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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. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    you might want to pick up a copy of the old title " German Jets versus the US Army Air force" by author William Hess. some interesting ideas from former US pilots countering the 262 and Arado 234 in combat, and although the action is in 44-45 one can tell the same tactics would of been developed earlier if Mustangs had not been in the skies and RAF and US Jugs were the apparent norm
     
  2. seeker

    seeker Member

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    Hi, I was reading these internet sites on the Jumo 004 engine....

    http://www.americanheritage.com/blog/200710_2_1258.shtml

    http://www.airforce-magazine.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2008/November%202008/1108bungle.aspx

    It the life expectancy of the Jumo 004B was so bad and every one knew it [10-25hours], why not build the more expensive Jumo 004A engine [150-250 hours] until the problems with the Jumo 004 are worked out with fuel dump control and specially tunned turbine blades. I gather they got 100 hours when tested towards the end of the war.


    If I'm reading it right the Jumo 004B had 1/3 of the special metals as the Jumo 004A but only lasted 1/10th as many hours, then it seems Jumo 004A was alot more cost effective, since you'd have to build 10 times as many engines with the B model?


    Also I read some were that the UBoat programme used these special steels in the construction of their pressure hulls. Any one know how much mass would be invovled in that structure on say a Type VII Uboat?
     
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  3. YoungAirNut

    YoungAirNut Member

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    Cool facts, Its true that logically when you think about it the A model was just a way better choice.

    Someone was obviously thinking in tunnel vission when they chose the production engine
     
  4. seeker

    seeker Member

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    OK lets look at some of these...

    Republic XP-84 Thunderjet



    Thunderjet. Private venture circa 1944 , considered simply 'jetting' the P-47 Thunderbolt, but reconsidered for a fresh design...




    Republic P-84B/F-84B Thunderjet
    OK without the mid 1945 delay in orders thats maybe late 1945 before prototypes put to the air with several months of frantic work leading to production decision at the end of 1945 and the first 100 production jets rolling off the assembly line by the spring of 1946. the 592 mph top speed looks good as does 35,000 feet in 13 minutes. But it may be too little to late.


    Vampire
    de Havilland Vampire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    If the engines for the XP-80 is denied and the process accelerated you could see Vampires flying in early 1945. inital versions had 530 mph top speed.

    McDonnell FH-1 Phantom
    AirToAirCombat.Com: McDonnell FH-1 Phantom in Detail

    .

    This was a prop driven model and was soon canceled in the fall of 1944.

    Alot of this development time was post war so it can be compressed into about 6 months, with the production jets maybe late in 1945/ early 1946. But this jets preformance leaves alot to be desired with only 478mph and 34,000 feet ceiling . :confused:


    Vought's F6U Pirate

    F6U Pirate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    If we fast track this model it could be in production by early 1946 but with less performance...so with top speed around 530 mph? :(

    Consolidated's XP-81

    Consolidated Vultee XP-81 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    [edit] Operational history


    500mph sounds OK and 6 x 20mm is good, but it was still suffering from development problems when the war ended. Doesn't sound worth the trouble other than ground attack?


    P-59 jet
    P-59 Airacomet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Well this could have been rushed into service in 1944, but with only 412 mph top speed its almost not worth the trouble and the industry would be better redirected elsewere.....with one exception. This jet reportedly could fly to ~ 46,000 feet so it could make an interesting high altitude recon jet/interceptor .

    P-80 shooting star
    P80 Shooting Star, Lockheed

    577 mph looks good , but without the Vampire engines, it would be delayed by several months suggesting mid 1945 entry and may be 5000 by the end of 1946. But annual Germany jet production should be well over 10,000 by that time. Also I read that it was terribly unsafe and nearly cancelled by congress. Infact it was only after examining the captured Me-262 that some of the problems were ironed out, so I'm not sure its performance would be upto Me-262 standards.
     
