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Duel: Messerschmitt Me 262 vs. Gloster Meteor

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#21 Stony


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Posted 04 November 2004 - 02:17 AM

It is interesting to see that the soviet union developed a mix of the meteor and the me 262 in 1946 and called it the sukhoi 9 and sukhoi 11.
Only one of each was buildt and tested.
The fuselage was a more tube like me262 one, with meteor like wings.
The engines were hung underneath like a me262.
The permormance of the two planes was the same as the meteor and me262.

It was rejected by Stalin because he found it a "warmed up me262"

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#22 curmudgeon


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Posted 06 November 2004 - 07:53 AM

quote:Originally posted by Romantic Technofreak

I would like to continue with a speculation why the Me 262 wasn´t produced again after WWII. Maybe the two-jet concept for fighter was only necessary as long as only not-too-powerful jets were available. After WWII, the situation changed. Better jet engines came up everywhere, and the flight characteristics could be improved significantly by moving the one and only engine towards the gravity center of the aiplane, into the fuselage. If so, it would also make the Meteor a fading concept as time goes by. Am I right?

By late 1944 the RR Nene was generating 5000lb thrust ... twin jet days must have been numbered. Twins remained in naval aircraft, all-weather/night fighters (crew assurance, loiter/cruise on one) and bombers where a central cargo bay was important. Many designs, produced well into the 50s were conceived and developed in WW II design rooms while Mustangs, Typhoons, Lightnings etc were coming out of the nearby production line.

Interesting British engines site is at http://www.aoxj32.ds...ufacturers.html
It is very interesting how many designs were about by the *early* 1940s. I believe there was (yet) another British axial programme with Armstrong Siddeley - the "ASX"

#23 gr6238


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Posted 09 November 2004 - 01:08 PM

RTF: an excellent topic, and the many posts are very interesting.

I did some research on the Meteor, searching the Internet, my files, and two books devoted to it.

Some interesting points:

Germany fielded three jet aircraft in squadron service, including the He 162 (with claims of combat operations), with the Me 262 and Ar 234 produced in large numbers, and both engaged in aerial and ground combat. Two Meteor versions engaged in combat operations during WWII, the only non-German jet aircraft to do so – the four US YP-80As Shooting Stars in Europe as part of Project Extraversion are credited with flying combat patrols in Italy, but evidently never encountered enemy aircraft or fired their guns in anger. The US had the P-80A and Ryan FR-1 Fireball (piston and jet engined) in squadron service, but neither saw combat. Britain’s de Havilland Vampire first flew on 9-29-1943, with the first production model flying on 4-20-1945; it entered RAF service during 9-1946, and was not a factor during WWII. The USSR flew its prototype 500 mph Mig-13 and Su-5 fighters with piston and reaction engines during WWII. Japan’s Nakajima Kikka twin jet fighter prototype, a small Me 262 look-alike with straight wings and axial flow engines, flew on 8-6/7?-1945; it crashed during its second flight. Italy’s Caproni-Campini N.1/CC.2 research aircraft flew on 8-17/28?-1940, with a piston engine driving an axial compressor – it is notable for being the first aircraft to employ afterburning.

Germany and the UK were the only nations to engage in the hi-tech field of turbojet-powered airplanes flying combat missions in large numbers during WWII. Germany, in particular, built nearly 2,000 turbojet engined aircraft and over 6,000 jet engines – many multiples of the rest of the world combined, with maybe 400 of these flying for the Luftwaffe.

The first Luftwaffe jet unit, E-262, was formed during April 1944, with 15 pre-production aircraft, to provide service testing. On 7-26-1944 an RAF recce Mosquito was engaged in aerial combat without result? Also, around this time an AAF Lightning was claimed as a kill. Both of these kills are disputed for that time frame, but, the 262 was evidently the first armed turbojet aircraft to engage in combat operations.

The Meteor I with lower overall performance than first line piston engined fighters, equipped one RAF squadron beginning on 7-12-1944, and scored its first aerial victory on 8-4-1944, killing a V-1 missile, the first jet vs. jet combat. Thirteen V-1s are credited to Meteor Is, most by 20mm cannon fire.

