Me 262 B-1a/U1 Red 8

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Messerschmitt 262 B-1a at Schleswig-Jagel - Part 2

 Since publishing the first part of my observations of the line-up of Messerschmitt 262 at Schleswig-Jagel, I have been privileged to receive the generous support from expert David E. Brown who provided missing information as well as providing insights and comments on my original conclusions. Further information has come from discussions on Peter A. Evans´ excellent forum, the “Luftwaffe Experten Message Board”, in short "LEMB”

Zapf (2009, p.16) refers to a RAF Disarmament Wing document listing eight Messerschmitt 262s handed over to the British at the end of the hostilities at Schleswig-Jagel. From two photographs, we can identify the complete Messerschmitt 262 aircraft line-up. From right to left, respectively front to back, these were:

·         Me262 B-1a/U1, W.Nr. 110305, Red 8 of 10./NJG11. This aircraft made its way to South Africa and is currently on display at the Ditsong National Museum of Military History in Saxonwold, Johannesburg.
·         Me262 B-1a/U1, W.Nr. 111980, Red 12 of 10./NJG11. According to Lt. Herbert Altner´s memories, he flew this aircraft on May 6, 1945 to Schleswig (see Williams, 2005, p.187)
·         Me262 B-1a/U1, W.Nr. Red 10 of 10./NJG11. The often published photograph of Red 12 with German marking shows another Me262 on its left. Closer examination reveals that the rear canopy cover is equipped with sun shades, a feature which only Red 10 has displayed in various photographs. This determines the order of the line-up: Red 8, Red 12, Red 10.
·         Me262 B-1a/U1, W.Nr. 110306, of 10./NJG11. This plane has been identified as Red 6 (Dan O´Connell, 2005, p.70) or Red 9 (Smith & Creek, 2003, p.455), but as Brown pointed out to me, no clear photographic evidence exists as to an individual aircraft number on W.Nr. 110306. After reviewing all existing photographs, I have to concur with David.
·         Me262 B-1a, W.Nr. 110165, uncoded. The unit association of this aircraft is not confirmed, but it may have been with 10./NJG11 (see O´Connell, 2005, p.184). Equally, the Werknummer is not confirmed but rather an educated assumption as the aircraft did not carry a number on its tail plane (see photograph in Samuel, 2010, p.142; Brown et al., 2011, p.165). The photograph of "165" reproduced in Brown et al. is the only one I know of where this aircraft still wears its German markings and where the aircraft to its right can clearly be seen; the latter is a Me262 A-1a with the individual number “1” just visible.
·         Me262 A-1a, W.Nr.11????, Red 1 of 10./NJG11. According to Brown (2010), photographs of the aircraft in Toronto reveal an over-painted white “2” and fuselage band that are interpreted to identify it as a former aircraft of 1./JG7. The JG7 crest on both sides has been painted over and within it painted the number “1”. The Werknummer is unknown though its camouflage pattern is the same as that applied to other aircraft in the 111xxx or 112xxx blocks (Brown, ibid).
·         Me262 A-1a, W.Nr. 112372, Red 2 of 10./NJG11. Photos confirm this aircraft to be a former JG7 aircraft with the individual number 2 or 7 being painted over and the red-blue band of JG7 still discernible (O´Connell, 2005, p.149). This aircraft has been restored and is on display at the RAF Museum Hendon, see below.
·         Me262 A-1a, W.Nr. 500443, Yellow 5 of 7./JG7. Photographs show it as Yellow 6 due to slight corrections by RAF personnel in order to avoid confusion with the other aircraft coded “5” surrendered at Fassberg. O´Connell (2005, p.173; based on conversations with D.E. Brown) attributes this aircraft most likely to Maj. Erich Ruhdorfer of JG7.

As background to the line-up of these aircraft at Schleswig-Jagel, it is worthwhile to attempt to retrace the journeys of 10./NJG11 during the final month of the war. The unit’s base at Burg near Magdeburg was bombed by the US Air Force on April 10, 1945, which rendered it practically un-usable for further operations. The Staffel was relocated and its operations were resumed a few days later with the jets operating from a stretch of autobahn near Reinfeld-Lübeck (Czypionka in Cleaver, 2011 in chapter “Jorg Czypionka: Kommando Welter”) or from Lübeck-Blankensee airfield (Altner in Williams, 2005, p.187). The autobahn was not used for night landing; the pilots landed at Lübeck-Blankensee and the aircraft were flown back to the autobahn to safe shelters during daylight. Between May 4th and 6th, the remaining operational aircraft were transferred by their pilots to Schleswig-Jagel to be surrendered to the British.


Brown, David E., 2010. AM52 Messerschmitt Me262A-2a, post of June 21 2010, Luftwaffe Experten Message Board,
Brown, David E., Janda, Ales, Poruba, Tomas & Vladař, Jan, 2011. Messerschmitt Me 262s of KG & KG(J) Units. JaPo Publishing, Prague
Cleaver, Thomas McKelvey, 2011. Combat Air Annals, kindle edition
Foreman, John & Harvey, S.E., 1995. The Messerschmitt Me 262 Combat Diary, Air Research Publications, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
Jurleit, Manfred, 1995. Strahljäger Me 262 im Einsatz. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart
O`Connell, Dan, 2005. Messerschmitt Me 262 The Production Log, Classic Ian Allan Publishing, Hersham, Surrey
Samuel, Wolfgang W.E., 2010. Watson´s Whizzer´s: Operation Lusty and the Race for Nazi Aviation Technology, Schiffer Publishing Ltd.,
Smith, J. Richard & Creek, Eddie, 2003. Messerschmitt Me 262, Volume 3, Classic Publications, Crowborough
Williams, David P. , 2005. Luftwaffe Colours - Nachtjäger Volume 2, Classic Ian Allan Publishing, Hersham, Surrey
Zapf, Jürgen, 2009. Fliegerhorst Schleswig-Land (Jagel), in Jet&Prop 1/09, p.14-16, VDM Verlag Heinz Nickel, Zweibrücken