Fieseler Fi.103R Reichenberg
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Fieseler Fi.103R Reichenberg

SS officer Otto Skorzeny is credited with the idea of a piloted version of the V-1 flying bomb able to make precision attacks, and design began before the first unguided V-1s fell on London in June 1944. To study why many test V-1s crashed soon after launch an earlier piloted version was tested. Two pilots were injured before famed woman test pilot Hanna Reitsch confirmed that the engine noise was vibrating the airframe off course. The operational manned V-1, also called the Reichenberg IV, was not intended as a suicide weapon, unlike the Japanese "Ohka", although in practice the distinction would have been narrow. The 100 volunteers who signed up to fly the bombs were known unofficially as 'Selbstopfermaenner' or 'Self-sacrifice Men'. Although about 70 Reichenberg IVs were built for use by special unit KG 200, none were actually used operationally and development stopped in October 1944.

Fieseler Fi.103R Reichenberg

 ENGINE1 x Argus 109-014 pulse-jet, 350kg
    Wingspan5.72 m19 ft 9 in
    Length8.0 m26 ft 3 in
    Height1.42 m5 ft 8 in
    Max. speed650 km/h404 mph

Fieseler Fi.103R ReichenbergA three-view drawing (1000 x 488)

Andy, 27.03.2016

I remember my Grandfather telling me about these. He told me that he was part of a unit that actually captured one in France after D Day

sven, 10.12.2015

IRONWRENCH. Thank you for an interesting and well informed comment. A V1 complete with launch ramp may be seen at IWM DUXFORD.

Ironwrench, 10.12.2015

"and then bail out, somehow avoiding the sucking intake of the pulse jet behind him."


You have confused the turbine jet engine with the pulse jet engine. There is no "sucking intake" on a pulse jet. Combustion is sustained by ram air operating a set of spring loaded shutters that rapidly open and close from ram air impacting the shutters.

A pulse jet must travel at nominal speed to produce thrust efficiently. The reason the V-1 was a rail-launched weapon was because the pulse jet generated insufficient thrust for takeoff. However, the V-1's resonant jet could operate while stationary on the launch ramp, but thrust was very nominal. The steam catapult produced the airspeed necessary for the Argus to produce flight-sustaining thrust. Air launch from an He-111 achieved the same result.

By contrast, a jet engine's compressor section does produce tremendous suction as it draws in increasing amounts of air air to sustain combustion. A jet engine will pick up debris off the tarmac. Thus jets are provided with an FOD device that shoots a stream of bleed air in font of the open nacelle to blow away debris that would damage turbine blades.

That said, a fair amount of gasses exit the intake of a pulse jet as hot, expanding gasses escape before the shutters, or "valves" can close. Therefore, I would think a pilot, not wanting to face that flaming inferno with a parachute exit, would resort to the simple answer of shutting the engine down and rolling the aircraft over to drop away from the cockpit.

Try imagining yourself in that place for a moment. Flying a jet propelled bomb to a target and then executing the roll and bail-out maneuver somewhere over enemy territory. Wheeee - HAH!

chris lomas, 11.02.2014

Wings were made of wood.Had ailerons on this one.This one was dropped from a plane and not a ramp.

Mark, 13.06.2013

Example of this can be seen at Headcorn Airfield Kent


Für einen Modellbauer ein schönes Objekt.Allein schon um die älteren Nachbarn zu erschrecken.
gruß aus Franken, Germany

, 20.06.2011

Fieseler Fi.103R Reichenberg

Rob, 13.12.2010

A fellow modeler built a RC version in the late '70's. It had a small pulse jet engine (Jetex?) he got from England. It was about 200dB while I held the thing back during final checks. I let go on his command and it disappeared trailing white smoke over the horizon toward Monterey Bay in about 4 seconds. We never found or heard anything of it again. His next project (a JATO Aero Commander 500) fared no better, but we found the pieces. The 103 could have only worked with an ejection system, but pity the pilot captured immediately after a successful mission. I remember the poor aircrew captured immediately after the sinking of the Kaga, Akagi, and Soryu, not to mention the Doolittle Raid. But all POW rules were off when Bushido was involved. As to RC, you could not go strict scale (insane wing loading), but if you went for an impression (longer wings and slightly larger control surfaces) and built super light, but if you're experienced enough with RC to be able to scratch build and fly it you already know all that. I've thought about a ramp launched Estes powered glider. It would have to be fairly large for any RC project and too twitchy to enjoy.

MJD, 31.07.2010

Spaced-Monkey - Hanna Reitsch was a test pilot, not a fighter pilot. There are many exaggerated stories about her out there. She was not the first to fly the Fi103R either, the third I think, but the first to land it safely as she was a top notch glider pilot as opposed to a fighter pilot like the two guys who banged themselves up badly in prior Fi103R test flights. The vehicle had a very high wing loading, was not meant to be manouverable, and the engine was usually crapped out after 25 minutes of run time. Not to mention the terrible vibration and noise. It was not a viable fighter, the chief role of the manned V1's flown in that program was to investigate why a bunch of V-1's went in shortly after launch. "Flying for the Fatherland" is a very interesting read, it is a biography of Hanna Reitsch and an interesting viewpoint esp. of the last days in Hitler's bunker.

David Rushton, 21.12.2009

Any one out there; I am looking to build a r/c aircraft of this. I've seen and heard of one but, found ZIP. Any info, drop me a e-mail! Make a nice First Ducted Fan air craft. Yes I am INSAIN.

Jim Lloyd, 13.03.2009

Hannah Reitsch

spaced_monkey, 20.01.2009

@Aero-Fox a female test pilot(can't remember her name)piloted the V1 to see if it shape was viable missile. she flew several allied planes into the ground and return to base not having been hit once. The size of the control surfaces is linked to the overall size of the vehicle, smaller the vehicle the smaller the control surfaces have to be.

Pierre Koreman, 12.07.2008

Who have a good picture from the cockpit of the Reichenberg?
Thanks in advance

Aero-Fox, 17.04.2008

I'm afraid it would have been rather useless in that roll. It was fast, but not faster than the more modern piston-engined fighters. Plus, it had TINY control surfaces (which weren't designed for much beyond cruise flight, certainly not aerobatics), which would have given it abysmal maneuverability.

THE WHO, 25.03.2008


THE WHO, 25.03.2008


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© A simple bead sight supposedly aided target lineup, and dive angles marked on the side windo' provided the pilot lastminute reading before he left his mount to its fate.

© The Reichenberg IV had only basic instrumentation and could supposedly be flown after minimal training training. The cockpit had only four instruments.

© Having reached his target, the pilot was supposed to aim accurately and then bail out, somehow avoiding the sucking intake of the pulse jet behind him. There was no landing gear.

© The nose of the Fi 103R-IV was packed with 800kg of explosives.

© On operations the piloted flying bomb would have been carried and launched in pairs from modified Heinkel He 111 bombers.

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