This text is a continuation of the abridged translation of the book “Luftwaffe'45. Letzte Fluge und Projekte ”, made by a colleague of NF68, is the author of translations of many interesting topics related to the German air force. The illustrations are taken from the original of the book, the literary processing of the translation from German was made by the author of these lines.
FW-190 with Panzerblitz and Panzerschreck missiles
All attempts to destroy heavy Soviet tanks with the help of heavy guns did not bring success, so from the summer of 1944, the Luftwaffe High Command increasingly began to introduce anti-tank missiles stabilized with wires. For testing all ground and aviation means of fighting tanks, it was decided to use revolutionary weapons. This is especially true of the Panzerblitz and Panzerschreck missiles. The tests were carried out at the 26th test center and at the Luftwaffe test center located in Tarnewitz, and by the end of 1944 the German troops received a really reliable and very powerful weaponable to destroy the heaviest Soviet tanks and self-propelled artillery mounts from the air. These weapons began to arm the first aviation squadrons. Under the wings of the aircraft were installed simple beam-like launchers. The development of this project itself caused the concern of the Luftwaffe High Command. Although 1945 managed to produce a large number of Panzerblitz anti-tank missiles in January, these missiles were not received by combat units. In addition, almost all production in the eastern part of Germany was stopped at that time, and, by order of the head of the Luftwaffe Technical Department, from mid-January 1945, the release of anti-tank missiles had to be transferred to other, less dangerous regions of Germany. By 28 in January, 1945 launched an emergency program for the production of anti-tank missiles, and by this time 2500 Panzerblitz missiles were produced. However, the commander of ground attack aircraft demanded that, in order to effectively counter enemy tanks instead of 40 000 anti-tank missiles, the production volume would be increased to 80 000 missiles a month. Until the end of January, 1945 were made separate parts required for the manufacture of 20 000 missiles.
After the production of anti-tank missiles in Gleiwitz, located in Upper Silesia, was discontinued, their release was planned to be transferred to the Czech city of Brünn, or as soon as possible to the central part of Germany. The head of the Technical Department of the Luftwaffe was convinced that the mass production of anti-tank missiles in the protectorate could be brought to 80 000 missiles per month. In this case, it was necessary to take into account the regions that the Wehrmacht could hold, not allowing the enemy there. It is highly likely that such a new enterprise could be built in the city of Dachau near Munich, where a large number of prisoners of war could be used. At the same time, this concerned test centers, since in the initial stage of the use of anti-tank missiles significant technical flaws of the missiles were identified. The latter should be improved, and at the same time, the production of these missiles should be simplified to acceptable parameters, which should have been done by March 1945. In February, 1945, the German industry had to produce 18 000 anti-tank missiles. In the following months, the release of anti-tank missiles was planned with the expectation of the supply of materials sufficient to produce Panzerblitz missiles for one month 50 000. However, there were problems with the production of other types of weapons and equipment; in addition, these weapons and equipment were difficult to deliver to the front, since Allied air strikes greatly complicated the use of vehicles and communications in the central part of Germany. By the end of February, despite the difficult situation of industry, the German leadership was able to take the next step in the development of weapons. In the first days of April, the head of the Luftwaffe Technical Department briefed Reichsmarschall Goering on his proposal for the production of an improved version of the Panzerblitz 2 controlled anti-tank. In this case, it was about the use of missiles like the R4 with the cumulative warhead of the 8,8 caliber, which could destroy the enemy’s heaviest tanks. 26 March 1945 in the workshops of the company in Böhmen (Böhmen) were prepared to be sent to the front in the total amount of 11 000 anti-tank missiles, but most of them could not be delivered to the troops. The same thing happened with the Panzerblitz 1 and Panzerblitz 2 missiles manufactured in April. From the beginning of 1945, nothing was expected on the Eastern Front, except for the ever-increasing pressure from the Red Army. The front, being held by the German Army Group Center, collapsed after powerful blows from the Red Army. In the northern and southern sectors of the Eastern Front, the overall situation has so far remained threatening. From October 1944, the commander of an assault air squadron SG 3, based in Udetfeld, inspired hope about the prospects for the use of Panzerblitz anti-tank missiles.
