Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Fiesler Fi 103 Reichenberg Re-4a

Here are some images of HPH Models 1/32 scale Fiesler Fi 103 Reichenberg Re-4a.

From Wikipedia"

The Fieseler Fi 103R, code-named Reichenberg, was a late-World War II German manned version of the V-1 flying bomb (more correctly known as the Fieseler Fi 103) produced for attacks in which the pilot was likely to be killed (as with the Japanese Ohka rocket-powered suicide anti-ship missile) or at best to parachute down at the attack site, which were to be carried out by the "Leonidas Squadron", V. Gruppe of the Luftwaffe's Kampfgeschwader 200.

The Leonidas Squadron, part of KG 200, had been set up as a suicide squadron. Volunteers were required to sign a declaration which said, "I hereby voluntarily apply to be enrolled in the suicide group as part of a human glider-bomb. I fully understand that employment in this capacity will entail my own death."[1] Initially, both the Messerschmitt Me 328 and the Fieseler Fi 103 (better known as the V-1 flying bomb) were considered as suitable aircraft, but the Fi 103 was passed over in favour of the Me 328 equipped with a 900 kilograms (2,000 lb) bomb.
However, problems were experienced in converting the Me 328 and Heinrich Himmler wanted to cancel the project. Otto Skorzeny, who had been investigating the possibility of using manned torpedoes against Allied shipping, was briefed by Hitler to revive the project, and he contacted famous test pilot Hanna Reitsch. The Fi 103 was reappraised and since it seemed to offer the pilot a slim chance of surviving, it was adopted for the project.
The project was given the codename "Reichenberg" after the capital of the former Czechoslovakian territory "Reichsgau Sudetenland" (present-day Liberec), while the aircraft themselves were referred to as "Reichenberg-Geräte" (Reichenberg apparatus).

In the summer of 1944 the DFS (German Research Institute for Sailplane Flight) at Ainring took on the task of developing a manned version of the Fi 103, and an example was made ready for testing within days and a production line was established at Dannenberg.[4]
The V-1 was transformed into the Reichenberg by adding a small, cramped cockpit at the point of the fuselage that was immediately ahead of the pulsejet's intake, where the standard V-1's compressed-air cylinders were fitted. The cockpit had basic flight instruments and a plywood bucket seat. The single-piece canopy incorporated an armoured front panel and opened to the side to allow entry. The two displaced compressed-air cylinders were replaced by a single one, fitted in the rear in the space which normally accommodated the V-1's autopilot. The wings were fitted with hardened edges to cut the cables of barrage balloons.[4] The broader-chord forward support pylon for the Argus pulsejet, by co-incidence, resembles the same airframe component used on the American clone of the unmanned V-1, the Republic-Ford JB-2 Loon.
It was proposed that a He 111 bomber would carry either one or two Reichenbergs beneath its wings, releasing them close to the target. The pilots would then steer their aircraft towards the target, jettisoning the cockpit canopy shortly before impact and bailing out. It was estimated that the chances of a pilot surviving such a bailout were less than 1% due to the proximity of the pulsejet's intake to the cockpit.

There were five variants: By October 1944 about 175 R-IVs were ready for action.
  • R-I - The basic single-seat unpowered glider.
  • R-II - Had a second cockpit fitted where the warhead would normally be. Unpowered glider
  • R-III - A two-seater, powered with a pulsejet.
  • R-IV - The standard powered operational model.
  • R-V - Powered trainer for the HE162 (shorter nose)

Volunteers trained in ordinary gliders to give them the feel of unpowered flight, then progressed to special gliders with shortened wings which could dive at speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour (190 mph). After this, they progressed to the dual-control R-II.
Training began on the R-I and R-II and although landing them on a skid was difficult, the aircraft handled well, and it was anticipated that the Leonidas Squadron would soon be using the machines. Albert Speer wrote to Hitler on 28 July 1944 to say that he opposed wasting the men and machines on the Allies in France and suggested it would be better to deploy them against Russian power stations.
 The first real flight was performed in September 1944 at the Erprobungsstelle Rechlin, the Reichenberg being dropped from a He 111. However, it subsequently crashed after the pilot lost control when he accidentally jettisoned the canopy. A second flight the next day also ended in a crash, and subsequent test flights were carried out by test pilots Heinz Kensche and Hanna Reitsch. Reitsch herself experienced several crashes from which she survived unscathed. On 5 November 1944 during the second test flight of the R-III, a wing fell off due to vibrations and Heinz Kensche managed to parachute to safety, albeit with some difficulty due to the cramped cockpit.
 When Werner Baumbach assumed command of KG 200 in October 1944, he shelved the Reichenberg in favour of the Mistel project. He and Speer eventually met with Hitler on 15 March 1945 and managed to convince him that suicide missions were not part of the German warrior tradition, and later that day Baumbach ordered the Reichenberg unit to be disbanded.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka Model 11

