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


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

Piggyback inspiration

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

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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