View Full Version : Night Vision Binoculars and Rocket-powered He219s€¦

04-12-2006, 04:21 AM
I€m just approaching the end of Mosquitopanik by Martin Bowman. I€ve looked forward to getting this book for ages and it didn€t disappoint. Some really interesting info (at least for me, with a deep interest in Night ops.)

Two things stood out, and I wondered if anyone had any more detailed info.

Night vision binoculars. I was struck by just how many times 100 group NF combat reports mentioned that €œthe navigator got visual identification of the target with the night vision binoculars€. I didn€t realise that these had been around as long as that, having never seen mention of them before. Googling the P-61, I find that they had a similar night vision sight built into the gun sight. I wonder, did the German NF have a similar system?

Rocket powered He-219. Late on in the war, one of the combat reports mentions a kill where the RAF pilot saw what he thought was a Me-163, V1 or V2 taking off with a bright flare and rooster tail. They kept AI contact on it, saw it fire off what looked like (possibly R4M) RPs at the bomber stream. They then closed and shot it down at about 260 knots IAS (presumably the rocket assist had gone out by then.) Bowman lists it as a He219 V-14 (I think, don€t have it here with me at the moment) with it€s WkrNr. Does anyone know anything about these? And will we get it in VVs-46 http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif


04-12-2006, 04:44 AM
Ross Night Binoculars: Description and use acount.

C.F. Rawnsley, John Cunningham's radar operator, in his book "Night Fighter":

"The Luftwaffe kept up their attacks [Mid-43], making the most they could of their limited numbers by sending in mixed raids of FW-190s, ME-410s and JU-88s.
This mixture of fast and comparatively slow types, and the presence all the time of so many of our own bombers returning from raids, made the job of identification by ground control extremely difficult. Visual recognition by the
night fighters became even more essential than before; and it helped a great deal when we were issued with Ross night binoculars. Though they had no great magnification, these glasses had an amazing power of collecting light. We tried them out after dark, standing at the door of the crewroom. A vague blur to the naked eye two hundred yards away took on with the help of the binoculars the clear outline of a Mosquito, with the squadron letters plainly readable on
the fuselage. . . Halfway through August the Germans put on a sharp raid on Portsmouth . . .
Three times during the course of the raid they [the GCI station] gave us contact, and each time I sweated after our target -- they were all coming in fairly fast -- and brought John into visual range.

"The first one was flying as straight as an arrow. We were closing in quickly, and I brought my new binoculars to bear. it turned out to be a Beaufighter. The second waited until we were within three thousand feet, but before John could see it the pilot started a tight turn to port. That was a little puzzling, for he could hardly have seen us, unless the Germans were now equipped with radar tail warning. But that pilot had chosen the wrong man for a winding match, and after a couple of turns John was well inside and rapidly closing in. Our target then steadied up and we saw that it was another Beaufighter.
"Our third customer was moving a great deal faster, and although he flew straight on it took us some time to catch him. At John's word I looked up from the A.I. set. The strap of the glasses caught in my harness, but even without
them I could see that this was no Beaufighter. The fuselage was much to slim and delicate for that; it was far more likely to be an ME-410. I fumbled impatiently with the strap and finally got the glasses to bear. Our target leapt into clear profile. this time it was a Mosquito!"

As for the He-219 there was at least a mockup done with a jet engine permanently mounted (slung beneath the fuselage). I have read another acount by a British flyer who claims to have shot an He-219 with a jet engine mounted down.

The Germans (early in the war) had some night fighters equipped with an IR camera. See this link at LEMB for more.


04-12-2006, 05:19 AM
Thanks Waldo, you're a star.

Methinks I need to get Cunnighams book...I alreday have Lewis Brandon's Night Flyer.

As regards the Uhu, I finally found This (http://tanks45.tripod.com/Jets45/Histories/He219/He219.htm). Maybe it was the jet version, not a RATO as I had presumed. Perhaps even the same combat as you've read about. I'll post some more details on it when I get home.

Sticking a jet engine on a night fighter to gain only 60-70km/h increase seems like a fairly dull idea, giving the increase in visibility it creates.

04-12-2006, 05:42 AM

The Ross Night Binoculars in action.

As for a jet engines at night, I tend to agree with you. However, if the exploits of Kommando Welter are to be believed than the ME-262 was pretty effective at night.

Also on the dashboard (for the lack of a better term) Just to the right of the gunsight on Mosquito NF Mk's 30 and 36 there was an IR telescope mounted on occasion.

