Category Last Days of the Luftwaffe

The Last Hope – Heimatschiitzer – The Protectors of the Homeland

As further development of midget fighters, special aircraft and manned rockets had not provided the hoped-for results, at the end of 1944 the Chief-TLR turned to more reliable machines. A significandy improved Me 163 had greater range and a retractable undercarriage to make it easier to handle, but, as its potential was seen as limited, the Me 262 Heimatschiitzer also received fresh impetus.

Ju248 – Further Development of the Me 263

The Ju 248 was the Me 263 renamed, the work having been passed to Junkers because the Me 262 had exhausted Messerschmitt’s capacity. In view of the tactical successes of the Me 163, OKL had decided on an improved version with

The Last Hope - Heimatschiitzer - The Protectors of the Homeland

The Ju 248 was a major improvement of the former Me 163. Designated originally as Me 263, it was produced in ones and twos and tested in central Germany at the beginning of 1945.

The Last Hope - Heimatschiitzer - The Protectors of the Homeland
longer endurance and a retractable undercarriage. The new machine, equipped with a more powerful rocket motor, was based on experience with the Me 163 В and was developed by Junkers as the Ju 248 from the late summer of 1944. The line was set up at Dessau Slid Waggonfabrik at the end of the year. The first wings were to be manufactured by 10 January 1945 at Puklitz/Zeitz, while the firms of Kronprinz and VDM were responsible for the undercarriage. Many of the other parts were duplicates from the Me 163 B. However, the fuselage would not take the Walter engine and had to be extended by 0.5 metres, thus ruining the timetable.

On 13 January OKL pressed hard for the series run even though work on the first experimental machines had come to a halt, and therefore on 29 January OKL considered abandoning the whole project: JG 400 would receive the He 162 in the short term. The decision was reversed at the beginning of February when the first prototype, Ju 248 V-l, was ready and Flugkapitan Pancherz flew it on 8 February under tow by a Bf 110 (pilot Karl Went). After a second test flight, Pancherz flew six more times on 11 and 13 February and by 19 February the aircraft had been in the air on 13 occasions.

On 7 March the Junkers engineers admitted that the Ju 248 was not so well ahead as might appear, for example the Walter motor ordered for Ju 248 V-2 had not arrived. The daily air raids on the Junkers Werke had destroyed many documents including material being prepared for the Japanese. By mid-March 1945 the undercarriage, part of the electrical system and some instruments were still awaited. In view of the fact that rocket fuels could not be produced in sufficient amounts, on 20 March OKL decided that the Me 263 would have to be cancelled, leaving the field theoretically to the He 162. Three days later Junkers Dessau advised the Chief-TLR that the Walter motor had finally been mounted in the first prototype, but important elements were still missing so that the first rocket-powered ascent was now postponed to the end of the month, and ultimately no test was possible because the front line arrived at Dessau. Most of the documents were destroyed at Ragun School to thwart their seizure by US forces. At least one of the two Me 263s had been blown up shortly before. Dessau was occupied on 24 April 1945.

Acknowledgements

My research into the documents stretches back to 1981 when I received a copy of A. 1.2(g) Report No. 2382 German Aircraft, New and Projected Types dated January 1946 and addressed to USAF HQH realised that there were far more extensive plans and projects than was admitted at the time. Over the next few years I found ever more hidden reports and secret files which led to a much broader picture. In the months following the war’s end, the Allied staffs, faced by this flood of new information, must have been taken aback by the extent of the

captured material. My research led me to draw provisional conclusions.

Without the collaboration of many friends and acquaintances interested in aviation history this work could probably not have been finished. This applies equally to the assistance I received from public archives, firms and government offices. I would like especially to thank the Bundesarchiv for their broad support for my endeavour. Similarly, help came from the staff of the German Museum at Munich. I also owe thanks to the staff of NARA at Washington DC, and the former PRO (now the National Archives) in London who provided active assistance in clarifying areas of doubt and assembled very convincing material. The Bundeswehr Procurement Office (BWB) helped out in questions of weaponry, and the German Study Bureau for Aviation with general information. Finally I must mention the help of the staff at the Bundeswehr Reference Library, Mainz, in obtaining and evaluating literature.

The work was supported additionally by the Technical University of Munich, to whose employees I offer my warmest thanks. Details of the development history of the BMW Motor Works were provided in large quantities by BMW AG. Valuable information came from EADS, Daimler-Chrysler and many other organisations of renown. I am also indebted to the Junkers Works and Bernburg military airfield.

