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Wrong Jorg Czypionka?

Jorg Czypionka

Surviving Pilot

Kommando Welter

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Kommando Welter

Background Information

Employment History

Early Pilot

Messerschmidt Me-262

Fighter Pilot

Luftwaffe Archives Group

Web References (45 Total References)


Wilde Sau Mosquito Fighters - Me 262 pilot memories - pg. 1 - Flight Journal Magazine article

www.flightjournal.com [cached]

Czypionka, however, is now the only surviving pilot of Kommando Welter, a unit whose name is well known to students of the WW II Luftwaffe but about whose operations little is known; thus, his memories are important.

Born in Berlin in 1921 and raised in southern Germany and prewar Czechoslovakia where his father was a businessman, Czypionka considers himself lucky that his adolescence was spent outside Germany."Even after Germany took over the Sudetenland," he recalls, "it was not compulsory that we join the Hitler Jugend as it was for boys who lived in Germany and in Austria."A good student who aspired to be a doctor, Czypionka fell in love with flying as a teenage glider pilot at a flying club in Czechoslovakia before the Nazi occupation.He enlisted in the Luftwaffe in 1940, took his flight training in southern Austria and was made a primary and basic flight instructor."I have to say I loved that job," he recounts.
...
Jorg Czypionka stated that these brightly lit airfields were seldom bombed by the Allies for reasons that he could never explain.The weaving searchlights would sometimes highlight the enemy aircraft, but generally, the fighter pilot would be on his own to locate a British Mosquito bomber to attack.For general area navigation, the Wilde Sau pilots had only maps that were designed to be used under cockpit ultraviolet lighting to avoid impairing the pilot's night vision.
Owing to his thousands of hours of instructing hundreds of primary and basic flight-course Luftwaffe student pilots in aerobatics, instruments, emergency procedures and night flying from 1940 to 1944, Czypionka transitioned rapidly and confidently into this Wilde Sau night-fighter arena.He also had a great desire to fly the latest, high-altitude, supercharged Bf 109G-14.His many hours allowed him to be instantly capable and proficient in this high-performance fighter.
When the Wilde Sau unit received its first Me 262s, he stated that the jet fighter's cockpit was almost similar to the Bf 109's, and that made his two circuits around the field impressive enough to be sufficient operational training for the new, much higher performance Me 262 jet.In any other air force, minimum jet training would have required at least 50 to 100 transition hours.
For any jet pilot trained since WW II, it would seem that the Me 262's lack of a speed brake for airspeed control and formation flying would have been a very negative factor in jet combat.Having no speed brake in a jet fighter is like having a 130mph, turbocharged Mercedes 450SL without wheel brakes!Czypionka told me that because they were flying solo aircraft and knew that any throttle motions were very critical for avoiding flameouts at high altitude, they maintained a constant throttle setting and didn't have any problem in that area.He did say that he missed the Bf 109 fighter's excellent speed control made available by rapid throttle movements combined with the propeller drag from reduced throttle settings.However, the four 30mm cannons of the Me 262,all firing straight ahead,and its 150mph speed difference over Allied fighters compensated for the few Me 262 deficiencies.The Me 262's cannons were the most powerful gun-firing armament of any production fighter in WW II.All U.S. jet fighters, however, had large speed brakes to control airspeed in both gunnery and formation-flight conditions.
