a bit of hunting lead to me finding and purchasing a book entitled “Aerostatische Flugkörper, schwerer als Luft" ("Aerostatic missiles, heavier than air”) by Bernhard de Temple - a German professor who worked on a number of academic, professional and personal aerostatic projects between about 1982 to 2005 - and who died in April of this year.
There are several outlandish and grand designs among his work, and I ‘ll be posting a number of these over the next few days.
Gustav Mesmer, “the Icarus of Lautertal”
"taken during the Battle of Britain was this shot of Friedrich Müller in front of his III./JG53 Bf 109E (two victories). He was killed in a landing accident on 29th May 1944 after achieving 140 victories..” (via)
"This tortoise with the painted cross has become a talisman of a squadron in the South East"(?) (via)
""Return after combat" it said on the back of these two pictures. the exhausted face and the wet hair shows that it, as always, was a matter of life or death. Summer 1940" (via)
(The pilot, Gustav “Micky” Sprick, recorded nine victories during the Battle of Britain. He died in June 1941 - the right wing of his aircraft separating during a dogfight with Royal Air Force fighters over France)
"Still from camera gun footage shot from a North American Mustang Mark III flown by Flying Officer J Butler of No. 65 Squadron RAF, as he shot down a Focke Wulf Fw 190D of II/JG26 which was attempting to attack an Avro Lancaster (banking, left), during a daylight raid by Bomber Command on the Gremberg railway yards at Cologne, Germany.” (via)
"April 15 was Osterkamp’s birthday…and he invited me to come over. As a present I packed a huge basket of lobsters with the necessary bottles of champagne into my ME-109F and took off, with Oberfeldwebel Westphal piloting the companion plane. Again it was too tempting not to make a little detour on the way and to pay a visit to England.
Soon I spotted a single Spitfire. After a wild chase fate decided in my favour. My tough opponent crashed in flames in a little village west of Dover. A few moments later we saw a flight of Spitfires climbing ahead of us. One of them lagged behind the formation. I approached him unnoticed and shot him to smithereens from a very short distance. We flew right on close to the formation, where I shot down a third Spitfire, which I nearly rammed. I was unable to observe the crash.
Westphal was now in a good firing position but suddenly all his guns jammed. Now it was time to bolt as the Spitfires waded in on us. Throttle full open in a power dive down to the Channel! We were heavily attacked. Westphal was noticeably faster than I. Something was wrong with my crate.
As I came in to land at Le Touquet the ground staff waved frantically and fired red light signals. At last Iunderstood their gestures: I had nearly made an involuntary crash landing. When I worked the
mechanism to let down the undercarriage it did not go down but retracted instead. It must have been down the whole time. I must have touched the button with my knee during the action over England. I remembered that I had had to do some readjusting and that the flying properties of the plane had definitely changed.
Lobster and champagne bottles were safe. Hunter’s luck! Together with the report of the Spitfires I handed the birthday present to Osterkamp…”
”..The classic engagement of the day [21st March 1945] occurred later that day when Capt Sedvert observed an Me 262 at only 500ft flying over Ostofen. He dived on the jet just as it dropped a bomb on the town, and good strikes were seen on the fuselage, slowing its speed considerably as it crossed the Rhine River.
Sedvert then pulled up astern of his target, only to find that he was out of ammunition. He drew up alongside the jet and became furious when the German pilot thumbed his nose at him. Sedvert rolled back his canopy and emptied his 0.45 pistol in the direction of his foe with no result. He continued to follow the Me 262 all the way to Wiesental where he watched it belly in..” (via)
(image - not of the same incident - via)