Support also came from many enthusiasts and acknowledged experts in the field of German aviation, and I mention above all contributors Boehme; Cords; Dipl. Ing. Cohausz; Creek; Crow; Dabrowski; Dr Hiller; Edelhofer; Foedrowitz; Franzke; M. and H. Handig; Hafner; Herwig; Hildebrandt; Hofling; Jarski; Jayne; Jurleit; Dip. Ing. Kossler; Dr Koos; Krieg; Kudlikow; Lachler; Lang; Lange; Dipl. Ing. Lommel; Lutz jr.; Dr Mankau; Marchand; Meyer; Mombek; Miiller; Pawlas; Petrick; Dr Price; Radinger; Ransom; Regel; Riediger; Ricco; Rosch; Schliephake; Schmidt; Schmitt; Obering. I. R. Schreiber; Selinger; Sengfleder; Smith; Sommerfeld; Mag. jur. Stuber; Thiele; Trenkle; Vajda; Wagner; Walter and Dipl. Ing. Zucker. All shared their knowledge or made available useful photos or files. Without their selfless assistance a volume of this extent would not have been possible. Despite all efforts nevertheless many helpers remain hidden by the mists of time in my intensive research work since 1980.

I am always grateful for indications as to inaccuracies and error, and also for constructive criticism. I can be contacted for that purpose at <manfredgriehl@ t-online. de>.

I owe especial thanks to my wife Monika who read through the manuscript and gave me great encouragement.

Manfred Griehl Mainz, 2009

Postfach 2162, D-55011 Mainz

Aviator Training for Special Purposes

F

rom 1943 the Luftwaffe found itself in a predicament. The offensives on all fronts had petered out, and the high command had been forced on the back foot for the first time. A number of engineers were given the task at the beginning of 1944 of devising a way to regain air superiority from the Allies. Using every possibility to the full, with the harshest employment of forced labour and concentration camp slaves, it should be possible, so they reasoned, not only to increase armament production to previously unheard-of levels, but also to bring completely new aircraft into mass production very quickly, be it the midget fighter, whose many parts could be made at a number of different manufacturers, or ‘special aircraft’which promised the pilot little chance of survival.

In the closing phase of the war, OKL tried not only inadequately developed designs such as the Volksjager, but also completely new concepts. Having the pilot recumbent, for example, would enable him to perform flight manoeuvres at very high speeds and so win him a tactical advantage over enemy machines. In the steepest turns, they calculated, it should be possible to out-manoeuvre even the most agile Allied fighter aircraft to shoot them down. Other ideas gained ground, particularly ramming. Using the Reichenberg (a manned V-l), a particular target could be destroyed in a ‘total mission, a euphemism for suicide operations. Young pilots, imbued with National Socialist ideology, understood that any means was right and justified for Endsieg (‘final victory’), and this led in 1945 to the adoption of kamikaze tactics. The fact was not openly declared to that section of German youth which, from 1944 onwards, wanted to make its contribution to the victory of the German Reich by volunteering for ‘Aviator Training for Special Purposes’.

Victory Lying Down

Throughout their period in power the Nazi authorities attached great importance to the earliest possible basic training of youth, especially the Hitler Youth, as a source of supply to the Wehrmacht and SS. In May 1944 there were over 210 glider camps in which 10,000 Hitler Youth and a few older NSFK (National Socialist Flying Corps) men served, and were trained to fly various gliders. Not

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for want of trying by the training staff it was found impossible to make a pilot of everybody, and the number of young men found suitable for the Luftwaffe successfully completing basic NSFK aviator training was modest. Some 500 of the 10,000 glider-trained Hider Youth were considered for continuation training as operational fighter pilots.

The increasing air raids on targets in the occupied territories and against cities and industrial complexes in the Reich caused ever higher casualties. German losses rose swifdy month by month. Possibly decisive for the further course of the war would be locally based protection of industrial installations, particularly oil refineries. A fast-climbing rocket fighter with relatively limited range would provide them with a minimum of cover. To fly these awkward machines required well-trained pilots. The use of glider pilots after only a short tactical course and training in aerial gunnery was not promising. Hitler Youth applicants for evaluation were required initially to furnish an A, В or C certificate in gliding. From thousands of applicants only a few hundred suitable for further training would be selected and sent on to development centres. Upon successful completion of a selection course, those who had passed were then transferred to Brno for the ‘Fighter Pilot Recruitment Course for Special Purposes’.

Aviator Training for Special Purposes

Towards the end of the war the Luftwaffe was no longer so fussy about personnel. ‘Foreign pilots’of many ethnic backgrounds were being trained from 1944.

After their arrival at Trebbin, Laucha and other training establishments, the short introductory period was followed by flying training on the Kranich. Nothing was to be known about future operational machines. All young pilots were sworn to secrecy and forbidden to photograph the very unusual glider.

