The First and the Last: Junkers G.38 & Arado E.555
This article is part of a series:
It might have been another very cold January 1945 night, but for Hauptman Ziegel and his crew, the situation could not have been hotter: there they were, flying at 30,000ft with their Amerikabomber fully loaded. Took off from Bordeaux at 17:00 local time. Destination? New York City!
Haupt Ziegel's war diaries were really interesting: from the start, he was assigned as captain of the sole remaining Junkers G.38, the beloved, slow, lumbering giant that was used to transport men and goods, stirring clear from allied fighters, to whom would be the easiest of prey. A beautiful machine of “past times”, with those unique wing root seats, the G.38 went up in smoke, when it was destroyed during a bombing in Ellinikon Airport in Athens, upon its preparation for the Crete invasion in May 1941.
Having left without a plane, Ziegel and his crew were more than happy to be assigned to a secret “Geheimprojekt” of a very long range bomber development! Yes, they could not avoid thinking that giving the enemy a such punch would be kind of score-settling for destroying their beloved Junkers!
By no means a “militarist”, but definitely a man who loved his country, Ziegel was kind of sceptic on the necessity of all this war mess a big part of the planet was dragged into. But, again, apart from being a loyal soldier, what else could he do by then?
Despite the Allied Intelligence perceptions, the Amerikabomber project did indeed proceed, with a prototype being ready by the fall of 1944. War situation in the motherland was not favorable, the required raw materials were hard to obtain, let alone the fact that the Amerikabomber “factory” would continuously relocate for obvious reasons. That the “Dreifach Fünf '' made it to the air was a total “tour de force”!
Nevertheless, the fact that the RLM had envisaged the need for a long range advanced bomber, resulted in this prototype, a one off plane that somehow achieved to make it from the drawing board to the airfield.
As expected, numerous bugs (some more serious than others) arose upon the first flights of this well ahead of its time machine. With only a few of them remedied and more emerging, the bowed down RLM ordered a “bombing” flight to New York that cold January 1945 night, aiming to create (well, nothing more than) a psychological effect on the Allies.
It was clear that things were not so favorable for Germany, regarding the war outcome. By strict facts, with lesser and lesser results at the war fronts and its main cities and general infrastructure under constant attrition by the Allied bombers, it was a matter of (not too long) time before the war would end, or, to put it more pragmatically, when this madness would end...
So there he was, Siegel and his crew, cruising above the Atlantic at radio silence, with feelings that could not have been more mixed...At least they had little time to deal with their emotions, being too busy navigating the six engine bomber above the ocean in total darkness.
According to his trusty navigator/copilot/bomber Leutnant Meyerhoff , who used astro-navigation principles in order to precisely navigate the Arado, they should see NY at any minute. The clear night should make spotting not too difficult, and yes, there was NY in the distant background, no blackout measures whatsoever!
Ziegel had no time to waste: the harbor area would be his target. He immediately passed the bomber to Meyerhoff, who throttled down the engines and put the bomber in a shallow dive. At 20000ft he levelled and stabilized his speed at 300 knots, patiently waiting for the target to appear in his bombsight cross... moment of truth, he pressed the release button and….nothing happened! Damn! The release mechanism did not seem to have been activated! One more press! Nothing!
Oberstabsfeldwebel Hermann, the flight engineer, went on fire, trying to solve the problem: despite all efforts, nothing seemed to work, with Ziegel quickly aborting the mission, flying away towards the ocean, as their presence above NY might be noticed…
This was a story inspired by The First and the Last “project', an idea of fellow modeler Paul Barber @yellow10. You may read the individual articles regarding the builds of The G.38 and the Ar E-555 at the links above.
1 additional image. Click to enlarge.
Great story, Spiros, I nearly believed it. Fantastic models, too, many thanks for posting this. Definitely liked.
Thanks my friend @chinesegeorge!
"Veird and Vunderful" Great job, Spiros
Thanks my friend @gwskat!
I really like both of these models, Spiros. That Arado is amazing.
Thanksmy iend @j-healy!
Beautiful written, Spiros @fiveten
Like your models as well, both look amazing.
Thanks my friend @johnb!
The "alternate history" is as good as the models, @fiveten.
It was thanks to your motivation that I dared writing a couple of "alternate short stories", my friend @tcinla!
Glad you like them!
Stimulating "the writer within" is a job I really enjoy, @fiveten. 🙂
I am reminded of the movie Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark... 🙂
Indeed, my friend @lis!
Spiros, that's some fantastic work there. I really like the metal effects on the E-555's engines. The story that goes with it is really good as well. Why not write a story and try and get it published?
Thanks my friend @ianfoulk96!
Even more so for liking my short story! Thanks for the motivation!
Those were two wild projects, and the story was inspired! Keep on building (and writing)...!
Thanks my friend @gkittinger!
Neat stuff. I KNEW the release wouldn't work...Got vas mit uns...
Thanks my friend @billkoppos!
Very cool aircraft , Spiros @fiveten ! Nicely built. I’ve never seen those before.
Thanks my friend @ssgt! Even the G.38 that existed was a real rarity: only two were built!
Nice work Spiros. I especially like the G.38!
Thanks my friend @dtravis!
Great story, pretty awesome and two great builds! That Junker G.38 is a big aircraft being in 1/144 scale.
Thanks my friend @v1pro!
Yes, the G.38 was a giant of the skies!
Two awesome, unusual and very interesting builds. I wish I could be half as prolific as you are Spiros, @fiveten. Your builds are always interesting and very well done. I love these two!
Thanks my friend @luftwaffe-birdman!
Great story and great builds!
Thanks my friend @georgedamian!
Wonderful models Spiros ! Alternative history based on facts ! Great ( scary ) story. I guess things could have turned out that way. Especially if Brittain and France would not have backed Poland in September 1939.
Thanks my friend @bernardbedeur!
Indeed, there was no reassurance that things would not turn out like this (there's massive uncertianty in practically every war, as Carl Von Clausewitz, among others, has stated)...
Looking great! I've been eyeing up a G.38 and been wanting to do it in a civilian scheme, seeing this makes me want to buy and build it!
Thanks my friend @scalerambush!
The G.38 is a kit you will definitely love!
Your First and Last entries have turned out magnificently. I enjoyed reading the fictional story you wrote too. I can only imagine just how big the G-38 must have been. I mean people sat INSIDE the wings ! That's huge ...
I will finish up my F&L soon... The 1/32 Bu-131D and the matching sized Heinkel 219 are still there looking at me every day, quietly and patiently waiting their turn. Soon... I promise.
This article almost slipped past my radar. It was on the second page, since things are getting posted in the headlines section very fast as of late.
Congrats on completing a few more builds. These look wonderful as all of your models do. QC1 and QC2 are definitely earning their ice cream, as you are keeping them busy with all of these wonderful models.
Thanks my friend @lgardner!
It's true that QC1 and QC2 are helpers!
Looking forward to your builds!
Wow! Spiros@fiveten - Nice piece of alternative history you added. Your prolific builds never cease to amaze me. Where's that Ju-290Z Zwilling you posted on MM the other day? That's another masterpiece build.
Thanks my friend@eb801!
For the alternate history, "blame" it on our friend @tcinla, who gave me the motivational "kick-start".
Ju-290Z Zwilling article coming up in a few minutes...
Hey Spiros @fiveten - great to see these come to life with a vivid story. The models we knew would be outstanding - the story was a fantastic welcome surprise! Congratulations my friend - magnificent!
Thanks my friend @yellow10!
Your "First and Last' idea was really great!