwhelming numbers of Allied jet aircraft instead of prop aircraft. So, in the short run they buy a few months breathing room. In the long run nothing changes and the Germans lose the air war.

    As an aside, technology is rarely war winning on its own where both sides possess roughly equal levels of economic development and engineering ability. In such cases the more dangerous and serious a new technological development by one side is the quicker the other side is to mount an effort to put their own counter in place bringing the status back to parity. This is the case with WW II.
     
    USS Washington likes this.
  5. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    1,281
    Likes Received:
    85
    Very nicely said, sir.
     
  6. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,133
    Likes Received:
    66
    There was a squadron of Me-262s fitted out as night fighters, so the RAF wouldnt be safe.

    The P-59? Oh you mean that underpowered garbage of an airplane that had to be hid away. Not until the P-80 did the US have a viable jet fighter. IMO. The Meteor would have been the better bet but its range was limited like the Me-262 and both would have to serve more as interceptors rather than fighters, the long range mustangs would have had to been pressed into service earlier if anthing was to be done against Me 262s in 42, or 43.

    I think this is all acedemic anyway as stratigic bombing did not do much to bring the war to an end. It mildly helped with the oil/gas issue only becasue refineries are big, hard to hid and burn rather well even if you only get a few hits in.
     
  7. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,133
    Likes Received:
    66
    This is a rather cumbersome statment. I agree in general but have reservations about complete validity. For example in a dog fight between a FW-190 and a P-51 given two equally quallified pilots, there are things that one plane can do that the other cant. This stems from aeronautical technology. So even on par, your technology changes the way you can fight. I guess what I am getting at is that if you have a silightly better plane with an equally compotent pilot you can win over your slightly deficient enemy. So technology even in increments does matter? Do you follow or did I miss the boat all together?
     
  8. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    1,281
    Likes Received:
    85
    Thanks for the correction. I didn't know there were Me-262 night fighters. How did the Me-262 night fighters historically fare?
     
  9. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,478
    Likes Received:
    1,385
    Location:
    London, England.
    Some disputed claims have been made for their prowess, but fundamentally they were too fast for effective night interceptor work against slow-moving bombers.
     
  10. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    760
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    On technology Tikilal you are missing the point. A better example is Hamburg 1943. The British unleash Window as a radar countermeasure for the first time. Nearly a thousand bombers oblitherate the city in a fire storm. The British lose 6 aircraft to flak. The German defenses are totally in disarray and confusion because of the new countermeasure.
    What do the Germans do? They immediately adopt Hajo Hermann's Wilde Sau tactics previously thought absurd and reckless. These actually work! They also begin a crash program to fix their radar so it will work in the face of the new jamming. Their nightfighters are switched to SN-2 radar that is not effected by the jamming technique as it is on the wrong wavelength.
    Parity is reestablished and Bomber Command's losses rise to their previous levels within a couple of months.
    Minor performance tweaks to an existing airframe on the other hand go unnoticed for months as these have a tiny impact on the whole air war.

    As for the Me 262 night fighter: It had major problems in conceptual design. The most important was it had a very limited flight time. Unlike daytime interceptors, nightfighting by aircraft at this time was much more like ASW operations. The aircraft had to loiter for extended periods airborne. They had to fly large search patterns to pick up their targets and then track them down in a often difficult series of maneuvers that brought them to the intercept point.
    With a short flying time, unreliable engines, and a cramped cockpit arrangement the Me 262 was more of a desperation move than one of thoughtout design.

    As for Allied jets, what I wanted to point out was that they had aircraft flying. It doesn't particularly matter that their airframes are very conservative and as a consequence slow. What matters is that they, unlike the Germans, had jets flying that were reliable, reasonably ranged, and very producable enmasse.
    All the Allies would have to do is couple their relaible and extant jet engine technology to a better airframe and they have a match for the Me 262. I would surmise from history that any of the Allies could have whipped up a suitable airframe in 90 to 120 days and had a prototype flying within 180 from recognition of the threat. If the threat was that significant, the Allies could respond much faster than the Germans.

