A good idea, but ...

The idea to carry smaller planes attached to larger aircraft has created some of the most strange and curious weapons used during the Second World War. The largest and most unusual of them was called Zveno Project. The link below shows a complete report with a fantastic collection of photos and some questions. This weapon entered service and was used in combat? It was efficient? Visit the link below and give your opinion.


Best Regards!

Sort of looks like early attempts at what were called “Parasite Fighters” they would be carried on a large plane, and could be dropped for use if needed, this was thought to be a good way to provide long range fighter cover. I don’t know as any Nation actually used the idea, or by what means the planes might be recovered once used. I believe that the U.S. tried to develop them during the Cold War, but were unsuccessful.

I’m pretty sure no one used parasite fighters since the fighters had too many limitations making them useless. Perhaps there were some limited successes using dirigibles? Other than that probably not. The XF-85 Goblin was probably the last example, but I doubt it would have been much good against any Mig-15’s…

Rigid Air Ships did play a small role back in the 30’s IIRC. The Airships Akron, and Macon were fitted with internal hangers for storage of several small Bi-planes which could be launched, and recovered using an odd trapeze sort of thing. These planes were used for scouting/ patrol duty. As I recall, these ships didn’t remain in service for very long, only a few years. One of them crashed into the Ocean I think.

Yeah, practice of 1930-50yy showed, the air-carriers has no chances against enemy fighters due to it’s monstrouos slowness. Plus all the air-carriers were just “take off carrriers”. The landing for the fighters still was a huge problem. Hovever the idea to use the another plane to increase the operation and mission time has been developed in so called air-tankers like KC-135 or IL-78.This was more tecnically easy and cheap way to tranform almost any fighter in long-range aircraft.

Most funny that very few raids of soviet TB-3, reconstructed in program “Zveno” were succesfull. They have about 30 missions in jule-august of 1941 against the targets in Romania. Just one parasite-fighter were lost. But the tb-3 in generat were extremally slow and vulnerable - moreover the soviet air industry swithced off the program of for-engine bombers to the favour of the Il-2 production. So wery soon the “zveno” project was abandoned.

The only more-or-less successful “parasite” I can recall was, not a fighter, but the Japanese Yokosuka MXY Ohka (“Cherry Blossom”), the rocket powered kamikaze flying bomb. Ohka were carried into battle slung below Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” medium bombers in effect, as the latter’s payload; on approaching Allied ships, the Ohka would be released, and would fly at great speed to its target. That was the idea. The Ohka was a devastating weapon where it worked; its first success involved sinking a US destroyer that went down in minutes. However, after initial shocks, US pilots worked out that while the Ohka itself was a near-impossible target, the slow, none-too-maneuverable “Betty” bomber was not. Result - “Bettys” carrying Ohkas tended to be shot down with Ohka still attached. A brutal weapon, born out of desperation. Best regards, JR.