Most accurate divebomber

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by gjs238, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Everything else being equal and overlooking things like vulnerability, what was the most accurate WWII dive bomber?
    If they could all be tested under the most controlled circumstances as possible, which was the most balls-on?
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Junkers Ju 87 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Ju-87 was more then just bombing accuracy. Ju-87B routinely carried 500kg. Ju-87D routinely carried 1,000kg. Ju-87D had significant protection against ground fire. When equipped with cannon (ILO bombs) the aircraft was a stable and maneuverable gun platform for attacking ground targets.
     
  3. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #3 GregP, Mar 8, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
    I believe the most accurate dive bomber of the war was the Aichi D3A Val. During the course of the Second World War, the Val dive bomber sank more Allied warships than any other Axis aircraft. Of course, it never got a chance to bomb a lot of land targets, but bombing moving ships is a tough task for the pilot and the Val was outstanding.
     
  4. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    The Ju 87 was not used vs allied ships in this large scale as the D3A because the initial versions lacked range and germany had no operational carriers. But the Ju 87s sank a lot of ships, too.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    On the other hand ships are large compared to bunkers and other such land based targets.
     
  6. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Yeah they are, but they keep moving out of the way of your aim ... sometimes at 30+ knots.
     
  7. Ascent

    Ascent Member

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    Surely this come down to pilot training rather than the abilities of the aircraft?

    otherwise I'd possibly vote for the Vultee Vengance as used by 84 and 110 Sqn's in India. A vertical dive means that the bomb can be aimed true.
     
  8. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    Any trained pilot in any of these aircraft could put those bombs in a pickle barrel. Well, in a manner of speaking. But just look at what our "Speedy Ds" (as they were affectionately referred to) did at Midway. Those pilots were scoring hits in 60-degree dives in the middle of the night on illuminated die markers floating up and down and rolling from side to side in the Gulf and the Atlantic well before they ever got around to the real thing. The aircraft is going to behave slightly-differently due to differences in aerodynamics but the pilots are accustomed to those nuances and know how to get it to where it has to be. All it takes is the right guy there at the stick.
     
  9. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Is an aircraft that dives at 90 degrees inherently more accurate than one that dives at 60 degrees?
     
  10. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    #10 VBF-13, Mar 10, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
    I wouldn't think so. A 90 would have to pull out sooner meaning it would have to make its drop sooner. They're not easy to pull out of, either, going in at that breakneck speed. Don't forget, these pilots were momentarily blacking-out when they came out of their dives, and as such were trained to complete them just so (think of the importance of the follow-through in a golf swing). A 60 can get virtually right on top of its target and swing away a lot less stressed. A lot of the boys in the SBDs were scoring 5-for-5s in terms of hits in their training, once they got the knack of it.
     
  11. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    In a vertical dive you're aiming the bomb as if it was a slow bullet, all you've got to worry about is wind drift, and target movement if there is any. Gravity is going to try to pull your bomb straight down after release.
    In a 60 degree dive, there's going to a interplay of the forces acting on the bomb, the direction and speed the bomb is going when released at 60 degrees, and gravity, which wants to pull it straight down, plus wind drift and target movement.

    So divebombing straight down is a much simpler equation. Fewer forces that have to be taken into account.

    But vertical dives is much rougher on plane and pilot.

    One of the advantages the Ju87 had was it had some automatic systems that aided the pilot in recovery, as long as the altimeter was set right, and the target's real altitude was know, the Ju87 would pull out even if the pilot was unconscious.
     
  12. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    The pull-outs were basically just a jerk on the stick, the aircraft already having been trimmed-up for it. But Tyrodtom, I've seen the film of those JU87s coming in at near-vertical. They had that down to a science.
     
  13. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    In aiming at moving ships a vertical dive means the pilot can adjust to any change in direction by simply rotating during the dive and AA fire is much more difficult against a vertical target. Many mountings do not even manage a vertical elevation.

