Colditz Cock

The Colditz Glider, also “Colditz Cock” (of English. Cock, German Tap), was constructed from a prisoner of war glider in 1945 should serve to escape from the POW camp Colditz Castle.

Concept

The idea for a flight in a glider invented the two pilots Jack Best and Bill Goldfinch, who had been brought into the heavily guarded castle escape attempts from Colditz to other POW camps. The initial impetus was given by the two newcomers Tony Rolt, even before the war, a famous British racing driver, after the war, a Formula 1 driver, and David Walker.

Rolt recommended the roof of the castle chapel with tables mounted on it as a launching pad, because you can then hold the intention to start from the Germans secret. The plan was to create a two-man glider in parts and assemble just before the start. By plane the Mulde should be crossed and landed on a 60 m deep meadow.

Construction

The glider was assembled by Bill Goldfinch and Jack Best in a well-camouflaged, separated by an additional partition part of the attic above the chapel.

Since the Germans were looking for tunnels and suspected no secret workshop under the roof, the builders felt safe. Nevertheless, they put an observer and an electrical warning system to prevent the discovery.

The glider was built slowly from stolen pieces of wood. The wing spars were made of floor boards, hundreds of ribs from bed slats. Control cables for electrical wiring in unused parts of the castle were used.

The Welsh prisoners Lorne Welch, who was an expert glider, was asked to check the pressure diagrams and calculations, which were calculated by Goldfinch.

The glider was designed a lightweight, two-seater and Hocheindecker. It had a square Mooneysteuer and control valves. The wing span was 9.75 m, and the length between the nose and end piece was 6 m. Cotton bedding from prison with blue and white checked pattern served as a covering for the wings. Cooked millet from the prisoners rations was used to seal the pores of the cloth. With the materials used, a design weight of 109 kg was reached. However, the aircraft was assembled only after the liberation of Colditz to be photographed by the American troops.

Start

With regard to the expected end of the war soon launch was dangerous, considered by the prisoner only for an emergency, such as the takeover of the camp by the SS.

The launch should take place as launch as a pulley system of tables from an improvised ramp on the roof of the chapel. A falling on the outer wall, fully loaded metal bath should guarantee the necessary acceleration to 50 km / h.

A replica of the Colditz glider was made ​​in 2000 for the TV documentary Escape from Colditz by Channel 4 (UK). Under the eyes of Colditz veterans Jack Best and Bill Goldfinch, the aircraft flew successfully in fact already in his first start attempt. It is currently exhibited at the Imperial War Museum in London.

The media

•Channel 4 (UK) 3-part TV documentary (150 minutes) Escape from Colditz

•Hogan’s Heroes

Experimental aircraft

Colditz

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