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Ozair
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Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:26 am

Time for the ultimate thread on favourite aircraft from World War Two with the Heavy Bomber!.

For me it can and will only ever be one aircraft, the Avro Lancaster. I have a family connection to service in the aircraft with my Grandfather flying in Lancasters through the Battle of Berlin and on later missions. He flew a statistically impossible number of missions across three separate squadrons and two tours, witnessing at one point the loss of an entire squadron’s worth of personnel over a four month period. Past the family connection it was a fine aircraft with the distinctive merlin sound and a classic shape that ended up being the primary Bomber Command aircraft for the latter years of the war.

Image

Some distinguishing features for me were the single pilot (alongside most other British Bombers), the ability of the aircraft to carry such a wide array of bombs and use of the aircraft in the Dambusters raid. An amazing fact about the aircraft was that almost 45% of all Lancasters were lost during the war, 3249 of 7277 produced. It also apparently wasn’t an easy aircraft to get out of, according to a Wiki reference only an average of 15% of aircrew were able to escape out of the aircraft successfully.

Image




So despite no aircraft ever being comparable to the Lancaster, what was your favourite Heavy Bomber of World War Two?
 
ZKNCI
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Fri Apr 17, 2020 6:08 am

Huge respect for the mighty Lancaster, it really is an excellent aircraft, as is the Halifax.

But it has to be the B-24 for me.
Does it look as nice as a Lanc? Not really. Is it cramped on the inside? Yeah. Was it tricky to fly? Especially when heavy.
But it got my grandfather safely home each time he went out hunting U-boats and escorting convoys, so this one's a family connection too.
Image
https://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/usa/aircrafts-2-3/b24/liberator-gr-v-asv/
Its boxy fuselage drew comments such as "the packing crate the B-17 came in", but its most notable feature is the wing. Aspect ratio 11.5, rather thick (22% at the root) and high loading, which made it wearisome to fly, but gave the B-24 excellent range and endurance, and allowed for lifting heavy loads. The fuselage shape inevitably meant transport derivatives came. The fuselage was unusual for the roller-door style operation of the bomb bay doors, and it was the first American bomber with a tricycle undercarriage. It was also the most numerous heavy of WWII, with 18,188 produced between 1939 and 1945, although it didn't last long in service post-war.
Image
https://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/usa/aircrafts-2-3/b24/lb-30b-liberator-mk-ii-al507/
With Coastal Command, the B-24s ranged the Atlantic and off the Bay of Biscay, helping close the mid-Atlantic gap and reducing the U-boat threat. These aircraft were modified as needed, many getting ASV radar, leigh lights, and stub wings for rockets, while some lost armour and turrets to get even more range.
Image
https://www.72news.eu/2016/09/eduard-consolidated-b24-liberator-gr-v.html
The B-24 served in every theatre of the war, most well known for the raids against Ploesti in Romania from North Africa. Its range was also highly valued in the Pacific
 
angad84
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:09 am

Like Ozair, I have a family connection. My great-grandfather was one of a handful of Indian pilots in Europe during the war, and among an even smaller subset of those who flew nearly all types of aircraft/missions in the war -- starting with bombers then on to tac-R and fighters. So for me, it will always be his bomber type -- the Short Stirling. It gets a lot less love than the later bombers, but it was the first "proper" heavy, and was saddled with a lot of early limitations that birds like the Lancaster did not. But for sheer imposing presence, it wins hands down!

Image

This is him (no prizes for guessing which one!) as co-pilot of an XV Sqn Stirling with the full crew of the bird -- not plugging the book, but it's a fascinating insight into the life of a single man, and the squadrons, aircraft, people and operations that intersected with his life until his untimely demise in a Stirling crash. My g-grandfather had been posted onward by that time, his stint on Stirlings was short (heh). But while at XV Sqn, he even flew N6068, the famous 'MacRobert's Reply' and from his correspondence and photographs, I think his first squadron was always close to his heart.

Image

Pity there are no surviving Stirlings, I would give anything to see one at rest, let alone in flight!
 