04-12-2006, 06:18 AM
Oh, yes, agreed on the Me-262...but at least they are properly fast, insted of just a bit faster.

Thanks for the shot of the Ross night glasses, fascinating stuff. You never stop learning...

04-12-2006, 06:57 AM
Yep, nightvision in WW2 surprising at first.

Early German nightfighters in 1940-41 relied on an IR imaging set, the "Spanner", until board radar become available, they used that one for locating the adversaries in the darkness with some limited success. I guess if the crews wanted it, it was still available later. AFAIK the whole IR tech was pioneered there in 1930s, and they were expecting that (active) IR sets shall be employed by the opponents on the ground - which never happened afaik - and passive IR devices were issued to the troops early on.

In the book "Narrow Margin", there is even a picture taken at night with a german IR camera, showing CH towers at the British coastline, it's pretty amusing quality for the 1940, considering the zoom factor.

Some Panther tanks in last stage of war were equipped with active IR set 'Uhu' :


AFAIK they even toyed with a portable, assault rifle mounted version for the infantry, the "Vampyr", not sure if that one saw action.

04-12-2006, 10:10 AM
not sure if that one saw action.

Yes it did see action.

The Germans found that IR seekers on night fighters to be inferior to their RADAR and it fell into dissuse.

By the end of the war the German Army has three IR systems that I am aware of. An IR searchlight and driving aid mounted on some of their halftracks. An IR light mounted on the Commander's cupola, and drivers vision slit, on some Panther tanks. An an IR scope mounted on some of their Mp44/StG43 Assault Rifles.

http://www.geocities.com/desertfox1891/nightfightingpan...fightingpanthers.htm (http://www.geocities.com/desertfox1891/nightfightingpanthers/nightfightingpanthers.htm)


US System

http://www.rt66.com/~korteng/SmallArms/m1irsnip.htm (http://www.rt66.com/%7Ekorteng/SmallArms/m1irsnip.htm)

04-12-2006, 11:12 AM
A Heinkel 219 was flown with a turbojet slung under the fuselage (He-219 A-010/TL). Performance gains were marginal and the increase in speed was not enough to make it significantly more effective against the Mosquito than the standard version.

According to Kemp's book "Heinkel He-219, An illustrated history of Germany's premier night fighter", on the night of 13-14 April 1945 a Mosquito Mk. XXX night figher of No. 85 Sqn. flown by K.Vaugham (sic) and R.D.McKinnon was on an armed patrol at 9,000 m over Germany.

The Mosquito detected a fast-moving target 2,000 below and attacked. A brief burst set the twin-engined target on fire and the crew recognised it to be an He-219 with a turbojet slung underneath. This machine may well have been the turboject-equipped testbed A-010/TL.

However, some He-219s also flew with a large drop tank, and I wonder if this was a misidentification?



04-12-2006, 12:43 PM
Well, now I have the book with me I realise there are two instances. One is the Mckinnon/Vaughan incident mentioned above (Thanks RocketDog)

The other is the one I was intially thinking of was by G.C.Chapman/J Stockley of 85 Squadron, who destroyed the He219V-14 190014 of 3/NJG1, flown by Oberleutnant Heinz Oloff, Staffel Kapitan 3./NJG1.

I'll try to type the full combat report out later, short on time at the mo.

04-12-2006, 09:37 PM
Thx for those book titles. Need to get them. Also, any on the Me 210/410....

04-13-2006, 02:53 AM
"Also, any [books?] on the Me 210/410...."

If you mean you are looking for a good book on the 210/410, the only real choice is Mankau/Patrick's outstanding "Me 110/210/410. The Messserschmitt destroyers and their rivals" (orig. title translated to English)

It features a very very indepth history on the Mtt destroyers, plus the concurring FW, He, Ar designs. Not only that, but this is the book that gives by far the best insight into German engine development and discussions by the top dogs, choices between paths of development and so on. It worths it's price 2000%.

04-13-2006, 05:25 AM
First up (but chronologically the second) is the Ft. Lts. Vaughan/Mckinnon, 85 Squadron, on the night of 13-14 April 1945. From the report it doesn't look like a mis-ID, but of course that's always possible. Anyway, make your own minds up. The salient points;

...just when our time limit on patrol had expired, my navigator obtained a crossing starboard to port contact at 5 miles range 35 degrees above...The target kept up a continuous weave but settled down at about 10,000ft. We closed range to 1000 ft but experienced difficulty in getting behind him due to his weaving activities. I got a visual on a pale blue light. But the aircraft did a peel off to port and range went out to 5,000ft. We followed on AI, which incidentally was very ropey, in turns. Again we closed on the hard weaving target. I got fleeting visuals on bright exhausts at one stage, at about 2000ft range, but still could not get comfortably astern. Three times we closed to 1000ft, the target peeling off on every occasion. The blue light was visible on most of these occasions from just astern but I was unable to follow visually owing to the targets activities.

