Talk:Messerschmitt Me 264

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B-29 ?[edit]

From the picture, it does appear to be very similar the B29 Superfortress. Just take a look at the picture used for the B29 article and you'll se what I mean.

It's much smaller however. Actually many German bombers of the era looks similar, the Heinkel He 177 for instance. The "round nose" design for large-diameter aircraft was hardly unobvious. Maury 17:35, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

I will change the "round nose" similarity to the B-29 as it implies that the Me264 copies from the B29. So many German aircrafts had such a glazed nose. He 111, He 116, He 177, Hs 130, Ar 234, etc. half of German bombers in contrast to just one US bomber. Additionally the development phases of B29 and Me 264 overlapped, so they couldn't steal from each other, except the B29 copied from one of the earlier designes mentioned above. Sebastian R. (talk) 14:33, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

264 history[edit]

This was dumped in the middle of List of military aircraft of Germany. It seems worth keeping, although I'm not sure where it belongs. --Stephen Burnett 02:14, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

In 1937, the Messerschmitt development department started work on Projekt 1062 (which later became the Me 261), a long range aircraft used for record distance attempts and eventually reconnaissance duties. Simultaneously, another long range aircraft was in the development stage, Projekt 1061, which was to be powered by four individual engines, and have a range of 20000 km (12428 miles). Due to more important projects in development at the time (mainly the Bf 109 and 110), Projekt 1061 was only sporadically worked on until late in 1940. The German Naval Warfare Department wrote to Reichsmarschall Göring on August 10, 1940 that long range aircraft with a range of at least 6000 km (3728 miles) would be needed to reach the planned German Colonial Reich in central Africa. Also, about this time the RLM issued a requirement for long range aircraft with a range of at least 12000 km (7457 miles), to reach from French bases to the United States, in anticipation of the coming war with the U.S. Therefore, the work on Projekt 1061 was stepped up, with Willy Messerschmitt on December 20, 1940 informing designers Wolfgang Degel, Paul Konrad and Waldemar Voigt of the requirements for this long range aircraft. The initial requirements were for a 20000 km (12428 miles) range, capability for military and civilian roles, at least a 5000 kg (11023 lb) bomb load to be carried in an internal bomb bay, smaller bombs to be carried externally on under-wing pylons and to have a very clean airframe. In early 1941, Messerschmitt received an order to build six prototype Projekt 1061 aircraft, which were given the designation of Me 264. If the aircraft proved capable, a further 24 aircraft were to be built for "harassing attacks against the United States". At the same time, Messerschmitt continued to work on a six engined version of the Me 264, Projekt 1075. Since the Messerschmitt design offices were running at full capacity, part of the design work was delegated to the Fokker Works in Amsterdam.

On January 22, 1941, the General Staff of the Luftwaffe demanded a long range aircraft for the submarine war. The Focke-Wulf Fw 200, Heinkel He 177, Blohm & Voss BV 222 and Messerschmitt Me 261/264 were to all be compared to find the best aircraft for this purpose. Because of its overoptimistic performance and weights data, the RLM chose the Me 264 as the best choice. Several schemes were proposed by the Messerschmitt design bureau to extend the range of the Me 264, including towing one Me 264 by another to altitude, in flight refueling by a second Me 264, adding two more engines bringing the total to six and using take-off rocket pods for overload takeoff conditions. With these recommendations, it was felt that a range of 18100 km (11247 miles) and a bomb load of 5000 kg (11023 lb) could be achieved, and a range of 26400 km (16405 miles) without any bombload. Armament for both versions would have consisted of remote controlled turrets with either MG 131 or MG 151. In early 1942, GFM Milch canceled or reduced numerous development projects, including reducing the number of Me 264 prototypes from six to three, due to the worsening war situation. On February 28, 1942, the Me 264 development was to be temporarily turned over to the Dornier works, but they too were operating above their capacity. The Wesser Aircraft Works in southern Germany were also considered, but nothing came of this idea either. A commission headed by Lt. Col. Petersen arrived at the Messerschmitt-Augsburg complex on April 24, 1942 (at the orders of Milch) to check the actual performances of the Me 264, where it was found that the performances were about 90% of what Messerschmitt had been stating. Strangely enough, the very same day Willy Messerschmitt was cleverly presenting the RLM with the idea of using the Me 264 in "Atlantic Missions", and harassing attacks on the American east coast. Shortly afterwards, on May 7, 1942, another detailed report was yet again submitted stating that the Me 264 with a takeoff weight of 45000 kg (99207 lb) and powered by four Jumo 211J engines could attain a range of 13000 km (8078 miles), and with four BMW 801 engines a range of 14000 km (8700 miles) could be reached. To add to the confusion again, on May 16, 1942 a meeting was held concerning all long range aircraft. It was decided that any flights over 13500 km (8389 miles) would need in flight refueling, and General Jeschonnek had already turned down this option in February 1942 (even though initial in flight refueling tests with a Fw 58 and a Ju 90 had been successful). This ended (at this time) all discussions of harassing attacks against American targets, also reconnaissance missions over the Trans-Siberian railroad and even Equatorial Africa.

