FRA - Le Prieur

Le Prieur
Fusées Le Prieur
Le Prieur Le Prieur
Originální název:
Original Name:
Le Prieur
neřízená raketa unguided rocket
Období výroby:
Production Period:
Vyrobeno kusů:
Number of Produced:
Prototyp vyroben:
Prototype Built:
Technické údaje:
Technical Data:
Hmotnost rakety:
Rocket Weight:
? kg ? lb
Hmotnost hlavice:
Warhead Weight:
? kg ? lb
? mm -
Celková délka:
Overall Length:
1524 mm 5ft
Rozpětí stabilizátoru:
Stabiliser Span:
? mm ?
Typ hlavice:
Warhead Type:
žádná (zápalná raketa) none (incendiary rocket)
černý prach black powder
? km/h ? mph
0,1 km 0.1 mi
Uživatelské státy:
User States:

První operačně nasazená raketa vzduch-vzduch. First operational used air-to-air rocket.
Ray Sanger: Nieuport Aircraft
of World War One, British Library,
ISBN I 86126447 X
URL : Version : 0

Airborne "torpedoes"

Le Prieur missiles were the world's first operationally deployed air-to-air missiles.

The missile was designed by Marine Lieutenant Y. G. P. Le Prieur during World War I to destroy observation balloons and airships. They were also called "torpillers" - torpedoes.

Yves Paul Gaston Le Prieur in his naval uniform. He was a very prolific inventor, and in addition to "aerial torpedoes", he obtained numerous patents in the field of mechanical artillery computers, aerial navigation instruments and diving breathing apparatus

The rocket was derived from the naval side-bar stabilized rescue rockets. The rocket consisted of a warhead, a body with an ignition device, and a stabilizing rod.

Its body was made of a cardboard tube, reinforced internally with thin tinplate. The tube contained a propellant charge of about 200 g of black powder, which also served as an incendiary when the target was hit.

A head filled with sand ballast was attached to the tube with painted paper or canvas tape. The warhead was shaped like a rotating cone and a triangular blade was inserted in the centre of the warhead, designed to facilitate penetration of the balloon's casing. This shows that the rocket did not affect the target by detonating the warhead. It was only intended to pierce the envelope of the balloon or airship and penetrate inside, where the hot gases flowing from the rocket nozzle ignited the flammable hydrogen filling.

A stabilising rod made of pine wood with a square cross-section of about 1.5 m was attached to the body by three other straps. The rod was inserted into a metal launch tube, about 25 mm wide. The rods were attached in various numbers (6-10 depending on the type of aircraft) to the outer struts of some types of aircraft (biplanes) such as the D.H. 2, B. E. 2, B. E. 12, Farman F. 40, Sopwith Pup, Spad VII, and various types of Nieuports (mainly 11, 16, and 17). Allegedly there was also an installation on a car.

Test firing of rockets from B.E. 2

The powder charge was fired by pressing a pilot-controlled button connected to a 2-volt battery in the fuselage. The electrical pulse was conducted by cables to series-wired thrusters inside each rocket. The switch had a fuse to prevent accidental firing.

In this shot of a Nieuport 17 equipped with tubes for rockets, the metal panel on the wing of the aircraft is particularly easy to see, the struts themselves were protected by metal covers. Both were to protect the wing from the hot gases from the rocket nozzle

In the attack itself, the pilot was to dive down at about a 45° angle to the side of the tethered balloon and fire a volley of rockets from a distance of 100-150 metres.

The rockets were used for the first time on 22 May 1916 during the Battle of Verdun, when they shot down 6 German balloons in a single attack, all but two (one pilot missed, the other had a launcher failure) that were in the air that day, and a quarter of all the balloons the Germans had in that sector. It was an undeniable success and the French became enthusiastic promoters of the new weapon. The rockets were also used to a limited extent by other Allies, e.g. the British used them for the first time on 25 June 1916 during the Battle of the Somme, when they shot down 4 balloons and by the end of the battle a total of 15 balloons had already burst into flames thanks to the rockets.

The rockets were also used sporadically against aircraft, and on 25 September 1916, the Englishman A. Walker reportedly shot down a German LVG.

The Germans also made experiments based on tests of captured Le Prieur rockets, and there were sporadic attempts at front-line deployment.

However, the missiles also had a number of disadvantages, such as low accuracy, high dispersion, short range, low reliability, and in addition posed some danger to the carrier aircraft itself.

British ace Captain Molesworth left the following memory of the rockets: "We practiced launching Le Prieur rockets for a while, which is no fun. You'd fly up to a ground target, and when you were about fifty yards away, you'd press a button on the dashboard. At that moment there is a hideous hiss, audible over the roar of the engines, and between the struts on either side, six rockets shoot out towards the target. But it didn't seem very successful. It's hard to hit anything with them..."

Another ace, this time Frenchman Pierre de Cazenove de Pradines, made a similar point: "One day Capitaine Raymond Bailly, commander of SPA 81, asked for a volunteer pilot to destroy a balloon at Montfaucon. I volunteered and had my SPAD fitted with Le Prieur rockets mounted on the wing struts - fired by electric impulse. I soon found my quarry and began a rapid descent as the AA gun batteries opened fire. I pulled in at the right moment, the rockets fired and scattered in all directions in an impressive smoke pattern. When it cleared, I found I was flying on an intact balloon. The rockets were flying in every direction except towards the target! I flew away with only one bullet hole in my plane. The next day I came back with phosphorus bullets in my machine gun and set the balloon on fire."

Thus, during 1917, machine gun ammunition gradually began to be replaced by incendiary ammunition, despite the fact that machine gun rounds had to be fired in relatively large quantities into the balloon (because hydrogen is only flammable when mixed in a certain proportion with air), whereas for rockets a single hit was sufficient. Also, incendiary ammunition had the unpleasant property of occasionally spontaneously combusting if placed near a hot engine.

Nevertheless, rockets displaced and completely dominated by the end of the war.

Nieuport 11 Nieuport 11 coming out of a runway after firing a salvo of missiles. In the lower right corner is a balloon observer who parachuted out of the basket. Balloon spotter duty was tough and dangerous

J. Kroulík, B. Růžička. Naše vojsko, Prague 1985, 28-067-85
Ray Sanger: Nieuport Aircraft of World War One, 2002
British Library, ISBN I 86126447 X
Jon Guttman: Balloon-Busting Aces of World War One, 2005, Osprey Publishing, ISBN: 1841768774
Nigel Steel, Peter Hart: Rumble in the Clouds, Beta-Dobrovsky Publishers, 2003, Prague, ISBN 80-7306-074-4

FRA - Le Prieur - Nieuport 16, N 1434, na němž v létě 1916 u escadrille Lafayette létal Sgt. Charles Johnson.
Zdroj obrázku:

Nieuport 16, N 1434, na němž v létě 1916 u escadrille Lafayette létal Sgt. Charles Johnson.
Zdroj obrázku:

URL : Version : 0
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