We could identify target as a twin engined aircraft on our very few opportunities. On one occasion, my navigator confirmed this with night glasses. On the third occasion that we closed range to 1000ft, the target, to me anyway, appeared to catch fire underneath the fuselage. I got my navigator's head out of the box to confirm this and very quickly and brightly he yelled "That's his jet", which jolted me out of my fire theory very quickly. The target again started one of his routine turns and I immediately pushed the throttles fully open +12 and already using 28,000 revs [sic], and gave a 1/2 second deflection shot on his jet at about 900ft range. However this burst produced no strikes, so I got dead astern in the turn and at 700ft range, fired another burst, which caused a large explosion and strikes on his starboard side...[account of finish of combat]...From its general appearance and behaviour, particularly the two of a jet [sic] we consider this A/C was a He219, and we claim it as destroyed...

It seems like I was wrong about the visibility of jet exhaust at night, it doesn't seem too bad from the above account. It sounds like possibly the Uhu pilot overcooked the jet throttle and flamed his engine out.

But the RATO instance I alluded to above (Ft Lt Chapman/Ft Sgt Stockley) on 20/21 March 1945, flying a Perfectos equipped MkXXX on high level escort:-

...[in the first part describes a Me110 kill]... so we set course for the rendezvous with the bomber stream reaching there at 0322 hours.

The patrol with the bomber stream was uneventful until leaving the target when at 0400 hours I noticed to port and 15 miles south a ball of yellowish flame take off from Plauen airfield and climb very rapidly. I thought it was a flare or a V2 until it started emitting a meteor tail several hundred foot long. We turned port towards it and lost height to 7000' that being the height of this phenomenon as far as I could judge, and continued watching. It traveled in a NW direction very fast and suddenly to our astonishment fired off some RPs (4 single and 1 pair) in the general direction of the departing bomber stream. We were pretty amazed at all this and decided it must be a Me163. I continued turning to port and got behind it. It was vectoring 275 deg M by this time and doing about 260 IAS. Using AI to check range we closed in to about 1000' and visually identified a twin engined A/C with rocket apparatus slung under the fuselage - a He219. Considerable quantities of flames and sparks were flying back preventing me from identifying the tail unit, so I decided to open fire at that range.

I gave it several longish bursts as two of the cannon had stoppages and was gratified to see an explosion take place somewhere in the fuselage and debris fly back. The E/A nosed straight down through the patchy cloud and at 0408 hrs exploded on the ground with a tremendous glare. An interesting point about all this is that we could see plainly when the pilot opened up his rocket apparatus by the tremendous increase in size of the meteor tail. The E/A appeared to have a phenomenal rate of climb

Maybe a one-off field mod? Can€t find anything about a He-219 V-14.

04-13-2006, 05:39 AM
He 219 V14 (A-0)
W.-Nr. 190058
2x DB 603 A

That's all I found.

04-14-2006, 11:57 AM
I don't suppose any pictures survived of this beast... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

04-14-2006, 12:27 PM
Originally posted by Waldo.Pepper:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">not sure if that one saw action.

Yes it did see action.

The Germans found that IR seekers on night fighters to be inferior to their RADAR and it fell into dissuse.

By the end of the war the German Army has three IR systems that I am aware of. An IR searchlight and driving aid mounted on some of their halftracks. An IR light mounted on the Commander's cupola, and drivers vision slit, on some Panther tanks. An an IR scope mounted on some of their Mp44/StG43 Assault Rifles.

http://www.geocities.com/desertfox1891/nightfightingpan...fightingpanthers.htm (http://www.geocities.com/desertfox1891/nightfightingpanthers/nightfightingpanthers.htm)


US System

http://www.rt66.com/~korteng/SmallArms/m1irsnip.htm (http://www.rt66.com/%7Ekorteng/SmallArms/m1irsnip.htm) </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Can you imagine running around in a firefight with that? Looks like it would be a pain to lug around for more than an hour.

04-14-2006, 09:30 PM
Thanks, Kurfurst....

04-14-2006, 09:55 PM
night sniping perhaps...

ive heard that modern armour weighs more than the old medival stuff.