Saturday, 4 August 2007
Schnell-Bomber/Schnell-Aufklärer EF 131
Dr. Hermann Schmidt-Stiebitz, originally produced by Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke, Dessau, Germany, 1946, for submission to the Soviet armed forces, self-published facsimile edition by Dr. Peter Korrell, Wolfenbuettel, Germany. Illustrated, softcover, published in German.
This 55 page illustrated brochure was produced in 1946 by former Junkers designer Dr. Hermann Schmidt-Stiebitz. Dr. Schmidt-Stiebitz had been involved with the design of the Ju 252, Ju 352, Ju 488, and Ju 635, and he had also been in charge of the weekly status reports submitted by Junkers to the German air ministry (RLM). He was one of many Junkers engineers who, after the war in 1946 to 1953, worked for the Soviet aviation industry.
Just why Dr. Schmidt-Stiebitz produced this brochure a year after the German defeat remains something of an enigma. It was possibly intended as an overview of the technical capabilities of the then revolutionary EF 131 design for the Soviet occupiers. Moreover, it appears that the brochure was never printed as intended. Until now, that is.
It is due to Dr. Peter Korrell's labor of love that this rare treasure trove of information on one of the most intriguing German late-war aircraft projects is now available to enthusiasts and researchers. Over the years, Dr. Korrell has gained a distinguished reputation by painstakingly restoring and reassembling German aviation handbooks and documents from the 1940s and 1950s. Dr. Korrell's facsimile editions are printed to the original specifications, i.e., format, materials, and layout are closely patterned after the original. If anything, they are better than the originals, as Dr. Korrell meticulously researches and repairs faded drawings and missing information. The resulting publications are unique expert glimpses into exceptional German aviation history. They are essential reading material for any serious student of the topic.
The EF 131 brochure is significant because of the close relation between the EF 131 and the Ju 287 forward-swept-wing jet bomber, two prototypes of which were built and flown before the end of the war. The Ju 287 concept was revolutionary enough to be pursued by the Soviets after the war, and a further prototype, labeled EF 131 (after the Junkers in-house EF designation, for Entwicklungs-Flugzeug, i.e., development aircraft), was completed and flown at Ramenskoye near Moscow. In contrast to the Ju 287 V1 prototype, the EF 131 featured six Junkers Jumo 004 jet engines, mounted in triple-engine nacelles under the wings.
The subtitle of the EF 131 brochure reads EF 131: Entwurf, Erprobung und Einsatz [EF 131: Design, Testing, and Operations]. Accordingly, the brochure covers a broad range of topics and is very detailed. Covered are, for example, operations on the ground, take-off, landing, engines, landing gear, icing, emergency egress, engine fires, turbine blade failure, armament operations, and more. Nearly every page is illustrated by means of black & white drawings or graphs and tables. The information contained therein reveals a highly advanced state of affairs within the Ju 287/EF 131 project, much more so than could be assumed, given the production of only three Ju 287/EF 131 prototypes under late-war/post-war conditions.
The text is in German, and the brochure contains a German-language leaflet by Dr. Korrell, detailing the history behind both the original publication and the restoration process.