Did the Me 163 Komet achieve anything?

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David1819
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Did the Me 163 Komet achieve anything?

Post by David1819 » 03 Sep 2014 00:53

Over 300 of these aircraft where constructed but I have never heard of any feedback of its performance?

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von thoma
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Re: Did the Me 163 Komet achieve anything?

Post by von thoma » 03 Sep 2014 03:19

Rudolf Opitz, test pilot, described it as an unstable and dangerous plane.
He broke his back during a landing and fortunately survived.
Komet's achievements are described in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jagdgeschwader_400
" The right to believe is the right of those who don't know "

thaddeus_c
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Re: Did the Me 163 Komet achieve anything?

Post by thaddeus_c » 03 Sep 2014 15:48

my understanding the original prototypes had a small propeller engine, quickly removed during development.

since they had excellent glide characteristics wonder why no attempt made to launch them as gliders, stay aloft with the small Argus propeller engine, use the rocket once/if a bomber group was approaching?

AND they would have had propeller engine to land and also power them on the ground.

David1819
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Re: Did the Me 163 Komet achieve anything?

Post by David1819 » 03 Sep 2014 19:04

thaddeus_c wrote:my understanding the original prototypes had a small propeller engine, quickly removed during development.

since they had excellent glide characteristics wonder why no attempt made to launch them as gliders, stay aloft with the small Argus propeller engine, use the rocket once/if a bomber group was approaching?

AND they would have had propeller engine to land and also power them on the ground.
That sounded like a good idea to me at first. But it could not possibly glide while full of rocket fuel plus the rocket engine which the first gliders models did not have to carry. It could only glide to a landing once all the rocket fuel was depleted.

Its an interesting machine certainly had potential

There where several versions as the scale models below show. The larger grey one is the ME 163D it featured a permanent Retractable landing gear but only one was ever built but would have solved allot of problems with the first version

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It was also used by the Japanese manufactured by Mitsubishi

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Sheldrake
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Re: Did the Me 163 Komet achieve anything?

Post by Sheldrake » 03 Sep 2014 22:19

It did achieve something. German efforts and scarce resources were diverted as well as killing some experienced pilots ;) . The idea of a point defence interceptor isn't bad. It is the concept behind the spitfire. Many post war interceptors had high rates of climb and short endurance. The Me163 took this to a silly extreme. It had enough fuel to reach an interception altitude and then make a single gliding firing pass. It was clever technology looking for an application.

thaddeus_c
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Re: Did the Me 163 Komet achieve anything?

Post by thaddeus_c » 04 Sep 2014 07:23

David1819 wrote:
thaddeus_c wrote:my understanding the original prototypes had a small propeller engine, quickly removed during development.

since they had excellent glide characteristics wonder why no attempt made to launch them as gliders, stay aloft with the small Argus propeller engine, use the rocket once/if a bomber group was approaching?

AND they would have had propeller engine to land and also power them on the ground.
That sounded like a good idea to me at first. But it could not possibly glide while full of rocket fuel plus the rocket engine which the first gliders models did not have to carry. It could only glide to a landing once all the rocket fuel was depleted.

Its an interesting machine certainly had potential

There where several versions as the scale models below show. The larger grey one is the ME 163D it featured a permanent Retractable landing gear but only one was ever built but would have solved allot of problems with the first version
thanks for pointing that out, once laden with rocket fuel it would not perform like a glider until expended

retractable landing gear and retaining the small Argus propeller engine make them more functional.

IIRC the "263" version had doubled the flight time?

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Grzesio
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Re: Did the Me 163 Komet achieve anything?

