PDA

View Full Version : Best medium bomber of WW2



The Bigfella
08-16-2009, 08:12 PM
I've been meaning to put this thread up for a while... having seen a former B25 pilot on a history channel show (on the Doolittle Raid) claim the B25 as the best medium bomber of WW2.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/93/00910460_178.jpg/777px-

I'm not so sure about that....

What about a few other contenders the Ju88 for example, with 50% more built, more versatile, less resource intensive, better performance.... and so on.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-363-2258-11%2C_Flugzeug_Junkers_Ju_88.jpg

Then there's the Petlyakov Pe-2

http://www.aviation.ru/Pe/Pe-2_a.jpg

- which only carried 1.6 tonnes of bombs against the B-25's 2.7 tonnes of bombs with the Ju88 carrying 3.0 tonnes, and the Mosquito 1.8 tonnes.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/De_Havilland_Mosquito-DK338-1942.jpg

Incidentally, the B17, with its crew of 10, only carried 2 tonnes of bombs on missions over 400 miles, so its almost in the medium bomber category when it comes to performance... but let's not go there.

Any others in contention?

Paul Pless
08-16-2009, 08:20 PM
less resource intensive

But... if ya got the resources.... <insert something about General Motors winning the war here>

:p

The Bigfella
08-16-2009, 08:39 PM
But... if ya got the resources.... <insert something about General Motors winning the war here>

:p

Actually, I was thinking about the human resources there.

The B25 had a crew of 6. The Ju88 and Pe-2 had crews of 3, the Mosquito had 2 crew.

Paul Pless
08-16-2009, 08:44 PM
I guess my vote goes to the B-25, but I have a lot of appreciation for the A-26 Invader, which I think might hold the record for the most amount of forward firing machine guns controlled by the pilot at 15 .50 caliber guns of any aircraft.

PatCox
08-16-2009, 08:54 PM
A-26 was a notoriously hard to fly plane, I have read, high performance and not much room for error.

Kaa
08-16-2009, 09:03 PM
What are the criteria for being the "best"?

Kaa

The Bigfella
08-16-2009, 09:13 PM
What are the criteria for being the "best"?

Kaa

Its always an interesting question - given that the stats you come across don't ever include the stuff like ability to absorb punishment and get the crew home, ability for relatively inexperienced pilots to jump in one and avoid killing themselves, and so on. In my uncle's squadron, I seem to recall that there were more deaths due to accidents than to enemy action - a pretty familiar situation in all such squadrons.

My uncle told an interesting story about winning a bet with some American P38 pilots. They thought the P38 was the bees knees, but he went up against one at low altitude in his Bristol Beaufighter and was all over him - up high, the P38's natural territory, it would have been a very different story.

The articles on these planes never seem to include much on these sorts of things - which makes it a bit difficult.

Shang
08-16-2009, 09:14 PM
Henkel 111, designed by Siegfried and Walter Gunter, ostensibly as a passenger plane since as a warplane it was in violation of the Treaty of Versailles.

http://www.bobhenneman.info/heinkel.jpg

C. Ross
08-16-2009, 09:20 PM
What are the criteria for being the "best"?

Kaa

Seems it should be the criteria for which they were designed.

The Bigfella
08-16-2009, 09:24 PM
I think the Heinkel was too old to beat out the Ju88 in this race. It was 60kph slower that the Junkers and more vulnerable too.

Shang
08-16-2009, 09:44 PM
I think the Heinkel was too old to beat out the Ju88 in this race. It was 60kph slower that the Junkers and more vulnerable too.

True.
I think it served best as a recon plane on those occasions when it survived at all.

Actually I agree on the Mosquito... my gawd, they could be built in a garage!

brad9798
08-16-2009, 09:52 PM
I was always a B-24 fan ...

The Bigfella
08-16-2009, 11:33 PM
I can (just) remember crawling through the remains of a crashed WW2 bomber as a kid in the early-mid 60's. I seem to recall it as a B24 Liberator, but a quick web search of crashes in my state during the war shows it must have been one of the two Beauforts that crashed in 44 and 45 where I grew up.

Australia was a big user of the Liberator during WW2 and the late 40's and the US also had a lot of them stationed here.

The B24 was a heavy bomber though... in the Lancaster / B17 class.... a bit big for a medium bomber - and whilst more modern, with better capabilities that the B17, it was more fragile (caught fire a lot) and wasn't as popular with crews.

WX
08-17-2009, 12:05 AM
The B24 was also a deadly plane to have to ditch in the water, mainly because of the roller door style bomb bay doors.
I have a liking for the Boston A20 which was used by the RAAF until replaced with the Beaufighter. The Boston was a popular plane with pilots that flew them.
My vote would go with the Mozzie though. Any medium bomber with 2 engines that could run away from a FW190 or BF 109 does it for me.

paladin
08-17-2009, 02:04 AM
The A-26 wasn't a bad plane to fly.....if......you weren't loaded well past gross weight with bombs/munitions. Several were used in 'Nam as coin aircraft but with modified wing spar ring frames and bigger engines, stripped all the excess "bubbles" off them etc....ammo was loaded into the stripped bomb bay, and fed to miniguns mounted in the nose.

The B-25 was much easier to fly...and a small attack aircraft with the same mods...upgraded engines and cleaned up fuselage, all the heavy electronics gutted and replaced with modern radios saving close to 1000 pounds, and 3 miniguns and the ammo also in the cargo bay.

The Bigfella
08-17-2009, 03:05 AM
I love the quote in Wiki about the A-26



General George Kenny, commander of the Far East Air Forces stated that, "We do not want the A-26 under any circumstances as a replacement for anything."


.. although the later canopy may have overcome the initial reservations about the aircraft.

Yes - the Arado was an interesting one - not too many used in bombing though - they mainly got pressed into recon. I didn't know it till I just looked it up, but they were used extensively against the bridge at Remagen. Most however, didn't go far.... no fuel for them.

Here's another of that ilk, a little later.... still in prototype form when the war ended - but faster and much better range, etc. The Junkers Ju 287

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/EF_131_V1.JPG

The Bigfella
08-17-2009, 03:29 AM
I know I'm straying into heavy bombers again, but here's an interesting photo....

http://www.2worldwar2.com/images/german-b-17.jpg

I found it whilst looking for this, a photo of a Mistel.

http://www.2worldwar2.com/images/mistel.jpg

These were worn out old airframes - normally Ju88s where the crew area was filled with high explosive, they were piloted by the attached fighter which "dropped" the bomb and made their escape.

The Bigfella
08-17-2009, 05:45 AM
From Wiki



The B-26 received the nickname "Widowmaker". Other colorful nicknames included "Martin Murderer", "Flying Coffin", "B-Dash-Crash", "Flying Prostitute" (so-named because it had "no visible means of support," referring to its small wings) and "Baltimore Whore" (a reference to the city where Martin was based).

The B-26 is said to have had the lowest combat loss rate of any U.S. aircraft used during the war. Nevertheless, it remained a challenging plane to fly and continued to be unpopular with some pilots throughout its military career.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-17-2009, 05:51 AM
I really think it has to be the Mosquito. A very clever aeroplane, with no real parallels.

The Bigfella
08-17-2009, 05:53 AM
The Wimpy was actually the only British bomber to be produced right through the war... and the Spitfire was the only fighter to be produced before, during and after the war.

The Wimpy (Vickers Wellington) could also absorb tremendous punishment

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/Vickers_Wellington_Mark_X%2C_HE239_%27NA-Y%27%2C_of_No._428_Squadron_RCAF_%28April_1943%29. png

She had excellent range, but was a bit slow.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-17-2009, 06:04 AM
The Wellington had a few other problems...expensive to build, tended to catch fire, very difficult to escape from, etc.

A propos the Mosquito, Wikipedia saith:

"Despite an initially high loss rate, the Mosquito ended the war with the lowest losses of any aircraft in RAF Bomber Command (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Bomber_Command) service. Post war, the RAF found that when finally applied to bombing, in terms of useful damage done, the Mosquito had proved 4.95 times cheaper than the Lancaster (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Lancaster)[27] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Mosquito#cite_note-26); and they never specified a defensive gun on a bomber thereafter."

The Bigfella
08-17-2009, 06:19 AM
I tend to agree about the Mosquito... a fabulous piece of kit, and appropriate on the WBF eh? On the other side I reckon it had to be the Ju88.

My uncle flew the night-fighter version of the Mosquito, not the bombers - but I know he used to do Intruder missions over Europe too and bombed a power station in France on one such mission.

This is him with the night-fighter.

http://cas.awm.gov.au/PROD/ump.retrieve_uma?surl=1224241986ZZQOSNCYTPGB&parm1=UMO_ID&parm2=442853&parm1=DISPLAY_TYPE&parm2=RAW&parm1=DISPLAY_WHAT&parm2=MASTER&parm1=LOGIN_TYPE&parm2=PROFILEG&parm1=AID&parm2=2000

martin schulz
08-17-2009, 07:17 AM
I really think it has to be the Mosquito. A very clever aeroplane, with no real parallels.

wikipedia-quote:
The Mosquito famously annoyed the Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, when on the 20 January 1943, the tenth anniversary since the Nazis seizure of power, a Mosquito attack knocked out the main Berlin broadcasting station putting his speech off air. Goring complained about the high speed of the aircraft and its wooden structure, built by a nation he perceived to have large amounts of metal reserves, while the Germans had shortages of such materials and could not produce such a design.

