The Ruhrstahl X-1 was the first air-to-surface smart bomb in history. Developed in Germany during World War II, it was radio-guided and used in the anti-shipping role. More than 1,300 Ruhrstahl X-1s had been manufactured until the end of the war, being tested for the first time in April 1943. Its launching platform was the Dornier Do-217K and the Focke-Wulf Fw 200 aircraft. It had a maximum range of 5.6 miles (9 km) and could pierce up to 130-mm-thick of steel armor plate. On September 9, 1943, the Luftwaffe sank the Italian battleship Rome off the coast of Sardinia, using the X-1 missile. Since Benito Mussolini, Hitler’s friend, had been ousted from power in August that year, with Italy’s new government quitting the Axis, and the Allies invading Italy, the Italian Navy’s warships became a military target for the Luftwaffe. The Ruhrstahl X-1 also sank the Italia battleship that day. During that year, the British battleship HMS Warspite, the cruiser HMS Spartan, and the destroyer HMS Janus would also be destroyed and sent to the bottom of the sea with this German secret weapon.

Specifications

Weight: 1.8 tons
Length: 3.8 m
Maximum range: 5.6 miles
Guidance: radio-guided

Ruhrstahl_x-1

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