Bachem Ba 349 Natter

1945

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Bachem Ba 349 Natter

The desperate concept behind the Bachem Natter (Hummingbird) was that young pilots with little or no training would be launched vertically at US bomber formations and blow them apart with a powerful battery of rockets. With no method of landing, the pilot would then bale out, he and the rocket motor descending by parachute for further use (if either could be found again). Several unmanned launches were made and reputedly five manned ones. The first pilot was killed when the canopy came off and struck his head. The SS was more enthusiastic about the idea than the Luftwaffe and wanted 150 of the planned 200 Natters for themselves. Only about 36 were completed and 10 aircraft actually readied for launch. Fortunately for the pilots, American tanks neared the launch site and the aircraft were destroyed.

FACTS AND FIGURES

Erich Bachem had first proposed his rocket-powered interceptor in 1939, but received little official encouragement.

For the first unpowered flight, the Natter was carried to 5500m beneath an He 111.

Unmanned test launches were carried out with a dummy pilot in the cockpit.

The improved Ba 349B had a rocket motor of increased endurance, but only three were produced before VE Day.

In the combat zone the streamlined nosecone would be jettisoned and a battery of 24 unguided rockets exposed. After they were fired, the entire nose would be detached and the pilot flung out by the deceleration from the recovery parachute.

The Natter was constructed mainly of wood, using a furniture hinge for the canopy - which broke off on the first manned flight.

The tail section containing the valuable rocket motor would descend by parachute after use and be recovered for another mission.

The Natter had four booster rocket motors for its launch and was on autopilot until it reached combat altitude. The sustainer rocket was good for 70 seconds of full thrust, but could be varied in power to give longer endurance.

Bachem Ba 349 Natter

Specification 
 CREW1
 ENGINE1 x 1700kg Walter 109 rocket engine
 WEIGHTS
  Take-off weight2200 kg4850 lb
 DIMENSIONS
  Wingspan3.60 m12 ft 10 in
  Length6.10 m20 ft 0 in
 PERFORMANCE
  Max. speed800 km/h497 mph

3-View 
Bachem Ba 349 NatterA three-view drawing (1677 x 1167)

Comments
Mark, e-mail, 05.12.2011 00:00

Ta-183: You are obviously referring to the X-5 being copied from the Messerschmidt p.1110 rather than this horrific piece of junk. While the 1110 was a beautiful-looking aircraft, it was built out of parts from other aircraft and never flown. The X-5 was built from the ground up as a new aircraft using the 1110 as a baseline, and it not only flew but provided vast amounts of data which was used in US aircraft development for decades.

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Dan, e-mail, 05.08.2011 11:20

I was just lucky enough to get to see a perfect replica of the Ba-349 at the Chino Hills California "Planes of Fame" museum. It is a full-scale high quality replica.They also have a Komet and a Volksjager there.

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Ralph Laino, e-mail, 05.04.2011 04:04

They have one in Polk City Florida at "Fantasy of Flight"
an aviation museum owned by collector Kermit Weeks.

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mike, e-mail, 28.12.2010 09:20

The only pictures which I have seen this craft all bear a swastika. They weren't shy about saying "hell yeah this is our shit"

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Ta-183 Huckebein, 02.07.2010 21:56

The Natter was designed to launch R4M high-velocity rockets at B-29s and maybe even B-42s at the end of the war. Its funny that a marvelous plane like the Ba 349 was copied for the that sad excuse of a jet..... the X-5.

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Baron von Peter, e-mail, 01.03.2008 14:08

Th rocket-fighter

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BRI'AN CHEN, e-mail, 23.02.2008 13:28

DANKE!Bachem Ba 349 BESTMANN!

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Cardinal Sin, 21.02.2008 02:26

Natters did not carry even the swastikas because they were considered as ammunition, not planes...

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G Davis, e-mail, 11.09.2007 21:45

It's not too had to figure out where the Allies got their aircraft designs after the war, for sure the Germans were well ahead of military Aircraft design when you see some of the aircraft that were on the drawing board! some of todays fighters look like some of the German designs of ww-2,It's just too bad they rarely get credit for it!

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Tim, e-mail, 08.08.2007 03:16

One correction-- "Natter" translates to "Viper", not "Hummingbird".

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