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Gerhard Fieseler Werke GmbH

Gerhard Fieseler joining the German air force in 1915, but crashed during training and was hospitalized until February 1916. In May 1917, after training on single-seaters, he was posted to Jasta 25 on the Macedonian front. This squadron was so demoralized-from lack of modern equipment, supplies, and leadership-that few of its pilots would even engage the enemy by the time of Fieseler's arrival, so he soon began flying operations on his own. Here he scored 19 victories flying various aircraft, including the Roland D.II, and became known as the "tiger of Macedonia."

Fieseler's skills as an aerobatic pilot were very well known in the 1920s. The evolutions carried out by Fieseler ranked a very long way higher than mere "stunts," although for brevity we have used the word "stunt " was used as a translation of the German word Figur, since it was thought that, the word having unfortunately got into the English language, it would perhaps be better understood than a literal translation the expressions used in the original German. Herr Fieseler's "stunts" deserved the name to this extent that they were spectacular. It is no use trying to deny it. They were very spectacular, as those who had seen his low rolls and loops will admit. But the inventor of many of the new "figures" pointed out, there are certain evolutions the accurate carrying out of which can be guaranteed, and which are not therefore, dangerous to carry out at a low height. There are others which cannot always be guaranteed to be carried out perfectly, and these should always be done at a safe height, and well away from the public enclosures.

After the war, Fieseler founded FieselerFlugzeugbau, which became well known for aircraft designs. In 1934, flying a biplane built by his own company, Fieseler won the first World Aerobatic Championship in France. The following year, Fieseler began manufacturing trainers and fighters under license for the Luftwaffe.

By 1930 Gerhard Fieseler was building of gliders at the Kassel factory, designated the Fieseler Aircraft Construction Works. In 1933 the sport aircraft production moved into a former ammunition factory shifts. In the year 1934 the Reich Aviation Ministry gave orders to Fieseler for civil aircraft and the development of a combat bomber. One year later production began of the slow-speed flight Fi 156 (Fieseler stork) and first licensed productions (Messerschmitt BF 109). Designed in 1935, the Fieseler Fi-156C-1 Storch (stork) was widely used during World War II by German military forces for reconnaissance, liaison and aeromedical transport. High-ranking officers also used Fi 156s as personal transports. The Fieseler Storch, which had a high lift wing because of its slats and flaps, could land in 60 feet.

One of Germany's first deck-landing machines wes the Fieseler Fi 167 torpedo-bomber. It was fully slotted and napped and the undercarriage can be dropped completely. Designed for operation off aircraft carriers (the Graf Zeppelin had been completed), the Fieseler Fi 167 is a two-seater torpedo-bomber reconnaissance machine comparable with the Fairey Albacore. It is a striking two-bay biplane, the upper wing being in three sections, and the lower in four, the outer panels being arranged to fold backward. The Fieseler Company had considerable experience with slots and flaps, and the Fi 167 made full use of these.

Contemporary with the Hs 123, and probably designed to the same specification, was a second single-seater biplane the Fieseler Fi 98, which had an exceptionally sturdy wing structure which makes an interesting comparison with that of the Hs 123. The latter has wings of thick section with only oce interplane bracing strut, whereas the Fieseler had thin wangs of two-bay construction, the struts being of "N" formation. A strange feature is the placing of an auxiliary tailplane on top of the fin, giving a biplane effect.

Despite the restrictions imposed upon Germany by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, the German military managed to develop a modern, credible air force during the interwar period. The treaty, drafted at a time when the aerial threat consisted of biplanes and dirigibles, forbade Germany to make bombers, but said nothing about ballistic missiles. Hermann Goering placed Captain Walter Domberger in charge of a military rocket development program and Hitler placed Gerhard Fieseler, one of Germany's premier fliers, in charge of a pilotless airplane program.

The large-scale enterprise grew to 5300 workers. On 01 April 1939 the Fieseler aircraft construction company was renamed Gerhard Fieseler Works GmbH. On 5 June 1942 the Reich Aviation Ministry gave a order to develop a "remote projectile in airplane form"- the flying bomb Fieseler Fi-103 (better well-known than "retaliation weapon" V1). The Fieseler Fi-103, later FZG 76 and, finally better known as the Vergeltungswaffe-1 (English translation - Revenge Weapon) or V-1 was designed by manufacturers Fieseler Flugzeubauand Argus Motoren and was ready for service in 1944. Launched from catapult or host aircraft, the V-1 had a powerful thrust pulsejetengine that had a range of up to 150 miles with a 2,000-pound bomb payload. The idea of carrying one vehicle aloft with another began during the earliest days of powered flight. There was one basic conceptual difference in those early piggyback configurations, however. Instead of one aircraft mounted on another, the mother ship was a balloon. Several other "parasite" concepts existed during World War II, including the Fieseler Fi-103 and some drone aircraft experiments.

The French aircraft industry was busy with orders from Germany. The Me 190F, Junkers JU52, Dormer Do 24 and Do 26 were built in France. Both the Focke-Wulf and the Fieseler concerns used plants in France, and the Fw 189 reconnaissance aircraft and Fieseler Storch were in production with French aircraft manufacturers. A one time more than 10,000 workers, including thousands of Dutch and French forced laborers, were employed at the three Fieseler works in Kassel.

On 28 July 1943 the Gerhard Fieseler Works was the target of the first attack of US Air Forces on Kassel. Over 300 heavy bombers were dispatched in two forces to bomb German targets. Bad weather prevented majority from completing their mission, but 49 bombed the aircraft works at Kassel and 28 attacked a major FW-190 factory at Oschersleben, marking the deepest US bomber penetration into Germany to date. The raid achieved "good results", however to a large extent only populated areas and the neighboring spun fiber companies were hit. A total of 22 heavy bombers were lost as German fighters scored their first effective results with rockets. A force of 105 P-47's, equipped with jettisonable belly tanks for first time on mission, escorted the B-17's into Germany; other P-47's, going more than 30 miles deeper into Germany than they have penetrated before, met the returning bombers. They surpriseed about 60 German fighters and destroyed 9 of them; one P-47 was lost.

Two days later, on 30 July 1943 a force of 134 heavy bombers attacked aircraft works and M/Y at Kassel. P-47's with auxiliary tanks surprise attacking German fighters over Bocholt as the Germans were not yet accustomed to fighter escort penetration beyond coastal fringe.

On 22 October 1943 more than 10,000 people died with the attack of the RAF on Kassel. All industrial companies were heavily damaged. The production numbers demanded by the Air Force were not reached, and on 29 March 1944 Gerhard Fieseler was replaced as operating leaders of the Fieseler works. On 19 April 1944 the repaired Fieseler of works was damaged again by bomb attacks by the US Air Force. A total of 747 heavy bombers in three forces bombed industrial targets in the Kassel area; at Eschwege, Lippstadt, Werl, Paderborn, and Gutersloh; and other targets at Limburg, Buren, Kall, and Soest, in morning operations. During the afternoon 27 B-24's bombed V-weapon site at Watten, with 6 heavy bombers lost.

On 15 October 1947 the allied military governors decreed that the Gerhard Fieseler works were subject to a disassembly plan.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:54:05 ZULU