Here are some images of HpH Models 1/32 scale Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka Model 11.
In my opinion this is the saddest aircraft ever created.

From Wikipedia"
The Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka (櫻花? Ōka, "cherry blossom"; 桜花 in modern orthography) was a purpose-built, rocket powered human-guided anti-shipping kamikaze attack aircraft[1] employed by Japan towards the end of World War II. United States sailors gave the aircraft the nickname Baka (ばか?, "fool" or "idiot")).

The MXY-7 Navy Suicide Attacker Ohka was a manned flying bomb that was usually carried underneath a Mitsubishi G4M2e Model 24J "Betty" bomber to within range of its target. On release, the pilot would first glide towards the target and when close enough he would fire the Ohka's three solid-fuel rockets, one at a time or in unison, and fly the missile towards the ship that he intended to destroy.
The design was conceived by Ensign Mitsuo Ohta of the 405th Kōkūtai, aided by students of the Aeronautical Research Institute at the University of Tokyo. Ohta submitted his plans to the Yokosuka research facility. The Imperial Japanese Navy decided the idea had merit and Yokosuka engineers of the Yokosuka Naval Air Technical Arsenal (Dai-Ichi Kaigun Koku Gijitsusho, or in short Kugisho) created formal blueprints for what was to be the MXY7. The only variant which saw service was the Model 11, and it was powered by three Type 4 Mark 1 Model 20 rockets. 155 Ohka Model 11s were built at Yokosuka, and another 600 were built at the Kasumigaura Naval Air Arsenal.
The final approach was difficult for a defender to stop because the aircraft gained high speed (650 km/h (400 mph) in level flight and 930 km/h (580 mph) or even 1,000 km/h (620 mph) in a dive. Later versions were designed to be launched from coastal air bases and caves, and even from submarines equipped with aircraft catapults, although none were actually used in this way. It appears that the operational record of Ohkas includes three ships sunk or damaged beyond repair and three other ships with significant damage. Seven U.S. ships were damaged or sunk by Ohkas throughout the war. The USS Mannert L. Abele was the first Allied ship to be sunk by Ohka aircraft, near Okinawa on 12 April 1945.
The Ohka pilots, members of the Jinrai Butai (Thunder Gods Corps), are honored in Japan at Ohka Park in Kashima City, the Ohka Monument in Kanoya City, the Kamakura Ohka Monument at Kenchō-ji Kamakura, and the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.

US personnel disarming the warhead of an Ohka, Yontan Airfield, Okinawa, April 1945