  5. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    What!!???!! The Germans producing 10,000 jets per year by 1946? Ain't happening bunkie. Junkers Dessau engine plant in late 1944 was producing a mere 300 Jumo 004B per month on average. BMW was producing about 150 of their 003 engine per month in January 1945.
    Even if you double this you only get 10,800 engines per year. The Me 262 takes two. The Ar 234 takes two or worse, four 003s in the C version. The He 162 takes one 003. This doesn't even account for maintenance requirements and replacement units. The HeS 011 (rough equivalent of the US GE I40 /J33) engine hasn't even bench run in May 1945 so the Germans are falling behind the curve in jet engine power too at that point.
    The other issue is fuel. I dealt with this earlier in the thread. But, let's recap. A single Me 262 takes two (2) metric tons of fuel to fly a single sorte with full tanks. Germany in late 1944 is producing between 50,000 and 100,000 metric tons of fuel per month. Let's say there is the impossibly high number of 1000 Me 262 flying. This represents 2000 metric tons of fuel used each time the whole bunch flies. Let's say that just half flies on any given day. This is 30,000 tons of fuel per month consumed.
    You use up all the fuel in Germany flying these airplanes! No panzer divisions, no motor vehicles, nothing, nada, gets fuel; just Me 262's. What this amounts to is that Germany can't even afford the fuel to fly more than a handful of jets on a regular basis.

    As for the US: General Electric Schenectady New York had a 6 million square foot plant turning out nothing but jet engines in 1944. This plant is bigger than any German aircraft factory in its entirety and it produces nothing but engines. The XP-80A flying on the US designed and manufactured I40 / J33 engine first flew on 10 June 1944. The first 13 YP-80A were being tested in October 1944 (three were rushed to Italy for operational testing shortly thereafter). Production was planned for 5000 from Lockheed and another 1000 from North American Kansas City.
    In testing the aircraft proved to have no vicious tendencies and the engine was reliable. The J33 went on to see quite alot of post war use too.
    Note, the GE plant wasn't alone. As noted, Allis-Chambers and Westinghouse were also mass producing jet engines by the end of 1944. All three were turning out far more than the Germans even then and production was only just ramping up.
    By 1946 the US would have swamped Germany with jets if the war had continued. The British wouldn't have been far behind either. And, both the US and British jets were light years ahead of the German models in reliability and structurial soundness.
     
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  6. seeker

    seeker Member

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    Gardner you are rude and I don't know where you get your figures from. They don't conform to any figures I've seen. If you study various sources you'd see annual german oil supply running at 10-11 million tons per year or ~ 900,000 tons per month. I don't know where you get 50,000 tons per month unless you are looking at the absolute lowest months of the war after german fuel system was completely over run and destroyed in the spring of 1945.

    Oxford companion to World War II shows german 1943 oil supply at 10.4 million tons for an average monthly supply of 866, 640 tons. These figures were raising through 1944 until the US Strategic bombing effort crushed the industrial production and Russian overran the importing countries [Hungry & Romania etc]. After that [fall of 1944] , the monthy oil production of all types drops to about 1/4 million tons per month and in the collapse of 1945, it falls to 100,000 tons per month. But even they conceed that if continued the german underground production would rebound to ~ 1/3 million tons per month by mid 1946.

    XP-80 was a widow maker and would have been cancelled by congress had it not been for the timely arrival of experts who had examined Me-262 jet and the german wind tunnel data.

    USA Jet program

    http://home.iae.nl/users/wbergmns/info/p80.htm

    http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p80_1.html

    xP-80 debacle.
    quote:
    "The Me 262 threat simply never materialized and by the time operation lusty was moving through Hitlers pantry, the YP-80 was still struggling. Trouble began early in the P80 project. IN October 1944 Lockheed’s chief test pilot died in a crash of a XP-80".


    pp 129 American Raiders...

    Col Carter on XP-80

    quote:
    "So far engine life is limited to 50 hours , with careful 25 hour inspection"


    pp130 American Raiders...

    McDonald

    quote:
    " Its estimated that at the present rates of production and training , if the program is unchecked the Germans could possibly have roughly 1000 jets operational by mid summer [1945] And this in the absence of appropriate countermeasures this could conceivably make further strategic bombardment of Germany too expensive to continue"


    pp 131 American Raiders...