By mid-July of 1942, three Me 264 prototypes were being constructed. It was hoped that the Me 264 V1 could be ready for flight testing by October 10, 1942, but again this was optimistic due to delayed and sometimes missing component deliveries. By the end of August 1942 it was obvious that the October maiden flight could not be attained because of the excessive delay in the main landing gear delivery from VDM and the promised Junkers engines were also late. A general skepticism was creeping in concerning the numerous delays in getting the first Me 264 in the air, and again the consensus from the RLM and General Staff of the Luftwaffe was leaning towards the Junkers Ju 290 and the six engined Ju 390.

Meanwhile, the construction of the first prototype V1 was progressing very slowly at Augsburg. At last, on December 23, 1942, the Me 264 V1 was ready for its first test flight (please see the table below for all test flight dates and results), which lasted 22 minutes. The landing gear was left down due to safety concerns. The test flights were later made at Lechfeld, because it had a sufficiently long concrete runway to accommodate the large Me 264, but could test only the first prototype due to the fact that the airfield facilities only had one hanger large enough to house the Me 264 V1.

The Me 264 V1 had a very "clean", all metal fuselage with a circular cross section throughout. Just behind the extensively glazed nose and cockpit was a galley, crew rest area and walkway to the rear of the plane above the lower, enclosed bomb bay. The wings were shoulder mounted, slightly swept back and tapered. They contained a single main spar and one auxiliary spar, with the wing loads being transferred through the main spar and two auxiliary bulkheads into the fuselage. The entire fuel supply was stored in the large wings. All control surfaces were conventional, including split flaps on the inner wing. The tailplane, with its twin fins and rudders, was electrically adjustable during flight. A tricycle landing gear system was designed, which was unusual for such a large aircraft at this time. A single nose wheel was used, although testing had been done for a twin nose wheel configuration using a converted Bf 109 (work number 5603). The test showed a loss of maneuverability, but no shimmying. Because of the ever increasing weight demands, the main landing gear was also to be strengthened, and even a droppable auxiliary main gear was considered. The exterior of the Me 264 V1 was puttied and sanded all over, to give the smoothest possible finish. The engines used on the first prototype were the 12 cylinder, liquid cooled Junkers Jumo 211J-1 . These were the same engines used on the Junkers Ju 88A-4 models, and to save time even the Ju 88 nacelles and radiators were utilized. The Me 264 V2 was to have extended wing tips and 1000 kg (2200 lb) of armor added around the more vital parts of the aircraft. It was reportedly being readied for preflight ground tests when it, too, was destroyed in an air raid.


