What if BMW and Bramo merged in 1936?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wiking85, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Historically Siemens-Halske, the aviation branch of the Siemens-Schuckert electrical company, made aircraft during WW1 and ended up reorganizing their aviation department into Bramo in 1936, which was bought by BMW in 1939. Both companies made air cooled radial engines and were independently working on a 14 cylinder 1500hp engine, the Bramo 329 and the BMW 139 respectively; when BMW bought out Bramo and merged the two projected they abandoned their independent developments, but started over with lessons learned from both projects and made the BMW 801. Bramo also started what would become BMW's jet engine program in 1938 too.

    So what would happen if instead of reorganizing in 1936 Siemens-Halske was forced to merge with BMW? They were essentially redundant companies, both working on the same project and duplicating efforts. Clearly both companies were working toward the same goal in ineffectual ways from 1936 on with their separate 14 cylinder radial engines. With the companies merged and the 14 cylinder radial project under one roof and with all the engineers and resources combined, does that mean the BMW 801 (or whatever TTL's version is called) is able to be ready and reliable sooner? The typical gestation period to make and engine fully reliable in the 1930s-40s was about 5-6 years, with the BMW 801 essentially taking about 7 years to become reliable (yes production started in 1940, but problems were had until mid-1942 and weren't really ironed up in service until later in 1942. The FW190A-2 did have its problems mostly fixed by October 1941 with the BMW 801C-2 engine, but that was only introduced on a limited basis).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_801
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siemens-Schuckert
    To me it seems like a lot of time and resources were wasted on the Bramo project, even if it ended up making the BMW 801 project better later on; had those resources and engineers been used on the BMW 139 from 1936 on it seems that the BMW 801 would have emerged ready earlier.

    Is it possible that ITTL's BMW 801 is ready at least 1 year early with its problem's worked out? Being mass produced in fully ready state in May 1941 would have major knock on effects during the war, both with the FW190A project being ready from the moment of its service introduction, which would extend its aerial dominance by about a year compared to OTL (when introduced in June 1941 the FW190 had to be withdrawn and when fully reintroduced about 8-9 months later it was the best fighter in the sky for 6 months). It would also increase its numbers, which would mean the Do217 could get mass produced from 1941/42 on, replacing the He111 in service, given that a major limiting factor for that design was the BMW 801 not being really service ready until May 1942 by which time it was too late to get the engine into widespread service for anything but the FW190A.

    With at least an extra year to get the engine into production, its output would be much higher in 1942 when it was really needed for bombers and high performance twin engine night and heavy fighters like the Ju88C.

    What effects would it have on the BMW 003 jet engine? Would that be in service sooner as a competitor to the Jumo 004 with greater resources from the merged companies?

    Also would the LW/RLM finance greater radial engine production expansion if the high powered BMW 801 were ready for full service in 1941 and showing promise in 1940? It had the downside of having higher specific fuel consumption rates and for better performance it had to use the expensive and less available high octane C3 fuel. Still, having a high powered engine ready to mass produce this early in the war would really create pressure to get it into service on a large scale, especially with the Jumo 222 faltering, the DB603 having just resumed development in 1941, and the Jumo 213 being a back up that wouldn't be ready until 1943. Perhaps even Ostmark becomes a BMW project from the beginning to mass produce BMW 801s?

    Perhaps the BMW 802 18 cylinder engine starts earlier and is ready by 1943 (instead of being first run that year)?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_802
    Then there is a high altitude fighter project like this:
    Focke-Wulf FW Fighter Project w/ BMW 802 engine Luft '46 entry
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_801
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siemens-Schuckert
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW
     
  2. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    For one thing the competing and very similar Bramo 323 and BMW 132 could be merged and production patterns changed much earlier; the Bramo was the inferior engine and could have been replaced by the BMW 132, which would enable better economies of scale in terms of parts and ease of maintenance. Later BMW dropped the Bramo engine, but was obliged to continue production IOTL due to the war starting before they could phase it out, which limited their ability to retool the lines for other engines:
    U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey Aircraft Division Industry Report

    It would help streamline radial engine production pre-war, which would work out the kinks in BMW manufacturing before 'show time'. In terms of output they might well be able to shift some lines over to BMW 801 production instead of maintaining two sets of separate production lines for the basically same 9 cylinder radial engines, as efficiencies would creep up in the meantime to enable at least one line to shift over without reducing OTL numbers of these 'secondary' engines.

