He 162A-2
W Nr 120230
Stock No. 3609-01-1415-HE162
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Above photos at Freeman Field
Source Disposition
NASM Manufactured by Heinkel at Rostock-Marienehe and captured by the British at Leck on May 8, 1945
War Prizes
At Freeman Field on 1 August 1946
NASM FE/T2-504 was apparently never flown. 
NASM Its flying days ended permanently when someone at Freeman Field neatly sawed through the outer wing panels sometime before September 1946.  The wings were reattached with door hinges and the jet was shipped to air shows and military displays around the country.
NASM The U. S. Air Force transferred the aircraft to the Smithsonian Institution in 1949
NASM Remained in stored at Park Ridge, Illinois, until transfer to the Garber Facility in January 1955.
War Prizes
This aircraft is at present with the National Air and Space Museum, Silver Hill, Maryland.
Wingspan 7.2 m (23 ft. 7.75 in.)
Length 9 m (29 ft. 8.5 in.
Height 2.55 m (8 ft. 4.375 in.)
Weight 1,750 kg (3,859 lb.) empty

SECRET.                                                                                                        A.D.I.(K) Report No. 340 / 1945  







                                 ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST THE VOLKSJÄGER. 

1.                  The following information on the Volksjäger project was obtained from captured documents and from interrogation of Generalleutnant Galland, General der Jagdflieger

(A.O.C. fighters), and General Feldmarschall Milch who was Generalluftzeugmeister until June 1944 and was thereafter transferred to the Speer Ministry. 

2.                  The captured documents which were found in the possession of Herr Seiler, the Chairman of the Messerschmitt concern, apparently form part of a dossier prepared by Messerschmitt in order to demonstrate the all around superiority of the Me.262 over the Volksjäger and to defend themselves against possible future charges of inefficiency in the production of the Me. 262. 

3.                   The attached Appendix contains a full translation of one of the documents which includes an interesting memorandum drawn up by Professor Messerschmitt on the inferiority of the Volksjäger as compared with the Me. 262. The originals both of this document and the others which are mentioned later in this report are being listed and circulated by A.D.I. (K). Documents Section. 

The Parentage of the Volksjäger. 

4.                    The actual conception of the Volksjäger project appears to be a subject for considerable controversy and the attribution of paternity is rendered difficult by the mutual denial of responsibility by all concerned, when the project was ultimately realized to have been a failure. 

5.                     According to Galland’s account, the person responsible for the formulation of the idea of a cheap single jet fighter capable of mass production was Hauptdienstleiter Saur, head of the Jägerstab and later of the Rüstungsstab, aided and abetted, if officials of the Messerschmitt concern are to be believed, by a number of R.L.M. personalities including General Ing. Lucht, Oberst Diesing and Oberstleutnant Kneemeyer. 

6.                      In a document drawn up by the Messerschmitt concern, however, attacking the Volksjäger project, the responsibility is shifted by Saur himself to the shoulders of Generaldirektor Frydag, the head of the main commission for airframes as well as a Heinkel official. This document, which was drawn up in April 1944 and therefore gave all those concerned ample opportunity for being wise after the event, shows that Saur when challenged with his responsibility for the misguided project with a suggestion that its originator was a criminal, declared that Frydag was the person who was really to blame. 

7.                     The same document shows that in April 1945 Frydag was interviewed at Murnau by Professor Messerschmitt and two other leading members of the Messerschmitt firm and was taxed to his face with his share in the development of the Volksjäger plan. Frydag is said to have maintained an imperturbable demeanor throughout the attack made on him and to have declared that he never supported the scheme, but on the contrary had always been definitely opposed to it. 

8.                      He in his turn attributed the conception of the idea to Saur and the R.L.M. and stated that the plan was submitted to Göring and later to Hitler without his advice being asked. Later, when the decision that such an aircraft was to go into production, had been made, he submitted and lent his cooperation. 

9.                      It is evident from this interview and from other documents that the Messerschmitt company strove from the first to oppose the Volksjäger, and in the Murnau interview Frydag rather ingenuously remarked that he had to consider the interests of Heinkel who were responsible for designing the aircraft. 

