No Blenheim, Beaufort, Beaufighter as we know it - Bristol makes 1-engined aircraft instead?

tomo pauk

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Kinda spin-off from the current fast bombers thread.
So Bristol makes an 1-engined fast-ish bomber powered by as single 9 cyl radial engine with 4 x 250 lb bombs (internal stowage), in RAF's service from 1937. 2-3 crew members. Looks like the SBN, or a slightly smaller SBD. Fuel carried is about 170 imp gals for the starters; guns are two .303s udner cowling and one-two trainable.
Next, they make a land-based torpedo bomber - alt Beaufort - with the recess for the torpedo. A bit bigger than the alt-Blenheim (320-330 sq ft wing vs. 280-300 sq ft) or size of the SBD, designed with Taurus engine in mind. The two aircraft can dive bomb well (no worse than the historical Blenheim and Beaufort, later having the highest G load of all British bombers), even if that is not their primary way of attack. Fuel carried is about 250 imp gals, extra fuel can be carried instead of torpedo. In service from 1939. Guns same as on the alt-Blenheim.
Alt-Beaufighter is similar in size to the alt-Beaufort, even uses some parts from it (cue the historical Beaufighter), but Hercules is in the nose, 4 cannons + 4 .303s in the wing (for starters) and additional fuel tank(s) under the cockpit where the recess was for the alt-Beaufort. Defensive .303s in the rear. 300 imp gals in internal tanks as it is introduced. In service from Autumn of 1940.

Alternative engines can also be used, like the R-1830, R-1820, R-2600, Merlin or Griffon, depending on availability and the aircraft type.

How much this scenario improves or hurts the British and Allied war effort? Extra points for over-seas liccene production (as it was the case for historical Bristol A/C), as well as if FAA can get interested in these. Same for introduction of good flaps on these aircraft.
 

Admiral Beez

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If all the over two thousand Blenheims produced between 1936-41 are now 2,000 lb bomb/torpedo capable, dive bombing mini-Beauforts - this can only help the British war effort. Imagine North Africa, Burma and Malaya with such a capable aircraft.

As for the first one, you're suggesting I think one of Bristol's first single engined monoplane aircraft. Could it be useful for the FAA instead of the Skua?
 
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Shortround6

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single 9 cyl radial engine

With a British 9 cylinder engine to two options are not compatible.

1-engined fast-ish bomber
Uhm, that is why Bristol was making twins.
If they could have done it with a single they would have.

....................................................................................................................................................Fairey Battle
9 cyl radial engine with 4 x 250 lb bombs (internal stowage),........................... no/yes
in RAF's service from 1937. 2-3 crew members...........................................................yes
Looks like the SBN, or a slightly smaller SBD. ............................................................bigger-50%
Fuel carried is about 170 imp gals for the starters; ...................................................more fuel-25%
guns are two .303s udner cowling and one-two trainable.......................................less guns

Getting rid of fuel and wing area is not going to increase the speed all that much, guns are not that big a deal.
Stall speed goes up, field length goes up. speed gain from smaller wing canceled by radial engine.
as well as if FAA can get interested in these.
Sure, if they can get new, bigger, faster carriers to operate them. There is a reason the Avenger used a 490 sq ft wing.
Whatever the FAA wants to buy up until June of 1940, it has to be to operate off the Courageous and Glorious. OK, you can forget the Hermes and the Eagle.

cutting the wing a bunch and some fuel does not make up for cutting the power by 50%.
And unless you "fix" the Taurus engine in 1939/40 you have no combat capable aircraft (or more than a 3-6 at a time) for most of 1940.

Same with the Beaufighter. cutting the wing and depending on cutting the drag from the engine nacelles to make up for cutting the power by 50% is not going to end well.
 

tomo pauk

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With a British 9 cylinder engine to two options are not compatible.

R-2600 will do as a back-up for Hercules on the 3rd aircraft suggested.

Getting rid of fuel and wing area is not going to increase the speed all that much, guns are not that big a deal.
Stall speed goes up, field length goes up. speed gain from smaller wing canceled by radial engine.

If it is some 15 mph faster than a clean SBD -1 or -2 (with Pegasus, it has 10% more power at 15500 ft than the R-1820s on those SBDs, 15% less wing), I'm okay with that.
What goes up is availability of the monoplane bombers, less pressure on Bristol to make engines, less pressure to make good propellers (those can go in the Hurricanes and Spitfires before 1939 now). Also easier to make airframes, so the building up of the RAF is faster and cheaper.

Same with the Beaufighter. cutting the wing and depending on cutting the drag from the engine nacelles to make up for cutting the power by 50% is not going to end well.

We can take a look at the XF6-4, the Hellcat prototype powered by 1-stage supercharged R-2800-27, normal power column. With 1450 HP at 15000 ft (with ram; 13000 ft without ram), it was supposed to do ~346 mph. 331 sq ft wing. The Beaufighter I was good for 330 mph at 16000 ft with 1270 HP Hercules III.
Cutting the prototype speed by 20-25 mph due to power difference still leaves the early alt-Beaufighter on par with historical Beaufighter I.
 

Shortround6

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What goes up is availability of the monoplane bombers, less pressure on Bristol to make engines, less pressure to make good propellers (those can go in the Hurricanes and Spitfires before 1939 now). Also easier to make airframes, so the building up of the RAF is faster and cheaper.
As I understand it (and I have been wrong about this in the past) is there was sort of a hierarchy to the propellers. The big bombers got the constant speed, the small or light bombers got two pitch and the fighters got fixed pitch props. Obviously things changed a bit with time. But you aren't going to make a big change in propeller supply unless you are substituting one single engine bomber for one twin engine (basically Blenheims) and your new single bomber is more effective than the old one (Battle).
Which means 1000lb payload even if shorter ranged.

