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Me 264 Amerika bomber

15 Feb

Me 264 Amerika bomber,rc planes store

In the Book Reviews section of SAM 27/5 you will find the original German-language edition of Luftwaffe Advanced Aircraft Projects reviewed; for those who didn’t see it, it covers fighter and ‘Zerstorer’ projects from Arado to Junkers (the assumption is that there will be a second volume for the rest of the alphabet, and perhaps another for bombers and reconnaissance aircraft). Ingolf Meyer was the artist who provided illustrations for Midland’s earlier Luftwaffe Secret Projects Vol. 1, and his continuing research into this subject has resulted in much more information and what could be a series of four further volumes. Most aircraft are treated with both a colour ‘painting’ and a three-view artwork – there is no doubt that the use of computer-generated designs has greatly improved the presentation of works like this – accompanied by a brief text and a data panel in English. (I shall be trying to trace the translation of some of the more convoluted German expressions.)

There is still considerable interest in this subject, and while several of the designs will seem familiar to those who have already immersed themselves in ‘Luftwaffe ’46’, I am sure there will still be much in here to foster their (and my) continuing addiction. The second book covers a project that, perhaps because it was somewhat less fanciful than many of those in the first book, did come at least to partial fruition. The failure of the regenerated Luftwaffe to pursue a sustained strategic bomber programme (except perhaps in some alternate histories) is well known, and although the Dornier Do 19 (very underpowered) and the Junkers Ju 89 did fly in prototype form in the mid-1930s, the ‘Ural Bomber’ programme was allowed to wither.

With its stock raised by the performance of the early Bf 109s, the Messerschmitt design team worked on a long-range twin designed ostensibly to carry the Olympic flame from Berlin to Tokyo for the 1940 Games. Three prototypes of the Me 261 were completed, and when in the autumn of 1940 the idea of an ‘Amerika Bomber’ was mooted, this earlier design was developed into the four-engined Me 264, the whole being covered in this book. The authors have unearthed a remarkable amount of material on the Me 264, not least illustrations – including a 1941 brochure – and this is well laid out in this excellent book. Photographic material includes wind-tunnel models as well as details of the first prototype at successive stages of its production and finally in flight. The prototype first flew in December 1942, and it met its end in a B-17 raid in July 1944. This book gives details of proposed variants of the Me 264, and these include some very good computer-generated illustrations of swept-wing and mixed-power developments. The production of the book, in particular the reproduction of contemporary drawings and documents, is very good indeed. For modellers it is a very useful aid to the Special Hobby kit of the Me 264, and for aviation historians a very useful account of what did happen – as distinct from what might have done – and the part played by politics, both national and military, in an industry in increasing turmoil. While it may be something of a niche publication, it is nonetheless an important niche, and I can recommend this book highly to those interested in this field.

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