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B17 v Lanc bomb load

Old 5th May 2012, 09:19
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The FN64 was useless for night ops,as the gunner did not have direct vision,as I said in an earlier post some crews did have a ventral scare gun (esp the canadians).
Unfortunately the H2S installation precluded refitting a turret in that posn,so a scare gun was the only real option.
The feeling I get from reading Bomber crew autobios is that the majority of the RAF main force crews had no knowledge of upward firing nightfighters,the canadians seeming much more concerned about the obvious vulnerability of underbelly attacks.

rgds LR
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Old 8th May 2012, 12:17
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the FN64 was a pretty good turret, probably the third best belly turret after the Sperry and B29 GE remote controlled units, however all these proved to be pretty useless at night, it wasnt the guns it was the positioning, being under the bomber meant that was pretty impossible to see an attacking fighter, those bombers fitted with the belly gun show no better survival rates than those without.

I think the decision was made to delete them from production was based on feedback from crews as to thier usability.

As to mainforce using upper turrets, I dont believe that mainforce had any such restrictions, it was purely how they were delivered.

A point about fared over turrets, I did forget one role in which they were used without turrets, all the PR1 photo recon birds were fited without nose and upper (not sure about rear) maybe he means these birds (would explain why they were carrying bombloads similar to b17s flares were quite light compaired to HE
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Old 8th May 2012, 16:14
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The great majority of mainforce lancs did have a top turret,I have never seen a photo of a main force lanc without one.
What bullshooter 45 was posting was that the majority of lancs were field modified to remove turrets because of load carrying/performance shortfalls...which is patently nonsense !but then he kept trying to use wiki as a primary source anywayl LOL.
As I posted previously - the photo he posted of a lanc without a top turret was PA474 taken over lincoln in the 1970's

rgds lr
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Old 9th May 2012, 06:56
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I agree that most Mainforce lancs had a upper turret, in fact most all lancs had them, the point I was making was that most of those that did fly without them were not anything special but were just supply shortages and were treated eaxactly like anyother lanc.

I have NEVER found anything that implied that the turrets were removed, all those without were either specials or supply shortages and all had the turret mods done at the factory.

I was a a talk once given by ex staff at the AVRO factory at Yeadon and this point about turrets came up, they do not remember any Lancs leaving yeadon without a full set. (although they also never fitted belly turrets)

an intertersting story from that talk was of a lanc pilot who told a tail of landing after a Berlin raid to be told that he had flown all the way home withing spitting distance of another Lanc and had never seen anything.

ps shooter has only ever hit a true fact by complete accident, and the fact that the B17 needed to replace half its bomb looad with additional fuel tanks to reach ranges the lancs were doing with 10000+ lbs is upto his usual standard.


pps

Someone mentioned the Mossie and berlin raids, seemingly the mossie had a 2 hour flight time to berlin with a 4000lbs cookie (note that note all the bombs that the mossie carried that looked like the 4000lbs cookie were, a proportion were actually incendaries that used the same case)
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Old 9th May 2012, 07:28
  #125 (permalink)  
 
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As I posted previously - the photo he posted of a lanc without a top turret
was PA474 taken over lincoln in the 1970's
I am only supprised that the pic is of a Lanc, with his record I would have been expecting a manchester or a stirling, even a Condor would have not supprised me
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Old 9th May 2012, 08:17
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It seems unbelievable that the High Command knew nothing at all about the deadly Schrage Muzik ( there is a Me 110 tail fin in the Canberra War Memorial whose pilot shot down 7 four engined bombers in 17 mins! ).

I can well understand the crews not being aware of it, but wonder if this information was known, but deliberately kept from them. There wasn't much the people supposedly running the war didn't know.

I think the shooter has finally given up with his bullshooting.
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Old 9th May 2012, 19:10
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Good article here on schrage muzik

207 Sqn RAF Association - The Wesseling Raid 21/22 June 1944 - Schrage Musik
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Old 11th May 2012, 09:38
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A piece of a poem by Noel Coward.

"Lie in the dark and listen
City magnates and steel contractors,
Factory workers and politicians
Soft hysterical little actors Ballet dancers,
'reserved' musicians,
Safe in your warm civilian beds
Count your profits and count your sheep
Life is flying above your heads
Just turn over and try to sleep.
Lie in the dark and let them go
Theirs is a world you'll never know
Lie in the dark and listen."

I don't think the debt will ever be paid for the sacrifices those incredibly brave boys made, night after night.
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Old 12th May 2012, 05:14
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Schrage Musik

I think it took a very long time for the effects of schrage musik to filter through, because it was so effective. The crews that encountered it simply didn't come back to tell the tale. The few that might would have not seen their attacker - which would not have been unusual and which would not have aroused suspicion that a new weapon was being used.

Schrage Musik was around earlier than some records suggest. A few nightfighters were unofficially modified before the official policy came into effect. A relative of mine was killed in a Wellington in Jan 1942; one of three shot down in a period of forty minutes by the same Me110 of NJG2 from Leuwaarden. There is evidnce to suggest they were bought down with Schrage Music, but with a twin MG42 installation and not cannon.
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Old 12th May 2012, 09:46
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Could the Me-210/410 fire their fuselage cannons upwards, Schrage Musik style?


