Messerschmitt Me 328 Development & Politics

By Dan Sharp

There was huge excitement when Argus engineer Günther Diedrich succeeded in building a pulsejet powerful enough to propel a car up to 100km/h in 1941 – it was simple, cheap and lightweight, and before long Germany’s premier fighter manufacturer Messerschmitt had come up with a simple, cheap and lightweight airframe on which to mount it – the Me 328.

The new aircraft was first pitched as an interceptor, then as a parasite bomber for attacks on America, then as an airborne version of the infamous Soviet Katyusha rocket launcher, to fire heavyweight rocket-bombs at Allied shipping. Prototypes were built and flown both as gliders and under pulsejet power, and when Nazi fanatics needed an aircraft suitable for suicide attacks against high-value Allied targets, their first choice was the Me 328. Yet the type never fulfilled the grandiose ambitions of those who designed, built and supported it.

Dan Sharp unravels a development history that was anything but straightforward to find out exactly what happened to the Luftwaffe’s most enigmatic ‘secret project’ aircraft. Messerschmitt Me 328 Development & Politics is based on extensive archival research of contemporary German documents and includes numerous previously unpublished period drawings as well as 50 new full colour profile artworks.