Attack aircraft

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by bob44, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    Which where the best, most successful attack aircraft? Such as the P47, A20, Mossie, Typhoon ect. Would you rather have single or twin engines?
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Gen Patton had P-47 support to knock out Metz forts during fall of 1944. They proved incapable of hitting forts with 2,000 lb bombs so U.S. 3rd Army was held up for three months.
     
  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Since you can't put a 2000lb on a P-47 ( put one under one wing and nothing on the other?) I am not surprised the P-47s failed to take out the Forts with them.
     
  4. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Slow-But-Deadly or Tubby-Beast-Flying... but my bias is showing...
     
  5. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #5 GregP, Feb 3, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
    The A-20 was a very good attack bomber as were the Mosquito, the Ju-88, and the P-47, which delivered a LOT of ordnance during the war and did not earn its reputation for its failures, but for its successes. The Do-17 wasn't bad and neither were some of the Soviet attack planes. The Il-2 was VERY difficult to shoot down and pressed the attack.

    It is perhpas good to remember that the Soviet attack planes prevailed in the war, so they weren't ineffective.

    The Japanese Aichi D3A Val Dive Bomber was perhaps one of the most effective of the war in terms of hitting what was being aimed at.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    IMO that's not terribly important. What matters is having enough power to provide decent performance while carrying a full payload.
     
  7. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    Well, the P-47 wasn’t an attack aircraft, it was a high-altitude pursuit plane pressed into service as a ground pounder, like almost all of the Western allied nations S/E fighters. Same with the Typhoon, it was a interceptor that ended up as a low alt tactical aircraft.

    A20 was just a a BD-7 with a few machine guns in the nose. The Mosquito was probably more designed for the fighter/bomber role than any of your examples.

    Realistically, there are only a handful of competitors for best dedicated attack aircraft of the war. The Il-2 and Il-10 families and the Tu-2 for the Soviets, the Ju-87 and HS-129 from Germany, the A-26 from the US (and perhaps the A-36). The Douglas SBD Dauntlesses and TBD Devastator rate mention in the Pacific, as does the Val.

    Under Operation Madison, P-47s conducted dive bombing attacks against Metz with (mostly) 500 lbs bombs. In Zaloga’s ‘Metz 1944: Patton's Fortified Nemesis’, the attacks are described as “reasonably accurate” but “not effective in demolishing the thick earth and concrete protecting the forts.”

    Post battle analysis showed that the only weapon that was consistently effective against the structures was 2000 lb semi-AP bombs.

    The same book describes P-47’s “smashing” a German counterattack with air support and also breaching a dam with 1000 lb bombs.
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Most Metz forts were built during the 1890s. By 1944 every competent military intelligence officer in the world knew the roofs were made of reinforced concrete 2 1/2 meters thick.

    Why would you attack such a target with bombs you know are too small for the job?
     
  9. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    I guess it would depend on the theater.

    For carrier operations in the PTO you're not going to have twin engine craft available until very late in the war, so I'd say SBD would be my choice in that environment. F4U a VERY close second. D4Y Judy was notable for its speed (relative to other dive bombers) but that didn't seem to save it over the Marianas.

    In the ETO/MTO? In an AA rich environment I'd want two engines, preferably radials and a good turn of speed along with decent defensive capabilities. A-26, Mosquito, A-20, Ju 88, P-38, Typhoon (after problems with the Napier Sabre were sorted out). P-47 and Whirlwind would be in a tier slightly under those.

    In the Eastern Front the focus is on armor, accurate firepower and the ability to operate out of the most primitive airstrips--not so much on speed. So the choices would be Ju 87G, Il-2/10, even the Hs 123. Hs 129 was pretty successful considering how limited its service was, and the crappy engines it was saddled with.

    The Hurricane IID was a solid CAS/anti-armor platform over North Africa. Not sure what the RA and LW fielded successfully in that role over Africa other than the Stuka.
     
  10. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    Perhaps I should expand by saying, Iam looking for any type of aircraft that was used most successfully at low level bombing, dive bombing, straffing a target. Using bombs, cannons, guns, rockets and such.
     
  11. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Beaufighter anyone?
     
  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, dive bombing (true dive bombing) and strafing are rather different requirements and required different aircraft. True dive bombers (dive brakes) rarely carried enough forward firing machineguns/cannon to be really good strafers and planes with large forward firing batteries of guns rarely had dive brakes.

    B-25s worked pretty good in the Pacific but they were in no way a dive bomber. They also would have been a poor choice in Europe in 1944 against large numbers of AA guns.

    If you mean 60 degree and under dive attacks as used by many fighters it changes things some what but it leaves just about EVERY dive bomber out.
     
  13. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    The A-35B's had a decent forward firepower of 6x 50cals, alas none saw combat AFAIK.
     
  14. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    For me, please.
    Now, if someone could explain it to me whether it was ever using its dive brakes to perform dive bombing...