Last edited by Noyade; 12th May 2012 at 09:48.
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Old 12th May 2012, 18:09
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Could the Me-210/410 fire their fuselage cannons upwards, Schrage Musik style?
No, acording to the RAE report I've seen they could only elevate and depress 35 degress from the horizontal and swing laterally about 45 degrees.
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Old 12th May 2012, 19:26
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Link from another thread of someone recalling their service in operational research for bomber command where he describes their organisation including "ORS2c, studying damage to returning bombers"' The author worked in another section but it would be useful to see ORS2c's records or hear from someone who worked there to see what was known of shcrage musik within the RAF.

A Failure of Intelligence - Technology Review
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Old 12th May 2012, 22:39
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they could only elevate and depress 35 degress from the horizontal
Thanks.
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Old 13th May 2012, 08:03
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Brewsters second link gives this interesting paragraph,I could never understand why this was never even trialled on a small scale with Lancs and Stirlings...

Smeed and I agreed that Bomber Command could substantially reduce losses by ripping out two gun turrets, with all their associated hardware, from each bomber and reducing each crew from seven to five. The gun turrets were costly in aerodynamic drag as well as in weight. The turretless bombers would have flown 50 miles an hour faster and would have spent much less time over Germany. The evidence that experience did not reduce losses confirmed our opinion that the turrets were useless. The turrets did not save bombers, because the gunners rarely saw the fighters that killed them. But our proposal to rip out the turrets went against the official mythology of the gallant gunners defending their crewmates. Dickins never had the courage to push the issue seriously in his conversations with Harris. If he had, Harris might even have listened, and thousands of crewmen
might have been saved.
The extra speed would have made Lancs much more difficult to intercept as most enemy night fighters were fitted with draggy radar aerials and performance suffered accordingly
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Old 13th May 2012, 09:20
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It's an interesting debate...how many nightfighters were shot down during the bomber offensive (day & night)?

Apart from crippling Nazi cities, industry, communications, fuel...the loss of trained & good pilots must have massively reduced the capacity of the Luftwaffe to effectively wage war.
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Old 13th May 2012, 18:11
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Part of his operational research showed that it more dangerous to fly outside the bomber stream but the crews were more worried about collisions within it.
Perhaps removing the turrets would have reduced morale of the crews as they would have had no means of fighting back. Also once the night fighters found out the bombers had no defences wouldn't they have been more aggressive and maybe would not have needed schrage musik??
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Old 13th May 2012, 18:53
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Perhaps Brewster but as I posted earlier - if (say) a Lanc was indeed 50mph faster then it would have been more difficult to intercept...many of the german nightfighters were relatively slow through aerial drag and a 50mph faster Lanc might have been difficult to overtake.
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Old 14th May 2012, 18:38
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or do you not think, if the airplane was lighter without the turrets, Bomber Command may have more likely to have increased the bomb load and so the speed advantage would be lost.
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Old 14th May 2012, 19:06
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the problem, as i see it, was that handheld guns were pretty useless only a powered turret had any real chance of tracking a fighter,

so replacing the front turret on the halifax went on to try and get the halifax upto lanc performance and then you do it to the Lanc so dropping the halifax back again, plus it would have meant a delay in lanc production something harris would have fought (halifax and stirling he would consider but nothing should delay lancs)

harris wanted shorts and handley Page to crease production and retool for lanc

given the loss rates on the these two compaired to the lanc and you can see his point
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Old 19th May 2012, 07:10
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My father flew in Halifax,s with 6 Group and his comment on Lancaster and Mosquito and B17 are quite intresting talking to crews in Germay after they had been shot down.

Mosquito
Fantastic aircraft but he was told by a crew who had flown them that they were tricky too fly as has been said earlier, and also IF caught 20mm cannon shells made short work of them. The "IF" comment is the important one as he only talked to 4nr Mosquito pilots during his time behind the wire.

Lancaster
Very good aircraft but survival rate for crew was poor in comparison with Halifax due inpart to the wing spar position. The vast majority of bomber command crews he was inside with were Lancaster men due in part to the numbers flying. The aircraft performance was better than the Halifax and all other RAF heavy bomber types as is well documented. The comments of the crews, bearing in mind what had recently happened to them was more how difficult it was to get out of the thing after being hit rather than its flying ability or bomb load.

B17
Bomb loads were small in comparrison but missions were at high altitude and in daylight as we are all aware. B17 crew always said their aircraft were tough and well built. There was much talk about diffrent tactics ie night / day with one B17 pilot saying to my father "I do not know how you guys fly at night, I like to see where I am going, even if its down !!". Also the moral boost you used to get as a "Kreigie" he said when you looked up to view an 8th Air Force mission on a sunny day was quite somthing.

There has been comments about German nightfighters on this thread and my father met a few as he was taken to a nightfighter base after being shot down. His comment was they were just "like us in age and manerisams" and he met no hostilaty during his time there or indeed during his time inside. Indeed in 2003 with the help of German crash investigators I took him back to the village where he was shot down, and he was introduced to a then young boy who had held his hand back in 1943 to stop him walking back into his burning aircraft as he was blinded by shock for 24hrs after the crash.


In closing I think the planes are not as important as the men who flew them as no matter what side you are on in the Lanc/ Fortress debate the courage required to face a determined and resolute foe can only be admired.
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