Wright3350tc
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Fri Apr 17, 2020 12:58 pm

A very dear friend of mine, departed 4 years ago at age 90, flew 20+ missions as tail gunner in the B-24 out of Italy. Always said he loved that plane and wouldn’t fly in a B-17. He said he saw too many crash on takeoff ferrying across the pond and on practice missions. One mission they were shot up badly and the pilot told the crew to bailout. Pilot said he was going to try to make it, so the crew stayed with the plane and managed to return safely. Many great stories he told.
Regards,
Tom
 
GDB
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Fri Apr 17, 2020 2:23 pm

Well I can only add my agreement to the first two choices, both could carry a big load, the Lanc in particular with it's plethora of specialist loads, from 'Cookies', 'Tallboys', 'Grand Slams' and of course, the 'Upkeeps' for those damn dams!
Both the Lanc and B-24 were admirable maritime recon platforms, the Lanc also used radar (as in fairness did some Halifax's) for radar directed bombing too).
B-24's also made good transports, Churchill had both the B-24 'Commando' and a variant of the Avro machine called the York, though that used the Lancaster's wing and engines with a more suitable fuselage for the role.

While the Stirling was a slightly older design, it was constrained by a pre war requirement limiting wing span (to fit existing hangars), nonetheless as the first of the RAF's four engined heavies, it was a step change and as noted, it's imposing presence would have been a boost to both the RAF and the nation when it entered service at a dark time.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Fri Apr 17, 2020 4:11 pm

I gotta say B17 on this one. It's a classic image of American air power and steadfastness. I was born in Memphis, TN so the Memphis Belle has a special spot in my heart.

Huge honorable mention to the Focke Wulf Condor. A true all around airplane, strategic bomber, maritime patrol, and TATL commercial airliner.
When wasn't America great?


The thoughts and opinions shared under this username are mine and are not influenced by my employer.
 
Reddevil556
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Fri Apr 17, 2020 7:36 pm

I will have to go with the B-29. To me it was the hallmark of innovation for the USAAF during the war. The rapid advancement in technology during a relatively short period would be synonymous with the B-29. The remote controlled turrets and pressurized cabin made it a marvel for its day. Sure it had issues, but it’s capabilities were impressive compared to the B-24 and 17. I remember watching and mostly hearing “FIFI” fly over my residence once upon at time and it was impressive to say the least.
Jumped out of: C130H, C130J, C17A, C212, CH47, and UH60. Bucket list: C160, A400, C2
 
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:02 pm

I know this is going to come across like a game of Top Trumps™, but what exactly are the criteria for a "heavy bomber" ?

Most people (not just Americans) would put the B-17 right up there, except it failed in it's main role. It did not carry a heavy bomb load. :duck:

Wikipedia gives; [B-17G] Short range missions (<400 mi): 8,000 lb...…………….Long range missions (≈800 mi): 4,500 lb
Although it also states....Range: 2,000 mi with 6,000 lb bombload. Will the real Memphis Belle please stand up!

The B-24J comes up with the same... Short range (400 mi): 8,000 lb...…….Long range (800 mi): 5,000 pounds.... and Very long range (1,200 mi): 2,700 pounds
Although once again the water is muddied; Range: 1,540 miles "with normal fuel and maximum internal bomb load"

In contrast the main British contenders (Halifax and Lancaster) boasted maximum "normal" bomb loads of 13,500-14,500 lb, although the six separate compartments within the bomb bay limited the Halifax to nothing larger than 2,000 lb bombs. And as we all know, 32 Lancaster B.1(Specials) were adapted to carry single 22,000 lb Grand Slam bombs, which leaves them only just behind Enola Gay in terms of sheer destructive power. More on those Lancasters in my next post.

For heavens sake, the P-38 Lightning regularly touted 4,000 lb of bombs, and was rated to carry more.
Although, once again, if you scratch the surface you can find differing interpretations;
When P-38s were sent in against Ploiești (after earlier attacks by B-24s had been badly mauled), they each carried just a single 1,000 lb bomb on a mission of 1255 miles. But maybe that was because they also needed to keep all their guns fully loaded; Ploiești, was reckoned to be #3 well-defended target after Berlin & Vienna!

Speaking of which, here are some of those poor unfortunate B-24s, attacking Ploiești on that fateful day. Low-level B-24s against a heavily defended target? You better believe it.
Image
Thx wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Tidal_Wave
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:11 pm

So.… the Avro Lancaster B.1 (Special).
(as usual, thx to Wikipedia)
A modified Lancaster was designed for the 22,000 lb Grand Slam, minus front and mid-upper turrets and the crew reduced to five; the bomb bay doors were removed and a stronger undercarriage installed. Like the Tallboy, after hot molten Torpex was poured into the casing, the explosive took a month to cool and set. Aircrews were told to land with an unused bomb on board rather than jettison them into the sea if a sortie was aborted. :o
The Grand Slam was so heavy that in the air, the wing tips of the Lancaster bent upwards by 6–8 in until the bomb was released; the aircraft then leapt 200–300 ft. After release, the Grand Slam would reach a near-supersonic speed and would penetrate deep underground before detonating.

