Me 163B 3100xx 'White 54'

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'White 54' was one of five Komets brought to the USA. It is an interesting aircraft in many ways. First of all it has MG 151/20 armament, making it is a very early production machine, one of the first 40 or so built. Therefore its Werknummer must be in the 310... block. Secondly, it belonged to the III. (trainings) Gruppe, either the 13. or 14. Staffel (sources do not agree on which unit used this badge). The position of the code on the tail instead of the fuselage also indicates a training aircraft. The III. Gruppe was (as far as is known) stationed at Brandis at the end of the war. It thus was probably not captured at Husum like all nearly all other Komets. Some books suggest it was captured at Merseburg, not far from Brandis.

Modelers beware: this specific aircraft is included as a decal option in many Komet kits. It is however an early pre-production example, showing many small differences compared to the later aircraft. Refer to the photo captions for more information. Also a word of warning about the best-known picture of this aircraft (the left one under the 'USA, 1945' heading). This picture is rather dark, and in many places the camouflage appears almost solid, whereas it is a mottle camouflage in reality. Check the other photographs before you start airbrushing.

Merseburg, Germany, May 1945

The following two pictures show a batch of Komets, looking to be waiting to be shipped. These pictures appear to be taken at Merseburg, and could include 'White 54'.

USA, 1945

The following pictures show 'White 54' in the USA, first on an apron (exact location still to be determined, possibly Wright-Patterson AFB), and then being disassembled.

Evaluation aircraft as 'FE 495'

The photograph seen below shows 'FE 495', and it shows so many similarities with 'White 54' that it is very likely that they are one and the same. 'War Prizes' reports that it "was recorded at Wright Field on 1st August 1946, in use as a mobile display exhibit. It is believed to have been scrapped in about 1950, after use in USAF recruitment displays up to that time.".

Posing as a fake 'FE-500'

The most confusing part of the history of this aircraft was that is was repainted as 'FE-500' at some point in time. Whether this was an error or a deliberate action is unknown to me.


Yet one more guise is known: again repainted, but without any FE codes.

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