Battle of the Bulge. The First 24 Hours by David JORDAN


Conflict of the Bulge: the 1st 24 Hours

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At 3,000 feet he pulled out and climbed to 22,500 feet for a second dive. He had to be certain that the works pilot had merely encountered turbulence below cloud and misinterpreted the effect. On the second dive the machine had just passed the 750 kph mark at 9,000 feet when the left wing, contorting, began to vibrate violently. The frequency of the vibration was so powerful that the whole aircraft shook. The contours of the wing blurred and only the rapid wave-like motion of the wing-tip could be distinguished.

He remained glued to the spot for a few seconds as he waited for the explosion, or for smoke to rise from the wreck. But below an expanding cloud of yellow-brown dust from the parched earth a deathly stillness reigned. Wendel sprinted to his car and drove at full speed towards where Beauvais would be, still alive he hoped, perhaps seriously hurt, the best one could expect. He noticed on the other side of the airfield the fire appliances and ambulance also speeding to the accident site. It was mid-August, and a searing heat baked the plain at whose heart lay the Leipheim aerodrome, pasture and surrounding agricultural land.

For that reason and because of the scarcity of certain valuable materials in Germany at the time – heat resistant materials such as nickel, molybdenum and cobalt were simply not available – it was unsuitable for mass production. To mass-produce the Jumo 004B required a far-reaching, radical reappraisal of the situation. As an example I would mention that sheet-plated areas such as the combustion chambers and thrust jet were adapted to take the normal steel plate flw 1010, the surfaces being protected against rust by a layer of aluminium.

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