Author Topic: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939  (Read 7376 times)

Online elmayerle

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2016, 11:08:09 AM »
I also could imagine later on (say mid '50s) versions of the Westland WS-51 Dragonfly or Westland Sioux being trailed with the likes of Malkara or SS.11 missiles...
Considering that there is a picture of a US Army Sioux test aircraft with four SS.11 or similar, that's not too improbably.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2016, 08:26:00 PM »
Here's a thought: would an early, independent AAC, with a budget, see value in things like autogyros and helicopters and put more money into them earlier than happened in real life?

Maybe.  Perhaps we would see greater use of platforms such as the Sikorsky R-4B Hoverfly I (see example below) than was the case in the real world.



Maybe a version of this armed with some form of rocket (maybe starting with simply attaching bazookas or similar to provide a limited attack capability in support of troops)?

I also could imagine later on (say mid '50s) versions of the Westland WS-51 Dragonfly or Westland Sioux being trailed with the likes of Malkara or SS.11 missiles...

Interestingly Blamey apparently pushed very hard to get helicopters deployed to New Guinea in the early 40s, an independent army air service may have seen this happen.  Ironically Blamey had been an early supporter of an independent air force as he saw it as the best way to evolve and develop military air power.  This follows as Monash stated that much of the combined arms innovation he was credited with was actually Blamey, who was abreast all the latest developments and exceptional at visualising how they could be employed. 

Offline Weaver

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2016, 08:28:14 PM »
I also could imagine later on (say mid '50s) versions of the Westland WS-51 Dragonfly or Westland Sioux being trailed with the likes of Malkara or SS.11 missiles...
Considering that there is a picture of a US Army Sioux test aircraft with four SS.11 or similar, that's not too improbably.

We had both the Sioux and the Alouette II before the Scout was ready, and both of those could carry SS.11.
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Offline Weaver

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2016, 09:14:01 PM »
Being Army aviation they could go with the new army weapons, calibres and unique missions.  i.e. 7.92 and 15mm BESAs, maybe a 2pdr auto cannon for an airborne AT mission in addition to dive bombing.  Maybe the splitting off of army cooperation could have included the light bombers as well as battle field air superiority.

Funnily enough, I was thinking about the BESA in this context just the other day.

Another thing they might do is pick a different 20mm cannon. The RAF's priorities were air-to-air ones: they wanted high muzzle velocity for accuracy and a heavy shell in order to do adequate damage with the minority of round that actually hit the target. This lead to them adopting the Hispano, which had the highest velocity and heaviest shell of any contemporary cannon. However, it had been designed for fuselage or engine mounting, and developing a suitably rigid wing mounting proved surprisingly problematic. The AAC, more concerned with shooting at ground targets, with gravity on their side, from relatively light aircraft, might well have chosen the Oerlikon MG FF instead, for it's lighter weight, lower recoil and smaller ammo. The latter would translate into greater ammo capacity IF bigger drums could be accomodated or a belt-feed modification designed.
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Offline Rickshaw

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2016, 02:34:20 PM »
Being Army aviation they could go with the new army weapons, calibres and unique missions.  i.e. 7.92 and 15mm BESAs, maybe a 2pdr auto cannon for an airborne AT mission in addition to dive bombing.  Maybe the splitting off of army cooperation could have included the light bombers as well as battle field air superiority.

Funnily enough, I was thinking about the BESA in this context just the other day.

Another thing they might do is pick a different 20mm cannon. The RAF's priorities were air-to-air ones: they wanted high muzzle velocity for accuracy and a heavy shell in order to do adequate damage with the minority of round that actually hit the target. This lead to them adopting the Hispano, which had the highest velocity and heaviest shell of any contemporary cannon. However, it had been designed for fuselage or engine mounting, and developing a suitably rigid wing mounting proved surprisingly problematic. The AAC, more concerned with shooting at ground targets, with gravity on their side, from relatively light aircraft, might well have chosen the Oerlikon MG FF instead, for it's lighter weight, lower recoil and smaller ammo. The latter would translate into greater ammo capacity IF bigger drums could be accomodated or a belt-feed modification designed.

MG FF had a much lower muzzle velocity though, and hence a much lower armour penetration, and armour penetration would be a priority for any ground attack aircraft.  Afterall, their major targets would be AFVs when doing CAS.  A higher muzzle velocity also confers longer range, a not inconsiderate consideration as it means the firing aircraft is outside the range of the defences for longer.

What you might have seen though, was the development of airborne rockets sooner.   For the RAF they didn't appear until late 1943.   For the Soviets, they were using them in the late 1930s, the Germans and Japanese 1944.   Knock 10 years off and suddenly the Blitzkrieg looks very different.


Offline Old Wombat

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2016, 04:48:59 PM »
The army may well have begun looking at improved anti-air armour & weapons earlier, too. :))
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2016, 08:58:30 PM »
What also follows is if the army regained control of army cooperation squadrons and tactical air support, then it follows that the RN may have been able to wrest control of Coastal Command back from the RAF as well.

