Military Review

Fiezeler Fi.103 Reichenberg

Among the many weapons offered by Luftwaffe for use in the last 18 months of World War II was the manned version of the Fiezeler Fi.103R rocket, better known as the V-1 (Fau-1) and widely used against the British Isles. This option was intended for use against ships and well-protected ground targets, and received the code designation "Reichenberg". His idea was put forward by the famous German pilot Ganna Reich and the Hauptsturmführer SS Otto Skorzeny. Prior to this, Reich and the Hauptman, Heinrich Leange, proposed using suicide volunteers to destroy important targets. Although such an attack scheme caused little support, it was further developed in a somewhat modified form.

For this role, several possible aircraft were considered, and Fi.103R was initially rejected in favor of the light bomber Me.328, which, in turn, gave way to the Fw.190 fighter with a large-caliber bomb suspension. It was assumed that the pilot, having sent the plane to the target, was to jump with a parachute. Meanwhile, a special part of 5./KG.200 was formed, led by Hauptmann Lyang. Its goal was to study non-standard methods of attacking protected targets, but the unofficial name "Leonidos shtafel" - in honor of the hero Thermopyla of the king of Sparta Leonidos - clearly indicated its purpose.

Tests were conducted with Fw.190 carrying various bombs. It was soon established that the chances of a heavily loaded fighter getting through the Allied interceptor barriers are extremely small. The German Gliding Institute (DFS) in Ainring was tasked to create a manned rocket version. The command of the SS troops supported this idea by proposing the use of a manned projectile also for the bombing of the industrial complexes of Kuibyshev, Chelyabinsk, Magnitogorsk, as well as the regions located beyond the Urals. Well-known sabotage specialist O. Skorzeny even gave the order to recruit and train 250 suicide pilots for these projectiles. Given the high stakes on this project, in just 14 days after the start of work, the training and combat versions of the rocket were made and tests started. At the same time, a line for reworking Fi.103R was prepared under Dannenburg.

The first flight tests were conducted in September 1944 of the year. The plane was launched into an engineless flight from a H.111 bomber, but crashed after losing control due to an accidental discharge of the cockpit canopy. The second flight the next day also ended with the loss of the aircraft. The third flight with the pilot Reich was more successful, although Fi.103R was damaged when it struck the He.111 at the moment of uncoupling. In the next flight, due to the loss of sand ballast, the plane crashed, and Ganna Reich miraculously survived among the wreckage. German propaganda later claimed that Reich fly-captain was seriously injured during the Fi.103R trial, although in fact she had been wounded earlier during the trials of the interceptor Me. 163b, when the take-off truck had not separated, and Reich landed on it. In the end, it was found that the vibration of the aircraft’s design caused by the engine’s work led to the destruction of one of the control system elements.

In total, four manned variants Fi.103R were created under the Reichenberg program, including three training variants. These were the "Reichenberg-I" - a single version with a landing ski, the "Reichenberg II" - with a second cabin at the site of the warhead, the "Reichenberg III" - a single version with a landing ski, flaps, a pulse engine Argus As.014 and a ballast on the location of the warhead.

Fiezeler Fi.103 Reichenberg

In principle, the aircraft of all four versions had the same design, which was largely borrowed from the Fau-1: a monoplane with a free-floating mid-wing, cigar-shaped fuselage and one-tail tail unit. The fuselage was built almost entirely of mild steel, and the removable wings had a wooden structure, they were mounted on the main side members of steel pipes just before the suspension of the projectile under the wing of the bomber He.111. The engine was the Argus pulsating jet engine, which developed thrust of the order of 226 kg at flight speed of 640 km / h. This engine was a pipe made of mild steel with a length of 3,48 m with a maximum diameter of just over 546 mm. The diameter of the nozzle was 40 cm, the thickness of the steel used in its manufacture was 2,5 mm. Engine weight does not exceed 163 kg.

Combat option - "Reichenberg IV" was the simplest alteration of the standard rocket. Fi.103R itself was divided into six compartments, including: a magnetic compass, a warhead in 850 kg amatol, a fuel tank, two compressed air cylinders, autopilot, height and range control devices, and rudder drives. Conversion to the "Reichenberg IV" included the installation of a small cabin in front of the engine air intake. On the dashboard were a sight, a clock, a speed indicator, an altimeter, artificial horizon, a gyrocompass on a rack attached to the floor, with a three-phase transducer and a small 24-volt battery. Management - the usual handle and pedals. Plywood seat with a soft headrest. The lantern opened to the right, had an armored windshield and marks indicating the dive angle. The cabin occupied the former compartment with compressed air cylinders. Reichenberg IV carried only one such balloon. It was located on the site of the former autopilot. The entire rear of the wing was occupied by aileron.

“Reichenberg” was supposed to be delivered to the target under the wing of He.111 in the manner of unmanned Fi.103R, which KG.53 fired at London. Communication between the pilots of the rocket and the carrier was carried out through a four-core cable connected in front of the cabin. Theoretically, after aiming at the target, the pilot should have dropped the lantern and dropped with a parachute, but his chances of surviving were estimated as one out of a hundred. To reset the lantern, it was necessary to use the handle on the left side of the cab. The cab light, before it could disconnect, had to be rotated 45º, which was almost impossible to do at 780-850 km / h. Training instructors for the "Reichenberg" has already begun, and although the landing on them required an enviable skill, non-motorized machines did not provide any problems. It was decided that 5./KG.200 is ready to use Reichenberg IV.

