Author Topic: Winged wraiths  (Read 1455 times)

Offline Small brown dog

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Winged wraiths
« on: November 30, 2019, 01:41:41 AM »


To state that the de Havilland 998 was too radical a departure from how the pre-war air ministry thought would be an understatement. Wooden construction, unarmed, two man crew !!! Some even openly scoffed at the very idea but never the less de Havilland pressed the case for their design with dogged determination and the rest is, well y’know.

Initially the concept was never going to find favour but the outbreak of war did renew interest from the ministry although they were very sceptical. They wanted heavy armament, turrets, at least a three man crew and basically everything that would defeat the object of the DH 998 concept. The irony is that the air ministry requirement for a multi role combat aircraft capable of taking care of itself was exactly what the DH 998 would become and would do so by staying faithful to the original de Havilland design.

After a series of stops and starts and endless ministry interference the project was actually cancelled in June of 1940 and de Havilland told to concentrate on its war work. The reasoning was that Britain should concentrate on a known quantity of types and not waste resources of both manufacturing potential and materials on what was described by one senior air staff member as “utter folly”.

However, the DH 998 concept had won over some air staff one or two of which could throw weight behind their support and they argued in favour of the concept. The fact that the design relied upon wood, a none strategically restricted material, could not be ignored. Nor could the performance potential of the proposal which would give the RAF a twin engine design faster than the Supermarine Spectre which was about to enter service.

The Air Ministry was reluctant to add yet another airframe to the growing list of types currently making use of, and yet still to enter service with, the Tesla Royce Merlin Electric. This power plant was already late going into production and demand was high but de Havilland had an ace up their sleeve. 

The initial concept had looked at interchangeable power plants for the DH 998 in case of shortages and/or future superior performance gains from other manufacturers. Both Napier’s and Bristol had been considered with Bristol showing considerable promise in its new Minotaur power unit. However at the time the TR Merlin Electric was the more mature of the new breed currently in development and was made first choice. Fortuitously the original winglet/power unit mount design was retained which had a universal fitting arrangement to cater for inline and radial based power units in either tractor or pusher configuration.

Whilst de Havilland and the Air Ministry saga played out the Bristols Minotaur electric had gone from strength to strength. There were some teething troubles with cylinder head temperatures and early output shaft generator clutch failures but in the main the unit showed from an early stage what a potentially powerful performer it would become.
Also at this time the decision was made to call the aircraft the Wraith although the company had toyed with the idea of calling it the Mosquito or Wasp or other winged stinging insect. It was pointed out that those insects were a source of annoyance as was the concept as far as the ministry was concerned so they went with a supernatural type name which for some reason best known only to themselves was favoured by the Air Ministry at this time.

Eventually the Bristol Minotaur would be the first of what would become known as the “super lift” power unit generation for Bomber and Transport aircraft. In mid 1943 the unit was modified with so called EMFEM (ElectroMagnetic Field Effect on Mass) amplifiers. This technology would later become the basis for defensive shield generation albeit in a very crude form by todays standards. 

The Wraith B1 was formidable in performance with standard Bristol Minotaur electrics but with the Super lift variant the type B2 significantly increased its bomb carrying capacity without sacrificing anything in speed and increased its rate of climb even with its more pronounced bomb bay. B2 RAF ground crews of course jumped on the chance of nicknaming the machine “fatboy” which became common usage.
 
This extra capacity and performance lead to the formation of specialist squadrons operating at section level and therefore enabling one squadron to attack two or three targets simultaneously or at intervals that would disrupt and confuse the German defences.  A section comprising of three to four aircraft would cross the channel and enter enemy occupied territory at extremely low level and then zoom climb to bombing height. These specialist crews became very good at this kind of operation of which was reminiscent of the 1940 raids by the Thor powered JU885z but with rather less attrition.

One such witness to a dawn raid in early 1944  said that:
“They seemed to appear as if from nowhere with a sudden deafening roar then rise up suddenly like winged wraiths* and deliver their terrible load and be gone”

Its not that its not real but it could be that its not true.

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2019, 03:15:33 AM »
Beautiful!!

Offline kerick

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2019, 04:37:07 AM »
Your artwork and imagination are both fantastic! I’ve got to build one of these!

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2019, 04:40:24 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline kerick

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2019, 09:39:21 AM »
I’m trying to figure out the landing gear. Nose gear?

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2019, 09:47:42 AM »
Ooo, that is lovely  :-*  Somehow that bulging bomb-bay makes it look faster if anything  :smiley:

I’m trying to figure out the landing gear. Nose gear?

The crew door shown in the 'in action' shot would be a bit awkwardly placed for a conventional tricycle gear. Perhaps some sort of reversed trike ... with main gear retracting into the wings and a longish tailwheel retracting into the space behind the bomb bay?
"We're a suspect device if we do what we are told ..."

Offline Small brown dog

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2019, 07:13:42 PM »

I’m trying to figure out the landing gear. Nose gear?


The crew door shown in the 'in action' shot would be a bit awkwardly placed for a conventional tricycle gear. Perhaps some sort of reversed trike ... with main gear retracting into the wings and a longish tailwheel retracting into the space behind the bomb bay?



Landing gear is always a pain on this stuff because I am cramming so much into the nacelle. The top right ghosted image is something I want to complete but its very much a WIP at the moment.
There is the whole of the double row Minotaur up front, generator, field coil spool, T coils and EMFEM amps so this is going to be really tight and to be honest I'm fed up of the bugger for the time being :)

The nose wheel position is again tight as you mention but this could all work from a distance perhaps.




Its not that its not real but it could be that its not true.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2019, 02:31:38 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline kerick

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2019, 03:31:43 AM »
These images answer my question very well. Looks like it would take a couple of Sea Furies and a Mosquito to get this started.

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2019, 07:26:56 AM »
Very nice ... and much simpler than what I was imagining  :smiley:
"We're a suspect device if we do what we are told ..."

Offline Small brown dog

  • Dwelling too long on the practicalities of such things can drive you mad.
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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2019, 06:57:03 PM »
One thing that has just hit me is that  I bet the ground crews would hate bombing up this machine - not a lot of clearance.
I might have to think about some jacks built into the U/C for this because I can't see a Cookie being loaded at the moment :(
Its not that its not real but it could be that its not true.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2019, 01:43:13 AM »
Maybe just dig weapons load pits at all bases?
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline Small brown dog

  • Dwelling too long on the practicalities of such things can drive you mad.
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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2019, 06:08:25 PM »
Maybe just dig weapons load pits at all bases?


Yeah I guess but this would lead to limiting the bases it could operate from and lead to a great many accidents perhaps :)



I could modify the bomb bay at the rear as per image or I could just forget all about it and move  on :)
Its not that its not real but it could be that its not true.

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2019, 06:30:25 PM »
Can you not just have it flush or very slightly bulged, like the dH Mosquito? ???
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline kerick

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2019, 11:59:21 PM »
Bomb loading doors built into the side of the bomb bay?