Discussion:
Aircraft cannons vs. machineguns
(too old to reply)
R***@eSedona.net
2005-10-06 16:24:47 UTC
Permalink
I was reminded of the issue of MG vs. cannons when I re-read the
excellent book "Samurai" by the IJN fighter ace Saburo Sakai. Sakai
flew only the Mitsubishi Zero.

Of course, the Zero had two 7.7mm MGs and two 20mm cannons.

According to sources, the two MGs had magazines of 680 rounds per gun,
could fire 1000rpm, and had an effective range of 600m.
The cannons had magazines of 60 rounds per gun (increased to 100 rounds
per gun later), could fire 490rpm, and had an effective range of 1000m.

As far as I know, the only US aircraft delivered in large numbers with
a cannon was the Lockheed Lighting P-38. The P-38 had four 0.50 inch
machine guns, and one 20 mm cannon. (I could not
determine the number of rounds the P-38 carried for each gun type.)

The vast majority, perhaps all, of the Allied fighters had only MGs.
(I am interested only in fighters which were delivered in large enough
numbers to have some effect on the war.)

QUESTION: What factors led the aircraft designers to choose the type
of guns to be used in a particular fighter aircraft?

You air aces may want to comment concerning whether MGs or cannons were
preferred in which fighting situations.


Thanks, Ralph.
--
c***@dartmouth.edu
2005-10-06 23:52:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by R***@eSedona.net
As far as I know, the only US aircraft delivered in large numbers with
a cannon was the Lockheed Lighting P-38. The P-38 had four 0.50 inch
machine guns, and one 20 mm cannon. (I could not
determine the number of rounds the P-38 carried for each gun type.)
The vast majority, perhaps all, of the Allied fighters had only MGs.
(I am interested only in fighters which were delivered in large enough
numbers to have some effect on the war.)
QUESTION: What factors led the aircraft designers to choose the type
of guns to be used in a particular fighter aircraft?
You air aces may want to comment concerning whether MGs or cannons were
preferred in which fighting situations.
The P-39 and the P-63 also had cannons, they fired through the prop
spinner. In the event, I don't believe the P-39 used the 37mm cannon
it could be armed with very much as the recoil, low firing rate and
problems with it made it less than desirable. Best to have
*something* shooting rather than a weapon that looks good on paper but
doesn't work in actual service.

As to what led aircraft designers to use machine guns, I think at
least partly that was due to the way the Army/Navy requested the
manufacturers design the aircraft: They specified the armament, and
the 50 caliber machine gun was pretty effective as a weapon.

Since most of the American aces flew fighters that had machine guns
only during WWII, they would have been unable to comment on which one
they prefered, although, should they be on the receiving end of cannon
fire they'd certainly understand the destructive power of such fire.
The British got to try out rifle caliber machine guns during the BoB,
and then switched to cannon armed fighters thereafter. They had
several Spitfires outfitted with cannons during the BoB but the
cannons suffered so many stoppages during combat that they weren't
very effective. When they actually did work, they were very
destructive but that only happened once or twice. However, there's a
big difference between rifle caliber machine guns, and the 50 caliber.
The fifty was a pretty effective weapon with a very high velocity
bullet that had a lot of inertia behind it, and a relatively high rate
of fire. When combined with a battery of eight machine guns as in the
P-47, it could do a LOT of damage in a short burst.

The P-38's forte was not so much it's hitting power, which was
relatively high, it was the fact that all the weapons were grouped
tightly together and all the projectiles stayed in that same grouping
even after leaving the barrels because all the guns were aimed
straight ahead. This is a LOT different from wing mounted guns: They
are all canted inwards to come together at a certain distance in front
of the fighter. This works fine as long as you manage to get the
fighter to that distance from the target before pulling the trigger,
but if you are long or short of that "sweet spot", the converging or
diverging shot means either less damage, or a total miss. With the
P-38, you could lift the nose and shoot at targets much more distant
than a fighter with wing mounted weapons, and have a fair chance of
damaging the target, if your aim was good, because the projectiles
went straight out and did not converge or diverge.

Corky Scott
--
Bill Shatzer
2005-10-06 23:52:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by R***@eSedona.net
As far as I know, the only US aircraft delivered in large numbers with
a cannon was the Lockheed Lighting P-38. The P-38 had four 0.50 inch
machine guns, and one 20 mm cannon. (I could not
determine the number of rounds the P-38 carried for each gun type.)
With approximate (numbers built)

Bell P-39 - 1x37mm cannon plus varying numbers of .30 and/or .50 MGs
depending on the model. (9,590)

Bell P-63 - 1x37mm cannon plus 4x.50 MGs (2,400)

North American B-25G and B-25H - 1 75mm cannon plus up to 12 .50
MGs. (1,405)

North American P-51 (Mustang MkIA) 4x20mm cannon. (150)

Grumman F6F-5 - alternative armament of 2x20mm cannon plus 4 .50 MGs
(Dunno how many cannon-armed Hellcats were built but several hundred,
certainly)

Vought F4U-1C 4x20mm cannon. (250)

Curtiss SB2C - 2x20mm cannon plus 2x.30 flexible MG in rear gunner's
position. (7,200)

Early Boeing B-29As carried a 20mm cannon in the tail gunner's position.

Standard ammo load for the P-38J seems to have been 150 rpg 20mm and
500 rpg .50.

Cheers,


--
Davide Pastore
2005-10-06 23:52:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by R***@eSedona.net
The vast majority, perhaps all, of the Allied fighters had only MGs.
True only if "Allied" = "made in USA".
Non-American "Allies" were noticeably different.
--
Davide

"Solo se la vostra visione va oltre quella del vostro maestro,
siete adatti per ricevere e tramandare la trasmissione."

(Massima Zen)


--
Michael Emrys
2005-10-06 23:52:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by R***@eSedona.net
As far as I know, the only US aircraft delivered in large numbers with
a cannon was the Lockheed Lighting P-38.
The Bell P-39 had one 37mm cannon in addition to its MGs and the P-400 a
20mm one.
Post by R***@eSedona.net
You air aces may want to comment concerning whether MGs or cannons were
preferred in which fighting situations.
Not an ace, but the usual explanation is that for shooting down fighters,
the .50s were potent enough and carried more ammo. The Americans were mostly
concerned in their war with fighting fighters and poorly armored Japanese
bombers against which the .50s were more than adequate. Had they had to
confront a serious bomber threat such as the Germans had been capable of
earlier in the war, it might have proven necessary to move up to cannon.

Michael
--
John Lansford
2005-10-06 23:52:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by R***@eSedona.net
As far as I know, the only US aircraft delivered in large numbers with
a cannon was the Lockheed Lighting P-38.
The P-39 had a 37mm cannon in the hub of the propellor. Its export
version, the P-400, replaced it with a 20mm cannon (the P-400 was used
by the USAAF on Guadalcanal). The P-61 had four 20mm cannon firing
forward from under the fuselage.

I believe some versions of the Corsair had 20mm cannon in lieu of the
.50 caliber machine guns as well.

John Lansford
--
The unofficial I-26 Construction Webpage:
http://users.vnet.net/lansford/a10/
--
Jukka O. Kauppinen
2005-10-06 23:52:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by R***@eSedona.net
As far as I know, the only US aircraft delivered in large numbers with
a cannon was the Lockheed Lighting P-38.
Check US Navy planes later in the war. US Navy started converting into
20mms first. P-61 had cannons too, of the American planes.

US Navy converted quickly into pure cannon force.

"The US Navy initially followed the British example. This had already
begun during the war, with types such as the F4U-1C and F8F-1B. Its
first jet fighters almost all had four 20mm Hispano cannon, for example
the FH Phantom, F2H Banshee, and F9F Panther. The M3 version of this gun
was boosted to 850rpm. Like the Hispano Mk.V, it had been lightened by
shortening the barrel, in this case by 15in. The USN was unusual in that
it continued the use of these weapons on swept-wing fighters and right
into the supersonic age, although in an upgraded version" - From WW2 gun
debate below
Post by R***@eSedona.net
The vast majority, perhaps all, of the Allied fighters had only MGs.
(I am interested only in fighters which were delivered in large enough
numbers to have some effect on the war.)
Spitfire? Hurricane? Tempest? Typhoon? Yak-1? Yak-3? Yak-9? LaGG-3?
La-5? La-7? P-39? D-520? MS-406/410? F4U Corsair? I-16?
Post by R***@eSedona.net
QUESTION: What factors led the aircraft designers to choose the type
of guns to be used in a particular fighter aircraft?
Depended mostly on the development state of the weapons, the armanent
policy of each nations and what kind of air war you was supposed to fight.

This topic is well covered in the WWII Fighter Gun Debate article
series. No need to add much anything else to it:

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/8217/fgun/fgun-fr.html


And why US was slow with the 20mm? Logistics and:
http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/US404.htm

More good reading at Anthony G Williams's site:
http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/

jok

--
rob
2005-10-06 23:52:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by R***@eSedona.net
I was reminded of the issue of MG vs. cannons when I re-read the
excellent book "Samurai" by the IJN fighter ace Saburo Sakai. Sakai
flew only the Mitsubishi Zero.
Of course, the Zero had two 7.7mm MGs and two 20mm cannons.
According to sources, the two MGs had magazines of 680 rounds per gun,
could fire 1000rpm, and had an effective range of 600m.
The cannons had magazines of 60 rounds per gun (increased to 100 rounds
per gun later), could fire 490rpm, and had an effective range of 1000m.
I wouldn't be too concerned with maximum range, most of the shooting took
place within a 150 odd metres.
Post by R***@eSedona.net
As far as I know, the only US aircraft delivered in large numbers with
a cannon was the Lockheed Lighting P-38. The P-38 had four 0.50 inch
machine guns, and one 20 mm cannon. (I could not
determine the number of rounds the P-38 carried for each gun type.)
Also the P-39, which had a huge 37mm gun. It wasn't much of a fighter
(although the Soviets had a large amont of success with it a low altitude)
but that gun made it an excellent ground attack aircraft;
Post by R***@eSedona.net
The vast majority, perhaps all, of the Allied fighters had only MGs.
(I am interested only in fighters which were delivered in large enough
numbers to have some effect on the war.)
The British started the move from MGs to Cannon early in the war, trialling
cannon armed Hurricanes in the BoB. The Spitfire had 2 cannons+MGs by mid
war and the Typhoon and Tempest 4 cannon only.
Post by R***@eSedona.net
QUESTION: What factors led the aircraft designers to choose the type
of guns to be used in a particular fighter aircraft?
I would say the main reason the US stuck with the .50 so long was mission.
They were largely going up against fighters whereas the Luftwaffe needed the
heavier punch to take on the bombers.
--
Scott M. Kozel
2005-10-07 15:59:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by rob
I would say the main reason the US stuck with the .50 so long was mission.
They were largely going up against fighters whereas the Luftwaffe needed the
heavier punch to take on the bombers.
As did the Japanese. Given that the U.S. and the British were the only
ones to build large numbers of large 4-engine bombers, that would
explain why the 50-caliber was so popular in U.S. aircraft, since there
was a lot less need for the 20-mm, when 6 or 8 50-caliber guns could be
mounted on one fighter, which would devastate a German or Japanese
single-engine fighter or a twin-engine medium bomber; and a pair of
50-caliber guns could be mounted in one power turret, and 11 to 13
50-caliber guns could be mounted on one heavy bomber, providing adequate
firepower to defend against enemy fighters.

Plus, the U.S. fighters usually attacked en masse, and the U.S. bombers
usually flew in massed formations with interlocking defensive firepower.
--
Scott M. Kozel Highway and Transportation History Websites
Virginia/Maryland/Washington, D.C. http://www.roadstothefuture.com
Philadelphia and Delaware Valley http://www.pennways.com
--
Ian MacLure
2005-10-07 16:00:02 UTC
Permalink
Morphing the discussion slightly.
What would have been adequate cannon armament on
a late war allied interceptor a/c?

4x20mm?
6x20mm? ( would this have been a possible fit for
say a P-47 )
6x37mm ( McD XP-67 )

In a pinch I have to imagine something could have been done with
available airframes (say Mosquitos and 37mm weapons) that would have
provided the required speed and firepower to take on just about
anything that flew.

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Andrew Robert Breen
2005-10-07 23:40:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian MacLure
Morphing the discussion slightly.
What would have been adequate cannon armament on
a late war allied interceptor a/c?
Given what they had to face, 4x20mm was ample.
Post by Ian MacLure
4x20mm?
6x20mm? ( would this have been a possible fit for
say a P-47 )
Several generations of British design projects in early- to mid-
war specified 6x20mm, notably the Gloster Reaper night fighter,
the Martin-Baker MB.3 day fighter and the various Vickers
high-altitude fighter projects. The Meteor was also designed to
have six cannon - two got dropped from the design because ammunition
supply was going to be fiddly, and besides four nose cannon were
going to do the job on anything it was likely to meet.

There were also some British design studies with 1-3 40mm for high-
altitude interception.
Post by Ian MacLure
6x37mm ( McD XP-67 )
In a pinch I have to imagine something could have been done with
available airframes (say Mosquitos and 37mm weapons) that would have
provided the required speed and firepower to take on just about
anything that flew.
The Mossie could already carry the 57mm Moilins automatic gun. That
would, I suspect, have been ample.
If not, then several immediately post-war projects were designed to use a
4.5" recoilless gun firing proximity-fused shells. The rotating magazine
seems to have been the sticking point, but that would provide ample
firepower.
--
Andy Breen ~ Not speaking on behalf of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Feng Shui: an ancient oriental art for extracting
money from the gullible (Martin Sinclair)
--
Davide Pastore
2005-10-10 00:32:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Robert Breen
Several generations of British design projects in early- to mid-
war specified 6x20mm
Specification F.37/35 [OR.31] (1935)
Called for a fighter with 4x20mm frontally fixed.
Proposals:
- Boulton Paul P.88
- Bristol Type 153
- Bristol Type 153A
- Hawker F.37/35 [Hurricane variant]
- Supermarine 312 [Spitfire variant]
- Supermarine 313
- Westland P.9 [produced as Whirlwind]

Specification F.11/37 [OR.50] (1937)
Called for a turret fighter (a two-engined Defiant) with 4x20mm.
Proposals:
- Armstrong Whitworth F.11/37
- Boulton Paul P.92
- Bristol F.11/37
- Gloster F.11/37
- Hawker F.11/37

Specification B.19/38 (1938), later amended in B.1/39 (1939)
Called for a bomber defended by two turrets (dorsal and ventral)
similar to the F.11/37 ones, each with 4x20mm.
Proposals:
- Armstrong Whitworth AW.48
- Avro 680
- Blackburn B.30
- Bristol 159
- Fairey B.1/39
- Gloster B.1/39
- Handley Page HP.60
- Shorts S.34
- Vickers 405

Specification F.6/39 (1939)
Called for a fixed armament of 4x20mm or 2x40mm.
Proposals:
- Vickers Type 432
- Fairey F.6/39
- Supermarine 334
- Westland F.6/39
- Vickers 414
- Vickers 420
- Vickers 432

These are just the PRE-war specifications.
Any one issued after 1939 called for 20mm as a bare minimum.
--
Davide

"Solo se la vostra visione va oltre quella del vostro maestro,
siete adatti per ricevere e tramandare la trasmissione."

(Massima Zen)



--
Scott M. Kozel
2005-10-10 00:32:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian MacLure
Morphing the discussion slightly.
What would have been adequate cannon armament on
a late war allied interceptor a/c?
If the war had continued on another year or two, and/or if European
losses had necessitated it, the B-36 bomber would have introduced a new
level of defensive armament for heavy bombers. One of the 1942 designs
had three twin-gun 37-mm remote-controlled power turrets, and one
twin-gun and one 4-gun 50-caliber remote-controlled power turret; and
another 1942 design had four twin-gun 37-mm remote-controlled power
turrets, and one 4-gun 50-caliber remote-controlled power turret.
Neither of these designs were built.

The B-36 design that was adopted in 1943, was a decision that 20-mm was
the optimum defensive gun for the aircraft, in eight twin-gun 20-mm
remote-controlled power turrets. The four upper turrets and the two
lower turrets had full hemispheric fire coverage, and the nose and tail
turrets had somewhat more limited coverage. The upper and lower turrets
were fully retractable, and there were three turret pits each housing
two turrets, with fuselage panels that closed over the turrets after
retraction.

The B-36 was that big, that it could carry such a suite of defensive
guns, and many thousands of rounds of ammunition.

I don't know of any photos of the turrets on the Internet, but the
following book has photos and details of the armament system, and here
is the review that I posted on Amazon.com about _Magnesium Overcast: The
Story of the Convair B-36, by Dennis R. Jenkins, 2002 --

Great book!! I have always wanted to see a detailed history book about
the B-36, even since the 1960s when I first read detailed history books
about the other heavy bombers (B-17, B-24, B-29, B-47, B-52). For some
reason the B-36 never got covered in a detailed history book, but now we
have one, and Dennis R. Jenkins is to be commended for preparing both
this book and the complementary "Scrapbook" of B-36 photos.

