Blenheim MkIf Gun Pack - a Challenge!!!

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by buffnut453, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    I've aleady posted this on Hyperscale and Britmodeller without success, so I thought I'd try this august group of experts. I'm trying to find details on the gun pack for the Blenheim, starting with the following initial questions:

    1. How was the gun pack fitted to the fuselage?

    2. How was ammunition fed to the guns?

    3. Where can I find a photo or diagram showing the internal arrangement of the gun pack?

    I've checked Graham Warner's definitive history of the Blenheim, as well as the Crowood and Osprey titles but can't find these important (to me, at least!) details in any of them.

    Can anyone help with my sad, obsessive vendetta?

    Many thanks in advance,
    Mark H (LKBS)
     
  2. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Ok, so I'm a really sad git with no friends who ends up being the only person who responds to his own posts....:cry:

    Anyway, a closer inspection of Warner's "Bristol Blenheim - a Complete History (2nd Edn)" reveals some interesting info on p.101 which, to my simple mind, merited my dusting off this old (and completely ignored) thread. According to Warner:

    "The Blenheim was easily adapted to this unexpected new [fighter] role by fitting an external pack containing four fixed Browning .303 machine-guns beneath the bomb bay, mounted on a sub-frame of mild-steel tubing within the bay, which also contained 2,000 rounds of ammunition - 500 rounds for each gun, giving more than 20 seconds of continuous firing. The total weight of this armament was only slightly less than the normal bomb load. This package was first flight-tested at the A&AEE on L1424....and improvements to the ammunition feeds were made, together with provision for heating to prevent the gun-oil from freezing at altitude. Manufacture of these gun packs and their mounting frames was sub-contracted to the Southern Railway workshops at Ashford in Kent, which produced more than 1,300 sets altogether...The single fixed Browning in the port wing was retained, as was the dorsal turret with a single Vickers machine-gun."

    Given the above description, one must assume that the central bomb-bay doors were removed to enable fitment of the gun pack onto the existing hard-points under the wing centre-section. I also presume the gun pack installation came with blanking plates fore and aft of the pack itself to cover the gap resulting from removal of the central bomb-bay doors (ie to improve streamline and prevent dirt being thrown up into the bomb-bay). Does this make sense? I'm just struggling to see how a tubular structure strong enough to carry almost the equivalent weight of the Blenheim bomb load, could be inserted and still keep the central bomb-bay doors in place.

    Other thoughts/ideas would be MOST welcome. Please talk to me before I curl up in a foetal position and start rocking myself while muttering incomprehensible musings on the nature of gun pack installations.:crazy:
     
  3. DBII

    DBII Active Member

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    LOL, thanks for the info. I have info at the house for a two gun packs desinged for a B-25 but nothing on the Blenheim, Any pictures to post?

    DBII
     
  4. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Someone to talk to...at last!!!:shock:

    'Fraid I don't have any pics - wish I did 'cos I'm desperately keen to get cracking on a 1/48 Blenheim fighter but I need some info on the gun pack before I start work (hence my original post).
     
  5. DBII

    DBII Active Member

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    I was thinking about making a set for B-25 model that was put on hold again. The first one is attached to the crew entry under the cockpit, two 50 cals. The second one goes in the bomb bay, 2 more 50 cals and a couple of 20 mm cannons. It was never put into production. I would be interested is seeing how your build ends up.

    Happy twenty ten

    DBII
     
  6. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Hopfully these will help :D
     

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  7. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Micdrow - they are a really useful start. What I'd really like is a drawing showing the tubular support structure for the gun pack and how the guns were mounted onto the tubular support. I imagine two pieces of cross-tubing to hold the guns (with the guns probably underslung beneath those cross-tubes) and a mounting structure of tubing inside which are the ammunition containers.

    Your drawings do indicate that the gun pack couldn't be fitted with the regular central bomb-bay doors in place ('cos you'd have to cut a substantial hole in the doors to feed the ammunition to the guns, and because you can't insert the gun pack frame into the bomb bay and then close those central doors).

    I now have 2 people to talk to...just call me Mr. Popular!8)

    Happy New Year to all!!

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  8. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Wow Paul, thanks for the diagrams. I have an Airfix Mk IV in 1/72 and their gun pack is all wrong.

    Mark I might have some pics, I'll check for them tonight. Sorry, I must have missed your post.
     
  9. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Your welcome VB!!!
     
  10. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Sorry Mark, I looked in my copies of Blenheim Squadrons in Action, Bristol Blenheim In Action, and the Profile series and no luck, got a ton for the top turret however. Good luck!

    David
     
  11. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all for your inputs. I have a lead in the UK which I need to pursue but, since I'm now in VA (ex-pat Brit) it may be challenging to find the information remotely without paying a "finding fee" which could turn up nothing.

    Happy New Year all y'all!
     
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