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445BombGroup 17th August 2006 17:11

Rocket anti-aircraft fire

In going through some of the post mission reports, I've run across references to ground-to-air rockets being fired against bomber formations. On one mission near Orly, France, a B-24 was hit by a rocket and completely destroyed. The crew reporting the incident said they saw a smoky trail leading from the ground up to the bomber just before it exploded.

I was wondering what types of rockets these would be; did they have any sort of guidance system, or where they free flight? I know of an add-on field modification to the Fw-190 to carry 2 8,0cm rockets for air-to-air use.

Thanks in advance for any help you can lend.

Matzos 17th August 2006 17:47

Re: Rocket anti-aircraft fire
Have a look at this link Holzbrau-Kissing Enzian

Edward L. Hsiao 4th February 2020 05:28

Re: Rocket anti-aircraft fire
That's a pretty interesting topic.

Edward L. Hsiao

edwest2 4th February 2020 17:09

Re: Rocket anti-aircraft fire
The rocket in question was referred to as a "baby V-2" by pilots. This description most closely matches the Wasserfall which was designed for this role. It was radio controlled by an operator on the ground. I will post a reference later.

Dan History 4th February 2020 17:24

Re: Rocket anti-aircraft fire

Originally Posted by 445BombGroup (Post 27711)
I was wondering what types of rockets these would be; did they have any sort of guidance system, or where they free flight? I know of an add-on field modification to the Fw-190 to carry 2 8,0cm rockets for air-to-air use.

Hello Michael,

I would suggest this was a mistaken observation. No German surface-to-air rockets were ever used in combat, as far as I understand.

The primary German air-to-air rocket was the 21,0 cm BR 21, see

A much more advanced rocket was used in small numbers by Me 262s. This was the Rheinmetall-Borsig R 4/M 'Orkan', see



edwest2 5th February 2020 01:04

Re: Rocket anti-aircraft fire
The US Office of War Information had told the American media to be cautious about publishing certain things. But for things that were actually seen and reported, that was a different matter.

New York Times, December 5, 1944


U.S. Bomber Crews See 'Lots' of Them, Also Nazi Jet Planes

LONDON, Dec. 4 (AP) -- The Nazis shot "baby V-2s" or anti-aircraft rockets at formations of American Flying Fortresses that attacked Mainz, one of the German rail cities pounded by the Allied air fleets today.

"We got a lot more rockets than we usually do," said Lieut. Robert Dams of Milwaukee, a bombardier.

"The flak was light, but the Nazis mingled it with rockets which left heavy trails of bluish white smoke," related Lieut. David Barnett of Bromley, Ky, a navigator.

Several Nazi jet-propelled planes were spotted in the Bebra area, east of Cologne.

"We saw a Messerschmitt 262 jet job, but as soon as three Mustangs and Thunderbolts appeared it disappeared straight into the sun," said Sgt. Joseph Grunen of Detroit, a Liberator nose gunner.

Revi16 5th February 2020 21:40

Re: Rocket anti-aircraft fire
Surface to Air

edwest2 6th February 2020 04:12

Re: Rocket anti-aircraft fire

Graham Boak 6th February 2020 10:58

Re: Rocket anti-aircraft fire
People see what they are told they will see. There are reports from RAF gunners of attacks by Me163s - anything less likely than an night attack by Me163s is difficult to conceive. There are many reports from the Mediterranean (and maybe elsewhere) of attacks by long-nose Fw190s, long before the D actually saw service. The He113s in the Battle of Britain are perhaps a more famous example. Plus the "scarecrows" seen by night bombers. Or master searchlights being bluer than the others. If the intelligence officers were warning crews to look out for rocket attacks than it isn't surprising that crews reported seeing them. That they actually happened in any organised fashion is exceedingly unlikely to have escaped notice in German documents. Or indeed evidence found on the ground in the occupied land.

I wouldn't rule out crews seeing individual examples, either of trials or perhaps operators seizing the chance of a live firing should a bomber formation pass near.

Larry deZeng 6th February 2020 15:29

Re: Rocket anti-aircraft fire
This subject, the late war employment of anti-aircraft rockets over the Reich, is well-covered in this book:

Griehl, Manfred. Last Days of the Luftwaffe: German Luftwaffe Combat Units 1944-1945. Barnsley (Yorkshire): Frontline Books, 2009. ISBN: 978-1-84832-511-1. Hb. Dj. 262p. Heavily illus. Dwgs. Index.

The author pawed his way through all of the German design, experimentation, manufacturing and employment documents to arrive at a rather definitive picture of developments by the end of the war.


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