Defiants and Battles deployed overseas, any merit in that?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    For the sake of discussion, perhaps members could make a plausible case for the 2 uderdogs deployed in the MTO -(1940-41) and Malaya/CBI (1941/42)? For the duration of this thread, those two remain in production until start of 1942.
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Battles were deployed overseas but to training squadrons which is were their value was at that point in time. Sturdy and easy to fly they made a good stepping stone for pilots right out of flight school. Keeping them in production until 1942 would be a waste of resources.

    The 1940-41 Italian fighters are not so low performing as to give the Battle any real chance of success compared to the German fighters of the Spring of 1940. The Japanese Army Fighters with twin 7.7mm MGs or a single 12.7 and a 7.7 offer a bit more hope but depending on an enemy's lack of fire power is poor planning.

    The Battle simple offered too little bomb load and too little performance in 1941 to be very useful anywhere. Somebody may have sent them off to Singapore along with the Buffaloes but I am afraid they wouldn't have contributed much except to increase the Japanese scores.
     
  3. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    Defiant MK II's with radar would've made good night fighters, as they did in the ETO for a while.
     
  4. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    Battles added to air power in Malaya would give a more effective attack on Japanese ships transporting troops Flown by crews properly trained in the concepts and equipment of the Defiant, the Defiants would have added to the defence capability there too. I would not have made them my first choices nor volunteered to fly them but they would have given Malaya a better chance to defeat the Japanese attack, prevent Burma being overrun and thus allowed time for Indian forces to move to Malaya and Burma and meet a Japanese threat from the Dutch East Indies.

    It would take a lot of Battles and Defiants, aircrews and groundcrews but the aeroplanes could have been made available.

    Personnel is a different matter. I would suggest a branch of the Empire Training Scheme with the air and groundcrews trained in Malaya and India and retained there. Gladiators and Hart family types were also available from Middle East stores and could have been used in Malaya. Again poor choices but doable if the will were there.

    One has to ask what would have not been made instead of Battles? they were only kept in production to give the works something to make until new types superceded them.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Destroying German bridges over the Meuse River should have been the highest priority for Britain and France during May 1940. They get the job done or lose every aircraft in the attempt.
     
  6. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Part of the problem is a shortage of trained and/or properly trained aircrews. I Believe there were some Blenheim squadrons in the far east? The Blenheim offered the same bomb load at higher performance--longer range-- and with a slightly better defense (power turret instead of free swinging gun). The Battle offers nothing over the Blenheim MK I. Without more and better trained aircrews the Battles bring nothing to the table.
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    They were deployed to France and very nearly lost every aircraft on the very missions you would have them perform.The problem was that despite the undoubted heroism of the crews they singularly failed to achieve their objectives.

    I suspect that is why the original question wondered if there would have been any merit in deploying them elsewhere.

    Steve
     
  8. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    It was possible for the battle to be upgraded, but it would have needed a lot of effort to make them more survivable. They needed lots of things....better protection (armour, defensive weapons, particularly forward firing guns) , higher speed and performance (which means more engine power, since the design was relatively clean aerodynamically. It should have had some sort of dive bomb capability, and it was a bit short on range.

    In the secondary TOs, it proabably could still have gotten through, but it was taking the places of more capable a/c. keeping second rate a/c is as hard as top shelf stuff, so why increase the sttrain on the supply chain unnecessarily, plus risk aircrews lives when youve got so many better choices....
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    If they cannot succeed in France they probably won't do better anywhere else. Unless the failure of May 1940 was primarily caused by poor crew training.
     
  10. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    With a single .303 in the front and one in the rear, they were no match for the 109s. Two Victoria Crosses were awarded to two members of PH-K, s/n P2204 for their attack on a bridge in Belgium.

    Geo
     
  11. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Tend to agree with Stona on this one. I can't see what the Battle would bring that was not already available in Malaya using the Blenheim.

    Having a squadron (or even a flight) of radar-equipped Defiant nightfighters might have achieved some successes but they wouldn't affect the outcome of the campaign.
     
  12. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    The Battle did suffer very high losses, but not as high as you imply. According to Wikipedia 63 were lost during 4 raids amounting to 108 sorties. However, given the Luftwaffe's degree of air superiority and the density of German FLAK, it is unlikely that any other contemporary aircraft could have done better. Unescorted, the Bleinheim also suffered heavy losses. The Battles did achieve some measures of success during their missions, and with proper escort they could have done much more, and undoubtedly they could have had a considerable impact in the MTO and Malaya, if deployed in similar numbers.
     
