Nazi SAM Projects – Conclusions


As usual, five Luftwaffe SAM projects were four too many. And (again as usual), the Allies did not win the air war over Germany – the Nazis lost it. By the end of 1941 when blitzkrieg in Russia failed (not miserably, but still failed), they had everything to design, mass-produce, deploy and efficiently use a powerful anti-aircraft weapon that would have all but closed the German skies to Allied bombers by the end of 1942 at the latest.

That weapon (not surprisingly) was the Enzian Surface-to-Air Missile – an unmanned (drone) version of the Me-163 – a rocket-powered interceptor aircraft. Instead of continuing work on Me-163 (which ultimately was an abject failure), the Germans should have focused completely on developing the proper engines, guidance system and proximity fuse for the Enzian. Which was far easier to do for a subsonic than for a supersonic missile.

Enzian was perfectly suited for mass-production using widely available non-strategic materials, was highly mobile, had the most powerful warhead by far and had plenty of room for a sophisticated onboard guidance system, proximity fuse and the like. Obviously, all other SAM projects should have been abandoned immediately.


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