German Guided Missiles of World War II

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
By Steve Zaloga Illustrated by Jim Laurier
Other Publication Information
Soft Cover, 48 pages, Color Illustrations, Cutaway Artwork
Product / Stock #
NVG 276
Company: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Product Picture

Here’s another interesting and informative book by Steve Zaloga. He has done a few books for Osprey. By my count (from Wikipedia) this is his 27th Osprey title. He’s doing it right.


  • Introduction
  • Antiship Missiles
    • Fritz-X
    • Hs 293
  • Flak Missiles
    • Unguided Flak Rockets
    • Flak Missiles
      • Rheinmetall Borsig Rheintochter
      • Henschel Hs 117 Schmetterling
      • Messerschmitt Enzian
      • Wasserfall
  • Air-to-Air Missiles
  • Antitank Missiles
  • Further Reading

Since Mr. Zaloga has already done Osprey books on the V-1 and V-2, these missiles are not covered in this book. But what is covered are those projects which barely made it to operational status, or weren’t quite ready when VE day occurred.

Antiship Missiles

The coverage of the Fritz X and the HS 293 is very good, giving an excellent idea of how the guidance systems were developed and how effective they were. There’s a table with the ships sunk or damaged by these missiles. There are 44 entries on the list, and 22 were sunk, 22 damaged. In the text it’s shown that several of the damaged ships were not sunk because the missile passed completely through the hull, failing to explode. Another reason for low success numbers was that the Allies quickly developed jammers for the radio control systems for these missiles.

One “missile” mentioned is the Mistel, a Ju-88 flown to the target by an attached fighter, FW-190 or Bf-109. I learned that later Mistels were radio controlled from the “parasite” fighter. There’s a lot of great information in this book.

Flak Missiles

Anti-aircraft missiles had a difficult development. The problem wasn’t technical, it was political. With the war going well in September of 1941, Hitler ordered the cessation of all long-term development programs. This included Flak missiles. When it became obvious that anti-aircraft guns were not working against high flying night bombers, Hitler ordered the deployment of Nebelwerfer artillery rockets to defend the Ruhr industrial region against bombers. This didn’t work because the Nebelwerfers didn’t have the range or speed to engage aircraft.

There were four guided missile development programs which received support and funding from the Luftwaffe. They were the subsonic Henschel Schmetterling, the Rheinmetall-Borsig Rheintochter, the Messerschmitt Enzian and the supersonic Wasserfall, which was based on the V-2.

Mr. Zaloga does a very good job of showing how these projects suffered delays from many factors, including, low priorities early on, material failures, and the fact that Allied bombing made manufacturing difficult.

Overall Evaluation

Highly recommended. This part of the Luftwaffe’s offense and defense later in the war has not been thoroughly covered before, and this book brings a lot of great information to the reader.

Many thanks to Osprey Publications for this outstanding book, and to IPMS USA for allowing me to review it.


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