This book is a revised and updated combined edition of the two volumes on the Me 163 which have long been out of print. This meticulously researched history of the Luftwaffe’s innovative yet daunting rocket-powered interceptor draws on rare archival and private sources, along with recollections of many former pilots who flew this radical aircraft. It provides the most thorough record available of the design, development and operational history of a remarkable aircraft.
The origins and development of early rocket-powered and tailless aircraft are traced from the late 19th century to the interwar years, as well as the test programme at Peenemünde and ensuing missions flown by Erprobungskommando 16. Following a study of Me 163 production, the authors then present a detailed diary of point-defence combat operations conducted against the Allied air forces over north-west Europe in 1944-45 using the Me 163 by Jagdgeschwader 400.
There is a study of late-war training by the Ergänzungsstaffel/JG 400 and IV./EJG 2, and for the first time, the story of the little-known Italian involvement with the German rocket fighter. The reader is also offered a detailed overview of Me 163-based design projects and planned swept-wing and ultra-high speed development, as well as the story of Allied, Japanese, French and Soviet post war testing.
Along with hundreds of rare photographs, Me 163 is enriched by specially commissioned colour artwork and many detailed technical drawings, ensuring this work stands as the principal reference source on fabled Me 163.