Allied AFs in 1943: realistic options for long range fighters?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Many a long range fighters were discussed in our forum. Bf-110, Zero, P-38, P-51, F4U, Spitfire VIII, taking the war to the enemy, with more or less success. Sometimes the thinking of the day was more against the long range use, than the real technical limitations.
    Now what would be realistic options for the Allied air forces in 1943, using the historically available planes, while allowing modest/minor modifications to modify them, for long range work? Let's say the orders are given in September 1st 1942, so the planes can be deployed in 1st half of 1943. We need a plane with combat range of roughly 450 miles, for starters. If the plane can perform well at ~25000 ft altitude, it scores extra points :)
     
  2. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    maybe P-38?
     
  3. TheMustangRider

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    With the benefit of hindsight I would suggest that all P-47 outfits heading for Europe to be deployed to the 12th AF in N. Africa and maintain all P-38 within the 8th AF while their notorious high-altitude issues are addressed with top priority.
    It would enable XII FC to have a rugged, well armed fighter-bomber ideal for tactical counter-air missions while VIII FC gets to keep the long-range fighters available.

    It would be nice too for the AAF to realize earlier than it did the great potential the P-51 possessed for escort duties.
     
  4. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    The P-51B contract was let in December 1942 (cancelling about 800 P-51A and shifting the funding). The P-38 'option' was deployed. Hindsight agrees with TheMustangRider. Re-deploy the P-38 back to ETO and replace with P-47s directed to MTO.

    With the teething issues of the Allisons and Intercoolers there would have been a higher loss rate for the P-38s but a much lower loss rate on B-17s and B-24s until the P-51B also arrived in-theatre.
     
  5. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #5 tomo pauk, Nov 1, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
    Indeed, the P-38 seem to be the tool for the job, even if we account the main problem (cockpit heater issues) here.

    Out of the other planes, Spitfire VIII seem like a contender. With 90 imp gals, the ferry range is stated from 1180-1260 miles*, tank dropped when empty. That should give roughly 400 miles of combat range. With 170 gals, ferry range is 1530 miles*; that would give perhaps another 100 miles (more?), providing the tank was emptied prior encountering enemy A/C. Seem like the Mk.VIII was never equipped with rear fuselage tank - even the 30 gal one, like used at the Mk.V should give at least another 100 miles.
    Spitfire's strong points here being climb rate, no problems in dive (unlike the P-38), the speed was either comparable vs. German opposition, or better (providing the HF variant is used).


    *data from Williams' site
     
  6. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    i don't think that the 170 tank was used on fighters but hovewer is useless you need to combat and back to home only with internal fuel i've not data on Spit VIII but 450 miles maybe a bit too much for it
     
  7. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The data sheet for the Mk.VIII lists the 170 gal external tank:

    http://www.spitfireperformance.com/spitfirehfviii-ads.jpg

    I agree that 450 miles for the Mk.VIII is too much, the 400 miles is the figure I've stated anyway. We can do some math. The range on internal 120 gals is stated to be 660 miles at most economical speed, with each 5 minutes on combat rating (WER in US terminology) 'costs' 80 miles. With 15 min on combat, that's 240 miles to be subtracted from those 660 miles = 420 miles can be reached from battle area. But now we lack almost any reserve to allow for any non-perfect return and landing.
    So we need additional fuselage tank, in order to make the Mk.VIII a real long range fighter. With that 30 gal tank from the 1942 (Mk.V was using those), and same 5.5 miles for gallon, the range on 150 gals of internal fuel is up to 825 miles. Deducing 240 miles (since we've used the combat rating) brings us to 585 miles to return home, no allowances for a non-perfect return and landing. A realistic 450-500 miles combat range?
     
