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Franconicus
11-07-2005, 08:43
On Friday there was a report on German television (PHOENIX) about German suicide fighters (ramming bombers and suicide attacks on bridges). Did anybody see it?

I could not see much. Had to bring the kids to bed.
One German fighter pilot said that his unit had a nominal strength og 15. They fought over Germany. They lost 70 something pilots within one year. Many died at their first fight.

Kraxis
11-07-2005, 15:00
The only real suicide unit of the Luftwaffe I have heard about was former HJ pilots (not boys anymore), that were supposed to dive into a bridge the Russians had taken, but the mission was scrapped for some reason (possibly the ceasefire?).

Franconicus
11-07-2005, 15:54
Kraxis,

this is what I saw in the report:

1. Sturmgeschwader:
Some Geramn fighters pilots seemed to crash into US bombers by accident or frustration. Some of them were able to rescue themselfes by parachute. This brought the generals to the idea to build a special unit. They had FW190, were heavy stealplated and armed. They should go as close as possible to the bombers and shoot them. Only in case this does not work they should ram and then bail out. The ratio of shot US bombers to German fighters was about 1:7. They tried to come closer to 1:1. Although they had some success they could not change the war.

2. Late 1944 they called for volunteers at the flying schools. Did not tell them what for. So they collected some 120 boys without much training. They put them together with some aces, gave them good food and then they told them they should ram bombers. Most boys accepted, because they hated the US bombers and they saw at least a chance to survive. They flew Me 109, a weak protected plane, without guns! Göring thought the US bomber crews were shocked if they saw hundreds of planes crushing in their bombers. In fact the Luftwaffe did not manage to get enough planes ready to start. In the end they managed to ram down 20 bombers, from a total number of 1500 that attacked Germany that day. Not much!

3. The attack on the Oder bridges. This was the socalled last line of defense. However, the Soviet crossed it and started building bridges. Conventional bombing failed. So they were looking for voluteers in the remaining squadrons to fall with their planes into the bridges.

I think most of the volunteers changed their minds once they were in the air. They saw how small Germany was then and that there really was no chance to change the war. So they just kept on flying or just bailed out.

Kraxis
11-08-2005, 16:01
1:7... That must have been very late in the war.

Franconicus
11-08-2005, 16:16
Guess in 1944. It only counted the numbers of allied bomber vs. German fighters. Allied fighters were not counted.

I think in 1944 the Mustangs managed to keep most German fighters apart. At least they had no time to come in a good position to start attacking the bombers. The Mustangs were simply faster and they were everywhere. Plus they attacked the Germans when they started and landed.

On the other side - the bombers had more then 7 crew members.

jimmy
11-08-2005, 18:05
there was a case of a RAF pilot ramming a german bomber with his hurricane after running out of ammo. [slicing the german pilots tail off] i dont think that he was contemplating dying though. and of RAF pilots flipping V1 rockets but thats it as far as i am aware.??

Mikeus Caesar
11-08-2005, 20:54
there was a case of a RAF pilot ramming a german bomber with his hurricane after running out of ammo. [slicing the german pilots tail off] i dont think that he was contemplating dying though. and of RAF pilots flipping V1 rockets but thats it as far as i am aware.??

The RAF pilot smashed his plane into a German bomber, cutting off the bombers tail. He only went to such extreme measures because 1) he had no ammo and 2) the dastards were heading straight for Buckingham Palace.

Kraxis
11-08-2005, 21:59
Guess in 1944. It only counted the numbers of allied bomber vs. German fighters. Allied fighters were not counted.

I think in 1944 the Mustangs managed to keep most German fighters apart. At least they had no time to come in a good position to start attacking the bombers. The Mustangs were simply faster and they were everywhere. Plus they attacked the Germans when they started and landed.

On the other side - the bombers had more then 7 crew members.
Again it doesn't include the losses suffered to the flak, which was considerable when you come flying in dense formations that continue for hundreds of miles. At some point each gun WILL hit something.

While the Allied bombers had around 9-12 crewmembers, the Germans lost perhaps 1:1 in terms of Germans dying to Allied personel present. So if we are to count numbers then the Allies would win it by sheer attrition at some point.

BDC
11-08-2005, 22:16
I read a thing about suicide Luftwaffer pilots. Only they actually had a higher rate of survival than most other squadrons because hardly any of their planes got into the air (being late in the war) and they were spared being expected to fight on the ground against the advancing allies.

