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Forum LockedGerman wartime missiles

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    Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 08:21

Wasserfall

The Wasserfall (Waterfall) anti-aircraft rocket is one of the most advanced projects of its type to come out of German wartime development.  Guided by ground based radars, the Wasserfall rocket would have been tracked by one installation while another would track the target.  A computer would then correlate the data and determine when the warhead should be detonated.  It was designed to utilize types of fuels which would allow the missile batteries to stand ready for firing for up to one month without reloading.  The first launch took place on the 8th of January 1944 and was a failure.  The following February 1944 saw a successful launch which reached a speed of 2,772 km/h in vertical flight.  When the program was canceled on the 6th of February 1945 nearly 40 flights had been made.  After the war, captured Wasserfall reports would form the basis of the highly successful U.S. built (Douglas Aircraft Co.) "Nike" family of anit-aircraft missiles.  This example is seen at the U.S. Army Proving Grounds Museum at Aberdeen Maryland.

In the test esction of the high speed tunnel at Peenemunde

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 08:26
"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. "
--- Joseph Alexandrovitch Brodsky, 1991, Russian-American poet, b. St. Petersburg and exiled 1972 (1940-1996)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 08:33

V-1

Development

The concept of a pilotless winged missile was a response to heavy losses suffered by the German Air Force, Luftwaffe, during the Battle of Britain in 1940. It was also a cheaper alternative to the development of the A-4 ballistic missile conducted in parallel in Peenemunde at the time.

The Fieseler Fi 103 would be also the first operational vehicle equipped with the "air-breathing" pulsating jet engine, yet another variation of jet propulsion tried at the dawn of the aviation age. The pulsating jet consisted of the combustion chamber with the front air intake duct. The entrance into the intake is covered with an array of shutters, which open under pressure from the incoming air after the initial acceleration of the engine. The fuel is then injected into the propulsion chamber and ignited inside generating yet hire pressure and forcing intake shutters to close. The whole cycle would repeat 45 times a second. (216)

The missile was designed to take off from specially designed ground ramps. After the takeoff, the flight control system would bring the rocket to a predetermined altitude and keep it on a preprogrammed route. After a calculated distance was reached the engine would cutoff and the missile would free fall to the ground. (217) The inaccuracy of its flight control system would limit the use of the missile to large targets like London or other populated areas, making it essentially a terror weapon.

The Fi 103 was air-launched into the first unpowered flight on August 30, 1942 and tests continued for 18 months.

Operation

After numerous technical problems and allied bombing campaigns against its launch sites, Fi 103s went into action on June 13, 1944. They were announced as V-1 (vengeance weapon 1) by Hitler's propaganda. Before World War II ended, 8,892 V-1 missiles were launched from the ground and 1,600 air-launched by bombers. (169)

Most of the missiles were launched against London, where the campaign became known as "robot blitz." Relatively, law speed of the missiles allowed the British Air Force pilots and antiaircraft gunners to develop techniques in intercepting a considerable number of these missiles. Yet, 6,000 deaths, 40,000 injuries and 75,000 destroyed homes were attributed to the use of "buzz bombs," as they became known in England for their sputtering sound.

Post War development

Both the United States and the Soviet Union "exported" Fi 103 missiles for duplication and further development. The US Navy developed a version called JB-2 Loon, which was designed to be launched from submarine. (216) In the USSR, Vladimir Chelomei, who experimented with pulsating engines himself, later developed a Soviet version of the Fi 103 missile, known as 10 KhN.

 

Technical specifications for Fi 103 missile: (169)

Length
8.32 meters
Wingspan
5.37 meters
Launch weight
2,152 kilograms
Flight range
238 kilometers
Warhead weight
830 kilograms
Propellant
80 octane petrol

 

     The GyrocompassDiagram from the V-1 Field Manual of the V-1 gyrocompass

The Fi-103 guidance system was comprised of an air-powered gyrocompass and air log system. One of the more difficult problems and sources off deviation from the intended flight path was zeroing the gyrocompass to magnetic north while it was surrounded by the steel body and electrical wiring[5]. Another major problem was the error caused by the massive vibration of the Argus 109-104 engine. These problems were eventually remedied by encasing the compass in a wooden sphere, this design modification was initially aimed toward correcting the errors caused by vibration, but served to remedy both, though not completely. Another practice was to strike the steel around the compass with a wooden hammer; this would help to stabilize the magnetic interference of the steel's ferrous content.

