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Lightning In The Sky

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Here’s a P38 Lightning flying somewhere fast.

The Germans feared this thing, they called it ‘der Gabelschwanz-Teufel’ (fork-tailed devil)

The Japanese called it ‘2飛行機、1パイロット Ni hikōki, ippairotto’ (two planes one pilot)

A heavy fighter, it’s rate of roll was far too slow to be used effectively as a fighter, especially against the ultra nimble, single engined Japanese Zeros and the German Me’s.

But it had some bloody good uses. Dive bombing, night patrol (because it’s twin engines were very quiet due to the exhaust being muffled by the turbochargers), reconnaissance and pathfinding, and also it’s the coolest looking plane of all of World War 2,

except perhaps for this odd little beauty……..

Ho.229

This right here, is the Ho.229. That’s right, the Germans managed to design and build the very first jet powered stealth aircraft….in 1944 for Christ’s sake!

These planes were not very successful at all, most certainly because they were the very first planes of their type ever made, and because the war and funds and resources were very scarce in 1944 for the Germans. They tried redesigns and such, but they ditched it quite quickly, pretty much when they realized that 3 million Russians were marching towards Berlin from the East and close to a million Allied troops were marching towards Berlin from the West!

I know what you’re thinking and yes it’s true; the designers of the U.S. B2 Stealth Bomber studied the few remaining versions of this Ho.229 in vast detail to get inspiration and design hints for their B2.

Without ww2, where would we be technology wise? We’d probably just be figuring out how to build the first computers right now!

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