He-118 Dive Bomber

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by davebender, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Heinkel He 118 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    It appears to me this aircraft has the potential to be a great dive bomber after additional development. Look what Japan did with their D4Y (Judy) which was supposedly influenced by the He-118. The refined He-118 could have been introduced during the fall of 1941 rather then the historical Ju-87D. Power it with the new BMW801 radial engine.
     
  2. imalko

    imalko Well-Known Member

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    #2 imalko, Aug 13, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
    He 118 was based on Heinkel He 70 I believe, but it seems they got a good reason to drop this design out of competition... A dive bomber which can not dive beyond 50° angle!?

    Here's one picture of He 118 after a quick search on the internet:
     

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  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The Japanese D4Y initially had problems also. However it worked just fine after a bit of further development. It appears to me there was no attempt to fix the He-118 problems.
     
  4. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    While I can see the 118 being an airplane like the Ju87, I'm not so sure the Dive Bomber wasn't coming to the end of it's run as a useful design by the 1940s. It could only operate where there was no enemy fighters and had limited potential. While a fighter bomber could be a fighter or a bomber. A dive bomber could only be a bomber.

    Hence the USAAF dumping the Dauntess and picking up the A36 in it's place. Cheaper, more versitile.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    A-1 Skyraider - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The A-1 Skyraider remained in service until the 1970s with more then one air force.
     
  6. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    True, but it wasn't a dive bomber (though it did have a dive brake, it was wired shut on the bottom of the aircraft to allow the carrying of a belly tank-something I learned on this board :)) in operation. May've derived under that specifications but it was more along the lines of a ground attack bird with plenty of hard points. Don't know if it ever did any dive bombing.

    If you consider the design of the Dive Bomber, it was a pinpoint (or as close as possible) delievery aicraft initially designed to attack warships. That the Stuka was built and used as flying artillery was more of a timely variation of the aircraft (coupled with air superiority that the Luftwaffe enjoyed). By the time the war had gotten to 1942 or so, the day of the dive bomber was over unless it enjoyed air supremecy or local air superiority over enemy fighters. The Dive Bomber was a one pass bird. Dive, drop and go home. It didn't do so good with enemy fighters or AAA in action.

    Think the dive bomber's descendents would be aircraft like the A-10 or the SU-25. Heavily armored, heavily armed with the ability to hit precision hardened targets and loiter. More of an evolutionary change than a revolutionary change. These aircraft can dive bomb as well but it's not worth it for either one.
     
  7. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    The Problem with Dive Bombing is you are horrendously exposed while you are attacking. Hanging in a 70 degree dive for 30 seconds where everyone and anyone who wants to can shoot at you is pretty brutal. Just asking to be a casuality. While the bombing is very accurate (if well done) the results generally don't justify the means.

    Hence the evolution to the Attack Aircraft that would come in low and fast. Tougher to hit a fast moving (relatively), low flying, manuvering aircraft.
     
  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Dive bombing is a bit more complicated than simply pointing the nose down, diving, releasing bomb and pulling out.
    And it has to be taken in historical context.
    PLanes in the thirties had to be designed with way less power than the designers would have hoped for. In the mid 30s a 750 to 900hp engine was pretty hot stuff. Just how many 109s were built with 700hp engines?
    trying to take off and fly with a 500-1000lb bomb and a 170sq ft wing just wasn't going to happen, at least not with the runways available. S0 you needed a big wing to carry the bomb. Big wing weighs more and has more drag which hurts performance (speed) even more.
    Then there is the actual dive part. to dive bomb accurately the plane needs to be stable in the dive so the pilot can concentrate his efforts into aiming the bomb. Dive brakes are used to limit speed in the dive so the pilot has time to make corrections, the pilot doesn't have to retrim the aircraft as speed changes and to keep the speed down so that the release can be as low to the ground as possiable and still pull out safely.
    Stukas may have bombed at 350mph and dropped from 1500ft. a diving fighter could easily hit 400-450mph and need much more altitude to safely pull out.
    Dive bombers may aslo have been built to a higher load factor. WHile they may not have pulled any more "G"s than a fighter they were going to be expected to pull that "g" loading on just about every single operational flight and a good number of training flights.
    When later fighters started getting 1500-2000hp engines their ability to lift bombs increased to the point where they could carry almost the same load as a single engine "bomber".
    The widespread introduction of automatic cannon also made divebombing a less atractive occupation. While a 300-350 mph dive offered good protection from a slow firing 75mm or larger cannon using preset fuzes it just ment a long predictable flight path to an 20-40mm gunner. Higher speed shollw dive attacks ment that the fighter bombers spent less time in the AA gunners sights even if the bomb accuracy wasn't as good.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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  10. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    So can any number of aircraft. Even today, the A10 used diving out of the Sun as a tactic for attacking Iraqi Units during GW1.

