Me 262A
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This plane was never at Freeman Field

This Me 262 was never at Freeman Field, Seymour, Indiana.  It was delivered to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio, tested and crashed there.  Since there is so much good and detailed information and photos of this plane, it was decided to present it on this web site regardless.

Source Disposition
War Prizes
pg 218
surrendered at Frankfurt/Rhein-Main by defecting Messerschmitt test pilot Hans Fay, on 30 March 1945.
War Prizes
pg 218
examined on site by USAAF Air Intelligence organization and then shipped onwards from Rouen, France to the USA by a fast merchant ship, the Manawska Victory.
War Prizes
pg 218
test flown by Russ Schleeh on 29 August 1945, wearing its German Werk number 111711, and was generally referred to as '711' or 'T2-711
War Prizes
pg 218
crashed 20 August 1946 at Xenia, Ohio

English translation below.

Important is this: The article was published on 22 January 1979.  You will find a lot of information, other authors didn't have at that time. But since this date much time passed. And other authors found new information. Result: The article is not current. The article was published by the HALLER TAGBLATT, the local newspaper of Schwäbisch Hall in 1979. Please note this.

Until 1 June 2007 I have been journalist for 38 years in Schwäbisch Hall. But my special topic are the local history between 1933 and 1945 and here the history of the Schwaebisch Hall airfield between 1934 and 1993 (the German and the American time) with the German jet plane units at this airfield (3), the Messerschmitt final assembly of the Me 262, Hans Fay's flight to the US Forces, the Me 262 111711, the US air raids against the airfield and the concentration camp Hessental. Hessental is a part of Schwaebisch Hall and the location of the airfield.

In 1975 I have published the first history of the concentration camp and after this booklets about the beginning of Nazism in Schwäbisch Hall and the pogrom of 1938 in this city. In 1986 and 1989 was following the book "Rüstung, Krioeg und Sklaverei. Der Fliegerhorst Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental und das Konzentrationslager" - the first complete history of the airfield and Messerschmitt in Schwäbisch Hall (first edition, 1989 second edition). The US Forces at the airfield had the request, to publish a German-English version. This was done in 1987. 1993 I published a Special for the Newspaper Haller Tagblatt about the US Forces in Schwaebisch Hall and two years later another about the end of the war 50 years earlier.  Michael S. Koziol  2007-08-07

Translation of the above article.

More than 30 years ago:
Assembled in Hessental
Captured in Frankfurt
Crashed in Ohio

The story of a brandnew Me 262
Michael Sylvester Koziol, Schwäbisch Hall

It was always difficult to satisfy the superpowers in getting insight about the technical knowledge of other nations. Quite fresh is the memory about the escape of the Russian pilot who landed in Japan with his MiG 25 and how the specialists threw themselves into the work to check out every detail of the aircraft.  An important secret was revealed - just like in March 1945 - when the German pilot Hans Fay crossed the lines with his Schwäbisch Hall final assembled Messerschmitt Me 262 and landed it in Frankfurt. 

30 March 1945 (Good Friday): The military state was a disaster for the “Third Reich”. Not one part of the front was holding back the Allies. The situation on the airbase in Schwäbisch Hall-Hessental was a reflection of the big picture. After the last bombing run a meagre effort was made to get the runway repaired as soon as possible. Almost 3700 bombs, unloaded from 82 B-24 Liberator bombers literally ploughed over the airfield. The order was to pack whatever was necessary and of value and leave the airbase in the following days.

Coming to an end was also the interest of the military court (Feldgericht) Stuttgart. Luftwaffe non-commissioned officer NCO Heinz Leiermann, born in Essen, was taken out of the hospital and on the same day, 29 March 1945, condemned to death. He died on the morning of Good Friday in a hail of bullets at the airfield. Also the Messerschmitt Augsburg AG had to be evacuated. For almost one year in day and night shifts in Hessental had been located the final assembly line of the Me 262, the first jet fighter in serial production. The facility was torn apart as quickly as possible.

Leiermann and Fay together with a few more pilots arrived from Neuburg/Danube to fly out 22 of the precious new jets at the same day. The only alternative would have been to destroy the planes. In that situation Hans Fay made his decision to defect to the Allies.

