historyGermany's Me-262 was the first Jet fighter aircraft in the world to enter combat. It would have revolutionized aerial warfare if it had been used the way Adolf Galland wanted it from the outset. Instead, Hitler's obsession with jet-powered bombers meant that its strengths were ignored. By the time Galland got his interceptors, it was a case of too little, too late.
this aircraftThe RAF Museum's records detail this aircraft's history:
INDIVIDUAL HISTORY MESSERSCHMITT Me262A - 2a W/NR.112372/VK893/AM51/8482M MUSEUM ACCESSION NUMBER 85/AF/69
Assembly date at Leipheim; The left hand upper ecu panel bears the date 18 December 1944 and the inspector’s stamp ‘Kontrolle 257’
23 Mar 45
Test-Flown at Memmingen by Uffz.Sepp Gerstmayr between 16:29 and 16:36.
24 Mar 45
Flown by Ofw. Otto Kaiser between 09:52 and 10:13
Delivered to Jagdgeschwader (JG)7 ‘Nowotny’ as one of 89 new Me 262s delivered to JG7 that month.
8 May, 1945
Correspondence from R. C. Gosling at one point suggested that during the afternoon this aircraft and four other ME 262s of 1./JG7 flew from Zatec, Czechoslovakia to Fassberg, northern Germany to surrender to British forces - one of two or three Me262 sorties made that day. On the way they strafed Russian armoured columns and shot down a Russian P39 Airacobra. Pilot for this 11th hour sortie was Uffz. Engler of JG3. (However, Peczkowski in his Messerschmitt Me 262A Schwalbe, 2002, states that it was captured by UK troops on 6 May at Lubeca)
8 May, 1945
Several Me 262 aircraft surrendered at Fassberg, including `Yellow 7' of 1/JG7. The RAF found at least six Me262s at Fassberg from JG7 and KG51. As the German military situation deteriorated by mid April 1./JG7 had some 40 Me262s on strength, down to 26 by 30th April. Aircraft from JG7 and KG51 later formed an ad hoc composite unit, ’Gefechtsverband Hogeback’. Taken over briefly by No.616 Squadron, the RAF's first operational jet squadron, flying Meteor aircraft.
Some doubt remains about the actual exact identity of the RAF Museum aircraft, 112372. The British acquired at least seven A-series aircraft. Russ Snadden originally believed 112372 was actually Yellow 17 ex 3/JG7, as discussed in his May 1997 article in Aeroplane Monthly.
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