1940: the best bomber in service?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Hello,
    1940 saw some major displays of air power, bombers playing major roles. What type should be regarded as the best? The planes in service are to be taken into account, with 2 or more engines, all around the world. Bomb load over distance, speed, protection, gun armament are the main categories here.
     
  2. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    B-17 has to be in the mix
     
  3. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Likewise, Wellington.
     
  4. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    i add to B-17 and Wellington the He 111
     
  5. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    The B-17 was only barely in service in 1940 and certainly wasn't combat capable. Personally, I'd go with the Ju-88 - it was truly superb and, IMHO, the best bomber in the world in 1940.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree. Ju-88 was very capable by 1940 standards.
     
  7. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    B-17 was in service also in 39. and why not combat capable? also w/o SS and armour is combat capable many bombers had not in 1940
     
  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The JU-88 was a capable bomber but in 1940 I think I'd rather be over London in a B-17B or C if given a choice. BTW, the B-17B first flew in 1939, the B-17C first flew in mid 1940. "Combat capable" by 1939 standards or 1944 standards?
     
  9. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    In 1940, I think I would have to go with the Ju 88. Only because of its versatility.

    Still there a lot of others though that one could argue for.
     
  10. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    #10 buffnut453, Dec 9, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
    There were a whopping 10 B-17Bs in USAAF service by March 1940, the next order for 517 aircraft only being issued in July of that year. As to the combat readiness of the B-17, I would point out the RAF's experience with the Fortress MkI (equivalent to the B-17C) was pretty negative, with combat highlighting the need for much greater defensive firepower. Given that the C-variant didn't enter service until late 1940 I think my comment about the combat readiness of the B-17 in 1940 is valid, and that the Ju-88 was a much better candidate as the best bomber of that timeframe.
     
  11. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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  12. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    the B-17 available to end 1940 were
    13 B-17
    1 B-17A
    39 B-17B (delivery completed in march)
    18 B-17C (delivery completed in november)

    2 B-17 were loss for accident in 1940 (12/11 and 18/12), a few were used as test planes.
    the B-17 and 17B had 5 .30 mg the C had 4 .50 and 1 .30., the 88 had 4 .30.

    Imho the 111H is a best bomber of 88A, specifically of the original A-1. The 111 is more versatile as level bomber (example can load 250 kg bombs internally)
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Wiki comparison

    B-17C
    Armament: One .30-cal. and six .50-cal. machine guns and 4,800 lbs. of bombs
    Engines: Four Wright R-1820-65 turbo-supercharged radials of 1,200 hp each
    Maximum speed: 323 mph at 25,000 ft.
    Cruising speed: 227 mph
    Service ceiling: 37,000 ft.
    Range: 3,400 miles (maximum ferry range)
    Span: 103 ft. 9 in.
    Length: 67 ft. 11 in.
    Height: 15 ft. 5 in.
    Weight: 48,500 lbs. gross weight (actual - normal load)


    Junkers Ju 88A-1

    Crew 4
    Engine (Type) 2: Junkers Jumo 211B/G3, 2: Junkers Jumo 211 B4
    Cylinders Inverted V 123, V 124
    Cooling Liquid
    HP 1,200 each
    Propeller blades 3 each
    Fuel capacity
    Dimensions
    Span 59' 11"3, 60' 3"4
    18.26 m
    Length 47' 1"4, 47' 2"3
    8.43 m
    Height 15' 11"3, 17' 5"4
    4.85 m
    Wing area
    Weight
    Empty
    Loaded 22,840 lb
    Maximum load
    Performance
    Speed
    Speed @ 18,050' 280 mph4
    Cruising speed
    Climb
    Service ceiling 28,250'
    Range 1,056 miles
    Armament 3: MG4
    Bombs (internal and external) 3,960 lb4
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  14. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    RAF was flying Fortresses from mid 1941 on, so whatever their experiences were, that does not seem to have bearing here? Was there any interceptor capable to reliably catch it in 1940?
     
  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I would put forth the Whitley. Not many bombers could hit Genoa Italy from England.

    In 1940 there were very few 4 engine bombers. The available B-17s have been gone over (and the early ones had 5-6 .30 cal guns, later refitted) and any other 4 engine bombers were even fewer in number (except for the Russian leftover TB-3s). First British 4 engine bombers reach the squadrons at the end of the year but don't fly first combat missions until 1941.

    Most engines in 1940 were about 1200hp give or take a bit. SO you have about 2400hp hp for the bomber,( Italian tri-motors were under 900hp each). You could either have schnell bomber or you could have a load carrier, not both.
     
  16. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    #16 Milosh, Dec 9, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
    Didn't the early B-17s received by the British, get assigned to less hazardous duties because they weren't combat ready?
     
  17. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #17 nuuumannn, Dec 9, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
    Regardless of which individual aircraft was the best, the Luftwaffe had the most accurate, with the use of radio navigation/bombing aids years before the RAF/USAAF and with the most combat experience by the end of that year, most likely the best bomber force in 1940. Thankfully for the rest of the world, the LW was let down by inadequate reconnaissance and a nincompoop at the top. Although I do agree about the Ju 88.
     
  18. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    In 1940, was the Ju-88 better than He-111?

    By second half of 1941, early B-17s they were not up to standard. Again, we need to compare them with what was available in 1940.
     
  19. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    #19 buffnut453, Dec 9, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
    That's precisely my point. People are saying the B-17 was combat ready in 1940 and hence should be considered the best bomber in that year. I'm saying that even in 1941 the B-17 still had significant flaws from a combat effectiveness standpoint and so it can't have been the best bomber in 1940. And there weren't huge differences between mid/late 1940 fighters and early/mid 1941 fighters so, given the performance of the Fortress in RAF service, the answer to your second question has to be "Yes".
     
  20. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    And what were those flaws when compared to say the JU.88 A-1, Wellington or He.111? Armor plate? Self sealing tanks? Compare what those early WW2 bombers had that made them "combat effective" with early B-17s....
     
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