GERMAN PLANNING FOR BOMBER ATTACKS ON NEW YORK: German Third Reich. 1942-1945. On 16 May 1942 a conference was held at Luftwaffe General Headquarters to discuss, among other things, the possibility of long range strategic bombing attacks against North America. Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, representatives of the major German aircraft manufacturers, and staff of the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (German Air Ministry) were in attendance. At the conference discussion of possible attacks on cities along the Atlantic coast resulted in New York being identified as the primary target. Senior Luftwaffe officers believed that such attacks would deter further United States Army Air Force bomber attacks on German cities and might force the United States to withdraw from the European theatre.
Contemporary maps for a Luftwaffe area bombing raid on New York show its aiming point as being in the vicinity of Park Avenue and Houston Street with damage extending out to Jersey City, Brooklyn, Queens, and as far north as 57th Street.
The Focke-Wulf, Junkers, and Messerschmitt design bureaus all prepared detailed proposals for intercontinental strategic bombers capable of striking North America with a 4,000 kilogram bomb load. However, within weeks, the proposed North American bombing campaign was abandoned. The manufacturers, however, continued development work and continued to submit proposals to the Reichsluftfahrtministerium, until that Ministry finally issued a decree on 14 March 1943 prohibiting any further such design work. Even then the manufacturers continued in secret to develop designs. Finally in the last weeks of the war, desperate efforts were made to develop long range jet powered bombers, an effort that came to naught.
Only one of the design efforts ever developed a flying aircraft, the Messerschmitt Me 264, unofficially named the Amerikabomber. This four engine bomber was designed to carry a bomb load of 2,000 kilograms with a range of 9,315 miles and a speed of 338 miles per hour. The four engine bomber and reconnaissance aircraft had a defensive armament of 5 machine guns. The Reichsluftfahrtministerium ordered three prototypes, the first of which flew in December 1942, and 30 production aircraft. However, 2 of the prototypes were destroyed in air raids in 1944, and no priority was assigned to producing the production aircraft.
Sources: Herwig, Dieter and Heinz Rode, Luftwaffe Secret Projects: Strategic Bombers 1933-1945, Earl Shilton, Leicester, United Kingdom, Midland Publishing, 2000.
Entry 03105 - posted 15 September 2003