Dive bomber for 1940: how would you do it

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Gentlemen (and ladies), what kind of a dive bomber would be the best, made from best parts available, to have in force for usage early in war. Say, 500 copies in service prior May 1940? Any engine, combined with suitable airframe gun armament, available in quantity. Mix and match, only single-engined types qualify. Carrier capability adds no points, sorry :)
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    this one may the hardest of all. Perhaps there is a problem with translation I am not sure what you mean by "parts". After the standard, in production engine and propeller, radio, instruments and guns (and the guns don't offer much scope in 1940) everything else on any plane is pretty much custom built for the job. At least anything that really affects performance. Standard fittings, pumps, piping, tires, etc excepted. I mean you don't take the tail of a Fairey Battle and stick it on a the fuselage of Defiant and use the wing of a Hurricane to come up with a dive bomber :)

    The hard part is that the success or failure of a dive bomber is as dependent on it's stability and controllability in a dive for bombing accuracy as it is on more easily found book figures like speed, altitude or range. The more accurate the dive bomber the fewer missions need to e flown to get the same results.
    In 1940 with everybody using 850-1200hp engines the payload, speed and range aren't going to that far off anyway. Obviously the 1100-1200hp guys will have an advantage over the 850-1000hp airplanes as far as payload/speed/range. Late war 1500hp-2000hp planes offered more scope for variation.
     
  3. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Well, airframe would've been one 'part', ditto for power plant (engine+prop+gearing+plumbing). So the Battle (even if it's not strictly a dive bomber) airframe mated with Twin Wasp and armed with Breda 12,7mm is one example. I'm sure better ones could be thought about.
     
  4. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    I think the Ju-87 was as good as it gets by 1940 standards.
     
  5. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Would you've changed something at it (not counting having air superiority, out of scope here)?
     
  6. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Question - Did the rear gunner actually add to the defensive capabilities? Or were they just dead weight unable to hit a fighter coming from behind?

    I am thinking that the elimination of the weight of the gunner plus his eqmt might improve things.
     
  7. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I'd think along the lines of the Douglas Dauntless...it had a respectable loadout, good range and with a good pilot at the stick, was actually capable of defending itself in a dogfight when pressed...
     
  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    In some cases the rear seater was also the radio operator and/or observer. If he is going to be there anyway you might as well give him a gun.
    The 1940 dive bombers were rather low powered, A 1940 Dauntless had just 1000hp not 1200 or more, that came later. Once you have a plane that can lift a 1000lb bomb from the short runways or carrier decks and more fuel than some fighters you had a plane with over 300sq ft of wing, in some cases well over 300 sq ft., even if they dropped the bomb when bounced (a mission kill right there) they are too big and slow to out run or out maneuver real fighters for very long.
     
  9. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    For the starter, I'd propose hull of Blackburn Skua, engined with Twin Wasp, 2 x 13mm (the Belgian gun) in wings, 3rd for tail gunner. Even better if we de-navalize it.
     
  10. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    Since the Stuka was the perfect dive bomber for 1940 then are u asking if it can be improved? Made Spitfire proof?

    Any dive bomber is cannon fodder of this era to a Spitfire/109.... Even the Dauntless.
     
  11. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    I'm not asking to design a Spitfire-proof dive bomber, but to state what combination of main parts would've created the best one, at your opinon. You can look at my 1st 2 post in this thread to get the idea, too.
     
  12. johnbr

    johnbr Well-Known Member

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    I no Frank Whittle had said the with good funding for the R/D for his jet engine he could have had ready by 1940.
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure where you are going with this. While you can probable stick a Twin Wasp in the nose (extra 300lbs+ of engine balanced by shorter nose?) I don't know how much extra power you get if the Twin Wasp has t use the same 87 octane fuel as the Perseus. Some yes but not 300hp more.
    You did say 1940. While Fighter Command got 100 octane in 1940 a lot of the other British commands/units did not. A lot of American commercial engines of the time were rated on 91 octane fuel which the British never used.
    Sticking with a British product, stick the two speed supercharger drive from the Pegasus on the Perseus. More power for take-off and a bit more power at 10,000ft for an extra 50lbs or so. Might be enough to get a 1000lb in air. Much more important to a dive bomber than extra guns.
    I am not sure what switching guns gets you. Two 13mm guns in the wings instead of four .303s (7.7mm)? Putting in four 13mm guns would at least triple the weight of the wing mounted guns and pretty much put paid to any increase in bomb load. The 13mm guns don't bring much to the table in the way of ground strafing. Strafing and dive bombing don't really use the same flight path. The chances of taking out even 1940 tanks with 13mm MG fire isn't to good.
    Same question for the rear gun. The big Browning was a bit of a beast to manhandle (especially from a seated position) and a pair of .303/7.92mm Brownings might have been a better choice. Lighter, easier to handle/aim and almost 4 times the rate of fire.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The Luftwaffe emphasized dive bombers during the 1930s and these aircraft show it. They were state of the art during 1940.
     