    One thing I should note is that when the BMW 801 entered production early in February 1940 it was only in limited numbers, i.e. barely double digits, until April of 1941 when it finally broke 100 units per month. It was only made at one factory until January 1942 and took until April 1942 to start at all the facilities that would eventually produce the engine; if it were ready for mass production in 1940 or even 1941 it could enter mass production at all facilities that historically produced it (perhaps even others) and have about 3-400+ units a month produced in January 1941 rather than the 82 units of OTL. After that there is a much higher production potential before US bombing starts.

    Within 1 year of mass production (January 1942-January 1943) BMW 801 output had more than doubled and within 2 years nearly tripled despite massive bombing raids that cut production by half for several months.

    So with January 1941 being the start date of mass production the BMW 801 could well, depending on whether they get more resources than IOTL for production be on the path to being the primary high powered engine for all German bombers and meet all the needs for FW190 production and then some within a year. That would make the Do217 a viable replacement for the He111 and prevent the need for the Ju188. It would also make the Ju88C/G viable as a night fighter much earlier and remove the need for using the Do217 as a night fighter. That's not even considering it for the He177.
     
  3. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    The Bramo 323 had more power (up to 250 PS more) but the BMW 132 may had had better fuel economy.
    Both Bramo 329 and BMW 139 seem to have started as two-row engines based on components from the older single-row variants but both designs failed. I don't know how much of them was used for the 801 except the number of cylinders (from the 139, dunno how many the Bramo had).
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Is that because Bramo 323 was inherently superior or did it get a better supercharger plus high octane fuel after BMW 132 development stopped?
     
  5. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    AFAIR the last generation 323 had two speed supercharger + MW50 option. According to Fw 200 C-3 manual the 323 R-2 could do 1000PS normal and 1100PS with C-3 fuel but I don't know if it required C-3 fuel for MW-50 use.
     
  6. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    AFAIK both developed 1200hp by 1941, but wikipedia doesn't list the full BMW 132 variants.
     
  7. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    The Bramo 323 high-powered versions were in production, never heard the same for the 132 versions PQR or S
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Thus the crux of my argument. I think BMW 132 was as good or better then Bramo 323. If Bramo merged with BMW during 1936 then late model BMW 132 would get same or similar performance enhancements and it would have been mass produced.

    Doubt this would make much difference in German war effort but who knows? Bramo 323 designers would be released for other duties. Maybe one or more will have a technical inspiration while working on BMW 003 jet engine.
     
  9. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Any comment about an early reliable BMW 801 in 1940 or 41? Could this mean an early FW190 or more BMW equipped bombers like the Do217?
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Anything is possible but large air cooled radial engines weren't a German specialty. They've got a much better chance for an early reliable DB603 liquid cooled V12.
     
  11. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The BMW003 probably would have developed along the same timeline as it actually did, since the RLM didn't prioritize jet engine technology until much later on.
     
  12. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Germany had no experience with 40+ liter displacement liquid cooled V12 engines either in 1936; Germany started the BMW 139 and Bramo 329 in 1935 so it has as much or better of a chance to get it ready for mass production by 1940-41 than it does the DB603.
     
  13. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Large air-cooled engines weren't anybody's specialty until early 1940s anyway.
    The earlier introduction of the Fw-190 might lead for the British to double up their efforts on Centaurus (for Tornado), two-stage Merlin and early Griffon, while producing less Spitfire Vs as those RR engines are more available. Also, perhaps RAF might purchase Corsairs, along with what FAA received. Maybe install the 2-stage R-2800 on the Tornado? The RAF might also consider ordering the Mustang with V-1650-1, or adopting them to carry Merlin 45, until Packard's production ramps up.
     
