Nicknamed Schwalbe (Swallow), the Messerschmitt Me 262 surpassed the performance of every other World War II fighter. Faster than the North American P-51 Mustang by 190 kilometers (120 miles) per hour, the Schwalbe restored to the faltering German Luftwaffe a short-lived qualitative superiority that it had enjoyed earlier in the war. The Me 262 appeared in only relatively small numbers in the closing year of World War II. Messerschmitt factories produced 1,443 Me 262s, but only about 300 saw combat. Highlighted in this image is the tire of the Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a.