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Long Range Escourt Fighters in 1940?

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  • Long Range Escourt Fighters in 1940?

    Assume the British took a different line of thought after their unsucessful raids in 1939 and made a serious effort to develop long range escourt fighters within two years. This would lead to daylight raids & the accompanying air battles over Germany a couple years sooner.

    Did the RAF bomber command have the other resources, or the potiential to develop them, for such a effort? If the RAF can pull this off what are the likely effects on the Luftwaffe?

  • #2
    The potential was there; the resources would be the problem I suspect.

    However, if it was attempted with success, I think the US might have pursued this idea sooner, changing the whole complexion of the Bomber Campaign over Europe.
    Eternal War(gaming) Armoured Struggle Car Bob

    History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis.
    Lazarus Long

    Draw the blinds on yesterday and it's all so much scarier....
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    • #3
      In 1939 and most of 1940, the RAF was under orders NOT to bomb German cities, sort of a gentleman's agreement with the Germans not to do the same thing. This agreement actualy stood until some night-bombers accidently dumped a load on London.
      Given that, what priority would long-range escorts have been given?

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      • #4
        Orders were one thing, doctrine and plans were another. Harris & co did not put the concept of stratigic bombing out of mind because of humaitarian wishes. Frankland & other hsitorians comment on the plans and actions taken to prepare for heavy bombing attacks on Germany while the prohibition was in effect. As early as April 1940 a plan for attacking German oil manufactoring & refining sites was drawn up.

        The RAF tried to bomb German naval bases in daylight & got spanked in 1939. The choice made then was to use the safety of night. But the Hornum raid of March 1940 clearly showed the problems of target location.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
          Assume the British took a different line of thought after their unsucessful raids in 1939 and made a serious effort to develop long range escourt fighters within two years. This would lead to daylight raids & the accompanying air battles over Germany a couple years sooner.

          Did the RAF bomber command have the other resources, or the potiential to develop them, for such a effort? If the RAF can pull this off what are the likely effects on the Luftwaffe?
          considering the types of planes available in 1939-1940 to the RAF, long range fighters would be slow, not very agile, and might be shot down in droves by the Bf-109's on "home" territory, meaning lots of pilot losses for the RAF.
          "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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          • #6
            British and American bomber designers and tacticians apparantly really believed in the "flying fortress" concept in the 1930s and seemed to thing escorts fighters unnecessary until actual combat. Who knew that the agile Axis fighters were going to be so capable of staying out of the supposedly interlocking MG envelopes of all those bombers?

            The Allies seriously underestimated the capabilities of the Messerschmidts and the Zeroes early on and then had to come up with fighters that could both go the distance and outmaneuver the enemy fighters over on their side of the line. A very tall order for all parties when their was enough fighter production and pilots being trained. The Germans couldn't take out the RAF in 1940 when they were on the offensive, so the difficulties the allies had on the other side were not a surprise afterwards.
            "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
            George Mason
            Co-author of the Second Amendment
            during Virginiaís Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

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            • #7
              Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
              considering the types of planes available in 1939-1940 to the RAF, long range fighters would be slow, not very agile, and might be shot down in droves by the Bf-109's on "home" territory, meaning lots of pilot losses for the RAF.
              Precisely, long range fighters comparable to the P47, ect..would need to be developed several years sooner. I wonder what the options were?

              I also wnder why it took so long for the 'drop tank' idea to catch on?

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              • #8
                drop tank is one thing - plausible to be developed sooner. hence longer ranged Defiants or Battles could be possible. as for double ranged Hurricanes and Spitfires that's still too short of a range... perhaps a "twin Spitfire"??

                as for P-47's you need the engines. that powerfull engine was hard to come by sooner - note that I am not an aeronautics nor mechanical engineer, so I may be wrong.
                "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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                • #9
                  I'm not the aeronautical engineer either. Although it seems my friends & I were experts on this at age 14. Back then one of us probablly could have evaluated accurately the fitting of a Merlin engine into the various airframes available. Some student teacher did his internship in our vocational ed class. He had worked briefly for North American Mfg & accquired a half scale drawing of the original fitting of the Merlin into into the P51 frame. He became like a god to us.

                  Now I cant even recall clearly what aircraft were available for this sort of developem1nt 1940-42. I suspose the P40 would be a possiblity for this as it was in production in 1940. A upgraded Merlin engined model might be available in numbers by late 1941. The P38 was one of the very few twin engined fighters worth a damm perhaps it would be available in quantity before 1943. Probablly there were some options for airframe/engine combination that could have flown with adaquate performance in 1941-42, but we need the right geek... I mean expert, to educate us here.

                  If I recall correctly none of the Brit Bomber designs available in 1940-41 were suitable for multiple batterys of heavy MG like the US bombers.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                    In 1939 and most of 1940, the RAF was under orders NOT to bomb German cities, sort of a gentleman's agreement with the Germans not to do the same thing. This agreement actualy stood until some night-bombers accidently dumped a load on London.
                    The RAF started to bomb military related targets in western Germany after the Luftwaffe started to bomb towns and cities in Belgium, the Netherlands and France in May 1940 as part of their invasion of these nations.
                    From the very start of the Battle of Britain both the RAF and the Luftwaffe carried out a campaign of night attacks on military related targets, the only restriction imposed on the Luftwaffe was that London couldn't be bombed, attacks on other towns and cities in the UK were allowed and took place, the RAF's bombing campaign focused on Western Germany in the Ruhr area.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
                      drop tank is one thing - plausible to be developed sooner. hence longer ranged Defiants or Battles could be possible. as for double ranged Hurricanes and Spitfires that's still too short of a range... perhaps a "twin Spitfire"??
                      If there had been a requirement issued by the British Air Ministry there is little doubt that the range of the Spitfire could have been expanded quite considerably.
                      As proof is the fact that a Photo Recon Spitfire was the first single seat Allied fighter type to overfly Berlin, in late 1940.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by redcoat View Post
                        If there had been a requirement issued by the British Air Ministry there is little doubt that the range of the Spitfire could have been expanded quite considerably.
                        As proof is the fact that a Photo Recon Spitfire was the first single seat Allied fighter type to overfly Berlin, in late 1940.
                        A ha! Do have refrences for this one? I see someone was probablly holding out on me in a discussion a couple years ago. Be nice to go back and beat them over the head with this.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                          A ha! Do have refrences for this one? I see someone was probablly holding out on me in a discussion a couple years ago. Be nice to go back and beat them over the head with this.
                          I have a bit of apologizing to do
                          For while the Spitfire was indeed the first allied single seat fighter type to overfly Berlin, I got the date wrong, it wasn't late 1940, but March 1941

                          http://www.jaapteeuwen.com/ww2aircra...naissance).htm

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                          • #14
                            I did not know that (the 1941 recon - in 1940, I'd have been very amazed).

                            well, a "battle of Germany" in 1940 would be a tough one for the RAF.
                            "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by redcoat View Post
                              I have a bit of apologizing to do
                              For while the Spitfire was indeed the first allied single seat fighter type to overfly Berlin, I got the date wrong, it wasn't late 1940, but March 1941

                              http://www.jaapteeuwen.com/ww2aircra...naissance).htm
                              Thats still good for calling that other argument While it does not demonstrate the ability to provide long range fighters in 1940 it suggests they could have been avaiable in quantity in 1942, or even 1941, as I orginally theorized. Depends on just how the British efforts to solve the engineering problems fall out.

                              Hopefully further British daylight air raids over Europe would serve as lessons for the USAAF & the mistakes of 1942-43 avoided.

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