Thermojet powered Model 22, note the jet intake
The only operational Ohka was the Model 11. Essentially a 1,200 kg (2,646 lb) bomb with wooden wings, powered by three Type 4 Model 1 Mark 20 solid-fuel rocket motors, the Model 11 achieved great speed, but with limited range. This was problematic, as it required the slow, heavily laden mother aircraft to approach within 37 km (20 nmi; 23 mi) of the target, making them very vulnerable to defending fighters. There was one experimental variant of the Model 11, the Model 21, which had thin steel wings manufactured by Nakajima. It had the engine of the Model 11 and the airframe of the Model 22.
The Ohka K-1 was an unpowered trainer version with water ballast instead of warhead and engines, to provide pilots with handling experience. 45 were built by Dai-Ichi Kaigun Koku Gijitsusho.[10]
The Model 22 was designed to overcome the short standoff distance problem by using a Campini-type thermojet engine, the Tsu-11. This engine was successfully tested, and 50 Model 22 Ohkas were built at Yokosuka to accept this engine. The Model 22 was to be launched by the more agile Yokosuka P1Y3 Ginga "Frances" bomber, necessitating a shorter wing span and much smaller 600 kg (1,320 lb) warhead. None appears to have been used operationally, and only three of the experimental Tsu-11s engines are known to have been produced.
The Model 33 was a larger version of the Model 22 powered by an Ishikawajima Ne-20 turbojet with an 800 kg (1,760 lb) warhead. The mothership was to be the Nakajima G8N Renzan. Model 33 was cancelled due to the likelihood that the Renzan would not be available.
Other unbuilt planned variants were the Model 43A with folding wings, to be launched from submarines, and the Model 43B, a catapult/rocket assisted version, also with folding wings so that it could be hidden in caves. A trainer version was also under development for this version, the two-seat Model 43 K-1 Kai Wakazakura (Young Cherry), fitted with a single rocket motor. In place of the warhead, a second seat was installed for the student pilot. Two of this version were built.
Finally, the Model 53 would also use the Ne-20 turbojet, but was to be towed like a glider and released near its target.
The Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka was used mostly against U.S. ships invading Okinawa, and if launched from its mothership, could be effective because of its high speed in the dive.[13] In the first two attempts to transport the Ohkas to Leyte Gulf using aircraft carriers, the carriers Shinano and Unryu were sunk by the U.S. submarines Archerfish and Redfish.
Attacks intensified in April 1945. On 1 April 1945, six "Bettys" attacked the U.S. fleet off Okinawa. At least one made a successful attack; its Ohka was thought to have hit one of the 406 mm (16 in) turrets on the battleship West Virginia, causing moderate damage. Postwar analysis indicated that no hits were recorded and that a near-miss took place. The transports Alpine, Achernar, and Tyrrell were also hit by kamikaze aircraft, but it is unclear whether any of these were Ohkas from the other "Bettys". None of the "Bettys" returned.
The U.S. military quickly realized the danger and concentrated on extending their "defensive rings" outward to intercept the "Betty"/Ohka combination aircraft before the suicide mission could be launched. On 12 April 1945, nine "Bettys" attacked the U.S. fleet off Okinawa. The destroyer Mannert L. Abele was hit, broke in two, and sank, witnessed by LSMR-189 CO James M. Stewart. Jeffers destroyed an Ohka with AA fire 45 m (50 yd) from the ship, but the resulting explosion was still powerful enough to cause extensive damage, forcing Jeffers to withdraw. The destroyer Stanly was attacked by two Ohkas. One struck above the waterline just behind the ship's bow, its charge passing completely through the hull and splashing into the sea, where it detonated underwater, causing little damage to the ship. The other Ohka narrowly missed (its pilot probably killed by anti-aircraft fire) and crashed into the sea, knocking off the Stanly's ensign in the process. One Betty returned. On 14 April 1945, seven "Bettys" attacked the U.S. fleet off Okinawa. None returned. None of the Ohkas appeared to have been launched. Two days later, six "Bettys" attacked the U.S. fleet off Okinawa. Two returned, but no Ohkas had hit their targets. Later, on 28 April 1945, four "Bettys" attacked the U.S. fleet off Okinawa at night. One returned. No hits were recorded.
May 1945 saw another series of attacks. On 4 May 1945, seven "Bettys" attacked the U.S. fleet off Okinawa. One Ohka hit the bridge of a minesweeper, Shea, causing extensive damage and casualties. Gayety was also damaged by an Ohka's near miss. One "Betty" returned. On 11 May 1945, four "Bettys" attacked the U.S. fleet off Okinawa. The destroyer Hugh W. Hadley was hit and suffered extensive damage and flooding. The vessel was judged beyond repair. On 25 May 1945, 11 "Bettys" attacked the fleet off Okinawa. Bad weather forced most of the aircraft to turn back, and none of the others hit targets.
On 22 June 1945, six "Bettys" attacked the fleet. Two returned, but no hits were recorded. Postwar analysis concluded that the Ohka's impact was negligible, since no U.S. Navy capital ships had been hit during the attacks because of the effective defensive tactics that were employed.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Fokker E.V/D.VIII

Here are some images of Mir Models 1/32 scale Fokker E.V/D.VIII. This aircraft was flown by Ltn.Z.See Gotthard Sachseberg, Marine Field Jagdgruppe I, Flandern, Coolkerke Airfield. August 1918.

