Possible Future of the Messerschmitt Jet Fighter

Messerschmitt Me 270
A German Messerschmitt Me 270 jet fighter plane in the video game Turning Point: Fall of Liberty

We’ve looked at Weird War technologies in the Captain America: The First Avenger feature film as well as the Red Alert video games in recent months. Now it’s time for Turning Point: Fall of Liberty, an alternate history shooter that was released by Codemasters in 2008.

Fall of Liberty takes place against the backdrop of a Nazi German invasion of the mainland United States in 1953. It features many German war technologies that have a basis in history. The game features a Messerschmitt Me 270 fighter aircraft, for instance; an improved version of the real world Messerschmitt Me 262, the world’s first operational jet powered fighter aircraft.

The game describes the Me 270 as a direct descendant of Messerschmitt Me 262. It is supposedly free of the engine stability issues that plagues its predecessor planes and combines a twin turbo engine design with a high degree of maneuverability.

Engine troubles indeed prevented the Me 262 from entering World War II until 1944. It was faster and better armed that its contemporary American and British warplanes but could not turn the tide of the war in Nazi Germany’s favor.

Development on the jet plane started in April 1939 but funding was delayed as many military and Nazi Party officials believed that the war could be won with conventional aircraft. Hermann Göring, head of the Luftwaffe, cut the engine development program to just thirty-five engineers in February 1940.

Ahead of the Allies invasion of France, development picked up again. The plane first saw action in June 44 and proved more than a match for Allied fighters. Once airborne, the Messerschmitt Me 262 could accelerate to speeds over 530 mph, more than 90 mph faster than its adversaries.

Messerschmitt Me 262
A German Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter plane at Wright Field near Riverside, Ohio, confiscated by the United States Air Force

Heavy Allied bombing on Germany proper stalled production of warplanes however. Some sixty Me262s were destroyed in attacks on Obertraubling on eastern Bavaria and another thirty in a raid on Leipheim to the west. Large underground factories were constructed at the time to take up production of the Me 262, safe from bomb attacks. The war ended before the planes could ever be mass produced underground.

After the war, the Me 262 and other advanced German technologies were quickly swept up by the Western Allies and the Soviets. Many jet planes were found in readily repairable condition and confiscated. The Americans and the Russians both used the technology to serve as a basis for their own jet fighters.

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