Simply an excellent book, full of relevant information, technical drawings and specifications. It is also a book for modelers, plenty of good quality b/w and some colour photographs, many colour profiles and an appendix on Luftwaffe’s camouflage and markings. Unfortunately difficult and very expensive to get nowadays.
This volume, the first of four, covers development of the Me 262 from its initiation to the eve of the beginning of its operational testing, in other words to the end of 1943 but the development history is taken to mid- 1944, with information on the use and careers of the ten prototypes and the first seven pre-production aircraft (Me 262 S1 – S7) and the initial production methods.
The book begins with good survey of Willy Messerschmitt’s career and the history of his firm, altogether 26 pages.
Then followed a 16 pages thorough chapter on the German jet engine development, which covers well the three jet engines that influenced the design of the Me 262 (BMW P3304, BMW P3302 (BMW 003) and Jumo 004). The BMW 003A, a different engine from the P3302, which flew in later Me 262 development aircraft, is also discussed, even if it did not influence the airframe design. The story of the development of Me 262 itself began on the page 56. The book has many photographs of wind-tunnel models that were prepared to evaluate the several stages of airframe design that began with what looks like a straight-wing Me 309 derivative or cousin and ended with the swept-wing fighter that went to production. Also other descriptions of technical matters is very good e.g. the descriptions of Zeiss TSA 2D and Lofte 7H bomb sights
There are four appendices:
Appendix. 1. Camouflage and Markings
Appendix. 2. Me 262 Prototype Flights
Appendix. 3. German Reaction Engine Designation System
Appendix. 4. Messerschmitt Personalities and Company Organization. This is an extensive list of Messerschmitt personalities, often accompanied with a micro biography.
For modellers the Appendix 1 is interesting, for those interested in Me 262:n development the Appendices 2 and 4 are very useful.
Difficult to find something to criticize but there is always something.
The index could be more detailed and there are some annoying typos. Also when the writers wonder why Hitler didn’t cancel his order to concentrate initially purely on the Me 262 Jabo/bomber versions soon after the D-Day when the main reason behind his reasoning, the ability of Jabo/bomber version to bomb invading Allied troops on the beaches, had disappeared they forget the effect of the Operation Fortitude, which kept Germans waiting for the “main landing” because it deluded them to believe that the D-Day was only a diversion. And there are some errors when the authors write on some side topics, e.g. the claim that LW was able to fly only about 100 sorties on D-Day, when the right figure is 300+. Also their claim on the effectiveness of the ‘Big Week’ seems to be based on what Allied thought they had achieved, at least German aircraft production figures don’t show the level of production drop in March1944 mentioned in the book.
And thanks to Arno for lending his copy.