The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch was designed in 1935, did his first flight in 1936. It was one of the most iconic aircraft to serve in the Luftwaffe and was suitable for liaison, army co-operation, and medical evacuation. The Storch was deployed in all European and North African theaters of World War II.
Fieseler Fi 156 Storch -- 1942 [Via]
#1.- The official presentation to the troops of the Fi 156 V 2 was in March 1939 at the "Wehrmacht Tag" (Army Day) where it landed on the famous street 'Unter den Linden' in Berlin between the Opera House and the Neue Wache.
#2.- The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch was a three-seat, high-winged machine, powered by the excellent 240 hp (179 kW) Argus engine and with the wing liberally endowed with slats and flaps.
#3.- The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch was famous for having a far better short take off and landing ("STOL") performance. With its very low landing speed the Storch often appeared to land vertically, or even backwards, in strong winds from directly ahead. François Dumas wrote “The Fieseler Storch Fi-156 was another one of these very special aircraft that earned their fame in World War 2. Where the British used their Lysander for nightly STOL operations, the German side had the Storch to land on virtually ANY place that wasn't inundated”.
#4.- As a liaison and observation platform it was second to none out performing every allied counterpart with both its rugged construction, reliability and performance.
#5.- The visibility in the large cockpit of the Fi 156 was near total, except for the sole blind spot directly in front of and slightly below the pilot gaze. Other than that, the pilot had an excellent field of vision to the right and left, in front and even above through a dome. Behind him, there was a light machine gun that could be fired by a passenger, but against virtually any determined and skillful fighter pilot, this would have been of little avail.
#6.- The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch had a design feature rare for land-based aircraft enabled the wings to be folded back along the fuselage. This allowed the aircraft to be carried on a trailer, towed slowly behind a vehicle or even on rail transportation to the front lines—necessary, as its top speed was slower than a train.
This is a true combat veteran, one of the few airworthy Storches in existence (courtesy from Flying Heritage Collection)
#7.-The long legs of the main landing gear contained oil-and-spring shock absorbers that had a travel of 450 mm (18 inches), allowing the aircraft to land on comparatively rough and uneven surfaces.
#8.- The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch had long legs as main landing gear, which contained oil-and-spring shock absorbers that had a travel of 450 mm (18 inches). This feature allowed the aircraft to land on comparatively rough and uneven surfaces.
#9.- The nickname 'Storch' was given because in flight, the landing gear legs hung down, giving the aircraft the appearance of a long-legged, big-winged bird.
#10.- About 2,900 Fi 156s, mostly Cs, were produced from 1937 to 1945 at the Fieseler Factory in Kassel. In 1942, production started in the Morane-Saulnier factory at Puteaux in France. The Storch production was shifted to the Leichtbau Budweis in Budweis in 1943.
Fi 156 Storch Recon Planes at Fieseler Werke3 in Waldau [Via]
#11.- Germany provided Fieseler Fi 156s Storch to the Soviet Union, after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939.
#12.- The most famous role of Fieseler Fi 156 Storch was in 'Operation Eiche', the hazardous rescue of deposed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in 1943 from a boulder-strewn mountain-top near the Gran Sasso in the Apennine Mountains.
Gran Sasso, Fieseler Fi 156 "Storch" [Via]
The colours and numbers found on this plane are identical to the Storch with which the German SS captain Otto Skorzeny rescued the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini (courtesy from Athenian Aviators Collection)
#13.- On 26 April 1945, a Fieseler Fi 156 Storch was one of the last aircraft to land on the improvised airstrip in theTiergarten near the Brandenburg Gate during the Battle of Berlin and the death throes of the Third Reich. German test pilot Hanna Reitsch flew Goering's replacement into Berlin, hoping to take Hitler out of the city.
"Hanna Reitsch flying to Berlin 26th April 1945" a diorama by Bjørn Jacobsen
#14.- A Fieseler Fi 156 Storch was the victim of the last dog fight on the Western Front and another was downed by a direct Allied counterpart of the Storch, an L-4 Grasshopper, the military version of the well-known American Piper J-3 Cub civilian training and sport aircraft. The pilot and co-pilot of the L-4, Lieutenants Duane Francis and Bill Martin, opened fire on the Storch with their .45 caliber pistols, forcing the German air crew to land and surrender.
#15.- It was a “Storch” that transported the bomb that was used in the attempt on Hitler’s life in July of 1944.
#16.- German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, “The Desert Fox”, was flying a Storch throughout the North African Campaign, landing in troubled spots anywhere along the front line to lead the battle. The Storch not only helped him to do his job the best way possible, but also helped the morale of the troops, who were seeing their Field Marshal fighting next to them.
This aircraft is painted as the Storch used by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in North Africa (courtesy from National Museum of the United States Air Force)
#17.- Several Fieseler Fi 156s Storch captured by the Allies were used by their Commanders, among them, Field Marshal Montgomery, Air Vice Marshal Arthur Coningham, Air Vice Marshal Harry Broadhurst or British prime minister Winston Churchill during its visit to the Normandy in 1944.