In mid-September 1944 it seemed probable that Erich Bachem’s vertical take-off BP 20 Natter local fighter would be ready for trials by the end of the year. So that the makeshift aircraft might enter service as soon as possible, training was begun in the late summer of 1944. It was agreed between Bachem and the RLM that 50 recumbent seats planned for the earlier version of the Natter would be manufactured and delivered to Grunau for the first Liegekranich gliders. The firm of Schneider would convert the training aircraft on hand accordingly. The contract was awarded on 29 September 1944. Ludwig Hofmann was selected to prepare the training course for future Natter pilots at Trebbin. For this purpose Oberst Gollob permitted him to take part in Me 163 training from the end of September.

Bachem had stipulated in his specification for the Natter that the normally most dangerous flight phase, landing, was not difficult, and consequently future pilots would need only basic flying knowledge, the В-licence being sufficient, covering the ability to fly in three dimensions with special instruction in Natter technique tacked on. A two-seater trainer with the flight characteristics of the Natter would be provided, special emphasis being placed on familiarizing the pilot with the unusual pilot seat. Later the young pilot would be shown the flight characteristics of the machine and how it behaved at high speed. Approaches would follow against moving targets. The approach itself would be a kind of dog­leg. Great importance was attached to the final shooting phase, for the limited flight time of the Natter did not provide for a second opportunity.

The training aircraft had room for the pilot to squat. The instrumentation and control unit were identical to the later operational aircraft. The flight instructor would handle take-off and landing in the two-seater. In order to impart flying knowledge earlier it was planned to have a lower wing loading than the operational version. A powerful winch was provided for take-off. Touch­down speed was 80 km/hr (50 mph). The pilot would round off the session by firing a Schmeisser at a mock-up of a bomber. It was thought that this would arouse his sporting instincts and enable him to acquit himself swifdy in this area of the training programme.

After completing the shooting and basic flight requirements, the pilot would then fly a training machine with greater wing loading. The winch would be replaced by an aircraft tug to reach greater altitudes for further exercises in shooting and closing in on enemy bombers. Next would come flights in a training Natter with pulse jet astern. Rocket-assisted starts and approaches towards moving targets now came to the fore. Whether a flight in a series-produced Natter was to have followed is not known: it is suspected that upon passing out of training, the young pilots were to have been made operational immediately and thrown in at the deep end. Since the Natter never did become operational, what happened in effect was that the successful candidates were merely told that they would pilot some kind of flying machine from the recumbent position. The courses were broken off earlier than planned, however, and the Hitler Youth candidates were packed off to perform their compulsory six-month RAD (Reich Labour Service) obligation.

Work on the Natter was not completed to plan and operations were never contemplated. Continuation training, at least of pilots intended for the Natter, scarcely emerged from the theoretical stage. Since using very young pilots to fly the Me 163 was doubtful since there was no fuel, and series production of the Но IX was a long way off, all efforts were in vain, while the development and building of the Me 163 В was suspended on 5 January 1945 on the orders of the armaments controllers and the Chief-TLR.

As the Red Army headed for Berlin, its advance forced a halt to training at Brno on 19 March 1945, and its transfer to the Reich Glider School at Trebbin. Initial flight training was diverted to Laucha, but never got under way. So that students would pass smoothly to a rocket fighter, part of the training during the second phase was with the Stummelhabicht. After completing glider training it was intended that applicants selected for the Me 163, Natter or similar aircraft should undergo a short course of flight training in a motorised aircraft (Bii 181) at Leipzig, but this idea was abandoned, mainly for shortage of fuel.

When shown a training film on the Me 163, the young pilots swifdy expressed doubts as to whether they could handle it, and the same occurred at courses where pilots would fly their machines in the recumbent position. Even instructors had problems flying the converted gliders of the Habicht and Kranich types while recumbent, because they were difficult to control generally.

The Jet Misteb

The Mistel story proceeded into the jet age. Design M 4 juggled a Ju 88/Me 262 combination. The idea was soon scrapped by OKL. The Ju 88 was to have had an additional pair of jet turbines under the wings guzzling fuel for poor range. Top speed would have been greater than the various Ju 88 M 3 combinations, but the decisive factor against it was the desperate need for jet fighters to defend the Reich.

The Mistel M 5 and M 6 proposed by Junkers in January 1945 pointed to the ease of interception of the relatively slow combinations even over the Eastern Front and so advocated a jet fighter as the guidance aircraft. The Ju 88 would either have two turbines or none. These modern Mistel would have a range of 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) and a speed up to 820 km/hr at 6,000 metres (510 mph at 20,000 ft), providing invulnerability to some extent from Russian fighter attack. Work on the combination began in the late summer of 1944. The intended armament was a 2-tonne bomb with thick casing for use against merchant ships up to 15,000 tons, or with thin casing and additional flammable liquids for use against ground targets.

