Me 163 ground equipment: Anlasswagen

The Me 163B's Walter engine needed external electricity for starting up. Later models of the Walter engine (HWK109-509A.2) had a built-in self-start system, but exactly in which models it was used is still unclear. On Shamus Reddin's Walter HWK 109-509 site it can be read that service introduction was probably not reached before the war ended. Therefore, all or nearly all Komets needed help when starting the engine.

The standard Luftwaffe ground equipment for starting was the 'Anlasswagen' or 'Starterwagen', manufactured by Bosch. It consisted of a small cart, fitted with a small two-cilinder engine and a set of batteries. The engine was placed under a hood, and this hood had to be opened when the engine was running. A cable with a standard plug was fitted. There were variations in the wheels fitted; some had steel wheels with rubber tyres, others had spoked wheel without tyres.

Photos of Komets with an Anlasswagen are quite scarce, and therefore some other aircraft types are illustrated too. A special thanks to Dieter Reichardt for supplying many of the photos shown below.

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