Here are some of the things that I wanted information about with regard
to the B-36, but never saw until I read _Magnesium Overcast: The Story
of the Convair B-36_ --
- Details of the Wasp Major piston engine design and installation.
- Details, diagrams and photos of the retractable eight turrets
that each have two 20-mm cannon.
- Details, diagrams and photos of the crew compartments.
- Details, diagrams and photos of the 4 bomb bays.
--
Scott M. Kozel Highway and Transportation History Websites
Virginia/Maryland/Washington, D.C. http://www.roadstothefuture.com
Philadelphia and Delaware Valley http://www.pennways.com
--
Andrew Robert Breen
2005-10-10 15:55:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Scott M. Kozel
Post by Ian MacLure
Morphing the discussion slightly.
What would have been adequate cannon armament on
a late war allied interceptor a/c?
/chomp/
Post by Scott M. Kozel
The B-36 design that was adopted in 1943, was a decision that 20-mm was
the optimum defensive gun for the aircraft, in eight twin-gun 20-mm
remote-controlled power turrets. The four upper turrets and the two
lower turrets had full hemispheric fire coverage, and the nose and tail
turrets had somewhat more limited coverage. The upper and lower turrets
were fully retractable, and there were three turret pits each housing
two turrets, with fuselage panels that closed over the turrets after
retraction.
and, as has been pointed out upthread, the British heavy bomber spec.
issued shortly before the outbreak of war called for a minimum
defensive armament of 8x20mm (two quad turrets, above and below).
The Bristol design was the favoured one and got as far as full-scale
mock-up before the project was cancelled. 20mm guns remained a
feature of all british heavy bomber projects after that, though
IIRC the only one to fly was the Vickers Windsor, with remote-
controlled cannon in the trailing edges of the engine nacelles
(two per side, IIRC).
--
Andy Breen ~ Not speaking on behalf of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth

"Who dies with the most toys wins" (Gary Barnes)
--
Cub Driver
2005-10-10 15:55:41 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 10 Oct 2005 00:32:34 +0000 (UTC), "Scott M. Kozel"
Post by Scott M. Kozel
If the war had continued on another year or two, and/or if European
losses had necessitated it, the B-36 bomber would have introduced a new
level of defensive armament for heavy bombers.
Likely would have taken more time than that! When the B-36 was
introduced, the guns were very dodgy. The plane went into service some
time before they did.


-- all the best, Dan Ford

email ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
--
Scott M. Kozel
2005-10-10 20:41:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
Post by Scott M. Kozel
If the war had continued on another year or two, and/or if European
losses had necessitated it, the B-36 bomber would have introduced a new
level of defensive armament for heavy bombers.
Likely would have taken more time than that! When the B-36 was
introduced, the guns were very dodgy. The plane went into service some
time before they did.
If the priority and need for the B-36 had been high enough, like it was
with the B-29, they could have solved the problems much sooner. The
B-29 itself had major "teething problems", but the war-level priority
led to expedited solutions.
--
Scott M. Kozel Highway and Transportation History Websites
Virginia/Maryland/Washington, D.C. http://www.roadstothefuture.com
Philadelphia and Delaware Valley http://www.pennways.com
--
c***@dartmouth.edu
2005-10-11 16:21:12 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 10 Oct 2005 20:41:58 +0000 (UTC), "Scott M. Kozel"
Post by Scott M. Kozel
The
B-29 itself had major "teething problems", but the war-level priority
led to expedited solutions.
From what I've read, there was never a solution found for the problems
the B-29 had with it's engines. They were simply an unfortunate
design. They were prone to catastrophic failures due to valves
seizing and breaking off, which often popped a head off, which in turn
allowed oil to escape and catch fire on the hot engine. The fire then
torched the cylinders where were cast from magnesium. When the
magnesium began burning, almost nothing would put the fire out.

This was all precipitated by an overheating condition that never was
satisfactorily worked out.

Eventually the bomb groups worked around this by bringing the bombing
height down to low level at night. This allowed the pilots to reduce
the engines to cruise power shortly after takeoff, rather than spend
(literally) hours climbing to bombing height at climb power settings.
Not all the missions were at low level though, high altitude missions
were flown till the end of the war.

Only after the war when the engines were swapped out for Pratt and
Whitney R 4350's and the bomber's designation was changed to B-50 did
the engine problem go away.

Corky Scott

--
Bill Shatzer
2005-10-12 00:05:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by c***@dartmouth.edu
From what I've read, there was never a solution found for the problems
the B-29 had with it's engines. They were simply an unfortunate
design. They were prone to catastrophic failures due to valves
seizing and breaking off, which often popped a head off, which in turn
allowed oil to escape and catch fire on the hot engine. The fire then
torched the cylinders where were cast from magnesium. When the
magnesium began burning, almost nothing would put the fire out.
I'm not sure that's completely correct. The B-29 used the Wright
R-3350 engine - the same basic engine was used in the C-119 transport
(and AC-119 gunship), the C-121/Lockheed SuperConstellation
transport/airliner as well as the Navy's AD-1 (A-1) Skyraider and P2V
Neptune. All of these soldiered on until well into (and in some cases
past) the Vietnam War.

It seems unlikely that an inherently trouble-prone engine (rather
than one just suffering from "teething problems") would have found
such wide spread use or have remained in front line service for that
length of time.

Cheers and all,


--
Scott M. Kozel
2005-10-12 16:24:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Shatzer
Post by c***@dartmouth.edu
From what I've read, there was never a solution found for the problems
the B-29 had with it's engines. They were simply an unfortunate
design. They were prone to catastrophic failures due to valves
seizing and breaking off, which often popped a head off, which in turn
allowed oil to escape and catch fire on the hot engine. The fire then
torched the cylinders where were cast from magnesium. When the
magnesium began burning, almost nothing would put the fire out.
I'm not sure that's completely correct. The B-29 used the Wright
R-3350 engine - the same basic engine was used in the C-119 transport
(and AC-119 gunship), the C-121/Lockheed SuperConstellation
transport/airliner as well as the Navy's AD-1 (A-1) Skyraider and P2V
Neptune. All of these soldiered on until well into (and in some cases
past) the Vietnam War.
That's all true, but those utilized updated versions of the R-3350,
which produced much more power than the original 2,200-hp version, along
with other improvements.

Turbo-compound R-3350 engines became available for commercial use in
early 1953 and 3,250 hp DA1 engines were first installed on L1049C Super
Constellation PH-TFP. The 3,400 hp EA3 and EA6 versions of the R3350
engine were installed on the L1049H cargo versions of the Super
Constellation. Airline service does not make the stress demands on
engines that military use does, though, and those aircraft were
well-powered for their usages.

As revolutionary as was the original R-3350, and as huge and
revolutionary as was the B-29, the B-29 airframe could handle much
heavier and more powerful engines, the B-29 was only modestly-powered
with the 2,200-hp R-3350s, but they were the most powerful engines
available to the U.S. in WWII.

The Mariana Islands airbases were 1,500 to 1,700 miles from the various
Japanese targets, and Iwo Jima was not in U.S. hands as an emergency
airbase until the B-29 bombing campaign was well underway, and the
high-altitude bombing missions of 28,000 feet altitude and higher put
extreme demands on the engines, as it took many hours at very high
throttle settings to take off heavily loaded with bombs, climb to full
altitude, bomb, and then return to base. It could be argued that the
B-29 was somewhat underpowered for those missions, and those missions
took a toll on the engines.

The nighttime low-level incendiary raids at 5,000 to 9,000 feet altitude
put much less stress on the engines, and also solved the problems of
weather and high-altitude winds that led to poor bombing accuracy on the
high-altitude bombing missions over Japan.

The B-50 had four 3,500-horsepower P&W R-4360-35 engines. The B-50
evolved from the B-29D, but because it included so many improvements, it
was redesignated the B-50A, with 59 percent more power than the B-29.
Other improvements were more aerodynamic nacelles, larger flaps,
fast-retracting ball-screw landing gear, hydraulic rudder boost,
hydraulic nosewheel steering and heated-wing deicing. It also had a
higher vertical tail that folded when the bomber rolled into
standard-height hangars. The B-50's wing, made from the 75ST aluminum
alloy, was 16 percent stronger and 600 pounds lighter than the otherwise
identical B-29 wing.

Boeing built 371 B-50s between 1947 and 1953. Some served until 1965
and were in action during the Vietnam conflict as refueling tankers.
--
Scott M. Kozel Highway and Transportation History Websites
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--
Bill Shatzer
2005-10-12 23:52:56 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 12 Oct 2005, Scott M. Kozel wrote:
-snip-
Post by Scott M. Kozel
As revolutionary as was the original R-3350, and as huge and
revolutionary as was the B-29, the B-29 airframe could handle much
heavier and more powerful engines, the B-29 was only modestly-powered
with the 2,200-hp R-3350s, but they were the most powerful engines
available to the U.S. in WWII.
That's not strictly correct - the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines used
on some of the late model P-47s were rated between 2,300 and 2,500 hp,
depending on the version.

The P&W R-2800-73s used in the P-61C and P-47N were rated at 2,800 hp -
although they admittedly didn't enter operational service until the very
closing days of the war.

Cheers and all,



--
Scott M. Kozel
2005-10-13 16:01:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Shatzer
Post by Scott M. Kozel
As revolutionary as was the original R-3350, and as huge and
revolutionary as was the B-29, the B-29 airframe could handle much
heavier and more powerful engines, the B-29 was only modestly-powered
with the 2,200-hp R-3350s, but they were the most powerful engines
available to the U.S. in WWII.
That's not strictly correct - the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines used
on some of the late model P-47s were rated between 2,300 and 2,500 hp,
depending on the version.
The P&W R-2800-73s used in the P-61C and P-47N were rated at 2,800 hp -
although they admittedly didn't enter operational service until the very
closing days of the war.
I should have said "the most powerful engines available to the U.S. when
the original B-29 design was finalized".

This comment of mine in an earlier post is not entirely correct --
"The engines utilized in the B-36, the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp
Major, first flew in the production B-29D in July 1945. Hundreds of
B-29Ds would have been built during the rest 1945 if the war had
continued".

The second sentence is entirely correct, but the USAF Museum website
shows that no production B-29Ds were built during the war, and that it
was re-designated the B-50A when that model actually went into
production after the war.

However, the XB-44 aircraft that effectively was the B-29D prototype,
did first fly in May 1945, which was several months before the war
ended, and it was equipped with four Pratt & Whitney R-4360-33 Wasp
Major supercharged radials with 3,000 hp each.

"The XB-44 program was initiated in mid-1943 when Pratt & Whitney
offered to modify a B-29 with larger engines, a contract was awarded in
July 1944, and the first flight of the aircraft occurred in May 1945.
The XB-44 was capable of cruising speeds about 50-60 mph faster than a
production B-29".

http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/research/bombers/b4/b4-6.htm

"The B-29D was designed as an improved version of the basic B-29,
featuring Pratt & Whitney R-4360-35 radial engines of 3500 horsepower
each, a taller vertical stabilizer and a strengthened wing. Because of
extensive design differences with the B-29 and drastic cutbacks in
military spending after the end of WWII, the B-29D was redesignated
B-50".

http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/research/bombers/b3-40.htm
--
Scott M. Kozel Highway and Transportation History Websites
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Philadelphia and Delaware Valley http://www.pennways.com
--
mike
2005-10-12 23:53:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Scott M. Kozel
Turbo-compound R-3350 engines became available for commercial use in
early 1953 and 3,250 hp DA1 engines were first installed on L1049C Super
Constellation PH-TFP. The 3,400 hp EA3 and EA6 versions of the R3350
engine were installed on the L1049H cargo versions of the Super
Constellation. Airline service does not make the stress demands on
engines that military use does, though, and those aircraft were
well-powered for their usages.
As revolutionary as was the original R-3350, and as huge and
revolutionary as was the B-29, the B-29 airframe could handle much
heavier and more powerful engines, the B-29 was only modestly-powered
with the 2,200-hp R-3350s, but they were the most powerful engines
available to the U.S. in WWII.
Could have overpowered the B-29 with this engine, the Lycoming XR-7755
with 5000 HP each: dwarfed the Wasp Major

http://www.aviation-history.com/engines/xr-7755.html

**
mike
**
--
Scott M. Kozel
2005-10-12 00:05:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by c***@dartmouth.edu
The B-29 itself had major "teething problems", but the war-level priority
led to expedited solutions.
From what I've read, there was never a solution found for the problems
the B-29 had with it's engines. They were simply an unfortunate
design.
The R-3350 was a revolutionary engine design for its time in WWII, each
generating 2,200-hp, but like you said, arguably not really enough
engine for 3,000+ mile B-29 missions at high altitude with a heavy bomb
load. However, the B-29 was a very successful bombardment aircraft in
WWII, and way-outperformed any other WWII bomber.

Later versions of the R-3350 did quite well powering the C-119, C-121,
A-1 Skyraider, and several Navy and 4-engine commercial aircraft.
Post by c***@dartmouth.edu
Only after the war when the engines were swapped out for Pratt and
Whitney R 4350's and the bomber's designation was changed to B-50 did
the engine problem go away.
The old B-29s performed well enough on bombing missions in the Korean
War, that the B-50s were not used in that war. The USAF could have
easily spared several hundred B-47s for use on bombing missions in that
war, but they were not used either.
--
Scott M. Kozel Highway and Transportation History Websites
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Philadelphia and Delaware Valley http://www.pennways.com
--
Andrew Clark
2005-10-12 23:52:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Scott M. Kozel
The R-3350 was a revolutionary engine design
for its time in WWII, each
generating 2,200-hp,
Not so revolutionary, really. The Rolls Royce Griffon with
115 octane fuel and fuel injection, used in Spitfires in
1943-44, generated 2450 HP. When 150 octane fuel was used
with water injection, the Rolls Royce Merlin RM in 1944
generated between 2500 and 2600 HP.




--
c***@dartmouth.edu
2005-10-12 23:53:02 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 12 Oct 2005 00:05:49 +0000 (UTC), "Scott M. Kozel"
Post by Scott M. Kozel
The R-3350 was a revolutionary engine design for its time in WWII, each
generating 2,200-hp, but like you said, arguably not really enough
engine for 3,000+ mile B-29 missions at high altitude with a heavy bomb
load. However, the B-29 was a very successful bombardment aircraft in
WWII, and way-outperformed any other WWII bomber.
Don't hold me to this but I believe the problems associated with this
engine in the B-29 were the result of the tight cowling and inadaquate
air flow over the cylinders.

Added to this were the fuel overloads and of course the maximum bomb
loads. Takeoff's were harrowing. I read one pilot's description of
the typical takeoff from the Chinese field. The early B-29's did not
have nose steering and the rudder did not begin to take effect until
about 50 mph wind over the nose. They did not dare use brakes to
correct for drift, or at least this pilot did not wish to do so
because any use of brakes slowed the airplane and made lift off within
the length of the runway that much less a possibility of success.

So normally, they'd angle the bomber toward the right side of the
runway and run the engines up to takeoff power, then release the
brakes and stomp on right rudder. If they'd aimed properly, the
bomber would roll towards the right side of the runway, then gradually
drift towards the left side due to prop effect and the torque reaction
of those massive props (his words, not mine). By the time the bomber
was perilously close to the left side of the runway, the rudder began
to start having an effect and the bomber would be edged over into the
middle of the runway.

Once lift off occured, they established a positive rate of climb,
which was only in the hundred ft per minute range, and raised the
gear. Now began and agonizingly long climb to altitude which was
excessively long because they had to keep their speed up in order to
promote maximum airflow over the cylinders.

Any type of engine failure or loss of power during this time was
catastrophic as the airplane could not maintain flying speed without
all four engines producing rated power.

So they inched up along the way, bit by bit until reaching bombing
altitude, by which time the Japanese Islands were usually in sight. Or
not. Often after all that, the target was covered with clouds and the
mission was a bust.

Corky Scott
--
Cub Driver
2005-10-12 16:25:57 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 11 Oct 2005 16:21:12 +0000 (UTC),
Post by c***@dartmouth.edu
which in turn
allowed oil to escape and catch fire on the hot engine.
I once interviewed a B-29 pilot named George Bertagnolli, who was on
the "thousand-plane" raid that ended the Pacific War, Aug 14/15.

The planes were grossly overloaded on every mission. Maybe P&Ws would
have been an improvement, but I doubt if the B-50 ever flew under the
conditions that were routine in 1944/45. A plane would take off three
or four times going down the two-mile runway, and often enough when it
limped into the air at the end, it would disappear from sight because
the pilot decided to go down to the water for a mile or two in ground
effect until the plane got up to safe three-engine flying speed.