On 7 December 1944 Arado completed the design specifications for the Ar E 377/E 377a bomb using an Ar 234 bomber as control aircraft. Since the range of 1,300 kilometres and the speed of 720 km/hr (447 mph) at 6,000 metres was less than the M 5, the Ar 234 idea was rejected. In any case these bombers were needed for long range reconnaissance work with KG 76. Another idea using an Me 262 A-la as the guidance aircraft and a utility machine filled with a very explosive mixture was worked on at the beginning of 1945 but never realised.

Production Problems

The first Me 262 A-la series aircraft were built for test purposes at the Messerschmitt Works, Augsburg Haunstetten, from March 1944. Five prototypes had been constructed first, Me 262 S-l to S-5, and then S-6 to S-10 and the first Me 262 A-las at Leipheim. As assembly there was threatened by air attack, a large complex was set up in woods at Horgau. These were large, well camouflaged hangars, screened by numerous trees, and in a short time the production lines were running smoothly, as was also the case for the final assembly at Hasenbiihl near Schwabisch Hall. By the end of July 1944, 99 completed Me 262s had been turned out.

The Jagerstab conference of 22 July 1944 ordered that production must be accelerated in order to fulfill more of the Luftwaffe requirement. More factories

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were erected such as the Donau Moorkultur AG at Neuburg/Danube or REIMAG at Kahla. A gigantic underground production facility was set up in the nearby Walpersberg in 1944. On the ridge of the mountain was an airstrip accessible by a precipitous cable-lift from the mountain flank. A new assembly centre for parts was built in Brandenburg-Briest by November 1944 while production and assembly shops sprang up at Berlin Staaken, Wenzdorf/ Hamburg, Eger/Bohemia, at Memmingen and Kitzingen. The most brutal methods were employed to construct the gigantic production bunkers at Kaufering and Gusen in record time using innumerable concentration camp inmates. Regardless of the countless casualties, by 31 December 1944 568 Me 262 A-ls and A-2s had been turned out. Because of numerous breakdowns and losses during transfers to the front-line units, only a limited proportion arrived. Meanwhile failures in the electricity supply and problems with turbines and the shortage of parts began to show how threadbare things were becoming due to the incessant air raids. Little changed before the spring of 1945, and thus the dream of having several fighter Geschwader equipped with the jet by March

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evaporated. Only at JG 7, KG(J) 54 and Blitzbomber Geschwader KG 51 were Me 262s present in numbers. In January 1945 the QM-General had 108 machines to distribute. Besides 15 for I./JG 7 and 11 for III./JG 7, 36 went to EKG(J), 2 to III./KG(J) 6, 6 to III./KG(J) 54, 3 to the Welter night-fighter commando and 8 to industrial protection flights (ISS 1 and 2).

Deliveries of the Me 262 A-la rose, but not to the levels hoped for. Only 155 aircraft became available for distribution in February. Of these, I. and II. Gruppen at JG 7 received 42, while KG(J) 54 acquired 58. One machine went to JV 44 and another to ferry Geschwader FIUG 1. In March 1945 JG 7 received about 75 new Me 262s and JV 44 ten. The other units had to make do with repairs.

Finally 85 Me 262 A-la training machines remained to be distributed. Besides ten apportioned to III./EJG 2, II./KG(J) 54 got 6, FIUG 1 and JV 44 had two each, Chief-TLR and III./JG 7 received one each. The remaining three were listed for II./EKG 1.

In April 1945 JG 7 and JV 44 took receipt of more than 50 Me 262s, but these were too few to equip all four Gruppen at JG 7. With the termination of
all work on the Bf 109, Fw 190 and Do 335 on 22 March 1945, Me 262 production was forced to the forefront. On Hitler’s order, all production, excepting the Ar 234 jet bomber, was now to be concentrated in the fighter sector. As a result of the war situation, the instruction was only met to a limited extent as work at Messerschmitt and Focke-Wulf on piston-engined fighters had to be completed before winding down, which would last several weeks. A statistical document issued by OKL shows delivery of all versions of the Me 262 from Blitxbomber% to fighters, reconnaissance aircraft and night fighters as at 10 April 1945:

JG 7

372

NFG11

19

KG 51

342

JV 44

13

KG(J) 54

163

KG(J)6

13

KdE

25

Testing, industry and research

59

Short-range reconnaissance Gruppen I and VI

43

This was how at least 1,049 Me 262 A-ls, A-2s, B-ls and B-2s were distributed within the Luftwaffe. At the war’s end another 400 Me 262s were either ready for delivery, or virtually complete but lacking parts necessary for operational readiness. A further 500 were at a more or less advanced stage of construction. The shortage of engines, radio/radar equipment and increasingly MK 108 guns was making itself felt. J-2 fuel for delivery flights was also critical. The production of smaller jet fighters with a more powerful HeS 011 A-l jet turbine was therefore seen as a rational alternative to the Me 262 A-la.

