A Flying Fortress opens its bomb doors to deliver another devastating load on the German homeland, this time Cologne, during a raid by more than 1,000 USAF bombers on January 7, 1945. By this time the Allied bomber forces were operating over the Reich with very little resistance from a critically weakened Luftwaffe fighter force.
The Jagdflieger defending the skies over the Fatherland during 1943-44 were never allowed to forget their prime enemy. Here, a life-size frontal view of a B-17 has been painted on to hangar doors for gunnery training. The line-up of mechanics to the left lends a sense of scale.
The three 1.6m (5ft 3in)-long 30mm cannon barrels of an SG 116 Zellendusche automatic recoilless anti-bomber device installed in the fuselage of Fw 190 “White 11” in mid-1944. If a mass is discharged to the rear of a gun at the same instant that a shell is fired forward from the barrel, the reaction of one will balance out the other.
Three Focke-Wulf Fw 190s were used to test the SG 113A anti-tank weapon system, two launchers per wing being installed to fire downwards. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the system was found to be cumbersome and inaccurate and was never used in action.
The SG 116 Zellendusche (“Cell Shower”) An attempt to solve the problem of targeting a bomber’s exposed underside with its vulnerable wing tanks and bomb bay from a head-on attack
Обслуживание 30-мм пушки MK-103 на Hs 129B-2
Luftwaffe armourers load the ammunition for an MK 103 cannon fitted to a Henschel Hs 129. The MK 103 was intended principally for combat at ranges beyond 1,000m (3,300ft) and was considered good for operations against enemy bombers. It was the most sophisticated of the 30mm range of weapons used by the Germans.