German guided bombs

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Erich, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Guys have we started a thread on this yet ? maybe some interesting debate will develop. heres a short article and some links to get us in the chatting mood...
    Several new German weapons made their debuts during SHINGLE. The "Fritz X" guided missile had already been introduced during the Salerno campaign but it was now being used more extensively. This rokket was primarily an anti-ship weapon. In a sense, it was the precursor of today's cruise missile. It had fins so it was designed to glide rather than drop and was radio-controlled from the launching aircraft. Fritz had an armor-piercing warhead with 320 kilograms of amatol, which surrounded a set of central explosive tubes. It had a range of nearly four miles and a speed of 600 mph. But the radio-controlling feature which made it so effective turned out to be its Achilles heel. Its reliability depended on a radio beam, but this could be detected and jammed. The U.S. and British navies quickly equipped three destroyer escorts with jamming devices and the early-warning equipment was so efficient that it could detect the German bombers on the runway just outside of Rome before their takeoff. Then a desperate game of cat-and-mouse ensued, with the bomber pilot trying to keep his glider bomb on target while the destroyermen fought to stay on the beam to direct the bomb away from the target. They weren't always successful. On 23 January a bomb evaded the defenses and hit the British destroyer JANUS. She went down in 20 minutes with the loss of her captain and over 150 men."

    "The next day, as the fleet passed through the Straits of Bonafacio, which separate Corsica from Sardinia, it was attacked by 11 Do-217s Fritz-X glide bombs. The bombers concentrated their attacks on the large modern battleships ROMA and ITALIA. The ROMA was hit twice, bringing it dead in the water while fires raged below decks. Twenty minutes after the first hit, the fires reached the ROMA's magazines, the resulting explosion breaking the ship in half. It folded up and sank with most of her crew. The ITALIA was hit by a single Fritz-X, but although the battleship took on water, it managed to limp to Malta. "

    http://www.vectorsite.net/twbomb3.html

    "That same day, the Allies landed on the beach at Salerno to begin their movement into Italy. The Luftwaffe responded with a week of glide bomb attacks, badly damaging the battleship HMS WARSPITE, the cruisers HMS UGANDA and the USS SAVANNAH, and sinking or damaging several other lesser vessels. The WARSPITE was hit by three Fritz-X bombs, one of which penetrated six decks and blew a hole in the ship's bottom. The ship took on a good deal of water and was completely disabled, but fires didn't break out and casualties were only 9 dead and 14 wounded, blessedly light for so devastating an attack. The battleship was towed away and did not return to action until June 1944. "


    Conclusion.

    "A translation of a Luftwaffe report on the operational use of guided missiles by KG 100 listed a total of 65 operations with 487 aircraft (both Fritz X and Hs.293). A total of 500 rounds were carried, but a number were lost with their aircraft, or returned to base. At the target, 319 bombs were dropped, of which 215 correctly functioned, with a 49.3% hit rate. "

    "In all, 79 enemy naval units, including 40 warships and 39 merchant ships of a gross registered tonnage of 291,000 tons were either partially or totally put out of action, for the loss of 48 aircraft. "

    "The greatest proportion of lost operations was due to unfavourable conditions at the target, with technical failures much lower (only 7.5% due to trouble with the remote control system)."

    "Luftwaffe operations with the Hs.293 at the beginning of the campaign were successful due to two main factors. Firstly the crews were well trained and experienced. Secondly, the weapon was novel and the allies were not prepared with counter measures. With attrition of the longer term bomber crews the success rate fell. However, the effect of allied fighter superiority had a large effect on weapon accuracy. Daylight fighter superiority forced the bombers to fly at night making the effective identification of targets and accurate tracking of the weapons very difficult. In addition the presence of fighters must have made it difficult for the bombers to keep a steady course for the bomb aimers to keep the missiles in view all the way to the target. "

