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B17 v Lanc bomb load

Old 16th Jun 2012, 19:33
  #141 (permalink)  
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Returning to Schrage Musik - Eyes of the Night is a book describing the air defence of NW England 1940-43 which consisting in the main of non-radar equipped Defiants. These normally operated on moonlit nights detecting enemy aircraft by sight.

The book records 23 combats with Ju88s and He111s resulting in 12 being destroyed. These bombers had ventral gun positions and the Defiants usually attacked from below at distances between 25 to 150 yards. But only on two definite occasions did the bomber fire back and in both cases the Defiant was making a repeat attack. So one is tempted to think that even if the Lancaster had a ventral turret it might have made little difference.
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Old 17th Jun 2012, 01:14
  #142 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by oldbut
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.
From memory Leonard Cheshire had them taken off at 617 along with anything else he could think of to save weight. Paul Brickhill interviewed him about it form memory, details were in Brickhills "Dam Buster" book.
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Old 20th Jun 2012, 01:16
  #143 (permalink)  
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Belatedly, in reply to the suggestion that producing Mosquitoes was more problematic than all-metal a/c, the answer is an emphatic 'no'. Different, yes, but not more difficult. The facts are all there. Production was well - dispersed, and Mosquitoes were also built in Australia & Canada with no big problem.
It's also well-worth pointing-out that most German night-fighteres couldn't even CATCH a Mosquito, much-less shoot it down. That's not saying it didn't happen of course.
There was a surprising amount of agreement that switching to a mainly Mosquito force would be logical, but there were a lot of (in)-vested interests too.......
I think the argument was pretty unasailable. That's not to say that the four-engined heavies didn't have a place for some roles of course.

BTW;- A chap I knew did several tours on Lanc's, and he said they were well aware of the Schragemuzik.
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Old 20th Jun 2012, 04:06
  #144 (permalink)  
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am I mistaken or did the lancaster only have ONE pilot?

looking at bombload is not the only way to appreciate a bomber. nor speed for a fighter. everyone says the spit was a great dogfighter...but its range was limited.

the zero was a great dogfighter but if you sneezed at it hard enough it would fall apart.

the P47 had air conditioning!

And my DC9 had three beautiful flight attendants!

and JIMMY doolittle , that brilliant man, who along with the wrights,and lindbergh woud be on my aviation Mt Rushmore, figured out that the P38 lightning could carry almost the same bombload to Germany as the B17, and once the bombs were gone could battle the german fighters on the way back...indeed some P38's had a bombardier's glass nose and the rest of the P38's would just pickle on the lead.
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Old 20th Jun 2012, 07:04
  #145 (permalink)  
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Lancasters (all heavies I think) had one pilot. I think iirc early in the war Harris / the RAF took the decision to have one pilot simply because two pilots should be flying two 'planes not one.
Obviously for training reasons etc sometimes a second pilot flew in t'other seat (flight engineers seat I guess). I understand from reading several books it was not uncommon for the flight engineer to receive some flying training so in the event of the pilot being incapacitated there was a chance the FE could get the 'plane back. I'm not sure at all how common this was nor how 'successful'.
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Old 21st Jun 2012, 23:47
  #146 (permalink)  
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Lancaster: Bomber or Fighter?

As an air cadet I was on a coach trip to RAF Hendon in the mid 70's and sat next to an ex-Lancaster crewman. We chatted and he told me that that one day they hosted an American Squadron's personnel.

He was just climbing out of a Lancaster with a party of Americans when he heard the rising tones of four Merlins at full throttle, and looking up saw a Lancaster diving earthwards. It was one of the squadron aircraft with several American guests on board. All stopped to watch as the nose slowly rose and the aircraft soared up and over in a loop.

In the stunned silence that followed one of the Americans turned to him and said, "Is that a bomber or a fighter?"
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Old 3rd Jul 2013, 03:02
  #147 (permalink)  
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Yes, the lancaster was a much better load carrier then the B-17. There is one at the Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario Canada that is in flying condition. Recently, a B-17-Sentimental Journey paid a visit to the museum, and I compared the bomb bays. The lancaster was three times bigger than the B-17 and could easily fit the cookie bomb.
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Old 2nd May 2017, 00:17
  #148 (permalink)  
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Mosquito v B-17

The first daytime raid on Berlin was carried out by Mosquitos on 30 Jan 1943.

