German 1930`s and WW2 Aviation Planning

Snowygrouch

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I`ve translated a long memorandum written by Dipl.-Ing Robert Lusser to Erhard Milch in January 1942, outlining various major problems in new aircraft development.

I hope you find it interesting

Robert Lusser Memorandum

Lusser played a key role in the design of a huge number of German 30`s/WW2 aircraft, like the Me108 and Me110 and a lot of Heinkel projects,
after the war he went to the USA with von Braun to work on the Space Programme. He returned to Germany later and predicted
serious problems with the German F104 starfighter programme, in which he was proven entirely correct.
 

33k in the air

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I haven't read it yet, but the book German Aircraft Industry and Production 1933–1945 by Ferenc A. Vajda and Peter Dancey appears to be a good look into the subject.
 

Reluctant Poster

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I`ve translated a long memorandum written by Dipl.-Ing Robert Lusser to Erhard Milch in January 1942, outlining various major problems in new aircraft development.

I hope you find it interesting

Robert Lusser Memorandum

Lusser played a key role in the design of a huge number of German 30`s/WW2 aircraft, like the Me108 and Me110 and a lot of Heinkel projects,
after the war he went to the USA with von Braun to work on the Space Programme. He returned to Germany later and predicted
serious problems with the German F104 starfighter programme, in which he was proven entirely correct.
Excellent insight into German thinking.

I am puzzled by this

1665835181162.png
 

Snautzer01

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It does look like a linked in letter somehow. The points he make are perhaps real but he is blowing his own trumpet a bit.
 

Snowygrouch

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It does look like a linked in letter somehow. The points he make are perhaps real but he is blowing his own trumpet a bit.
Its difficult to say what his character was, but its entirely possible that his efforts to highlight his own achievements in the letter to Milch
are designed to give weight to his report to make Milch listen to his comments, rather than him being egotistical. Thats my reading of it anyway.

Lusser is on the right of this photo, he certainly was a big-shot in real life.

NASA Pioneers - Five Rocketry Pioneers
 

Daggerr

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Yea there was a typo in my reading the original, I`ve updated it and a few other small things just now.
Some more possible typos:

Under Introduction: "the Me 109, 110.- He 111.- Ju 52, 87.- Thu 17.- Fw 200.E" That sentence seems somewhat scrambled in the last half.

Under section 5.) a "Pw 191" is mentioned. Is that a typo and should read Fw 191 ?

Under section 6.) below the image: "...... (just as an examle here) ...." should be example.

Under section 8.) "..... disproportionatley .... sucess ....." should be "..... disproportionately .... success ....."

Under section 9.) "shecking" should be "checking"

Under section 10.) "...... from spring Flight performance ......" Is that a typo, or what does this mean?

The Memorandum starts with an Introduction and then the next section is number 2.) . Is section 1.) missing, or is the Introduction section 1.) ?

------------------------------

Section 9.) puzzles me a bit. Lusser mentions the Fw 190 in a context that makes it sound as if in his opinion it curtailed the Me 109. Or did he mean that the Me 109 curtailed the Fw 190 and I misunderstand?

Notably Lusser does not mention the FW 187 anywhere in the memorandum. Maybe he forgot, or did not find it worth mentioning?

He does mention the He 280, on which he worked, but there is no mention of Me 163, Me 262 or his general view on the desirability of development of jet engines and jet planes or rocket engines and rocket planes.

It would be interesting to know what Milch thought about this memorandum, and what he did with it.
 

Snowygrouch

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Some more possible typos:

Under Introduction: "the Me 109, 110.- He 111.- Ju 52, 87.- Thu 17.- Fw 200.E" That sentence seems somewhat scrambled in the last half.

Under section 5.) a "Pw 191" is mentioned. Is that a typo and should read Fw 191 ?

Under section 6.) below the image: "...... (just as an examle here) ...." should be example.

Under section 8.) "..... disproportionatley .... sucess ....." should be "..... disproportionately .... success ....."

Under section 9.) "shecking" should be "checking"

Under section 10.) "...... from spring Flight performance ......" Is that a typo, or what does this mean?

The Memorandum starts with an Introduction and then the next section is number 2.) . Is section 1.) missing, or is the Introduction section 1.) ?