    "The Luftwaffe was also very lax in not testing the frequency band of the control signals of the missiles for jamming signals. Once launched, jammed missiles would appear to the operator to launch and fly towards the target but the reason for failing to impact accurately might not be apparant, and it seems from the report that the Luftwaffe had no idea that the control signals were not being received. "

    "The Luftwaffe was critical of the choice of target and the choice of operational conditions which made the weapon less effective. Developments were in hand to improve the motor of the Hs.293 giving it more power, making it faster to target, and improvements in control systems were appearing all the time - but arrived too late for the Hs.293 to make any further operational impact."

    http://www.walter-rockets.i12.com/missiles/hs293b.htm

    "The success of the Allies in jamming the Kehl-Strassburg system led to the "Hs-293B", which featured the "Dortmund-Duisburg" wire guidance system. The Hs-293B had a range of range of 30 kilometers (19 miles), with wire spooling out from both the bomb and the launch aircraft. 200 Hs-293Bs were rebuilt from Hs-293A production, and were used in limited numbers in the Mediterranean by bombers flying from northern Italy at the end of the war.
    Hitler had ordered that the glide bombs not be used against land targets, in fear that the Allies might be able to recover a dud and learn the secrets of the technology. With the Allies closing in, the order was lifted, and in April 1945, Hs-293Bs were used on attacks on bridges over the river Oder in hopes of slowing down the Soviet advance on Berlin."
     
  2. Udet

    Udet Banned

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    Very great info Erich.

    Wait for RG to show up and tell the USA had "superior" missiles being designed and nearly ready to roll off production lines, but that the yanks "decided" not to use them for the war could be easily won with what they had already available.
     
  3. hellmaker

    hellmaker Member

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    Interesting facts... The germans always were great minds... They probably had the most inventions during the war time period...
     
  4. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    but they didn't have the ability to get most of them to work.........
     
  5. Holedigger

    Holedigger New Member

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    I am working on an illustration of the attack of the Roma with the Fritz-X. Have relly had a hard time with solid information. If anyone has more specific inf it would be greatly appreciated. Here goes what I have
    Aircraft used: 11, 12 or 15 Do217s, possibly 217 E2
    fromIII Gruppe, KG100, launched from Marsigilia
    Second wave of AC scored hits, first wave missed.
    Off west coast of Corsica heading to Malta when attacked.
    3-Battleships, 3-Cruisers, 8-destroyers in Battle Group

    Looking for unit AC Markings/paint schemes
    Heigth attack took place from, how many AC in second wave
    Italian Fleet sailing order of battle, how did they line them up?
    How close to shore were they when Roma was fatally hit?

    Thanks for any help or links
     
  6. Holedigger

    Holedigger New Member

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    As to the US, they had a few radio controled bomb drones used to fairly good effect in the South Pacific. Also a radar guided glide bomb, the Bat, not so effective as it tended to get lost in ground clutter. Worked OK if ship was out in the open away from anything that might distract the radar.
     
  7. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    Was radio controlled but transmitted a TV picture to the controller (like current data-link TV guided weapons), unlike the German bombs where the operator manually commanded the bomb to his line of sight (like 1960's vintage anti-tank missiles except radio not wire command in most of the German bombs). So in fact the US did produce conceptually more advanced air-ground guided weapons, that saw actual combat, than the Germans did, but the Germans produced pretty advanced ones earlier.

    Price in "History of Electronic Warfare Vol 1" quotes a first hand German source as saying about 1/2 of Hs.293's in his unit in France were eventually found to have been sabotaged in a sophisticated way: internal wires were nearly severed, not obviously cut, but would come apart under the vibration of flight. It was not determined, this source said, when and by whom this had been done. That's in contrast to the reliability numbers quoted above, but Price is generally a reliable author.

