Did the Luftwaffe use any air to surface rockets?

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XI_Legion_Nrth_Afr
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Thanks

Post by XI_Legion_Nrth_Afr » 01 Jan 2006 00:26

Thanks for all the great replies!

So from what I read the Luftwaffe used small-tactical air-to-surface rockets only in limited circumstances, not anything like the major use by the Allies.

They did make more use of larger rocket guided bombs. The weapons were ahead of their time, but had no real effect on the war effort.

So basically, like in many fields, the Germans had some amazing weapons but never achieved clear strategic results.
Is that about right?

If I may ask, were did you get all this information?

XI_Legion_Nrth_Afr
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Post by XI_Legion_Nrth_Afr » 01 Jan 2006 00:28

Panzerfausts on a warplane!

Who would fly those suicide planes?

Why would you not just give the panzerfaust to the pilot and send him to the front?

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Grzesio
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Post by Grzesio » 02 Jan 2006 10:59

The weapons were ahead of their time, but had no real effect on the war effort.
Well, the problem is that German wonder weapons were obviously very advanced, but they were surely NOT ahead of their time. They are just usually presented without necessary background.
Basically the only field of rocket and guided weapons, where Germans enjoyed significant successes, was construction of liquid fuelled rocket engines - both cold (i.e. using decomposition of hydrogen peroxide) and hot (combustion of fuel and oxydizer) ones. This allowed them to build huge guided missiles like A 4 (better known as the V 2), Wasserfall and so on. But generally German missiles and their engines were very unreliable - there is a couple of cases where these wonderful liquid fuelled engines had to be changed for solid fuelled ones, which offered more reliability - especially in case of small engines, propelling bombs etc.
But Germans didn't enjoy many successes in guidance systems - all their missiles (except of a couple of prototypes of the Bv 246F-2 bomb) had to be guided with manual-command-in-line-of-sight (MCLOS) method, as Germans simply had no working homing systems. Americans did have them - their Bat gliding bombs with active radar homing were used in the Pacific from March 1945 (passive and semi-active versions - Moth and Pelican - were also developed), and IR homing Felix was ready for deployment in August 1945 (an IR homing bomb was even built in Japan in late 1944). Everybody heard about German wonderful, state-of-the-art, far-ahead-of-their-time TV guided bombs. But these masterpieces were sadly useless in combat due to very low image quality and way too short transmission range - American GB-4 TV guided bombs were in full scale combat use in Europe from August 1944, while half a dozen of other types were developed as prototypes.
American Azon free falling MCLOS guided bombs (very close to the Fritz X in concept) were used from early 1944 in quantities Germans could only dream of.
So basically, like in many fields, the Germans had some amazing weapons but never achieved clear strategic results.
Is that about right?
It is perfectly right!
They fielded two types of strategic weapons (or terror weapons actually, which in given circumstances can only be seen as results of blind fury) - the V-1 and V-2, which were simply waste of time, money, manpower and priceless materials, which were desperately needed elsewhere (for antiaircraft missiles for example).
They also deployed two types of guided bombs, which enjoyed limited successes against Allied ships and convoys in late 1943/early 1944.
And that's all.

Regards

Grzesio

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Cantankerous
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Re: Thanks

Post by Cantankerous » 21 Jun 2022 02:53

XI_Legion_Nrth_Afr wrote:
01 Jan 2006 00:26
Thanks for all the great replies!

So from what I read the Luftwaffe used small-tactical air-to-surface rockets only in limited circumstances, not anything like the major use by the Allies.

They did make more use of larger rocket guided bombs. The weapons were ahead of their time, but had no real effect on the war effort.

So basically, like in many fields, the Germans had some amazing weapons but never achieved clear strategic results.
Is that about right?

