Tanks destroyed by air attack

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by Cult Icon » 10 Jan 2022 15:35

On the importance of securing Air superiority before conducting ground-attack

(Ground attack tactics
By Generalmajor Hitschhold at Kaufbeuren, Germany, and Latimer House, England, 20 September-4 October 1945.):
If the enemy had air superiority, fighter escort furnished by regular fighter units was advisable. Strong fighter opposition forces the ground attack formation to make greatly concentrated mass attacks (usually with approach at great altitude for a dive attack, or on occasion a low level attack with the element of surprise). Effective strafing attacks could not then be flown, because the effectiveness of the ground attack units was thus already cut in half. The most effective weapons of the ground attack F.W.190 were its 2 cm. cannon MG 151 and its heavy MG 131 13 mm. Bombs were less effective.
The weather in part decides the type of mission to be flown by ground attack units and also the size of the formations, i.e. the worse the weather, the smaller the formation. A minimum ceiling of 6000-8000 feet is required for dive bombing attacks. Shallow dive attacks can be flown with a ceiling of 1500 feet and low level attacks with still lower ceilings. Attacks under low ceilings usually result in higher losses, because the anti-aircraft fire cannot be adequately combatted and because the ground attack aircraft are too easily sighted by enemy aircraft.
Last edited by Cult Icon on 10 Jan 2022 15:37, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by Cult Icon » 10 Jan 2022 15:36

Anti-Tank Missions.

It was necessary to use special anti-tank ground attack units against modern tank formations. In cases of lucky tank break-throughs, the army was often not in a position to throw in enough of its own tanks or anti-tank guns to stop the advance. In the Spring and Autumn in Russia, the ground was so muddy and roads so bad that moving tanks for defense against enemy tank break throughs was so slow that the only possibility of combatting them was to use these special anti-tank ground attack units.

It was apparent that ordinary ground attack units were not able to destroy enough tanks with their guns, cannons and bombs, but the special anti-tank units with armour piercing cannon and special anti-tank rockets were very successful. Anti-tank aircraft were the Henschel 129 with the MK 101 3cm., later the MK 103 3cm.; the Ju.87 Stuka with 2 x 37mm. cannon, and the usual F.W.190 ground attack model with rocket tubes fixed to its bomb racks.

These aircraft were successfully used against tanks which had broken through on the battlefield or all the way into rear areas. The missions against tank assembly areas were a great mistake because these were always protected with many anti-aircraft guns and resulted in high losses compared to completely unimportant accomplishments. For attacks on tank assembly areas it was better to use formations which carried a great number of containers of 4 kg. hollow charge armour piercing bombs, which can be dropped from halfway outside the effective anti-aircraft fire. Enemy tanks which have broken into friendly troop areas can only be safely combatted by special antitank ground attack units, without endangering friendly troops.

Troop columns which have broken through can be defeated if the antitank units fight the tanks and the regular ground attack units attack the more thinly armoured vehicles which follow the tanks. In good weather, tank break-throughs were, however, protected with a strong fighter cover. The beating down of this fighter cover was a pre-requisite for a successful employment of anti-tank ground-attack units. If bad weather was used for tank break-throughs the anti-tank units can fly anyway, since they usually fly in low level attacks.

Next to the neutralizing of the enemy fighter cover, the beating down of anti-aircraft defenses is another condition for the successful use of anti-tank flying units. After a long series of successful missions against tanks, the enemy started to give the tanks anti-aircraft protection and always increased it, and at the end of the war, every nation had some sort of mobile anti-aircraft gun which could protect the tanks. The use of anti-tank units with regular ground attack units to keep down the A.A. fire became necessary. When the ceiling was low so that ground attack units could not effectively act against antiaircraft defenses, the anti-tank units had to be used with the element of surprise and the attack was carried through in the shortest possible time before the anti-aircraft tanks, not ordinarily ready for combat, could unlimber their guns and start to shoot. Experience and practice in immediate recognition of tanks and shooting them up in the first attack brought about good successes without important losses. In the last year of the war, the Russian tank troops had accustomed themselves to the anti-tank flyers and the tanks were well camouflaged wherever possible. At the approach of anti-tank units they immediately sought cover near houses, tree clumps, or hay stacks. Often the tanks could only be found from their tracks and the Russians usually erased these by dragging branches behind the tanks.

