Author Topic: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939  (Read 7052 times)

Offline jcf

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #45 on: May 02, 2016, 09:55:29 AM »
A ground-attack Spearfish or two-seat Firebrand perhaps.  ;D  :icon_fsm:

More like a Firecrest than a Firebrand.  ;)
;D Just need to figure out an important operational reason to retain the funky wingfold.  ;D
"Evil our grandsires were, our fathers worse;
And we, till now unmatched in ill,
Must leave successors more corrupted still."
Horace, 65BC - 8BC. Marsh translation.

Offline Weaver

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #46 on: May 02, 2016, 10:00:30 AM »
A ground-attack Spearfish or two-seat Firebrand perhaps.  ;D  :icon_fsm:

More like a Firecrest than a Firebrand.  ;)
;D Just need to figure out an important operational reason to retain the funky wingfold.  ;D

Transporting it by road from one improvised operating site to another?  ;)
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

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

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

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Offline Volkodav

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #47 on: May 02, 2016, 11:18:50 AM »
Having read further in the Whirlwind book, it appears that the RAF were very concerned about having an antitank capability, which initially was the Whirlwind until Typhoons and Beaufighters came on line.  This was due to the cannon armament with 20mm considered, probably quite reasonably at the time, an effective anti armour weapon.

Following this logic if army aviation was to have had the antitank/anti armour role, then they would also have had dibs on the Whirlwind and Typhoon/Tornado then, once night fighter requirements had been met, Beaufighters.  As assigning Beaufighters to the Army would have been to the detriment of Coastal Command, maybe they could have had earlier access to Mosquito instead freeing up Beaus for the Army?


Offline Weaver

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #48 on: May 02, 2016, 12:02:33 PM »
I've often speculated upon the utility of a radial-engined equivalent to the Whirlwind for the ground-attack/fighter-bomber/dive-bomber role. It might very well end up looking something like a Mercury-engined version of the Italian IMAM Ro.57:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMAM_Ro.57




I've always though that this was a damn good looking aircraft, and it's history curiously parallels that of the Whirlwind: nothing really wrong with it, but only produced in small numbers due to a lack of backing and/or uncertainty about it's role.

And yes, that's a kit instruction picture: Special Hobby did it in 1/72nd and 1/48th, though I think it's OOP at the moment.  :-*
« Last Edit: May 02, 2016, 12:05:28 PM by Weaver »
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

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

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline elmayerle

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #49 on: May 02, 2016, 12:17:17 PM »
Kits in both scales are available on eBay for those with the cash (been considering it with the idea of crossing it with a Ro,58 engine installation, or something equivalent, like a Bf110 engine installation, for a high-performance single-seat heavy fighter).  But, yes, with suitable engines (Mercury or Hercules), it could be quite a potent aircraft.

Offline jcf

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #50 on: May 02, 2016, 01:44:00 PM »
A ground-attack Spearfish or two-seat Firebrand perhaps.  ;D  :icon_fsm:


More like a Firecrest than a Firebrand.  ;)

 ;D Just need to figure out an important operational reason to retain the funky wingfold.  ;D


Transporting it by road from one improvised operating site to another?  ;)


Perhaps even self-transporting with appropriate add-on wheels and propeller guard?  ;D



"Evil our grandsires were, our fathers worse;
And we, till now unmatched in ill,
Must leave successors more corrupted still."
Horace, 65BC - 8BC. Marsh translation.

Offline Kelmola

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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #51 on: May 02, 2016, 07:09:56 PM »
;D Just need to figure out an important operational reason to retain the funky wingfold.  ;D
Smaller footprint, so easier to camouflage and/or shelter. Especially useful if the AAC operates from temporary airstrips and roadways, doubly so if wingfold allows the plane to be hidden in barns and warehouses and other suitable civilian buildings appropriated for Army use.