"A prelude to the 1943 raids came from the De Havilland Mosquito, which hit the capital on 30 January 1943. That same day, both Göring and Goebbels were known to be giving big speeches that were to be broadcast live by radio. At precisely 11.00 am, Mosquitoes of No. 105 Squadron arrived over Berlin exactly on time to disrupt Göring’s speech. Later that day, No. 139 Squadron repeated the trick for Goebbels."
Naturally Hitler's birthday merited the same treatment.
The "pregnant" version of the Mosquito with an enlarged bomb bay was used to carry the 4000lb SC cookie, a completely unaerodynamic bomb designed purely as a blast and structural destruction bomb. That was the same bomb load as the B-17 to Berlin. Mosquitos were sufficiently fast that they suffered far less losses than the B-17 on average.
Imagine a 1000 plane raid made up only of Mosquitos. Losses there would have been but not as many as either the Lancs by night or the B-17 by day.
The only trouble would be keeping up the number of pilots, but switching everyone into Mosquitos would have completely overwhelmed the Luftwaffe. Quite a number of Lancaster pilots wangled postings to Mosquito squadrons. The other part of the story is that Night fighter Mosquitos could have been mixed in and severely damaged the Night Fighter force of the Luftwaffe.
Then send the day raiders accompanied by Mustangs once they reached sufficient numbers, (later 1943).
Can you say Nightmare Alley. Oh if it had only happened.
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Old 13th May 2017, 20:10
  #149 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Dan Winterland View Post
My Granfather 'acquired' a Mosquito due to engine failure. He had a farm in Norfolk and one night in 1944 (I think) an aircraft crashed nearby. My mother remembers hearing an aircraft crash that night ...

... in 1975, my Grandfather decided to drain a patch of Fen which had never been touched which was only half a mile from the farmhouse. It turned out to be a Mosquito which had taken off from Great Massingham (I think) on a raid to Germany. ... It had been listed as 'Missing in Action' so it was not known where it had come down and it probably wasn't suspected that it had crashed so close to home.

The wreck was complete with crew and armament and gave the RAF bomb disposal crew some problems dealing with the bombs due to their being partly submerged in a bog.
It's an old message, but this has haunted me for ages. It must have been horrible for the families, not knowing for thirty years what happened to the pilots, especially given that they disappeared over the UK.

In a situation like that how would the families be notified of the recovery of the crew? A telephone call or letter seems impersonal but the thought of an officer appearing at the door in 1975 is odd.
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Old 15th May 2017, 11:35
  #150 (permalink)  
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If a body was discovered it would probably take some time to ID it - maybe they'd ask the family for a DNA Sample

In general this sort of thing is handled by the Police in the first instance
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Old 15th May 2017, 12:38
  #151 (permalink)  
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It's an old message, but this has haunted me for ages. It must have been horrible for the families, not knowing for thirty years what happened to the pilots, especially given that they disappeared over the UK.

In a situation like that how would the families be notified of the recovery of the crew? A telephone call or letter seems impersonal but the thought of an officer appearing at the door in 1975 is odd.
The crew were from Eastern Europe - Polish or Czech, I don't recall which. The pilot's family (a noble family) were contacted. The Nav's, there was no trace of IIRC. This was in the mid 70s when the country was still the other side of the iron Curtain.

If a body was discovered it would probably take some time to ID it - maybe they'd ask the family for a DNA Sample
No DNA sampling in those days. But they had their dog tags on them - which is their function. I don't recall if the Police were involved, I suspect they were. But the aircraft still had live ordinance which was the pressing issue.

The aircraft was listed as missing in action and therefore it was not known where it came down.
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Old 15th May 2017, 14:20
  #152 (permalink)  
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They recently found a Messerschmitt in Denmark with the pilots remains still in the aircraft. There was no living relatives to announce it to, but it sounds like they would have done it from this article.
I am not sure I would categorize it as odd sending an officer, even though it is 30 or 70 years after the fact.
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Old 16th May 2017, 13:18
  #153 (permalink)  
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From a search on the web, Dan.

Date: 23-NOV-1944
Type : de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito NF Mk II
Owner/operator: 1692 (BSTU) Flt RAF
Registration: DD736

Spun into ground nr Kings Lynn Norfolk 23.11.44 Aircraft seen spiralling out of cloud, righted itself then spun into the ground at East Winch, Norfolk.

F/O (J/18833 ) Charles James PREECE (pilot) RCAF - killed
F/O (175.408) Frederick Henry RUFFLE DFC (nav) RAFVR - killed

ASN Aircraft accident 23-NOV-1944 de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito NF Mk II DD736

See following links for further details and input from the then Engineering Director of the East Anglian Aviation Society.

Mosquito DD736 Kings Lynn 23/11/44

Pilot Officer Charles Preece
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