Compared to the Me 262, the Meteor I had a slightly higher service ceiling and much better cockpit visibility – the pilot sat under a clear view canopy and forward of the wing and engines, and thus had an excellent view except to aft and down. In the 262 the pilot sat under a braced canopy, astride the wings, with wings and large engine nacelles blocking lateral and downward view. The Meteor I’s 4 x 20mm cannon with 600? rds was in theory better for fighter vs. fighter combat than the 262s 4 x 30mm cannon with 360 rds. Both guns were subject to jamming, and the 262s Revi gunsight was unreliable. The Meteor was subject to directional snaking (throwing off gun aiming), a problem evidently not fully cured until the F.8 version with a different tail piece entered service in 1949. Being lighter (empty) by a nearly a ton than the 262, with somewhat less engine power 1,700 vs. 1,980 lbf for the 262, in maneuvering combat the Meteor I probably had a fair chance of victory, under favorable conditions. Why its climb rate is so low at 2,155 fpm/sl vs. nearly 4,000 fpm/sl for the 262 is a good question, given their respective engine powers and weights. The 262 had a practical service ceiling of 30,000’ due to engine surging problems, which were not solved during WWII. Evidently no Meteor Is were lost to enemy action, and they served only in the UK.

Point of interest: the contemporary Bell P-59A Airacomet in AAF service (jet fighter training for air and ground crews), pressurized, lighter, and with slightly less power, had about the same top speed, climbed faster and flew higher than the Meteor I, and had poor cockpit visibility (heavily braced canopy), especially to the rear. Its armament was 3 x M2 0.50” mgs and an M10 37mm cannon. It was rejected for AAF service by mid 1943 due to: lack of speed, directional snaking and poor maneuverability – with no benefit over piston engined fighters except for: pressurization, high altitude capability and having tricycle landing gear.

The Meteor III/F.3 flew in production form on 9-?-1944, and entered RAF service on 12-18-1944. It was the highest performing (in level flight) allied and non-German aircraft employed in combat during WWII. At least three versions were built: the first 15 with RR Welland 1,700 lbf engines as on the Meteor I, the rest with RR Derwent I 2,000 lbf engines, and the final 30 (of 210?) with extended engines nacelles, and more weight. Production evidently continued into mid 1947, alongside the Meteor F.4, flown in production form (long wing) on 4-12-1946. A significant development of the Meteor I, the F.3 had a clear view canopy with even better visibility despite somewhat larger engine nacelles, and four segment air/speed brakes mounted on the wing between the fuselage and engine nacelles. The following specification probably relates to the all up final production model of 1947. I have seen the initial climb rate at 2,155 fpm, and that below; my guess is that it is actually somewhere between the two. Interestingly, the empty weight is about 800 lb. more than the 262, despite lighter engines at 900 lb. each vs. nearly 1,600 lb. each for the 262.

Specification F.3 speed,mph 458/sl 493/30’ K climb,fpm 3,980/sl
ceiling serv 44’ K range,mi 1,340 w/ventral drop tank
engine 2 x RR RB.37 Derwent I turbojet/c 2,000 lbf
weight,lb empty 10,519 gr 13,920 max ? K
armament 4 x Hispano MkIII 20mm cannon/600? rpg + none?

With about the same total thrust, 4,000 lbf, the F.3 did not attain 500 mph in level flight, while the contemporary 262 did 540 mph and the P-80A 560 mph. Despite the 262’s early design origin in 1938, its well-designed airframe extracted high performance from its engines.

Two RAF squadrons took the F.3 to the European continent during WWII - 616 sqd. F.3s to Brussels, Belgium on 1-20-1945; on 4-1-1945 moved into Holland; on 4-20-1945 moved into Germany to Quackenbruck (NW sector), then to Fassburg, then to Luneburg on 5-3-1945; 504 Sqd. F.3s to continent on 3-?-1945; both units conducted ground attack sorties – no air-to-air combat – any against V-1s? White paint was used to identify them as friendly Allied aircraft to AAA gunners – evidently none were lost to enemy or Allied action.

The F.3s combat action was strafing ground targets with 20mm cannon – no bombs or rockets were carried. Whether the flush fitting fuselage ventral fuel tank was fitted during these sorties is a good question – it would make an excellent aiming point for AAA gunners, although kerosene is less explosive than gasoline, it may not have been considered a problem to mount it.

