When in 1934 the Fi97 Five, who had completed the incredible challenge of flying 10,000 km over Europe without refueling, were presented at an air show in Warsaw, the small Fieseler company achieved worldwide recognition and this fame aroused the interest of the German Ministry of Aviation.
In 1935, the Reich Ministry of Aviation requested the development of a reconnaissance aircraft capable of coordinating effectively with ground forces. Finally the aircraft chosen for this purpose was the one presented by Gerhard Fieseler, the Fi 156 which was nicknamed “Stork” because of its elongated landing gear reminiscent of the legs of a stork.
Some of the most notable features of this aircraft were its ability to land and take off from difficult terrain and in confined spaces, its engine, a Argus As 10C-3 Linear V8 with 245hp power was very easy to start even in extreme cold conditions, which was especially useful on the eastern front and, finally, its cockpit was designed to give excellent visibility to the pilot.
Fi156 was active throughout the conflict, almost 2,900 of these devices were built in during the war, and served as an observation platform for such famous generals as Rommel or Kesselring, as well as participating in the incredible rescue that Otto Skorzeny led to free Benito Mussolini from the Alpine resort where he was imprisoned in September 1943.
Several of these devices are still in operation today, both in Europe and the USA.
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