10.                     In this connection Milch, although he had no personal connection with the whole

project, was of the opinion that such a type had first been conceived by Heinkel in an attempt to retrieve their reputation and their financial position, both of which had been compromised by the outstanding failure of the He.177. 

11.                     According to Milch, Heinkel and Frydag may then have injected into Saur’s mind the idea of building masses of such an aircraft. Saur being an energetic and forceful individual and an extremely capable salesman is then credited with having sold the idea to Göring and later to Hitler with the assistance of various R.L.M. officials. 

12.                     Final judgment must be left pending until further evidence becomes available, but it is at least interesting to see how, under the shadow of impending defeat, none of the leading figures concerned was willing to accept the responsibility for the conception of the Volksjäger project and with what eagerness they sought to pass the baby to another of their number. 

The Development of the Volksjäger. 

13.                     Galland states that once the decision had been taken to create a cheap single-jet fighter capable of mass production, the four or five leading aircraft firms were invited to submit designs and tenders under conditions of the utmost secrecy. The whole scheme was in fact kept so secret that even Galland, who as A.O.C. fighters might have expected to be kept informed of what was intended, was actually given no inkling of the plan until late summer of 1944, when he was summoned to a meeting presided over by Göring at which the Heinkel design was to be considered. 

14.                     P/W states that he opposed cogent arguments against the adoption of such a type, but that he was overruled and that the project was adopted and forthwith recommended to Hitler by Göring and Saur. A curious light is thrown on these events by a document which purports to record the interrogation of Flugbaumeister Malz, of the S.E. and T.E. fighter section of Fl.-E-2, the R.L.M. department dealing with the development of aircraft types. 

15.                     Malz is recorded as having made the astounding statement that when Lucht, Diesing and Kneemeyer made their decisive report on the 162 to Göring certain technical documents required to support their case lacking and that in consequence Malz was ordered to have faked pictures of the 162 prepared by a cinema expert on such subjects. The faked pictures included views purporting to show the 162 above the clouds and executing a roll. 

16.                     These fakes must have served their purpose, for the Heinkel design was accepted in September 1944 and thereafter went ahead with extreme rapidity. The blueprints are said to have been ready in November and the first two machines of this type took to the air in the following month. It is interesting to note that the aircraft was said to have been put into production straight from the drawing board and that no prototype in the accepted sense was built. 

Opposition to the Project. 

17.                     Galland states that he was not alone in his opposition to the Volksjäger but that he was seconded by such eminent designers as Professor Messerschmitt and Dr. Kurt Tank of Focke Wulf. In view of his position his own objections were naturally based mostly on technical grounds; he considered the aircraft to represent a retrograde step as compared to the Me. 262, on account of the Volksjäger’s short range, light armament and restricted field of view and the small quantity of ammunition which it could carry. 

18.                      From the point of view of production, P/W considered that in view of the superior performance of the Me.262 as compared to the 162, any surplus manufacturing capacity which had become available by cessation of bomber production should be made available for building the former aircraft. 

19.                       As will soon be seen from the attached Appendix, Professor Messerschmitt put forward a very closely reasoned and plausible case against the 162, based partly on the same tactical arguments as those of Galland and partly on the impossibility of bringing the aircraft into production in sufficient numbers in time for the decisive spring battles of 1945. The conclusion of Messerschmitt’s argument was that the 162 should therefore be dropped and that the production capacity set free should be used to bolster up the unsatisfactory Me.262 output, a view in which he may not have been entirely objective. 

20.                     According to Galland, all these arguments were defeated at the decisive meeting presided over by Göring by the opposition of the production planners who argued that for technical reasons it would be impossible for factories scheduled to manufacture the Volksjäger to switch over to the Me.262. 

