The Horten Tailless Aircraft
by K.G. Wilkinson, B.Sc. D.I.C.
The following places were investigated during June 1945 in an attempt to locate and preserve the more interesting types of Horten aircraft.
was the headquarters of Luftwaffe Kommando 9. The works were in a
converted Autobahn workshop and comprised drawing office, machine shop,
wood working shop, stores, etc. Hanger accommodation was provided
on the aerodrome about a mile away and test flying of a number of Horten
aircraft including H IIId, H IIIe, H IV and H XII had been carried on there.
was also located in an Autobahn workshop with very similar equipment to
the Gottingen works. All the buildings had been taken over by the
US Army as a transport depot and repair shop. The H X was under construction
before the occupation, H XI and H XIV had been built there and H VI (second
aircraft) finished after being started at Bonn.
The Kirtorf center consisted of hanger space, limited workshop facilities adequate for glider construction, and a drawing office – all housed in an aerodrome building on one side of a small grass airfield. Airfield and buildings had been heavily bombed before the occupation and had been abandoned by the Germans, who removed all drawings and the H I and H II which were stored there, and burned the H XII which must have been complete at the time.
The gliding school at
Hornberg has workshops well equipped for glider construction and maintenance
and was engaged in building wings for the Volksjager. The Hortens
had drawing office space over the main hanger and several of their gliders,
including an H IV, H IIIb, e & g had been housed in the school hangers.
No construction was in progress, work seems to have been confined to assembling
and flight testing gliders built at Dernsforf and Tubingen.
5. Gut Tierstein
This was a small wood working shop housed in a
farm near Rottweil an Necker in the Black Forest area. Main wing
panels for the H IVb were being made. Production rate was about 2
sets per month. Master drawings for the H IVb were on the farm and
an H IIIf, H IIIg and H IV were hidden in barns nearby after evacuation
6. Dornsdorf (near Goppingen)
A furniture maker (Schmidt) just outside the village was producing wings for the H III. The complete jigs were still in the workshop and two complete spars, a number of ribs and sufficient material for several sets of wings were lying about. 12 complete wing pairs had been burnt on April 15th on orders from the Hornberg.
A small engineering works was making the steel tube structures for the H III gliders and powered gliders. Production again about two per month. These center sections were to fit the wings made at Dornsdorf and the aircraft were to be assembled and tested at the Hornberg.
The Hortens had hanger and maintenance facilities on the aerodrome where the H XIII was being tested. No constructional work was in progress.
A large furniture works here (May g.m.b.h.) was engaged in building Klemm 35 wings in large numbers. Twenty pairs of H IX wings were ordered in the summer of 1944 and one pair was finished by Christmas.
Fluzengbau were working under Horten direction and had completed one H
VII and nearly finished a second. They also repaired Fiesler Storch
aircraft and made ailerons for F.W. 190s. The first H VII was flown
from the nearby airfield at Minderheide where it was found destroyed.
11. Gotha Wagenfabrik - Friedrichsreda
Gotha were charged with the job of productionizing the H IX. They were nearing completion of the V3 and were believed to be setting up for quantity production. Their initial work was on the center section of the aircraft.
12. Hedigienberg - Bonn
This works was not visted. It was responsible for the second H VI and may have been building wing tips for the H IVb. The work was equipped by R.L.M. on the same basis as the Kirtorf, Gottingen and Hersfeld establishments.
13. Brandis bei Leipzig
Test flying of H IX V2 was going on on the airfield here. The Hortens had hanger and maintenance facilities.
14. Schwarz Propeller Werke - Eilenburg
An H VII was taken to pieces and stored here, but the part of the town containing the target was in Russian hands in June and could not be investigated. No construction was thought to be in progress there. An H IVb and an H XIV were also reported hidden somewhere in the town or in Bernberg nearby.
15. Berlin - Oranienberg
H IX V1 and V2 were tested here in January 1945. An H VIII was also reported to have been tested. This center was not visited and no Horten aircraft were supposed to be there in June 1945...