WHich bomber had the best defence

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by B-17engineer, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    I mean in terms of fending off fighters..........I personally say B-29.........WOuld the defence matter on what kind of plane ur enemies had like a B-29 faced lightly armored fighters, and The B-24 and B-17 faced more heavily armed fighters.........
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Well the B-29 obviously with its fire control system.

    Of the aircraft without such a fire control system I would have to go with the B-17.

    In the end though we all know this did not prove to be eneogh.

    The Bomber with the best self defence were the ones that were escorted by the most long range escorts.
     
  3. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    The Mosquito - it just out-ran them. :)
     
  4. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Mosquito....intersting
     
  5. Kurfürst

    Kurfürst Banned

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    The B-29, as usual, is in a class of it`s own in this regard as well. IIRC later versions carried a 20mm cannon in the tail, and the guns being remote controlled, could be operated in concert, playing a leathal tune..

    The runner ups are the He 177A-5 (which had remote controlled barbette, and 20mm cannons rear/forward to boot), and the much neglected Soviet Pe-8 which also carried 20mms and 12.7mm.

    For me, the 20mm they carried for defense puts these types over the standard US heavies for self defense fire for tail attacks -
    but both of them were much rarer, too in comparison. A 20mm cannon may well stop an attacking fighter dead in it`s tracks before it can attack, a pair of .50s is less likely to do the same before it gets into range, and a fighter can always spit out more rounds than a bombers defensive gun position.

    B-17 and B-24, however it should not be underestimated, for they carried an insame amount of guns, and when flying in a formation it, this concentration of firepower proved to be very nasty as all fighter pilots would tell you who flew against these giants. A Combat Box had a very unnerving display of fire, and the sheer amount of tracers flying towards you unnerved many pilots.
     
  6. Arsenal VG-33

    Arsenal VG-33 Member

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    I unfortunately do not have the source on hand, but I do recall reading many years ago of an experiment by the 8th AAF to remove bomb loads from select B-17s and B-24s, and add several extra .50 machineguns and fill it with ammunition. The purpose of this was to solely to provide extra defensive firepower to a flight of bombers. I'm not sure if they flew in the middle or outer edges of the flight, but I do remember reading that the idea was not too successful as they didn't continue with the idea for very long.

    Perhaps someone else has more information on this?
     
  7. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    I thought that was the YB-40 if i am correct they had no fighter and so was going to use that as and escort it was a B-17 with more machine gun.....Anyone heard the story of old "666"
     
  8. Arsenal VG-33

    Arsenal VG-33 Member

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    There was also the French LeO 451 twin-engine bomber which had a magazine fed Hispano-Suiza 20mm cannon, swivel mounted in the dorsal position of the aircraft, controlled manually by the gunner and not by an electrical system. I believe it was semi-automatic, not fully auto.
     
  9. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    It's a YB-40 look last one its the YB-40 cockipit


    WIKIPEDIA SAYS

    "Initial work on the project began in September, 1942 with the XB-40 prototype, built by Lockheed's Vega subsidiary. The first order of 13 was made in October. A follow-up order for 12 more was made in January, 1943. The modifications were performed by Douglas Aircraft at their Tulsa, Oklahoma center, and the first aircraft were completed by the end of March, 1943.

    The aircraft differed from the standard B-17 in that a second dorsal turret was installed in the former radio compartment (between the top turret and the waist guns); the single 0.50-calibre (12.7 mm) machine gun at each waist station was replaced by a pair of 0.50-calibre (12.7 mm) guns, with a mount for each pair of these being very much like the tail gun setup in general appearance; and the bombardier's equipment was replaced with two 0.50-calibre (12.7 mm) machine guns in a "chin" turret. The existing "cheek" machine guns, initially removed from the configuration, were restored in England to provide a total of sixteen and the bomb bay itself was converted to a magazine. However a significant portion of the 4,000 pound weight increase came from armor plates installed to protect crew positions. An indication of the burden this placed on the YB-40 is that while the B-17F on which it was based was rated to climb to 20,000 feet in 25 minutes, the YB-40 was rated at 48 minutes.


    [edit] Operational history
    The YB-40's mission was to provide a heavily-gunned escort capable of accompanying the bombers all the way to the target and back. Overall the concept proved a failure because the YB-40 could not keep up with standard B-17Fs, particularly after they had dropped bombs. Of the initial order of 13, one was damaged in a forced landing on the Isle of Lewis en route to England, and the remaining 12 were assigned to the 92nd Bomb Group (H) and designated the 327th Bomb Squadron.