    Maybe the Ju-88 (dive bomber variant) with decent forward-firing battery would not be a long stretch, or maybe an A-20 with dive brakes installed. The A-36 have had a decent MG armament, being a dive bomber with modest engine power.
    Pe-2 was also a dive bomber, maybe it sould have 2 pairs of Shvak cannons installed?
     
  15. Grampa

    Grampa Member

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    The main benefit whit a twin-engine is that when the other engine is out, you have a second that can take you home.
    A single-engine is that who whouldent whant to have over 600Kg of iron armour at the front that protect you from enemy fire at the front.
     
  16. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Do the Whirlwind and Tempest count?
     
  17. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Beaufighter had dive brakes:shock::shock:



    Forward firing battery is at the expense of bombs or fuel. Diving bombing works really well when the opposition doesn't have much in the way of AA guns.

    You don't just add dive brakes to airplanes that don't have them. Structural strengthening is required, not only around the dive brakes to keep them from ripping out but if n the wings, the wing may need to be beefed up to prevent wing failure.
    You also have to pull out, Normal dive bombers pulled 5-6 "G"s in a normal attack, and were built heavier than fighter aircraft. Bombers (or even A-20s) were not built to do 5-6 "G" maneuvers. Or at least not many :)
    Yes you could beef the plane up but without increasing the gross weight it cuts into fuel/bomb load. Increasing gross weight increases runway requirements and affects climb. You may also get into a weight spiral, can the landing gear/tires take the increased weight or do they need to be beefed up?

    the A-36 was one of the few exceptions and it was carrying about 650lbs worth of guns and ammo in the wings. Perhaps it could have gone to a pair of 1000lb bombs under the wings if it only had the fuselage guns???

    PE-2 was also rather limited as to payload. you are replacing one 7.62mm MG and one 12.7mm MG with two 20mm cannon and how much ammo? 100 rounds of 20mm ShVAK ammo weighs about 18.3kg without links.

    And two 20mm ShVAK cannon are not a great strafing armament. Better than what the PE-2 had but if it is no better than an LA-5 why bother?
     
  18. CORSNING

    CORSNING Active Member

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    Many good attack planes throughout the war. But for 1945, IF I had to fly an attack mission into hostile territory and was given a choice of mounts: F4U-4. I could drop two of those 1000 lbs. bombs (possibly eight rockets also) and once the ordinance was dropped, have the speed to escape or the performance to go one on one.
     
  19. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The manual (here , pg. 10 of manual) states that Beaufighter can be equipped with them.

    Agreed; no free lunch.

    Again, no free lunch. One need to asses what is needed, and go for that. Holds true also for 'level bombers' even more - MG ('solid') nose means bombardier is not in the bomber.

    Indeed. With 2 ShVAKs, the bomb load is down, from 1600 kg max to maybe 1400.
    The La-5 makes for a lousy bomber, while Pe-2 can bomb, even if a pair of ShVAKs replaces the MGs.
     
  20. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Most sources on the Beaufighter say one plane was used to test the air brakes, how many were later fitted ( if any) is usually skipped.

    You can stuff an existing bombers nose with guns ( or hang them on the sides or under the wings) and sacrifice bomb load. It may require a bit of re-balancing. It does not require new spars or new wing skins or other modifications (re-stressing) of the air frame like trying to get the airplane to dive bomb would. B-25s carried 8-12 forward firing .50 cal guns making them equal to at least 2 normal American fighters for strafing. They could also use parachute retarded bombs on the strafing runs. A-20s with solid noses carried 6 guns ( a few had 8 ) which also makes for a decent but not spectacular strafer.

    I think what is being looked for here is planes that would be good at these jobs, not just a plane that can do it in a pinch. To be good at it it has to offer something that other planes in an air force's inventory cannot do or cannot do well.

    Many of the IL-2s had 23mm cannon which made them much more dangerous to light armor or even transport than the ShVAK cannon. The ShVAK was pretty good but it had neither the explosive per round or the armor penetration of the Hispano. They also carried four 7.62 high rate of fire machine guns (equal to six of most other countries) for unprotected targets. Using PE-2s to strafe, even with two 20mm guns is a poor return on investment. Let them bomb, get back to base and re-arm and fly again. Stafing exposes two engines and 3 crew men to ground fire for little return. Same return as exposing one engine and one crewman using a fighter.

    In many cases the US used light/medium bombers as strafers because the fighters couldn't reach the targets. And/or the strafers acted as flak suppression to allow better bomb placement. A-20s and B-25s do make better targets for AA fire than fighters.

    As the war went on the more powerful engines were used planes could undertake more jobs. A B-25 has more power than any He 111 until they finally put Jumo 213s in the last batch or two and it has more power than most JU-88s. The JU-88s need the BMW 801 or Jumo 213 engines to get into the same power class.
     
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