1942: The perfect fighter for the Finnish Front?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by ShVAK, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    #1 ShVAK, Oct 15, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2012
    Finland prior and during WWII was not much of an industrial powerhouse, but we know they were not lacking for ingenuity. Indigenous designs like the Lahti L-39 (one of the few AT rifles that still had some limited effectiveness post-1941), the Suomi KP-31 submachine gun and other weapons were of high quality and performed well in the field, the KP-31 in particular being so influential as a weapon and effective as a force multiplier that the Russians invested heavily in submachine guns (the PPsH line) after facing them in number during the Winter War.

    Their air force during the Continuation War, while having some of the most experienced and highest-scoring pilots in Europe, was a cobbled together logistical nightmare with American, Italian, German, British, French and even some captured Soviet aircraft all complicating the supply chain. They still made do with it somehow, even creating some Frankenstein fighters like the Mörkö-Morane but one wonders what a completely Finnish-designed fighter would look like.

    We do get some idea with the VL Humu, which was design wise very similar to the well-liked Brewster Buffalo. It was grossly underpowered, overweight and obsolete right out the gate and the Finns wisely shelved it after testing the prototype in 1944. Obviously the Humu was a contingency plan designed during the desperation of wartime with very limited resources, mainly utilizing wood in its construction much like the similarly mediocre LaGG-3 on the Soviet side.

    However, let's say this was not the case, and by 1942 Finland was able to maintain enough industrial capacity and cannibalize enough engines, guns, etc. from other aircraft (or maybe build licensed versions of engines, guns, etc.) to build 100 of a better single-engine fighter, and make it capable enough to serve alongside the Bf 109G's they would receive later.

    So how would you design this hypothetical aircraft? I'd say the only solid requirement is minimum top speed of 370 mph @ <20,000 feet to keep it somewhat competitive, from there go nuts. All metal or mixed wood/fabric/steel? Inline or radial engine, and which one? What combination of armament? Fighter-bomber like the Hurricane and P-40 or dedicated interceptor/tactical dogfighter like the Yaks?

    The design should be under 8,000 pounds empty and be tough enough to withstand Finnish/Eastern Front conditions. Maybe with additional winter equipment (landing gear convertible to skis, engine preheater etc.) to increase reliability and operational readiness.

    Discuss.
     
  2. cherry blossom

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    Clearly we could assume that the Finns knew what they were doing in designing the VL Pyörremyrsky - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The only obvious problems would be the glues and obtaining DB 605s. Possibly we could assume that they find out what holds the Mosquito together before June 1941 and at least start building DB 601Es.
     
  3. cherry blossom

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    Alternatively, if we were to ask what aircraft the Finns might have possibly acquired by 1942, we have the standard list of German, Italian, British or American aircraft. However, an off the wall possibility would be if the German's had been willing to allow the Finns to acquire French designs in preparation in June 1940 and the French engineers had been willing to work in Finland (we also need to assume that Finland could acquire the necessary raw materials).

    The obvious aircraft to consider would be the Bloch MB-157. The prototype was under construction in June 1940 and was captured by German forces. Assuming that Finland spoke very quickly to Germany and recruited Lucien Servanty and his team, could we have a first flight in very early 1941? How long would it take to produce a reliable 14R engine? What would the engine's power have been and what performance was possible? There is a thread on that question at http://warbirdsforum.com/showthread.php?t=1180.
     
  4. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    It might take until 1948 or so to get 14R engine up to it's "claimed" performance levels.

    The 1947 edition of "Aircraft engines of the World" gives a military rating of 1550hp/2600rpm/19,700ft in high gear for a 14R-32 engine running on 100/130 fuel.
     
  5. cherry blossom

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    But was there any development between 1940 and 1945? If we assume that development restarted in 1945 with a significantly changed team and that several of the 1940-2 planned developments were simply forgotten, then we might believe that your 1947 performance could be reached by 1942-3. However, I agree that the performance claimed to justify the claimed MB-157 speed would be quite impossible especially using 87 octane fuel. The question is whether the 14R could have reliably given enough power to make a MB-157 competitive with Russian fighters over 1942-4?

    The weight and wing area given for the MB-157 are by some coincidence rather similar to those of the Mitsubishi J2M Raiden. The weight is similar to the La-5 but that has significantly less wing area. Needless to say, this does not tell us much about the MB-157 likely handling characteristics. It was Lucien Servanty's first design, so he might have made serious errors. However, his later reputation was not too bad.
     