    In 1945 atleast 5 XP-80 jets crashed in the hands of test pilots, culminating in a public backlash when Major Bong [Americas greatest flying ace] was killed in August of that year creating a outcry

    quote:
    "That jet technology was just too risky to fly if the test pilots and our top ace could not safely handle the aircraft"


    pp 131.
    quote:
    "Lessons learned from the German wind tunnel test data and captured Turbine technology were hastily applied to end the P-80's bad luck streak." Consequences being ... General Arnold " the crisis that had emerged as a result of the recent accidents and especially the loss of Bong, He now faced with serious political threats to cut back, cancel or withdraw funding for the jet programs"





    quote:
    In April May and June 1945 information gathered from German design centers and manufacturing facilities provided a much needed boost to the stalled YP-80 program"


    pp132 /133American Raiders



    German Jet program
    http://www.vectorsite.net/avme262.html
    Liz McAuley
    quote:
    Me-262 performed slightly better than the F-80 but was a dog as far as handling characteristics, and a maintenance man's nightmare"


    American Raiders pp 21


    Chuck Yeager.

    quote:
    "One of them was comparison testing between the Shooting Star and a captured German Me-262 jet fighter....I was fascinated to discover that the 262 and shooting star performed identically- the same range , top speed, acceleration, and rate of climb".


    American Raiders pp 22.

    Bob Strobell [P-47 pilot] said about the P-80/Me-262 comparison flights...

    quote:
    The final test report stated that the comparison tests were pretty close. No enormous advantage of one over the other. I don't really believe that . I think the Me-262 was superior to the P-80 across the board . I flew the 262, and that’s what I believe" .other Whizzers pilots who flew the German jet , like Bob Strobell , felt that the Me-262 was a superior airplane , the very best of its day"


    American Raiders, pp 23.

    Dealing with production figures is difficult if your only source is bombed out factories at the end of the war. In any alternative history you have to wind back the clock far enough to modify the OTL history accordingly. German Me-262 production alone was raising from 100-300 per month in the spring of 1945 and was projected to hit 1000 per month by the end of that year....if left unchecked.;)






     
  7. SOAR21

    SOAR21 Member

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    while on this topic, does anyone know when the first viable SAM was used? Supposing the Me-262 posed a large threat, is it possible SAMs could have also been pushed into research and possible deployment?
     
  8. SOAR21

    SOAR21 Member

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    oh yea...i dont know where gardner gets his numbers, but i would be comfortable getting numbers from him...
     
  9. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The Nike SAM was the first one. Development started in June 1944 and in earnest in early 1945. The end of the war slowed development greatly.

    The Nike Missile System: A Concise Historical Overview
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Furthermore if you assume each sortie last 4 hours then you will have an engine failing roughly every 3 sorties. That's 5,000 engine failures/month. Some of these might be repairable or rebuildable but ....
     
  11. YoungAirNut

    YoungAirNut Member

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    Wow, this Thread got really technical really fast. Thats great!
     
  12. seeker

    seeker Member

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    How do you get 4 hours? Me-262 only had range of 565 miles , which sounds like an endurance of just over 1 hour. Also 4 x 3 suggest your using the absolute lowest figures for engine life [12 hours] which is problematic considering that engine life improved steadily towards wars end [to about 100 hours]. Thats more like 5,500 engines for a year of 1000 Me-262 jets flying 1/2 sortie per day... or ~ 11,000 engiens for a year of 1000 Me-262 flying 1 sortie per day.

    If people want to use TA Gardners figures for total fuel production, be my guest , it just removes you from the debate :rolleyes:
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I've seen 4 hours quoted elsewhere. It depends on whether range is being stated as ferry range ie point to point or operational range which is out and back.
    You are forgetting that there are two engines on each Me-262. Do you have a reference for the 100 hours? Was it an operational ? From what I've read one of the problems was they needed some minerals they didn't have to increase the reliability. If that's case then a few engines might be able to be produced that had longer life but they weren't going to produce many..
    I didn't use his figures for fuel production just for fuel consumption.
     