Post by Grzesio » 04 Sep 2014 10:02

Rudolf Opitz, test pilot, described it as an unstable and dangerous plane.
While numerous other pilots describe its flight characteristics as excellent.
my understanding the original prototypes had a small propeller engine, quickly removed during development.
No. All Komets ever built had purely rocket propulsion. Just the DFS 194 was rebuilt from piston to rocket engine.
since they had excellent glide characteristics wonder why no attempt made to launch them as gliders, stay aloft with the small Argus propeller engine, use the rocket once/if a bomber group was approaching?
AND they would have had propeller engine to land and also power them on the ground.
The problem is, any additional engine would add extra drag and weight, would need additional fuel tanks etc. The idea behind the Komet was to build an exceptionally clean airframe.
BUT - there were additional ramjet engines for the Me 263 under development in 1944/45 indeed. Two ramjets under wings had to provide additional cruising propulsion.
The larger grey one is the ME 163D it featured a permanent Retractable landing gear but only one was ever built
It is Me 263, rather than Me 163 D. ;) Probably two or three were built (just one flown), a handful of others was under construction.
IIRC the "263" version had doubled the flight time?
Some 15 miutes is given for Me 263, 11-12 minutes for Me 163 C, while Me 163 B had 7-10 minutes or so.

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Snautzer05
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Re: Did the Me 163 Komet achieve anything?

Post by Snautzer05 » 04 Sep 2014 11:03

The plane had to be in the route of the bombers which is, seen its endurance, a mayor set back.

thaddeus_c
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Re: Did the Me 163 Komet achieve anything?

Post by thaddeus_c » 04 Sep 2014 14:00

Grzesio wrote:
my understanding the original prototypes had a small propeller engine, quickly removed during development.
No. All Komets ever built had purely rocket propulsion. Just the DFS 194 was rebuilt from piston to rocket engine.
since they had excellent glide characteristics wonder why no attempt made to launch them as gliders, stay aloft with the small Argus propeller engine, use the rocket once/if a bomber group was approaching?
AND they would have had propeller engine to land and also power them on the ground.
The problem is, any additional engine would add extra drag and weight, would need additional fuel tanks etc. The idea behind the Komet was to build an exceptionally clean airframe.
BUT - there were additional ramjet engines for the Me 263 under development in 1944/45 indeed. Two ramjets under wings had to provide additional cruising propulsion.
IIRC the "263" version had doubled the flight time?
Some 15 miutes is given for Me 263, 11-12 minutes for Me 163 C, while Me 163 B had 7-10 minutes or so.
thanks for information

still think using the Argus engine would have been worthwhile (listed as weighing 250 lbs.) as well as retractable landing gear since otherwise the aircraft were "dead weight" upon landing, waiting on tractor arrangement to retrieve them. and if they had been widely deployed and effective one can imagine they would have been targeted especially during landing and on the ground?

Argus had a version of their small piston engine that was suitable for launching gliders? without rocket fuel added might be possible for Me-263 units to fly under their own power from base to base without glider tug to launch them, another advantage if they had been more widely deployed?

David1819
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Re: Did the Me 163 Komet achieve anything?

Post by David1819 » 04 Sep 2014 16:48

Sheldrake wrote: It had enough fuel to reach an interception altitude and then make a single gliding firing pass.
It didn't glide pass the bombers that would defeat the object as speed was key. After take off It could reached a height of 12,000 m (39,000 ft) in just three minutes it then power dived down on the bomber formation some pilots reporting to reach speeds of 700mph+ (with the help of gravity) it was possible after the first strike to repeat the flight upwards and attack again giving two opportunity's to down a bomber.

Tactics where developed by experienced pilots where by they would fly the plane in a loop like a roller coaster some pilots clamming they could power dive the bombers four times before having to land.

What is most interesting is that it was later armed with SG500 Jägerfaust mortars
It appears that this weapon was used in combat only once, resulting in the destruction of a Halifax bomber, although other sources say it was a Boeing B-17
Artist impression below

http://robdebie.home.xs4all.nl/me163/weapons01.htm

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Oberleutnant Adolf Niemeyer flew a more than 30 combat missions in the Komet, developing the variant equipped with 24 R4M rockets mounted under the wings.
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Germany took this technology seriously and planned to have networks of ME163 bases covering all urban and industrial areas that the bombers would target. Guess it was too little too late. If Germany made this aircraft its main rocket project rather than the V1 and V2 rockets it would have given the allies a very difficult time in the air but would not change the tide of the conflict.
The surface to air missile(SAM) soon made it obsolete but still very impressive for its day

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Re: Did the Me 163 Komet achieve anything?

