Tank busters for the air forces?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Some air forces were employing the aircraft that were regarded as suitable to make pin-point attacks on the tanks/AFVs. NOT going into a debate* about the real benefit of such planes for different air forces and war theaters, nor about the real vs. claimed accuracy of their attacks vs. tanks/AFV, what would the dedicated tank buster airplane looked if you were at the helm? You can propose two separate designs, one to be used from 1940-42, other one from 1943-45. The ability to fight enemy planes does not yield any points here - the plane has its task to do well, that being killing some tanks :)
    The historically available components are to be used (armament, engines), the airframe should be designed from scratch, but you can propose a modification of an existing airplane, too. The main armament of the resulting plane is to be some nice cannon, not too heavy, nor too light, with decent ammo count.

    *we have other threads covering that
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Nothing prevents Germany from arming Ju-87s with cannon from 1939 onward. They just need to build additional aircraft for that purpose. Ju-87B cannon version would be armed with a pair of 3cm Mk101 cannon. Ju-87D cannon version would be the historical Ju-87G conversion with 3.7cm cannon.
     
  3. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    I'd say that a Ju 87B with 2 MK 101s would have been a dog, 200hp less power and draggier fuselage.

    Juha
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Gun armed tank busters are slow flying aircraft if they want to hit anything. So I don't think drag would be an issue. You just need an adequate power to weight ratio for hauling around heavy cannon plus significant cockpit armor.
     
  5. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    My long-time favorite is a P-39 type of layout, that should enable a decent cannon centrally-mounted.
    From the cannons, a 57mm Molins would be simply cool, next being the 5cm BK, third being the N-45. Sure enough, a 7,5cm BK in a pusher plane, with single DB-610 at the other end, would just rock :)
     
  6. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    guns were superceded by rockets in the RAF on Hurricane IID, I have never seen a comparison in it's effectiveness between the two though?
     
  7. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    A quote from the 'Flying guns: Word War 2' by T. Williams and E. Gustin:

     
  8. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    so how did they fare with the 40mm's?
    I have read they were accurate and effective but that was pretty much all it said on the subject?
     
  9. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    IIRC I have already posted info on Hurri IID and IV on this site earlier.

    Juha
     
  10. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    Okay how about this then: A two engine, two crew aircraft the size of a Mosquito or Beaufighter. High wing to maximize view to the ground. Second crew member behind the first with the main purpose of loading the long barreled 50mm gun that sits between him and the pilot. the barrel either passing underneath the pilot or by his side. Compartment should be able to withstand rifle calibres and maybe the occasional heavy machinegun bullet. Wing area should be large to maximize low speed handling. Engines would be two Jumo 210s or similar class. No additional armament except maybe two light machineguns. Aircraft needs air-superiority in case it gets caught its only chance is low speed maneuvering until help arrives.
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    P-39 type layout is good for ground attack but the historical P-39 is not the answer.

    Start with a larger fuselage that can carry a decent payload and enough fuel to loiter. Cockpit must offer good visibility forward and down. Rear visibility doesn't matter. Pilot seat should be in an armored tray (or bath tub) to protect against ground fire. Wing loading should be low to improve low speed maneuverability and gun aiming. No rear gunner. CAS aircraft have adequate fighter escort or they don't fly. WWII era CAS aircraft will probably operate from rough airstrips so I recommend a tail dragger rather then tricycle landing gear.

    Carry a cannon powerful enough to kill tanks plus a pair of .30cal MGs for killing people. Intermediate weapons such as .50cal MGs and low velocity 20mm cannon are a waste of payload. Wing hard points should carry cluster bombs or napalm for suppressing enemy AA fire.

    Power to weight ratio (with payload) must be adequate but doesn't need to be outstanding such as you would desire in a fighter aircraft. A CAS aircraft relies largely on low wing loading to carry the payload rather then engine power.

    A final but crucial detail. CAS aircraft have a low life expectency so they should be as inexpensive as possible. Their pilots should be single men and preferably orphans.
     
  12. war eagle

    war eagle New Member

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    I,d go for the de havilland mossie with a modified armoured glass nose for the pilot to allow good forward and below visability (similar to the He111) the aircraft already had good resistance to battle damage,a pair of under body 50mm cannons plus two 4 rocket under wing racks.Engines would be two uprated fuel injected supercharged merlins.
     
  13. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Hurri + 'S' class was a great asset, capable to kill the Pz-IV and lesser panzers (51mm at 20 deg at 700 yds, plane flying at 350 fps); Littlejohn adapter, with proper shot, adds some 50% to the penetration. A plane with dive brakes would have wreck the heavy stuff in no time.

