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mariner
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WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Sun May 08, 2011 4:55 am

I've been vaguely aware of this for some time, but I had not realized exactly what it was. Apologies if it has been discussed before.

In 1943, when the V1 rockets (doodlebugs) were being launched at Britain, the RAF used a technique called "tipping" or nudging, to send them off course.

Now, because of the Royal Wedding, it has come to light that Kate Middleton's grandfather was a doodlebug tipper and the Daily Mail has some photos of it happening:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...1-missiles-course-planes-wing.html

"Kate's grandad, the doodlebug nudger: Newlywed royal pays tribute to pilot who knocked V1 missiles off course with his plane's wings"

Scroll down for the pics. They're a bit hazy, but it's pretty hairy stuff.

mariner

[Edited 2011-05-07 21:57:59]
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ThirtyEcho
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Sun May 08, 2011 5:59 am

One didn't really hit the V-1's wing. Passing under the wing with your wingtip was enough vortex to upset the applecart. You never really wanted to shoot at the bugger from close behind because the explosion was immense. Attacking a V-1 was never a piece of cake.
 
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TripleDelta
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Sun May 08, 2011 7:20 am

Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 1):
One didn't really hit the V-1's wing. Passing under the wing with your wingtip was enough vortex to upset the applecart.

I've read in one Spitfire-related book that the first attempts did indeed involve physical contact - but the damage suffered by the tipping aircraft had soon led to the introduction a method similar to the one you've mentioned: namely, the attacking aircraft (I presume always a Spitfire or Typhoon - there was no mention of Mosquitoes) would come in slightly above the V-1, and place its wing just above that of the rocket... this would then spoil the airflow over the rocket's wing and it would bank out of control (since it had no ailerons to counteract this movement).
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fridgmus
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Sun May 08, 2011 8:35 am

In the US, we'd call him "Sierra Hotel", which stands for Shit Hot. Given to those pilots who truly have the Right Stuff!

Definitely a deserving member of the Greatest Generation.

Well done Sir and Rest in Peace and Honoured Glory. Mission Complete.
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YVRLTN
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Sun May 08, 2011 10:33 pm

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 2):
I presume always a Spitfire or Typhoon - there was no mention of Mosquitoes

My grandpa was in the Fleet Air Arm and used to talk about this. Initally it was Spitfires, but they had to get into quite the dive to gain enough speed to catch the V1, so I think they then used the P51 until the latter versions of the Spit with the Griffon came along which were better, but latterly they used the Gloster Meteor.

My grandma also used to watch them doing this (they werent together at this point...) - she used to live in Rainham Essex, so the Ford works in Dagenham were a big target as well as the east end of London in general. At the beginning of the war, they used to dive into the shelters, but latterly as they became hardened to war, they used to go out into a field and watch the show. She doesnt recall what the aircraft were - she always assumed Spitfires (but she doesnt know one type from the other) - but she saw this being done first hand. Her father used to man the 'ack-ack' gun in Rainham village, but these were pretty ineffective against the doodlebug, hence why 'tipping' became the method of choice for downing them.

What I think happened was that the very basic rocket motor was extremely temperamental and setting it off balance with tipping caused the motor to fail, thereby of course losing its means of propulsion and crashing - of course this was done over water if possible, but also over uninhabited countryside like the Rainham marshes where my grandma saw them.
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canoecarrier
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Mon May 09, 2011 2:22 am

Mariner this is a bona fide Military/Av/Space post! I'd always thought they'd used Mosquitoes for this duty, but the V-1 was relatively slow so it makes sense a number of aircraft could do this. But, I've seen a number of documentaries where they were able to observe the V-1 well before it reached it's target and hit it with AAA. But, as you said, early in the war they were able to "tip" V-1's because they were guided by a gyroscope and didn't evade at all. So all an Allied pilot had to do if they were in an aircraft fast enough to keep up was throw it off it's track.

Not as easy to "tip" a V-2 though! Great topic.
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Severnaya
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Mon May 09, 2011 6:28 pm

Quoting mariner (Thread starter):
In 1943, when the V1 rockets (doodlebugs) were being launched at Britain, the RAF used a technique called "tipping" or nudging, to send them off course.

The V1s were not exactly known for being the most precise weaponry of the Nazi Germans. The sister of my grandmother died because a launch installation was within a few kilometers from their home in the Netherlands.

I read that less than 15% of the V-1s that were launched reached their target.
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Mon May 09, 2011 8:08 pm

Quoting YVRLTN (Reply 4):
My grandpa was in the Fleet Air Arm and used to talk about this. Initally it was Spitfires, but they had to get into quite the dive to gain enough speed to catch the V1, so I think they then used the P51 until the latter versions of the Spit with the Griffon came along which were better, but latterly they used the Gloster Meteor.

The book I'd read that in - admittedly, it is a book about the Spitfire, so it's likely to get more mention   - said that the only Spits that could catch (or hope to catch) the V-1 were the clipped wing XII, the first of the Griffon-powered variants, and the XIV.
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mariner
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Mon May 09, 2011 9:08 pm

Quoting Severnaya (Reply 6):
I read that less than 15% of the V-1s that were launched reached their target.