What would interesting is what sort of synergies the army and navy could have developed with their newly gained air power.  For instance Coastal Command could have been divided up with anti shipping roled squadrons being integrated with the RNs Coastal Forces, in fact Coastal Command could have actually absorbed the fairly new Coastal Forces as they were the more established organisation.  The Maritime Patrol or General Reconnaissance squadrons would logically have teamed with the RNs Support Groups (also called escort groups) as well as coordinating with convoys and other missions i.e. the runs to Malta, Crete and Tobruk.

Back on topic this could have seen different capabilities supporting different types of formations, for instance the most important type of airpower for an armoured formation would find and interdict enemy artillery and AT guns while an infantry division would additionally need tank killing CAS.  The could be, instead of just a standard Lysander equipped Army Cooperation Squadron per division, a range of different squadrons, gathered into different types of regiments and brigades.  For example instead of just Lysanders the army cooperation squadrons could have had a mix of them and Gladiators like US Army Air Cav operated a mix of attack and scout helos, changing the number of scouts to attack helos depending on whether the sqn was attack or cav roled.  Same for a mix of Henleys and Hurricanes.

The other factor is army could either have used the same aircraft as the RAF, modified versions of them, or perhaps even entirely different types so as not to disrupt the core combat capabilities of the RAF.  The main thing here could be the use of radial engines over inlines.

Offline Weaver

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2016, 09:46:35 PM »
I wonder if the Bell Airacobra would have had a better reception in the AAC than the RAF? Most of the criticisms of it were related to high altitude air-to-air work, while the most successful users, the Russians, praised it for it's low altitude capability and air-to-ground firepower.

Likewise the Mustang. In real life early Mustangs went to Army Co-operation Command anyway, so maybe the AAC would commission more, possibly with dive brakes like the A-36 Apache.
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2016, 02:40:52 AM »
I wonder if the Bell Airacobra would have had a better reception in the AAC than the RAF?

I was thinking the same.  A version of the Airacobra with extra armour, maybe with with armor-piercing rounds.
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Offline Weaver

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2016, 04:10:23 AM »
Here's a radial-engined option that doesn't disrupt UK production lines: the Curtiss Hawk 75. They were available with a fixed undercarriage (good for low-level work where a quick landing might be preferable to an attempted bail-out) and with two 23mm Madsen cannon in underwing gondola. The latter mod didnt go into production because it was judged to slow the aircraft down too much, but that might not matter so much for CAS work.

Even if you went for the retractable gear, the fact that it retracted backwards still elft room on the centreline for a bomb rack or fuel tank. No such store was available in real life, but I'm sure US or UK industry could have come up with one if asked. Underwing bomb racks were developed for it.

Forgeting the fixed gear option for a moment, you might have two versions in service:

Version A: 2 x 23mm cannon under the wings, 2 x .303 mgs in the cowling, centreline bomb rack or drop tank.

Version B: 6 x .303 mgs (2 in the cowling, four in the wings), centreline bomb rack or drop tank, two underwing hardpoints for small bombs or rockets.

If neccessary, the B versions could fly with guns only as escorts for the As, then when air superiority had been achieved, they could bomb up and join in with the ground attacks.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2016, 04:18:34 AM by Weaver »
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #25 on: April 27, 2016, 07:53:07 PM »
I wonder if the Bell Airacobra would have had a better reception in the AAC than the RAF? Most of the criticisms of it were related to high altitude air-to-air work, while the most successful users, the Russians, praised it for it's low altitude capability and air-to-ground firepower.

Likewise the Mustang. In real life early Mustangs went to Army Co-operation Command anyway, so maybe the AAC would commission more, possibly with dive brakes like the A-36 Apache.

Hears a thought, AAC/AAS takes the Mustangs and Apaches as well, but then instead of doing a Merlin conversion they tried Hercules instead.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2016, 03:24:31 AM »
Here's a radial-engined option that doesn't disrupt UK production lines: the Curtiss Hawk 75. They were available with a fixed undercarriage (good for low-level work where a quick landing might be preferable to an attempted bail-out) and with two 23mm Madsen cannon in underwing gondola. The latter mod didnt go into production because it was judged to slow the aircraft down too much, but that might not matter so much for CAS work.



You're basically talking about the Hawk 75N:






One could build that in Army markings...

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Offline Weaver

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2016, 12:39:50 PM »
Nice one Greg!

So did the Thai ones actually have the 23mm Madsen then?

Special Hobby have done a kit of the M/N/O in 1/72nd but it's OOP at the moment.
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Online elmayerle

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2016, 01:42:59 AM »
Likewise the Mustang. In real life early Mustangs went to Army Co-operation Command anyway, so maybe the AAC would commission more, possibly with dive brakes like the A-36 Apache.

Hears a thought, AAC/AAS takes the Mustangs and Apaches as well, but then instead of doing a Merlin conversion they tried Hercules instead.
Hmm, four-cannon Mustang wings with Apache dive brakes and a radial engine (trial with Hercules in UK, either US engine or license-built Hercules in US-produced examples); be interesting to see where the oil cooler goes when it can't share a scoop with the coolant radiator any more.

Offline Weaver

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2016, 04:07:59 AM »
Nice one Greg!

So did the Thai ones actually have the 23mm Madsen then?

Special Hobby have done a kit of the M/N/O in 1/72nd but it's OOP at the moment.

Answered my own question from a reference book - yes they did. :)
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

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