Author Topic: Winged wraiths  (Read 3395 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!!!

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But you can make the Bastard work for it.

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

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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?
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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.




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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!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

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

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2019, 07:26:56 AM »
Very nice ... and much simpler than what I was imagining  :smiley:
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Offline Small brown dog

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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 :(
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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!!!

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But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline Small brown dog

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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 :)
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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?

Offline tankmodeler

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2019, 12:13:39 AM »
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 :(

Clamshell the aft portion of the bomb bay bulge (a bit of alliteration for a Monday, then?) to permit the cookie to be loaded. Loading pits really aren't going to be a good way to go, I don't think as they imply a lot more infrastructure at the bases, which would be really unwanted.

Paul

Offline kerick

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2019, 01:59:50 AM »
Loading pits are a lot more work for the ground crews as each aircraft has to be backed over the pit and moved away again. Imagine doing that many times each day!

Offline Small brown dog

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2019, 08:24:31 PM »
Can you not just have it flush or very slightly bulged, like the dH Mosquito? ???

Yes, could reduce the bulge but the idea was to increase the capacity quite considerably for the B2 version to take advantage of the super lift Minotaur variant.
With hindsight I think I went too far to be honest.

Bomb loading doors built into the side of the bomb bay?

Sort of like the B24 ?
Thats not a bad idea ;)
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Offline tankmodeler

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2019, 12:12:41 AM »
Bomb loading doors built into the side of the bomb bay?

Sort of like the B24 ?
Thats not a bad idea ;)
From an engineering POV, it's a really good idea and would give you virtually all the distance between the lower wing surface and the ground to bring in the cookie.

It would imply a sideways loading bomb cart/trolley which would be a little more complicated than the typical WW2 "roll the trolley under the plane and winch up the bombs" approach, but it's not too much of a stretch to add a specialised ground support equipment for a specific and important weapon. A second set of casters, a movable parallelogram frame on the bomb trailer and a screw jack to translate the cookie from under the wing, but beside the bomb bay, to just under the bomb bay and ready to be winched up. Not too hard and no need for extra motors, etc.

It unfortunately would clutter the beautifully clean look of the simple clamshell doors, mind, but could add a more business-like look to things, perhaps.

The B24 doors rolled up on the outside of the fuselage, these would have to roll up internally.

Really do like how this looks.

I'm starting to consider how a Grumman Avenger-based torpedo-bomber would look in this world? More brutish, turret, one big radial powering two wing-mounted lift coils, long bomb bay for a torpedo. A tail dragger for carrier use.   ???

Paul

Offline Small brown dog

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2019, 02:33:32 AM »


Working on stuffing those big necelles with kit .
Got the Minotaur (Centaurus) sorted but have mated this to earlier AE kit for the time being and I might leave the project for a while because I'm fed up of looking at it :)

Thanks for all the feedback guys and I wish you all a very merry Crimbo and a fantastic New year.
Its not that its not real but it could be that its not true.

Offline tankmodeler

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2019, 02:02:33 AM »
Ooooooo! Really like the look of the engine. You've captured the look of a used propeller spline connection perfectly! That's really bloody well done!

Question - in your world does the recip engine have to be directly connected to the lift section or could it be connected to the generators and then run two lift coils out on the winglets? Still thinking of how an Avenger-equivalent might look...

Paul

Offline Small brown dog

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2019, 06:37:01 AM »
Question - in your world does the recip engine have to be directly connected to the lift section or could it be connected to the generators and then run two lift coils out on the winglets? Still thinking of how an Avenger-equivalent might look...

Yes although these so called uncoupled thrust units were only coming on line at the end of the the 1930's. Thats way my early types, say BoB era Hurricane (Hound) and BF109 (BF219) are twins simply because the power generation train was not powerful enough to power single engine types against the new generation of fast medium bombers that emerged in the 30's.  Once a useful war and fuel load was added a single engined fighter began to lose ground over the twin.

Advances in power generation and conditioning changed this and more conventional weight and drag limitations came into play. However, coupled thrust units remained in use as the whole train could be mounted in a nacelles as per the Wraith but the uncoupled trust units have the field coils (lift generators) that are mounted remotely in winglets  such as the Supermarine Spectre and Spirit the later having ion thrust instead of a prop. Another is the P551 which has remote field coils also but these are later still being the equivalent of the the introduction of the Laminar wing.

I should give some thought to US navy types and a monster Avenger could be very interesting. There is a problem though:
How is this tech being employed in naval hardware and if radical then the nature or attack and defence will be different and so the Avenger as we know it might never have been a development consideration.

The tech in which the ELG for aviation grew out of was that of the aerial battleship so are the navy still flying about or are they using some sort of hybrid ground effect craft. I favour the hybrid which would make attack a different ball game  perhaps.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2019, 06:46:27 AM by Small brown dog »
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Offline tankmodeler

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2020, 11:15:23 PM »
I should give some thought to US navy types and a monster Avenger could be very interesting. There is a problem though:
How is this tech being employed in naval hardware and if radical then the nature or attack and defence will be different and so the Avenger as we know it might never have been a development consideration.

The tech in which the ELG for aviation grew out of was that of the aerial battleship so are the navy still flying about or are they using some sort of hybrid ground effect craft. I favour the hybrid which would make attack a different ball game  perhaps.
In a world where there are flying warships, the Avenger/torpedo bomber type attack is still valid per our earlier discussion about stabilised, but unguided real torpedoes. They would become even more effective with limited guidance by the end of WW2. Possibly to the point where aerial warships were no longer relevant?

If so surface or ground effect warships would probably com back into vogue, but even then a torpedo is a good way to deliver a warhead to a target and on or near the surface, the guidance problems are even easier, not having to deal with variation in the height dimension.

The real reason these sorts of aircraft would probably still exist is that the stand-off weapon, the torpedo or unguided missile, as the case may be, has a very limited range. You need the bomber to get the weapon within range. The weapon is bulky with the included powerplant and warhead, so a form factor like a torpedo still makes sense, therefore a delivery aircraft like an Avenger still makes sense. And, without a true guidance system you still need to get the weapon close enough so that it's combination of speed and direction by the aircraft that will put the weapon on target. Attack formation would have to account for the 3rd dimension maneuverability of the target.

In fact, far from being eliminated, the ELG world may only have torpedo bombers for anti-ship work as how else are you going to knock out a flying warship? Dive bombing seems to be unlikely unless those dive bombers could _always_ achieve a significant height advantage over the warships. It would, on any existing engine technology base, lead them to being more and more fragile in order to achieve higher and higher altitudes on the limited power available from the recip engines at which point you are not going to dive bomb with them nor are you likely to level bomb as even real world ship maneuvers made level bombing next to useless against surface ships. Stabilised, stand-off weapon launching aircraft would seem to be the best way to attack large, armoured flying targets.

Paul

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2020, 11:30:08 PM »
I'd look at RW events post-WW2 for what would happen in the ELG (?) world.

Aerial battleships would become redundant but cruisers, destroyers & frigates would come into their own, & aircraft carriers would be the capital ships.
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline tankmodeler

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Re: Winged wraiths
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2020, 01:15:05 AM »
I'm thinking of an Avenger that might look like this with the wings holding two podded lift coils.