From Wikipedia"
The Fokker E.V was a German parasol-monoplane fighter aircraft designed by Reinhold Platz and built by Fokker-Flugzeugwerke. The E.V was the last Fokker design to become operational with the Luftstreitkräfte, entering service in the last months of World War I. After several fatal accidents due to wing failures, the aircraft was modified and redesignated Fokker D.VIII. Dubbed the Flying Razor by Allied pilots, the D.VIII had the distinction of scoring the last aerial victory of the war.

In early 1918, Fokker produced several rotary-powered monoplane prototypes. Of these, Fokker submitted the V.26 and V.28, small parasol-winged monoplanes with his usual steel-tube fuselages, for the second fighter trials at Adlershof in May/June 1918. The V.28 was tested with both the 108 kW (145 hp) Oberursel UR.III and 119 kW (160 hp) Goebel Goe.III, though neither of these engines were ready for operational service. The V.26 utilized the standard Oberursel UR.II engine, producing only 82 kW (110 hp). While this engine was obsolete, the V.26's low drag and light weight meant that it was nevertheless quite fast. The Fokker designs were only barely beaten by the Siemens-Schuckert D.III with the complex bi-rotary Siemens-Halske Sh.III engine.
In the end, the V.26 was ordered into production as the Fokker E.V. Four hundred were ordered immediately with either the UR.III or Goe.III. Because neither engine was available in any quantity, all production examples mounted the UR.II.

The first production E.V aircraft were shipped to Jasta 6 in late July. The new monoplane was also delivered to Jasta 1, Jasta 19, Jasta 24 and Jasta 36. Leutnant Emil Rolff scored the first kill in an E.V on August 17, 1918, but two days later he was killed when his aircraft's wing collapsed in flight. After another E.V of Jasta 19 crashed, Idflieg grounded all E.V aircraft. Pending the investigation of these wing failures, production ceased at the Fokker Flugzeugwerke. According to Fokker, the wing failures were caused by the army technical bureau, which had forced him to modify the original design by over-strengthening the rear main spar. This faulty design allegedly caused the wing to twist and fail. Fokker claimed that this defect was resolved by reverting to his original design.
According to most other accounts, the source of the wing failures lay not in the design, but in shoddy and rushed construction. Fokker had subcontracted construction of the E.V wings to the Gebrüder Perzina Pianoforte Fabrik factory. Due to poor quality control, inferior timber had been used and the spar "caps", forming the upper and lower members of each spar assembly, had been placed too far apart during the fabrication. Because the resulting spars were vertically too large to pass through the ribs, excess material was simply planed away from the exposed upper and lower surfaces of the cap pieces, leaving the assembled spars dangerously weak. Other problems included water damage to glued parts, and pins that splintered the spars, rather than securing them.[1]
Tests showed that, when properly constructed, the original E.V wing had a considerable margin of safety. Satisfied that the basic design was safe, Idflieg authorized continued production, after personnel changes and improved quality control measures were introduced at the Perzina factory.
Deliveries resumed in October. At the direction of the Kogenluft (Kommandierenden General der Luftstreitkräfte), Idflieg redesignated the modified aircraft D.VIII. Henceforth, the "E." and "Dr." designations were abolished and all fighters received the "D." appellation. The D.VIII commenced operations on 24 October with Jasta 11. The aircraft proved to be agile and easy to fly. Allied pilots nicknamed it the Flying Razor, because of its sleek appearance and single wing.
Jasta 5 was issued a D.VIII. The famed ace Erich Lowenhardt used the aircraft for a short time and scored a few victories in it, but he continued to favour the Fokker D.VII.
A total of 381 aircraft were produced, but only some 85 aircraft reached frontline service before the Armistice. Some reached Italy, Japan, the United States, and England as trophies, but most were scrapped in accordance with the terms of the Armistice.


The Polish Air Force captured 17 aircraft, but only seven (six E.V and one D.VIII) were in airworthy condition. All were used against Soviet forces in the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1920. Lieutenant Stefan Stec earned the first kill for the Polish Air Force, by shooting down a Ukrainian Nieuport fighter on 29 April 1919. In 1921, the remaining Fokkers were withdrawn from front-line units and transferred to the Szkoła Obsługi Lotniczej (Air Personnel School) at Poznań-Ławica airfield.