Germany's Last Attempt at a Strategic Bomber
|Mistel - Ju88 & fighter.|
The whole deal, fighter and bomber, is referred to as the Huckepack ("Pick-a-back" in British English, "piggyback" in American English). Other (informal) names were Beethoven-Gerät ("Beethoven Device," named for the attachment equipment between the two aircraft) and Vati und Sohn ("Daddy and Son").
|FW 190 / JU 88 'Mistel'|
|Page scan of the Short Mayo Combo from Modern Mechanix magazine, March 1938.|
The Luftwaffe did not come up with the idea of a parasite aircraft piloting a larger aircraft and then releasing it. That honor goes to the British. The Short Brothers came up with the Short Mayo Composite in the 1930s. This was a piggyback seaplane/flying boat combination designed to provide service across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Short S.21 Maia (G-ADHK) Empire flying boats were used to take Short S.20 Mercury(G-ADHJ) long-range seaplane aloft via a pylon on top of the larger aircraft. Test flights were carried out in 1938 from Ireland to Canada. The smaller aircraft successfully disengaged from the Empire flying boat and completed the journey to Canada while the larger aircraft returned to Ireland. Only one example was built, and it was used to establish various distance records before being destroyed in a Luftwaffe raid on Poole Harbour on 11 May 1941. The idea worked, but it really wasn't commercially feasible due to evolving technologies which made the concept unnecessary.
|Fritz Stamer testing the Bf-109 E-4 and glider DFS 230 A-1.|
|Mistel combination with Me Bf 109 parent aircraft and explosives-laden Ju-88 conversion. Note the proboscis to trigger the explosives in the nose.|
The fighter-bomber conversion combo was first test-flown in July 1943. Flight testing was finished by October 1943, at which point the warhead was finalized. After further testing and crew training, in early 1944 a bomber unit was tasked with using this deadly combination - II/KG201.
|A member of the 439th Troop Carrier looks over a captured German Junkers Piggy Back Plane [Junkers Ju 88 And Focke-Wulf Fw 190] at an air base somewhere in France. 4 May 1945.|
|A Do-217E with a Me-328 mounted on it.|
Various plans were made to use jet bombers as the upper control craft as well, such as the Ar-234, He-162, Me-262, Ju-287 and other project jet fighter and bombers carrying a special flying bomb, but these were never realized. A Focke Wulf Ta 154 (the Focke-Wulf Ta 154 Moskito was a fast twin-engined German night fighter) paired with a Fw 190 was also used. A television guidance system was in the works when the war ended.
|Ju 88 and ME 109 combo|
|Mistel consisting of a Ju 88 and a FW 190|
|Proposed Hs-293D glide bomb with television guidance system|
The Germans, as usual, were better with their designs on paper than they were with actual flyable aircraft. They were designing a glide bomb with a television guidance system when the war ended, television having been invented in New York City in the late 1920s. There were other advanced designs that existed only in theory, as shown in the sketches below.
|German television guidance system|
|Arado Ar E.377a Mistel (planned)|
|He 162/Ar E.377a Mistel|
|Lt. Bernard H. Howes of Stoughton, Massachusetts, United States 8th Air Force fires on this Mistel 2 (Fw 190 A-8 on a Ju 88 G-1) in Belgium. He is flying a P-51 Mustang, 3 February 1945|
|A German "Mistel" Ju-88 bomber & a Me-109 fighter (top).|
|Ju 88 and Fw 190 A "Mistel", Alt Lönnewitz (?), December 1944.|
|Captured fleet of Mistel bombers|