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Thread: Tactics for Attacking the Me262

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    Default Tactics for Attacking the Me262

    I have noted in my reading (ORB, Combat Reports, Intelligence Reports) and accounts from pilots that when attacked by, or attacking, an Me262 in a Spit the method was generally to turn to face them head-on, which sounds logical as a chase would have been pointless due to the Me262's superior speed.

    Can anyone confirm whether this was an official tactic that was taught to the pilots, or whether it was passed on, gained from experience, or potentially point me in the direction of a source for an answer to my query?

    Thanks
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    I can't directly answer your question, but going head on against 4x30mm cannon doesn't sound healthy. Given the gyro gun sight, the chances of a hit from a high-deflection shot would be much improved over earlier sights, so it may be a matter of whether "head on" actually means directly so or not.

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    Does anyone know the rate of fire from 20 mm and 30 mm cannon?

    Jim

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    Jim,

    Williams' & Gustin's 'Flying Guns, World War II - Development of Aircraft Guns, Ammunition and Installations 1933-45' has some excellent appendices that provide this and many other ueful gun specifications.

    The German RhB MK 108 is shown as having a rate of fire of 600-650 rpm.

    For the Brits, the Hispano was 600 (Mk.I/II (HS 404) and 750 (Mk.V), respectively.

    Errol

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    Steve, you always try to turn under the attacking enemy, though the turn was in opposite direction for Fw 190 or Me 109 attack. In regard of attack on a jet, I only know of V1 rules, but I guess the pilot had just to keep enough altitude to dive down on a jet. Poles got few Me 262s over Hamburg just this way.

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    Hi Steve,

    Common practice to turn in to an attack. Limits the time to fire and make accurate shooting very hard especially in this case as the MK108 was quite a low velocity weapon so accurate deflection shooting would be even more difficult.

    Best Regards

    Andy Fletcher
    Per Speculationem Impellor ad Intelligendum

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    Hi Chaps

    Thanks for the responses. I have three sources immediately to hand, two of which stem from 41 Squadron's activity over the Netherlands on 8 December 1944.

    The ORB: "The only incidents were reported by F/Lt. Anderson and F/Lt. Refshauge, who encountered two unidentified aircraft North of Nijmegen, and recognising them as Me 262's, attacked them headon [sic] with no result. Later an M.E 262 tried to bounce them, but broke off when the section turned."

    Flt. Lt. Anderson's logbook for the same incident. "Bounced by another [Me262] turned into it, but all pulled away easily."

    The third source is an account from one of the pilots, regarding a situation in early 1945. He wrote to me, "During the briefing on the day before crossing the Rhine on Monty's front, we were told that the Luftwaffe would probably use their ME 262s to dive bomb our troops as they crossed the river in their landing craft and that they would come in at high level. Our task would be to stop them. One of the pilots on 41 Sqn politely asked the AOC 83 Gp. how we were supposed to do this since the 262s were at least 100 mph faster than our Spits. Air Vice Marshal Broadhurst replied "Attack them head on and if necessary, fly into them!!!"

    Hence my query... but I get the impression from replies that attacking 262's head-on was not necessarily a tactic specific to this aircraft type.

    I assume, though, that pilots would get briefings on new aircraft entering the Luftwaffe's arsenal, and probably expanded as experiences were made with regard to the best way to tackle them, so are such training notes/manuals kept anywhere accessible, e.g. at the NA?

    Thanks
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Steve, it looks their goal was to break jet attack, so the tactics was not aimed to down them. I presume that instructions you seek are indeed at TNA (they have a file on various enemy aircraft), but you may also consider RAF Weekly Intelligence Bulletin, Aircraft Recognition Journal or similar.

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    Turnig towards (or "in to") a high speed opponent is a standard defensive tactic. The intent is to make the attacker's job more difficult by turning the attack into a head on pass, and to present a valid target for as brief a time as possible.

    From his instructing notes, my father was teaching this tactic to Auster and L-19 pilots in the 1950s, most certainly with no intent to shoot the other guy down!

    Slightly off topic, but when the Canadian Army received their first tactical helicopters in the 1960s, one defensive technique taught was to land, get out, and hide until the opposing aircraft run low on fuel.

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    Turning into an attack does not have to be taken as far as turning head-on. By turning towards the attacker he is given a more difficult deflection shot (not true for approaching head-on!) and is forced either to pull harder himself or overshoot. If he can pull harder than you, you're in trouble, but an attacker is usually faster and not able to do this. Once the overshoot is established the defender can reverse his turn (more difficult if he has pulled around towards a head-on confrontation) and the tables. Which may prove valueless if the jet can draw out of range before the defender's turn is completed.

    Given the additional constraint of bombers to escort, the defending fighter is more limited and forcing the overshoot may simply have the effect of allowing the attacker through to his real targets. In which case the apparently callous High Command instruction may well be the only response, depending of course upon the deflection capabilities of your gunsight.

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