Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe vol. II


Another variant was a two-seater - the Me 262 A-2a/U2 Schnellstbomber mit Lotfe (the fastest bomber with Lotfe). The aircraft (W.Nr. 110 484, also known as the second Me 262 V8) was modified with a bombardier station (Loftkanzel) in place of the armament. Limited space in the cramped compartment meant that the bombardier operated the Lotfe 7H bomb sight in a lying in a prone position. The aircraft made its first flight in September 1944 before it was transferred to Lechfeld on October 22. There, by the end of 1944, it flew 22 test missions. Messerschmitt reported on two bombing trials carried out in December 1944. During one of them, on December 5, the crew (Baur – pilot  and Bayer – bombardier) dropped a single 250 kg bomb from the altitude of 2 000 m while flying at 600 km/h.
The bomber second prototype (W.Nr. 110 555) was completed in January 1945 and featured a modified bombardier’s compartment – the Lotfekanzel II. The aircraft also received alternative designation Me 262 V11. The prototype first flew in February 1945 and by the end of March had completed 16 test sorties. The aircraft was lost on March 30, 1945 when it crashed during a forced landing attempt.
The Me 262 A-3a Panzerflugzeug (armored aircraft) was to be a strike variant designed for low level ground attack missions. Armored plating fitted to the fuselage mid section was supposed to provide protection to the pilot against AA fire. The aircraft was to be armed with four MK 108 30 mm cannons in addition to bombs carried on two ETC 504 racks. The aircraft never went into production: the war ended before a prototype could be built.
A two-seat trainer version was badly needed to facilitate the Luftwaffe’s aircrew conversion to the new type. In March 1944 Messerschmitt provided the Blohm & Voß plant at Wenzendorf with the Me 262 S5, W.Nr. 130 010, VI+AJ, where it was converted into a two-seat trainer designated Me 262 B-1a. The instructor’s seat was placed directly behind the forward cockpit, which meant that both standard fuselage fuel tanks had to be replaced with smaller units (400 l and 250 l capacity). The enlarged cockpit received a new canopy. Offensive armament remained in place and consisted of four MK 108 cannons. Two ETC 503 racks were used to carry a pair of external 300 l fuel tanks. The first flight of the redesigned Me 262 S5 took place on April 28, 1945. The aircraft was lost on its 47 test flight when it crashed on October 8, 1944 following the landing gear failure.
On August 30, 1944 the RLM placed orders for 106 Me 262 B-1as, 65 of which were to be manufactured at Blohm & Voß, while the contract to build the remaining 41 examples went to Lufthansa plant at Berlin-Staaken. The first four production B-1as were ready in September 1944. Two trainers went into service with KG 51, KG 54 received a single example, while the remaining two were handed over to Ekdo. 262. By the end of March 1945 67 examples of the two-seater version went into service with various units (III./EJG 2 received as many as 20 aircraft). Some of the trainers had their armament reduced to two MK 108 cannons or two 151/20 20 mm weapons. In such cases a 150 kg ballast was fitted in place of the removed guns.

View of the weapons bay of the Me 262 B-1a/U1 W.Nr.110306, "red 9". While most Me 262 B-1a/U1s carried standard Schwalbe weapons fit, this particular example was equipped with a pair of long-barrel MG 151/20 20 mm cannons installed in place of the MK 108s. [Visualisation 3d Marek Ryś]


The work to create a night fighter version of the Me 262 began as early as spring 1943. At that time the RAF De Havilland “Mosquito” ruled the skies and was practically beyond reach for the crews of Bf 110s or Ju 88s. Even after single-seat types (Bf 109 G and Fw 190 A) were pressed into service with the Wilde Sau units the situation did not improve.
A preliminary project of a two-seat night fighter version was drafted in early September 1944. The aircraft was to be based on the Me 262 B-1a airframe and designated Me 262 B-1a/U1 Behelfsnachtjäger (provisional night bomber). The aircraft’s full-scale mock-up was ready by November 21, 1944 and in January 1945 the mass production of the fighter was launched at Deutsche Lufthansa plant at Berlin-Staaken. Dual controls in the aft cockpit were removed and the radar operator’s seat was moved forward. This allowed the installation of two cylindrical 140 l fuel tanks behind the radar operator’s station. The fighter had a total internal fuel capacity of 2 070 l and could carry two 300 l drop tanks. Radio and radar equipment comprised the FuG 16 ZY, FuG 25a, FuG 120 and FuG 218 units. Standard armament consisted of four MK 108 30 mm cannons, although at least one example (W.Nr. 110 306) featured only two MG 151/20 20 mm weapons. Another airframe, W.Nr. 110 307, carried two additional MG 151/20s installed in the Schräge Musik configuration. It appears that only six examples of the Me 262 B-1a/U1 version were ever built (W.Nr. 110 305, 110 306, 110 307, 110 378, 110 635 and 111 980).