Category Last Days of the Luftwaffe


My research into the documents stretches back to 1981 when I received a copy of A. 1.2(g) Report No. 2382 German Aircraft, New and Projected Types dated January 1946 and addressed to USAF HQH realised that there were far more extensive plans and projects than was admitted at the time. Over the next few years I found ever more hidden reports and secret files which led to a much broader picture. In the months following the war’s end, the Allied staffs, faced by this flood of new information, must have been taken aback by the extent of the

captured material. My research led me to draw provisional conclusions.

Without the collaboration of many friends and acquaintances interested in aviation history this work could probably not have been finished. This applies equally to the assistance I received from public archives, firms and government offices. I would like especially to thank the Bundesarchiv for their broad support for my endeavour. Similarly, help came from the staff of the German Museum at Munich. I also owe thanks to the staff of NARA at Washington DC, and the former PRO (now the National Archives) in London who provided active assistance in clarifying areas of doubt and assembled very convincing material. The Bundeswehr Procurement Office (BWB) helped out in questions of weaponry, and the German Study Bureau for Aviation with general information. Finally I must mention the help of the staff at the Bundeswehr Reference Library, Mainz, in obtaining and evaluating literature.

The work was supported additionally by the Technical University of Munich, to whose employees I offer my warmest thanks. Details of the development history of the BMW Motor Works were provided in large quantities by BMW AG. Valuable information came from EADS, Daimler-Chrysler and many other organisations of renown. I am also indebted to the Junkers Works and Bernburg military airfield.

Support also came from many enthusiasts and acknowledged experts in the field of German aviation, and I mention above all contributors Boehme; Cords; Dipl. Ing. Cohausz; Creek; Crow; Dabrowski; Dr Hiller; Edelhofer; Foedrowitz; Franzke; M. and H. Handig; Hafner; Herwig; Hildebrandt; Hofling; Jarski; Jayne; Jurleit; Dip. Ing. Kossler; Dr Koos; Krieg; Kudlikow; Lachler; Lang; Lange; Dipl. Ing. Lommel; Lutz jr.; Dr Mankau; Marchand; Meyer; Mombek; Miiller; Pawlas; Petrick; Dr Price; Radinger; Ransom; Regel; Riediger; Ricco; Rosch; Schliephake; Schmidt; Schmitt; Obering. I. R. Schreiber; Selinger; Sengfleder; Smith; Sommerfeld; Mag. jur. Stuber; Thiele; Trenkle; Vajda; Wagner; Walter and Dipl. Ing. Zucker. All shared their knowledge or made available useful photos or files. Without their selfless assistance a volume of this extent would not have been possible. Despite all efforts nevertheless many helpers remain hidden by the mists of time in my intensive research work since 1980.

I am always grateful for indications as to inaccuracies and error, and also for constructive criticism. I can be contacted for that purpose at <manfredgriehl@ t-online. de>.

I owe especial thanks to my wife Monika who read through the manuscript and gave me great encouragement.

Manfred Griehl Mainz, 2009

Postfach 2162, D-55011 Mainz

Final Decisions

Besides the aircraft already described, numerous other projects were in hand at the beginning of 1945. On 22 February Goring issued a personal order reducing

these to two: the TL Project Fighter and the TL Project Reconnaissance aircraft, Bomber, Night fighter and Fighter bomber.

Подпись: The Messerschmitt Me P 1112 was a combination of the P 1110 and P 1111 and was the final advance in German jet fighter design at the war’s end.
The emboldened pursuit of these projects resulted from Heinkel-Hirth’s great strides on the HeS Oil turbine giving rise to great optimism that early series production (HeS Oil A-0) would begin shordy. Chief-TLR was reckoning on beginning mass production of HeS ОН A-l in April or May 1945, and therefore the manufacture of a suitable fuselage was given a much higher priority than previously. On 25 February Oberammergau research centre and Willy Messerschmitt himself undertook an evaluation for the new 1 TL Fighter

Подпись: This wooden mock-up of the Me P 1112 was captured undamaged by US forces near Oberammergau.
including the plans of Blohm Sc Voss, Focke-Wulf, Heinkel and Junkers. The work almost completed preparations for a quick decision by EH К to select the best designs for mass production submitted by industry. Most projects as a rule had a speed between 900 and 1,050 km/hr (560-650 mph).The calculated rates of climb ranged from 22 to 30 m/sec (70-100 ft/sec).The best design on paper appeared to be the He P 1078, followed by the Me Pi 101 and the PI 110 to PI 112. The performance of these projects differed little from those of the Focke – Wulf jet fighter I and II (Та 183).

The DVL evaluated the submissions and decided at the end of February 1945 that the new Messerschmitt fighters had the greatest development potential, while warning of the problems of turbine non-deliveries, unprotected fuel tanks and engine spaces. DVL specialists were against tailless aircraft, such as the flying wing projects, but did not condemn them outright. In their opinion the future ‘standard fighter’ should have a relatively spacious fuselage, principally to accommodate more powerful turbines.

It was finally resolved on 28 February that DVL would not recommend series production, but that the Me Pi 101 already being built as a ‘study aircraft’ should be finished urgently and flight-tested. The same applied to other designs at an advanced stage, such as those at Focke-Wulf. In any case the future speed was to
be about 200 km/hr (125 mph) faster than the 850 km/hr (530 mph) average of the Me 262 A-la in order to maintain a tactical advantage in combat against Allied jets once they appeared. After this, Chief-TLR designated the Та 183 as ‘the immediate solution’and the Me Pi 112 as the optimum solution.

