Corgi Aviation AA35701: Messerschmitt Me 262A “White 3” of JV 44, Adolf Galland, Munich-Riem, Germany, 1945. This is a flying legends series aircraft. It comes with fixed lowered undercarriage on a display stand within a plastic display blister.
Without question, Adolf Galland was the most famous Me-262 pilot of them all but the decoration on the machine he flew remains in question. The closest evidence we have to factual is an illustration that was checked and amended by Galland himself. He remained adamant that his aircraft did not carry a Kommodore’s horizontal bars but simply wore a “White 3” in the usual location ahead of the fuselage Balkenkreuz as depicted on this model. Other sources place the 3 on the forward fuselage but without photographic evidence it remains unproven as to which is correct.
Adolf “Dolfo” Galland was one of Germany’s greatest aces, with 104 aerial victories in 705 missions. He scored his first kill during the Battle of France in 1940 as a Bf 109 pilot with JG.27, and went on to achieve a total of 12 kills during that campaign. Later that year, Galland was assigned to JG.26 and quickly became a key figure in the Battle of Britain. By November 1, 1940 he was already celebrating his 50th kill. He continued to fly Bf 109s through 1941, and by the age of 30 had been promoted to General Leutnant.
Galland was a test pilot for the revolutionary Me-262, the world’s first fully operational jet aircraft. He believed strongly in the Me-262’s potential as a fighter, but Hitler’s desire to develop the aircraft as a bomber delayed its entrance into the war and initially placed the aircraft into a role it was not suited for. Though the Me-262’s effectiveness in attacks against bomber formations was undeniable, it wasn’t until 1944 that it began to be used strictly in a fighter capacity.
Adolf Galland oversaw the formation of the world’s first jet fighter group, Kommando Nowotny. The group became operational on October 3, 1944 but was disbanded a short time later when its commander, Austrian ace Walter Nowotny, was killed in action on October 8. Though its lifespan was very short, Kommando Nowotny successfully demonstrated the Me-262’s combat potential by destroying 22 Allied aircraft.
By 1945, Adolf Galland had formed his own Me-262 fighter unit, JV.44. Every pilot Galland recruited for his squadron was an ace, and each was a holder of the Ritterkreutz (Knight’s Cross). During its single month of service, JV.44 was credited with the destruction of 45 Allied aircraft, seven of which were shot down by Galland himself.
Although the Me-262 was over 100 mph faster than the American P-51 Mustang, by the time it entered service in 1944 it was already too late to make a difference in the outcome of the war. Of the 1,400 Me-262s that were produced, less than 300 ever saw combat. The rest were destroyed in Allied bombing attacks, or remained grounded because of a lack of parts, fuel, or qualified pilots.
Messerschmitt Me 262A
Designed to meet Adolph Hitler’s vision of a high-speed, light-payload ground attack bomber, the Me 262 was first flown on April 18, 1941. As the world’s first operational jet aircraft, development of the 262 was dominated by confusion, with Hitler envisioning a bomber and designers envisioning a jet fighter. Capable of outpacing the P-51 Mustang by 120 miles per hour, the 262 was clearly the best fighter plane to serve in WWII but was too late to help the Luftwaffe. Its specialized maintenance requirements and fuel shortages, coupled with aggressive Allied ground attacks prevented it from having any serious impact on the outcome of the war.