Striking by Night
Messerschmitt Me 262
The twin-engined Messerschmitt Me 262 was the world’s first fully operational jet aircraft. With its speed and four 30-millimetre nose-mounted cannon, it was a formidable weapon and bombers were easy targets. Several Australian bombers recorded encounters with the jets; remarkably, an Australian Spitfire pilot shot one down. It was the decision to develop the aircraft as a fighter-bomber that delayed large-scale production and reduced its impact on the course of the war. The Allies also had a jet aircraft: the British introduced the Gloster Meteor before the end of the war.
Messerschmitt Me 262A Sturmvogel Manufacturer Messerschmitt at Regensburg-Obertraubling, Germany Type Fighter-bomber Wingspan 12.5 metres Length 10.6 metres Powerplant Two Junkers Jumo 109-004B axial-flow turbojets Armament Four 30-millimetre cannon; one 500-kilogram (or two 250-kilogram) bomb(s) Crew One Colour scheme Layers of paint reveal the original 1945 German paint work applied in a thin coat with the black “X” unit marking; the 1945 British Air Ministry markings (“P” for prototype and “AIR MIN 81”); and a 1950s RAAF over-paint.