Luftwaffe's Sturmoviks

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Paul Lakowski
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Post by Paul Lakowski » 07 Feb 2005 16:40

Victor wrote:I don't think that the lack of the machine-gunner was that much a disadvantage. Most of the Hs-129s were lost to light AAA, not fighters.


No I was thinking of the second crew member being a bombadier/missile operator...it also helps to have a second pair of eyes when your searching for targets on the ground and threats in the sky.

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Victor
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Post by Victor » 07 Feb 2005 16:52

The altitude from which the Hs-129s generally attacked did not require a bombardier. The pilot's visibility was very good due to the nose's shape and aerial threats were rare at low altitude. An extra man in the fuselage would mean more weight (for the armor protection, MG, ammo etc.). It would probably also disturb the triangular shape of the fuselage. IMO it wasn't worth the effort.

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Post by Paul Lakowski » 07 Feb 2005 20:01

Victor wrote:The altitude from which the Hs-129s generally attacked did not require a bombardier. The pilot's visibility was very good due to the nose's shape and aerial threats were rare at low altitude. An extra man in the fuselage would mean more weight (for the armor protection, MG, ammo etc.). It would probably also disturb the triangular shape of the fuselage. IMO it wasn't worth the effort.


In my opinion Hs-129 was not worth the effort unless it was cheap or carried a larger bomb load than Stuka with 37mm AT guns.Generally if you have two planes to fill a role and one requires two engines and is only built in the hundreds , while the single engine plane is built in the thousands...the single engine plane will be alot cheaper!

HS -129 might have made sence if they built 500 a year from 1941 and mounted Pak 38 under the center line?

BTW any one know the price of Hs-129 compared to Stuka?

Any one know the weight of each 37mm AA gun on the wings? I think the 37mm Flak was 1.6 tons but that the whole mounting.


by 1943/44 the germans were lossing airsuperiority so these planes would not be able to fly ?

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Mnnnn

Post by Mike_Fiz » 21 Feb 2005 18:20

Paul Lakowski wrote:Any one know the weight of each 37mm AA gun on the wings? I think the 37mm Flak was 1.6 tons but that the whole mounting.


The weight of the BK 3.7 mm : 343 Kg (Complete in fixed installation).

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DenesBernad
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Hs 129

Post by DenesBernad » 24 Feb 2005 16:52

Victor wrote:The altitude from which the Hs-129s generally attacked did not require a bombardier. The pilot's visibility was very good due to the nose's shape and aerial threats were rare at low altitude. An extra man in the fuselage would mean more weight (for the armor protection, MG, ammo etc.). It would probably also disturb the triangular shape of the fuselage. IMO it wasn't worth the effort.

I can second Victor's opinion.

There was a considerable debate on the effectiveness of a second crewman on the Hs 129, as rear gunner - just like later models of the Soviet Il-2 had - but my conclusion was that it would not made a huge difference in air protection, as the biggest threat for this Schlachflugzeug came from the ground, not from the air.

You can read more details also in my book on the Hs 129, published by Squadron/Signal in the USA in its "In Action" series.

Dénes

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Post by Huck » 24 Feb 2005 19:17

Paul Lakowski wrote:
Victor wrote:The altitude from which the Hs-129s generally attacked did not require a bombardier. The pilot's visibility was very good due to the nose's shape and aerial threats were rare at low altitude. An extra man in the fuselage would mean more weight (for the armor protection, MG, ammo etc.). It would probably also disturb the triangular shape of the fuselage. IMO it wasn't worth the effort.


In my opinion Hs-129 was not worth the effort unless it was cheap or carried a larger bomb load than Stuka with 37mm AT guns.Generally if you have two planes to fill a role and one requires two engines and is only built in the hundreds , while the single engine plane is built in the thousands...the single engine plane will be alot cheaper!


Well, this is one case when this does not happen. Why? because the engines mounted on Hs-129 were war booty, they did not cost a thing. Of course, this upset the German engine manufacturers, who lost this way an important contract - hence the reports about the engine as being unreliable and not powerful enough. Take such reports with a grain of salt.

Paul Lakowski wrote:HS -129 might have made sence if they built 500 a year from 1941 and mounted Pak 38 under the center line?