On the whole, the tests and fine-tuning of the projectile were clearly protracted, and when the Allied forces landed from their landing craft and ships on the Normandy coast, it became clear that the time for the use of the Reichenberg was lost. However, out of roughly built 175 projectiles of this type of 50 machines, they were commissioned by the Luftwaffe KG.200 squadron, which carried out special operations, where they formed the 5 squadron. Any information about the hostilities of this squadron is missing.

At the end of the war, a significant number of Fau-1 and Fi.103R shells fell into the hands of both the Soviet units and the allied forces.

Wingspan, m 5.72
Length, m 8.00
Height, m ​​1.82
Normal takeoff weight, kg 2250
Engine type VRD Argus As.014
Engine thrust, kgf 1 x 350
The maximum speed, km / h 800
Cruising speed, km / h 650
Practical ceiling, m 2500
Practical range, km 330
Flight duration, min 32
Crew, people. 1
Armament: 850-kg warhead

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  1. spech
    spech 14 May 2014 11: 08
    I read somewhere that they also wanted to plant kamikaze in the alteration of V2.
    1. bigELDAK
      bigELDAK 14 May 2014 11: 54
      alternative history on the site (06.05.2014/XNUMX/XNUMX)

      1. bigELDAK
        bigELDAK 14 May 2014 12: 00
        I suggest downloading and reading about much more EXOTIC devices of fasc.Germany
    2. 290980
      290980 14 May 2014 12: 30
      I read somewhere that they also wanted to plant kamikaze in the remake of V2

      read a few years ago on the official website German space agency about the first astronaut launched into space in February 45th, right now this info was deleted.
      1. smile
        smile 14 May 2014 13: 14
        They deleted it because it was an elementary lie, undermining the authority of this space agency ... :)))
      2. Saburo
        Saburo 14 May 2014 22: 54
        Probably you mean the two-stage A-9 / A-10 ICBM that the Germans planned to launch in the United States. She really, in theory, was supposed to make a suborbital flight with an astronaut pilot on board. But the problem is that almost no data about the rocket has been preserved, so the information about it varies, starting from the fact that even the sketch was not completed, ending with the fact that a test suborbital flight of the first stage with the pilot was made.
    3. vkrav
      vkrav 14 May 2014 13: 22
      Yes, the japs ​​had Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka guided missile planes ... It was quite a kamikaze motorcycle, but the Americans, along with the carriers, were wetting them, even before the squad ...
  2. svp67
    svp67 14 May 2014 11: 58
    A gloomy German genius ... It’s interesting, having so many developments on television and even partially using these achievements in the guidance heads of planning air bombs, they decided to use the pilots anyway ... The Japanese came to the same decision, creating their own rocket with a suicide pilot True, without the possibility of salvation ...
    1. vkrav
      vkrav 14 May 2014 19: 30
      Yes, this is it, Oka (cherry blossom). It has nothing to do with the gloomy Teutonic genius, the Japanese had enough of it :). Plywood glider, a ton of ammonal, a rocket engine and a suicide hero (only 1 each). In short, a glider with a rocket booster.
  3. GRAY
    GRAY 14 May 2014 13: 00
    Interestingly, when leaving the cockpit, were there any chances that the pilot with his head forward would suck in the turbine?
    1. svp67
      svp67 14 May 2014 13: 58
      Quote: GRAY
      Interestingly, when leaving the cockpit, were there any chances that the pilot with his head forward would suck in the turbine?
      There were several options, when leaving up - the use of a spring or powder catapult or leaving down through the bottom of the cab ...
  4. Yarik
    Yarik 14 May 2014 18: 53
    RAY Today, 13:00 New
    Interestingly, when leaving the cockpit, were there any chances that the pilot with his head forward would suck in the turbine?

    There is not a turbine, something like a diaphragm should open and close.
  5. Bosk
    Bosk 14 May 2014 19: 49
    I read it and immediately remembered Amet Khan Sultan at the helm of the "Comet" - not in the subject of course, but I remembered ...
  6. Peacemaker
    Peacemaker 16 May 2014 08: 04
    I am truly struck by the attitude to the human life that the Germans and Japanese had ... I remembered about guided torpedoes from kamikaze. Although ... who knows, enlighten whether there were similar projects in the USSR?
  7. Nikoha.2010
    Nikoha.2010 18 May 2014 11: 46
    And yet war advances technology. Brains tense and at the exit tanks, planes and other military equipment. And by the way, not a little work! In our rear, under the open sky, they collected and made weapons, and all of Europe plowed for Germany, in tolerable conditions (not to be confused with the contraction camps). Without the war, Brown and Korolev would not be in a hurry, the Germans were great on the technical side, but the German punctuality broke about the "" of the Russians and hatred to the enemy! Don't take it literally! IMHO!