This is a Grand Slam at the moment of release.
Image

The Bielefeld Viaduct
By mid-March 1945, over 3,500 tons had been dropped on the Bielefeld viaduct in 54 attacks. Then, fifteen Lancasters of 617 Squadron carrying 14 Tallboys and a single Grand Slam attacked. A Mosquito of 627 Squadron was present to film the attack along with four Oboe Mosquitoes of 8 (Pathfinder Force) Group to mark the target, escorted by eight squadrons of P-51 Mustangs.
Eight squadrons of P-51s! :box:
That formation must have been an amazing sight. And an amazing sound, with something around 150-200 RR Merlin engines.

I don't need to tell you the result. Other targets followed, with similar devastation. And yes, 617 sqdn are "The Dambusters".

FWIW this only constituted a "short range" mission, around 393 miles assuming the Lancs didn't detour en-route to confuse enemy defences.

Best Heavy bomber of WWII?
Right up until VE-day, 8th May 1945, the Avro Lancaster

For the remainder of WWII (and the Cold War that followed); the Boeing B-29, technology for the future.

The most elegant? The Focke-Wulf FW.200 Condor
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:32 pm

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
Most people (not just Americans) would put the B-17 right up there, except it failed in it's main role. It did not carry a heavy bomb load. :duck:


Image

B-29.

Bomb load, great range, defenses, technology and all that, sure. But fighting a war with warm hands and feet clinches it for me.
"I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!"
 
Wright3350tc
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:06 pm

Once Curtis LeMay applied the “LeMay treatment “ the B-29 quickly proved the final end to the Pacific air war. Lower level flights, napalm attacks. Much better results and fewer losses from engine failures. By July 1945, the strategic targets were mostly obliterated. The final straw of the atomic attacks quickly ended the last days of WW II. The B-29 was the penultimate achievement of heavy bomber design at that time.
 
Wright3350tc
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:10 pm

Long may “FIFI” and “DOC” fly!
 
Ozair
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Sun Apr 19, 2020 4:07 am

ZKNCI wrote:
Huge respect for the mighty Lancaster, it really is an excellent aircraft, as is the Halifax.

But it has to be the B-24 for me.
Does it look as nice as a Lanc? Not really. Is it cramped on the inside? Yeah. Was it tricky to fly? Especially when heavy.
But it got my grandfather safely home each time he went out hunting U-boats and escorting convoys, so this one's a family connection too.

I wasn't aware how many B-24s were used in a maritime role, clearly an excellent aircraft for that given its range and payload. Great hearing about your family connection!

angad84 wrote:
Like Ozair, I have a family connection. My great-grandfather was one of a handful of Indian pilots in Europe during the war, and among an even smaller subset of those who flew nearly all types of aircraft/missions in the war -- starting with bombers then on to tac-R and fighters. So for me, it will always be his bomber type -- the Short Stirling. It gets a lot less love than the later bombers, but it was the first "proper" heavy, and was saddled with a lot of early limitations that birds like the Lancaster did not. But for sheer imposing presence, it wins hands down!

Love the photo and love the Stirling. I had a model of one once and the size of it compared to the Lancaster and Halifax is truly amazing,

Image

Wright3350tc wrote:
A very dear friend of mine, departed 4 years ago at age 90, flew 20+ missions as tail gunner in the B-24 out of Italy. Always said he loved that plane and wouldn’t fly in a B-17. He said he saw too many crash on takeoff ferrying across the pond and on practice missions. One mission they were shot up badly and the pilot told the crew to bailout. Pilot said he was going to try to make it, so the crew stayed with the plane and managed to return safely. Many great stories he told.
Regards,
Tom

Great story. I'm looking forward to Masters of the Air by Spielberg and Hanks which will hopefully highlight some of these types of stories. I read an article that surveyed 8th AF Bomber crews during the second world war and most aircrew felt their aircraft was the best for the job.

The majority of three thousand officers and enlisted men in Eight Air Force heavy bomber crews tallied between 28 May and 5 June 1944 said their aircraft – be they B-17s or B-24s – were the best for the job. When separated into B-17 and B-24 crews, 92 percent of the surveyed B-17 crews said they had the best type of machine, compared with 76 percent of the polled B-24 crews who said they had the best type of aircraft. As the survey summary noted: “The proportion who are ‘sold’ on their own plane is… greater among B-17 crew members.”

