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In June 1944, only a week after the Allied landing in Normandy, a German offensive against Great Britain (and later also against targets on the continent) was launched using V-1 flying bombs. However, the accuracy of the attacks was later assessed by the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe as rather unsatisfactory and a usage of manned missiles was put forward to increase the accuracy. Small and heavily defended targets were to be attacked by modified V-1 flying bombs. These attacks were not at first supposed to be suicidal and the pilot was expected to be able to guide the plane onto the target and then bale out and save himself using his parachute. Or such was the theory.
The project of the manned flying bomb was named Reichenberg , the first three versions of the manned missile were used for training purposes and only the fourth version to be developed, the Reichenberg IV was to be used in real action. The R-IV was just a modified V-1 flying bomb, carrying a pilot’s cockpit with a standard set of controls in place of one of the fuselage pressured air tanks. The cockpit had a one-piece canopy with armoured glass widscreen, the whole canopy opening to the right. The speed of 700-800 kmh while diving onto the target and the type of the canopy gave the pilot only the slightest chance of survival. The Fi 103 were to be launched from a He 111 bomber, the production gave in total about 175 Reichenberg IVs, but none of them was ever used. In the autumn of 1944, 5./KG200 unit was established and also training of the Fi 103 flight instructors were to be commenced, however the unit’s new commanding officer, Geschwader Kommodore Oberstleutnant Werner Baumbach, after a discussion with the Fuhrer himself, ordered the Reichenberg unit to be disbanded. After the war, a handful of the Fi 103 manned flying bombs was captured and examined by the Allies.
The Reichenberg plastic model kit comes on one sprue with grey styrene parts and one sprue containing a clear canopy hood. The decal sheet offers markings for three various liveries.