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|colspan="2" Template:WPMILHIST Infobox style | Fritz X|
|colspan="2" Template:WPMILHIST Infobox style | 300px
|Type||anti-ship missile / guided bomb|
|Place of origin||Nazi Germany|
|colspan="2" Template:WPMILHIST Infobox style | Service history|
|In service||1943 - 1944|
|Used by||Nazi Germany (Luftwaffe)|
|Wars||World War II|
|colspan="2" Template:WPMILHIST Infobox style | Production history|
|colspan="2" Template:WPMILHIST Infobox style | Specifications|
|Weight||1,362 kg (3,000 lb)|
|Length||3.32 m (11 ft)|
|Width||1.40 m (5 ft)|
|Diameter||85.3 cm (2 ft 8 in)|
|Warhead||amatol explosive, armour-piercing|
|Warhead weight||320 kg (705 lb)|
|5 km (3 miles)|
|Speed||343 m/s (1,235 km/h or 770 mph)|
|Kehl-Strassburg FuG 203/230; MCLOS|
Fritz X was the most common name for a German air-launched anti-ship missile, used during World War II. Fritz X was an allied code-name; alternate names include Ruhrstahl SD 1400 X, X-1, PC 1400X or FX 1400. The latter is also the origin for the name "Fritz X". It is one of the precursors of today's anti-ship missiles and precision-guided weapons.
The Fritz X was a further development of the high-explosive bomb SD 1400 (Splitterbombe, dickwandig, 1400; German for "fragmention bomb, thick-walled, 1400 kg"). It was given a more aerodynamic nose, four stub wings, and a box shaped tail unit. The missile was steered by radio from the aircraft (a Heinkel He 111, He 177, or Dornier Do 217 bomber). The crewman who guided the bomb always had to see the target, and had a flare in the tail so it could be seen from the controlling aircraft. The disadvantage with this - in comparison to glide bombs like the Henschel Hs 293 or VB-6 Felix - was the aircraft had to be flown over the target. Unlike the Hs 293, Fritz X was intended to be used against armoured ships. The minimum release height was 4,000 m (12,000 ft).
The Luftwaffe recognized the difficulty of hitting moving ships during the Spanish Civil War. Dipl. engineer Max Kramer, who worked at the DVL, had been experimenting since 1938 with remote-controlled free-falling 250 kg bombs, and in 1939 fitted radio-controlled spoilers. In 1940, Ruhrstahl was invited to join the development, since they already had experience in the development and production of unguided bombs.
Fritz X was deployed on 29 August 1943. On 9 September 1943, the Luftwaffe achieved their greatest success with the weapon. After the Italian armistice, the Italian fleet had steamed out from La Spezia and headed to Malta. To prevent the ships from falling into Allied hands, 12 Dornier Do 217s from the III. Gruppe of KG100 (III/KG100) took off, each carrying a single Fritz X. The Italian battleship Roma, flagship of the Italian fleet, received several hits and sank after her magazines exploded. 1,352 men, including Admiral Carlo Bergamini, died. Her sister ship Italia was also damaged.
One week later, the Germans scored another three hits with Fritz X on the British battleship HMS Warspite Warspite]] at Salerno. One bomb penetrated six decks before exploding against the bottom of the ship, blowing a large hole in her. The ship took on a total of 5,000 tonnes of water, lost steam (and thus all power, both to the ship herself and to all her systems) but casualties were few. She had to be taken in tow to Malta and then returned to Britain via Gibraltar and was out of action for near 9 months; she was never completely repaired, but returned to action to bombard Normandy for the invasion of Europe.
The control system used for the Fritz-X, known as the Kehl (and also used by the Hs 293 missile), was susceptible to electronic countermeasures - either straightforward jamming, which blocked the control signals from the bomber, or spoofing, in which the missile was given a signal that sent the weapon out of control, into a stall, or into a spiralling dive. By the time of the Normandy landings, the combination of Allied fighters that kept bombers at bay and ship-mounted jammers meant the missiles had no significant effect on the invasion fleet. Some accounts say the Norwegian destroyer HNoMS Svenner was hit by a Fritz X at dawn on 6 June 1944.
When working properly, the missile was able to pierce 130 mm (5.1 in) of armor.
Other ships damaged by Fritz X included:
- cruiser USS Philadelphia (CL-41)
- cruiser USS Savannah (CL-42)
- cruiser HMS Uganda (C66)
- anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Spartan (95) (sunk)
- destroyer HMS Janus (F53) (sunk)
- hospital ship HMHS Newfoundland (sunk)
The closest Allied weapon to the Fritz X was Azon.
- The Dawn of the Smart Bomb
- German guided weapons of WW2
- Allied & German guided weapons of WW2
- Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
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|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Fritz X".