On 23 March 1945 the Department for Aircraft Development discussed with EHK at Bad Eilsen the future procedures for the 1 TL Fighter. Meanwhile the Fiihrer’s Plenipotentiary for Jet Aircraft, Dr Kammler, had become involved and ruled that neither the Та 183 project nor those of Messerschmitt were to go through: all further work should be devoted to the EF 128 since this design seemed to him the most advanced. On 12 March the Chief-TLR and the Riistungsstab ordered that the 1 TL Fighter was to be abandoned.

Aviator Training for Special Purposes


rom 1943 the Luftwaffe found itself in a predicament. The offensives on all fronts had petered out, and the high command had been forced on the back foot for the first time. A number of engineers were given the task at the beginning of 1944 of devising a way to regain air superiority from the Allies. Using every possibility to the full, with the harshest employment of forced labour and concentration camp slaves, it should be possible, so they reasoned, not only to increase armament production to previously unheard-of levels, but also to bring completely new aircraft into mass production very quickly, be it the midget fighter, whose many parts could be made at a number of different manufacturers, or ‘special aircraft’which promised the pilot little chance of survival.

In the closing phase of the war, OKL tried not only inadequately developed designs such as the Volksjager, but also completely new concepts. Having the pilot recumbent, for example, would enable him to perform flight manoeuvres at very high speeds and so win him a tactical advantage over enemy machines. In the steepest turns, they calculated, it should be possible to out-manoeuvre even the most agile Allied fighter aircraft to shoot them down. Other ideas gained ground, particularly ramming. Using the Reichenberg (a manned V-l), a particular target could be destroyed in a ‘total mission, a euphemism for suicide operations. Young pilots, imbued with National Socialist ideology, understood that any means was right and justified for Endsieg (‘final victory’), and this led in 1945 to the adoption of kamikaze tactics. The fact was not openly declared to that section of German youth which, from 1944 onwards, wanted to make its contribution to the victory of the German Reich by volunteering for ‘Aviator Training for Special Purposes’.

Victory Lying Down

Throughout their period in power the Nazi authorities attached great importance to the earliest possible basic training of youth, especially the Hitler Youth, as a source of supply to the Wehrmacht and SS. In May 1944 there were over 210 glider camps in which 10,000 Hitler Youth and a few older NSFK (National Socialist Flying Corps) men served, and were trained to fly various gliders. Not

for want of trying by the training staff it was found impossible to make a pilot of everybody, and the number of young men found suitable for the Luftwaffe successfully completing basic NSFK aviator training was modest. Some 500 of the 10,000 glider-trained Hider Youth were considered for continuation training as operational fighter pilots.

The increasing air raids on targets in the occupied territories and against cities and industrial complexes in the Reich caused ever higher casualties. German losses rose swifdy month by month. Possibly decisive for the further course of the war would be locally based protection of industrial installations, particularly oil refineries. A fast-climbing rocket fighter with relatively limited range would provide them with a minimum of cover. To fly these awkward machines required well-trained pilots. The use of glider pilots after only a short tactical course and training in aerial gunnery was not promising. Hitler Youth applicants for evaluation were required initially to furnish an A, В or C certificate in gliding. From thousands of applicants only a few hundred suitable for further training would be selected and sent on to development centres. Upon successful completion of a selection course, those who had passed were then transferred to Brno for the ‘Fighter Pilot Recruitment Course for Special Purposes’.

Aviator Training for Special Purposes

Towards the end of the war the Luftwaffe was no longer so fussy about personnel. ‘Foreign pilots’of many ethnic backgrounds were being trained from 1944.

After their arrival at Trebbin, Laucha and other training establishments, the short introductory period was followed by flying training on the Kranich. Nothing was to be known about future operational machines. All young pilots were sworn to secrecy and forbidden to photograph the very unusual glider.

In mid-September 1944 it seemed probable that Erich Bachem’s vertical take-off BP 20 Natter local fighter would be ready for trials by the end of the year. So that the makeshift aircraft might enter service as soon as possible, training was begun in the late summer of 1944. It was agreed between Bachem and the RLM that 50 recumbent seats planned for the earlier version of the Natter would be manufactured and delivered to Grunau for the first Liegekranich gliders. The firm of Schneider would convert the training aircraft on hand accordingly. The contract was awarded on 29 September 1944. Ludwig Hofmann was selected to prepare the training course for future Natter pilots at Trebbin. For this purpose Oberst Gollob permitted him to take part in Me 163 training from the end of September.

Bachem had stipulated in his specification for the Natter that the normally most dangerous flight phase, landing, was not difficult, and consequently future pilots would need only basic flying knowledge, the В-licence being sufficient, covering the ability to fly in three dimensions with special instruction in Natter technique tacked on. A two-seater trainer with the flight characteristics of the Natter would be provided, special emphasis being placed on familiarizing the pilot with the unusual pilot seat. Later the young pilot would be shown the flight characteristics of the machine and how it behaved at high speed. Approaches would follow against moving targets. The approach itself would be a kind of dog­leg. Great importance was attached to the final shooting phase, for the limited flight time of the Natter did not provide for a second opportunity.

