Hello everyone.....new member here.
i read this thread with great interest. However, the jagdfaust would not have been located where you have shown on the wing. There are flight controls that run through there, so it would not have been possible to install the jagdfaust in that location. I realize the exact locaton is still uncertain, but the most likely place was in the wing root, replacing the 30mm cannons Those guns would have been removed anyway, to save weight for the jagdfaust, so it seems a logical location.
Also, there were 5 tubes per wing not 4 and it is likely the tubes would have been fanned slightly, rather than parallel to each other, so as to cover a wider area with the salvo. Only one shell hit was needed to bring down a bomber, so covering a larger area would have made the chances of a hit almost a certainty, especially considering the komet would have flown at about 100 feet or so below the targeted bomber.
As to the only kill being an RCAF Halifax: i realize this is currently what is 'in fashion' but i don't think it's true, unless there were actually two jagdfaust kills, instead of just one. Years ago, i read in a book the name of which escapes me now, an exerpt from Fritz Kelb's log, in German. While he doesn't name the bomber type, he does state that he was concerned prior to the attack, because of the brightness of the underside of the targeted bomber. His concern being the photo optic trigger device would not operate. Since Halfiax's were black underneath, it is far more likely the target plane was either a silver B-17 or B-24. Probably a B-17, since that is what has long been reported.
Maybe there were two jagdfaust kills, with the second being a Halifax, but the observer of the Halifax being destroyed made no mention of a komet flying under the Halifax, just that a Halifax was destroyed. He would have had no knowledge of the jagdfaust's existance, nor the need for the komet to fly under the targeted bomber, so for him to state the Halifax was destroyed by a komet, suggests he witnessed a more conventional attack by the komet, which thus would have not been with the jagdfaust.. Had he witnessed a komet merely flying under the Halifax, he probably would not have thought that komet responsible for its destruction.
Now i have a question: does anyone have any knowledge of the markings of the komet flown by Kelb on April 10, when he destroyed whatever bomber type it was? His usual mount was white 9 but i have never read whether that was the plane he flew and if jagdfaust had ever been intalled in it.
Hello aferguson - welcome to LSP
Note: All of my main reference material relating to the SG 500 Jagerfaust weapon is based on the published research information contained within 'Me 163 Rocket Interceptor' Vols 1 and 2 by Stephen Ranson and Hans-Herman Cammann.
There has been some misconception over the placement of the SG 500 weapon on the Komet - this has been exaserpated by the MM Me 163 Komet publication having five of them positioned within the wing root cannon bays. This layout may well have been that used experimentally by Me 163B Komet V45 (W. Nr. 16310054, C1+05, ex-PK+QP). BV45 tested the Jagerfaust during December 1944 and was badly damaged (40%) when all ten SG 500 tubes inadvertantly fired simultainiously Canopy's on both Fw 190 and Me 163 were shattered when any of the SG 500 tubes were fired simultaniously, and in the case of BV45, structural damage also occurred when all ten tubes fired at once).
Trials continued with the position of the Jagerfaust being moved outboard on the wings (with the eventual decision to install eight SG 500 tubes - see photograph below) and finding the optimum position for the optical sensor. At least three operational Komets were known to have the Jagerfaust installed.
Above: A colour photograph of a destroyed Me 163B Komet (at Brandis airfield) showing the four holes in the port wing where the SG 500 'Jagerfaust/Jagdfaust' weapon was installed ('Me 163 Rocket Interceptor' by S. Ransom and H-H. Cammann).
The fan pattern for the SG 500 tubes only really worked well on the Fw 190, but needed to be parallel on the Me 163 due to the great speed differential between the two aircraft. They were optimised for the greatest concentration of impact damage to an enemy bomber at a height of 30 - 60m (originally 100-150m, but this was considered to be too far by the pilots) at three different speed ranges. The tubes fired almost simultaniously, there was an 1/3000 of a second delay between each tube firing.
As for the flying controls, they were situated in the wing rib bays immediately outboard of the weapon installtion, so were not affected. Finally, the way that the optical cell worked was to diferentiate between the relative values of dark and light, so as long as the cell saw a shadow, it would still fire the weapon, irrespective of what colour the underside of the aircraft was (HASAG developed this optical cell, and carried out many tests on differing colours and reflective surfaces in order to ensure that it functioned correctly).
Lt. 'Fritz' Kelb did indeed claim to have destroyed an enemy bomber using the Jagerfaust on it's one and only operational employment on the 10 April 1945 (altough he thought it was a B-17 that he had shot down). There appeares to be some confusion as to wether or not it was actually an RCAF Halifax or a Lancaster, as both were bombing the area at the time, so it could have been either?
As to the identity of his aircraft, like you, I too would love to have some verification of this as well? There is a photograph of him entering the cockpit of Me 163B W. Nr. 190579, which is purported as being taken on the 10 April 1945, but it is not taken from a distance that shows the wings (so the SG 500 installation cannot be seen and a groundcrew member is sat on the wing leading edge in such a manner as to obscure the aircraft code letters).
Thank you for your observations and comments