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Bachem Ba 349 Natter

The Bachem Ba 349 Natter, a World War II German point-defence rocket-powered interceptor, was intended for use similarly to a manned surface-to-air missile.

It was designed for vertical take-off, negating the need for airfields, with most of the flight path to the Allied bombers being autopilot-controlled.

The pilot, typically with minimal training, was tasked with directing the aircraft towards the target bomber and launching the rocket armament.

Following mission completion, the pilot and the rocket motor’s fuselage were to descend separately by parachutes, while the nose section was expendable.

Unfortunately, the sole manned vertical take-off on March 1, 1945, resulted in the fatality of test pilot Lothar Sieber.

The SS placed an order for 150 Natters, and the Luftwaffe for 50; however, none were delivered by war’s end.

The exact number of Natters built at Bachem-Werk has been a subject of debate.

Bachem claimed that 36 Natters were produced at their Waldsee facility by the war’s conclusion.

By April 1945, 17 aircraft had undergone unmanned trials, including five gliders and 12 VTO (vertical take-off) units, all launched in the Mistelschlepp configuration beneath an He 111.

For manned trials, five aircraft were prepared, consisting of four gliders and one VTO model.

The M3 was flown twice before being rebuilt and re-coded as BM3a, but it never took flight again.

The total launches by early April 1945 matched the number of Natters built: 22.

Additionally, Bachem reported that 14 more aircraft were either completed or nearing completion in April 1945.

Among these, four were prototype A1 operational Natters designed for test launches from a wooden pole launcher intended for field use, constructed on the Heuberg near the experimental steel tower.

Documentary evidence exists for two pole launches in April, but not for the three claimed by Bachem post-war.

It’s possible the documentation for the third launch was destroyed by the SS as the war concluded.

Moreover, ten A1 operational Natters, known as K-Maschinen, were built for Krokus-Einsatz (“Operation Crocus”).

The final disposition of the 14 A1 Natters is as follows:

Three were launched from the vertical tower as per Bachem’s records, four were destroyed by fire at Waldsee, two at Lager Schlatt in Oetztal, Austria, four were seized by US forces in Sankt Leonhard im Pitztal, Austria, and one, sent as a prototype to a new plant in Thuringia, fell into the hands of the Red Army.

This accounts for all 36 test and operational aircraft built at Bachem-Werk.

Additionally, Natter airframes served various ground-based roles, such as static booster rockets, armament and structural testing, and pilot seat positioning trials.

Some airframes were repurposed post-flight tests, notably the M5, M6, and M7.


Ba 349B-1




6 m (19 ft 8 in)


4 m (13 ft 1 in)


2.25 m (7 ft 5 in) (without fins)

Wing area

4.7 m2 (51 sq ft)

Empty weight

880 kg (1,940 lb) fuel expended

Gross weight

2,232 kg (4,921 lb)

Gross weight boosters jettisoned

1,769 kg (3,900 lb)

Fuel capacity

650 kg


1 × Walter HWK 109-509C-1 bi-fuel rocket motor,

11.2 kN (2,500 lbf) thrust Hauptofen main chamber

2.9 kN (652 lbf) Marschofen auxiliary chamber


4 × Schmidding SG 34 solid fuel booster rockets,

4.9 kN (1,100 lbf) thrust each


2 x 9.8 kN (2,203 lbf) solid fuel booster rockets


Maximum speed

1,000 km/h (620 mph, 540 kn) at 5,000 m (16,404 ft)

Cruise speed

800 km/h (500 mph, 430 kn)


60 km (37 mi, 32 nmi)

After climb at 3,000 m (9,843 ft) 55 km (34 mi)

After climb at 6,000 m (19,685 ft) 42 km (26 mi)

After climb at 9,000 m (29,528 ft) 40 km (25 mi)

After climb at 10,000 m (32,808 ft)


4.36 minutes at 6,000 m (19,685 ft) 3.15 minutes at 9,000 m (29,528 ft)

Service ceiling

12,000 m (39,000 ft)

Rate of climb

190 m/s (37,000 ft/min)

Time to altitude

62 seconds to 12 km (7.5 mi)


24 × 73 mm (2.874 in) Henschel Hs 297 Föhn rocket shells


33 × 55 mm (2.165 in) R4M rocket shells


2 × 30 mm (1.181 in) MK 108 cannon with 30 rpg (proposed).


X-Planes, Bachem Ba 349 Natter-R Forsyth.

Natter Bachem Ba 349 and Other German Rocket Jet Projects-J Dressel.

X-Planes, Bachem Ba 349 Natter-D Myhra.



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