Aviation Historian 2
R.Forsyth - Into the Dragon's Lair
A pair of Mistel S2s of II./KG 200 in flight from Burg to Tirstrup on February 14, 1945, were caught on this poor-quality but rare guncamera footage taken from the North American P-51 Mustang of Lt Bernard Howes of the USAAF’s 55th Fighter Group, which accounted for at least one Mistel shot down that day.
A Danish officer poses for a photograph in front of a heavily camouflaged Mistel S2 at Tirstrup in June 1945. Note the Ju 88’s missing props and spinners, probably removed for spares. Reportedly evidence was found of a plan to build an Fw 190/V1 flying-bomb combination, but it is unlikely this proceeded beyond the proposal stage.
Mistel at a Luftwaffe base that has fallen into Allied hands in 1945. Had it been used earlier and in greater numbers, the Mistel “piggyback” combination may have proved to be a decisively destructive - if somewhat blunt - piece of military hardware.
A Mistel S2 (Fw 190A or F atop a Ju 88G-1, in this case WNr 714533) of 6./KG 200 beside its woodland dispersal site at Tirstrup in the spring of 1945.
The Junkers/Focke-Wulf Composite Aircraft, the lower component being a Ju 88H with long fuselage.
Both a brilliant piece of technical ingenuity and a symbol of the Luftwaffe’s increasing desperation as the tide of war turned against Germany, the Mistel concept was initially tried with a Messerschmitt Bf 109 atop a DFS 230 glider in 1943.
Riedl’s Mistel 2, “Red 12”, at Tirstrup in Denmark in early 1945. A warhead has been fitted to Ju 88G-1 WNr 714050, suggesting an imminent operation.
The Ju 88 component of Feldwebel Riedl’s Mistel was painted in a standard finish of RLM 76 (Lichtblau - Light Blue) overall with a mottling of RLM 75 (Grauviolett - Grey Violet). The Fw 190 component’s colour scheme comprised RLM 76 on the underside with a modified camouflage using RLM 75 and RLM 74 (Grungrau - Grey Green) on the wings and a mottling of RLM 75 on the fuselage, fin and rudder. The number on the Ju 88’s rudder is a Reparaturwerkstatt, or works conversion number, applied at the Junkers conversion works at Nordhausen.
Looking like a malevolent shrew, a warhead containing 1,700kg (3,750lb) of explosives is hoisted up by a winch and chains to be fitted to the fuselage bulkhead of a Ju 88. After the warhead was attached the composite was towed to the take-off position as the pilot of the fighter could not operate the brakes of the lower component.
Luftwaffe groundcrew, probably of Einsatzgruppe 101, at Burg in the autumn of 1944. The Ju 88 has its nose section removed, exposing the bulkhead to which the hollow-charge warhead would be fitted. Removal of the cockpit and fitting of the warhead took a day and required a team of six mechanics, two armourers and a crane.
A superb photograph of former Luftwaffe groundcrew at work on the Ju 88G lower component of a captured Mistel belonging to II./KG 200 at Tirstrup in mid-1945. The name Mistel was used possibly because the parasitic plant takes nourishment from its host tree, in the same way the Mistel’s upper component took fuel from the lower.
Three Mistel lower components at Tirstrup in mid-1945 after falling into Allied hands. Note that the support struts for the upper component fighters have been left in place. The Ju 88 in the foreground has had British Air Ministry markings applied to its fuselage and tail as well as RAF roundels.
Fighter variants of the Mosquito were formidably armed, the four 0·303in Browning machine-guns in the nose, together with four 20mm cannon mounted under the cockpit floor, packing quite a punch. This is the Mosquito F.II fighter prototype, W4052, during the making of the 1944 promotional film de Havilland Presents the Mosquito.
A typically dynamic portrait of a de Havilland Mosquito FB.VI of No 143 Sqn by aviation photography legend Charles E. Brown. The FB.VI was a combination of the F.II fighter variant’s airframe fitted with the strengthened wing incorporated into bomber variants of the type, giving the Mosquito the agility of a fighter and the ability to carry a meaningful bombload. This example is seen with wing-mounted rocket projectile (RP) rails, RPs being used to devastating effect by the Banff Strike Wing, of which No 143 Sqn was a part.
A pair of Mosquito FB.VIs of the Fighter Experimental Flight in their revetments at the northeast corner of Ford airfield in Sussex in late 1944.
Pilots of the FEF line up for a snapshot taken by John Waters at Ford in early 1945. Seen with the Flight’s CO, Sqn Ldr Bob Kipp (fifth from left), are three of the four aircrew who took part in the Tirstrup raid of February 14: Flt Lt Tony Craft (furthest left), Fg Off Roy Le Long (fourth from right) and Fg Off “Mac” McLaren (third from right).