Avoiding the Bomber B project

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wiking85, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    How do you get the Luftwaffe to avoid the Bomber B project and V24 engines? Historically it happened after Udet took over production planning for the Luftwaffe in the wake of Walter Wever's death and was sabotaged and cancelled after Udet's death in 1941; Erhard Milch the head of the RLM was Udet's replacement and predecessor in making production decisions. Had he never lost his status a director, say with Walter Wever not dying and Udet not becoming Goering's proxy in the LW, and retained his power, would the Bomber B never then exist? I don't think the Jumo 222 wouldn't exist, that was something that everyone was working on, but it didn't have priority until the Bomber B project appeared. Its a fuzzy topic, because the reason Milch killed the Bomber B was a fight with Koppenburg for power in aviation production, which he only accumulated under Udet; without Udet every gaining power in aviation production, then Milch has no reason to kill a Bomber B project in this scenario, as Koppenburg wouldn't have obtained his historic level of power. Something as ambitious as the Bomber B would have been something I think Milch would never have opted for, due to it concentrating so much power in one firm, something Milch strenuously avoided. Rather, I think it more likely he would have opted for a 'balanced' plan between the firms to keep them all viable.

    Assuming Milch doesn't lose power and there is no Bomber B, but still a lower priority Jumo 222, what does the LW spend those funds and resources on?
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Why would you want to?

    Skip the expensive Ural Bomber and Bomber A programs. Proceed directly to the more useful Bomber B powered by DB606 engines.
     
  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The "Ural" bomber idea was pie in the sky as was the bomber "B" program no matter what engine was used to power it.

    For perspective;

    London to Berlin..................580 miles
    Warsaw to Moscow.............715 miles
    Minsk to Perm...................1135 miles
    Donetsk to Chelyabinsk.......1120 miles
    Stalingrad to Chelyabinsk.....843 miles

    Note that the last 3 require greater or lesser amounts of Russian territory to be captured to get the distances listed. From Bialystok Poland to Chelyabinsk is 1534 miles. That is basing German bombers on the eastern border of modern Poland.

    While it may be very possible to build a better or more advance bomber than a B-17, building one with double the range with the same payload (and assuming you can base it 150-200 miles inside of Russia) may take some doing. That is what you need for anything approaching a viable "Ural" bomber.
     
  4. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    No mention of the Bomber A program though, as it actually achieved these ranges. It just needed four engines, rather than the coupled ones that sank the He177. The Bomber B historically, assuming it got its engine sorted out, did achieve the ranges projected. As we've hashed out in other threads the Jumo 222 was sabotaged due to politics in the RLM rather than from legitimate technical challenges. Nevertheless, it was a very ambitious project that was IMHO too much of a risk for the LW to take a chance on. Bomber A filled the long range role, while a project like the Do 217 filled the short ranged medium bomber role nicely provided it had the right engines, which without the Bomber B and high priority Jumo 222 engine (or with one that isn't developed to death) there should be one in the Jumo 213, which would also be useful for the Bomber A.
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Please double the distances given to the range needed. "Book" range is NOT operational radius. 'Book' range makes no provision for the forming up of formations or the loss of range of formation flying.

    See this for B-17 "book" tactical range charts : http://zenoswarbirdvideos.com/Images/B-17/17TRC.pdf

    Now compare to how B-17s actually flew, bombloads and ranges to real targets.

    The coupled engines on the He 177 were supposed to save 3-4% in drag for more speed/better range. B-17s had turbos which gave better speed/range at higher altitudes than non-turbo planes would have.

    The Urals were just too far a distance for any realistic bombing campaign or bomber in 1937-41. The distance from the German border to Moscow was around 30 miles further than the Distance from London to Warsaw.

    I am not holding the B-17 out as a "gold standard" but simply as some sort of benchmark. The German Ural/A/B bomber not only has to match/beat the B-17. It has to do so by a considerable margin as the B-17 as used in western Europe would not fulfill the requirements of a "Ural" bomber.