...

https://b17flyingfortress.de/en/details/b-17-vs-b-24/

Some other interesting survey results there as well.

I also read many years ago, but cannot find now, that B-17 crews thought the B-24 was their best escort as when the B-24s were along the German fighters left the B-17s alone. Same with the Lancasters versus the Halifaxs. The suggestion was that a German pilot could fire all the way through the fuselage from the rear and hit the pilots of those bombers. Not sure on the accuracy of that statement as I expect German pilots attacked what they saw irrespective and with the rear turrets attacking from that aspect wasn't easy.

Reddevil556 wrote:
I will have to go with the B-29. To me it was the hallmark of innovation for the USAAF during the war. The rapid advancement in technology during a relatively short period would be synonymous with the B-29. The remote controlled turrets and pressurized cabin made it a marvel for its day. Sure it had issues, but it’s capabilities were impressive compared to the B-24 and 17. I remember watching and mostly hearing “FIFI” fly over my residence once upon at time and it was impressive to say the least.

B-29 is a great aircraft and certainly the most technologically advanced of the bombers. Wiki lists the total cost of the program as over US$ three billion dollars, so more than the cost of the Manhatten project!

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
I know this is going to come across like a game of Top Trumps™, but what exactly are the criteria for a "heavy bomber" ?

Agree, the problem with the thread starter is he didn't make it clear what the criteria was...

Seriously, I agree it is hard to distinguish the capabilities of aircraft across a conflict, even just from the start to the finish of World War Two. We could restrict the category to four engined aircraft but frankly I'll take whatever anyone suggests.

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
Speaking of which, here are some of those poor unfortunate B-24s, attacking Ploiești on that fateful day. Low-level B-24s against a heavily defended target? You better believe it.

I have a lot of respect for all these guys that flew daylight raids, from the early light bombers to the heavies later in the war. While Bomber Command at night rarely fared better it must have taken some serious guts to go at it day after day.

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
Best Heavy bomber of WWII?
Right up until VE-day, 8th May 1945, the Avro Lancaster

For the remainder of WWII (and the Cold War that followed); the Boeing B-29, technology for the future.

The most elegant? The Focke-Wulf FW.200 Condor

That seems a reasonable assessment. For all the love of the FW.200 crazy that Germany only manufactured less than 300, including pre-war civilian aircraft. Compared to the thousands of Allied Heavy Bombers of the war...
 
mxaxai
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Sun Apr 19, 2020 2:18 pm

First of all, I find it difficult to call any heavy bomber a 'favourite' simply because these are symbols of mass destruction; more than any other aircraft. But of course we can discuss their technological merits and operational history.
Ozair wrote:
SheikhDjibouti wrote:
Best Heavy bomber of WWII?
Right up until VE-day, 8th May 1945, the Avro Lancaster

For the remainder of WWII (and the Cold War that followed); the Boeing B-29, technology for the future.

The most elegant? The Focke-Wulf FW.200 Condor

That seems a reasonable assessment. For all the love of the FW.200 crazy that Germany only manufactured less than 300, including pre-war civilian aircraft. Compared to the thousands of Allied Heavy Bombers of the war...

I have to agree with SheikhDjibouti in all aspects.
Regarding the FW.200: It really wasn't a good bomber. The aircraft was designed for long range passenger transport in peacetime and every part of it reflects that. Compare the B-29 and the Lockheed Constellation series - similar technology but one is a strategic bomber and the other is a passenger liner.
  • Very small bomb load of only ~2200 lbs internally and ~12,000 lbs externally. Full fuel tanks would limit the bomb load to ~3000 lbs.
  • Highly efficient fuselage that didn't allow easy cutouts for bomb bay doors or gunner positions. No tail gunner.
  • Difficult to build and maintain without specialised equipment (that would be standard on a civilian airport but not on front line airfields). Not optimised for mass production.
  • Structure and aerodynamics were optimised for smooth and efficient cruising, not the loads and maneuvers a bomber would face.
  • No signicant armor or self-sealing fuel tanks.
The FW.200 does look great, though. And like the Super Constellation, it was decent in the long range reconnaisance and sigint role. Too bad for the U-boat crews that they were always the lowest priority when it came to air support.
----------------

At this point, a brief shout-out to the flying boats might be appropriate. While these were certainly not strategic bombers like the B-17/-24/-29 etc, they played a significant role in naval warfare. The flying boats were among the heaviest aircraft of their time, although their bomb load does not always reflect that. They usually featured much greater range and endurance than their land-based counterparts.

