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Tailslide's Article - Timed Rocket Attacks

Aiming was the Achilles' heel of the 21cm rocket mortar, which could be launched from astern, outside the defensive fire of the bombers. Time-fused, to be effective it had to detonate within 90ft. of a bomber.

    -- Excerpt from Mike Spick's Luftwaffe Fighter Aces

Rocket Launch


What is a timed rocket ?

  Long before the days of sidewinders and heat seeking missiles, timed rockets were used by the Germans to attack bomber formations.  Simply put, you launch your rocket and three seconds later it explodes.  Aiming these rockets was very difficult since after the rocket burnt out, it would lose power and altitude before exploding.  For this reason, pilots would have to aim above their targets.  Even then, rockets were mostly used to break up the bomber formations so the bombers could be attacked one at a time.


Destroy an entire flight of bombers with five rockets?

  This article is based on my experiences with Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator on 'Ace 100% Realistic' difficulty.  Even at this level I eventually found it easy to take on an entire flight of bombers by myself.  The best place to practice is in the single mission called Fat Cars flying for the Luftwaffe.  Here is a walk through of this mission:


Step 1 -  The Head-on Attack

  Start out by diving down so you are level with the bombers.   Keep as much speed as possible.  When you get within 2000 feet, start firing your cannons (not machine guns).  Aim at the cockpit,  a few good cannon shells in the cockpit will take down a bomber.   Traditionally, this type of attack was done straight on, but I find that CFS will often treat near misses as collisions, so it is safer to attack from slightly above (see picture).  After the attack, pull up gently until you are level and zoom straight ahead until you are out of gun range.

Head-On Attack

Lining up for a Head-on Shot.
Click picture for larger view.


Step 2 -  Rockets Away !

   As soon as you are out of gun range, pull up and do an Immelman (half loop) so you are headed back towards the bombers. Now comes the fun part.   When you get within 3000 feet or so, reduce your throttle and creep up on the bombers.  Get so you are flying about 1800 feet behind them and not gaining on them.   Pick an area where a lot of bombers are close together, and aim slightly below them (for some reason rockets go up a bit in CFS).  Fire your rocket (control-3 in CFS) and wait for the fireworks.


rocket2s.jpg (5024 bytes)
A couple seconds after launch, the rocket smoke is just below and to the right of the topmost bomber.
Click picture for larger view.


Success! Click picture for larger view.


Step 3 -  Mopping Up

   Eventually you will run out of rockets or the survivors will be so scattered they will have no effect.  Most of the survivors will be damaged.   If you have time, set up another head-on attack but if you need to stop the bombers quickly, diving at them from above and shooting their engines with your cannons works great.


Where do I go from here?

   OK, you can blow up bombers without taking a hit, but what do you do when their fighter escorts are around?  Well, practice attacking using a faster and faster speed.  See if you can hit them while going 220kts  (I would try a range of 2000 feet).  When you can do that, try again speeding along at 300kts (range about 2200 feet).  Eventually you will not even need to slow down, but always attack from the rear.  Have fun !





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