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Whooosh, Bang- UK's WWII Rockets

looks more like a harpoon than anything else, especially with what appears to be a trailing wire
Let me guess.

Fire harpoon across the line of advance of enemy tanks. Torpedo winches itself along the cable, stopping when it is a set distance from the harpoon. Tank snags cable and drags the torpedo onto itself. Command detonation options available to reduce wastage maybe.

The same principle as the anti-aircraft rocket but done horizontally.

As I said, just a guess though, but maybe not as silly-sounding as it would first appear.

ETA
..and never got past the concept stage because of difficulties getting the harpoon to stick in the ground vertically.
 
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There are a couple of paragraphs in English also.

ETA

In the Summer of 1942 a proposal had been made to reinforce the Essex Regular A.A. Brigades with Home Guard units manning A.A. "Z" (Rocket) Batteries. The first local training unit was set up at Writtle in July 1942 with four twin-barrelled rocket projectors. In August the battery was moved to its intended operational site at the Recreation Ground (now Central Park).
When the new site was completed in February 1943 there were 64 twin rocket projectors, organised in four troops, Able, Baker, Charlie and Dog, located on the open area bounded by the river, the lake, Park Rd. and the then cattle market. Two G.L. Radar Cabins operated by Regulars (later ATS girls) were sited on the other side of the river in the cricket ground.
Each projector could fire two 3" anti-aircraft rockets having a maximum altitude of 19,000 ft. and a ground range of 10,000 Yards (5.7 Miles). The heavy finned rockets were about six feet long and each had an adjustable nose fuse to be set to explode the warhead at the correct altitude. Two men manned each projector. The commands for altitude, bearing, elevation, loading, etc. came over a sound-powered intercom from the operations room to a headphone worn by No.1, who relayed the orders to No.2. Each man set a fuse, No.2 loaded the rockets onto their guide rails and pulled them down onto the electrical firing pins and then set the elevation wheel. The firing pins were connected via safety switches to a firing handle and a 6v. dry battery. No.1 set the bearing and reported "Charlie 5 ready" etc.; on the command "Fire", he depressed the firing handle. If the rockets misfired, we had to wait 20 minutes before unloading.
The sound powered headphone system was not very clear and probably was responsible for some early bearing/elevation setting errors. But some enthusiastic HG Marconi engineers soon designed a powerful valve (vacuum tube) amplifier to replace the official system. Before this there were a few near accidents. On one occasion the Railway Station-Master phoned the Battery Commander to complain about the flight of two lonely rockets, which had nearly shot down some of his wagons standing at the station. All the rest went in the direction of the enemy planes.
The flight path of a rocket is quite different to the simple maths curve governing the ballistics of ordinary A.A. guns. Our operations room used a plotting table, and a prediction device like a three dimensional slide rule, to give us fuse settings etc. from the Radar data fed in by the ATS teams.
The "slide-rule" scales were prepared from a series of 3" rocket flight tests optically tracked and recorded by a team of ordnance experts sent to the clear skies of the West Indies.
Area command was provided by a master control centre at Sandon that covered all the local A.A Batteries, including the heavy 3.7" guns down on the Meads and the Bofors along the Chelmsford by-pass road.
To be fully operational the "Z" Battery site required a total of 1424 men in eight shifts, so in April 1943 I and many others were transferred from the 6th Battalion to the 211(101 Essex Home Guard) "Z"A.A.Battery. Each shift then spent one night in eight on duty.

The “PAC Projectors” were Rube Goldberg-type products of those desperate times. A rocket fired from a curved deck mounting (called the “pig trough”) carried aloft a light wire, which the attached parachute then dangled in the air. An attacking aircraft was expected to obligingly fly into the wire, become entangled, and crash.

The next hare-brained idea was the P.A.C Rocket (Parachute And Cable Rocket). These fiendish contraptions were fitted one on each side of the bridge.
We are told: "The P.A.C.Rocket is a device for placing a strong wire, 480 feet long, vertically over the ship in the path of an attacking aeroplane. There is a parachute at each end of the wire, and the effect of an aeroplane striking the wire should cause a violent swerve and possible dive into the sea".........not to mention a dive and crash onto the deck of our own ship with bombs and all !! (Did we give the idea of Kamikase to the Japanese ?).
"The general rules to be followed are :-
(a) Fire the rocket five seconds before it is estimated that the aircraft will be right overhead - it is better to be a little early than too late.
(b) In rough weather the rocket should be fired when the ship is roughly upright.
Safety Note: When firing do not stand near to the rocket or wire box. Apart from the blast of the rocket the wire is inclined to whip about. (And could take the operator up in front of the enemy aircraft"!! This might have serious consequences particularly if the enemy airman is unsportingly firing his machine guns at the time !.....).