But there is was a psychological element to them, too, whether they reached their target or not.

I'm a lot older than most of you here and one of my very first memories is of hearing a doodlebug droning over the London night and my mother telling me what it was. I remember the sound stopping and my mother, petrified with fear, clutching me and waiting - in the silence - until the distant explosion came, somewhere else, not near us.

You can hear it here, on the lo-fi preview and the silence after the cut out still makes me uneasy:

http://www.1soundfx.com/104426-v1_fl...ach_engine_cut_out_expolosion.html

I have no other memories of the war than that.

mariner
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Tue May 10, 2011 6:08 am

It was risky, what was more risky however was firing at the thing, for which of course they had to be flying at the V-1, if the large warhead exploded the aircraft could well be caught in the blast.

Many were downed by the early use of the proximity fuse on medium/heavy AA guns, they and many rapid firing Bofors were deployed along the coast.

My Mum remembers as a child, a school sports day being interrupted by that distinctive sound, the staff ordering the kids to lie flat, face down on the grass. The V-1 passed over them and carried on it's one way trip.
 
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Tue May 10, 2011 7:00 am

Quoting mariner (Reply 8):
But there is was a psychological element to them, too, whether they reached their target or not.

Yes and that's exactly what I meant because they were so unpredictable.  
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MD11Engineer
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Tue May 10, 2011 3:26 pm

My grandfather, who was with a railway mounted AAA unit of the Luftwaffe (which was moved all over Europe to protect important railway intersections etc.) during the war told me how one day they were based at the French Channel coast, between the sea and a V1 launch site. One day the steering mechanism of a V1 failed and the thing flew in a big circles over them and the launch site until it finally crashed.

Jan

[Edited 2011-05-10 08:28:15]
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GST
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Tue May 10, 2011 6:10 pm

V1 bombs were unpredictable in more than one way also, a good few times I ahve visited craters on the moors west of Sheffield left by V1 impacts. You may ask how a V! would get that far, well here is your answer:



Inaccurate, but the "super weapon" could strike anywhere.
 
iakobos
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Tue May 10, 2011 6:33 pm

According to Squadron Leader Remy Van Lierde (Bel - Typhoon), whom scored 40 (incl. 6 shared), he used only once the tipping technique (which he calls bypass).

http://www.cieldegloire.com/006_van_lierde.php

Squadron Leader Joe Berry (Tempest as night fighter) was the top V1 ace with 60 (incl. one shared).

Of the 9,000+ V1s targeted at England, a little over 2,000 were intercepted/destroyed by planes, a little less than 2,000 by AA artillery.
 
AGM100
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Tue May 10, 2011 7:36 pm

Why not shoot them with cannon or .303 fire and blow them up in air ? Were they originally trying to send them on a reverse course back out over the channel or just crash them ?

How did the aircraft vector in on them? Did the RAF basically keep CAP over the channel who could reach them incoming ?
I would assume the V1 had a small radar signature especially a single aircraft .. was curious how they located them and caught up with em.
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canoecarrier
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Tue May 10, 2011 9:25 pm

Quoting AGM100 (Reply 14):

How did the aircraft vector in on them?

The British had a very effective coastal watch system in place early in the war, that combined with their radar technology they were able to scramble fighters like they would if German bombers were coming in. There's some good footage on YouTube of V-1's being shot at by AAA and Spitfires.

AAA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-GhqhUKRVU

Gun camera footage from a Spitfire
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKZpUvz4MZo&feature=related

It appears they used the .303 often as well.
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JJJ
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Tue May 10, 2011 9:50 pm

Quoting AGM100 (Reply 14):
Why not shoot them with cannon or .303 fire and blow them up in air ?

Because the explosion often damaged the attacking aircraft as well.
 
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RE: WW2 - Doodlebug (V1) Tipping

Tue May 10, 2011 10:33 pm

Quoting AGM100 (Reply 14):
Why not shoot them with cannon or .303 fire and blow them up in air ? Were they originally trying to send them on a reverse course back out over the channel or just crash them ?

Most air interceptions were carried out with gunnery, as many pilots viewed it as being safer than "tipping" (though it may well have been a case of six of one, half a dozen of the other). Consequently the tipping technique was usually reserved for when ammunition had been expended or the guns jammed.

The V1 had only elevator and rudder controls due to there being favourable yaw-roll coupling to enable an entirely rudder based gentle turn (all that was required to remain on a programmed heading). The objective of tipping was to roll the missile beyond the bank angle that the rudder could recover from and hence crash the weapon. Otherwise "spoofing" the gyroscope to divert the missile was far less likely but also a favourable outcome. Even if it were possible to "return to sender" by turning it round, it would have been like sending the weapon at occupied Europe's civilians. There is no way this technique could have put the missile onto a sufficiently accurate course to strike enemy military targets, and even then you have no control over the timer initiating the terminal dive.

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