On that last mission, Bertagnolli had one engine burst into flame. Now
flying, famously, is not dangerous. *Landing* is dangerous, and this
plane like all the others was far above max gross, with much of that
weight in the form of high octane gasoline and high explosives.

"Let the son of a bitch burn!" he said, and kept the nose pointed
toward Japan.

Sure enough, the fire went out. He flew the mission, 3,000 miles to
the Empire and back, and was still alive and good health when I talked
to him on the 50th anniversary of the raid.


-- all the best, Dan Ford

email ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
--
Michael Emrys
2005-10-13 16:01:48 UTC
Permalink
Now flying, famously, is not dangerous. *Landing* is dangerous, and this plane
like all the others was far above max gross, with much of that weight in the
form of high octane gasoline and high explosives.
The bombs of course could have been ejected into the ocean, but I don't know
if provision was made in those days for ejecting fuel that was no longer
desired. If there was any question that his landing gear might malfunction,
he made the right decision.

Michael
--
Cub Driver
2005-10-14 16:39:14 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 13 Oct 2005 16:01:48 +0000 (UTC), Michael Emrys
Post by Scott M. Kozel
I don't know
if provision was made in those days for ejecting fuel that was no longer
desired
The general rule, at least in U.S. service, was to fly around in
circles and burn it up. That option (nor jettisoning bombs either,
unless the pilot was particularly self-sacrificing) wasn't really
available to a plane that was on fire.


-- all the best, Dan Ford

email ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
--
Michael Emrys
2005-10-14 20:26:01 UTC
Permalink
The general rule, at least in U.S. service, was to fly around in circles and
burn it up.
That is consistent with what I've read.

But...
That option (nor jettisoning bombs either, unless the pilot was particularly
self-sacrificing) wasn't really available to a plane that was on fire.
Why wouldn't a pilot eject (or 'salvo' I think was the word used in those
days) his bomb load if the plane was in trouble? I don't understand that
part.

Michael
--
Cub Driver
2005-10-16 21:19:14 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 14 Oct 2005 20:26:01 +0000 (UTC), Michael Emrys
Post by Michael Emrys
That option (nor jettisoning bombs either, unless the pilot was particularly
self-sacrificing) wasn't really available to a plane that was on fire.
Why wouldn't a pilot eject (or 'salvo' I think was the word used in those
days) his bomb load if the plane was in trouble? I don't understand that
part.
His altitude was probably less than 500 feet, and perhaps as low as 50
feet. (If literally in ground effect, certainly 50 feet or even less.)

Given that the runways on Tinian occupied most of the island (not on
Guam, however!), we can assume he is already over water, so not
endangering the friendly installation. The plane however would
probably be destroyed if any bomb exploded when it hit the water.

As I recall, Tinian had four runways, and at least one was always
reserved for returning aircraft (and not merely disabled ones: the
bomber streams were so extensive in such raids as Aug 14/15 that the
earliest planes were already returning as the late elements were
taking off). Bertagnoli's standard option would have been to circle
back and attempt a downwind landing with full fuel and ordnance. He
thought it would be safer to continue the mission and hope the fire
would go out.


-- all the best, Dan Ford

email: usenet AT danford DOT net

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
--
Andrew Clark
2005-10-10 15:57:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Scott M. Kozel
If the war had continued on another year or two,
and/or if European losses had necessitated it,
the B-36 bomber would have introduced a new
level of defensive armament for heavy bombers.
Which would have been completely inadequate against the
surface to air and air to air missiles which the Germans
(and British) had in development in 1944-45.


--
Scott M. Kozel
2005-10-10 20:42:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
Post by Scott M. Kozel
If the war had continued on another year or two,
and/or if European losses had necessitated it,
the B-36 bomber would have introduced a new
level of defensive armament for heavy bombers.
Which would have been completely inadequate against the
surface to air and air to air missiles which the Germans
(and British) had in development in 1944-45.
It was 1955 before the advancing technology for surface-to-air and
air-to-air missiles, effectively caught up with the B-36 design, which
had advancements of its own in the area of aircraft performance as well
as electronic countermeasures, decoys and chaff.

The B-36 could cruise very high, over 43,000 feet altitude in the first
version with 6 Wasp Majors, and over 360 mph in short segments; and over
53,000 feet altitude in the jet-assisted version, and over 400 mph in
short segments. The B-36 had a huge wingspan and could out-turn the
fighters of the day which had poor performance at those altitudes.

Some of the fighter jocks of the day disagreed with that assessment, but
the state of the art in jet engines 1945-1947 was that of low thrust and
high fuel consumption, making it questionable as to whether they could
sortie from the ground and reach the B-36s before the B-36s were out of
the area. IOW, actually reaching the vicinity of the B-36s would have
been difficult.
--
Scott M. Kozel Highway and Transportation History Websites
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Philadelphia and Delaware Valley http://www.pennways.com
--
Davide Pastore
2005-10-11 16:20:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Scott M. Kozel
It was 1955 before the advancing technology for surface-to-air and
air-to-air missiles, effectively caught up with the B-36 design
It was 1945, actually.

The German planned to field by 1946 more than 5,000 SAM sites
(1,800 Hs117 Schmetterling + 1,200 C2 Wasserfall around the 70
biggest German cities, plus another 1,300 + 870 along a border
defensive perimeter).

Factory planned output would have been 3,000 + 900 weapons per month.

At the same time, all Luftwaffe day fighters would have carried
the X4 (or superior) as the main AA weapon. 1,300 of these AAM
had their fuselage manufactured before war's end (but the engine's
factory had been previously flatted by a bombing). Being wire-guided,
it would have been totally immune to any ECM device.

A number of other SAM and AAM were proposed in 1944-45.

Although all of these weapons were rather crude by today's standard,
nonetheless they were years (if not decades) in advance of anything
under development in USA (however impalatable it may be!!!).
Post by Scott M. Kozel
The B-36 could cruise very high, over 43,000 feet altitude in the first
version with 6 Wasp Majors, and over 360 mph in short segments; and over
53,000 feet altitude in the jet-assisted version, and over 400 mph in
short segments. The B-36 had a huge wingspan and could out-turn the
fighters of the day which had poor performance at those altitudes.
The Wasserfal could climb at over 60,000 feet, travelling at 1,500 mph.
Data as per prototype test flights (about 40) of 1944-45.
--
Davide

"Solo se la vostra visione va oltre quella del vostro maestro,
siete adatti per ricevere e tramandare la trasmissione."

(Massima Zen)


--
Scott M. Kozel
2005-10-12 00:05:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Davide Pastore
Post by Scott M. Kozel
It was 1955 before the advancing technology for surface-to-air and
air-to-air missiles, effectively caught up with the B-36 design
It was 1945, actually.
1955 would be about correct, for technology in that area that was
-proven- and deployable in large numbers.
Post by Davide Pastore
The German planned to field by 1946 more than 5,000 SAM sites
(1,800 Hs117 Schmetterling + 1,200 C2 Wasserfall around the 70
biggest German cities, plus another 1,300 + 870 along a border
defensive perimeter).
I know about the German WWII technological work in the area of
anti-aircraft missile technology, but it was unproven vaporware.

The Korean War was 1951-1953, and even then, anti-aircraft missile
technology was immature enough that it was an insignificant factor in
shooting down aircraft in that war; virtually all aircraft shootdowns
were accomplished the same way as in WWII, by ground-mounted cannon and
by aircraft-mounted machine guns and auto-cannon.

The U.S. didn't even bother to bring out their best bombers to that war,
they could have deployed hundreds of the B-36, B-47 and B-50, and kept
plenty in the strategic nuclear role in other places, but the only U.S.
heavy bomber utilized to bomb in Korea was aged B-29s.
--
Scott M. Kozel Highway and Transportation History Websites
Virginia/Maryland/Washington, D.C. http://www.roadstothefuture.com
Philadelphia and Delaware Valley http://www.pennways.com
--
Davide Pastore
2005-10-12 16:24:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Scott M. Kozel
I know about the German WWII technological work in the area of
anti-aircraft missile technology
I am under the strong impression that you looked at the matter with
a very biased eye.
Post by Scott M. Kozel
but it was unproven vaporware.
As the B-36 in 1945.
German AAM and SAM were flying while B-36 was just a wooden mock-up.
--
Davide

"Solo se la vostra visione va oltre quella del vostro maestro,
siete adatti per ricevere e tramandare la trasmissione."

(Massima Zen)


--
mike
2005-10-12 23:53:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Davide Pastore
Post by Scott M. Kozel
but it was unproven vaporware.
As the B-36 in 1945.
German AAM and SAM were flying while B-36 was just a wooden mock-up.
The XP-36 was together as a prototype in 1942. A USAAF Pilot I knew
remarked to me, that he knew the war was as good as won when after
he returned from his 50 missions over Europe, he was part of the B-32
test program. He said that one day he was shown that huge bomber
in an even more huge hanger, with the touring Officer saying something
to the effect of "If the 32 isn't enough, this is 'enough' in spades"

Elsewhere in this thread on the Wright Engine- that was also used
in the B-32, but he said it didn't have the overheating problem
as much as the B-29 did, due to much larger vent and flap area on
the cowlings- but said the engineers at Wright should have been
hung for their screwups on debugging the 3550 for so long.

He said with those flaps set for max cooling, was like having
drag spoilers deployed, really slowed the aircraft, almost
like a dive bomber used. He also preferred the B-32 as far as
flying went over the B-29, as soon as the B-32 got the tall
single rudder.

**
mike
**
--
Scott M. Kozel
2005-10-12 23:53:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Davide Pastore
Post by Scott M. Kozel
I know about the German WWII technological work in the area of
anti-aircraft missile technology
I am under the strong impression that you looked at the matter with
a very biased eye.
Not at all; I consider German technology during WWII, in general, to
have been superb in both design and implementation; as their technology
was throughout the 20th Century.

As I detailed in my previous post, I just don't see where the historical
record shows that anti-aircraft missile technology was a mature
technology until about 1955.
Post by Davide Pastore
Post by Scott M. Kozel
but it was unproven vaporware.
As the B-36 in 1945.
The engines utilized in the B-36, the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major,
first flew in the production B-29D in July 1945. Hundreds of B-29Ds
would have been built during the rest 1945 if the war had continued.

The B-36 aircraft was a progression in technology, something that could
have been built sooner if WWII war needs had demanded that the U.S.
build a bomber with that range and payload.

If the Soviet Union had fallen or was militarily neutralized in 1941 or
1942, and if Britain had fallen or was militarily neutralized in 1941 or
1942; and the U.S. had critically needed the B-36's intercontinental
range to bomb European targets, then the priority for the B-36 program
would have been advanced to the highest level, and the priority for the
B-29 program could have been sharply reduced, as the B-36 could carry
out nearly any mission that the B-29 could.

The B-36 was an expensive aircraft to build, a lot more than the B-29
which was expensive itself, but as it turned out the USAF experience
proved that, per pound of payload, of the two, the B-36 was much less
costly to build, and much less costly in manpower. This comparison held
true for the B-36 compared to the B-50, as well.
Post by Davide Pastore
German AAM and SAM were flying while B-36 was just a wooden mock-up.
German AAM were launched against USAAF massed bomber formations starting
in 1943, but they were unguided, and while a number of USAAF bombers
were shot down by them, it was generally thought even then that the
German twin-engine fighters that launched them would have been much more
effective attacking the bombers with their auto-cannon.

Guided AAM and SAM were very much an unproven technology in the 1940s,
as to how well they would work in a combat situation against enemy
aircraft, or whether they would have any measurable effect at all in
destroying enemy aircraft.
--
Scott M. Kozel Highway and Transportation History Websites
Virginia/Maryland/Washington, D.C. http://www.roadstothefuture.com
Philadelphia and Delaware Valley http://www.pennways.com
--
Nicholas Smid
2005-10-18 16:10:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Scott M. Kozel
Post by Davide Pastore
Post by Scott M. Kozel
I know about the German WWII technological work in the area of
anti-aircraft missile technology
I am under the strong impression that you looked at the matter with
a very biased eye.
Not at all; I consider German technology during WWII, in general, to
have been superb in both design and implementation; as their technology
was throughout the 20th Century.
As I detailed in my previous post, I just don't see where the historical
record shows that anti-aircraft missile technology was a mature
technology until about 1955.
Ofcourse it didn't help that in 1945 everyone pretty much took 5 years off
in missile development, scrubed all the projects in the pipeline and
scattered the design teams, then about 1950 they woke up and had to start
again from if not scratch, there had been some work done, certenly from well
behind where they had been at the end of the war.
The German SAM's had problems, guidence issues don't seem to have been well
thought out in many cases and they had serious problems with proximity
fuses, though missiles are much friendlier places to fit things than shells
the Germans didn't seem to do proximity fuses very well. But the air frames
and engines worked well and they were starting to get a handle on the other
problems, ofcourse having a bunch of unfriendly people bombing your critical
factories at bad moments didn't help.
Still if brought into service those SAM's would have been a real threat for
a while untill ECM caught up, which it would have quite rapidly I think, the
Germans were badly behind in electronics.

(snip
Post by Scott M. Kozel
The B-36 aircraft was a progression in technology, something that could
have been built sooner if WWII war needs had demanded that the U.S.
build a bomber with that range and payload.
If the Soviet Union had fallen or was militarily neutralized in 1941 or
1942, and if Britain had fallen or was militarily neutralized in 1941 or
1942; and the U.S. had critically needed the B-36's intercontinental
range to bomb European targets, then the priority for the B-36 program
would have been advanced to the highest level, and the priority for the
B-29 program could have been sharply reduced, as the B-36 could carry
out nearly any mission that the B-29 could.
The B-36 was an expensive aircraft to build, a lot more than the B-29
which was expensive itself, but as it turned out the USAF experience
proved that, per pound of payload, of the two, the B-36 was much less
costly to build, and much less costly in manpower. This comparison held
true for the B-36 compared to the B-50, as well.
The B-36 could probably have been pushed into service sooner than it was if
needed but it was working right at the edge of technology and even with a
massive effort it was going to be as big a can of worms in its first year as
the B-29 was, and that first year of squadron service probably wasn't going
to be starting much before late 46, B-29's from Iceland would have been in
action for a long time before than kicking German counters off into whole
new directions, its about 1500 miles from Reykiavik to Berlin.
Ofcourse if Northrop had been as good at kissing arss and buying generals as
he was at designing aircraft the B-36 would have been consigned to the also
rans in favour of the B-35 and developments.
Post by Scott M. Kozel
Post by Davide Pastore
German AAM and SAM were flying while B-36 was just a wooden mock-up.
German AAM were launched against USAAF massed bomber formations starting
in 1943, but they were unguided, and while a number of USAAF bombers
were shot down by them, it was generally thought even then that the
German twin-engine fighters that launched them would have been much more
effective attacking the bombers with their auto-cannon.
Ah as far as I know no German AAM's were used in anger, they did use a
number of types of air to air rocket, mostly based on army serface to
serface types, big warheads but low speed so determening range at launch was
critical,and range was well within .50 range making it a bit hard to
consentrate on getting a good fire solution. The aircraft did ofcourse them
follow up with auto cannon, the problem was once escorts came into the game
twin engine fighters with a big load of external rockets were meat on the
table. The later 55 mm rockets were an effort to get round this, nice low
drag mounts and good speed but they were too late to make much difference.
Post by Scott M. Kozel
Guided AAM and SAM were very much an unproven technology in the 1940s,
as to how well they would work in a combat situation against enemy
aircraft, or whether they would have any measurable effect at all in
destroying enemy aircraft.
Agreed if they got into service the German SAM's would have been buggly as
hell, and probably vanrable to ECM before very long. The AAM project was on
somewhat firmer ground, wire guidence is jam proof and by then well worked
out though manual guidence might have been a real problem. But given the
senario, basically Germany ownes Europe and has had several years with
little major combat to get ready there is a good chance those weapons would
be more developed, and so somewhat more effective.
I don't think they'd be enough to stop a determand offencive but they would
very likely make it alot more expencive.



--
Scott M. Kozel
2005-10-18 23:56:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Scott M. Kozel
I consider German technology during WWII, in general, to
have been superb in both design and implementation; as their technology
was throughout the 20th Century.
As I detailed in my previous post, I just don't see where the historical
record shows that anti-aircraft missile technology was a mature
technology until about 1955.
Of course it didn't help that in 1945 everyone pretty much took 5 years off
in missile development, scrubed all the projects in the pipeline and
scattered the design teams,
Well, no, as detailed in another post today, the U.S. and a couple other
countries continued AAM development from 1946 onward.
then about 1950 they woke up and had to start
again from if not scratch, there had been some work done, certenly from well
behind where they had been at the end of the war.
The German SAM's had problems, guidence issues don't seem to have been well
thought out in many cases and they had serious problems with proximity
fuses, though missiles are much friendlier places to fit things than shells
the Germans didn't seem to do proximity fuses very well. But the air frames
and engines worked well and they were starting to get a handle on the other
problems, ofcourse having a bunch of unfriendly people bombing your critical
factories at bad moments didn't help.
Still if brought into service those SAM's would have been a real threat for
a while untill ECM caught up, which it would have quite rapidly I think, the
Germans were badly behind in electronics.
Guided AAM and SAM were very much an unproven technology in the 1940s,
as to how well they would work in a combat situation against enemy
aircraft, or whether they would have any measurable effect at all in
destroying enemy aircraft.

