Following years of detailed research, this is the first volume in a new two-part work on the Luftwaffe’s legendary Messerschmitt Me 163 rocket-powered interceptor. The authors have unearthed incredible new documentary material and previously unpublished photographs and have received co-operation from many former pilots who flew this unique and daunting aircraft. This book focuses on the evolution, design and development of tailless and rocket powered aircraft during the years leading up to the Second World War as well the subsequent deployment of the Me 163 by the specialist test unit, Erprobungskommando 16. It also includes a detailed study of Me 163 production and an introduction to the operational use of the rocket fighter by JG 400 in the defense of the Reich. Accompanied by superb color artwork by leading aviation artist, Tom Tullis and many technical illustrations, this work will undoubtedly be recognized as the standard reference on the subject for years to come.