Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet


The Luftwaffe tried many experimental designs throughout World War II.  The Me-163 rocket plane, with a top speed of around six hundred miles an hour, was one such plane.  To make it lightweight, the landing gear would be jettisoned on take-off and the plane would land on a wooden ski.  Powered by a rocket engine with limited fuel capacity it had a very limited flight duration and would glide in for an unpowered landing.  The plane’s purpose was to streak into American bomber formations, do as much damage as possible and then return to base.  Dangerous to fly and dangerous to fuel, it suffered more casualties from accidents than it did from combat.

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