The Go-229 in SS Hands

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Towards the end of 1943, the SS-RSHA (Reich Main Security Office) began to document all imaginable command structure weakness in the Luftwaffe and aviation industry. Obergruppenfiihrer Kaltenbrunner’s enquiries eventually produced two comprehensive dossiers which concluded, as had been hoped, that ‘the Luftwaffe has lost quantitative and qualitative superiority in the air on account of incorrect measures taken by the RLM.’Most responsible officers at

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the SS-RSHA were secretly convinced that only the SS could bring about a favourable change in the air war, only the SS (as they saw it) had the necessary brutality and commitment to score important victories in the shortest time frame. In the summer of 1944 SS-Standartenfuhrer Dr Martin Brustmann, a veteran in aviation affairs, began advocating an ‘SS air arm’. Under SS auspices, extremely fast flying-wing aircraft would be built as soon as possible in factories both above and below ground. In view of the shortage of raw materials SS-WHA had to accept substitutes: steel plating for aluminium, and in particular wood for high performance machines. SS-Obergruppenfiihrer Hans Jiittner, whom Himmler had appointed Deputy Chief of Army Armaments on 21 July 1944, was considered the man to take over air armaments for the SS. He enlisted the cooperation of SS-Hauptsturmfiihrer Kurt May, whose furniture factory at Tamm near Stuttgart would initially produce 12 Ho IXs. It seems that the idea must have been to check its development potential as a fighter. The first 12 would be trainers. After Himmler approved the project, Jiittner started producing the

Ho III, but progress was slow because May was increasingly involved in procuring wood for He 162 production and was in charge of the Stuttgart – Esslingen assembly region for Volksjager wooden parts. Work on the Ho III remained below manufacturing targets and at the beginning of 1945 the Horten design dropped out of the picture.

Подпись: This design with six jet turbines was far more efficient than the piston-engined version illustrated opposite.
After Kammler was appointed to head all development, testing and completion of jet aircraft on 27 March 1945, he found he was unable to achieve miracles. Even though all Horten designs being worked on now received greater impetus than before, nothing came of hopes that the Но IX could regain air superiority. Despite the SS s determination to set up a fanatical SS air corps, there was no progress, not even with recruitment. SS losses on all fronts were so high that ensigns commanded companies. Assembling sufficient men suitable for training as fighter pilots was impossible, and even the omnipotent SS service centres were frustrated in their self-appointed task of bringing air armaments under SS control. Nevertheless, in apparent ignorance of how the war was going, at conferences involving the Riistungsstab and Chief-TLR, almost utopian ideas and projects continued to be discussed.

The Go-229 in SS Hands
Messerschmitt and Junkers both designed powerful jet bombers in the flying-wing configuration. The Me P 1108, for example, would have been capable of carrying four SC 1800 bombs over long distances.

Night Fighters?

T

owards the end of the 1944, the German night-fighter arm was in crisis.

The efficient He 219 had not been introduced in numbers. Problems also persisted with on-board radar. From 1945 some units could expect to receive more high performance piston aircraft, or Me 262 and Ar 234 jets. Well – equipped night- and all-weather fighters were already under construction, but few thought the time would come when they would be flown.

Radar

Ever larger formations of RAF night bombers over the Reich in 1944 had asked a lot of the night-fighter arm. The Bf 110 and Do 217, and increasingly the Ju 88 G-l and G-6 were too slow and their radar equipment inadequate. The German

Night Fighters?

The increasingly heavy air attacks of the RAF and American bomber fleets forced Germany constantly to increase flak artillery.

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Night Fighters?

command centres, and individual crews, knew how susceptible the radar was to chaff and powerful jamming techniques at which the enemy excelled. Even the most modern versions of the once highly praised FuG 220 Lichtenstein were experiencing interference across the wavebands. Since Allied equipment used centimetric frequencies, all later Ju 88 G-6 night fighters were equipped with an FuG 350Zb to detect this range and so obtain advance warning of the arrival of enemy bombers.

The workshops of Deutsche Lufthansa also handled assembly work of the Wurzburg radar during the war.

