|At the outset of the war, the Luftwaffe was one of the most modern, powerful, and experienced air forces in the world, dominating the skies over Europe with aircraft much more advanced than their counterparts. The Luftwaffe was central to the German Blitzkrieg (lightning war) doctrine, as the close air support provided by various medium two-engine bombers, Stuka dive bombers and an overwhelming force of tactical fighters were key to several early successes.|
Dornier Do 215
Dornier Do 17
Dornier Do 335 Pfeil
Junkers Ju 88
Messerschmitt Bf 109
Messerschmitt Me 262
Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor,
Heinkel He 111
Focke-Wulf Fw 190,
Junkers Ju 52
USAF Plane List
LIST OF PLANES US AIR FORCE WW2
USN WW2 Torpedo Bomber -
Douglas TBD-1 Devastator
USN WW2 Fighters:
F-82 TWIN MUSTANG
REPUBLIC P-47 THUNDERBOLT
NORTH AMERICAN P-51 MUSTANG
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress,
Boeing B-29 Superfortress
B-24 D Liberator
Martin B-26 Marauder
Messerschmitt Me 262
The Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe (Swallow) was the first operational jet powered fighter aircraft. It saw limited action during the end of World War II. German pilots nicknamed it the Turbo, while to the allies they were blow jobs.
Although often viewed as a last ditch super-weapon, the Me 262 was actually under development before the start of WWII. Plans were first drawn up in April 1939, and the original design was very similar to the plane that would eventually enter service. The first test flights began in April 1941, but since the BMW 003 turbojets were not ready for fitting, a conventional Junkers Jumo 210 engine was mounted in the nose in order to test the airframe. When the BMW 003 engines were finally installed the Jumo was retained for safety reasons; this proved wise as on the first flight with the 003's both of them failed in-flight and the pilot had to land the plane with the nose mounted engine alone.
It was the third airframe that was to become a true jet plane when it took to the air on July 18 1942 in Leipheim near G?nzburg, Germany, piloted by Fritz Wendel. Instead of the planned 003 engines which were proving unreliable, the Junkers Jumo 004 had become available and was installed in its place. The 004 was heavier than the 003, and as a result the center of gravity of the plane would have been too far forward for safety. Moving the engines to the rear was a simple solution to the problem, but as they were mounted centered on the wing spars this wasn't easy to do. The solution was to bend the wings themselves to the rear, leading to the enduring myth that the plane was designed as a swept-wing fighter.
Test flights continued over the next year but the engines continued to be completely unreliable. Although all modifications to the airframe design were completed by 1942, they didn't bother to start production until 1944 when the engines finally started to work. Even then they rarely managed to last 12 hours, and it was not uncommon to have them explode during their first run-up tests. Planes often ended combat with one or both engines dead.
Another problem with early jet engines is that they had poor thrust at low speed, it's only once the plane is up and running that they come into their own. They also throttled up poorly because it was very easy to burn more fuel than you need by opening the throttle quickly, thereby building up tremendous heat in the burner section melting the end of the engine off (literally). These problems made the plane very difficult to land. If there was any problem with the approach there was practically nothing you could do because the thrust would come on after you had hit the ground. Allied fighter pilots quickly learned of these problems and started attacking the jet fields during landings.
The poor thrust at lower speeds also meant that the aircraft took a fairly long time to climb to altitude, at least compared to other late war designs, and that it burned a tremendous amount of fuel getting to operational altitude. This meant that it had enough fuel for only a short sortee, perhaps on the order of half an hour, even though the plane was literally filled with fuel in every available space.
Even with all of these problems the plane was clearly pointing to the end of the propeller aircraft as a fighting machine. Once the plane was in the air it quickly accelerated to speeds well over 500mph, over 100mph faster than anything in the air. As long as the pilot flew the plane well, it simply flew right past the opposing fighters and tore into the bombers with its heavy armament of four 30mm cannons. In the hands of an even better pilot, the plane could run down P-51s so fast that the opposing pilots simply couldn't get out of the way in time.
Me262 Post-war variants
(credits: US Navy History Center)
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|WW2 Luftwaffe Planes - List of Aircraft Junkers Ju 87 Stuka Dornier Do 215 Junkers Ju-188 Dornier Do 17, Dornier Do 335 Pfeil Junkers Ju 88 Messerschmitt Bf 109, Messerschmitt Me 262 Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor, Heinkel He 111 Focke-Wulf Fw 190, Junkers Ju 52|
|LIST OF PLANES US AIR FORCE WW2 USN WW2 Torpedo Bomber - Douglas TBD-1 Devastator USN WW2 Fighters: Brewster F2A Buffalo, Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk Grumman F3F, Grumman F4F Wildcat, General Motors FM-2 Wildcat LOCKHEED P-38 LIGHTNING F-82 TWIN MUSTANG REPUBLIC P-47 THUNDERBOLT NORTH AMERICAN P-51 MUSTANG Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Boeing B-29 Superfortress Consolidated B-24 D Liberator North American B-25 Mitchell, Martin B-26 Marauder|
|Third Reich Organization and people GERMAN ARMY WW2 ORDER OF BATTLE Adolf (Adolph) Hitler WW2 Victory Defeat Power Luftwaffe History Axis Powers WW2 Pact of Steel Gestapo, SS Panzer Divisions Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich, Werner Von Braun, Wilhelm Canaris, Albert Sper, Walter Schellenberg, Von Rundstedt, Heinz Guderian, Wilhelm Keitel Field Marshal Erwin Rommel - Desert Fox German Africa Corps Manstein WW2 German Generals Otto Skorzeny (Skorceny) WW2 Commandos Rundstedt WW2 Field Marshal Nazism Fascism WW2 V1 Rocket - Flying Bomb V-1 V2 Rocket V-2 Fuhrerbunker - WW2 Forifications Maginot Line WW2 Iron Cross Flak|
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|USAF Plane List USN FIGHTERS A-10 / A10 Thunderbolt II F-5 Freedom Fighter F-20 Tigershark F-4 Phantom II F-86 Sabre, A-4 Skyhawk, A-6 Grumann Intruder F-14 Tomcat F-15 Eagle F15, F-16 Fighting Falcon F-18 Hornet F-22 Raptor F-35 Joint Strike Fighter U-2 Dragon Lady SR-71 Blackbird F-117 Nighthawk F117 F-22 Raptor, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter JSF B-52 Stratofortress B52 F-111, AC130 Gunship B-1 Lancer B-2 Spirit P-3C Orion S-3B Viking CH-46 Sea Knight, CH-53 Sea Stallion H-3 Sea King MH-53 Sea Dragon SH-60 Seahawk HH/UH-1N Iroquois AH-1 Cobra UH-60 Black Hawk, HH-60 Pave Hawk Helicopter AH-64 Apache AH64 RQ-1 Predator List of Aircraft Weapons|
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WW2 Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe