The lack of a four engined bomber

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Lkefct
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Post by Lkefct » 10 Aug 2004 13:45

Huck wrote:
Lkefct wrote:None of those planes is avalible for the BoB. The comparision being made is the 2 engined bombers of the day vs 4 engne planes from late in the war. How can that be an accurate assesment of the improvement of the planes? Of course a 4 engine late war plane is going to have better performance towards winning the BoB. That is like saying that the USAAF would perform better in the late with smart bombs. You are applying the wrong era of technology.

The issue is not do 4 engine bombers perform better, that is obvious. The question is would it have beneftied germany in WW2. Agin, the only targets that they could not hit because of a lack of range are

1). Soviet factories
2). US anything
3). NAval recon.

[...]

Building 4 engine bombers make little or no sense to the german military. It just does not add that much to what they are doing, if you examine what they are doing critically. For the Allies, they are an indespencable part of the war effort. By the situations faced by the 2 sides is not reversible. What do you need a heavy bomber for that the medium bombers the germans did use can't do? My answer is that the only thing they cannot do that makes any sense is naval recon.

I'm sorry, I was just making a general observation, it was not an direct answer to your post. I do agree with your points. Germany did not really need a 4 engine bomber, unless there was a serious plan for an antishipping campaign.

Indeed a commited antishipping campaign could inflict disastrous losses to convoys operating in Atlantic, also to warships. It is not well known, but LW destroyed more British medium size warships (light cruisers, destroyers) than Kriegsmarine, and all this in absence of an official LW campaign against RN.
Even if they don't try and bomb ships, they have the potential to do a great deal of harm to the convoys. Something like 9 out of 10 convoys where never interecepted. Most of the convoy losses where due to concentrated attacks, where multiple boats converge, but these attacks are rare. USing 4 engine planes as recon, can eliminate the need for long lines of Uboats, which are then order to concentrate for the attack. The boats would still need to spread out, but the air craft could help to give a much longer lead time to Donitz, and allow him to try and concentrate his boats sooner, and spend less time total at sea. More boats would be able to concentrate for a single nights activities, and overwhelm the escorts more efficiently. Also, Allied Bofuns found that Convoy losses do not increase in proportion to the size of the convoy. If Uboats attack a convoy with 30 ships and 4 escorts, they might sink 8 in a night. A 60 ship convoy might lose the same 8, since ship losses in the happy time are related to the capacity of the Uboats torpedo tubes. More boats, more (potential) sinkings.

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Erich
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Post by Erich » 11 Aug 2004 04:43

are you aware of the recon activities of the 4 engine Ju 290's flying with the almost stealth unit FAGr 5 over the Atlantic and northern waters ?

v/r

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Post by varjag » 11 Aug 2004 12:18

True enough - but the Ju 290, like all 4-fan aeroplanes, were expensive and slow in building. Besides they only became operational when the U-Boats had had their day in the Atlantic. The Germans had a number of BV 138 flying boats available before that - that to me seem ideal for the job of convoy-spotting. They were slow but seem to have had the range - were they used for that job?

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Post by gabriel pagliarani » 11 Aug 2004 20:41

Witch-King of Angmar wrote:....He-177 had 4 engines, each DB-610 powerplant was made up by two DB-605 engines united by a gearbox, but each of the DB-605 engines had it's own fuel feed, ignition and controls. Mounting each DB-605 engine separately with it's own propeller would bring no advantage, only increase drag....
...and only feeding and cooling circuit per nacelle: doubled regulating troubles and a single target to enemy fire. But I don't want argue about the 4 engines of He 177 (who care of that abort?), I want only let you understand that there was a syllogism at the base of the whole argue. extending the argue alsoP-47 Thunderbolt was a 2 engine fighter or Tempest V.. Their engines had doubled crankshaft and doubled valve dinstribution but a common fuel feeding and only an oil circuit. Why aren't these fighters considered "twins" as He 177 is considered a 4 engined bomber? Basically it is the same consideration :idea: And B-52 is a real 8 or a wonderful doubled 4? 8O I think tha the real stuff is in the long-range effectiveness plus effectively achieved performances. How is possible to compare the outstanding Superfortress B-29 to an abort like He-177?