    Also, the Germans face a major problem with the Jumo 004 engine and its 10 to 12 hour service life. I'll see if I can find a message I put on another forum several years ago about this. What it showed was just how impossible in 1944 it was for the Germans to form a 50 plane Me 262 unit and keep it flying for just two months! Their economy and the nature of the aircraft itself conspire to make this impossible. And, actual Me 262 operations bear this out historically.
     
  11. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    760
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    From a post I put up on 1jma.dk a couple of years ago:

    Next installment: German logistics of an Me 262 offensive as proposed

    Starting with the 262 itself:

    Landing gear and engine failures were very common. These two systems were the cause of approxmately 60 - 70% of all non-combat losses alone. Operating from damaged or rough airfields greatly increases the chances of landing gear accidents. Operations where hard stands (eg paved parking areas) do not exist, like along strips of the autobahn, would also increase landing gear accidents and write-offs.
    Engine life for the Jumo 004 was typically about 8 to 10 hours run time. There are numerous pilot reports that state at least one engine could be expected to need changing after every sorte.
    General servicability rates for the 262 were also low due to a general lack of repair parts.
    As an example of this I will cite Kommnado Nowotny. This unit became operational on 3 Oct 44 with 30 Me 262 in two Stafflen on hand out of an authorized strength of 40 aircraft. Based at Achmer and Hesepe they began operations on 7 October. By 1 Nov 44 Kommando Nowotny had claimed 22 kills for 15 aircraft lost; 9 through accidents and 6 due to enemy action. The majority of those lost to Allied action were lost landing or taking off from their airfields.
    On 8 Now GruppenKommandeur Nowotny was killed when he suffered an engine failure in combat subsequently being shot down. Worse, on 7 Nov 44 only 3 of the surviving 15 or so planes were reported ready for operations due to lack of parts and maintenance.

    The Me 262 offensive:

    The Me 262 requires between 1.8 and 2.5 cubic meters of fuel per flight (assuming full tanks). For this example I used 2 cubic meters. This equates to 2 metric tons of J2 fuel per plane per flight.
    I will assume that 50 Me 262's are available for the offensive and that it starts in October 1944.
    In August 1944 the German petroleum industry produced 16,000 tons of fuel of all kinds and had 180,000 tons in reserve. Production in subsequent months hovered around 20 - 25,000 tons.
    There was a general shortage of trucks and motor vehicles throughout Germany at the time.
    The fuel situation had prompted the OKL to issue and order that it is "absolutely forbidden" to taxi aircraft under their own power to the runway. They were to be towed (generally by horse or other animal) to the runway and then back into dispersal to save fuel. The Me 262 was singled out in this order as a prodigious waster of fuel in this manner and the order emphsized the need for towing in its case.
    Historic data from Kommando Nowotny, JvB 44 et al shows that a loss rate of about 2% per day (accidents and combat) can be expected from an Me 262 unit. An additional 2% (roughly) per day can be expected to be down for long term maintenance problems. For a 50 plane unit this equates to one loss and one manitenance loss per day of operations.
    Thus, at the end of 30 days of operations (from good airfields) our 50 plane unit is down to 6 to 10 aircraft in service with the likelyhood of being completely combat ineffective within another 10 days thereafter. Additionally, the unit would require 15 - 25 Jumo replacement engines per day when all 50 aircraft were flying to replace units that failed. Let's average this at 10 units per day for 30 days or 300 engines. This amounts to about half of Junker's output. The result of this would be a severe shortage of new aircraft and other units using jet engines would suffer a lack of replacements.
    In fuel, 100 tons of fuel would be required per day for all 50 aircraft to fly. Assuming only 20 aircraft on average over the entire 30 day period flew daily this works out to 1200 tons of fuel for the month or about 10% of the total German production. The unit would bleed dry the German POL stocks.
    Now, we excerbate this by moving the operation to a section of the autobahn. Let's assume 10 km to the nearest rail head. 100 tons of fuel + 100 tons of bombs + let's say a similar ammount of ammunition, spares, food, fodder (horses and wagons will be needed to move these supplies from the railhead to the airstrip) etc, makes this a huge operation requiring hundreds of men, horses, and wagons to support it, not to mention several trains a day unloading at the railhead. It would be difficult to keep it from escaping detection.
    Add to this the problems of dispersal (and the increased accident rate due to gear failures), landing and take off problems like cross winds (the autobahn would not have been built with an eye to likely wind direction), the lack of navigation aids like homing beacons and IFF equipment and, the lack of permanent facilities for maintenance and housing. All of this would greatly lower the unit's efficnecy and ability to conduct sustained operations.

