Wednesday, 13 June 2012

R4M rocket-toting Fw 190 Dora - Doras and rockets at Schongau

Close-up views of a R4M rocket-toting Fw 190 Dora-9 filmed by a US 101 Div. cameraman in the winter of 1945-6 at Schongau according to the poster on youtube.. Still extracts from this footage were previously exploited in Vol II of the Eagle Editions Fw 190 Dora volume, although were first described in the David Wadman/Brown Experten Decals No.3 book published way back in 1995.

The film was shot on 02 May 1945 according to Crandall. The machine is identified in that publication as Fieseler-built Dora-9 'white 52', possibly 'chevron white 52' of 1./JG 101 and it is suggested that this unit/field served possibly as a satellite field/unit for the aircraft of the Verbandsführerschule General der Jagdflieger based 30 miles away at Bad Wörishofen.. The camouflage and markings infer an aircraft from the 600601-600680 Werknummer series. Note the lower cowling is painted in yellow. There are 13 white-tipped rockets on each wooden underwing rack.

The R4M was the only air-to-air rocket to see service with the Luftwaffe and its effectiveness was successfully demonstrated by the Me 262. Its warhead contained a high-explosive charge weighing some 440 grams  (R=Rakete, 4= kg weight, M=Minenkopf). During February 1945 an entire Staffel of Dora-9s had been assigned to test unit JGr. 10 at Parchim to trial the R4M rockets under operational conditions and when this unit was disbanded during April 1945 the surviving aircraft went to at least two other units, JG 26 and possibly JG 301 - although Crandall quotes Cescotti, TO of JG 301, who asserts that no such transfer to JG 301 was realised. Luftwaffe fighters arriving in Norway at the end of the war included a number of Doras belonging to II./JG 26 mounting R4M rockets.

Note too the "52" in small black figures (partly covered by snow) on the wing leading edge. Similar leading-edge markings were seen on aircraft serving with the Verbandsführerschule General der Jagdflieger. The pilots seat is on the ground behind the wing. The aircraft featured a blown canopy - the plexiglas is shattered here..note the absence of a spinner spiral, another feature of Verbandsführerschule aircraft.