Post by thaddeus_c » 04 Sep 2014 19:16

David1819 wrote:
Oberleutnant Adolf Niemeyer flew a more than 30 combat missions in the Komet, developing the variant equipped with 24 R4M rockets mounted under the wings.
Image

Germany took this technology seriously and planned to have networks of ME163 bases covering all urban and industrial areas that the bombers would target. Guess it was too little too late. If Germany made this aircraft its main rocket project rather than the V1 and V2 rockets it would have given the allies a very difficult time in the air but would not change the tide of the conflict.
The surface to air missile(SAM) soon made it obsolete but still very impressive for its day
V-2 was a waste, the V-1 was cost effective and could have been further developed (simple fix of cutting payload increased the range, adding nitrous oxide boosted speed, etc.)

thanks for the picture of the R4M equipped ME-163 (263?) wondered if that had ever been attempted.

a smart strategy (if they had been developed earlier) would have been to position 163s near V-1 launch sites (or bogus sites) as a distraction from industrial targets.

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LWD
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Re: Did the Me 163 Komet achieve anything?

Post by LWD » 04 Sep 2014 20:54

thaddeus_c wrote: ...the V-1 was cost effective ....
That's very debateable. If you are simply measuring the amount of explosive delivered to a particular country perhaps but if you look at the resources consumed compared to miitary targets destroyed I think you will find it was not very cost effective at all.

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Grzesio
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Re: Did the Me 163 Komet achieve anything?

Post by Grzesio » 04 Sep 2014 21:20

It appears that this weapon was used in combat only once, resulting in the destruction of a Halifax bomber, although other sources say it was a Boeing B-17
It was a Canadian Halifax - the bomber had its tail turret blown off together with parts of elevator, but made it home, finishing with belly landing. One crewman was killed (tail gunner), one or two were wounded. As far as I remember, the Jaegerfaust was fired manually in this case, without the intended photocell trigger.
Oberleutnant Adolf Niemeyer flew a more than 30 combat missions in the Komet, developing the variant equipped with 24 R4M rockets mounted under the wings.
Installation of R 4 M launchers on Me 163 AV 10 is attributed to Niemeyer in 13./EJG 2 at Udetfeld prior to mid January 1945. He apparently made a number of flights in this aircraft, but no live rockets were available for testing. The concept was developed further by EKdo 16 in Brandis (which reported it as "nearly completed" till the end of the month, details are unknown), then the idea was dropped in February when the unit was disbanded.

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Re: Did the Me 163 Komet achieve anything?

Post by Denniss » 04 Sep 2014 21:38

Never heard of a propeller engine in the Me 163. It was a Me 262 prototype with a Jumo 210 engine in the nose.

David1819
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Re: Did the Me 163 Komet achieve anything?

Post by David1819 » 04 Sep 2014 23:23

Grzesio wrote: It was a Canadian Halifax - the bomber had its tail turret blown off together with parts of elevator, but made it home, finishing with belly landing. One crewman was killed (tail gunner), one or two were wounded. As far as I remember, the Jaegerfaust was fired manually in this case, without the intended photocell trigger.
There are conflicting accounts here

According to these Luftwaffe records it was a B-17 http://www.luftwaffe.cz/04-1945.pdf
By squadron JG 400 Lt. Fritz Kelb 10 April 1945 using Jagdfaust

Then you have this from RAF archives
RAF (Mustang) pilot. The 165Sqdn ORB records for 10 April 1945:

"Twelve aircraft were airborne at 1535 hours on Ramrod 1534 as escort to the front of 200 heavy bombers (110 Lancasters and 90 Halifaxes) bombing the railway centre and marshalling yards at Leipzig. Our pilots experienced flak coming from the neighbourhood of Halle airfield judged to be 88mm. About this same time an Me-163 came up from the airfield, attacked and shot down one bomber from underneath continued its very fast ascent and prepared to dive down on the formation. F/Off Haslope followed it down in its dive firing most of the time and he claims one damaged".
Is it possible that the aircraft that survived was hit by something else? Considering this pilot claims it was shot down on the same day as the luftwaffe documents? Or possibly two where hit by Me 163 Jagdfaust? considering its mentioned as a kill? and the survived halifax is mistaken for the bomber shot down?

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