He-177B

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by davebender, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Lancaster I Bomber.
    Avro Lancaster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    16,571kg. Empty Weight.
    32,727kg. Max takeoff weight.
    4 x 1,280 hp RR Merlin engines.

    He-177 A-5.
    Heinkel He 177 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    16,800kg. Empty Weight.
    31,000kg. Max takeoff weight.

    The Lancaster and He-177 were almost identical in size.

    Now let’s consider what might have been…

    19 Nov 1938.
    Heinkel proposal for a variant of the He-177 powered by four Jumo 211 engines. Heinkel wanted two of the early He-177 prototypes to be constructed this way. Development of the He-177B (four engines) would proceed in parallel with the He-177A (two coupled engines). I assume Heinkel intended a flight competition between prototypes. The more promising prototype would continue development and the other would be cancelled.

    RLM (i.e. Gen. Milch) rejected the Heinkel proposal. During September 1942 Goering personally over ruled the RLM decision. From that point He-177B development (now with 4 DB603 engines) proceeded rapidly. He-177B first flight was 20 Dec 1943, 15 months after the program began. Several test pilots stated the He-177B had excellent handling qualities. However changes in German production priorities caused the He-177B program to be cancelled during July 1944.

    Point of Departure. November 1938.
    Goering over rules Gen. Milch four years early. He-177B first flight (with 4 Jumo 211 engines) will be during the spring of 1940. A year later (i.e. early 1941) the He-177B powered by four 1,340 hp Jumo 211 engines enters production.

    Jumo 211 engine production peaked during 1942. Consequently there will be no shortage of engines for the new bomber.

    The He-177B would be similar in size to the Lancaster bomber and have slightly more engine power. I see no reason to think it wouldn’t be just as capable.

    If the He-177B is mass produced there would be no need for the Fw-200 (bomber variant), He-111 (bomber variant), Ju-290 (bomber variant) or Do-217. Those aircraft programs would close down by 1942. Heinkel might even produce a long range transport variant of the He-177B, allowing the Ju-290 and Fw-200 programs to end completely.

    Without the He-177A program the DB606 / DB610 coupled engine programs close. This frees up a few more DB601 / DB605 engines for use in fighter aircraft and Me-210 light bombers. Perhaps Italian fighter aircraft would benefit. Or perhaps Hungary will produce the Me-210C early and in greater numbers.

    I don’t have any illusions about the He-177B changing the course of WWII from 1941 onward. But it should help Germany a bit by replacing several small heavy bomber programs plus the He-111 program with a single mass produced level bomber.
     
  2. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    I see your HE177B and raise you a Lancaster Griffon!
     
  3. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    You mean Shackleton
     
  4. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Would you do away with the dive bombing requirement?
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I assume that was Heinkel's intention when making the He-177B proposal during November 1938.

    Heinkel He 177 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    I take such after the fact statements with a grain of salt. When something fails nobody wants to claim responsibility. But if true then RLM (i.e. Gen. Milch) was the driving force that required the He-177 bomber to use coupled engines.
     
  6. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Engine availability might be an even more important reason.

    RLM got serious about Jumo 211 engine production during 1938 when they established a second large production facility at Kothen. DB601 engine production didn't receive a similiar expansion until 1940. Consequently there were plenty of Jumo211 engines by 1940 but DB601s remained in short supply for another two years. Even if Heinkel perfected their DB606 coupled engine installation early on they might have a tough time obtaining engines for the new bomber during 1941. Just as Dornier had a tough time obtaining engines for the new Do-217. Powering the He-177 with four Jumo 211s avoids the engine shortage bottleneck.
     
  8. Siegfried

    Siegfried Banned

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    #8 Siegfried, Dec 30, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
    To be fair Heinkel did test the coupled arrangment in the He 119 and no serious problems showed up proably because of the space available around the installation, nevertheless Ernst Heinkel clearly was ill at ease with the arrangment and pushed his 4 split engine version. It seems the problem was just a bunch of over enthusiastic young engineers and the failure of the voice of experience to be allowed to over rule them in hope of avoiding a major redesign. Somehow Roy Chadwick, Ernest Hives and someone at the Air Ministy managed to get the Machester/Vulture issue resolved by creating the Lancaster/Merlin combo. The catapult launched and slide bombing Manchester was almost as silly as the 45-60 degree dive bombing He 177 yet the British muddled their way out of the mess by pulling the plug on a troublesome design before too much effort was wasted on it. Maybe the difference was that the Vulture was seen as an completely new engine while the DB606 was seen as simply two existing and established DB601's coupled (I mean what could go wrong?)

