Aerial Refueling

Discussion in 'Engines' started by davebender, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Aerial refueling - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    It appears to me the basic techniques for aerial refueling were established by 1938. Why wasn't it used for WWII combat missions? P-47s could have flown escort missions all the way to Berlin during mid 1943. Surely a monster size fighter like the P-47 could find room for the necessary equipment.
     
  2. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Interesting thought, but think about the skies over Europe at the time. Would you want to fly a flying gascan?
     
  3. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I would think that whilst aerial refueling might be feasible, it was far from being a perfected operational technique, and not something to be attempted by the average pilots of the day. I seriously doubt that it would have a lot of application in the prevailing tactical conditions, such as with mass raids by 300 aircraft plus. Even today, aerial refuelling mighht be undertaken by 5 or 6 aircraft maximum (although I wont say Im sure on this.....have no real experience in the technique
     
  4. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I think Evan's got it. It would have been one heck of a risk, and I guess would have needed a large fighter escort to cover the tanker aircraft re-fuelling the...large fighter escort. Also, developments for the in-flight refuelling of smaller aircraft, such as single-engined, single seat fighters, were still very much in the experimental stage, with no real satisfgactory solution. The main reason being, of course, the relatively small size of the receiving aircraft, with a huge prop turning on the front, and the positioning of a suitable nozzle or receptacle. Instead, other avenues were explored, such as towed fuel tanks (!), towed fighters, 'Saddle' tanks for bombers and, of course, a rapid development in drop tank design and capacity.
     
  5. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    I would thnk that the number of tankers required to keep 100 to 200 fighters in the air to Germany and back would be large. The modern method by which circling tankers take up station circling at a predetermined safe point would not have been possible with mainland Europe occupied. Circling would take too much time and disrupt the stream so the alternative would be to have the tankers fly along on the main stream. The risk would be huge since exposure to increasing flak and fighter concentrations the deeper one got into central Europe meant potential loss of the tanker and attendant loss of the entire fighter escort due to lack of fuel. It would not have made any sense given the tactical picture at the time.

    Use of this method in tactical raids over long distances with a samll numbner of aircarft might have been feasible.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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  7. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I still think drop tanks was a much safer way to go, for many reasons.
     
  8. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    Then Germans with the JU290 and Ju390 were successfully tested. They were to be used to extend the range of their long range aircraft. Would have made an attack on N.America that much more feasible. But divine intervention saw to it this never happened.
     
  9. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    *sncr* The German bomber crews can consider themselves lucky SOBs indeed as the plane´s speed/altitude performance is inferior to a B-17. From what I could find in a book of mine the Ju390 reached her top speed of app. 300 mph at 20,000ft. Attacks would have been utterly devastating nevertheless:

    First the planes are picked off, than a lot of units are tied down in the CONUS for home defence and last but not least the worst of all horrors will haunt us as Hollywood WILL turn this into movies, movies that will fry your brain worse than Flyboys, U-whatever and Pearl Harbour. :shock:
     
  10. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I think this would have been more useful in the PTO more then Europe.
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    A couple hundred P-47s with aerial refueling might have prevented the heavy bomber slaughter at Schweinfurt and Regensburg during 1943.
     
  12. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    Unless a 109 found the hapless tanker A/C like the Arabs did to the KC97 in the 6 day war
     
  13. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    I would like to know where these tankers would come from. Would they be converted bombers? Where would the aircrew and ground crew come from?

    How long would it take to refuel these couple of hundred P-47s?
     
  14. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    The tankers would likely remain inside UK airspace and replace the fuel the fighters burned to reach altitude. That might not extend an early P-47´s range all the way to Berlin but IIRC they could make it to Aachen, so with tankers the Ruhrgebiet might be within fighter range. Good enough for me.
     
  15. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    You miss understood Markus. Yes they would have to be based in the UK but what company would build them. Would bomber production be sacrificed to produce tankers?
     
  16. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    SRY. I was refering to krieghund´s post about a Me109 shooting the tanker down. To answer your questions, with hindsight I´ll use Lancasters. B-24 would be more likely but the number of bombers converted to tankers will be more than compensated for by the reduced losses of Germany.
     
  17. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    A couple of hundred P-47s, how many tankers would that take? The skies above east Anglia were already clogged with aircraft during form up. Topping off the tanks after take-off and getting to altitude wouldn't increase the range that much. Milosh brings up another good point. Who is going to make these and who will fly them, maintain them, etc. Plus anyplace that has that big of a fuel stock would be a mighty enticing target for Luftwaffe or enemy saboteurs.
     
  18. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    No offence, but enemy saboteurs in the UK in 1943/44? That sounds even more unlikley than LW dayfighters in UK airspace at the same time. All cases of sabotage and 5th column activity I can remember turned out to be poor craftsmanship and QC(Brewster Aviation) or completely baseless fears(PH).
     
  19. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I am only saying that the base of operations would be a very enticing target.
     
  20. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    #20 krieghund, Jan 24, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
    I suppose the best candidate would be the Stirling as it was being phased out and has a large load carrying capacity. I would like to see the refueling contraption on the fighter though!
     
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