Ideal night bomber for RAF: how would've you done it?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Another what-if: you can mix the parts (engines, electronics, armament, wing, hull etc) historically available for RAF BC to come up with the plane that would've been ideally suited in the night bomber role. Or, make a new plane from ground-up. Any time frame is okay, as long as parts are from that era. If you really want, throw in some US parts as they become available.
     
  2. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    No thanks :lol:

    The 'best of British' for our WW2 night bomber. Good idea, I'll have a think and post later.

    Cheers

    John
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I doubt you can do better then the historical Lancaster as a WWII era bomb truck. The only question in my mind is cost effectiveness. Does anyone know how much the various British heavy bombers cost?
     
  4. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    cannot answer the question really, but an unarmed Heavy, aerodynamically cleaned up, with maximum possible speed, say 340 mph, with a bombload of 8-10000lbs. others would be designed as gubnships with little or no bombs, but carrying armament of say twin 20mm in turrets for all round defence. These are basically bait. They would also be the pathfinders, and be the aircraft to deploy and use H2S. You want the german NFs to close with these craft,....well, at least you want them to close with these rather than close the unarmed guys, so they are the ones that switch on their nbav radars and attract the most attention.


    What i have in mind is a sort of scaled up, 4 engined Mosquito.....
     
  5. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    I think I would start with Volkert's unarmed bomber discussion paper of 1937, with specs relating to the P.13/36 specifications.

    Compared to that spec the max bomb load would be down to 6000-7000lb, as Volkert suggested, rather than the 8000lbs for P.13/36. Engines would be two Vultures, Sabres or Hercules (Centaurus if they are available then). Another potential engine would be the Fairey P24, if the MAP takes it up. 4 Merlins could be used if pairs can be housed in a single nacelle - either with contra props, or a push pull arrangement.

    Vultures would be my first choice, if the problems can be ironed out. Volkert predicted a potential top speed of 380mph, which I guess would be the same for this.

    Radiators would be in the leading edge of the wing, or in the nacelles, fed from ducts in the leading edge, and exhausting over the trailing edge.

    In an attempt to suppress the exhaust I would investigate ducting them through to the rear of the nacelle, and mixing with the radiator outlet.

    Bomb bay would be built to the requirement to carry the two 18" torpedoes, giving the bomb bay the flexibility for which the Lancaster was so famous.

    Overall I would expect the airframe to be slightly smaller than the Manchester, and significantly lighter unloaded.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    This is a bomber, not a fighter. Economical cruise speed with max internal bomb load is far more important then max aircraft speed.

    Lancasters and B-17s with bomb load typically cruised at only 180mph. Increase that to 240mph and your bomber spends 33% less time exposed to enemy air defenses while enroute to the target.

    The Cold War era SR-71 may be the ultimate example of this principle. It cruised with payload (i.e. cameras) at mach 3. Very difficult to shoot down as the aircraft was out of range before enemy air defenses could identify it and react.
     
  7. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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  8. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    #8 parsifal, Oct 4, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011

    What you are saying applies to the Lanc in some situations, but not others. But what you are saying definately does NOT hold true for a mosquito
    For the record

    275 MPH @ 15,000 ft fully loaded maximum speed for a Lancaster

    Cruising speed with Bombload for a lanc would vary depending on range to target. A fully laden Lanc sent to Berlin from the midlands indeed had a cruising speed of 170mph, however that same bomber could increase to 210 mph if the target was Hamburg. If the target was the ruhr, cruise speed could be increased to 240 mph

    vs
    323 mph at 22,000 ft cruising speed for a B.IV Mosquito with 2000lb bombs
    (360 Max speed with bombload, without bomload was 365 mph at the same altitude).

    A BIV could just fly to berlin with (i think) 1500 lbs of bombs @ just over 300 mph

    Moreover, these peak performance figures are at vastly different operating altitudes....the Lanc reaches its peak performance at 15000 ft, the mosquito at 22000. At 22000 feet, the principal German AA weapon is inneffective. at a cruising (with bombload) speed of 323mph, vs German fighters will have a much harder time intercepting the bomber force. Me110s and Ju88s will have no hope in a stern chase situation, which was the method used in night interceptions

    The trick is to develop an aerodyanaically clean airframe with powerful engines. The biggest single criticism that can be levelled at the Mosquito was its inadeqaute bombload at range.....but what if it had two extra engines, still only a crew of two, and no armament on the bomber version.....
     