Czypionka is much too modest in his description of his flameout of the right engine and subsequent air start during a landing.
...
Czypionka was at 600 meters and approaching his airfield at night with his two tanks very low on fuel!The engine flamed out just as the lights of the runway were turned off because of a previous aircraft's landing accident.He performed the tedious, time-consuming air start of the engine and maintained eye contact, alternating between the inside and outside of the cockpit, to keep the blacked-out airport in sight.This air-start procedure took at least 25 to 30 long seconds.He had to continue to circle the field until the wreckage had been cleared.After starting his final approach, he was given a further change in landing direction to a grass runway adjacent to the autobahn.As his wheels touched down, both engines flamed out because his last tank's fuel was exhausted.
This event would have been a great credit to a jet pilot with many hours in type, during daylight hours and on a long, regular, military-jet runway.
Jorg's guardian angels were crowding his cockpit that night.
...
Czypionka admires both the Mosquito and its crews."That airplane ...CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
...
Czypionka dived from 11,000 to 7,000 meters with the searchlights sticking to the wild-flying Mosquito.Just as he was about to pull into range, "The searchlights lost him and I was in darkness.And then, before I could throttle back, the engine exploded!"Oil burst from the engine all over the windscreen, and the engine compartment caught fire."I intended to bail right out," he recalls, "and I got rid of the hood, but then the wind blew out the fire in the engine.
...
Finally, Czypionka threw down his wallet with his identification."They went into their office and looked at it, and when they came out, it was ‘Ja, ja, Herr Leutnant! and they fell all over themselves saluting while they got that ladder out and helped me down."As if that wasn't enough, he still faced a night walk of several kilometers through the forest to get to a road where he walked to a train station and took a train back to his base.
...
"Over Christmas 1944, he went to Rechlin, where he got them to show him how to fly the jets," Czypionka explains.Once there, Welter tried the Arado Ar.234, but the glass in the nose reflected too much light at night.
The plane Welter decided could do the job was the single-seat Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a Schwalbe (swallow).On January 2, 1945, he took off from Rechlin with the only armed Me 262 at the field."Over Berlin, he caught five Mosquitos and shot them down," says Czypionka.
...
"In those seven weeks, he shot down perhaps twenty Mosquitos," Czypionka remembers."In the whole of the previous year, an entire JaGe with special equipment did not shoot down more than ten, but he doubled that in seven weeks."The British crews soon knew that the Germans had something that could catch the Mosquitos even with the speed advantage that had been its defense since it first appeared over Europe in 1942.But no one thought it possible that a jet could be flown at night, or that a fighter without radar could accomplish such things."Actually," Czypionka explains, "it really wasn't that hard to see them.The fires below would reflect on them, or, if they were over clouds, the searchlights would silhouette them.Having an airplane that could catch up to them almost as soon as they saw them made it easy."
By March 1945, Welter had a total of eight Me 262s, and he asked Czypionka to join him.For Czypionka, the invitation was a godsend: the great Russian offensive of 1945 was pressing toward Jüterbog, and things were falling apart in central Germany.
Even today, almost 60 years later, Czypionka's eyes light up when he recalls the first time he ever saw the Me 262.


