[image credit - wikipedia.org]
What do you do with worn out aircraft? You fill them with explosives and use them as guided bombs. Using a simpler solution then the Americans when faced with the same problem the Germans also found better uses for their warn out bomber.
As you saw earlier this week the American Air Force attempted to take worn out bombers and use them as guided missiles. This wasn’t successful for the US Air Force and managed to kill a few pilots in the process. While the American’s went with a very technical approach to the problem that involved the pilot bailing out of the aircraft, the Germans went with a very different take on the same issue.
The two approaches were very different from each other. For example where the American bomber was loaded with 20,000 pounds of torpex explosive the German version had two tons of explosives in the nose placed as a shaped charge. This would allow it to penetrate seven feet into it’s target. The American version went for brute force, the German version for precision. Next where the American bomber was remotely controlled, the German version was attached to a parasite fighter. When the bomber was over target explosive bolts would fire and seperate the two aircraft while the German bomber went down towards it’s target. This allowed the pilot far better odds to get back home then Operation Aphrodite had for it’s pilots.
In operation the Mistel was only partially effective with a record of sinking a ship and partially damaging a bridge. Like the American version though the results weren’t worth the efforts placed into it’s development.
Where there are straight parralells between Operation Aphrodite and modern cruise missiles the same can not be said of Mistel. What makes this more unusual is that the Americans went with a higher tech approach then the Germans. Which was reversed of the normal procedures for each country. Because of this the Mistel had a better service record then it’s American counterpart. In this day and age you would never see this since we just refurbish and reuse instead of innovate and replace.
[images unless otherwise noted - http://www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org]