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Hunting Swallows

An excerpt from Capt. Chuck Yeager's combat report of November 6, 1944:
Quote: I spotted a 262 approaching the field from the south at 500 feet.
He was going very slow (around 200 mph). I split S-ed on it and was going around 500 mph. Flak started coming up very thick and accurate. I fired a short burst from around 400 yards and got hits on the wings. Had to break off at 300 yards because the Flak was getting too close ... looking back I saw the Jet E/A crash-land about 400 yards short of the field in a wooded field. A wing flew off outside the right jet unit. The plane did not burn.

The ME-262A-1a Schwalbe and the -2 Sturmvogel were reported to be the most heavily armed fighters in WWII, and the only jet powered aircraft to be assigned to squadrons in fighting numbers. Only 100 or so of the aircraft had fuel enough to participate in combat missions, first deployed in June 1944, and by VE-Day 1433 of the aircraft had been produced. The speed of these early jets at altitude made them almost invincible; their attacks on Allied bomber formations went virtually unchallenged. Though they drew fire their speed made them a very difficult target, even for the escort fighters, though victories were recorded by P-51's, P-47's and La-2's.

Many of the victories over these swift aircraft were scored by taking advantage of its fatal flaws. During landing approach they would be low on fuel, maneuvered poorly at low speeds, and had poor acceleration. Allied pilots soon learned to take advantage of this and would follow the ME-262's to their fields and into their landing approach patterns.

Victories in this circumstance were, however, not assured. As these were valuable aircraft to the Luftwaffe, they took note of these actions and responded. To thwart the Allied tactics they pulled otherwise deployed fighters in for airfield defense, notably FW-190's and ME-109's. Typically FW-190's were assigned to low level approach and field perimeter cover, while the ME-109's were assigned high level cover missions. This counter move proved to be to the Allied advantage, as well, as it drew aircraft off intercept missions to guard airfields.

Inspired by an Aviation Art print, dedicated to Gen. Chuck Yeager, which I saw in one of my reference books. I chose as my subject just such an Allied victory-a P-51 making a low pass after downing an ME-262.

About the Author

About Chuck Shanley (CRS)

I've been building kits since about the mid 1950's. I've built all kinds of subjects, but for the past 20 years or so I've seemed to focus mainly on 1/72 Aircraft and Armor. Why 1/72, mainly for space conservation I build alot. I build primarily for my own enjoyment, and Armorama has helped to en...


Chuck gave us a sneak preview of this over on A-UK. Lovely job Chuck! You can almost feel the CRUNCH!! Keep 'em coming. All the best Rowan
FEB 08, 2004 - 07:42 AM
:-) Swallow that, er I mean follow that, great dio, Chuck. Can't wait to see the next one, what about Ar 234s attacking the bridge at Remagen :-) Mal
FEB 08, 2004 - 09:01 AM
No apology public or otherwise needed, Bryan . It takes time to process these things and we all have lives other than Armorama to take care of. (as hard as that may be to believe sometimes) Holdfast - I've given it some thought, I'm just not sure it was serious thought.
FEB 08, 2004 - 01:59 PM
Great job, great to see a dio showing an actual event that happened in WW2. Love the angle of the Mustang, I can hear that Merlin engine giving off that intimidating growl, nice job ,Wingman out.
FEB 10, 2004 - 02:40 AM