DEPARTMENT I: The Werknummer Database
Serious aviation authors, archivists, historians and researchers have long recognized the importance of classifying and recording aircraft identification and loss data. Often, the ability to retrace the lineage of a specific aircraft allows us to learn a great deal about the pilot and unit that operated it as well.
This is especially true in the case of WWII German Luftwaffe aircraft, as most operational orders and service records were destroyed during the war. In these cases, being able to track individual aircraft histories can yield a wealth of information in its own right. The is normally done by using the serial number -- or werknummer -- of the plane.
This site presents an "enhanced" listing which integrates a comprehensive Me 262 losses list. As such, the database contains a great deal of information beyond what would normally be associated with a basic serial number listing.
ABOUT THE DATABASE
Without question, the centerpiece of the WNRC is the O'Connell Werknummer & Losses Database.
As the name implies, this resource is based upon the work of Mr. Dan O'Connell of the United States. Over the years, O'Connell's efforts in this area have earned him an international reputation for accuracy and detail in accounting for more than1,600 Me 262 aircraft; this, despite the fact that traditional sources have generally fixed the total number produced at just over 1,400 airframes. The potential to shed new light upon our understanding of the Third Reich's capacity to produce jet aircraft is historically significant in every respect.
The database here on the site includes data derived from both published and unpublished sources, and although the list has been made available for research online, we would ask that you abide by a few reasonable restrictions. Please limit your use of this information to the furtherance of your own personal research. Any commercial use of this compilation without prior permission is prohibited.
Our intent here is intended to protect the intellectual property of those authors and researchers who have provided many of the reference works that have formed the basis of this list. Keep in mind that most of the printed resources used and/or consulted are protected by US and international copyright laws. Although we have drawn from such works, we have been careful to credit the copyright holders inasmuch as it has been possible.
The list incorporates a powerful search capability, and offers an unprecedented range of options. You can sort the information by aircraft type, unit, pilot's name and more. Multiple searches are also possible by entering more than one variable (i.e. NJG 11 and Me 262B-1a/U1).
Perhaps most importantly, the system is highly responsive to plain text queries. This eliminates the need for complicated "boolean" search commands, and allows the user to locate entries by using target expressions, words, or even portions of a word.
All aircraft records in this database are keyed off of the original werknummer of each aircraft. These numbers are comprised of six digits, and generally conform to ranges in the 100000 and 500000 series (e.g. 110639, 501479).
In cases where the actual werknummer is unknown (there are over 700 "unknown" entries on the losses list alone) an internally-assigned case number has been generated.
Our case numbers conform to the standard werknummer format (six digits); however, all begin with a prefix number of "900."
The assignment of numbers in the 900000 series is strictly an administrative measure for the purposes of managing this listing, and no such sequences were ever assigned to the Messerschmitt 262 by the German aircraft industry or the Luftwaffe during the war.
Within the research community at large, there are varying opinions with respect to the assignment of certain aircraft designations to specific Me 262 types and/or sub-types. For example, an aircraft equipped with Wikingerschiff bomb racks may or may not have actually been delivered as an Me 262A-2a variant. The reason for this is that many weapons systems were installed in a field environment at unit level.
In another example, an Me 262A-1a which had undergone the installation of the R4M rocket system would most likely have been referred to as an Me 262A-1a/R1. (Some sources would also suggest Me 262A-1a/R7.) Put simply, it can often be difficult to determine precisely which designation might apply to a given airframe at a given point in time.
We have sought to standardize our use of these naming conventions with the most accepted and well-known designations. So, for the purposes of list simplification, you may notice that Me 262's known to have been equipped with bomb pylons will be referred to as A-2a, while Me 262's equipped with R4M rockets are annotated as A-1a/R1.
A special thanks is due to James K. Bradley for his invaluable technical assistance in preparing the database portion of this site.
Also, our thanks to the Sabre Design Group for their role in the creation and maintenance in this ground-breaking resource.
We owe Mr. David E. Brown of Experten Decals a debt of gratitude in that this entire endeavor was borne of his unending commitment to research.
All of us in the research community owe these gentlemen a debt of gratitude for their willingness to make this incredible body of information available to the general public.
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