In June 1944 the first examples of Hitler’s revolutionary jet fighter, the Messerschmitt 262, began to appear over the skies of Germany. Almost 100 miles-per-hour faster than the fastest Allied prop-driven fighters, the twin-engine German jet was a formidable adversary. However, with a combination of skill and luck, Allied pilots managed to down several dozen of the Luftwaffe’s new fighter. The 357th Fighter Group alone was credited with destroying 18 ½ Me-262s, the highest number recorded by any group in the Eighth Air Force.
Flying his P-51D on a fighter sweep over Germany on 6 November 1944, Captain Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager, of the 357th’s 363rd Fighter Squadron, scored the group’s first jet victory. As he described the event in his combat report, “I spotted a 262 approaching the field from the south at 500 feet. He was going very slow (around 200 m.p.h.). I split S-ed on it and was going around 500 M.P.H. at 500 feet. Flak started coming up very thick and accurate. I fired a short burst from around 400 yards and got hits on the wings. Had to break off at 300 yards because the flak was getting too close” looking back I saw the jet E/A crash-land about 400 yards short of the field in a wooded field. A wing flew off outside the right jet unit. The plane did not burn.
Joining artist Roy Grinnell, this print is autographed by:
Brigadier General CHARLES E. “CHUCK” YEAGER