WX
08-17-2009, 07:38 AM
This first one is actually cgi
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1LWYlrmc0I

http://www.squidoo.com/deHavillandMosquito
http://www.mossie.org/Mosquito.html
http://img2.allposters.com/images/BRGPOD/295308.jpg

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-17-2009, 07:50 AM
The Mosquito is probably the only bomber aircraft to have changed the course of wooden boatbuilding...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aero_Research_Limited

The Bigfella
08-17-2009, 07:54 AM
Yeah - they had to change the glue from the original casein-base to the formadehyde-based glue when they started making them down here. A few fell apart in the tropics.

The Bigfella
08-17-2009, 07:57 AM
Interesting.... I just started looking for some info on the glue problem and found this...

http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i234/phylo_roadking/hurricaneframe.jpg

It is the very last Hurricane fighter being produced. If you look in the oval area, the alloy spar is visible - the thicker tube structure..... the rest is wood.

Paul Pless
08-17-2009, 08:02 AM
The Mosquito is probably the only bomber aircraft to have changed the course of wooden boatbuilding...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aero_Research_Limited

Maybe... but England did build about 100 different kinda flying boat prototypes (many of them bombers) between WWI and WWII that had to contribute in some way to boatbuilding. Things like this...

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f5/Short_Shetland.jpg/300px-Short_Shetland.jpg

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-17-2009, 08:02 AM
I think that was when Aerodux resorcinol glue was developed, to deal with the problems with Aerolite.

I used to pass the factory, at Duxford, near Cambridge, home of the Imperial War Museum's aircraft collection, very regularly.

The first seven hundred Fairey Firefly dinghies were built from stocks of birch plywood left over from building Mosquitos. And every Fairey boat was cooked in an autoclave left over from Mosquito building

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-17-2009, 08:04 AM
Maybe... but England did build about 100 different kinda flying boat prototypes (many of them bombers) between WWI and WWII that had to contribute in some way to boatbuilding. Things like this...

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f5/Short_Shetland.jpg/300px-Short_Shetland.jpg

Agreed - see the "Planing dinghy" thread in "Designs" - Uffa Fox worked on seaplanes and flying boats in WW1...

The Bigfella
08-17-2009, 08:06 AM
Duxford is a wonderful museum. Even the kids loved it.

Tom Hunter
08-17-2009, 08:08 AM
Mosquito

To my mind an important component of best is versatility. You see it in all the really great airframes of the war, they last a long time and perform a great many types of missions.

On that basis the Mosquito wins hands down. In the medium bomber class you may find an aircraft that does one thing better, but there are none that do so many things well.

Dan McCosh
08-17-2009, 08:15 AM
C'mon. The "best bomber" on a woodenboat forum is the only wooden one?

The Bigfella
08-17-2009, 08:51 AM
C'mon. The "best bomber" on a woodenboat forum is the only wooden one?

Come up with a better candidate. The only other near contender that I can see is the Ju88

Dan McCosh
08-17-2009, 08:53 AM
Well, Hugh Hefner once owned an A-26, slightly modified as a Playboy pad. Personally, I might go for the PBY Catalina.

Pirate-at-heart
08-17-2009, 08:55 AM
yeah, yeah, hurrah for the Allies.
But the Stukka would scream. pretty cool trick. German equipment = top notch.
good thing we kicked their asses.

skuthorp
08-17-2009, 09:01 AM
Hmm, my uncle flew in Hamdens, Wellingtons and Short Sunderlands in the RAF, nothing 'medium' there.

martin schulz
08-17-2009, 09:09 AM
Come up with a better candidate. The only other near contender that I can see is the Ju88

I am more a fan of the "Tante Ju" Ju 52/3m (3 engines).

Of course her stats aren't all that impressive, but she was the main German workhorse throughout WWII (civil & military).
I guess her popularity lies in the versatility of the plane.

http://feldpost.mzv.net/Daten/Daten1/Daten-Kessel/ju52-Farbe-2.jpg

martin schulz
08-17-2009, 09:39 AM
good thing we kicked their asses.

...and took the equipment, before the Russians could get their hands on it ;)

Pirate-at-heart
08-17-2009, 09:43 AM
I gotta admit, except for that whole 'reich' thing, I adore German culture and thinking. They invented so many things which we take for granted. Think about it... classical music is largely German. Bach was the best, and he was German. The germans invented the gothic horror short stories, and their contributions to the world of philosophy were immense.
German Chocolate Cake? To DIE for!
And we all know they made the best weapon systems of world war two.
German babes are hot, too. Plenty of blondes over there, with great big Dusseldorfs, too.
YAY for Germany!

Paul Pless
08-17-2009, 09:46 AM
I gotta admit, except for that whole 'reich' thing, I adore German culture and thinking. They invented so many things which we take for granted. Think about it... classical music is largely German. Bach was the best, and he was German. The germans invented the gothic horror short stories, and their contributions to the world of philosophy were immense.
German Chocolate Cake? To DIE for!
And we all know they made the best weapon systems of world war two.
German babes are hot, too. Plenty of blondes over there, with great big Dusseldorfs, too.
YAY for Germany!

LOL... except for that whole 'reich' thing

the tragic flaw

martin schulz
08-17-2009, 09:57 AM
the tragic flaw

Definitely the other side of the German inventor/organiser trait.

Once you are deep into your work (music, philosophy, inventions...) you loose contact and the more efficient you get, the less you care about the implications of your work.

There were people who rationally thought about how to solve the problems of SS guards getting depressed by slaugthering jews. So Zyklon B was used and nobody engaged in that "think tank" felt funny about it - the goal alone counted.

Pirate-at-heart
08-17-2009, 10:04 AM
interesting. so, basically, cloistering yourself in the world of invention would naturally tend to lead towards a sense of superiority.

Makes alot of sense to me, actually, albeit a drastic oversimplification.

I can see this problem in my own life, actually.

Social dynamics tend to disinhibit, while personal philosophies lead more towards the grandiose. Explains why societies with deep respect for traditional extended families and social networks, like the Buddhists and the Hindus, have contributed far less to the world of invention than, for example, the German culture, with a far more introverted, existential outlook on life.

Paul Pless
08-17-2009, 10:13 AM
btw, in post #47 you forgot to include bier and beautifully sophisticated performance automobiles.:)

martin schulz
08-17-2009, 10:33 AM
interesting. so, basically, cloistering yourself in the world of invention would naturally tend to lead towards a sense of superiority.

Makes alot of sense to me, actually, albeit a drastic oversimplification.

We (I mean most "interlectual" Germans) are as puzzled as perhaps everyone else in the world, how such an enlightened society was able to turn into barbarians. But even the term barbarian is not correct since the outcome (such as the planned extinction of the jews) was barbaric indeed, while the means where very elaborated and show great care and ingenuity in organising.

Here is a perfect German specimen (sorry about this Off-Topic post):

These directives were issued because I learned from members of Einsatz Groups from other areas that in those areas mass executions were performed by individuals who shot those persons designated for liquidation through the rear of the neck while lying or standing upright. With this method emotional apsets could not be avoided, however, either on the part of the victims or on the part of those who performed the executions. I, therefore, disapproved of this method.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Ohlendorf

I often ask myself how I would have acted if living during the Nazi reign. The uncomfortable truth is: I don't know. With my current humanistic education I am sure I couldn't be able to participate in those crimes, but without this interlectual foundation I am not so sure about it.

seanz
08-17-2009, 10:59 AM
Let's not get maudlin now......stick to airplanes and tell us how the Germans stole the plans for the DC3.


:D

ccmanuals
08-17-2009, 03:47 PM
My dad was a bombadier on the 25's during WWII. He taught at Childress, TX and then later flew them in Burma.

WX
08-17-2009, 05:21 PM
I might go for the PBY Catalina.

Great aircraft, fantastic range and endurance but slow. The only aircraft to suffer birdstrike....from behind!

Chip-skiff
08-17-2009, 05:24 PM
How about a nominee for the worst?

http://www65.statcan.gc.ca/acyb05/acyb05-10/img/acyb05-10_0001.jpg

The Lockheed Hudson. My father worked for Lockheed in a reassembly plant in England, where he test-flew the aircraft, which had been shipped across the Atlantic in pieces, before they were delivered to the military, and the guns mounted.

So he was test-flying military aircraft (mainly Hudsons and P-38s) over England without armament, and was jumped several times by German fighters. In the P-38s he stood a chance. In the Hudsons, none. What with that and mechanical failures, he survived quite a few crashes and came away with a deep loathing of the Lockheed Hudson, which he said was a second-rate commercial aircraft that Lockheed unscrupulously sold as a medium bomber.

WX
08-17-2009, 05:35 PM
In 1941-42 the Hudson was our front line bomber.
If we are talking worst I think the Fairy Battle, though not a medium bomber would be a contender.

Bob Adams
08-17-2009, 05:43 PM
The B26 maight not have been the best, but they put up one hell of a record after pilots learned how to fly the hot rods. Proudly built about 5 miles as the crow flys from where I sit.

http://www.zenoswarbirdvideos.com/Images/B-26New.jpg

Training videos and more here:
http://www.zenoswarbirdvideos.com/B-26.html

The Bigfella
08-17-2009, 06:01 PM
Ahh - the Hudson. The only remaining Australian WW2 bomber in flying condition is a Hudson. I got up close and personal with her a couple of years ago....

http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/iansecond/Hudson.jpg

http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/iansecond/hudsontaxi.jpg

http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff112/igatenby/iansecond/Hudsonart.jpg

Not exactly fast eh? Then again, some of the more recent suggestions have also been slowpokes. The Ju87 Stuka was a sitting duck if the Allies had fighters in the area.... which, unfortunately was not always the case. Dad was wounded in the forehead by a piece of shrapnel from a Stuka attack, whilst directing traffic during the retreat through Greece in early '41 and was left for dead by his mates. He carried the shrapnel until it was removed after the war - surgical facilities in the POW camps weren't exactly the best. He hated the Stukas. The screaming siren was a very effective terror tool.

