Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Video Del Fuego, Part XVIII

It's a blast from the past today on VDF, with video of a pair of restored, fully functional Me-262 jet fighters.

Although the regime that spawned them was among the most repulsive in human history, the Me-262 Schwalbe was a beautiful aircraft. It is nothing short of astonishing that Germany could field such fighters with the U.S 8th Air Force blasting their factories to kindling by day, and RAF Bomber Command taking over for the night shift. We got lucky, folks. Imagine how badly things might have turned out if the Nazi leadership wasn't stone barking mad. Fortunately for us, Hitler was a complete nutter, and kicked off into Russia's arse before he'd well and truly taken care of business with Britain. Then, in late '41 he declared war on us, making his mutual defense pact with Japan the only treaty he ever honored. It's no wonder Britain's SOE called off their assassination plans. Hitler might well have been replaced with someone competent...

The Me-262 was only one example of Germany's technical superiority in some areas. So great were Germany's aeronautical advances, that for decades afterwards, a functional reading literacy in German was mandatory for doctoral candidates in Aerospace Engineering. This requirement was only dropped a few years before I started grad school. I sometimes wish they hadn't dropped it, but that's neither here nor there.

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