Battle of Britain without Hawker Hurricane; pick another fighter

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jerry W. Loper, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. Jerry W. Loper

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    It's the summer of 1940. The RAF and Luftwaffe have the same organization and equipment as in real history but with one exception. The Hawker Hurricane does not exist. You get to equip those squadrons with another fighter with 2 requirements: (1) it's an Allied nation fighter, not Axis - no German, Japanese or Italian planes, and (2) it's a plane that was in operational service in the summer of 1940 - no P-51 Mustang or F6F Hellcat - and nope, you can't fill in those squadrons with extra Spitfires. What fighter would you pick?
     
  2. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    Hawk 75?

    but i don't think this is probable, w/o hurricane an other uk design gone in production
     
  3. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    Since you've put Hawker Gloster out of work, you're left with a (Merlin-engined) Tornado, or sending two factories-worth of men to work in the mines.
     
  4. DBII

    DBII Active Member

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    Ok, I will play how about a P40?

    DBII
     
  5. TheMustangRider

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    I second that.
     
  6. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    A Merlin-powered P-40 ... yes. :)

    MM
     
  7. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    The P-36 actually did OK in French service and the Brits were already using it - but I would agree - the P-40. The Brits tried the P-39 and didn’t like it; might consider the P-38 - not the export version the RAF evaluated - but the latest model in US service.
     
  8. chris mcmillin

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    To answer the question, I pick P-40 and P-36. About 500 each.

    An aside;
    I always wondered how many people;
    a) Do not understand the difference between or know that there were, low altitude and high altitude Merlins.
    b) P-40F's had Merlin engines.
    Chris...
     
  9. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "... I always wondered how many people;
    a) Do not understand the difference between or know that there were, low altitude and high altitude Merlins.
    b) P-40F's had Merlin engines."

    Gosh, Chris, I'll bite. How many?

    MM
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    No need to be picky. Purchase whichever aircraft type is available in quantity. They are both as good or better then the Hurricane.
     
  11. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    I once wrote quite a detailed ‘what-if’ about the potential outcome of the Hawk 75 replacing the Hawker Hurricane as one of the two mainstays of the RAF from 1937 onwards. Unfortunately, my laptop harddrive died last year, taking the piece with it (all 50-odd pages of it), as well as all the supporting data I’d collected, including original French and UK performance tests for Hawk 75s and Mohawks and manuals.

    Procurement and production:

    I’d posited that Hawker goes bust in 1935 or 1936, leaving the Hurricane stillborn and the RAF casting about for a new fighter. It decides to purchase several hundred Hawk 75s – under the name Mohawk - from the US and also acquires licences to produce the aircraft and the R-1830 engine (probably fanciful, I know).

    Imported Mohawk I/II are broadly similar to the Hawk A-1/A-2: 950-1050 hp R-1830-SC-G engine, 6 x .303, top speed of around 300-310 mph at 12,000 ft, climb of 5.8-7 minutes to 15,000 ft.

    My alternative history would have Mowhawk II production in the UK commencing in late 1937, with about 400 aircraft delivered by the outbreak of war and production at a rate of around 1.2 per day over the first five months of 1940.

    This is about 50% down on Hurricane production, as I’d imagined problems with R-1830 production in the UK. This is somewhat made up for by direct imports of aircraft from the US. Production would match UK historical Hurricane production by around April/May 1940 and then actually exceed historical production – albeit only minimally – during the Battle of Britain period.

    By early 1940, the UK secures a licence for the up-rated SC3-G with 1200 hp, beginning production around June-July at a rate of 2-3 per day, creating a situation broadly analogous to the introduction of the Hurricane Mk II, albeit without the larger increase in altitude performance.


    Performance vs Hurricane

    From reading the various evaluations and looking at the comparative performance data, my conclusion was that the Hawk 75 was more nimble and a better dog fighter than the Hurricane but maybe would not have made as good an interceptor or bomber destroyer.

    The Hawk 75 was more pleasant to fly through the entire speed range – particularly at higher speeds. It had better lateral control and could even turn inside the famously nimble Hurricane. The aircraft would have been very good at high speed slashing attacks and its controllability was much superior to the Hurricane above 350 mph.

    The Hawk 75A/A-1/A-2 were notably inferior to the Hurricane I in terms of speed at most altitudes. The Hawk 75A-2 was around 10-15 mph slower below 10,000 ft, becoming roughly equal around 12-16000 ft and then increasingly inferior above that. By 20,000 ft the Hawk 75A-2 is 30 mph slower than the Hurricane I and almost 45 mph slower at 26,000 ft.

    Climb performance is also down on the Hurricane. The Hawk 75 was reportedly nicer in the climb and also climbed at a faster speed (by about 20 mph). However, time to climb is about 7 ½ minutes to 15,000 ft, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes slower for the A-2 than the Hurricane I with a constant speed prop. The A-2 was about 5 ½ minutes slower to 20,000 ft.