The ships' anti-aircraft weaponry was rounded out with two Fast Aerial Mines (FAM) mounted port and starboard near the funnel. Most ships additionally carried the Parachute And Cable (PAC), similar to the FAM but lacking a bomb and trailing only about 400-feet of cable, about half that of FAM.
"The FAM was a strange devise which comprised a propelling rocket and some 1,000-feet of light wire cable at the end of which was afixed an explosive devise, or mine. When fired, the rocket trailed the wire cable into the air in front of the attacking aircraft. On reaching optimum altitude, two parachutes were automatically deployed, a large one at top of the cable and a smaller one at the lower end. The concept was that a strafing aircraft would fly into the trailing wire as it slowly descended. Once snagged, the wire would be dragged by the larger parachute until the mine contacted the aircraft's structure.

I've just got off the phone to Tom, my old bos'un from s.s. Kmicic, a UK-based Polish ship during WWII, one of 27 such vessels. He is a New Zealander who was awarded the Polish Cross of Valour. Not too many of them blokes around in Kiwiland I'd guess.
Anyhow, Tom was on Kmicic long before I was and when I asked him about the Holman Projector he immediately responded that there were two versions, circa 1940/1941. He could not recall which came first, but one worked with steam and the other by compressed air. Both very crude. Used, in his case, against JU-87 dive bombers (Stuka). He described the pipe as being about 6ft long. The trigger was operated like the accelerator on the handle on a motor bike. Tom was the loader and Henryk, the 2nd Mate, wasthe aimer/firer.
They were eventually withdrawn as they were deemed too dangerous to the operators. Indeed, on one occasion the grenade just rolled out of the top and fell on to the deck. "We moved so fast I couldn't tell you whether it was me or Henryk that grabbed the bloody thing and dropped it over the side".
In one version the grenade was contained in a tin can to keep the lever down. There was a slit in the side giving access to the pin. By some means not recalled the grenade didn't leave the tin can until it was airborne.
If anyone is interested, I have details of other armament aboard Kmicic.
Frank, Ottawa., Ontario
 
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Here's a question, and might give you an insight into how to write a book.

I've got to name a chapter on the use of PAC. And frankly its a disaster due in no small part to having hte dregs of the RAF, men who were unsuited to any roles, they were all promoted sideways to PAC, and it's caused all sorts of issues for the weapon.

So what to call this chapter? So far I've come up with a couple of ideas.
Option 1: "The Few" Obviously referencing the glory of the fighter pilots and the mythology that surrounds them.
Option 2: "The weak Link" referencing part of the PAC weapon system that releases the lower parachute during operation

Any other ideas welcomed.
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Here's a question, and might give you an insight into how to write a book.

I've got to name a chapter on the use of PAC. And frankly its a disaster due in no small part to having hte dregs of the RAF, men who were unsuited to any roles, they were all promoted sideways to PAC, and it's caused all sorts of issues for the weapon.

So what to call this chapter? So far I've come up with a couple of ideas.
Option 1: "The Few" Obviously referencing the glory of the fighter pilots and the mythology that surrounds them.
Option 2: "The weak Link" referencing part of the PAC weapon system that releases the lower parachute during operation

Any other ideas welcomed.

Call me a buff old traditionalist but could you not just call it PAC!
 
Here's a question, and might give you an insight into how to write a book.

I've got to name a chapter on the use of PAC. And frankly its a disaster due in no small part to having hte dregs of the RAF, men who were unsuited to any roles, they were all promoted sideways to PAC, and it's caused all sorts of issues for the weapon.

So what to call this chapter? So far I've come up with a couple of ideas.
Option 1: "The Few" Obviously referencing the glory of the fighter pilots and the mythology that surrounds them.
Option 2: "The weak Link" referencing part of the PAC weapon system that releases the lower parachute during operation

Any other ideas welcomed.

I like “The Weak Link”.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Helm

MIA
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Let me guess.

Fire harpoon across the line of advance of enemy tanks. Torpedo winches itself along the cable, stopping when it is a set distance from the harpoon. Tank snags cable and drags the torpedo onto itself. Command detonation options available to reduce wastage maybe.

The same principle as the anti-aircraft rocket but done horizontally.

As I said, just a guess though, but maybe not as silly-sounding as it would first appear.