Common armaments were not only bombs but also depth charges and torpedoes. Beyond attacking directly, a common role was patrol and reconaissance to guide ships and "proper" bombers to their targets at sea. They also found use picking up crew from sunk ships or ditched aircraft.

A brief overview:
USA: PBY Catalina. 4000 lbs of bombs. PB2Y Coronado, 12000 lbs of bombs.
UK: Short Sunderland. 4950 lbs of bombs.
Germany: BV 238. 19000 lbs of bombs (only 1 prototype completed). Also the BV 222, another passenger liner converted to military duties (no bombs).
Japan: Kawanishi H8K (image). 4400 lbs of bombs. Kawanishi H6K, 2200 lbs of bombs.
Image
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... ke_off.png

Data courtesy of Wikipedia, once again.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Mon Apr 20, 2020 10:18 pm

mxaxai wrote:
At this point, a brief shout-out to the flying boats might be appropriate. While these were certainly not strategic bombers like the B-17/-24/-29 etc, they played a significant role in naval warfare. The flying boats were among the heaviest aircraft of their time, although their bomb load does not always reflect that. They usually featured much greater range and endurance than their land-based counterparts.

Common armaments were not only bombs but also depth charges and torpedoes. Beyond attacking directly, a common role was patrol and reconaissance to guide ships and "proper" bombers to their targets at sea. They also found use picking up crew from sunk ships or ditched aircraft.

A brief overview:
USA: PBY Catalina. 4000 lbs of bombs. PB2Y Coronado, 12000 lbs of bombs.
UK: Short Sunderland. 4950 lbs of bombs.
Germany: BV 238. 19000 lbs of bombs (only 1 prototype completed). Also the BV 222, another passenger liner converted to military duties (no bombs).
Japan: Kawanishi H8K (image). 4400 lbs of bombs. Kawanishi H6K, 2200 lbs of bombs.
Image
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... ke_off.png

Data courtesy of Wikipedia, once again.

The Short Sunderland was an extremely tough aircraft; they didn't call it the Flying Porcupine for nothing. It could tangle with large numbers of German twin engine fighters, and not only survive, but also shoot them down.
 
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SheikhDjibouti
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:12 pm

ThePointblank wrote:
mxaxai wrote:
At this point, a brief shout-out to the flying boats might be appropriate....

The Short Sunderland was an extremely tough aircraft; they didn't call it the Flying Porcupine for nothing. It could tangle with large numbers of German twin engine fighters, and not only survive, but also shoot them down.
Ok - much as I love the Sunderland, one [epic] encounter doesn't paint the whole picture, and that particular Sunderland only "survived" for the four hours it took them to find a suitable beach to crash land. (Praa Sands, Cornwall). As I recall, most of the crew of EJ134/N were injured to some extent, with one fatality. And, amazingly, two months later most of them were patched up and back on ops, airborne in a replacement Sunderland, when they met six Ju-88s. This time they were not so lucky.

Still, losing two Sunderlands in exchange for six Ju-88s (probably) is good going.

I must have read that story a dozen times before the almost offhand reference to "searching for the airliner shot down the previous day" finally clicked with BOAC Flight 777. Of course that was long before the internet and Wikipedia, who are slightly more helpful in that respect, describing the Sunderland/Ju-88 encounter as a "furious battle", but even so, Wikipedia's version of the story is only a tiny fraction of the whole account.

May I suggest this rendition instead; I only found it today - I hope it backs up my memories.
http://www.aircrewremembered.com/walker-colin.html


By the same token, what about the unfortunate Hurricane pilot, catapaulted off a CAM ship, only to be shot down by the FW.200 he was supposed to attack. Not only did he lose his Hurricane, but he probably lost his ship as well. From that single story, one could argue that FW.200s gave as good as they got too. (¹)

Regardless, The Battle of the Bay is a sobering read for anyone interested in WWII and air combat.

(¹) After writing this, I now also read that whilst 50 Sea Hurricane 1A were converted for catapult launch, only eight operational missions are recorded, along with six enemy a/c shot down - which is a pretty good kill ratio, apart from the fact that if you fail to shoot the enemy down, you've got a long swim home. Either way, you are bailing out into the Atlantic afterwards.
I also note that at least one of these Hurricats had already seen a little too much action even before it's conversion, and the airframe disintegrated as it was launched by catapult. I can't swear to it, but Eric "Winkle" Brown may have been somewhere in the vicinity at the time. :scratchchin: It's probably all in his book...
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Tue Apr 21, 2020 2:29 pm

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
mxaxai wrote:
At this point, a brief shout-out to the flying boats might be appropriate....