There was no need real need for such a weapon. The upper hull and turret were thin on all ww2 tanks, they could be easily pierced by 30mm to 37mm high velocity cannons. If they would have considered that aiming at the upper part of a tank is too difficult, then a switch to 50mm is not going to do the job, because the other parts of the tank were incomparably thicker than the upper part, so they would have had to mount a 75mm cannon. In reality the nose shape of both Stuka and Hs-129 gave excellent visibility in front and made attacking the upper parts of tanks feasible.

Paul Lakowski wrote:BTW any one know the price of Hs-129 compared to Stuka?


To my knowledge Hs-129 was cheaper than Stuka, but I don't how much cheaper. ARR bought both, we should ask Denes, maybe he has the details about the price. However, you should keep in mind that buying both made sense. Although both were attack planes, they were designed to achive it differently, Stuka was a dive bomber, Hs-129 was designed for straffing. Hs-129 employed significantly more armor than Stuka (in standard version, Hs-129B had almost twice the armor installed on a Ju-87D). Later both were modified for antitank role. There were not many planes in the Luftwaffe used in this role, there were 8 squadrons making a total of aprox 100 available antitank planes. The aces alone in these units claimed more than 4000 tanks, and their claims are very much credible. The confirmation procedure required that another two persons beside the pilot saw the attacked tank burning, and tanks do not burn when attacked with 30mm AP projectiles unless important damage was done.

Paul Lakowski wrote:by 1943/44 the germans were lossing airsuperiority so these planes would not be able to fly ?


No, losses were almost exclusively caused by light AA, or more rarely by Il-2. Those antitank Stukas and Hs-129 planes were front line planes, they were located very close to the battlefield. They flew very short distances and very close to the ground, therefore interceptions were very rare. But this proximity to the battle grounds made their airfields vulnerable to Il-2 attacks, an important number of planes were lost on the ground.

You can check here the losses suffered by 10./SG77, during one year and half of activity on Eastern Front. They are very small, only 3 planes lost due to enemy action. 10./SG77 was the most effective antitank unit after 10./SG2.

http://www.ww2.dk/oob/bestand/schlacht/b10sg77.html

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DenesBernad
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Prices

Post by DenesBernad » 24 Feb 2005 20:21

To my knowledge Hs-129 was cheaper than Stuka, but I don't how much cheaper. ARR bought both, we should ask Denes, maybe he has the details about the price.

I remember copying from German documents the prices the Germans asked from the Rumanians for the Hs 129 and Ju 87 )I have to check my files). However, I have to note here that actual production costs, company prices and foreign sale prices could significantly be different and the latter could and did vary from country to country, politics being involved.

However, you should keep in mind that buying both made sense. Although both were attack planes, they were designed to achive it differently, Stuka was a dive bomber, Hs-129 was designed for straffing. Hs-129 employed significantly more armor than Stuka (in standard version, Hs-129B had almost twice the armor installed on a Ju-87D). Later both were modified for antitank role.

Yes, I agree with this. Indeed, keeping both the Ju 87 and the Hs 129 in service did make sense, exactly for the different roles these airplane types were assigned to.

Dénes

Huck
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Re: Prices

Post by Huck » 24 Feb 2005 20:33

DenesBernad wrote:
To my knowledge Hs-129 was cheaper than Stuka, but I don't how much cheaper. ARR bought both, we should ask Denes, maybe he has the details about the price.

I remember copying from German documents the prices the Germans asked from the Rumanians for the Hs 129 and Ju 87 )I have to check my files). However, I have to note here that actual production costs, company prices and foreign sale prices could significantly be different and the latter could and did vary from country to country, politics being involved.


Thank you, it will be interesting to know :)

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Post by Tony Williams » 25 Feb 2005 09:00

Huck wrote:
Paul Lakowski wrote:
Paul Lakowski wrote:HS -129 might have made sence if they built 500 a year from 1941 and mounted Pak 38 under the center line?


There was no need real need for such a weapon. The upper hull and turret were thin on all ww2 tanks, they could be easily pierced by 30mm to 37mm high velocity cannons. If they would have considered that aiming at the upper part of a tank is too difficult, then a switch to 50mm is not going to do the job, because the other parts of the tank were incomparably thicker than the upper part, so they would have had to mount a 75mm cannon. In reality the nose shape of both Stuka and Hs-129 gave excellent visibility in front and made attacking the upper parts of tanks feasible.