Wilde Sau Mosquito Fighters - Me 262 pilot memories - pg. 1 - Flight Journal Magazine article

www.flightjournal.com [cached]

Czypionka, however, is now the only surviving pilot of Kommando Welter, a unit whose name is well known to students of the WW II Luftwaffe but about whose operations little is known; thus, his memories are important.

Born in Berlin in 1921 and raised in southern Germany and prewar Czechoslovakia where his father was a businessman, Czypionka considers himself lucky that his adolescence was spent outside Germany."Even after Germany took over the Sudetenland," he recalls, "it was not compulsory that we join the Hitler Jugend as it was for boys who lived in Germany and in Austria."A good student who aspired to be a doctor, Czypionka fell in love with flying as a teenage glider pilot at a flying club in Czechoslovakia before the Nazi occupation.He enlisted in the Luftwaffe in 1940, took his flight training in southern Austria and was made a primary and basic flight instructor."I have to say I loved that job," he recounts.
...
Jorg Czypionka stated that these brightly lit airfields were seldom bombed by the Allies for reasons that he could never explain.The weaving searchlights would sometimes highlight the enemy aircraft, but generally, the fighter pilot would be on his own to locate a British Mosquito bomber to attack.For general area navigation, the Wilde Sau pilots had only maps that were designed to be used under cockpit ultraviolet lighting to avoid impairing the pilot's night vision.
Owing to his thousands of hours of instructing hundreds of primary and basic flight-course Luftwaffe student pilots in aerobatics, instruments, emergency procedures and night flying from 1940 to 1944, Czypionka transitioned rapidly and confidently into this Wilde Sau night-fighter arena.He also had a great desire to fly the latest, high-altitude, supercharged Bf 109G-14.His many hours allowed him to be instantly capable and proficient in this high-performance fighter.
When the Wilde Sau unit received its first Me 262s, he stated that the jet fighter's cockpit was almost similar to the Bf 109's, and that made his two circuits around the field impressive enough to be sufficient operational training for the new, much higher performance Me 262 jet.In any other air force, minimum jet training would have required at least 50 to 100 transition hours.
For any jet pilot trained since WW II, it would seem that the Me 262's lack of a speed brake for airspeed control and formation flying would have been a very negative factor in jet combat.Having no speed brake in a jet fighter is like having a 130mph, turbocharged Mercedes 450SL without wheel brakes!Czypionka told me that because they were flying solo aircraft and knew that any throttle motions were very critical for avoiding flameouts at high altitude, they maintained a constant throttle setting and didn't have any problem in that area.He did say that he missed the Bf 109 fighter's excellent speed control made available by rapid throttle movements combined with the propeller drag from reduced throttle settings.However, the four 30mm cannons of the Me 262,all firing straight ahead,and its 150mph speed difference over Allied fighters compensated for the few Me 262 deficiencies.The Me 262's cannons were the most powerful gun-firing armament of any production fighter in WW II.All U.S. jet fighters, however, had large speed brakes to control airspeed in both gunnery and formation-flight conditions.
Czypionka is much too modest in his description of his flameout of the right engine and subsequent air start during a landing.
...
Czypionka was at 600 meters and approaching his airfield at night with his two tanks very low on fuel!The engine flamed out just as the lights of the runway were turned off because of a previous aircraft's landing accident.He performed the tedious, time-consuming air start of the engine and maintained eye contact, alternating between the inside and outside of the cockpit, to keep the blacked-out airport in sight.This air-start procedure took at least 25 to 30 long seconds.He had to continue to circle the field until the wreckage had been cleared.After starting his final approach, he was given a further change in landing direction to a grass runway adjacent to the autobahn.As his wheels touched down, both engines flamed out because his last tank's fuel was exhausted.
This event would have been a great credit to a jet pilot with many hours in type, during daylight hours and on a long, regular, military-jet runway.
Jorg's guardian angels were crowding his cockpit that night.
...
Czypionka admires both the Mosquito and its crews."That airplane ...CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
...
Czypionka dived from 11,000 to 7,000 meters with the searchlights sticking to the wild-flying Mosquito.Just as he was about to pull into range, "The searchlights lost him and I was in darkness.And then, before I could throttle back, the engine exploded!"Oil burst from the engine all over the windscreen, and the engine compartment caught fire."I intended to bail right out," he recalls, "and I got rid of the hood, but then the wind blew out the fire in the engine.
...
Finally, Czypionka threw down his wallet with his identification."They went into their office and looked at it, and when they came out, it was ‘Ja, ja, Herr Leutnant! and they fell all over themselves saluting while they got that ladder out and helped me down."As if that wasn't enough, he still faced a night walk of several kilometers through the forest to get to a road where he walked to a train station and took a train back to his base.
...
"Over Christmas 1944, he went to Rechlin, where he got them to show him how to fly the jets," Czypionka explains.Once there, Welter tried the Arado Ar.234, but the glass in the nose reflected too much light at night.
The plane Welter decided could do the job was the single-seat Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a Schwalbe (swallow).On January 2, 1945, he took off from Rechlin with the only armed Me 262 at the field."Over Berlin, he caught five Mosquitos and shot them down," says Czypionka.
...
"In those seven weeks, he shot down perhaps twenty Mosquitos," Czypionka remembers."In the whole of the previous year, an entire JaGe with special equipment did not shoot down more than ten, but he doubled that in seven weeks."The British crews soon knew that the Germans had something that could catch the Mosquitos even with the speed advantage that had been its defense since it first appeared over Europe in 1942.But no one thought it possible that a jet could be flown at night, or that a fighter without radar could accomplish such things."Actually," Czypionka explains, "it really wasn't that hard to see them.The fires below would reflect on them, or, if they were over clouds, the searchlights would silhouette them.Having an airplane that could catch up to them almost as soon as they saw them made it easy."
By March 1945, Welter had a total of eight Me 262s, and he asked Czypionka to join him.For Czypionka, the invitation was a godsend: the great Russian offensive of 1945 was pressing toward Jüterbog, and things were falling apart in central Germany.
Even today, almost 60 years later, Czypionka's eyes light up when he recalls the first time he ever saw the Me 262.