The training aircraft had room for the pilot to squat. The instrumentation and control unit were identical to the later operational aircraft. The flight instructor would handle take-off and landing in the two-seater. In order to impart flying knowledge earlier it was planned to have a lower wing loading than the operational version. A powerful winch was provided for take-off. Touch­down speed was 80 km/hr (50 mph). The pilot would round off the session by firing a Schmeisser at a mock-up of a bomber. It was thought that this would arouse his sporting instincts and enable him to acquit himself swifdy in this area of the training programme.

After completing the shooting and basic flight requirements, the pilot would then fly a training machine with greater wing loading. The winch would be replaced by an aircraft tug to reach greater altitudes for further exercises in shooting and closing in on enemy bombers. Next would come flights in a training Natter with pulse jet astern. Rocket-assisted starts and approaches towards moving targets now came to the fore. Whether a flight in a series-produced Natter was to have followed is not known: it is suspected that upon passing out of training, the young pilots were to have been made operational immediately and thrown in at the deep end. Since the Natter never did become operational, what happened in effect was that the successful candidates were merely told that they would pilot some kind of flying machine from the recumbent position. The courses were broken off earlier than planned, however, and the Hitler Youth candidates were packed off to perform their compulsory six-month RAD (Reich Labour Service) obligation.

Work on the Natter was not completed to plan and operations were never contemplated. Continuation training, at least of pilots intended for the Natter, scarcely emerged from the theoretical stage. Since using very young pilots to fly the Me 163 was doubtful since there was no fuel, and series production of the Но IX was a long way off, all efforts were in vain, while the development and building of the Me 163 В was suspended on 5 January 1945 on the orders of the armaments controllers and the Chief-TLR.

As the Red Army headed for Berlin, its advance forced a halt to training at Brno on 19 March 1945, and its transfer to the Reich Glider School at Trebbin. Initial flight training was diverted to Laucha, but never got under way. So that students would pass smoothly to a rocket fighter, part of the training during the second phase was with the Stummelhabicht. After completing glider training it was intended that applicants selected for the Me 163, Natter or similar aircraft should undergo a short course of flight training in a motorised aircraft (Bii 181) at Leipzig, but this idea was abandoned, mainly for shortage of fuel.

When shown a training film on the Me 163, the young pilots swifdy expressed doubts as to whether they could handle it, and the same occurred at courses where pilots would fly their machines in the recumbent position. Even instructors had problems flying the converted gliders of the Habicht and Kranich types while recumbent, because they were difficult to control generally.

Heinkel P1077Julia

The Julia project was developed by Heinkel-Siid Vienna under the designation He P 1068. Initially, as with the Natter, the pilot was to fly the aircraft from the recumbent position and take-off vertically. Experiments with scale models in 1944 had shown the general feasibility of a vertical start for small rocket fighters. Julia was devised by engineers Wilhelm Benz and Dr Gerloff in the spring of 1944. On 19 August 1944 they presented their provisional drawings. The development of the first experimental specimen designated He P 1068 was scheduled for completion within six to eight weeks based on a detailed proposal from Benz on 8 September 1944. Heinkel-Siid s research division, recently re­settled at Neuhaus an der Triesting, was headed by engineer Jost. Some of the technical calculations were done by Professor Schrenk and engineer Kottner of the Technical University of Vienna. Work progressed slower than hoped because
of technical problems, although at the beginning of September 1944 the RLM placed a definite order for 20 prototypes.

The contract for a series run of300 machines followed on 22 September 1944 under the designation He P 1077, the various component parts being farmed out to diverse firms so that Heinkel could devote itself to the Volksjager. On 15 October 1944 Heinkel-Siid announced a Julia variant, a local midget fighter propelled by a Walter HWK rocket motor with four solid-fuel rockets as take-off boosters. The pilot steered sitting up. Heinkel also had a ramjet version, Romeo.

A number of ideas were tested exhaustively for the Julia take-off, from a vertical start using a disposable undercarriage to a launch trailer similar to that used to fire the Enzian flak rocket. After the visit of Director Robert Liisser to Heinkel Vienna on 26 October 1944, proposals were put forward to modify Julia in line with Natter. These envisaged a new outline, a change to the tailplane and the pilot sitting upright, which ruled out the vertical take-off. Reworking the design cost valuable time and in October 1944 the first wooden mock-up of Julia was destroyed in an Allied air raid on Vienna.

On 12 November 1944 Heinkel tested the first one-eighth scale model of Julia in the large DVL wind tunnel. All the data for the project were now assembled and on 16 November 1944 the files were sent to the Chief-TLR.

Heinkel P1077Julia

The Heinkel He P 1077, here a computer graphic, was to have been built in the St Polten-Krems-Vienna area. None were produced because of the He 162 priority programme.

Ernst Heinkel was hoping at the beginning of December that no more than the original 20 prototypes would be requested. The first five of these were to be manufactured by Potzel, the remainder at smaller factories. The NSFK in Vienna was to handle the final assembly work.

During the development conference on 21 and 22 November 1944 it was agreed that all project studies for local-defence fighters had to be subject to the usual priorities. Especially important to the Chief-TLR was the development of the Me 262 with one or two additional rocket motors. The building and trials of Julia took second place to this. Third came the further development of the Me 163 while the Ju 248 was downgraded because it was more expensive than the others to build. The Bachem BP 20 Natter was in fourth place at the end of November 1944.

