Poor Strategic Decisions in Aviation Development

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by comiso90, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Aviation lore is filled with decisions made at the development stage that greatly affected specific aircraft and perhaps even the length of the war itself.

    Japanese aircraft with no self seal tanks and armor?

    Early versions of the P-38 and P-51 were inferior due to easily correctable factors.

    Deploying p-39 as a fighter?

    The Me-262 was designed to be a bomber, not just a fighter.

    The HE-177 was designed to be a dive bomber.

    Weak .303 defensive armaments on Brit bombers?

    What else is there?

    Which decisions were influenced by ego, wealthy industrialists, myopic incompetence or honest mistakes?
     
  2. mkloby

    mkloby Active Member

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    I think that many items that we could consider "mistakes," such as Japanese lack of self-sealing fuel tanks or armor... would be attributed to design characteristics that prevailed culturally within the given organization(ie Imperial Japanese Navy).

    There's a reason behind why the armements industry chooses a specific characteristic, such as maybe a particular engine is readily available and industry is tooled to mass produce it - early P-51 models...

    There's always the COST factor hanging over the dept heads as well, that serves to deter seeking out a more effective solution to a problem...

    Those are just some of my thoughts on the issue...
     
  3. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Most decisions may be rationalized with the benefit of hindsight. The Japanese consciously decided that longer range and maneuverability was a wise decision. Now we have the luxury of being critical. What were the glaring development mistakes of WW2 aviation?
     
  4. Udet

    Udet Banned

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    Although not an aircraft developing issue, German planners did a critical mistake in continue producing bombers in significant numbers during the second half of 1943 and throughout 1944.

    The human and material resources they used for producing bombers in a time when they were not needed anymore -at least not in the numbers one can detect in the OB of the several kampfgruppen during 1944- should have been better devoted to produce more and more fighters to prepare for the definitive aerial battle over europe as it happened in 1944.

    Cheers!

    Cheers!
     
  5. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    French Fighter development in the 30s. Horrible. The MS series were almost a generation behind the Germans. And the Bloch machine (150) was too big and too underpowered. Weak engines, production problems, you name it, the French got it wrong. Most of the problems were caused by political factors.
     
  6. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I think the Japanese not having a transports equal to the C54 and DC3 in enough quantities to be effective.

    Since the war in the PTO was obviously going to be a light infantry affair, being able to move and supply battalion sized forces was going to be quite important.
     
  7. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    For the British I would suggest the following

    a) To much effort went into developing planes that were clearly blind alleys e.g. Defiant, Botha, Roc

    b) The total lack of a ground attack aircraft for the first few years of the war

    c) No Naval fighter worthy of the name until later in the War

    d) Sticking with obsolete designs well past their sell by date. Battle and Swordfish are two good examples
     
  8. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    I know they used the Betty in these roles. Other then catching on fire easily (minor draw back!) , what else was wrong? I'm sure their range was good.
     
  9. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    battle yes, swordfish no, she was one of the greatest torpedo bombers of the war capable of challenging the tonnage totals reached by some aircraft in the target rich pacific, they tried to replace her but she was better then her replacement..........
     
  10. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Whilst the figures you mention are correct, the Swordfish couldn't hope to operate against fighters. Had we been foolish enough to take them to the Pacific and attack a modern Air combat group, they would have been slaughtered.

    They were fine in the Atlantic on Escort carriers hunting Submarines or against individual Ships on their own without fighter cover, or in the Med against the Italians who rarely supplied serious fighter cover to their fleet, but to take on the Japanese, would have been suicide.

    The Swordfish had a role and it fulfilled that role well, but to compare it to modern carrier based torpedo planes and the figures speak for themselves.
     
  11. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    yes, the figures do speak for themselves, they say that the swordfish ranks amoungst the finest torp. bombers of the war, of course she would've been replaced if there was serious arial opposition but there wasn't so why replace her?
     
  12. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The Swordfish performed well, especially in the clutch but would of been mauled if there was a heavy opposition of fighters. Could you imagine Swordfish being used at Midway!
     
  13. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    EXACTLY

    I can also add to my previous list of British errors in Aircraft development.

    e) On many occaisions not pushing the designers with challanging specs when replacing aircraft.
    Examples
    i) There was a reason why we started the war with the Swordfish as for better or worse it was the best we had at the time. The issue is, why was it replaced wth the Albacore?
    ii) When the USA and Japanese had single seat naval fighters and the British had used single seat naval fighters between the wars, why did the Fulmar have two seats let alone the Firefly?

    f) Sticking with stupid rules that tied designers hands
    example Sterling having its wings clipped to fit the hangers.

    g) Not learning lessons iro tactics
    Finger Four need I say more?
     
  14. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The Swordfish was fine for its role in the Atlantic. And in the first couple of years of the war it was still good enough to attack surface ships

    But by 1942 it was dated, and when the Avenger came online, it was as obsolete as the TDB Devastater.
     
  15. Udet

    Udet Banned

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    Correct. See the fate of the entire Swordfish flight sent to attack German vessels during Unternehmen Cerberus.
     
  16. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Be fair Udet, any torpedo bombers would have shared the same fate given those odds and that tactical situation.
     
  17. Udet

    Udet Banned

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    Glider, hi:

    Well i do no think i was being unfair to be honest.

    I know the Swordfish did not stand a chance if intercepted as it occurred during the Channel dash.

    I was just agreeing to syscom´s comments when stating that by 1942 the model was just too old, unlike most U.S. Navy torpedo aircraft that, from what i can recall, stood at least some chance against Japanese aircraft after having released their torpedoes.
     
  18. mkloby

    mkloby Active Member

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    Would've performed the same gallant attack as the TBD... occupy Jap fighters while the SBD reaches out and touches somebody, not to say that that was actually the tactical plan.

    I agree w/ Lanc that an aircraft's military worth is in the combat results it acheived, not sexy performance numbers that by themselves mean nothing. But, I think you're all just saying the same thing from different sides of the table.
     
  19. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    They would of - but 80 or 90 mph slower with less armament and of fabric construction, I doubt they would of even got close enough to drop their torpedoes...
     
  20. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    I was waiting for that. And Glider's mention of the Albacore too.
     
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