  15. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    I'd hardly consider the Ju-87B/C "perfect" for 1940. The RLM was looking at an enhanced version as early as mid 1938. After abandoning the overly complex Ju 187, they decided on the enhanced and streamlined Ju-87D.

    Ideally, you'd dump the fixed landing gear of the Ju-87, install better defensive armour and heavier internal forward firing armament. Fit a better cockpit canopy, cantilever tail plane and other bits and bobs.

    If I could pick and mix I'd imagine a perfect dive bomber for the 1939-1940 period as something like a westernised D4Y (or, indeed, an updated He 118 ). Slightly slower and shorter range than the D4Y as it doesn't need to operate extensively over water, but with a slightly larger wing and better armour, self-sealing tanks and other 'western' features like IFF.

    Fast (at least 300 mph at 7-8000 ft), 2200-2500 lbs bomb load, reasonable range (say 350-380 mile combat radius with 1,100 lbs, 250 mile radius with full bomb load, 900-1000 mile absolute range ) and two crew.

    Large, powerful radial engine (R2600, BMW 801 or Ash-82 would all fit the bill), Ju-87 style gull wing for extra ground clearance to allow a nice big prop, retractable landing gear, internal bomb bay, decent forward firing armament (at least two 0.50 cal class weapons), single .50 cal class rear firing armament.

    Such an aircraft would still need fighter escort.However, with the better cruising and top speed it would spend less time in harms way, and make the job of interceptors more difficult (the Mosquito principle). With a radial engine/better armour, it would be less vulnerable to ground fire.
     
  16. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Thanks for the input, JW :)

    The R-2600 is the only, of those engines, that is in (barely) production for this frame, though. The retraction like Battle had, or Il-2 would be neat.
     
  17. rank amateur

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    #17 rank amateur, Mar 30, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011
    Instead of ironing out the flaws of either the Ju87 or the Battle, why not go for a relatively small twin engined plane, Pe2 style. Would it have been possible to adopt the Beaufort, the Beaufighter or the Whirlwind to divebombing?
    If you insist in having a single engined dive bomber, the Brits had this target tug that was originaly designed as a light bomber, the Hawker Henly. With a Merlin 11 it could do around 270 mph. I wonder what it would have been capable of with a Bristol Hercules XI or Merlin X
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    An empty He-118 was lighter in weight then an empty Ju-87B. Makes me think the aircraft wasn't terribly sturdy which may be the reason RLM rejected it.
     
  19. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    You're more weight = sturdiness equation doesn't really seem to match the historical record. The He-118 prototypes were about 5400 lbs empty, the He 118A-1 production aircraft - all eight of them - weighed about 5950 lbs.

    In comparison, the Ju-87A-0/A-1 aircraft weighed about 5000-5100 lbs empty, the A-2s about 5250 lbs. Its only when the Ju-87 gets the Jumo 211 - which is about 320 lbs heavier than the Jumo 210 - that the empty weight gets above that of the He 118. Ju-87Bs weighed in at about 6000-6100 lbs.

    As an aside, the DB600C powering the He 188 was about 275 lbs heavier than the Juno 210D powering the early Ju-87As, explaining most of this weight difference.

    Perhaps that's why I suggested a revised/updated version of it? Henikel wasn't renowned for making particularly tough aircraft (witness the He 100/113 and 177) but it will take more evidence than the prototype problems to convince me that the He 118 was not structurally sound.

    The inflight destruction of the one of the prototypes might have had something to do with the rejection of the He-118 aircraft by the RLM. The fact that it was Ernst Udet flying at time the likely jaundiced his view of the aircraft and resulted in the contract going to Junkers. Given his rather unfortunate experiences with the aircraft, he overrode an earlier RLM decision that selected the better performing He 118 over the Ju-87.

    He badly bent one of the He 118 prototypes in a dive and was forced to take to his parachute when the aircraft suffered prop runaway and began shedding parts.

    The Ju-87 prototypes were hardly paragons of toughness though, suffering their share of mid-air disintegrations, with tail shedding, prop overspeeds and ailerons popping off in testing. The prototypes went through a lot of reinforcement as the test programme developed. Even the early B series aircraft needed some structural beefing up.
     
  20. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    While I do agree that twin-engined (dive) bomber would've been better choice:
    Mix and match, only single-engined types qualify.

    As a Dutch, you don't need to go abroad - Fokker G.I fits the bill. It incorporated dive brakes historically, and was sturdy enough to perform dive bombing (or so I've read).

    Henley was indeed a choice many times mentioned in this forum :)
     
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