We can take a look at the XF6-4, the Hellcat prototype powered by 1-stage supercharged R-2800-27, normal power column. With 1450 HP at 15000 ft (with ram; 13000 ft without ram), it was supposed to do ~346 mph. 331 sq ft wing. The Beaufighter I was good for 330 mph at 16000 ft with 1270 HP Hercules III.
Cutting the prototype speed by 20-25 mph due to power difference still leaves the early alt-Beaufighter on par with historical Beaufighter I.

Maybe....................your single engine Beaufighter doesn't have the range/endurance of twin. If you make the fuselage bigger to take a back seater performance goes down a little bit.
If you don't make it bigger it won't work as a night fighter for the 1st year or two.
You also don't have the ammo capacity (although you may not need quite as much as the Beaufighter any way). The F6F-4 carried six .50s which is equal in weight to 3 20mm guns, not four. .50 cal ammo is 30lbs per hundred. 20mm ammo is about 62.5lbs per hundred ( Spitfire MK IX load/weight so it should include links) You may get away with the four 20s and a decent amount of ammo. Forget the .303 guns. Or use two 20mm an six/eight .303s ;)
 

tomo pauk

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As I understand it (and I have been wrong about this in the past) is there was sort of a hierarchy to the propellers. The big bombers got the constant speed, the small or light bombers got two pitch and the fighters got fixed pitch props. Obviously things changed a bit with time. But you aren't going to make a big change in propeller supply unless you are substituting one single engine bomber for one twin engine (basically Blenheims) and your new single bomber is more effective than the old one (Battle).
Which means 1000lb payload even if shorter ranged.

Swap 1:1, historical Blenheim vs. 1-engined bomber. It might be more effective than the Battle (mostly due to the better speed, lower weight and lower price), however the aim is it to offer far better bang-for-buck vs. the historical Blenheim.
RAF can use/invest the manhours and materials saved as they see fit.

Maybe....................your single engine Beaufighter doesn't have the range/endurance of twin. If you make the fuselage bigger to take a back seater performance goes down a little bit.
If you don't make it bigger it won't work as a night fighter for the 1st year or two.

Two seater, talk something resembleing a 2-seat Hellcat.
Original Beaufighter carried 550 imp gals, so 300 for an 1-engined type is more than enough.

You also don't have the ammo capacity (although you may not need quite as much as the Beaufighter any way). The F6F-4 carried six .50s which is equal in weight to 3 20mm guns, not four. .50 cal ammo is 30lbs per hundred. 20mm ammo is about 62.5lbs per hundred ( Spitfire MK IX load/weight so it should include links) You may get away with the four 20s and a decent amount of ammo. Forget the .303 guns. Or use two 20mm an six/eight .303s ;)

I'll settle even for 12 .303s until the belt-fed cannons are available.
 

Shortround6

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Two seater, talk something resembleing a 2-seat Hellcat.
Original Beaufighter carried 550 imp gals, so 300 for an 1-engined type is more than enough.
Trouble is the F6F-4 only carried about 208 Imp gallons.
And some of the performance numbers were for 150 Imp gallons ( not enough speed difference to matter but full ammo and internal fuel knocked off over 10% in climb.)

The F6F-4 was also getting some sort of help from the exhaust thrust, The Hercules engines, not so much.
 

tomo pauk

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Trouble is the F6F-4 only carried about 208 Imp gallons.
And some of the performance numbers were for 150 Imp gallons ( not enough speed difference to matter but full ammo and internal fuel knocked off over 10% in climb.)

Hellcat carried too little of fuel in the wing tanks, 2 x 87.5 US gals, or a tad less than what P-51 carried. Despite a much bigger wing on the Hellcat. Fuselage tank was also small, 75 gals. The 'not-Beaufighter' should have the bigger tanks roughly as it is depicted in red (two in the wings, 3rd in the belly):

tanks.jpg

I don't expect of it to climb fast anyway - same as with the historical Beaufighter.
What I expect is to have a lots of them as night fighters in a much more timely manner than it was historically so (so we can phase out the Defiants, Blenheims and Turbinlites as night fighters with something much better pronto), to carry firepower to kill an Axis bomber it intercepts, and to have useful range/radius/endurance that was required. Later it can receive better Hercules versions, go on with 4 belt-fed cannons on board, carry bombs and/or rockets, and perhaps even a torpedo.

The F6F-4 was also getting some sort of help from the exhaust thrust, The Hercules engines, not so much.

Some sort of help for the former, and really small help for the later? At least the exhausts were pointing backward :)
 

Shortround6

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What I expect is to have a lots of them as night fighters in a much more timely manner than it was historically so (so we can phase out the Defiants, Blenheims and Turbinlites as night fighters with something much better pronto), to carry firepower to kill an Axis bomber it intercepts, and to have useful range/radius/endurance that was required.

The Problem is rigging the early radar, it took until the spring of 1941 to get the radar to actually work on a consistent basis on any aircraft.
The Turbinlite Idea was just dumb. Yes, they should have tried everything.............................once.............maybe twice.................not 40 times with every available A-20 they could get their hands on. The Defiant didn't get radar until Sept (?) of 1941 so it was zero help to the Defiants in the night Blitz. There weren't all that many Defiants used as night fighters over the winter of 1940/41 anyway. Peak use for Defiant night fighters was the following winter (Defiant IIs also) but the Germans weren't coming out to play very much.
Most of the Blenheims were gone by the spring of 1941 replaced by Beaufighters during the winter.
 

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