Piggyback Bomber

One of the most unusual weapons in the Luftwaffe’s World War Two armoury was the Mistel composite bomber. Chris Goss tells its remarkable story

WORLD WAR TWO LUFTWAFFE

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Horst Rudat, probably the most experienced Mistel pilot.
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The first Mistel combination. The trapeze structure required considerable strengthening for the operational versions.

Piggyback inspiration

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A pair of Miles Falcons escorting the Short-Mayo Composite during the first flight in piggyback guise, January 20, 1938.
VIA DEAN WRIGHT

One of the most striking examples of a piggyback aircraft, and possibly the inspiration for the Mistel, was the British Short-Mayo Composite. The brainchild of Major Robert Mayo, technical manager of Imperial Airways, it was designed to extend the range of service, providing non-stop transatlantic mail services.

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