WX
08-17-2009, 06:04 PM
My Uncle jack claimed the only time a Stuka made him nervous was when he couldn't see it...he was under a date palm at the time.

PeterSibley
08-17-2009, 06:26 PM
The Mosquito was marvelous , but the Petlyakov deserves consideration , quite similar to the Mozy .
cifications (Petlyakov Pe-2)

Data from[citation needed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citation_needed)]
General characteristics


Crew: Three - pilot, gunner, bombardier
Length: 12.66 m (41 ft 6 in)
Wingspan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wingspan): 17.16 m (56 ft 3 in)
Height: 3.5 m (11 ft 6 in)
Wing area: 40.5 m² (436 ft²)
Empty weight: 5,875 kg (12,952 lb)
Loaded weight: 7,563 kg (16,639 lb)
Max takeoff weight (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximum_Takeoff_Weight): 8,495 kg (18,728 lb)
Powerplant: 2× Klimov M-105 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klimov_M-105)PF liquid-cooled V-12 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_engine), 903 kW (1,210 hp) each

Performance


Maximum speed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_speeds#Vno): 580 km/h (360 mph)
Range (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Range_%28aircraft%29): 1,160 km (721 miles)
Service ceiling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceiling_%28aeronautics%29): 8,800 m (28,870 ft)
Rate of climb (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rate_of_climb): 7.2 m/s (1,410 ft/min)
Wing loading (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wing_loading): 186 kg/m² (38 lb/ft²)
Power/mass (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power-to-weight_ratio): 250 W/kg (0.15 hp/lb)

Armament



Guns:

2 × 7.62 mm (0.3 in) fixed ShKAS machine guns (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ShKAS_machine_gun) in the nose, one replaced by a 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Berezin UB (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berezin_UB) on later versions.
2 × rearward firing 7.62 mm (0.3 in) ShKAS.
From the middle of 1942 defensive armament included 1 Berezin UB machine gun in the upper bombardier's turret, 1 Berezin UB in gunner's ventral hatch and 1 ShKAS which could be fired by a gunner from port, starboard or upper mountings[3] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petlyakov_Pe-2#cite_note-2)
Some planes were also equipped with DAG-10 launcher, firing AG-2 parachute timed grenades.


Bombs: 1,600 kg (3,520 lb) of bombs

falco de fiume
08-17-2009, 07:06 PM
I vote for the Mosquito because it had a crew of two, inexpensive to produce, fastest prop plane in WWII, could be used for recon, night fighter, daylight fighter, great range, easy to fly, heavily armed.

Besides it was mostly made of plywood.

Richard

Cuyahoga Chuck
08-17-2009, 07:50 PM
I vote for the Mosquito because it had a crew of two, inexpensive to produce, fastest prop plane in WWII, could be used for recon, night fighter, daylight fighter, great range, easy to fly, heavily armed.

Besides it was mostly made of plywood.

Richard

The Lockheed P-38 did all that, was faster, had much greater service ceiling, could carry a third greater bomb load which meant it could also carry much more fuel for reconnaisance runs and didn't warp in tropical humidity. The final version, P-38M was a night fighter with a second cockpit for the radar guy.

The Bigfella
08-17-2009, 08:21 PM
The Lockheed P-38 did all that, was faster, had much greater service ceiling, could carry a third greater bomb load which meant it could also carry much more fuel for reconnaisance runs and didn't warp in tropical humidity. The final version, P-38M was a night fighter with a second cockpit for the radar guy.

The P38M never saw combat, so it's a bit of a stretch to say it was a night fighter.... it was being configured to do night fighting, but never did.

My understanding was that the P38 was optimised for high-level fighting (and as I mentioned earlier, even an old Bristol Beaufighter could take it at low level), whereas the Mosquito was a lower level machine.

Here's an interesting post, pinched from another forum...


I have just finished reading Allan MacNutt's book called Altimeter Rising my 50 years in the cockpit Iwould estimate this man flew well into the 1000hour area on both types as a post war photo surveyor all over the world . I have to take his opinion seriously as he has done just about every type of flying imagineable and also is a AME

"The weakness of the P38 was that the aircraft often went unserviceable , an awkward situation in the far north where maintainence facilities existed only in the engineers toolbox. They were a rather fragile effeminate type aircraft that needed to be babied and operated from improved airstrips. by improved in those days I mean better then rough gravel , muskeg and dry river beds . The P38 was a beautiful aircraft to fly but not a money maker. The Allison engines were trouble prone .Air ducts kept blowing and the liquid cool system leaked.

The next step up for the company from an economic standpoint and a step down for the pilots for the pilots in discomfort and austerity was the purchase of the fleet of DH Mosquitos .These were high speed long range high performance aircraft that could take a beating. "

Other interesting things stated was the P38 was a warm aircraft and the Mosquito was built on the cheap missing things that should or would have been standard on other aircraft ame xample pf this was am oil resovoir so if you lost oil pressure you could still feather the prop

http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/p-38-vs-mosquito-15304.html

Lew Barrett
08-17-2009, 08:26 PM
Added: Ian, we cross posted this is in answer to Chuck. I don't think the P38 escapes the interceptor role. It's not primarily a bomber, never intended to be...a long range fighter and interceptor.

For the record: German chocolate cake as known here is not German. It's a US recipe. And now....

I agree that the Mosquito has a very strong case. Not just good, but great in the photo-recon role, good at the low level, high risk, high value target attack missions it was frequently sent on, and by all accounts, a sweetheart loved by her crews.

However, a strong case can also be made for the JU88. The JU88 was, for the longest time, Germany's front line bomber and was the scourge of Europe. It was later developed to carry radar and became Germany's most successful night fighter, essentially out performing the disappointing ME210. The issue for Germany was of course "generations." They went to war with the BF109, HE111, Stuka and JU88 (Aunt Judy too, for Martin's sake). Of those, only the BF109 and JU88 were adaptable enough to get all the way through the war and retain utility to the last day. They were on a different development cycle than the allies. Thank God we licked them before the last generation came to fruit.

And, bear in mind that the JU88 was essentially Germany's strategic bomber while the Mosquito never had to fill that role and was always really a fast attack aircraft.

Notwithstanding, the Mosquito must be it. In addition to everything else, like all of England's best aircraft, she looks right.

The Bigfella
08-17-2009, 08:31 PM
Well, the Hurricane doesn't quite look right, and there's a few other ugly ducklings that were on the flight line... But the Mosquito, its relation the Hornet, the Spitfire, the Lysander and a couple of others were good looking craft.

Lew Barrett
08-17-2009, 08:39 PM
Martin, I'd like to believe you wouldn't have been able to perform the duties proscribed for the SS guards and death squads. There are records of Germans who were repulsed by the direction of the Reich, and on the strength of all the written arguments of yours that I've read, I'd like to think of you as a Swing Kid.

Travel through Germany today and one gets the sense of great remorse about the past, by and large. It's one reason I am comfortable buying German cars and optical products. The other one is that they are so damn good.

Best heavy? Has to be the B17 or the B29 depending on what your point of view is. We take that one fair and square. The horrid losses of the 8th Air Force over Germany are largely to do with the tactics, not the aircraft. Daylight bombing without fighter escort against the Luftwaffe in it's prime was simply madness. The B29 was a tremendous technical achievement, although, as said one shutters to think what the last generation of Nazi aircraft might have accomplished had there been time for them to produce them....and fuel to fly them. In that light, the horrible losses of the 8th Air Force over Ploesti might just have been worth the costs.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-17-2009, 09:00 PM
What happened to Germany could have happened to any country.

Oh, I once met an elderly Filipino garage owner in Taal, south of Manila, who to my great surprise knew Suffolk very well. He had been in his country's Air Force, got out to Australia by fishing boat one jump ahead of the Japanese, where, being something of a curiosity, he was recruited into the RAF, served as a gunner on Lancasters flying out of Suffolk and after VE day was passed on to the USAF flying B29s.

So I asked him which he preferred. He said that the Lancaster was "a crude aircraft - everything handraulic" whilst "the trouble with the B-29 was that it was too complicated and had been built in great haste - you never knew which component would fail next!"

Call it a draw?

WX
08-17-2009, 09:41 PM
Best heavy? Has to be the B17

I think the Lanc would give the B17 a good run for it's money. Bigger bomb load for a start. British aircraft would have appeared basic and lacking in crew comfort but keep in mind that Britain was in a war zone with limited resources. Everything had to be brought in at great cost in lives and shipping. The US had the luxury of being out of range with virtually unlimited resources...something they made the most of luckily for the rest of us.

WX
08-17-2009, 09:43 PM
He said that the Lancaster was "a crude aircraft - everything handraulic"

At least it didn't burst into flames like the B24 when it's hydraulic lines were hit.

Lew Barrett
08-17-2009, 10:28 PM
Both (Lank & Fortress) were able to take severe battle damage and come home, both were liked by their aircrew and both had good range (Lanc's a bit better) but the B17's production numbers have to count for something. We can call it a draw if you like, but in war, production counts for a very great deal. Notwithstanding the trials Harris had to overcome to get his bombers built and in the air in the dark days, I think it would be very hard for a Yank to yield on the B17. Oh, and one more thing; it is a much better looking plane than the Lanc. C'mon...give us this one, and you can have the Mosquito without a quibble.

