Operation Rumpelkammer

Discussion in 'Secret Weapons Over Normandy Pilot's Lounge' started by Rivet, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. Rivet

    Rivet Member

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    Operation Rumpelkammer

    The passing of the night of June 12-13, 2011 will mark the 67th anniversary of the start of Operation Rumperkammer, the operational use of the Fiesler 103 (FZG 76) pulsejet engine propelled flying bomb against England by the German Luftwaffe.

    Flak Regiment 155, of the III Flak Corps, located in the Pas De Calais after recruitment in Northern Germany and a working up period in Kiel, opened fire with the first V-1's.
    The Propaganda Ministry gave the appelation Vergeltungswaffe (Reprisal Weapon) to a series of new weapons Germany tried to field towards the end of World War II.

    The first day only four of the ten launched actually hit anything in England. By the 15th they were able to get off 244 in a 24 hour period. The majority of them struck London and, in the first three weeks, killed 2,752.

    It is surprising that none were ever directed against known troop concentrations along the English coast. I was told by members of the US 4th Infantry Division that they saw the flare of the engines and heard the distinctive sound of the Argus engines as they flew east to west slightly to the north of the ships they were on, waiting to sail to the Normandy Beachead.

    The Tempest, being the fastest low-medium altitude fighter in service with the RAF, became the mainstay of Britain's fighter defense against the pilotless missiles, destroying 638 of these weapons by the beginning of September. The Tempest V was also employed on the Continent for train-busting and ground-attack duties.

    After the middle of July the Allied advance began to take ground used by the Germans as launch points. The Luftwaffe began night launches of the V-1 from Heinkel 111 twin-engine bombers in an attempt to continue Operation Rumpelkammer. The missile-launching operations of III/KG 3 were begun from Venlo in Holland, and the group had launched some 300 Fi 103's at London and a further 90 at Southampton, as well as about 20 at Gloucester by the end of August. After a lull between September 5 to 15 while KG 53 transferred from Venlo to North-West Germany, Fi 103 operations resumed September 16. Airborne launches being made on most nights up to the end of the month, a total of 177 missiles being despatched against the British Isles. The total increased to 282 in October and 316 in November, but the hazardous nature of the operations took a heavy toll on KG 53, 12 aircraft being lost in two operations as a result of their stores detonating shortly after take off. These air launch operations finally terminated on January 14, 1945. From first to last the launching units had lost 77 aircraft from all causes and more than 1,200 missiles being launched.

    A Staffel of KG 200 was worked up to use a piloted version of the Fi-103. Though several examples were built they were never used operationally.


    Number 41 Squadron Unit History:

