Being blessed with parents who supported their efforts (to the extent of having the dining room become part of the construction site!), Reimar was fascinated by the idea of airplanes which consisted solely of a wing, without the struts, wires, wheels, and various surfaces which dominated the airplanes of the day
The War Years 1939-1945
Walter spent the first six months of the war as fighter pilot on the western front, flying a Me 109 in Fighter Squadron No. 26. My other brother, Wolfram, fell at Dunkirk when his He 111 was shot down. I was also trained as a Me 109 pilot, but later in August 1940, transferred to the glider pilot school in Braunschweig. Here, 80 two place "Kranich" sailplanes were being modified to carry ammunition during "Operation Sea lion", the planned invasion of England. Five Ho III b's and two Ho II's were also to be modified. This became my task.
Operation "Sea lion" was eventually canceled, which gave me the opportunity to start on the next project, the Ho IV. Work continued until the school was moved to Konigsberg in December.
Meanwhile the Ho V had been parked in the open since the start of the war, and was deteriorating fast. We finally managed to get permission to have it repaired in August of 1941.
The building of the Ho IV continued in Konigsberg, and the aircraft was completed in just eight months.
An Ho III b was being built in Bonn, that would be converted to a "d" model, with the installation of a Walter Micron engine.
The Air Force wanted a test aircraft for the new Schmitt-Argus pulse jet engine, and inquired about using the Ho V. As the thrust of the engine was in excess of what the aircraft could handle, a new, heavier aircraft with similar features was proposed. This would be the Ho VII, a fully acrobatic two seater, with provisions for the jet engine between its two pusher propellers.
The Ho VII would also be an excellent training aircraft. One prototype was ordered from the Peschke factory in Minden.
The Ho VII with Air Force designation 8-254, was soon completed, but did not receive the pulse jet as planned, and remained a training aircraft. The Peschke plant needed additional work, and soon six Ho III's were in production. Using parts from surplus Ho III b's, one model "e" with VW engine, three "f" s with prone pilot accommodation and two "g" two seaters were completed.
Our next project was a large aircraft with 120 ft. span and six engines. This Ho VIII would have two fuselage pod configurations one for cargo, the other build as a flying wind tunnel. Unfortunately, no contract was received to build it.
In March 1943, the performance curves and installation drawings for the Junkers 004 jet engine came into our hands. Walter had seen the Me 262, and obtained data that had previously been kept secret. Work on the Ho VII was put aside, as we eagerly sought to submit a proposal for the 1000-1000-1000 jet that Reichsmarshal Goering had requested.
Our proposal was accepted, and the Reichsmarshal ordered the first Ho IX (8-229) to be flown within six months.
The Ho IX contract generated a flurry of activity that none of our workshops could handle alone. Thus, the work was spread out, and efficiency suffered. For flight tests, a Ho III was modified with 60 sweep back to become the Ho XIII a, and two high aspect ratio Ho Vl's were built in Aegidienberg for "middle-effect" testing.
Despite the hardships, the Ho IX V-1 flew in March 1 as a glider, precise on schedule. The jet powered V-2 was scheduled to fly three months later.
After the first successful flight of the Ho IX V-2, the Ho VIII project was approved, and the aircraft was half finished when the war ended. The production contract for the Ho IX was awarded to the Gothaer Waggonfabrik.
Our final contract; to develop a six jet long range bomber, was received on March 12, 1945.
Working conditions in Argentina were even more difficult than in Germany during the war. Spruce and thin birch plywood were not available; inferior local materials had to be used. Glue was the largest problem. The General in charge of the Institute had ordered that the glue be prepared in the chemistry department. By the time it reached us, it had started to harden, and was mostly spoiled. Several aircraft were lost due to glue-failures.
The destiny of a new prototype was also peculiar: No sooner had it flown before the Public Relations Department had it sent off to some remote village, where it would be on display in a park until grass started growing from the wings.
Afterwards it was ready for the salvage yard.
Nine sailplanes were produced under these rather difficult circumstances.
Reimar Horten passed away in 1994. He is survived by his widow
Walter Horten was living in the city of Baden-Baden. He passed away on December 9, 1998.