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CHAPTER 12
Sturmjager Attacks
Sturmjager or STURM for short, literly translates to "STORM FIGHTER." An acurate description considering it was applied to the Gruppen of the Luftwaffe who where tasked with attacking the massed formation of Amercan bombers attacking Germany. While extremely difficult and dangerous - tactics were developed to successfully attack the bombers, break up their formations and kill them. We will cover the theory and the basics of the attacks in this section.
12.4 OBJECT LESSONS: (FROM THE EXPERTS)
The following object lessons on attacking heavy bombers were listed by General der Jagdflieger Adolf Galland in a letter sent to all operational fighter units.
1. The attack from the rear against four engined bomber formations promises little sucess and almost always brings losses. If an attack from the rear must be carried through. it should be done from above or below and the fuel tanks and engines should be the aiming points.
2. The Beam attack from the side can be effective, but it requires thorough training and good gunnery..
3. The attack from the front, front high, or front low - all at high speed was the most effective of all. Flying ability, good gunnery, and closing to the shortest possible range are requisites for success.
4. The exit can succeed only in a sharp diving turn in the direction in the direction of the bomber formation or single bomber. The most importaint factor is the angle of the curve in which the fighter leaves the bomber formation.
5. Basically, the strongest weapon is the massed and repeated attack by an entire fighter formation. In such cases, the defensive fire must be divided up which will raise your chances of getting in and hitting your target.
The defensive firepower from a single heavy bomber can be formadable. A massed formation can be suicidal to atttack by yourself. The B-17G has 13 .50cal machine guns - you can multiply that by the number of planes in a formation and see what your up against. Your main strength is SPEED above all else. You have to get in and land your punches and be out the other side before the enemy can do too much damage to you. There are three basic attack methods we use to successfully take out bombers. We will cover them in order of preference.
12.1 HEAD ON ATTACK:
This is the method of attack we will use most often. We will fly a tight formation and position ourselves to fly head on through the bomber formation. This reduces the effectiveness of defensive fire substantially. After the firing pass, a shallow diving turn will bring us back around on a course parallel to the flight of the bombers. We then fly ahead and set up for another attack. While flying parallel to the bombers, we must remain at least D2k off to the side to avoid any defensive fire.
Once we are a minimum of D4k in front of the bombers, we reverse for another pass. Due to the rapid rate of closure, D4k is the MINIMUM that allows us to get properly lined up for our runs. Sitting up for repeated attacks takes time and discipline; however, it dramitically reduces casualties and inflicts serious damage to the enemy.
TARGETS: The Cockpit, Wing Roots & Engine Faces.
12.2 BEAM ATTACKS:
This type of attack is best used against fast or manuvering targets such as the Allied Medium & Tactical bombers link the B-26 & A-20 or when situations won't permitt you to get a head on run at them. While not as good as the head on attack it can still be used to a good result and limit the time you are exposed to the defensive fire of the bomber. Also as you will be passing across the bomber's axis it will be harder for a gun turret to track you.
With the Beam attack we will try to get above and slightly forward of the target. As you turn you want to try and meet the target at a certain point in the sky where you are lined up to fly right down the length of his wingspan. If you are diving on the bomber this will give you a bigger target than if you are coming in at co-alt. After your pass you want to do a shallow diving turn in the direction of the bomber to get set up for another pass or to try a Head on pass.
TARGETS: Cockpit, Engines, Wing Root, Wing Tips.
12.3 TAIL ATTACKS:
This method of attack should be avoided against the Heavy Bombers like the B-17 & Lancaster all together. All it will get you is killed. The reason being is with the combined speeds of the bomber and your fighter - your closure rate to gun range leaves you in the bombers gunsights way to long.
The only time it should be used is against aircraft like the A-20, Mosquito or Boston III that have no lower guns. It can also be used against the Lancaster but care must be taken to come up from underneath and to stay out of the fire arcs from the rear turret.
If for some reason you do have to perform a tail attack on the heavies the best method  is to climb above them and dive down through the formation. This gives you a much bigger target and also reduces the time you are exposed to defensive fire.
TARGETS: Wing Root, Wing Tips, Horizontal Stabilizers.
CHAPTER 13:
FIGHTING
THE ME-109
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CONTENTS PAGE
FIGURE 1: WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE TO AN ENEMY GUNNER DURING A BEAM ATTACK
In the above picture you will notice in a Beam attack that it leaves the gunner only a deflection shot and he has to keep the turrent turning all the time to track you as you pass. A deflection shot is one of the hardest to hit this giving you time to get in and get you hits and exit out the bombers gun range before taking fatal damage.
FIGURE 2: This is what you look like to a tail gunner during a Tail Attack. He can start tracking you as soon as you are visible and doesn't hardly have to move his guns. Plus you are exposed to his guns during the whole length of the attack. With the twin .50 cals he can kill you before you are ever in range of your cannons.