Author Topic: Halfway House Hawkers  (Read 742 times)

Offline apophenia

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Halfway House Hawkers
« on: June 23, 2021, 07:11:25 AM »
From Two to One ... or How Hawker Biplanes caught Mono

In early 1935, Hawker Aircraft was on a roll. The Air Ministry had just ordered Hawker's Interceptor Monoplane to Air Ministry Specification F5/34. This advanced fighter, sketched out in 1934 by Robert Lickley, was taking shape at Kingston upon Thames as the prototype Hurricane. Roy Chaplin was left to finalise Hurricane while Chief Designer Sydney Camm tackled the design of a light bomber derivative to P.4/34. Bottlenecks were already forming in the design office, finding factory floor space to produce two fully-modern types was going to make matters worse.

The situation was reversed at the Hawker Siddeley subsidiary in Gloucestershire. The Gloster SS.37 had received a small production order as the Gladiator under Specification F.14/35. But this order for 23 x Gladiators was reversed in September 1935, leaving Gloster's Hucclecote facility with available floor space. It was decided that Hawkers were focus on producing the priority Hurricanes while Glosters built the Henley light bomber. While the latter design was being finalised at Kingston upon Thames, the Air Ministry put forward a consultant's suggestion for making interim use of the Hucclecote plant.

Sydney Camm thought the Air Ministry suggestion to rebuild existing Hawker biplanes as monoplane was a waste of effort (although Sir Sydney worded his objections with more colourful language). Refusing to engage with the Ministry on this subject, Camm delegated this work to Bob Lickley. Instructed to expend as little time on the project as possible, Lickley devised a bolt-on wing centre section to adapt typical Hawker steel-tube fuselages to new outer wing panels.

In the case of Hawker 2-seat bombers, these outer wing panel were almost identical to the fabric-covered metal structure of the pending Hurricane fighter. Lickley's concept was submitted to the Air Ministry and, to the surprise of all at Hawkers, was immediately accepted. Gloster then received a contract for wing construction [1] and their integration with RAF-provided airframes. This began with ex-RAF Hart bombers but was followed by Hind 2-seat bombers and Audax army cooperation aircraft.

Enter the Hawker Harbinger Attack Aircraft

The process of converting Hawker Harts to monoplanes was more complex than simply replacing wings. The wings themselves differed somewhat from those of the Hurricane fighter in having a flexible armament arrangement. Hart conversions emphasized ground strafing. As such, their wings held four Vickers machine guns with an option for twin, underwing bomb racks. As light bombers, former Hinds would have only two wing guns (along with the twin synchronized Vickers guns) and four underwing bomb racks. Audax conversions lacked wing guns but had provisions for four underwing racks (250 lb GP each) with an option for supplemental light bomb racks. All conversions would retain the single defensive 0.303-inch Lewis gun on a flexible mount in the rear cockpit.

Much to Sydney Camm's annoyance, the first Hart conversion was rolled out of the Kingston experimental shed in late October 1935. This aircraft - now renamed as a Harbinger Mk.I - made its maiden flight from Brooklands with Hawker's chief test pilot George Bulman at the controls. The aircraft proved tractable. It was not the highly-manoeuvrable performer it had been in its Hart incarnation but the aerodynamically-cleaner Harbinger was somewhat faster than that biplane. Gloster's first Harbinger conversion had flown from Brockworth Aerodrome by the end of December 1935. Deliveries of Harbinger Mk.I and Harbinger Mk.Ia (differing in internal equipment) to the RAF began in February 1936.

_________________________________________

[1] This work was seen as a great introduction to Hawker construction techniques for Gloster. Due to similar structures, Hucclecote would face no great challenges in switching production lines to the new Henley in future (or even providing Hawkers with wings panels for Hurricane fighter production if ever required).
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2021, 07:18:09 AM »
'Hasty Pudding' - The Hawker Monoplane into RAF Squadron Service

Seen as 'rushed jobs', the light bomber conversions were dubbed Hawker 'Hasty' by RAF wags. And the conversions had been made a high priority as events on the Continent made clearer how unprepared for war the RAF really was.

