Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Water Wagtail.

This is coolbert:

Thanks here for the tip from KTB “Sharkhunters”.

Here is a remarkable and innovative idea used by German submariners during World War Two [WW2].

Used sparingly albeit.

A tethered helicopter-glider used for observational purposes. The FA-330 [Focke-Achgelis]. A helicopter-glider? Had never heard of such a thing prior to this!

[sometimes referred to as an auto-gyro, or a "kite"! Nicknamed the "Water Wagtail"!]

Stowed within a submarine when not in use. Could be brought on deck and piloted aloft, remaining in contact with the U-boat by the tether.

[had a telephone for the pilot to communicate with the sub when aloft.]

Allowed for a MUCH greater surveillance range. The ability of the U-boat captain to SPOT “game” was greatly increased.

The helicopter-glider could be piloted to a maximum height of 300 feet. From that altitude the line-of-sight distance would be about twenty-five miles.

[what would be the normal height above the water line for a surfaced submarine conning tower observational post? Assuming a height of twenty feet, your Mark I eyeball could detect a target at ONLY about six miles!!]

"The kite would then be deployed behind the U-boat with its observer/pilot aboard, raising him approximately 120 metres above the surface where he could see much further (typically 25 nautical miles, compared to 5 nautical miles visible from the conning tower of the U-boat)."

How useful was the FA-330? NOT sure!

"Despite its advantages, the use of the Fa-330 only resulted in a single sinking"

But, an innovative idea? YES!




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