The Short Sunderland was an extremely tough aircraft; they didn't call it the Flying Porcupine for nothing. It could tangle with large numbers of German twin engine fighters, and not only survive, but also shoot them down.
Ok - much as I love the Sunderland, one [epic] encounter doesn't paint the whole picture, and that particular Sunderland only "survived" for the four hours it took them to find a suitable beach to crash land. (Praa Sands, Cornwall). As I recall, most of the crew of EJ134/N were injured to some extent, with one fatality. And, amazingly, two months later most of them were patched up and back on ops, airborne in a replacement Sunderland, when they met six Ju-88s. This time they were not so lucky.

Still, losing two Sunderlands in exchange for six Ju-88s (probably) is good going.

The BV 222 could report a similar feat. Although - as noted above - it didn't carry bombs it still was the largest aircraft of WW2 to shoot down another aircraft. On 22nd October 1943, a BV 222 (reg X4+DH) encountered a PB4Y-1 (BuNo 63917) over the bay of Biscay; some contemporary logs claim the model was a "Mars" (of which only 1 prototype was in service at the time) and other later reports talk about a Lancaster being shot down. Much like the Sunderland, the BV 222 was heavily damaged as well and one crew member was wounded. Needed about 5 weeks of repair.

http://aufhimmelzuhause.com/id73.htm [I don't know the source of the images in that link, or whether they are what the descriptions suggest, but the event itself is confirmed]
http://www.luftwaffe-zur-see.de/Seeluft ... %20222.htm [Logbook of the entire fleet of BV 222, combined from several sources, German]
 
GDB
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:33 pm

The Japanese built some very impressive flying boats. Though with the lack of good ASW kit, training, co-ordination with the rest of the navy, it didn't do them much good. Which the USN sub fleet was only too happy to exploit.
Ironically, the modern JMSDF is about the only air arm procuring flying boats today.
 
FW200
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:14 pm

Ozair wrote:
I also read many years ago, but cannot find now, that B-17 crews thought the B-24 was their best escort as when the B-24s were along the German fighters left the B-17s alone. Same with the Lancasters versus the Halifaxs. The suggestion was that a German pilot could fire all the way through the fuselage from the rear and hit the pilots of those bombers. Not sure on the accuracy of that statement as I expect German pilots attacked what they saw irrespective and with the rear turrets attacking from that aspect wasn't easy.


The German fighters attacked the US-Bombers during daylight not from the rear, but from forward to avoid the rear turrets.
The night fighters used to attack the RAF bombers usually from a position below of the bomber for the same reason.

mxaxai wrote:
Regarding the FW.200: It really wasn't a good bomber. The aircraft was designed for long range passenger transport in peacetime and every part of it reflects that. Compare the B-29 and the Lockheed Constellation series - similar technology but one is a strategic bomber and the other is a passenger liner.
  • Very small bomb load of only ~2200 lbs internally and ~12,000 lbs externally. Full fuel tanks would limit the bomb load to ~3000 lbs.
  • Highly efficient fuselage that didn't allow easy cutouts for bomb bay doors or gunner positions. No tail gunner.
  • Difficult to build and maintain without specialised equipment (that would be standard on a civilian airport but not on front line airfields). Not optimised for mass production.
  • Structure and aerodynamics were optimised for smooth and efficient cruising, not the loads and maneuvers a bomber would face.
  • No signicant armor or self-sealing fuel tanks.
The FW.200 does look great, though.


The FW 200 never was used for bombing, only for maritime reconnaissance and anti-ship missions.

The only German heavy bomber with combat missions in WWII was the Heinkel He 177 (bomb load: up to 7300 kg (~ 16'000 lb):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinkel_He_177

http://www.luftarchiv.de/index.htm?/flugzeuge/heinkel/he177.htm

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Ozair
Topic Author
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:19 pm

FW200 wrote:
Ozair wrote:
I also read many years ago, but cannot find now, that B-17 crews thought the B-24 was their best escort as when the B-24s were along the German fighters left the B-17s alone. Same with the Lancasters versus the Halifaxs. The suggestion was that a German pilot could fire all the way through the fuselage from the rear and hit the pilots of those bombers. Not sure on the accuracy of that statement as I expect German pilots attacked what they saw irrespective and with the rear turrets attacking from that aspect wasn't easy.


