Author Topic: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query  (Read 1617 times)

Offline kengeorge

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An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« on: February 28, 2020, 07:33:57 AM »
A query or three for the esteemed and knowledgeable membership.
Picture the scene...Its 1942 and Bomber Command have been performing their strategic night bombing campaign over Germany for the last two years with varying degrees of success. AVM Arthur Harris has been taken to task by Winston Churchill about the achievements made so far.
The campaign has mainly targeted German cities as to demoralise the civilian population, in which Harris has had some success. Destroying the German infrastructure and ability to disrupt their war effort had been less so.
Churchill wanted Harris to re-comence daylight raids on the German infrastructure as soon as possible.
This leaves Harris with a massive problem, how can I protect my bombers all the way to the heart of Germany and back? What fighter escort can I use?
So these are what I would like your opinions on,

1 What suitable type of aircraft can Harris use in this timeframe? Bearing in mind they must be of British and/or Commonwealth origin. Why? Good question, only because American made aircraft have been allocated to the USAAF for now, as the entire first production runs of P-38's and P-47's would be destined for the Pacific Theatre of Operations due to America's Japan first policy. So what's left? What is suitable and up to the job as a fighter escort?

2 More to the point will Fighter command allow Harris to have his own private fighter wings?

3 What squadron numbers would they have allocated, and yes I have googled extensively on this subject until my eyes hurt and got nowhere.

So if anyone wants to have a go at this please do, any opinions expressed will be considered and answered.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2020, 02:40:12 AM »
I will have a go...at least a partial one:

Quote
1 What suitable type of aircraft can Harris use in this timeframe?

The most obvious would be exiting platforms such as Supermarine Spitfires with external tanks (be those the slipper variety for otherwise):




Interesting article on it here

The Hawker Typhoon would be another choice:



Other options might include either Bristol Beaufighters (maybe the Beaufighter Mk III version) or even DeHavilland Mosquitos operating as escorts:




Quote
2 More to the point will Fighter command allow Harris to have his own private fighter wings?

I doubt it.  I would expect them to still be part of Fighter command.

Quote
3 What squadron numbers would they have allocated, and yes I have googled extensively on this subject until my eyes hurt and got nowhere.


Not even going to try to guess.

« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 02:47:13 AM by GTX_Admin »
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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2020, 07:58:25 AM »
A drawing:





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Offline Volkodav

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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2020, 09:09:14 PM »
Checkout "The Rise of the Bomber: RAF-Army Planning 1919 to Munich 1938" by Greg Baughen, an eye opening account on how the Bomber zealots reimagined the actual lessons of the air war in WWI to suit their own agenda and its cost to the British war effort in WWII as they had to relearn the lost lessons while resources continued to be drained to support the ill conceived bombing campaign.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2020, 03:12:15 AM »
Of course, if you wanted some more whiff style ideas using shorter ranger fighters, what about one of the following:

  • A 'mistel' style arrangement with a fighter such as a Spitfire mounted on top of the bomber and only released when over enemy airspace of when approached by fighters
  • A towed fighter
  • some form of aerial refueling

Would you also consider the RAF developing something such as the YB-40:



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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2020, 03:24:04 AM »
Of course the more important question:  would we see Lancasters, Halifaxs and Stirlings in BMF or similar such as the USAAF?  Would we see Assembly ships:

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Offline Kelmola

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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2020, 08:00:59 PM »
The Hawker Typhoon would be another choice:
Would not be the optimal solution, due to the thick wing severely degrading performance (and limiting diving speeds) above 6km/20 000ft. Then again, it would be facing Fw190's which also suffered above that altitude ;D (but also Bf109's which did not)
Other options might include either Bristol Beaufighters (maybe the Beaufighter Mk III version)
In 1942 timeframe the Beaufighter would simply have been too slow as a fighter. It could perform bomber interception, would just about manage against heavy bomber destroyers, but air superiority against single-engined types? No. Though, this would have created "interesting" encounters that Spitfires would have tangled with 109's and Beaufighters would have targeted the 110/210/410's, 88's, and Sturmbock 190's.

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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2020, 02:51:27 AM »
I'm not talking about what would be optimal but rather what would have been potentially available given the timeframe etc.
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Offline kengeorge

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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2020, 07:16:38 AM »
I'm enjoying reading the replies on here, thank you for all your input, the idea of using a type of Mistel/Piggyback has appeal.
I was thinking how it could be achieved, A Spit on top of a Halifax sounds doable, but not a Tiffy as I think they would be too heavy.
I agree using Beaufighter's for escort in this timeframe wouldn't work as they could be a bit slow. I discounted the Mossie as in my narrative, they would be tasked with pathfinding and special ops, more than squandered on bomber escort.
I also think the Stirling will be an ideal assembly ship and restrict them for glider towing an paracute drops and leave the bombing to Halifax's (Daylight) and Lancasters (Night).
Single engined IFR? Both curious and dangerous as far as I can see, but can anyone answer that technical question, or restrict IFR to twin engined types?
As for one of my original questions, I was trawling the Wikipedia List of RAF Squadrons, I came up with this....
"No. 8 Group Bomber Command (Reformed as No. 8 (Bomber) Group on 1 September 1941, but disbanded on 28 January 1942.)