A.D.I.(K) and

U.S. Air Interrogation.                                                             S.D. Felkin

26th June 1945                                                                        Group Captain



Air Ministry: A.C.A.S. (I); A.C.A.S. (Ops); A.C.A.S. (T.R.); A.D.I.(Sc) (2) A.I.1(c) A.I.2(a) (2);        

                      A.I.2(g) (4); A.I.3(USA) (14); A.I.3(b); A.I.3c(1) (10); A.I.12; A.M.W.R.(3);

                      D.Arm.R.; D.B. Ops.; D.D.I.2; D.D.I.3; D.of I(0); 

Commands:  Fighter (2); Bomber (3); Eighth Air Force (8); A-2 SHAEF Forward (3); SHAEF

                     Rear (Stanmore); S.I.A.S., G-2 SHAEF Main; Tech, Int. Div. D.of I. U.S.S.T.A.F.

                     (7); USSTAF Rear (Major Sheldon) (3); A.P./ W.I.U. (8). 

War Office:  M.I. 19 (For W.O. distribution) (14); C.S.D.I.C. (U.K.) (5). 

M.A.P.          C.E. ; C.R.D. ; D.S.R. ; D.T.D. ; R.A.E. (6); R.D.T. 1 (b); T.R.P. 2 (2); P.S. 18 (20).

Miscellaneous: A.D.I. ; A.C.I.U. (4); A.D. , C.C.G. (5); A.F.Div.A.C.A. ; C.I.C.S. (6); Deuxiè e Bureau; ETOUSA (P/W & X Det. MIS) (27); I.&R.C.C.G. (2); J.H.R.S.; Ministère de l’Air; U.S.G.C.C., Austria; H.A.W. American Embassy. 

APPENDIX                                                                                                                      SECRET



             (From a document drawn up by Prof. Messerschmitt and dated October 1944). 

                       My opinion can be resumed as follows:-                      

                       I regard the project for producing a cheap jet fighter with a B.M.W. 003A propulsion unit for operational use in large numbers in the spring of 1945 as having failed, at any rate in its present-day form. 

     1. The technical requirements postulated are erroneous as the functions of the Volksjäger can be better carried out by existing and proved aircraft. A development which does not conform in performance to existing technical possibilities is always behind the times. 

      2. It is improbable that a newly developed aircraft, with all its attendant risks, will permit us to throw any notable number of aircraft into battle in the spring of 1945. On the other hand, if we use the additional capacity projected for this plan to increase the output of our present types, we can produce at least the same number of proven aircraft types in the same period without having to take into consideration the risk attaching to a new development, and the consequences arising there-from. On top of that we would have a superior and proven aircraft. It must not be forgotten that in order to manufacture several thousands of the new type of fighter it will be necessary to carry out very considerable work in the way of preparations, procurement of equipment, etc., which until next spring will have to be undertaken in addition to the actual manufacture of  the aircraft. 

     3. In my opinion there is not the slightest possibility that the Volksjäger programme can become sufficiently advanced by spring 1945 to warrant our counting on the aircraft becoming operational in large numbers. 

      4.It is a delusion to think that the 162 can be developed and produced by “surplus manufacturing capacity” without disturbing production of current types, and in particular of the Me.262. 

          Me.262 production is not yet well established. Jigs, skilled labor and control personnel are still lacking. 

           Moreover, the manufacturing capacity now earmarked for the special 162 programme is urgently required for the further development of our existing jet fighters, or the creation of a new type offering a guarantee that we shall not again immediately lose to the enemy the technical superiority which we derive at the moment from the Me.262. 


            At the moment the Me.262 is a really superior weapon, and according to all competent authorities must form the backbone of aerial defense in the decisive battles of the spring of 1945. Moreover, the Me.262 is a tangible reality whilst the 162 is only a hope, which also promises no improvement in performance. 

             I am unable to understand the whole plan to develop and put into mass production, at the costs of enormous efforts, a new aircraft with such an unpredictable production schedule, and this just at the present moment, when we have at last, in the Me.262, a superior fighter at our disposal.  

