Monday, May 11, 2015

Project Reichenberg

1 — Fi-103 (V-1); 2 — Fi-103R-I: 3 — Fi-103R-II;
4 — Fi-103R-III; 5 — Fi-103R-IV.

Under Project Reichenberg, the Germans also built a piloted, suicide version of the V-1 which was tested by diminutive pilots, including the famous Hanna Reitsch, but the Re 4 model was never placed into action due to resistance in the Nazi leadership to an explicit suicide weapon.

Towards the end of 1943 consideration was given in Germany to possible use of piloted missiles for precision attacks on targets such as warships & other high profile targets like Buckingham Palace & the Houses of Parliament.

Design work was carried out by Deutsches Forschungsinstitut fur Segelfug (German Gliding Research Institute) & the modification of standard V1’s for testing purposes was carried out by the aircraft manufacturer Henschel, under the code name of Reichenberg. Initial test flights were carried out at Larz where the first two aircraft crashed killing the pilots. Test flying was thereafter carried out by Hanna Reitsch & Heinz Kensche.

Two factories were set up to manufacture piloted V1’s, one at Dannenberg & the other at Pulverhof both using slave labour. They produced approximately 175 piloted Fieseler Fi 103R-4’s before production ceased. 70 pilots were under training when the project ceased in October 1944 owing to a shortage of fuel for training & political differences within the German High Command. The operational Fi 103R-4’s were to have been operated by 5/KG200 & was to be known as the Leonidas staffel.

In July 1943, the idea was again resurrected after Germany had successfully developed the V-1 rocket. The Vergeltungswaffen 1 (Vengence Weapon 1) was an unmanned flying bomb, powered by a pulse-jet with a range of 148 miles (238km). It was designed to be launched from a land installation but the idea of using U-boats as a launch platform was proposed. The notion was to provide the weapon with mobility, where it could strike almost any city in the world. The V-1 however was a Luftwaffe weapon and the idea was again rejected.

In a separate development, by the end of the war, the guidance system for targeting surface vessels with anti-ship rockets fired from submerged U-boats was complete and installed in the latest Type XXIs. Known as SP-Anlage, the device could accurately pinpoint the location of surface vessels and enabled anti-ship rockets to be fired up from below. The rockets however were still under development when the war ended. This project was named Project Ursel.

After the war, this concept led to the US and Soviet ballistic missile submarines of the 1950s.

There were four variants: By October 1944 about 175 R-IVs were ready for action.
    R-1 - the basic single-seat unpowered glider.
    R-II - had a second cockpit fitted where the warhead would normally be.
    R-III - a single seater, with the pulsejet intake fitted to simulate its handling.
    R-IV - the standard powered operational model.

No comments:

Post a Comment