At the beginning of 1936, No.18 Squadron was stationed at RAF Bircham Newton in Norfolk on Hawker Harts. In February, 'C' flight of No.18 was split off to make up the basis of a reformed No.49 Squadron RAF. No.49 would become the first RAF squadron to receive Harbinger Mk.I light day bombers. Two of No.49's aircraft were Harbinger Mk.I DC (Dual Control) two-seat  trainers. This helped ready the reformed squadron's personnel but it was also intended that No.49 should act as an informal OTU for the new monoplane Harbinger. That didn't work out quite as planned.

On 07 March 1936, the German Wehrmacht marched into the Rhineland - remilitarising this border region in contravention of Versailles and Locarno. Neither Britain nor France was inclined to a direct military response. A week after the entry by German troops, Hitler made a rather bellicose speech in Munich regarding the Rhineland. That helped to lessen official British resistance to fulfilling its "continental commitment". British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden stuck to his government's policy of appeasement but saw no great harm in "general purpose" RAF units making 'good-will visits' to French airfields. The first such tour would be flown by new Harbingers of No.49 Squadron RAF. [1]

The deployed No.49 aircraft visited a number of Armée de l'Air bases over a period of a week before arriving at a disused French military airfield 160 miles east of Paris. The Aérodrome Toul-Croix de Metz - which would become known to the RAF as Gengault Airfield - was only 30 miles flying distance from the German border. For a small deployment, the choice of basing made a clear statement. After settling in, No.49 began flying familiarisation flights with local members of the Aero-club Toulois as well as visiting Armée de l'Air personnel. As was explained to the French press, these flights were flown along the Franco-German boundary simply because the border demarkations simplied navigation  ;)

Top Hawker Harbinger Mk.I day bomber of No.49 Squadron RAF at Gengault Airfield, Moselle département, May 1936. Like all Harbingers, this aircraft wears the new RAF Temperature Camouflage scheme. However, while deployed in France, Harbingers adopted red-white-blue rudder stripes in the French fashion.

Note that no Squadron badges or other unit identifiers were worn. [2] Other than national markings, only individual aircraft letters were applied (in Medium Sea Grey). No.49 Squadron established the practice of painting a smaller version of the individual aircraft letter on cowlings as well. On the night of 12/13 September 1936, this aircraft overflew Homburg on a leafletting mission accompanying CO, Sqn Ldr H. Peake. [3]

In late October 1936, No.49 Squadron returned home to RAF Bircham Newton, having been relieved at Gengault by a new, 'full-time' detachment of No.609 (West Riding) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force. [4]

Hinds to Harbingers - The Harbinger Mk.IIs

As noted, Harbingers differed depending upon their 'donor' airframe and the equipment fitted - all Harbinger Mk.Is being Hart conversions. The wireless-equipped Harbinger Mk.Ic was not issued to operational squadrons but the more-powerful, Hind-based Harbinger Mk.IIa was essentially similar. The Harbinger Mk.IIb varied only in having some armour plating attached to its belly - low-level attack being the key planned role for the 'IIb. No Harbinger Mk.IIc was built - all being field conversions with two bomb racks removed along with other weight-reducing measures.

The Harbinger Mk.II first saw overseas service with No.83 Squadron RAF in the Spring of 1937. This unit shared a field - the Aérodrome de Thionville-Yutz in Moselle - with a detachment from the 2e escadrille du GC I/4 on Dewoitine D.501 fighters. [5] Like Gengault, 'ThionYutz' was very close to the German boundary - less than 8 flying miles from the border at its closest. Most missions were 'flag showing' flights along the Franco-German border. But, like No.49 at Gengault, No.83 Squadron was also assigned leaflet-dropping missions on occasion.

The drill for leaflet-dropping was gaining as much altitude as possible while still over French territory. Then, from an altitude close to 25,000 feet, the RAF formation would enter a gentle dive. The German frontier would be crossed at speeds of 230 mph or more - higher than the maximum speed of the Luftwaffe's latest Arado Ar 68 fighters. This shallow dive would be continued over the leafletting target and on until recrossing the border back into French airspace. To 'raid' Saarbrücken, this involved a direct flight line of only 85 miles round trip (although that does not include the circling required to initially gain altitude).