On 28 November 1944 a comprehensive project portfolio was sent to Professor Hertel of the EHK. The files showed a pressurised cockpit allowing ascents to 15,000 metres (49,000 ft). Armament would be either two MK 108s with 40 rounds each or a Fohn battery with Marz automatic target-seeking equipment. The cockpit capsule weighed 60 kg. The fuel tanks were unprotected, and being of aluminium had no surrounding layer of rubber. Engineer Jost planned to use the approved 109-509 fuel mixture. A radio unit was considered unnecessary because the aircraft would operate locally to its ground base and the target.

Подпись: The 30 mm MK 108 was planned as the standard armament of all modern German bombers. Its rounds had a highly destructive effect.
Between 27 November and 19 December the wing drag forces and various load effects were worked out and the polar and resistance coefficient calculations

begun./w//# was wind-tunnel tested at AVA from 5 December 1944. There seem to have been no major problems, and the blueprints for prototypes V-l and V-2 were completed on 13 December 1944 so that Heinkel could forecast delivery of the first machine for 24 January. By 20 December 1944, despite the immense problems, Heinkel-Slid had succeeded not only in completing the development material for the He 162 and producing prototypes, but was close to completing the development of Julia too.

On 22 December the EH К recommended the Chief-TLR to suspend all work on Julia and Natter and to concentrate effort into developing the Me 262 with additional propulsion, and the Me 263. The Commission believed that the risks inherent in the envisaged speeds for machines built of mixed construction methods were too great. On 5 January 1945 Heinkel-Siid was ordered to stop work on Julia. At the time a model made by the Schaffer company at Linz was being tested by the SS-LFA at the Braunschweig wind tunnel. In the hope of keeping the door open, Heinkel-Siid approached the Chief-TLR on 27 January, pointing out that besides two versions to be tested as gliders, the next two would have rocket motors. General-Engineer Lucht came back within four days repeating the OKL instruction that the entire project be abandoned and the mock-up room at Neigaus closed down. All staff, especially the carpenters and joiners, were to work forthwith building the He 162 trainer.

It seems that Heinkel ignored him and allowed the work on Julia at the sub­contracted firms to continue. At Wiener Metallwerken a 1:4 scale model of Julia was completed at the end of January. Near St Polten several acute-angle starts were made using rocket-propelled models. The three full-size prototypes built by Schaffer of Linz in January were scheduled for transport to Karlshagen for trials if possible by 20 February. However, the test centre there was wound up in March, and it is doubtful if the tests were made.

On 14 February 1945 Dr Heinkel mentioned during a conference that he had received the order of the Chief-TLR to suspend ah work on Julia but he had pressed ahead. This came to the ears of the Chief-TLR two days later, and a new instruction then arrived at Heinkel-Siid leading to an agreement to limit production to four Julia of which two would be rocket-propelled. On 17 February 1945 Heinkel took the unilateral decision to begin steep-angle launches of the full-size aircraft.

Although the order to suspend all work on Julia was repeated on 21 February, the Chief-TLR allowed the Geppert company at Krems/Danube to begin assembly work on two unpowered Julia (MZ) at the beginning of March. Shortly before the war’s end the machines were completed by Dr Gerloff after being signed off, but whether they were flight-tested with solid-fuel rockets is doubtful.

On 3 March the Heinkel-Siid technical management decided that the Julia test machine should be completed and delivered ‘as per contract’. The two rocket – powered machines (M4) were to be assembled by Schaffer of Linz without delay. The serviceable aircraft were destroyed by forced labourers upon the approach of US forces, however, and Russian troops at Triesting seized most of the Julia documentation for further assessment.

The Jet Misteb

The Mistel story proceeded into the jet age. Design M 4 juggled a Ju 88/Me 262 combination. The idea was soon scrapped by OKL. The Ju 88 was to have had an additional pair of jet turbines under the wings guzzling fuel for poor range. Top speed would have been greater than the various Ju 88 M 3 combinations, but the decisive factor against it was the desperate need for jet fighters to defend the Reich.

The Mistel M 5 and M 6 proposed by Junkers in January 1945 pointed to the ease of interception of the relatively slow combinations even over the Eastern Front and so advocated a jet fighter as the guidance aircraft. The Ju 88 would either have two turbines or none. These modern Mistel would have a range of 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) and a speed up to 820 km/hr at 6,000 metres (510 mph at 20,000 ft), providing invulnerability to some extent from Russian fighter attack. Work on the combination began in the late summer of 1944. The intended armament was a 2-tonne bomb with thick casing for use against merchant ships up to 15,000 tons, or with thin casing and additional flammable liquids for use against ground targets.

On 7 December 1944 Arado completed the design specifications for the Ar E 377/E 377a bomb using an Ar 234 bomber as control aircraft. Since the range of 1,300 kilometres and the speed of 720 km/hr (447 mph) at 6,000 metres was less than the M 5, the Ar 234 idea was rejected. In any case these bombers were needed for long range reconnaissance work with KG 76. Another idea using an Me 262 A-la as the guidance aircraft and a utility machine filled with a very explosive mixture was worked on at the beginning of 1945 but never realised.

Miracle Weapons


he dream of the miracle weapon, the final twist in the Nazi Gotterdammerung, foresaw a dramatic turn away from total collapse to seize glorious victory in early 1945. Unstoppable offensive weapons such as guided bombs and missiles were to be created, and there was an arsenal of chemical and bacteriological bombs should they be required in retaliation.

