Wehrmacht History 1935 to 1945


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Surface-to-Air Missile

Wasserfall Surface-to-Air Missile

Service Data

In Service: 1943 to 1945

Production Data

First Flight: 8 March 1944
Manufacturer: EMW
Number built:

Technical Data

Type: Surface-to-Air Missile

Guidance system: radio controlled
Length: 7.85 m
Wingspan: m
Diameter: 2.51 m
Weight: 3,700 kg
Engine: 1 × Mittelwerk rocket engine producing up to kg of thrust
Maximum speed: km/h
Range: 25 km
Warhead: 235 kg
Fuze: Proximity
Launch Platform: Mobile, Fixed
Operators: Luftwaffe

Other: Missiles


The EMW Wasserfall (Waterfall) was a surface-to-air missile. Designed and developed by Elektro Mechanische Werke in 1943 under the leadership of Dipl.-Ing. Klaus Heinrich Scheufelen.

The Wasserfall (Waterfall). This weapon was intended to be deployed against Allied bomber formations. Dipl.-Ing. Klaus Heinrich Scheufelen also developed the EMW Taifun (Typhoon) surface-to-air missile system.

The Wasserfall (Waterfall) was of a cylindrical shape with cruciform wings and control surfaces, and was essentially the same shape as the A-4 (V-2 rocket) the rocket motor used was 1 × Mittelwerk rocket engine producing up to kg of thrust which was designed by Dipl.-Ing. Walter Thiel. But because of the length of time, this weapon could be waiting to be launched, the liquid oxygen and alcohol used for the A-4 (V-2 rocket) was unsuitable. And so a new combination of fuel mixture was looked into however nothing was ever finalised, but the fuels probably used were, (1) 10% to 15% aniline added for rapid ignition, for Visol. (2) 90% nitric acid, 10% sulphuric acid, for Salbei. There were several systems employed to control Wasserfall (Waterfall) surface to air missile, radio control, using line of sight and a joystick, using a modified Kehl-Straßburg (designed and developed by Telefunken) radio control system, Kogge-Brigg radio control system, detonation was achieved by either remote control or by a proximity fuse. The whole project was held up when Dipl.-Ing. Walter Thiel was killed during heavy bombing at Peenemünde in an operation codenamed Hydra. However Walter Thiel was replaced by Dipl.-Ing. Martin Schilling.

Testing began in March 1944 using the A-4 (V-2 rocket) to tests the control components for the Wasserfall (Waterfall), between the 8 March 1944 and the 17 February 1945, when Peenemünde was evacuated approximately 35 Wasserfall (Waterfall) missiles were launched.
Production of the Wasserfall (Waterfall) was supposed to have been in an underground complex at Bleicherode, however, work on the underground complex was never started. Manufacturing was due to begin in October 1945, with 50 missiles being produced per month, gradually increasing to 900 a month by March 1946. There was much indecision on how this weapon was to be deployed either as a mobile weapon using a modified A-4 (V-2 rocket) Meillerwagen or to have fixed installations. The Wasserfall (Waterfall) was never used operationally.


Wasserfall Surface-to-Air Missile picture 2

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The Warplanes of the Third Reich.
ISBN-10: 0385057822

German Aircraft of the Second World War.
ISBN-10: 0370000242

Hitler's Luftwaffe.
ISBN-10: 051718771X

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