B-17 vs. He-177 vs. Lancaster

Discussion in 'Polls' started by B-17engineer, Jan 10, 2008.

?

B-17 or He 177 or Lancaster

  1. Boeing B-17

    23.3%
  2. Heinkel He 177

    24.4%
  3. Lancaster

    52.2%
  1. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    I am going with Lancaster, did a lot to win the war, what are your thoughts and why?
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Of the 3 I go with the Lancaster. The Lancaster was a great aircraft and overall a better bomber in my opinion.

    The B-17 comes in with close second for me. She carried less of a bomb load but she was one tough lady. The B-17 is my personal favorite bomber of the war, but again for me the better of the 3 has to be the Lancaster.

    The He 177 in my opinion was a could have, should have, but did not aircraft. It had great potential but never achieved it. Had she started out with 4 seperate engines, she might have proven to be the better of the 3. She had a great bomb load and great performance.
     
  3. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Voted for my sentimental favorite, the B-17. The Fort and the Lancaster are very close; the Lancaster could carry a heavier bomb load and was probably every bit as good, or slightly better. But far more B-17s were built and flew, and although I have no stats to back this up, I would guess the Flying Fortress could absorb more punishment and return it's crews safely. Anyway, the pictures I've seen of battle-damaged B-17s that made it back to base makes me give the Fort the nod. Like I said, a thoroughly sentimental vote for my favorite aircraft of all time.

    TO
     
  4. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The B24 was best. I decisely proved it back in that thread from last year. :p
     
  5. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I agree we should renew this poll but we should add the 24 and the P108 Halifax and stirling as second best heavy of WW2
     
  6. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Well, to answer your question, I'd go with the Lancaster. But I'm not clicking on the poll until I see if your going to add the B-24. If you do, I'm changing my vote.

    As far as comments to all, I 100% agree with Adler.
     
  7. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    How do i add B-24?
     
  8. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I hate these 'Best' discussions because they don't pose the selection criteria - lol.

    Best in context of payload, speed, survivability, firepower, range?

    Best in context of relative comparison of achievement in similar roles? How are we to judge a Lanc in context of daylight strategic bombing campaign from 1942 - 1945, or B-17 in Night raids?

    I agree w/Syscom about the B-24 being ultimately better - but Tooey Spaatz argued the B-17 as the most important..why is my opinion better than his?

    Best in combined attributes? I would tend to go Lanc but don't know how it would have performed survivability wise in 8th AF in 1943? Better/worse? How do we know?

    And, like Chris why even bring the potentially very nice He 177 in the form of He 277 when it was largely a failure because of intial (and stupid) design specs
     
  9. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    If you do that, you'll have to add the B-29 and then we may as well re-visit the heavy bomber thread.

    .
     
  10. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Okay i will add them when i find out how

    And to answer your question drgondog yes best means basically the General Characteristics and simply what was a better bomber.
     
  11. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The answers on which was best lay in the USSBS surveys.
     
  12. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    I made a new post with all the other bombers u mentioned
     
  13. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    If you had searched the forums you would have seen that there is allready thread covering bombers.
     
  14. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi B-17engineer,

    The German test pilot Werner Lerche considered the airframe of the He 177 excellent, but after flying a captured B-24 which he didn't like much, he said that he'd have preferred a He 177 with the reliable, turbo-supercharged B-24 engines.

    He also flew a captured B-17 and enjoyed it so much that he improvised a low-level airshow over a Luftwaffe field. He considered it so docile that it could give a "misleading" impression of great manoeuvrability :) Sheer inertia took its toll, which is the reason for the "misleading" bit of his comment ... but he considered the B-17's flying qualities equal to that of the Heinkel He 111, which appears to have had a great reputation as a pilot's aircraft in the Luftwaffe.

    So much for the "enemy" perspective ... I hope that as a B-17 enthusiast, you'll find it interesting! :)

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  15. V-1710

    V-1710 Member

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    I think the Lancaster was the finest low-altitude heavy bomber of the war, the B-17 was the best high altitude heavy bomber of the ETO, and the 177 could have been great if the paired engine idea was given up after the first test flight (cut short due to engine overheating).
     
  16. Kurfürst

    Kurfürst Banned

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    General characteristics-wise, the He 177 is the best of the three, it does well every field. It`s operational record was limited, and it suffers from a very bad (overdone, IMHO) williamgreen-press. IMHO the He 177 was never given the opportunity to prove itself. It just came into operational service by 1944 and right away when the oil campaign denied fuel for it`s service. IMHO the circumstances it was forced into shouldn`t detract from the qualities of the plane itself.

    The B-17 comes in as a second for me. It had good overall qualities, it was quite fast, very well armed, rugged and good sighting devices. It`s greatest negatives is IMHO the crew size which was luxurious, and modest practical bombload for it`s size.