Guides for Panzerblitz rockets.
Gradually, other squadrons were arming with this new weapon, where training firing and training on the use of other missiles were organized. After many shooting training pilots achieved up to 30% hits. During practical tests, it turned out that, contrary to the expectations of pilots of combat units, if a missile hit a tank, it could immediately explode if a tower or a hull were hit. To increase the accuracy of firing, rockets were produced from a distance of no more than 100 meters. The 3 / SG 3 group included the 8 Squadron, armed with FW-190 F-8 attack aircraft. The 1 Squadron was based in East Prussia in Gutenfeld (Gutenfeld). Further, training in firing rockets to pilots of a group surrounded in Kurland was conducted on the Baltic Sea coast. From 7 in January 1945, in addition to the 4 squadron. (Pz) / SG 9, another squadron of anti-tank 1 attack aircraft. (Pz) / SG 9, previously designated 9 / SG 9, took part. From now on, the squadron became designated 1. (Pz) / SG 9, while the separate squadron 2. (Pz) / SG 9 began to be designated 10. (Pz) / SG 1. The 10 squadron. (Pz) / SG 1 became known as 3. (Pz) / SG 1. Awarded with oak leaves to the iron cross, captain A. Küffner (Andreas Kuffner) was appointed as the new commander of the 1 / SG 1 group. In early January in Fürstenwald, the group began training, while continuing to strike at the enemy along the line of the Eastern Front. After the 1 squadron received the FW-190 F-8 aircraft capable of carrying Panzerblitz anti-tank missiles, this squadron was transferred to Eggersdorf and then to Freivald Grosenheim (Freiwalde Großeneffen) The 2 th and 3 th squadrons of the group were armed with the Ju-87 G aircraft, which successfully attacked enemy tanks on the Eastern Front. On the morning of January 16, 1945 Squadron 8./SG 3 attacked Russian tanks and other targets from a low altitude. For each Russian tank fired upon, the squadron commander presented the crew with an award in the form of a liter of rum and cigarettes. Although some squadron pilots received this award, the lack of aviation gasoline limited the number of such strikes. 1 February 1945 SG Squadron 1 has not yet received launchers for anti-tank missiles, as planned for timing. However, the aviation group 2 / SG 2, on the contrary, received FW-190 F-8, capable of carrying anti-tank missiles Panzerblitz and Panzerschreck.
In addition to the Panzerblitz, the Panzerschrek missiles were used as lightweight offensive weapons (right under the wing).
In one of the squadrons of the 2 / SG 3 aviation group, some Panzerblitz airplanes with February 1 took part in the battles. The 2 / SG 77 air group, based in Aslau, besides the 20 FW-190 F-8 was armed with 9 airplanes of this type with Panzerblitz missiles, and all in this group there were 19 combat-ready aircraft. The 13 / SG 151 air group from February 1945 was armed with one of the squadrons of FW-190 F-8 planes capable of carrying Panzerblitz missiles. In addition to conventional launchers, wood launchers for anti-tank missiles were also used. In the following weeks, the number of aircraft capable of carrying Panzerblitz missiles increased significantly. The 3 squadron of the SG 9 squadron in February 1945 replaced the Ju-87 G with the FW-190 F, armed with Panzerblitz missiles. This squadron was based in Prenzau. From 4 in February 1945, the general who commanded assault aircraft, planned to transfer part of the SG 151 squadron to the 1 in an aviation fighter division, which was to conduct battles on the Eastern Front. In addition to the remaining Ju-87 D 25 and FW-190 F-8, capable of carrying bombs, 2-I and 3-I groups were armed with 39 FW-190 F-8, capable of carrying “Panzerblitz” missiles. But at the same time, there were only 26 pilots in the parts listed. In the near future, we expected five more aircraft adapted for the suspension of the Panzerschreck missiles. In mid-February, it became noticeable that the Soviet troops, after strikes by German attack aircraft from low altitudes, made the appropriate conclusions. In Kurland, during a single strike on Soviet troops, pilots of the SG 3 squadron, including the oak-leaf awarded to the Iron Cross, Major E. Erhard Jähnert, were met by numerous enemy air defense systems, mainly four-barreled anti-aircraft installations. However, the FW-190 F-8 speeds on descending reached a speed of up to 800 km / h, as a result of which German aircraft were targets for enemy air defense, which were hard to hit, and all German aircraft returned from this mission. However, because of the enemy’s strong air defense, the machines failed to accomplish the tasks assigned to them. 23 February 1945 two enemy tanks were hit during a raid, remaining to burn on the battlefield. Only in March, pilots of the SG 3 squadron could again strike at the enemy in Courland. 1 and 7 February 1 anti-tank squadron aircraft. (Pz) / SG 2 "Immelmann" were prepared for a massive attack on the enemy missiles "Panzerblitz", their first departure, which was attended by 4 aircraft FW-190 F-8, adverse weather conditions proved unsuccessful.