A weapons system might work well in testing, but combat is the only true
test, and something that works well in testing might do poorly in
combat.

The Korean War was 1951-1953, and even then, anti-aircraft missile
technology was immature enough that it was an insignificant factor in
shooting down aircraft in that war; virtually all aircraft shootdowns
were accomplished the same way as in WWII, by ground-based artillery and
by aircraft-mounted machine guns and auto-cannon.

The U.S. didn't even bother to bring out their best bombers to that war,
they could have deployed hundreds of the B-36, B-47 and B-50, and kept
plenty in the strategic nuclear role in other places, but the only U.S.
heavy bomber utilized to bomb in Korea was aged B-29s.
Post by Scott M. Kozel
If the Soviet Union had fallen or was militarily neutralized in 1941 or
1942, and if Britain had fallen or was militarily neutralized in 1941 or
1942; and the U.S. had critically needed the B-36's intercontinental
range to bomb European targets, then the priority for the B-36 program
would have been advanced to the highest level, and the priority for the
B-29 program could have been sharply reduced, as the B-36 could carry
out nearly any mission that the B-29 could.
The B-36 could probably have been pushed into service sooner than it was if
needed but it was working right at the edge of technology and even with a
massive effort it was going to be as big a can of worms in its first year as
the B-29 was, and that first year of squadron service probably wasn't going
to be starting much before late 46, B-29's from Iceland would have been in
action for a long time before than kicking German counters off into whole
new directions, its about 1500 miles from Reykiavik to Berlin.
Iceland could have been utilized as an airbase, but during the winter
months its utility would have been very limited.

Like I said in the scenario above, if the B-36 had been critically
needed after 1941, the B-29 program's priority could have been sharply
demoted, and the B-36 program's priority advanced to the highest level,
so that they could start combat operations by early 1944; and the B-36
could carry out nearly any mission that the B-29 could, with the B-36
being considerably less costly than the B-29, per pound of payload, in
cost to build, cost to operate, and in manpower both airborne and in
support.
--
Scott M. Kozel Highway and Transportation History Websites
Virginia/Maryland/Washington, D.C. http://www.roadstothefuture.com
Philadelphia and Delaware Valley http://www.pennways.com
--
Michele Armellini
2005-10-12 16:25:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Davide Pastore
Post by Scott M. Kozel
It was 1955 before the advancing technology for surface-to-air and
air-to-air missiles, effectively caught up with the B-36 design
It was 1945, actually.
The German planned to field by 1946 more than 5,000 SAM sites
(1,800 Hs117 Schmetterling + 1,200 C2 Wasserfall around the 70
biggest German cities, plus another 1,300 + 870 along a border
defensive perimeter).
Well. Yes, there had been trials. And the devices were "ready" - roughly at
the same level of readiness of late-war newly-designed U-Boote, or the
Komet, etc. There _is_ a reason if the USA, building on German ideas, did
not come up with a _really_ ready device in 1946, or 1947, or 1948.
Post by Davide Pastore
Factory planned output would have been 3,000 + 900 weapons per month.
And had this plan anything to do with real output capabilities?


--
Davide Pastore
2005-10-12 23:52:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michele Armellini
Post by Davide Pastore
Factory planned output would have been 3,000 + 900 weapons per month.
And had this plan anything to do with real output capabilities?
With historic 1945 Germany, almost nothing, since said factories were
in the process of being conquered and/or had been destroyed.

With a what-if Germany surviving another couple of years after
repelling D-day, maybe. Of course we are talking about a
scenario where the Germans _had_ time to field their toys.
The discussion started AFAIK with something like "if early
in the war so-and-so had happened, and the Allied had a little
more troubles, USAAC could have used the B-36". My point
was that in this scenario the other side too _could_ have used
[enter your favourite secret weapon here], etc. etc.
--
Davide

"Solo se la vostra visione va oltre quella del vostro maestro,
siete adatti per ricevere e tramandare la trasmissione."

(Massima Zen)


--
Andrew Clark
2005-10-11 16:20:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Scott M. Kozel
It was 1955 before the advancing technology
for surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles,
effectively caught up with the B-36 design, which
had advancements of its own in the area of aircraft
performance as well as electronic countermeasures,
decoys and chaff.
I think you mean that it was 1955 before the US, with
considerable German help, deployed the sort of guided
weapons which Germany had in the final stages of development
in 1944.

The Wasserfall, which was pretty much ready for service in
1945, was a guided supersonic missile carried aloft by a
Dornier 217 bomber. It had multiple guidance systems -
either radar infra-red or visual via a TV guidance system,
and an effective ceiling of around 50,000 feet.

After WW2, the US Army copied the Wasserfall as the Nike
Ajax.

--
mike
2005-10-12 16:25:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
I think you mean that it was 1955 before the US, with
considerable German help, deployed the sort of guided
weapons which Germany had in the final stages of development
in 1944.
Except Nike-AJax used a FC Radar based off the M9, already
in service guiding 90mm guns blasting V1s out of the sky,
in 1945

XSAM-A-7 Nike I(Nike-Ajax) got greenlighted for development in Feb'44,
along with the Bumblebee(basis for Talos,Terrier,etc)in late 44
and the GOMA (developed to BOMARC) in 1945.

The US was so far ahead in Vacuum tube tech and the Radar game,
not much to be learned from the Nazis there. Nike was a Bell Labs
show,and the use of V.large amounts of double base smokeless powder
for propellant was a US trademark from the 'Tiny Tim' rocket onwards
for booster use, like with the WAC Corporal, first flown in '45

The WAC Corporal, was a Tiny Tim solid rocket booster with a
RFNA/Aniline JATO sustainer.

The sustainer in the second stage on Ajax, by Bell again, was
of the Red Fuming Nitric Acid/Aniline storable liquids type of
that Cal Tech had been working on those Nitric acid types during
the war, and those by Aerojet(flown on an A-20 in '42), so RFNA
based motors were availiable and working before the US could pick
over the rubble in Germany.

The Nazis were screwing around with photocell and acoustic proximity
fuzes, as they didn't have the working VT types like the US, so
ground command detonation(those Nazis must have had eagle eyes
for that to have worked at 35,000ft)as the primary method.
Post by Andrew Clark
The Wasserfall, which was pretty much ready for service in
1945, was a guided supersonic missile carried aloft by a
Dornier 217 bomber.
It weighed 7,700 pounds, and 25 ft long.

ITYM the Schmetterling, which was about half a ton, and 537mph
speed for the Bomber tested missile
Post by Andrew Clark
It had multiple guidance systems -
either radar infra-red or visual via a TV guidance system,
neither of which really worked in '45. It would have been
command detonated. I don't see them getting their accoustic
VT fuze to work in a supersonic missile, and IR lockon
against prop planes with exhausts shrouded by turbochargers....
Post by Andrew Clark
After WW2, the US Army copied the Wasserfall as the Nike
Ajax.
As far as it being a ground launched SAM, yes, it was a copy,
but in details, you have to squint awfully hard for it to be a
copy

With a solid fuel booster of 59,000 pounds and analine/RFNA
sustainer of 2600 lbs, was a bit different from a single stage
vinyl isobutylether/Nitric Acid motor of 17,000 lbs thrust.

Wasserfall would have had about 3'G' at liftoft,
accelerating as fuel burned off to just over supersonic speed

Nike Ajax weighed 2460 pounds, with three warheads of 313lbs
and mach 2.3 and 70,000 foot range, with over 22 'G' at takeoff
dropping to just under 2 Gs under sustainer power.

The big postwar change in Ajax was going to a singular solid
fuel booster motor, vs Eight strap-ons of the 1945 design.

The Paperclip Nazis didn't have much to do with Ajax, either.

**
mike
**
--
Cub Driver
2005-10-13 16:01:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by mike
The US was so far ahead in Vacuum tube tech and the Radar game,
not much to be learned from the Nazis there.
In my judgment, there was very little to be learned from the Nazis in
any field, unless it were film and perhaps radio propaganda.

The Germans, however, were another matter entirely. Very impressive
both in science and in engineering. And weren't both the Germans *and*
the British ahead of the U.S. in radar technology as late as 1942?


-- all the best, Dan Ford

email ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
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In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
--
Andrew Clark
2005-10-17 16:01:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by mike
Except Nike-AJax used a FC Radar
based off the M9...
Given that the US and British were so far ahead of the
Germans in radar technology, it's hardly surprising that the
US Army did not use the Wasserfall targeting radar.
Post by mike
XSAM-A-7 Nike I(Nike-Ajax) got greenlighted
for development in Feb'44...
Ah, this is one of those frauds perpetrated on the US public
by officials keen to deny that any Nazi technology or
expertise whatsoever was ever used by the US. The US Army
certainly started to think about developing an anti-aircraft
missile in early 1944, but nothing was actually done until
1946, when test firings of Wasserfalls took place in the US.

It was decided to keep the German twin-radar and
ground-controlled-detonation command guidance system, with
the substitution of US radars, but tests revealed that work
was needed to improve the original German propellants if the
system was to be capable against jet aircraft (Wasserfall
was designed to intercept propeller-driven aircraft). It
then took from 1947 to 1951 to perfect this new propellant
system.

However, even after operational deployment in 1954, the
basic system concept and the command guidance system was
pretty much exactly the same as the Wasserfall.
Post by mike
The Nazis were screwing around with photocell
and acoustic proximity fuzes, as they didn't have
the working VT types like the US, so
ground command detonation
The Nike Ajax had ground-controlled detonation, too. And it
worked even against target drones flying three times faster
than a B-17 or B-29.
Post by mike
(those Nazis must have had eagle eyes
for that to have worked at 35,000ft)as
the primary method.
The warhead blast radius of the Wasserfall was sufficiently
large to take down a heavy bomber if detonation occured
within 50 metres. Even German decimetric GCI radar could get
the missile that close.
Post by mike
neither of which really worked in '45. It would
have been command detonated. I don't see
them getting their accoustic VT fuze to work
in a supersonic missile, and IR lockon against
prop planes with exhausts shrouded by turbochargers....
The IR fuses designed for the Wasserfall were tested
post-war by the British at Farnborough, and proved to be
quite capable of finding a 4-engined bomber above 20,000
feet, even in daylight. They were only intended to come into
operation in the final 500 metres, anyway.
Post by mike
As far as it being a ground launched SAM,
yes, it was a copy, but in details, you have
to squint awfully hard for it to be a
copy
Nope. Everything except the propellant system (upgraded for
jet aircraft) and the GCI radars was exactly the same.

--
mike
2005-10-18 16:09:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
Ah, this is one of those frauds perpetrated on the US public
by officials keen to deny that any Nazi technology or
expertise whatsoever was ever used by the US.
Not hardly, just need to point out that while some groups
embraced the Paperclip, like the Army, others like
the new USAF less so, and not wanted by some, like the Navy.

Companies ran the same way: North American Aircraft took many in,
few at Boeing,and very few(if any) at Bell Labs/Western Electric
Post by Andrew Clark
The US Army certainly started to think about developing an
anti-aircraft missile in early 1944, but nothing was actually
done until 1946, when test firings of Wasserfalls took place
in the US.
Not Quite.
http://www.redstone.army.mil/history/nikesite/nikeajax.html
_________________________
Developmental History

In 1944, German advances in rocketry and jet aircraft, as well
as the ability of bombers to fly at higher altitudes, brought to
Army planners a somber realization that traditional antiaircraft
artillery weaponry soon faced obsolescence. As a result of
internal studies verifying the need for a "major caliber anti
aircraft rocket torpedo," the Army Chief of Ordnance issued a
contract in February 1945 for Western Electric and Bell Telephone
Laboratories (BTL) to determine the feasibility of such a weapon
system. Army Ordnance based its selection of Western Electric/BTL
on the team's experience in developing and producing gun directors
and tracking radars.

Reporting back in mid-1945 that such an antiaircraft missile system
was indeed feasible, Western Electric/BTL presented the parameters
of a proposed system that came remarkably close to the system
actually fielded 8 years later. The Army selected Western Electric
as the prime contractor to develop the missile system. BTL maintained
control of computer and radar development and worked with the
Ballistics Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland,
in determining the optimum shape of the warhead. Picatinny Arsenal,
New Jersey, received responsibility for developing the High-Explosive
fragmentation device that would be placed in the warhead, while
Frankford Arsenal, Pennsylvania, created the fusing device.

The Douglas Aircraft Company became a major subcontractor,
responsible for aerodynamic studies on the interceptor missile.
Aerojet Engineering supplied both the liquid-fueled sustainer engine
and the solid-fueled booster rockets. The initial design called
for eight booster rockets to be wrapped around the tail of the
missile. The development schedule projected a weapon system ready
for production in 1949. This schedule was not met.

The first static firing of a Nike missile occurred at White Sands
Proving Ground, New Mexico, on September 17, 1946. The missile was
returned to Douglas's Santa Monica plant for evaluation. A week
after the first static test, the first actual launch of a missile
occurred at White Sands.
______________________________________
Post by Andrew Clark
It was decided to keep the German twin-radar and
ground-controlled-detonation command guidance system, with
Of course they would have to add an additional Radar to
track the missile,as well as the target. But it still fed into
the Predictor based off the M9, which was then routed to the
Missile control gear

The M9 had been improved to the M10, and used the M33
with Nike-Ajax, all from Western Electric, not from the Paperclip
crew.
Post by Andrew Clark
the substitution of US radars, but tests revealed that work
was needed to improve the original German propellants if the
Which was not using them at all, and sticking with the formulas
Aerojet had been developing since 1942. Used compressed air rather
than Nitrogen to pressurize the fuel tanks. The only US
missile that came close to that mix Wasserfall used was the
Gorgon IIA that used monoethyl-aniline and nitric/sulfuric acid,
but that was the Reaction Motors company, not Aerojet, and it
was flying in March '45
Post by Andrew Clark
system was to be capable against jet aircraft (Wasserfall
was designed to intercept propeller-driven aircraft). It
then took from 1947 to 1951 to perfect this new propellant
system.
yes, the very high thrust _solid_ fuel booster.
Post by Andrew Clark
However, even after operational deployment in 1954, the
basic system concept and the command guidance system was
pretty much exactly the same as the Wasserfall.
The basic concept had already been laid down before Hitler
blew his brains out, a guided SAM.
Post by Andrew Clark
The Nike Ajax had ground-controlled detonation, too. And it
worked even against target drones flying three times faster
than a B-17 or B-29.
The difference was the US system didn't rely on a gunner
sighting thru a telescope and pressing the red button
at the right time like with Wasserfall, but the computer
sending the signal
Post by Andrew Clark
The IR fuses designed for the Wasserfall were tested
post-war by the British at Farnborough, and proved to be
quite capable of finding a 4-engined bomber above 20,000
feet, even in daylight. They were only intended to come into
operation in the final 500 metres, anyway.
Lancasters didn't use turbochargers. B-50 and B-36 bombers
with the jet assist off provided poor lock on for early
USAF all weather intercepters that used 2nd generation
nitrogen cooled sensors.
Post by Andrew Clark
Nope. Everything except the propellant system (upgraded for
jet aircraft) and the GCI radars was exactly the same.
Exactly the same? Two stage, three part warhead at a fraction
of the weight with 3X the performance

The only part 'exactly the same' was the role, to shoot down bombers

**
mike
**
--
David Thornley
2005-10-18 16:09:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Clark
It was decided to keep the German twin-radar and
ground-controlled-detonation command guidance system, with
the substitution of US radars, but tests revealed that work
was needed to improve the original German propellants if the
system was to be capable against jet aircraft (Wasserfall
was designed to intercept propeller-driven aircraft). It
then took from 1947 to 1951 to perfect this new propellant
system.
However, even after operational deployment in 1954, the
basic system concept and the command guidance system was
pretty much exactly the same as the Wasserfall.
Okay, so, given the German plans and such, with superior US
radar and propellent adequate for use against jets, it took until
1954 for operational deployment. Apparently four of these years
could be charged to new propellant, so if that was a total loss
for other parts of the program deployment would have been about
1950.

The US did actually want a functional AA missile at this time,
and weren't just diddling around with the idea.

So, if we consider that development was somewhat interrupted,
but helped along by Western radar technology, it seems reasonable
to think that the Germans might have gotten these things to work
right around 1950 at earliest. Particularly in the numbers they'd
need to make a difference against a large offensive.

