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Messerschmitt P.1101

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Besides Bachem with the Ba-349 Natter, three other companies submitted proposals for the Jägernotprogramm (Emergency Fighter Program) in the middle of 1944. The Messerschmitt A.G.’s P.1104 was in the running. Heinkel won the contract.

After two initial Messerschmitt designs were penciled, a finalized third design proposal was selected for development. The P.1101 was to have a deep fuselage to make room for the engine, applicable ductwork, the cockpit pressurization equipment, cannon armament and internal fuel. The fuselage would feature a nose-mounted intake to aspirate the Heinkel-Hirth He S 011 turbojet engine to be installed and wings were to be shoulder mounted assemblies with noticeable sweep. The single-seat cockpit would be fitted well ahead in the fuselage under a three-piece bubble canopy and a retractable tricycle undercarriage was utilized - the main landing gear legs coming from a Messerschmitt BF 109K fighter. The tail section was to be of a conventional type with a single vertical tail fin and applicable horizontal planes all made of wood. The tail assembly was fitted onto a tapered boom formed atop the engine exhaust port. Plans were made for cockpit armoring, carriage of four wire-guided missiles and a recessed centerline fuselage position for a single bomb.

To help speed development of the P.1101 along, it was decided to construct the P.1101 V1 prototype alongside the wind tunnel and other data collection still ongoing. The P.1101 V1 design was also given wings that would adjust their sweep preflight and could test wing sweep at 35- and 45-degree angles. The wings were eventually set to test sweep at positions of 35-, 40- and 45-degrees. changes to the wing sweep were to be made while the aircraft was still on the ground. First flight was slated for sometime in June 1945 if all went as planned. All development and construction was to take place at the largely unknown Messerschmitt facility at Oberammergau in the Bavarian mountains of Southern Germany.

 

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For fear of the P.1101 data falling into enemy hands, Messerschmitt employees moved the information into microfilm form and hid them in four locations at neighboring villages. The Allies moved into the area on April 29th, 1945 with the Americans taking Oberammergau. The Me P.1101 V1 prototype was found in a tunnel and secured by the Americans. It was only later that Messerschmitt employees revealed the missing data and their locations. However, by this time, the French Army had moved in and found the hidden P.1101 data, subsequently shipping them back to French authorities. A joint American-German effort led by Robert Woods of Bell Aircraft and Woldermar Voight of Messerschmitt to secure the microfilm and finish the P.1101 fell on deaf ears - the French maintained little interest.

The P.1101 made its way to the US. Not only had exposure to the elements take their toll on the P.1011 airframe, the P.1101 airframe prototype fell off of her transporting railcar sustaining enough damage that ensured the V1 prototype would never be able to fly. Nevertheless, Bell Aircraft proceeded to break down the P.1101 and fitted the V1 with mock cannon armament along her fuselage sides and an American Allison J35 turbojet engine. The P.1101 V1 still served in valuable static ground tests before being scraped sometime in the 1950s.

 
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Messerschmitt P.1101

 

 


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