While flying over Germany, the F.3 pilots were evidently told to stay over Allied lines, and thus they never met any German aircraft in combat.

How would the F.3 have fared against the 262 in aerial combat? My guess would be very well: consider the prime 262 killer was the 437 mph P-51D Mustang with over a 100 262 pelts in aerial combat, and a grand total of 118.5 kills credited. Now the 51 lacked the F.3’s speed, visibility and speed brakes (no production German jet or rocket powered aircraft mounted them – they have been standard equipment fit on combat jet aircraft since the Meteor prototype and XP-80A introduced them), but it had better armament and ammo load, and could dive with the 262 to high mach numbers and pull out successfully. Given the only advantage the 262 had over the F.3 was about 50 mph more speed, the 262 would win only by catching the F.3 unawares in a slashing attack, in maneuvering combat it would be dead meat. Many damaged or malfunctioning 262s escaped from their P-51 pursuers by a scant 20 –30 mph speed advantage at low altitude – the F.3 could close that escape avenue with its high-speed at low altitude.

The 262 scored best against bombers, with its heavy cannon and R4M rockets (from 3-18-1944) knocking down over a hundred – German claims run to 500 Allied aircraft killed. It did less well against Allied piston engine fighters, often losing, despite having all the advantages except numbers.
The first allied kill: 8-28-1944 near Chievers, Belgium, AAF maj. Joe Myers of the 78th FG in a P-47D forced (not shot!) down a Me-262 flown by Lauer, the pilot escaped, but, the aircraft was lost.

Perhaps the following is indicative of 262 combat actions:
2-9-1945 US bombers and fighters attacked targets in central Germany, P-51s downed 6 262s, while a B-17 was damaged; Air International 6-1995/The German Jets in Combat, (p354).
3-18-1945 37 262s took off (28 engaged) to intercept a US raid on Berlin; 8 bombers and 1 fighter were lost for 2 262s, Air International 6-1995/The German Jets in Combat, (p355).
3-31-1945 - RAF daylight bombing raid on Hamburg’s ship building industry by 428 bombers, Lancasters and Halifaxs, escorted by Mustangs and ?; at least 30 Me 262s attacked in 78 engagments; RCAF sqds. at the rear of the formation without fighter escort came under heavy assault, losing eight bombers, while claiming four Me 262s killed, three probables and four damaged; Lancasters (only?) armed with Browning 0.303” mgs (only?) evidently accounted for the jets; Guns in the Sky, The Air Gunners of World War Two; Bowyer, Chaz; 1979 (p119 – 124).
4-10-1945 the largest air action with Me-262s took place when 55 Me-262s intercepted more than 2,000 US aircraft attacking targets in the Berlin area and claimed 10 B-17s and 7 fighters for the loss of 27 Me-262s, and 13 damaged; P-51s downed 18, and presumably B-17s downed 9; Air International 6-1995/The German Jets in Combat, (p355).
Now bear in mind that the Me 262 was by this time a known quantity - Hans Fay, Messerschmitt test pilot defected with Me-262-1a #111 711 (US #FE-711) at Rhein/Main AAF airbase on 3-30-1945, 1:45 PM. He was prepared to fly his ship for test purposes or in mock combat with allied fighters; he shared his knowledge with the AAF & ?.

Post War: although the Soviets captured many 262s and hundreds of jet engines, and they allowed the Czechs to assemble some 17 262s from German parts as the AVIA S.92 Turbina (Turbine) ff 8-27-1946, they made no use of captured aircraft except for test purposes. Along with German technicians, the Soviets used and developed Junkers and BMW turbojet engines to near 3,000 lbf (more powerful than any flown in Germany), and evidently solved the surging and high altitude problems. Several Russian designs utilized these engines, but for the most part they were crude and low performance aircraft, some with tail wheel type landing gear. By incorporating the UK RR Nene centrifugal flow turbojet (technologically a backward step) into the Mig-15 fighter and Il-28 bomber, the Soviets finally made real progress in jet aviation. None of the German aircraft were copied for production, and Russian designed (Arkhip Lyul’ka ran an axial flow engine in 1941) axial flow engines became world class by the early 1950’s.