Bottom Hawker Harbinger Mk.IIb day bomber, No.83 Squadron RAF, Thionville-Yutz, France, August 1937 (inset, RAF rank pennant of pilot, S/L Leonard Snaith). Note that the RAF Type B fuselage roundel has been overpainted to simulate a Type A - to better match contemporary French practice. As Commanding Officer, Snaith's aircraft did not carry an individual aircraft identifying letter on its rear fuselage (although, for convenience, erks had applied a small 'A' identifier to the cowling).

No.83 Squadron was the last RAF unit to drop leaflets over the Tird Reich in peacetime. By late Spring of 1938, the Luftwaffe had begun to detail Messerschmitt Bf 109B monoplane fighters to Feldflugplatz Saarbrücken-Sankt Arnual to attempt interceptions of RAF overflights. Although high-altitude approaches narrowed the speed difference between these new Luftwaffe fighters and Hawker Harbingers, the British government was not willing to risk RAF aircraft being shot down over the Third Reich. On 01 May 1938, all RAF overflights of German territory ceased until the declaration of war.

______________________________________

[1] Eden was interpreted as having prohibited the deployment of heavier bombers to France in 'peacetime'. The Harbinger was seen as a relatively non-threatening aircraft while not presenting as an out-dated type.

Around the time of the No.49 deployment, a  flight of Armée de l'Air fighters were detailed to visit Norfolk. Six Dewoitine D.501s of 42e escadre mixte (normally based at Reims) of GCI/3 de Châteauroux toured southern England from RAF Bircham Newton for three weeks in May 1936.

[2] As can be seen here, at this early stage, anonymity included aircraft serials. This Harbinger Mk.I retained its original Hart serial of K4907 but this number would not be applied until No.49 Squadron had returned to Norfolk.

[3] On that 12/13 September leaflet mission, No.49 Squadron's commanding officer, Sqn Ldr H. Peake, also dropped a somewhat battered Homburg hat. It was only realized later that the 'donated' headgear had actually been named for Bad Homburg - a spa town in Hesse, 160 km to the northeast of the Saarland's Homburg.

[4] The 'parent' unit of this detachment, No.609 (West Riding) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force squadron remained at RAF Yeadon. These Yorkshire-based elements operated a mixture of Harbinger Mk.Is and Hind biplanes.

[5] This French unit had roots at the Aérodrome de Thionville-Yutz. Prior to leaving for Reims, 2e GC I/4 had been designated SPA 153 which had been based at Thionville until September 1933.
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Offline Frank3k

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2021, 08:37:39 AM »
In the thumbnail, #83 looks like it has spats...

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2021, 01:05:25 PM »
I really like that.

Nice design

Offline apophenia

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2021, 06:43:14 AM »
Thanks Brian. I had fun with this one  :D

In the thumbnail, #83 looks like it has spats...

I didn't notice that Frank ... but, yeah it does  ;D

I based the main gear leg coverings on those of the Hurricane prototype. Not sure why they had all of those 'inny-outy' cuts (trying to cut weight, maybe) ... but it gives 'em a different look from later, production Hurricane undercarts.
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2021, 06:45:04 AM »
Hawker Harrier - The Interim Interceptor Monoplane

The Air Ministry had ordered Sydney Camm's Hawker Interceptor Monoplane in late 1934. In just over a year, the Hurricane prototype K5083 had flown from Brooklands with George Bulman at the controls. Although not structurally advanced, K5083 was amongst the best fighter airplanes in the world when it first flew. However, getting production Hurricanes into RAF squadron service would be another matter. Reluctantly, Hawkers (if not Camm, himself) accepted that the RAF was going to require an interim monoplane fighter.

