The intensity and success of the Allied day and night aerial bombing campaigns against Germany in World War 2 (1939-1945) prompted Luftwaffe officials to seek whatever counter could be had. This led to the establishment of the "Emergency Fighter Program" (EFP) of July 1944 that called for an economically-minded, single-seat, single-engine "fighter-interceptor" to combat the massed formations of heavy bombers as well as their accompanying escort fighters. While most of the usual defense industry players were approached in September of 1944, just two designs were officially accepted for further development - one originating from Blohm & Voss and the other from Heinkel.
The program was officially known to the Air Ministry as the "Volksjager", or the "People's Fighter", and intended for the final defense of Germany.
Part of the requirement was use of a single BMW 003D turbojet engine to achieve the desired performance - intended to best that of any contemporary Allied fighter such as the definitive forms of the North American P-51 "Mustang" and Supermarine "Spitfire". To this was added an overall weight limitation of no more than 4,400lb. The aircraft would have to rely on the least amount of strategic war material as possible (due to dwindling supplies), be relatively easy to mass-produce (by way of unskilled labor), and fly for at least thirty minutes after take-off. Production was expected to reach into the thousands monthly and pilots would be pulled from the stock of hastily-trained "Hitler Youth".
Authorities called for detailed design work to be made available as soon as September 14th, 1944 and the first combat-ready aircraft should be available as soon as January 1st, 1945 - such was the expediency of the program and the desperate situation for Germany by this time. In essence, the design teams were given about four months to bring their aircraft from paper to physical, operating form - quite the optimistic undertake to be sure.
The Blohm & Voss submission (credited to Richard Vogt) became the "Bv P.211" of which two distinct forms of this same aircraft were proposed. The Bv P.211.01 seated its sole turbojet within the fuselage, aspirated by a nose-mounted intake and exhausted through a port under a tail stem structure. The single pilot sat under a largely unobstructed canopy with good views out-of-the-cockpit. The tail unit was of conventional arrangement (single rudder, twin horizontal planes) and this was held at the extreme aft-end of a stem extending out over the fuselage rear. The mainplanes were low-mounted at the fuselage sides and positioned at midships with sweepback found along both the leading and trailing edges. A manually-retracting, wheeled tricycle undercarriage would be used for ground-running (lowering the gear was through simple physics).
The counterpart Bv P.211.02 offering was simplified with shoulder-mounted, straight-lined mainplanes (of constant chord) to ease development and serial per-unit production. All other physical and technical qualities of the P.211.01 were carried over into the P.211.02 proposal.
The P.211 fighter was proposed with a maximum speed of 537 miles-per-hour and could reach altitudes between 25,000 and 30,000 feet. With this in mind, it is assumed cockpit pressurization and an ejection seat would have been part of the aircraft's make-up. Armament as most likely to be the usual German late-war loadout of 2 x 30mm MK 108 heavy autocannons - enough punch to take down any Allied heavy bomber in a single burst. The guns would have been embedded in the lower frontal fuselage sides.
Of the submissions taken into consideration, German authorities initially elected to push the Blohm & Voss design through in a decision undertaken on September 19th, 1944. However, the availability of an impressive-looking mockup for Heinkel's P.1073 led to the decision being rescinded and the contract awarded to Heinkel instead no more than a week later.
The P.1073 was quickly evolved under the "Salamander" name to become the "Volksjager" fighter of World War 2 history - while it was also known to Heinkel as the "Spatz" ("Sparrow"). This aircraft, with its dorsally-mounted engine and upward-cranked tailplanes, went on to be produced in the hundreds but held little impact in the outcome of the war as the Allies ultimately closed in on their production and operating locations.
No P.211 aircraft were ever completed while the He 162 went on to see a short-lived service life due to the end of the war in 1945.
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