    The Lancaster never struck me as a particularly attractive choice. It`s butt ugly, workmanlike, and looking at it makes you understand why the LW slang referred to a heavy bomber as a 'furniture van'. The Lancaster was just that, the cheap solution for delivering a large amount bombs to the target, or it`s immidiate 12-mile vicinity. ;) It was a bomb truck, it could do that, take off with big bombs, fly to Germany, drop it, return. Otherwise it was just insufficiently armored, it`s bomb sight was simplistic compared to the other two, and I feel the defensive armament was simply lacking for a plane of this size. It`s worst feature of all was the lack of sufficient number escape hatches for the crew - when the Lanc went down, it became a death trap. The Halifax was incomparably better in this regard (and imho, overall, too).
     
  17. AL Schlageter

    AL Schlageter Banned

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    That is about the same time the best bomber of WW2 came into service, the B-29. ;)

    Kurfurst, why are you always so negative on the British?

    Talking about over done press, only early in the war was British bombing bad. Later it was just as accurate, or better, than the American day light bombing.

    The average B-17 bomb load was 4-5000lb. Not much better than of the Mosquito.

    The hand held guns in the waist and radio compartment were pretty much useless in the B-17. Early, than late war Lancs had ventral turrets. They were .303 though.

    Bombsights used on Lancasters included:

    Mark IX Course-Setting Bombsight (CSBS).
    This was an early preset vector bombsight that involved squinting through wires that had to be manually set based on aircraft speed, altitude and bombload. This sight lacked tactical flexibility as it had to be manually adjusted if any of the parameters changed and was soon phased out in favour of the bombsights below.

    Mark XIV bombsight
    A vector bombsight where the bomb aimer input various details of the bombload, target altitude and wind direction, and the analogue computer then continuously calculated the trajectory of the bombs and projected an inverted sword shape onto a sighting glass on the sighting head. Assuming the sight was set correctly, when the target was in the cross hairs of the sword shape, the bomb aimer would be able to accurately release the bombs.

    T1 bombsight
    A Mark XIV bombsight modified for mass production and produced in the USA. Some of the pneumatic gyro drives on the Mk XIV sight were replaced with electronic gyros and other minor modifications were made.

    Stabilizing Automatic Bombsight
    Also known as "SABS", this was an advanced bombsight mainly used by 617 Squadron for precision raids. Like the American Norden bombsight it was a tachometric sight.
     
  18. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I found this posting that outlined the combat history of the He177. I think its fair to say that it did have the oppertunity to prove itself to some degree but failed. Re operation Steinbock I think the He177 lost around 18 out of 45 aircraft in the raid's (exact figures are hard to find) which when you consider being London only 50 miles from the French Coast, isn't a good record. not when you compare it to the distances that the Allied forces had to fly behind the German Lines.

    The He 177 had a short combat career that lasted from the winter of 1942 until the summer of 1944. It first saw action on the eastern front, when a number of A-3s were pressed into service as part of the desperate air-lift of supplies to Stalingrad. The He 177 made a poor transport plane, with limited space for supplies, and was not well suited for use from the rough airstrips in use in Russia. This was quickly realised, and the surviving A-3s were used to attack the Russian positions around Stalingrad, either as a conventional bomber or with a 50mm BK 5 anti-tank gun under the nose. Once again it was not a great success, with engine fires causing several loses.

    The He 177 was then withdrawn from the front line until the A-5 was ready. This aircraft was issued to KG 40 in the summer of 1943, to be used in combination with the Henschel Hs 293 glider-bomb. This was a small radio controlled powered glider designed for use against merchant ships. The He 177 could carry one under each wing, and in theory the Hs 293 could hit a target from a range of up to five miles.

    KG 40 began operations with the He 177 in November 1943. Their first major operation came on 21 November and was an attack on a British convoy in the Bay of Biscay. Twenty five aircraft took off, two had to return to base early, one crashed thirty miles away, one was lost in the attack, and two more on the return journey. In return one small merchant ship was sunk, although the crew escaped. One successful aspect of the He 177 was its range. Five days later the same unit launched an attack on an allied convoy off the coast of Algeria, with 21 aircraft. This time they ran into fighters, and six aircraft were lost, although a German troop ship was sunk.

    The heavy loses suffered on these two missions forced KG 40 to abandon daylight attacks. Night attacks, with the target ships illuminated by flares, took their place, with even less success, although loses to enemy activity were reduced.

    Two He 177 units took part in Operation Steinbock, the last Luftwaffe bombing campaign over Britain. Experienced crews were able to carry a 5600kg/ 12346lb payload on these missions, which took place between January and April 1944. Standard tactics for the He 177 was to climb to its service ceiling before crossing the British coast, then carry out the rest of the mission in a shallow full power dive, which allowed the aircraft to reach a diving speed of over 400mph. The dive would continue all the way to the French coast, by which time the aircraft would have dropped down to 2,500 feet. The higher speed and constant change of altitude made the aircraft harder to intercept, increasing the survivability of the aircraft, but the operation was generally unsuccessful.