Since the story of the Hawker Harrier is quite well-known, I won't recount it in detail here. Like the Hawker Harbingers, the Harrier conversions were performed by Gloster at Hucclecote. However, the Harrier was rather less closely related to the Hurricane fighter. Unlike, the Harbinger series, the Harrier employed a completely new main undercarriage design. This Dowty design retracted outward into the wings in contrast with the inward-retracting units shared by the Harbinger and Hurricane. [1]

Such was the urgency of getting the Harrier into active service that minimal changes were made to the fuselage. The lower frame was modified to accept a new stub wing. To this stub was attached both the outer wing panels and the main gear leg pivot points. Initially, a second pair of guns was considered for the stub wing but it was later decided to install an auxiliary fuel tank there instead. In late conversions, tailwheels were substituted for skids.

To help cope with higher speeds, the pilot was better protected from the slipstream. An enlarged windscreen was fitted which faired into 'side screens' - Perspex panels running along either side of the cockpit. [2] To the rear was installed the 'doghouse' - a raised wooden fairing behind a new headrest. Few other changes were made.

Bottom The prototype Hawker Harrier Mk.I conversion. Retaining the K2066 serial of its Fury I donor airframe, this aircraft also, initially, kept its original 525 hp Rolls-Royce Kestrel II V-12. This engine was later replaced by a 745 hp Kestrel XVI. [3]

The prototype Hawker Harrier is finished in the RAF Temperature Camouflage scheme with Type B fuselage and wing top roundels. Underwing roundels were Type As. This was standard RAF finish for the times, with individual aircraft letter codes applied to squadron aircraft in Medium Sea Grey.

Top Hawker Harrier Mk.IIb in service with No.25 Squadron RAF at Kenley, September 1938. The 'donor' airframe had been Fury II K8298. Based just outside London, No.25 acted as a dedicated air-defence squadron for the capital. At the beginning of 1939, No.25 surrendered its single-seat Harriers for twin-engined Bristol Blenheim IF heavy fighters.

Flt Lt F.P.R. Dunworth piloted this aircraft. Felix Dunworth had flown Furys with No.25 [4] before leaving the service to work as a test pilot. Recalled to active service during Munich Crisis, Dunworth was a supernumerary until sufficient Harrier IIs were diverted to the squadron. Note that there have been two changes to the earlier marking scheme. The fuselage-side Type B roundels have been overpainted as Type A1s. Restrictions on unit markings have been eased somewhat, with No.25 Squadron receiving permission to apply 'XXV' to the fins of its fighters. With the War, such fin markings were covered by the new style of tail stripes.

______________________________________________

[1] The Harrier wheels and their Dunlop tires had a greater diameter but were narrower than those of the Hurricane.

[2] The reduced buffeting ensured by these panels was appreciated but, when the entry hatch was down, the Perspex extensions made clambering into the cockpit quite awkward.

[3] It was hoped that the Harrier conversions could standardize on the 745 hp Rolls-Royce Kestrel XVI. However, that proved impractically expensive. Some Harrier Mk.IIIs with Kestrel XVIs were produced. But, by the Summer of 1938, most active service Harriers had 640 hp Kestrel VI engines. (Harriers with Kestrel IIs were the first to be transferred to training units as the first Hurricanes arrived.)

[4] While practicing formation flying on 17 Sep 1932, two No.25 Squadron Furys collided in mid-air. F/O A.E. Clouston was able to land a crippled K2055. F/O Dunworth's K2057 began to break up as it fell. Dunworth had been able to steer the disintegrating Fury away from the village of Newington, Kent, before bailing out.
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Offline Buzzbomb

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2021, 07:01:49 AM »
Again, these look just so natural.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2021, 06:47:39 PM »
So did they develop an evolved version with the RR Peregrine?

Offline apophenia

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2021, 08:00:23 AM »
So did they develop an evolved version with the RR Peregrine?

Alas, no. In this AltHist, there was no Peregrine. A Kestrel follow-on was planned but, by 1936, the Air Ministry had concluded that 1,300 cid was now too small a displacement for future monoplane powerplants. [1] Rolls-Royce focused on development of three engine types during in the mid-'30s -  two V-12s and one X-24. The first was a private venture - the 1,650 cid PV-12/Merlin - which formed the basis for the other two engines.

The other V-12 was the 2,190 cid Griffon of late 1937. Originally known as the 'Super Buzzard', the Griffon V-12 was effectively a 110% scale Merlin.

