Air and Space Photos from Alternate Worlds.

(Hatsunese Space Program - Phase 2 - 10)

1967-01-25 - First launch of the M-1A rocket (Thor Heavy / Multibody)



You might remember my fictional rigid airship freighter, the Nimrod, an airship from my fictional Aeroverse setting. I shared it on page 204.

In the year since, I've toyed with the idea of doing a size comparison chart. Here it is, comparing nine airships, 7 real, 1 unbuilt and 1 fictional.

The only wholly fictional airship is my Nimrod, the blue-ish, third one from the bottom. It's a Samson class civilian tramp aerofreighter, with electric engines, aetherium lift gas in several hundred rigid gas cells/tanks, and even a minor hangar for small aeroplanes.

The bottom airship is the unbuilt Vickers Transoceanic Airship, a concept airliner proposed in 1919, as part of the then British Empire's Imperial Airship Scheme (that gradually folded after the early 1920s).

All the other airships are historical specimens that really existed and were really used, some with great dictinction and even for many years.

The full list, in table form:
NameCountry of originYearLengthClassEngineLift gas
SSP class patrol blimpUnited Kingdom191743.7 m
(143 ft 5 in)
SSP Class AirshipPetrolHydrogen
La FranceFrance188452 m
(170 ft)
La RépubliqueFrance190861 m
(200 ft 2 in)
Lebaudy Frères
semi-rigid series
Zeppelin LZ 1German Empire
(private project)
1900128.02 m
(420 ft)
A ClassPetrolHydrogen
R.23 class rigid airshipUnited Kingdom1917163 m
(535 ft)
23 Class (R.23)PetrolHydrogen
L 59 (LZ 104)
"Das Afrika Schiff"
German Empire1917226.5 m
(743 ft 0 in)
L-57 ClassPetrolHydrogen
NimrodVictinya???224 m
(734 ft 10.89 in)
Samson classElectricAetherium
LZ 107 Graf ZeppelinGermany
(Weimar republic)
1928236.6 m
(776 ft 3 in)
& Blau gas
Vickers Transoceanic AirshipUnited Kingdom
(proposed but not built)
1919244 m
(800 ft)

Image credits: - SSP class (author Darth Panda), La République (author C. Hoefer), LZ 1 (author C. Hoefer), R.23 class (author Bombhead), L 59 (author Midnightnova)
unknown author - La France
Petike, - Nimrod
unknown author - LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin - Vickers Transoceanic Airship
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If real, (because it looks a bit photoshopped kinda :) ) it looks to be a continuation of a WWII idea there they added an upper "wing" looking fuel tank to extend range.

I'm pretty sure it's photoshopped. I'm sure I've seen that same pic un-altered.
well the name of the website is....... And the thread is called................ so it might NOT be photoshoped. ;)

Ahh in tht case the it can be pretty much assumed to be a wing shaped 'auxiliary' fuel tank that would make the most sense :)

Randy :)
Comrade Harp's Kamikaze Edition


Kokusai Ku-9-II Onmoraki Swallow​


Kokusai Ku-9-II Onmoraki Swallow
Meiyo Special Attack Unit, Home Defence Command, Chiba, Honshu, Japan
March, 1946

The Kokusai Ku-9 is a little known Japanese glider. Originally designed as a towed bomber interceptor, it was subsequently adapted for the ground-launched kamikaze mission. Over 900 were built, around 300 of which were used over the Kanto Plains following the Allied Y-Day invasion of Honshu.

In anticipation of Allied bomber raids against the Japanese Home Islands, Home Defence Command initiated a series of secret discussions with aircraft engine and airframe manufacturers in late 1943. They were seeking proposals for innovative, low cost air defence aircraft and weapons for employment in the 1945-46 period. These solicitations resulted in a range of production aircraft, including the Fuji Kaiken Terry, Nippon Hikoki Bo-hiya Elton, Kyushu Ya Bruce and the Kokusai Ku-9 Swallow. Although similar in concept and often lumped in with these aforementioned types as product of Home Defence Command, the Rikugun Ki-89 Itsumade-Kai Floyd originated as a project of the Imperial Japanese Army.