  9. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I've been given to understand from guys that flew the Mosquito that the preferred cruise speed was 240 , but they flew intruders so that may affect cruise due altitudes of the task
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    At 22,000 feet WWII era bombsights were ineffective at hitting anything smaller then an entire city. And you've still got to worry about Luftwaffe night fighters which were becoming murderously effective by mid 1943.

    IMO the best solution is a faster cruise speed (with payload) to shorten the time you are within range of enemy air defenses and to make aerial interception much more difficult.
     
  11. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    A 'Super Mosquito' might have been the answer. A Griffon-powered Mosquito was intended to follow on from the initial Merlin-powered variants about 12 months later. However, a lack of design resources at de Havilland meant they were fully engaged with engineering Merlin-powered Mosquitos. The tightness of supply of Griffon engines also didn't help the cause.

    de Havilland also proposed several larger Mosquito variants in 1941, including a wholly reworked aircraft with four Sabres that would carry a 6000 lbs bomb load and cruise at 360 mph with a combat radius of around 1350 miles.

    Personally, I'd like to see an all-metal, 4 engine Mosquito powered by four Merlin 61/63 engines, with a 'stinger' type 20 mm in the tail.
     
  12. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Wouldn't build any.

    I would order B-25s from USA and concentrate resources on fighters like the Spit and Meteor.
     
  13. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    What recommends the B-25 for the role?
     
  14. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    I believe the super Mossie was to have two Sabres.
     
  15. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    B-17s typically cruised at 180mph because it was the best speed for formation flying. Lancs typically cruised faster because they did not have to maintain a large formation.

    Top speed counts for a bomber, particularly an unarmed bomber, in evading interception.

    I think that the Mosquito would cruise at a most economical setting until nearly in enemy territory, then they would up the speed to a fast cruise - which in later variants was 350mph+.
     
  16. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Navigation was the biggest issue Bomber Command had in finding targets before electronic aids. Not sure teh accuracy issue holds for bomb sights during the day.

    A sufficiently quick night bomber would prove difficult to intercept for Luftwaffe night fighters in 1943, and from 1944 you also have the added benefit of Mosquito intruders and then nightfighters messing with them.
     
  17. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Personally I believe that to be a good idea. However it goes completely against RAF policy from the mid 1930s onward so such a course of action would be practically unthinkable. The same applies for the U.S. Army Air Corps. Both air forces were ruled by heavy bomber barons. Furthermore British heavy bomber barons had the full support of PM Churchill, even to the extent of shortchanging Coastal Command of ASW aircraft.
     
  18. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't build any.

    So from 39 till US production gets into the swing of things and the Mossie gets going in 42 that leaves the RAF with the Blenheim, the Battle and some short legged fighters. Hmm I can imagine the Germans would have been shaking in there boots at that. Might as well have stood on the cliffs at Dover and thrown rocks at France.
     
  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #19 stona, Oct 5, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
    The Lancaster was the best night bomber of WWII. It was very expensive (about £50,000 in 1943/4) and some have argued that the massive resources invested in Britain's strategic bombers could have been better spent elsewhere. The cost wasn't just material,55,000 well educated and expensively trained aircrew were lost too. Each crew member cost an average of £10,000 to train. To fuel,bomb,arm and service a Lancaster for a typical raid cost £13,000. Each Lancaster sortie cost the British economy about £100,000.
    A quick look at the statistics makes you wonder at the courage of the men who climbed into these death traps night after night. The Lancaster may have been the best but it was barely good enough.
    The Luftwaffe's last victory was over Bomber Command at the hands of its nightfighters in late '43 into early '44 during what we call 'The Battle of Berlin'. It may have won the occasional battle later but never a campaign.
    Unfortunately this rebuff to Bomber Command backfired as it made Harris more amenable to attacking what he considered secondary targets like Schweinfurt (seven months after the disastrous USAAF raid) and ultimately targets in support of Overlord,notably and very succesfully French railway infrastructure.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  20. post76

    post76 Member

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    #20 post76, Oct 5, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
    Since a big part of the night bomber campaign would be the use of incendiary devices i might expand on a medium to large sized bomber like the Lanc, focusing on
    the bombbay compartment to hold a max load and increase in spread. Probably something similar to how they converted post war B-25s and 26s to firefighter aircraft.

    A new plane similar to a C-130 could be possible.
    [​IMG]
    A large cargo bay that could hold a larger load of incendiary sticks.
    The more you can carry the less bombers you'd need.
    With less flak to worry about at night i don't see a light armored cargo ship being more than effective in this roll.
    Rather than relying on 10 Lancs, you might only require 3 or 4 of these to do the incendiary part.

    The low level raids would still be better suited for Mosquitoes.
     
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