Effect of Operational Fw 187s on British Production Plans

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wuzak, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    So, if the Fw 187 did get into service in 1940, what would the effect be on British production plans?

    For example, the Hawker Tornado was dumped when the Vulture was cancelled. The Tornado with Vulture V was basically a 400mph aircraft and 6-12 months ahead of the Typhoon. Would that continue, if only as an interim solution until the Typhoon is ready?

    Would the Whirlwind be continued, and the Mk II developed?

    Would Supermarine's 324/327 get the nod?

    When would the RAF first know they need a counter-measure?
     
  2. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Tornado + Centaurus, maybe?
     
  3. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Centaurus wasn't ready for production until 1943/44. Griffon Spitfire would be better.

    Vulture may not have been ready, but it was in production.
     
  4. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #4 nuuumannn, Jan 28, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
    Good thread Wuzak, I guess it depends on when the British become aware of the outstanding performance of the type, which depends on when it is first used in combat. Mid to late 1939, early 1940 and the issues of the Vulture had not reared their heads, but those issues were eventually overcome anyway. Its possible that in the time period, putting a Tornado with Vulture into production would see the problems sooner, but I would hedge my bets on getting a more efficient, higher powered Merlin going and pressing development of the Griffon to be fitted into an existing type - Spitfire, obviously. A quicker expedient compared to putting an entirely new aeroplane into production.

    I would think both of these things might have happened as a solution was sought. Could we have seen the Spitfire Mk.III into production?
     
  5. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Apparently the Vulture V in the Tornado prototype didn't experience the difficulties of the Vulture II in the Manchester. Maybe because the Vulture wasn't underpowered for the application.

    As I said, the Tornado prototype flew almost a year before the Typhoon prototype, and the Vulture was in production - though that was soon stopped.

    Griffon was only in the early stages of its development in 1939. Not sure when the 60-series Merlin project began.
     
  6. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    The issues with the Manchester didn't really become so apparent until it was in service and since the Tornado/Vulture V never got there, perhaps we shall never know, but as I stated, I think both your suggestion and a hastening of Merlin and Griffon development would have been undertaken.
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Depends on production numbers.

    If Germany builds Fw-187s at the same historical low rate as Me-110 I doubt Britain or France would notice. If Germany builds more long range fighter aircraft (either Me-110 or Fw-187) then the RAF and France might think Germany intends an offensive bombing campaign similiar to RAF Bomber Command.
     
  8. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    I believe the issues with the Vulture were readily apparent from the first flight of the prototype Manchester.

    btw one of the Tornado prototypes was used to test a set of contra-props later in the war. Rolls-Royce modified the Vulture for that application.
     
  9. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I think you might be right; whilst testing with A&AAE, three Manchesters suffered severe engine failures. I guess with these occuring on the Vulture IIs, the Vulture V could have avoided the issues. Without them, probably not.
     
  10. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure what the differences between the II and V were, apart from, maybe, the supercharger gearing.
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    A lot of engines ran "OK" on the test bench and failed in service. Early Allisons had to be derated after passing a 150 hour type test and reworked at Allison's expense, some R-2600s, the R-3350 took quite a while to sort out ( and it was a second generation R-3350, little remained of the early R-3350 that powered the B-19). The list goes on and on. The R-2800 had over 3,000 test hours before it was ever stuck in a test mule and they had some problems with the early production engines.

    IMHO even R-R saying "we have the problem/s solved" should be followed by "we think" unless some one can find evidence of a few thousand test hours on the new version of the engine (and even then ??)

    Granted in fighter use it would not have the long slow climb that the bombers used on every flight and it might have been as serviceable as the Sabre ( damning with faint praise).

    As far as when the allies might know they needed a counter measure This sentence was in a March 1939 Issue of flight magazine

    "Germany is believed to have the B.F.W. (Messerschmitt) 110 fitted with two Daimler-Benz DB601 engines on service test, if not in large-scale production."

    And French Chief of air staff General Vuillemin saw a number of Bf 110s ( and due to a ruse by the Germans thought there were many more) in August of 1938.

    Of course in 1938 the 110 was getting Jumo 210 engines because there were not enough DB 601s to go around.
     
  12. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    As for the Vulture, the big issue with it was failure of the master rod bolts, particularly at take-off power and high rpm, which caused its internals to flail about and literally smash the engine apart. The solution was to lengthen and strengthen the bolts and apply more precise tolerances to the engine's mating surfaces. The scale of the problem did not really become apparent until the Manchester entered service in 1941. As for the difference between the II and V, by '39 - 40, the issue had not been resolved, so its possible that perhaps the same problems affecting the II would have affected the V in the Tornado.

    The reason behind the Vulture's cancellation was justified in hindsight, since it did not offer future development in quite the same way as the Merlin, of which, at the time Rolls was dedicating significant resources to, for good reason. The Vulture would have required some internal modification, which did not justify continuing it since only three types were being powerd by it.

    A tornado powered by the Sabre (damning with faint praise!) or even Centaurus as suggested by Tomo might have been a viable alternative (in hindsight).
     
  13. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    A Tornado power by a Sabre is a Typhoon....
     
  14. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    That couldn't have possibly been known.

    FWIW the Vulture V was a 2000hp engine in 1940. The Merlin, 1200hp?

    The issue was that there wasn't enough resources to go to all the RR projects. The Merlin was most required, as it was in the Spitfire and Hurricane, most importantly. The Vulture was only in one production type - the Manchester.

    Development potential was there for the Vulture. It didn't have the improved supercharger, like the Merlin XX. Yet it still was testing at 2500hp before its cancellation.

    Strengthening of components to ensure reliability would have been the biggest concern, and caused the most delay.
     
  15. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Another option would be mating Merlin XX with standard Spitfire, making, say Spitfire III-. That would make it ~380 mph fighter? Contrary to another proposals, feasible in 1940.
     
  16. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I agree. The British would have stuck with a single engined eight gun fighter in this time frame. Accelerating improvements to the existing Spitfire would be the logical solution.

    I'm not sure that the appearance of the Fw 187 with the performance that a production variant flown by service pilots could have attained would have caused the RAF undue consternation. This is particularly true if the Fw 187 was flown in the way that other Luftwaffe fighters were flown tactically during this period.

    I still don't like those wing tanks. The Ju 87 had armoured tanks and yet according to RAF pilots burst into flames at the wing root as soon as it was hit.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  17. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    So when might a Spitfire III have shown up? Or would it have at all?

    And would the Spitfire III have 8 x 0.303s, or would it get the 2 x 20mm + 4 x 0.303"?
     
  18. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Given the problems that the RAF experienced with cannons in Spitfire wings at this time I think they would have stuck with the eight machine guns.19 squadron,acting as guinea pigs,had serious problems with the cannon in August 1940.
    The unit's commanding officer,Squadron Leader Pinkham.

    "It is most strongly urged that until the stoppages at present experienced have been eliminated this squadron should be re-equipped with Browning gun Spitfires."

    On 4th September they swapped their cannon armed Spitfires with the machine gun armed Spitfires of the OTU at Hawarden,as Pinkham had suggested.

    "First day with the eight gun machines and what wrecks. At least the guns will fire..."

    noted the squadron diarist ruefully.

    The problems were more or less ironed out by November 1940,when the familiar two cannon and four machine gun compromise was adopted.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  19. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    I am thinking that the Spitfire III would be unlikely before then anyway.
     
  20. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Ditto - no yet a Spitfire III, but the "III-" (III minus), ie. the airframe alterations of the Spit I II held at minimum (same wings, fuselage, fixed tailwheel, no wheel well covers), but featuring the Merlin XX.
     
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