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 Advanced Luftwaffe projects

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Anglo-Norman
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PostSubject: Advanced Luftwaffe projects   Wed 27 May 2015, 22:10

Watching a programme about aircraft carriers, brief reference was made to early VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft, including the Convair XFY 'Pogo', which took off and landed on its tail. It reminded me of the late WWII German interceptors, the Heinkel Wespe and its younger cousin, the Lerche II (neither of which ever built) They were among a number of VTOL projects.

The Luftwaffe has a vast range of experimental projects, especially later in the War, most of which never - if you'll pardon the expression - got off the ground. The Horton Ho 229 flying wing fighter was one of the few which did reach the flying stage and proved a success, although the War ended before it could be put into service.

Some of the designs were inspired, some just bizarre, some influential, some dead ends. Some have claimed that early UFOs were advanced German 'flying saucer' projects being tested, although there is no convincing evidence that the Germans ever experimented with flying saucers (and yes, I realise certain people would argue that's because it was all covered up!).

One of the most remarkable was the Sänger Orbital Bomber, known as the Silverbird. Designed under the Amerika Bomber program (which was intended to produce a strategic bomber capable of flying from Germany to the USA), the Silverbird was a supersonic, stratospheric bomber powered by a rocket motor and designed to reach its target by skipping along the atmosphere like a stone over water. It would carry a single 8000lb bomb. Work on the project was halted by the outbreak of war with Russia, after which resources had to be redirected to proven designs. However, the concept lived on and after the War Dr Sänger himself was the subject of a failed kidnap plot by the USSR, Stalin believing the project could be useful for his own ends.

I recommend to you Luft '46, a website which aims to catalogue the Luftwaffe's advanced projects. Some really interesting stuff.

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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Re: Advanced Luftwaffe projects   Thu 28 May 2015, 10:28

Some of the projects the German were working on was very advanced.

The Wasserfall anti-aircraft missile, like many of these new weapons, was just too late to see combat;

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PostSubject: Re: Advanced Luftwaffe projects   Thu 28 May 2015, 15:12

Before the outbreak of WW2, the Luftwaffe planned a strategic bomber programme. The Junkers Ju 89 and the Dornier Do 19 were developed as part of this programme.

The death in an air crash of General Walther Wever in 1936, brought Germany's 4 engine bombers to an end.


Ju 89;


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Anglo-Norman
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PostSubject: Re: Advanced Luftwaffe projects   Thu 28 May 2015, 18:49

They did, though, still use the highly successful Focke Wulf Fw200 'Condor' maritime patrol aircraft, which had four engines. However that (like the Heinkel He111, IIRC) was originally an airliner.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Advanced Luftwaffe projects   Thu 28 May 2015, 20:19

@Anglo-Norman wrote:
They did, though, still use the highly successful Focke Wulf Fw200 'Condor' maritime patrol aircraft, which had four engines.  However that (like the Heinkel He111, IIRC) was originally an airliner.

I know I'm wandering a bit away from the OP but I can't resist adding this little bit of trivia ... the FW Condor was indeed originally an airliner and pre-war had been purchased by several non-German airlines, including the Danish national airline. After the declaration of war but before Denmark was annexed by Germany, Condors in Danish civillian markings were still frequent visitors to British airfields ... not usually at Croydon because of wartime restrictions but at other minor civillian airfields around southern England, like Shoreham-by-Sea near Brighton. After the German occupation of Denmark one Danish Condor found itself stranded in Britain. It was duly requisitioned and was briefly repainted in BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) wartime colours, although lack of suitable parts probably curtailed its career.

My father, an RAF aircraftman,  was in 1942 involved in stripping down/crating up civillian aircraft for shipment overseas (to Canada, South Africa, Rhodesia etc) to be used in the Commonwealth Air Training Programme. He said he was sure he once saw a FW Condor in BOAC colours when he was at RAF Stapleford-Tawney, near Romford. (And at about the same time, A-N, he also distictly remembered working on several De Havilland Dragon Rapide biplanes which were still in their original Jersey Airways livery).
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Anglo-Norman
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PostSubject: Re: Advanced Luftwaffe projects   Thu 28 May 2015, 21:22

@Meles meles wrote:
(And at about the same time, A-N, he also distictly remembered working on several De Havilland Dragon Rapide biplanes which were still in their original Jersey Airways livery).

How lovely! The last time I saw the Jersey Air Show, one of the highlights was a Dragon Rapide landing on the beach, just as they used to do before the airport was built in 1937! On one of the airport hangars you can still (just about) make out the Jersey Airways logo. That hangar was built by... the Luftwaffe! How's that for bringing us back on topic? (The Luftwaffe had no significant permanent presence in the Islands - although Messerschmitt Bf 110s of ZG76 used Jersey as a forward base during the Battle of Britain - so I don't suppose they saw much in the way of advanced projects.)
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PostSubject: Re: Advanced Luftwaffe projects   Thu 28 May 2015, 23:26

Had my first ever flight in a Dragon Rapide from Elmdon Aerodrome. Rather dates me. 10/- iirc - a bit cheaper than the £50 I've been told they now charge at Duxford Air Show.
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PostSubject: Re: Advanced Luftwaffe projects   Fri 29 May 2015, 12:13

I couldn't find a photo of the BOAC Condor, but I did find a line drawing;



according to what I could find, this particular aircraft crashed at White Waltham on the 12 July 1941.
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PostSubject: Re: Advanced Luftwaffe projects   Fri 29 May 2015, 12:46

I think my dad's memory of dates might be a bit out in that case.
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PostSubject: Re: Advanced Luftwaffe projects   Fri 29 May 2015, 13:45

I haven't been able to find anything else about this plane, Meles. I don't know how badly damaged it was in the crash.

Only a few pages available online;

http://www.europeanairlines.no/books/FW200/index.html#/2/



Two VIP Condors were recovered after the war by the RAF and given civilian registration numbers GC-AE and GC-SJ. They were formally the personal aircraft of Heinrich Himmler and Karl Doenitz.

Back to Luftwaffe projects. One weapon which did see service during the war was the Hs 293 glider bomb ( one version of the Condor was armed with this )

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PostSubject: Re: Advanced Luftwaffe projects   Fri 29 May 2015, 13:56

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