Aeroplane Monthly 1978-04
H.Levy - American war booty
A demonstration of Henschel Hs 129B FE-4600 at Freeman Field. A single-seat ground attack bomber with a pair of 690 h.p. Gnome-Rhone 14M radial engines, the Hs 129 first became operational with the Luftwaffe in 1942, during the Crimean fighting, and the type also served in North Africa. Greatest success was achieved in the anti-tank role. Normal armament comprised two 20mm MG151 cannon and two 7-9mm MG17 machine guns, with provision for a pair of 110lb bombs or two containers holding 48 anti-personnel weapons apiece. FE-4600 was the B1/R2 variant, equipped with an additional 30mm MK101 cannon in the fuselage.
A side view of Hs 129B1/R2 FE-4600. Owing to its ground-attack role, the Hs 129 was heavily armoured. Total production of all variants had reached 841 by the time production ceased in the summer of 1944. FE-4000, now the world's only surviving example of the type, albeit incomplete, is kept at the Victory Air Museum, Paul Polidori, Mundelein, Illinois.
Messerschmitt Me 410A-3 Hornisse FE-499 is also stored by the NASM. A two-seat reconnaissance aircraft, the Hornisse was powered by two Daimler-Benz DB 603A inverted vee engines of 1,750 h.p. each. As well as four fixed and free guns, two more were mounted in the blister fairings on the fuselage sides.
The first Me 262 to be brought to the USA for evaluation was Me 262A-2a (Wrk Nr 111711), delivered to the Americans at Rhein-Main airfield in March 1945 by test pilot Haris Fay. It was used for high-speed tests.
Messerschmitt Me 262A-1 FE-110 at Freeman Field. The troughs for the four nose-mounted MK 108 30mm cannon have been faired over.
Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a/U1 FE-610 (Wrk Nr 110639), seen at Freeman Field, was used for trials of its Lichtenstein SN-2 (FuG 220) interception radar and Hirschgeweih ("antlers") antennae, seen in close-up right. The twin under-fuselage auxiliary tanks are well shown. This aircraft survives, and is displayed at Willow Grove Naval Air Station, Pennsylvania.
Seen at Freeman Field, the Focke-Wulf Ta 152H-1 later became FE-112. Powered by the 1,750 h.p. Junkers Jumo 213E-1 12-cylinder liquid-cooled vee in-line engine, the Ta 152 was a high performance, high altitude fighter with a pressurised cockpit and high aspect ratio wings of 47ft 4 1/2in span. Armament normally comprised a 30mm MK 108 engine-mounted cannon firing through the spinner, and a 20mm MG 151 cannon in the fuselage. FE-112 is now with the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
The Flettner Fl 282-B V19 prototype, CI-IW, with modified nose and tailplane. This two-seat helicopter with an intermeshing pair of two-bladed rotors was powered by a 160 h.p. BMW-Bramo Sh 14A radial engine. The second crew member, an observer, was accommodated in a rearward-facing seat behind the engine.
Junkers Ju 388K Stortebeker FE-4010, Wrk Nr 880430650 at Freeman Field, was said to be one of Germany's best after evaluation by ASTC technicians. A twin-engined night fighter and bomber with a crew of four, its cabin was pressurised by a turbo supercharger above 8,000ft. Engines were 1,650 h.p. BMW 801 PJ 14-cylinder two-row air-cooled radials. Armament comprised two 20mm MG151 cannon and two 30mm MK 108 cannon in the forward fuselage, two upward-firing 20mm MG151 cannon in the fuselage, and two 13mm MG 131 cannon in the remote-controlled tail turret. The bomb bay accommodated 6,600lb of bombs, and another 1,100lb could be carried underwing. This aircraft also survives with the NASM.
Another Freeman Field exhibit which is still with us is Arado Ar234B-1/b Blitz FE-1010 (W. Nr 623167, Luftwaffe 140312), again stored by the Smithsonian. Powered by a pair of Junkers Jumo 004B axial-flow turbojets rated at 1,980lb s.t., this variant was an unarmed single-seat reconnaissance aircraft. The B-1s became operational in the autumn of 1944, and 201 B variants were built. With a speed of 471 m.p.h. at 19,700ft and a service ceiling of 37,700ft, the Blitz was an excellent aeroplane, and claims the title of the world's first operational jet bomber.