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Rheintochter R1 missile

Rheintochter was a German surface-to-air missile developed by Rheinmetall-Borsig[1] during World War II. Its name comes from the mythical Rheintöchter (Rhinemaidens) of Richard Wagner's opera series Der Ring des Nibelungen.

The missile was a multi-stage solid fuelled rocket.[2] It had four small control surfaces, resembling paddles, in the nose, six fins at the after end of the top stage, and four at the end of the main stage.[3] It stood 6.3 m (20 ft 8 in) tall, with a diameter of 54 cm (1 ft 9 in).[4] The sustainer motor, located ahead of the 136 kg (300 lb) warhead (rather than behind, as is more usual) exhausted through six venturis between the first stage fins.[5]


Rheintochter was ordered in November 1942 by the German army (Heer). Starting in August 1943, 82 test firings were made. An air-launched version was also designed. The operational version was intended to be fired from a ramp or converted gun mount.[6]

The project was cancelled on February 6, 1945.

Examples are on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, the Deutsches Museum in Munich, and at the RAF Museum Cosford, UK


A Rheintochter R1 (left), and part of an R3 (centre), with a Rheinbote (right).

The initial R1 variant was powered by a two-stage solid-fuel rocket.

The proposed R2 did not offer any improvement over the R1, and was dropped in December 1944.[7]

The R3 model was developed, which had a liquid fuel engine with solid-fuel boosters ("strap-ons"). Only six trial missiles were fired.[8]


  • Power plant: RI variant was 2-stage solid fuel; RIII was liquid fuel with solid-fuel boosters
  • Length: 6.3 m (20 ft 8 in)[9]
  • Diameter: 54 cm (1 ft 9 in)[10]
  • Wing span: 2.65 m (8 ft 8 in)
  • Launch weight: 1,748 kg (3,854 lb)
  • Speed: 1,080 km/h (671 mph)[11]
  • Warhead: 136 kg (300 lb)
  • Range: Unknown
  • Altitude: R1 8 km
  • Fuzes: Unknown
  • Guidance system: Radio Command
  • Unit cost: Unknown
  • Date deployed: Never
  • Users: Germany


  1. ^ Christopher, John. The Race for Hitler's X-Planes (The Mill, Gloucestershire: History Press, 2013), p.131.
  2. ^ Christopher, p.131.
  3. ^ Christopher, p.131.
  4. ^ Christopher, p.131.
  5. ^ Christopher, p.131.
  6. ^ Christopher, p.131.
  7. ^ Christopher, p.131.
  8. ^ Christopher, p.132.
  9. ^ Ford, Brian J., Secret Weapons, Osprey Publishing, 2011, p.80, ISBN 978 1 84908 390 4
  10. ^ Ford, p.80
  11. ^ Ford, p.80

External links[edit]


  • Christopher, John. The Race for Hitler's X-Planes. The Mill, Gloucestershire: History Press, 2013.
  • Ford, Brian J., Secret Weapons, Osprey Publishing, 2011, ISBN 978 1 84908 390 4

See also[edit]