In the last days of WWII, British commandos 30 Assault Unit were racing across Germany to gather secret German intelligence and safely return it to Britain. Their target was Hellmuth Walter who was situated in Kiel. Hellmuth Walter was a rocket designer who was responsible for designing the rocket engine in the revolutionary Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet.
Once 30 Assault Unit arrived at Hellmuth Walter’s headquarters at first he refused to cooperate but after a few days he changed his mind. Upon hearing the details of the Me 163 from the man who designed it the British interests of this radical technology were confirmed, but there was one problem, who would fly such a dangerous machine back to Britain! Test pilot Eric Brown was flown to Germany and given the task, the legendary pilot who has flown more types of aircraft than anyone in history relished such an opportunity, upon arriving into Germany he said “It was like walking into Aladdin’s cave, as regards, advanced aircraft”. However Brown soon learnt it was more dangerous than first seemed. Known by its pilots as the flying bomb, the rocket engine mixed together two fuels C-Stoff and T-Stoff which when combined exploded and powered the rocket, this produced eight minutes of rocket power during which the plane could climb more than twenty thousand feet in under two minutes.
Eric brown was unfazed by the hysteria surrounding the Me 163, take-off and landing where known to be the hardest part, the pilot had little control as he sat in a cockpit surrounded by rocket fuel, over 10 men were killed during this process. Brown explained before take-off he felt “a little apprehensive about what layed ahead, but the temptation was so huge” After successfully landing the Me 163 Brown became the first and only allied pilot to fly the rocket powered plane.
Source, National Geographic – The Hunt for Hitler’s Scientists