  13. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    1940 Heer Flak looks dense only in comparison to French and British army AA defenses. It became much more capable from 1941 onward when the Heer began procuring the Flakvierling.

    Did the Defiant and Battle have armor to protect against ground fire?
     
  14. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The Defiant had no business flying low enough to get shot at by anything 37mm or smaller. It carried no bombs and trying to strafe with a mid-ship mounted turret is a sure sign of extreme desperation.

    The Battle could have been up graded but WHY?

    Yes a new Merlin could have been installed, the rear gun could have been doubled to a twin ( it was done on the Hampden) a hole could have cut in the floor for a MG to fire out the bottom. One or more additional .303 guns could have been mounted in the wings, I am not sure what it needed to be a dive bomber, the air frame was pretty strong already.

    Problems are:
    1. the bomb storage is for four 250lb bombs in bomb cells in the wing. Can you put a 500lb INSIDE each wing or not? It will lift them if placed outside but the additional drag cuts into the already low performance and shortens the range. Without external carriage what is the max dive angle that can be used for the 250lb in the wings? How much redesign do you want to do and what other design gets delayed while you are fooling around with the Battle?
    2. The airframe will take a much more powerful engine, but where do they come from? From mid 1940 on the Merlin XX is available but it is wanted for both Bomber command (some Wellingtons and the Halifax for starters) and Hurricane IIS and some Bristol Beaufighters. Delaying these aircraft to make a marginally effective single engine bomber isn't going to go over well.
    3. even with several hundred more HP available adding guns is going only going to get you so far, and who mans the lower gun if fitted? the Bomb aimer or does the uper gunner do double duty? plenty of other aircraft tried this and usually with less than stellar success. A-20s often carried a 4th crewman for the lower gun. While twin free swinging guns are better than a single it is still not a turret. Any additional guns in the wing are for ground attack, While the Battle has the wing loading of an early Spitfire it's ability to manuver well enough to bring fixed forward firing guns to bear is suspect.

    Without upgrading the engine even a quick and dirty "conversion" of existing airframes ( self sealing tanks, some armor, the dual rear guns.) is going to leave you with a rather under powered aircraft.

    And Please remember, the Battles belonged to bomber command. They were never intended to be used as army co-operation or support aircraft. Any continued production beyond Historical limits would be at the expense of a later Bomber Command aircraft.
     
  15. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    The Battle had some protection with ground fire in mind but not the Defiant.

    With regards to upgraded German anti-aircraft fire, you're right about 'dense' being a relative term. Keep in mind shooting down low flying, vic-formations of Fairey Battles at 220 mph is a bit of a different task than shooting down singular Hawker Typhoons dive bombing at 520 mph.
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Did they attack at that speed using a WWII era bomb/gun site? I suspect attack speed was quite a bit slower if they intended to hit anything.
     
  17. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    The dive was at 90 degrees (or as close to it as they could judge; 'If you were not hanging in your straps, you were not straight down') so the high speeds were not much of a deflection issue.
     
  18. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Agree with Buffnut and Steve; I don't think the Battle would have been able to contribute anything else that what was already in either theatre could not provide (although the Blenheim's turret was manually operated; it wasn't powered).

    The last Defiants rolled off the production line in late 1942. The type served as a night fighter from mid-late 1940 until its retirement from front line use in mid 1942 (the later aircraft went straight to training units), fully or partially equipping some 13 night fighter squadrons. As very much a part of Britain's air defence in that time period, it would have been pretty hard to pry what Fighter Command had away from its duties, but for the sake of this thread the Defiant Mk.II night fighter would have been of some use in both theatres, but after the Battle of Britain, the likelyhood of it being employed during the day in its original role of bomber interceptor was slim.
     
  19. cimmex

    cimmex Member

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    I think the attacking speed of a Hawker Typhoon was far below 400mph.
    Cimmex
     
  20. merlin

    merlin Member

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    Typhons dive-bombing!!?? The RAF for some reason seemed to have an aversion to 'Dive-Bombing' its main succes with it was in the Far East with the Vengence, otherwise in the Med some Spitfire used some DB. but otherwise it wasn't done - as any Stuka pilot would recognise it that is. Of note with that Peter Smith's book Dive Bomber - doesn't mention the Typhon at all.
    At don't know what others think - but IMHO I think it is physically easier for the AAA to track an aircraft at roughly the same altitude i.e. going right to left, than to follow one down from top to near bottom - with increasing speed.
     
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