Remember, this is something fundamentally new we're talking
about, and these things often take time to get right. Just having
a good design does not mean operational success.
--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
--
John Lansford
2005-10-10 23:44:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Scott M. Kozel
Post by Ian MacLure
Morphing the discussion slightly.
What would have been adequate cannon armament on
a late war allied interceptor a/c?
If the war had continued on another year or two, and/or if European
losses had necessitated it, the B-36 bomber would have introduced a new
level of defensive armament for heavy bombers. One of the 1942 designs
had three twin-gun 37-mm remote-controlled power turrets, and one
twin-gun and one 4-gun 50-caliber remote-controlled power turret; and
another 1942 design had four twin-gun 37-mm remote-controlled power
turrets, and one 4-gun 50-caliber remote-controlled power turret.
Neither of these designs were built.
There was never, nor would there have ever, been a need for the B-36
in the historical WWII. The B-29 was designed and under development
earlier than the B-36, yet only reached effective deployment (and
never in the ETO) in 1944 flying out of Burma.

The presence of long range fighter escorts, not any heavy bomber
defense, was what ended up destroying the Luftwaffe. The P-51's and
P-47's that escorted the bombers cut their losses to fighters to very
low rates compared to what they were suffering in 1943.

John Lansford
--
The unofficial I-26 Construction Webpage:
http://users.vnet.net/lansford/a10/
--
Scott M. Kozel
2005-10-11 16:19:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Lansford
Post by Scott M. Kozel
If the war had continued on another year or two, and/or if European
losses had necessitated it, the B-36 bomber would have introduced a new
level of defensive armament for heavy bombers. One of the 1942 designs
had three twin-gun 37-mm remote-controlled power turrets, and one
twin-gun and one 4-gun 50-caliber remote-controlled power turret; and
another 1942 design had four twin-gun 37-mm remote-controlled power
turrets, and one 4-gun 50-caliber remote-controlled power turret.
Neither of these designs were built.
There was never, nor would there have ever, been a need for the B-36
in the historical WWII.
Rubbish. The U.S. project to build a very heavy bomber that could carry
10,000 pounds of bombs 10,000 miles, and up to 70,000 pounds of bombs
for shorter distances, was begun in April 1941 precisely because Hitler
was running wild and nobody yet knew what "the historical WWII" would
look like from start to finish, and the U.S. wanted a bomber that could
bomb European targets even if the Allies lost the UK.
Post by John Lansford
The B-29 was designed and under development
earlier than the B-36, yet only reached effective deployment (and
never in the ETO) in 1944 flying out of Burma.
By 1943 it was clear that the UK would not be lost, and that the Mariana
Islands would soon be taken by the U.S., and that the B-36 would likely
not be needed in WWII, because the B-17 and B-24 had adequate range for
European missions and the B-29 would have adequate range for missions to
Japan. Therefore, the priority for the B-36 program was sharply reduced
by 1943.

If the UK had been lost in 1941 or 1942, the priority for the B-36
program would have been vastly increased.

While now we know that the loss of the UK to Germany in WWII was
unlikely, from the perspective of 1941, it was wise policy to launch the
B-36 program to provide for the event in case it was needed, and 385
B-36s ultimately did enter USAF service, and the B-36 was in service
until 1958 as the only USAF bomber with intercontinental range, and it
could deliver A-bombs and H-bombs.
--
Scott M. Kozel Highway and Transportation History Websites
Virginia/Maryland/Washington, D.C. http://www.roadstothefuture.com
Philadelphia and Delaware Valley http://www.pennways.com
--
Bill Shatzer
2005-10-11 16:20:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Lansford
There was never, nor would there have ever, been a need for the B-36
in the historical WWII. The B-29 was designed and under development
earlier than the B-36, yet only reached effective deployment (and
never in the ETO) in 1944 flying out of Burma.
The first B-29 missions were flown from Kharagpur which is west of
Calcutta in West Bengal, India and is, as they say, all to hell and
gone from Burma.

The other base in the CBI theatre which was used by B-29s was
located near Chungking in China

SFAIK, no B-29s (or any American bombers) were ever based in
Burma.

Cheers and all,


--
Cub Driver
2005-10-11 16:20:53 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 10 Oct 2005 23:44:41 +0000 (UTC), John Lansford
Post by John Lansford
The B-29 was designed and under development
earlier than the B-36, yet only reached effective deployment (and
never in the ETO) in 1944 flying out of Burma.
Your points are well taken. Note however that the B-29s were based at
Chengdu, China, north of Chongqing.

Ernest Hemingway and his wife Martha Gelhorn visited Chengdu when it
was under construction. Hemingway reported in Collier's that the huge
base was intended for the mighty "Flying Fortress". That must have
puzzled the 12-year-old boys who read it, and who knew better.



-- all the best, Dan Ford

email ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
--
David Thornley
2005-10-11 16:21:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Lansford
The presence of long range fighter escorts, not any heavy bomber
defense, was what ended up destroying the Luftwaffe. The P-51's and
P-47's that escorted the bombers cut their losses to fighters to very
low rates compared to what they were suffering in 1943.
It was a combination of the two. The ruggedness and heavy defensive
firepower of the US bombers was enough to cause tactical problems
for the attackers (a lot of thought, and interceptor selection and
modification, went into these attacks). The fighters took advantage
of these tactical problems, and that's what made the bombing
so successful.

--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
--
b***@shaw.ca
2005-10-07 23:41:04 UTC
Permalink
Rob wrote, "I wouldn't be too concerned with maximum range, most of the
shooting took
place within a 150 odd metres. "

It's always been my understanding that fighter pilots whose guns had
the greater range were more likely to go to the pub after the battle.
The shooting wasn't like a duel, but more like an ambush. If I have a
gun, and the other guy has a gun, I hope my gun has greater range.
That's why I had so little faith in my survival in Vietnam, since I was
only carrying a .45 pistol!

(The following is slightly OT, and concerns the defensive machine guns
of the RAF, but seems pertinent to this discussion.)

Air Marshal Arthur Harris wrote in his autobiography, "Early in the war
it became obvious that our normal gun, the .303 inch, was of far too
light a calibre for defence against the German night fighters, which
had thick protective armour as well as guns of heavier calibre than
ours. The result was that the bombers were invariably outranged while
at a normal range the .303 bullets would not penetrate the fighter's
armour."

Harris didn't mince words when he said the Hampden was "cold meat for
any determined enemy fighter in daylight."

Bob
--
Michael Emrys
2005-10-10 00:32:02 UTC
Permalink
It's always been my understanding that fighter pilots whose guns had the
greater range were more likely to go to the pub after the battle.
That might be confusing range with penetration though, as both tend to be
features of the same gun/round combination. Additional range is only of use
if the pilot is a sufficiently good marksman to use it. Most during the war
weren't. Many struggled to hit their target even within 100 meters. But a
gun that retains some effectiveness out to 600 meters will be even more
destructive close in. Of course, for those pilots who were good enough
shots, the added range was a boon.

As for getting to the pub after, that had more to do with defensive tactics
and discipline than gunnery, although killing the enemy first would be a
great help. But the fact is that after one's own side had scored kills,
there were usually still plenty of enemy left to constitute a danger if
one's team didn't stay on its toes.

Michael
--
Ian MacLure
2005-10-10 00:32:40 UTC
Permalink
***@shaw.ca wrote in news:di712g$6sb$***@gnus01.u.washington.edu:

[snip]
Post by b***@shaw.ca
Harris didn't mince words when he said the Hampden was "cold meat for
any determined enemy fighter in daylight."
Father of a friend of mine was a WAG on Hampden's.
The problems his crew had were with flak.
Their tasking was low level raids on Dutch harbo(u)rs
early on during the occupation. Not an activity tending
to promote long life and happiness as I understand things.
Fighters were a secondary concern.

IBM

_______________________________________________________________________________
Posted Via Uncensored-News.Com - Accounts Starting At $6.95 - http://www.uncensored-news.com
<><><><><><><> The Worlds Uncensored News Source <><><><><><><><>

--
David Thornley
2005-10-10 15:55:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by b***@shaw.ca
Rob wrote, "I wouldn't be too concerned with maximum range, most of the
shooting took
place within a 150 odd metres. "
Pretty much true.
Post by b***@shaw.ca
It's always been my understanding that fighter pilots whose guns had
the greater range were more likely to go to the pub after the battle.
The shooting wasn't like a duel, but more like an ambush. If I have a
gun, and the other guy has a gun, I hope my gun has greater range.
That's why I had so little faith in my survival in Vietnam, since I was
only carrying a .45 pistol!
Most kills were of aircraft unaware of the attacker, and in that case
the relative ranges of the weapons is irrelevant. What is relevant is
how far the attacking aircraft can be and still shoot down the enemy,
and that was generally more dependent on the pilot than the weapon.
Post by b***@shaw.ca
(The following is slightly OT, and concerns the defensive machine guns
of the RAF, but seems pertinent to this discussion.)
Not really - the discussion is about fighters. Fighter vs. bomber
combat is much different. The defending bomber was likely to be
aware of the attacking fighter, particularly in the daytime, and
relative range was important.

--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
--
Michele Armellini
2005-10-10 15:55:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by b***@shaw.ca
Rob wrote, "I wouldn't be too concerned with maximum range, most of the
shooting took
place within a 150 odd metres. "
It's always been my understanding that fighter pilots whose guns had
the greater range were more likely to go to the pub after the battle.
Well, I don't think so.
Post by b***@shaw.ca
The shooting wasn't like a duel, but more like an ambush.
Exactly. Therefore, if you are the ambushing party, the right thing to do is
to open fire when you're sure to hit, so that you don't waste your main
advantage, surprise.

If I have a
Post by b***@shaw.ca
gun, and the other guy has a gun, I hope my gun has greater range.
This is at odds with the premise about the ambush. Your description of two
guys both with a gun seems to imply both guys are aware of the presence of
each other.

If you are a good shooter, maybe you'll be advantaged by a longer-range gun.
But the average WWII pilot did not hit his target at distances over 300
meters. Inexperienced pilots sometimes did open fire this far or even
farther, and what they accomplished was to give away their presence and
approximate position. The enemy was no longer being ambushed; he was now
alerted.

We could take this farther by talking about collimation of multiple MGs set
in the wings. Opening up at 600 meters means your lead will be spread out
over a very large area, wasting almost all of it.
Post by b***@shaw.ca
That's why I had so little faith in my survival in Vietnam, since I was
only carrying a .45 pistol!
(The following is slightly OT, and concerns the defensive machine guns
of the RAF, but seems pertinent to this discussion.)
Air Marshal Arthur Harris wrote in his autobiography, "Early in the war
it became obvious that our normal gun, the .303 inch, was of far too
light a calibre for defence against the German night fighters, which
had thick protective armour as well as guns of heavier calibre than
ours. The result was that the bombers were invariably outranged while
at a normal range the .303 bullets would not penetrate the fighter's
armour."
This is actually quite irrelevant. Bomber MGs would anyway seldom achieve a
hit, and their main purpose was deterrence.


--
rob
2005-10-07 15:59:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by R***@eSedona.net
I was reminded of the issue of MG vs. cannons when I re-read the
excellent book "Samurai" by the IJN fighter ace Saburo Sakai. Sakai
flew only the Mitsubishi Zero.
Of course, the Zero had two 7.7mm MGs and two 20mm cannons.
According to sources, the two MGs had magazines of 680 rounds per gun,
could fire 1000rpm, and had an effective range of 600m.
The cannons had magazines of 60 rounds per gun (increased to 100 rounds
per gun later), could fire 490rpm, and had an effective range of 1000m.
I wouldn't be too concerned with maximum range, most of the shooting took
place within a 150 odd metres.
Post by R***@eSedona.net
As far as I know, the only US aircraft delivered in large numbers with
a cannon was the Lockheed Lighting P-38. The P-38 had four 0.50 inch
machine guns, and one 20 mm cannon. (I could not
determine the number of rounds the P-38 carried for each gun type.)
Also the P-39, which had a huge 37mm gun. It wasn't much of a fighter
(although the Soviets had a large amont of success with it a low altitude)
but that gun made it an excellent ground attack aircraft;
Post by R***@eSedona.net
The vast majority, perhaps all, of the Allied fighters had only MGs.
(I am interested only in fighters which were delivered in large enough
numbers to have some effect on the war.)
The British started the move from MGs to Cannon early in the war, trialling
cannon armed Hurricanes in the BoB. The Spitfire had 2 cannons+MGs by mid
war and the Typhoon and Tempest 4 cannon only.
Post by R***@eSedona.net
QUESTION: What factors led the aircraft designers to choose the type
of guns to be used in a particular fighter aircraft?
I would say the main reason the US stuck with the .50 so long was mission.
They were largely going up against fighters whereas the Luftwaffe needed the
heavier punch to take on the bombers.
--
Andrew Robert Breen
2005-10-07 16:00:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by R***@eSedona.net
The vast majority, perhaps all, of the Allied fighters had only MGs.
(I am interested only in fighters which were delivered in large enough
numbers to have some effect on the war.)
Not nearly the case. The largest production runs of allied fighters
were almost certainly (I've not got figures to hand) the Yak 1 through
to 9 series and the Lagg 3 through to 7 - these had cannon. Few
US types (apart from the P38 and P39) had cannon, but almost all
British types did, with four cannon the standard for most
types by mid-war. Spitfires were the exception until almost
the end, typically with two cannon and two or four MG, but later
Hurricanes, most Typhoons and all Tempests had four cannon, as
did the Whirlwind (right at the start of the war), the Beaufighter
(plus 6 MG), the Mosquito (plus 4 MG).

The US was /very/ unusual in not going for cannon.
--
Andy Breen ~ Not speaking on behalf of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth

"Who dies with the most toys wins" (Gary Barnes)
--
Cub Driver
2005-10-07 16:00:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by R***@eSedona.net
I was reminded of the issue of MG vs. cannons when I re-read the
excellent book "Samurai" by the IJN fighter ace Saburo Sakai. Sakai
flew only the Mitsubishi Zero.
Be warned: this is not the book that Sakai wrote, but a product of the
book factory named Martin Caidin.
Post by R***@eSedona.net
Of course, the Zero had two 7.7mm MGs and two 20mm cannons.
Not a terribly good mix, as matters turned out!
Post by R***@eSedona.net
According to sources, the two MGs had magazines of 680 rounds per gun,
could fire 1000rpm, and had an effective range of 600m.
The cannons had magazines of 60 rounds per gun (increased to 100 rounds
per gun later), could fire 490rpm, and had an effective range of 1000m.
As you probably sense, 60 rounds is very few.
Post by R***@eSedona.net
As far as I know, the only US aircraft delivered in large numbers with
a cannon was the Lockheed Lighting P-38. The P-38 had four 0.50 inch
machine guns, and one 20 mm cannon. (I could not
determine the number of rounds the P-38 carried for each gun type.)
Toward the end of the war, many USAAF fighters (though not the USN)
were delivered with 20mm cannon. It was also a popular gun in German
and British service.
Post by R***@eSedona.net
QUESTION: What factors led the aircraft designers to choose the type
of guns to be used in a particular fighter aircraft?
Well, *designers* at least in the U.S. were located in the airframe
companies, but I suppose it's true that the specification for armament
came from the services. The typical mix in the 1930s was one 0.30 and
one 0.50 inch machinegun for the USAAF. The P-40 was the first heavily
gunned fighter, with two fifties and four thirties in the early
version, and six fifties later. From there the tendency was to move to
cannon.

Generally speaking, German and Japanese fighters had to contend with
enemy bombers, for which purpose cannon were the weapon of choice.
Except for the early years, American and British fighters had to
contend mostly with enemy fighters, for which purpose multiple machine
guns were probably better. The British tended to go for *many*
machineguns (up to 12 in some marks), the Americans for *heavier* guns
(rifle-caliber wasn't seen in any fighters ordered after the spring of
1941).

The four fifty-caliber guns on the USN Wildcat proved to be a very
good mix against the Zero with its two cannon / two rifle-caliber
guns. Six guns and their associated ammunition made the Wildcat slow,
and I recall accounts of Wildcat pilots not arming two of six guns
when the latter number became available.

Do the math: the Zero had 120 20mm rounds to throw at the Wildcat,
while the four-gunned Wildcat had 1720 half-inch rounds to throw at
the Zero. Add to this the fact that the Wildcat was of sturdier
construction, and you can see why the Wildcat pilots came out
essentially even against the Zero pilots in the first six months of
the war, despite their comparative inexperience.


-- all the best, Dan Ford

email ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
--
Stephen Graham
2005-10-07 23:40:49 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 7 Oct 2005 16:00:09 +0000 (UTC), Cub Driver
Post by Cub Driver
The four fifty-caliber guns on the USN Wildcat proved to be a very
good mix against the Zero with its two cannon / two rifle-caliber
guns. Six guns and their associated ammunition made the Wildcat slow,
and I recall accounts of Wildcat pilots not arming two of six guns
when the latter number became available.
According to John Lundstrom, who wrote the excellent pair of books
"The First Team" and "The First Team at Guadalcanal", the Navy F4F
pilots were most upset with the added pair of 50 caliber machine guns
because it actually reduced the number of rounds available for each
gun. That meant an overall reduced firing time. They had not been
unhappy with the firepower the four gun battery gave them, they found
it adaquate against the lightweight and flammable Japanese aircraft.