  8. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    white a moment you mean radius or range?
    450 miles of range are too few for a escort over germany, if is radius
    this is my point with the data
    the fighter go to mwm speed (there are many reports that go slow in enemy area is too dangerous), with the internal fuel has around 120 miles of radius (with 15 at combat power, actually too much for a short range mission), with 90 gall tank maybe around 240 miles.
    (number fo reconomic cruiser maybe 200 and 400)
     
  9. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Do you really thinkthe main problem in late '42 - mid '43 was the cockpit heater? IMO the heater was a problem that could be solved, it was compressability buffeting at high speeds that was a problem, and it wasn't until late '43/early '44 that there were fixes (and enough of them) available

    IIRC in Sept '43 there are still very limited numbers of P-47s in ETO, wasn't that the problem at Shweinfurt? There were P-47s, but they were overwhelmed and the bombers tookheavy losses
     
  10. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #10 tomo pauk, Nov 1, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
    The compressibility issues were indeed important. Cockpit heater was recognized as an important issue, too.

    Hi, vincenzo,

    450 miles should cover roughly the area from UK to Hamburg-Frankfurt-Strassburg line, so the bombers heading to Ruhr can be protected all the time.

    As for realistic ranges: it all depends on what is the real use of the plane. At the areas where it's possible to use the economic cruise, it can be used (MTO, PTO/CBI - the areas where the enemy is likely to be encountered at long ranges). For ETO, the allies can use their numerical superiority vs. the LW. One part of their fighters to cover ingress egress areas (= under 200 miles from UK), so the long range Spits can use the 170 gal tank to the maximum. That enables the Mk.VIII to use the economic cruise, too.

    I've already admitted that Mk.VIII would be a far better LR plane with the 30 gal fuselage tank on board.

    I use terms 'combat range' and 'ferry range' - 'combat range' should be the 'radius'?
     
  11. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    for me range is go and back (both trip) radius is only one trip.
    450 miles both trip is short, 450 miles one trip is long.
    Superiority over Germany in '43? i'm not so sure this is easy to get.
    the 170 gal tank is useless you need to drop it before to combat or also before there is a threat to combat. you need to use your internal fuel for the combat and for the back trip so of 120 Gals of internal fuel around 40 for the combat (your required 15') and 80 for the back trip.
     
  12. TheMustangRider

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    By late 1943 P-47's still could not make the trip to Schweinfurt; intervened on penetration and withdrawal support aided by improving external fuel tanks with a certain degree of success IIRC.
     
  13. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #13 tomo pauk, Nov 1, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
    Agreed. It took the installation of taller main fuel tank (int fuel grows to 370 USG) and use of 2 x 150 gal wing DTs to achieve 600 miles of combat range. Unfortunately for the US bomber crews, it was mid 1944 when the P-47 was featuring that quantity of fuel.

    Hi, Vincenzo,

    The 170 gal DT is not useless - the P-51 was using 120 or 180 imp gals of external fuel, the P-38 240 or 480 gals, P-47D-23 and later from 240 up. I've already addressed the internal fuel situation :)

    Of course. There is some 350-400 miles of aerospace to deny for the LW, though.
     
  14. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    expain to me as you use the 170 gals of tank in you Spit VIII in escort mission over germany, put that german fighter came 50 miles before of target
     
  15. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    You drop the tank, engage the LW fighter.
    The defender can choose to fight vs. you (thus going against the specific orders) - the bomber stream has one less fighter to defend against. Or, the defender chooses to go kill the bomber(s) - makes your job easier to shot him.
     
  16. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    so is as i told useless need only to waste fuel....
     
  17. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Freebird - the 8th could have had a 1000 P-47s in late 1943/spring 44 and still couldn't escort beyond Brunswick to Stuttgart radius.. long way from Scweinfurt, Regensburg, Leipzig and Berlin.
     
  18. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #18 tomo pauk, Nov 1, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
    Bill,

    The improved intercoolers of the -J (late 1943) were a mixed blessing - true, they enabled a higher power, but were one of the contributors to the blown engines. The -G/-H, with intercoolers of smaller capacity, were hardly capable to over-cool the fuel/air mixture.

    Hi, Vincenzo:

    Not really. If you were using the 90 imp gal drop tank, you wouldn't be capable to reach those 50 miles before target. Better to waste 30, or even 60 gals of fuel and spoil the defender's job, than to present your bombers on the silver plate to the enemy.
     
  19. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    i think 90 is enough maybe a bit more was best but 170 you was almost 75 gals.


    if you use 80 gals for back 90 for go maybe enough
     
  20. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    RAF can be smart, and adopt the Lockheed's 150/165 US gal DTs? That's 120/132 imp gals.
     
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