The German fighters attacked the US-Bombers during daylight not from the rear, but from forward to avoid the rear turrets.
The night fighters used to attack the RAF bombers usually from a position below of the bomber for the same reason.



The illustrations at the following website https://www.91stbombardmentgroup.com/ge ... actics.htm are taken from a VIII Bomber Command study from late 1943 that covered German fighter tactics against Flying Fortresses to date. They examined over 2500 different engagements as reported by the USAAF aircrew. Clearly the USAAF was being attacked from all angles with rear engagements a key engagement tactic...

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Yes tactics may have adjusted later in the war but that was likely more due to the presence of Allied fighter aircraft than an overall change in German tactics.

Similarly German night fighters attacking from the rear was a common tactic with some aircraft using the upwards firing cannons later in the war. There is plenty of evidence for this in the vast number of books written about German night fighters after the war.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:03 am

FW200 wrote:
The FW 200 never was used for bombing, only for maritime reconnaissance and anti-ship missions.

Exactly, it was used to bomb ships ...
 
FW200
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:39 am

mxaxai wrote:
FW200 wrote:
The FW 200 never was used for bombing, only for maritime reconnaissance and anti-ship missions.

Exactly, it was used to bomb ships ...


According to this definition the Beaufighter was a heavy bomber. :roll:
 
GDB
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:07 am

FW200 wrote:
mxaxai wrote:
FW200 wrote:
The FW 200 never was used for bombing, only for maritime reconnaissance and anti-ship missions.

Exactly, it was used to bomb ships ...


According to this definition the Beaufighter was a heavy bomber. :roll:


Or a JU-87....
The point here is range. The FW200 was used in that role for it's range.

I understood that the HE-177 was not a success, for mainly technical reasons.
 
FW200
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:53 am

GDB wrote:
FW200 wrote:
I understood that the HE-177 was not a success, for mainly technical reasons.


Yes, the He 177 A had a lot of "toothing problems" due to its sophisticated double-engines. When these "toothing problems" were solved, the production of all bombers was stopped in 1944 in favour of the fighter programm. Moreover after the loss of the Rumanian oilfields in August 1944 and the bombing of the synthetic fuels production plants (coal liquefaction) and refineries there was a serious lack of fuel and all fuel was designated to the fighter and nightfighter units.

But there was a prototype of a He 177 B with four single engines to avoid the difficulties connected with the double engines and if production of the He 177 were not stopped, it would have been continued in this design:

https://www.flugrevue.de/klassiker/zurueck-zum-gewoehnlichen-heinkel-he-177-mit-vier-einzeltriebwerken/

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There was also a design for a He 277:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinkel_He_277
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinkel_He_277

And for a high altitude bomber He 274:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinkel_He_274
http://www.luftarchiv.de/index.htm?/flugzeuge/heinkel/he274.htm
 
mxaxai
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:41 pm

GDB wrote:
I understood that the HE-177 was not a success, for mainly technical reasons.

Even before the He-177, 4-engined heavy bombers weren't a success with the Luftwaffe. Two prototypes had been developed between 1933 and 1937, the Ju 89 and the Do 19. Both failed to achieve the performance that the specification called for; as usual the main culprit was weak engines.
Additionally, strategic bombing and heavy bombers weren't really considered useful at the outbreak of the war. The doctrine called for CAS (the Ju 87) and medium range bombing of high value targets (the He-111, Ju 88 and Do 17). This was based around three reasons:
  • Quantity over quality: It was approximately as easy to shoot down a large bomber as a small bomber, but it was much easier to produce a large number of small bombers.
  • The destructive ability of bombers on strategic targets (i. e. cities, large factories or airfields) was found too little to make the investment into strategic bomber fleets worthwhile.
  • By the mid 1930s, long range engagements like the Battle of Britain weren't part of the plan. The primary targets of the time were France and Poland (and the rest of eastern Europe as well as scandinavia, but one step at a time).
Of course the doctrine changed as it became clear that there would be no ceasefire with the UK or the USA, that surface raiding in the Atlantic wasn't an option and that the Soviet Union was a much tougher (and larger) cookie than expected. Hence the FW.200 and He 177 were pressed into service quickly once the war broke out.
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GDB
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:04 pm

mxaxai wrote:
GDB wrote:
I understood that the HE-177 was not a success, for mainly technical reasons.

