Best Allied Attack Bomber - North Africa 1941

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by freebird, Nov 22, 2007.

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Best Allied Attack Bomber - W. Desert 1941

  1. Best Attack Bomber - Bristol Beaufighter

    12.5%
  2. Best Attack Bomber - A-20 Boston

    56.3%
  3. Best Attack Bomber - Martin Baltimore

    6.3%
  4. Best Attack Bomber - Bristol Blenheim

    12.5%
  5. Best Attack Bomber - Westland Whirlwind "Whirlybomber"

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. Best Attack Bomber - NA-40B

    6.3%
  7. Runner Up - Bristol Beaufighter

    31.3%
  8. Runner Up - A-20 Boston

    18.8%
  9. Runner Up - Martin Baltimore

    6.3%
  10. Runner Up - Bristol blenhiem

    6.3%
  11. Runner Up - Westland Whirlwind

    6.3%
  12. Runner Up - NA-40B

    18.8%
  13. other - please specify

    6.3%
  1. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    I am curious to see what everyone thinks would be the best twin engine ground attack bombers that were used (or could be used) by the British in the Western Desert during 1941. The period would be from Africa Korps arrival in Feb/Mar 1941, and in the battles "Battleaxe" "Crusader"

    I am asking what you think about the abilities of the planes for close ground support, strafing, and low level attacks on transport airfields. Flight characteristics, durability, desert suitability would all be factors. Also the ease of take off/landing etc, at short or primitive desert airfields. Assume that the planes could be re-configured with drop tanks or gun pods as needed.

    I have included the NA-40B (prototype Mitchell) if it was ordered by the British/French instead of the A-20 Boston, not the later production model.

    Please vote for only 1 "best bomber" and not more than two "runner up"s in the poll.
     
  2. Elvis

    Elvis Member

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    Well, I picked the A-20, then the Bristol.

    Why? Because I'm American, so we come first, then the blokes. :lol:

    Anyway, at that time, I think our only other Attack Bomber was the army version of the Dauntless (A-24?) and the A-20 can hold a bigger bomb load and is roughly just as fast.


    Elvis
     
  3. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I picked the A-20, then torn between Beaufighter and NA40B for second place. The NA40B was not as good as B-25A abd B series and in my mind not as good as the A-20. I'm trying to remember if the NA40B had the gull wing Mod that was first incorporated in B-25A - but I believe 'no'. The NA 40B was really the same airframe and engine as the B-25A but only a middle top turret plus one nose mounted .30 cal and more of a true medium bomber than attack.

    As to the A-20, my vote is the same if we are talking about Boston III which started deliveries in 1941 - and a definite yes when talking about A-20G's which mounted 8 x .50s in hard nose plus 2,000 pound bomb load (internal) plus 2,000 external
     
  4. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Elvis - If you are comparing the A-20G to the SBD in either speed or range or flexibility, the A-20 could do everything better except dive bomb.. including being modified to carry torpedo's. It had 8 forward firing .50 cal in hard nose and could carry 2,000 internally plus two 1,000 bombs under each wing

    The G and H topped out at 330-340mph about 80mph faster than SBD/A-24 and would even climb faster (empty).
     
  5. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    I have read about the desert air force using Bostons, Blenhiems, Beaufighters and Baltimores/Marylands. Have you read any good books about the African air campaigns? I also could not find out if the Bostons used in N.A. by the British were Boston IIs or IIIs, do you know? Did the USAAF use Bostons in Africa?
     
  6. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Freebird - the Boston III and IIIA (A-20C Ground attack version) were used as well as in 12th AF . The 12th AF 27th BG (light) went to NA in early 1943 in A-20C and soon became 27TH FG, replacing them w/A-36s. The Boston III was also used by Brits at Dieppe and chasing Scharnhorst in the run in the Channel

    I'm trying to dig up some decent history of NA air campaign (Allied) but hard to come by.
     
