Table of Contents
- 1 Arado Ar 96 B-1
- 2 BMW 003 A1 turbojet engine
- 3 Focke Achgelis Fa 330 “Bachstelze” (Eng: Wagtail)
- 4 Horten Ho II L “Habicht” (Eng: Hawk)
- 5 Junkers Ju 87 R-2 “Stuka”
- 6 Junkers Ju 88 G-1
- 7 Messerschmitt Bf 110 F-2
- 8 Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3
- 9 Henschel Hs 117 “Schmetterling”
- 10 Heinkel He 162 A-2 Volksjäger “Spatz”
- 11 Flugzeugrakete R4M “Orkan”
- 12 Visit the Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin
- 13 Photo Album
- 14 Featured Posts
On our trip to Berlin we had to make tough choices. There is so much to see and with just two and a half days to spend in this giant city, time was not a luxury. So, after carefull planning and running around trying to keep to the schedule, it somehow turned out that we only had one and a half hours left for this museum, before we had to catch our flight home. I can assure you, we dearly regret this, and we will return to this museum in the near future for sure.
The “Deutsches Technikmuseum” or “German Museum of Technology” in Berlin is a candy store for anyone interested in the history of technology and is even larger than the Deutsches Museum in Munich. Of course more important for us, a large part of this impressive collection is also related to WW2.
As said, time was short, so we decided to confine our focus to the Aviation exhibition, expecting to find a lot of interesting objects there in relation to the Second World War and because of the fact that this collection contains two personal favourites: the Horten Ho II L “Habicht” and the Heinkel He 162A-2 “Volksjäger”.
Arado Ar 96 B-1
This plane shows the giant leap forward in German aviation in the 1930s. A low-wing monoplane, fully constructed of metall, retractable landing gear and with a closed cabine for a pilot and a co-pilot was a big improvement compared to the bi-planes mainly constructed of wood from WW1. The Arado 96 B-1 was the standard advanced trainer of the Luftwaffe in WW2. Of the 3.400 built since 1936, only two Ar 96s remain today.
BMW 003 A1 turbojet engine
Finally we see a real version of this turbojet engine! Not many museums have this in their collection, most have it’s contemporary the Junkers Jumo 004 on display. A fate which has followed the BMW 003 around since WW2, when the jet engine was planned to be part of some major aircraft developments like the Messerschmitt Me 262 and the Horten Ho 229, but due to problems in it’s production, got replaced with the Jumo 004.
Around 450 of these BMW 003s were made after it finally became ready for mass production in 1944, with the Heinkel He 162 (featured later in this post) and the four engined type Arado Ar 234 being the only production aircraft where it became the standard engine.
Focke Achgelis Fa 330 “Bachstelze” (Eng: Wagtail)
We have seen this model gyroglider or “rotor kite” before in the Deutsches Museum Munich, but to me it’s still a mindblowing example of the ingenuity and “out-of-the-box” ideas of Germany in those days. Designed primarily as a crow’s nest at sea, it was towed behind a U-boat with a 150m long cable, capable of reaching an altitude of about 120m and increasing the line of sight of the U-boat from approx. 9 km to 45 km. The boat’s speed provided the airflow for the three rotor blades in order to take off.
As wonderfull as this all might sound, it’s practical use wasn’t very famed. It took two skilled men 20 minutes to assemble the Fa 330, which was kept in a compartiment of the U-boats tower. This made the use of it far too risky in waters where the enemy could be expected in any minute, so the glider was mainly used in the Atlantic and in the Indian Ocean.
Horten Ho II L “Habicht” (Eng: Hawk)
We were a bit disappointed finding this historical masterpiece of aircraft design tucked away in a cramped corner of the museum. It must be one of the biggest highlights of this aviaton collection and reading about the difficulty this museum has gone trough to get it here, we didn’t think the spot does it any justice. The only good thing about it is that it hangs so close to the ground that you can nearly touch it.
