Saturday, November 26, 2011
This is coolbert:
Once more from that interview with the famous German combat aviator of the Second World War [WW2], Johannes Steinhoff:
WWII: From your wide experience, which aircraft was the most difficult to attack?
Steinhoff: "The B-17 Flying Fortress without a doubt. They flew in defensive boxes, a heavy defensive formation, and with all of their heavy .50-caliber machine guns they were dangerous to approach . . . Then you also had the long-range fighter escorts, which made life difficult, until we flew the Me-262 jets armed with four 30mm cannon and 24 R4M rockets. Then we could blast huge holes in even the tightest formation from outside the range of their defensive fire, inflict damage, then come around and finish off the cripples with cannon fire."
That R4M rocket Johannes mentions is an air-to-air rocket, an unguided missile the likes of which will probably NEVER AGAIN be used for aerial combat, the "dogfight" or otherwise.
The R4M specifically developed as a counter to the combat box formations of the B-17 bomber. Very difficult and dangerous to approach, the B-17 being also a very robust warplane, able to sustain considerable damage and remain airborne and airworthy. Conventional 20 mm cannon as carried by German fighter interceptors found to be less than adequate and NOT entirely suitable for engaging a B-17!
My intuition being correct, weapons of either considerable more destructive power [30 mm] cannon or additional lesser type cannon [20 mm] with ammo as added to existing German combat fighter planes augmenting existing firepower BUT at the same time compromising at least to some degree combat effectiveness and aerodynamics!
"The R4M . . . rocket, nicknamed the Hurricane . . . due to its distinctive smoke trail when fired, was an anti-aircraft rocket. It was developed by the German Luftwaffe during World War II."
The R4M fired as a salvo, OUTSIDE the defensive range of the B-17 combat box, proved to be an effective weapon, albeit almost field-expedient in nature.
"A single hit was all that was needed to bring down a four engined bomber."
One hit all that was needed in some circumstances to bring down one B-17, cripples also a result, damaged American aircraft having to fall out of formation, not comprising part of the combat box, more or less defenseless, to be taken on and shot down by Luftwaffe pilots at their leisure.
Again, these air-to-air rockets probably a weapon NEVER to be seen again in aerial combat, but at the time an expedient means very deadly!!