The penetration of AP projectiles decreased rapidly as the angle of attack decreased, and this particularly affected the German Hartkernmunition used in the MK 101/103 and BK 3,7 anti-tank guns. So to get a favourable angle of attack onto a tank's upper surfaces would have involved a very steep dive from above, which not even the Ju 87G could manage (the weight of the guns prevented recovery from a steep dive). OTOH, the rear armour of tanks tended to be less than the side and much less than the front, so the tankbusters could approach from the rear and still get penetration with guns much weaker than the normal ground-based anti-tank guns. Rudel's favourite tactic in the Ju 87G was to approach from the rear, at low level: it also had the advantage that if his plane was hit, he was already pointed towards home!

I have posted an article on my website - 'Tankbusters: Airborne Anti-Tank Guns of WW2' - which gives details of the guns, their ammunition, their armour-piercing performance and the planes they were fitted to. Just scroll down the front page until you reach it.

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Post by Paul Lakowski » 25 Feb 2005 16:37

Tony Williams wrote:
Huck wrote:
Paul Lakowski wrote:
Paul Lakowski wrote:HS -129 might have made sence if they built 500 a year from 1941 and mounted Pak 38 under the center line?


There was no need real need for such a weapon. The upper hull and turret were thin on all ww2 tanks, they could be easily pierced by 30mm to 37mm high velocity cannons. If they would have considered that aiming at the upper part of a tank is too difficult, then a switch to 50mm is not going to do the job, because the other parts of the tank were incomparably thicker than the upper part, so they would have had to mount a 75mm cannon. In reality the nose shape of both Stuka and Hs-129 gave excellent visibility in front and made attacking the upper parts of tanks feasible.


The penetration of AP projectiles decreased rapidly as the angle of attack decreased, and this particularly affected the German Hartkernmunition used in the MK 101/103 and BK 3,7 anti-tank guns. So to get a favourable angle of attack onto a tank's upper surfaces would have involved a very steep dive from above, which not even the Ju 87G could manage (the weight of the guns prevented recovery from a steep dive). OTOH, the rear armour of tanks tended to be less than the side and much less than the front, so the tankbusters could approach from the rear and still get penetration with guns much weaker than the normal ground-based anti-tank guns. Rudel's favourite tactic in the Ju 87G was to approach from the rear, at low level: it also had the advantage that if his plane was hit, he was already pointed towards home!

I have posted an article on my website - 'Tankbusters: Airborne Anti-Tank Guns of WW2' - which gives details of the guns, their ammunition, their armour-piercing performance and the planes they were fitted to. Just scroll down the front page until you reach it.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and discussion
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Exactly right! I calculated 37mm penetration at angles of ~ 70°-80° and concluded that later model T-34 could not be penetrated effectively. The 50mm PAK 38 on the other had should penetrate the top armor of just about any WW-II tank from that angle using steel ammo since WC is unlikely from 1943 on. Pak 40 is right out due to its heavy weight and adverse effect on plane stability....unless your firing from a Ju-88?

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Theres no way I would waste money on stukas after 1942.

Post by Paul Lakowski » 26 Feb 2005 01:48

Stuka was an awsome dive bomber. I could place a bomb within 15m of aim point...thats like a lazer guided bomb interms of accuracy. Even the best level bombing is 700m CEP without instrument guidance.

The problem is to be used effectively it must patrol at 15-20,000 feet. By 1943 the germans conceeded airsuperiority over the eastern front due to heavy pressure from allied bombing campaign. Thus the bulk of the german fighters in the east went home. Leaving the rest to fend for themselves. At the start of 1943 they had 2700 front line planes but by the end of 1943 they were down to 1600-1800. THe loss of 1000 planes [mostly fighters] lost them airsurperiority.

By then Stukas were flying with 37mm flak guns to strafe targets and it was effective enough but was not the same impact that DB had. Germany produced 2000 Stukas and Hs-129 in 1943. These made something of a name for themselves with their cannons but they were only getting 2% kills per sortie...not very impressive.

The same money resources and pilot training and engine resources spent on Stukas , could very well have produced 2000 more FW-190s. That way they might not have lost airsuperiority....FW-190 could always be converted to ground attack roles later.