    Point wasn't that the A-1 couldn't dive and attack a target. Or that the A-1 wasn't designed with dive bombing as one of it's abilities. More along the lines that dive bombing had pretty much run it's course by the early part of WW2. If you wanted to hit the target and stay alive after it, dive bombing was not the way to do it. Target area was just too lethal (unless the ariel and AAA opositions were removed).

    So, additional development was kind of pointless. If the Luftwaffe could get an FW190 to do the job in a flat, low level attack and fight it's way out afterwards, why bother with the dive bomber?
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The Fw-190F is fine for shooting up enemy vehicles. But it cannot deliver a 1,000kg bomb on an enemy strongpoint or bridge with pinpoint accuracy. Some WWII CAS missions require the muscle and accuracy that only dive bombing can provide.
     
  12. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    I see your point with accuracy. I would agree when it comes to hitting a ship or other seaborne target. A rocket wouldn't get the job done and only 1,000lb bomb is going to do enough damage to something like a BB.

    But, I think with practice, guys in single seat fighters could get very accurate. At least that is what I have read on the subject. Further to the point, the accuracy of a dive bomber was replaced with increased numbers of bombers or technology (such as German Glide Bombs or the US version of the same thing). Or, another way was to just drop really big bombs (like the Grand Slam that was used to drop an aquaduct that the Allies had bombed crap out of and still not hit, finally dropped an earthquake bomb and the thing fell over from the affect of the shaking).

    Closer to your point, another story (jeez, I'm full of them this week). My father in law grew up in Northern Italy during the war. He said the Allied (primarily the US) air forces used to attack a bridge outside his town over the Ticino River. It was a key bridge north of Milan. He said they would go after it all the time but they never hit it. I think, from what he said, most of the bombs were coming from level bombers. He said it became something of a local past time watching the bombers go after the bridge. Everyone would stop what they were doing at watch the bombing raid.

    Never hit it.

    Still up today. Driven over it myself plenty of times.
     
  13. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Historically the Me-210/Me-410 series were used mostly as heavy bomber destroyers. But that may not have been the intent when development began during 1937.

    I wonder if the Me-210 / Me-410 were originally intended to replace the Ju-87 for misions that required dive bomber payload and accuracy? Otherwise there was little reason for dive brakes and a bomb bay capable of carrying a 1,000kg bomb.
     
  14. Burmese Bandit

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    Another point regarding dive bombers against warships: the penetration angle of the bomb.

    Take a level bomber with a 1000 lb bomb flying at low level against a BB. Even if the bomb was a direct hit, it would simply bounce off the armour belt for a side hit, or skid off the deck armour for a deck hit. Even the lightly armoured battlecruisers had armour that could keep out a 1,500 lb AP shell at 1,000 fps in a side hit, and a 1,000 lb bomb will be going at about 600 fps maximum from a low level hit. For a deck hit it will hit at an angle of about 5 degrees: that will simply make the bomb skid off.

    But with a dive attack, the bomb will hit at an angle of nearly 90 degrees, slicing through the deck armour and exploding deep inside the ship.
     
  15. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    Indeed dive bombing needs to be taken into historical and tactical context. Quite simply the tactical nature of the war changed through the war, and the Allies rarely practised the same tactics as made Germany famous, usually the situation was completely different to put it bluntly.

    In terms of comparison a dive bomber has completely different engineering requirements and it is a completely different role to that of the fighter-bomber. The simplest way to put it is that a fighter-bomber is a high speed tactical bomber and the dive bomber is a precision tactical bomber.

    Dive bombers are almost vertical in the dive by the way, which is how they get their precision combined with certain engineering features such as specialised sights and automatic trim/dive control management (by about 1941 the Luftwaffe had fully automatic dive recovery systems, prior to then it used klaxons and auto-trim management). A dive bomber is a very well equipped and highly specialised piece of technology. The fighter-bomber is most often just a fighter with bombs slung underneath.