    Originally formed in June 1916, this unit was almost immediately re-numbered No 27 (Reserve) Squadron and it was not until 14 July the No 41 actually came into existence at Gosport. It moved across to the Western Front in October equipped with FE8s, retaining them until July 1917 when DH5s were received. SE5As arrived in November 1917 and it flew theses on fighter patrols, ground attack and escort missions for the remainder of the war. The squadron returned to Britain as a cadre in January 1919 and disbanded at Croydon on 31 December 1919.
    It reformed on 1 April 1923 as a single flight fighter squadron equipped with Snipes at Northolt. A second flight was added in April 1924, whilst at the same time the squadron re-equipped with Siskins and a third flight in July 1925. Bulldogs replaced the Siskins in October 1931 and then in July 1934, the squadron converted to the two-seat fighter role when it received Demons.
    In October 1935, during the Abyssinian Crisis the squadron moved to Aden until August 1936 when it returned to Britain and also reverted back to single seat fighters by re-equipped with Furies at Catterick. Spitfires arrived in January 1939, with which it flew defensive patrols until joining No 11 Group in May 1940. Throughout the Battle of Britain the squadron alternated between Hornchurch and Catterick, finally settling at the latter until Jul 1941 when it moved south. Offensives sweeps over France now became the norm but in August 1942 the squadron moved to Longtown and then Llanbedr to carry out patrols over the Irish Sea.
    In February 1943 the squadron became the first in the RAF to operate a Griffon powered Spitfire when it received the first Mk XIIs. These were used to combat the latest spate of low level attacks by bomb carrying FW190s and Bf109s as well as the usual shipping patrols and bomber escorts. From April to June 1944 it operated against targets in northern France and from June was involved in 'Operation Crossbow' defending the South-East against V1 flying bombs. Re-equipping with the Spitfire XIV in September the squadron moved to the continent in October as part of No 125 Wing. It flew armed reconnaissance missions as part of 2nd TAF for the remainder of the war and was disbanded at Wunstorf by being re-numbered No 26 Squadron on 1 April 1946.
    The same day No 122 Squadron at Dalcross was re-numbered No 41. Moving to Wittering, the squadron was equipped with Spitfire F21s, but in August 1947 it became the 12 Group Instrument Training Unit and re-equipped with Oxfords and Harvards. Reverting to an operational role in June 1948, it re-equipped with Hornets and remained at Church Fenton until re-equipping with Meteors in January 1951 and moving to Biggin Hill in March. Meteors remained its main equipment until August 1955 when Hunters arrived and from 11 February 1949 until 15 April 1955, the squadron had been linked with No 253 Squadron. The squadron disbanded on 31 January 1958.
    The following day No 141 was re-numbered 41 and was now a Javelin all-weather fighter unit at Coltishall, moving to Wattisham in July, where it remained until 6 December 1963 when the squadron disbanded again. A new 41 Squadron appeared on 1 September 1965, this time equipped with Bloodhound surface-to-air missiles at West Raynham and lasted until 18 September 1970. The squadron's current incarnation began on 1 April 1972 when it was reformed at Coningsby as a Phantom FGR Mk 2 equipped fighter-reconnaissance unit. However, the Phantom was only seen as a temporary measure in this role and on 1 October 1976, No 41 (Designate) Squadron equipped with the new Sepecat Jaguar GR Mk 1 began forming, taking over the numberplate of 41 on 1 April 1977, the Phantom unit have disbanded the previous day. The squadron continued to operate in the low level tactical reconnaissance role from its base at Coltishall, until 3 April 2006, when its numberplate and standard were handed over to the Fast Jet and Weapons OEU at RAF Coningsby.
    Motto: Seek and Destroy
    Number 616 Squadron Unit History:
    On 1 November 1938 No 503 Squadron re-located to Doncaster and was re-numbered No 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force. It was originally equipped with Hind light bombers but from 15 November it was re-designated a fighter unit. It re-equipped with Gauntlets in 1939 and Spitfires in November 1939.
    It began the Battle of Britain in its home county of Yorkshire but in mid August it joined the main battle when it moved to Kenley. Fighter sweeps over the continent began in April 1941 receiving Spitfire IIs in February 1941 and VBs in July 1941. In April 1942 it received the high altitude version of the Spitfire, the Mk VI and from September 1943, the Mk VII.
    However, before the last Spitfire had left a new aircraft was arriving in the form of the RAF's first jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor. These arrived just in time to meet the threat posed by the V1 flying bomb, for which the squadron was retained in Britain. In February 1945 a detachment of the squadron went to Belgium, with the whole squadron moving to Holland in April 1945 and when the war ended the squadron found itself at Lubeck, where it disbanded on 29 August 1945.
    With the reactivation of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 616 was reformed on 10 May 1946 at Finningley as a night fighter unit equipped with the Mosquito NF 30. It became a day fighter unit again in 1948 and that December received the aircraft that it had introduced into service four years earlier, the Meteor F 3. Meteor F 4s arrived in April 1950 and F 8s in December 1951, but along with all the flying units of the RAuxAF, it was disbanded at Worksop, where it had moved in 1955, on 10 March 1957.
    Motto: Nulla Rosa Sine Spina (No rose without a thorn)
    Number 181 Squadron History:
    Formed at Duxford on 1 September 1942 as a fighter squadron it was equipped with Typhoons, which remained its sole equipment its entire existence.
    The Typhoon suffered teething troubles in its early career and these eventually led to the aircraft being used in the fighter-bomber role. Following initial defensive operations against German low level raiders, 181 switched to an offensive role in February 1943.
    At this time its main targets were coastal shipping and later ground targets in Northern France. When the 2nd Tactical Air Force was formed in June 1943, No 181 was allocated to it continuing operations as before, but now as part of a mobile tactical Wing.
    Attacks on V1 sites began in January 1944 and the squadron began to adopt the use of rocket projectiles in February and equipped with such carried out operations against various targets in preparation for the forthcoming invasion. Following the invasion, the squadron supported the ground forces of the 21st Army Group, moving onto the continent two weeks after D-DDay. It continued in this role following the armies through France, into the Low Countries and eventually into Germany itself. It disbanded at Lubeck on 30 September 1945.
    Motto: Irruimus vastatum (We rush in and destroy)
     
  2. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Rivet, to my somewhat uncertain knowledge the V-1 had no ability to be aimed other than in a general compass direction. They hit what they hit when they ran out of fuel. London being a large city, a bit more or less fuel or a degree left or right made little difference, you were still going to hit something. However, trying to hit troops in a specific location would have been very difficult and a matter of chance.
     
  3. Rivet

    Rivet Member

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    Not so, Mike. I used to drink beer with some of the oldtimers who operated the equipment periodically while stationed in Germany during the Cold War. The invasion shipping in the Channel was in plane sight to the Luftwaffe batteries. They were sure of hits, as well as their ability to destroy the debarkation points in England. Hitler ordered all resource aimed at the City of London.

    The FZG-76 used an Askania compass adjustable for heading, this controlled an electro-pneumatic system. The propeller on the nose of the fuselage was for electrical power generation as well as distance log. A pitot tube mounted in the fuselage measured airspeed. Three seperate fuzes were used to ensure detonation under seperate conditions.
     
