Lancasters - RAF vs RCAF versions

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rogthedodge

Airman 1st Class
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May 9, 2007
I'll admit I'm absolutely no expert but I'm interested in your views / any links to the evidence.

As I understand it the RCAF flew a version that featured a ball turret covering the vulnerable underside but the RAF didn't.

Was this an option for the RAF but not taken up or a Canadian variant they produced themselves?

Obviously the extra turret = more crew / weight and less bombs/range - was this a case of RAF 'backs to the wall' expediency or the RCAF taking a sensible course and accepting the slight lessening of performance?

Did this difference make a difference in the loss rates (pro-rata?)

Was there any political disagreement over adopting / not adopting this option?

It's always intruigued me that the Lanc had a glaring disadvantage - one allied air force recognised this and provided a solution, the other just ignored it and accepted the losses (?).

Any help much appreciated
 
I'm pretty sure I read that one group fitted a lower turret to some Halifax's, but I forget where I read that. I do agree it seems such a major oversight, unless high command didn't realize the amount of planes that were lost to attacks from below?
 
I'm no expert to say the least and both of our Lanc experts are away it seems but the RCAF Lancs were as shown in the CWH Lanc no bottom turret
 

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Thanks so far chaps - I'll have to bash the books and see where I read that 'fact'

May just be the onset of alzheimers :(
 
The fundamental difference between the RCAF Lanc and the RAF Lanc was the production location.

RCAF Lancs, strangely enough were produced in Canada (A lot were used by British squadrons as well)

English production was Mk.I Mk.II and Mk.III
Canada produced the Mk.X

Virtually all Canada produced aircraft used Packard Merlin engines while English production used the Rolls Royce Engine.

Other subtle differences wer made inside the aircraft, especially around the Flight Engineers control panels.

Later versions used a .50 cal twin mid-upper turret, this version was not very popular as the extra weight moved the turret 10 feet forward for center of gravity reasons, and made crew egress in an emergncy more difficult than it already was. (very few of these saw service in the war.)

The mid-lower turret may have been a local jack up, some squadrons did mount them themselves, especially 100 Sqn.

But the wer NEVER a build feature of production aircraft from Canada.
 
Mind you, every side learned the hard way in the war that a bomber was vulnerable no matter how many guns it carried. Perhaps this was the reason additional armament wasn't mounted?
 
Well first off.. the mid-lower turret was a design feature of the Lancaster...

It was trialed by squadrons in the early stages of the war, but was found that the periscope viewing method was poor.

So it was removed and increased performace was the result...

Lancasters flew nighttime mission and a ground scanning radar was positioned at the mid-lower position..

With the advent of ju88 upward firing nightfighters (yet a again my spelling just couldn't handle that word) resulted in the Canadians refitting the mid-lower turret for defensive purposes and relying on Master bombers in Pathfinder units to 'mark' the target..

And lastly... any idea just how ineffective the Ball turret of a B17/B24 was ?
How little ammo it carried ?

Simon

p.s.

Another problem was that although the Americans had a large supply of short men of Italian origin the average straping British man was just simply to large to get in a ball turret. And although children were consider this idea met a dead end when their mums sent them to bed at 7:30pm.
 
Another problem was that although the Americans had a large supply of short men of Italian origin the average straping British man was just simply to large to get in a ball turret. And although children were consider this idea met a dead end when their mums sent them to bed at 7:30pm.
I find this hard to believe :shock:
 
Thanks all - one of the books referred to RCAF using the version with the ventral turret but I can't find the section yet.

@ Bomber - that sounds about right to me. If (when!) I find it I'll provide a ref.

Thanks for the input
 
A number of the Canadian Lancaster Squadrons flew the Lancaster II which was fitted with an FN64 ventral turret. This was often removed to save weight and try to improve the operating ceiling which was a major drawback of the Lancaster Mk II compared to the other Lancasters.
 

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