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Best bomber of WWII.

Discussion in 'Aircraft' started by Ted, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    The B17 was designed for what it was good at, putting a lot of guns into a solid piece of armor that could punch through to hit the target. Comparing a B17 to a B24 is like comparing a Sherman tank with a tank destroyer. Comparing it with a Mossie, is like comparing the Sherman to a jeep.
     
  2. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    I also think that comparing bombers sometimes gets carried away. The big bombers were based on strategies developed in WWI. The B17 was designed in 1932 with the technology of the time. The B24 was a 1939 design mocked up in just two weeks. In those few years, the wing technology made great strides. The Davis wing gave more speed, at the cost of altitude. The B17 was more durable and photogenic, while the B24 was functional. Because the B17 was first into battle, it got the media attention. And it did not help that the B24 got a bad rep with the press corp. Add the fact that it was used a lot in the North Africa campaign, and the reporters much preferred the amenities of England.

    The Lanc was an even later design. The B-29 is probably more comparable to the Lanc than the B17. I can never warm to the Lanc. It had no character, its pilots calling it the most boring bomber to fly. But what really turns me off about it is that it was a death trap. All eleven crew of a B17 could bail out long before the much small Lanc crew could get out. Many died without even knowing that the plane was going down. They had no impression of what the aircraft was doing and if they did not hear the bailout alarm, they would remain on station all the way down. The Mossies were the way of the future in many ways. They had a much better survival rate, but they still had their issues. Technology has a way of catching up to any machine. The number of weapons that almost made it to the war before it ended could have had a major impact a year or two earlier.
     
  3. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Must admit it's not a charge I've often heard levelled at the Lancaster, and I've met a fair few Lancaster pilots.....certainly Jack Currie's 'Lancaster Target' and John Searby's 'The Everlasting Arms' , among many other memoirs, contain highly complimentary accounts of flying the Lanc. Although perhaps the last thing a heavy bomber pilot would want is 'excitement'......;)
     
  4. bf109 emil

    bf109 emil Member

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    What pilots called it the most boring to fly...are their sources...seeing how i live close to a Lancaster Museum. attend it's regular events and ceremony's and in 2007 when they paid homage to the 379 Americans whom died in Bomber command and talking to these vets i have never came across this...You are correct as to bailing out being a problem as the Lancaster Museum in Nanton has what is claimed as the only functioning rear turret in existence and i can see how cranking the turret by hand if hydraulics failed, opening rear doors and either falling backward to either starboard or port might be in times of peril short lived, or like was said a bell sounding the alarm to bail out...but then what system did the B-17 have? Did crew bail when they wanted?? what if communication was not functioning, would they abandon their post? repeatedly ask if they could leave or follow a line of command set for by the USAAF as a pilot being a commander or a crew and base their actions on him, or was it a free for all...
     
  5. ScreamingEagleMG42

    ScreamingEagleMG42 Member

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    I'm afraid my favorite (at least to read about) never quite saw action...

    no doubt it was a revolutionary design though, the Ho-IX.

    original plans were for it to meet the "triple 1000" requirements. 1,000 kg load, over 1,000 km, at 1,000 km/h
     

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  6. TidalWave1Aug1943

    TidalWave1Aug1943 recruit

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    I vote for the US Navy's Dauntless dive bomber. Smoked 4 Japanese carriers at the Battle of Midway.

    Also give some love to other carrier based bombers: Avenger and Helldiver.
     
  7. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Member

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    Seadog,


    "putting a lot of guns into a solid piece of armor'


    The one thing I have never thought of with the B-17 was it being a "solid piece of armor". In fact they are ALL just an aluminium tube with a frame that keeps it all from falling to bits.

    In answer to your question there is only one real answer that meets your criteria, and that is the B-29, simply because it was in a higher class of its own.

    In the next level down, in my opinion the Lancaster outperformed both the B-17 and B-24 in pay-load combined with range, which are the two that they are built for. The great failing of the Lanc was the lousy guns compared to the .50 cal.

    The poor old crew seemed to have been a secondary consideration.



    John.
     
  8. uksubs

    uksubs Member

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    How can you say the Lancaster was not versatile :confused:are you talking about the same plane that did a low level raid with a bouncing bomb & could carry a 12000 + 22000 Grand slam bomb to sink the Tirpitz & V1,2,3 site
    I would say the reason why 100 group did not us the lancaster was bomber command would not let them have them , the lancaster carried Hs2 radar so room would not been a problem
     
  9. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Actually, to be fair, 100 Group did make use of the Lancaster with 101 Squadron in the ABC ( 'Airborne Cigar' role ). The reason for this was that the ABC aircraft would fly within the main bomber stream and, despite carrying an extra crewmember and all the ABC equipment, could still deliver a useful bomb-load.