    Operation Steinbock trailed off in the spring of 1944 as the Luftwaffe began to husband its strength in preparation for the allied invasion of Western Europe, which was clearly going imminent. In the days after D-Day, II./KG 40 took part in the desperate attempts to attack in the invasion fleet. In ten days the unit lost half of its 26 aircraft, before being withdrawn to rest.

    Heinkel He 177 Greif (Griffon)
     
  19. Kurfürst

    Kurfürst Banned

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    I don`t think so. Looking at HoHun`s research table of LW strenght of types, it`s striking how few He 177s were around until very late 1943. Ie. avarage number of He 177s with units on six monthly basis :

    42 2half : 14.2
    43 1st half : 50
    43 2nd half : 69 (deliveries in numbers starting in November 1943, when the 100 mark is exceeded the first time)
    44 1st half : 205 (peaking up in June-July 1944 with 269-258 respecitively)
    44 2nd half : 137

    So what are you expecting, some 50 aircraft around should have bring salvation to the World in 1943...? Or in the first half of 1944, before most bombers were grounded due to the lack of fuel in the automn..?

    The type simply did not get into operational status in meaningful numbers until 1944, by when the overall situation in the air - well we all know it wasn`t exactly kind to the Luftwaffe types.

    Depends on which part of the French Coast. Bordeaux-Merignac, KG 40`s base at the time, is something like 500 miles from London - same distance as say, East Anglia and Nürnberg *caugh* *caugh*. Others operated from the German border. Surely single unsuccessful raids can be picked, but Steinbock lasted several months, so I don`t think the figures show much, without knowning the sortie rates and how other bomber types fared against the same opposition. Looking at KG 40s actual loss list, it doesn`t strike me as particularly bad - it would b e interesting to know the cause of losses, IIRC there were some strafing losses, which again can hardly blamed on the plane.

    The general trouble seems to be the lack of detailed research of the He 177s operational history. Basically you can always read the same tidbits of information which appearantly highlight the most unsuccessfull operations, and these keep circling around over the internet - most of them originiating to William Green`s decade year old books. Many operation theatres are just not noted - there are tidbits for example about KG 100s operations in the East in large, Combat Box-like formations against Russian RR stations, and generally these seem to be quite successfull. There were also high flying recce-raid missions above Britain in the summer 1943 as far as to Leeds and Manchaster in broad daylight, and the He 177 could do it unpunished.

    I wouldn`t judge the plane based on only Green`s decades old comments when much of the aircraft operational history is yet to be written.

    P.S. :
    It`s best to ignore banned flameboys 8)
    Not meaning you, Glider, of course.
     
  20. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    The point was that the He177 only had to go to London, around 20 miles behind the Allied Lines with no navigational problems, but the Allies went hundreds of miles behind the German lines with loads of of navigational problems. However the German forces (all of them incl Bomb carrying 190's) had heavy losses.

    I also found this

    I was intrigued by Alan Smith’s reference to “The Steinbock Operation”, in his
    “Museum Jottings”
    Most people think of the “Blitz” as that period from September 1940 to May
    1941. However during 1943 deciphered Enigma messages alerted the British
    authorities that the Luftwaffe was planning a major new bombing offensive.
    This was to become known as the “Mini Blitz”.
    The Germans had assembled a total of 524 bombers, including 46 of the new
    HE 177 Greif four engined heavy bomber that were to attack Britain for the
    first time.
    The first air raid occurred on the night of 21 st January 1944 when 227 bombers
    were involved. They used “Dueppel”, which was the German equivalent of our
    “Window”. These were strips of metal foil designed to confuse radar defences.
    Then a repeat raid was made during the latter part of the same night. Some of the returning Luftwaffe bombers had been refuelled and these were joined by other bombers. In this second raid a total of 220 bombers took part.
    London had been the target of both raids but only 44 incidents in the London
    area were logged. The bombs fell mostly in Sussex, Kent and Essex. The
    Luftwaffe admitted losing 25 aircraft on the two raids. British sources claimed
    18 fell victim to the lethal De Havilland Mosquito night fighters. Most or all of
    the remaining 9 bombers were downed by antiaircraft flak. A further 18
    bombers were destroyed in noncombat accidents, including mishandling,
    navigation errors or crashes at dimly lit bases.
    More raids occurred in February and caused little damage, apart from a raid on
    18/19 th of that month. About 200 German bombers dropped 140 tons of bombs in the London area on that night.
    Further attacks continued in March and Hull and Bristol were also targeted. In
    May Weymouth, Torquay and Falmouth received attention from Operation
    Steinbock before the offensive was abandoned.
    Air raid casualties in Britain totalled 1556 killed and 2916 seriously injured.
    During that five month period the Luftwaffe lost 330 bombers. For every 5
    citizens killed, the Germans lost 1 bomber and four trained aircrew either killed
    or captured. It had been a costly failure.


    Notice the 220 bombers trying to bomb London 20 miles behind the coast and only 44 seem to have got through, not good.
     
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