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A large number of key technical developments led to the production of the Me-262 which was the first tactical jet fighter. It was developed and used by the Germans during WWII. Over 1,433 had been produced and put into action from 1943 to the end of the war in 1945. The aircraft was powered by two Jumo 004 jet engines developed at Junkers. After Germany surrendered, the Allies found a large number of new jet designs of which the Me P.1101 was the most advanced. The prototype aircraft was almost finished and scheduled for its maiden flight. Upon finding the jet at Oberammergau in the Bavarian Alps in May 1945, the Americans brought it to the Bell Aircraft Works and quickly built a modified version called the Bell X-5.1  3,500 German scientists who had designed jet engines, rockets were brought to the US under "Operation Paperclip". A list of 1,600 names of German scientists is available by clicking here. Over 6,000 scientist were kidnapped and brought to Russia. 7 
  The Me 262 was the world's first jet fighter. It could reach speeds of 550 mph (Mach 0.86). Over 1,433 were produced during WWII.2 It was clearly the best fighter of WWII. Later versions were fitted with air to air rockets under the wing. It was an awesome aircraft.

The Me 262 in action

A book called "AMERICAN RAIDERS, The Race to Capture the Luftwaffe's Secrets" by Wolfgang W. E. Samuel is available for $35. This is the story of how the German jets and rocket aircraft were brought to the US after WWII. It is the story of Watson's Whizzers. The technology gained from these aircraft were used to develop the F-80, the F-86 and all other US jet aircraft including the B707. A must book that you cannot put down. 480 page. See this link to order.

  The Arado Ar 234 with 2 Jumo 004 engines made its maiden flight on July 1942. JATO rockets producing 1,000 lbs of thrust are used for take off after which they are dropped off. Four engine versions with BMW 003 engines were used as bombers which had speeds of  up to Mach 0.92, 1945.2
  The prototype P1101 in May, 1945 was scheduled for its maiden flight for June 1945.
  The Me P.1101 led to the design of most modern jet fighters in all parts of the world.The configuration of the Me P.1101 is shown on the far left and the similarity of the F-86 and MiG-15 is no coincident as shown to the immediate left. 
A number of US aircraft that benefited and used the data from the design of the Me P.1101 were:
  • The XP-86 had straight wings and was "Germanized" and converted to the F-86 "Sabre." The swept wings made it a great aircraft. Parts from the Me 262 wings were used. See references 1, 2, 3 and 8.
  • The "Thunderjet" derived from the P-47 "Thunderbolt" was designed into the F-84 F "Thunderstreak" based on the German development of swept wings.
  • McDonnell converted the design of a long range fighter to one with swept wings. XF-88. Later F-101.
  • Douglas and Convair designed new delta wing jets based on German data.
  • Chance Vought developed the F7U "Cutlass" based on German designs, sketches and consultants.
  • Bell X-2 was designed with swept wings. The X-1 had flown supersonic at 1.05 Mach by the use of brut force.
In the Russian zone of Germany other events took place. The Russians had promised  the Germans that they could remain in Germany while working for the Russians. However, on October 22, 1946, 92 empty trains had been brought into Berlin. Then at 2 AM in the morning, at gunpoint, the Russians took 20,000 Germans scientists and engineers, placed them on these trains and deported them to two locations near Moscow. The scientists included rocket experts, navigation and control and electronic experts. Complete aircraft companies such as Junkers and their Chief, Dr. Bruno Baade, were deported. Some scientists were kept as long as 20 years before they were allowed to return to Germany. In Russia, the German scientists were put to work redesigning aircraft and rockets developed in Germany during the war. In Russia, the conditions were dismal but the Germans worked hard with the promise that they would be returned to their homes. By 1954, the Junkers group was allowed to return to Germany. Out of 800 men, 25 died, 5 committed suicide, and 2 went insane.4  Not only had German technology given the Russians a lead in space and rockets, but they designed the MiG 15/17. The MiG 15 (alias I-310) first flew in December 30, 1947 and it was designed by German's.7, 8  Appearance of the Mig 15 in 1950 in the Korean conflict was a shock to the United States. German jet designs developed during WWII were far advanced for their time and they include:
  • Me P.1902/2 and /4, July 1943
  • HeS001, Feb. 1945
  • Focke-Wulf Volksflugzueg, Sept. 1944
  • Focke-Wulf Ta 183, Feb. 1945

  A Russian defector, Captain V.L. Sokolov caused a big ripple when he testified that Siegfried Guenther, on left , chief designer for Heinkel Aircraft, had offered his services to America in 1945, but was turned down. The Russians hired Guenther (left) who designed the MiG 15/17.7  For the amazing story of the supersonic DFS-346 designed and flown by German's in Russia, the MiG-15 jet and the design of the Russian jet bombers and the Russian B-29 by clicking here  to download English translation from Ref. 8. 

A picture of the DFS-346 under the wing of a Russian B-29 (Tu-4) is shown below. To the lower left, the DFS-346 in a wind tunnel. The pilot lay on his stomach. With this position he was able to withstand 11 gs compared to 6 gs when seated.9 On its first flight in Russia, Wolfgang Ziese, the German pilot reached a speed of Mach 1.02.8 He later flew the Russian "Samolot 5-2" which was a copy of the DFS-346 and also broke the sound barrier two month before Chuck Yeager did in the Bell X-1. On his last flight, Ziese bailed out of the Samolot, under strange circumstances, he died on the way to the hospital in Russia.6


  Multhopp P.183 designed at Focke-Wulf. It used a wing sweep of 40 degrees, projected speed was 620 mph at 46,000 feet. Scheduled first flight was June 1945. The similarity in configuration, wing design and engine placement of the MiG 15, left to the P.183 is shown.2

The Mig 15 used the British designed Nene engine. However the engine was limited in thrust. Only a true axial gas turbine engine such as the Wagner Jumo designs could be used for increase performance. The Germans in Russia increase the thrust of this engine such that the Mig 15 outperformed the F-86 in the Korean war.
  The Me 262, the world's first jet fighter, takes to the skies over Washington after 50 years. The aircraft is built out of steel just like the original and is powered by two GE CJ-610 engines with 2,800 lbs thrust each. For more info and a video call Bob Hammer at 425-290-7878. Also see:

WWII Jets www.luft46.com
History of jet aircraft  www.stormbirds.com 
Classic Jet Aircraft www.classicjets.org


  1. Willy Radinger & Walter Schick, "Secret Messerschmitt Projects," Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 1998.
  2. Wolfgang Wagner, "The First Jet  Aircraft," Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 1998.
  3. John D. Anderson, Jr. "A History of Aerodynamics," Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  4. Frederick I. Ordway III & Mitchell R. Sharpe, "The Rocket Team," Aircraft Designs, Inc. 2000.
  5. Walter Schick & Ingolf Meyer, "Luftwaffe Secret Projects," Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 1997.
  6. David Myhra, "Secret Aircraft Designs of the Third Reich," Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 1998. Great book!
  7. Clarence Lasby, "Project Paperclip,"  1971. Contact Scientists and Friends at 831-649-6212.
  8. Werner Keller, "Ost Minus West=Null, Der Aufbau Russlands Durch Den Westen," Droemersche Verlagsanstalt Th, Knaur Nachf. Munich, Zurich. 1960.
  9. David Myhra, "DFS 228," Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 2000.