The third engine was the 3,300 cid X-24 Vulture of mid-1938. Initially, this X-24 was based upon Kestrel stroke and bore but this was later amended to Merlin sizes. This resulted in a physically-larger engine but also increased power output (2,045 hp was achieved in tests but reliability was improved by running at 1,850 hp).

A second Kestrel follow-on was schemed in 1938. This was the PV-8 'Short Merlin' V-8 intended for new twin-engined fighter designs. Work on the PV-8 was halted at a fairly early stage to allow Rolls-Royce to focus on perfecting the rather challenging Vulture X-24 engine.

___________________________________

[1] The Kestrel did live on in another form. Knowing that Napiers was adapting its Lion W-12 for marine use, Rolls-Royce governed the Kestrel to rival the coming Napier Sea Lion. The challenge was finding factory floor space to handle production.

Having failed to interest Leylands in this project, Rolls-Royce's 'Rm' Robotham turned to Nuffield Mechanizations (a recent spin-off from Morris Garage). Lord Nuffield was more receptive to license-producing the Kestrel for non-aviation applications. Although the Kestrel derivative never did rival Napier's Sea Lion in the water, the Nuffield Nubian would give sterling service as a tank engine during WW2.
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2021, 07:35:25 AM »
Slightly to one side of the Halfway House Hawkers storyline but closely related ...

Folland's Final Fighters - Part One: The Gloster Glente Monoplane

By 1937, Gloster's chief designer, H.P. Folland, was becoming increasingly frustrated. First, RAF orders for his Gauntlet evolution  - the single-bay Gladiator - were cancelled. Then, the Air Ministry ordered all work stopped on another of Folland's Gauntlet-based fighters - a low-winged monoplane to AM Specification F.5/34. This was to free up Folland's design office to focus on monoplane conversions for Hawker biplanes. That may have been an Air Ministry call, but post-merger Hawker Siddeley Aircraft did seem to be tightening its grip on Glosters. And Henry Folland had no intention of overseeing 'Hawkers of Hucclecote'. [1]

A brief respite came from Denmark. The Danes had initially ordered 18 x Gloster Gauntlet Mk.I fighters to replace the Hærens Flyvetropper's Bristol Bulldogs. The Flyvetroppernes værksteder at Kløvermarken began delivering Gauntlets in 1936 but conversion to metric measures had slowed progress. Only eight Gauntlets had been completed when production was halted in the Summer of 1937. The Krigsministeriet had become alarmed by these 'new' Danish fighters already being left behind by the rapid pace of advances in aviation.

The Kløvermarken workshops had been quicker at delivering Fokker types with their more familiar production techniques. As a result, the new Fokker D.XXI monoplane was initially favoured as Denmark's next fighter aircraft. However, there were concerns about the D.XXI's fixed and spatted undercarriage. Spats experimentally fitted to Danish Gauntlet J-21 had shown these wheel fairings could quickly fill with grass and mud - potentially leading to wheels locked with debris. That concern over spats led to investigation of the retractable undercarriages being seen on the very latest fighter types. On behalf of the Hærens Flyvetropper, inquiries were made at Glosters: Could the Gauntlet airframe be modified into a monoplane using the same approach as that firm's Harrier conversions?

The needed modifications to transform the Gauntlet were designed under Folland. [2] It was agreed that Denmark would perform similar modifications to airframes components already produced at Kløvermarken while Glosters supplied wing panels (and arranged delivery of Dowty undercarriages). A converted Danish Gauntlet would serve as prototype for what Gloster Aircraft referred to as a S.S.19MD Gauntlet Monoplane. Prototype J-57 first flew - with kapt. H.L.V. Bjarkov at the controls - in late January 1938. In Denmark, the revised type was dubbed Gloster Glente - after the predatory Kite (Elanus caeruleus). Officially the Glente was the IIIJ (Type tre Jagerfly). [3]

The prototype Glente was powered by the Gauntlets' 640 hp Bristol Mercury VI S2 radial driving a two-bladed Heine wooden propeller. That engine was later replaced with the 830 hp Mercury IX and 3-bladed Fairey-Reed metal propeller as intended for production Glentes. To speed development, the Glente also retained the Gauntlet IIJs' fixed armament of twin, synchronized 8 mm Madsen M/35 machine guns. The Glente IIIJ centre section was also reinforced to accept a belly bomb rack - although such a rack was never produced by the Danes who were responsible for its development. Delivery of the Hærens Flyvetropper's first production Glente IIIJ - J-58 - occurred in early November 1938.

