The first jet fighter to enter service and see combat anywhere in the world, the Messerschmitt Me 262 was a deadly technological marvel – yet it was also difficult to produce, dangerously unreliable and extremely vulnerable during takeoff and landing.
Despite these flaws, its graceful swept wings, aggressive shark-like profile and undoubted combat abilities made it a legend. Conceived as a pure fighter, despite Hitler’s attempts to make it a fighter-bomber, the Me 262 underwent rapid development during its short front line career and numerous unusual variants were designed and produced.
Messerschmitt Me 262: Secret Projects and Experimental Prototypes examines unusual production models alongside one-offs and drawing board projects. More than 30 designs are detailed, including the Me 262A-1a/U1-5, Me 262A-1b, Me 262A-2a/U1-2, Me 262B-1a, Me 262B-1a/U1, Me 262B-2a, Me 262C-1a-3a, Me 262D-1, Me 262E-1 and E-2, Me 262 HG.I-III, Me 262W, Me 262 Mistel, P.1092A-E, P.1092/1-5, P.1099A-B, P.1100, Me 262 Interzeptor I-III, Aufklärer I-II and Schnellbomber I-III.
Dan Sharp has worked as a news journalist for 15 years, specialising in politics, crime and military history. Based in Nottinghamshire, he writes for and edits numerous publications.