Another of the gyrocompasss problems was stabilizing the wings once clear of the launch ramp and the bomb was under its own power. The demand on the system was that the wings be kept level enough to allow for deviations in the flight path, even in strong wind, rain, and any other possible weather, of no more than four percent. These design requirements were more difficult to attain due to the 22g that the gyrocompass and other systems were subjected to upon liftoff.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 08:35

V-1

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--- Joseph Alexandrovitch Brodsky, 1991, Russian-American poet, b. St. Petersburg and exiled 1972 (1940-1996)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 08:39

A-4 (V-2)

During World War II, the Nazi regime in Germany funded an unprecedented effort to build rocket weapons. Capitalizing on the experience accumulated by German rocket enthusiasts since the second half of the 1920s, a group of engineers at the secret center in Peenemnde developed a ballistic missile of incomparable size and range. Officially dubbed Vergeltungswaffe-2, or "vengeance weapon-2," the cigar-shaped rocket could reach targets some 300 kilometers away. (169)

A-4 technical overview:

Length
14.03 meters
Maximum diameter: 1.68 meters
Launch weight: 12,870 kilograms
Engine burn time: 70 seconds
Maximum speed: 5,760 kilometers per hour
Maximum speed at impact on target: 800 meters per second
Maximum range: 330 kilometers
Maximum altitude: 96 kilometers
Engine thrust on the surface: 26 tons
Engine thrust at high altitude: 30 tons
Warhead mass: 900 - 1,000 kilograms
Fuel mass (alcohol): 3.6 tons
Oxidizer mass (liquid oxygen): 5 tons

The V-2 rocket, originally named A-4, grew out of several previous projects conducted in Peenemnde, including A-3 experimental rocket with estimated range of 50 kilometers.

Test launches of the A-4 started in 1942 and from September 5, 1944, the missile was used by the German Army to attack England and a number of allied targets in Europe. The last German A-4 rocket was launched from Peenemunde on February 19, 1945.

After the war, the British military with the help of German specialists launched three A-4 rocket from Germany. A significant number of A-4 rockets was launched in the United States.

Total eleven A-4 rockets were launched from Kapustin Yar by a Soviet-German team in the fall of 1947.

The V-2's Guidance

The production version of the V-2 guidance system was the Sg 52, a simpler and more robust version of the earlier Sg 33. This system was mounted to a platform, making the rocket more stable, however, it featured two specialized control gyroscopes and a clockwork mechanism to tilt the platform thereby making the rocket nose over on its trajectory. It also had a third gyroscope to control its roll, but unlike the Sg 33, the Sg 52 gyroscopes were inertial instead of electrical, decreasing their rate of spin, and the wagon accelerometers were replaced with three off-platform gyroscopes that measured pitch, roll, and yaw. Although this system was not perfect, it was sufficient for development to continue on the A-5, and eventually was modified and used in the A-4/V-2.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 08:41

V-2 Launch History[11]chemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" />>>

Belgium

 >>

France

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Antwerp

1610

Lille

25

Liege

27

Paris

19

Hasselt

13

Tourcoming

19

Tournai >>

9>>

Arras >>

6>>

Mons >>

3>>

Cambrai >>

4>>

Diest >>

2>>

 >>

73>>

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1664>>

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England >>

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Netherlands>>

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London >>

1359>>

Maastricht >>

19>>

Norwich >>

43>>

 >>

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Ipswich >>

1

Germany

 >>

 >>

1403

Remagen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 08:43
sry,for the copy paste,but i am really tired.Really sorry.Continuing...
"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. "
--- Joseph Alexandrovitch Brodsky, 1991, Russian-American poet, b. St. Petersburg and exiled 1972 (1940-1996)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 08:50

German test-rocket launcher.The operator was protected by a screen of artificial design.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 08:57

Hs 293

Although a term "smart bomb" became widely known decades after World War II, it could be applied to the Hs-293 cruise missile fielded by German forces as early as 1943. Based on a traditional "dumb" SC500 bomb, the Hs-293 used wings, fins and, most importantly, a rocket engine to strike its targets with high precision.


Technical specifications for Hs-293 series: (169)

Length
3.82 meters
Span
3.10 meters
Launch weight
1,045 kilograms
Flight range
18 kilometers (from the aircraft to the target)
Warhead weight
295 kilograms of high explosive
Propulsion system thrust
590 kilograms (Walter 109-507 B)
Propellant
Hydrogen peroxide and watery solution of sodium or calcium

Development

The Hs-293 series of air-to-surface cruise missiles were developed by a team under Dr. Wagner at Henschel Flugzeugwerke, aviation company. The missile's aluminum wings and tail featured electrically driven control surfaces.

