Me 262 night fighter

by Mitch on February 21, 2011 0 Comments

Several two-seat trainer variants of the Me 262, the Me 262 B-1a, had been adapted through the Umrüst-Bausatz 1 factory refit package as night fighters, complete with on-board FuG 218 Neptun high-VHF band radar, using Hirschgeweih ("stag's antlers") antennae with a set of shorter dipole elements than the Lichtenstein SN-2 had used, as the B-1a/U1 version. Serving with 10 Staffel, Nachtjagdgeschwader 11, near Berlin, these few aircraft (alongside several single-seat examples) accounted for most of the 13 Mosquitoes lost over Berlin in the first three months of 1945. However, actual intercepts were generally or entirely made using Wilde Sau methods, rather than AI radar-controlled interception. As the two-seat trainer was largely unavailable, many pilots had to make their first flight in a jet in a single-seater without an instructor.

NIGHT FIGHTER CAMO

by Mitch on February 21, 2011 0 Comments

Unlike Britain, where the major targets lay only a few minutes flight time from the coast, Germany was protected by large tracts of neutral territory that gave them long times to deal with intruding bombers. Instead of airborne radar, they relied on ground based systems; the targets would first be picked up by radar assigned to a "cell", the radar would then direct a searchlight to "paint" the target, allowing the fighters to attack them without on-board aids. The searchlights were later supplanted with short-range radars that tracked both the fighters and bombers, allowing ground operators to direct the fighters to their targets. By July 1940 this system was well developed as the Kammhuber Line, and proved able to deal with the small raids by isolated bombers the RAF was carrying out at the time.

 

At the urging of R.V. Jones, the RAF changed their raid tactics to gather all of their bombers into a single "stream". This meant that the ground based portion of the system was overwhelmed - with only one or two searchlights or radars available per "cell", the system was able to handle perhaps six interceptions per hour. By flying all of the bombers over a cell in a short period, the vast majority of the bombers flew right over them without ever having been plotted, let alone attacked. German success against the RAF plummeted, reaching a nadir on 30/31 May 1942 when the first 1,000 bomber raid attacked Cologne, losing only 4 aircraft to German night fighters.

 

It was not until 1942 that the Germans first started deploying their Lichtenstein radar, and at that time in extremely limited numbers. This late date, and slow introduction, allowed British radio engineers to develop jamming equipment to counter it. A race developed with the Germans attempting to introduce new sets and the British attempting to jam them, with the British holding the upper hand throughout. The early Lichtenstein B was replaced by the Lichtenstein C-1, but when a German night fighter defected and landed in Scotland in April 1943, it was quickly jammed. The SN-2 unit that replaced the C-1 remained relatively secure until the end of the war, but only at the cost of using huge antennas that slowed their fighters as much as 25 mph, making them easy prey for British night fighters who had turned to the offensive role. Even this radar was eventually jammed when another German aircraft landed in England in July 1944.

German Aircraft Camo 1 - Messerschmitt Me 262

by Mitch on February 10, 2011 0 Comments

With its unmistakable sharklike lines, the Me 262 was the world’s first operational jet fighter. It might have reestablished German aerial supremacy had sufficient jet engines been available.

 

In 1938 the German Air Ministry approached Willy Messerschmitt to create a radically different fighter craft, one powered by new turbojet engines then under development. The first prototype emerged in April 1941 but had to be flown with a conventional nose-mounted engine. The Me 262 was a low-wing, all-metal monoplane of stressed-skin construction. The wings were swept, and the first prototypes landed on tailwheels, but subsequent versions employed tricycle landing gear. However, the Luftwaffe displayed little interest initially, and the project received few construction priorities. It was not until July 1942 that the first jet-powered flight could be held, but the new craft was a marvel to behold. It was at least 100 miles per hour faster than the best Allied piston-powered fighters, and it handled extremely well. At this time the Third Reich was being battered by enormous fleets of Allied heavy bombers, so it became imperative to deploy the Me 262 as an air-superiority weapon. However, when Adolf Hitler witnessed a test flight, he ordered that the craft be outfitted as a high-speed bomber! This did little to facilitate production, and efforts were further beset by a lack of engines.