During the flight testing in 1943, the fate of the Me 264 still hung in the balance. Admiral Dönitz and the Supreme Naval War Staff favored the Focke-Wulf Ta 400. However, since this aircraft wasn't supposed to be ready before 1946, it was decided that the Ju 290, He 177 and the Ju 390 should be produced in the interim to provide maritime reconnaissance. A teletype message reached Messerschmitt in May 1943, stating that the Me 264 should be abandoned. This caused some astonishment, because just a week earlier the RLM had insisted upon the completion of the Me 264 prototypes. In June 1943, Messerschmitt contacted Hitler to inform him on how well the Me 264 development was progressing, hoping that Hitler would intervene in his behalf. On July 8, 1943, at a meeting in the Supreme Headquarters, Hitler promised his support for the continued production of the Me 264 to Messerschmitt, but only for maritime uses. At the same time he dropped his decision to bomb the east coast of the U.S., because "the few aircraft that could get through would only provoke the populace to resistance". Only one day later, GFM Milch agreed to continue the construction of the three Me 264 prototypes for the purpose of studies only. Göring, Milch, Friebel and Messerschmitt met on October 14, 1943 to discuss further development possibilities. According to Messerschmitt, the components for the first five prototypes were completed, but he lacked the necessary space and facilities in which to construct them. To get the space for the Me 410 production, all the Me 264 final assembly building jigs were moved from the Augsburg plant and stored at Gersthofen. Later that day, GFM Milch wanted to stop the Me 264 completely, in order to concentrate on the Me 262 jet fighter, to which Göering agreed. One day later, the production orders for the Focke-Wulf Ta 400 was canceled, mainly because the Focke-Wulf resources were needed for the Fw 190D-9 and Ta 152 production.

On June 29, 1944, the Trial Establishments Headquarters definitely stated that the Me 264, as well as the Ju 390, would be unsuitable for operational deployment since its fitting with the entire military equipment and payload would excessively increase the takeoff weight and the wing load. Then on July 18, 1944 the only Me 264 prototype was destroyed in an air raid along with the assembled components of the following two prototype and 80% of the production facilities. Although numerous attempts were made to save the Me 264 program, Admiral Dönitz got Hitler to agree on September 23, 1944 that all work on the Me 264 project should be stopped. Less than a month later, on October 18, 1944 an unmistakable directive was received. The "Reichsmarschall Technical Order Nr. 2" stated: "The production of the Me 264 is herewith canceled". This confirmed the end of the eight year development program that led to only one test aircraft that was far from being operationally ready.

Even before the first prototype had flown, further developments of the Me 264 were being proposed. Beginning with the V4 model, it was planned to use four high performance BMW 801 E engines with turbochargers and GM-1 boost system. Another idea was a provision as a long range transporter, which would carry 12 to 17 paratroopers and be armed with one FLH 151Z remote controlled turret. It was considered that two additional drop tanks could extend the Me 264's range to 13600 km (8451 miles) and a top speed of 580 km (361 mph) at an altitude of 6300 meters (20700 ft), with an estimated flight time of 41 hours. Another version was to add two Jumo 004 jet engines outboard of the four radial BMW engines, and was submitted to the Luftwaffe for evaluation. It was even considered to include a towed Me 328 pulsejet powered fighter for protection.

A variety of engines were considered for the Me 264, including a four Jumo 004C jet engined version, a two or four BMW 028 turboprop engined version and a twin BMW 018 turbojet powered version. Another project was to have used Ritz heat exchangers to greatly increase range. Perhaps the most unusual powerplant idea was for a steam turbine that was to develop over 6000 horsepower (4.5 MW) and drive a 5.334 meter (17 ft 6 in) diameter airscrew. Fuel would have been in a mixture of powdered coal and petroleum. the main advantages to this engine would be constant power at all altitudes and simple maintenance.

An armed long distance reconnaissance version (Me 264A) would have been equipped with three Rb 50/30 cameras, and armed with one MG 130/2, one DHL 151Z, one MG 151 and perhaps two MG 131 for the lateral positions. According to a study dated April 27, 1942, the long distance aircraft should be able to fly reconnaissance missions as far as Baku, Grosnyj, Magnitogorsk, Swerdlowsk, Tiffis or Tshejabinsk in the USSR, and flights to Dakar, Bathurst, Lagos, Aden and southern Iran were also reachable. Not only were New Jersey and New York in the U.S. within range, but also targets in Ohio, Pennsylvania and even Indiana; in addition, there were plans to station some Me 264s on Japanese bases on islands northeast of the Philippines, to fly reconnaissance missions as far as Australia, India and much of the Pacific area. The updated version of the Me 264 was to use the Jumo 222 engines with the GM-1 boost system, which was under development at the time.

