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Corgi AA35711 Messerschmitt Me262A-1A, Germany, 1945

Corgi AA35711 Messerschmitt Me262A-1A, Germany, 1945


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One of the most interesting engagements involving a Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter during WWII occurred on 10th April 1945, when pilot Lt Walther Hagenah and his wingman were ordered to intercept a heavy raid of USAAF bombers attacking an area north of Berlin. Knowing they would be massively outnumbered by Allied aircraft, the pair intended to attack the formation at high speed, using cannon and their underwing mounted R4M unguided rocket projectiles to break up the formation and spread confusion. 

With the mighty bomber stream in sight, Hagenah noticed a flight of six American P-51D Mustangs above them, which immediately dropped their external fuel tanks as they dived in to attack. Hagenah's experience told him that if he turned to face them, or made any violent evasive manoeuvre, the speed of the Mustangs would soon bring him into their gunsights, so instead, he pushed the throttles to full power and began a gentle dive towards the ground, but crucially, not changing heading. 

His wingman decided to take a different course of action, turning to face the Mustangs and immediately being enveloped in a hail of .50 calibre bullets. With his own jet now at full speed, Hagenah expertly positioned his Messerschmitt for an attack on the American fighters, opening up on them with everything he had, including ripple-firing his R4M rockets at the enemy fighter formation.

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