Wilde Sau Mosquito Fighters - Me 262 pilot memories - pg. 1 - Flight Journal Magazine article

www.flightjournal.com [cached]

Czypionka, however, is now the only surviving pilot of Kommando Welter, a unit whose name is well known to students of the WW II Luftwaffe but about whose operations little is known; thus, his memories are important.

Born in Berlin in 1921 and raised in southern Germany and prewar Czechoslovakia where his father was a businessman, Czypionka considers himself lucky that his adolescence was spent outside Germany."Even after Germany took over the Sudetenland," he recalls, "it was not compulsory that we join the Hitler Jugend as it was for boys who lived in Germany and in Austria."A good student who aspired to be a doctor, Czypionka fell in love with flying as a teenage glider pilot at a flying club in Czechoslovakia before the Nazi occupation.He enlisted in the Luftwaffe in 1940, took his flight training in southern Austria and was made a primary and basic flight instructor."I have to say I loved that job," he recounts.
...
Jorg Czypionka stated that these brightly lit airfields were seldom bombed by the Allies for reasons that he could never explain.The weaving searchlights would sometimes highlight the enemy aircraft, but generally, the fighter pilot would be on his own to locate a British Mosquito bomber to attack.For general area navigation, the Wilde Sau pilots had only maps that were designed to be used under cockpit ultraviolet lighting to avoid impairing the pilot's night vision.
Owing to his thousands of hours of instructing hundreds of primary and basic flight-course Luftwaffe student pilots in aerobatics, instruments, emergency procedures and night flying from 1940 to 1944, Czypionka transitioned rapidly and confidently into this Wilde Sau night-fighter arena.He also had a great desire to fly the latest, high-altitude, supercharged Bf 109G-14.His many hours allowed him to be instantly capable and proficient in this high-performance fighter.
When the Wilde Sau unit received its first Me 262s, he stated that the jet fighter's cockpit was almost similar to the Bf 109's, and that made his two circuits around the field impressive enough to be sufficient operational training for the new, much higher performance Me 262 jet.In any other air force, minimum jet training would have required at least 50 to 100 transition hours.
For any jet pilot trained since WW II, it would seem that the Me 262's lack of a speed brake for airspeed control and formation flying would have been a very negative factor in jet combat.Having no speed brake in a jet fighter is like having a 130mph, turbocharged Mercedes 450SL without wheel brakes!Czypionka told me that because they were flying solo aircraft and knew that any throttle motions were very critical for avoiding flameouts at high altitude, they maintained a constant throttle setting and didn't have any problem in that area.He did say that he missed the Bf 109 fighter's excellent speed control made available by rapid throttle movements combined with the propeller drag from reduced throttle settings.However, the four 30mm cannons of the Me 262-all firing straight ahead-and its 150mph speed difference over Allied fighters compensated for the few Me 262 deficiencies.The Me 262's cannons were the most powerful gun-firing armament of any production fighter in WW II.All U.S. jet fighters, however, had large speed brakes to control airspeed in both gunnery and formation-flight conditions.
Czypionka is much too modest in his description of his flameout of the right engine and subsequent air start during a landing.
...
Czypionka was at 600 meters and approaching his airfield at night with his two tanks very low on fuel!The engine flamed out just as the lights of the runway were turned off because of a previous aircraft's landing accident.He performed the tedious, time-consuming air start of the engine and maintained eye contact, alternating between the inside and outside of the cockpit, to keep the blacked-out airport in sight.This air-start procedure took at least 25 to 30 long seconds.He had to continue to circle the field until the wreckage had been cleared.After starting his final approach, he was given a further change in landing direction to a grass runway adjacent to the autobahn.As his wheels touched down, both engines flamed out because his last tank's fuel was exhausted.
This event would have been a great credit to a jet pilot with many hours in type, during daylight hours and on a long, regular, military-jet runway.
Jorg's guardian angels were crowding his cockpit that night.
...
Czypionka admires both the Mosquito and its crews."That airplane … it was so beautiful; it flew so well, I almost hated to shoot at it."In truth, the Nachtjagdgeschwader pilots had little success against the roaming Mosquitos of the RAF's Light Night Striking Force."They would send us off just before the British were to arrive," Czypionka explains.
...
Czypionka dived from 11,000 to 7,000 meters with the searchlights sticking to the wild-flying Mosquito.Just as he was about to pull into range, "The searchlights lost him and I was in darkness.And then, before I could throttle back, the engine exploded!"Oil burst from the engine all over the windscreen, and the engine compartment caught fire."I intended to bail right out," he recalls, "and I got rid of the hood, but then the wind blew out the fire in the engine.
...
Finally, Czypionka threw down his wallet with his identification."They went into their office and looked at it, and when they came out, it was ‘Ja, ja, Herr Leutnant! and they fell all over themselves saluting while they got that ladder out and helped me down."As if that wasn't enough, he still faced a night walk of several kilometers through the forest to get to a road where he walked to a train station and took a train back to his base.
...
"Over Christmas 1944, he went to Rechlin, where he got them to show him how to fly the jets," Czypionka explains.Once there, Welter tried the Arado Ar.234, but the glass in the nose reflected too much light at night.
The plane Welter decided could do the job was the single-seat Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a Schwalbe (swallow).On January 2, 1945, he took off from Rechlin with the only armed Me 262 at the field."Over Berlin, he caught five Mosquitos and shot them down," says Czypionka.
...
"In those seven weeks, he shot down perhaps twenty Mosquitos," Czypionka remembers."In the whole of the previous year, an entire JaGe with special equipment did not shoot down more than ten, but he doubled that in seven weeks."The British crews soon knew that the Germans had something that could catch the Mosquitos even with the speed advantage that had been its defense since it first appeared over Europe in 1942.But no one thought it possible that a jet could be flown at night, or that a fighter without radar could accomplish such things."Actually," Czypionka explains, "it really wasn't that hard to see them.The fires below would reflect on them, or, if they were over clouds, the searchlights would silhouette them.Having an airplane that could catch up to them almost as soon as they saw them made it easy."
By March 1945, Welter had a total of eight Me 262s, and he asked Czypionka to join him.For Czypionka, the invitation was a godsend: the great Russian offensive of 1945 was pressing toward Jüterbog, and things were falling apart in central Germany.
Even today, almost 60 years later, Czypionka's eyes light up when he recalls the first time he ever saw the Me 262.