Other than the Mistel attacks, fuel shortages meant that in 1945 bombing was limited on the German side to SD 500 bombs carried by the Ar 234 B-2 jet bomber, or disposable container loads under Fw 190 F-8s dropped to support embattled front-line troops. The new ultimate weapons were of a quite different nature, being the wishful thoughts of the Nazi leadership needing only to take on material form to turn defeat, at even ‘one minute past twelve’ as Hitler promised, into victory.

Large Bombs and Guided Missiles

Most bombs available to the Luftwaffe at the end of 1944 could fit into the roomy bomb-bays of the planned long-range carriers. Nearly all thin – and thick – cased explosive and shrapnel bombs from SC 50 to SC 1800 were in stock in Luftwaffe arsenals. From the end of 1942, heavier bombs capable of inflicting great damage were made, such as the SB 2500 A-l or SC 2500 B-l, but only about 100 were available. Even bigger was the SC 5000 which could not be series-produced for lack of capacity. This 5.2-metre long mine was intended to destroy city blocks and large industrial concerns. A few SA 4000 had been built, and a few tested, but as the air attacks on England died away, the SA 4000, SC 2500 and SC 5000 were all cancelled. The special hollow-charge SHL 6000 bomb designed for use against large warships, major bridges and extensive industrial installations carried a much larger charge than even the Ju 88 Misteln.

The largest conventional bombs ever planned in Germany were 10- to 30- tonners, designed for use from Dr Eugen Sanger’s rocket bomber, and which would have caused enormous damage when dropped from a height of 100 miles up. The largest would have blasted a crater 100 metres deep, or burrowed through

Miracle Weapons

Very heavy bombs, such as the 2.5-tonne SB 5000 illustrated here, lost their significance from the autumn of 1944 when most of the Luftwaffe’s bomber units were disbanded.

10 metres of reinforced concrete. These bombs had a design length of 11.2 metres and a diameter of 1.4 metres. The megabomb and a comparatively light 1-tonne model for dropping from great altitudes existed only on paper.

The various free-fall glider bombs, PD 1400X or the more powerful PD 2500X, were envisaged as remote-controlled weapons systems for the projected long-range bombers. Together with improved TV-guided Hs 293s and Hs 294s they were intended for pin-point targets. Great progress had been made towards remote-steering free-fall heavy bombs and air-launched rockets such as the BV 246, forerunners of the modern cruise missile. Although about 1,050 units were built between 1943 and 1945, only the short-range version entered service, on 15 August 1944. By then KdE crews had launched 119 BV 246s, but guidance problems limited their use to ground targets. Another 2,300 В V 246s were ordered in January 1945, these having automatic target-seeking equipment, although the OKL thought about having them as poison gas carriers should the need arise. Since most of these bombs were only of use at short ranges, and fuel for the carrier aircraft such as the He 111 or Ju 188 was short, the BV 246 saw litde action.

From January 1945, Hs 293 operations were almost non-existent since fuel that might have gone to carrier aircraft was more urgendy required for air defence of the Reich. At the beginning of 1945 the last KG 100 Gruppe, almost fully equipped for guided weapons operations at Aalborg in Denmark, abandoned its

Miracle Weapons

The testing ol in – inds of bomb continued into the spring of 1945 but with a low

priority. Bomb – lining new battlefield gases were amongst those tested.


machines for p. Besides the problem of finding fuel for even the most

important flic operations in the west and south were continually hampered


by Allied electronic disruption. For this reason radio control was replaced by wire guidance. For operations over the Eastern Front the older Hs 293 A versions available in large numbers were used because the Red Army had no jamming equipment. Instead massed AA guns of all calibres defended important ground targets against air attack.

KG 200 alone was in a position until the end of April 1945 to launch the last glider-bomb attacks in reasonable numbers, mainly against the Oder bridges. All other bomber Gruppen were used in the transport role flying supplies to besieged cities and towns surrounded by the Red Army in the German hinterland which had become the Eastern Front.



As defeat loomed in the spring of 1944, a wave of changes was introduced into the structure of Luftwaffe armaments. These changes were accompanied by a major reorganisation in personnel. The Reich Aviation Ministry (RLM) ceded most of its influence in the sphere of aircraft development and production and other aerial weapons to the Reich Minister for Armaments and War Production. Generalfeldmarschall Erhard Milch, General – Luftzeugmeister (QM-General for Aircraft Supply) at RLM, was replaced in

that capacity by Dipl. Ing. Karl-Otto Saur, Speer’s head of planning, as Chief of Staff. Saur s influence on the Jagerstab, the fighter emergency programme and the later Riistungsstab was very considerable. Nobody by-passed him, and he became the eminence gris of Luftwaffe armament.

It came as a surprise that, despite the Allied air bombardment of Reich territory and occupied western Europe, aircraft production was not only not weakened to the extent that the Allies expected, but actually expanded on a scale considered impossible. This was achieved by the Jagerstab (Fighter Staff) which had been introduced for a six-month trial period on 1 March 1944 by Reich Minister Speer.

This significant sector of the armaments economy was stripped of all bureaucracy, and industry received binding instructions in accordance with the Fiihrer-principle, often being subjected to radical and energetic controls. The Jagerstab was also responsible for carrying out immediate repairs to aircraft factories damaged by enemy action, and where necessary for relocating them in forests or underground facilities. For this purpose the Jagerstab had absolute authority over the workforce to the exclusion of all other authorities. This factor, and a tightening of aircraft production by reducing the number of types being produced to the most efficient standard versions, led to a rise in the monthly output of completed machines from the beginning of 1944.