Earlier versions of the missile, designated V-4 and C1, were equipped with radio-control, however a threat of electronic warfare forced developers to drop the system in favor of wire guidance for C-3, C-4 and A-0 versions. After a release from the carrier aircraft, two wired coils attached to the wing tips of the missile would start unwind, allowing the operator onboard the plane to transmit electrical signals to the missile's flight control system.

Ultimately, developers planned to install a TV system on Model D, providing the operator with live images for targeting. (169) The particular system, apparently never made it onto the battlefield, however a similar concept became famous almost half a century later during the Gulf War.

Bigger versions of the missile, designated Hs-294 and Hs-295 were also developed before the end of the war.

Deployment

Along with the V-1 and the V-2, the Hs-293 became the only liquid-propellant missile, which saw action during World War II. Four types of long-range German bombers -- Dornier-127, Heinkel-177, Junkers-290 and Focke-Wulf-200 -- were sent to sea at the end of 1943 and the beginning of 1944 to attack allied convoys with Hs-293. Each bomber could carry a single missile below the fuselage, plus regular bombs in internal bays. (213)

In August 1943, 18 Dornier Do-217 bombers from the experimental unit II/KG-100 attacked a formation of allied ships in the Atlantic, sinking one and seriously damaging another. Another bomber unit armed with Hs-293 operated over the Mediterranean Sea, where more battleships and transport vessels were sank. (169)

The battlefield experience showed that Hs-293 missiles were difficult to control, hence the effort to redesign the control system. There were also reports that a smoke from the rocket engine helped to train antiaircraft fire onto the missile.

Russian connection

Missiles from the Hs-293 series were among other weapons captured by the Soviet trophy teams in Germany in the immediate aftermath of World War II. A report to Stalin that summarized the Soviet search for German "reactive technology" as of December 31, 1945, listed 12 such missiles, which the document identified in the traditions of the day as "Henschel aircraft-carried guided reactive torpedoes."

The development of the Soviet version of the vehicle was delegated to the KB-47 design bureau. (215)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 09:04

"Do"

It was developed to be launched out of a submarine.After some test launches this program was stopped.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 09:09

"Rheinbote"

Rheinmetall developed the unguided solid fueled Rheinbote missile in 1943, which was also designeted Rh Z 61/9 or Raketen-Sprenggranate 4831. In the same year the first launch took place. The Rheinbote was the first four stage rocket.

The small (20 kg) warhead rendered this missile practically useless, but nevertheless some 220 units were fired aginst Antwerp between November 1944 and the end of the war.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 09:12

"Rheinbote"(continuing)

The big problem was guidance. Fins were used to stabilise all four stages, which were nestled one in the other. The burnout of the previous stage was used to automatically ignite the next. The rocket was 11 m long, and demonstrated a 160 km range when equipped with a 40 kg warhead, 20 kg of which was explosive. The entire missile weighted 1650 kg, including 580 kg of powder solid propellant. The Meilerwagen developed for the V-2 was used to transport the weapon, and one launcher was capable of one shot per hour. Aiming was accomplished by pointing the Meilerwagen in the direction of the target and elevating the launch rail to the estimated angle corresponding to the range to target. Since the small warhead made a crater only 1.2 m in diameter, with no fragmentation effects, the inaccurate rocket was totally useless as a weapon. Expending 2 tonnes of iron and 580 kg of powder for such a small deliverable amount of ordnance was totally cost ineffective, in Dornberger's opinion. Nevertheless, Hitler and Kammler ordered the worthless rocket into service. Test batteries were set up at Heidekraut, but it was impossible to estimate the weapon's accuracy, since it proved impossible to find the small craters created by the warhead's impact in the vast dispersion area.

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"Taifun"

German surface-to-air barrage rocket, tested during World War II, but never operational. Copied in the USA as the Loki and in the USSR as the R-103. The name translates as 'Typhoon'.

In 25 September 1942 Goering authorised development of four types of surface to air missiles: unguided rockets (Taifun), target-seeking guided rockets (Enzian); operator optically-guidedockets (Rheintochter and Schmetterling); and radar-guided rockets (Wasserfall).

