I read somewhere that Mosquitos were four times (or was it fives times ? ) less likely to be shot down than heavy bombers were, and in the war RAF aircrew were, unsurprisingly, far happier flying Mosquitos than the heavies.
I accept that heavy bombers carried 3 or 4 times the bomb load, but even so, it seems to me indisputable that high speed medium bombers (or even light bombers) would have been a far better bet than the heavy bomber death traps in which so many exceptionally brave men were killed.
Even if you forget the huge cost of each Lancaster shot down, as against the cost of a medium or light bomber, the most important thing is that there were only two crew to get killed on each Mosquito, rather than 7 or 8 on each heavy bomber. In fact I read the other day there was a study done at the time by some RAF scientific bod who seriously suggested removing the defensive armament from the heavy bombers, his reasoning being the resulting increase in their speed * would reduce how many were shot down. He went further to suggest that even if the number of planes shot down just stayed the same, the removal of the gunners would at least save 2 mens lives each time a heavy was lost.
Thus, the advantage of speed over defensive armament was already fully understood during the war.
If the factories couldn`t produce any more Mosquitoes, why couldn`t some other fast light/medium bomber have been produced ?
I would suggest a 2 engined (and/or 4 engined) plane, with no defensive armament, carrying as high a bomb load as possible consistent with a minimum 350mph speed.
Why didn`t they do it at the time ? ! ?
Any thoughts ?
* Assuming that Bomber Command didn`t just use the removal of the armamant as an excuse to increase the bomb load. But even then surely removal of the turrets would reduce the drag with a resulting increase in speed ?
(The relevant authors of the report were Freeman Dyson and Mike O`Loughlin : reference added 2 Nov 11 from "Lancaster The Biography" - Tony Iveson)
Edited by Justin Smith, 02 November 2011 - 06:34 PM.
Reference for quote