The Me 163 in service

The Komet’s combat career was brief, but deadly — for both sides. Aeroplane delves into the service life of the Me 163


A Me 163B on the strength of EKdo 16 getting airborne.

The first Allied report of an attempted Me 163 interception came on 29 May 1944. Oblt Rudi ‘Pitz’ Opitz flew two missions that day and, during the second, he got to within 2km of a Spitfire. This Spitfire was from No 542 Squadron, flown by Flt Lt Geoff Crakanthorp DFC. It had taken off from RAF Benson Oxfordshire at 10.35hrs to take photographs in the Bremen Hamburg-Wilhelmshaven area, landing back home at 14.15hrs. The No 542 Squadron operations record book said Crakanthorp, “was intercepted by an Me 163, the first we believe to have been seen operating. It was climbing he believes at 3,000ft per minute and ground speed 350mph but it gave up the chase at 30,000ft.”

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