    The Me210/410A are fully equipped dive bombers. The 410B is a fighter-bomber/attack model. Both were modified due to the changing war climate for bomber-interception, dive bombing equipment removed from the 210/410A and a heavy gun fitted in place of regular armament, for the 410B which was better suited to the role you had a number of other armament options (MG151 belly packs, Mk108, etc.), with which you got to keep existing armament that had to be removed from earlier versions. When Bk5cm was fitted a telescopic sight was used, basically this is the gun off a PzIII.
    Me110G were also modified in this way but weight became an issue for the DB605 engines where it was no problem at all for the massive DB603s in the 410. The 110 typically used rockets for breaking up formations.

    The Ju88A is also an excellent dive bomber, designed for large targets obviously, like bunkers and heavy emplacements. It could drop two "Satan" bombs right on top of a command post but needed a fair bit of altitude for dive recovery.

    All dive bombers are regarded as virtually immune to enemy defence in the dive, although the counter for this in the Pacific was to lay down such a ridiculous volume of AA on the approach, that a virtual "curtain of fire" lay between the bomber and its target. Still the most frightening sight for any crewman was looking up to see a/c going vertical in the dive. That usually meant game over.

    Fighter-bombers are vulnerable to AA through every phase of the attack, but are virtually immune to interception which dive bombers certainly aren't.

    Best compromise is something like the Ju88 or Pe2 which are both fast enough to avoid interception (Ju88 was the only Luftwaffe bomber which could operate in daylight without escort during the BoB without losses...on occasion), and both are fully equipped and engineered precision dive bombers, in addition both with good crew/defensive compliments and good enough loads and range for the medium bomber role, and both available in a heavy long range fighter-bomber/attack variants.

    Problem with single engine dive bombers was the changing war climate, their performance for enemy defence penetration had simply dropped too low to operate without total air supremacy, which is where you don't really need a precision tactical bomber anymore. They used to be able to operate under local air superiority instead. They could never really operate in contested airspace for reasons mentioned in above posts.

    The Me410A dive bomber made a good substitute for the Ju87 but the problem remains of the changing war climate. It was finally sorted and entered production so late that in 1943 its zerstörer role was already being earmarked by new high performance FW derivatives in the Ta152 lineup which were cheaper and easier to produce and had far better overall performance. Meanwhile its dive bomber role could largely be handled by the Ju88 and was becoming superfluous anyway.
    The Fw190F/G took care of the fast bomber/attack role and did it better.

    The Me410 in service used in concert with the Fw190F as opposed to bomber interception, during 1944 reportedly did quite well however, it had a good combat load and range, was faster than a medium bomber and although it couldn't mix it up with the latest Allied fighters like an FW could, it could at least escape interception as often as not. But they were used in very small numbers in this role (classical zerstörer), attacking things like Allied invasion ports with bombs and a whole lotta guns.
    The main difference between the Me410/Ju88C and Fw190F in logistical outlay was really pilot qualification. Twin engine rated pilots got the zerstörer and single engine rated got the FW. Later the KG and ZG pilots were the first to get the Me262 so the Me410 was actually very good experience for them. Most got sent on the same missions as SG FWs or alternated mission outlays in the meantime. ZG squadrons were to have converted to the single engine Ta152C during 1945, whilst SG continued to use the Fw190F.

    So you might say in terms of ground attack and tactical close support, for Germany, the tactical dive bomber or stuka evolved in two directions as the twin engine fast bomber/attack development of the zerstörer and also the single engine fast bomber/attack evolution of the schlachtflugzeug, in the latter the dive bombing feature was lost but this is circumstantial. The Fw-190F probably would've been like an A-36 Apache, with dive brakes and even dedicated dive bombing equipment if Germany still had air superiority on most Fronts in 1943.

    As it was the Allies could've won the war flying Gloster Gladiators in 1943, there were just so many of them, all the German codes were broken, the invasion fleets made an ant farm look barren...

    You know I read a great story in a German war diary, about the time Manstein was arriving in Southern Russia to take over after the Stalingrad debarcle. Waves of T-34 and T-70 tanks were racing across the trenches with assault support taking down all the emplacements and sending everybody into cover. Followed by cavalry on horseback with...spears.
    What the tanks and submachine guns didn't kill, the cavalry did. There were just so many of them.
     