The management of the Jagerstab was in the hands of Speer and Milch. Dipl. Ing. Schlempp was responsible for ‘building measures’. SS-Gruppenfuhrer Dr. Ing. Kammler administered ‘special production measures’, and Dr. Ing. Wagner the planning stages. It was thanks to these leaders that within a very short time the Jagerstab was able to force through the planned production programme at a fierce pace.

Hitler’s edict of 19 June 1944 called for the comprehensive concentration of armaments and war production, and provided Speer with a considerable growth in his personal powers. This led to the Jagerstab not only having independent production responsibility for everything from individual parts to whole warplanes, but also being involved in the procurement process. Accordingly, from the summer of 1944, the hitherto long drawn-out decision processes since time immemorial the tradition at RLM were abolished and the heavy hand introduced to obtain desired decisions in the shortest possible time. The Jagerstab was now also able to lay down the requirements in personnel and to call upon all conceivable resources to meet production targets.

On 1 July 1944 the jurisdiction of the Jagerstab was made manifest for the first time during a conference with Reichsmarschall Goring when it was laid down that with immediate effect 3,800 fighters, including 500 Me 262 jets, must come off the lines monthly. Consideration was also given to building 400 heavily-armed fighter-bombers (Jabos) and 500 night fighters. In order to

Подпись: Towards the end of the war the Fw 190 A-8 and A-9 in particular carried the main burden of intercepting Allied aircraft.

reduce the endless flood of applications for changes to prototypes, on 3 July 1944 the Luftwaffe and industry were ordered to do whatever possible to curtail conversions and the redesigning of new aircraft in order to have the fewest changes.

Again, on 20 July 1944, Hitler reiterated that for German industry, in all areas of armaments including the production of new operational aircraft, the aim was the highest possible output in the shortest time. He put Heinkel director Karl Freytag, renowned for his ability to get things done, in charge of aircraft production, while the equally well-versed Dr Walter Werner looked after the piston-engine and turbine side of things. On 27 July the post of GLZM (Director of Aircraft Production and Supply) at the RLM held by Milch was abolished and replaced by the Office of Chief of Aviation Technical Equipment (Chief-TLR). This shortened the command chain, got decisions made quicker and was intended to bring improved weapons and aircraft to operational readiness within the shortest possible time. The Chief-TLR reported direcdy to the Chief of the Luftwaffe General Staff.

By 1 September 1944 the numerous test centres were under uniform control and development tasks were better distributed. Test Centre Command (KdE),

Подпись: The Me 262 A-la did not fulfill expectations mainly because too few were produced.

the Luftwaffe Technical Academy and the research organisation and all its associated centres were subordinated to Chief-TLR. Aircraft production was to aim for a tightening of all industrial processes throughout for the highest possible quality. The rigorous measures introduced to raise production brought at first only partial success, and, despite turning out new aircraft at an unprecedented tempo and scale, Speer and Saur were not satisfied.

In another discussion between Goring and Saur on 12 December 1944, the Reichsmarschall set out his ideas for a programme to be realised in the coming months involving the future monthly production of 1,500 He 162s and Me 262s. The Bf 109 G-10 and K-4, and the Fw 190 A-8, A-9 and D-9 would make way for 2,000 Та 152s monthly, while a further 150 Me 163s and Me 263s were planned for air defence. From January 1945 besides 300 Do 335s, 100 Ju 388s were to be produced monthly as Jabos, night fighters and for long-range reconnaissance. The Ar 234 B-2 was to be the standard jet bomber. The hope was that 500 of these machines might be sufficient not only to equip several bomber squadrons, but also for reconnaissance and as night fighters. In all, from January

1945 it was intended to produce 6,000 aircraft monthly for front-line service and up to 400 training machines.

Saur spoke out in favour of giving the Me 262 and He 162 the highest priority in production and delivery to squadrons, the planned supply of materials, equipment, transport to the manufacturer and transfer to the front. Night fighters were to be given a lower priority. Their production should fall to 200 machines monthly by mid-1945 and then rise slowly to 380 again. All Jabo production would be superseded by jet fighters and replaced by the twin-engined Do 335 in due course. Future bomber production would be cut back. In place of 600 Fw 190 F aircraft, only 350 Та 152s were now being considered for offensive missions. That was not enough: jet aircraft, especially the Me 262 A-la and the single turbine He 162 A-l (MK 108 30-mm guns) and A-2 (MG 151/20), were to replace all piston-engined aircraft. Because of the prevailing fuel situation, aircraft such as the Ar 234 or Ju 287 were to play only a minor role from the beginning of 1945. The remaining jet or rocket models, for example the Go 229 or Ju 248 (Me 263) never reached series production. Although the attempt was made, the endeavour failed because many fuselages lacked equipment or engines.

Soon after the appointment of the first Chief-TLR and the later Piihrer edicts to concentrate production, the former Jagerstab was seen as obsolete. A more influential body was to be introduced in which Speer, building on the positive experience gained with the Jagerstab, planned an armaments staff (Riistungsstab) omnipotent in every respect and responsible for equipping the entire Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS. Under its control the Luftwaffe would have a comprehensive aircraft and flak programme at the earliest opportunity. Speer would head the Riistungsstab with Saur as his deputy and chief of staff: General-Staff Engineer Roluf Lucht was responsible for the day-to-day decisions. SS-Gruppenfuhrer Kammler remained in charge of special planning measures such as building bomb-proof aircraft and engine factories. The Riistungsstab would not only coordinate individual units better, but even handle assembly and transport to smooth the way, and on 1 August 1944 Speer cancelled his directive of 1 March 1944 establishing the Jagerstab.

