WGr 21 fired at night?

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Border Reiver
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WGr 21 fired at night?

Post by Border Reiver » 10 Mar 2021 20:56

Looking through the Operation Record Books for No.178 Sqdn during May-July 1944, there are numerous reports of "rockets" being fired at their Liberators by single-engined fighters. Locations included Bucharest, Feuersbrunn, Vienna and other areas.

I know that the WGr 21 was carried by Fw 190s and some Bf 109s with the appropriate modifications, but was led to believe they only operated through the day against the American bomber formations, alongside the twin-engined Zerstorer types.

Did any Luftwaffe units use the WGr 21 at night? Given what I understand about how difficult it was to aim the weapon in daylight, given the sloping tube, it would seem using them at night would be an even harder task. And yet I have now read lots of reports, with multiple crews on the same night seeing rockets being fired, and then single-engined fighters flying behind on the same heading.

Comments invited....

Denniss
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Re: WGr 21 fired at night?

Post by Denniss » 10 Mar 2021 21:20

Do you have a timeframe for these reports?
May have been a 'Wilde Sau' unit with the target being illuminated by Ground-based lights

Border Reiver
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Re: WGr 21 fired at night?

Post by Border Reiver » 11 Mar 2021 09:10

May, June and July 1944. I can dig out the actual dates when I get to my PC. Was Wilde Sau running in Romania and Hungary or was it just a Germany and Austria based operation?

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Grzesio
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Re: WGr 21 fired at night?

Post by Grzesio » 11 Mar 2021 09:31

Border Reiver wrote:
10 Mar 2021 20:56
Looking through the Operation Record Books for No.178 Sqdn during May-July 1944
Is it AIR 27/1120?

Border Reiver
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Re: WGr 21 fired at night?

Post by Border Reiver » 11 Mar 2021 11:14

Yes. For the three months I specified. Particularly June and July. So AIR 27/1120/12 and AIR 27/1120/14

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Grzesio
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Re: WGr 21 fired at night?

Post by Grzesio » 11 Mar 2021 12:00

Thank you, I'm starting reading.. :)

Border Reiver
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Re: WGr 21 fired at night?

Post by Border Reiver » 11 Mar 2021 12:46

There’s one entry where nine “rockets” are counted over a twenty minutes period... I’m not at my Pc and can’t remember which date, but you’ll find it.

Border Reiver
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Re: WGr 21 fired at night?

Post by Border Reiver » 11 Mar 2021 12:49

Also, there’s a note of a Wellington being hit by one of the rockets on a night when No.70 Sqdn lost five a/c. Haven’t checked their records yet.

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Re: WGr 21 fired at night?

Post by Border Reiver » 12 Mar 2021 11:36

Checked the Wellington unit records too. “Rockets or shells” mentioned too on the same raid.

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Grzesio
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Re: WGr 21 fired at night?

Post by Grzesio » 12 Mar 2021 12:45

But there's one thing that troubles me a little bit...
KW.233 reported after the 21/22nd June raid:
2350 hrs - two rockets fired at aircraft - red and white - 15 miles north of VIENNA - aircraft not seen - evasive action taken.
What did they mean as red and white rockets?
There are also rockets fired from the ground reported (KG.873 during the same raid) - were they SSR or what?

Border Reiver
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Re: WGr 21 fired at night?

Post by Border Reiver » 12 Mar 2021 15:13

SSR?

I agree it is really confusing. There are reports of rockets flying through the sky, aircraft firing rockets and rockets bring fired from the ground. The operating altitudes of the B-24s was over 10,000 in many cases. Surely a flare or warning rocket wouldn’t get that high? And even though there were numerous flak rockets in development, none achieved operational status.

And reports are from Bucharest, Ploesti and Budapest in addition to Austria. Whatever these were, they seemed to be in widespread use, yet I’ve never heard of them?

Border Reiver
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Re: WGr 21 fired at night?

Post by Border Reiver » 12 Mar 2021 15:14

Foo-fighters? RAF reports of these start in May 1942....

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Re: WGr 21 fired at night?

Post by Border Reiver » 12 Mar 2021 15:15

Sorry, March 1942.

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Grzesio
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Re: WGr 21 fired at night?

Post by Grzesio » 12 Mar 2021 15:53

Border Reiver wrote:
12 Mar 2021 15:13
SSR?
SSR is Scheinsignalrakete, or 15 cm R Ss Gs, a signal rocket carrying parachute or free falling flares imitating Allied target markers, intended for fooling bomber crews. A pretty effective tactic. It was generally the only ground launched rocket Allied high flying aircraft could encounter, introduced in early 1943, 15 cm calibre, just under 2 m long, its max. ceiling was 2000-4000 m.
15cm_RsGs.jpg
I also suspect, some reported or photographed German "AA rockets" could actually have been Flak tracer shells producing a trail of smoke - in theory, as such shells did exist, I just have no idea if they were actually used by combat units (and there was no sense in using them at night).
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Border Reiver
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Re: WGr 21 fired at night?

Post by Border Reiver » 12 Mar 2021 16:23

Ok that’s great. Hadn’t come across that before. Some reports speak of the rockets flying horizontally - I wonder what they were, presumably the SSR flew in a ballistic arc?

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