Bachem’s Real-Life Model Rocket

When one thinks of rockets, the first thing that comes to mind is usually a typical space rocket, like a Delta class or even the immortal mega-lifter, the Saturn V. These huge, metal monsters impress with a size and power made all the more impressive with their relative safety and reliability. However, it wasn’t always that way…

The first vertically launched, manned rocket was developed in Germany in WWII. No, it wasn’t some weird version of the V2/A4, but the Bachem BP-20 (Ba-349) Natter. This was a tiny point defence interceptor, powered by the same dangerous and temperamental rocket motor as the notorious Me-163 Komet. Combining such a powerplant with a wooden tube designed to break up into parts after its mission might seem crazy, but at the end of WWII, the Germans had a pretty open mind when it came to stopping the bombers.

Check out my finished 1/72 Brengun Natter M23 on the Planes page. This is the Natter from the first, and only, piloted flight in the program. The death of the pilot, Lothar Sieber, and the end of the war, precluded any further manned launches. Probably a good thing…

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