Amongst the Riistungsstab’s surprising early decisions was an order to series produce the Ju 287 and expand Ar 234 production. At least 1,000 fight jet fighters (He 162 A-l and A-2) were now projected monthly, together with the highest possible number of Me 262s, presumably at Hitlers intervention. In the remaining months, these very incisive measures by the Riistungsstab made possible a reasonable output of completed aircraft despite Allied air raids, although the lack of fuel and destruction of communications had an unfavourable effect on overall production.

Only from January 1945 did orderly production come closer each week to coming apart at the seams, yet armaments planning was not to fall apart

Подпись: As well as the underground facilities, much production was removed to well-disguised factories in woodlands such as the Messerschmitt Кипо, where the Me 262 A-la was manufactured.

completely until Reich territory began to be lost. Even in April 1945 Bf 109s, Me 262s and He 219s were still emerging from underground centres, but those in charge were by then heading for an uncertain future. The Rechlin test centre s personnel, for example, ended their war at Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich, while surviving parts of the RLM and the Riistungsstab had been dispersed and lost contact. For them the war was over: the time of captivity had begun.

New Technologies in the Wind

Подпись: The mocked-up cockpit of the projected Me P 1112, showing its good visibility, particularly ahead.
EHK was basically interested in proven concepts. What was required was new ideas such as variable-wing geometry as applied in 1945 to all projected German

fighters in the ‘high performance range’, and research on high speeds, which Messerschmitt was conducting into several developments based on the Me 262 A-la. Apart from a prototype with larger wings and swept-back tailplane at the beginning of 1945, Messerschmitt had no possibility of introducing significant modifications to Me 262 series production.

New wing shapes with critical profiles, such as swing-wings, remained purely theoretical since even the most minor modification to series production would interfere seriously with the rate of output. From December 1944, ideas were exchanged between DVL and the development bureau at Oberammergau on a supersonic fighter. There were at least three studies of the Me PI 106 in hand. This was a small jet with HeS Oil turbine and swept wings. Besides this project, later variants with a TLR (Turbinen-Luftstrahl-Raketen: turbine—rocket combination) or pure rocket engine were calculated to be capable of 1,500 km/hr (930 mph). Whether the Me PI 106 could have exceeded Mach 1 is unproven, however.

Подпись: The Lippisch DM 1 was the initial stage for a delta-winged fighter of new design.
Professor Alexander Lippisch was also very interested in supersonic aircraft, for which he developed his P-13 design, a ramjet fighter with additional rocket propulsion. According to surviving calculations this aircraft could have flown at 1,650 km/hr (1,025 mph). As with the bulk of all project studies, the P-13 was never realised. Only DM 1, an experimental machine for subsonic speeds, was captured by Allied forces at Prien/Chiemsee.

Подпись: The Lippisch P-13a fighter developed from the DM 1. Its ramjet and aerodynamic design provided outstanding flying characteristics.
When American scientific teams went to a cellar at Wetach/Allgau to recover the files of the Oberammergau research institute, they discovered that the French Army had been quicker and already spirited away 23 metal cases and eight watertight sealed steel tubes of drawings. The Me PI 101 files were not made available to the Americans until much later. The American team made two other finds in the Oberammergau district, while a fourth fell into the hands of a British Army captain. Eventually everything was confiscated bar four metal cases. Files in central Germany and Austria, captured mainly by Russian troops, were a rich harvest not to be shared with allies. This was also the case for projects described here, where British and American teams gathered the majority of the spoils.

New Training Projects

In place of the Me 163, and to fill the void until the appearance of the Но IX (later Go 229), the He 162 Volksjagerwzs considered. A telex dated 15 September 1944 from OKL to Generalmajor Galland, General Adolf Dickfeld of Luftwaffe recruitment, the Reich Youth leader Artur Axmann and Oberst von Below, Hitler’s Luftwaffe adjutant, suggested that Hider Youth pilots should fly this single-jet fighter.

On 25 September Hitler became aware that Himmler was proposing to form the first Waffen-SS fighter unit with the Volksjager. Unlike Goring and the RLM experts, Hider had no objection in principle. The situation came to a head when it became known that the Waffen-SS was attempting to recruit Luftwaffe officers and specialists in development and air armaments for the formation of an SS-Luftwaffe. Inducements were being offered in the form of quick promotions. Reich Youth leader Axmann was interested in the plan. On 1 October 1944 he had a long conversation with Generaloberst Alfred Keller, the influential NSFK leader, and Major Werner Baumbach regarding the use of Hitler Youth to fly the He 162 and so give the Reich air defence a new impetus. Keller felt that the NSFK should be involved in the great Gewaltaufgabe 162 (perhaps best translated as the ‘He 162 Extreme Measures Programme’). He was intending to conscript an entire Hider Youth year of entrants immediately after their glider training. There would be no intermediate training with motorised aircraft and aerial gunnery could be practised on the ground, Keller asserted. The fact that these young ‘pilots’would have no tactical knowledge or formation flying experience seemed neither here nor there.

