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Other posts on this topic may have been posted before,but for interest sake I will proceed to bring it to the notice of those who have not heard the story.
On the 27th of August 1943 HMS Egret,lead ship of the "Egret"class of sloops,was hit and almost cut in two by a "Glider Bomb". This occurred in the Bay of Biscay and resulted in great loss of life. There are conflicting reports to the numbers involved but it is safe to say that around 194 died and around 35 survived inc 6 officers.
This weapon was based on the 1102 lb general purpose bomb and launched from an aircraft.
Simple airfoils were fitted with solenoid driven actuators which moved the ailerons, and an electric worm screw jack which moved the elevator.
A rocket motor was added to quickly drive the missile to a position where the operator in the aircraft could easily observe the behavior of the missile.
The HS293 became operational at Cognac, France, in the summer of 1943.
It is interesting to note that certain authorities on the subject claim that there were in fact 3 RAF personnel onboard (not mentioned in the casualty list). They were purported to be from the SIE (Signal Intelligence Establishment) who were "Boffins" working on the "Enigma" intercepts.
There are two schools of thought on the subject and they are (1) The RAF would publish their own lists of dead, or (2)The three were incognito and therefore would not show up as being on board.
The technology of warfare around in those days never ceases to amaze me,and how quickly they "Got Things Done". Some of our civilian and defence "Boffins" today could learn a thing or two from those people.
They didn't get round to inventing the non-stick frypan!
There are several points I don't follow:
1. HS293 was the code name for this device?
2. Presumably it was a German device. You're not saying we destroyed one of our ships are you? That it used a rocket suggests it was German.
3. If this device was so successful - was it used operationally? If not, why not?
4. Why is it relevant that 3 SIE personnel were on-board?
I think it's a general truth that war produces the most dramatic and useful discoveries. For instance, if I had to say what was the first reason we won the war, I would say: Blechley Park.
Good evening Herk (Or AM there)
If the sun is too strong out there I'll explain a few things.:D
1) Yes it's a code name from Henschel
2) Yes it's German
3) It must have been operational or it wouldn't have sunk the ship it was fired at.
4) In different variants but nearly always released from a Dornier 217 it was fired in anger 2,300 times and accounted for four British destroyers. Maybe someone will come up with the names.
5) I don't know the significance of the three RAF Types being on board,as I said it has been "purported"
Thanks for this mate. Yes it is AM here! And no, the sun is not affecting me.
That makes things a lot clearer now.
2300 times? 4 warships? Why haven't I ever heard of this weapon I am wondering.
Hi Herk. I was unsure when I posted this as I imagined everyone was going to come back and say "Oh I knew that". But it seems not the case. I have included a "YOUTUBE " link showing the firing of one of these nasties.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQ5UAEVyyfk. Hope it works if not google and then enter through the youtube portal.
Well posted Tomsam, here is another picture of the Egret.
I think there is a cutaway example in the Australian War Memorial/Museum.
HMS Warspite too was badly damaged by gliderbombs whilst taking part in the Salerno operations in Sept 1943. These were type FX1400 radio controlled gliderbombs, one of which scored a direct hit and the other two were 'near misses'.
This link takes you to a site that not only has info on gliderbombs but also has ariel photos of the Italian Battleship 'Roma' being attacked and sunk by them.
I'm just wrapping up a book on the development and defeat of German radio-controlled glide bombs in WWII. Hopefully it will get published this year. I can help with some of the questions here.
1. Egret did have personnel on board from the RAF Y-Service. They all perished in the attack and are NOT included in the official RN loss number of 194. I have their names: RAF Flying Officer Paul Geoffrey Scorer and Telegraphists Signals Officers Shields and Keith. In addition, Squadron Leader Cuthbert William Prideaux Selby was with the RAF Volunteer Reserve and acted as coordinator between the ships and RAF Coastal Command. THe reason these individuals were on board is because the British knew in advance that the Germans might use these new weapons. In fact, I believe one mission of the 1st Support Group was to precipitate such an attack so that the Y-Service personnel could record the signals. It is therefore ironic thta the ship embarking the Y-Service unit was the one lost.
2. As for the number of ships hit and sunk by the Hs 293, the subject is mired in uncertainty. Much of the information one finds in published and internet sources is incorrect. I've attempted to document, with great care, each of the 87 anti-ship combat missions involving the Hs 293 flown by II/KG 100, II./KG 40, III./KG 40 or III./KG 100. (I've also studied the 27 anti-ship combat missions involving the PC 1400FX "Fritz X", a radio-controlled bomb flown by III./KG 100.)
My conclusion is that 977 Hs 293 missiles were carried into combat on 733 sorties. Of these, excluding those on aircraft that aborted or were shot down before reaching launch position, some 544 missiles were launched at targets, about 353 of which were responsive to guidance. There were 31 confirmed, probable or possible hits as well as another 6 near misses which caused serious damage.
As for ships hit (of suffering a near miss causing serious damage) the question is hard to answer definitively. If one excludes ships often listed as victims in other sources that have been included in error, I have 35 victims for the Hs 293, 23 of which are confirmed, 8 probable and 4 possible. Assuming all of these were in fact victims of the Hs 293 (one shouldn't), then 14 were sunk outright, 3 were scuttled, 3 were written off, 4 were damaged so heavily they were taken out of operations for an extended time and 11 were damaged slightly. (Note: two ships suffered from 2 near misses each, which explains how 37 successful strikes affects 35 ships.)
3. As for the launching aircraft, the He 177 of II./KG 40 was employed on 17 missions involving 201 sorties with 402 missiles and achieved a hit rate per aircraft sortie of only 1% (including confirmed, probable and possible hits and near misses causing serious damage). The Fw 200 of III./KG 40 was employed on 5 missions involving 19 sorties and 38 missiles -- and had a 0% hit rate. II./KG 100 embarked on 43 missions with 379 sorties carrying 392 weapons, and they achieved a hit rate per aircraft of 7%. III./KG 100 also deployed the Do 217. Before D-Day all of its missions were flown with the PC 1400FX. After D-Day a mix of PC 1400FX and Hs 293 weapons were used by this unit. In aggregate, across both weapon types, III./KG 100 deployed on 47 missions with 351 sorties carrying 262 weapons. It had a hit rate per aircraft sortie of 6%.
Hope this helps
I've attempted to document, with great care, each of the 87 anti-ship combat missions involving the Hs 293 flown by II/KG 100, II./KG 40, III./KG 40 or III./KG 100. (I've also studied the 27 anti-ship combat missions involving the PC 1400FX "Fritz X", a radio-controlled bomb flown by III./KG 100.)
very very interesting
can you give us detailed the various attacks (numbers and kind of aircraft, locations of attack, dates, damaged ships, aircraft shot down)?
I could but that is pretty much what the book covers. At 98,000 words and 437 pages it would be tough to duplicate here.
I've updated the Wikipedia entries on the Hs 293 and Fritz X so you will find the basic information you seek there. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hs_293
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