The B25 get's a bronze solely because it could take off from an aircraft carrier! Is there a more memorable shot of any takeoff in the war than that B25 plunging toward the sea and then rising after running down the Hornet's flight deck?

PeterSibley
08-17-2009, 10:50 PM
What happened to Germany could have happened to any country.



I'm not quite sure of that ...but the further East you went the more likely it became .

Cuyahoga Chuck
08-17-2009, 11:16 PM
The P38M never saw combat, so it's a bit of a stretch to say it was a night fighter.... it was being configured to do night fighting, but never did.

My understanding was that the P38 was optimised for high-level fighting (and as I mentioned earlier, even an old Bristol Beaufighter could take it at low level), whereas the Mosquito was a lower level machine.

Here's an interesting post, pinched from another forum...



http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/p-38-vs-mosquito-15304.html

The P-38 was intended to be a high altitude attack craft to go after bombers. It was never very good at that. It was anticipated high altitude for a bomber would be about 20,000+ feet. It was supposed to get to that height in 6 minuters (never did that) and achieve 360 MPH. That was quite fast for 1937.
The XP-38 hit about 385 MPH and got to 39,000 feet. By the time production started in 1940 the much heavier production model could do that and more.
Our number one and two aces destroyed a total of 78 Japanese aircraft. Number one, Ira Bong, made all his kills (40) in a P-38.The Japanese flew up high, down low and every place in between but succumbed anyway.

damnyankee
08-17-2009, 11:39 PM
Added: Ian, we cross posted this is in answer to Chuck. I don't think the P38 escapes the interceptor role. It's not primarily a bomber, never intended to be...a long range fighter and interceptor.

I'm going to disagree with this, sighting my grandfathers combat record in a p38. Nearly 50 combat missions out of the Philippines with out ever seeing a Japanese aircraft in the air. Its two engines and high payload mean it can be considered a light bomber (indeed, my grandfather has combat time in B-25's as well.) its 20mm cannon and machine guns make it an excellent strafing machine. P38's could carry more load than a B17 at times.

As for the other comments about the high maintenance nature of the P-38, I'll point to Henderson field on Guadalcanal. They flew P-38s under tough conditions, successfully. Yes, its not a jeep. But, its also NOT a jeep. Its design parameters where such that most engineers thought the Air Force was crazy for even asking. It was designed and built to be state of the art from the ground up, not an evolution of an existing design. It was the worlds first 400mph fighter in a time when the US hardly had a military.

Christopher

The Bigfella
08-18-2009, 12:50 AM
Wow, so much to comment on....

The B17 - better looking? Nah, I prefer more petite behinds than hers... and the Lanc's are definitely that, even if the "cheeks" are somewhat spread.

First fighter to 400mph?

I think you'll find that the F4U Corsair was the first US fighter of any type to exceed 400 mph in level flight and the P-47 was the first to exceed 500mph.

The fastest piston engined fighter of the war is regarded as being the Do 335 Pfeil - one of which easily outpaced a pair of the very fast Tempests that chased it in April 45. A captured one was escorted from Munich to Cherbourg by two P-51s and it arrived 45 minutes before them.... It was VERY fast.

Many fighters could exceed 400mph in a dive. There is an interesting letter at this site

http://www.acepilots.com/discussions/spitfire_zero.html

by Clive "Killer" Caldwell, an Australian Ace with 28.5 kills - and the highest scoring pilot from any air force in the P40 - that gives the various tactics to be adopted when encountering various Japanese planes. He describes a US encounter between a P38 and a Japanese Tony


One pilot reported having followed one of this type fighter from eighteen thousand feet to sic or seven thousand feet. A shallow dive was maintained all the way with the P38 indicating 400 mph, and during this time the P38 was unable to gain on the enemy. At this time another P38, indicating close to 500 mph, dived from above and succeeded in shooting the enemy plane down after a long accurate burst. Another indication of the speed of this type of fighter may be derived from combat on 21 Jul 43 when a P38 found the enemy fighter behind him. The P38 went into a shallow dive and was unable to lose the enemy when indicating 400 mph at low altitude. This "Tony" was finally chased away by another P38 who dived from above firing a burst at long range.

Caldwell also talks about exceeding 400 mph in his Spitfire.

Now, back to heavy bombers B17 - vs Lancaster.....

a couple of comparisons (B17 figure followed by Lanc figure)

Bomb load - B17 - 4,500lb...... Lanc 14,000 lb (did some sorties with 22,000lb)

Cruise Speed - B17 -182 mph.... Lanc 203mph

Max speed B17 - 287 mph ... Lanc - 280 mph @ 15,000'

Crew - B17 - 10.... Lancaster 7

Number built B17 - 12,731 ...... Lancaster - 7,377 - with 294,875 B17 sorties dropping 650,000 tons of bombs (2.2 tons per mission).

Lancasters carried out 156,308 sorties that dropped 604,612 tons of bombs, 51.5 million incendiaries and 12,000 sea mines. If you deduct the incendiary and sea mine sorties, which by my calcs were about 17,500.... the average bomb delivery per Lancaster sortie was a bit over 4.25 tons.... almost double the B17 performance.

Incidentally - the B25 wasn't the only medium bomber that could do carrier ops.... carrier based Mosquitos were produced and were on their way to the Pacific when the war ended. That movie of the B25 taking off was a classic, she was almost clobbered from behind by the carrier - and the deck crew did a fair bit of shouting at the next pilots about stabilisers being set to neutral.... according to the show that led to this post.

Incidentally - 35 Lancasters completed more than 100 missions each - with ED888 doing 139 missions.

WX
08-18-2009, 12:56 AM
I admit the Lanc is a bit of a brute to look at but hey with a bit of modification it could carry the 10 ton Grand Slam...the only WW2 bomber that could.
http://www.vectorsite.net/twbomb_01_02.png
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeUQKl81aN4

The Bigfella
08-18-2009, 01:13 AM
I admit the Lanc is a bit of a brute to look at ... snip


Mate.... its a heavy bomber..... you don't want a heavyweight boxer with a pretty-boy face do you? Sort of like that character the Poms have now as a supposed speed demon bowler. I reckon I'd blow him a kiss with the sort of "glare" he gives batsmen....

The Bigfella
08-18-2009, 04:06 AM
I've found it interesting, trolling around the net looking at issues related to this thread.

Drifting back to the heavy bombers issue, because I was interested to see that there were so many Lancasters that had done more than 100 missions (the Lancaster at the Australian War Memorial, G for George was retired after it did 90 missions - and it is one of the most popular exhibits..... however, over 30 of those who crewed on it were killed on other aircraft)

... and I found these stats about a few B17 raids in 1943 ....


September 6 - Over 400 bombers attacked the Stuttgart ball-bearing plant; 45 were lost.
October 14 - Schweinfurt again. 291 B-17's went out; 60 went down.
January 11, 1944 - German aircraft industry targets. 600 Flying Fortresses were sent out. Because of bad weather, only 238 reached Germany; 60 were shot down.
Absolutely horrible losses.

It really does make you wonder about the idiots who were pulling the strings.

It led me to a site about the biggest mistakes of WW2 ... and whilst I don't agree with all the conclusions, it makes these comments....



The rejected superior bomber

Since 1942 the British Air Force was using a bomber with performance and combat achievements far superior to all other British and American day and night bombers. It was the Mosquito, a bomber designed to survive by using superior speed and agility to avoid being intercepted, instead of carrying gun turrets and gunners to fire back at enemy interceptors. It was also truly capable of precision bombing, unlike all the heavy bombers, which were very inaccurate and therefore relatively ineffective.

The Mosquito's advantages were not theoretical, they were repeatedly proven in combat over Europe. It was much faster than German night fighters, and hard to intercept by day fighters. Its relative loss rate was 10 times lower than that of heavy bombers, and if lost, a Mosquito carried a crew of two, not seven or more as a heavy bomber. And it cost a third of a heavy bomber's price. When a Mosquito group commander said "It's quite clear that the value of the Mosquito to the war effort is significantly greater than that of any other aircraft" it was not an overstatement.

Bomber Command was aware of the Mosquito's combat proven advantages, and used this fantastic bomber, in small numbers, in roles designed to increase the accuracy and reduce the losses of the other bombers. It was also used in large numbers as a bomber interceptor, night fighter, and other roles. But Bomber Command stubbornly rejected the proposed alternative of using the Mosquito not to help the slow and inaccurate heavy bombers but to replace them as the main bomber. Instead of very inaccurately dropping over a million tons of bombs (British only, not including American bombs) all over Germany from thousands of slow heavy bombers and suffering very heavy losses in doing so, a large force of Mosquito bombers, with significantly lower losses and significantly higher precision, could crush the German military industry much sooner, and Germany could be defeated at least a year earlier.


http://www.2worldwar2.com/mistakes.htm#bomber


There's some interesting stuff there about the American B24 attacks on Ploestri - which resulted in 55% casualties.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-18-2009, 04:35 AM
Both (Lank & Fortress) were able to take severe battle damage and come home, both were liked by their aircrew and both had good range (Lanc's a bit better) but the B17's production numbers have to count for something. We can call it a draw if you like, but in war, production counts for a very great deal. Notwithstanding the trials Harris had to overcome to get his bombers built and in the air in the dark days, I think it would be very hard for a Yank to yield on the B17. Oh, and one more thing; it is a much better looking plane than the Lanc. C'mon...give us this one, and you can have the Mosquito without a quibble.