  16. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Be careful with these kind of ideas. It's always oh so easy to say "power it with this or that engine". Why not power them all with DB 605s, R-2800s and Merlins? You have to keep production reasons in mind, there is a limitation in availability. If you use BMW 801s for your dive bombers, be prepared to have less of them for Fw 190s, JU 188s and Ju 88Gs. What's your choice??


    Kris
     
  17. Maximowitz

    Maximowitz Active Member

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    At the time RLM gave the go ahead for the Me 210 they were so obsessed with the concept of dive bombing I'm suprised they didn't put dive brakes on the Ju 52 just in case. Even the Do 217 was modified for dive bombing with a huge parabrake on its tail with predictably poor results. The 210/410 could barely close its bomb bay doors with a 1000kg bomb on board it and opening them in a dive caused longitudinal instability in the aircraft. It didn't take long for the dive brakes to be removed and the idea quietly forgotten where the 210/410 was concerned...
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That would be fine if they can make it work. Is the Fw-190F airframe large enough to accomodate the modifications and still carry a 1,000kg bomb?
     
  19. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    #19 vanir, Aug 16, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2009
    I'd say if you had to hit something with an SC1000 or bigger a Ju88 would be preferred in the first place. The thing about the Fw190F in the schnellkampf role was defence penetration, a direct result of the war climate. Even KG squadrons started using them towards the end of the war, or Me410 (they also started using 109G but this was part of conversion to the Me262). Production on genuine bomber types was given definite second tier to actually surviving a mission with hundreds of enemy fighters in the combat zone. To be honest the Me410 with a pair of SC or SD500 were probably a preferred choice over a 190F with an SC1000 but even that just wasn't realistic with Mustangs, Spits and Yaks running around the place.

    If the Luftwaffe was still in a position to secure local air superiority heavy precision loads could be facilitated by more dedicated models. As it was the thinking behind heavy loads on the Fw190F was that with boost, even under a full load slung the F-8 or F-9 could outrun a clean, early series P-47D at sea level up to a thousand metres. It was virtually immune to fighter interception on the attack run, you had to bounce them en route or forming up, or go head to head with a 50/50 chance of walking away by exchanging long bursts with a pair of MG151. Plus it was pretty uncommon a dedicated schlacht target like an installation wouldn't be escorted by fighter-bomber and clean regular fighters like the D-9.

    Given local air superiority across most Fronts in the late war I'd say you'd see Fw190F with 250 or 500kg bombs at most, as per early typical ordnance ca.mid43 of a 250 and 4x 50kg. I think further development would've continued concentrating on the lines of rockets as were tested in 44 (panzerblitz and other types), rather than heavy loads.
    Also wire guided missiles were under successful development for the type.
     
  20. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Someone raised the pont that attack aircraft are more immune to AA than divebombers, because they come in low.

    This is a comment that just isnt supported by the facts.

    In the context of the 1930's when the concept of the divebomber came to fruition, the French developed the concept of the attack bomber.....the so called "hedgehoppers". Whilst the aircraft used in this role were quite high in performance, for example the Bre 690 series, they suffered very badly from the effects of LAA. The Bre 690 for example suffered the heaviest loss rate of any modern French Bomber. A similar story exists for the poor old Fairey Battle (although to be fair the battles were not designed as hedgehoppers), which suffered horrendous loss rates when called upon to make attacks at zero altitude. The Soviet IL-2 wwere employed in a similar way, but they at least had the sense to heavily armour their bird, which to a degreee seemed to reduce the loss rate.....despite the hazardous nature of the work they were doing, it appears that they suffered the lowest loss rate of any Soviet bomber, or Fighter Bomber.

    Vanir, I do ackowlwdge your comments about the relative protection of divebombers because they were outside the kill zones of the flak for al but a minimum of time. However, the facts are that German Divebombers did suffer heavy casualties to AA, as did the Japanese. I would surmise that the reason for this was that despite its short time in the kill zone, the Divebomber was nevertheless forced to fly on a predictable path in its descent, and in its recovery appears to be very vulnerable indeed, as the pilot is busy recovering from the g forces he and the aircraft have just been subjected to. The losses to Stukas in the Med in the med convoys show this....they suffered the heaviest casulaty rates to AA of any of the german types, by a very wide margin. Ju-88s were not nearly as effective as the Ju-87s, but they were also far more survivable. A good ship killer was the Me 110 incidentally. It does not seem to suffer any loss of accuracy simply because it was an FB "lash up"
     
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