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15 October 2014
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The Flying Bombs

by Fred Crowther

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Fred Crowther sat in a flying bomb, Donnenberg, 1947

Contributed by 
Fred Crowther
People in story: 
Fred Crowther
Location of story: 
Tramm Lager, Donnenberg
Background to story: 
Army
Article ID: 
A6458727
Contributed on: 
27 October 2005

Immediately after the war ended we came through Holland and North Germany, straight to ‘Tramm Lager’ near Dannenberg. I stayed here until May 1947 when I was demobbed. What I found very interesting was that it had been an assembly workshop for German flying bombs. I saw at least two flying bombs, each with a cockpit and controls. I have included a photo of myself sat in one of these flying bombs.

I have never heard anything mentioned, to my knowledge about the flying bombs being used with a pilot, and I would therefore like to hear from anyone who has any knowledge about this.

Fred

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Message 1 - The Flying Bombs

Posted on: 28 October 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Hi Fred

You are sat in a converted V1, the Fi-103R 'Reichenberg'. The one in the photo is difficult to make out, from the enlargement I made it looks like one of the models assembled by the US Navy Technical Team at the Karlwitz munitions depot, near Dannenburg in May 1945. The American configuration was suspect, however, in that that particular type of plywood warhead casing (the blunt ending) wasn't intended for the 'Reichenberg'.

The intention was that the pilot would steer himself to a high-value target and would parachute out at the last second. The modification was fairly simple and the rudimentary cockpit and flight ailerons were designed at the Heinschel plant at Berlin-Schönefeld. The pilot who first tested this mad-cap idea broke his back. The second test faired no better, the canopy flew off seriously injuring the pilot during landing.

Even after improvements were made, the Fi-103R-2, followed by the Fi-103R-3, it proved difficult to fly. During the second flight of the Fi-103R-3 the left wing fell off, although the test pilot, Heinz Kensche, managed to survive. The final straw was when both wings peeled off in a subsequent test and the whole mad idea was called off when Albert Speer went to see Hitler.

Source:
"V-1 Flying Bomb 1942-52 - Hitler's infamous 'doodlebug'" by Steven J Zaloga (Osprey, 2005) pp 38/39.

Regards,
Peter Ghiringhelli

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