    That should make the tank crews worried, but let's attach some bigger engines :)
    Soviet 57mm on Pe-2 would be an interesting thing too, let alone if the Brits pass some info about the Molins system.

    Merlins were supercharged from day one; how about Mossie with Hercules?
    (ducks for cover)
     
  14. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    How about the XA-38? Of course getting the engines could be tricky.

    Factsheets : Beechcraft XA-38

    TECHNICAL NOTES:
    Armament: Six .50-cal. machine guns (two fixed in the lower forward nose and two pairs in General Electric remote-controlled dorsal and ventral turrets), one 75mm cannon, plus a variety of external stores including bombs, fuel tanks, smoke screen chemical tanks, torpedoes and depth charges
    Engines: Two Wright GR-3350-43 Cyclone radials of 2,300 hp each
    Maximum speed: 370 mph at 17,000 ft.
    Cruising speed: 350 mph at 16,000 ft.
    Range: 1,625 miles
    Service ceiling: 29,000 ft.
    Span: 67.08 ft.
    Length: 51.7 ft.
    Height: 15 ft. 6 in.
    Weight: 36,332 lbs. maximum alternate gross weight
    Crew: Two (pilot and gunner)
    Serial numbers: 43-14406 and 43-14407; Beechcraft Model 28
     
  15. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    IIRC Germans thought that Bf 110 was too big to be a good weapon carrier to MK 101 and RAF tought that Mossie was too big, so IMHO a slightly bigger version of Hs 129 with better radials armed with Mk 103 or BK 37 or if allied side 40mm S-gun, adequate against all but Tigers and capable to carry 57mm Molins if needed, ie against Tigers. On the other hand RAF thought that Hurri IID was too specialised a/c, good only against AFVs, so plane had to be able to carry also bombs and rockets.

    Juha
     
  16. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "... IMHO a slightly bigger version of Hs 129 with better radials armed with Mk 103 or BK 37 or if allied side 40mm S-gun, adequate against all but Tigers and capable to carry 57mm Molins if needed".

    Was the Hs 129 that great a platform ... french engines or otherwise....? The canon-Stuka I totally get. The Sturmovik, I get. But the Henschel ... looks great .. but was very claustrophobic to fly and not great visibility. At least in the Sturmovik someone has my six. :)

    MM
     
  17. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    And call it Beaufighter, perhaps.
     
  18. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Michael
    it seems to have been reasonable good plane, with twin you can put one cannon under fuselage, optimum place and better and more powerful engines would have allowed a bit bigger fuselage which would have allowed a bit bigger cockpit with better view.

    Juha
     
  19. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The Littlejohn adapter on the S-class cannon was enabling a 50% increase of the penetration (eg. at 400 yds it was 85 mm at 20 deg, plane flying at 350 fps). I'd like to see some dive-brakes on the tank buster carrying that, so he can execute a 60deg dive an harm the tanks through the thin upper armor. Even without the adapter.
    The notion about a Hurri IID being too much a specialized A/C points at the fact that Germans were fielding far less tanks that they needed?

    I'd like to see the Beau with 2 x 40 mm (as a plan B; plan A being the 'radial' Mossie); IIRC it was trialed with one instead one pair of Hispanos.
     
  20. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    At the risk of being labelled parochial and slightly biased in favour of my own country, I would suggest the CAC Woomera strike aircraft armed with both rockets and the 57 mm molins cannon.

    This aircraft was never built, but it was designed as a purpose built divebomber. But its approach was fast, and it was quite well defended. So, it had the advanatage of a fast approach until over the target, and then a slow, accurate delivery of a divebomber.

    With regards to rockets and accuracy, it really depends on the type selected, though admittedly none of them were super accurate. The first rockets developed by the allies were 3" or 25 lb warheads. Were reaonably accurate, but fireppower was limited. The 25lb warhead was a solid shot version, so was pretty useless. Quite early the allies upgraded both these weapons to the 5"FFAR series and the 60Lb FFAR versions, using the existing motors. Both these rockets packed a punch alright, easily enough to upend a Tiger Tank provided the rocket hit within about 30yards of the target. Even if this was not achieved, the sheer concussion of eight or ten such rockets hitting simulataneoulsy within that radius was usually enough to kill the crew. But the underpowered rockets were both slow and innaccurate, leading to accuracy issues....about 1% of rockets fired were thought to achieve direct hits, and about 5% within a lethal radius. Simply not good enough. The 2nd generation rockets, which were introduced from July 1944 and known as the 5" FFAR "Holy Moses" were greatly superior with regards to accuracy and speed, because the motors were greatly improved in power. British rockets improved accuracy in the wartime context by using longer launch rails. but more powerful rocket motors for the 60Lb FFAR would have to wait until after the war.
     
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