Fieseler Fi 103 Re4 “Reichenberg” manned V-1 rocket

Fieseler Fi 103R V1
Fiesler Fi 103 R manned V1 hanging in the hallway of the entrance building of La Coupole V-2 Museum – photo 2010

This Fieseler Fi 103 Re4 was a manned version of the Fieseler Fi 103 or V-1 rocket and meant to be a human guided 2,000 lbs bomb. The pilot was expected to bail out of the aircraft with a parachute just moments before the rocket’s impact. These pilots were volunteers and aware of the risk to their own lives.
It is a “Wasserlaufer” variant of the Reichenberg, aimed for use against Naval targets. The rocket has no warhead which makes it look more like an aircraft than a V-1 buzz bomb.

During September 1944, the first real flight was performed at Erprobungsstelle Rechlin (testgrounds), where it was released from a Heinkel He 111. The test flight ended in a crash. Luckily, before the Reichenberg rockets were put into service, the development was halted at the direct order of Hitler in October 1944, who was persuaded by Albert Speer and Werner Baumbach not to pursue suicide attacks.

Read more about the development and the history of the V-1 Reichenberg or it’s Japanese sister, the Yokosuka MXY-7 OHKA.

Fieseler Fi 103R Reichenberg
Fieseler Fi 103R Reichenberg V1 at La Coupole – photo 2010

A gift to the City of Antwerp

This particular Reichenberg was a gift to the City of Antwerp from General Clare Hibbs Armstrong, who was the commanding officer of the 50th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade during the air defense of Antwerp in World War Two. His brigade destroyed 97% of all V-1 flying bombs aimed at the Antwerp harbor docking facilities that supplied the 12th and 21st Army Groups.
After the war Armstrong presented the city with this aircraft that was captured in Germany and so new that it was still partly in it’s original packaging. It was assembled by US Army specialists to put on display for the people of Antwerp. But soon after, the precious gift was stored away and left to it’s fate, until 1994 when it was reassembled and painted for an exhibition about the war.

From 1998, this Fieseler Fi 103 Re4 “Reichenberg” is on display in the entrance hall of La Coupole V-2 Museum in Helfaut-Wizernes, France. The museum has it on a permanent loan from the City of Antwerp.

Fieseler Fi 103R Reichenberg V1
Fieseler Fi 103R Reichenberg V1 – photo 2010

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