    Between May 29 and August 16, 1943, the YB-40 flew 14 of the 19 combat missions scheduled by the 8th Air Force, although on the mission of June 26 all the YB-40s scheduled were unable to complete assembly and returned to base. Altogether of the 59 aircraft despatched, 48 sorties were credited. 5 kills and 2 probables (likely kills) were claimed on the 13 missions flown, and one YB-40 was lost, shot down by flak on the June 22 mission to Hüls, Germany. Tactics were revised on the final five missions by placing a pair of YB-40's in the lead element of the strike to protect the mission commander.

    One YB-40 of the second order, reflecting modifications requested during combat trials to lighten the aircraft, joined the 327th in October, 1943, but by then B-17G models were beginning to appear and the final YB-40 was not flown in combat. All the deployed YB-40s were returned to the United States and converted to training aircraft, as were 11 aircraft of the second order.

    One of the most unusual stories involving the use of a YB-40 was to counter the efforts of an Italian pilot, Guido Rossi, who had begun to offensively fly a captured P-38 Lightning fighter that had been forced to land, low on fuel, over Sardinia in the spring of 1943. Rossi's scheme was to use the P-38 as a supposedly "friendly" aircraft, that he would use to first draw in, then shoot down, crippled American aircraft. Lt. Harold Fisher, a USAAF bomber pilot who had been victimized by Rossi's still-American-marked P-38, was able to get the use of a YB-40 to try and turn the tables on the Italian pilot. On August 31, 1943, Rossi appeared in the sky in the general vicinity of the YB-40, and Fisher drew Rossi in with radio conversation-eventually the Italian pilot became furious at one of Fisher's statements, and the attacking P-38 fell apart from the hail of bullets from the YB-40's guns. This event was documented in the pages of aviation author Martin Caidin's book "Flying Forts", about B-17 action in WW II Europe.[1],[2]

    Despite the failure of the project as an operational aircraft, it led directly to modifications conspicuous on the final production variant of the B-17, the B-17G: the chin turret, off-set waist gun positions, and a lightweight tail position."
     

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  10. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Total BS - that's why you shouldn't rely on Wiki too much and take anything written by Martin Cadin with a grain of salt.

    The YB-40 was used by the 327th BS, 92nd BG - they were no where near Italy and neither was the YB-40. The last YB-40 mission was July 29, 1943.

    YB-40
     
  11. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    O okay..........but i was just trying to say that the plane with extra machine guns was the YB-40..............At the time there weren't planes so the Yb was designed........
     
  12. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    Martin Caidin? Why, what's he done?

    It's a growing list since joining this forum. William Green, Bill Gunston, Eric Brown and Dr Alfred Price are just a few I have read that are regarded as 'doubtful' here. The bookshelf is shrinking. Any others?

    [​IMG]
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    While he was an entertaining writer, he tends to exaggerate and sometimes flat out BSs' - like the Rossi story.

    When he wrote the "Fork Tailed Devil" (even the title was a myth) he pissed off a lot of people - especially Ben Kelsey, the P-38 pilot who broke the coast to coast record and then crashed the prototype on landing. Although he published a revision to the book where he apologized, the damage was already done...
     
  14. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Yea.............I wasn't saying it to like talk bout its mission history just saying VG-33 that the plane he was mentioning was the YB-40
     
  15. Downwind.Maddl-Land

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    Have to agree with Kurfürst's initial statement and with Adler's later one - no escort, no worthwhile mission.

    However, it was the EARLIER B-29s that had the 20mm, Kurfürst. They were removed (and not installed on the production line) at quite an early stage as:

    The trajectories of the 20mm and .5s were very different and didn't harmonise over any 'useful' range.

    The 20mm had only a 60 round drum magazine, which got expended rapidly.

    However, it usually jammed after a few rounds anyway so the 60 never got expended and it was so much dead weight for a lot of the trip​

    What I never understood was why the 20mm wasn't replaced by a 3rd .5 which would have resolved all of the above, while adding useful firepower. Some B-29Bs were equipped with 3 x .5s in the tail so the engineering 'fix' was available; never understood why the mod was never transferred to the main production run.
     
  16. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    My guess would be because of other more pressing issues with the bomber at the factory it might of been thought that mod could be done at a pre-delivery "mod center" or in the field as the guns were easily removed and replaced by ground crews anyway.
     
  17. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    i'm agree with this best defence for a bomber is a speed, b29 have good "traditional" defence but also good speed.
    i think thar ar 234 this hard to shot down it is fast for common fighter him times
     
  18. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Just looking at the He-177 looked like such a big bomber for a 5/6 man crew......Had a great Fire control system from i read...........She sould've be such a great bomber......
     
  19. Downwind.Maddl-Land

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    I should have perhaps said:

    "....main production run or at the main mod centres prior to delivery to operational units" ie make the 3rd x .5 a standard fit​
     
  20. Trautloft

    Trautloft Member

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    To the very first post : generally,bombers met in Europe a heavy resistance (if they met any in the last years) and in Japan rarely. But a Randy or Nick was not less armed as any of the german planes
     
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