------------------------------

Section 9.) puzzles me a bit. Lusser mentions the Fw 190 in a context that makes it sound as if in his opinion it curtailed the Me 109. Or did he mean that the Me 109 curtailed the Fw 190 and I misunderstand?

Notably Lusser does not mention the FW 187 anywhere in the memorandum. Maybe he forgot, or did not find it worth mentioning?

He does mention the He 280, on which he worked, but there is no mention of Me 163, Me 262 or his general view on the desirability of development of jet engines and jet planes or rocket engines and rocket planes.

It would be interesting to know what Milch thought about this memorandum, and what he did with it.
I`ve made a few small edits to fix most of that. The first sentence is just how it is, any extra "smoothing" would be non-original.

What he`s saying about the 190 is that its performance (and probably also the speed with which it could be introduced) was very over-estimated, so
he is suggesting that the effort into the 109 was reduced too early as the 190 was not in reality really ready to replace it. He does not provide any details
on that.

I do not know if Milch did anything, from a certain perspective, it was far too late by then to do very much anyway, at least not enough to win the war. However,
we DO know that Milch certainly did introduce critisism of the way things were organized, as nine months after Lussers letter (9th Oct 1942) Milch
brings up this hillarious "unsigned letter" which had been sent to him criticising various Luftwaffe products, which Milch could not show to anyone
in the meeting because he "threw it away". (see page 292 of my book for quotes from that letter).

Its pretty obvious that Milch must surely have invented this letter as a "vehicle" to criticise others without drawing attention to himself. Since that was nine months
later, I doubt that was due to Lussers letter, but it is at least an example of what may have happened to Lussers advice.
 
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Peter Gunn

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Agree with BiffF15 BiffF15 an excellent read. It does seem at time that he's blowing his own horn quite a bit but again, that might just be his way of establishing his bona fides and getting Milch's attention to realize what he's saying. I think he's using that tactic to sound the alarm that they're dissipating their efforts into too many long term designs and not (Like the Americans as he mentions) putting most of their energy into proven aircraft with the bugs mostly worked out. Hard to tell, but all in all a fascinating read, well done translating and posting!

Just as an aside Snowygrouch Snowygrouch you should consider a writing career... ;)
 
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spicmart

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May 11, 2008
I've heard that Lusser did not think highly of Messerschmitt whom he regarded as a second-rate designer and someone who would have ended up as an oddball in some small engineer's bureau of some aicraft company had he not had a skill for fishing influentual patrons who supported him.
Anybody know more about this?
 

Snowygrouch

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I've heard that Lusser did not think highly of Messerschmitt whom he regarded as a second-rate designer and someone who would have ended up as an oddball in some small engineer's bureau of some aicraft company had he not had a skill for fishing influentual patrons who supported him.
Anybody know more about this?
I dont but I regard that a bit dubiously, for a start the Secretary of State for Air was Erhard Milch, who utterly hated Messerschmitt because a close friend of his died in a crash when he was flying in a Messerschmitt aircraft. So it is hardly true to say that Messerschmitt had an easy time dealing with the German Air Ministry.
Secondly Lusser was a key figure in the Me108 and Me110, so he hardly shied away from working for that firm.

Its possible Lusser said such a thing, but it doesnt really fit all that well with the evidence I`d say. So unless someone actualy comes up with the actual letter where
Lusser says that, I`d be sceptical. If he really did think that, why, in a lengthy diatribe to Milch himself (who, as I`ve said, quite openly absolutely despised Messerschmitt),
about problems in German aircraft planning and manufacture, did Lusser not mention Prof Messerschmitt at all if he thought he was a totally inadequate top
designer ?

Its certainly on the other hand, VERY plausible that Lusser thought Messerschmitt was an oddball who would in other circumstances have ended up in very different
roles, I certainly think Messerschmitt was borderline what we`d call autistic today, he seems to behave almost childishly somtimes and get very emotional and upset,
its quite possible he did not posess very capable and flowing social skills in the way which some other people did. But in my view I do not think it is an objectively
reasonable anaysis to say that he was not exceptionally capable, highly intelligent and internationally respected.
 
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