Any good twin engined CAS aircraft?

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Admiral Beez

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Oct 21, 2019
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Henschel Hs 129, Breda Ba.88 Lince, Curtiss A-18 Shrike, and Bréguet 693 were all attempts at making a compact, twin-engined, forward firing mgs/cannon and bomb armed, ground attack aircraft. Were any of them any good in the CAS role? Were there any good twin-engined dedicated CAS aircraft in WW2? If you're determined to utlize twin-engined designs for the CAS role instead of putting RP, bombs and cannons onto your single-engined fighters, such as Fw190s, Typhoons and Thuds, would it not have been more efficient to just use regular, albeit-larger twin engined medium bombers in the role, such as a cannon-armed Beaufighter? Presumably this is one reason Britain dropped its interest in the Boulton Paul P.92.

If well used and available in greater numbers, could the Bréguet 693 have shattered Panzer advances in the Battle of France? Its forward firing, single 20mm cannon should cut through any tank of the time.

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If well used and available in greater numbers, could the Bréguet 693 have shattered Panzer advances in the Battle of France? Its forward firing, single 20mm cannon should cut through any tank of the time.


Yes and no : aside from arriving too late, the 693 engines were tuned to give their max power at 3000 meters, and it was consequently a bit slow for the low altitude attack role. This made the Flak job easier. This certainly could have been cured with some time, but...
Also, its use would have required a decent fighter protection.
 
Yes and no : aside from arriving too late, the 693 engines were tuned to give their max power at 3000 meters...
That was a strange move. Why not tune them for below 1500 meters (5,000 feet)? That's where you're operating.

Presumably they just pulled whatever engine they had, no matter the tune.
 
A-20s, B-25 strafers, B-26C-6, A-26 were all envisioned as CAS platforms.
The AA threat environment in MTO, ETO dissuaded their use in that role, but vs Japanese forces, twins were very effective.
 
That was a strange move. Why not tune them for below 1500 meters (5,000 feet)? That's where you're operating.

Presumably they just pulled whatever engine they had, no matter the tune.
The chapter 1 of Clostermann's '' Feu du Ciel '' gives a vivid description of a may 12, 1940 attack by Bréguet 693s at Maastricht. I don't know if an english translation exists.
 
A-20s, B-25 strafers, B-26C-6, A-26 were all envisioned as CAS platforms.
The AA threat environment in MTO, ETO dissuaded their use in that role, but vs Japanese forces, twins were very effective.
The Blenheim with its four .303 mg belly pack must have been effective when not facing interception. But I believe it had to omit its bombs to carry it.

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Imagine the Beaufighter in Malaya vs. those landing craft in the Gulf of Thailand, or shooting up Japanese tanks.
 
If well used and available in greater numbers, could the Bréguet 693 have shattered Panzer advances in the Battle of France? Its forward firing, single 20mm cannon should cut through any tank of the time.
Depends on how good the French intelligence was.
The 20mm gun would bounce of most the newer (built after 1932?) French tanks. Unless the French got to measure the German tanks armor thickness it gets a little iffy for planning.
The Pz I & II would probably not fair well. ? 14.5 mm armor.
The 35 (t) and 38 (t) had 15 armor on the back/sides.
The Pz III & IV had 20-30 mm armor on the later versions used in France, The left overs from Poland were thinner. Upgrading was only done on the fronts and occasionally the hull sides.

Let's not forget that unlike the British and French, the Germans equipped their troops with not only machine guns but with 20mm and 37mm AA guns.
 
The 20mm gun would bounce of most the newer (built after 1932?) French tanks. Unless the French got to measure the German tanks armor thickness it gets a little iffy for planning.
The Pz I & II would probably not fair well. ? 14.5 mm armor.
The 35 (t) and 38 (t) had 15 armor on the back/sides.
The Pz III & IV had 20-30 mm armor on the later versions used in France, The left overs from Poland were thinner. Upgrading was only done on the fronts and occasionally the hull sides.
I also don't expect French 20mm cannons were AP, but more HE? That can't help.
 
A-20s, B-25 strafers, B-26C-6, A-26 were all envisioned as CAS platforms.
The AA threat environment in MTO, ETO dissuaded their use in that role, but vs Japanese forces, twins were very effective.

More for commerce interdiction and airfield attacks than actual CAS, no? I know Kenney tried using them this way in the Owen-Stanleys, but Japanese bunkers seemed proof against them, as I recall.
 
Which of these two 14M-powered aircraft had the potential to be the better CAS aircraft? While better protected, the Hs 129 was significantly heavier and carried a lighter bombload.

Dunno.
The 693 could carry eight 50 kg bombs with the advantage of a bomb bay. During its short span of active use it was plagued with :
- a lack of passive protection ;
- underpowered engines at low altitude, the one it was supposed to operate ;
- an overburdened pilot that had to act as pilot, navigator an bombardier ;
- no fighter protection (not the plane's fault).

To its defense, on most occasions, it was used lacking the element of surprise against well defended targets and with limited crew training due to its recent adoption, hence heavy loses. It could be devastating on the few occasions when the opponents was caught pants down.
 
It seems to me that early in the war, the Whirlwind might have made a reasonable dedicated CAS platform but after that there isn't much effort given to developing a similar aircraft. Mid - war you have the Beechcraft Grizzly, otherwise it seems CAS is largely handled by single engine multi-role aircraft. (The exception being the p-38?).

I suspect truly effective CAS doesn't begin until you have reliable means for frontline communication and control and effective weapons like HVAR that can neutralize a wide range of targets.
 

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