This squadron of the FN-12 F-190 8 aircraft capable of carrying Panzerblitz missiles was subordinated to the SG 3 squadron commander and based in Finow. Before 3 March, this squadron managed to destroy the enemy's 74 tank, and 39 tanks were damaged. The 6 March squadron of anti-tank 3 attack aircraft. (Pz) / SG 3 was relocated from Prenzlau to Macklit. Later, this squadron was transferred to Schönefeld (Schönefeld), where launchers for launching Panzerblitz missiles were installed on the FW-190 F-8 aircraft of this squadron. The headquarters of the air group was located in Perlenberg (Perlenberg). There, the staff squadron received the first FW-190, armed with anti-tank missiles. In the period between 9 and 13 March, 1945 SG 3 squadron struck the Soviet tanks, trying to surround the German troops. Rumors of miraculous weapons were spread among the German servicemen, some of which were already at the disposal of the German troops and which only remained to be used. But due to the lack of the required amount of fuel, relatively few sorties were made from Zabeln. The 10 March Squadron of 1 anti-tank attack aircraft. (Pz) / SG 2 was engaged in shooting practice, and therefore few people were surprised that these training shooting would hardly be enough for a full-fledged training course needed to deliver effective attacks on the enemy. 19 March 1945 city The 1 squadron. (Pz) / SG 2 was relocated to the Berlin-Schönefelde airfield (Berlin-Schönefelde), where it was handed over to the 4 airborne division. After the redeployed squadron was ready to attack the enemy, the first attacks on Soviet tanks were 22 and 28 in March of 1945 d. Then it turned out that only because of the inadequate training of German pilots, the target was struck by no more than 30% of missiles. The latter were produced by enemy tanks from a distance of 100 meters and at an angle between 10 and 20 degrees with respect to the horizontal plane. After improving the design of tubular launchers for launching rockets, as well as refining some fuses of missiles and the acquisition of practical skills by pilots, the effectiveness of strikes increased. Over the next weeks, the enemy surprisingly quickly made the appropriate conclusions, starting to use self-propelled four-barreled anti-aircraft guns to protect their tank units from the FW-190 F-8 attack aircraft. 21 March FW-190 F-8 squadrons 1 (Pz) / SG 2 made 32 combat sorties including 12 combat sorties made by Panzerblitz missiles. At the end of March, at least one machine capable of carrying Panzerblitz missiles was transferred to SG 3 squadron. 2-I squadron aviation group in the second half of March 1945. had 12 combat aircraft FW-190 F-8, capable of carrying missiles «Panzerblitz». Later, the FW-190 F-8 aircraft with Panzerblitz missiles began to enter service with the 3 / SG 4 air group. Before 21, the first squadron FW-190 F-8 with Panzerblitz missiles was formed on the 2 / SG 77 air group. Then the first anti-tank squadron, which also included 12 aircraft, appeared in the 3 / SG 77 air group. Since the beginning of February, the 1 (Pz) SG 9 squadron has begun to deliver its Ju-87 D-5 and G-2, having received at least 17 FW-190 F-8 with Panzerblitz missiles by the end of February. By 21, March 13 Squadron. (Pz) SG 151 had two FW-190 F-8 capable of carrying bombs and 15 of the same type of aircraft capable of carrying Panzerblitz missiles. In the following days, the squadron received a few more planes; as a result, the squadron was armed with 18 anti-tank attack aircraft. From the beginning of the battle in Silesia, the pilots of anti-tank squadrons were particularly effective. The attacks of the FW-190 F-8 missiles "Panzerblitz" led to difficulties in the tank formations of the Red Army, opposing the German troops. Together with the Hs-129 attack aircraft, the FW-190 F-8 aircraft with the Panzerblitz missiles achieved numerous hits in Soviet tanks. A volley with six anti-tank missiles increased the chance of hitting an enemy tank. In the course of the battle, the German attack aircraft pilots found that enemy formations had pulled up anti-aircraft units to the front edge, trying to hide in front of buildings and in the woods. In order to disable enemy anti-aircraft units, the FW-190 fighter squadron struck the detected anti-aircraft units using fragmentation bombs. The entire group of German aircraft covered from the air 2-3 squadron fighter Me-109 G-14 or Me-109 K-4. 