Building the First Operational Jet Fighter

Posted on Mon, March 27, 2017

The Messerschmitt 262 was the first operational jet fighter introduced by Nazi Germany during World War II. It was more than 100 miles per hour faster than any other Allied fighter aircraft. Despite this, the Messerschmitt 262 faced problems. There were not enough resources to build the aaircraft and competition with other manufacturers was steep. 

Nazi Germany turned to forced labor to build the Messerschmitt 262. An example of this was at the Gusen II concentration camp, where prisoners built the fuselages for the aircraft. Gusen II was known as the “Hell of Hell,” and records estimate that 8,000 to 20,000 people died there. 

Although 1,443 aircraft were completed, it is estimated that only about 300 saw combat. The Messerschmitt 262 was introduced too late in the war to compete against the Allies.

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