Even before the He-177, 4-engined heavy bombers weren't a success with the Luftwaffe. Two prototypes had been developed between 1933 and 1937, the Ju 89 and the Do 19. Both failed to achieve the performance that the specification called for; as usual the main culprit was weak engines.
Additionally, strategic bombing and heavy bombers weren't really considered useful at the outbreak of the war. The doctrine called for CAS (the Ju 87) and medium range bombing of high value targets (the He-111, Ju 88 and Do 17). This was based around three reasons:
  • Quantity over quality: It was approximately as easy to shoot down a large bomber as a small bomber, but it was much easier to produce a large number of small bombers.
  • The destructive ability of bombers on strategic targets (i. e. cities, large factories or airfields) was found too little to make the investment into strategic bomber fleets worthwhile.
  • By the mid 1930s, long range engagements like the Battle of Britain weren't part of the plan. The primary targets of the time were France and Poland (and the rest of eastern Europe as well as scandinavia, but one step at a time).
Of course the doctrine changed as it became clear that there would be no ceasefire with the UK or the USA, that surface raiding in the Atlantic wasn't an option and that the Soviet Union was a much tougher (and larger) cookie than expected. Hence the FW.200 and He 177 were pressed into service quickly once the war broke out.
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Absolutely, Hitler assumed the UK would give in if France fell, then that the USSR would crumble, then the US would stay out of the war. (So why did HE declare war on the US?)
The latter might be down to his Foreign Minister Von Ribbentrop, he'd sold wines in the US pre war so 'knew' the country. His expertise led him to advise that for one, FDR's government was run by 'Negros and Jews' and even if they went to war in Europe, the earliest the 'decadent' US could muster say 250,000 troops to the European theater would be around 1970.
(Small wonder his stock fell after Operation Torch).

That's even before we get to the erratic, interfering Luftwaffe leaders, not only junkie Goering but his deputy who seemed to think all bombers should be able to be dive bombing capable, at least he topped himself before the war ended unlike his boss.

They were never going to be major players in long range bombing, firstly since they did didn't see the need, when they did, it was too late.
 
Raptormodeller
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:36 pm

ME-264, barely known, barely flew. One heck of a looker though.

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AF BA QF SQ HOP LT AA BE
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Fri Apr 24, 2020 4:06 am

Raptormodeller wrote:
ME-264, barely known, barely flew. One heck of a looker though.

Image


It's the illegitimate love-child of the B-29 and B-24... The thrice-daily flights between Seattle and San Diego spawned a beautiful progeny.
"I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!"
 
johns624
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:35 pm

A part of the reason for the heavier bombload of the British heavies vs the American ones is the smaller aircrew and lesser defense armament. Of course, this also relegated the British planes to bombing at night when it wasn't as accurate. So they needed more bombs to do the same damage.
 
Ozair
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Sun Apr 26, 2020 12:30 am

johns624 wrote:
A part of the reason for the heavier bombload of the British heavies vs the American ones is the smaller aircrew and lesser defense armament. Of course, this also relegated the British planes to bombing at night when it wasn't as accurate. So they needed more bombs to do the same damage.

The USAAF were likely more accurate for daylight raids but Bomber Command developed some very good tactics by the end of the war to improve their accuracy as well as bomb in all weathers. You could also argue that most of the time night bombing wasn't about accuracy anyway, especially when half your load are incendiaries for most missions...

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GDB
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Sun Apr 26, 2020 12:45 am

johns624 wrote:
A part of the reason for the heavier bombload of the British heavies vs the American ones is the smaller aircrew and lesser defense armament. Of course, this also relegated the British planes to bombing at night when it wasn't as accurate. So they needed more bombs to do the same damage.


True, however this also spurred innovations such as Gee for navigation, H2S bombing radar, pathfinders, what we now call ECM, such as 'Window' what is is called chaff and as Ozair showed, some specialized bombloads.
Ultimately the best defence for the daylight raids was the P-51D.
 
spencer32
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Sun Apr 26, 2020 1:12 pm

FW200 wrote:

The FW 200 never was used for bombing, only for maritime reconnaissance and anti-ship missions.



I believe Condors from 1./KG 40 and 2./KG 40 were used in night attacks on Glasgow and Falkirk in October and November 1940.
 
agill
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Re: Favourite World War Two heavy Bomber?

Mon Apr 27, 2020 8:16 am

Absolute favorite is the B-17. I think it's such a beautiful airplane. Have gotten to ride in B-17, B-29 and Lancaster. Was going to go with a B-24 this summer, but then this whole Corona mess happened...

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