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Lkefct
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Post by Lkefct » 11 Aug 2004 22:53

My understanding of the problem is that the 290s, are first designed and used mostly as transports. That I think is a waste. Once Germany starts to lose their inital fleet of Ju 52's they are never going to have enough planes to do much in the way of air transport. To a large degree the technology is just against them. Until turboprops, engines can't generate enough thrust to get heavy loads off the ground.

The second issue was that From Uboat.net, I thought that they said that the Ju 290's don't enter service until 1943. At that point, the air gap is closed, and aircraft and escorts with radar are pouncing on Uboats on the surface. That is what is utimately pushing the Uboat are to go to the Elctroboats. If they had been avlaible in 1940 (or more precisely the smaller cousin Ju 89 or 90), then they might have helped the Uboats. By 1943, the old prewar designs cannot operate on the surface, and they are too slow to be an effective weapon when they sumerge. Too little, too late.

One of the great advantages of the Type XXI is that the hydrophones can detect a Convoy from like 50 km away. While that is not a lot better then a surfaced Uboat can see a smoke trail from a ship, it is enough to let them operate and be efficient. Aircraft would still be a huge advantage for those boats, as the detection range has not improved measureably since the early war period. But again, too little too late.

Does anyone know if the He 177 was used for naval recon? It is my impression that it did not. As far as losing the battle of britan, it would not, since the first flight of the He 177 was right about then, and that means that it would not be ready for mass production, whatever the merits of the coupled engines. Personally, I don't think that a multi-engined aircraft is really the place to try and reduce drag like that. It will not buy the plane enough extra speed to outrun fighters of the day, so it is probably easier to go with the simplier, rather then more complex engineering approach.

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Post by Witch-King of Angmar » 12 Aug 2004 00:36

Lkefct wrote:Does anyone know if the He 177 was used for naval recon? It is my impression that it did not. As far as losing the battle of britan, it would not, since the first flight of the He 177 was right about then, and that means that it would not be ready for mass production, whatever the merits of the coupled engines. Personally, I don't think that a multi-engined aircraft is really the place to try and reduce drag like that. It will not buy the plane enough extra speed to outrun fighters of the day, so it is probably easier to go with the simplier, rather then more complex engineering approach.
For naval recon they weren't, just for anti-shipping attacks, like the Ju-88A & FW-200C previously.

He-177 was quicker and more manoeuvrable than either B-17G "Superfortress"or B-24J "Liberator", had longer range than any of them (with 2 x 1400kg missiles), and only the gigantic B-29 & Lancaster MkII could claim to outmatch it as a long-range heavy bomber; the unreliability of the coupled engines could be solved in time. The technology as such was not quite the wrong one, the strategic concept was. Had the Reich's authorities concentrated on He-177s and Ju-290s as naval-only weapons, the massacre of U-Boats after 1942 would have been less cruel, and the attrition of bombers and pilots less hard felt.

~The Witch-King of Angmar

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Post by Erich » 12 Aug 2004 00:38

you guys must not be aware of the FAGr 5's ctivities then by your statements.........

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Erich
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Post by Erich » 12 Aug 2004 00:42

a little sosmething for your taste buds...........2./FAGr 5 290
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Post by Lkefct » 12 Aug 2004 01:07

How many 290's where delivered. A dozen. And deliveries did not take place until 1943. By then any Uboat who stays on the surface too long is dead, and it is too slow to stay submerged and catch a convoy, unless the convoy runs over the u-boat. Too little, too late.

What I am talking about is if the U-boats had ~100 planes supporting them in 1940. At that point, the only thing that slows losses to u-boats in the atlantic is that there are only a couple of dozen boats active (if that), and not many escorts. Donitz needed to get every boat into action, and then quickly back to port to rearm, and get back out. A limiting factor is having to array uboats into a line, make contact, and then trail the convoy until Uboats can concentrate for an attack. Uboats sinking is determined by how many boats attack a convoy, since it is difficult for a uboat to reload it's torpedo tubes quickly in combat, the best way to get more kills is to have a lot of boats. Also, more boats attacking at once overwhelms the defenses, and the escorts cannot take the time to hunt individual boats. It would give those boats who are there, time to elude the defenses while they do reload. It takes an escort multiple hours, and multiple ships to prosecute a kill to completion. 5 or 10 boats attacking the same convoy at once would effectively limit the response the escorts could have. (hence the term wolfpack). In those days before escort carriers, and long range beaufighters and mesquitos ranging into the bay of biscay, the 4 engined long range aircraft could also carry out bombing attacks, with little or no interuption. A few lewis guns effectively ended the threats posed by the Conders. 1940 is when it would make a big difference.