Wilde Sau Mosquito Fighters - Me 262 pilot memories - pg. 1 - Flight Journal Magazine article

www.flightjournal.com [cached]

Czypionka, however, is now the only surviving pilot of Kommando Welter, a unit whose name is well known to students of the WW II Luftwaffe but about whose operations little is known; thus, his memories are important.

Born in Berlin in 1921 and raised in southern Germany and prewar Czechoslovakia where his father was a businessman, Czypionka considers himself lucky that his adolescence was spent outside Germany."Even after Germany took over the Sudetenland," he recalls, "it was not compulsory that we join the Hitler Jugend as it was for boys who lived in Germany and in Austria."A good student who aspired to be a doctor, Czypionka fell in love with flying as a teenage glider pilot at a flying club in Czechoslovakia before the Nazi occupation.He enlisted in the Luftwaffe in 1940, took his flight training in southern Austria and was made a primary and basic flight instructor."I have to say I loved that job," he recounts.
...
Jorg Czypionka stated that these brightly lit airfields were seldom bombed by the Allies for reasons that he could never explain.The weaving searchlights would sometimes highlight the enemy aircraft, but generally, the fighter pilot would be on his own to locate a British Mosquito bomber to attack.For general area navigation, the Wilde Sau pilots had only maps that were designed to be used under cockpit ultraviolet lighting to avoid impairing the pilot's night vision.
Owing to his thousands of hours of instructing hundreds of primary and basic flight-course Luftwaffe student pilots in aerobatics, instruments, emergency procedures and night flying from 1940 to 1944, Czypionka transitioned rapidly and confidently into this Wilde Sau night-fighter arena.He also had a great desire to fly the latest, high-altitude, supercharged Bf 109G-14.His many hours allowed him to be instantly capable and proficient in this high-performance fighter.
When the Wilde Sau unit received its first Me 262s, he stated that the jet fighter's cockpit was almost similar to the Bf 109's, and that made his two circuits around the field impressive enough to be sufficient operational training for the new, much higher performance Me 262 jet.In any other air force, minimum jet training would have required at least 50 to 100 transition hours.
For any jet pilot trained since WW II, it would seem that the Me 262's lack of a speed brake for airspeed control and formation flying would have been a very negative factor in jet combat.Having no speed brake in a jet fighter is like having a 130mph, turbocharged Mercedes 450SL without wheel brakes!Czypionka told me that because they were flying solo aircraft and knew that any throttle motions were very critical for avoiding flameouts at high altitude, they maintained a constant throttle setting and didn't have any problem in that area.He did say that he missed the Bf 109 fighter's excellent speed control made available by rapid throttle movements combined with the propeller drag from reduced throttle settings.However, the four 30mm cannons of the Me 262-all firing straight ahead-and its 150mph speed difference over Allied fighters compensated for the few Me 262 deficiencies.The Me 262's cannons were the most powerful gun-firing armament of any production fighter in WW II.All U.S. jet fighters, however, had large speed brakes to control airspeed in both gunnery and formation-flight conditions.
Czypionka is much too modest in his description of his flameout of the right engine and subsequent air start during a landing.
...