    The distances involved bring up two other problems. Trying to come up with a escort fighter for day raids of such distances and trying to navigate over Russia either by day or night. The beam navigation systems had a limited range due to the curve of the earth, The Russian targets are out of range.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    You don't cover that distance in one leap. First you need Warsaw to Minsk. Then Smolensk and so on. Bomber B would have been an excellent bomb hauler for attacking targets 300 or so miles from friendly air fields. It's also ideal for MCLOS guided air to surface weapons which entered service during 1943.
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    A He 111 worked just fine for attacking targets at 300 miles radius.

    Essen to Derby.........373 Miles
    Essen to Liverpool.....442 miles
    Amiens to Belfast......475 miles

    Trouble was lots of people thought the bomber "would always get through" and a number of aircraft programs on both sides were based on that idea. The British leaned it wouldn't work fairly quickly in daylight and the Germans learned it in Aug/Sept of 1940. The Japanese already knew it. Took a lot longer for it to sink into the Americans. Night bombing introduced navigation and bomb aiming problems.

    From the Polish/Russian border to the Urals it is 3000 miles round trip and even at 300mph that is 10 hours in the air. The next problem with attacking Russian strategic targets is that Russia was a vast country with an awful lot of 'empty' space. Possible targets are NOT 20-30 miles apart as they were in some areas of England or Germany but hundreds of miles apart in many cases. Deep penetration raids are going to be difficult, costly and not very effective unless the bomb loads are large.

    Talk of "Ural" bombers was great propaganda but you need something like the B-29 to make it even approaching practical. Or at least something 1/2 way between a B-17 and a B-29. Four 1100 hp engines won't do it and a pair of 2000 hp engines won't do it.
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Luftwaffe should replace He-111s with Do-317s for same reason USAF replaced B-17s with B-29, which were in turn replaced by B-52s.

    Do-317 is newer technology. It carries a greater payload, has a higher cruising speed with payload and has superior crew protection.
     
  9. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Kind of misses the point doesn't it.

    The Germans tried to "leap frog" the development process with the whole bomber "B" program and not only dropped the ball and failed to recover, they kicked the ball completely out of the arena and didn't see where it went.

    The Americans had a number of proposals and prototypes for "advanced" bombers (and a few engines) but realized that some of them weren't going to make it to production status in time and they pushed some less radical alternatives. Perhaps they held onto some of the original models too long but some of the American bombers were a year or two newer than the Ju-88 let alone the He 111.

    The HE 111 never got high powered engines until it was too late. The HE 111 never got anything approaching a decent defensive armament ( a single Mg 131 in a semi powered turret and the rest hand held 7.9mm guns is a far cry from decent).
    Even the JU 88s and Do 217s were usually a day late and dollar short when it came to engines and guns. They didn't need 3-4 power turrets but ONE twin turret on top would have been nice. Some thing a bit better than a single MG 131 or twin 7.9mg firing out of a glorified hatch out the bottom would have also been nice. Getting 1600-1750 hp engines that worked a year or more earlier would have been nice instead of "pie in the sky" 2000-2500hp engines.
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Bomber B was simply a large twin engine bomber with very powerful engines. What were they leaping over?
     
  11. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I agree, Bomber B was in theory achievable and needed to be pursued. but its the pursuit that was mucked up, not the goals or objectives per se.
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Yup. Specifically the engine programs. Everything I have read suggests Do-317 and Ju-288 airframes were good to go.
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    We have been over this before. Bomber called for.

    Pressurized cockpit
    Remote control gun turrets
    New engines
    A major LEAP in payload/range/speed.

    Sort of a twin engine B-29 in complexity and technical advancement. Requirement was issued July of 1939, Boeing was working on design 334A at the time which went through the 341 stage before becoming the 345 which turned into the B-29. Wright had started work on the R-3350 radial in 1936 and went through fits and starts and a major redesign before actually going into service ( and far from trouble free). The US had intermediate bombers/engines and had planned a lower tech "back-up" which ran into problems of it's own. AND the American 'timing' of the official 'request' was about year later than the German specification request.

    NO other country tried to build anything as advanced as the Bomber "B" or B-29 (actual construction of prototypes not paper drawings).

