Komet weapons: SG500 Jägerfaust

Short history

The 'Sondergerät 500 Jägerfaust' (also often referred to as Jagdfaust, which could be correct too) was a radical weapon, firing heavy 50 mm projectiles vertically into the lower sides of bombers. The system was triggered by an optical system, and the pilot's only task was passing underneath the bomber. The Jägerfaust was tested on the Fw 190, destined for installation in the Me 163B and the Me 262B. The installation in the Me 262B apparently did not work successfully, and it was not used operationally. Trials with the Komet showed very promising results (see the 'White 05' page for some details), and it is reported that some six operational aircraft were modified.

One bomber was shot down with it by Fritz Kelb. This happened on 10 April 1945, the last day that Komets operated from Brandis (p56-59 of Flugplatz Brandis 1935-1945). The victim has been reported as a Lancaster in Ransom's book, and as a B-17 in others, but only recently new evidence came to light via Stephen M. Fochuk from Canada. He reports:

On the 10th of April 1945 a rather large formation of No.6 (RCAF) Group Lancasters and Halifaxes carried out a day light raid on the railway centre and marshalling yards at Leipzig. Other than moderate flak being reported the only enemy opposition was in the form of 1 to 3 Me 163s. Several air gunners fired at the rocket interceptor(s) but no hits were confirmed. According to one witness a Me 163 destroyed a Halifax, which "blew up right in front of me".

This description agrees with the destructive power of a Jägerfaust armed Komet, and it is a almost sure match. So it was a Halifax instead of a Lancaster or a B-17.

Technical description

Little was known about the weapon itself, and its installation. For example, Mano Ziegler's book shows a Komet on the cover with four launching tubes in the wings; their location however interferes with the C-Stoff tanks. The pictures of the wreck of 'White 05' page don't reveal much either. But it appears logical that the launching tubes were fitted in the gun bay in the wing root. According to Ziegler's description, five tubes were fitted on either side, each projecting some 2-3 centimeters from the wing's upper surface. Possibly they pointed up at an angle and also fanwise to achieve some spread, but this could also apply only to the Fw 190 installation. Ziegler reported that a single hit was sufficient to bring a bomber down.

Big was the surprise when an ammunition collector (who wishes to remain anonymous) contacted me, and told about the Jägerfaust he had in his possession, obtained from a German source. He even kindly supplied Autocad drawings, shown on these pages. He also reported the following details:

Projectile details Fuze details Pressure indicator

The following pictures were also kindly supplied. They show a complete and a sectioned barrel, a sectioned barrel plus sectioned projectile, a detail view of the sectioned projectile, complete projectiles, and lastly two types of barrels (note the difference in length of the riffling).

Jeffrey F. Bell (associate professor of planetary science, university of Hawaii) sent additional observations and insights:

Andreas kindly sent the following information:

Peter Ripley found very useful information in the book 'German Secret Weapons' by J.B. King and John Batchelor, BPC Publishing (UK), 1974.

In the Volker Schröder DVD 'Das Kraftei - Raketenjäger Me 163 B Komet', one Komet pilot briefly discusses the Jägerfaust installation. He mentions that the tubes were installed in the root, and that a 'Selenzelle' (selenide cell) was fitted in the wing tip.

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