The added guns did also add weight which slowed an already slow
climbing fighter even more.

But the F4F was so rugged that several times pilots were quoted as
saying that the safest place for them to be was directly in front of
the Zero! Typically the Zero pilots did a high speed firing pass and
then either dove below the Wildcat and pulled up, or passed overhead
and pulled up. Either way, they offered themselves as vulnerable
targets to the usually not fatally injured Wildcat as they pulled up
because they were not out of range. Remember that old Murphey's law
addage: "If the enemy is in range, so are you."

Time and time again during the battle of Guadalcanal, Zero's were
punished for such tactics by being shot down by the very airplane that
seconds before had been the target.

Corky Scott
--
Cub Driver
2005-10-10 00:32:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stephen Graham
According to John Lundstrom, who wrote the excellent pair of books
"The First Team" and "The First Team at Guadalcanal", the Navy F4F
pilots were most upset with the added pair of 50 caliber machine guns
because it actually reduced the number of rounds available for each
gun.
Yes, I was astonished to discover that the four-gunned Wildcat carried
more rounds than the six-gunned version. Since it's hard to believe
that the ammunition boxes were smaller, my guess is that it was a
matter of weight: guns plus ammo = X.

(Off the top of my head: 1700 rounds vs 1400 rounds. The figures are
in Dean.)



-- all the best, Dan Ford

email ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
--
Bill Shatzer
2005-10-07 23:40:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
Post by R***@eSedona.net
Of course, the Zero had two 7.7mm MGs and two 20mm cannons.
Not a terribly good mix, as matters turned out!
Indeed, although with the A6M5b, the Japanese substituted
a 13mm (.50 caliber) MG for one of the fuselage 7.7mm MGs
and starting with the A6M5c, deleted the 7.7mm MG altogether and
added two 13mm MGs to the wings outboard of the 20mm cannon.

The final armament of the Zero was 3x13mm MGs and 2x20mm
cannon.

Cheers,

--
Andrew Robert Breen
2005-10-07 23:41:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
contend mostly with enemy fighters, for which purpose multiple machine
guns were probably better. The British tended to go for *many*
machineguns (up to 12 in some marks), the Americans for *heavier* guns
(rifle-caliber wasn't seen in any fighters ordered after the spring of
1941).
I think it'd be fair to say that no British design introduced
after spring 1941 (and certainly none designed after that)
relied on the rifle-calibre gun. The last to use it as main
armament, I'm pretty certain, were the early Typhoon Is,
and they were supposed to be entering service from the end of 1940
- though the process was very protracted due problems getting
the engine to work properly. By mid-1941 I /think all new
Tiffie wings had the four cannon.

Not got the refs. in front so that's all provisional, mind!
--
Andy Breen ~ Not speaking on behalf of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Feng Shui: an ancient oriental art for extracting
money from the gullible (Martin Sinclair)
--
Cub Driver
2005-10-10 00:32:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Robert Breen
I think it'd be fair to say that no British design introduced
after spring 1941 (and certainly none designed after that)
relied on the rifle-calibre gun.
Were there actually British planes designed after spring 1941? Good
job, getting such into production! It is my understanding that the
U.S. fought WWII with planes designed before Dec 7, and the U.S.
wasn't being distracted by enemy aircraft flying about every night.

(Even the B-35/49 and B-36 were in the works before Dec 7! As of
course were the P-51, P-47, and B-29.)



-- all the best, Dan Ford

email ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
--
Michael Emrys
2005-10-10 15:55:19 UTC
Permalink
It is my understanding that the U.S. fought WWII with planes designed before
Dec 7...
I may be mistaken, but I believe that design work on the P-61 began after
the Battle of Britain showed that a night fighter with heavy armament and
on-board radar was necessary. Although arriving late, it did see combat in
both Europe and the Pacific.

Michael
--
Rich Rostrom
2005-10-17 20:50:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Emrys
It is my understanding that the U.S. fought WWII with planes designed before
Dec 7...
I may be mistaken, but I believe that design work on the P-61 began after
the Battle of Britain showed that a night fighter with heavy armament and
on-board radar was necessary. Although arriving late, it did see combat in
both Europe and the Pacific.
Two XP-61 prototypes were ordered on January 11, 1941, and the
first prototype flight was on May 21, 1942.

Thus the design of the P-61 began after the Battle of Britain
and during the Blitz, but long before Pearl Harbor.

Design, or at least development of the P-61 took another 18 months,
with production finally starting in December 1943.

All P-61s had 4 20mm cannon firing forward under the fuselage.
The first 38 P-61As also had 4 .50 caliber MGs in a remote-control
dorsal turret. But this turret interfered with airflow and was
omitted from the 162 remaining P-61As and the first 200 P-61Bs.
The turret was reinstated for the last 250 P-61Bs and the 41 P-61Cs.

So when, exactly, was the P-61 designed?
--
| The shocking lack of a fleet of modern luxury |
| dirigibles is only one of a great many things that |
| are seriously wrong with this here world. |
| -- blogger "Coop" at Positive Ape Index |
--
Roman Werpachowski
2005-10-10 15:55:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
Were there actually British planes designed after spring 1941? Good
job, getting such into production! It is my understanding that the
U.S. fought WWII with planes designed before Dec 7, and the U.S.
wasn't being distracted by enemy aircraft flying about every night.
The Germans somehow managed to perform this amazing feat.
--
Po co wybiera? mniejsze z?o? Cthulhu na prezydenta!
--
Rich Rostrom
2005-10-17 20:51:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Roman Werpachowski
Post by Cub Driver
Were there actually British planes designed after spring 1941? Good
job, getting such into production! It is my understanding that the
U.S. fought WWII with planes designed before Dec 7, and the U.S.
wasn't being distracted by enemy aircraft flying about every night.
The Germans somehow managed to perform this amazing feat.
Japan definitely did, but what German aircraft designed
after 12/7/1941 actually entered service during the war?

The design of the Me 262 began in 1938, the prototypes
were built in 1941, and the first flight was April 18,
1942 (using a piston engine).

The Ar 234 was conceived in 1940, and designed in
1941-1943.

The Do 217 flew in prototype in 1938.

The He 177 flew in prototype in 1939.

The Me 410 was in service during BARBAROSSA in 1941.

The workhorses of the Luftwaffe, the Me 109, Me 110,
Ju 87, Ju 88, He 111, and FW 190 were all pre-war
designs. Only the FW 190 came into production
after the war started (mid-1941).

AFAIK Japan was the only combatant power to design,
produce, and deploy a combat aircraft during the war.
--
| The shocking lack of a fleet of modern luxury |
| dirigibles is only one of a great many things that |
| are seriously wrong with this here world. |
| -- blogger "Coop" at Positive Ape Index |
--
Jukka O. Kauppinen
2005-10-17 23:44:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
Japan definitely did, but what German aircraft designed
after 12/7/1941 actually entered service during the war?
The Me 410 was in service during BARBAROSSA in 1941.
Nope. First prototypes of Me 410 were built in 1942 and RLM placed first
order for 410s in the end of 1942. The design of the plane was done in
1941/1942.
Post by Rich Rostrom
AFAIK Japan was the only combatant power to design,
produce, and deploy a combat aircraft during the war.
Ta-152
Focke Wulf 190 D series
Heinkel He 162 jet fighter, design 1944
Heinkel He 219, first design drafts 1940, design as night fighter late 1941
Dornier Do 335, design 1942
Junkers Ju 188, design 1941/1942
Junkers Ju 388, design 1945

For example.

jok
--
Bill Shatzer
2005-10-18 16:10:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jukka O. Kauppinen
Post by Rich Rostrom
Japan definitely did, but what German aircraft designed
after 12/7/1941 actually entered service during the war?
-snip-
Post by Jukka O. Kauppinen
Post by Rich Rostrom
AFAIK Japan was the only combatant power to design,
produce, and deploy a combat aircraft during the war.
Ta-152
Focke Wulf 190 D series
Heinkel He 162 jet fighter, design 1944
Heinkel He 219, first design drafts 1940, design as night fighter late 1941
Dornier Do 335, design 1942
Junkers Ju 188, design 1941/1942
Junkers Ju 388, design 1945
I'm not sure the last two count - the Ju 188 was, after all, merely
a Ju 88 development and, indeed, the first Ju 188 prototype was initially
styled the Ju 88 V44 and was only retrospecively redesignated as the
Ju 188 V1. Similarly, the Ju 388 prototypes were originally designated
as the Ju 188J, K, and L and only later became the Ju 388J, K, and L.

Similarly, the Fw 190D and Ta 152 would be arguable as well. Basically
they were merely Fw 190A developments and, indeed, the first D prototypes
were direct conversions of existing Fw 190A airframes. Except for the
changes necessary to accommodate the Jumo engine and the fuselage "plug"
to compensate for the lengthened nose, they were identical to Fw 190As.

The Ta 152H had sufficient alterations that it might be argued to be
a "new design" but then it's not at all clear that any Hs were actually
deployed in operational service.

Cheers and all,



--
Davide Pastore
2005-10-18 16:10:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
AFAIK Japan was the only combatant power to design,
produce, and deploy a combat aircraft during the war.
The old Hapless / Helpless / Hopeless Italians managed to have
in service the G.55 by 1943 (project started in 1941).

Arguably superior to contemporary German fighters, BTW.
--
Davide

"Solo se la vostra visione va oltre quella del vostro maestro,
siete adatti per ricevere e tramandare la trasmissione."

(Massima Zen)


--
Bill Shatzer
2005-10-18 16:10:08 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 17 Oct 2005, Rich Rostrom wrote:

-snip-
Post by Rich Rostrom
The Me 410 was in service during BARBAROSSA in 1941.
Well, no. The Me 410 didn't enter service until the
spring of 1943.

Even its predecessor, the throughly unsatisfactory Me 210
didn't enter service with Versuchstaffel 210 until early 1942.

In June, 1941, total Me 210s built were 16 prototypes (Versuch)
and one (1!) pre-production Me 210 A-0.

Needless to say, they weren't used during Barbarossa as they were
still trying to figure out how to stop the tail from twisting
off and how to cure some really nasty stall and buffeting problems.

Cheers and all,


--
Rich Rostrom
2005-10-10 15:55:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
Were there actually British planes designed after spring 1941? Good
job, getting such into production! It is my understanding that the
U.S. fought WWII with planes designed before Dec 7, and the U.S.
wasn't being distracted by enemy aircraft flying about every night.
(Even the B-35/49 and B-36 were in the works before Dec 7! As of
course were the P-51, P-47, and B-29.)
Well, it depends on what you mean "designed after <date>".

The process might be said to begin when an air force, navy,
or associated ministry decided that a plane of some
particular type and capabilities will be needed, and began
to work out a specification for such a plane.

Next, the specification was issued to manufacturers.

Manufacturers developed designs to meet the specification.

Eventually one design was accepted, went into prototype,
was revised, went into production, was manufactured and
issued to the air force or navy, and was used in combat.

AFAIK only one plane went through this entire process
during wartime: the Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate" (gale)
(Allied code name FRANK), which was designed starting
in April 1942, prototyped in 1943, and produced in 1944
and 1945, some 3,470 being completed.

The design incorporated much combat experience, which
implies that it was made in late 1942.

The Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu (dragon) (Allied code name
PEGGY) was designed starting in late 1941, to a JAAF
spec issued earlier that year. 726 were built; Ki-67s
saw action in 1945.

The Australian-built Booomerang was developed after
Pearl Harbor, when the only fighters in Australian
home service were two squadrons of Brewster Buffaloes.
However, it was based on the Wirraway utility plane
already in production.

As for Britain:

The Gloster Meteor was designed to a specification
issued in late 1940, and was operational by the end
of the war. The first prototype flight was March 5,
1943, so I would say that the design process began
in spring 1941, but continued all through 1941 and
1942.

The Miles Martinet target tug was built to a
specification issued in 1941, and the first
prototype flight was on April 24, 1942.
--
| The shocking lack of a fleet of modern luxury |
| dirigibles is only one of a great many things that |
| are seriously wrong with this here world. |
| -- blogger "Coop" at Positive Ape Index |
--
Andrew Robert Breen
2005-10-10 20:42:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
The Gloster Meteor was designed to a specification
issued in late 1940, and was operational by the end
of the war. The first prototype flight was March 5,
1943, so I would say that the design process began
in spring 1941, but continued all through 1941 and
1942.
The Miles Martinet target tug was built to a
specification issued in 1941, and the first
prototype flight was on April 24, 1942.
The design work on the DH Hornet didn't start until latish in 1942[1],
IIRC, and it was becoming available by the very end of the war. The
first squadron to finish converting to the type didn't do so until
May of '46, but that process would have been slowed considerably
by the end of war and the start of demobilisation.

Of course, the Hornet would have been an "easy" type to develop,
being a reduced-scale version of the mosquito.

[1] it was "done" fairly early in 1943 - spec. F.12/43 was written
around the Hornet design.
--
Andy Breen ~ Not speaking on behalf of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Feng Shui: an ancient oriental art for extracting
money from the gullible (Martin Sinclair)
--
Bill Shatzer
2005-10-10 20:42:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by Cub Driver
Were there actually British planes designed after spring 1941? Good
job, getting such into production! It is my understanding that the
U.S. fought WWII with planes designed before Dec 7, and the U.S.
wasn't being distracted by enemy aircraft flying about every night.
(Even the B-35/49 and B-36 were in the works before Dec 7! As of
course were the P-51, P-47, and B-29.)
Well, it depends on what you mean "designed after <date>".
The process might be said to begin when an air force, navy,
or associated ministry decided that a plane of some
particular type and capabilities will be needed, and began
to work out a specification for such a plane.
Next, the specification was issued to manufacturers.
Manufacturers developed designs to meet the specification.
Eventually one design was accepted, went into prototype,
was revised, went into production, was manufactured and
issued to the air force or navy, and was used in combat.
AFAIK only one plane went through this entire process
during wartime: the Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate" (gale)
(Allied code name FRANK), which was designed starting
in April 1942, prototyped in 1943, and produced in 1944
and 1945, some 3,470 being completed.
I believe the Me 321/323 meets this criteria as well. The
specifications for the a/c were issued by the RLM in October,
1940 and the first (glider) Me 321 protoype flew in February of
1941. The powered Me 323 version followed in the spring
of 1942.

The Ar 234 probably qualifies as well. While proposals were
floating around previously, the actual RLM specifications which
resulted (eventually) in the AR 234 weren't issued until early
1941.



Cheers and all,


--
Simon
2005-10-10 00:32:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Robert Breen
Post by Cub Driver
contend mostly with enemy fighters, for which purpose multiple machine
guns were probably better. The British tended to go for *many*
machineguns (up to 12 in some marks), the Americans for *heavier* guns
(rifle-caliber wasn't seen in any fighters ordered after the spring of
1941).
I think it'd be fair to say that no British design introduced
after spring 1941 (and certainly none designed after that)
relied on the rifle-calibre gun. The last to use it as main
armament, I'm pretty certain, were the early Typhoon Is,
and they were supposed to be entering service from the end of 1940
- though the process was very protracted due problems getting
the engine to work properly. By mid-1941 I /think all new
Tiffie wings had the four cannon.
Not got the refs. in front so that's all provisional, mind!
I did read somewhere about a small number of late-model hurricanes
armed with 6 browning 303's in each wing - how they fitted them in I
don't know. I was quite surprised to read it.
--
Cub Driver
2005-10-10 15:55:43 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 10 Oct 2005 00:32:18 +0000 (UTC), Simon
Post by Simon
I did read somewhere about a small number of late-model hurricanes
armed with 6 browning 303's in each wing - how they fitted them in I
don't know. I was quite surprised to read it.
I don't think they were late-model; I think they were mark IIBs. A
number of these reached Rangoon in January 1942. I believe that some
of the guns were removed to save weight and better performance.

The memoirs of a Buffalo pilot ("Ketchil", by Neil Frances) have
recently been published in New Zealand, based on the diary of, and
interviews with, Vic Bargh of RAF 67 Squadron. He flew the Hurricane
after the retreat to India. I was quite astonished at the low
performance figures he gave for the airplane.

Jane's confirms that the IIB was 12-gunned. Says it was followed by
the IIC with four 20mm cannon and the IID with two 40mm(!). (Must have
had dang good wings, that Hurricane!) Plus a couple Vs and a bunch of
X and ups built in Canada with Packard engines.


-- all the best, Dan Ford

email ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
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In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
--
Louis Capdeboscq
2005-10-12 16:25:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
Jane's confirms that the IIB was 12-gunned. Says it was followed by
the IIC with four 20mm cannon and the IID with two 40mm(!).
Don't know about the IID, but IIRC the IIB didn't work out and the IIC
was mainly used as a night fighter.

