5 Deadly German Jet -Powered Aircraft of World War II
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5 Deadly German Jet -Powered Aircraft of World War II

5 Deadly German Jet -Powered Aircraft of World War II

History has it that Germany has a prototype jet powered aircraft after the end of World War I with the Heinkel He-178 taking to the air in 1939 but owing to misjudgement on the notion that piston-powered designs are more effective than jet engines which were still undergoing refinements, the jet aircraft design development slowed down only to be revived near the end of World War II. The projected advantage over the Allied Forces with the Germans edge over the application of the jet engine was overwhelming but even so it was “a little too late” to have a major impact in changing the tides of war in favour of the Axis Powers. The Allied Forces couldn't help but rejoice at their immediate victory when many German-run aircraft factories were seized exposing state-of-the-art aircraft designs that would inspire cutting edge jet fighters to dominate the post war era ushering aviation technology into the threat of the Cold War. Below were 5 German jet powered fighters and bombers seized during the near end of the war.

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1.    Ar-234 Blitz (Lightning)- First taking off on June 1943, the Ar-234 bomber were produced in limited numbers doing a variety of roles from reconnaissance and bombing missions. Attaining just 700 km/h other variants were modified to carry four engines each linked to each other (a pair in each wing).        


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2.    Me-262 Schwalbe (Swallow) – The first operational jet powered fighter aircraft in the world was powered by two Junkers Jumo 004B-1 turbojets giving it a speed advantage of 900 km/h about 200 km/h faster than most Allied propeller driven fighters. The jet fighter came to active duty on 3 October 1944 surprising most of the Allied fighters and bombers thus prioritizing its production more than propeller driven German fighters. Although it allowed the Germans to gain some advantage a considerable number had been lost due to tricky landings. The type that survived the war also ended being seized by the Allies for reference purposes.

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3.   Ju-287 – An unconventional bomber design bearing the fact that it was the first aircraft to utilize the inverted swept wing concept that inspired present day jet designs like the Grumman X-29, it was also one of the first aircraft to utilize rockets to assist in take-off owing to the insufficient power from the jet engines. Surprisingly, the design has four jet engines fitted, two on each wing and two at both sides of the cockpit. Much of these type never actually saw action in the war and had fallen at the hands of the Russians.

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4.   He-162 Salamander– Taking the air on 6 December 1944 powered by a single BMW 003E-1 axial flow turbojet engine, the Salamander was a striking design at first glance except for the fact that its single, heavy turbojet engine positioned at the top of the fuselage made the design unstable in pitch requiring even a tail prop to be positioned when on ground to avoid the aircraft to sit on its tail. Plans of the design to be mass produced at the rate of 5,000 units per month didn't materialized and only 270 were completed much of which had fallen into the Allies to be studied and tested at the end of the war.

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5.   Gotha 229 / Ho-229 – The Horten Brother's revolutionary design became the first flying wing concept to have taken into the air bearing with it its stealth characteristics. Powered by twin Junkers Jumo 004B-1 turbojet engines, the first prototype attained a speed of 962 km/h a bit too fast for its time. Captured by the Allies, the design didn't really saw action during the war and was only taken to be studied providing data for the development of the flying wing concept and the application of stealth technology.


Concept Aircraft: Prototypes, X-Planes and Experimental Aircraft by Jim Winchester

Germany's Secret Weapons in World War II by Roger Ford

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Comments (11)

Great job!

im pretty sure these deadly aircrafts are now on exhibit at the national museums of German

Thanks for the comments, Jenny, Norbert. You are right about that, kabayan.

Very nice and informative write-up. Thanks for sharing

You have entertained and educated me with your great article.thank you.

Expert discussion, as always.

Another well-written, informative article on aviation history.

Nice job!

Interesting precursors of modern day jets.


I love military aviation articles. I voted this up.