.: Bob Williams' 1/72nd Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet

Evolved from the pioneering aerodynamic research of Dr. Alexander Lippisch, the rocket powered Messerschmitt 163 Komet was designed as a stopgap to stem the flood of allied bombers over Germany in the remaining months of World War II.

Of mixed construction, metal fuselage and wooden wings, the Me 163 was designed for easy fabrication and reduced dependence on scarce wartime resources. Designed for the sole objective of attacking allied bomber formations the semi-delta wing Me 163B was powered by a 3,748 lb. thrust Walter rocket motor which allowed it to reach a level speed of 596 mph with sufficient fuel for 8 to 10 minutes of powered flight.

Armament consisted of two 30 mm MK108 cannon, 24 underwing rockets, or four vertically discharged rockets fired by a photoelectric cell as the Komet flew into the shadow beneath an enemy bomber.

With limited duration and range (50 miles) the Me 163 functioned as a pure interceptor. After take-off the Komet would jettison the trolley style main wheels and use its amazing 11800 feet per minute climb rate to rapidly climb above the allied bomber formations. From here the pilot could execute one or two extremely high speed attacks where he would have approximately 3 seconds to aim and discharge his weapons. It was hoped that the extremely high speed of the Komet would render it virtually impervious to defensive fire from the bombers. After the rocket fuel was expended, the unpowered Me 163 would glide back to its base and land on an extended under-fuselage skid. Unfortunately, the slow and sluggish Me 163 glider was an easy target for marauding allied fighter planes.

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