Camouflage scheme

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Fieseler Fi 103A-1

Fieseler Fi 103A-1
Code: 72042

German Fi 103, FZG 76 or V-1 missile ("Vergeltungswaffen-1") was one of several "secret weapons" with which German leader Adolf Hitler hoped to stave off disaster in the closing year of World War II. It was a simple concept, but a radical one, it was the forerunner of modern cruise missiles.

The first V-1 flew in December 1941 at Peenemünde on the southern Baltic coast. The project was given high priority by the German High Command in 1942, with Fieseler Flugzeugbau Plant in Kassel, taking the leading development role.

The V-1 was a little airplane built from non-strategic materials (wood and steel). It was powered by an Argus-Schmidt pulse jet that made a characteristic putt-putt-putt sound as it went over. The engine carried them along faster than any of the aircraft at the time, up to 400 mph. Ramp-launched by a hydrogen peroxide catapult, the V-1 could fly an average of 240 km (150 mph). They typically flew between 3 000 to 5 000 ft altitude. The missile carried a 850 kilogram (apr. 2 000 pound) high explosive warhead that was capable of causing great damage and loss of life.

The missile was armed in flight by a small propeller that, after specified number of turns, activated the warhead . As the V -1 approached its target, the engine cut out, its control vanes were inactivated and the rear-mounted spoiler or drag device deployed, pitching the missile nose-down toward the target, giving the populace only a few seconds during which to take cover.

A series of fixed launching sites were constructed on the northern coast of France and after Normandy invasion also in other sites in German-occupied western Europe (Denmark, Holland and Germany). However, German planning did not take into account a strong bomber and fighter-bomber offensive against the V-1 launch sites. This forced the Germans into creating mobile launch sites and launching some from Heinkel He-111 bombers.

In fact, the British quickly became expert at spotting and shooting them down, only 25 % of the V-1s hit their target. They established defensive zones, first were the fighters (Mosquitos, Spitfires and Typhoons) over the English channel. Skilled Allied flyers either gunned the missile down or used their slipstream from their aircraft to create turbulence which resulted in the Fi 103 losing stability and crashing. British also came a thick zone of heavy AA guns equipped with the first radar proximity fuses, than a zone of light AA guns and finally barrage balloons. They also publicized inaccurate informations on impact points, causing the Germans to adjust their preflight calculations erroneously. As a result, V-1 often fell well short of their intended targets.

The first offensive launch was on June 12, 1944. More than 10 000 of the missile were launched against London from June 12, 1944 to March 29, 1945, with about 2 400 hitting their target areas. A smaller number were fired against Antverp (8600), Lutych (3100) and Brusel (150) in Belgium.

V-1s were built in large series in several and that's way there were differed appearance. The Fi 103/A1 and the Fi 103/A1 differentiated in the fashion of the front part with warhead. There were built approximately 32.000 of the V-1 missile. In the end of the war and especially after them V-1 was copied and tested in several countries: in the U.S.A. (JB-2 of USAF and LTV-N-2 of US Navy), France (Arsenal 5501 and CT-10), Sweden (Robot 315) and the U.S.S.R. (10Ch and twin-engined D-5).

Wingspan: cca 5,3 m
Lenght: cca 7,9 m
Start weight: cca 2200 kg
Weight of the warhead: 850 kg
Engine thrust in the sea level: 3,5 kN
Speed: 560 to 640 km
Ceiling: 2600 m
Range: cca 240 km


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