Handley Page O/400 vs. Gotha G .IV

Discussion in 'World War I' started by Soundbreaker Welch?, Apr 24, 2009.

?

Which was the better Bomber?

  1. Handley Page Type O/400

    6 vote(s)
    40.0%
  2. Gotha G .IV

    7 vote(s)
    46.7%
  3. Equally matched

    2 vote(s)
    13.3%
  1. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    Which was the better bomber?


    I chose the Gotha G .IV over the Gotha G .V because of the large impact it had in bombing Britain in WWI. One of the first of it's kind to do so, it deserves it's place in history when it was used to attack an enemy city.

    The Gotha G .V, while it had some improvements over the IV, did not have the effect it's predecessor had.

    I chose the Handley Page Type O/400 over the Handley Page Type O/100 for the same reason. The O/400 and was deployed in greater numbers, and had a larger payload.

    The Handley V/1500, nicknamed the "Super Handley", was an improvement over it's relatives and did well in the Third Anglo-Afghan War, but was built too late too see much service in WWI.

    The Handley was the definitive British bomber of WWI, and for a while after all large planes were called "Handley's" in Britain.

    The Gotha G. was one of the most feared weapons of the Luftwaffe, and the pyschological effects it had was immense. It's actions in WWI were a forerunner of the Heinkel He 111's bombing of Britain in WWII.
     
  2. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I went for the 0400 mainly on the much larger payload that it carried.
    I think the biggest bomb was the 1,600lb bomb. By WW1 standards this must have seemed like the end of the world when it went off.
     
  3. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    One "outstanding" feature of the Gotha was the "sting in the tail." They had a specially made plywood tunnel in the rear fuselage allowing the gunner to fire backwards and downwards through an arc of 25 degrees laterally and 60 degrees vertically...

    [​IMG]

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    With the Mercedes engines it had a high operating height of around 15,000ft making it immune to interception until fighter Squadrons were recalled from the front, including No.56 Squadron equipped with Bristol Fighters and Sopwith Camels. McCudden's difficult experience with Gothas is outlined in Grey and Thetford's "German Aircraft of the First World War."

    [​IMG]

    In one instance, on a raid on Kaiserlautern, a 1,600 pounder wiped out an entire factory.
     
  4. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I think you will find that the 0400 had a ventral gun position, not as specialised as the Gotha but sufficient for the job.
     
  5. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Glider, I was unaware of that fact. Trying to locate it on a cutaway wasn't easy either...gunners "ventral hatch" (No. 63) just below the "ammunition stowage" (No.62).

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    This story kinda proves what others have said about the Sopwith Pup having weak firing power. One gun would be hard to take a bomber down.
     
  7. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Interesting thread! How would the Caproni Ca.5 compare to these?
     
  8. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    What I find interesting is the comment about firing all his ammunition 47 rounds. Most Lewis guns in the RFC/RNAS had double this and had 97 rounds per drum. I don't know when they changed but it seems to be later than I thought.
     
  9. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    Hi Glider. The above event occurred on 5th July 1917.

    A good aircraft from what I've read Lucky. Made a considerable contribution to the overall Italian war effort, not least in support of the Italian ground forces. Modest in speed and bombload, many of its operations were against distant targets, involving long and often hazardous flights over the Alps and over equally inhospitable terrain. Good endurance, reliable and able to absorb considerable battle damage and still return safely. The engines were accessible for emergency repairs on long-range bombing flights and well armed, although I wouldn’t be putting my hand up for the rear gunner’s position. A position described by H.F.King as only for the “hardy” individual...

    [​IMG]
     
  10. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I think the O/400 is an excellent plan, but I really have to go with the Gotha as well. It would however, be interesting to add Sikorsky's 'Llya Murometz' into the comparisons.
     
  11. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    I would go with the Gotha, if only for it's impact on the development of strategic bombing. The RAF's 'Independent Force' did achieve some singular successes with the 0/400, but the G.IV was one of the first types to take part in a sustained strategic bombing campaign. M/C rates were less than spectacular, but that is perhaps to be expected given the novelty of aviation in general and this type of aircraft/mission in particular.

    The G.IV was not, I believe, the first heavier-than-air type to attack an enemy city - I believe a Taube attacked Paris (albeit with bombs little bigger than hand grenades) early in the war. I also understand there was very limited use of aircraft in the Balkan wars immediately prior to WWI, and possibly in N.Africa/ME around the same time? Not sure if these were used to attack settlements though. Can anyone shed any light on this :?:
     
  12. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    Thanks for the tip BombTaxi! I changed it now.
     
  13. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    No problem, I knew all of my obscure knowledge about WWI would be useful someday :oops: :lol:
     
  14. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    Excellent! Maybe you can help me with this BT :) Do you know where the Friedrichshafen FF29 (although one source says it was a Taube) that did this, flew from? (Or was it transported part of the way by the Navy?)...

    [​IMG]
     
  15. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    Gah, answer is in a book somewhere and I'm just on my way out... I'll have a look and get back to you 8)
     
  16. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    No joy on the Paris raider yet, but an FF29 piloted by Leutnant Karl Caspar attacked Dover around 10.45am on Christmas Eve 1914 - no info on the base though. The following day a 'German seaplane' (possibly another FF29?), piloted by Oberleutnant Stephan Prondzynski flew up the Thames as far as Erith before encountering the only Home Defence fighter in the UK at that time - a Vickers Gunbus. He dumped his bombs on the village of Cliffe on the Hoo peninsula, hitting a church where a wedding was in progress. Again no info on the base, but it seems there were no casualties beyond a few wedding guests fainting.

    Source: Neil Hanson, First Blitz ( Doubleday, 2008 ) - I would recommend this book to anyone reading this thread, it covers both the early ops by aircraft and Zeppelins, and the later sustained raids by the Gothas. Pop history, but the only book I have ever seen dedicated to the subject, and very well-written.
     
  17. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Thanks mate. Unfortunately I may have confused you, as the image (see below) seems to have disappeared from my previous post?
    It came from here...

    First bomb dropped in England ww1 in Dover - Great War Forum

    I googled a few sites and there seems to be numerous different versions on the event and even the type of aircraft involved, so thanks for looking up and confirming the FF29.

    And yeah, I can't locate where it would have flown from. Crossing the Channel and back seems quite a feat for such a fragile floatplane. One site talks about FF29s being strapped to the conning tower of subs to shorten the distance for attacks, but being very ignorant of WWI aviation, I presumed there was a German marine base opposite Dover, but these would have been blasted by the British Navy early in the War? Same reason the Gotha bases were not coastal?...

    [​IMG]

    I've got the Taube from IX Corps flown by Leutnant von Hiddessen who dropped four small bombs near the Gare de l'Est, Paris, on 30 August 1914. Killed one civilian and injured four. He also dropped a message calling for the French garrison to surrender. Very optimistic!

    Sounds a hell of a lot more authoritative than my "Guinness". :(

    [​IMG]
     

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  18. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    Pretty sobering sign, Graeme. Thanks.
     
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