Czypionka was at 600 meters and approaching his airfield at night with his two tanks very low on fuel!The engine flamed out just as the lights of the runway were turned off because of a previous aircraft's landing accident.He performed the tedious, time-consuming air start of the engine and maintained eye contact, alternating between the inside and outside of the cockpit, to keep the blacked-out airport in sight.This air-start procedure took at least 25 to 30 long seconds.He had to continue to circle the field until the wreckage had been cleared.After starting his final approach, he was given a further change in landing direction to a grass runway adjacent to the autobahn.As his wheels touched down, both engines flamed out because his last tank's fuel was exhausted.
This event would have been a great credit to a jet pilot with many hours in type, during daylight hours and on a long, regular, military-jet runway.
Jorg's guardian angels were crowding his cockpit that night.
...
Czypionka admires both the Mosquito and its crews."That airplane … it was so beautiful; it flew so well, I almost hated to shoot at it."In truth, the Nachtjagdgeschwader pilots had little success against the roaming Mosquitos of the RAF's Light Night Striking Force."They would send us off just before the British were to arrive," Czypionka explains.
...
Czypionka dived from 11,000 to 7,000 meters with the searchlights sticking to the wild-flying Mosquito.Just as he was about to pull into range, "The searchlights lost him and I was in darkness.And then, before I could throttle back, the engine exploded!"Oil burst from the engine all over the windscreen, and the engine compartment caught fire."I intended to bail right out," he recalls, "and I got rid of the hood, but then the wind blew out the fire in the engine.
...
Finally, Czypionka threw down his wallet with his identification."They went into their office and looked at it, and when they came out, it was ‘Ja, ja, Herr Leutnant! and they fell all over themselves saluting while they got that ladder out and helped me down."As if that wasn't enough, he still faced a night walk of several kilometers through the forest to get to a road where he walked to a train station and took a train back to his base.
...
"Over Christmas 1944, he went to Rechlin, where he got them to show him how to fly the jets," Czypionka explains.Once there, Welter tried the Arado Ar.234, but the glass in the nose reflected too much light at night.
The plane Welter decided could do the job was the single-seat Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a Schwalbe (swallow).On January 2, 1945, he took off from Rechlin with the only armed Me 262 at the field."Over Berlin, he caught five Mosquitos and shot them down," says Czypionka.
...
"In those seven weeks, he shot down perhaps twenty Mosquitos," Czypionka remembers."In the whole of the previous year, an entire JaGe with special equipment did not shoot down more than ten, but he doubled that in seven weeks."The British crews soon knew that the Germans had something that could catch the Mosquitos even with the speed advantage that had been its defense since it first appeared over Europe in 1942.But no one thought it possible that a jet could be flown at night, or that a fighter without radar could accomplish such things."Actually," Czypionka explains, "it really wasn't that hard to see them.The fires below would reflect on them, or, if they were over clouds, the searchlights would silhouette them.Having an airplane that could catch up to them almost as soon as they saw them made it easy."
By March 1945, Welter had a total of eight Me 262s, and he asked Czypionka to join him.For Czypionka, the invitation was a godsend: the great Russian offensive of 1945 was pressing toward Jüterbog, and things were falling apart in central Germany.
Even today, almost 60 years later, Czypionka's eyes light up when he recalls the first time he ever saw the Me 262.


