Guide To German Night Fighters In World War II The Night Defenders Of The Reich


Although “Wilde Sau” tactics were used, still during the shock that Window has caused in the night fighter force, a new tactic was developed by Oberst von Lossberg: “Zahme Sau” (Tame Boar). This time it was needed to linking the German radar stations and the fitting of a new and improved radar aboard the aircraft that was not affected by Window. The tracking of the stream bomber was not as precise as before but the ground controller could send several night fighters in the right direction to infiltrate the RAF bomber streams (the addition of passive receivers in the night fighters aided greatly in leading them to their targets). Once the night fighters were near the bombers, they could track them with the radar.
On 1 August 1943, the 5 “Jagddivisionen” of the XII Fliegerkorps commanded by General der Flieger Kammhuber were:
1. Jagddivision: I, II, III and IV./NJG 1. Commanded by Generalmajor von Döring.
2. Jagddivision: I, II, III and IV./NJG 3 and Nachjagdkommando 190. Commanded by Generalleutnant Schwabedissen.
3. Jagddivision: II./NJG 4. Commanded by Generalmajor Junck.
4. Jagddivision: I and III./NJG 4, I and II./NJG 2, I, II and III./NJG 5. Commanded by Generalmajor Huth.
5. Jagddivision: I./NJG 6. Commanded by Oberst von Bülow.

The night 18/19 November 1943 began the “Battle of Berlin”, an Allied bombing campaign designed to destroy Berlin taking advantage of the “Window” effect on the night fighter force performance. The GEE and Oboe devices worked fine, but the H2S did not work well in the range of Berlin. There were 35 raids against the Berlin area with British losses near the 10% (more than a rate of 5% was considered unacceptable for the British Bomber Command). So the Battle of Berlin was considered as a German victory.
So, at the end of 1943, “Zahme Sau”, “Wide Sau” and Himmelbett systems coexisted trying to stop the British raids. From that time, another war between the RAF and Luftwaffe was fought, but this one the war was across the radio spectrum. But despite all the German efforts and the more intensive training of the new night fighter crews in infiltration methods against the bomber streams: these counter measurements didn’t achieve to stop the bombing and destruction of Germany.

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Against the night fighting principles, but due to the American bombers that started to fill the German skies, sometimes the night fighters were required to fly as day fighters. In day missions, the night fighters sometimes were armed with with four 21 cm diameter rockets (in the Bf 110 for example) that reduced the performance and handling of the aircraft very considerably. The results were a disaster because the aircraft and pilots had little chance to survive in combat against the bombers and their escort fighter. Also the Bomber Command 100 Group was formed in November 1943 with a task: electronic countermeasures against the German radars system (the propose was to avoid the detection of the approaching bomber stream); and the Mosquito night fighters started their marauding missions over the Reich (the German night fighters could hardly do anything against the faster Mosquitoes; and this was one of the reasons of the change of the Bf 110 for the faster Ju 88 as the backbone of the NJGs). Jamming escorts were together the bomber stream in order to jam the German communications and navigation aids. Since November 1943, the Luftwaffe knew about this new British Group and its task. The British bomber formations were aided by the pathfinders, they were aircraft that flew ahead of the main forces and marked the targets with flares; and the pathfinder role was played usually for Mosquitoes.  
The Mosquitoes in bomber, reconnaissance and night fighter versions were a constant worry for the German night fighter force. Sometimes the Mosquito night fighters set up ambushes to night fighter beacons and airfields to harass the German defenders.
Against the Mosquitoes some Bf 109 G-5 were fitted to fight the British twin engine aircraft. These Bf 109s were deployed in the JG 300 and JG 302, and had mounted a DB 605AS engine with turbocompressor. Also, the Bf 109 G-5s had reduced weight and armament (only one cannon and two machine guns) in order to catch the Mosquito.

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