The US made no significant use of German jet and rocket aircraft or engine technology: the concept of wing mounted jet engines is aerodynamically dirty and inefficient, and no US production fighter used it; French and Soviet fighters did until the 1960s – none since. GE’s TG-180/J-35 axial flow turbojet ran on 4-21/23?-1944, produced 4,000 lbf, the most powerful axial to run during WWII. Postwar it was built in the thousands by Allison, and GE developed the J-47 (F-86, B-47 engines) from it.

Britain’s Meteor F.4 entered RAF squadron service on 6-?-1947; this version with a pressurized cockpit and clear view canopy, and powered by 2 x RR RB.37 Derwent 5 turbojet 3,500 lbf engines, carried 1,095 lb. of ballast to maintain cg limits, attained 585 mph/sl, and bested the Me-262’s top speed in level flight by 45 mph.

The best,


#24 Lightning


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Posted 09 November 2004 - 08:00 PM

Hi Tony,

A lot of those P-51 kills were done while the 262s were either taking off or landing. With poor low-altitude performance and having low acceleration, they would have been easy kills for just about any contemporary fighter.

In a real fighter-vs-fighter combat, the jet could dictate the conditions in terms of speed, climb, and altitude, and it would be foolish to dogfight the Mustang (or any other first-line propeller fighter) on its own terms.

As far as the unsuitability of the 37mm cannon for aerial combat is concerned, I agree with you, but, at that time, stopping the Allied bombers was the number-one prioriy. Using up precious fuel at the fuel-consumption rate of the 262 in order to pick off escort fighters would have been counterproductive. Their time-on-target was too short to begin with.

#25 Magnon


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Posted 08 August 2010 - 10:13 AM

One of the most successful foes of the Me 262 was the Hawker Tempest. In a dogfight, the Meteor was reported to be able to get on the tail of a Tempest within four turns. See http://www.wwiiaircr....Meteor-CFE.pdf

The Meteors 20 mm cannon were 70% higher velocity than the 30 mm Me 262cannon. The Me 262 cannon had an average of 90 rounds each, the Meteor 195 each. The Me 262 was designed as a bomber destroyer, not as a dogfighter.

#26 Kutscha


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Posted 08 August 2010 - 12:57 PM

The Tempest had only 7 claims vs the 262 which was 2.9% of all its claims.

#27 Magnon


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Posted 09 August 2010 - 07:04 AM

I should have qualified that with dangerous in a dogfight. Most Me 262s were destroyed on approach or take-off and landing. But my source was:

The Hawker Tempest Page
"The Messerschmitt Me 262's most dangerous opponent was the British Hawker Tempest - extremely fast at low altitudes, highly-manoeuvrable and heavily-armed."
(Hubert Lange, Me262 pilot)

Generally, I think it would be fairly well accepted that the Tempest could out-turn an Me 262.

#28 Lightning


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Posted 10 August 2010 - 02:02 PM

Hi Magnon,

In a dogfight, the Meteor was reported to be able to get on the tail of a Tempest within four turns. See http://www.wwiiaircr....Meteor-CFE.pdf

Generally, I think it would be fairly well accepted that the Tempest could out-turn an Me 262.

I would agree that the Tempest could out-turn the Me 262, but, without researching the subject, I also believe that the Tempest could out-turn the Meteor. (I tried to call up that web site, but, for some reason, the security settings here in the local German library wouldn't let me.) The real question is whether the Meteor could out-turn the Me 262. And, of course, turning performance is only one facet of aerial dogfighting. How did they compare with respect to speed, roll-rate, acceleration/deceleration, climb, dive, etc.?



#29 Magnon


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Posted 11 August 2010 - 09:08 AM

It's all there in the CFE report...

It looks like MI5 won't trust releasing the data to Germany even this long after the war... ;)

If I could post attachments it would be handy.



#30 madmac


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Posted 13 August 2010 - 08:01 PM

Wow what a great topic ...............those who think a 262 would rule over a meteor are in fact right on the performance part but there engines wouldnt hold up for more than 20 hrs use and thats with holdin back the throttle.The meteor has engines more suited to the time metalology, Sir Frank Wittle new both types of jet engine and choose the centrifugal compressor for that reason and also new that the axial compressor was too complecated and would melt metals of the day. The best was the meteor simply becouse of that they re still flying with original engines to day more that 60 yrs after :)

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