WWII photo reconnaissance aircraft...?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Lucky13, May 25, 2009.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Can't remember ever see a thread about those eyes in the sky... Which would you say was the best photo reconnaissance aircraft of WWII?
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I think the ultimate photo recon aircraft of WW2 has to be the Arado Ar 234B-1.

    )
     
  3. imalko

    imalko Well-Known Member

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    #3 imalko, May 25, 2009
    Last edited: May 25, 2009
    I think that for the Eastern front it would have to be Focke Wulf Fw 189. I believe the Soviets had good opinion of this aircraft too. I remember to have read somewhere (think it was in book "Back Cross Red Star") that Soviet fighter pilots considered Fw 189 as a hard plane to shot down and Red Army soldiers knew that when Fw 189 appeared on the sky they could expect an air raid or artillery bombardment.

    Of course, there were also photo recon versions of fighter aircrafts like Spitfire or Bf 109, just to name the few...
     
  4. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    I think the Ar-234 as well, followed by the Spitfire PR.XI, which recoded a higher speed than was ever recorded in an Ar 234, albeit travelling downwards :D
     
  5. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a stuck record I know but its the Spitfire.
     
  6. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The F5 version of the P38. Its big fat nose meant lots of room for cameras.

    And most importantly, it had the range to go where the Spitfire could never get to.

    And it had a decent enough speed to keep pursing aircraft at bay.
     
  7. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    #7 Juha, May 25, 2009
    Last edited: May 25, 2009
  8. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Its worth remembering that the 8th Airforce used Spitfire XI as well as the F5 and that they asked for the Spit XI because they could do what the F5 couldn't. I don't know the exact range figures but I do know that the Spitfire was able to operate over Germany by day and night so the range was more than good enough.
     
  9. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    And the F5 gave you coverage all the way into eastern Poland.

    And the 8th AF always wanted P38's because they could do more things that the Spits couldnt do.

    And of course in the PTO, the Spitfire simply didnt have the range to do anything.
     
  10. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    My vote would go for the Mosquito.
     
  11. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    With Thor on the Mossies as the best recon machine in the ETO - so good even the USAAF used it ;) :lol: On the Eastern Front, the superior type was definitely the Fw189. I'm not sure what I would go for in the PTO, probably the PBY, and definitely the Liberator for the North Atlantic, as it finally closed the infamous 'Air Gap'.
     
  12. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    The recce spit mkIV had a range of 2000 mile however I'd opt for the Lightning F5
     
  13. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    2000 miles? You have information to back that up?
     
  14. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    PBY? Every time they went on a recon mission and were found out by the Japanese, they ended up getting shot down or shoo'd away.

    Same with the B24. Couldnt do deep recon without escort.

    Now of course, there is a difference between maritime recon as opposed to continental recon.
     
  15. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    You have just answered your own criticism sys - there were no Axis fighters over the North Atlantic, so the Liberator was in it's element. While there is difference in maritime recon and overland recon, both roles are still recon. We could hair-split over what tasks constitute tactical recon, strategic recon, BDA, maritime patrol, etc etc, but all fall to a greater or lesser extent under the recon banner, IMHO. The basic aim is the same though - to locate the enemy, and by photographic means or otherwise, record his location and strength and then transmit the information back for processing and the tasking of other units as required by the threat.
     
  16. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    #16 pbfoot, May 25, 2009
    Last edited: May 25, 2009
    This is from wiki however if you wish me to scan and edit I can give show where it says 2000 miles in my books. It wasn't uncommon for the Spits to ferry from the UK to Gibraltar
    "The Mk I PR Type D (also called the Extra Super Long Range Spitfire) was the first PR variant that was not a conversion of existing fighter airframes. The Type D carried so much fuel that it was nicknamed "the bowser." The D shaped wing leading edges, ahead of the main spar, proved to be an ideal location for an integral tank. Accordingly, in early 1940, work started on converting the leading edges, between rib four through to rib 21, by sealing off the spar, outer ribs and all skin joins allowing 57 gal (259 l) of fuel to be carried in each wing. Because the work was of low priority, and with the urgent need for fighters the first two, hand-built prototypes of the PR Type Ds weren't available until October. In addition to the leading edge tanks these prototypes also had a 29 gal (132 l) tank in the rear fuselage. An additional 14 gal (63 l) oil tank was fitted in the port wing. The cameras, two vertically mounted F.24s with 8 inch (20.3 cm) or 20 inch (50.8 cm) lens or two vertically mounted F.8s with 20-inch (510 mm) lens, were located in the rear fuselage. With the full fuel load the center of gravity was so far back the aircraft was difficult to fly until the rear fuselage tank had been emptied. Despite these difficulties the type quickly proved its worth, photographing such long distance targets as Stettin, Marseilles, Trondheim and Toulon[41].

    Once the first two Type Ds, P9551 and P9552[42] had proven the concept the production aircraft, which were soon redesignated PR Mk IV, were modified to increase the leading edge tank capacity to 66.5 gal (302 l) and by omitting the rear fuselage tank. These aircraft were better balanced and had the more powerful Merlin 45 engine as used by the Mk V, along with heated cabins, which were a great comfort to pilots on such long flights. A total of 229 Type Ds were built"
     
  17. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Purposely built: Kawanishi H8K (I’d read some were equipped with cameras)
    Modified Plane: Mosquito or Me 262A-1aU3
     
  18. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Just a slight correction VB; the PR Mosquito wasn't modified as such. The Mosquito was built in three basic types specifically for the intended role of those types - Bomber, Fighter (and fighter/bomber) and PR.
     
  19. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Now if we incl. MR or Patrol, my choice for that work is PB4Y-2 Privateer, too tough nut even for N1K2-J Shiden Kais (Georges) of 343 Kokutai, see Genda's Blade.

    Juha
     
  20. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    As mentioned on previous postings the range of a PR Spitfire was significant and shouldn't be compared to the fighter versions.
    Re the 8th AF in PR terms they asked for and received PR Spits and Mossies as they were better suited.

    A couple of quotes from Going to War with the 7th Photo Group.

    Operating out of England, the photorecon Lightnings suffered from all the problems faced by their fighter brethren. High-altitude missions were generally limited to a maximum of 25,000 feet, as the Lightning had engine trouble at higher altitude. Even flying at 400mph at this altitude instead of at the expected 35,000 feet meant that the Lightnings were vulnerable to interception by the Luftwaffe. The Germans were well aware of the purpose of a single aircraft at high altitude, and their radar could easily track it. If the intercepting Bf 109s or Fw 190s were in position and given a sufficient altitude advantage, they could overtake the Lightning in a dive more easily than they could the British Mosquito. A photo ship's only real defense was to fly an erratic course to avoid interception by not allowing the German controller to position his fighters successfully. Additionally, the hope was that an erratic flight course would conceal the target objective.

    I understand that the Mossie had a higher cruising speed with max fuel and at a higher altitude than the P38 which for a PR aircraft is probably more important than a headline max speed.

    Because of the continued unreliability of the Allison engines at high altitude, the Lightning was replaced by reverse-LendLease Spitfire P.R.XIs for the most dangerous target-assessment missions. The Lightnings were returned to the job of photographically mapping northwest Europe for the planned invasion.

    So the Spits were used on the more dangerous missions and the P38 the more day to day missions.

    Link for the whole article which I reccomend
    Going to war with the 7th photo group | Flight Journal | Find Articles at BNET
     
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