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  #1  
Old 11th April 2005, 21:19
Jon Jon is offline
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WfrGr 21 Rocket Mortars in use

Were the WfrGr 21 Rocket Mortars used by the Luftwaffe against massed US bomber formations fired whilst attacking the formation or were they fired backwards after the attacking fighter had passed through the formation ?

Also did they score many kills, and did a Luftwaffe pilot ever use them against a fighter escort with success?

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Jon
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Old 12th April 2005, 01:52
Denniss Denniss is offline
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Re: WfrGr 21 Rocket Mortars in use

They had been fired first to break some planes out of formation or to kill some of them.
It was nearly impossible to use them against fighters unless they were still flying in formation and got a lucky hit inside .
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Old 12th April 2005, 12:17
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Re: WfrGr 21 Rocket Mortars in use

HI,


As far as I know, WGr 21s were used from Me 410s and Bf 110s to break tight formations of US bombers. Fired from few hundred meters almost kilometers, these should explode inbetween the box of bombers and cause damage, to separate planes apart. I used word should, because aiming with these lets say first air-to-air rockets was very tricky...and required a lot of skills. But If it was fired correctly, one hit in bomber caused definite explosion and loss almnost usually all the bomber and its crew. And when WGr 21 exploded inbetween bombers, significant damage was suffered, and most of bombers then failed to be a victim of fighters. This happened on 16.6.1944, 26.6.1944, 7.7.1944 against 15.USAAF as far as I remebers...and know.

After the attack heavy and slow twinengine bombers, disadvantaged more also by carying the rocket launchers under wings, had to clear area of combat and try to survive chase with US fighters. To finish the job was on single engined 109s and 190s...

Airmen on board of US bombers said, that more horryfying than the explosion of these was the fear, that they brought by their quite loudly approach with white smoke trail...

hope it gives U some idea...
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Old 12th April 2005, 14:32
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Re: WfrGr 21 Rocket Mortars in use

Don't forget that these weapons were also used against surface targets from the Salerno landings of September 1943, through the Normandy campaign and on into the late summer/autumn of 1944 in actions on the French/German border. IIRC they were also used in the Ardennes (or at least some units were told to be ready use them if ordered).

I've seen numerous references in Ultra decrypts to "mortar operations" by fighter Gruppen (I don't have details to hand) against ground targets. Some accounts from the receiving end would be interesting, if anyone knows of any.
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Old 12th April 2005, 15:10
Kutscha Kutscha is offline
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Re: WfrGr 21 Rocket Mortars in use

Peter,

109s and 190s also carried them. The tubes were also jettisonable.
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Old 12th April 2005, 15:22
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Re: WfrGr 21 Rocket Mortars in use

Thats right....but usually when t/e a/c were involved, I did not see single engined fighters have them mounted. Just after twin engined a/c were decided not to use in combat against USAAF, fighters took WGr under wings...(correct me if I am wrong) although tests started sooner...
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Old 12th April 2005, 15:50
Kutscha Kutscha is offline
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Re: WfrGr 21 Rocket Mortars in use

Peter,

109G-6s got the rockets in Aug '43. Some older 109G versions still on strength had them retro fitted. When were they first used on the Me110?
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Old 12th April 2005, 21:09
Jon Jon is offline
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Re: WfrGr 21 Rocket Mortars in use

Thanks for all the above comments.

Am i correct that in some cases on some aircraft they were fired to the rear back into a formation after the fighter had done a usual Cannon attack and passed through it ?
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Old 13th April 2005, 00:22
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Re: WfrGr 21 Rocket Mortars in use

There was such a backward firing WGr21 experiment using the Fw 190A (called Krebs-Gerät), but it was deemed an operational failure.


Here's a foto from our own Neil Page:

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homep...vyweapons.html





For those interested in the subject, there are some 15 pages covering Krebs-Gerät Fw 190s in:

Focke Wulf
Jagdflugzeug
Fw 190 A - Fw 190 "Dora" - Ta 152 H
Peter Rodeike
Struve Druck, 1998 (?)
ISBN 3-923-457-44-8

EDIT: original post edited as correctly pointed out by FalkeEins

Last time I'll use a quick google search to put up a quick example!!

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Old 13th April 2005, 11:49
Peter Spoden Peter Spoden is offline
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Re: WfrGr 21 Rocket Mortars in use

Hello Gentlemen,

maybe the following story is if of interest in connection with the 21cm rockets. A few years ago I wrote this down with the help of my friend from RAF Peter Hinchliffe:

"We attacked from astern and below, unseen by the fighters. Beneath the wings of our Me 110s we were carrying for the first time rocket launchers with 21-centimetre. rockets. The plan of attack was to approach the centre of the bomber formation with the aid of our Lichtenstein radar to a distance of exactly 2,000 metres - the range for which the rockets were calibrated - and then launch our missiles and so blow the cluster of bombers apart. Today such a murderous act of destruction would stand a much better chance of success with the aid of lasers, infra red and GPS, as many wars since 1945 have shown.
When we were still 3,000 metres away from our targets ( 20 or 30 B 17) we could see the bright tracer of the American cannon-shells coming towards us. As we came closer we had the feeling that we were flying into a shower bath. I received a large number
of hits in my wings - we could see the holes appearing. It was as if somebody we couldn’t see was sticking his finger in. I was a night fighter, and thank God I had never seen bullets hitting me so often - we didn’t see them until the mechanics pointed them out to us after we had landed. Two of the four Me 110s reported that they had lost engines: I never heard anything more about the crews. At that time of the year in January 1944 the Baltic was bloody cold.

As leader of the Schwarm of the four Me 110 I gave the order to open fire when we were 2,500 metres from the American bombers. Nothing happened! Not one of the launchers fired! The electric leads to the rockets must have been hit, or possibly they hadn’t been fitted properly. I pressed on the firing buttons like mad. At least I could have as go at the gaggle of Fortresses with my nose guns. I kept my finger pressed on the button and waggled my control column. Absolutely no effect – then I saw a white smoke trail coming from my port engine. That was something else that I was seeing for the first time because it was daylight. Break off quickly and head the German coast!

I reached the coast on one engine at an altitude of only a few hundred metres over Kiel, and to my alarm I suddenly found myself among barrage balloons and their cables. I had just enough fuel to reach my base, Parchim in Mecklenburg, and made a belly landing."

best regards Peter
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