    Germans were leaping from un-pressurized, hand aimed single guns, 1000-1100hp engines to pressurized, remote control barbettes using guns not in service at the time to 2000hp experimental engines.

    Somebody should have been working on un-pressurized, power aimed (but not remote) gun mountings and 1500-1600hp engines. The Do-217 was close but too compromised by the dive bombing requirement. The wing was too small and the single "power" turret was either too little or too much depending on point of view. One Mg 131 with partial power traverse and part manual? power elevation?
     
  14. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    AFAIK the pressurized cockpit was not really a challenge and with some engineering the payload issue wasn't a problem either, they just needed to properly design the aircraft to maximize bomb bay space. The real issue was the remote controlled turrets; that was a mess that wouldn't be fixed until IIRC the 50's or 60's. Everything else worked: the engine worked, but were developed to death in a political feud within the aviation industry (Milch vs. Koppenburg) as confirmed by several German historians, including the exhaustively thorough Lutz Budrass; the structural issues were sorted by 1942; same with the landing gear problems. The only remaining issue by mid/late 1942 was the remote controlled defensive armament. Of course by December 1941 new issues were created by Milch when he ordered the Ju288 to be increased in size and add an extra crew member, while the Jumo 222 was to having to increase power all of which took time; every time it got close it was ordered to up its spec and development was placed on a lower level priority. It was killed by administrative action otherwise it would have been entering service in mid-late 1942 and full service by 1943.

    The point of this thread was to discuss the whole administrative power struggle could have been avoided; its seems to me the product of Erhard Milch being sidelined by Goering because he got too powerful, only to have him return and need to reassert himself after Udet had made a mess of aviation production and development. So Milch's plans were totally disrupted and he tried to return to them by killing Udet's projects, which of course made a bigger mess of the situation by killing off the next generation of bombers that had been the largest project in Luftwaffe history, leaving nothing to replace it. My thought was that had Milch never lost his authority, he wouldn't have authorized the project in the first place and the whole political struggle that sabotaged the war effort would never had taken place.

    IMHO he would have gone for the mixed option: no dive bombing diversion for anything (i.e. Ju88, He177, Do217, Me210) and we would have seen a balance of projects, which means no over-investment in the Ju88 that caused so many problems in 1939-40. So instead we get a non-dive bombing Do217 to replace the He111, a non-dive bombing He177 with four engines to fill the strategic/long range role, and Ju88 for the light/fast bomber/multi-role aircraft. I wonder if the Me210 would even exist given Milch's hatred for Messerschmitt, if it did it wouldn't have the dive bombing requirement and wouldn't have been ordered until it proved itself in testing, i.e. would have been killed off in development.
    I think we would still see the Jumo 222 project, but it would have lower priority due to not having a special aircraft dependent on it. Instead we would see more focused on the 1600hp+ developed V12 projects like the Jumo 213 and perhaps the DB603, which might not be killed in 1937 if Milch stays in charge, as it was stopped until Udet's tenure. Still, the fight with Daimler is probably going to happen, which prevents their getting a major contract for engine production, as they didn't want to get too involved in aircraft engine and were more interested in a balance contract portfolio with land vehicle engines too, rather than being shoehorned into only aviation engines. So we probably see DB603 and 604 development as back ups, but with low priority due to their struggle with the RLM.

    So that gets us a cautious development portfolio for the LW instead of the risky leap of the Bomber B; we see everything based on Jumo 213s as it gets priority for the +1600hp slot, probably by 1941 at the 'low' rating of 1600hp, which climbs steadily thereafter. That means Do217s, He177s, Ju88s (and whatever they develop it into...which would be interesting as there would be no need for the Ju188 and no 288 project as we know them) by 1941-42. Maybe we then see a Do317 and/or Ju288 by 1944-45 as the Do217 and Ju88 are developed more and the lower priority and unsabotaged Jumo 222 pays off? They will be the stopgap until the jet engine bombers appear after 1946.
     
  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The thing is the Germans needed a new bomber sooner than 1943. That is in production and in service squadrons in numbers by the hundreds. Which means you can't be flying prototypes in the spring of 1942.

