Nightfighter Tactics

Schräge Musik (slanting music, or Jazz)
In the Schräge Musik tactic, the nightfighters carried specially equipped 20mm cannon almost upright in the fuselage or rear cockpit of the planes. Since they were aimed upward, a nightfighter pilot would, in a feat of incredible piloting skill, approach the unsuspecting bomber from behind and below (usually a RAF bomber's blind spot) and remain seemingly suspended there as he moved closer and closer to the bomber's fuselage. Then he would aim the guns through a special "Revi" reflector site (like a upward viewing periscope)and fire away with tracerless shells -- taking care to hit the fuel tanks and not the bomb bay, since an explosion of the bomb load might destroy his own aircraft. The nightfighters were armed with three 7.9mm MG17 machine guns and three 20mm cannon. A short burst of this heavy armament usually resulted in the bomber immediately exploding into flames. Later versions of the Ju 88 night fighter were fitted with two 20mm MG151 cannon mounted in the top of the fuselage and firing upwards at an angle of between 70o and 80o. This lethal tactic caused great damages to the RAF night bombers and had once achieved a killing rate of one bomber per minute!

Schräge Musik at work

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