The B25 get's a bronze solely because it could take off from an aircraft carrier! Is there a more memorable shot of any takeoff in the war than that B25 plunging toward the sea and then rising after running down the Hornet's flight deck?

Lew I give you the B-17 and agree that it is better looking than the very ugly Lancaster. But the reason I give it to you is not that - it is because of the terrible losses suffered by US airmen flying this aircraft over Germany from British fields in WW2 in daylight raids.

martin schulz
08-18-2009, 04:56 AM
The fastest piston engined fighter of the war is regarded as being the Do 335 Pfeil - one of which easily outpaced a pair of the very fast Tempests that chased it in April 45. A captured one was escorted from Munich to Cherbourg by two P-51s and it arrived 45 minutes before them.... It was VERY fast.

Named "Ameisenbär" (anteater) ;)

http://www.rlm.at/profil/15/do335_schatz_03.jpg

The Bigfella
08-18-2009, 04:59 AM
Named "Ameisenbär" (anteater) ;)

http://www.rlm.at/profil/15/do335_schatz_03.jpg

A fabulous piece of development eh? We were rather lucky there were idiots in control.

martin schulz
08-18-2009, 05:31 AM
We were rather lucky there were idiots in control.

Yes! And one of the biggest idiocy from Hitler was to demand that the ME265 should be changed from fighter to bomber. Field Marshal Erhard Milch said: "Mein Führer, even a child can see that this is not a bomber, but a fighter"

http://www.herbert-thiess.de/Laber/LeistungssteigerungMe262/Me262Flug-X0770.png

damnyankee
08-18-2009, 05:41 AM
Wow, so much to comment on....

The B17 - better looking? Nah, I prefer more petite behinds than hers... and the Lanc's are definitely that, even if the "cheeks" are somewhat spread.

First fighter to 400mph?

I think you'll find that the F4U Corsair was the first US fighter of any type to exceed 400 mph in level flight and the P-47 was the first to exceed 500mph.

I'm at work so I don't have access to a lot of sources, however:
The XP-38 broke the transcontinental Speed record on February 11th, 1939.
The First flight of the F4U occurred on May 29, 1940, more than a year after breaking that record. I don't think the F4U has a claim on that UNLESS you make the argument that it was the first single engine fighter to reach 400 mph, which it might be. However, the p-38 was the first fighter in the world to exceed 400 mph in level flight, with no caveats or disclaimers. And yes, ill find a source for it. I know ive seen it in reputable TV shows about the aircraft.

Christopher

The Bigfella
08-18-2009, 06:27 AM
I'm at work so I don't have access to a lot of sources, however:
The XP-38 broke the transcontinental Speed record on February 11th, 1939.
The First flight of the F4U occurred on May 29, 1940, more than a year after breaking that record. I don't think the F4U has a claim on that UNLESS you make the argument that it was the first single engine fighter to reach 400 mph, which it might be. However, the p-38 was the first fighter in the world to exceed 400 mph in level flight, with no caveats or disclaimers. And yes, ill find a source for it. I know ive seen it in reputable TV shows about the aircraft.

Christopher

Hmmm - the ether ate my reply, so here's a synopsis...

Wiki claims both the P38 and the F4U as the first fighter to exceed 400mph. I've seen plenty of references to the F4U speed being in level flight. Given that the first P38 prototype didn't fly until 27 January 1939, and the F4U prototype exceeded 400mph on October 1 1938 - I'd give it to the F4U.

The reality is that the Royal Air Force had beaten the mark back in 1931 with the Supermarine S.6B - in level flight. The S6B is regarded as the Spitfire's ancestor..

The XP38 was the experimental plane that led to the P38.... and it was wrecked on that record-setting transcontinental flight after a carby iced up - before reaching Mitchell Field.

But hey ... there's level flight, then there's a dive... the prototypes of the P38 had a lot of control problems in dives and it took time and a life or two to sort that out. Other planes were also achieving more than 400 mph in dives too....

I've seen (and have a photo somewhere) an interesting piece of P38 memorabilia - the armoured seat that Admiral Yamamoto was sitting in when he was shot down by a P38. There's a bullet hole in it at about the right lung area.

damnyankee
08-18-2009, 07:06 AM
Hmmm - the ether ate my reply, so here's a synopsis...

Wiki claims both the P38 and the F4U as the first fighter to exceed 400mph. I've seen plenty of references to the F4U speed being in level flight. Given that the first P38 prototype didn't fly until 27 January 1939, and the F4U prototype exceeded 400mph on October 1 1938 - I'd give it to the F4U.

Where do you get your date? according to the Wikipedia (I know, but You would think something like dates would be pretty reasonable.) They didn't even order the F4U until February 1938, and the first flight wasn't until January 1940.


The XP38 was the experimental plane that led to the P38.... and it was wrecked on that record-setting transcontinental flight after a carby iced up - before reaching Mitchell Field.

More than one report Ive read indicate it ran out of gas circling while waiting for clearance. It flew so fast no one knew it was coming and had to wait.


We are reaching serious Thread drift. If I find anything (either way) ill start a new thread.

Christopher

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-18-2009, 07:15 AM
Yes! And one of the biggest idiocy from Hitler was to demand that the ME265 should be changed from fighter to bomber. Field Marshal Erhard Milch said: "Mein Führer, even a child can see that this is not a bomber, but a fighter"

http://www.herbert-thiess.de/Laber/LeistungssteigerungMe262/Me262Flug-X0770.png

The real lesson of the last century is that the events of August 1914 were the biggest catastrophe in the history of humanity.

The Bigfella
08-18-2009, 06:33 PM
The real lesson of the last century is that the events of August 1914 were the biggest catastrophe in the history of humanity.

So far. I am reasonably confident that we will manage to exceed that, unfortunately.

Bob Adams
08-18-2009, 06:36 PM
So far. I am reasonably confident that we will manage to exceed that, unfortunately.

Let us pray not.

The Bigfella
08-18-2009, 06:42 PM
I certainly hope I'm wrong - but we don't have a good track record, do we?

WX
08-18-2009, 06:54 PM
As sure as little green apples grow on trees, someone will use the bomb on someone else...and i think it will be this century.

The Bigfella
08-18-2009, 07:42 PM
Here's a link to the downing of Yamamoto ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Isoroku_Yamamoto

who was travelling in a Betty bomber... the Mitsubishi G4M - a bomber regarded as comparable to the Ju88 and B25... although its nicknames included "the Flying Cigar" and "Flying Zippo" - which referred to its lack of self-sealing fuel tanks and the ease with which they could be set alight.

They had a sting in their tail though, with a 20mm cannon. They carried a lighter bomb load (1900lb) but had a longer range. They were the first aircraft to ever sink a capital ship - when they sank HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales. Japanese commanders wasted a lot of lives and planes using the Betty as a torpedo bomber instead of as a high altitude bomber.

Here's one carrying an Ohka - the rocket-powered human-guided flying bomb. The Japanese had a lot of these in stock at war's end but the Corsairs were doing a good job attacking the Betty's before they could get within launching range. They sank or damaged 7 US ships though

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/80/G4M_701st_Kokutai_Ohka.jpg

Cuyahoga Chuck
08-18-2009, 08:19 PM
Hmmm - the ether ate my reply, so here's a synopsis...

Wiki claims both the P38 and the F4U as the first fighter to exceed 400mph. I've seen plenty of references to the F4U speed being in level flight. Given that the first P38 prototype didn't fly until 27 January 1939, and the F4U prototype exceeded 400mph on October 1 1938 - I'd give it to the F4U..

You are entitled to your judgements altho' Wiki may have led you astray.
My references say the XF4U-1 's first flight was on May 29, 1940.
Martin Caidin's "Fork-Tailed Devil" states the XP-38 did 413 MPH in level flight sometime in 1939. The plane, of course, was hand built and didn't bear the weight of combat equipment but it was not juiced up to make it go faster. And Caidin also says that NO other fighter plane could match that speed at that time. ( Citations on request.)


The reality is that the Royal Air Force had beaten the mark back in 1931 with the Supermarine S.6B - in level flight. The S6B is regarded as the Spitfire's ancestor...

If what you are talking about is the British Schneider Cup racer it was hardly a practical example of sustained HP. Those motors were on the ragged edge of destruction at peak RPMs. And motor life was calulated to be a few seconds longer than it took to fly thru' the timing trap.


The XP38 was the experimental plane that led to the P38.... and it was wrecked on that record-setting transcontinental flight after a carby iced up - before reaching Mitchell Field.

But hey ... there's level flight, then there's a dive... the prototypes of the P38 had a lot of control problems in dives and it took time and a life or two to sort that out. Other planes were also achieving more than 400 mph in dives too.....

Don't try to jigger the discourse with diversionery arguements. The XP-38's dive problems didn't impact it's ability to break 400 MPH in level flight.
The dive problems stem from the fact that it was a very large fighter plane. It's size allowed it to accelorate to speeds that caused supersonic, non-linear, air flows over the rear controll surfaces. Once normal flow was lost there was severe buffeting ( at least one plane had the tail section break away in a dive) and the only solution was to try and keep the plane together until the denser air at lower altitudes would brake the speed.
Even tho' the XP-38 crashed it set a transcontinental record (it crashed while landing supposedly from pilot error. The record was 7 hours 2 minutes for an average ground speed of 340 MPH for the entire distance.