  6. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps Finland and Sweden could have co-operated on the FFVS J22, and developed it a little earlier. It comes close to your requirements performance wise and uses a engine the Finns are already well familiar with the, P&W twin Wasp.

    A simple to maintain aircraft with good low altitude performance, 15,000 and below. Just the aircraft the Finns could have gotten good use out of.
     
  7. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Something with DB-601/605 in the nose can do the trick for the Fins, 2-3 cannons aboard.
    With VL Pyörremyrsky they were on the right track, plane looks great, though a late in the game. Something akin to that, but early enough, hopefully.
     
  8. zoomar

    zoomar Member

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    If one is talking about an indigenous Finnish design that could be developed with a minimum of outside materiel that might become unavailable in case of wars, it seems to me you would go with an aerodynamically modern mixed construction, or largely wooden, monoplane fighter powered by a widely available and easily copied radial engine, such as the early war American-designed curtiss-wrights, and and armed with readily availiable machine guns or cannon from Sweden or locally procured. I'd see something equivalent to the Russian La-5 or a radial-powered Hurricane.
     
  9. zoomar

    zoomar Member

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    If one is talking about an indigenous Finnish design that could be developed with a minimum of outside materiel that might become unavailable in case of wars, it seems to me you would go with an aerodynamically modern mixed construction, or largely wooden, monoplane fighter powered by a widely available and easily copied radial engine, such as the early war American-designed curtiss-wrights, and and armed with readily availiable machine guns or cannon from Sweden or locally procured. I'd see something equivalent to the Russian La-5 or a radial-powered Hurricane. As Tryodom says, the Swedish J-22 might be a good idea.
     
  10. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    #10 ShVAK, Oct 16, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
    Wow, that was exactly I was looking for. Had no idea the plane existed. Hah, and they even fixed the main demerit of the 109--the landing gear.

    "The Pyörremyrsky design was considered quite successful. It could outclimb the Bf 109G-6 and it was very maneuverable." The G-6 was still a contender on the Eastern Front by the end of the war so this plane would have no doubt been a real thorn in the VVS's side if only the FAF resolved the glue issue and had sufficient numbers on hand. Also of course, building it a year or two earlier.

    The only real problem I see with it is armament. 2 12.7mm machine guns is similar to the Macchi C.202--you could do worse against VVS fighters, but by 1945 this was lacking in power. I assume that the in-house LKK guns were either copies of the Browning .50 or the Berezin UB, so they were probably more reliable, had a larger shell and (in the UB's case) a higher rate of fire than the crappy Bredas the C.202 had.

    A cannibalized or license built version of the MG 151/20 in the spinner would've no doubt given the fighter a little more kick, but perhaps there was simply no desire to install one. The Finns liked their fighters as light as possible--it did wonders for the Brewster after all.
     
  11. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    As for a radial-engined fighter, here's something to consider: VL Myrsky - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Seems like a decent design (second fastest fighter the Finns had in service w/ 4 12.7mm) but the wood construction wasn't up to sub-Arctic conditions. P&W Twin Wasp seemed pretty easy to reverse engineer, so if they had the capacity they probably could've built more.
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Effective, inexpensive and German technical assistance is readily available.
     
  13. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    Certainly they did wonders with the 109G's they received, but the point of this exercise is to have a fighter the Finns can build with a minimum of outside support and they had a rather cagey relationship with the Germans to start with ("co-belligerents").

    The 109 was an all-metal fighter, and metal of aircraft quality was a scarce quantity in Finland during WWII. A license built DB 601 probably wouldn't be too difficult, maybe even the DB 605, but the real problem was in building the airframes economically and reliably.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Finland has substantial hydro power potential. If they want to build aircraft they should start by building an aluminum smelter.
     
  15. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Dave look at the map, it's virtually flat. Except for the nothern area close to Norway. And dams take years to build.
    Even today only 10-15% of their electricity is hydro produced.
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    So do aircraft engine factories. If you want an aircraft industry then you must build the necessary infrastructure.
     
  17. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    You don't seem to get it dave, they'd need to build mountains too, no vertical rise, no hydropower.

    The only real mountains Finland has is in the far north, close to Norway, above the artic circle.

    That was why I sugested they co operate with Sweden. Too much co operation with Germany had a pricetag the Finns were aware of and didn't seem to want to pay. And I'm not talking about money.
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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  19. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    hydropower installed in finland in 1935 380,000 HP, for comparison in France 4,300,000 HP, in US 16,000,000.
     
  20. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Like I said in my earlier post, 10-15 % today, I was only off 4%. And that's now, not 1940. Finland didn't have a endless supply of slave labor to build dams like some other axis countries.
     
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