  14. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The GE I 40 / J33 engine remained a reliable and useful production engine post war equipping many early US jets. While early production units might have had short service lives due to it being new technology it matured quickly. The Jumo 004B always had a very short service life simply due to its construction and materials. It was uncommon for an 004 to run to 12 or 15 hours. Most failed in about half that time.

    The 004B is an 8 stage compressor, 6 can combustion chamber, single stage turbine engine. It had a compression ratio of 3.1 - 1 with a compressor efficency of 78%. The production model weighed 1980 lbs was 12' 8" long and 31.5" in diameter.
    The engine was almost entirely fabricated from a manganese steel alloy and required no nickel and only 5 lbs of chromium in its construction. Most of the components were made from folded / formed sheet metal. The Germans were rather ingenious in their design using Aluminium anodize and flame spray coatings on most of the hottest components to reduce the effects of heat on the steel components.
    The turbine blades were hollow and used bleed air for cooling. The exhaust and combustion chambers were double walled and used outside air drawn in through vents to cool the engine walls.
    The major component failures were usually the combustion chambers and turbine due to heat.
    About 6000 004's were built during the war with full production starting in early 1944. This gives about 16 months of production or a rate of about 300 per month average for the production period.

    See: Constant The Orgins of the Turbojet Revolution , and Boyne Messershcmitt Me 262 Arrow to the Future

    The entire production run of Me 262 during the war amounted to a bit over 1400 aircraft. These consumed about half the Jumo 004B production in their manufacture. The problem here is that even if production could be ramped up the engine and fuel situation make it impossible to keep even a fraction of 1000 Me 262 flying.
    As pointed out earlier in the thread the historical attrition rate was about 2% per day of operational flying. 1% of this was operational losses, another 1% being combat losses. The most common operational losses were engine failure and landing gear collapse. At 1000 operational aircraft this amounts to 20 aircraft lost per day of operations an unsustainable loss rate. At peak Messerschmitt was turning out only about 4 to 6 aircraft per day.


    The P-59 had been flying for nearly two years without undue problems. The Germans also suffered high loss rates among their pilots and jets as the technology was new and relatively untested. This hardly on its own makes the P-80 that went on post war to have an excellent safety record something of a hazard.
    For example, the Bell XP-83 was cited by pilots at first as difficult to land. They were unfamiliar with the higher landing speeds and far lower drag associated with this and other jets. The Germans had to make similar adjustments. The statement standing alone does not indicate that the aircraft was at fault.
    Certainly, the British had a relatively good record with their jets as well.

    Then how do you explain that German jet turbine technology post war was essentially ignored in the West as both the US and Britain had already surpassed it? Exactly what technology was applied to the P-80 from captured German sources? It wasn't in engines or aerodynamics. The P-80 remained essentially unchanged in postwar service.



    How was the P-80 program stalled? Three of 13 YP-80A were already in Italy on operational testing. Lockheed already had a contract for 5000 production P-80A in place with North American having another for 1000. These were already being ramped up by May 1945.


    pp132 /133American Raiders


    Interesting. The rather definitive Woodbridge The Lockheed P-80 says about the same. The 262 is a bit faster, had equal climb and dive characteristics, but was much poorer in maneuverability. The P-80 was also in American testing found to have much better cockpit visibility.

    This is pretty much the consensus. The major differences being the P-80 was far more reliable and easier to maintain and had better handling characteristics.

    I would say that this is somewhat true. In some characteristics the 262 was clearly superior. In others it was equal and in some, slightly or significantly inferior. Overall, it probably had a slight edge. However, the question here is how long would that last? The US and British were quickly out distancing the Germans on engine technology simply because the later lacked the engineering capacity, production capacity and, materials to make major improvements to the engines or technology they then possessed.
    For example, what happens when the US and or British start testing and then using afterburners? The Germans lack the metallurgy and alloys to make these work on their aircraft; as but one example.


    The bigger the threat, the bigger the response. As an unrelated example of this, the US had a flying working copy of the V-1 60 days after the first launch against Britain. This was reverse engineered from wreckage. Ford Motor Company and Willys Overland were instructed to gear up to produce 5000 missiles per month (this represents more than the entire number fired by Germany during the war) for a reverse bombardment of Germany. The plan was cancelled as unnecessary to win the war shortly after D-Day.

