Mauser Mk214 50mm Cannon
The Mauser Mk214 cannon was easily one of the most usual weapons fitted to the Me 262. This large 50mm weapon took up the entire nose section with the barrel sticking out some 10 feet! So extreme was the installation that the nosegear was modified to rotate 90° during retraction, enabling the wheel to lie flat as opposed to the usual configuration. A revised wheel well door arrangement was also created to deal with the new layout. Incredibly, the colossal weight and shape of the "phone pole" sticking out of the nose didn't have much effect on the flight characteristics of the jet.
The fitting of the Mk214 to the Me 262 was an effort to create an effective bomber-killer that could attack enemy formations from long range without being subjected to the bomber's defensive fire. It was estimated that a single hit from a 50mm cannon would be sufficient to cripple an Allied bomber. The development, by Mauser, of a 50mm nose mounted cannon was thought to be the answer. The resulting variant was designated the Me262A-1/U4 and was known as the Pulkzerstörer.
The ammunition cartridges were supplied to the weapon via a belt, from the left of the weapon. The cartridge was released by the ejector, which opened a wedge catch. This catch locked into place whilst the loading platform ran back into its resting position, ready to load the next shell. At this point, the firing sequence for the first shell could take place. Two electrical contacts closed in preparation for shell ejection, and these were activated by the interlocking of the wedge, and also by the loading platform being in its stationary default position. These switches operated the electric ignition of the cartridge, which in turn fired the weapon. At this stage, the ejector opened, and moved the wedge catch, allowing the ejection of the used cartridge. The 2400kg recoil of the weapon was alleviated by a hydraulic damper. The renewed introduction of the loading procedure took place pneumatically.
Kind thanks to Jim Brantley for permission to use the images of the Mauser Mk214, displayed within this page. Visit his website at http://www.infinet.com/~brantley for a whole selection of photographs from the UNITED STATES AIR FORCE MUSEUM. Thanks to Classic Publications for the B&W photographs.