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Messerschmitt German figher bomber jet from WW2.

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WIDTH INCHES 18 20 22 24 26 28
LENGTH INCHES 28 29 30 31 32 33
WIDTH INCHES 18 20 22 24 26  
LENGTH INCHES 25.5 26.5 27.5 28.5 30  
WIDTH INCHES 15 17 18 20    
LENGTH INCHES 20 22 24 26


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The Me262 Schwalbe (German for "swallow") was the world's 1st operational turbojet fighter aircraft. It was produced in World War Two and saw action starting in 1944 as a multi-role fighter/bomber/reconnaissance/interceptor warplane for the Luftwaffe.   German pilots nicknamed this cutting edge aircraft the Sturmvogel (Stormbird).  The Me262 had a negligible impact on the course of the war due to its late launch, with 509 claimed Allied kills against the loss of more than 100 Me 262s. The Me262 was already being developed as Projekt P.1065 before the start of World War 2. Plans were first started in Spring 1939, and the original model was very similar to the plane that eventually entered service. The progression of the primary model into service was delayed greatly by technical issues involving the new jet engines. Funding for the Messerschmitt jet program was also initially lacking, as many high-ranking officials thought the war could easily be won with conventional aircraft.  Hermann Göring, commnader of the Luftwaffe, was one of these doubters who cut back the engine advancement program to just 35 engineers in February 1940, Willy Messerschmitt, who desired to maintain mass assembly of the Messerschmitt Bf109 and the projected Me209; and Major General Adolf Galland, who supported Messerschmitt through the early development years, until flying the Me262 himself on 22 April 1943. By that time problems with engine development had slowed manufacture of the aircraft considerably.  In 1943, Adolf Hitler envisioned the Me262 not as a defensive interceptor, but as an offensive ground attack/bomber, practically as a very high speed, light payload Schnellbomber (Fast Bomber), to penetrate Allied air superiority during the expected invasion of France. His edict resulted in the development of the Sturmvogel (Stormbird) variant. It is debatable to what extent Hitler's interference extended the delay in bringing the Swallow into operation.  The aircraft was originally created with a tail wheel undercarriage and the first four prototypes Messerschmitt (Me262 V1-V4) were built with this configuration, but it was discovered on an early test run that the engines and wings "blanked" the stabilizers, giving nearly no control on the ground, as well as serious runway surface damage from the hot jet exhaust. Changing to a tricycle undercarriage arrangement, initially a fixed undercarriage on the "V5" fifth prototype, then fully retractable on the sixth (V6, with code VI+AA) and succeeding aircraft, corrected this problem. Although it is often stated the Me262 is a "swept wing" structure , the development Me262 had a leading edge sweep of only 18.5°This was done primarily to properly position the center of lift relative to the center of mass and not for the aerodynamic benefit of increasing the critical Mach number of the Messerschmitt  wing. The sweep was too slight to achieve any significant advantage. This happened after the initial style  of the aircraft, when the engines proved to be heavier than originally expected. On 1 March 1940, instead of moving the wing forward on its mount, the outer wing was positioned slightly backwards to the same end. The middle section of the wing remained un-swept. Based on data from the AVA Göttingen and wind-tunnel results, the middle section was later swept. The first test flights began on 18 April 1941, with the Me262 V1 example, bearing its Stammkennzeichen radio code letters of PC+UA, but since its intended BMW 003 turbojets were not ready for fitting, a conventional Junkers Jumo 210 engine was mounted in the V1 prototype's nose, driving a propeller, to test the Me262 V1 airframe. When the BMW 003 engines were finally installed, the Jumo was retained for safety, which proved wise as both 003s failed during the first flight and the pilot had to land using the nose mounted engine alone.  The V3 third prototype airframe, with the code PC+UC, became a true "jet" when it flew on 18 July 1942 in Leipheim near Günzburg, Germany, piloted by Fritz Wendel. This was nearly nine months ahead of the British Gloster Meteor's first flight on 5 March 1943. The tail-heavy attitude of the Me262 caused its jet exhaust to deflect off the runway, negating the effects of the elevators, and the first attempt was cut short. On the second attempt, Wendel solved the problem by tapping the aircraft's brakes at takeoff speed, lowering the nose and lifting the tail.  