    Another question re: the quotes above is whether the Germans realized the Allies were using ECM against the bombs. Again Price says they did not, at least until quite late. As stated counter-bomb ECM was only fitted to 2 US DE's (source above say 3 "US and British ships") until well into 1944. Price gives the example of the attack on convoy KMF26 off Algeria Nov 26, 1943. The two ECM equipped DE's, Davies and Jones, were present but still KG40's attack with radio bombs sank the transport Rohna, with one of the heaviest losses of life on an Allied ship during the war. OTOH KG40 lost 6 of 21 He-177's to Allied fighters and others were damaged and/or had to jettison their bombs. This loss of control of the air and therefore unsustainable % bomber losses was the main reason the radio bomb attacks ultimately failed in 43-early '44. Later on the Allies had a lot more jammers (and even more complete control of the air).

    Joe
     
  8. Snautzer

    Snautzer Member

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    Story
     

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  9. Snautzer

    Snautzer Member

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    paintjob
     

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  10. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Joe,

    >Was radio controlled but transmitted a TV picture to the controller (like current data-link TV guided weapons), unlike the German bombs where the operator manually commanded the bomb to his line of sight (like 1960's vintage anti-tank missiles except radio not wire command in most of the German bombs).

    According to Brian Johnson's "The Secret War" (published by the BBC in parallel to the TV programme of the same title), the Hs 293D was developed for TV control, featuring a small video camera in the nose which provided a 224-line video picture. The camera fit into a 17 x 17 x 40 cm^3 box and required 29 vacuum tubes - which apparently was a surprisingly low number.

    I don't know if the TV-guided version of the Hs 293 ever saw operational use, though. Quite a number of these cameras seems to have survived WW2, and I have heard that after the war, the post-war TV stations in German happily used these "military" cameras for their broadcasts whenever they could find them. (It was difficult to get any equipment at all, and even more difficult to get "high technology" gear.)

    Fascinating that the US had developed a TV-guided bomb, too - I had only been aware of the RAZON line before, which seemed considerably less sophisticated than their German counterparts. Do you have any details? I'd love to learn more!

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  11. Holedigger

    Holedigger New Member

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    IIRC the US versions with the TV remote fell into 3 groups.
    1-Glide bombs similar to the German Fritz-X
    2- Small twin engined RC AC fitted with a 500 Lb bomb
    3-Old tired bombers, B-17s, B-24s Rigged out with RC gear and camera. It was in one of these that Joe Kennedy, Pres. JF Kennedy's brother was killed. Crew lifted off the AC, armed the bombload, then bailed out letting the chase plane take it to target.


    Thanks Snautzer for the pics, what mag/book is the story one from?

    Here is a cartoon rough out of the FritzX /Roma project I am starting on. Probably have the AC far too low, but I wanted to be able to see the ships in the image, I believe the normal attack altitude was 20,000 feet
     

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  12. filnorm

    filnorm Member

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    Hs 323s may have been present at the airdrome in Cheb, Czechoslovakia, as well one of pilots of the 368th Fighter Group claimed a Do 217 carrying a missile under wings (he identified it as V-1).
    Regards, Filip
     
  13. Snautzer

    Snautzer Member

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    Magazine is "Profile Publications - Dornier Do 217".

    New pic i posted is from "Luftwaffe bomber aces - Greenhill Books London"
     

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  14. T4.H

    T4.H Banned

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  15. Snautzer

    Snautzer Member

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    quite right

    this was supposed to be the pic
     

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  16. johnbr

    johnbr Well-Known Member

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    They also look at tv guided for the fritz x it was to be wire guided so the tv would go up the wire.
     
  17. T4.H

    T4.H Banned

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    I fear, it wouldn' t work.

    I don't think tat it is possible (or reliable) to guide a bomb, startet from a plane, by wire.
    To guide a bomb or rocket by wire, you need a stable and not a moving platform.
     
  18. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Looks like an L10 "gliding" Torpedo being released from He177A-5/V32
     
  19. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    A tiny bit off the subject, but does anyone have OPERATIONAL pictures of the few stripped-down Do 317's that were supposedly issued to an operational glide bomb/missile squadron when production was cancelled after a few prototypes?
     
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