Wilde Sau Mosquito Fighters - Me 262 pilot memories - pg. 1 - Flight Journal Magazine article

www.flightjournal.com [cached]

Czypionka, however, is now the only surviving pilot of Kommando Welter, a unit whose name is well known to students of the WW II Luftwaffe but about whose operations little is known; thus, his memories are important.

Born in Berlin in 1921 and raised in southern Germany and prewar Czechoslovakia where his father was a businessman, Czypionka considers himself lucky that his adolescence was spent outside Germany."Even after Germany took over the Sudetenland," he recalls, "it was not compulsory that we join the Hitler Jugend as it was for boys who lived in Germany and in Austria."A good student who aspired to be a doctor, Czypionka fell in love with flying as a teenage glider pilot at a flying club in Czechoslovakia before the Nazi occupation.He enlisted in the Luftwaffe in 1940, took his flight training in southern Austria and was made a primary and basic flight instructor."I have to say I loved that job," he recounts."We flew the Fw 44, the He 72 and the Jungmann [Bü.131] as well as high-performance fighters, and I had a lot of time in the Jungmeister [Bü.133].Those were wonderful, maneuverable airplanes-so much fun to fly.We were far from the war and able to build our flying skills."He laughs and continues, "I know for a fact that my better flying skills are why I can tell you this story."
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
...
Jorg Czypionka stated that these brightly lit airfields were seldom bombed by the Allies for reasons that he could never explain.The weaving searchlights would sometimes highlight the enemy aircraft, but generally, the fighter pilot would be on his own to locate a British Mosquito bomber to attack.For general area navigation, the Wilde Sau pilots had only maps that were designed to be used under cockpit ultraviolet lighting to avoid impairing the pilot's night vision.
Owing to his thousands of hours of instructing hundreds of primary and basic flight-course Luftwaffe student pilots in aerobatics, instruments, emergency procedures and night flying from 1940 to 1944, Czypionka transitioned rapidly and confidently into this Wilde Sau night-fighter arena.He also had a great desire to fly the latest, high-altitude, supercharged Bf 109G-14.His many hours allowed him to be instantly capable and proficient in this high-performance fighter.
When the Wilde Sau unit received its first Me 262s, he stated that the jet fighter's cockpit was almost similar to the Bf 109's, and that made his two circuits around the field impressive enough to be sufficient operational training for the new, much higher performance Me 262 jet.In any other air force, minimum jet training would have required at least 50 to 100 transition hours.
For any jet pilot trained since WW II, it would seem that the Me 262's lack of a speed brake for airspeed control and formation flying would have been a very negative factor in jet combat.Having no speed brake in a jet fighter is like having a 130mph, turbocharged Mercedes 450SL without wheel brakes!Czypionka told me that because they were flying solo aircraft and knew that any throttle motions were very critical for avoiding flameouts at high altitude, they maintained a constant throttle setting and didn't have any problem in that area.He did say that he missed the Bf 109 fighter's excellent speed control made available by rapid throttle movements combined with the propeller drag from reduced throttle settings.However, the four 30mm cannons of the Me 262-all firing straight ahead-and its 150mph speed difference over Allied fighters compensated for the few Me 262 deficiencies.The Me 262's cannons were the most powerful gun-firing armament of any production fighter in WW II.All U.S. jet fighters, however, had large speed brakes to control airspeed in both gunnery and formation-flight conditions.
Czypionka is much too modest in his description of his flameout of the right engine and subsequent air start during a landing.I talked to him at length and found out that the Me 262 didn't have a single outlet tankage system to the engines.Their tanks had to be switched manually like those of the piston-engine fighters. (All jet-fighter tanks now have a single fuel outlet to the engines to prevent what happened to Jorg.) When a tank ran dry on a piston engine, its combined windmilling propeller and continuous ignition always gave instant engine restart as soon as the fuel selector had been switched to a full tank.To start the Me 262's early jet engines, they had to be windmilling at a specific rpm, and their non-continuous ignition systems had to be manually switched on.It then took several seconds for the engine to ignite, and this was followed by much throttle "jockeying" to avoid exceeding engine-limit temperatures while waiting for the engines to accelerate slowly to useful operational rpm.