Over the course of 1939, camouflage paint was applied to the Glente fleet. Upper surfaces were patterned in light shades of olivensrønt og khaki (olive and khaki) with bleg-blå (pale-blue) underside. The red and white dansk rundel was applied to six position with the dansk splitflag on the tail. By April 1940, the Hærens Flyvetropper had taken delivery of all ten Glente IIIJ fighters - although three of these still had midlertidige motorer in the form of lower-powered Mercury VI S2s. Despite the wartime difficulties procuring more modern powerplants, serious consideration was being given to building a second series of improved Glente at Kløvermarken. [4] However, Denmark was to be overtaken by events.

On 09 April 1940, the Luftwaffe seems to have particularly targeted the Hærens Flyvetropper's gathered fleet of Glente IIIJs. On that morning, six of 1'eskadrille's monoplane fighters were lined up for practice flights from Værløse airfield. Two were destroyed outright by strafing, the other four Glente being damaged. In a following bombing run, a direct hit was made on the tent hangar containing the other four Glentes. Ironically, the only Hærens Flyvetropper able to get aloft on 09 April were Gauntlet IIJs. The remains and remenants of Glente IIIJ airframes were stored at Værløse until their seizure by the Wehrmacht in 1943 ... but their ultimate fate is not recorded. [5]

________________________

[1] Gloster Aircraft had been bought by Hawker Aircraft in 1934. Control over Hucclecote tightened after the 1935 merger which formed a new Gloster parent firm - Hawker Siddeley Aircraft, Ltd.

[2] This was to be the last major design task overseen by Henry Folland before he resigned from Glosters. Folland was replaced at Gloster Aircraft by George Carter.

[3] This alliterative naming style was to be continued. It had been hoped that wing components prepared for cancelled
Gauntlets could be incorporated into a new advanced trainer - the Gøg (Cuckoo) III-O 2-seat biplane (the designation being for Overgangsfly or Overgangstræner (transitional trainer). Equally unrealized was a Mercury-engined Harbinger development as the Gråkrage (Carrion Crow) IA (for Angrebsfly or assault aircraft).

[4] At the time of the German invasion, details of this proposed Glente IVJ were still be worked out. Requests for stocks of Swedish Nohab-built Mercury had not born fruit. Both German and Italian engines were considered - the German 880 hp BMW 132Dc 9-cylinder radial being favoured for the Glente IVJ.

[5] Also seized were aircraft formerly belonging to the Dansk Marineflyvning - naval air arm of the
Søværnet
. Orlogsværftet, the naval workshops at Holmen, had begun investigating a replacement for the ageing Nimrødderne biplane fighters. A Glente-style monoplane conversion - as the 'Glosrødderne' - was considered but no firm decision had been arrived at by 09 April 1940.
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2021, 07:36:42 AM »
Folland's Final Fighters - Part Two: The Gloster Garda Monoplane

As the RAF began to replace its frontline Gauntlet Mk.II fighters with faster Hawker Harriers, Glosters saw an opportunity for overseas sales of refurbished biplanes. The Danish Glente project also stirred up interest in similar Gauntlet conversions. An opportunity presented itself, when some of the highest-hour Harrier Mk.Is were returned to Glosters for reduction to 'spares and produce'. Using Harrier outer wing panels to create Glente-like Gauntlet conversions seemed obvious. The RAF wasn't interested in any resulting Gauntlet Monoplane but the Air Ministry had no objection to export of such conversions.  To that end, an older Gauntlet Mk.I airframe was converted to monoplane standard using a Glente centre section.