In my opinion the entire surplus capacity, both industrial and military, which is earmarked for the development and introduction of the new type, must be employed to ensure that the non-recurring chance given us by our present superiority in performance may be exploited to the utmost. With this capacity aircraft of existing high performance types must be produced in the largest numbers imaginable. The whole of the G.A.F. must be trained and organized in the best way for these new types by next spring. In this particular case I see no reason to stake all on one card, nor do I see any prospects of profit in this game. 

              As in 1941 the English, under our attacks, built up their defense with Spitfires and attained complete success, so we to-day possess in every way better and surer means to attain this end. 

              I ask that this intervention for the Me.262 as against the 162 may not be charged against me as propaganda for my own firm; in such a matter we are to-day surely far beyond such considerations. 

              Instead of developing and bringing into production an aircraft type which is in no way superior to existing types, I regard it as urgently necessary to create a jet aircraft of increased performance and the most modern design – this might well be a single jet fighter – incorporating the knowledge of the year 1944 and to be brought into mass production as soon as possible. For this task in my opinion the requisite development capacity should be employed immediately and capacity for series production in the form of special programmes should only be made available when the material for the spring battles of 1945 has been assured and when the prospects of the type under development can be judged. 



October 1944. 


                Additional Notes on “MY ATTITUDE TO THE VOLKSJÄGER PROJECT”. 

To Point 1. 

                At the present time we possess in our jet aircraft a real and in fact a great superiority of performance over the enemy; we cannot assume that this superiority will remain with us for long. The enemy has shown that, with the immense productive capacity and the most modern research facilities at his disposal he has hitherto been able to catch up with our lead in technical matters. We know that he has been flying jet aircraft for a considerable time and that he had every intention of using them operationally this autumn. We must seriously consider the possibility, or rather the probability, that this winter or next spring we will find ourselves faced with jet aircraft which may be equal, or perhaps even superior, to the Me.262. 

                In the past years we have continually made the mistake of under-estimating the enemy and to-day we can see the results of this. We have every reason to strain ourselves to the utmost to ensure that our development proceeds faster than that of the enemy, or at least as fast. We well know that more aircraft of superior performance to the Me.262 can be built, and we have to-day some knowledge of the physical laws governing developments in this sphere. We also know that the enemy has at his disposal an immense productive capacity and a very modern research organization which is at least as well acquainted with the laws of high speed flight as we are. 

                No effort would be too great to realize the most rapid development possible of an aircraft with a superior performance to the Me.262; we do not however need a machine with an inferior performance, which is what is contemplated in the case of the 162. This type should therefore be rejected.  

                 I remember how we struggled to improve the performance of the aircraft we have built to date and how the slightest superiority in the performance of enemy aircraft has immediately become evident in aerial combat. Exactly the same struggle to increase speed by a single kilometre per hour and to improve range, armour and armament naturally now lies before us in the case of jet aircraft. In my opinion it is incomprehensibly short-sighted to begin this struggle by taking a retrograde step of our own volition at a moment when we have attained a measure of superiority. 

To Point 2. 

                 The demand for the Volksjäger is founded on the assumption that as the enemy’s superiority is based on numbers we, in order to equalize the position, must take the field with a cheap mass-produced article which is within our own productive capacity. It is true enough that we need very large numbers of fighters and for this reason I have maintained for years that our fighter production should be raised to the utmost with all our means even at the cost of bomber production and thus reach those figures which we are actually producing today under the most difficult conditions of the sixth year of the war. 

                  It is however wrong to assume that we can achieve by spring or summer 1945 a greater number of aircraft with a newly-developed type than with already existing types. 

                  I assume that it is intended to produce some 4,000 162s for the operations of the summer of 1945, i.e. by 1st August 1945; when we reckon the cost of such a production the following facts must not be overlooked: 

a)    During this period, the Volksjäger will go through the initial stages leading up to full series production (Serienanlauf) and this process will be hastened to the utmost and consequently uneconomical of man-hours. At present no definitive experience is available, and the series will therefore have to suffer from constant modifications.

