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(37) Last Hope of the Luftwaffe: Me 163, He 162, Me 262

Color profiles: Jacek Pasieczny (He 163), Simon Schatz (He 162), Arkadiusz Wróbel (Me 262), captions: Maciej Góralczyk

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MINITC37-1

References:
Balous, M. & Bílý, M., Heinkel He 162 Spatz (Volksjäger), Prague 2004.
Brown, D. E., Janda, A., Poruba, T. & Vladař, J., Messerschmitt Me 262s of KG & KG(J) units, Hradec Králové 2010.
Brown, D. E., Poruba, T. & Vladař, J. Messerschmitt Me 262 Production & Arado Ar 234 Final Operations, Hradec Králové 2012.
Crandall, J., Wings of the Black Cross, Number Two, Hamilton 2004.
Fleischer, S. & Ryś, M., Me 262 Schwalbe, cz. 2, Gdynia 1997.
Forsyth, R. & Creek, E. J., Heinkel He 162. From Drawing Board to Destruction: The Volksjäger, Hersham 2008.
Gaemperle, R. S., Captured Eagles: German WWII Aircraft captured by the Allies, vol. 1, Zürich 2011.
Green, B., Götterdämmerung: Luftwaffe Wrecks and Relics, Number 1, Hersham 2006.
Laemlein, T., Grounded Eagles II: Captured and Wrecked Aircraft of the Luftwaffe, n.p. 2011.
Merrick, K. A. & Kiroff, J., Luftwaffe Camouflage and Markings 1933–1945, Vol. 1 & 2, Hersham 2005.
O’Connell, D., Messerschmitt Me 262: The Production Log 1941–1945, Hersham 2005.
Proulx, M., Wings of the Black Cross, Number Four, Hamilton 2007.
Rajlich, J., Kokoška, S. & Janda, A., Luftwaffe over Czech Territory 1945, Hradec Králové 2001.
Ransom, S. & Cammann, H.-H., Jagdgeschwader 400: Germany’s Elite Rocket Fighters, Oxford 2010.
Ransom, S. & Cammann, H.-H., Me 163 Rocket Interceptor, vol. 2, Hersham 2003.
Rodeike, P., “Der Teufel über den Wolken?” Jet & Prop 1/12, Zweibrücken 2012.
Smith, J. R. & Creek, E. J., Luftwaffe Colours: Jagdwaffe, Vol. 5, Sect. 4: Jet Fighters & Rocket Interceptors 1944–45, Hersham 2005.
Stapfer, H.-H. Messerschmitt Me 262, Carrollton 2006.
Urbanke, A., “Die Bauchlandung der Me 262 «schwarzes D» der 2./KG 51”. Luftwaffe in Focus Edition 18, Bad Zwischenahn 2011.
Wadman, D., Bradley, J. & Ketley, B. Aufklarer: Luftwaffe Reconnaissance Aircraft and Units 1935–1945,
Wadman, D., Luftwaffe Colours: Aufklärer, Vol. 2: Luftwaffe Reconnaissance Aircraft and Units 1942–1945, Hersham 2007.

Color profiles: Jacek Pasieczny

Messerschmitt Me 163 B V53; W.Nr. 16310062, ‘White 9’, flown by Uffz. Kurt Schiebeler of 1./JG 400, Brandis, Germany, early August 1944. The fuselage of this plane was painted in RLM 76 and also quite densely mottled with RLM 74 and 75. The underside was painted RLM 76, whilst the wing upper surfaces received a splinter camouflage of RLM 74 and 75. However, the use of RLM 81 and 82 instead of RLM 74 and 75 cannot be excluded. The front part of the nose was probably yellow. The fin sported a small prototype number, supplemented with the letter ‘x’ whose significance is unknown. Uffz. Kurt Schiebeler is one of only a few pilots who managed to record any victories in the Me 163. He claimed a B-17 on the 11th September 1944 and a Herausschuss (damaging a bomber that resulted in its separation from the formation) of another one on the 7th October 1944. His victory total stood at six.

Messerschmitt Me 163 B; ‘White 10’, flown by Lt. Hans-Ludwig Löscher of 1./JG 400, Brandis, Germany, late February 1945. The upper surfaces of ‘White 10’ were painted with patches of RLM 81 and 82, while the undersurfaces were painted RLM 76. The nose tip was white with a thin black ring aft, and black electric generator propeller. Please note the DF-loop antenna on the fuselage spine. This aircraft is sometimes identified as W.Nr. 190598, but in this case, it remains unclear as a photo of a differently camouflaged Me 163 B sporting that serial number on the fin exists.


Messerschmitt Me 163 B V52; W.Nr. 16310061, ‘Yellow 1’, flown by Lt. Reinhard Opitz, Kapitän of 7./JG 400, Nordholz, Germany, April 1945. The upper surfaces of the wings and a large part of the fuselage were painted in patches of RLM 81 and 82, whilst the underside and rear part of the fuselage were painted RLM 76. The lower part of the forward fuselage, as well as the whole tail, were additionally mottled with RLM 81 and 82. The front part of the nose, including the electric generator propeller, was yellow, with a quite thick black ring aft of it. Lt. Reinhard Opitz is credited with 2 victories claimed during his previous service with ZG 101.

