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Thread: Tactics for Attacking the Me262

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Canada, eh
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts


    Quite right Graham. When I said "turning the attack into a head on pass" I should have said "tending more towards a head on pass". As you pointed out, this introduces a rapidly changing (and probably increasing) deflection angle for the attacker to sort out. The typical instruction to a beginning pilot is to try to point your aircraft at the attacker, but if the attacker is manuevering as well you probably never actually achieve this.

    Your comment about "turning harder" relates to g forces if the airspeeds are equal, but actually the question is can the attacker generate a big enough change in heading, in order to achieve the required deflection angle. For equal speeds, this means pulling roughly equal gs. The attacker may even get away with slightly less g, if the turns start at about the same time and the attacker is not too close by this time. If there is a large mismatch in speeds, the slower aircraft (usually the victim) has the advantage here. The bigger the speed mismatch, the greater the advantage. For example, if the victim is at half the attackers speed, the attacker needs to pull 4 times the g to match turning radius, or more than 4 times the g to turn inside his victim. That is why the tactic would be so beneficial to something like an Auster being attacked by a fighter. For example, if the Auster is pulling 2 g at 100 knots, the fighter doing 300 knots has to pull 2 X 300/100 X 300/100 = 18 g to match the turn! If you can find a copy of "Jet Fighter Performance" by M. Spick, there is a better discussion of all this in this book.

    On a related topic, I believe that Bomber Command pilots were taught to start a corkscrew manuevre towards the attacking aircraft, for these reasons. The USAAF, on the other hand, felt it was more important to maintain "the box" under attack, for massing of defensive fire, so they did not encourage these sorts of maneuvres.

    As previous posts said, one of the main reasons to turn into an unexpected attack is to live through that first attack, in order to have a chance to set up for a kill or at least get away. The book referenced above claims that in jet fighter combat since Korea only about 20% of the kills come from classic dog fights, ther majority happen during that first pass.

    Another comment, about the order to ram the Me262 if all else failed. I'm re-reading Churchill's 5 volume history of the war right now, and several times he mentions that, based on his knowledge of aircraft production rates and aircrew training rates on both sides at the time, he considered any battle where aircraft were traded one-for-one as a victory for the Allies, at any time throughout the war.
    Last edited by Bill Walker; 27th February 2009 at 19:47.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts


    Thanks Gents: some useful information, which has helped me understand aerial combat a lot better, and is most appreciated.

    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946

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