By lossing Air Superiority in the east, they gave up the information war to the soviets. From that point on the Soviets got better recon info and the germans got next to none. THe soviets got better at planning offensives and desception maneuvers and amassing local superiorities of 10:1 , while the germans were forced to disperse their reserves and become completely reactive at the lowest level possible.

Its estimated that in 1941 the german intelligence was 1 day behind soviet actual maneuvers, by 1943/44 they were atleast 3 days behind. As long as the soviets could amass their forces in less than 3 days they always got operational surprise and the germans were left with no reserves to react. No reserves means no defence and the rest is history.

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Post by Huck » 27 Feb 2005 02:07

Tony Williams wrote:The penetration of AP projectiles decreased rapidly as the angle of attack decreased, and this particularly affected the German Hartkernmunition used in the MK 101/103 and BK 3,7 anti-tank guns.


APCR rounds were less likely to shatter at high obliquity in comparison with APCBC rounds. APCR rounds used for MK 101/103 and BK 3,7 were no exception.
At 60 degrees obliquity (from normal on the surface), the usual angle from which antitank planes attacked their targets, BK 3,7 could still penetrate 70-60mm of armor. BK 3,7 had no problems in penetrating the T-34s hull from any direction.

Tony Williams wrote:So to get a favourable angle of attack onto a tank's upper surfaces would have involved a very steep dive from above, which not even the Ju 87G could manage (the weight of the guns prevented recovery from a steep dive).


That's hardly the case. The usual dive angle from which tanks were atacked was a mild 30 degrees.

Tony Williams wrote:OTOH, the rear armour of tanks tended to be less than the side and much less than the front, so the tankbusters could approach from the rear and still get penetration with guns much weaker than the normal ground-based anti-tank guns.


T-34, the usual target, had the same armor thickness all around the hull, 45mm. Two of the most important reasons why attacks from the rear were prefered were: 1) more flammable components were located in the rear (so that they were less exposed to enemy tanks), including ammunition storage, which was located in the rear turret of T-34-85; 2) the more vulnerable upper hull area was larger in the back, because Russian tanks had the turret placed in front (the turret was an obstacle, in general being more difficult to penetrate, although T-34 rear turret armor could be easily defeated by BK 3,7).

Tony Williams wrote:I have posted an article on my website - 'Tankbusters: Airborne Anti-Tank Guns of WW2' - which gives details of the guns, their ammunition, their armour-piercing performance and the planes they were fitted to. Just scroll down the front page until you reach it.


I went there and I saw a mistake. You say about BK 3,7:

It mainly fired Hartkernmunition ammo, capable of penetrating up to 140 mm / 100 m / 90 degrees although this was halved at a striking angle of 60 degrees.


It's the usual confusion between 30 and 60 degrees, from the vertical on the surface or the horizontal.
If the reference is the horizontal then when you can say that it was capable of penetrating 140mm/100m/90degrees, aprox 120mm/100m/60degrees,
and aprox 70mm/100m/30degrees.

I found 120mm/100m/60degrees(from horizontal) penetration for 37mm APCR round in "Aggressors Volume 1: Tank Buster vs. Combat Vehicle", Alex Vanags-Baginskis and Rikyu Watanabe, Airlife, 1993.

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Post by Huck » 27 Feb 2005 04:23

Paul Lakowski wrote:Exactly right! I calculated 37mm penetration at angles of ~ 70°-80° and concluded that later model T-34 could not be penetrated effectively. The 50mm PAK 38 on the other had should penetrate the top armor of just about any WW-II tank from that angle using steel ammo since WC is unlikely from 1943 on. Pak 40 is right out due to its heavy weight and adverse effect on plane stability....unless your firing from a Ju-88?


Have you considered that APCR ammunition for your calculations?
Don't forget that BK 3,7 was developed from a Flak cannon, it was a powerful high velocity weapon. Its penetration with APCR rounds was very good. BK 3,7, BK 5 and PAK 40 L/43 had roughly the same penetration with APCR rounds. The difference between them was that the heavier rounds loose the kinetic energy slower, which improves the range, but the accuracy decreases. It's true that BK 3,7 needed more rounds to kill a tank, but it also fired faster.

