Fieseler Fi 103R – Reichenberg – a German V1 based Suicide Jet
Like the Japanese manned kamikaze missile Yokosuka MXY-7 OHKA; the German Luftwaffe had their own suicide aircraft. The Fieseler Fi 103R – nicknamed “Reichenberg” was a converted V1 pulsejet missile. It had room for a Luftwaffe pilot making it a manned air to surface missile. The Reichenberg’s were part of the Leonidas Squadron of Kampfgeschwader 200. This Wing of the Luftwaffe was set up as suicide squadron.
Two Fieseler Fi 103R’s could be flown at once towards their objective underwing a He 111 bomber. The Heinkel would release the Fieselers midair, and the pilots would ignite the pulsejet and guide their jet, their manned missile, towards the designated target, most likely killing the pilot. The pilot should bail out just before impact, that was the idea, but due to the location of the Jet engine, just behind the canopy and the pilot, success was thought to be very slim. The German Luftwaffe would lose a pilot even though the escape from the Fieseler Fi 103R was successful for the pilot would parachute down on enemy territory.
It’s first flight was in September 1944 but when Werner Baumbach assumed command of Kampfgeschwader KG 200 in October 1944, he stopped the suicide project. Together with Albert Speer he managed to convince Adolf Hitler that suicide missions had no part in the German warrior Tradition.
The Fieseler Fi 103R – Reichenberg was photographed in the Dutch National Military Museum (NMM) for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands. On this occasion the museum borrowed vehicles and weaponry from other museums, the Reichenberg became part of the permanent collection.