    What about the Swedish dive bombers? They went to a lot of trouble and research on dive bomb sights for the B18 and B17.
     
  14. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    #14 buffnut453, Mar 10, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
    Hope Wildcat reads this 'cos I'm going to put a vote in for the Vengeance. Peter Smith, who never met a dive bomber he didn't like, wrote that the Vengeance, "carried out its function with the maximum number of direct hits and in reply took the minimum number of losses from enemy action than almost any other aircraft of World War II" (in "Vengeance: the Vultee Vengeance Dive Bomber". Peter C. Smith,Airlife, p.1 - author's italics not mine).

    Also, according to the frontispiece of Smith's book, "[The Vengeance] was the only dive-bomber designed from the outset for vertical attacks."
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    We know that isn't true as Ju-87 was designed for 90 degree dive right from the start. Makes me wonder what else the author got wrong.
     
  16. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    #16 Aozora, Mar 10, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
    A useful primer on dive bombing:


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOz_i_2USkY

    My guess is that with proper training, and all things being equal etc all of the key dive bombers of WW2 were pretty similar in accuracy - any differences in numbers of ships sunk or other targets destroyed came down to how and where they were deployed, and under what conditions.
     
  17. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    You would need all contenders flown by the same group of rotating pilots on the same days (conditions) to really judge any difference between the planes ( same bombs would help too). Otherwise there are just too many variables to make a valid judgment.
     
  18. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #18 stona, Mar 11, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
    Not entirely.
    Stability and controllability in the dive are important factors. Aircraft specifically designed as dive bombers are generally better than other types which may have been pressed into service in the role,but they were by no means all equal.
    In the instructions for dive bombing with a Typhoon the RAF was keen to impress on the pilots the need to minimise slipping or skidding which the aircraft tended to do. It obviously was designed as a fighter,not a dive bomber.
    A dive bomber also needs a system for recovering the dive without tearing the wings off or hitting the ground. Some dive bombers had some relatively sophisticated automated systems for this and again,some were better than others.
    The Ju 87 recovered itself and the pilot didn't use the elevators at all,so no quick "jerk on the stick".
    I don't know about the Japanese aircraft but in the European war the Ju 87 was probably the supreme diver. Even allied pilots who flew it were impressed with its characteristics in the dive.
    After that it's down to the pilot.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  19. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    #19 VBF-13, Mar 12, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
    But Steve, when it comes down to "accuracy," which was the question, here, these really can't be differentiated in any meaningful respect. Differentiate them structurally from the fighters pressed into the service, as I'm hearing you just did. But the SBDs and the Val's were crackerjack dive-bombers, and all these really took we're skilled pilots who understood how these behaved and knew what to expect when they came out of their dives. Believe it or not an untrained pilot will freak at that point and the disorientation will invariably cost him in terms of recovery. Once they let go of their drops, the aircraft also lightens, and picks up speed. I'm not saying in a controlled test these aircraft couldn't be rated by some standards or other, they probably could. It would almost be suicide in an SBD to attempt a vertical drop, while in the Stuka, that was for the most part a breeze. I'm just saying it's misleading to suggest any of these aircraft were the more or less "accurate" due to any structural nuances or how they were designed to complete the job. They were different, but not in that respect, where it really meant anything.
     
  20. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Read about all the things that the Stuka had that adapted it particually well to dive bombing.
    Like the sight hole in the floor, when the pilot saw his target thru a window in the floor, he'd do the standard roll over dive, and the target would be in his windscreen view, ready for minor control corrections to line up the sights, once the bomb was released, the recovery automatically started without pilot input, but could be over ridden if desired.
    That and a some other adaptions in the Stuka meant a trained Stuka pilot could put more concentration on what mattered most, putting his bomb on target.

    Everyone knows I hate to praise anything from the axis, but you've got to admit the Stuka was a little more able than the rest of the dive bombers.
     
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