In an effort to explain the notable absence of the German air force on all fronts of the war, reports coming out of Germany tell of a complete reorganization of the Nazi airplane industry to build planes based on the Blohm and Voss BV-141 asymmetrical design.
The Germans seem to feel that this design. when their plants reach full production again, will be sufficient to offset the growing Anglo-American air offensive. The original plane, described in an earlier issue of Aviation, featured a long engine nacelle with normal rudder and a half stabilizer and rudder, with the pilot's and observer's nacelle perched out on the wing. This plane never saw actual service in combat zones, however, and the sudden silence which enveloped it after preliminary tests may point to major faults in the design.
Rational review of the announcement also makes it extremely unlikely that even the Germans would suddenly cancel their whole production program, which has brought out some planes which can be classed among the better types now in combat service and then swing over to a new and untested type at a time critical to their home defense. It is more likely that Nazi plants are seriously disorganized by air attacks, and that the announcement is for home consumption to stop German questions about the Luftwaffe.
Infuriated by the devastating raids on Berlin by the RAF and other blows by the USAAF on such important centers as Wilhelmshaven, the German radio threatens that American cities may feel the weight of German bombs this summer.
While this admittedly is more propaganda than anything else, it is well known that the Germans have several types of bombers now in production which could fly over to this country with medium loads of bombs, even if they might not get back.
As the Nazi position grows more desperate on all fronts, most experts believe that some suicide raids will be attempted on the United States East Coast, perhaps using the new Heinkel He-177 and a long-distance version of the Junkers Ju-90, which has been revamped with a new tail and new wings since its catastrophic debut during the invasion of Holland.
Large airports have been reported constructed both in Norway and France, with two-mile runways pointing out to sea in the general great circle route to the American continent. These airports are undoubtedly for the primary purpose of convoy attacks, the length of the runways being necessary for some German planes used for these raids, which have wing loadings running over 60 lb/sq ft. But the possibility of their use to get planes into the air headed for American industrial centers should not be discounted.
There is a further possibility that either catapult-ship- or submarine-based aircraft may be used for token hit-and-run attacks on American cities, and the experience many German crews had in flying their four-engined planes in and out of Port Washington Bay should not be forgotten.
Anent use by the Nazis of modified "rocket" engines to assist takeoffs of heavily loaded bombers, it is pointed out that some of the latest German planes have wing loadings at full load approaching 60 lb/sq ft, or some 50 percent over what we consider a safe limit in this country.
This fact highlights the need for extra takeoff power on those runways which are not two and three miles long, like those used for the Kuriers in France and Norway.
Besides this use of jet propulsion, study of planes downed in England indicates that some sort of mechanical towline is also employed. Moreover, it is also possible that the Nazis are using catapults, with which they are highly experienced, to get 30,000-lb+ planes into the air from hidden points.
These news clips were originally published in the "Aviation Abroad" column of the April, 1943, issue of Aviation magazine, vol 42, no 4, pp 311-312.