This predecessor to the Horten Ho 229, was built in 1937 and originally intended to be fitted with an engine. After the Horten brothers won a contract to build their flying wings for the Luftwaffe in 1943, the Ho II L “Habicht” served as a testplane for further defelopment. It is the only known excisting Ho II left in the world (but there were only 5 to begin with).
Junkers Ju 87 R-2 “Stuka”
Starting it’s career in the Spanish Civil War with the German Condor Legion, this divebomber or “Sturzkampfbomber” (hence the name Stuka) quickly became the symbol of the Nazi Blitzkrieg in WW2. Easy to identify with it’s inverted gull wings and spatted landing gear, the aircraft spread terror into those on the ground, especially with it’s later installed “Jericho” siren wailing during it’s attack dive towards the target.
Specifically designed as a strategic divebomber, the aircraft had some innovative features, like a dive break system that would automatically pull up the plane from it’s dive when the pilot had blacked out during the high accelleration, or a window in the bottom fuselage so the pilot could see his target. This displayed wreck was recoverd from Russia where it was lost in the Eastern Campaign. Around 6000 Stuka’s were built during the war. Only two complete Junkers Ju 87 remain today.
I found these pictures, which seem to be of the dispayed Ju 87 in Berlin.
Junkers Ju 88 G-1
Although the twin engined Junkers Ju 88 would prove to be useful for almost any role or task, the G version of this aircraft had an especially adapted fuselage with it’s focus on being a night fighter. It was better armed and also equipped with a standard FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2 90 MHz VHF radar using eight-dipole “Hirschgeweih” (eng: Deer antler) antennas, which were positioned on the nose (second photo).
Many Luftwaffe night fighter aces flew Junkers Ju 88s during their careers. One of them is Major Heinrich Prinz zu Sayn Wittgenstein (87 victories) who is buried at the cemetery in Ysselsteyn, the Netherlands.
Messerschmitt Bf 110 F-2
I love this characteristic Messerschmitt aircraft nose. But apart from my personal preferences, the Messerschmitt Bf 110 twin engined “Zerstörer” (Destroyer or heavy fighter) is a legendary aircraft on it’s own, claiming many victories and operating in many different roles during WW2.
The Bf 110 on display was stationed in Finland, where it was damaged during an attack and was forced to land on a frozen Lake and abandoned. The aircraft sank to the bottom of the lake when the ice melted. It was recovered in 1991 and on display here since 1997.
Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3
This Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3 was forced to land on a frozen lake on the Kola peninsula near Murmansk during the Norwegian Campaign in 1940, where it eventually sank to the bottom when the ice melted. In 1993 it was salvaged again and restored to it’s original state.
An older version of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3 (serial nr. 790, shown above here has serial nr. 1407) is on display at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. It was flown by the infamous Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War and then left there for the Spanish Airforce.
Henschel Hs 117 “Schmetterling”
The rare Henschel Hs 117 “Schmetterling” or in English “Butterfly” is a German surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile designed in 1941 by Prof. Herbert Wagner, who also designed the Henschel Hs 293 anti-ship missile (and on display in this museum). The design was put aside by the RLM because anti-aircraft defence weapons had no priority at that time.
In March 1943 however, when the Luftwaffe had lost it’s air superiority and Germany suffered heavily under the increasing Allied bombings, the RLM was in desperate need of weapons to defend itself and finally gave Henschel the contract to further develop the Hs 117 Schmetterling and make it suited for mass production (3.000 a month starting from November 1945). Around 60 experimental firings followed between May and November 1944 of which 23 were successfull. But when in January 1945 the Hs 117 prototype was finally declared fit for mass production, SS Obergruppenführer Hans Kammler, in charge of missile development (replacing Walter Dornberger from 1944), cancelled the project in the beginning of Februari. It was never deployed against the Allied Forces.
