No Spitfire?

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Sopwith was interesting, as it was extraordinarily prolific, with within an eight-year period, over 18,000 individual aircraft were built (not all by the parent firm of course) of over 100 individual types, the Camel being the most of those, with over 5,100 newly built.
They did it eventually when pushed to do it. Hawkers started production without an order because the air ministry didn't order it. Production was delayed by 6 months to build 200 Henleys. The Spitfire doesn't exist in the what if, so use the people doing Spitfires to build Hurricanes, same with Westland. As per my other post, in the late 30s many were acting as if war wasn't coming, Hawker were producing faster than the RAF could accept. It needs the RAF to massively up its game on pilot training.

Yes, but only because they deferred on producing more Henleys and Hotspurs. Hawker went into overdrive to build the Hurricane, as I said, but quick production, such as that during the Battle of Britain didn't just 'happen'. High production figures British firms experienced during the war were as a result of the war. working hours became longer, more factories were built, Beaverbrook in May 1940 threatened production managers, etc. None of this was gonna happen beforehand.

You've identified pretty much exactly why the Hurricane didn't enter service faster, but not why it wasn't produced faster - it simply couldn't be. That production increased was because of the war.

We have a tendency on this forum of just assuming that firms were going to do exactly what the government wanted, such as Fairey being asked to build Spitfires for the Admiralty, and like Fairey, it was another firm's prerogative to refuse and in the pre-war environment that is pretty much what happened. Hawker owned Gloster, which is why it could get that firm to build Hurricanes. Companies like Short Brothers had a government stake, so were more amenable to building other firms' aircraft, but if, say, Westland said, "nope, we're not building Hurricanes", there's not a damn thing the government could do about it, apart from threatening to not give them any more work. This of course happened; Boulton Paul wanted to build better Defiants and derivatives of the design, such as a single-seater, or even a naval Defiant, but the government said "no, you're building Rocs." So, they built Rocs. They could have refused, but it is bad practise to refuse a government contract, but pre-war, it happened if the firm had work already.

I wasn't changing the tactics, Dowding didn't let his planes be caught on the ground and fighter airfields were very hard to find. Since from its design it was known to be a stop gap before better things came along, you need to produce more earlier.

Again, how? Ending Gladiator production, i.e. not issuing any more contracts and focussing on the Hurricane was done, but stopping a production line isn't that easy, so finishing the work started was of utmost importance.
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Oh no! Someone disagreed with my post that was an obvious joke.

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A what-if situation emerges where, for this or that reason, Spitfire as we know it never sees the light of the day.
What has Mitchell designed instead? His expertise and Schneider Trophy experience won’t be left untapped. I suggest he skips the RAF and instead goes straight to the Seafire, but with the Seafang’s wider undercarriage, perhaps without the Spitfire’s elliptical wing.


This is similar to the RAF canceling the Hawker Fury, whereupon Sir Sydney Camm launched the Sea Fury.
Without the Spitfire, Britain would have been seriously under-equipped to have dealt with the Luftwaffe onslaught in 1940. Unless there was another single-seat fighter available instead.
Perhaps upon seeing the FAA’s superlative fighter in 1939, Beaverbrook demands that Vickers makes some land-based Seafire/Seafangs for the RAF, with the first squadrons of Supermarine Spitefuls entering service for the BoB.
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Frank Whittle gets the nod earlier, Gloster‘s Meteor enters service in 1942.

Eek! Gloster goes from building the Gladiator and Hurricane (which in its first incarnation wasn't that far removed technologically from the Gladiator) to building Britain's first jet fighter in a couple of years! Carter was visited by Whittle in September 1939 to talk about building a jet. A lot has to happen before the first Meteor is completed.

Perhaps upon seeing the FAA’s superlative fighter in 1939, Beaverbrook demands that Vickers makes some land-based Seafires for the RAF.

Perhaps. Vickers has the Venom at the same time as Supermarine has the Spitfire. If there was no Spitfire, perhaps the Venom gets put into production?
True. But only, in the case of the Venom if the AM buys it.

There isn't much other option if there is no Spitfire, though. the Bristol 146? Martin Baker MB.2? Vickers is not going to build anyone else's aircraft, it was the biggest weapons manufacturing conglomerate in the country; it doesn't get told what to do. The aircraft division is building Supermarines or Vickers's.
The problem with Martin Baker is it doesn't have production facilities, nor does it have money. No bank in the land is gonna bank on an unbankable company with no equity and no assets. The government would have taken this into consideration when making a decision behind its aircraft's future. Look at what happened with the Whirlwind; Westland, in particular Petter bit off more than his firm could chew and couldn't deliver what was promised when it was promised, and that was a firm with work and a factory and airfield and workforce, although little experience in new all-metal construction, and it was a small firm.
Grant, why not the Boulton Paul P.94?
It was found to be better in performance than the Hurricane and comparable to the Spitfire.
Since (historically) they already had the Spitfire in production, the P.94 went no further.

Now, since the Spitfire has been removed from the timeline in this scenario, the P.94 might have a shot?
Grant, why not the Boulton Paul P.94?
It was found to be better in performance than the Hurricane and comparable to the Spitfire.
Since (historically) they already had the Spitfire in production, the P.94 went no further.

Now, since the Spitfire has been removed from the timeline in this scenario, the P.94 might have a shot?

