Henschel Hs 297

A Föhn rocket projector captured by US troops clearly shows the origin of its occasionally used nickname of "Beercrate flak."

The Henschel Hs 297 Föhn was a small German surface-to-air rocket from the Second World War.

In principle it was similar to the Fliegerfaust, the main difference being that the Hs 297 was not designed as a shoulder-mounted weapon. In both systems, several small-caliber weapons acting as unguided rockets were to be used against low-flying aircraft

The rockets had a caliber of 7.29 cm, a length of 29.5 cm (11.6 in) and a weight of 2.7 kg (5 lb 15 oz). The launch took place from simply-designed racks that could hold 35 rockets (5 × 7) and from which several rockets were fired simultaneously. Also launches of individual rockets were possible. The range was 1,200 m (3,900 ft). Aiming was achieved by direct sight through a semi-circular visor.

For mass deployment in the Volkssturm the device was officially termed the Volk-Fla-R-Werfer - an abbreviation of Volkssturm-Flugabwehr-Raketenwerfer ("Volkssturm anti-aircraft rocket launcher"). By February 1945 50 units were delivered, which were provided to troops for testing. Twenty-four of the launcher racks were assigned to the 3./FlakLehruVersAbt 900 (o) ("3rd Anti-Aircraft Training and Testing Division") in the Remagen area and were used for the first time on 2 March 1945 against Allied fighter-bombers. A few days later, after American forces captured the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen, some of the launchers (classified as secret) fell intact into the hands of the Americans.

Most of the produced examples of the Bachem Ba 349 Natter ("Viper") manned vertical take-off rocket interceptor were armed with a battery of 24 Föhn missiles in its nose-cone. So far as is known, the Ba 349 was never used in combat, though the rocket weapon system was extensively ground-tested.


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