WX
08-18-2009, 08:28 PM
Here's a few photos from a visit in 1992 to the old Japanese bomber strip at Alexishafen in PNG.

http://bambooman.gallery.netspace.net.au/albums/house/BombcraterAlexishafenstrip.jpg
Bomb crater...we knew we were in the right place when we saw this.

http://bambooman.gallery.netspace.net.au/albums/house/me_in_dorsal_gun_position_NakajimaKi49.jpgA younger me in the Dorsal gunners position.
http://bambooman.gallery.netspace.net.au/albums/house/me_in_cockpit_NakajimaKi49.jpg
Cockpit was blow away with a parafrag bomb. The aircraft is a nakajima Ki 49 heavy bomber.

paladin
08-18-2009, 08:36 PM
One of my favorite stories from Jr. High School was a discourse called "Fifteen Seconds to Live"....written by a test pilot on the P-38. They lost 2-3 to crashes and couldn't understand why, but the control surfaces were shredded, being fabric covered. The plane would be put into a dive and accelerated and then control would be lost. The author wrote that when the ship started vibrating, he pushed forward on the controls, not knowing why....the plane had passed the sound barrier and experienced control reversal, and pushing forward caused the nose to raise and decelerate. Even then the control surfaces were damaged.

The Bigfella
08-18-2009, 09:19 PM
Ahh. Chuck & Chuck ... I don't think so!

Chuck #1 - you are using the same silly type of argument as me.... the XP38 was not a fighter, nor was the S6B - although at least the Royal Air Force owned the S6B. Who cares if the engine didn't have a 1,000 hour service life? It was still the first Air Force plane to exceed 400 mph in level flight and it did it in 1931 - did it not? The 37 litre Rolls Royce R type engine used in this plane was developed into the Griffon, which later powered the later versions of the Spitfire

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-Royce_R

The Hurricane, Spitfire and a host of other British and other planes - 40 types in total - were powered by the RR Merlin engine - a tad smaller at 27 litres capacity.

I seem to recall that the design life of a Merlin was somewhere around 200 hours... and will see if I can find it.

The Wiki link

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-Royce_Merlin#Specifications_.28Merlin_66.29

... makes reference to the use of emergency boost - which allowed emergency power for a maximum of 5 minutes - and which had to be reported on landing. My uncle used to call it "pushing the tit" which I think was a reference to breaking a seal that allowed the engineers to monitor whether emergency power had been engaged. He wrote about it in his autobiography when describing chasing and shooting down a couple of planes.

On interesting side note - both the first and last Messerschmitt Bf109s were powered by Rolls Royce engines - the prototype in 1935, with a Kestrel, and the Spanish Bf109 the Hispano Aviacion Ha 1112-M1L Buchon in 1954 with a Merlin.

Incidentally - yep, I reckon Wiki is wrong about the F4U.

Chuck #2 - no way known was it a P38 that did that. Wiki describes it - but talks about the compressability stall occurring at Mach 0.68 - which is what - approaching 500mph? I seem to recall that situation - reverse control occuring with the post war X planes I think? Chuck #3 (Yeager) and all that.

There's an interesting timeline of the world airspeed achievements here...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_airspeed_record#Timeline


... unfortunately, it leaves out the first powered flight on March 31, 1902

http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargrave/images/pearse_sherwood_01_s.jpg

http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargrave/pearse1.html

PatCox
08-18-2009, 10:19 PM
ACB, the Appollo moon landing, which the USA takes such great pride in, is equally a sign of what might have been, if not for the events of August, 1914.

The US space program was but the continuation and bringing to fruition of plans Van Braun had taken to great detail during the war. Only infighting between the US armed forces over who would be in control of missile development kept us from bettering the V-2 until the late 50s. To this day, the "Scud" missile, which North Korea builds, and which we regarded as an intolerable threat in the hands of Saddam Hussein, is essentially an improved, and not much, V-2.

The Bigfella
08-18-2009, 10:23 PM
Pat - that's an interesting couple of linkages, eh?

Gary - great photos mate. How long were you in PNG? I was there around '92 myself - but only for five weeks total across two trips. Its an amazing place.

WX
08-18-2009, 10:25 PM
I was there 6 weeks Ian.

PeterSibley
08-18-2009, 11:14 PM
I was there a year and I bet there are dozens more planes up there in the forest .It is impossible , incredibly dense ,especially in the high ranges where not even the local people live .

The Bigfella
08-18-2009, 11:20 PM
There's still plane wrecks in Australia that haven't been found. The link I posted recently of WW2 plane crashes in NSW had some on it. Its hard to imagine that a medium sized bomber wouldn't be spotted.... but a year later the tree canopy would have recovered in the forested areas....

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-18-2009, 11:42 PM
I was there for three months in 1987; Fascinating place.

Cuyahoga Chuck
08-19-2009, 12:29 AM
The original intent of the XP-38 was for it to be a high altitude bomber interceptor. The original contract was supposed to be for 50 planes. Lockheed anticipated building them all by hand.
Unfortunately The US of A was hurtling toward a big time war and the US Army was looking for anything that could fill the fighter plane gap. It ordered several batches of P-38s that totaled over 600 planes even tho' the replacement XP-38 was not for delivery yet. The demand for these and thousands of other required Lockheed to quickly acquire a factory and produce an assembly line.
When the war started batches of early block planes were available so they were sent off to war even tho' the high speed dive problem and a bunch of other problems hadn't been solved yet. The best they could do was to preach the doctrine of no dives over X degrees. It was rumored the plane could approach 500 MPH in a dive and might be able to go supersonic which guaranteed numerous student pilots would auger themselves into the ground trying to do it.
The P-38 was a kind of hotrod assembled from available components. Because of the destruction of the original prototype developement was set back about two years. Within that span The US was at war and many of the early block machines were sent to war instead of being run thru' the normal testing process. Nothing flown by the Allies had as rocky a start as the P-38. By the time Lockheed got a grip on all it's many problems the US had legions of newer designs that were cheaper to produce and much much easier to maintain in the field. Until that time the P-38 was it. It was doing ground attack and anti-shipping in North Africa. The same in the South Pacific and bomber escort in Northern Europe.
The one thing the competion could never do is fly home and safely land after losing an engine.

The Bigfella
08-19-2009, 01:24 AM
The one thing the competion could never do is fly home and safely land after losing an engine.

I presume that by "competition" you mean the single engined German fighters?

The Mosquito made a rolling climb on one engine during its initial demonstration flight to the RAF.

Re the P38 - the link I posted earlier referred to one being unable to escape a pursuing Japanese fighter whilst in a shallow dive at 400mph. Another P38 in a steeper dive from above, at 500mph, saved it. I think the 500mph IAS would have been pretty rare.

This from Martin Bowman's "de Havilland Mosquito"


By the time testing was over and the Air Ministry had authorised mass production plans to be drawn up on 21 June 1941 the aircraft was the world's fastest operational aircraft. The Air Ministry authorised 19 PR. models and 176 fighters. A further 50 were unspecified. In July 1941 the Air Ministry confirmed these would be unarmed fast bombers. The Mosquito would enjoy its fastest aircraft status for another two and a half years. On 18 and 19 July 1941 M4050 was fitted with Merlin 61s and reached 433 mph (697 km/h) at 28,500 ft (8,690 m). Multiple ejector exhausts contributed to the increase in speed. On 20 October 1941 W4050 achieved a speed of 437 mph (703 km/h) in level flight. Using two-stage Merlin 77s, it reached 439 mph (706 km/h) in December 1943

The Bigfella
08-19-2009, 01:58 AM
I just had a look at my Janes WW2 Aircraft - and it says that with the P-38D, of which deliveries began in August 1941, "a change in angle of incidence of the tailplane and redistibution of elevator balance weights improved elevator control, facilitating dive recoveries and eliminated tail buffeting."

... and back to heavy bombers, if you want to see an ugly aeroplane, what about the B32....?

WX
08-19-2009, 02:06 AM
There's still plane wrecks in Australia that haven't been found.
There's a near complete B25 airframe sitting on it's belly up in the NT...former Dutch airforce I think. It's in the latest copy of Flightpath...if you are interested in warbird recovery and restoration, this is the mag for you.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-19-2009, 02:09 AM
The prototype Mosquito had tail buffeting problems at speed, caused by the turbulent wash off the wing; the solution was to lengthen the engine nacelles to form fences.

In another link to the boating world, the prototype was flying around with woolen tell tales attached to show the airflow whilst this was fixed.

The Bigfella
08-19-2009, 02:51 AM
I was just reading about the development of the Speed Spitfire - which was being prepped for an attempt on the world air speed record in late 1938 - which at that stage was 440.6mph.

They abandoned the attempt after the World Speed records were broken in quick succession, first by the Messerschmitt Bf 109 V13 and then by the Heinkel He 100 and Messerschmitt Me 209 and it was decided that the Speed Spitfire needed a great deal more modification to even come close to the new speed records (469.22 mph) and the project lapsed.

So.... if Heinkel and Messerschmitt fighters were well over 400 mph in 1938 what does that do to the XP-38 claims? It goes the same way as the Wright Bros claim to be the first to do powered flight.

Here's the Heinkel

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/7a/He_100D_colour.jpg/300px-He_100D_colour.jpg

andrewe
08-19-2009, 06:06 AM
Both the Me 109 V13 and 206 were specials and not practical fighters ( the 109 label was used to fool observers into assuming the production 109 was faster than it was) The 206 was an outright racer.
A

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-19-2009, 06:43 AM
Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett http://www.woodenboat.com/forum/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.woodenboat.com/forum/showthread.php?p=2290628#post2290628)
What happened to Germany could have happened to any country.