In contrast to the expensive surface-to-air missiles being developed at Peenemuende, the concept of the Taifun was of an inexpensive rocket that could be fired in salvoes at American bomber formations. The Electromechanische Werke in Karlshagen took the concept to the test stage. The simple missile was to be only 10 cm in diameter and about 2 m long. Unguided, it would be stabilised by four fins at the base. A cordite charge would pressurise the hypergolic propellants. A few production examples were built by Electromechanische Werke. The unguided dart was 193 cm long x 10 cm diameter, and had four small stabilisers at the base. A cordite charge produced gas to pressurise the propellant tanks to 50 kg/cm2. The pressure-fed propellants - nitric acid and a synthetic fuel - boosted the rocket to a maximum altitude of 15 km and a range of 12 km. Although plans were made to produce 2 million of these barrage rockets by January 1945, the system was never deployed due to nagging development problems with the engine.

Liftoff Thrust: 800 kgf. Total Mass: 20 kg. Core Diameter: 0.10 m. Total Length: 1.93 m. Span: 0.20 m. Standard warhead mass: 1 kg. Maximum range: 10 km. Boost Propulsion: Storable liquid rocket, Optolin 841/M-10, 10 kg propellant, Isp=200 s, 2.5 sec burn time, 50 atm Pc. Maximum speed: 4,320 kph.

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Holzbrau Kissing "Enzian" rocket for air targetsThis rocket was developed out of the Me 163 hunter.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 09:31

Overview of the German rocketry developed during 1933-1945:

Name Status Description
Aggregate (A) series
A-1 Launched around 1933 Experimental rocket with a 300-kilogram LO/alcohol engine (148, 174)
A-2 Launched: 1934 December Two rockets reached altitude of 2.5 kilometers from the Island of Borkum. (174)
A-3 Launched: 1937 A 25-ft, 1,650-ft rocket with gyro, jet rudders and actuators. Three rockets launched unsuccessfully from the Island of Griefswalder Oie. (148, 174)
A-5 Launched: 1938 summer A-4's predecessor. Air-launched test rocket. Equipped with gyroscopes, jet vanes and radio guidance (148)
A-4 (V-2) First launch: 1942 spring Long-range ballistic missile
A-4b Launched: 1944 Winged version of A-4
A-6 Not built A-4-based missile burning vinylic ethers and nitric acid (169)
A-7 Not built A-5-based development rocket to test ogival-shaped wings for the A-9 missile (169)(213)
A-8 Not built A-4-based missile burning diesel oil and nitric acid (169)
A-9 Under development in 1944-1945 Long-range winged missile
A-10 Conceptualized as early as 1936 (174) A 76-ton rocket booster with the 220 tons of thrust capable of delivering A-9 stage to the altitude of 24 kilometers. (169)
A-9/A-10 On the drawing board by the end of World War II Two-stage missile
A-11 Under consideration (174) Three-stage vehicle with a manned A-9 upper stage capable of reaching Earth orbit. (174)
Cruise missiles
Henschel Hs 293 August 1943 (operational) A series of naval air-to-surface cruise missiles
Fieseler Fi 103 (V-1) Aug. 30, 1942 Cruise missile
Zitterrochen Canceled around 1944 Supersonic version of Hs-293-295 series (169)
Rocket-powered aircraft
He-112 Circa 1937 A bomber powered by von Braun's team engine
Me-163 Komet - Experimental interceptor
Rammschussjager Sombold SO-344 - Project of a rocket-powered interceptor with Walter engine (169)
Zeppelin Rammer - Project of a solid-rocket-powered interceptor (169)
Blohm und Voss MGRP Project Ramjet-powered missile guided by a manned parasite aircraft
Zenger-Bredt Antipodal Bomber Considered during 1938-1942 Project of the intercontinental bomber
Antiaircraft missiles
Enzian (Gentian) - Solid-propellant missile
Hecht (Pike) - -
Hs-217 Fohn Operational Salvo-launched missiles (35 per launch)
Feuerlilie (Fire Lily) - -
Schmetterling (Butterfly)(V-3) - -
Rheintochter (Rhine Maiden) - -
Taifun (Typhoon) In development Small liquid-propellant missile
Wasserfall (Waterfall) Developed during 1943-1945, Not deployed Guided missile
Air-to-air missiles
R-4/M Orkan Operational -
R-100 BS In development -
RZ-65 In development -
RZ-7 In development -
W.Gr.21 Operational -
X-4 Test-flown in 1944 Developed at Bayerische Motoren Werke, BMW
Hs-298 1944 Dec. 22 Solid-propellant missile
Air-to-ground missiles
Panzerblitz I In development Antitank missile
Panzerblitz II In development Antitank missile
Panzerschreck In development Antitank missile
RZ-100 In development -
W.Gr.28/32 Operational -
Battlefield missiles
Reinbote Operational Unguided ground-to-ground solid-propellant missile
Ruhtstahl-Kramer X7 Rotkappchen Operational