    The coupled arrangment would have worked had it been done the same way Allison tried on the V-3420, which was two V-1710 coupled back to back at the crankcase bases rather than side by side.

    It's possible to see that the Luftwaffe suffered a severe penalty due to the problems of the He 177 and Me 410 it could not afford. As Dave Bender points out, the resources to produce He 177 would have come from rescheduled Do 217/He 111/Ju 290 reasources while the FW 200 became a valuable long range transport whose contribution to efficiently resupplying the Africa Korps and perhaps the 8th Army at Stalingrad might have been decisive.
     
  9. Siegfried

    Siegfried Banned

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    Avro Lincoln = Lancaster strengthened for two stage Merlins, more likely than the more radical Shakelton.

    The Germans were not likely to go for such heavy and therefor less flexible mass production production as the night bombing specialised Lancaster and so were more likely to upgrade their design to take more powerfull engines such as the Jumo 213 and DB603 since they needed the performance to produce survivable designs.

    Even so the final versions of the Jumo 211 (eg 1500hp Jumo 211P) were respectable performers.
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The Allison V-3420 was two V-1710s side by side.

    http://garagemonkey.net/assets/galleries/96/allison_v-3420_engine_2.jpg

    Granted they used a common supercharger and accessories section.
     
  11. Siegfried

    Siegfried Banned

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    It seems the V3420 was a more integrated engine than the DB606 or DB610; these shared a comon final reducer gearbox via individual clutches but were in essence seperate engines.
    The V-3420 had a single common crankcase even though it had two crankshafts. I doubt it had clutches to the common gearbox.
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Some WWI era German airships were powered by coupled engines and they worked just fine. This historical experience probably contributed to Gen. Milch's confidence that coupled engines would work for a WWII era heavy bomber.
     
  13. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    What about a pusher/pull me configuration? I believe the LW did use that on a few flying boats. Would that have been more feasable?
     
  14. jim

    jim Banned

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    I dont believe He 177was that bad. All it needed was the requirement for dive bombing to be dropped, and a more energetic /aggresive effort against its engines problems. Db 610 eventuallywas pretty reliable but late.
    However my choice for a mid war ,effective, LW true bomber(=internal bomb bay) would be a Do217 with extended wings and DB 610 engines. Something similat to the Do 317B but without the wider fuselage. I dont want additional drug and consider the 6x500kgr internal capacity of 217 bomb bay adequate. Personally i would remove the ventral gondola as well and replace the ventral gunner with remote control turret. And of course no pressure cocpit.
    Sush an aircraft would be smaller and cheaper than 177 but still carry 3000kgr of bombs internally( more externally) with a penetration speed of almost 550km/h and a range of 3500km/h . Such performance would mean safe operation on the eastern front for the remainder of the war . Even in the west, employing similar tactics like 177s over England, would be a tough target during the night. Against carrier fighters it would not be easy even during the day ( With exception of corsair)
     
  15. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Wings akin to this, adapted for bomber's engine's weight size? Picture of Do-26 from Wikipedia.

    Dornier_Do_26.jpg
     
  16. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    I hate to see every failure get blamed on Hitler. Let's not forget Goerings statement " The Furher doesn't ask me how big my bombers are, he ask how many bombers I have" That's paraphrased, and from Goering, who knows if it's really true, but if it is the lack of the heavy bombers being developed is the way Hitler wanted it.
     
  17. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Lot's of things are possible but that wasn't a Heinkel proposal. If anyone uses a pusher/pull configuration it would probably be Dornier for the new Do-217 as they had plenty of experience with that type engine arrangement.
     
  18. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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  19. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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  20. Siegfried

    Siegfried Banned

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    Some of the advanced proposals for Me 264 derivatives used a push pull arrangment. Messerschmitt Me P.1075 with four piston powered engines and two jet engines in the wing roots.
    See Luft46 Messerschmitt Me 264 Luft '46 Entry very bottom of page.
     
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