Night Fighters?The real improvement occurred at the end of 1944 when, after a long and technically difficult phase of research and testing, the first centimetric sets began to filter through to operational units. These were modern 9-cm FuG 240 and FuG 244 radars. Their disguised parabola aerial was fitted alongside the conspicuously long aerials of the SN-2 unit at the nose. The bearing of the target was indicated by a tube on the FuG 240/1 Berlin N1 using a frequency around 3,500 MHz with a maximum range of 9,000 metres; 25 of the order for 100 of these Telefunken devices were delivered by the end of March 1945 and ten installed in Ju 88 G-6s of III./NJG 2 operating from Giitersloh. The unit had a working range of 5,000 metres down to 350 metres, and produced more precise data than the SN-2. The FuG 240/2 was similar to the Berlin N1 but had an improved panoramic screen showing successive sectors. Two different variants, Berlin D1 and D2, were under development, their frequencies ranging from 8,350 to 9,400 MHz.

The N2 and N3 centimetric-waveband equipment never left the laboratories and FuG 240/4 Berlin N4 was produced in 1945 as a contact keeper for wide-ranging night operations or long-distance chases. FuG 244 Bremen 0 had a powerful beam transmitter for the longer ranges to be expected in future. The equipment was fighter and more compact than the Berlin series and was scheduled to replace SN-2 radar within a few months, but a reported problem was masking of the field by the tailplane and wings. The single set of 100 ordered was at Diepensee under test early in April 1945.

Relatively few Ju 88 G-6s were fitted experimentally with Berlin N1 radar from the end of 1944 for operations over northern Germany. Their use contributed to ten RAF aircraft shot down by the end of March 1945. A few
others from the Gruppenstabe at I. and II./NJG 4 also carried the FuG 240. This provided the Luftwaffe with an on-board radar of equal value to Allied developments in the night-fighter sphere, supplemented by a system of field observers, air reconnaissance and radar.

The Volksjager Squadron

Подпись: Hauptmann Helmut Kiinnecke, the Stafelkapitan of l./JG 1, posing before his He 162 A-l on Leek air base.

Once the first prototype had been completed, on 27 December 1944 KdE and Chief-TLR proposed setting up their own test command for He 162 tactical trials at Larz near Rechlin. The unit would be of Staffel size (maybe 12 aircraft) and begin flight training from February. On 1 January the General der Jagd – flieger asked the QM-General to increase the test command to Gruppe size. In Galland s opinion, it would then be well placed to become a supply Gruppe for new He 162 pilots after the conclusion of trials, but this idea was rejected. Next day OKL ordered that the test command should operate as near as possible to the manufacturer. On 9 January the new Gruppe, I./JG 200, was formed on paper. The unit came within the jurisdiction of Luftflotte Reich, but for training purposes was controlled by Galland. During talks it was then revealed that the purely technical trials to be carried out by Stab/JG 200 at Larz would be done elsewhere, and on 10 January the Luftwaffe QM-General set up EK 162 for the usual period of six months. On the 14th the first 27 men of the technical personnel set off for Heinkel Marienehe. Less than a fortnight later, on 25 January, after JG 200 was wound up, OKL gave instructions for the formation

of a new unit, JG 80, with Stabsschwarm, Stabskompanie and a Gruppe composed of three Staffeln, each of 12 aircraft. The Gruppenstab would have an additional four He 162s. On 5 February, personnel for I./JG 80 were ordered to Vienna-Aspern where a front-line pool was set up for the He 162. Gruppenstab together with 2. and 3. Staffeln of the planned JG 80 would be set up at Parchim, the Stabsstaffel ofJG 80 at Rechlin. On 7 February the order to form JG 80 was rescinded, and the former I./JG 1 with Stabsstaffel and three flying Staffeln was to be equipped as the first Volksjager unit of the Luftwaffe.

Me 262 C-la

Me 262 C-la
The Me 262 C-la was to combine all the advantages of the Me 163 В local – defence fighter with those of the jet fighter. After work on the ‘interceptor’began

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in 1943 there had been a break before Messerschmitt returned to the idea in September 1944. On 12 September the machine was lighdy damaged in an air raid. Flight testing was suspended frequently between 9 and 29 November because of problems with the rocket engine, and further delays resulted in the first take-off, with turbines and rocket motor running in tandem, being put back to 27 February. The works pilot, Lindner, expressed great satisfaction despite light damage to the undercarriage cover. In February 1945, Me 262 V-6 – designated C-la – the future ‘Protector of the Homeland Г made a single 14- minute flight. Damage to the HWK 109-509A-2(S) motor and unfavourable weather wrecked the schedule. On 19 March take-off was aborted when Lindner failed to raise enough fuel pressure because of an air-bubble in one of the fuel tubes. The only Me 262 C-la was therefore housed in an anti-splinter shelter at Lechfeld where it was damaged by Allied night fighters on 22 March. Total test flying time in March was 22 minutes. By the end of the month works pilots had flown the prototype on only seven occasions although the commander of III./JG 2 at Lechfeld, Oberstleutnant Bar, allegedly flew the machine, reaching an altitude of 9,000 metres in three minutes and shooting down a P-47. When US ground forces arrived at Lager Lechfeld the damaged Heimatschutxer I was

