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.