One of the sucessful attacks managed to cripple a bombing run. One pilot managed to hook his rotor into the side of the lead bomber, which caused his fighter to completely spin around the fusilage. The German pilot was thrown free, his parachute somehow opening, so he woke up in a POW hospital a few days later. The lead American bomber broke into bits and took out the second lead bomber. Lots of chaos.

Watchman
11-10-2005, 08:06
IMHO suicide tactics don't really seem to fit into the general military mentality of the Germans - not even the most fanatical Nazis.

However, I suspect there may be some confusion involved here. Some time ago I read a little book on assorted special weapon projects the Luftwaffe had going, such as those curious fighter-towed glide-bombs they developed. The most extreme form of that was converting an old Ju-88 or one of those unsuccesful twin-engine fighters into a gigantic shaped-charge munition - specifically intented for blowing those eastern bridges. I understand the engines were retained, but another aircraft was used to tow or guide the thing to the target area, line it up for the final attack run, and then detached to return to base while the plane-bomb did its thing.

I do recall seeing some vague mentions of the Germans toying with the idea of mounting a long pole with a powerful explosive at the tip onto the nose of some fighters and using these to charge bombers, but I don't think those plans ever materialized to any meaningful degree.

Anyway, that first try at a jet fighter - Me 162 "Komet", I think - had so many design flaws that made it very dangerous to its pilots that it can probably be considered a sort of unintentional "kamikaze" weapon; a common cause of death among pilots was melting to their chairs when fuel lines ruptured...

Among the odder weapon systems I've heard of has to be that one upwards-launching rocket triggered by the shadow of a bomber, though. Don't diss it, tho'; at the final stages of the war some infantry units were field-testing a prototype anti-tank missile with a crude optic guidance system, apparently called Rottkäpfen (either "redcap", as in a malicious fey, or "red hood", as in Little Riding), so it probably worked to some degree even if the idea was somewhat kooky.

'Course, the Germans had a weird tendency to waste a whole lot of time and resources on such high-tech "super weapons" projects which they then lacked the industrial capacity to deploy in any numbers. Strange, when you consider in how short they were of everything halfway into the war...

And obviously no amount of US and Brit bombers (although I understand the RAF Bomber Command preferred night ops to keep casualties down, and considered the American determination to fly in daylight hours quite suicidal) shot down was going to slow down the Soviet juggernaut much, particularly after the Western Allies had enacted succesful landings in both Italy and France...

Kraxis
11-11-2005, 01:29
I think the Komet (not jet, a rocket plane) in it's last installment was actually supposed to be armed with 40 small rockets in the nose for fire, and when expended it was supposed to ram bombers, at which point the pilot could detach the entire reinforced cockpit and thus survive. Quite suicidal, but effective if it had even been used as the Komet would have been perfect for this.

If Hitler had never gotten a fad for the big rockets (V1 and V2), then the war could have looked very different. Those weapons recieved the funds that previously went to SAMs with guidance. Without the Vs it is theorized that Germany could have had useable SAMs in 43... Incidentally just when the Allied heavy bomber campaign began in earnest.
Combined with the lack of fighter escorts I doubt there would have been more than a few raids before it was stopped entirely.
A few probing raids would likely be attempted at specific points to see if it was now feaseable, but it is just not likely that slow unmaneuverable bombers could survive against thousands and thousands of SAMs (even if they were not all that accurate). Losses of 100+ bombers for each raid would be too much.

Result? German industry would increase by leap and bounds as it was not harassed. But German industry increase in face of bombing you say? True, but just because the industry managed to increase it's output doesn't mean that the bombing didn't have an effect, just that the German increase would have been absolutely astounding without it.
This could have spelled the difference in the east...

InsaneApache
11-12-2005, 09:24
Didn't the Nazis modify a VI 'doodlebug' rocket, so that it had a cockpit and pilot? That seems suicidal to me.

Kraxis
11-12-2005, 11:45
Didn't the Nazis modify a VI 'doodlebug' rocket, so that it had a cockpit and pilot? That seems suicidal to me.
A few specimens were found if I recall, so yes there were decidedly suicidal weapons but they were never deployed and it has been theorized that they were meant for export to Japan, ince their own Okha bomb was a major failure.