  4. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Rivet, I did a bit more research and they did have, for the time, a pretty sophisticated guidance system. What I had been recalling was that sudden stoppage of the engine and the unpowered dive into the ground. Also found nothing about electrical power. what I have here stated that the gyros were powered by compressed air and the prop counted revs. 30 revs and a countdown timer advanced by one. Could not find anything about accuracy though
     
  5. FlexiBull

    FlexiBull Member

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    #5 FlexiBull, Mar 17, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011
    I thought that the engine cut off point was set at launch. There are stories of German agents that were "turned" by British intelligence that reported incorrect fall of these V1s, with the result that after re adjustment they did actually fall short of the target.
    Wiki source

    A certain number of the V-1s fired had been fitted with radio transmitters, which had clearly demonstrated a tendency for the V-1 to fall short. Max Wachtel, commander of Flak Regiment 155(W), which was responsible for the V-1 offensive, compared the data gathered by the transmitters with the reports obtained through the double agents. He concluded, when faced with the discrepancy between the two sets of data, that there must be a fault with the radio transmitters, as he had been assured that the agents were completely reliable. It was later calculated that if Wachtel had disregarded the agents' reports and relied on the radio data, he would have made the correct adjustments to the V-1's guidance, and casualties might have increased by 50% or more.
    My thoughts are that the aiming system was only a set of predetermined parameters entered before launch - not what I would call a Guidance System.

    Now if you want an early guidance system - use pigeons!
     
  6. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Flexi, from what I've been reading, the engine was not supposed to just cut off. The Germans had intended that the V-1 go into a vertical engine on powered dive. An initial fuel flow problem caused the engine cut out but was eventually corrected. Basically still dead reckoning navigation though
     
  7. FlexiBull

    FlexiBull Member

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    Yes Mike the Wiki article mentioned that. Towards the end they were completing power dives. I wonder if caused more damage than exploding after a glide? Psychologically people in London were used to hearing the sound of the DoodleBugs, the engine noise told them they were safe. Only when the engine stopped did people start to panic a little.
     
  8. Rivet

    Rivet Member

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    The pulsejet engine that powered Dr. Robert Lusser's design was not amenable to power dives or rapid changes in any direction. The flame front seperates from the wall of the combustion chamber causing extreme vibration. Loss of burn occurs at some point. If you have an interest in understanding the operating characteristics of the Pulsed Combustion Tuned Duct search out NACA TM No. 1131. This is the report issued by the Germans, translated. NACA archives are internet accessable.

    Regarding the angle of attack. More of the explosive effect of the detonation was expended above ground at a shallow angle.

    The reason the Luftwaffe experienced such a great amount of explosions during its campaign to air launch the Fi-103 was due to sabatoge. The weapon was constructed with the use of slave labor, many of whom were a bit smarter than their SS handlers. It was determined by one that a pin pushed through one of the firing circuit wires from the belly landing switch through the wire that controlled the high-speed fuel circuit would power the detonator at 120 mph, about speed of the HE-111's that carried the bombs after clearing the runway. This fact was related to me by one of the people involved who managed to survive the war, being saved from being shot by seconds by the 87th Infantry at the Ohrduf camp at the end of April, 1945.
     
  9. Rivet

    Rivet Member

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    #9 Rivet, Oct 29, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2011
    Extract from Vice-Admiral Lumley's report of 15th September, 1942 regarding the aquisition of heavy land-based aircraft for use by Coastal Command.


    In the first part of any war new methods and new weapons which had been under development are pushed on to the production stage. After a certain period the rate of development slows down, while the possibility of getting new weapons into production becomes less and less. Belligerents cannot afford to change over production very much in the middle of the war. This stage has been reached now in the present struggle. The chance of the enemy producing some startling development cannot be entirely discounted, but can be regarded as unlikely.

    Vice Admiral Sir Arthur Lumley St. George Lyster KCB, CVO, CBE, DBO
    (27 April 1888-4 August 1957)

    Lyster served in several upper-level functions as a Royal Navy officer, his service begun in World War I, at the Gallipoli Campaign. Various commands and appointments saw him as Naval Aide-de-Camp to the King in 1931. Lyster was appointed Fifth Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Air Services as of December of 1941. Though Lysters summation of the course of the technological side of the war was in error, it is safe to state that the real secrets of the developments ongoing in German laboratories and field research stations were unknown to him. He simply did not have the need to know. Lyster's flag service terminated at retirement in 1945.

    Regards
     
  10. MacArther

    MacArther Active Member

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    Interesting read....but why is it in the Secret Weapons Over Normandy section? Did I miss something?
     
  11. Rivet

    Rivet Member

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    The mention of Vice Admiral Lyster, here, is an attempt to acertain what level of knowledge the RN had of German aviation developments as the V-1 or V-2. Not a great deal of RN input into the process, other than the pick-up and removal of scrap launched from Peenemunde and recovered by the Swedes.

    I've been at the consideration of the V-I flying bomb (Fiesler FZG-76) for a while now and had wondered of any thought prior to its first operational usage to a defense against it. The mention of Lyster's regarding development and timing paints a picture of RN lack of knowledge. Regards
     
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