The Gauntlet Monoplane could be readily distinguished from the Danish Glente conversion by its sliding cockpit covering. This canopy had been devised for the cancelled Gladiator biplane fighter (and retained for Folland's stillborn monoplane fighter to Air Ministry Specification F.5/34). Otherwise, the two Gauntlet conversions were externally identical. Fittings and fasteners for the Gauntlet Monoplane were to Imperial measures - but that was true for the Glente's outer wing panels and undercarriage in any case.

Early interest was shown in the Gauntlet Monoplane by both Norway and Latvia. However, these countries took advantage of offers of surplus ex-RAF Harrier Mk.IIs - offering both equal performance and quicker deliveries. More sustained interest in the Gauntlet Monoplane came from Éire. Ireland's last fighter - an ancient 'Brisfit' - had been retired back in 1935. With war clouds building in Europe, the Aerchór Arm na hÉireann (Army Air Corps of Ireland) desparately needed new aircraft. As always, budget was the main problem. Of course, with the UK as Éire's usual supplier of aircraft, the on-going Anglo-Irish Trade War wasn't helping either. What did help was that Glosters had begun Gauntlet Monoplane conversions 'on spec'.

With prices and delivery schedules negotiated, an agreement was reached for the supply of a range of aircraft types from Hawker Siddeley Aircraft, Ltd. This would include Avro 636 trainers, Gloster Gauntlet Mk.IIs (as interim fighters and then advanced, fighter-conversion trainers), Gauntlet Monoplane fighters, and an option on forthcomng Hawker Hurricane fighters. [1] The ex-RAF Gauntlet Mk.IIs could be delivered immediately. The monoplane fighters would follow shortly, being renamed as the Gloster Garda (Guardian) in Irish service. These aircraft were powered by 830 hp Mercury IX driving Watts 2-bladed wooden propellers. Like the Gauntlets, the fixed armament for the Gardaí was twin, synchronized .303-inch Vickers Mk V machine guns.

The Gauntlets were delivered in all-over silver dope but without national markings. The latter had yet to be decided upon. Previous Aerchór Arm aircraft had worn stripes in the national colours. With war approaching, an Air Committee had been formed under the Industry and Commerce Ministry. Minister Seán Lemass adopted that committee's recommendation that all Irish-registered private aircraft should have chordwise stripes of green-white-orange to help proclaim Éire's neutrality in any conflict. To distinguish its aircraft, the Aerchór Arm would take on new national markings. These would consist of a green-and-orange celtic boss on a white background. Rudder stripes would be retained on Irish military aircraft. [2]

The Gardaí equipped the Aerchór Arm's 'B' Flight, First Army Co-Operation Squadron based at Baldonnel Aerodrome outside Dublin. Upper surfaces were painted in a darkish Kelly green while the undersides were silver. Cowlings remained unpainted and were polished. Each Garda had its individual airframe number painted in white on its rear fuselage. In 1939, 'B' Flight was split off to form the basis of No. 1 Fighter Squadron. This was partially in anticipation of the delivery of Hurricane fighters. In this, the Aerchór Arm was to be disappointed. In October 1939, a wartime embargo on aircraft exports was imposed by the British Government. The Hurricane order would not be satisfied until September 1945 when a dozen obsolete, ex-RAF fighters were received.

____________________________

[1] A separate contract was negotiated for Mercury-powered Westland Lysander Mk.I observation aircraft to be supplied to Ireland.

[2] The new markings decision was indicative to the changes and re-organization going on within Ireland at that time. Gloster had begun negotiations with representative of the Ard-Chomhairle (Executive Council) of the Saorstát Éireann (Irish Free State) but concluded its business with the Government of a renamed Éire. However, a constant throughout had been Frank Aiken, the Irish Minister for Defence.
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2021, 07:37:33 AM »
Folland's Final Fighters - Part Three: Gloster Glente and Garda

Top Prototype Irish Gloster Garda (26) at Baldonnel Aerodrome outside of Dublin. 'B' Flight of the First Army Co-Operation Squadron split off in 1939 to form the Aerchór Arm na hÉireann's No. 1 Fighter Squadron.