The Messerschmitt   003 engines, which were proving unreliable, were replaced by the newly available Junkers Jumo 004. Test flights continued over the next year, but the engines continued to be unreliable. Airframe modifications were complete by 1942, but hampered by the lack of engines, serial production did not begin until 1944. This delay in engine availability was in part due to the shortage of strategic materials, especially metals and alloys able to handle the extreme temperatures produced by the jet engine. Even when the engines were completed, they had an expected operational lifetime of approximately 50 hours; in fact, most 004s lasted just 12 hours. A pilot familiar with the Messerschmitt Me262 and its engines could expect approximately 20 to 25 hours of life from the 004s. Changing a 004 engine was intended to require three hours, but typically took eight to nine due to poorly made parts and inadequate training of ground crews. Turbojet engines have less thrust at low speed than propellers and as a result, low-speed acceleration is relatively poor. It was more noticeable for the Messerschmitt Me262 as early jet engines (before the invention of afterburners) responded slowly to throttle changes. The introduction of a primitive autothrottle late in the war only helped slightly. Conversely, the higher power of jet engines at higher speeds meant the Messerschmitt Me262 enjoyed a much higher climb speed. Used tactically, this gave the jet fighter an even greater speed advantage in climb rate than level flight at top speed. With one engine out, the Me262 still flew well, with speeds of 450 to 500 km/h (280 to 310 mph), but pilots were warned never to fly slower than 300 km/h (186 mph) on one engine, as the asymmetrical thrust would cause serious problemsThe Battle of Britain (German: Luftschlacht um England or Luftschlacht um Großbritannien) is the name given to the air campaign waged by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940. The purpose of the campaign was to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAF), especially Fighter Command. The name derives from a famous speech delivered by Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the House of Commons: "The Battle of France is over. I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin..." The Battle of Britain was the first important campaign to be fought entirely by air forces, and was also the largest and most sustained aerial bombing crusadeto that date. From July 1940 coastal shipping convoys and shipping centers, such as Portsmouth, were the main targets; one month later the Luftwaffe shifted its attacks to RAF airfields and infrastructure. As the conflict progressed the Luftwaffe also targeted aircraft factories and ground infrastructure. Eventually the Luftwaffe resorted to attacking areas of political significance and using terror bombing tactics. The inability of Germany to achieve its objectives of destroying Britain's air defenses, or forcing Britain to negotiate an armistice or an outright surrender, is considered its first major defeat and one of the vital turning points in the war. If Germany had gained air superiority with the Luftwaffe, Adolf Hitler might have launched Operation Sea Lion, an amphibious and airborne invasion of Britain. The Luftwaffe's Messerschmitt Bf 109E and Messerschmitt Bf 110C squared off against the RAF's workhorse Hurricane Mk I and the less numerous Spitfire Mk I. The Bf 109E had a better climb rate and was 10 to 30 mph faster than the Hurricane, depending on altitude. In September 1940 the more powerful Mk IIa series 1 Hurricanes started entering service although only in small numbers. This version was capable of a maximum speed of 342 mph, some 25 to 30 mph faster than the Mk I. The productiveness of the Spitfire over Dunkirk came as a surprise to the Jagdwaffe, although the German pilots retained a strong belief that the 109 was the superior fighter. However, the Bf 109E had a much larger turning circle than either the Hurricane or the Spitfire. The two British fighters were equipped with eight Browning 303 machine guns, while most Bf 109Es had two machine guns and two wing cannons. The Messerschmitt Bf 109E and the Spitfire were superior to each other in key areas; for instance, at some altitudes, the Bf 109 could out-climb the British fighter. In general, though, as Alfred Price noted in The Spitfire Story: ...the differences between the Spitfire and the Me 109 in performance and handling were only marginal, and in a combat they were almost always surmounted by tactical considerations: which side had seen the other first, had the advantage of sun, altitude, numbers, pilot ability, tactical situation, tactical co-ordination, amount of fuel remaining. The Bf 109 was also used as a fighter-bomber—the E-4/B and E-7 models could carry a 250 kg bomb underneath the fuselage. The Messerschmitt Bf 109, unlike the Stuka, could fight on equal terms with RAF fighters after releasing its ordnance. At the start of the encounter, the twin-engine Messerschmitt Bf 110 long range Zerstörer ("Destroyer") was also expected to engage in air-to-air combat while escorting the Luftwaffe bomber fleet. Although the Messerschmitt 110 was faster than the Hurricane and almost as fast as the Spitfire, its lack of maneuverability and acceleration meant that it was a failure as a long-range escort fighter. On 13 and 15 August, 13 and 30 aircraft were lost, the equivalent of an entire Gruppe, and the type's worst losses during the operation. This trend continued with a further eight and 15 lost on 16 and 17 August. Göring ordered the Bf 110 units to operate "where the range of the single-engined machines were not sufficient". The most productive role of the Messerschmitt Bf 110 during the battle was as a Schnellbomber (fast bomber). The Bf 110 usually used a shallow dive to bomb the target and escaped at high speed.One unit, Erprobungsgruppe 210, proved that the Messerschmitt Bf 110 could be used to good effect in attacking small or "pinpoint" targets. The RAF's Boulton Paul Defiant had some initial success over Dunkirk because of its resemblance to the Hurricane; Luftwaffe fighters attacking from the rear were surprised by its unusual gun turret. However, during the Battle of Britain, this single-engine two-seater proved to be hopelessly outclassed. For various reasons, the Defiant lacked