22 March 1945 city navy there were four combat-ready squadrons with Panzerblitz anti-tank missiles. Another squadron 6 / SG 1 at that time was undergoing rearmament on anti-tank attack aircraft. For example, squadron 3. (Pz) SG 9 immediately after training began to carry out combat missions. In total, three squadrons were armed with Panzerschreck missiles: 8./SG 1, 6./SG 3 and 5./SG 77. In addition, squadrons 2. (Pz) SG 9 and 10. (Pz) / SG77, armed with aircraft Ju-87 D-3 and D-5 with Panzerblitz missiles, it was decided to try to use to strike at enemy tanks. Squadrons with Ju-87 aircraft could continue to use these machines, but the much more maneuverable FW-190 F-8s proved to be more efficient.
Only for 16 days, during which anti-tank attack aircraft made combat missions, pilots of the 3 / SG 4 group with Panzerblitz missiles destroyed the Soviet tank’s 23, another eleven were damaged, having lost the ability to move. 29 March 1945 The enemy squadron 1./SG 1, which was reinforced by 5./SG 151 squadron based in Fürstenwalde, was hit at the enemy. In late March, the entire aviation group 3 / SG was armed with aircraft capable of carrying anti-tank missiles. Another air group, 2 SG 3, was then based in Finow, and the 2 / SG 151 group was based in Gatow. Despite all the difficulties with the supply of weapons and other problems, the number of FW-190 F-8, capable of carrying the Panzerblitz and Panzerschreck missiles, has increased significantly by the end of March. Thus, the aviation group 3 / SG 77 was armed with 22 high-speed carrier anti-tank missiles. The 1 / SG 77 air group had 34 such aircraft. In the air group 2 / SG 77 were in service with the FW-190 F-8, capable of carrying missiles «Panzerschreck». Only in the 1 area of responsibility of the German aviation division in March at least 172 Soviet tanks were destroyed from the air, and 70 were heavily damaged. In addition to tanks, 252 trucks were destroyed, and 92 damaged. Also 20 anti-aircraft guns were destroyed and 110 enemy aircraft were shot down. 1 On April, the 1 / SG 1 aviation group was still armed with nine aircraft capable of carrying Panzerblitz missiles. The 2-group of this squadron had fourteen aircraft, the 3-group - ten FW-190 F-8, capable of carrying Panzerschreck missiles. The headquarters of the aviation group was also armed with aircraft carrying anti-tank missiles. In addition, the squadron 13./SG 77 had eighteen combat aircraft. 7 1945 April, at the first half of the day, in battle again attended by numerous FW-190 F-8 missile «Panzerblitz»: the squadron possessed the SG 1 51 plane, the SG 3 42 aircraft, the SG 4 22 aircraft, the SG 9 25 aircraft and SG 77 –57 with FW-190 type aircraft. Not far from the front line, in the area of responsibility of the 4 aviation division, four attack aircraft and a group of fighters struck at the enemy train. At the same time, at least one Panzerblitz rocket hit the locomotive, after which it was enveloped in smoke. During this departure, another blow was also delivered to another enemy, several of the 24 fired missiles hit the steam locomotive, which remained after that to stand on the railway track. The last wagons of the Soviet echelon at Sternenberg (Sternenberg) were hit by four missiles, and of the 12 locomotives fired at the locomotive, all fell far from the target.