Hugh

British AA rocket - WW II ?

4 posts in this topic

ID: 1   Posted (edited)

Saw these images on Martin Cherrett's World War II Today blog today (Thanks, Martin).  I was unaware that the UK (or anyone) had deployed anti-aircraft rockets (See caption) during WW II.  I don't see any control surfaces to permit steering for a guidance system, so I imagine it must have been a saturation weapon, launched in masses?    

Can anyone identify the weapon and tell us more about it?

For those who may not know Martin's excellent blog, you can find it at http://ww2today.com/5th-july-1942-british-reman-confident-despite-setbacks?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+WorldWarIIToday+(World+War+II+Today*+)&utm_content=Yahoo!+Mail

Thanks,

Hugh

 

Home-Guard-anti-aircraft-595x607.jpg

Home Guard soldiers load an anti-aircraft rocket at a ‘Z’ Battery on Merseyside, 6 July 1942

Z-battery-1942.jpg

Anti-aircraft rocket or ‘Z’ Battery manned by the Home Guard on Merseyside, 6 July 1942.

 

 

Edited by Hugh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ID: 2   Posted

Hugh

It is thought that the firing of Z battery rockets in nearby Victoria Park Hackney was a contributory factor in causing the panic at Bethnal Green Underground Station resulting in the death of 173 people including 60 children.

Bethnal Green

Bethnal Green

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ID: 3   Posted

Dated '1942'  ceratinly means that there was no guidance system for these weapons.  A year earlier, merchant shipping out of the UK was being fitted with steam-powered 'mortars' which fired hand grenades at enemy fighters!  Which smaks more than a little of desperation, so I'd guess that these were seen as a slight improvement, but probably not by anybody with any experience of anti-aircraft work.  Easy to forget how dire things were, defensively speaking, after Dunkirk and before the 'war machine' and Lend Lease had gotten into full production mode.

Here is a Wikipedia article on 'Z Battery'.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z_Battery

'The first Z Batteries were equipped with a single-rocket launcher, the Projector, 3-inch, Mark 1.[5] It was soon found that the rockets did not perform as accurately as the trials had suggested and that the proximity fuses were rarely effective.'  Apparently, Home Guard AA units - with men up to 60 yrs old - served these batteries because the projectiles were lighter than conventional shells.  

The naval variant - rockets trailing wires with parachutes on the end - is credited with bringing down one Dornier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ID: 4   Posted (edited)

Peter / Richie, 

Thanks for your comments.  I was almost positive it couldn't have been guided.  The US Navy began testing on their Terrier SAM in the early '50's.  As a former AA weapons guy, I can't envision how the Z Batteries could have been effective without some form of guidance or fire control / prediction system, and the warhead obviously wasn't big enough to have much of a kill radius.  On the other hand, using a line of them to hoist a network of wires to enmesh incoming aircraft might have been marginally effective if deployed at exactly the right instant.  Rather like an antisubmarine net in a harbor.  

On the whole, sounds like one of Winston's less brilliant projects.  I shudder to think how the money / effort could have been better spent.  

 

Best,

Hugh

 

Edited by Hugh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now