A different night-fighter force for Luftwaffe?

tomo pauk

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The US Navy in going to one seat nightfighters like the F6F or F4U limited these to one carrier (Enterprise) that specialized in night operations, and the pilots selected for the program had extra training in night flying and navigation along with having already flown hundreds of hours on operational types. These pilots greatly exceeded what the Luftwaffe had available outside a tiny handful of experten.

USMC also used the NF 1-seaters.
 

T. A. Gardner

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On the Schrage Musik installation, a few Me 109 and FW 190 did actually get such an installation done, usually a single MG 151 20mm cannon offset slightly to one side of the aircraft centerline behind the cockpit. One example is of an ME 109G-14/U2 of I/NJG 11 flown by Karl Müller.
As for the second seat in the FW 190, even with the MW 50 tank removed, the problem of where to put all the electronics associated with the radar would remain as these filled all the space behind the cockpit around the MW 50 tank when installed. These would have to go somewhere else, and there isn't really enough room anywhere else in the plane for it.
 

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The US Navy in going to one seat nightfighters like the F6F or F4U limited these to one carrier (Enterprise) that specialized in night operations, and the pilots selected for the program had extra training in night flying and navigation along with having already flown hundreds of hours on operational types. These pilots greatly exceeded what the Luftwaffe had available outside a tiny handful of experten.

USMC also used the NF 1-seaters.
The USMC pilots got the same training as the USN pilots as the schools were all the same because the USMC is part of the US Navy.
 

tomo pauk

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On the Schrage Musik installation, a few Me 109 and FW 190 did actually get such an installation done, usually a single MG 151 20mm cannon offset slightly to one side of the aircraft centerline behind the cockpit. One example is of an ME 109G-14/U2 of I/NJG 11 flown by Karl Müller.

Thank for the info.

As for the second seat in the FW 190, even with the MW 50 tank removed, the problem of where to put all the electronics associated with the radar would remain as these filled all the space behind the cockpit around the MW 50 tank when installed. These would have to go somewhere else, and there isn't really enough room anywhere else in the plane for it.

We can't remove a thing that was not there in the 1st place :)
Yes, the electronics black boxes will need to have some re-shuffling so they can fit.
 

HoHun

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Hi Tomo,

Fuel tank will not hold the GM1 mixture that needed to be held under very high pressure; it already had problems of being unstable in a steel tank. A GM1 tank does not need self-sealing construction, that we'd need for a fuel tank.

You're right, but I wasn't referring to the GM-1 tank, but about the MW50 tank.

I'd buy a beer to anyone that can prove that Me 109 in service ever carried fuel in the MW 50 tank.

I prefer beer over MW50, but I'm afraid I have no idea how it could be proven today even if it was a daily occurrence in WW2, as the contents of the fuel tank show up very poorly on black-and-white photographs! ;-)

However, I don't really have any opinion on what was in the tanks the Fw 190S didn't have, I'm just offering an explanation on what the statement from Wikipedia meant to convey. Whether the designation is justified or not, it's in some books, and it obviously also made it into the Wikipedia.

My suggestion is not an all-singing all-dancing combat aircraft, but something that can intercept RAF bombers reliably (ie. with a healthy speed advantage) while being affordable and easy to make and use. LW has a host of other NFs to cover the long missions.

Semi-wild boar style, you mean?

Regards,

Henning (HoHun)
 

T. A. Gardner

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Semi-wild boar style, you mean?
Fully-fledged radar-assisted interception.
That was what the Kammhuber Line did. Each nightfighter (an Me 110 or Ju 88 for the most part) orbited in a holding pattern in a designated "box" within the line. A Freya search radar picked up the approaching bombers and one was selected for interception where more than one was present. A Würtzburg radar was assigned to paint and track the target. A second Würtzburg was tracking the nightfighter.
The tracks were displayed on a frosted glass table in the ground control center and the controller would direct the nightfighter to the bomber's location where the nightfighter would then use its own radar to make the final intercept and shootdown.

The early version in 1940 - 41 used searchlights to direct the nightfighter to a target before airborne radar became commonly used.
 

tomo pauk

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Semi-wild boar style, you mean?
Fully-fledged radar-assisted interception.
That was what the Kammhuber Line did. Each nightfighter (an Me 110 or Ju 88 for the most part) orbited in a holding pattern in a designated "box" within the line. A Freya search radar picked up the approaching bombers and one was selected for interception where more than one was present. A Würtzburg radar was assigned to paint and track the target. A second Würtzburg was tracking the nightfighter.
The tracks were displayed on a frosted glass table in the ground control center and the controller would direct the nightfighter to the bomber's location where the nightfighter would then use its own radar to make the final intercept and shootdown.

