Me 262 – How Germany Tried To Regain Air Supremacy
YouTube / Military Aviation History
They had the plane, and they had the tactics, but they still didn’t work! Here’s why:
Introduction of Jet Aircraft
Germans introduced the production of jet aircraft to the Luftwaffe in 1944. There are various reasons for this. For instance, Germans had issues producing enough planes and piston engines which were very resource-intensive. Also, the lack of fuel and pilots negatively impacted the Luftwaffe’s operations.
The main reasons why the Germans shifted to jet fighters were to re-establish the Luftwaffe to fighting strength, stop daytime bombing raids, and finally, reset the air war.
Why The Me 262
The Me 262 was a way to balance out numerical inferiority with technological and tactical superiority.
To accomplish this, Germany went for what we now call a high-low mix for jet fighters- specifically both for the Me262 and the He 162 into production.
Decentralized Production of Jet Fighters
The goal of decentralized production is to reduce the value of each production site as a high-value target making an attack on each improbable from a cost-benefit standpoint and reducing the effect this attack has on the overall production line.
The Me 262 production was never planned to be decentralized- but the bomber threat as well as the raids against Messerschmitt plants in 1943 forced this change.
Germany was able to produce a large number of engines and airframes under austere conditions such as problems with manpower, resources, and infrastructure.
When operational, the Me 262 did become a tactical threat to Allied bombers when properly used. With that said the Allies quickly responded by identifying, patrolling, and attacking German positions with offensive fighter sweeps.
As a result, this effectively disrupted both production and Me 262 operations. Germany’s attempts to change the tides of the war through tactics and technology failed. In the end, the Me 262 wasn’t able to fulfill its primary goal.