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Need help with P-38 rocket and bomb usage in the ETO


LukeFF
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Within the ETO (and the MTO, for that matter), did P-38 squadrons employ rockets? My research on this has hit a dead-end - I've found a number of photos of P-38s equipped with rocket launchers in the Pacific / Southeast Asia, but I'm not finding anything on whether they were employed in Europe.

Edited by LukeFF
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@LukeFF

 

After an exhausting search on the web for an hour and a half and no such luck as yourself, I found a book on Amazon about the 479th FG in Europe. I’m sure you’ve seen this as well but here’s the link

https://www.amazon.com/479th-Fighter-Group-World-War/dp/0764320564

370thFG

https://www.amazon.com/370th-Fighter-Schiffer-Military-History/dp/0764317792

 

Edited by rowdyb00t
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1 hour ago, rowdyb00t said:

After an exhausting search on the web for an hour and a half and no such luck as yourself, I found a book on Amazon about the 479th FG in Europe. I’m sure you’ve seen this as well but here’s the link

 

Thank you! :salute: Actually, I'd not seen those books. From there, I did some more research and found this link: https://books.google.com/books?id=oWorAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA94&lpg=PA94&dq=370th+fighter+group+"rockets"&source=bl&ots=5dCzy6Ur0f&sig=ACfU3U3sEETcQ1s2nGV4Bp458JyDey9ydg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj63o7456DoAhUQoZ4KHee9D7sQ6AEwCHoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=370th fighter group "rockets"&f=false

 

From there, it says:

 

Capture.JPG.b01d6ce1665e1a1fda5d61763686f825.JPG

Of course, we don't have HVAR rockets, but that's enough to convince me that bazooka rockets would have been used as well. 

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@LukeFF I'm skeptical. Jerry Scutts' book makes no mention of ETO P-38 units learning to use rockets, but he discusses testing different configurations. On page 90 he writes how tests using "zero length" launchers were unsatisfactory. "The preferred alternative was to group rocket rounds on the multiple-tiered 'tree' installation. This arrangement was approved for the later model P-38Js and Ls shortly before the war's end, after most of the campaigns in the west had been completed. Consequently no operational use of rocket projectiles by P-38s is known to have occurred in the ETO."

Edited by busdriver
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II/JG17_HerrMurf
19 minutes ago, busdriver said:

@LukeFF I'm skeptical. Jerry Scutts book makes no mention of ETO P-38 units learning to use rockets, but he discusses testing different configurations. On page 90 he writes how tests using "zero length" launchers were unsatisfactory. "The preferred alternative was to group rocket rounds on the multiple-tiered 'tree' installation. This arrangement was approved for the later model P-38Js and Ls shortly before the war's end, after most of the campaigns in the west had been completed. Consequently no operational use of rocket projectiles by P-38s is known to have occurred in the ETO."

Nice find.

 

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23 minutes ago, busdriver said:

@LukeFF I'm skeptical. Jerry Scutts' book makes no mention of ETO P-38 units learning to use rockets, but he discusses testing different configurations. On page 90 he writes how tests using "zero length" launchers were unsatisfactory. "The preferred alternative was to group rocket rounds on the multiple-tiered 'tree' installation. This arrangement was approved for the later model P-38Js and Ls shortly before the war's end, after most of the campaigns in the west had been completed. Consequently no operational use of rocket projectiles by P-38s is known to have occurred in the ETO."

 

Excellent, thank you! I stand corrected. :salute:

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Rockets were a very dangerous weapon to use in the skies over Europe. And I mean dangerous to the pilots using them. Dive bombing allowed a pilot to come in at high altitude, offering a small and hard to hit target to AAA gunners. You'd pull out at 1500 to 2000 feet and jink like crazy as you egressed. But WW2 rockets demanded that you came in very low if you were hoping to hit anything. And you had to hold a steady course as you aimed the weapons. All this time, you are being shot at by highly trained German anti-aircraft gunners. Japanese AA wasn't as good or as concentrated and you could get away with that. But the Germans had developed anti aircraft tactics into a science. I can't say for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if that had a lot to do with the AAF's reluctance to use them in the ETO. 

The only airplane that I can think of, that used them to any large degree there, was the RAF's Typhoons.

Edited by Poochnboo
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1 hour ago, Poochnboo said:

Rockets were a very dangerous weapon to use in the skies over Europe. And I mean dangerous to the pilots using them. Dive bombing allowed a pilot to come in at high altitude, offering a small and hard to hit target to AAA gunners. You'd pull out at 1500 to 2000 feet and jink like crazy as you egressed. But WW2 rockets demanded that you came in very low if you were hoping to hit anything. And you had to hold a steady course as you aimed the weapons. All this time, you are being shot at by highly trained German anti-aircraft gunners. Japanese AA wasn't as good or as concentrated and you could get away with that. But the Germas had developed anti aircraft tactics into a science. I can't say for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if that had a lot to do with the AAF's reluctance to use them in the ETO. 

