Extra fuel tanks for medium bombers?

Discussion in 'Other Mechanical Systems Tech.' started by freebird, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. freebird

    freebird Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,658
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    British Columbia
    Just wondering...

    Could medium bombers (Mitchell, Wellington, Baltimore etc) fly beyond normal range with aux fuel tanks in the bomb bay?
    For example for ferrying long distances.

    Was this ever done?
     
  2. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
    Messages:
    835
    Likes Received:
    46
    Trophy Points:
    28
    In short: Yes. Common practice in all nations to use bomb bay for aux tanks for special missions or ferry.
     
  3. MIflyer

    MIflyer Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Engineer
    Location:
    Cape Canaveral
    A friend of mine told me that the early model B-25's ordered by the Dutch lacked the normal internal fuel capacity, resulting in airplanes so short-ranged that they were all but useless as bombers. Adding fuel tanks in the bomb bay would have elminated the bomb carrying capability. His unit, the 9th Photo Recon in India, obtained one of the ex-Dutch B-25's for use as a transportation hack and to deliver the photos from their F-4 Lightnings to units who needed them.

    Of course the early F-4's the unit had suffered from the same problem. They originally were equippd with small drop tanks set close to the wing, which not only limited their fuel carrying capability but also increased the drag and inteferred with the ability to jettison the tanks safely. The 9th modified their airplanes with longer drop tank pylons. The much larger 160 gal and 300 gal P-38 drop tanks on the long pylons were a huge improvement.

    And of course the F-105 pretty much eliminated the use of the bomb bay for bombs and put a fuel tank in there. Given that a 105 with no external or bomb bay tanks had a subsonic endurance of 0.5 hours they needed the bomb bay tank.
     
  4. freebird

    freebird Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,658
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    British Columbia
    Could the bombers use drop tanks as well?
     
  5. MIflyer

    MIflyer Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Engineer
    Location:
    Cape Canaveral
    That's a good question. I do not recall seeing or hearing any use of drop tanks by U.S. heavy or medium bombers. The exception is the USN's P2V Ventura, which used P-38 drop tanks. Now, the Mosquito used them quite commonly and I do not recall ever hearing of that airplane's bomb bay being used for fuel tanks; they even put passengers in the bomb bay, but I don't think there were any fuel tanks.

    I do not recall seeing drop tanks on other British bombers.

    The U.S. is a much larger country than those in Western Europe - it is said you could put all of Western Europe into Texas - and we seem to have placed much more emphasis on long range in our aircraft. Even the P-36 and P-40 had more range than the Spitfire and BF-109, and the Mustang Mk 1 had even more range than the P-40, even without drop tanks. A short ranged medium or heavy bomber would probably seem absurd to the U.S., but apparently not to the Dutch.

    I think a book on the development and use of drop tanks would be a good one; maybe I will write it!
     
  6. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
    Messages:
    835
    Likes Received:
    46
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Strange to hear this from dutch B-25, no tanks above the bomb bay installed ?
     
  7. Ivan1GFP

    Ivan1GFP Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Hello MIFlyer,

    As for Short Ranged US fighters, check out the P-39.

    I believe the B-26 Marauder had two bomb bays and often used the aft one to carry additional fuel while the front carried bombs.

    - Ivan.
     
  8. Greg Boeser

    Greg Boeser Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2016
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Early B-25s had only 670 US gallons internal, but could carry up to a 515 US gallon bomb bay tank. Later versions increased wing tankage to 974 gallons.
    All versions of B-26 had 962 US gallons in wings. The early B-26 "straight" could carry a single 250 gallon tank in the forward bay. The B-26A could carry two 250 gallon tanks in the forward bay. The B-26B and C could carry up to two additional 250 gallon tanks in the rear bay, but this was done only for ferrying. Though it is often said that the rear bay was used for extra fuel, the operating manuals indicate that the rear bay tanks had to be connected to the left front bay tank to be used. Also, the rear bay tanks were unprotected. The front bays could accommodate self sealing tanks. Later versions omitted the rear bay fittings altogether.
    The first B-26Bs in action flew from California to Hawaii with four bay tanks installed, but had to remove all guns and armor to make max take off weight.
     
  9. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    11,100
    Likes Received:
    1,046
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Heavy Equipment Operator
    Location:
    Jungles of Canada
    B-26s of the Ninth Air Force always had the rear bays sealed
     
  10. Greg Boeser

    Greg Boeser Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2016
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Yes. Auxiliary tanks were far more common in the Pacific.
    The 22nd BG used them for missions against Rabaul, and the 28th Composite Group used them for missions in the Aleutian Islands. Later, auxiliary tanks were used for the Empire Express missions from the Aleutians to the Kuriles. Navy PV-1s and Army B-25s used a combination of bomb bay tanks and wing mounted drop tanks.
     
Loading...

Share This Page