Offline Weaver

  • Skyhawk stealer and violator of Panthers, with designs on a Cougar and a Tiger too
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Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #52 on: May 02, 2016, 11:19:36 PM »
A ground-attack Spearfish or two-seat Firebrand perhaps.  ;D  :icon_fsm:

More like a Firecrest than a Firebrand.  ;)
;D Just need to figure out an important operational reason to retain the funky wingfold.  ;D

Transporting it by road from one improvised operating site to another?  ;)

Perhaps even self-transporting with appropriate add-on wheels and propeller guard?  ;D


Why bother with the propeller guard? It could be the ultimate in ultra-slow, ultra-low-altitude close air support: if you can't bomb them and strafe them, just run them over and/or chop them up.... ;)
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

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

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Volkodav

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  • Much older now...but procrastinating about it
Re: British Army Aviation is split from the RAF in 1939
« Reply #53 on: January 16, 2017, 03:19:06 PM »
Started rereading Power Plus Attitude: Ideas Strategy and Doctrine in the Royal Australian Air Force 1921-1991, by Alan Stephens, for the first time in over two decades and picking up on things I had overlooked or forgotten from my first read.  The Book is OOP but available as a PDF from the RAAF site.

Of particular interest and relevant to this topic is Chapter Two : A Matter of Survival 1921-1938 and especially the section A Theoretical Basis : The Wriggly Note Books, describing the RAAFs early years, the reasoning behind, not just its creation but that of the RAF as well, and of course, its fight for survival.  I knew one of the reasons for the creation of the RAF as a separate service was as a response to the bombing of London i.e. the Smuts Committee, but I wasn't aware that another key factor was that the need to determine who should control and decide the deployment of aircraft surplus to the requirements of the Army and RN. 

Basically by 1917 the operational needs of the Army and Navy for aircraft had been met and surplus were being produced and could be made available for other roles, including national air defence and strategic bombing etc.  The question was who was best suited to develop the required doctrine and effectively deploy the capability, the answer being the most experienced people available, those who operated them in war.  The end result was that as their requirements for aircraft had been met and there was a growing surplus that they had no requirement for the Army and Navy lost control of their aircraft and the capability they provided and it was given to a new service who's role was primarily to do the things that Army and RN didn't to do, ironic.

I was quite interested to also read in this section that in Stephens opinion that even had the established services retained control of their aircraft, similar doctrine would have evolved none the less as it was virtually impossible for it not to, it therefore made sense to save money and resources by combining existing aviation capability into a new but (in Australia's case at least) subordinate service.  He outlined the Australian Armys and the RANs views and stated needs for airpower at the time and made it clear that the senior sirs were in fact quite air minded and definitely saw not just the need but had quite clear requirements for airpower:
Quote
In addition to surveillance, the Navy and Army had their own tasks for the air service. Navy requirements covered three major roles. The first was 'attacking enemy ships', for which torpedo bombers were needed; second was patrolling, scouting and protecting warships, for which flying boats and seaplanes were needed; and finally, 'ordinary fighting squadrons' were required 'for the protection of special points'. The force structure recommended to meet those objectives consisted of one fighting squadron, one torpedo bomber squadron, one ships' seaplane squadron, and 12i flying boat squadrons. Those squadrons required a total of 198 aircraft, with the standard 50 per cent reserve bringing the sum to 297.
Army air requirements encompassed three distinct roles. 'Fighting planes' for 'dealing with enemy aircraft' were listed first, a priority which perhaps unconsciously acknowledged the concept of 'control of the air' as the prime air power campaign. Reconnaissance machines were required for a variety of observation duties, while 'bombing planes' were necessary for 'operating directly against the enemy'; again, there were clear connotations of independent operations in that role. Implicit recognition of independent air power was even more pronounced in the Army's recommended establishment. Only six of the proposed 21 squadrons were intended for direct army support in the reconnaissance role. Of the others, eight were to be fighting (air superiority) squadrons and six bombing squadrons, with the remaining unit responsible for training. Satisfying those roles would require 669 aircraft, including the 50 per cent reserve

While totally unaffordable it is quite apparent to me that the leadership of the army and RAN saw and understood the need for airpower leaving the question in my mind whether creating a separate service actually damaged the building of airpower and evolution of doctrine between the wars?  If for instance if the army decided on one multi role squadron per division, or even a regiment (as was the case with cavalry etc.) then there is the distinct possibility Australia would have entered WWII with more not less airpower.  If the RAN owned their own aircraft would that have gone for a light carrier instead of a seaplane carrier and would they have had an operational torpedo bomber capability, as well as an established long range surveillance capability?

Stephens mentions that Jellicos discussions on the potential of air power and the danger of air attack on ships should have provided warning to Australia and reinforced the idea of a separate air force but he misses the point that Jellico recommended that Australia acquire multiple carriers, i.e. naval operated aircraft.