 

The first Me 262s deployed in August 1944, less than a year before the war in Europe ended. There were ongoing problems with engine reliability and fuel shortages, but the vaunted Schwalbe (Swallow), as it was dubbed, created havoc with Allied bombers. On March 18, 1945, a force of 37 Me 262s attacked U.S. B-17s near Berlin, scything down 15 with a loss of two jets. The bomber version, known as the Sturmvogel (Storm Petrel), had also debuted, but it was tactically misused. Although 1,430 Me 262s were built, only a handful actually saw combat. They claimed 150 Allied aircraft—and may have shot down many more—save for Hitler’s meddling and the Luftwaffe’s initial indifference.

Armament of Bf 110 Nightfighter

by Mitch on January 29, 2011 0 Comments

The first C and D versions used the standard upper 4 MG 17 7.9mm and the 2 lower 20mm's.

 

When the G-4 version became the standard in 1943 the armament was changed to two upper 30mm weapons and retained the lower two 20mm's.

 

Experiments were also used with the day destroyer anti-bomber package of an additional under the fuselage weapons pod of 2 20mm guns. But it was too heavy and restricted the performance of the Bf 110G as a night fighter, adding the weight of the radar set and arrays and you had a slow beast. Besides the 30mm and two 20mm's were enough to down any RAF bomber during the war.

 

In common with other night fighters employed by the Luftwaffe the Bf110 was also fitted, on certain models, with the oblique forward firing twin 20mm 'Schrage Musik' cannon installation enabling them to rake allied night bombers from below - out of range of the fields of return fire.

 

Schräg waffen became standard equipment on the Bf 110G in Mid-August 1943 after the Peenumunde raid.

 

Also experiments of using two 20 mm's with flash hiders in the upper nose to replace the 30mm weapons on the night fighter version.

Messerschmitt Me 262 Photofile

by Mitch on December 31, 2010 0 Comments

With its unmistakable sharklike lines, the Me 262 was the world’s first operational jet fighter. It might have reestablished German aerial supremacy had sufficient jet engines been available.

 

In 1938 the German Air Ministry approached Willy Messerschmitt to create a radically different fighter craft, one powered by new turbojet engines then under development. The first prototype emerged in April 1941 but had to be flown with a conventional nose-mounted engine. The Me 262 was a low-wing, all-metal monoplane of stressed-skin construction. The wings were swept, and the first prototypes landed on tailwheels, but subsequent versions employed tricycle landing gear. However, the Luftwaffe displayed little interest initially, and the project received few construction priorities. It was not until July 1942 that the first jet-powered flight could be held, but the new craft was a marvel to behold. It was at least 100 miles per hour faster than the best Allied piston-powered fighters, and it handled extremely well. At this time the Third Reich was being battered by enormous fleets of Allied heavy bombers, so it became imperative to deploy the Me 262 as an air-superiority weapon. However, when Adolf Hitler witnessed a test flight, he ordered that the craft be outfitted as a high-speed bomber! This did little to facilitate production, and efforts were further beset by a lack of engines.

 

The first Me 262s deployed in August 1944, less than a year before the war in Europe ended. There were ongoing problems with engine reliability and fuel shortages, but the vaunted Schwalbe (Swallow), as it was dubbed, created havoc with Allied bombers. On March 18, 1945, a force of 37 Me 262s attacked U.S. B-17s near Berlin, scything down 15 with a loss of two jets. The bomber version, known as the Sturmvogel (Storm Petrel), had also debuted, but it was tactically misused. Although 1,430 Me 262s were built, only a handful actually saw combat. They claimed 150 Allied aircraft—and may have shot down many more—save for Hitler’s meddling and the Luftwaffe’s initial indifference.

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