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German Surface to Air Missiles (SAM) in WWII
By James Clay

German SAM

The box art of the Dragon range of experimental German aircraft is as almost interesting as the actual aircraft themselves, on one of the boxes, you could see on the ground a mobile radar guided SAM. There were no allied SAM's in service in 1945/6, however, the Germans did get round to developing one. But that due to the course of the war never entered military service. It was not a true radar guided missile, but actually guided by radio, using flares on the fins as a guide.

The Rheintochter missile started development in 1942 under the auspices of the Rheinmetall-Borsig company. Test firing of the missile began in the August of the following year, and by January 1945, over eight had been fired. Of these, only four failed. It carried over one hundred and fifty kilograms of high explosive and was detonated using a proximity fuse. It would be launched from a permanent emplacement site. The Luftwaffe turned down the original design, because the altitude was restricted to 8000 metres. The missile was redesigned and redesignated the Rheintochter III. Work began in May 1944, development was delayed because of work still needed on the control system, but was eventually stopped in February 1945, because it was thought to be unlikely to be completed in time to have any effect on the war.

Imagine, if, the end of the war was extended beyond its actual end, for instance if D-Day failed, or was postponed. The Rheintochter SAM did enter service and started to have a major destructive effect on the bombers in their bombing raids over Germany by the RAF and USAF. The Germans may have even managed to enhance the Rheintochter with a radar guidance system, making it even more deadly.

Various scenarios can spin off from this.

A British (or American) airborne raid on a Rheintochter missile site, using gliders, parachutists, airborne jeeps.

An aerial scenario using bombers, escort fighters and Rheintochter missiles - you could also add experimental German aircraft to the battle.

A S.O.E. mission, aided by partisans in destroying Rheintochter missile site, this could be more a role-playing skirmish scenario then a fully fledged wargame.

The Rheintochter missile is something to consider for anyone trying to wargame Fatherland style wargames.


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