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Post by Erich » 12 Aug 2004 01:14

I'll dig for that dat sir but I think you will be quite surprised with the amount of tonnage sunk by U-boots with direction/gudiance under FAGr 5 an almost stealth unit. Funny for many existing web-sites on the net the Condor is listed as the only operative 4-engine bomber/recon a/c. Which proves that they have not done their research. ytou may also find that not all of FAGr 5's 290's were lost in action or accidnets but did make it till war's end, in several different roles. I amm going to have to take some time as I have some 100 pages plus on the unit to translate from the Deutsch to English...........

v/r

E ♪

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Post by Volklin » 12 Aug 2004 08:59

The Ural bomber program didn't die when the OBL commander died. it continued for a long range bomber to reach the foothills of the Urals where the majority of the Soviet european war effort was moved.

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Post by varjag » 12 Aug 2004 12:06

Erich wrote:I'll dig for that dat sir but I think you will be quite surprised with the amount of tonnage sunk by U-boots with direction/gudiance under FAGr 5 an almost stealth unit. Funny for many existing web-sites on the net the Condor is listed as the only operative 4-engine bomber/recon a/c. Which proves that they have not done their research. ytou may also find that not all of FAGr 5's 290's were lost in action or accidnets but did make it till war's end, in several different roles. I amm going to have to take some time as I have some 100 pages plus on the unit to translate from the Deutsch to English...........

v/r

E ♪
Erich - as for tonnage sunk after spotted by FAGr 5 - by the U-Boat arm - I'm holding my breath. And awaiting your details....Varjag

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Post by Huck » 12 Aug 2004 16:50

Hop wrote:
One mention: Allies used for late war planes 100/130 fuel. The 150 octane was used solely by the British planes exclusively for low level interception (mostly V-1s).
This is often written in books etc, but it's not actually true.

100/130 octane fuel remained more widespread than 100/150, but 100/150 was used for a lot more than just chasing V-1s.

The British began trials of 100/150 in 1943, and began converting all the Spitfire IX squadrons in Britain in the spring of 1944. In early summer 1944, all US 8th AF fighter units switched to 100/150, and remained on it until March or April 45.



It is often written in books because it is true. NO 8th AF fighter unit used 100/150 fuel operationally. They tested it from February '44 for a planned deployement in June '44. They contracted from the British 20,000 tons of 100/150 fuel per month (from June '44, prior this date they bought only a small quantity for testing), because 8th AF had an "all or nothing" perspective on this matter: either all fighter units would use the 100/150 fuel or none of them, that's why they bought 20,000 tons of fuel per month - this was the average monthly fuel consumption for 8th AF fighter units in '44.

Engines running rough, spark plugs fouling, exhaust valve sticking, all caused by highly leaded gasoline, made this transition impossible (faced with stiff pilot resistance to adoption). Experiments with Mustangs running on 100/150 fuel stopped around Nov 44. In december 1944 the P-47M arrived in Europe, a new set of trials with 100/150 fuel began. They made combat sorties for about 2 weeks in January, then the entire P-47M fleet was grounded because of accidents (same reasons as with Mustang). P-47M will fly again for about a month at the end of war, only after they replaced the R-2800-57 with R-2800-73, which showed more promise for usage of highly leaded gasoline. Overall a disappointing service, P-47M lost more aircrafts in accidents than the number of kills it claimed.

Hop wrote: RAF fighter command, which was renamed Air Defence Great Britain, used 100/150 in almost all it's fighters from the summer of 44 until the end of the war. 2nd Tactical Air Force, the British AF based on the continent after the Normandy landings, switched to 100/150 in January 1945.

