"A Novel Concept"
Prints are signed by the artist and numbered|
Collector Sized Lithograph....$40
Signature Series Lithograph....$125
16" x 11˝"
225 Signature Series lithographs co-signed by|
THREE SURVIVING LUFTWAFFE MISTEL PILOTS
The grandfather of today’s cruise missiles, the Mistel was the piggyback aircraft of the Luftwaffe during WW II. This combination aircraft arose out of research conducted to find a better means for towing gliders into combat. About two hundred of these combinations were ultimately built. The British had experimented with a piggyback combination of a commercial transport on the back of a flying boat in the late 1930s. The Mistel project in Germany had its share of skeptics. As the program evolved and Germany’s strategic position in the War eroded, the Mistel project became focused on using unmanned obsolete Ju-88 bombers loaded to the gills with explosives as a very large guided bomb. The top aircraft in the combination, either a Bf-109 or Fw-190, would be piloted into the proximity of the target. A rudimentary guidance system would then be locked on the target, and the unmanned Ju-88 would fly itself into the target. Some Mistel combinations utilized normal looking Ju-88s, whereas others were fitted with a sinister-looking warhead in place of the cockpit. In the fall of 1944 the Luftwaffe laid plans for utilizing Mistels for attacks on Soviet targets like power plants and armament factories. Because the Ju-88 component only went “one-way” on these missions, the Mistels would have superior range and bomb capacity when compared to manned bombers. With Germany’s forces in retreat at this point, the distances from the strategic Russian targets became even too great for the Mistel. Instead Mistels were targeted at key bridges, the destruction of which was designed to slow the advancing Red Army. The Last Mistel attack of the War took place in April of 1945. Four Mistel aircraft, with a hollow charge warhead instead of the normal Ju-88 cockpit, coupled to a top-mounted Fw-190 fighter were prepared at the Pennemunde airbase. The target for the operation would be the bridge over the river Oder at Tantow. One of the four aircraft encountered technical problems and had to jettison the Ju-88. The remaining three piloted by Lt. Dittman OFw Braun and Uffz Seitz proceeded to the target. They acquired an unexpected escort in the form of eight Bf-109s, but the fighters engaged Russian fighters along the route and the Mistels proceeded to their target alone. The Mistel piloted by Ofw Braun was hit by anti-aircraft fire and the Ju-88 was jettisoned prematurely. The Mistel piloted by Uffz Seitz was apparently shot down. Lt. Dittman, however, was able to lock the guidance system of his Ju-88 on the target, and flew his 190 safely to an alternate base.
Stan Stokes Art is an independent gallery and is not affiliated with The Stokes Collection.
"Stan Stokes" used with permission.