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Czypionka was at 600 meters and approaching his airfield at night with his two tanks very low on fuel!The engine flamed out just as the lights of the runway were turned off because of a previous aircraft's landing accident.He performed the tedious, time-consuming air start of the engine and maintained eye contact, alternating between the inside and outside of the cockpit, to keep the blacked-out airport in sight.This air-start procedure took at least 25 to 30 long seconds.He had to continue to circle the field until the wreckage had been cleared.After starting his final approach, he was given a further change in landing direction to a grass runway adjacent to the autobahn.As his wheels touched down, both engines flamed out because his last tank's fuel was exhausted.
This event would have been a great credit to a jet pilot with many hours in type, during daylight hours and on a long, regular, military-jet runway.
Jorg's guardian angels were crowding his cockpit that night.
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Czypionka admires both the Mosquito and its crews."That airplane … it was so beautiful; it flew so well, I almost hated to shoot at it."In truth, the Nachtjagdgeschwader pilots had little success against the roaming Mosquitos of the RAF's Light Night Striking Force."They would send us off just before the British were to arrive," Czypionka explains."Our only hope was to get up to ten or eleven thousand meters and dive on them to catch them.If they were flying higher than eight or nine thousand meters, we had little chance, they were so fast."
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Czypionka dived from 11,000 to 7,000 meters with the searchlights sticking to the wild-flying Mosquito.Just as he was about to pull into range, "The searchlights lost him and I was in darkness.And then, before I could throttle back, the engine exploded!"Oil burst from the engine all over the windscreen, and the engine compartment caught fire."I intended to bail right out," he recalls, "and I got rid of the hood, but then the wind blew out the fire in the engine.It was definitely dead, but I stuck with it a little longer.I got all my gear, disconnected everything, I was really calm-much more so than I would have expected.The altimeter read almost five thousand meters when I got up on the back of the canopy, just as they had instructed us, and pushed myself up so I would miss the rudder.There I was, falling up into space, and it was so beautiful in the night."He counted through several seconds of free fall until he estimated his altitude at 500 meters, at which point he pulled the ripcord.
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Finally, Czypionka threw down his wallet with his identification."They went into their office and looked at it, and when they came out, it was ‘Ja, ja, Herr Leutnant! and they fell all over themselves saluting while they got that ladder out and helped me down."As if that wasn't enough, he still faced a night walk of several kilometers through the forest to get to a road where he walked to a train station and took a train back to his base.
"As a unit, we were never all that successful against the Mosquitos," Czypionka recalls, "except for Oberleutnant Kurt Welter.He had at that time twenty or thirty kills at night, and seven or eight were Mosquitos.He was the most successful Wilde Sau pilot.When he got behind them, they went down.In a year, the unit had gotten perhaps ten total, and he had most of them."
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"Over Christmas 1944, he went to Rechlin, where he got them to show him how to fly the jets," Czypionka explains.Once there, Welter tried the Arado Ar.234, but the glass in the nose reflected too much light at night.
The plane Welter decided could do the job was the single-seat Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a Schwalbe (swallow).On January 2, 1945, he took off from Rechlin with the only armed Me 262 at the field."Over Berlin, he caught five Mosquitos and shot them down," says Czypionka."He told me it was easy."In one mission with the jet fighter, Welter had increased his score of Mosquito kills by more than 50 percent.
Welter didn't know it, but he had performed this feat in front of an important audience.
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"In those seven weeks, he shot down perhaps twenty Mosquitos," Czypionka remembers."In the whole of the previous ye

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