    The B-24 certainly had a bigger fuselage, not bomb-bay, which ( according to Streetly in 'The Aircraft Of 100 Group' ) made it ideal to experiment with varying amounts of electronic equipment.

    Agreed, the bomb-bay could carry Jostle but certainly not any bombs as well, and the B-24s lack of ceiling would have made use within the bomber stream inadvisable.
     
  10. Chesehead121

    Chesehead121 Member

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    Ah, the Mosquito. Great plane, made out of plywood, great top speed, good bomb capacity, still capable of fighting. That's my choice.
     
  11. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The reason Jostle wouldn't fit was it was a large vertical cylinder about 8 feet long and the Lancaster didn't have the fuselage space to take it over the main wing structure where it would have to go due to its weight. In the Lancaster the bomb bay was rather shallow but very long. This gave plenty of room for a conventional bomb load but was of little utility in being converted to other purposes. In the B-24 the bomb bays (there are 2) are as tall as the fuselage with the bombs stacked vertcally one above another.
    This is where the versitility came in. In the PTO B-24's often had the rear bay converted to holding a large fuel cell for extra range. This also helps if additional range is needed for maritime patrol missions.
    In electronic warfare these bays could hold massive electronics equipment and even be used as additional space for operators by sealing them.
    The Lancaster was an excellent bomber. The problem was it was optimized for that role over others. The B-24 by comparison whether by design or luck turned out to be very good for not only bombing but for a number of other roles as well.
     
  12. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    It's hard to see Upkeep, Tallboy and Grand Slam being described as 'conventional bomb loads'....:confused:
     
  13. uksubs

    uksubs Member

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    Don't you think your missing the point of the topic it best "bomber " not best best transport plane :confused:
     
  14. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    For such a shallow bomb-bay, the Lanc bomb-bay could also handle 4000lb 'Cookies' and 8,000lb 'Blockbusters' with no major problems ; something which the B-24, for all its versatility, may have struggled with.

    No, the main reason that B-24s went to 100 Group ( along with Halifaxes ) was that Harris was only interested in delivering the heaviest payloads over Germany. The Lancaster 1 could handle 18,000lb internally - the B-24H only 12,800lb. Harris resisted all efforts to have Lancasters diverted to other uses than main-force bombing, and as stated above only reluctantly allowed 100 Group to use them in the ABC role where they could still drop a significant bomb-load.
     
  15. wokelly

    wokelly Member

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    I'm for the Lancaster.

    B-17 was a good plane but it sacrificed more bombs in an attempt to cater to concepts that did not ultimately work, that being the heavily armed bomber that will get through without fighter escort, and high altitude precision bombing. Both the B-17 and Lancaster needed fighter escort to survive in daylight (and the wonderful North American P-51 provided that), but when it came to dropping bombs the Lancaster was able to deliver more destruction per aircraft just as accurately as the USAAF could. The lancaster was more of a bomber frankly than the B-17.

    The B-29, it was very advanced but it was never really put to the test given Japans lack of air power by that stage. Its engines were not particularly reliable, and I seriously doubt it could have fought to the target unescorted if it had fought in Europe. The fact they ended up taking the guns out of the planes, loading the things up with incendiaries, and flew them at night at a few thousand feet, any bomber could have done that, and in many ways it showed the B-29 to be incapable of fulfilling its intended role despite its advance features.

    The lancaster may not have been as advanced as the B-29, but I think it was a more proven design, and a more effective design when one looks at its war record.
     
  16. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    The listed Service Ceiling of the Lancaster of 24,500 feet was a typical bombing altitude of the B-24. The B-24D had a service ceiling of about 32,000 feet, and the heavier B-24J had a ceiling of about 28,000 feet.
     
  17. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Apologies, you're quite right ; although I belive the normal bomb-load for a B-24 at that sort of altitude was 5000lb....
     
  18. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Member

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    i reckon the wellington was great,cheers.
     
  19. Karma

    Karma Member

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    I'd say the B-24 for its versatility in different roles.
     
  20. Smithson

    Smithson Member

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    personally i would go for the b-24 bomber or the lufftwaffe
     

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