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August 16th, 1944 - On this day in World War Two history, the US Eighth Air Force suffers first attack by Luftwaffe jet fighters (Me 163s), has first loss to a jet, and also destroys a German jet for first time.
The Me-163 Komet was a German interceptor and the first rocket powered fighter aircraft to ever have been operational in the history.
The Komet was also the first aircraft to reach a speed of 1,000 km/h (621mph) in level flight.
In terms of specifications, the Komet had a crew of 1, a length of 5.98 m (19 ft 7 in), a wingspan of 9.33 m (30 ft 7 in), a height of 2.75 m (9 ft 0 in), a maximum air speed of 959 km/h (596 mph), an air range of around 40 km (25 mi), a 12,100 m (39,700 ft) surface ceiling, a 50 metres per second (9,800 ft/min) at 1000 meters; 160 metres per second (31,000 ft/min) at 12,000m rate of climb, and in terms of armament: the Komet was equipped with 2 30mm Rheinmetall Borsig MK 108 Cannons.
In all, only around 360 of these planes were ever built, and they were mostly lost to history due to be fact that the Germans pulled them from combat after unsatisfactory results.
In its time in the skies, the Komet downed only 9-18 allied fighters while losing 10 aircraft itself, and this proved to the Germans that they needed to focus on their previous models and mass produce them, including the new Me-262.
The Me-163 was a well designed fighter plane, this is true, but it took too much recourses to produce and was not performing good enough for the Germans to see the need to keep up its production.
The Germans tried to focus on the production of the Bf-109, FW-190, and Me-262 at the highest possible completion rate until the Germans were defeated.
By mid-1944, the allied air superiority was really unchallenged and all the Germans could do was attempt to limit the allied bombing as much as they could. In the end, this was futile, and the Germans went down anyways. This image, although red, is what a Me-163 would have looked like. It probably would have been black, gray, and yellow.