    As for the 262: Using even your fuel figures of say, 300,000 tons per month a 1000 plane unit would require 60,000 tons of fuel per month flying everyday. This is 20% of the German production. That would remain a crippling figure. As pointed out at earlier even at 300 per month 1000 aircraft with a 2% loss rate is unsustainable. This is half the production necessary. At 2% per day and a monthly production of 300 (10 per day) the largest sustainable fleet (theoretically) is just 500 aircraft.
     
  15. seeker

    seeker Member

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    Wow so your suggesting ferry range was 3 times typical combat range...did the germans have inflight refueling :eek:

    Easy, work backwards from 5000 engine failures per month to 1000 operational jets. If 1000 sortie = 2000 engines, then 30 days = 60,000 engine/sortie. If 5000 engines are lost out of every 60,000 engine sortie each month, thats one engine lost every 12 sortie.


    The Jumo 004A was made with the high quality steel and this exhibitied 250 hours in usage, but these engines used 3 times as much of the special steel used in the Jumo 004B [production engine]. However the Jumo 004B got only 10-25 hours usage before failure. So Jumo 004B was a bad idea, they should have stayed with the Jumo 004A and would have gotten atleast 3 times as many operational jets.

    Me 262 PROJECT TECHNICAL DATA

    In the last year of the war the germans produced 6000 Jumo 004B that could have averaged 60,000-150,000 operational hours. That averages out to only 164-411 engines operational per day or 82-205 jets...baring any losses.

    The reason these figures were never reached historically is because of the critical fuel shortage in the winter/spring of 1945 as a result of the US Strategic bombing campaign through the second half of 1944 and the territorial gains the Soviets made at the same time.

    Had they gone the Jumo 004A route and limited production by the amount of special steel, they would only have gotten only 2000 engines built, however those engines could have lasted 500,000 operational hours total. Thats an average of about 1370 operational engines or 685 operational jets per day.

    Sorry that was refering to the other responder before you.

    Jumo004

    http://journals.iranscience.net:800...kissues/september97/features/franz/franz.html

    Engine life

    http://www.enginehistory.org/German/Me-262/Me262_Engine_2.pdf


    http://www.geocities.com/hjunkers/ju_jumo004_a1.htm

    So total Jumo 004B production was estimated at over 8000 with ~ 6000 produced in the last year of the war and I would guess the other 2000 in the year before that. Then of course their was another 500 BMW-003 engines also produced at this time.

    Gardner you will have to buy "American Raiders" if you'd like to read up on the issues they raise, but it might have something to do with this alloy in the engines that the "Aviation" 1946 article refers to.

    BTW you know that Me-262 jet fuel was essentially deisel fuel with Kerosen oil. This was only used by UBoat and some coastal craft and about 10% of the Wehrmacht wheeled and tracked vehicles, so it would hardly cripple the war effort, if the entire deisel fuel production was devoted to jet engine fuel until the allied bombing campaign had been stopped.

    PS: the USSBS estimates that actual Me-262 production was about 2000 with a good 1/3 being destroyed in factories etc. The Germans were intending to shift industrial production over to Me-262 and ramp up production. The first 100 Me-262 took an average of 24,000 man hours to build, while the 1000th was down to about 10,000 man hours. It was expected that when the Me-262 got into full mass production, it would take only 3400 man hours to build compared to 4300 manhours for each Me-109 in mass production. Which is why it was expected that production could hit 1000 per month by the end of 1945.

    By simple math [100 x 24,000] +[2000 x 10,000] manhours = 22.4 million manhours ÷ 3400 [mass production Me-262 ] manhours = 6588 Me-262 produced...and thats with out rationalizing the other jet production and switching resources from existing planes [like Me-109] to jet industry.