LC
--
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--
Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
2005-10-13 16:01:51 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 12 Oct 2005 16:25:45 +0000 (UTC), Louis Capdeboscq
<***@yahoo.com> wrote:

[Hurricane II]
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Don't know about the IID, but IIRC the IIB didn't work out and the IIC
was mainly used as a night fighter.
The IIB was the mainstay of Hurricane deliveries in early-mid 1941,
and was used all over the world as a fighter in 1941-42, as was the
IIC produced in parallel and then superceding the IIB on the
production lines in mid-1941, which was primarily used as a ground
attack fighter except in theatres like Burma/India in 1942-43 where
there was a shortage of better-performing interceptors.

Gavin Bailey

--

New Windows OS installation go real smooth. Deliver enhanced functionality;
hey, what this "Keyboard error, Press F.1 to resume"? Bart show you,
Bill Gates, install Windows 95 on your ass! Yeah, that make you sweat, Bill.
- Bart Kwan En
--
Cub Driver
2005-10-14 16:39:16 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 13 Oct 2005 16:01:51 +0000 (UTC), Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
IIRC the IIB didn't work out and the IIC
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
was mainly used as a night fighter.
The IIB was the mainstay of Hurricane deliveries in early-mid 1941,
and was used all over the world as a fighter in 1941-42,
I suppose it's possible that some IIBs were delivered with fewer than
12 guns, or that taking out 4 guns was routine field maintenance? I've
read that 117 Sq and the other Hurricane squadrons at Rangoon in 1942
did remove guns from some of their airplanes. (This isn't confirmed in
the squadron logs, but the pilots recall it.)

To return to the Hurricane marks: isn't it quite unusual that a
warplane available in the 1930s should have been developed to such a
slight extent? A plane doesn't have to be a 109 or a Spitfire, but
compare the development cycles of the Mustang, say, to that of the
Hurricane, which seems to have reached its apotheois at IIA?




-- all the best, Dan Ford

email ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
--
Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
2005-10-14 20:26:12 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 14 Oct 2005 16:39:16 +0000 (UTC), Cub Driver
Post by Cub Driver
I suppose it's possible that some IIBs were delivered with fewer than
12 guns, or that taking out 4 guns was routine field maintenance? I've
read that 117 Sq and the other Hurricane squadrons at Rangoon in 1942
did remove guns from some of their airplanes. (This isn't confirmed in
the squadron logs, but the pilots recall it.)
17 Squadron? Yes, the extra four guns added weight for little
perceived benefit. I know of units in Russia (81 and 134 Sqns at
Murmansk) removing them due to shipping difficulties, and pilots
removing them for the weight. I seem to recall 242 Sqn did so in
Singapore, but I may have that wrong.
Post by Cub Driver
To return to the Hurricane marks: isn't it quite unusual that a
warplane available in the 1930s should have been developed to such a
slight extent? A plane doesn't have to be a 109 or a Spitfire, but
compare the development cycles of the Mustang, say, to that of the
Hurricane, which seems to have reached its apotheois at IIA?
The change in roles explains some of this; the Mk II was seen as the
end of the line for the Hurricane as a fighter in 1940, while future
development was concentrated on the Spitfire and more specifically,
for Hawker's, the Typhoon.

A lack of fundamental design and development changes meant that
production could be maximised, however, and the availability of the
Hurricane as it was supplanted by the Spitfire in Fighter Commandm
meant it was the immediately obvious candidate for areas where there
was a desperate need for fighters (the Middle and Far East, and
Russia). This didn't compromise Spitfire deliveries to Fighter
Command in 1941, where they were largely wasted on offensive
operations over France. By 1942 the only real interest in the
Hurricane was as a ground-attack fighter (hence the Mk IID with 40mm
cannon and then the armoured IV) while the IIC was still being churned
out in 1943 largely to keep the British delivery quota to Russia.

Gavin Bailey

--

New Windows OS installation go real smooth. Deliver enhanced functionality;
hey, what this "Keyboard error, Press F.1 to resume"? Bart show you,
Bill Gates, install Windows 95 on your ass! Yeah, that make you sweat, Bill.
- Bart Kwan En
--
Cub Driver
2005-10-16 21:19:00 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 14 Oct 2005 20:26:12 +0000 (UTC), Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
17 Squadron?
Yes, I meant to say 17 Sq. Planes were also designated for 135 and 136
squadrons, though for some reason they didn't seem to get the press
that 17 Sq did.




-- all the best, Dan Ford

email: usenet AT danford DOT net

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
--
Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
2005-10-17 16:01:41 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 16 Oct 2005 21:19:00 +0000 (UTC), Cub Driver
Post by Cub Driver
Yes, I meant to say 17 Sq. Planes were also designated for 135 and 136
squadrons, though for some reason they didn't seem to get the press
that 17 Sq did.
And in turn I meant to refer to 232 (Provisional) squadron. As for 17
Squadron's profile, ISTR 135 and 136 being posted back to Arakan and
India before 17 which might explain why they got more press. Or maybe
Carey as a ranking RAF "ace" got more attention than the other
squadron CO's.

Gavin Bailey

--

New Windows OS installation go real smooth. Deliver enhanced functionality;
hey, what this "Keyboard error, Press F.1 to resume"? Bart show you,
Bill Gates, install Windows 95 on your ass! Yeah, that make you sweat, Bill.
- Bart Kwan En
--
Bill Shatzer
2005-10-16 21:18:46 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 14 Oct 2005, Cub Driver wrote:

-snip-
Post by Cub Driver
To return to the Hurricane marks: isn't it quite unusual that a
warplane available in the 1930s should have been developed to such a
slight extent?
Really not. Consider for instance the Douglas SBD "Dauntless".

While it proceeded to at least the "dash 6" model, the various
marks reflected merely modest engine upgrades and it remained
estentially the same aircraft throughout - indeed, it was
basically identical to the Northrup XBT-2 from which is was
derived.

But I think the Hurricane's problem was that it was the acme of
between the wars design and took its particular design philosophy
about as far as it could go with no room for significant improvement.

Its non-monocoque fabric-covered construction - while providing certain
"ruggedness" advantages - placed some rather severe limitations on
what could be done to improve the airframe while converting to all-
metal monocoque construction would require a complete redesign of
the aircraft.

Which, of course, Hawker was hard at work doing, having started work
on the Typhoon in 1938 - a project which had vastly more potential
that any major upgrade of the Hurricane and which would have provided
modest improvements at best.
Post by Cub Driver
A plane doesn't have to be a 109 or a Spitfire, but
compare the development cycles of the Mustang, say, to that of the
Hurricane, which seems to have reached its apotheois at IIA?
Cheers and all,

--
Andrew Robert Breen
2005-10-16 21:19:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
To return to the Hurricane marks: isn't it quite unusual that a
warplane available in the 1930s should have been developed to such a
slight extent? A plane doesn't have to be a 109 or a Spitfire, but
compare the development cycles of the Mustang, say, to that of the
Hurricane, which seems to have reached its apotheois at IIA?
This was very much Hawker's style - instead of developing a given
design to the maximum they preferred to start again with a
recognisably related but new design. There's a clear evolutionary
development from (biplane) Fury to Hurricane to Typhoon to
Tempest to (monoplane) Fury to Sea Hawk to Hunter, but with
remarkably little carried through (a wing here, a tail there,
a few fuselage bays over inthe corner; and even that that was
pretty much only in the prototypes). In each case the new
design was intended to get the most out of new engine
developments.
There's also the question of names - Hawker preferred a new name
when a major design change happened (e.g. Typhoon->Tempest),
while other firms preferred to say/pretend that it was a
new makr of the old design. Hawker would certainly have
introduced a new type name for a change as extensive as the
Spitfire went through from Merlin to Griffon power...
--
Andy Breen ~ Not speaking on behalf of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Feng Shui: an ancient oriental art for extracting
money from the gullible (Martin Sinclair)
--
Louis Capdeboscq
2005-10-14 20:26:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Don't know about the IID, but IIRC the IIB didn't work out and the
IIC was mainly used as a night fighter.
The IIB was the mainstay of Hurricane deliveries in early-mid 1941,
and was used all over the world as a fighter in 1941-42, as was the
IIC produced in parallel and then superceding the IIB on the
production lines in mid-1941, which was primarily used as a ground
attack fighter except in theatres like Burma/India in 1942-43 where
there was a shortage of better-performing interceptors.
Oops.

On the other hand, wasn't the fact that the IIB was used "all over the
world" as opposed to retained in the UK evidence that it was
unsatisfactory (like some of the Spitfires deployed in the Med, VC ?) or
am I simply wrong again ?

Regarding the IIC, you're right I had forgotten about the ground-attack
role but then in my mind the Hurricane was no longer really a fighter in
such a role. Is there evidence that it did perform as one except as a
night fighter ?


LC
--
Remove "e" from address to reply
--
Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
2005-10-16 21:18:39 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 14 Oct 2005 20:26:07 +0000 (UTC), Louis Capdeboscq
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
On the other hand, wasn't the fact that the IIB was used "all over the
world" as opposed to retained in the UK evidence that it was
unsatisfactory (like some of the Spitfires deployed in the Med, VC ?) or
am I simply wrong again ?
It depends how you define "unstatisfactory", I suppose. The Hurricane
IIB had an operational career which can't really be described as
"unsatisfactory" when it's compared with the depressingly large number
of British aircraft which really were unsatisfactory to the point of
having their operational value almost totally discounted in their
original roles (Defiant, Welkin, Battle, Albemarle, Bisley, etc).

In 1941, increasing production of the Spitfire allowed the British to
retain them to re-equip domestic fighter squadrons, while exporting
Hurricanes to overseas theatres where it still performed effectively
as a fighter. It certainly wasn't *ineffective* as a fighter in the
UK, it's just that a better performing fighter was available in
sufficient quantity to allow the British to use it instead.

My own view is that the defence of Britain was understandably the
highest priority for British fighter supply in 1941-42, but that the
war was obviously not restricted to that theatre. Strategically,
theatres using Hurricanes (such as the Middle East) could actually
cause the diversion and attrition of Luftwaffe resources in a way that
the Spitfire-centred operations over the Channel did not. So it could
be argued that in 1941 and into 1942 the Hurricane was doing more to
directly defeat the Axis than the Spitfire.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Regarding the IIC, you're right I had forgotten about the ground-attack
role but then in my mind the Hurricane was no longer really a fighter in
such a role. Is there evidence that it did perform as one except as a
night fighter ?
That depends; Hurricane pilots in IIC's did shoot down Bf 109 experten
in the Western Desert with them in 1942. Those combats were largely a
product of the Hurricane being used as a fighter-bomber, but they were
still being used as a fighter (escorting other Hurricanes on tactical
recce, bombing and strafing missions), and they were being used as
interceptors in the classical sense in Burma and India as late as
1943.

Gavin Bailey


--

New Windows OS installation go real smooth. Deliver enhanced functionality;
hey, what this "Keyboard error, Press F.1 to resume"? Bart show you,
Bill Gates, install Windows 95 on your ass! Yeah, that make you sweat, Bill.
- Bart Kwan En
--
Louis Capdeboscq
2005-10-17 20:50:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
On Fri, 14 Oct 2005 20:26:07 +0000 (UTC), Louis Capdeboscq
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
On the other hand, wasn't the fact that the IIB was used "all over
the world" as opposed to retained in the UK evidence that it was
unsatisfactory (like some of the Spitfires deployed in the Med, VC ?)
or am I simply wrong again ?
It depends how you define "unstatisfactory", I suppose. The Hurricane
IIB had an operational career which can't really be described as
"unsatisfactory" when it's compared with the depressingly large number
of British aircraft which really were unsatisfactory to the point of
having their operational value almost totally discounted in their
original roles (Defiant, Welkin, Battle, Albemarle, Bisley, etc).
If I understand, the argument is that the British came up with so many
bad designs that "unsatisfactory" doesn't apply to the Hurricane by
British standards ? If so, I'm afraid that I can't subscribe to it
because this would create a whole new standard of "satisfactory". Plenty
of otherwise unremarkable aircraft would become "satisfactory" by that
standard, like the French MS-406, the Italian G-50 or the Soviet MiG-1.

By "satisfactory" I meant able to function as a good fighter, but I see
your point that a second-rate aircraft could also give satisfactory
service. The US kept the P-40 in production well past its "best by"
date, too, after all.
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
In 1941, increasing production of the Spitfire allowed the British to
retain them to re-equip domestic fighter squadrons, while exporting
Hurricanes to overseas theatres where it still performed effectively
as a fighter. It certainly wasn't *ineffective* as a fighter in the
UK, it's just that a better performing fighter was available in
sufficient quantity to allow the British to use it instead.
Actually, my understanding is that the Spitfire didn't have an edge over
the Luftwaffe at the time, so how was the Hurricane really effective ?
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
My own view is that the defence of Britain was understandably the
highest priority for British fighter supply in 1941-42, but that the
war was obviously not restricted to that theatre. Strategically,
theatres using Hurricanes (such as the Middle East) could actually
cause the diversion and attrition of Luftwaffe resources in a way that
the Spitfire-centred operations over the Channel did not. So it could
be argued that in 1941 and into 1942 the Hurricane was doing more to
directly defeat the Axis than the Spitfire.
Yes, but that has nothing to do with how good it was as a design. Based
on that reasoning, the Dauntless was a great design because it sunk lots
of Japanese ships so why did those fools running the USAAF stop
production in favor of models that didn't sink as many ?

My understanding is that the Allies lamented the fact that the RAF was
using second-rate fighters in overseas theaters and Tedder repeatedly
asked for at least token numbers of first-rate planes so as to fight the
superiority/inferiority complexes developing between the Luftwaffe and DAF.
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Regarding the IIC, you're right I had forgotten about the
ground-attack role but then in my mind the Hurricane was no longer
really a fighter in such a role. Is there evidence that it did
perform as one except as a night fighter ?
That depends; Hurricane pilots in IIC's did shoot down Bf 109 experten
in the Western Desert with them in 1942.
Wow, good for them. I wonder if the overall kill rate was such as to
retain the satisfactory label, though.
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
Those combats were largely a
product of the Hurricane being used as a fighter-bomber, but they were
still being used as a fighter (escorting other Hurricanes on tactical
recce, bombing and strafing missions), and they were being used as
interceptors in the classical sense in Burma and India as late as
1943.
Given what the CBI theater had to make do with, that hardly qualifies as
an argument, but thanks very much anyway for the details.


LC
--
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--
Michael Emrys
2005-10-18 16:09:58 UTC
Permalink
Based on that reasoning, the Dauntless was a great design because it sunk lots
of Japanese ships so why did those fools running the USAAF stop production in
favor of models that didn't sink as many ?
One point: The SBD Dauntless was primarily a Navy aircraft. There was an
Army version, the A-24, but the Army wasn't crazy about it and I think most
of those wound up in the RAAF. So basically, it wasn't the USAAF that kept
it in production or terminated it, but the USN, who continued to use it as a
first line carrier dive bomber until the last few months of the war.

Michael
--
Bill Shatzer
2005-10-18 21:24:50 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 18 Oct 2005, Michael Emrys wrote:

-snip-
Post by Michael Emrys
One point: The SBD Dauntless was primarily a Navy aircraft. There was an
Army version, the A-24, but the Army wasn't crazy about it and I think most
of those wound up in the RAAF. So basically, it wasn't the USAAF that kept
it in production or terminated it, but the USN, who continued to use it as a
first line carrier dive bomber until the last few months of the war.
The last carrier-based operations by the SBD were VB-16 on the Lexington
and VB-10 on the Enterprise during the Marianas Campaign in June, 1944.

While the SBD soldiered on for a bit with land-based squadrons in the
SW Pacific, its career as a carrier based bomber ended more than a
year before the end of the war.

Cheers,




--
Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
2005-10-18 16:10:12 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 17 Oct 2005 20:50:59 +0000 (UTC), Louis Capdeboscq
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
If I understand, the argument is that the British came up with so many
bad designs that "unsatisfactory" doesn't apply to the Hurricane by
British standards ? If so, I'm afraid that I can't subscribe to it
because this would create a whole new standard of "satisfactory"
My point is that "satisfactory" is a category which is too binary to
accomodate the actual spectrum of operational utility which is
involved. The Hurricane was not "unsatisfactory" as a fighter in 1941
as the British understood the term at the time, which seems to have
been reserved for aircraft which were not considered adequate combat
aircraft at all (hence my examples of aircraft which were actually
called "unstatisfactory" at the time). This clearly doesn't apply to
the Hurricane.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
By "satisfactory" I meant able to function as a good fighter, but I see
your point that a second-rate aircraft could also give satisfactory
service. The US kept the P-40 in production well past its "best by"
date, too, after all.
Yes, as Dan Ford has said, and I agree that this is a similar example
to the Hurricane. I believe this evidence of operational utility is
relevant to the perceived quality of the aircraft involved.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Actually, my understanding is that the Spitfire didn't have an edge over
the Luftwaffe at the time, so how was the Hurricane really effective ?
I'm referring to what the British thought at the time in 1941, and
even in hindsight the Spitfire did have an edge over all the German
aircraft except the contemporary Bf109E/F, to which it was basically
equivalent. Meanwhile Hurricanes were successfully used in 1941 as
defensive interceptors, and as such their operational utility was not
as limited by their perceived performance shortcomings as contemporary
alternatives, such as the P-36, P-40 and Defiant.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Yes, but that has nothing to do with how good it was as a design.
Nor did I say that it was; I do think it is a relevant perspective on
the "satisfactory" nature (or otherwise) of the Hurricane's
operational performance as a fighter in 1941. If you want to judge it
as a design, I believe its performance and availability in 1940
vindicated it.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Based
on that reasoning, the Dauntless was a great design because it sunk lots
of Japanese ships so why did those fools running the USAAF stop
production in favor of models that didn't sink as many ?
No, I am not making this argument.