    A less ambitious goal in 1939 might have allowed a usable aircraft to produced sooner. Part of the problem was that as the war went on, the goals were shifted as you say. But in 1941 it was realized (by everybody) that many of the 1938-39 projects were designed around no longer valid requirements and the same might be said for 1939/40 projects in 1942. The goals changed because operational requirements changed due to war experience.

    If you have a program with 1/2 dozen prototypes built but no production tooling do you try to modify the program (which takes time) or tool up for a plane that no longer meets the operational requirements?

    How much politics was played with considering the original specification I don't know.

    But consider the 2nd form of the Ju-288 was roughly the size of an A-20 (or between an A-20 and a B-25 in size) with a lower aspect ratio wing but shorter span than the A-20 (more area) yet was supposed to carry 6 times the bomb load twice as far at higher speeds while using remote control power gun barbettes and having the pressure cabin. Assuming you can get the remote barbettes to work and even if the pressure cabin works, they are both heavier (cuts into fuel/bomb load) than manually aimed guns and no pressure cabin. Early prototypes grew to a wing with a span close to that of the B-25 with much the same area, weight was much higher and the proposed bomb load was twice that of the B-25 for a bit less range at much higher speeds ( early B-25 without any power turrets).
    Or compare the Ju -288 to the Douglas A-26. The A-26 does use remote power turrets but no pressure cabin. The Ju-228A (according to Man. est) was supposed to be 60 mph faster, cruise 50-60mph faster, carry 50% more bombs (6600lbs vs 4000lbs) 50% further (2200 miles vs 1400 miles) and weigh within a few thousand pounds.

    The specifications and manufacturers estimates just seem out of touch with reality. As weight escalated performance dropped and since the twin engine heavy bomber had never been a good idea anyway ( loosing one engine/50% of power on a 35-50,000lb airplane?) no matter which country built it, the Germans had the choice of building planes that wouldn't meet even a somewhat relaxed specification or upgrading the engines.

    Again I have no idea how much was politics but please remember that the Vulture never was sorted out (although claims as made it was just as it was canceled) several years after it passed a type test, the Sabre was a mess for several years after passing it's initial type test, the Centaurus was not put into production for several years after it's type test, The R-3350 had a number of difficulties years after it's initial and even 2nd type tests. A few more American and Russian engines passed type tests and yet were nowhere near ready for service use.
    Even the Allison had problems in 1939/40 after passing it's initial type test in 1937 with hundreds of them having to be reworked at company expense while the in-service engines were operated at reduced power settings.
     
  16. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Agreed, which is why I started this thread; based on the Jumo 213 early thread I started, it seems viable that having a lower hp version of the Jumo 213 in 1941 is viable, by which time the Do-217 was in service even with the dive bombing setback. So having that aircraft as a replacement for the He 111 and preventing the Ju88 from stepping into that role, Germany had a decent evolutionary combination that historically did not materialize at that time.

    The Do 217 as a medium bomber that was better than the Ju88 or He111 in that role, with an increasingly powerful Jumo 213 (which IMHO with the 4 valve cylinder 2000hp version on 87 octane fuel, the exact spec of the Jumo 222, would be available by 1943 without the Jumo 222 eating up engineering resource) would have been the ideal bomber for Germany from 1941-44. The Ju88 could fill its role as fast bomber even better, not to mention having the ability to focus on its special roles as a fast recon aircraft, night fighter (hopefully avoiding the Do-217 night fighters), and even heavy fighter. As we've said the He177B with four Jumo 213s would have been an excellent aircraft, as good or better than the Lancaster; in fact in 1942 if it were in service with 1750hp Jumo 213s the He177 without dive modificaitons would be better than the contemporary Lancaster and maintain that superiority throughout the war until the B29 came online. Then a more advanced He277 by 1944-45 with uprated Jumo 213s would at least match it.

    The Do-317 would then be an upgraded version of the 217 by 1944 and have 2000hp+ versions of the Jumo 213 and could approach the Bomber B spec by then.
     
