DEPARTMENT II:  Me 262 Production Analysis

      

INTRODUCTION

There are many more questions than answers when it comes to deciphering the complex system of werknummern assigned to the Me 262.  The aircraft made its operational debut rather late in the war, and most of the records that might otherwise have been available were destroyed during the closing days of the conflict.  Put simply, there is often little to go on except a long and arduous trail of half-revealed clues from decades of independent research.  

For this reason, while many authors, historians and researchers have sought to identify and explain the werknummer system for this aircraft; few have met with much success over the years ... until now.

We are especially pleased to be able to offer a new and exceptionally well-researched study of the Me 262 werknummer system on the pages that follow, and are deeply indebted to our staff archivist, Mr. Richard T. Eger, for the use of this material.  Literally decades of effort are represented in this summary, accessible here to the public for the very first time.

 


 

The following introductory commentary has been provided by the author to orient the reader to the fundamentals of understanding werknummer production blocks. 

 


 

 

THE FIRST OF THE LAST

The first 5 prototypes, V1 to V5, were produced at Augsburg-Haunstetten and carried the werknummern 2620000001 to 2620000005, respectively.  

The next five prototypes, V6 to V10, were also produced at Augsburg-Haunstetten and carried the werknummern 130001 to 130005, respectively.  

The next 20 aircraft were a pre-production batch designated S1 to S20, although there may have been an S21 and S22 (one source indicates the “S21” aircraft was an A-1a).  

The first five of these were given the werknummern 130006 to 130010 and were, again, produced at Augsburg-Haunstetten, but these were to be the last Me 262’s produced there.  

Beginning with the S6, werknummer 130011, and working up to werknummer 130027, this block of aircraft was produced at Leipheim.  At this point, routine production commenced with werknummer 130163, also at Leipheim.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

So, what happened to werknummern 130028 to 130162?  Was this an attempt by the RLM to confuse Allied Intelligence?  Did it represent a natural break between pre-production and production aircraft?  

This might be a reasonable conclusion, but as we will see, the history of the Me 262 production was replete with such breaks in the werknummern sequence.  

THE COMISSIONEN LIST

The Rosetta Stone for understanding the Me 262 werknummern system is a five page list entitled “Comissionen und Werknummern Me 262.”  In this list, the planned Me 262’s are listed in sequential order from 1, starting with werknummer 130006, to 1684, corresponding to werknummer 113728.  

Obviously, there were some jumps in between!  These numbers were for planned production at Augsburg-Haunstetten (the first five), Leipheim, Schwabisch Hall, and Kuno.  Not included were production centers elsewhere, such as at Regensburg-Obertraubling, Kahla, and in Czechoslovakia.

The werknummern start with the 130XXX series, then switch to the 170XXX series, and then finally to the 110XXX series.  In the early production, werknummern were assigned in roughly blocks of 25 aircraft, first one block to Leipheim and then the next to Schwabisch Hall, simply alternating.  Later, the assigned blocks increased to roughly 50, then to 100 aircraft at a time for a single facility.  

SEQUENTIAL ANOMALIES

Breaks in the werknummer sequence occurred quite randomly, sometimes within an order block and sometimes at the end.  What is known is that the variants were interspersed along the production line within a production block.  

The breaks did not appear to be at all related to a change of variant.  While there may have been a logical reason for the big series shifts, the reason at this time is unknown to the author.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Werk Nummer system was that aircraft outside of the Comissionen sequence list were produced, i.e., aircraft with werknummern not on this list definitely were known to have existed.  

These aircraft fall within the gaps in the werknummern list.  In my extensive research, the number of known aircraft that fall within these “potential” production blocks is finite, but about 10X fewer than the aircraft known to have existed within the “known” production blocks.  

Some may be attributable to remanufacture, such as werknummern 110305 to 110307, Me 262 B-1a/U1 aircraft converted at Wenzendorf bei Hamburg.  How these numbers were assigned is unknown.  

   

  

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