any form of forward firing armament and the heavy turret meant that it could not out-run or out-maneuver either the Bf 109 or the Bf 110. By the end of August, after disastrous losses, the aircraft was withdrawn from daylight service. There has been some criticism of the decision to keep these aircraft (along with the Fairey Battles in RAF Bomber Command) operational instead of retiring and scrapping them, allowing their Merlin engines to be turned over to fighters and their pilots (about three thousand in all) to be retrained on Hurricanes, thereby freeing large numbers of high-time, combat-experienced Hurricane pilots for Spitfires.The Luftwaffe's four primary bombers were the Heinkel He 111, Dornier Do 17, and Junkers Ju 88 for level bombing, and the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka for diving attacks. The Heinkel He 111 was used in greater numbers than the others during the conflict and is better known, partly due to its distinctive wing shape. Each level bomber also had a few reconnaissance versions that were used during the battle. Although successful in previous Luftwaffe engagements, the Stuka suffered heavy losses in the Battle of Britain, particularly on 18 August, due to its slow speed and vulnerability to Spitfire fighter interception after the dive bombing. As a result of the losses and limited payload and range, Ju87 Stuka units were largely removed from operations over England and concentrated on shipping instead until they were re-deployed to the Eastern Front in 1941. The Ju87 Stuka dive bombers returned on occasion, such as on the 13 September attack on Tangmere airfield. The remaining three bomber types differed in their capabilities; the Heinkel 111 was the slowest, the Ju 88, once its mainly externally carried bomb load was dropped, was the fastest, and the Do 17 had the smallest bomb load. All three bomber types suffered heavy losses from British fighters, but the Ju 88 disproportionately so. Later in the conflict, when night bombing became more frequent, all three were used. However, due to its reduced bomb load, the lighter Do 17 was used less than the He 111 and Ju 88 for this purpose. On the British side, three bombers were mostly used on night operations against targets such as factories, invasion ports and railway centers; the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, the Handley-Page Hampden and the Vickers Wellington were classified as heavy bombers by the RAF, although the Hampden was a medium bomber comparable to the He 111. The twin-engined Bristol Blenheim and the obsolescent single-engined Fairey Battle were both light bombers; the Blenheim was the most numerous of the aircraft equipping RAF Bomber Command and was used in attacks against shipping, ports, airfields and factories on the continent by day and by night, while the Battle was rarely used on operations. Before the war, the RAF's processes for selecting potential candidates were more concerned with social standing than actual aptitude. By summer 1940, there were about 9,000 pilots in the RAF for approximately 5,000 aircraft, most of which were bombers. However, the problem of pilot shortage was self-inflicted, due to inefficiencies in training and assignment. With aircraft production running at 300 each week, only 200 pilots were trained in the same period. In addition, more pilots were awarded to squadrons than there were aircraft. Another problem was that only about 30% of the 9,000 pilots were assigned to operational squadrons; 20% of the pilots were involved in conducting pilot training, and a further 20% were undergoing further instruction, like those offered in Canada and in Southern Rhodesia to the Commonwealth trainees, although already qualified. The rest were assigned to staff positions, since RAF policy dictated that only pilots could make many staff and operational command decisions, even in engineering matters. At the height of fighting, and despite Churchill's insistence, only 30 pilots were released to the front line from administrative duties. For these reasons, the RAF had fewer experienced pilots at the start of the battle, and it was the lack of certified pilots in the fighting squadrons, rather than the lack of aircraft, that became the greatest concern for Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding, Commander of Fighter Command. Drawing from regular RAF forces and the Auxiliary Air Force and the Volunteer Reserve, the British could muster some 1,103 fighter pilots on 1 July. Replacement pilots, with little flight training and often no gunnery training, suffered high casualty rates. Due mostly to more productive training, the Luftwaffe could muster a larger number (1,450) of more experienced fighter pilots. Drawing from a cadre of Spanish Civil War veterans, they had comprehensive courses in aerial gunnery and instructions in tactics suited for fighter-versus-fighter combat. Luftwaffe training manuals also discouraged heroism, stressing the utmost importance of attacking only when the odds were in the pilot's favor.


Average Rating: (based on 2 reviews)

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by Steven
on 4/14/2015
ME 262 Shirt
Great quality and fast shipping, wish I could get them with the prints on the back
by Keith
on 10/16/2013
me 626
just got this shirt today ,and am very pleased. I love the designed the shirt. if you looking to buy one this is it. I got it in Blue and it is awesome. very well made , speedy delivery. and ready to show off. If you want a shirt with a jet design, this is it.
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