ETA
..and never got past the concept stage because of difficulties getting the harpoon to stick in the ground vertically.
As it's in Blacon more likely stolen, melted down and flogged off before it could be trialed.
 
There are a couple of paragraphs in English also.

ETA

Bad for I know.....

From the first quote in the linked post.

"The flight path of a rocket is quite different to the simple maths curve governing the ballistics of ordinary A.A. guns. Our operations room used a plotting table, and a prediction device like a three dimensional slide rule, to give us fuse settings etc. from the Radar data fed in by the ATS teams."

Sounds like a 3D Dumaresq.

 



A Theory lesson?




ETA

Possibly to be filed under teaching Granny to suck eggs @Listy but it struck me after posting this that the IWMs search function throws up stuff in a seemingly random order. However if you hit on a sequence you are interested in just add (or subtract) one from the number on the end of the URL link you have and keep doing it till you have found the end (or the begining) of the sequence. For example, the first three links above are 205504422, 205504423 and 205504424.



Here is 21....

...and 25
 
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Here's a question, and might give you an insight into how to write a book.

I've got to name a chapter on the use of PAC. And frankly its a disaster due in no small part to having hte dregs of the RAF, men who were unsuited to any roles, they were all promoted sideways to PAC, and it's caused all sorts of issues for the weapon.

So what to call this chapter? So far I've come up with a couple of ideas.
Option 1: "The Few" Obviously referencing the glory of the fighter pilots and the mythology that surrounds them.
Option 2: "The weak Link" referencing part of the PAC weapon system that releases the lower parachute during operation

Any other ideas welcomed.

I'd call the chapter about the Z batteries "The Many".

To be fully operational the "Z" Battery site required a total of 1424 men in eight shifts, so in April 1943 I and many others were transferred from the 6th Battalion to the 211(101 Essex Home Guard) "Z"A.A.Battery.
 
I have been ruminating on @Listy 's comment about the PAC personnel and their qualities. It's leading me to wonder about what we might now describe as the whole life balance of the costs and benefits for the system.

One aspect is the number of personnel required to operate a battery. In this case as they were Home Guard the calculation is not quite the same since they would have had day jobs and as we can see in the pictures they were also carrying on infantry type training alongside manning the battery. The quote says 1424 personnel were required for an 8 day cycle of stagging on. So...
  • 1424 / 8 = 178 per shift.
  • 64 projectors at 2 pax per projector = 128
  • 178 - 128 leave 50 pax spread around other jobs (radar? plotting? first aid?).
How does that compare with a guns battery (without yet broaching the subject of comparative lethality)?

The projectors theselves presumably were easier to manfacture and maintain than guns. Did they avoid using (or at least used less) strategic materials?
 
Also a photo of a GI apparently about to fire a RLG from a Garrand from the shoulder which has got to hurt surely? And a picture of a Bazooka.
There was a rubber slip over boot for the butt to soften felt recoil, it fit the M1903 and Garand


the MAS 49/56 used a similar boot
 

tiv

LE
There was a rubber slip over boot for the butt to soften felt recoil, it fit the M1903 and Garand


the MAS 49/56 used a similar boot
Thanks, still wouldn't like to try it remembering the impulse firing Energa Grenades from the L1 with the sling across the chest and butt under the arm. Nearly had me over the first time.
 
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I have been ruminating on @Listy 's comment about the PAC personnel and their qualities. It's leading me to wonder about what we might now describe as the whole life balance of the costs and benefits for the system.

One aspect is the number of personnel required to operate a battery. In this case as they were Home Guard the calculation is not quite the same since they would have had day jobs and as we can see in the pictures they were also carrying on infantry type training alongside manning the battery. The quote says 1424 personnel were required for an 8 day cycle of stagging on. So...
  • 1424 / 8 = 178 per shift.
  • 64 projectors at 2 pax per projector = 128
  • 178 - 128 leave 50 pax spread around other jobs (radar? plotting? first aid?).
How does that compare with a guns battery (without yet broaching the subject of comparative lethality)?

The projectors theselves presumably were easier to manfacture and maintain than guns. Did they avoid using (or at least used less) strategic materials?

There was a plotting/battery fire control system in place which might well amount for the spare numbers.

A 3.7in HAA needed 7 men per gun.
Training was said to be easier for rockets than for gun as well.
 
Another thought. Shells from AA guns begin slowing on leaving the barrel. The rockets (although not acceleraing as hard) accelerate much longer. Would this be enough for them to reach altitude quicker?
 

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