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The Story of the Deutsche Museum's White 3
The Me 262 was the world's first fighter jet. Technically, it was years ahead compared with other fighters. For the first time arrow-wings were constructed to be used for high speed flying. The "Schwalbe" - so it was named, highly surpassed all Allied fighter planes, so it was usually flown by already experienced pilots. Unfortunately for the German air-force this "Wunderwaffe" could not decisively turn the war, as it was put into action too late and not in an appropriate number. The "Schwalbe" was feared by the Allies. It disposed of a heavy arming and an unsurpassable speed. Its very effective arming consisted of 4 machine guns, caliber 30mm - per 2 one above the other - installed in the thin nose of the Me 262. These machine guns were built by Rheinmetall especially for fighting bomber-aircraft. The gun fired 660 rounds per minute and was adjusted for a converging distance of 450m. A direct hit produced a 1,75m2 hole in the fuselage of plane hit. A direct hit should destroy an enemy fighter, while 3 hits should be necessary to down a bomber-plane. Additionally from hard 1945 the Me 262 was equipped with 12 R4M rockets - each with 4kg explosive devices - under each wing. On March 18th 1945 the 9th squadron of the JG7 operated for the first time using rockets. The fighters fired 9 salvos of rockets into a bomber formation and destroyed 8 planes. The Reflexvisier Rewi 16B was used for both systems - the machine guns and the rockets. The front bullet proof glass measured 90mm, the headrest 15mm. This was only armor of the Me 262, as it was supposed, it wouldn't be hit by enemy fighters because of its high speed. 

The fuselage and the wings were covered with a Al, Cu, Mg alloy. The wings were split - most of the Messerschmitt fighters had them - and opened automatically as soon as the speed dropped under 450 km/h while climbing or under 300 km/h while descending. The Me 262 had an VHF transmitter and receiver type Futo 16ZY. The same system - connected by the switch ZF-FT - was combined with the homing receiver ZVG-16. The antenna of this system was installed transverse to the flight direction. The ground control stations received the data form the automatic identification system FU G25. The JG7 began it's operation on November 19th 1944. It was the most successful JG of the Me 262 squadrons shooting down about 200 enemy planes. Cadet Hans Mutke belonged to the JG7, when he took of with his "Weißen 3" from Fürstenfeldbruck on the 25th April 1945. A few hours later he landed at Dubendorf in Switzerland. What had happened? On April 23rd 1945 cadet Mutke had been ordered to go to Fürstenfeldbruck after he had been trained from the Bf 110 to the Me 262 by major Heinz Bär at the Lechfeld air forces camp. The following day American tanks approached 50km to the airfield. The JG7 was to be relocated to Bad Ailing. During the evacuation activities somebody found out, they had forgotten a Me 262, that stood in a wood near the airfield. Cadet Mutke got the order to fly the left Me 262 to Bad Ailing.

Mutke picks up the story from here. There were only 3 soldiers at the airfield, one sergeant and 2 privates. They were not able to service the Me 262. I didn't even know how long the Me262 had been standing there and if it was filled up with fuel or not.

 

"In the afternoon of April 24th I walked to the Me 262 that stood about 3km away from the airfield. In a barrack I met a few displaced persons hanging around, hands in their pockets and looking at me curiously. I called the 3 soldiers, but all the efforts to start the Me262 were in vain. So we decided to try it again next morning. In the morning of April 25th we succeeded in starting the Me. It was a high risk, because I didn't know, where the plane had come from and how long it had been standing there. We found out, that the fuel tanks were almost empty. We towed the Me262 to the gas station. In order to reduce the time of filling the fuel tanks, the pumps attendant put 2 fuel hoses into the plane, one in each of the 2 fuel tanks. I was sitting on the plane observing the sky. Suddenly 25-30 American Marauders approached the airfield."

 

"I shouted to the pump attendant and he pulled out the 2 hoses. I started the engines and tried to take off. For a fraction of seconds I could avoid running into a few bomb funnels before my Me262 took off finally. I accelerated to 500-600-700-800 km/h. When the enemy bombers saw, that I was in the air, they turned away into the clouds heading southwest for the Bodensee-Lake. In the meantime I found that the 262 was loaded with ammunition and I tried to follow the Marauders. So I flew over the clouds, but I couldn't find them. Finally I had time to study the Me 262. I found out I had not enough fuel to reach Bad Aibling. What should I do? I was over French occupied territory north of the Bodensee. I didn't want to become a prisoner of the French. Parachuting was a high risk at all. To ground the Me 262 was almost impossible because of the low hanging engines that would surely hit the ground and make the plane overturn. So I decided to go down on the Bodensee-Lake. "