    If the improved engines with the fuel dump regulators and better alloys were employed its entirely possible for 10,000 jets to be built by the end of 1946 with a good number operational but lacking fuel. One proposal was to build the Interceptor concept of replacing a large portion of the Me-262 fuel tanks with rocket fuel and mount a Wagner rocket to allow climb to altitude of about 3 minutes ... although that was described as a horrible ride. But the aim was to intercept bombers not fight with allied fighters or jets.
     
  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    That's a pretty good working aproximation. I'm pretty sure most airforces doctrinaly set combat radius or range at between 30% and 40% of ferry range.
    That implies a sortied lasting 1-2 hours. Not unreasonable.
    That's the problem with most of the high reliability engines is they require speciall alloys which usually means alloying metals that were in short supply as far as Germany was concerned. So the presence of a few engines with longer lives does not mean that they could have put them into production in any quantity.
     
  17. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    So, the question here is if you build the higher quality engines and use substancially more scarce alloying agents and metals what else don't you build with those materials? For example, high speed machine steel cutting bits require quite a bit of chromium, vanadium, and in some types tungsten. Do you reduce production of these? Do you reduce armor plate production using nickel? There is a big trade off that may be worse than the cure so to speak.

    As for the Me 262C with a rocket motor, the same problem occurs with it that occurs with the Me 163. That is, it trades speed for range. The rocket may get you to altitude quick but only if the enemy is stupid enough to fly over the airfield you are parked on. This is why interceptor-type aircraft have generally proven failures in operational use. Range is important. It is the number one reason the P-51 was so successful.
     
  18. seeker

    seeker Member

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    The maximum endurance of the jet was only 1.25-1.5 hours at cruise speed of say 350 mph. The radius would be .75 of this figure cut in half, or about ~200 mile radius and 525mile ferry range.

    As to the materials invovled you would use up no more than historical until the Jumo 004D/E engines are ready in 1945. You just produce fewer engines. Historically > 8000 Jumo 004B were produced with 6000 in the last year and about 2000 in the year before that. So with only 1/3 the strategic metals in each engine , you can only produce 1/3 as many Jumo 004A , but mass production can begin right away instead of waiting until 1944. Thats ~700 Jumo 004A from early 43 to early 44 and another 2000 from early 44 to early 45.

    So through 1943 to early 1944 you can build 350 Me-262 . During this year they should get total of ~ 175000 operational engine hours. By the early 1944 period that could translate into ~ 150 operational Me-262 with about 70,000 engine hours or about 230 flying hours per jet, in the last 1/4 . Thats roughly 2.5 flying hours per jet per day ....if you have enough fuel.

    Historically you would have produced 2000 engines but with only 20,000 operational engine hours, That should allow you maybe 40 Jets flying per day by the end of this year, if sufficent fuel can be found. By the end of the second year you might be able to manage 110 jets operational each day flying only an hour a day...if any fuel can be found at all.


    With the 1/3 as many Jumo 004A engines in the next year , you can only produce ~1000 more Me-262, each with a pair of the Jumo 004A engines. However by Late 1944 you could have 400-500 Me-262 each flying about 2 hours per day, if sufficent fuel can be found.

    Since the high temperature metals involved in the alloying amounted to a mere 20 kg per jet engine, then the balance of the metal resource allocated to produce the Jumo 004A that don't get built can still be directed to producing more piston engines in the factories....maybe 3000 more Jumo 213 engines through out this whole time period?
     
  19. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    "seeker", the "if fuel could be found" is a limiting factor to be sure, inability to produce the engines in quantity has been sidestepped by extending other factors. That leaves only one little problem.

    The Atomics. They were designed to be used against the Nazis, and if they had been allowed to come to the battle in the ETO, the number of Me-262s one can produce becomes irrelevant. The allies bombed the heck out of Heisenberg's research area east of Berlin, we knew it was there. We (western allies) sent our ALSOS teams to capture and destroy all the stuff which had been transferred to Stuttgart after the other facility was bombed flat.

    A single atomic on Stuttgart by night drop would have certainly gotten the Nazis attention, probably faster than the two it took for the Japanese. Atomic explosives were conceived of, if never perfected in Germany remember? That section of the Axis would have recognized the weapon without doubt.
     

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