The early version in 1940 - 41 used searchlights to direct the nightfighter to a target before airborne radar became commonly used.

I meant that radar is on-board, not like what was the case with the Wilde Sau.
 

HoHun

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Hi again,

However, I don't really have any opinion on what was in the tanks the Fw 190S didn't have, I'm just offering an explanation on what the statement from Wikipedia meant to convey. Whether the designation is justified or not, it's in some books, and it obviously also made it into the Wikipedia.

To de-confuse this a little bit, attached an excerpt from the construction description (Baubeschreibung) for the Fw 190A-8 which details that the aircraft will be delivered with protected (= self-sealing) additional 115 L fuel tank starting from August or September 1944 on.

This tank can be replaced by an unprotected MW50 tank of 115 L or 140 L capacity, or a GM-1 tank of 85 L capacity.

At the data of the preparation of the document, only the protected auxiliary tank was intended for mass production.

(Funnily enough, the document date is November 1944, so I presume it was revised and re-issued at that date without updating the original statements to reflect they're now in the past.)

In a document from 6 Januar 1945, it's indicated that the Rüstungsstab had urgently requested a performance improvement for the Fw 190A-8, which Focke-Wulf and BMW agreed to achieve by introduction of a MW50 system to enable the engine to run at higher boost pressures, with 1.75 ata mentioned in the document (AIR 40/151 94911 ... not sure were I found that).

Regards,

Henning (HoHun)
 

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T. A. Gardner

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Semi-wild boar style, you mean?
Fully-fledged radar-assisted interception.
That was what the Kammhuber Line did. Each nightfighter (an Me 110 or Ju 88 for the most part) orbited in a holding pattern in a designated "box" within the line. A Freya search radar picked up the approaching bombers and one was selected for interception where more than one was present. A Würtzburg radar was assigned to paint and track the target. A second Würtzburg was tracking the nightfighter.
The tracks were displayed on a frosted glass table in the ground control center and the controller would direct the nightfighter to the bomber's location where the nightfighter would then use its own radar to make the final intercept and shootdown.

The early version in 1940 - 41 used searchlights to direct the nightfighter to a target before airborne radar became commonly used.

I meant that radar is on-board, not like what was the case with the Wilde Sau.
That isn't in the cards for Germany during the war. They failed to produce a radar that was capable of both search and precision guidance, in a compact form for aerial use such that it would allow a nightfighter to find its way to distant targets. Some of their ESM would allow that, such as Flensburg that could home on an RAF bomber's Monica tail warning radar from as much as 75 miles away.

The problem however, was in the final intercept. Both Lichtenstein C-series and SN-2 lacked the necessary precision at short range to allow blind fire on a target. Thus, the pilot had to close to visual range. This was why Schrage Musik gun arrangements were introduced--to avoid a collision with the target.
 

tomo pauk

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That isn't in the cards for Germany during the war. They failed to produce a radar that was capable of both search and precision guidance, in a compact form for aerial use such that it would allow a nightfighter to find its way to distant targets. Some of their ESM would allow that, such as Flensburg that could home on an RAF bomber's Monica tail warning radar from as much as 75 miles away.

The problem however, was in the final intercept. Both Lichtenstein C-series and SN-2 lacked the necessary precision at short range to allow blind fire on a target. Thus, the pilot had to close to visual range. This was why Schrage Musik gun arrangements were introduced--to avoid a collision with the target.

You are right.
The NF's (be them 2- or 1-engined) will still require massive help from the GCI network to guide them to the location of the bomber stream until the onboard radar can pick up.
 

Pioneer

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Far from claiming any qualifications in denoting the ideal night fighter-interceptor for the Luftwaffe to engage and destroy British mass bombing raids (and if I could, allow for the potential of USAAF heavy bomber raids switching to night bombing operations as a consequence of heavy daytime loses), I'd envisage, at minimum, a two-engined medium-sized design, which allowed the carriage of radar (both avionics and antenna (s)); fuel to give an endurance to engage the bomber steams all the way to their targets, and not just over their target; the ability to not just carry cannons (20mm, 30mm, 37mm) with both the hitting power and standoff range to mitigate enemy bomber defensive firepower, but also an adequate amount of ammunition to sustain continuous engagements; the inclusion of Schrage Musik installations to maximise the angles of attack....