I'm not quite sure of that ...but the further East you went the more likely it became .

I respectfully and cautiously disagree; I think that Britain could very easily go the same way andI think thatthe thing that has stopped other nations has simply been the argument from history - the German example.

WX
08-19-2009, 06:47 AM
I think given the similar conditions to those experience by Germany post WW1 and the Depression and almost any country could go the same way.
Look what happened to the laws after 911.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-19-2009, 07:14 AM
Excellent example.

The Bigfella
08-19-2009, 07:30 AM
Both the Me 109 V13 and 206 were specials and not practical fighters ( the 109 label was used to fool observers into assuming the production 109 was faster than it was) The 206 was an outright racer.
A

Yep - as was the unarmed XP-38 - but the Heinkel 110 wasn't. It would appear to be the rightfull holder of the crown of first fighter aircraft to exceed 400mph in level flight - several years before the XP38 and F4U ever flew.

Cuyahoga Chuck
08-19-2009, 12:24 PM
I was just reading about the development of the Speed Spitfire - which was being prepped for an attempt on the world air speed record in late 1938 - which at that stage was 440.6mph.

They abandoned the attempt after the World Speed records were broken in quick succession, first by the Messerschmitt Bf 109 V13 and then by the Heinkel He 100 and Messerschmitt Me 209 and it was decided that the Speed Spitfire needed a great deal more modification to even come close to the new speed records (469.22 mph) and the project lapsed.

So.... if Heinkel and Messerschmitt fighters were well over 400 mph in 1938 what does that do to the XP-38 claims? It goes the same way as the Wright Bros claim to be the first to do powered flight.

Here's the Heinkel

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/7a/He_100D_colour.jpg/300px-He_100D_colour.jpg

The Germans claimed their record planes were off-the-shelf combat models but that was false. It was all part of a propagada campaign. The Germans set those records with highly modified engines developed for the Schneider racers i.e. motors that were designed to produce so much HP they operated on the edge of self-destruction. Some of the fastest Schneider racers didn't even have coollant radiators.
The XP-38 was designed to specification of 360 MPH in level flight and climb from a roll to 20,000 feet in 6 minutes. Thru' a process of good design and some unexpected happenings (the goverment's delivery of oversized turbochargers) the plane came out more muscular than anticipated. The occurance of the 413 MPH pass was unexpected altho' the test pilots knew the plane was something special.
The engines and turbos in the first front line P-38s were exactly the same as the XP configuration. In fact, most of the criticisms of the survivability of P-38s in air combats was due to the ease with which the motors could be overboosted by faulty pressure controls or injudicious use of the manifold pressure override. The big blowers were a blessing as well as a curse.
It's rather easy to dispel the claim that the Germans had squadrons of 450 MPH fighter planes by 1939. If that had been the case they could have swept the sky of Spitfires and Hurricanes that trundled along at a dulsitory 330-370 MPH maximum.

andrewe
08-19-2009, 01:50 PM
Just curious, if the He 110 was so good, why did it not figure in the fighting over England in 1940? Another screw up by the Reich? or did it have some other probs? Straight line speed is not the only usefull tool.
My father flew Hurricanes and Spitfires in that time and never mentioned them.
BTW the popular image of the FW190 is the BMW radial version (see the kits on sale in the US by Warbirds et al) in fact they fitted DB 903 watercooled V12s a bit later and gave the allies a hard time for a while. Something like 430 at 30,000ft
A

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-19-2009, 02:04 PM
It never went into production - the Luftwaffe decided to standardise on the Messerschmitt Bf109, which used the same engine, I think, and told Heinkel to specialise in bombers. A number of pre-production aircraft were built, but that was all.

andrewe
08-19-2009, 03:35 PM
So that pic above is the whole production series? Good PR.
A

The Bigfella
08-19-2009, 05:52 PM
The Heinkel He 110 was never ordered in bulk by the German defence ministry, but 25 were produced - some being used for air defence of the Heinkel factory and some being sold to the Russians and the Japanese.

It had some stability and undercarriage problems - but the main reason it was never put into wider production was the scarcity of the Daimler Benz DB 601 engine that powered it - due to its use in the Bf109 and Bf110.

The He110 wasn't the only project cancelled because of the scarcity of this engine - all others were similarly cancelled.

The He 110 did have two versions modified for speed attempts, which used modified outer wing panels and a special DB601R engine, but when one crashed it was a standard fighter version - with the standard engine and standard wings - that was used in the following performance display shortly thereafter in October 1938.

At sea level, the aircraft could reach 560 km/h (348 mph), faster than the Bf 109E's speed at its best altitude. At 6,560 ft, it improved to 610 km/h (379 mph), topping out at 669 km/h (416 mph) at 4,999 m (16,400 ft) before falling again to 641 km/h (398 mph) at 8,001 m (26,250 ft).... and that was with the production DB601M engine

The non-modified type that got up to 463.9 mph on March 30, 1939, did indeed use the DB 601R engine.

What remains is that an un-modified German fighter aircraft, using a standard production DB601 engine exceeded 400mph in level flight in 1938.

damnyankee
08-19-2009, 05:54 PM
The Heinkel He 110 was never ordered in bulk by the German defence ministry, but 25 were produced - some being used for air defence of the Heinkel factory and some being sold to the Russians and the Japanese.

It had some stability and undercarriage problems - but the main reason it was never put into wider production was the scarcity of the Daimler Benz DB 601 engine that powered it - due to its use in the Bf109 and Bf110.

The He110 wasn't the only project cancelled because of the scarcity of this engine - all others were similarly cancelled.

The He 110 did have two versions modified for speed attempts, which used modified outer wing panels and a special DB601R engine, but when one crashed it was a standard fighter version - with the standard engine and standard wings - that was used in the following performance display shortly thereafter in October 1938.

At sea level, the aircraft could reach 560 km/h (348 mph), faster than the Bf 109E's speed at its best altitude. At 6,560 ft, it improved to 610 km/h (379 mph), topping out at 669 km/h (416 mph) at 4,999 m (16,400 ft) before falling again to 641 km/h (398 mph) at 8,001 m (26,250 ft).... and that was with the production DB601M engine

The non-modified type that got up to 463.9 mph on March 30, 1939, did indeed use the DB 601R engine.

What remains is that an un-modified German fighter aircraft, using a standard production DB601 engine exceeded 400mph in level flight in 1938.
How reliable is this data? This is high Nazi propaganda era.

Christopher

Paul G.
08-19-2009, 05:54 PM
The best medium bomber is the one that killed the most people.

The Bigfella
08-19-2009, 06:01 PM
Just curious, if the He 110 was so good, why did it not figure in the fighting over England in 1940? Another screw up by the Reich? or did it have some other probs? Straight line speed is not the only usefull tool.
My father flew Hurricanes and Spitfires in that time and never mentioned them.
BTW the popular image of the FW190 is the BMW radial version (see the kits on sale in the US by Warbirds et al) in fact they fitted DB 903 watercooled V12s a bit later and gave the allies a hard time for a while. Something like 430 at 30,000ft
A

It would have made a very dangerous tool indeed if it had been allowed to be developed fully.

The prototypes suffered similar undercarriage problems as the Bf109 - and it had stability problems... but these were addressed in the later machines, including the use of a larger stabiliser.

The Kawasaki Ki-61 was apparently heavily influenced by its design...

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/5/55/Ki-61.jpg/800px-Ki-61.jpg

WX
08-19-2009, 06:05 PM
Not a bomber but I have to throw it in. Beautiful design and the first aircraft to be fitted with an ejector seat.

http://pagesperso-orange.fr/christophe.arribat/bird2-he219.jpg
Heinkel 219 Uhu (Owl) nightfighter.

The Bigfella
08-19-2009, 06:06 PM
How reliable is this data? This is high Nazi propaganda era.

Christopher

... and the US government's unexpected delivery of larger superchargers?

All three governments were playing the same game at the time... with the Speed Spitfire, the DB601R (increased boost) engine in Germany and the "unexpected" extra boost in the US.

I think you will find that the use of the standard machine in those tests was not for propaganda purposes. The speed record was already well above the 416 mph that it achieved.... and it was the speed record that was being used for propaganda. Their later shot at it, using the high boost 601R engine - yeah - call that propaganda - but not the run with the standard machine.

WX
08-19-2009, 06:09 PM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/5/55/Ki-61.jpg/800px-Ki-61.jpg
I've seen one of these in the flesh, admittedly it was dismantled and in storage in Port Moresby. It was recovered intact and when found still had ammunition loaded. The pilot was chased inland and ran out of fuel.

The Bigfella
08-19-2009, 06:09 PM
The best medium bomber is the one that killed the most people.

Not in the slightest.

The best medium bomber - by popular acclaim here, I note - is the one that could most accurately and cheaply deliver ordinance on to high value targets.

The sad part of the WW2 bombing campaign was the widespread use of bombers to inaccurately deliver large quantities of ordnance in the hope of wiping out those targets, then their use to attempt to break morale.

The Bigfella
08-19-2009, 06:10 PM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/5/55/Ki-61.jpg/800px-Ki-61.jpg
I've seen one of these in the flesh, admittedly it was dismantled and in storage in Port Moresby. It was recovered intact and when found still had ammunition loaded. The pilot was chased inland and ran out of fuel.

