US Avro Lancaster

Discussion in 'Your Completed Kits' started by tc2324, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. tc2324

    tc2324 New Member

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    This is my very first post on this site so be gentle....:oops::lol:

    Obviously the aircraft modelling I do is a little different from the norm and the fantastic model builds I have been looking at on here, but I hope you all approve and enjoy the pics and backstory.:thumbright:

    USAAC `Special Operations` Lancaster

    The success of the attacks on the german dams by the RAF carried out on 16–17 May 1943 did not go un-noticed by General Ira Clarence Eaker who was at that time the officer commanding the US 8th Air force based in England. The United States Army Air Forces prided itself and it`s policy of daylight "precision" bombing of military and industrial targets in German-occupied territory and the news that the RAF had delivered a precision weapon at night, at low level, under enemy fire and had achieved seemingly excellent results was cause to pause and think why the Americans did not have a similar capability.

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    By the end of June 1943 General Eaker had set up a internal commission within the 8th Air Force`s HQ at High Wycombe to look into the procurement and logistics of a USAAF version of the now famous 617 Squadron of the RAF. By August the General had the commission`s report on his desk and it made for grim reading from an American stand point. While every the idea and set up for a `Special Operations` Squadron was sound, there had been concern about the aircraft that would form the back bone of this new unit. The B-17 and B-24 had both been considered. Both aircraft had good range and protection, however both the bomb bays on each aircraft would be restricted by the amount and size of any `special weapon` they may be asked to carry without major modifactions to the airframes. Also, one of the `plus` points was also a minus. The `protection` was heavy and would have an adverse effect on the maximum speed at low level on both aircraft types. At any rate, both the B-17 and B-24 were slow aircraft and also the stresses placed on both aircraft at low level may would more than likely be beyond both aircraft`s capabilities. The other twin engined types considered like the B-25 were also dismissed as their size would again restrict the size and amount of bombs carried. It was the last line in the report and the commissions recommendation that the only aircraft in the Allied inventory that met 95% of the criteria asked for in the original proposal was the RAF`s Avro Lancaster. This aircraft had the large uninterrupted bomb bay required, the range, the speed and more importantly it had already proved itself as a low level weapons platform that could perform pretty much all that was asked of it. Although some of the junior officer staff under direct command to General Eaker were opposed to the idea, by September 1943 a meeting had been arranged with Air Chief Marshal Harris of Bomber Command and the proposal and request for a Lancaster was made. Harris was happy to oblige, however it was on the condition that the example given over for evaluation would be a `war weary` example.

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    On the 1st November 1943 a Lancaster B.1 was delivered to RAF Molesworth which was home to the 303d Bombardment Group. It was here that the former RAF aircraft was given it`s new serial number and tail code which was the letter `C` in a white triangle. Initial trails then commenced and a number of issues were raised. Firstly the defensive weapons were deemed `light` and within a matter of days new turrets capable of holding .50 Cal machine guns were installed. Waist gun positions were also installed to provide better protective defensive fire from the perceived bean attacks it may face. The waist guns were fitted in `blister` pods as the space in that area of the aircraft was already cramped at best. This modifacation also meant that the dorsal turret had to be moved 7 feet forward of it`s original position. A new ball turret was installed for the front gunner, again providing space for the upgraded defensive weaponary. The idea a fitting a ball turret to the underside was quickly dismissed as the mission profile was for a low level surgical strike aircraft and the overall weight was also starting to climb beyond acceptable limits.

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    With this `new` aircraft came a new weapon. As the delivery would be at low level the need for a retarded weapon was paramount. Looking at the various bombs within the Allied inventory, the 8000 lbs `cookie` bomb was finally chosen, fins fitted for directional control and a parachute pack fitted to slow the decent of the bomb so the aircraft would have time to clear the area prior to detonation. Added to this, the `cookie` was easy to load as all the `fittings` already existed within the Lancaster`s bomb bay.
    By December the first Lancaster in American service had completed 15 evaluation flights and weapon delivery training missions with mixed results. On the plus side the aircraft handled well at low level, could deliver the bombs on target and had a good range. It was well liked by the aircrew that flew it. However, the added defensive weapons and the extra crew to man them had had an adverse effect on the aircraft`s speed. Coupled with the drag issue of the waist blister`s the Lancaster was not that much faster than the newer B-17`s and B-24`s coming off the production line. The final nail in the coffin for this project came with a change in leadership. In January 1944 Lieutenant General `Jimmy` Doolittle took command of the 8th Air Force in England and after reviewing the evaluation results and seeing the change in the tide of the war against Germany suspended all further test flights. So ended, for a few years at least, the idea of low level surgical strike missions within the US Army Air Force during World War Two.

    The fate of the modified US Lancaster is unknown and it is believed to have been scrapped sometime early in 1945 at RAF Molesworth.

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  2. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting and cool! I had not ever heard of this. Hmm, learn something new every day. :thumbright: :cool: And a EXCELLENT job on the build TC, that's sharp!:cool: :thumbright:
     
  3. dirkpitt289

    dirkpitt289 Active Member

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    Can't wait to see this one :shock:
     
  4. otftch

    otftch Active Member

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    Neat !
    Ed
     
  5. treyzx10r

    treyzx10r Member

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    very cool ,welcome to the site
     
  6. ppopsie

    ppopsie Member

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    Very interesting I vote for this. But were there any Lancasters or Halifaxes having US insignia in real life?
     
  7. tc2324

    tc2324 New Member

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    Cheers guys, thanks for the comments.:D

    I should of added that this is a made up model and story by myself and none of it is true or real life. (well, not to my knowledge anyway).

    I`m shortly going to start work on a `Super` Shorts Stirling. Shorts approached the Air Ministry about improving the Stirling but it was turned down in favour of more Lancasters. No idea of what it looked like so going to use a bit of the old brain matter and see what comes up....:evil:
     
  8. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Fun stuff!
     
  9. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Nicely done!
     
  10. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Not bad at all, and reasonably plausible.
     
  11. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    I echo the post above. :)
     
  12. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Dirk I believe those pictures in the first post are it

    Nice job!!
     
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