" When I reached the Bodensee I thought I could try to land somewhere in Switzerland. But I didn't know Switzerland or towns there, nor had I a map. Switzerland was for me "terraincognita". When I reached the south coast of the Bodensee - the border to Switzerland- the fuel needle showed "0". In a distance of about 70km I saw a big town. That was Zürich, but at that time I didn't know it. I thought there should be an airfield at an big town. Otherwise I had to drop my Me into the Lake. I feared, the engines could fail each moment. There was another problem. I was over neutral territory, flying at a speed of 800-900km/h. My 262 could be mistaken for a V1 or V2 and be shot at by anti-aircraft guns. Ahead I saw the airfield of Dubendorf. At that time the landing strip was 800-900m long. This was too short. If I stopped the engines at the moment I was to touch down I had chance. Later the commander of the airfield told me, they thought a lost V1 or V2 was just coming. I feared Swiss antiaircraft guns would try to shoot me down. I climbed to 3000m and far away from the airfield I went down to 20m and flew over the airfield at full speed, so that the Swiss couldn't fire at me. I headed eastward, climbed vertically and made a turn of 180°. To make the Swiss realize there was an aircraft in the air, I lowered the undercarriage. When I slowed down to 260km/h 4 Swiss Morane fighters followed me and directed me to the landing strip. But I couldn't land the way they wanted me to do. I thought, they would open fire when I didn't do what they signaled me. In order to have a long runway I landed diagonally on the field. Like a madman I stepped on the brakes. About 30m in front of the American bomber-planes, that stood in the corner of the airfield, my Me 262 came to a stop."  

(Author's note: Those were interned American bomber planes having made emergency landings in Switzerland.)

"A few cars came up to me among them a truck with a machine gun and 2 soldiers who elang to the gun because the ground was uneven. They signaled me to follow them and directed me to the tower where about 60-80 soldiers were waiting. One of the soldiers shouted a command where upon the others made a circle around the 262.  I didn't know, what to do. I looked at pointed guns and waited, what would happen. I thought I would never again see my Me262. So I took my personal belongings and cleared the cockpit a little bit. In the meantime more and more people were coming up to see, what was going on. I stayed on the cockpit and waited for somebody to ask me to get out of my 262. But nobody did come. So I was waiting at lease for 5 minutes before I opened the cockpit and jumped to the ground. Now a captain came up to me, saluted and said to me "Come on, Mr. Courache." A big black car took us away, all the others followed." 

Cadet Mutke was brought to the officers mess, they tried to make him drunken, to tell them his "secrets". Next day first lieutenant Locher continued the interrogation. It's understandable that Mutke gave a few false information's. Mutke was interned in the hotel "Frütsch" in Luzern after the procedure and the reason of his landing in Switzerland were cleared up. There were about 15-20 men interned at the same place. Later on for a short time he was brought to the hotel "Schweitzerhof", where he was to give advices to Swiss airforce personal to various matters. So he had to instruct the chief of the technical department Col. Högger how to fly the Me 262. Mutke urged Col. Högger not to fly the Me 262, because the runway was too short for a safe touch down. Col. Högger replied, he had flown all the confiscated aircrafts without a manual. The only long enough and firmed up runway for a Me 262 in Switzerland was in Bern. Therefore Col. Högger intended to bring the Me to Bern to test it there. The Swiss Parliament however didn't allow it, because Genf was near the French border and the Swiss authorities didn't want to risk a border violation with German aircraft. In Oct. 45 Mutke was transferred to Weesur at the lake Walensee. >From now on he was treated as an interned civilian. In Zürich and Bern the continued studying medicine for 2 1/2 years, which he began in Germany before his military service. In the following years he lived in Argentina and Bolivia, where he was employed by the Bolivian airlines and piloted D-3 Dakota planes. Later on Mutke returned to Germany. Now he lives in Germany and works as a gynecologist in Munich. He has a rank as a senior medical officer of the German Bundeswehr. The Me 262 was for the Swiss a desirable testing object. They found out, that in the fuel tanks were only 80 l fuel, enough for 3 minutes. After the Me had undergone various tests they placed it in a hangar. In 1957 the Me 262 was handed over to the Deutsches Museum in Munich, as a Contribution to the reconstruction of the aviation exhibition, that was destroyed during the war. For many years the Me 262 was shown with wrong colors. Not before 1984 the Me262 got the original colors of 1945, when the aviation exhibition was extended and located in a new hall.

 

To Jim Hatch with best wishes, yours Guido Mutke

The author of this article, Roger Cämperle, thanks Mr. Mutke for his help in writing this article. Translated by Bert Hartmann from German to English . Article appeared in Jet & Prop 5/96. Visit Bert Hartmanns `Me262-A Legend Lives` from here.

 

Related Mutke information regarding the controversial Mach 1 effort may be found at ...

 

 

 

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