Подпись: Side profile of the HWK 509 C-l engine with two revolvable combustion chambers. This provided the aircraft with a longer range and endurance.
discovered under tarpaulins near the aerodrome. The engine system had been scarcely serviceable, and the series conversion of available Me 262 A-las was out of the question.

Introduction

Introduction
Introduction

As defeat loomed in the spring of 1944, a wave of changes was introduced into the structure of Luftwaffe armaments. These changes were accompanied by a major reorganisation in personnel. The Reich Aviation Ministry (RLM) ceded most of its influence in the sphere of aircraft development and production and other aerial weapons to the Reich Minister for Armaments and War Production. Generalfeldmarschall Erhard Milch, General – Luftzeugmeister (QM-General for Aircraft Supply) at RLM, was replaced in

that capacity by Dipl. Ing. Karl-Otto Saur, Speer’s head of planning, as Chief of Staff. Saur s influence on the Jagerstab, the fighter emergency programme and the later Riistungsstab was very considerable. Nobody by-passed him, and he became the eminence gris of Luftwaffe armament.

It came as a surprise that, despite the Allied air bombardment of Reich territory and occupied western Europe, aircraft production was not only not weakened to the extent that the Allies expected, but actually expanded on a scale considered impossible. This was achieved by the Jagerstab (Fighter Staff) which had been introduced for a six-month trial period on 1 March 1944 by Reich Minister Speer.

This significant sector of the armaments economy was stripped of all bureaucracy, and industry received binding instructions in accordance with the Fiihrer-principle, often being subjected to radical and energetic controls. The Jagerstab was also responsible for carrying out immediate repairs to aircraft factories damaged by enemy action, and where necessary for relocating them in forests or underground facilities. For this purpose the Jagerstab had absolute authority over the workforce to the exclusion of all other authorities. This factor, and a tightening of aircraft production by reducing the number of types being produced to the most efficient standard versions, led to a rise in the monthly output of completed machines from the beginning of 1944.

The management of the Jagerstab was in the hands of Speer and Milch. Dipl. Ing. Schlempp was responsible for ‘building measures’. SS-Gruppenfuhrer Dr. Ing. Kammler administered ‘special production measures’, and Dr. Ing. Wagner the planning stages. It was thanks to these leaders that within a very short time the Jagerstab was able to force through the planned production programme at a fierce pace.

Hitler’s edict of 19 June 1944 called for the comprehensive concentration of armaments and war production, and provided Speer with a considerable growth in his personal powers. This led to the Jagerstab not only having independent production responsibility for everything from individual parts to whole warplanes, but also being involved in the procurement process. Accordingly, from the summer of 1944, the hitherto long drawn-out decision processes since time immemorial the tradition at RLM were abolished and the heavy hand introduced to obtain desired decisions in the shortest possible time. The Jagerstab was now also able to lay down the requirements in personnel and to call upon all conceivable resources to meet production targets.

On 1 July 1944 the jurisdiction of the Jagerstab was made manifest for the first time during a conference with Reichsmarschall Goring when it was laid down that with immediate effect 3,800 fighters, including 500 Me 262 jets, must come off the lines monthly. Consideration was also given to building 400 heavily-armed fighter-bombers (Jabos) and 500 night fighters. In order to

Подпись: Towards the end of the war the Fw 190 A-8 and A-9 in particular carried the main burden of intercepting Allied aircraft.

reduce the endless flood of applications for changes to prototypes, on 3 July 1944 the Luftwaffe and industry were ordered to do whatever possible to curtail conversions and the redesigning of new aircraft in order to have the fewest changes.

Again, on 20 July 1944, Hitler reiterated that for German industry, in all areas of armaments including the production of new operational aircraft, the aim was the highest possible output in the shortest time. He put Heinkel director Karl Freytag, renowned for his ability to get things done, in charge of aircraft production, while the equally well-versed Dr Walter Werner looked after the piston-engine and turbine side of things. On 27 July the post of GLZM (Director of Aircraft Production and Supply) at the RLM held by Milch was abolished and replaced by the Office of Chief of Aviation Technical Equipment (Chief-TLR). This shortened the command chain, got decisions made quicker and was intended to bring improved weapons and aircraft to operational readiness within the shortest possible time. The Chief-TLR reported direcdy to the Chief of the Luftwaffe General Staff.