The appearance of Irish Gardaí remained essentially unchanged throughout 'The Emergency' (as WW2 would be known in Ireland). Most were fitted with wireless antennae and anti-glare panels were added to cowling tops. By the Summer of 1942, all cowlings had been overpainted with Kelly green to match the rest of the fuselage.

Bottom Prototype Danish Gloster Glente IIIJ prototype (J-57). Although still experimental, this first Glente has been assigned to 1'eskadrille of the Hærens Flyvetropper based as Værløse airfield near Copenhagen.

At this early stage, J-57 has seen a few changes - such as its scalloped 'turtle deck' and radio equipment fitted. However, it still has the midlertidige motor - the Gauntlets' 640 hp Bristol Mercury VI S2 radial driving a two-bladed Heine wooden propeller. That engine would be replaced by 830 hp Mercury IX and, ultimately, that wooden propeller would be eclipsed by a Fairey-Reed 3-bladed metal airscrew.
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2021, 01:27:54 AM »
 :smiley:
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Offline Buzzbomb

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2021, 07:06:44 AM »
Excellent, the Fighters for the Irish to accompany my Fairey Finbar (new name for the IIIF build I am doing)


Offline robunos

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2021, 09:56:44 PM »
Folland's Final Fighters - Part Three: Gloster Glente and Garda


Interresant, interresant . . .
I have a scheme for a Gloster Gauntlet>Gladiator> Gxxxxxx series of Builds myself, may end up accidently borrowing some aspects of this . . .   ;D


cheers,
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2021, 05:06:18 AM »
I have a scheme for a Gloster Gauntlet>Gladiator> Gxxxxxx series of Builds myself, may end up accidently borrowing some aspects of this...

Ooo, looking forward to that! Hopefully you'll come up with better names than I did  :-[
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Offline Kelmola

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2021, 06:11:13 AM »
A couple of years back on whatif forums (posting with different nick there), I already suggested possible Gloster names in "arms & armour" theme (what with Gauntlet, Gladiator, and Javelin, even though it begins with a J; a native English speaker may be better able to suggest earlier style bird names. To crosspost:

Gloster Gousset
Gloster Gambeson
Gloster Greaves
Gloster Gorget
Gloster Gardbrace
Gloster Guige
Gloster Greatsword
Gloster Guisarme
Gloster Glaive
or for a bit of Colonial style flavour:
Gloster Guangdao
Gloster Gada

Offline apophenia

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2021, 07:37:01 AM »
Good stuff! I really like Greatsword and Gada  :smiley:  And someone recently used Glaive.

Here's a list of historically used alliterative Gloster aircraft names: Gannet, Grebe, Grouse, Gorcock, Gamecock, Guan, Goldfinch, Gambet, and Gnatsnapper. Other 'G' names were the ungulate Goral, armoured glove Gauntlet, and Gladiator.

I don't know what/whom the Gloster Goring was named after. Was it the Goring baronets? The Oxfordshire village?

Some other British Isles bird names for Glosters might be: Gadwall, Gallinule, Godwit, Goldcrest, Goldeneye, Goosander, Goose, Goshawk, Gosling, Greenshank, Grosbeak, Gull, or Guillemot. Some of those names are stepping on other aircraft makers' toes and none by Goshawk suggest anything martial.

Some more weapon names (including for export or empire): Gáe (Gaelic spear), Gladius, Gastraphetes, Galatine (Gawain's sword), Girish (Shiva's sword), Gram (Odin's sword), Gríðarvölr (Thor's giant-killing staff), Grus (Polish export), and Gungnir (Odin's spear). For the Danish Gauntlet, I briefly considered 'Grendel' before moving on to Danish bird names ...

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Offline Small brown dog

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2021, 02:15:15 AM »


This is another one I could fancy having a bash at - love it.
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Halfway House Hawkers
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2021, 09:32:45 AM »
This is another one I could fancy having a bash at - love it.

On please do! I'd love to see what you did with it  :smiley:

My sideviews are quite drab but I'm thinking that the prototype Harrier Mk.I might have been silver all-over. You know, shiny ... hint, hint  ;D
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