The chief pilot of the local facility gave assistance during the start up procedure and after getting airborne - what a surprise - Fay flew to the northwest while the rest headed as told to the south in the direction of Neuburg. Was his compass not working?

Fay had waited to fulfil his plan until the US troops had reached and captured his hometown of Lachspeyersdorf. It was his intention to land near the town. But during the flight, he discovered some difficulties with the landing gear and therefore changed course and followed the Autobahn to Frankfurt where he landed on the only intact runway. Four days before the advancing US troops had managed to take the airfield after some heavy fighting.

The arrival of Fay was like a miracle, since the only information about the Me 262 available to the Allies had come from agents, airmen and from wrecks. But now there was a factory fresh 262 in the hands of the US military. It was also a lucky chance that there where members of “Technical Intelligence” at the airbase. They took Fay and his plane under their care. Fay said later that he was treated correctly, with only an NCO taking his pilot’s watch right after the landing.

US Major Ernst Englander became Fay’s main interrogator over the next days. He informed the HQ of the US Strategic Air Force about the case. General Spaatz scheduled for 2nd April a staff meeting with the request to hold Fay nearby in case there would arise questions from General Henry H. Arnold. And, indeed, it occurred that the Army Air Force Commander in Chief did talk with Fay in a suite at the “Ritz” Hotel in Paris.

An exhausting time began for Fay. He shuttled between Luxemburg, Paris and London. For his interrogators Fay emerged as a major source of technical details. He even gave hints as to what the weak points of the jet plane were and how to attack it. But that was old news for the Allied pilots. Most 262’s were shot down during take-off and landing. The Americans believed in his statement that his family was treated badly under the Third Reich system and therefore his decision to defect.

Shortly after the landing began the disassembling of the plane. The 262 was shipped under highest priority via Thionville (France) aboard a ship to the states. On the 21 May 1945 the plane arrived at the Wright Field for evaluation. At Vandalia Airport, Ohio, the plane was reassembled. Russell E. Schleeh, as chief pilot or the Flight Test Division, was the first American pilot to take the Me 262 into the air on 29 August and 12 September.

After those flights was a very close examination of the 262 in order. Not a single detail was overlooked. The main recognition is summarised in the maintenance handbook and where it was literally written: The Me-262 is a twin engined, jet powered, single seat, combat plane. For use as a fighter, fighter bomber or recon aircraft. Built by the “Firma Autobedarf Schwäbisch Hall”.

The writing of the handbook was still in progress when the flight test series began on 4 May 1946.  This test series compared the Me 262 with the Lockheed P-80. The Messerschmitt was nearly equal and in some aspects superior in performance to the P-80.

The end for the 262 came when on 20 August 1946 Walter J. McAuley took off for a comparison flight with Major Richard L. Johnson in his P-80. Just after finishing the test program both engines caught fire and lost power. McAuley bailed out at about 7800 feet altitude, hitting his head on the tailplane. He lost his helmet and got a cut on his chin and finally sprained his left ankle during his landing in a field, but he survived. McAuley said later: “I will never jump out of a plane that burns just a little!”

More detailed information is not given due to safety measures by the US Air Force in 1979.

Many thanks for translating to Jürgen Weller, Foto-Weller Schwäbisch Hall, Germany


To the best of my knowledge, Hans Fay's Me 262, T-2-711, was never at Freeman Field.  Early on, the aircraft had been assigned the number FE-107.  Freeman and Wright Fields worked quite closely together.  In one Freeman Field message, they requested being updated on the evaluation of Fay's parachute.  Freeman Field made a contribution to the 1946 test program on the Me 262, preparing and sending to Wright Field Me 262 T-2-4012 (W.Nr. 500453), which, along with T-2-711 (W.Nr. 111711) were involved with the evaluation program against the P-80. Richard Eger 2007-08-07
11/03/2007 - Initially, the aircraft was given the code FE-107.  I think, also, there may have been codes FE-108 and FE-109 for other Me 262's, but the trail regarding these particular numbers is rather ephemeral.  W.Nr. 111711 bore the number 711 in the tail and apparently, with the aircraft in hand, everyone gravitated to the number on the tail rather than the official designation FE-107.  It became a fait accompli with the transition to the T-2 numbers, the aircraft becoming T-2-711.  I don't think I've ever seen it referred to as either T-2-107 or FE-711.  Richard Eger

Jim West