Color profiles: Simon Schatz

Heinkel He 162 A-1; W.Nr. 310003,  ‘Yellow 5’ of 3./JG 1, Leck, Germany, May 1945. This aircraft will work as an example to explain some typical features of He 162 camouflage. Its fuselage was finished in RLM 76 and 82. The engine air intake and covers were painted RLM 81, with only the rear part painted black. The upper surface of the left wing was painted RLM 82 with the right wing’s upper surface in RLM 81 and underside in RLM 76 (with the exception of both ailerons whose upper and lower surfaces were completely painted with RLM 82). Please note that the leading edge of the wing was usually over-sprayed with RLM 76. The fins and rudders were painted RLM 76, as were the underside and leading edges of both tailplanes. The upper surface of the left tailplane was painted RLM 82, with the elevator in RLM 81, whilst the right tailplane received a reverse finish. Please note the black gun trough on the portside and an unusual emblem which comprises small badges of I./JG 1, 3./JG 1 and JG 1.

Heinkel He 162 A-2; W.Nr. 120067,  ‘White 4’ of 1./JG 1, Leck, Germany, May 1945. The main differences between the camouflage of ‘White 4’ and ‘Yellow 5’ were the division line between the fuselage colours and the use of RLM 82 for the whole upper surfaces of the wings and tailplanes, as well as the painting of the outer surfaces of the fins and rudders in RLM 82 (left) and RLM 81 (right) respectively. Worth noting are the black gun troughs, as well as the distinctive finish of the wing tips and the painting of the aileron undersides in RLM 76. The emblem of 1./JG 1 was applied below the cockpit on the port side only.


Heinkel He 162 A-2; W.Nr. 120028, ‘White 3’ of 1./JG 1, Leck, Germany, May 1945. ‘White 3’, an early production aircraft built by Rostock factory, had the major part of its fuselage painted with a creamy shade of RLM 76. The fuselage spine behind the cockpit was painted RLM 82, whilst the area below the engine received a coat of RLM 81. The wings were finished in RLM 70 and 65. The outer surfaces of the fins and rudders were painted RLM 81. Note the 1./JG 1 emblem under the cockpit, and early-style fuselage crosses.

Heinkel He 162 A-2; W.Nr. 120231, ‘White 6’ of 1./JG 1, Leck, Germany, May 1945. This late production machine was partially left unpainted, with putty clearly visible over panel joints. Some wooden parts were primed in RLM 02, 65, 76 and black. The engine air intake was left in RLM 02. The panel joints on the wing tips seem to be puttied over. Although the plane didn’t receive the Staffel badge, it had the red arrows of JG 1 on its nose.

Color profiles: Arkadiusz Wróbel

Messerschmitt Me 262 A-2a, W.Nr. 110613,  ‘9K+DK’, flown by Ofw. Hermann Wieczorek of 2./KG 51,  Rheine-Hopsten, Germany, 25th February 1945. The RLM 81/82/76 factory scheme of this plane was modified at unit level by applying a snaky mottle in a dark green colour, possibly RLM 83*. The front engine cowlings were left in natural steel, with only their upper portions sprayed with green ‘squiggles’. Most likely, the nose tip was painted red, as on the other machines of 2. Staffel, but the top of the fin and rudder didn’t receive that marking. There was no serial number on the tail. The swastikas were white outlines only, which was quite unusual for a machine from this production batch. Therefore, it is possible that the aircraft was fitted with a replacement tail unit. The individual letter of this plane’s tactical marking, was most likely repeated in black on the front landing gear cover. Also note the traces of tape and primer sealing the joint between the nose and fuselage. On the 25th February 1945, Ofw. Hermann Wieczorek force-landed this machine near Nottuln after being hit by anti-aircraft guns.

 Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a,  ‘Yellow 2’ of 3./KG(J) 54, Prague-Ruzyně, Czechoslovakia, May 1945. ‘Yellow 2’, an aircraft most likely belonging to the 110xxx production batch, had its RLM 81/82/76 camouflage modified by adding ‘squiggles’ of a different RLM 76 shade, possibly the late-war green-blue variation, which were then toned down with narrow stripes of a dark green colour. The nose section was a replacement part from a Mtt Regensburg-built Me 262. It was fully primed with RLM 02 or light grey primer, and then thinly sprayed with RLM 81 and 82, with bottom portions left in primer. The previous tactical marking was over-painted and replaced with a ‘2’, painted in yellow and outlined in black. A blue and white checker identification band of the Geschwader was painted around the rear fuselage. The plane also carried the unit emblems applied in slightly different positions on both sides of the fuselage.

Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a,  ‘White 34’ of III./EJG 2, Brunnthal, Germany, May 1945. This machine was a Me 262 A-1a/U3 after an extensive refit. The nose was replaced with a section intended for a fighter variant, which was finished in a similar style as the nose of ‘Yellow 2’. The camera fairings were removed, which resulted in revealing bare metal areas with visible rivets and putty lines. The wing was also a replacement which was mostly unpainted, with puttied rivet lines. Only some sections were primed with RLM 02. The left wingtip, which most likely originated from another aircraft, was camouflaged with RLM 82 on the upper surface and RLM 76 on the underside. The engines were most likely mounted from various spare parts, therefore their covers carried a plethora of colours, including RLM 02, 76, 81 and dark green. Some parts were also left in natural metal, like the steel front engine cowlings. The rest of the fuselage remained in the typical camouflage of reconnaissance ‘Schwalbes’, comprising dark green ‘squiggles’ over an RLM 76 base coat. Note the distinctive swastikas with clearly visible traces of stencil-use, for their application.

 

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TC37 last hope

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