This package contains some of the rarer and more exotic variants of the famous Me-262 jet fighter of WWII:
1. Me-262B-1a/U1 Two-seat Nightfighter
2. Me-262A-1a/U4 "Pulkzerstörer" with 50 mm Cannon
3. Me-262A-4a/U3 Reconnaissance
History of the aircraft in this package:
(For a general history of the Me-262 aircraft, please read the history section here.)
- Me-262B-1a/U1 Two-seat Nightfighter
Five two-seat trainer variants of the Me 262, the Me 262 B-1a were adapted as night fighters, complete with on-board FuG 218 Neptun radar and Hirschgeweih ("stag's antlers") antenna, as the B-1a/U1 version. Serving with 10 Staffel, Nachtjagdgeschwader 11, near Berlin, these few aircraft (alongside several single-seat examples) accounted for most of the 13 Mosquitoes lost over Berlin in the first three months of 1945. However, actual intercepts were generally or entirely made using standard German nightfighter "Wilde Sau" methods, rather than radar-controlled interception.
'Red 12', wk/nr 111980, was surrendered to Allied forces in 1945. This particular aircraft does not appear to have had any equipment installed in the upper part of the canopy, unlike some of the others of its type. The aircraft was destroyed in a gale at RAF Brize Norton in the UK, in 1947.
Extensive research was undertaken to portray this extraordinary aircraft's front and rear cockpits as authentically as possible.
- Me-262A-1a/U4 "Pulkzerstörer"
Only 2 prototypes of this model were constructed and flown, featuring the 50 mm Rheinmetall-Borsig Mk 214 cannon, with the overall package being designed by Mauser.
This large weapon took up the entire nose section, requiring that the design of the nose gear be modified to rotate 90° during retraction, which enabled the wheel to lie flat as opposed to the usual configuration. A revised wheel well door arrangement was also created to deal with the new layout.
The fitting of the Mk214 to the Me 262 was an effort to create an effective bomber-killer that could attack enemy formations from long range without being subjected to the bomber's defensive fire. The gun fired 1.5-kg shells at a muzzle velocity of 1100 meters/second, with the 2400kg recoil of the weapon being absorbed by a hydraulic damper. It was estimated that a single hit would be sufficient to cripple an Allied bomber. This development was designated the Me262A-1/U4 and was known as the "Pulkzerstörer" (formation or pack destroyer).
During testing the cannon operated without problem, but during the only 2 operational flights made by the aircraft on the 16 April, 1945, the cannon jammed.
- Me-262A-4a/U3 Reconnaissance
This was the reconnaissance version of the Me-262, being standard fighters modified in small numbers, with Reihenbilder RB 20/30 cameras mounted in the nose (sometimes one RB 20/20 and one RB 75/30). Some retained one 30 mm (1.18 in) cannon, but most were unarmed.