  17. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The He 111 might have had a bit more life in it than it is usually given credit for. Unfortunately it seemed to get stuck with the Jumo 211F engine until that last few made. First prototype only flew 6 months before the first B-17 ( or Boeing 299).

    Development seemed to stop in 1940/41 with modifications only grudgingly made as effort was dumped into the He 177.

    If the Jumo 211N/P had been developed earlier (less work on the Jumo 222?) and the He 111 fitted with them and /or fitting early Jumo 213s? or stick BMW 801s on it? It would never be a daylight schnell-bomber but with it's big wing and slightly beefed up landing gear a better night bomber seems reasonable. It around 40-50% more wing area than the Do-217 and Ju-88 and while that hurt speed it might have done wonders for load carrying (fuel and bombs) even given engines comparable to the other bombers.

    The He 111 only got the "power" turret the DO-217 had in early 1941 in late 1942/early 1943. And that power turret, as already mentioned, wasn't a very good one.
     
  18. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    The He111 was passed its utility date and AFAIK the reason it didn't get more development was due to other designs with much more potential getting those resources. Also the He 111 H23, fitted with the Jumo 213 and power turret wasn't really all that good and had to grapple with the same issue as the Ju188: it had to mount all that extra ordnance externally and seal its limited bomb bay off and add in extra fuel tanks. Dropping the He111 as soon as there were sufficient Do 217s (say 1942 with this scenario version of the Jumo 213), would have been better than trying to keep the He111 in development and production, let alone putting something like the Ju188 in service.

    As it as the He111 and Do 217 weighed about the same, but the 217 was faster, had a better rate of climb, had a bigger bomb load capacity internally and externally, not to mention better defensive armament and a wider variety of internal bomb load options vs. the He111's 250kg bomb type limit. Overall I cannot see the argument for keeping it around other than to avoid disrupting production and the Eastern Front still having poor air defenses so the He111 could survive until 1944 there.
     
  19. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    You are part right. the He 111H-23 wasn't really that good but then it didn't show up until late 1943 or 1944, well past it's "use by date". However if it had showed up in 1941/early 1942 it might have made a more valuable contribution.

    B-17 was modified rather extensively from the C/D to E model. I am not advocating putting a tail turret in a HE 111 but better armament sooner may have paid dividends. Germans making a fully powered manned twin MG 131 turret might have paid off sooner than sticking with the Drehlafette DL 131 turret, which seems (correction welcome) to have been powered for fast slew but the gun was allowed 25 degrees or so on manual traverse inside the turret and had manual? elevation so it was really a pretty poor power turret. Getting a power turret closer in performance to the British and American power turrets may well have paid dividends over the Russian front. Instead development went to the remote barbettes and the bombers had to "make do" with with either the poor turret or NO power mount for about 2 years too long.

    I don't know if the He 111 could have been arranged for horizontal bomb stowage or if one or both spars could have been "kinked" for a bit more room in the bomb bay if interest was high enough.

    Production of He 111 was 1337 in 1942, 1403 in 1943 and 756 in 1944, Production of Do-217 bombers in 1942 was 564, in 1943 506 and in 1944 it was 0.

    They kept expecting to replace the He 111 with something else but never did. A bit more effort in 1940/41 developing what they had might have given better results over the long term than investing in the "pie in the sky" uber futuristic aircraft.
    Barely updating the defensive guns from the BoB until the summer of 1942 ( and then it was a rather pathetic upgrade) and keeping the same engines and claiming the design was dated is hardly fair. A 1942 Wellington was hardly the Wellington of Aug 1940 after all. Same basic airframe but over a 60% increase in engine power for take-off and rather different gun mounts. Perhaps by 1943 it to was by it's "best used by" date but at least the British tried to update it some.
     
  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    RAF evaluation of crashed Me-210 considered the remote control barbettes to be outstanding (Me-210 evaluation is on this forum). Why would Ju-288 and Do-317 remote control turrets and/or barbettes be worse?

    Engines are the real issue and only because Luftwaffe opted for unproven V24 rather then using existing DB606 engine.
     
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