The Great WWII Engine Challenge

Discussion in 'Other Mechanical Systems Tech.' started by Lezza, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. Lezza

    Lezza New Member

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    #1 Lezza, Jun 9, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
    Are there any forum members out there prepared to tell me what they consider to be the most interesting aero engines of the WWII era?
    What do I mean by interesting?
    I think it boils down to three headings.
    1. The great technical breakthroughs.
    2. The production / combat successes.
    3. The glorious failures.
    I'd like a little detail on reasons for choices and advice on links for further info if possible.
    There's a reason for all this, and if it goes anywhere, I'll keep participants posted.
    Just for fun, the avatar pic is of a US engine post WWI.
    Can anyone guess what it is?
     
  2. wells

    wells Member

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    RR Vulture

    Best known for its many failures, bearing troubles, cooling troubles, rod failures. But, in my mind, that engine has so much significance in that it was put into service before the bugs were worked out. I can't help but think of all the aircrews who served as guinea pigs and were lost on operations, but not in vain! Such were the times when some kind of offensive, anything, was greatly needed. Because of those failures, the Lancaster would never have been. Although, if it was successful, could you imagine a 4-engined Manchester with Vultures?
     
  3. wells

    wells Member

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    I also find the Napier Sabre to be quite interesting....from a design aspect. Sleeve valve, high RPM, lots of spark plugs!

    Of course, the PW 2800, just for how many airplanes were powered by one. All those Hellcats, Corsairs and Thunderbolts flying over hundreds of miles of open ocean, with nothing but that single engine in front of them.

    Heck, I like em all...hehehe
     
  4. hrandy

    hrandy Member

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    #4 hrandy, Aug 18, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2009
    Oh sure the Merlin , how common, how mundane. But think about it, the Merlin qualifies in all three catagories.

    1. The great technical breaktroughs.
    The Merlin 60 series multi speed common shaft two stage supercharger with liquid to air charge cooling was the most important technological breakthrough of the war. It allowed the somewahat undersized Merlin to compete successfully with much larger and at first glance technologically more sophisticated engines like the DB 601/605, the BMW 801, the Bristol Hercules, the Pratt Whitney R-2800 and the Napier Sabre.

    2. The production/combat success.
    The Merlin was the most produced engine of the war and powered more bombers and fighters than any other engine. Production was divided beween three major manufacturers, Rolls-Royce and Ford in the U.K and Packard in the U.S.A., with a fourth, Continental coming on line at the end of the war. Only DB 601/605 production comes close in interest. Unfortunately much of the information about DB 601/605 production in Germany, Checkoslovakia, Italy and Japan seems to have been lost in the destruction that happened in the last stages of the war.

    The Merlin powered Spitfire and Hurricane won the battle of Britian keeping tht U.K. in the war. The Merlin powered almost half of bomber command from 1943 on, which kept a second front, an air front, opened in the middle stages of the war distracting the Germans from total war on the eastern front. The Merlin Mustang as a long range escort fighter was absolutely critical to the USAAF daylight bombing campaign in 1944 and 1945 and to Allied air superiority over Germany in this period. The Merlin Mustang very long range escort fighters were becoming a significant factor in the closing stages of the war against Japan.

    3. The glorius failures.
    The ramp head Merlin I is an incredible failure. One can argue that the Napier Sabre, the Bristol Centaurus, the Junkers 222, the Nakajima Sakae 31, the complete American Hyper Engine program and many others were interesting failures. To me what makes the ramp head Merlin I the most interesting failure is that it came at a critical time in the early Merlin development, that Rolls-Royce was able to maintain the support of the U.K. government, that they completely overcame the problem and that they were able to minimize the damage to their reputation at that time and to this day.

    There is an abundance of information on the Merlin. However much of it, in my opinion is unthinking repitition of censored wartime information.

    My favourites Merlin books from the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust are the somewhat dry "The Merlin in Perspective" and the" Merlin 100 Series".

    The Aircraft Engine Historical Society ( AEHS Home ) has some interesting articles on various aspects of Merlin development in their Torque Meter back issues. Two of my favourites "The Ramp Head Merlin" in volume 5, number 2 and "Early Intercooled Merlins" in volume 6, number1 are written by Jerry Wells. Both of these articles are well researched and well written and are a refreshing change from the mindless repitition of many Merlin articles and books.

    Regards,

    Randy Taylor
     
  5. johnbr

    johnbr Well-Known Member

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    I have always loved the Rolls-Royce Crecy and exe.
     
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