My argument would be, paralleled in this analogy, that the Dauntless
was not an unsatisfactory aircraft in that it was operationally
effective and available at the time even if it was not the best
performer at that role. I'm saying nothing about the value of the
design, and even if I was, any commentary about design quality must be
qualified by operational availability and consequent impact on
operations (e.g. compare the Dauntless to the Skua, I'd suggest the
Skua was less satisfactory than the Dauntless even when the Dauntless
had significant performance shortcomings). Otherwise we'd be raving
about the P-80 or the Horten flying wing and ignoring the actual
combat performance of the less glamourous types such as the P-40 and
Hurricane which actually did have an impact on WW2.

Stopping production of the Hurricane would have been useful if the
production resources could have immediately been switched to producing
Spitfires. This obviously was not the case, and in 1940-43 the
British could not afford the loss of production involved, unlike the
American procurement machinery which was prepared to stop production
of various types (e.g the Allison-engined P-51) in order to phase in
new production in a manner which the British were not.

The decision to keep the Hurricane (and even the P-40) in production
was informed by the degree to which the Hurricane retained some
operational utility in a manner which other types of the same age did
not. Interestingly, the British were prepared to continue Hurricane
production while passing on supply allocations of P-39's, P-40's and
even early P-38's, which I believe is a valid comment on how
"satisfactory" they found these aircraft at the end of 1941.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
My understanding is that the Allies lamented the fact that the RAF was
using second-rate fighters in overseas theaters and Tedder repeatedly
asked for at least token numbers of first-rate planes so as to fight the
superiority/inferiority complexes developing between the Luftwaffe and DAF.
Yes, Coningham and Tedder wanted at least a small number of Spitfires
to counter the Luftwaffe Bf 109's by November 1941. I'm confident
they would have demanded all the Spitfires produced if they could have
got away with it. However, this still left them with a horde of
non-Bf109 aircraft to fight, and this tends to be the area ignored by
Spitfire and 109-centric analysis of the air war. In 1940, Longmore
(Tedder's predecessor until mid-1941) was demanding Hurricanes
(unsuprisingly as when the Italians declared war he had one
Hurricane), and as late as 1942 Tedder was demanding sufficient
supplies of Hurricanes and claiming that they might be "critical"
during the early Alamein battles. This indicates to me, at least,
that Hurricane supply was of more utility on operations than the
supply of certain other aircraft, for example, the Bisley, which I
have read the Portal's own handwritten comments on the relevant memo
when the issue of expediting their supply to the Middle East in the
summer of 1942, and I quote - "They are mostly useless anyhow."
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
That depends; Hurricane pilots in IIC's did shoot down Bf 109 experten
in the Western Desert with them in 1942.
Wow, good for them. I wonder if the overall kill rate was such as to
retain the satisfactory label, though.
By 1942 Coningham and Tedder certainly would have preferred to replace
them with Spitfires. However, what they really wanted was sufficient
supplies of every type needed - including Hurricanes - while they
refused to employ "unsatisfactory" types like the P-36 and Gladiator
(which were available) in their place.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Given what the CBI theater had to make do with, that hardly qualifies as
an argument, but thanks very much anyway for the details.
Even in that theatre, the Hurricane II was used to replace manifestly
"unsatisfactory" aircraft like the Buffalo at the end of 1941. But
feel free to dismiss that if you want.

Gavin Bailey

--

New Windows OS installation go real smooth. Deliver enhanced functionality;
hey, what this "Keyboard error, Press F.1 to resume"? Bart show you,
Bill Gates, install Windows 95 on your ass! Yeah, that make you sweat, Bill.
- Bart Kwan En
--
Louis Capdeboscq
2005-10-18 21:24:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
My point is that "satisfactory" is a category which is too binary to
accomodate the actual spectrum of operational utility which is
involved.
Yes, and although I didn't acknowledge it sufficiently clearly, this is
a good point. My understanding had been that the Hurricanes IIB & IIC
had been considered failures and as such relegated to secondary duties
like night fighting or to secondary theaters like Russia or the Middle East.

It seems that despite not being cutting edge there were enough people
asking for them to have created a market for the things, certainly a
larger one than I had thought.
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
The Hurricane was not "unsatisfactory" as a fighter in 1941
as the British understood the term at the time, which seems to have
been reserved for aircraft which were not considered adequate combat
aircraft at all (hence my examples of aircraft which were actually
called "unstatisfactory" at the time).
Yes. I guess that the question would be "what substitutes were available
in 1941-43 ?" and apparently the answer is "practically none". Which by
itself raises the question of "how come ?".
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
This clearly doesn't apply to the Hurricane.
Sure, I suppose that given a choice between Gladiators or the collection
of unserviceable antiques that he could scrap together from all parts of
the Middle East, Tedder would gladly take Hurricanes.
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
By "satisfactory" I meant able to function as a good fighter, but I see
your point that a second-rate aircraft could also give satisfactory
service. The US kept the P-40 in production well past its "best by"
date, too, after all.
Yes, as Dan Ford has said, and I agree that this is a similar example
to the Hurricane. I believe this evidence of operational utility is
relevant to the perceived quality of the aircraft involved.
The P-40's main strongpoint was an excellent sales team. Also, the
aircraft was extremely cheap compared to later fighters, and though it
wasn't great it still qualified as "good enough" (particularly in a
context of overall Allied air superiority which meant that having
cutting-edge interceptors was less important than the number of aircraft
that one could deploy) which combined with its low price gave it an
excellent cost-effectiveness.

I guess that the end users might object to such a reasoning, but having
a second-best plane beats not having anything at all.
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Actually, my understanding is that the Spitfire didn't have an edge over
the Luftwaffe at the time, so how was the Hurricane really effective ?
I'm referring to what the British thought at the time in 1941, and
even in hindsight the Spitfire did have an edge over all the German
aircraft except the contemporary Bf109E/F, to which it was basically
equivalent.
My understanding is that after 1941 which is the period under
consideration, the Spitfire V was equivalent to the Bf 109 F and
inferior to the FW 190, a state of affairs that lasted until the Spit IX
appeared around 1943.

In such a context, I would have thought that a Hurricane IIB wouldn't be
particularly competitive.
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
Meanwhile Hurricanes were successfully used in 1941 as
defensive interceptors, and as such their operational utility was not
as limited by their perceived performance shortcomings as contemporary
alternatives, such as the P-36, P-40 and Defiant.
Leaving aside the Defiant which was a very poor aircraft and AFAIK no
longer in production after 1941, or the P-36 which was barely equivalent
to an early Hurricane, my understanding is that the Hurricane had no
particular edge over the P-40 in terms of performance. What made it
preferable to have Hurricanes was that the RAF had operated them for a
while so there were trained mechanics, stores of spare parts etc.

In other words, I don't see the Hurricane IIB as outperforming the P-40
though it's true that there were problem with deliveries (as you already
pointed out to me some time ago) so the British would not exactly be
getting state of the art US technology at the front.

(snip)
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
Stopping production of the Hurricane would have been useful if the
production resources could have immediately been switched to producing
Spitfires. This obviously was not the case, and in 1940-43 the
British could not afford the loss of production involved, unlike the
American procurement machinery which was prepared to stop production
of various types (e.g the Allison-engined P-51) in order to phase in
new production in a manner which the British were not.
For what it's worth, why wasn't it the case and why weren't there
substitutes to the Hurricane ?
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
Interestingly, the British were prepared to continue Hurricane
production while passing on supply allocations of P-39's, P-40's and
even early P-38's, which I believe is a valid comment on how
"satisfactory" they found these aircraft at the end of 1941.
Early P-38's and some of the P-40's were a case of the US trying to turn
the RAF into its Guinea pigs which the British understandably resented,
preferring to pass the role to the Soviets instead.

That being said, my understanding about the P-40 vs Hurricane is that
the issue was one of serviceability, not performance. I could of course
be wrong as I obviously don't have more than anecdotal evidence about
the Hurricane's career.
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
My understanding is that the Allies lamented the fact that the RAF was
using second-rate fighters in overseas theaters and Tedder repeatedly
asked for at least token numbers of first-rate planes so as to fight the
superiority/inferiority complexes developing between the Luftwaffe and DAF.
Yes, Coningham and Tedder wanted at least a small number of Spitfires
to counter the Luftwaffe Bf 109's by November 1941. I'm confident
they would have demanded all the Spitfires produced if they could have
got away with it.
So am I, the point being that they were taking what they could get and
the Hurricane was better than switching back to Gladiators, which
doesn't mean that the Hurricane was considered a satisfactory fighter.
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
However, this still left them with a horde of
non-Bf109 aircraft to fight, and this tends to be the area ignored by
Spitfire and 109-centric analysis of the air war.
Believe it or not, although I don't know much about the later career of
the Hurricane I am somewhat aware of unglamorous aircraft making the
bulk of air combat. Yet it is also my understanding that by 1942 the Bf
109 was becoming a significant factor in the Middle East which left the
Hurricane as somewhat less than satisfactory.
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
In 1940, Longmore
(Tedder's predecessor until mid-1941) was demanding Hurricanes
(unsuprisingly as when the Italians declared war he had one
Hurricane), and as late as 1942 Tedder was demanding sufficient
supplies of Hurricanes and claiming that they might be "critical"
during the early Alamein battles.
Yes, and the 1939-40 French were ordering tons of Morane-Saulnier 406's
and of US-built H-75's as a vital priority, which doesn't mean that they
were considering these aircraft as satisfactory, just better than nothing.

Ditto the Soviets with some of the lend-lease aircraft.
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
This indicates to me, at least,
that Hurricane supply was of more utility on operations than the
supply of certain other aircraft, for example, the Bisley, which I
have read the Portal's own handwritten comments on the relevant memo
when the issue of expediting their supply to the Middle East in the
summer of 1942, and I quote - "They are mostly useless anyhow."
The Bisley was a ground-attack variant of the Blenheim, but as I've
never heard of anyone describing the Blenheim as satisfactory I didn't
think of comparing them.
Post by Admiral Sir Francis Haddock
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Given what the CBI theater had to make do with, that hardly qualifies as
an argument, but thanks very much anyway for the details.
Even in that theatre, the Hurricane II was used to replace manifestly
"unsatisfactory" aircraft like the Buffalo at the end of 1941. But
feel free to dismiss that if you want.
Since you allowed me to, I think I will indeed take that liberty as
being better than the Buffalo doesn't rank high on the satisfactory
scale for a fighter.


LC
--
Remove "e" from address to reply
--
Cub Driver
2005-10-18 16:10:47 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 17 Oct 2005 20:50:59 +0000 (UTC), Louis Capdeboscq
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
By "satisfactory" I meant able to function as a good fighter, but I see
your point that a second-rate aircraft could also give satisfactory
service. The US kept the P-40 in production well past its "best by"
date, too, after all.
I've always been a bit puzzled by that. To be sure, Curtiss even in
1941 was building planes at the rate of 10 a day, but once the Mustang
had been proved out (I appreciate that this took a bit of time)
couldn't the Curtiss Buffalo plant have been switched over to Mustangs
in a matter of weeks? The navy did this all the time: when Grumman
proved out the Hellcat, the navy gave the Wildcat to General Motors to
build. And when the navy wanted more Corsairs, it ordered the Brewster
company to build them.



-- all the best, Dan Ford

email: usenet AT danford DOT net

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
--
Michael Emrys
2005-10-18 21:25:09 UTC
Permalink
And when the navy wanted more Corsairs, it ordered the Brewster company to
build them.
And Goodyear too IIRC.

Michael
--
mike
2005-10-19 16:24:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Emrys
And when the navy wanted more Corsairs, it ordered the Brewster company to
build them.
And Goodyear too IIRC.
.
And told Brewster to stop making them- major QC issues

**
mike
**
--

Cub Driver
2005-10-16 21:19:20 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 14 Oct 2005 20:26:07 +0000 (UTC), Louis Capdeboscq
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
On the other hand, wasn't the fact that the IIB was used "all over the
world" as opposed to retained in the UK evidence that it was
unsatisfactory
That is certainly my impression: that it was regarded as better than
the Brewster Buffalo (hence not sent to Burma and Malaya until things
went pear-shaped) and on a par with the Curtiss Tomahawk (hence sent
to North Africa while the Spitfire was reserved for home defense).

-- all the best, Dan Ford

email: usenet AT danford DOT net

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
--
Cub Driver
2005-10-13 16:02:07 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 12 Oct 2005 16:25:45 +0000 (UTC), Louis Capdeboscq
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Post by Cub Driver
Jane's confirms that the IIB was 12-gunned. Says it was followed by
the IIC with four 20mm cannon and the IID with two 40mm(!).
Don't know about the IID, but IIRC the IIB didn't work out and the IIC
was mainly used as a night fighter.
If the IIB didn't work, that would explain why the RAF sent it to
Burma, to reinforce the Brewster Buffalo! (I suppose that sounds
ironic, but I assure you that the irony is directed toward the RAF and
not toward you.)

So the Hurricane IIB was the "late model" Hurricane referred to in an
earlier posting? Clearly an airframe that did not take kindly to
upgrading! The alternative I suppose is that it was ideal to begin
with, but that hardly seems to be the case. Even such an old warhorse
as the Curtiss P-40 went through multiple marks, getting better each
time (in performance if not in appearance).



-- all the best, Dan Ford

email ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
Piper Cub Forum: www.pipercubforum.com
the blog: www.danford.net
In Search of Lost Time: www.readingproust.com
--
c***@dartmouth.edu
2005-10-07 23:52:55 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 7 Oct 2005 16:00:09 +0000 (UTC), Cub Driver
Post by Cub Driver
The four fifty-caliber guns on the USN Wildcat proved to be a very
good mix against the Zero with its two cannon / two rifle-caliber
guns. Six guns and their associated ammunition made the Wildcat slow,
and I recall accounts of Wildcat pilots not arming two of six guns
when the latter number became available.
According to John Lundstrom, who wrote the excellent pair of books
"The First Team" and "The First Team at Guadalcanal", the Navy F4F
pilots were most upset with the added pair of 50 caliber machine guns
because it actually reduced the number of rounds available for each
gun. That meant an overall reduced firing time. They had not been
unhappy with the firepower the four gun battery gave them, they found
it adaquate against the lightweight and flammable Japanese aircraft.

The added guns did also add weight which slowed an already slow
climbing fighter even more.

But the F4F was so rugged that several times pilots were quoted as
saying that the safest place for them to be was directly in front of
the Zero! Typically the Zero pilots did a high speed firing pass and
then either dove below the Wildcat and pulled up, or passed overhead
and pulled up. Either way, they offered themselves as vulnerable
targets to the usually not fatally injured Wildcat as they pulled up
because they were not out of range. Remember that old Murphey's law
addage: "If the enemy is in range, so are you."

Time and time again during the battle of Guadalcanal, Zero's were
punished for such tactics by being shot down by the very airplane that
seconds before had been the target.

Corky Scott
--
J***@Yahoo.Com
2005-10-10 15:55:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by R***@eSedona.net
QUESTION: What factors led the aircraft designers to choose the type
of guns to be used in a particular fighter aircraft?
If I recall correctly the decision on what armaments to use was made
several years prior to the US entering the war (39/40)

A large part of the equation was that the Browning 50 cal was a US
product, already in production, and a known quantity. On the other
hand the leading 20/25 mm cannon designs were foreign (Swiss, iirc)
and that presented a couple of problems;

1)We weren't using these cannons as yet when the war started in 39
and we had no industrial capacity to make them. After the war started
it was going to be very difficult if not impossible to negotiate a deal

with the manufacturer to make them. The Swiss were not going to
anatagonize the Germans so we would probably ended up having to reverse

engineer the things, then figure how to build the manufacturing plants
and then actually build the plants. It would take too long and it would

infuriate the Swiss.

2) The cannons were under a foreign patent subject to a royalty and
Congress was very cheap about such things.
--
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