Kenley - 1940 - PAC system

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by Gage, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. Gage

    Gage New Member

    Posted this elsewhere but thought it would be of interest. I was amazed when I first learned of it.

    At Kenley there was a parachute and cable system in place for low flying enemy aircraft, first used on 18th August 1940. This device comprised of a 480 foot length of steel cable carried 600 feet high by a rocket, at the top of the trajectory the cable was released, a parachute opened and suspended the cable hopefully in the path of an aircraft. If the latter struck the cable a second parachute opened at the bottom of the line and the unfortunate aircraft was left towing away the contraption. With the drag factor there was a good chance that the aircraft would crash out of control. The launchers were placed at 60 foot intervals, fired in salvoes of nine or more.

    What do you think?
  2. war hawk

    war hawk New Member

    :faint::nod: How did you find this? Very interesting. I ahve never heard of that.
  3. Gage

    Gage New Member

  4. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    There really were some outlandish ideas at that time - though some ideas had been tested in the late 1930s, like trying to bomb the bombers!!

    Attached Files:

    • PAC.pdf
      File size:
      405.2 KB
  5. Gage

    Gage New Member

    Wow, more info. Thanks Kyt.
  6. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Well, I didn't know it was used on ships too


  7. Keith

    Keith New Member


    Hi Kyt,
    When I spent a couple of years in Austria with the BTA, I'm afraid that the term PAC, had a completely different meaning.
    It was a sign posted over little cubicles in towns which were near troop occupied areas.
    If you don't know about them I will send you a private email.
    PS have you seen my latest posting in "Whose Swazticka"
  8. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    I would be interested in this other meaning Keith. And I'm still catching up with posts from the last couple of days, I'm afraid.
  9. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Coincidentally, I just read in Marsden Hordern's excellent A Merciful Journey about his first Fairmile being fitted with this device. They weren't too keen on operating it. The armament on the Fairmile in the RAN (and probably all others) differed depending on what was available and what could be arranged unofficially. Hordern's ML814, on which he was the Sub, had

    Hordern later refers to firing the dreaded Schmurley rocket while running tests on the journey to Darwin.
  10. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    They were fairly common in the Royal Navy at the start of the war; known as UP (Unrotating Projectile) launchers. HMS Hood was fitted with three just before her loss. But as this reference says, they were completely useless and replaced by the end of '41 by the Bofors and Pom-Pom.

    British Unrotated Projector AA Rocket

    So basically, it was a Naval Weapon, and the Kenley device was an attempt at adapting it for land use.
  11. BC1

    BC1 New Member

    With respect, you have got it the wrong way round; it was essentially a land-based weapon, modified for use on merchant ships. It was introduced in 1940 when there was a chronic shortage of effective light AA guns in Britain. There were a number of instances of the PAC being launched accidentally and shorting out electrical supplies as they became draped over electric cables.

    There was only (to my knowledge) one confirmed success solely attributed to the PAC; an He 111 struck by three of the cables over RAF Watton (Norfolk) on 18 Feb 1941. It crash-landed at Ovington and the five crew were made PoW. The Kenley Do 17 was already crippled by other defences when the PAC caught it.

    I have also seen pictures of an FW 200 which returned to base with a PAC draped over the wing.


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