  14. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    How long with any of that take to get into service and what would an early perfected BMW 801 result in earlier advancements like the BMW 802 (which AFAIK wasn't started until the BMW 801 was put into full production in 1942) or just an upgraded version like the D-series or later? Would the E and F series actually debute?
     
  15. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    I have described this exactly at the thread, "built yout favourite LW", inclusive the fusion at 1936. Also I have described many times in this forum the problems of the new BMW factory at 1939 with good allaround production tools, which were not anymore available at that timeline, because too many factories were retooled.

    A fusion at 1936 will result in a better and earlier new factory and synergy effects at the development and production. To my opinion it is a matter of fact, that we have seen the BMW 801 at least an 1/2-1 year earlier and much more reliable.
     
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    People are over thinking the "specialty" of certain countries engine types/development.

    there were certain limitations that governed the size of engine cylinders (and RPM) and thus governed the displacement of certain engine arrangements. For example the German BMW VI engine of the 20s and early 30s was a V-12 of 46.9 L (2,862.0 cuin) displacement and that was about as big as you could go with a V-12. Bore 160mm and stroke 190/199mm (articulated rods). 160mm was close to the limit in diameter due to the speed at which gasoline burned. You only have so much time for the flame front to cross the cylinder before you need triple ignition ( 3 plugs per cylinder). Stroke is limited by a variety of considerations.
    Air cooled cylinders presented several problems but even a P&W Hornet/BMW 132 used 155.6 x 162 mm cylinders which are bigger than either R-2800 or R-3350 cylinders ( same diameter as R-3350 but a bit more stroke). The fins on high powered air cooled cylinders increased by leaps and bounds and required different manufacturing techniques than earlier versions. it had little to do with the total displacement of the engine but a lot to do with the power per cylinder. Where engine development teams got in trouble was cooling the second row and much more importantly, in vibration and load problems with the crankshafts and bearings. For some reason 14 cylinder engines seemed to have fewer problems than 18 cylinder engines ( R-2600 and R-3350 used the same cylinders pretty much as did the R-2800 and R-4360).

    Other areas were people got into trouble was in trying to keep the diameter of the air cooled engine down or use small or low drag cowlings.
     
  17. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    That's why I made this thread, it seemed like an interesting idea. The central assumption is that the BMW 801 is in mass production by January 1941 and is as reliable as it was historically in May 1942. What happens then though? How many BMW 801s can be produced in 1941 and what does that mean for the German war effort? Do we see the He111 phased out in favor of the Do217, while the Ju88 upgrades to the Ju188 (with 801s) early? How about more Fw190 fighter-bombers early and a longer FW190 dominance in the West?
     
  18. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Any clue why the German radials still used 2 valves per cylinder?
     
  19. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    For the Centaurus, every option is good as another; maybe 1944 when it enters the service? The 2-stage Merlin should be possibly introduced in early 1942, the 1-stage Griffon probably in second half of 1942. The Mustang with 1-stage Merlin was feasible for early 1942, British can provide a handful of Merlin XXs to the NAA in early 1941 for modification of the Mustang's prototype(s). 2-stage R-2800 on Tornado would be a thing for 1943 (same for RAF's Corsairs); maybe a single stage engine for 1942, if the British are acting fast? Not such a performance as a with 2-stagers, though.
    In case the BMW can 'shift forward' all of their historical 801 derivatives and power ratings, that would mean a restricted D for second half of 1941, un-restricted for whole 1942, and introduction of either E, F or S in late 1943. By that time the bigger wing should be also available, along with better intake system (for hi-alt versions) and over-boosting up to 1.62/1.56 ata for the 'D' in 1943, and 1.82 ata in 1944 for , say, 'S' (much improves low- and mid-alt performance).
    The interesting thing might be an earlier introduction of the turbo 801, that I'd like to see on the Ju-88/188 night fighters.
     
  20. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Do you mean the 801F? How was it able to achieve a 2400hp take off rating? Could it enter widespread service by 1944?
     
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