I'm glad that so many of you enjoyed the post. Johan pays me 2 cents a day for my services. But because I always throw in my 2 cents, I make nothing. So your appreciation is my only reward.
The fuel that the Germans used for many of their experimental rocket aircraft, including the Komet featured here, was a mixture of what was called "T-STOFF" (an 80 per cent aqueous solution of hydrogen peroxide plus oxyquinoline as a stabilizer) and Z-STOFF (an aqueous solution of sodium and potassium permanganates) It was only mixed at time of combustion. They produced a super-heated steam upon contact. It was very potent.
The unhappy "DC-10" pilot in that photo has reason to look glum. These manned versions of the V1 were never billed as kamikazi-style machines. The pilot was instructed to bail out before the death dive, but it was generally believed that he was expected to die in the attempt. Luckily for this pilot, none of these manned versions ever flew in combat. He probably died in something else.
A note to AB.400: The engine on the V1 is actually not a jet engine at all. It is a strange beast known as a "pulse jet". Because the V1 was nothing but an expendable bomb to be dropped, they could not afford to equip each one with a jet engine. So they needed an engine that was cheap to produce and easy to sacrifice. The pulse jet worked simply like this: Slipstream air rams in through the spring-loaded gates in the front. That gate opening triggered a release of simple gasoline and a spark. The explosion blew the gates shut again, which shut off the supply of air and gas, and then the thrust had no where to go but out the back end. It would do this about 47 times a second. Each one a pulse. But so fast that it sounded like a steady hum. Of course, to start the pulse jet, it needed an airspeed of about 300 mph to push the gate flaps open to begin the whole process. This was achieved either through a shot of compressed air, a rocket-assisted launch, or by having it dropped from a fighter plane. But that is why the cockpit could be so close to the front end of the engine. Because there is no fan to suck in air. It just takes whatever the slipstream provides.
Did the Nazis really invent all these things? No. But the German scientists and engineers did. Remember that Einstein was also a German scientist. But some of the more radically ingenious designs that came out of Germany were simply borne out of mere fascination with new ideas. And the desperation to try to use them. The Reich was always looking for a miracle weapon to turn the war in its favor. Usually, it was too radical and too late to be of any practical use. But even the Japanese produced a manned flying bomb themselves, the Yokosuka MXY7, very similar to the V1.
However, if the tables were turned, the Americans and the British could have produced the same weapons. But they were not desperate. So, unlike the Germans, the Allies did not have to grasp at straws creating avante-garde prototypes that would take 20 to 50 more years to perfect. Such as this thing below: Look familiar?
Drawing courtesy of Aerospace Publishing.
US National Archives
The Gotha Go 229 flying wing bomber/interceptor. This is a photo of the only one ever created. It was captured by American forces at the end of the war.