Mistel (German for “mistletoe”), was the larger, unmanned component of a composite aircraft configuration developed in Germany during the later stages of World War II. The composite comprised a small piloted control aircraft mounted above a large explosives-carrying drone, the Mistel, and as a whole was referred to as the ‘Huckepack’ (“Pick-a-back” in British English, “piggyback” in American English), also known as the Beethoven-Gerät (“Beethoven Device”) and Vati und Sohn (“Daddy and Son”).
The most successful of these used a modified Junkers Ju 88 bomber as the Mistel, with the entire nose-located crew compartment replaced by a specially designed nose filled with a large load of explosives. The upper component was a fighter aircraft, joined to the Mistel by struts. The combination would be flown to its target by a pilot in the fighter; then the unmanned bomber was released to hit its target and explode, leaving the fighter free to return to base. The first such composite aircraft flew in July 1943 and was promising enough to begin a programme by Luftwaffe test unit KG 200, code-named “Beethoven”, eventually entering operational service.