A 'big bomber' with six engines - worth the effort?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Apr 16, 2014.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    A spin-off from the current B-29 thread. How much value should be in having a big bomber with six, mass produced, engines? Like Merlins for the UK, or Cyclones, Twin Wasps or V-1710s for the USA (and for Allies)? How good should it be for long range marine patrol work?
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    During WW2 I think both Allies and the Axis had the capability of building airframes offering long range and high speeds; the problem was engines at the time were lagging slightly behind in their development - a way to compensate for this were a six engine aircraft, which IMO was just utilizing the resources of the day to meet a requirement.
     
  3. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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  4. BobR

    BobR Member

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    #4 BobR, Apr 16, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2014
    Had the B-36 been used in Korea, been available for WWII, at the ranges there it could have carried an approx. eighty-thousand bomb load.

    I think that would have had a far larger effect on those being attacked than that carried by the B-29, plus the fact that under normal circumstances it is harder to shoot down a larger aircraft with a greater number of engines.

    The U.S. had developed a 42, 000 lb. bomb of which the B-36 could carry two.
    Two of those would have devastated a large area, especially if used to support ground troops
     
  5. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The B-36 did not used mass produced engines ;)
     
  6. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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  7. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    True but at what cost? Although the B-36 was "The Big Stick" in it's day, it was also a maintenance nightmare and costly to operate. It would have been interesting to see how it would have fared in Korea, especially when confronted by MiG-15s.
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Making a bomber larger won't make it deliver iron bombs more accurately. So if you want to hit anything it will need to operate within range of enemy AA guns.
     
  9. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Compared with almost 10-fold as much for the R-1830, does not seem like a mass production :) But at any rate, the bomber with six engines will likely have 1/3rd to 1/2 of B-36's power.
     
  10. l'Omnivore Sobriquet

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    #10 l'Omnivore Sobriquet, Apr 16, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2014
    Gyroscopic effets, and a lot of inertia as well for six engined - six propelled -- aircrafts. Not the best.

    I think the Me-323 was unpopular to its crew because of that.

    Clearly, a good 4 engined package is better.

    However notre maitre Flyboy got it well :
    This argument has been put forth to explain the sudden appearence of fast twin-engined fighters (or "Zertörer" or "chasseur lourd") at the end of the 30's. Modern airframe designs, slightly backwards powerplants.

    Still, that doesn't make a six-engined aircraft easy to handle.

    To me the one successful 6-engined aircraft was the Blohm und Voss Bv-222 luxury liner flying boat of 1940 vintage.
    But then there was something called war and it didn't help.
     
  11. BobR

    BobR Member

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    Dropping eighty one-thousand pound bombs from one air craft, verses eight to twenty, makes accuracy less of an absolute need.

    With its sixteen 20mm cannon, in Korea it would have been a far more hazardous task for the Migs as a 20mm can reach out a touch you at a greater distance than .50 cal.
     
  12. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Shouldn't the opposite-rotation props handled the gyroscopic effect? Six engines are needed for a very good take off power, while using 'bread and butter' engines - between 7200 and 8550 HP for the listed US engines, and between 7680 and 9660 for the Merlin 20 series. The four R-3350s were making 8800 HP for take off, and 8000 HP max continuous, due to the accompanying 8 turbos in the B-29s.
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Could the B-36 even been operated in Korea? Were there runways long enough and reinforced enough to handle the B-36?
     
  14. l'Omnivore Sobriquet

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    Ok once you have opposite-spinning engines for each wings, it has to compensate for gyroscopic effets to nil.
    But still you have a lot of inertial momentum from the propellers themselves, whichever way they're turning, and added to that, the 'simple' inertia from the numerous and far distant engine masses.

    Yes I would have 'liked' to see the B-36 perform in the early fifties against those Migs... and perhaps with a fair number of F-88 'early Woodoos' on the escort !
    Both were missing i think...
     
  15. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't the Me 323 an evil handling aircraft before they gave it engines?
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Fall 1944. U.S. 8th Air Force.
    7% of bombs hit within 1,000 feet of aiming point.

    Seems pretty clear to me. Lower bombing accuracy further by bombing from a higher altitude and it doesn't matter how many bombs you drop. They will all miss a factory size target.
     
  17. rinkol

    rinkol Member

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    There was also the issue of unreliable engines - it was not unusual for one or more engine failures to occur on a flight. Aside from this, I'm sure there were concerns that deploying the B-36 in Korea would have provided clear indications of its capabilities and limitations and that the Soviets would be sure to act upon these.
     
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  18. BobR

    BobR Member

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    The Air Force learned fairly early on the jet stream screws truly high altitude bombing so they would not go any higher anyway.

    If seven percent of one hundred bombs is with in lethal range that equals seven; if seven percent of one thousand bombs is with in lethal range that equals seventy.
    Assuming a B-29 can carry twenty it would take fifty B-29s to drop one thousand bombs; it would only take thirteen B-36s to do the same thing.
    In warfare that is a huge difference.
     
  19. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I think it would have been a tremendous waste of resources. The maintenance alone would be a killer. It was hard enough with four engines without adding 50% more. The in-service rate would be terrible and you could hardly miss such a large target if you caught them on the ground somewhere.
    '
    The only reason the B-29's didn't suffer that fate is theyw ere too far away for the Japanese to mount a ground attack on them. You'll note there were a few six and even eight engined plane around. The Latecoere 631 flying boat didn't last in service, ostensibly due to wood construction, but I wonder how many trips were cancelled due to one or more engines being down. Can't seem to find that history. They never made the Spruce Goose either, with eight engines.

    The only plane in "large scale" use with so many engines was the B-36. and their in-service rate was abysmal. Once we went to turbines, that wasn't nearly the issue it was with big pistons. The B-52 does just fine with eight turbines, but turbines are an order of magnitude more reliable than pistons, Keep 'em oiled and feed 'em fuel and they will pretty much run. But six R-3350's would need a team of mechanics at every stop, together with tools and spares in order to have any reliable routes.

    Might have been feasible with QEC modules and the tools to quickly change them out when required.
     
  20. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    #20 gjs238, Apr 16, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2014
    I'm thinking a six R-2800 engined B-29 would probably have entered service sooner and been more reliable than the R-3350 nightmare.
    Aircraft and aircrew losses would be less without all the R-3350 magnesium infernos due to overheating.
    Losses over Europe would likely have been lower than incurred by B-17's and B-24's.
     
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