Friday, October 29, 2004

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Flieger - By the end of 1944 the Luftwaffe fighter command was ordered to direct all their attention to allied bombers which were not only destroying Germany's factories and infrastructure but also it's cities. With fewer and fewer experienced pilots trying to fly their planes from fewer and fewer airfields the Luftwaffe initialised a whole range of desperate projects aimed exclusively at destroying bombers. One project was the odd little plane seen in the photo- a Bachem Ba 349 "Natter" which was definitely one of the most radical designs to come out of WW2. The concept of the Natter (which means "viper") was a disposable-one-man-rocket-powered-interceptor. Build by forced labourers in small workshops hidden in forrests or underground saltmines the plane was to be placed in an upright position and then launched like a normal rocket. When it reached the bomber formations it was to launch a salvo of small air-to-air rockets from it's nose which would then hopefully hit the bombers and crash them. After the completion of the attack the natter would break in half and the part containing the pilot would eject a parachute and drop to the ground to be re-used! A few Natters were actually flown for tests but luckily for the pilots of the Luftwaffe the war ended before this innovative but extreme weapon was used operationally.
more on the Natter

Babe - Whomba.
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