    Additionally, the gun package is not as tight as that of the Hurricane I, as well as being a third lighter.

    The more powerful A-3 and the R-1820 powered A-4 – both with 1,200 hp - were a match for the Hurricane I in speed until about 12-15,000 ft, but the Merlin-powered Hurricane proved increasingly superior as altitude increased. The A-4 was superior to the Hurricane I in the climb until 12,000 ft.

    Other factors:

    The R-1830 didn't suffer from negative G cut-out the same way the Hurricane did, so there is a plus. Unfortunately, the Hawk 75 is still outpaced in terms of acceleration in a dive by the 109E.

    R-1830 was very reliable and quite mature by the late 1930s and I'd expect the engine to be overall more reliable than the Merlin. The Hawk 75 was quite accessible as far a maintenance went, so it would probably be easier on ground crews than the Hurricane.

    Both the Hurricane and Hawk 75 were notoriously rugged. Both had good ground characteristics and the Hawk 75 was rated as even easier to take-off in than the Hurricane, something of a positive for training.
     
  12. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    #12 Kryten, Jan 27, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
    would have to be P40 really?
     
  13. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello
    IMHO if there had not been Hurricane, and Hawker would not have designed something else instead of Hurri, British would probably have put into production Gloster F5/34 or maybe heavily mod Vickers F5/34 with another engine than Aquila. National pride, you know. Hawk 75 would not has been a bad choice, especially if one of the cowling guns had been 12,7mm a la USAAC, that would has been a plus against armoured LW bombers. IMHO its biggest problem would has been its ROC, with its speed Ju 88s would have been difficult targets but He 111s and Do 17s not so much, 109E was anyway clearly faster than Hurricane so no big difference there, against 110, difficult to say.

    Juha
     
  14. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Grumman Wildcat
     
  15. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Is the object of the question to select the aircraft we would choose, irrespective of historical reality, or is it to come up with some realistic options/scenarios in a sans-Hurricane world? I only ask because, in reality, there was no chance of any US-built aircraft entering service with the RAF prior to WWII.
     
  16. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Damn. The only realistic option, really.

    You can guarantee that if this scenario actually happened then this would most certainly have taken place. Around the time of the Munich Crisis it was Neville Chamberlain, yes, he of the 'Peace in our Time' who instigated further Hurricane orders which led to Gloster producing Hurricanes instead of Wellingtons, and the construction of Hawker's Langley facility - based on the Inskip report that stated that the RAF should become more defence orientated over a bias toward bombers led by RAF CAS Cyril Newall, so you can bet that had the Spitty been the only option it would have gone into production in larger numbers sooner.

    I suspect that the British would have chosen a local option if there were no Spitfires or Hurricanes.
     
  17. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    ".... you can bet that had the Spitty been the only option it would have gone into production in larger numbers sooner."

    True, no doubt, but the loss of the Hurricane would have had some effect on the B of B. (See thread on B of B Turnaround Times). The Hurricanes were much easier/quicker to service maintain than the Spitfire. Granted - that came with a price - but under B of B conditions, lots of basic Hurricanes was an advantage. IMHO. :)

    MM
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree. 1930s Britain didn't produce enough aluminum to build additional Spitfire fighter aircraft. So any British built fighter aircraft must be made of wood (i.e. Mosquito) or fabric (Hurricane and Swordfish torpedo bomber). Or else you purchase large quantities of American made aircraft as France did.

    U.S. Aircraft Options.
    US Warplanes
    P-38. Large numbers unavailable until 1941. Very expensive.
    P-39. Large numbers unavailable until 1941.
    P-40. Large numbers not available until 1941.
    F2A (Buffalo). Was not produced in large numbers. 509 total.
    F4F (Wildcat). Large numbers not available until 1941.

    P-36. Available from 1938. Inexpensive.
    Historical production numbers were based on export sales (900 of 1,115 total were exported). More export sales = more P-36s produced.

    P-35. Available from 1937. Inexpensive.
    Another fighter aircraft whose production numbers depend on export sales. Historical efforts to market the P-35 in Europe were largely unsuccessful. A large British purchase order would cause Seversky officials to jump for joy.

    So there you have it. 1930s Britain cannot build additional aluminum aircraft. If you want to purchase large quantities of American made fighter aircraft prior to 1941 the P-35 and P-36 are probably your only realistic options.
     
  19. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Perspective ..... :)

    MM
     
  20. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Buffnut
    while I agree with principle, remember Locheed Hudson. But an exception makes a rule. I agree that in real world if there had not been a Hurricane there would have been something like it designed by Hawker, Hawker would not have ignored the lucrative fighter market and had a good design team under Camm. And anyway Vickers' and Gloster's F5/34 protos were not bad fighters.

    Juha
     
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