    Bottom line:

    German logistics in late 1944 are so disrupted and bad that a 50 plane Me 262 unit operating for 30 days would simply cease to exist on its own through lack of supplies and maintnenance support. Operating from a remote field or the autobahn would only increase the rate at which it became combat ineffective. All this to do what? Let's assume the average of 25 planes per day for the month and each gets....what....5 trucks per sorte. This averages out to 3750 trucks for the month. I'm being generous here. This means that the Allies simply replace the destroyed vehicles and supplies and carry on since they are producing far more than 4000 trucks per month in 1944. So, the Germans annoy the Allies, accomplish virtually nothing and waste a 50 plane Me 262 unit in the process. The Allies win and they didn't do anything! The didn't shoot one plane down (necessarily), had no AA defenses and, the Germans had every sorte go just right and the Gemans still lost. If we start factoring in all of the things that could (and probably would) go wrong the Germans lose their Me 262 unit and destroy a few hundred vehicles in the process. Their "offensive" now is not only worthless but meaningless as well.
     
    Za Rodinu likes this.
  12. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    1,281
    Likes Received:
    85
    Well reasoned out. I'd just like to add that according to what I read on the Me 262, the project was delayed many times because of bickering and constant design changes-Hitler demanded that bomb racks be fitted into the jet aircraft. Hitler reportedly wanted it to be turned into a ground attack plane. To me, the Sturmvogel still looks like a beautiful aircraft in form, but admittely, it is still a kludge.
     
  13. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,133
    Likes Received:
    66
    Thanks for the feedback I see your point.
     
  14. Herr Oberst

    Herr Oberst Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    Messages:
    782
    Likes Received:
    70
    Agree measure-countermeasure, but engineering parity is a questionable matter, considering both the Russians and Allies scrambled at break neck speed to grab all the German engineers and techno goodies at the end of the war.
     
  15. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Messages:
    8,809
    Likes Received:
    371
    Location:
    Portugal
    I don't know what's wrong with me today, but this is one of Terry's great posts ever! :)
     
  16. Roddoss72

    Roddoss72 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    5
    I think calling the P-59 a pile of garbage is very harsh as it was never intended to use the aircraft as either a defensive or offensive weapon, it was a testbed aircraft, many ideas that later US jet fighter got was from the P-59 Airacomet, It was a very good aircraft for what it designed for.
     
  17. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

    Joined:
    May 13, 2001
    Messages:
    14,439
    Likes Received:
    617
    back to the 262 Night fighter unit of which I am co-authoring a book on Kommando Welter. for what they were worth in the single seat unit it was but a pinprick, though successful in hunting down the fast RAF Mossie NF and bomber. the RAF 4 engines were largely ignored as the Kommando was given the task for Mossie interception over Berlin.