Yeah, it's a possibility. No Spitfire opens everything up. From what I've read though, depending on what side the procurement board members in the Air Ministry got up on depends on whose in favour for new orders... BP seems to have lucked out a lot and was a bit of a wasted opportunity for quality mass production. In hindsight, why Blackburn kept getting orders and BP didn't I really can't explain...
I guess with BP, to get in in time there has to be no Defiant, which isn't a bad thing. The design team had the chops to do a thoroughly modern and capable single-seater from scratch, if not based on the Daffy. You could probably expect something special from BP if given a blank sheet, no turret and money for investment. It probably would have looked a bit like the Daffy, but without that extra structural strengthening and CG being different for a single-seater, it probably would have been smaller. Might have had a thinner wing, too.
Yes, it was the largest single order for an individual aircraft type. Aircraft during the Great War nominally had orders placed with individual firms, such as Sopwith tasking Beardmore with building Pups and Camels, but typical orders rarely exceeded 150 and were on average around 40 to 50 aircraft in each contract. The first mass order for Camels was 200 with the parent firm, following this, however, Camel production was spread over lots of different companies. The biggest orders were around 100 to 150. for example, in very early 1917, Beardmore was given two separate orders for 50 Camels each. Not long after, Sopwith placed contracts of 100 and 131 Ship's Camels with Clayton and Shuttleworth - the former, and Beardmore, the latter. In late 1917, for example, Ruston and Proctor were given a contract to build 6 Camels. These were delivered to the Aircraft Acceptance Parks throughout March, with the last arriving with an AAP in April 1918, this is after building 19 from an order placed in early 1917. Simultaneously, Portholme Aerodrome Ltd was given an order for 21 Camels.

Aircraft companies just didn't have the resources to handle such large orders since they were generally handcrafted at the time. The concepts of massed production lines and jigs simply didn't exist in the Great War.
And the fact that aircraft development was moving faster than production ability. By the time you delivered 600 of an aircraft type, it was likely superseded.
Grant, why not the Boulton Paul P.94?
It was found to be better in performance than the Hurricane and comparable to the Spitfire.
With the Spitfire out, the P.94 is also the FAA's fastest route to an all metal single seat fighter. Wide undercarriage and easy placement of the wing fold. I like it.


Even the view forward looks more ideal for carrier ops.


There is the challenge of the Defiant's larger size and carrier ops, though it's about the same size as the Hellcat and Corsair, and smaller than the Fulmar. Redesigning the Defiant. And at the end of the day, the small lifts of Ark Royal and Illustrious can dimensionally (IDK about weight) handle any single-engined ICE-powered aircraft ever to see a carrier, including the Douglas A-1 Skyraider and Fairey Spearfish. I only bring it up as this will be the largest British-designed single seat fighter to serve on carriers until the postwar Sea Fury, so some faith will be needed at the FAA and AM.
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Try the Merlin on the Gloster F.5/34 (along with better U/C for next version). Talk with Fokker for the D.XXI with Merlin and retractable U/C

We are getting into working with sow's ears and we are NOT going to get silk purses.


Keep the wing and throw out everything else? Sticking a Merlin in the nose is certainly NOT going to get a plane with aerodynamics of the Spitfire. Better view from the cockpit though :)
BTW the wing was 18% at the root and 9% at the tip.
Fuel Capacity was a whopping 68IMP gallons.

For all the BP fans, the 360mph speed was an ESTIMATE.
A lot of British estimates were way out of whack at this time. Often by about 10%
the P.94 is also the FAA's fastest route to an all metal single seat fighter.

I agree, it's the fastest route, but let's take a few things into consideration. The Daffy was heavy and it accelerated poorly despite its stated performance. Using it as its basis means using the Daffy design as its structural basis, which means extra unnecessary weight in that structure, also, the fuel tanks need to be moved from the wings to the fuse to fit the guns, which is man-hours on the drawing board and alterations to the production line ahead. Essentially, the wings and fuse have to be redesigned.

Next is production. Daffys were still on the production line in 1940, do we continue fulfilling Air Ministry contracts or do we stop, leaving these unfulfilled and then instigate the production of the new type, by which time it is likely to be early to mid-1941 before we see a new example off the line?

Then, once the type becomes available to the RAF, its opposition is the Bf 109F and Fw 190A, which, the Hurricane and even the Spitfire V was considered less capable in combat against, so our single-seat Defiant certainly won't be a match for. It'll be obsolete before it gets into service.

If you are building an interim to bide the RAF by because of threatened mass production of essential types, it could work in time, but if you want a real-world alternative to the Spitfire, you've got more work to do than simply modifying the Defiant. I do agree that the Defiant could have made the basis for a decent naval fighter, but BP had the right idea in doing clean sheet designs following it, though.
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I still think that if BP wants to produce a good single-seat fighter with the legs to survive development over time, it has to start from scratch, which means no Defiant, or investment from the Air Ministry in a separate design altogether, which could mean a purpose-built production facility or such like. This has to be done before the war, however, going on how long it took the Brits to get a design into service at the time. If there is no Spitfire, the gauntlet is thrown down in the mid-1930s, which means BP and whomever else wants to do something has that time period for the aircraft to make it into service in numbers to match what the RAF traditionally had in 1940.

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