Wire-guided antitank missile

 

Whoever wants to add sth,be my guest!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 16:02

you missed one of the most important ones, the Natter, the vessel used for the first manned rocket-flight in history, without that thing there would have been no Apollo mission. and the best thing, it was tested literally in my backyard!

NASM Home Page

Bachem Ba 349B-1 Natter (BP-20)

Wingspan 3.6 m (11 ft. 9 3/4 in.)
Length 6.1 m ( 20 ft.)
Height 2.25 m (7 ft. 4 1/2 in.)
Weight 2,200 kg (4,850 lb.) loaded

Dr. Erich Bachem's Ba 349 Natter (Viper) was the world's first, manned, vertical-take-off interceptor. The aircraft was an imaginative solution to a desperate problem but World War II ended before the weapon saw combat. Dr. Werner von Baun first proposed the concept in 1939 but the Reichluftfahrtministerium (German Air Ministry or RLM) rejected it as "unnecessary and unworkable." Bachem, an engineer with the Fieseler works, thought the idea had merit. He tried but failed to generate interest in several different proposals for a rocket interceptor.

During spring 1944, the Allied bombing offensive began taking a serious toll on the German war machine. None of the conventional methods employed by the Luftwaffe to intercept the bombers seemed to work so the service began to explore unconventional means. The RLM Technical Office issued requirements for an inexpensive fighter made of non-essential materials that could defend important targets. Messerschmitt, Junkers, Heinkel, and Erich Bachem submitted proposals but RLM officials remained unenthusiastic about Bachem's design. They chose a more conventional offering from Heinkel but Bachem refused to give up. He sought the support of Reichsfhrer Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS (Nazi Party security forces). Himmler liked Bachem's proposal and signed an order to build 150 Natters using SS funds. It was now possible that the SS might develop an aircraft beyond the RLM's control so they placed their own order for 50 Natters and announced the official designation, Bachem Ba 349.

Bachem's design was simple and easy to build. Semi-skilled labor could construct one in about 1000 man-hours. The wings were plain rectangular wooden slabs without ailerons, flaps, or other control devices. The cruciform tail consisted of four fins and control surfaces. Deflecting these surfaces in various combinations controlled pitch, yaw, and roll, once the Ba 349 had reached sufficient speed to generate adequate airflow. Aerodynamic control was augmented by guide vanes connected to the four control surfaces. Bachem positioned each vane within the exhaust plume of the main engine, a Walter 109-509A rocket motor. This is the same basic engine used in the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet (also preserved in the NASM collection). Two liquid fuels combined inside the motor to generate thrust. When T-Stoff (a highly caustic solution of hydrogen peroxide and a stabilizing chemical) mixed with C-Stoff (a hydrazine hydrate/methanol/water mixture), combustion was spontaneous so extreme care was required to handle both chemicals. The Walter motor generated about 1,700 kg (3,740 lb) of thrust but a loaded Ba 349A weighed more than 1,818 kg (4,000 lb) so liftoff required more power.

Bachem got the extra thrust from four Schmidding 109-533 solid-fuel rocket motors that he bolted to the aft fuselage, two per side. Each motor produced 500 kg (1,100 lb) of thrust. At liftoff, all five motors ignited, generating about 3,700 kg (8,140 lb) of thrust. The resulting 1.6 to 1 thrust-to-weight ratio produced acceptable climb performance.

Natter operations were relatively simple and the following account describes a hypothetical mission. A 24 m (79 ft) tower guided the rocket plane during liftoff. The wingtips and lower fin fit inside guide rails to stabilize the aircraft until it cleared the tower. The flight controls remained locked in neutral position until the solid boosters burned out about 10 seconds into the flight. At burnout, explosive bolts blasted away the solids, the flight controls unlocked, and the Natter's 3-axis Patin autopilot began receiving steering commands from the ground via radio. The airplane continued climbing but the pilot could intercede at any time and take full control. Bachem calculated maximum climb rate at 11,563 m (37, 400 ft) meters per minute but flight tests did not confirm this figure.