  7. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    For me its a toss up between the A-20 and the Baltimore. Both had similar performances and in the case of the Boston III versus the Baltimore III, very similar armament (The balt having more defensive firepower). Apart from its bombing role the Baltimore was also heavily used in the recce role which it performed well. The Mk V and IV could attain a max range of around 2800 miles when fitted with a 800 gallon fuel tank in the bomb bay.
    However if we bring the A20G into the picture that is clearly the better of the two especially in the ground attack role (was it in service in '41?)
    For those interested get hold a book called "Desert Scorpions" by Leon Kane-Maguire which is a history of 459 sqn RAAF and gives an excellent account of that squadrons activities with Hudsons, Venturas and Baltimores in the desert and over the Med. Their use of Hudsons on low level shipping strikes against German F Boats was particulary dangerous business!!
    Also "Alamein to the Alps" by Mark Lax is a good account of 454 sqn RAAF's use of the Baltimore in the Med and Italy.
    see 454 459 RAAF Squadrons for more info on these two units.
     
  8. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Wildcat - the answer to your question re 1941 for A-20G is no. They weren't operational in Africa until early 1943 and the BostonIII in early 1942.
     
  9. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Boston III in 1941 this would be the A-20c correct? How were the flight characteristics compared to the Baltimore?
     
  10. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Are we limiting this to just allied aircraft?

    I am asking because I believe the Ju 88 was in service in 1941 though I am not sure if I would classify it is an attack bomber.

    If this poll went into 1942 I would vote for the Hs 129B.
     
  11. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    The best in 1941 would have to be the Beaufighter. The others tended to be the early versions and in most cases lacked forward firepower.
    As a reserve I went for the Whirlwind. It never went to the desert but its performance, 4 x 20mm in the nose and ability to carry bombs would have made it a deadly strike aircraft
     
  12. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure of the Baltimore version used in NA, but the very last production Baltimore V was better armed defensively per number of machine guns (2 to 4 x .303 in aft top turret , four wing mounted 303 and 2+ fixed firing rearward according to Wikipedia. It was the fastest of the Baltimores.

    The A20C (Boston III) was about 30mph faster than the Baltimore V, had the same internal load of 2,000 pounds, (could carry a 2,000 pound torpedo) and was extremely manueverable and easy to handle. The III flown by Brits most often had glazed nose and four wing mounted .303 forward firing plus two in Dorsal turret plus one ventral .303.

    The A-20C in the PTO was modified with hard nose and either 4x 20mm plus two .50s or six forward firing .50 cal plus twin .50's in Dorsal turret and one in ventral bay. This nose mod was incorporated in the production A20-G..
     
  13. Hakenkreuz

    Hakenkreuz Banned

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    The Ju 87 was the best attack bomber. The wirlwind was only a fighter until 1942 when it was equipped with bomb racks became the Mk 1A
     
  14. Hakenkreuz

    Hakenkreuz Banned

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    Why? Because I'm American, so we come first, then the blokes.

    Thats normal for a SEPTIC TANK
     
  15. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    You will not go around insulting members of this forum because they hold a different view than yours. That especially goes for someone with a controversial name and avatar like yours.

    Do you understand?!
     
  16. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Beaufighter and then the A-20 for me although both were pretty much as good as each other in my eyes.
     
  17. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Yes just Allied aircraft I'm afraid. :( I was just looking from the point of view of the British, they had 3 good attack aircraft that they used in N. Africa, (Beaufighter, Boston, Baltimore) so I'm curious to see what are your opinions on the different types they could use in the 1941 battles.

    I had heard that the Baltimore was a bit tricky - high wing loading.

    How important do you think is the top speed of the aircraft? The Boston III (1,600 hp Wrights) and the Beau could do about 335 mph, I think the Baltimore Boston II (1,100 hp Wrights?) had the top speed at about 305mph. Could the pre-series Mitchell's (NA-40 B) only do about 270mph? I know the British had Boston IIs in the desert, and the Boston III was available mid '41. Am I correct in these figures?
     
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