World War II in the News is a review of WWII articles providing thought-provoking collection of hand-picked WW2 information.

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Me262 - The Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe

Me262 - The Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe -- The first operational Jet Fighter.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.

Nazi Germany's Me-262 Jet Fighter Was Revolutionary but Too Late
It was the development of the feared R4M rockets that sealed the fate of many Allied flyers over Germany when facing the Me-262. “The rockets gave us extra punch,” said Me-262 pilot Leutnant Klaus Neumann. “Fire the rockets, do the damage, weaken the tight formation integrity of the bombers, and then pick off the crippled stragglers,” he said.

Me 262 Nazi Jet Fighter: The story of Adolf Hitler's wonder weapon
At the end of World War II, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler still hoped that progressive technology, like the Messerschmitt jet fighter, could turn the tables. It took 4 and a half years, but on March 20, 1944, the armaments industry came to Zittau. As the Allies flew an increasing number of air raids over Nazi Germany, weapons factories began a search for remote places to relocate. Indeed, by 1943 Luftwaffe chief Hermann Göring had already cooked up plans to relocate the aviation industry. It took a year, but then Junkers moved into a jet engine factory (guarded by the 17th SS "Totenkopf" battalion) belonging to the Moras Brothers textile company in Zittau.

Tail gunner Babe Broyhill set records for downed German ME-262 jet fighters
On a March day in 1945, Babe Broyhill was the tail gunner on "Big Yank," a B-17 Flying Fortress over Berlin. He saw Luftwaffe ME-262 jet fighters swarm toward Big Yank's tail. "They were 1,000 yards away when I started cutting loose with my guns... my tracers were going right into its fuselage. Suddenly it went down in flames. The second came into my sights... I kept shooting away... Suddenly it also spiraled down." The Big Yank crew set a record for the number of ME-262 jets destroyed by one crew on one mission (3) and Broyhill set two records: most German jets destroyed by a gunner in one mission (2) and most German jets destroyed by a gunner during the war (2).

P-47 pilot James Finnegan shot down Nazi Ace Adolf Gallant
James Finnegan, a young fighter pilot flying his P-47, found himself in a dogfight - And at the end of it he downed the top German ace Adolf Galland flying Messerschmitt Me 262 jet. Finnegan was escorting Allied bombers when he "saw two objects come zipping through the formation, and 2 bombers blew up immediately. I watched the two objects go through the bomber formation, and thought, 'It's got to be one of the 262 jets.'" Galland managed to land his crippled Me-262 jet, and years later the two pilots became friends, visiting each other to swap WWII stories.

Fly the legendary Me262 fighter - Messerschmitt ME-262 Flight Program
You can now be a part of the Messerschmitt ME-262 Flight Program by The Collings Foundation. From the best vantage point, the cockpit, you will take to the skies in this legendary aircraft - recreated to standards from an original ME-262 trainer. It's an unique chance for pilots to experience the aircraft that made history as the first fighter jet. "ME-262 embodies all the characteristics expected of an aircraft that changed aerial combat forever. The mere sight of the ME-262 struck fear in the hearts of all Army Air Corps aircrew that saw it in the sky - it was just so far ahead of its time!"

Wolfgang Czaia: Project 262 - The Test Pilot's Journal   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Wolfgang Czaia, the test pilot for the Paine Field-based Me-262 Project, had the rare chance to fly the first authentic reproduction of the famed World War II German jet fighter. His book "Project 262, The Test Pilot’s Journal" tells the story of those test flights, his off-the-runway crash and the experience of flying as an escort for a B-24 bomber, one of the Me-262’s wartime targets. Illustrated with almost 150 photos by aviation photographer Jim Larsen, the 224-page, book includes a 45m DVD filled with movies of the test flights and production. Put into service late in World War II, the Me-262 missed its chance to alter the result of that conflict.

July 18, 1942: World's First Operational Jet Fighter Takes Wing
The third prototype of the Me 262 becomes the first true operational jet plane when it takes to the Bavarian skies during WW2. Engine problems and political bungling delayed its debut as a combat aircraft until 1944, but when it arrived, the 2-jet Messerschmitt 262 showed that it was more than a match for the Allied fighters, including Britain's jet, the Gloster Meteor. Me 262 should have been ready much earlier, but high costs and the belief of many Luftwaffe officers that conventional aircraft could win the war prevented Third Reich from making the Me 262 a priority. Like the Type XXI U-boat, the Me 262 appeared too late.

Me262 Flies Over Germany Once Again
Aero-News has learned that Tango Tango -- the second flying reproduction of the groundbreaking Messerschmidt Me262 WWII jet fighter -- took to the skies over Germany earlier this week. The historic flight marked the first time that an Me262 has flown over Germany since 1945. Upon successful flight testing, the Me262 Project plans to fly and display Tango Tango at the Berlin ILA 2006 Airshow, May 16-21.

P-51 Mustang ace: Shooting down Messerschmitt 262 jet fighter   (Article no longer available from the original source)
WWII fighter ace Clayton Kelly Gross has published a memoir about his adventures shooting down six German airplanes as a P-51 Mustang pilot. His flight leader assigned Gross to fly low, luring German attackers so the rest of his outfit could shoot down the enemy fighters. On April 14, 1945, flying at 12,000 feet, Gross plunged his P-51 into a dive so he could boost his speed enough to catch a 100 mph faster Messerschmitt 262 jet fighter cruising below. The plummeting P-51 was shaking so badly that Gross almost couldn't control it. Nearly colliding with the 262, Gross squeezed the trigger in his control stick and shot it down.