Rheinmetall "Rheinbote" SRBM - Accuracy & Effectivity

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Helmut0815
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Rheinmetall "Rheinbote" SRBM - Accuracy & Effectivity

Post by Helmut0815 » 10 May 2018 13:55

When I made a walk through the Lüneburg heath I came to the Rheinmetall ammunitions facilty in Unterluess. Behind their double fence they have some old guns and shells on display and also a strange looking missile of which I first thought is was an old SAM.
But soon I realized that it was one of Hitlers wonder weapons, a Rheinbote Rh Z 61, also known as V 4, which was produced by Rheinmetall.
rheinmetall_rheinbote_unterluess.jpg
The Rheinbote was a four stage solid fuel rocket and could carry a small 40 kg warhead. In WWII it was classified as a long range rocket (Fernzielrakete) and had a relatively low accuracy. Nowadays it would be classified as a short range ballistic missile.

Technical Data[1]:

Length: 11,4 m
Weight: 1.650 tons
Booster: 240 kg black powder
1st/2nd stage: 140 kg Diglycol powder (Nitrocellulose with 30-40 % Dinitrodiglycol)
3rd stage: 60 kg Diglycol powder
Weight of warhead: 40 kg (Explosive charge 25 kg of Trialen/Amatol)
Range: 160 km (effective); 220 km (maximum)
Ceiling: 70 km
Unit cost: 5,500 RM

Operational history:

In November 1944 german troops prepared four launching areas (distance 70 - 80 m) in a forest near Nunspeet/Holland which is 165 kilometers away from Antwerp. The exact positions can be found in the dutch pdf-file. On 12th december 1944 Heeres-Art.-Abt. 709 (Oberstleutnant Tröller) arrived with 240 men, four launching railers (Meilerwagen) and 200 missiles in Nunspeet.
On 24th december the first raid against Antwerp started at 12:00 am. Six salvos of 4 missilies each were fired within an hour against Antwerpen. Due to allied air superiority the german were unable to check whether the raid was successful and had to rely on their own range calculations. Later it was found that the range of the missiles had been miscalculated (+54 km) and that they came down between Aalst and Gent were they caused almost no damage.
Until mid of january 1945 overall 200 Rheinbote missiles were fired against Antwerp, then Art.-Abt. 709 was withdrawn.
Due to its poor accuracy and small size they caused only limited damage in small unpredictable areas of the city since it tended to bury itself in the ground before exploding.

Does anyone here have exakt figures of damages and casualties caused by the Rheinbote? Any photos of damaged areas available?

best regards
Helmut

[1] http://www.germanluftwaffe.com/archiv/D ... %20A4.html (german language)
[2] http://cultuurtijdschriften.nl/download ... cid=502911 (pdf, dutch language)
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T. A. Gardner
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Re: Rheinmetall "Rheinbote" SRBM - Accuracy & Effectivity

Post by T. A. Gardner » 10 May 2018 19:47

This is really an unguided bombardment rocket, not a ballistic missile. The later has some sort of internal guidance system that allows it to follow a reliable trajectory. An unguided bombardment rocket is subject to wind and other external forces working on it to decrease its accuracy as it has no way to compensate for those.

http://www.astronautix.com/r/rheinbote.html

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Grzesio
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Re: Rheinmetall "Rheinbote" SRBM - Accuracy & Effectivity

Post by Grzesio » 09 Aug 2019 15:02

Until mid of january 1945 overall 200 Rheinbote missiles were fired against Antwerp, then Art.-Abt. 709 was withdrawn.
Due to its poor accuracy and small size they caused only limited damage in small unpredictable areas of the city since it tended to bury itself in the ground before exploding.
Does anyone here have exakt figures of damages and casualties caused by the Rheinbote? Any photos of damaged areas available?
I think rather 45 Rheinbotes were launched by the Art.Abt. 709 from December 24, 1944 to mid January 1945.
They caused no damage in Antwerp, as all missed the city by some 55 km. The problem was, Art.Abt. 709 had no actual ballistic charts and they launched their rockets at the max. range, which was thought to be 165 km. Unfortunately for them, tests conducted in Heidelager in the same period revealed. the actual range of the Rheinbote was 220 km (apparently due to small aerodynamic drag at high altitude - the trajectory reached some 56 km), but there was already no time or possibility to provide the unit with new data - and so all rockets overshot the city.

As far as dispersion is concerned, I think (by comparision with the planned Rheinbote III), it was in order of 7-11 km at the 220 km distance.

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