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Luftwaffe USAAF bomber rammers - April 1945 missions

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  • Daniel
    Rank 5 Registered User

    Luftwaffe USAAF bomber rammers - April 1945 missions

    I am reading a book about the dying days of the Third Reich in Germany in WW2 and the Luftwaffe sought out desperate measures to stop the advance of the USAAF bombers.

    The only really workable result was a plan to use lightly armed, lightweight BF-109F fighters to dive down and ram into the bomber formations hoping to take down hundreds of the USAAF aircraft in 1 mission thus forcing the USAAF to think about its bombing campaign.

    Due to issues the force of Luftwaffe fighters was never large enough and tho some bombers were hit and crashed as a result, the overall mission failed.
    The Luftwaffe tho planned for its aircraft crew to bail out just after the impact with the bomber's tail or elevators or wingtips, so they could hopefully survive.

    Would this be called similar to Jap Kamakazies?
    A friend gave me this book and its the first ive heard of this Elbe"Kommando" mission.

    New ME-262s were also used it seems in the mission overall and lost many aircraft.

    Anyone have thoughts on such desperate measures?
  • Creaking Door
    Rank 5 Registered User

    #2
    The likely outcome may have been similar but at least the Luftwaffe tactics offered some chance of survival; aircraft-aircraft collisions are much more survivable that aircraft-battleship collisions, especially if your aircraft is carrying a 1000lb bomb!

    I think at least that the Luftwaffe pilots were volunteers whereas many of the Kamikaze pilots were volunteered.

    The only thing I can really remember reading about the Luftwaffe ramming-missions is that the USAAF didnt realise that they were deliberately trying to ram the bombers; they USAAF put the high number of collisions down to the inexperience of the pilots involved. I think that says a lot about the success of the tactic, or lack of it.
    WA$.

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    • charliehunt
      Nearly there!

      #3
      How interesting. I was unaware of these last desperate measures. What is the title of the book?
      Charlie

      Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

      Comment

      • Dan Johnson
        Wannabe Yank in the RAF

        #4
        It was really only tried on the one day, April 7, 1945. Too little too late. It was done out of the same desperation as the Kamakazi. The hope, and it was really just the dreaming of desperate leaders, was that they could somehow inflict such terrible losses that it might make a difference.

        Didn't happen. The escorts clobbered most, and I don't know that there were very many actual successful collisions.

        Good book on it is "The Last Flight of the Luftwaffe-The Suicide Attack on the Eighth Air Force, 7 April 1945" by Adrian Weir. The 109s were not F models but late model G and K lightened up for the job. Lots of personal accounts from both sides in the Weir book.

        Comment

        • DC Page
          Rank 5 Registered User

          #5
          The animated series "Dogfights" which aired on the History Channel in 2007 and 2008 can be found online and in Season 2 Episode 2 they interview German and American pilots and aircrew who were involved in some of the ramming incidents. Very interesting and very good animations that recreate some of those events.

          The title is Dogfights: The Luftwaffe's Deadliest Mission - S02E02

          Comment

          • charliehunt
            Nearly there!

            #6
            Thanks, chaps!
            Charlie

            Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

            Comment

            • redvanner
              Rank 5 Registered User

              #7
              I am reading a book by Manfred Griehl "Luftwaffe 45 - letze Flge und Projekte" (last missions and projects). Though not directly connected to the ramming actions, one aspect was new to me. Most interestingly there was no lack of planes even in the last days of the war. What Griehl states, was an ever increasing lack of avgas (starting mid 1944), of (special or "new") weapons and experienced pilots. Of the roughly 200 fighters for the ramming mission on April 7th there were 184 Bf 109 G (as ramming planes) and 48 Me 262 to keep the allied fighters at distance. Of those Bf 109 pilots most only had rudimentary abilities, as the experienced ones were not allowed to take part (Hajo Herrmann). Griehl writes: German losses: 77 pilots, 133 fighters, Allied losses: 23 4-engined bombers (mainly 3rd Air Division 8th USAF (though German sources state 60 downed bomber by ramming). One of those desperate last attemps was to fit Bcker 181 Bestmanns with 4 Panzerfaust anti tank infantry weapons, flown by trainees.

              Michael
              Last edited by redvanner; 9th October 2012, 15:50.

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              • SimonDav
                Rank 5 Registered User

                #8
                Are there any photo's of the Bestman's with Panzerfaust's?

                Comment

                • alertken
                  Rank 5 Registered User

                  #9
                  We put bomb racks under Tiger Moths in May,1940, to hit the invader as he splashed ashore. We may laugh now at Dad's Army (a TV comedy set in a Home Guard Unit, 1940), but the precise advice to housewives remaining in the SE coastal area was, as the invaders appeared, to sharpen the kitchen knife and "take one with you". Assymetric warfare. Very cost-effective. The invader is more easily demoralised than is the homeland defender.

                  Comment

                  • redvanner
                    Rank 5 Registered User

                    #10
                    Originally posted by SimonDav View Post
                    Are there any photo's of the Bestman's with Panzerfaust's?
                    Hi Simon,

                    yes, there are 2. Both are scans from "Luftwaffe `45", Copyright by Manfred Griehl.





                    Many, many years ago I had the privilege to speak with a friend of my father, who was a trainee in late spring 45, he flew B 181. He was very happy to have not been nominated to that suicide commando. He was able to fly one of the last planes of his unit to the west, to Goslar in the British sector.

                    Michael

                    Comment

                    • SimonDav
                      Rank 5 Registered User

                      #11
                      Thanks Michael. Reminds of the Piper Cub with the Bazooka's but that was only trying to hit tanks and far less suicidal.

                      Comment

                      • PeterVerney
                        Rank 5 Registered User

                        #12
                        Reverting to England 1940, I still remember, as an 8 year old at the time, being told. "When the Germans come, you boys are to put sugar in their petrol tanks."
                        Man is not lost. Only temporarily uncertain of his position.

                        Comment

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