There was no real need to switch to BK 5, because BK 5 was not sufficiently powerful to make it worth the change. BK 5 found an interesting niche on Me-410, not as antitank cannon, but antibomber. While BK 3,7 was good enough to allow shooting the bombers from outside their defensive guns range, the larger HE content of BK 5 rounds made it a "one shot one kill" weapon. BK 7,5 was interesting primarily because it allowed the use of APCBC rounds, APCR rounds were hard to come by late in the war. BK 7,5 had no adverse effect on Hs-129 stability, only stall speed had increased, meaning that it could not fly from unprepared fields and the handling became less forgiving.
Last edited by Huck on 27 Feb 2005 04:27, edited 2 times in total.

Huck
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Post by Huck » 27 Feb 2005 04:23

Paul Lakowski wrote:Stuka was an awsome dive bomber. I could place a bomb within 15m of aim point...thats like a lazer guided bomb interms of accuracy. Even the best level bombing is 700m CEP without instrument guidance.

The problem is to be used effectively it must patrol at 15-20,000 feet. By 1943 the germans conceeded airsuperiority over the eastern front due to heavy pressure from allied bombing campaign. Thus the bulk of the german fighters in the east went home. Leaving the rest to fend for themselves. At the start of 1943 they had 2700 front line planes but by the end of 1943 they were down to 1600-1800. THe loss of 1000 planes [mostly fighters] lost them airsurperiority.


This is not true. Nobody had established air superiority on Eastern Front (at least until very late in the war, when the frontline was not inside USSR anyway), simply because neither Luftwaffe nor VVS could effectively cover the entire Easter Front airspace. This is how an obsolescent bomber like He-111 could soldier until the end of war on Eastern Front. Ju-87G and Hs-129 suffered had very little losses caused by Soviet fighters.

Paul Lakowski wrote:By then Stukas were flying with 37mm flak guns to strafe targets and it was effective enough but was not the same impact that DB had. Germany produced 2000 Stukas and Hs-129 in 1943. These made something of a name for themselves with their cannons but they were only getting 2% kills per sortie...not very impressive.


I don't know what is the source of this number. If you mean 2 tank kills per 100 sorties, this does not tell much - these units attacked an wide array of targets (especially Hs-129 units, which rarely engaged tanks, even though they were designated as antitank units). Rudel's 10./SG2 was by far the most active in this role, Rudel's reputation insured that (this particular unit also benefited from close cooperation with Heer formations, which none of the other Luftwaffe antitank units could claim they had).

Paul Lakowski wrote:The same money resources and pilot training and engine resources spent on Stukas , could very well have produced 2000 more FW-190s. That way they might not have lost airsuperiority....FW-190 could always be converted to ground attack roles later.


Actually, more than 2000 dedicated attack versions of Fw-190 were produced. They were flown by former Stuka pilots and had a large number of types of ground attack weapons (not only the usual guns and bombs). No antitank guns were produced for those planes, but some different version of unguided rockets with shaped charges were fitted, from which the best was Panzerblitz II, copied a lot after the war (however, Panzerblitz Fw-190 were nowhere as effective as Ju-87G in antitank role). Attack groups conversion to Fw-190 started in Oct '43 and ended in mid '44, when the remaining Ju-87D (outside antitank units) were converted to night attack. The results were dissapointing though. The losses did not decrease (in fact they increased), only the cause changed, and the effectiveness suffered dramatically. It wasn't one of the most inspired moves in Luftwaffe's history for sure.

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Post by Tony Williams » 27 Feb 2005 08:28

Paul Lakowski wrote:Exactly right! I calculated 37mm penetration at angles of ~ 70°-80° and concluded that later model T-34 could not be penetrated effectively. The 50mm PAK 38 on the other had should penetrate the top armor of just about any WW-II tank from that angle using steel ammo since WC is unlikely from 1943 on. Pak 40 is right out due to its heavy weight and adverse effect on plane stability....unless your firing from a Ju-88?


A striking angle of 70-80 degrees still needs a near-vertical dive (I'm using the German - and current NATO - system by which 90 degrees is the perfect striking angle for maximum penetration). I don't have a figure for penetration in a 30 degree dive but by the look of the way the pen curve is going it would be very low.

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