Anti-tank units fought in Rotten, Schwärme and, at most, in Staffeln formation. Larger anti-tank units used simultaneously over the battlefield hindered and confused each other. The attacks with armor piercing cannon were conducted like ordinary strafing missions. To ensure hits, the pilots had to approach as close as possible. The best range was 100-150 yards. The gunnery run had to be very even and calm, and the direction of approach was determined by the ground situation and with the 3 cm. and 37 mm. weapons aimed at the vital points of the tanks.

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by Cult Icon » 11 Jan 2022 14:52

HS-129 B-2 with field conversion set, optimized for Anti-tank :

250 RPG for two 20mm guns, 1000 RPG for two 7.92mm

6 x 50 KG/SD2 bombs or 2 x 50KG bomb and a 500KG bomb

30mm MK101 with 30 AP rounds (Penetration, 75mm armor plate at a distance of 300 meters)

Upgraded: 30mm MK103 with 100 AP rounds

Optional: 37mm BK 3.7 with 12 Wolfram core rounds

75mm BK with 16 AP rounds

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by Cult Icon » 15 Jan 2022 14:37

guncam footage of Stuka with the twin 37mm guns, interesting to see that two rounds are fired at once:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f_SxKw5r3Y

HS-129:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAWHLMIxfUw

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by ROLAND1369 » 15 Jan 2022 18:52

Given how far from the center of the aircraft the guns were located it would be impossible to have any accuracy with out firing both simultaneously. The firing of one gun would create severe yaw and cause the deviation of the gun. In Addition firing 2 rounds at the same target increases the chance of a hit as well as a greater likelihood of target destruction. Note that most modern guided AA missle systems also fire two systems at a single target for the same reason.

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by Cult Icon » 18 Jan 2022 20:19

I read Rudel's Stuka Pilot Memoir.

Nowhere does he say that they fired both guns at the same time or not, so you may be right. He does say that the rockets were inaccurate compared to the cannon.

His SG2 (He was a squadron, group, and then wing commander) performed Anti-tank missions with the following groups. The other aircraft supported the Anti-tank aircraft in their sortie. In 1943-1945 Rudel flew three types of planes: FW190 Ground-attack, Stuka (bombing version with twin 20mm guns), Stuka Anti-tank:

1. Stuka D/G 37mm and Fighters (Air-cover)
2. Stuka D/G 37mm with regular "bomb" Stukas in support (Anti-flak)
3. Stuka D/G 37mm alone
4. Stuka D/G 37mm with FW190 Ground attack in support (Anti-flak and Anti-fighter)
5. Stuka D/G 37mm with "bomb" Stukas and FW190 in support

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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 20 Jan 2022 05:40

ROLAND1369 wrote:
15 Jan 2022 18:52
Given how far from the center of the aircraft the guns were located it would be impossible to have any accuracy with out firing both simultaneously. The firing of one gun would create severe yaw and cause the deviation of the gun.
Seems plausible. Using impulse theory we could estimate the rotational moment from (1) MV and weight of the shell, (2) recoil time, (3) moment arm from centerline. Does anyone know the recoil time?

There'd also be a nose-down moment. Maybe that's balanced/mitigated automatically by inducing a higher angle of attack in the horizontal stabilizer?
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Re: Tanks destroyed by air attack

Post by EKB » 08 Feb 2022 09:10

...
At least one Hs 129 was found at Carpiquet airfield in Normandy.
LAC 3225499.jpeg
https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/Collectio ... er=3225499
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