The Henschel Hs 117 navigation was radio controlled with a joystick and it’s path to the target guided visually by means of a periscope-type telescopic sight (MCLOS). It was launched from an adapted 3,7 Flak gun lafette. To lift it off and take it to cruise speed, it had two Schmidding 109-553 solid-fuel booster rockets, one on top and one underneath, which eventually fell off the missile. As a main rocket engine it had a liquid fuel BMW 109-558 delivering a constant subsonic speed. The Hs 117 was armed with a 25 kg proximity fused explosive warhead. The assymetric double nose which gives the missile it’s distinctive look, houses the electrical generator and the aerial for the proximity fuse. The cavity on the right end of the nose of this Hs 117 on display is where the propellor unit of the ectrical generator used to be. There was also an air-to-air version design called the Henschel Hs 117 “H” Schmetterling which could be fired from an aircraft.
The testing of the Henschel Hs 117 Schmetterling was largely done in the area of the V1 Catapult test stands in Peenemuende Nord near the location of the concrete V1 catapult ramp, which we visited in the summer of 2012. The stand was presumably West of the ramp based on this picture taken during a test launch.
You can find footage showing test launches of the missiles from the same location here
Heinkel He 162 A-2 Volksjäger “Spatz”
In a reaction to the Allied air superiority over Germany and the constant attacks on industrial facilities much needed for the war effort, the RLM issued a contract tender on September 10th 1944 for the development of a “Volksjäger”, a fast single engined jet fighter, which would be constructed of cheap, simple parts and non-strategic materials. The aircraft could be assembled by semi- and non-skilled labor and, bearing in mind the shortage of skilled or trained Luftwaffe pilots, should be very easy to fly. Competitors had 10 days to come up with a basic design. With the enemy closing in on all fronts, the RLM had no time to waste.
In October 1944, only three weeks after the tender was released, the Heinkel “Spatz” design entry was announced the winner of the contract. This small aircraft had a modern streamlined fuselage made of wood, a high mounted straight forward-swept wing, and an ejection seat for the pilot. The, by the requierments of the RLM, specified BMW 003 turbojet engine was constructed on top of the fuselage, just behind the cockpit, with two vertical tailfins standing at the far ends of the tailplanes to keep clear of the engines exhaust.
Under the RLM designation 8-162 (reused) the fighter was named the Heinkel He 162. The prototype flew within an astoundingly short period of time: it’s first flight was on 6 December 1944, less than 90 days after it was chosen. After this various versions were built, with a number of modifications during it’s testing phase. The first 46 produced Heinkel He 162’s were delivered to Erprobungskommando 162 or in English “Test Unit 162” in Januari 1944, after which in Februari the first operational units got their Volksjägers delivered.
In mid-April, the Heinkel He 162 flew it’s first real combat missions, and the aircraft proved itself suprisingly well. The loss of He 162’s seemed to be caused mainly by technical or operational issues rather than being shot down. Despite the hopes this might have given to the few Germans still willing to fight, it fought a lost battle and even the Volksjäger could not stop the Allied advance.
By the time Germany gave it’s unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945, a 120 He 162s had been delivered to operational units; another completed 200 were awaiting deployment or flight-testing; and about 600 more were in various stages of production at the He 162 construction facilities of Salzburg, Hinterbrühl, and Mittelwerk.
The paint on the displayed Heinkel He 162 A-2 is in poor condition and was applied in the 60’s. It does not comply with the original coating it had when the jet fighter was delivered from the factory in 1945.
Flugzeugrakete R4M “Orkan”
The first effective German air-to-air missile, with a 520 gram Hexogen warhead and a range of a 1000 meters. It was mostly fitted to the Me 262 and the Focke Wulf Fw 190 to give them more destructive power when attacking the B-17 and B-24 Flying Fortress bomber formations. These targets became harder and harder to shoot down with the conventional weaponry because of their upgraded armour. A direct hit with a R4M Orkan missile however would be fatal for almost any target.
Visit the Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin
This museum is enormous and can be pretty busy. It is also a good place for the whole family to spend, everything is very child friendly (read; proof). As we’ve already told you, we only visited the Aviation section this time, but that is just a small part of what is on display. If you would like to visit the German Museum of Technology, please visit their website for more information on the collection and opening hours: www.sdtb.de
DR-Baureihe E19 01: Nazi trains for the German Reichsbahn
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The German Reichsbahn
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