The only airplane that I can think of, that used then to any large degree there, was the RAF's Typhoons.

Do you know if the rocket-carrying Typhoons experience greater loss rates than the bomb equipped ones? It seems likely, with the more vulnerable attack profiles.

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Tiffie losses were definately heavy. Numbers I've seen are 380 lost in 1943. And from D-Day to the end of the war, over 500. It was a very dangerous buisiness. The airplane didn't have very good high altitude performance, pilots had to wear their oxygen masks the entire time the engine was running because of fumes in the cockpit, and one report said that temperatures in the cockpit could hit 135 degrees!

I would not have wanted to fly Typhoons during World War Two.

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On 3/17/2020 at 9:51 AM, RedKestrel said:

Do you know if the rocket-carrying Typhoons experience greater loss rates than the bomb equipped ones? It seems likely, with the more vulnerable attack profiles.

 

What... with them being sent on anti-aircraft suppression duty and all?

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56 minutes ago, Avimimus said:

 

What... with them being sent on anti-aircraft suppression duty and all?

Well on the one hand, it would expose them to more AA fire. But since they are likely to be the first to attack they might achieve enough surprise to avoid getting shot, whereas follow up attacks with bombs would be going into a target aware that it was under air attack. And if you are shooting at an AA gun it may suppress the battery even if you miss.

 

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Hey all,

 

Second question on P-38 loadouts: from what I have read and seen, the only place that P-38s carried 6 bombs at a time was in the Mediterranean. Is this the case, or are there documented instances of them carrying 6 bombs in the ETO?

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Scutts barely mentions the use of bombs in Europe. He offers no expanded commentary about the Droop Snoot modification, other than to say it could lead other P-38s (inferring level bombing).

 

I only found two pictures in the Wings/Airpower P-38 package showing an airplane with 6 x 500 lb.

 

 

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1 hour ago, busdriver said:

Scutts barely mentions the use of bombs in Europe. He offers no expanded commentary about the Droop Snoot modification, other than to say it could lead other P-38s (inferring level bombing).

 

I only found two pictures in the Wings/Airpower P-38 package showing an airplane with 6 x 500 lb.

 

Thanks. The only photos I've found of ETO P-38s with 6x 500lb bomb loads are the Droop Snoot P-38s, which makes me think the 6x 500lb non-Droop Snoot P-38 were unique to the MTO.

Edited by LukeFF
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/17/2020 at 6:38 AM, LukeFF said:

 

Excellent, thank you! I stand corrected. :salute:

 

The community will settle for rockets that could have been used.

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  • 2 months later...
Bremspropeller

Just checked "The Dynamite Gang" by Richard Groh:

No evidence of the 6x500lbs usage. It does suggest (read: imply) that each squadron had one droop-snoot. It also indicates that droop-snoots would be used even after the transition to Jugs - they'd just continue their mission. The last d.s. was "Trail Blazer".

 

Jay Jones' book on the 370th FG also implies there was one d.s. per squadron.

Also, there's no photographic evidence for the use of the 6x500lbs loadout.

 

Did I mention we need at least an early J Lightning for BoN?

Edited by Bremspropeller
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On 3/17/2020 at 7:10 AM, Poochnboo said:

Rockets were a very dangerous weapon to use in the skies over Europe. And I mean dangerous to the pilots using them. Dive bombing allowed a pilot to come in at high altitude, offering a small and hard to hit target to AAA gunners. You'd pull out at 1500 to 2000 feet and jink like crazy as you egressed. But WW2 rockets demanded that you came in very low if you were hoping to hit anything. And you had to hold a steady course as you aimed the weapons. All this time, you are being shot at by highly trained German anti-aircraft gunners. Japanese AA wasn't as good or as concentrated and you could get away with that. But the Germans had developed anti aircraft tactics into a science. I can't say for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if that had a lot to do with the AAF's reluctance to use them in the ETO. 

The only airplane that I can think of, that used them to any large degree there, was the RAF's Typhoons.

Interesting that you mentioned this. I've always thought that coming in from a high angle would be more dangerous as you're more exposed to AA fire. I remember a P-47 pilot mentioning it in one of his interviews, he said he like to come in on the deck at high speed so he was less of a target for the AA.

Sry for the OT post.

Edited by Legioneod
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Bremspropeller

At 13:50, several short clips of HVARs being fired.

Two clips definately show "zero length" launchers, while the other two clips may show (not entirely clear) the "christmas tree" launcher:

 

 

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