        Our own experience has shown that during the initial stages of series production an expenditure of some seven times the normal number of working hours must be reckoned with at the beginning. In the case of a forced development the initial stages are even more expensive. 

b)    In the period to the middle of 1945 not only will man-hours have to be expended on the manufacture of the aircraft (including power units etc.) but in addition provision will have to be made for the production of the whole of the necessary jigs and of other manufacturing necessities.

       We reckon that this latter task will take some two and a half million man-hours largely made up of the time of specialist workers.

       On adding up these various items of outlay, it can clearly be seen that the immense outlay required for equipment and the initial stages of production which will be necessary for the introduction of the new type can never be made good in the few months remaining at our disposal for production,

In a word, having regard to the short period at our disposal, the existing Me.262 is the cheaper aircraft and it can be also be produced in greater numbers. 

c)    One serious fallacy in the presentation of the Volksjäger scheme renders efforts to obtain large numbers nothing but an illusion. We do not need large numbers of aircraft standing on airfields but in operation against the enemy. If we use a third of the fuel to produce half of the engine performance as compared with the Me.262 this means that with power units of equal performance we would be decreasing the range by a third and therefore the effective operational area of the aircraft in square kilometres by more than half.

       Bluntly, owning to the too small design of the “mass-produced fighter” we are depriving the machine of the possibility of coming into action in large numbers thanks to concentration at the decisive place where it is needed, i.e. where the enemy penetrates our territory!

       Again I see no grounds for believing that the new type will prove economical in its use of fuel, because the Volksjäger is designed for too short a range to make it an economical proposition.

       When you take into account the time that remains for actual combat after deducting the fuel used in taxying, taking off, climbing, outward flight, return flight, landing etc. then it becomes quite clear and undeniable that the Volksjäger, because of its too small dimensions, uses more fuel for every minute of aerial combat (and these are the only ones that are really productive) than a larger but more correctly designed machine. In this connection I would like to draw attention to the fact that for years past we have continuously had to take steps to increase the range of all our types. Even the Me.262, after be chosen in preference to the He.280, mainly on the ground of its larger fuel capacity, has been fitted with additional tanks.

       Why is it thought that the 162 requires a smaller range than other aircraft? The entire conception of the extraordinary economical performance of the 162 appears to me to be fallacious.

       The Me.262 consumes, it is true, 100% more fuel per hour than the Volksjäger; the Me.262  however carries 100% heavier armament and 350% more ammunition. Moreover, if required, the armament can be raised to 200% more than in the 162.  

      The Me.262 requires 100% more fuel but it possesses a 100% superior armour protection for the pilot (superior because heavier) and carries fuel tank armour weighing 220 kg.

       Everyone knows the value of fuel tank armour in reducing losses. Is not a reduction in losses in materials and lives also economical? 

To Point 3. 

               The desire to throw very large numbers of the Volksjäger, which is still to be developed, into operations so early as the spring battles of 1945, with the hope that it will prove a decisive factor, appears to me to be a misleading conception. It is expected that within six months an aircraft can be designed, built, tested and manufactured in a large series which must embrace the results of testing and the elimination of defects! It is expected in addition that within this period of six months the whole necessary organization within the G.A.F. can be built up, including the training of air crews and ground staff, the setting up of pools for the front, repair factories, supply organizations, etc. 

To Point 4. 

               The Me.262 has been in production for about a year and is still in serious difficulty. The desired output is not being attained, workmanship in the shops is bad and endangers both the performance and characteristics of the aircraft, and even to some extent its safety in flight. Even to-day we still do not possess half the jigs necessary for mass production. We have to beg and struggle to procure bottle-neck components and even raw material quotas and it is in such a situation that it is proposed to develop and manufacture a completely new aircraft type, to utilize two large aircraft factories for the purpose, to develop and build jigs – even in duplicate – for this new type, whilst explaining to us that all this will be achieved by the use of production capacity which is not required by the Me.262!

               The 162 programme will not be executed with free surplus manufacturing capacity as it is stated, but will be built up with resources which even today are not available for the Me.262. 




 This document provided through the research of Richard Corey.

Source: RCAF War Prize Flights, German and Japanese Warbird Survivors by Harold A. Skaarup

Jim West