(37) Last Hope of the Luftwaffe: Me 163, He 162, Me 262

Heinkel He 162 A-2; W.Nr. 120028, ‘White 3’ of 1./JG 1, Leck, Germany, May 1945. ‘White 3’, an early production aircraft built by Rostock factory, had the major part of its fuselage painted with a creamy shade of RLM 76. The fuselage spine behind the cockpit was painted RLM 82, whilst the area below the engine received a coat of RLM 81. The wings were finished in RLM 70 and 65. The outer surfaces of the fins and rudders were painted RLM 81. Note the 1./JG 1 emblem under the cockpit, and early-style fuselage crosses.

Heinkel He 162 A-2; W.Nr. 120231, ‘White 6’ of 1./JG 1, Leck, Germany, May 1945. This late production machine was partially left unpainted, with putty clearly visible over panel joints. Some wooden parts were primed in RLM 02, 65, 76 and black. The engine air intake was left in RLM 02. The panel joints on the wing tips seem to be puttied over. Although the plane didn’t receive the Staffel badge, it had the red arrows of JG 1 on its nose.

Color profiles: Arkadiusz Wróbel

Messerschmitt Me 262 A-2a, W.Nr. 110613,  ‘9K+DK’, flown by Ofw. Hermann Wieczorek of 2./KG 51,  Rheine-Hopsten, Germany, 25th February 1945. The RLM 81/82/76 factory scheme of this plane was modified at unit level by applying a snaky mottle in a dark green colour, possibly RLM 83*. The front engine cowlings were left in natural steel, with only their upper portions sprayed with green ‘squiggles’. Most likely, the nose tip was painted red, as on the other machines of 2. Staffel, but the top of the fin and rudder didn’t receive that marking. There was no serial number on the tail. The swastikas were white outlines only, which was quite unusual for a machine from this production batch. Therefore, it is possible that the aircraft was fitted with a replacement tail unit. The individual letter of this plane’s tactical marking, was most likely repeated in black on the front landing gear cover. Also note the traces of tape and primer sealing the joint between the nose and fuselage. On the 25th February 1945, Ofw. Hermann Wieczorek force-landed this machine near Nottuln after being hit by anti-aircraft guns.

 Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a,  ‘Yellow 2’ of 3./KG(J) 54, Prague-Ruzyně, Czechoslovakia, May 1945. ‘Yellow 2’, an aircraft most likely belonging to the 110xxx production batch, had its RLM 81/82/76 camouflage modified by adding ‘squiggles’ of a different RLM 76 shade, possibly the late-war green-blue variation, which were then toned down with narrow stripes of a dark green colour. The nose section was a replacement part from a Mtt Regensburg-built Me 262. It was fully primed with RLM 02 or light grey primer, and then thinly sprayed with RLM 81 and 82, with bottom portions left in primer. The previous tactical marking was over-painted and replaced with a ‘2’, painted in yellow and outlined in black. A blue and white checker identification band of the Geschwader was painted around the rear fuselage. The plane also carried the unit emblems applied in slightly different positions on both sides of the fuselage.

Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a,  ‘White 34’ of III./EJG 2, Brunnthal, Germany, May 1945. This machine was a Me 262 A-1a/U3 after an extensive refit. The nose was replaced with a section intended for a fighter variant, which was finished in a similar style as the nose of ‘Yellow 2’. The camera fairings were removed, which resulted in revealing bare metal areas with visible rivets and putty lines. The wing was also a replacement which was mostly unpainted, with puttied rivet lines. Only some sections were primed with RLM 02. The left wingtip, which most likely originated from another aircraft, was camouflaged with RLM 82 on the upper surface and RLM 76 on the underside. The engines were most likely mounted from various spare parts, therefore their covers carried a plethora of colours, including RLM 02, 76, 81 and dark green. Some parts were also left in natural metal, like the steel front engine cowlings. The rest of the fuselage remained in the typical camouflage of reconnaissance ‘Schwalbes’, comprising dark green ‘squiggles’ over an RLM 76 base coat. Note the distinctive swastikas with clearly visible traces of stencil-use, for their application.

 

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TC37 last hope

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