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Old 21st November 2020, 15:23
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Steve Smith Steve Smith is offline
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January 22/23rd 1945 Jet activity?

Hi,

Can anyone confirm if any jet fighters were airborne to intercept a raid by Bomber Command against Duisberg/Homborn on the night of 22/23rd January 1945. Returning crews reported numerous jet sighting's.

Just wondering if this was yet another case of mis-identification?

TIA

Steve
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Old 21st November 2020, 16:05
RodM RodM is offline
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Re: January 22/23rd 1945 Jet activity?

Hi Steve,

ooh, don't get me started!

Me262s faced heavy bombers at night on only one documented occasion - over Pölitz on 13/14 January 1945 (ironically, a night when bomber crews reported sighting no jets).

The primary purpose of the small Me262 night fighter force was to combat Mosquitoes raiding the wider Berlin region.

Nevertheless, if Bomber Command crews are to be believed then the Luftwaffe employed jets against most heavy bomber night raids from late October 1944 onwards - a fallacy like the 86 Me262s and Me163s claimed destroyed in nighttime air combat by heavy bomber crews between November 1944 - April 1945.

With my rant over, I can confirm that Me262s didn't fly against the Duisberg/Homborn on the night of 22/23rd January 1945.

Cheers

Rod
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Old 21st November 2020, 19:40
TigerTimon TigerTimon is offline
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Re: January 22/23rd 1945 Jet activity?

They were, in all probability, flying bombs. More info can be found in the upcoming parts of the Nachtjagd Combat Archive 1944...
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Old 22nd November 2020, 20:52
edwest2 edwest2 is online now
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Re: January 22/23rd 1945 Jet activity?

Can you tell me the German name of these flying bombs?

TIA,
Ed
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Old 23rd November 2020, 12:57
RodM RodM is offline
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Re: January 22/23rd 1945 Jet activity?

my own conclusion is the "jet night fighter scare" (my words) in Bomber Command that started in early November 1944 likely originated with the Luftwaffe employing ground-to-air (and possibly air-to-air) signal rockets to visually communicate the position of the bomber stream. This system was introduced to negate the effectiveness of Allied jamming of Luftwaffe air-to-ground communications. The majority of the jet sightings/encounters during the "November scare" (my term, not Bomber Command's, and relating to night raids between 1 and 5 November 1944) occurred roughly within an area bounded by Tiel (Netherlands), Dortmund, and Namur (Belgium). On one particular raid on 4-5 November, Bomber crews also reported numerous jet sightings/encounters over the Netherlands and western Germany between Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Osnabrück.

The dozens of reported nighttime sightings, air combats and aerial victory claims against jet- and rocket-propelled aircraft between 1 and 5 November 1944, caused Bomber Command Headquarters to take notice and they investigated. Their conclusion was that the crews were witnessing phenomena other that actual piloted jet- and/or rocket-propelled aircraft and this remained their position to the end of the war. The 86 nighttime air combat claims against jet/rocket aircraft I mentioned in an earlier post were never recognised by Bomber Command Headquarters and are not included in that Command's official figures.

This then was the genesis of the trend of Bomber Command heavy bomber crews reporting sightings and encounters with jet aircraft. IMHO, it perpetuated the expectation in Bomber Command flying units, reinforced by its Intelligence organisation, that crews might encounter jet aircraft at night. Thus, many unexplained visual phenomena witnessed by bomber crews at night between November 1944 and May 1945 became rationalised as jet aircraft.

Unfortunately, there is no "smoking gun" that I know of to conclusively prove what the RAF crews witnessed en masse in November 1944, only circumstantial evidence. A British interrogation team specifically asked German night fighter crews in Schleswig-Holstein after the surrender, if they could explain the visual phenomena. They replied that they could not and claimed to have no knowledge of the phenomena or to have witnessed it themselves.

Cheers

Rod

PS - I have devoted a small essay to this subject for inclusion within the January 1945 section of the Nachtjagd Combat Archive series.
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Old 23rd November 2020, 13:34
MW Giles MW Giles is offline
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Re: January 22/23rd 1945 Jet activity?

I do not disagree with Rod at all, but the V1 and V2 campaign against Antwerp began on the 11th October 1944 and ran into the New Year

By the end off 1944 around 600 bombs had landed in the city

http://www.v2rocket.com/start/chapters/antwerp.html

This would add to the impression of fast exhaust trails in the night sky

Martin
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Old 23rd November 2020, 16:18
RodM RodM is offline
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Re: January 22/23rd 1945 Jet activity?

The attached map shows a plot encounters with jet/rocket propelled phenomena as reported by heavy bomber crews on the nights of 1-2, 2-3, and 4-5 November 1944 - the period when the number of reported sightings simply skyrocketed. The blue area is the approximate position of Allied-controlled territory as at 7 November, while the green and yellow lines show the two bomber stream routes on 4-5 November.

If all the sightings related to V1 or V2 rockets, then with the former, one would expect the phenomena to be moving in a direction converging on Antwerp. Several of the sighting/combat reports record directions of travel inconsistent with this. With V2 rockets, the exhaust trails would have continued upwards way higher than the altitude of the bombers. The mean altitude of all these plotted encounters was 13,649 feet AGL, the lowest being 4,000 feet and the highest 26,000 feet, and most falling between 11 - 18,000 feet.

Also significant, with the jet/rocket aircraft claimed destroyed (26 for the period plotted), most either exploded in the air or simply fell back down to earth.

I certainly accept that some sightings could relate to V1s/V2s but I think these weapons don't explain the majority of sightings.

Cheers

Rod
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File Type: jpg Jet Encounters.jpg (215.2 KB, 38 views)
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Old 23rd November 2020, 20:43
edwest2 edwest2 is online now
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Re: January 22/23rd 1945 Jet activity?

Beginning in November 1944, strange lights were reported by Allied aircrews. These reports were passed on for further identification. Formerly classified documents reveal various colors and flight characteristics but came to no official conclusion. One intelligence report did blame sightings on "Me 262s and flak rockets." Prominent among those making reports was the 415th Night Fighter Squadron with the location given as being the Rhine River valley. Once Allied forces had captured the area east of the river, the sightings stopped.


That said, the possibility of flak rockets remains. Captured documents related to these were transferred to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. I am still trying to locate documents that confirm the presence of German technical personnel who were assigned there. For interested researchers, here is a reference:

CGD-1 : Ground Launched Antiaircraft (Controlled)
Date(s):
September 25, 1945
Physical Description:
26 Frames
Container:
1
1
Creator(s):
Oberth, Hermann, 1894-1989, Author
Patek, Robert (T-2), Translator
United States. Army Air Forces. Air Materiel Command. Air Documents Division (T-2), Issuing body
Scope and Contents:
AAF ATSC Air Document Division translation, September 25, 1945. Translated by Robert Patek from Hermann Oberth, "Die Flak-Rakete," 1945.
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Old 23rd November 2020, 21:05
Steve Coates Steve Coates is offline
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Re: January 22/23rd 1945 Jet activity?

CGD-1 can be found on SOVA: https://sova.si.edu/details/NASM.XXX...lms&i=1#ref507
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