Yes I appreciate that with the advent of British Mosquito and P-61 Black Widow, such medium sized Luftwaffe night fighter-interceptor might themselves become vulnerable to counter interception, but the given announcement of Mosquito/Black Widows would undoubtedly be limited in numbers and themselves susceptible to counter interception.....
I also think the adoption and employment of existing single-engine Luftwaffe fighter-interceptors like the Bf 109 and Fw 190 will be limited to both time on station and endurance; the modification and fitting of radar will add drag, weight and workload - regardless of a second cockpit/radar operator being included; the amount of ammunition afforded to each such single-engine aircraft will only allow for short duration of interception....

As for the comparison of the U.S. Navy's adoption of single-engine fighters like the F6F and F4U to night fighter-interceptor's, am I right to say that the threat the USN wanted/needed for a night fighter-interceptor was to intercept small formations - to lone Imperial Japan's bomber/Kamikaze attacks, as opposed to massed bomber formations as faced by the Luftwaffe.

Just my views and thoughts...

Regards
Pioneer
 
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EwenS

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The USN operated at night in two ways.

Firstly from early 1944 with small detachments of (usually 4) Corsair or more usually, Hellcat night fighters attached to the fighter squadrons on the fleet carriers (but not light fleet carriers). These were used in a defensive role.

Secondly, with dedicated night air groups with NF Hellcats and radar equipped Avengers. The first was on Independence from Aug 1944, followed by Enterprise, Saratoga and Bon Homme Richard through to the end of the war. Those groups served both a defensive and an offensive, intruder, role. Right at the end of the war the USN began to form dedicated night air groups to operated from the larger Sangamon and Commencement Bay class CVE.

Japanese night tactics usually revolved around small groups of aircraft and attacks starting around dusk, and continuing into the small hours of the morning, were particularly popular and successful, for them. They also used flares to illuminate US ships at least in 1943/44. They succeeded in torpedoing a number of US ships including the carriers Lexington CV-16 and Independence and the cruisers Canberra and Houston during 1943/44. Later night kamikaze raids were practiced, one of which caught the carrier Randolph at anchor.

USMC night fighter squadrons were shore based, but in 1945 some Marine manned night fighters joined the Marine fighter squadrons on the escort carriers carrying Marine Air Groups, like the Block Island CVE-106.
 

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Hi T. A.,

The problem however, was in the final intercept. Both Lichtenstein C-series and SN-2 lacked the necessary precision at short range to allow blind fire on a target. Thus, the pilot had to close to visual range. This was why Schrage Musik gun arrangements were introduced--to avoid a collision with the target.

Hm, I'm not sure that aligns with what I read about this. Blind firing wasn't possible, but I don't think the state of the IFF equipment at the time would have made that operationally useful anyway.

Schräge Musik was preferred as low risk, high effectiveness attack technique, from what I've read, not because of any fear of collision as the night fighter would have approached his target fairly slowly to facilitate visual identification purposes anyway.

Regards,

Henning (HoHun)
 

tomo pauk

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Granted, the 2-seater Fw 190 was a with somewhat tight (not to tight), so something of more generous proportions should be better wrt. capacity to hold all the electronics/fuel/weaponry.
Something along the lines of the Yokosuka Suisei (Judy) dive-bomber - it is already a 2-seater, it has a lot of space in the bomb bay, fuel is in the wings, it also carried two drop tanks. Visibility forward is excellent for an 1-engined combat aircraft.
The Nakajima Saiun (Myrt) was a 3-seat aircraft, so there is some room to play around if only 2 crew members are the whole crew. It's wing was probably the most advanced when introduced, with double slotted Fowler flaps and LE stats, all instrumental for improvement in low-speed handling. Visibility was good due to the pop-up windscreen and seat (picture).
Yes, German takes on this topic will require a much more close co-operation between the Axis powers, the German 'versions' will feature protection, their engines and guns.

A long shot might've been a Me 262 powered by a BMW 801 in the nose, no jet engines, with gun pods, 600-70L of fuel instead of ~2500L.
 

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