If I may ask, were did you get all this information?
There's a book by Steven Zaloga titled German Guided Missiles of World War II: Fritz-X to Wasserfall and X-4 and it contains more info about the anti-ship weapons developed by Henschel and Blohm und Voss but also the Fritz X. This book can bought at this link:
https://www.amazon.com/German-Guided-Mi ... 1472831799

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Grzesio
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Re: Did the Luftwaffe use any air to surface rockets?

Post by Grzesio » 21 Jun 2022 09:39

An illustration of German air to ground rockets mentioned in this topic:

Raketen_2D_2012-Model_PPANC_PSG_nII.jpg

L-R:
RZ 65 - airborne HE rocket of 73 mm calibre (for comparison). RZ 65 was being developed for air to air and air to ground roles from mid 1930s into around 1942, where the project was dropped due to low performance; 7,3 cm R.Sprgr antiaircraft rocket of the Foehn launcher and Pg.Gr. 41 propaganda rocket (both used during WW2) were developed basing on the RZ 65 engine.
PZ 65 B - an AP variant of the RZ 65 with a kinetic warhead and internal graze fuse, tested by the E-Stelle Tarnewitz in 1943.
8,8 cm R PzB Gr 4322 rocket of the Panzerschreck launcher, used in limited numbers in 1944/45. Luftwaffe did not use the 8,8 cm R PzB Gr 4992, which was never fully developed (and, contrary to Mr. Miranda's drawings, differed from the 4322 with a contact ring on the drum stabilizer only, other shapes and dimensions were exactly the same).
8 cm R Sprgr aka M 8 artillery rocket, used in limited numbers in the air to ground role in late 1944/early 1945.
Panzerbliz 1 - 8 cm R Sprgr with an 88 mm shaped charge Panzerschreck warhead. Used in combat from late 1944.
R 4 M (for comparison)
Panzerblitz 2 - R 4 M with an 88 mm Panzerschreck warhead, shown without the ballistic cap (a story of Pb 2 having a 13 cm calibre warhead was created by Mr. Hahn, who interpreted the length of the warhead in inches as its diameter in cm). Used in combat from at least early 1945.
Panzerblitz 2 - a variant with a fully faired Panzerschreck warhead.
Panzerblitz 3 - a HEAT variant of the R 4 M with a shaped charge placed inside a regular warhead shell, achieving some 100+ mm penetration. The rocket was still in development in early 1945 and was not used in combat.
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Edward L. Hsiao
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Re: Did the Luftwaffe use any air to surface rockets?

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 22 Jun 2022 11:58

Yes, I'm sure that the German Luftwaffe ground attack planes destroyed a lot of Soviet tanks during WWII in 1944-1945.

Edward L. Hsiao

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Cantankerous
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Re: Did the Luftwaffe use any air to surface rockets?

Post by Cantankerous » 23 Jun 2022 04:58

Grzesio wrote:
21 Jun 2022 09:39
An illustration of German air to ground rockets mentioned in this topic:


Raketen_2D_2012-Model_PPANC_PSG_nII.jpg


L-R:
RZ 65 - airborne HE rocket of 73 mm calibre (for comparison). RZ 65 was being developed for air to air and air to ground roles from mid 1930s into around 1942, where the project was dropped due to low performance; 7,3 cm R.Sprgr antiaircraft rocket of the Foehn launcher and Pg.Gr. 41 propaganda rocket (both used during WW2) were developed basing on the RZ 65 engine.
PZ 65 B - an AP variant of the RZ 65 with a kinetic warhead and internal graze fuse, tested by the E-Stelle Tarnewitz in 1943.
8,8 cm R PzB Gr 4322 rocket of the Panzerschreck launcher, used in limited numbers in 1944/45. Luftwaffe did not use the 8,8 cm R PzB Gr 4992, which was never fully developed (and, contrary to Mr. Miranda's drawings, differed from the 4322 with a contact ring on the drum stabilizer only, other shapes and dimensions were exactly the same).
8 cm R Sprgr aka M 8 artillery rocket, used in limited numbers in the air to ground role in late 1944/early 1945.
Panzerbliz 1 - 8 cm R Sprgr with an 88 mm shaped charge Panzerschreck warhead. Used in combat from late 1944.
R 4 M (for comparison)
Panzerblitz 2 - R 4 M with an 88 mm Panzerschreck warhead, shown without the ballistic cap (a story of Pb 2 having a 13 cm calibre warhead was created by Mr. Hahn, who interpreted the length of the warhead in inches as its diameter in cm). Used in combat from at least early 1945.
Panzerblitz 2 - a variant with a fully faired Panzerschreck warhead.
Panzerblitz 3 - a HEAT variant of the R 4 M with a shaped charge placed inside a regular warhead shell, achieving some 100+ mm penetration. The rocket was still in development in early 1945 and was not used in combat.
Quite interesting. So the Germans were way ahead of the Allies in developing anti-tank missiles, just like with ballistic missiles. There was a proposal to arm the Arado Ar 234C Blitz four-engine jet bomber with rocket pods containing 20 Panzerblitz rockets.

