The Colditz Cock

The only known photo of the original Colditz Cock,  by US war correspondent Lee Carson shortly after Colditz Castle was liberated in April 1945.

It was a glider built by British prisoners of war for an escape attempt from Oflag IV-C in Germany. The glider was assembled by Goldfinch, Best and 12 assistants in the lower attic above the chapel. The runway was to be constructed from tables and the glider was to be launched using a pulley system based on a falling metal bathtub full of concrete, using a gravity-assisted acceleration to 30 mph.



Hundreds of ribs had to be constructed, predominantly formed from bed slats, but also from every other piece of wood the POWs could surreptitiously obtain. The wing spars were constructed from floor boards. Control wires were made from electrical wiring in unused portions of the castle. 



The glider constructed was a lightweight, two-seater, high wing, monoplane design. It had a Mooney style rudder and square elevators. Prison sleeping bags of blue and white checked cotton were used to skin the glider, and German ration millet was boiled and used as a form of dope to seal the cloth pores.

The inaugural test flight/great escape was scheduled for the spring of 1945 during an air raid blackout, but by then the Allied guns could be heard and the war's outcome had become fairly certain.

The glider was approaching completion when the American Army liberated the camp on 16 April 1945.

 

 


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