Monday, June 6, 2011

The woman who wanted to make a Nazi Kamikaze squadron

During the winter 1943-44, she was assigned to the development of suicide aircraft; and, under the command of SS-Obersturmbannfürer Otto Skorzeny, she was the first founding member of the SS-Selbstopferkommando Leonidas (Leonidas Squadron). This project, where the pilots flew manned bombs and ultimately died during the mission, was similar to the Japanese later use of Tokkōtai ("Kamikaze") and was proposed by Adolf Hitler on 28 February 1944. It is probable that the idea originated with Reitsch during her testing of the Messerschmitt Me 163 in 1942, and she was also the first to volunteer for the newly formed Leonidas unit. This program was met with a considerable resistance at the German air-force high-command and was never realized, and even Hitler was initially reluctant to accept her proposal. The unit was disbanded one year later.
Her Wiki