It was in this way that growing fanaticism replaced reality, while vulgar solutions were pursued and postulated as problem-solving based on logic. The NSFK had not only argued for basic aviator training but also for the preparation of fighter pilots for the Me 163. Now came new objectives. The NSFK would not only support the building of the He 162 trainer but also the training of young pilots to man it. This did not seem right to the RLM. High-ranking decision­makers doubted that the youthful qualities of these young aviators stretched as far as handling the He 162, and particularly not in the heat of combat. Saur only accepted this position later and then decided against having Hitler Youth as
fighter pilots at all. But both the NSFK leader and the SS were sufficiently fanatical to argue for underage pilots and finally use them.

In order to prevent worse, the Luftwaffe undertook the training of the applicants. All volunteers were concentrated in Oesau Company for training but they were not told what kind of machines were to be trained for. Aviation training for young pilots would economise on fuel by using gliders which looked like, and to some extent flew like, the He 162. Winches with a pull of 700 hp were made for getting the first ten two-seater gliders up. If the training machines proved their worth, another 200 were to have been produced with a corresponding number of extra winches.

Подпись: Flying the Stummelhabicht glider, young pilots were prepared for the flying characteristics of aircraft like the Me 163 B.
To produce the training aircraft in the shortest possible time, on 25 October 1944 the NSFK asked the management of Heinkel-Siid for three of its most experienced aeronautical designers. Kurt May would order the materials for 10-40 training machines from the SS to ensure there were no delays. Thanks to the increasing involvement of the SS in Luftwaffe affairs, its influence on the NSFK also grew, the purpose in the medium term being to incorporate it eventually into the SS. Goring, apprised of the details, insisted that training in motorised aircraft was essential in the Luftwaffe. Only in that way could later operations be mounted with some prospect of success. The Luftwaffe high command attempted to make up the deficit in the extremely short training period by the use of special equipment. During the OKL conference on 16 November 1944 the main item on the agenda was the conversion training of pilots for the

New Training Projects

The Stummelhabicht was armed with an MP 40 machine-pistol for gunnery training against ground targets.

He 162. This would start with a practice unit using a full-scale cabin simulator with mock-up basic instruments. Next there would be a simulator with working instruments, and then a true He 162 cabin with electrically-driven BMW 003 turbine and a sound unit to provide realistic take-off and in-flight noise. These devices were to be available both to Luftwaffe pilots and Hitler Youth scheduled for the Volksjager. Slow progress had been made by the beginning of 1945, however, and only parts were ever completed and delivered.

In December 1944, OKL produced new plans to use the V-l Reichenberg, a piloted version of the V-l flying bomb, and the Chief-TLR was soon pressing for the early development of the Re 5 version. This had a shorter forward fuselage than the Re 4. There was an option for 250 Re 5s dependent on the flight test results of the first ten prototypes, and then the Re 5, together with the Re 2 for flight instructor training, would be produced as a training machine for the He 162! This new idea came about because no suitable Volksjager-type practice machine was available to provide future pilots with flying experience in a jet. The fifth Reichenberg variant was never completed, however. At the latest by April 1945 OKL had realised that although light and cheap to turn out, it did not match up adequately to the operational demands or the tactical possibilities.

Eber> Rammer and Fliegende Panzerfaust

The German Research Institute for Gliding (DFS) was investigating a similar project meanwhile. Under the designation Ebery a small fighter was built which could be towed by an Fw 190 or Me 262 to within a few kilometres of the target and released. A primitive rocket-propelled aircraft in wood, the So 344, designed by Heinz Sombold, was armed with rockets enabling it to attack a bomber formation. Similar designs were the Rammer and Fliegende Panzerfaust built by the airship firm Zeppelin in the late summer of 1944. Besides the Me P 1103 Rammjager, the Messerschmitt design bureau evolved the Me P 1104 variant which could be armed with either a fixed MK 108 or an R4M rocket battery. As with the Ar E 381, these designs were unsuccessful even though they could scarcely have been simpler. Even the Me P 1104 project had easily manufactured Fieseler V-l flying bomb wings. The engine plant was an HWK 109-509. Willy Messerschmitt recommended the machine himself since to turn out 1,000 monthly needed only 650 man-hours labour per aircraft from start to finish, distinctly less than for the Me 163 B-l, while the investment in the Me P 1104 was substantially below that of the Bachem Ba 349 A-l.

A disadvantage of all these ‘midget fighters’was the tactical range. A ramp or catapult launch from a fixed position was one thing, using a tug aircraft quite another, for in the approach to an enemy bomber force the yoked pair was at risk for its lack of manoeuvrability and being substantially under-powered. At the end of 1944 OKL therefore urged the creation of a powerful rocket-propelled local-defence fighter able to reach the operational area without assistance.

Another project was the brainchild of the Focke-Wulf design office. This was based on a suggestion of 21 September 1944 for a manned V-l for ramming aerial targets. Instead of a warhead the variant would have an armoured nose to destroy the tailplane of enemy bombers. The pilot, seated in an armoured cockpit amidships, would separate his fuselage section by means of explosive bolts and use an ejector seat to save himself. The standard V-l ramjet would be replaced by a more efficient Walter HWK engine. As the machine could not take off from the ground to reach the enemy bomber fleets, a tug would have been required to get it up to altitude which, in view of Allied air superiority, was out of the question.