I'll see if I can dig out my photos of the museum in Port Moresby

WX
08-19-2009, 06:24 PM
Ian are you talking about the actual museum or the storage yard in Hohola? In 92 I was staying not far from the yard and went there a couple of times. Man it was a goldmine! They even had the chair Yamamoto died in.

The Bigfella
08-19-2009, 06:30 PM
Ian are you talking about the actual museum or the storage yard in Hohola? In 92 I was staying not far from the yard and went there a couple of times. Man it was a goldmine! They even had the chair Yamamoto died in.

Yep - the storage yard. I'm sure I've got a photo of that chair. There was a Junkers 52 there too IIRC. Lots of stuff out in the open too. It might be a hard slog to find the photos though.

damnyankee
08-19-2009, 06:30 PM
... and the US government's unexpected delivery of larger superchargers?

All three governments were playing the same game at the time... with the Speed Spitfire, the DB601R (increased boost) engine in Germany and the "unexpected" extra boost in the US.

I think you will find that the use of the standard machine in those tests was not for propaganda purposes. The speed record was already well above the 416 mph that it achieved.... and it was the speed record that was being used for propaganda. Their later shot at it, using the high boost 601R engine - yeah - call that propaganda - but not the run with the standard machine.
Ok, site your sources?

Christopher

WX
08-19-2009, 06:33 PM
There was a Junkers 52 there too IIRC.
You sure you don't mean the Ford trimotor?
It was used briefly...before it crashed...in the resupply of the Kokoda Track at Myola Lakes.

The Bigfella
08-19-2009, 06:43 PM
Ok, site your sources?

Christopher

Why? You writing a thesis? I don't even bother citing sources for my clients unless they pay extra.... but just for you

Chuck is one ... (the bigger blowers) - and I always trust what Americans write on the internet.:D But yeah - I let my fingers do some more research on that one.

Try this one for the Speed Spitfire ...

http://www.spitfiresite.com/reference/variants-technology/2009/05/spitfire-variants-merlin-01.htm

Sitting in front of me is Janes's "Fighting Aircraft of WW2"

The data on the He100 speed comes from here...

http://www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/he100-3.html

The Bigfella
08-19-2009, 06:46 PM
You sure you don't mean the Ford trimotor?
It was used briefly...before it crashed...in the resupply of the Kokoda Track at Myola Lakes.

Oops.... Hey, it was a long time ago, and I think the day we went out there I'd knocked back a whole case the night before with a certain former Governor General..... and when I say a whole case... that was my share. Did you notice, there seems to be a bit of a drinking culture up there?

WX
08-19-2009, 06:49 PM
Did you notice, there seems to be a bit of a drinking culture up there?
Mosbi is where I learnt how to pour SP lager down my throat.:D I also learnt how open a stubbie with almost anything to hand.

The Bigfella
08-19-2009, 07:54 PM
Oops - stop the presses. Maybe I was wrong to take Chuck as a source. Here's the AP article on the "record breaking" XP-38 trans-continental flight.... which took 16 muntes and 35 seconds longer than Howard Hughes 1937 flight.

http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=2241

... and he crashed after he "overshot the field, observers said, and zoomed the motors to pick up speed and altitude. The right motor appeared to choke, sending him into a steep right turn." - didn't I say something about carby icing?

... I make his average speed - whilst airborne - at 343 mph - or 310mph if you include the refueling stops. Not an insignificant achievement - but not exactly close to 400mph.

Here's another newspaper report of the crash which says...



The plane, which had reached speeds of almost 400 miles per hour in preliminary tests


http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=2242

Interestingly, the Smithsonian notes that the P38's instability problem in the early versions was starting at 320 mph ....

http://collections.nasm.si.edu/code/emuseum.asp?style=single&currentrecord=1&page=search&profile=objects&searchdesc=A19600295000&quicksearch=A19600295000&newvalues=1&newstyle=expanded&newcurrentrecord=1

... and they go on to say that by the time the L version was introduced - in June 1944, they were able to attain speeds of 420 mph above 25,000 feet.

John B
08-19-2009, 07:59 PM
A friend of mine is currently flying a chopper for the Australian gummint in the Solomons... I've asked him for pics of the planes and ships underwater up there so we'll see when his contract is up.

The other most important contribution of the Mosquito and I think the Beaufighter first , was the targeting aspect. I forget the figures but night bombing was particularly innacurate ,until transformed by the Pathfinders.

The Bigfella
08-19-2009, 08:13 PM
Even then it was still very very inaccurate.

But, lookee here.... we find that the XP never actually did do a maximum speed run... they just worked out that it "could" do 400mph. What a joke.




What was the actual maximum speed of the XP-38? To begin, it is almost certain that no attempt was made to operate the aircraft at maximum speed. The first flight almost ended in disaster when the flap operating rods broke on takeoff. There were only five other test flights used to correct the flap problem and other known defects, after which the aircraft was sent on its cross-country flight. Kelsey was a trained test pilot and the flight plan required strict adherence to specific power settings calculated to balance speed with fuel consumption. In fact, he makes a similar statement in an interview (see below).

Warren Bodie’s definitive book on the P-38 has most of the answers concerning this question. The best data comes from an interview that took place several years after Kelsey’s retirement. It appears that he took two sets of performance readings during the flight while at high-speed cruise. He used this to calculate what the maximum speed would be at 20,000 feet at rated power. Remember that Kelsey was an MIT engineering graduate who spent much of his time estimating the performance of new airplanes.

One of the calculations showed a maximum speed of 394 mph at 20,000 feet on 1150 hp/ engine. The other showed 399 mph at 20,000 feet if 1250 hp/ engine was used. His data and calculations were given to Kelly Johnson who came up with 403 mph at critical altitude (around 20,000 feet) on 1150 hp/ engine. Johnson also had plans to alter the design of the airplane and expected to improve the speed by around 10-mph, giving it a top speed of 413 mph. This is often quoted as the top speed of the XP-38, but as flown, it would appear to be between 394 to 403 mph. Nonetheless, this makes the P-38 the first 400-mph fighter in history.



http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/p-38/p-38-wayne.html

To which I say - it was calculated to be a 400 mph fighter... but that just didn't happen in reality... did it, until much later?

Besides, the He100 - had already done it, in reality, not in a notebook, a year earlier.

The Bigfella
08-20-2009, 07:08 PM
John, I'm sure your friend will have some fabulous photos. I'd love the opportunity to do some chopper flying up that way. I remember flying into Madang on my way out of the Highlands in Papua New Guinea and I still recall it as one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen anywhere around the globe - the brilliant blues met by the brilliant greens of the jungles. If it wasn't for the rascals and the malaria, you could build a damn good tourism business there.

Here's one of the Aussie Beaufighters in Papua New Guinea in 1942 - they were one of our mainstay aircraft in the fight against the Japanese. This shot is near the Kokoda Track ... in the Owen Stanley Ranges, where a Twin Otter went in at full speed, killing 13, two weeks ago. The standard comment about flying in PNG - regarded as the most difficult place in the world to fly - is "the clouds have rocks in them".

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/37/Beaufighter_%28AWM_OG0001%29.jpg

My uncle flew Beau's as a night fighter in England, before being re-equipped with the Mosquitos. One of his planes crashed on takeoff - in the hands of a new pilot. They were notoriously difficult to take off in - and he said that everyone at the field would come out to watch every novice's first flight.

The Aussies did a lot of damage to Japanese shipping with the Beau's.

Captain Blight
08-20-2009, 07:14 PM
Speaking of Isoroku Yamamoto, the Rising Sun's best medium bomber:

http://www.aviastar.org/pictures/japan/mitsubishi_g4m.jpg

The Bigfella
08-20-2009, 07:36 PM
That'd be a Betty at a guess - they really should have put self sealing tanks in them.

Captain Blight
08-20-2009, 07:47 PM
Yep, that's the Mitsubishi G4M "Betty." Self-sealing tanks don't help much when you've got a pair of P-38s chivvying you below the canopy of a rainforest, however. Yamamoto might not have died with is hair on fire, though, and that's something to think about.

The thing that made the Zero such a fantastic fighter was its light weight. No goo in the tanks, no armor for the pilot. I guess when you have a military culture that teaches expectation of a glorious death in service to a living god, a little thing like self-sealing tanks will take a back seat to saving pounds.

Nicholas Scheuer
08-20-2009, 07:49 PM
When I attended a WW2 B-17 Panel of Veterans at the Spruce Goose Museum at McMinville, OR I asked a pilot on the panel why we've always heard more about B-17's than B-24's, even though more B-24's flew.

He answered by saying that he helped deliver a bunch of B-24's on a flight from the US to England, then got transferred to a B-217 squadron, "fortunately" was one word he used.

He said the B-24 could not be flown in as tight a formation as a B-17, and the really "tight" formations invariably experienced fewer casualties. He said the B-24 gave the impression of "wandering all over the sky".

As for the subject at hand, I firmly believe the B-25 was the best all-round Medium Bomber. But those plywood DeHaviland Mosquitoes sure were nice!

Moby Nick

The Bigfella
08-20-2009, 07:55 PM
Yamamato died as a result of a 50 calibre bullet hole through his abdomen. Gary (Wx) and I have both seen the bullet hole in the seat he was sitting in when he died...

Yeah - the weight gave the Zero and advantage - but the Allies soon realised that there was no shame involved in not dogfighting them. They learnt very quickly that the way to win against a Zero was to shoot and run.

The Zero was only about 1/7th of total Japanese aircraft production though... they had plenty of dud fighters in the air at the same time too.