Horten Ho 229 V3


The Horten Ho 229 V3 is a one-of-a-kind, jet-powered, all-wing aircraft built in Germany during World War II. Reimar Horten began designing an all-wing jet in 1942 with advice from his brother Walter, a German fighter pilot who flew combat missions during the Battle of Britain in 1940. The first prototype of the design to fly was an experimental glider version called the Horten Ho 229 V1. A powered aircraft had to tow the Ho 229 V1 aloft. Two Junkers Jumo 004 jet engines propelled the second version, designated the Ho 229 V2, and test pilot Erwin Ziller first flew this aircraft in February 1945. Ziller flew the Ho 229 V2  successfully once more but he was killed when the jet crashed during the third test flight. Because Reimar Horten lacked the resources to operate a factory to build more jets, the company Gothaer Waggonfabrik began building the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth prototypes in late 1944 but they did not finish any of these aircraft before the war ended.

In April 1945 in northern Germany, the Allies found the Gotha Waggonfabrik workshop containing the center section of the third prototype Ho 229 V3. The center section included the two jet engines, the cockpit, landing gear, and other parts. The Allies found the outer wing panels at a different location. They moved the parts to Cherbourg and then shipped them to the U.S. later that year. An American intelligence officer nicknamed the Ho 229 V3 the “Bat-Wing Ship.” Reimar Horten preferred the designation Horten H IX V3 while some writers called the jet Gotha Go 229, however Ho 229 reflects the official status bestowed on the project by the German Air Ministry after Hermann Göring approved it in 1943, and V3 denotes the third prototype (Lee 2011-2015, Shepelev and Ottens 2006, and Myhra 2002).