American daylight bomber formations often approached a target at an altitude of 6,250 m (20,000 ft) to 9,375 m (30,000 ft). After the Natter had climbed even with the formation, the pilot took control, steering his Natter in close. At a range of about 1.6-3.2 kilometers (1-2 miles) from the formation, the Natter pilot jettisoned the nose cone and shotgun style, salvoed all 24 Henschel Hs 217 Fhn unguided rockets.

Rocket fuel would be nearly exhausted by now, so the pilot began to descend. At about 1,400 m (4500 ft), the pilot released his seat harness and fired a ring of explosive bolts to blow off the entire nose section. A parachute simultaneously deployed from the rear fuselage and the sudden deceleration literally threw the pilot from his seat. The pilot activated his own parachute after waiting a safe interval to clear the bits of falling Natter. Ground crews recovered the Walter motor to use again but the airframe was now scrap.

Bachem set up a factory to design and build his dream at Waldsee in the Black Forest. By November 1944, the first Natter was ready for tests configured as a motorless glider. A Heinkel He 111 bomber carried one to 18,000 ft and released it. The pilot found the aircraft easy to control. At 1000 m (3,200 ft), he fired the explosive bolts and the escape sequence worked as designed. A powered vertical launch failed on December 18 because of faulty ground equipment design. On December 22, the aircraft made its first successful launch with the solid fuel boosters only because the Walter motor was not ready. Ten more successful launches followed during the next several months. Early in 1945, the Walter engine arrived and the Natter launched successfully with a complete propulsion system on February 25, 1945, carrying a dummy pilot. The launch proved that the complete flight profile was workable. All went according to plan, including recovery of the pilot dummy and Walter rocket motor.

Now a man had to fly and the first test came on February 28. Oberleutnant Lothar Siebert climbed into a Ba 349A, strapped in, and rocketed off the launch tower. At about 500 m (1600 ft), the Natter shed its canopy and headrest and the aircraft veered off and flew into the ground, killing Siebert. No cause was determined but the ground crew may have failed to lock the canopy and it could have struck the pilot. Despite the tragedy, more pilots volunteered to fly and the Bachem team launched three flights in March.

With the end near, the Germans erected a battery of ten Natters at Kircheim near Stuttgart. Pilots stood alert day after day but no U. S. bombers flew into range. The U. S. Seventh Army overran the site but not before the Germans blew up all ten Natters and their launchers.

It is interesting to speculate about the Natter's potential effectiveness. Realistic flight training was next to impossible using an aircraft that destroyed itself after every flight. However, given the short duration of a typical interception (about 5-10 minutes), and positive ground control for much of the flight, the German could have eased training with a simple ground simulator. Once the German's erected a Natter site, U. S. Army Air Forces strike planners could easily route the bombers out of harm's way. Accuracy of the unguided rocket salvo is also questionable and it was a one-shot opportunity. It is safe to assume that the Bachem Ba 349A Natter was a bad idea from the start and as a bomber interceptor, it was a total failure.

Only two Bachem Natters are known to exist. The Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany, displays a Ba 349A restored in the colors and markings of one of the unmanned test aircraft. The NASM has the other Natter. U. S. forces captured this artifact at war's end and shipped it to Freeman Field, Indiana, for analysis. The captured equipment number T2-1 was assigned to the Natter and the U. S. Air Force transferred it to the National Air Museum (now NASM) on May 1, 1949.


Copyright 1998-2000 National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution (revised 10/19/00 S. Wille and R. E. Lee)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 17:06
I did not know the existence of that.Thanks!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aghart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Sep-2005 at 17:57
The Battleship HMS Warspite was hit and almost sunk by a single radio controlled Glider bomb in 1943 off Salerno.   The bomb was launched from a bomber and then guided by the bomb aimer. Not sure if this is regarded as a missile, but It is worth a mention. 
Former Tank Commander (Chieftain)& remember, Change is inevitable!!! except from vending machines
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Sep-2005 at 19:11

Yes, the Germans had all sorts of miracle weapons.  Maybe all the effort was put into them so the designers could show that they should not be drafted and sent to the eastern front.

Wars are still won on the tactical level by infantry, close support firepower and logistics, along with aviation capability.  Strategically, control of sea lanes, narrow passages and air superiority over those sea lanes are the keys.

Miracle weapons are pipe dreams. 

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