The long range bomber version (Me 264B) was supposed to be fitted with four BMW 801E radial engines and an additional two Jumo 004C jet engines. The armament was similar to the above reconnaissance model, except the single MG 151 would be replaced with one MG 131. Its total weight would be 48100 kg (106041 lb), or 49900 kg (110010 lb) with the two Jumo 004C jet engines. The range would have been, with a 3000 kg (6614 lb) bomb load, 11600 km (7208 miles) without the Jumo jet engines and 8500 km (5282 miles) with the jets. With the jet engines installed, the aircraft should have been able to reach a top speed of 655 km/h (407 mph) at 6700 meters (21981 ft). A top ceiling of 14500 meters (47572 ft) could be reached due to the pressurized cockpit. A naval version would be equipped with four Jumo 222E/F high altitude engines, plus the two Jumo 004C turbojets. the maximum offensive load was calculated to be 6000 kg (13228 lb). It was also recommended at this point that the fully glazed cockpit should be replaced with a stepped cockpit, also, the defensive armament was being continually revised until all the turrets were remotely controlled, and revolved through 360 degrees. A new turret was even developed, armed with two MG 213 revolver cannon, then under development.

There was also a high altitude bomber version being designed, which would have been equipped with four BMW 801 E/F radial engines with superchargers. The cockpit was planned to be pressurized from the beginning. Since the rest of the plane would not be pressurized, remote controlled defensive armament would have to be installed. According to factory documents of July 9, 1943, this version was based on a 39000 kg (85979 lb) takeoff weight, which included a 3000 kg (6614 lb) bomb load, and was to utilize the jettisonable additional landing gear. The minimum penetration distance would have been 3500 km (2175 miles) at an altitude of 12000 meters (39370 ft), at a cruising speed of 640 km/h (398 mph). It would have required a climbing time of 70 minutes to reach this altitude. Again, the Jumo 222 E/F would have been the most efficient engines for high altitude operations, and it was planned to re-equip this aircraft when these engines became available.

5100 kg (11243 lb) drop tanks were designed in September 1944, and were ready to be manufactured when the cancellation order arrived. Even after the cancellation order was received, work continued by many Messerschmitt engineers and designers in December 1944 on a courier version of the Me 264, with a range of 12000 km (7457 miles) and a load of 4000 kg (8818 lb). At this point in time, the work done was merely a way to protect the Messerschmitt employees from being conscripted into the army.

This was a reconnaissance plane, not a bomber[edit]

Article should be corrected - the Me 264 was primarily aimed at long-range reconnaissance. Someone with an expertise in Luftwaffe product development needs to edit this entry. As it stands now, it just reinforces old myths.

Andreas 15:18, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Okay, I have now done many of the required corrections myself. Look forward to discussion of them/corrections of mistakes I may have introduced. Andreas 14:09, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, what does this mean?[edit]

"comparable planes such as the B29 Superfortress with 337 kg/m² wing loading at three times the payload or the Ju 390 at 209 kg/m² wing loading had a better design"

I cannot understand this statement. It seems that the B-29 has much worse wing loading than the Me 264, right? The fact that it was carrying more load isn't that interesting, the plane is also much larger. And that last part is very confusing as well, who had a better design of what?

Maury 18:46, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Range[edit]

capable of attacking New York City from bases in Germany

It was from France or the Azores islands, not Germany.

--ThePro (talk) 18:25, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

From Target: America[edit]

Did I remember wrong, or did Target: America, stated as one of the page's sources, state that the Me 264 was Hitler's personal favorite for the Amerika Bomber contest? I've read it a couple days ago. AirplaneProRadioChecklist 02:37, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Innovative fuel tank design[edit]

If my information is right, the most spectacular design of the Me 264 were the fuel tanks which were constructed inside the wings. It was the first plane/design with that construction which is standard today. Referring to the German site of wiki that design should result into a 30% plus of fuel capacity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.201.75.126 (talk) 17:10, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

according to this wet wings were trialled pre-war, and searches suggest the DC-4 was designed for integral tanks but the sealant wasn't up to the job. GraemeLeggett (talk) 17:18, 4 April 2012 (UTC)