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Grzesio
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Re: Did the Luftwaffe use any air to surface rockets?

Post by Grzesio » 23 Jun 2022 09:17

IIRC, neither GB, nor USA, nor USSR had airborne shaped charge anti tank rockets during WW2, just there were British (3" SAP) and Soviet (RBS-82 and RBS-132) kinetic AP rockets. On the other hand, Panzerschreck and Panzerblitz 1 have to be considered as pretty emergency developments of rather unsatisfactory performance, particularly velocity.
By the way - there was one more funny German anti-tank aircraft rocket in development - a fin stabilized derivative of the 28/32 cm Wk Nebelwerfer rocket, carrying a cluster warhead with a bunch of SD 4 HL shaped charge bomblets released by a time fuse after a couple of seconds of flight. :D

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Re: Did the Luftwaffe use any air to surface rockets?

Post by ewest89 » 23 Jun 2022 21:10

The Panzerfaust was fitted to the Bücker Bü 181, above and below the wings.

https://www.amazon.com/Das-letzte-Aufge ... 3869330309

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Grzesio
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Re: Did the Luftwaffe use any air to surface rockets?

Post by Grzesio » 24 Jun 2022 09:56

Yes, it's an interesting concept, although, strictly speaking, the Panzerfaust is not a rocket weapon, just a recoilless grenade launcher. :)

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Re: Did the Luftwaffe use any air to surface rockets?

Post by ewest89 » 24 Jun 2022 19:03

The Panzerfaust is a rocket-propelled weapon, in this case, fired from an aircraft.

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Grzesio
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Re: Did the Luftwaffe use any air to surface rockets?

Post by Grzesio » 24 Jun 2022 21:19

No, the Panzerfaust is not a rocket weapon. The Panzerschreck is. ;) The Panzerfaust uses an smoothbore steel tube, open from both ends, in which a wooden shaft of a shaped charge finned projectile is placed from the front. Behind the projectile there's a cardboard container fixed inside the tube with a screw, containing a blackpowder propelling charge (or two charges separated with an empty space in case of the Pzf 100 m). When the trigger is pressed, the powder is ignited, producing gases launching the projectile out of the tube to the front and simultaneously leaving the tube to the rear, thus eliminating the recoil.
There were ideas or even prototypes of rocket assisted Panzerfaust grenades indeed, but none of them were ever fielded.

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Re: Did the Luftwaffe use any air to surface rockets?

Post by ThatZenoGuy » 27 Jun 2022 11:07

ewest89 wrote:
24 Jun 2022 19:03
The Panzerfaust is a rocket-propelled weapon, in this case, fired from an aircraft.
Panzerfaust is 'recoiless rifle' (technically a 'recoiless gun' as there's no rifling, but the two are commonly used interchangeably). A black powder charge explodes in the tube, launching the projectile forwards. The gas from the explosion vents out the rear to reduce/remove recoil.

There are no rockets involved. The bazooka and Panzershreck were rocket propelled however.

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