    now had the 262 been developed in 1942 for night fighting, then i would say a a big YES to problems for the RAF even on the 4 engine role as this is why the twin seater version B-1a and later the B-2a was designed for. sure the RAF would of had to modify their own experiments to tackle the problem with either saturation of jet A/F's, intruding or the result of an RAF jet for night combat. Even with the overwhelming superiority in the night skies in late 44 -45 the RAF bomber crews really had no idea what they were up against although they knew full well of the Kommando's jets over the Reich. RAF bombers crews were being interviewed some cases with tall tales of seeing fast jets in the skies in October and November of 44 before the Kommando was even airborne and then to of shooting down 1-2 jets in air combat, something that never occurred as the Kommando never lost a jet from RAF bombers or fighters at night. Accidents were the prime problem for both jet and pilot and also the saturation bombing of the airfield at Burg which nearly obliterated the unit.

    let me just add another 2 cento's here. Kurt Welter before he ran up his small night jet unit thought the single seat 262 was advanced and powerful enough to take on all allied night aircraft, after field testing the Ar 234 which he did not approve highly of he felt the centerline arms and the curved nose-fuselage gave him a certain degree of visual performance even at night to be able to pick his victim out by using the searchlight beams over the larger cities like Berlin in his and their hunt for the LSNF Mossie during their free lance Helle Nacht operations. Later he did admit after capture that the twin seater should of been developed and used much earlier intead of the single seat as the RAF heavies were doing most of the damage over the Reich and even with an extra crew-member, FuG 218 radar, Naxos and two additional external fuel drop tanks the jet still would of been able to out speed and Allied Night fighter at the time.............
     
  18. Roddoss72

    Roddoss72 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    5
    Ok lets run with this the Me-262 development went smoothly and without major glitches and those glitches were minor and sorted out and the Me-262 production version going into geschwaders on the same par as say the Me-109 (which was cancelled in 1941 to free up production of the Me-262 and the Fw-190 became the frontline conventional fighter), and it was deployed just prior to the US Eight Army Air Force, then i can say that the Allies would be in serious trouble. I would go so far as to say that it would tip the scale of dominance back to the Luftwaffe.

    Imagine if the senario went so far as to say that the Luftwaffe with at least several geschwaders of Me-262's stationed in France, then i could see the possibilities of the Luftwaffe launching another air war over Britain again, and that we see the Spitfire having to contend with the Me-262 and the Hurricane having to deal with the Fw-190, what a senario as fanciful as it is, the possibilities are staggering.
     
  19. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Messages:
    8,809
    Likes Received:
    371
    Location:
    Portugal
    Hmm, did the 262 have the range for a Battle of Britain Mk2 or was it just a point defence fighter?
     
  20. chocapic

    chocapic Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Messages:
    723
    Likes Received:
    47
    In some cases,the new technology will be either so much advanced, or so much effective/lethal, that it will win the war by knock-out before the other side can get back to parity.

    Nukes come to mind, in the case of WWII.

    About the 262, I think it was the perfect plane against B17s : the fastest fighter available, with its tremendous firepower, would have sliced through B17's boxes with lethal hit and run passes. It could also have widespreaded the use of air to air rockets, allowing to fire at bombers outside the range of their turrets.

    But USAF would have adapted with tactics (and then with planes, the P-80 for example), maybe escort groups even higher above the bombers, able to dive and build speed to threaten the 262 interceptors.
    And as usual : numbers ! If all the German prop fighters used againt the US bombers would have replaced by 262s, still, they would have been barely able to cope with US bombings as a whole, the Luftwaffe could not follow the USAF in numbers of pilots and fuel, and a 262 with no fuel is no better than a FW-190 with no fuel.

    Maybe a noticeable impact would have been faster passes on bombers = shorter exposure to enemy fire = less losses for the luftwaffe, and therefore more experienced pilots surviving to fight another day.

    On the other hand, maybe in response the allied would have focused more on German airfields.

    Overall, given the rather limited impact of allied carpet bombings on the outcome and pace of the war, I don't think this would have changed much, I think widespread and early Me-262s would have had more impact in other domains of airwar.

    @ Za : I think its a little less than twice the range of the BoB-era's Bf-109s. But the issue would have been flying time, because the German bombers were slow.
     

Share This Page