In July 1944, the RAF used 12,000 tons of 100/150, the USAAF 20,000 tons, by Jan 45 the figures were USAAF 20,000 tons, ADGB 10,000 tons, 2nd TAF 15,000 tons.

As a guide to how much fuel that actually is, Fighter Command used 22,000 tons during the 4 months of the Battle of Britain.

British production figures for 100/150 and 100/130 octane, in US barrels:

[...]

As you can see, 100/150 production overtook 100/130 production from summer 1944 onwards.

100/150 production overtook 100/130 production because of the planned deployment but also because of the Allies had enormous stocks of 100/130 fuel. In March 1945 they had in UK harbors alone stocks of aprox 550,000 tons of 100/130 fuel.

RAF's own usage of 100/150 fuel was 2000 tons in Nov 1944, which is a fraction of the fuel used by RAF fighters - it never exceeded this figure prior to this date. A planned consumption of 10000 tons with RAF was projected for January 1945, but I never saw a document attesting the ACTUAL 100/150 fuel consumption with RAF in Jan 1945. The 15000 tons 100/150 fuel "consumed" by 2nd TAF is also a projection NOT actual fuel consumption. I have the document, please avoid such loose interpretations.

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Post by Lkefct » 12 Aug 2004 16:59

If you thihnk about the whole idea behind the tonnage war for a minute. You have to sink enough tonnage that the other side cannot continue. How are one or two dozen Ju 290's going to sink enough tonnage to have an impact. In 1943, the US shipping yards are producing something like 1,000,000 tons of shipping a month. At around 10,000 tons a liberty ship, that is like 100 ship a month of NEW construction. At the same time losses due to uboat are dropping off rapidly, to almost nothing, while the # of boats being sunks is increasing rapidly. So, the Ju 290 has to be able to sink that many ship by itself. Can a dozen planes, minus whatever is down for maintence, or other losses sink that many ships, and also scout for Uboats? Even assuming that they use the new guided bombs, and as many Conders as possible to add to the strength, I think that is too much. even at the height of the Conder's reign of terror in the atlantic, they where only sinking a 100,000 tons per month. That was pretty good at the time, because that is adding a lot to the uboat total. But it is too much to think they can do it all by themselves wihtout uboat support.

Volklin - how do the German bomber find these factories if they are to be bombed? How are they to navigate there and find them with enough precision to drop enough bombs on each factory to detroy it? How are the Germans going to support a huge fleet of bombers in central russia, and then protect the large concrete strips from both the Soviet Air Force (who also has heavy bombers) and Partisans? How do they protect it once the Red Army starts counter attacking, that becomes objective #1? How do they defend their bombers from Soviet heavy fighters without fighter escorts. The Ural bomber plan is a decent idea, but there are a lot of other issues that need to be resolved. Germany had very little idea what the interior of Russia was like after they invaded, and their info was very sketchy away from the main highway to Moscow. I suspect their information of pre-war Ural Russia was very scare before the shooting started, and that it all changed as the Soviets evacuated their industry east.

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Post by gabriel pagliarani » 12 Aug 2004 17:58

Witch-King of Angmar wrote: ...He-177 was quicker and more manoeuvrable than either B-17G "Superfortress"or B-24J "Liberator", had longer range than any of them (with 2 x 1400kg missiles), and only the gigantic B-29 & Lancaster MkII could claim to outmatch it as a long-range heavy bomber; the unreliability of the coupled engines could be solved in time. ...
He 177 was not able to fly safely with only a power unit (a nacelle, obviously) Hence LW correctly avoided as much as possible to use He 177 over far Atlantic. FW 200 Condor was much more reliable in this role. What were the problems solved? :lol: All this stuff about Ju 290 when they were only 24 prototypes! B17G was not a "Superfortress" (..it was the B29 only) and B17 was able to go back with only 2 engines still working and horrible wounds to the structure and crew, while He-177 was many times more vulnerable than the hard & solid Boeings.Some B17 turned home without the whole tail and half crew massacred. It was a very dangerous job to shot down a Fortress and I think that the only unadequate allied bomber was the Stirling, unable to fly over the Alps avoiding the flak disposed on the mountains.

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