By 1 September 1944 the numerous test centres were under uniform control and development tasks were better distributed. Test Centre Command (KdE),

Подпись: The Me 262 A-la did not fulfill expectations mainly because too few were produced.

the Luftwaffe Technical Academy and the research organisation and all its associated centres were subordinated to Chief-TLR. Aircraft production was to aim for a tightening of all industrial processes throughout for the highest possible quality. The rigorous measures introduced to raise production brought at first only partial success, and, despite turning out new aircraft at an unprecedented tempo and scale, Speer and Saur were not satisfied.

In another discussion between Goring and Saur on 12 December 1944, the Reichsmarschall set out his ideas for a programme to be realised in the coming months involving the future monthly production of 1,500 He 162s and Me 262s. The Bf 109 G-10 and K-4, and the Fw 190 A-8, A-9 and D-9 would make way for 2,000 Та 152s monthly, while a further 150 Me 163s and Me 263s were planned for air defence. From January 1945 besides 300 Do 335s, 100 Ju 388s were to be produced monthly as Jabos, night fighters and for long-range reconnaissance. The Ar 234 B-2 was to be the standard jet bomber. The hope was that 500 of these machines might be sufficient not only to equip several bomber squadrons, but also for reconnaissance and as night fighters. In all, from January

1945 it was intended to produce 6,000 aircraft monthly for front-line service and up to 400 training machines.

Saur spoke out in favour of giving the Me 262 and He 162 the highest priority in production and delivery to squadrons, the planned supply of materials, equipment, transport to the manufacturer and transfer to the front. Night fighters were to be given a lower priority. Their production should fall to 200 machines monthly by mid-1945 and then rise slowly to 380 again. All Jabo production would be superseded by jet fighters and replaced by the twin-engined Do 335 in due course. Future bomber production would be cut back. In place of 600 Fw 190 F aircraft, only 350 Та 152s were now being considered for offensive missions. That was not enough: jet aircraft, especially the Me 262 A-la and the single turbine He 162 A-l (MK 108 30-mm guns) and A-2 (MG 151/20), were to replace all piston-engined aircraft. Because of the prevailing fuel situation, aircraft such as the Ar 234 or Ju 287 were to play only a minor role from the beginning of 1945. The remaining jet or rocket models, for example the Go 229 or Ju 248 (Me 263) never reached series production. Although the attempt was made, the endeavour failed because many fuselages lacked equipment or engines.

Soon after the appointment of the first Chief-TLR and the later Piihrer edicts to concentrate production, the former Jagerstab was seen as obsolete. A more influential body was to be introduced in which Speer, building on the positive experience gained with the Jagerstab, planned an armaments staff (Riistungsstab) omnipotent in every respect and responsible for equipping the entire Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS. Under its control the Luftwaffe would have a comprehensive aircraft and flak programme at the earliest opportunity. Speer would head the Riistungsstab with Saur as his deputy and chief of staff: General-Staff Engineer Roluf Lucht was responsible for the day-to-day decisions. SS-Gruppenfuhrer Kammler remained in charge of special planning measures such as building bomb-proof aircraft and engine factories. The Riistungsstab would not only coordinate individual units better, but even handle assembly and transport to smooth the way, and on 1 August 1944 Speer cancelled his directive of 1 March 1944 establishing the Jagerstab.

Amongst the Riistungsstab’s surprising early decisions was an order to series produce the Ju 287 and expand Ar 234 production. At least 1,000 fight jet fighters (He 162 A-l and A-2) were now projected monthly, together with the highest possible number of Me 262s, presumably at Hitlers intervention. In the remaining months, these very incisive measures by the Riistungsstab made possible a reasonable output of completed aircraft despite Allied air raids, although the lack of fuel and destruction of communications had an unfavourable effect on overall production.

Only from January 1945 did orderly production come closer each week to coming apart at the seams, yet armaments planning was not to fall apart

Подпись: As well as the underground facilities, much production was removed to well-disguised factories in woodlands such as the Messerschmitt Кипо, where the Me 262 A-la was manufactured.

completely until Reich territory began to be lost. Even in April 1945 Bf 109s, Me 262s and He 219s were still emerging from underground centres, but those in charge were by then heading for an uncertain future. The Rechlin test centre s personnel, for example, ended their war at Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich, while surviving parts of the RLM and the Riistungsstab had been dispersed and lost contact. For them the war was over: the time of captivity had begun.