The Ku-9 was designed to be towed to altitude above a bomber stream by fighters, bombers or transport aircraft and released to make one or two slashing dive attacks before landing. Although largely built of wood, the cockpit was heavily armoured and ramming was an approved option. Although of wholly conventional construction, the Ku-9 did have one novel feature; expecting that the pilots would experience high G forces during the dive into the bomber stream, they lay prone on a cushioned bench instead of sitting in a seat. However, when the B-29 appeared over Japan, their combination of high speed and altitude, plus Japan's poor early warning capability, made the concept obsolete. Towed, the Ku-9 could neither make the altitude nor meet the response time necessary to attempt an intercept.

With over around 100 Ku-9s already built and production well established, the decision was made to turn the type into a ground-launched Special Attack and Special Transport type for use against the anticipated Allied invasion of the Home Islands. With minor adjustments (including the removal of the landing skid) existing Ku-9-Is were modified to Ku-9-II standard. For the interceptor role, the Ku-9-I was armed with wing root-mounted 20mm Ho-5 cannon, but these and their wing root fairings were removed to make room for rocket assisted take-off gear. New build aircraft for the battlefield role (distinguished by the absence of the nose-mounted tow cable connector) were designated Ku-9-III.

Onmoraki were ground launched using catapults or winches, assisted by rockets. Considered as pieces of ordnance, two types of rockets were used without any change of designation. Liquid fuel Toko Ro 3/KR11 rockets with used (as seen here), mostly for Special Attack missions. These were basically miniaturised versions of the Toko Ro.2 /KR10 motors used by the Elton and Bruce. The advantage that these rockets gave to the Special Attack role was that their fuel tanks retained an explosive quantum of propellants after motor burn out, adding to the type's lethality. For the Special Transport role, paired solid fuel rockets were preferred, these being the same type as as those strapped on to the outside of the Elton.

When used in the kamikazi role, these “human artillery” aircraft were sent aloft across the battlefield for pilots to select targets of opportunity. Their small size, speed and fleeting flight time made them difficult to shoot down; a dozen were claimed shot down by ground fire and just 1 shot was shot down by an Allied fighter. Fortunately for the Allies, their small kinetic and explosive effect limited their lethal impact. A M4 Sherman is reported as having taken a direct hit and surviving, the Swallow disintegrating around the tank's armored hull. Also, their short range meant that they needed to be launched close to the front line and many aircraft and their launch sites were destroyed by bombing, strafing and artillery. Additional factors that limited their effectiveness included poor pilot training, limited pilot vision through the small cockpit windows and a lack of kinetic energy to allow sufficient height and fight time for meaningful target selection and maneuvering.

As the Allies moved across the Kanto Plains, they found hundreds of damaged Ku-9 airframes. Others, such as the one modeled here, were found complete and ready for action, but abandoned due to the Allies' swift advance following the break-out from the beach head; desperate for manpower, local commanders often commandeered the Ku-9 ground crews and pilots for infantry duty.

The US Army credited Ku-9 kamikaze missions with causing only 163 Allied casualties, including 19 deaths.

A less well known aspect of Japan's Glider Offensive is the use of the Ku-9 as a Special Transport type. Usually launched with the solid fuel rockets, these sorties were used to insert personnel behind Allied lines. Personnel included commandos and snipers (a handful of whom used Samurai bow and arrows instead of rifles), who were flown in at night to cause disruption in the Allies' rear.

More nefarious, and officially suppressed until the 1990s, was the use of the Special Transport role by Unit 731, which placed POWs into the gliders. These men were infected with diseases including typhoid and cholera, the idea being to spread these illness among the invading troops. There was also an additional psychological warfare aspect to the campaign, as it was hoped that Allied soldiers would become reluctant to shoot at the Ku-9s once they learnt that they might be “flown” by POWs. However, only about a dozen Unit 731 missions were mounted with the Ku-9 and the Allies quickly ascertained, controlled and suppressed both the spread of disease and of information.

The Onmoraki isnamed after a bird-demon created from the spirits of freshly-dead corpses. As a glider, the type received an Allied bird reporting name: Swallow.


Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka Model 43B Otsu Baka​


Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka Model 43B Otsu Baka
Jinrai Butai (Thunder Gods Corps), Imperial Home Defence Command
Sona, Japan, May 1946,

The special attack weapon Ohka was a series of reaction-powered kamikaze aircraft that included versions with rocket, motorjet, turbojet and pulsejet engines. Designed for the Imperial Japanese Navy, the Ohka was first used in its Model 11 rocket-powered, air-launched version in April 1945. By Y-Day a year later the main production versions were of the Model 43 variety. Powered by the Maru Ka10 pulsejet, the Model 43 series included the B version that was launched from a sled that rode a ski-jump like ramp; the sled was either rocket powered or derived its energy from a catapult arrangement. The Model 43A was similar, but used a jettisonable undercarriage for a conventional take-off.

Over two thousand Ohka in all its versions were produced, the Model 43 proving to be the most numerous, effective and difficult to counter. About 700 were launched on Y-Day and over the next week, resulting in over four thousand Allied casualties on shore and at sea.

This example was found undamaged, fully armed but without fuel at Sona, north of Tokyo, by US Army troops near the end of the war in May, 1946. A smashed launch ramp, damaged by bombing and artillery, was nearby.

Nakajima Tsunami​


Nakajima Tsunami
Watatsumi Tokubetsu Kôgekitai (Water God Special Attack Forces), Japanese Imperial Navy
Akai, Honshu, Japan
1 March, 1946

Nakajima's Tsunami is often seen as the "Japanese Mistel". However, there are crucial differences between the Mistel and the Tsunami, starting with their mission. Whereas the Mistel's component aircraft were intended for separation to allow the pilot to return to base in the upper component fighter, the two planes that made up Tsunami remained together until the end; they could not part. Unlike the Mistel, the Tsunami was a suicide attack plane.

Various combinations of upper and lower component were proposed, but only two were produced. The most numerous combined Nakajima's Ki-49 bomber (mounting a large, hollow-charge warhead in the nose) with the same company's Ki-115 Tsurugi (Sabre), a plane designed specifically for the kamikaze mission. Various models of the new-built Ki-115 were used (depending largely on the availability of reconditioned engines) and both new and modified Ki-49s of various versions were used, resulting in a wide variety of models. The lower component in this instance appears to be based on a a Ki-49-II-Kai.

When the Allies invaded Honshu on 1 March, 1946, the IJA and IJN togather had 183 Tsunamis ready for action. Some crashed due to malfunction or pilot error, most were shot down by fighters or flack, but a few made it through the the Allied ships off Honshu, where they caused considerable damaged. The US Navy attributed 5 sinkings to the Tsunami (plus 3 more shared with other planes) and another 15 vessels damaged, with over 670 personnel killed. The US Army records that 4 Tsunamis impacted on the beachhead at Kujūkuri Beach, but amid the carnage being meted out on Y-Day they have been unable to provide a definite casualty count.
Luftwaffe 1946, Volume 2, Issue No.12
(Belgium and "Israel"-captured) Avia S.199 vs Bf-109J (production version of X)
Luftwaffe 1946, Issue No.3

Red Yugoslavian IK-3​


Rogozarski IK-3
Unknown location and date, Yugoslavian Partisans, late 1944

Following the German invasion of Yugoslavia and the installation of a Fascist Croatian government, continued production of the indigenous IK-3 fighter was permitted by the Germans. Although repeated plans for developed versions to be powered by the DB 601 and DB 605 (or their Italian built copies) were dashed, small-scale production was maintained using a combination of French and Czech-built Avia H.S. 12Ycrs, some of the French engines being taken from un-airworthy Morane-Saulnier M.S.406s delivered in 1942-43. Likewise, plans for improving the armament to include German machines guns and cannon came to naught, but some late production examples (such as depicted here) featured Breda-SAFAT 7.7mm MGs in under-wing fairings.

This late production Ik-3 was one of five captured and used by Tito's Red Yugoslavian Partisans in 1944-45. Little is known about their deployment, but at least one German Ju-52 and a Croatian He-111H were reportedly shot down by them. The type remained in limited service until mid-1946.