Monday, 29 March 2010

Baltic Air War '45

Two of the British fighters that flew against German jets in the Baltic campaign. The first id the propeller driven Tempest V. The Tempest was developed from the Typhoon strike plane and had all the advantages of the type without the disadvantages. Nothing, but nothing in the air accelerated faster than a Tempest at low level. The first jet kill in WWII was an ME262 shot down by a Spitfire interceptor (what else?) and Mustangs killed more jets than any other allied fighter by diving on them as they attacked the daylight bomber streams but the plane that terrified the 262 pilots most was the Tempest. When a 262 slowed down to land the Tempest could easily out accelerate it and the four 20mm cannon were probably the optimum fighter killers of the war.

In the Baltic War, Tempests provided low level cover over the convoys. An HS132 jet dive bomber was horribly vulnerable to Tempest attack as it pulled out of its attack.

These are Meteor III twin engined jet fighters. The initial Meteor design suffered from air compression problems around the engines which slowed it down. The top speed increased markedly when this was cured. It was fast for a straight wing fighter. The Meteor could not match the top speed of the swept wing FW Ta183 or the Horton 229 flying wing stealth fighters but is had far better engines that responded much better to the throttle. Every jet engine in the modern world traces its ancestry back to the engines in the meteor. The Meteor was the primary RAF intruder fighter from '45 onwards.

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