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VERY RARE & UNUSUAL WW II PHOTOS FOUND IN OLD SOLDIERS CAMERAS - DANGEROUS IN-FLIGHT "TIPPING" OF V-1 ROCKETS

The average speed of V-1s was 350 mph (560 km/h) and their average altitude was 3,000 ft (910 m) to 4,000 ft (1,200 m). Fighter aircraft required excellent low altitude performance to intercept them and enough firepower to ensure that they were destroyed in the air rather than crashing to earth and detonating. Most aircraft were too slow to catch a V-1 unless they had a height advantage, allowing them to gain speed by diving on their target.
When V-1 attacks began in mid-June 1944, the only aircraft with the low-altitude speed to be effective against it was the Hawker Tempest. Fewer than 30 Tempests were available. They were assigned to No. 150 Wing RAF. Early attempts to intercept and destroy V-1s often failed, but improved techniques soon emerged. These included using the airflow over an interceptor's wing to raise one wing of the V-1, by sliding the wingtip to within 6 in (15 cm) of the lower surface of the V-1's wing. If properly executed, this manoeuvre would tip the V-1's wing up, overriding the gyros and sending the V-1 into an out-of-control dive. At least three V-1s were destroyed this way.[15] That the method was from time to time actually effective could be seen over southern parts of the Netherlands when V-1s headed due eastwards at low altitude, the engine quenched. In early 1945 such a missile soared below clouds over Tilburg to gently alight eastwards of the city in open fields.
The Tempest fleet was built up to over 100 aircraft by September. Also, P-51 Mustangs and Griffon-engined Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIVs were tuned to make them almost fast enough, and during the short summer nights the Tempests shared defensive duty with de Havilland Mosquitoes. There was no need for airborne radar; at night the V-1's engine could be heard from 16 km (9.9 mi) away or more, and the exhaust plume was visible from a long distance. Wing Commander Roland Beamont had the 20 mm cannon on his Tempest adjusted to converge at 300 yd (270 m) ahead. This was so successful that all other aircraft in 150 Wing were thus modified.
The anti-V-1 sorties by fighters were known as "Diver patrols" (after "Diver", the codename used by the Royal Observer Corps for V-1 sightings). Attacking a V-1 was dangerous: machine guns had little effect on the V-1's sheet steel structure, and if a cannon shell detonated the warhead, the explosion could destroy the attacker.


A Spitfire using its wingtip to "topple" a V-1 flying bomb. In daylight, V-1 chases were chaotic and often unsuccessful until a special defence zone was declared between London and the coast, in which only the fastest fighters were permitted. The first interception of a V-1 was by F/L JG Musgrave with a No. 605 Squadron RAF Mosquito night fighter on the night of 14/15 June 1944. Between June and 5 September 1944, a handful of 150 Wing Tempests shot down 638 flying bombs, with No. 3 Squadron RAF alone claiming 305. One Tempest pilot, Squadron Leader Joseph Berry of No. 501 (Tempest) Squadron, shot down 59 V-1s, and Wing Commander Beamont destroyed 31.
The next most successful interceptors were the Mosquito (623 victories), and Spitfire XIV (303), and Mustang (232). All other types combined added 158. Even though it was not fully operational, the jet-powered Gloster Meteor was rushed into service with No. 616 Squadron RAF to fight the V-1s. It had ample speed but its cannons were prone to jamming, and it shot down only 13 V-1s.
In late 1944 a radar-equipped Vickers Wellington bomber was modified for use by the RAF's Fighter Interception Unit as an Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft. Flying at an altitude of 4,000 feet (1,200 m) over the North Sea, it directed Mosquito fighters charged with intercepting He 111s from Dutch airbases that sought to launch V-1s from the air.
 

VERY RARE & UNUSUAL WW II PHOTOS FOUND IN OLD SOLDIERS CAMERAS - DANGEROUS IN-FLIGHT "TIPPING" OF V-1 ROCKETS







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