505 Squadron YF code (Not formed)                           
506 Squadron FS code (Not formed)                         
507 Squadron GX code (Not formed)                         
508 Squadron DY code (Not formed)                         
509 Squadron BQ code (Not formed)                         
513 Squadron CS code (Not formed)
(No. 513 Squadron RAF was a non-operational bomber squadron)

551 Squadron No code (Not allocated in real life)     
552 Squadron No code (Not allocated in real life)     
553 Squadron No code (Not allocated in real life)     
554 Squadron No code (Not allocated in real life)
555 Squadron No code (Not allocated in real life)     
556 Squadron No code (Not allocated in real life)
557 Squadron No code (Not allocated in real life)     
558 Squadron No code (Not allocated in real life)
559 Squadron No code (Not allocated in real life)     
560 Squadron No code (Not allocated in real life)
561 Squadron No code (Not allocated in real life)     
562 Squadron No code (Not allocated in real life)
563 Squadron No code (Not allocated in real life)
564 Squadron No code (Not allocated in real life)
565 Squadron No code (Not allocated in real life)
566 Squadron No code (Not allocated in real life)

There were to have been Reserve squadrons using numbers 551566 which would have been created by adding 500 to existing Operational Training Unit designations. In the event the plan was never put into effect, although there was some desultory use of some of the numbers by some of the OTUs for a short period. Despite their lack of formal activation, this block of numbers has never been re-allocated for use by other units."
So all I have to do is find homes for them!!

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2020, 02:02:50 AM »
I agree using Beaufighter's for escort in this timeframe wouldn't work as they could be a bit slow.

Probably, but as I originally said, maybe the Beaufighter Mk III (related IV) which were to have been Hercules and Merlin (or Griffon - I have seen both referenced but believe it would be the former) powered Beaufighters with a new, slimmer fuselage, carrying an armament of six cannons and six machine guns that improved performance.

I also think the Stirling will be an ideal assembly ship and restrict them for glider towing an paracute drops and leave the bombing to Halifax's (Daylight) and Lancasters (Night).

Why the split between night/day for the Lancasters/Halifaxes?

Single engined IFR? Both curious and dangerous as far as I can see, but can anyone answer that technical question, or restrict IFR to twin engined types?

I would envisage a probe and hose style arrangement using a probe on the wingtip to avoid the prop.  Ugly and difficult perhaps but in the whiffers who cares...
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Offline Kelmola

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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2020, 07:03:08 PM »
Why the split between night/day for the Lancasters/Halifaxes?
I was about to wisecrack that the later Hercules-engined marks (B.III, B.VI) of Halifax had almost a kilometre higher ceiling (7300m vs 6500m) and this would help survivability in daylight raids. However, this being 1942-43 the versions in use would be B.I and B.II which had slightly inferior performance compared to the Lanc.

The Bomber Command did use the Halibag instead of the Lanc though for daylight raids on those occasions when they did them, ie. not in 42-43 when German air superiority made only night raids possible (but since we're going to have escorts one way or the other, they will be possible in this TL). So there must have been a reason for the day/night split IRL, and I would say this is probably due to the fact that Halifax could not carry the 4000+ lb "blockbuster" bombs because the bomb bay was split into smaller compartments. So the Lancasters were used against population centres (as per Bomber Harris's strategy) for which the blockbusters were the most suitable ordinance, and cities could be struck in nighttime when even hitting the metropolitan area was accurate enough, but Halifaxes were used in daylight on targets where hitting at least the right quarter of the city was required, such as industry, harbours, rail yards, or troop concentrations but for which the <= 2000 lb GP bombs were effective enough.

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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2020, 02:26:56 AM »
A scene that might be relevant:

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Offline Geoff

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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2020, 07:00:56 AM »
I was wondering if the escort force fighters would use the temperate scheme or an overall PRU blue scheme perhaps with red codes and low viz red/blue roundels?

Also using the longer ferry wing tips, and have some lightening done such as leaving out some or all of the .303s. I know this was done on my father's sqd when they had to intercept a regular high flying recce plane. In fact a Spitfire Mk VI???

Oh I like the idea of 513(F) bomber sqd

Just some thoughts
« Last Edit: April 05, 2020, 08:32:55 PM by Geoff »

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2020, 02:23:25 AM »
In this scenario one might have also seen earlier adoption of the Rose Turret or Type D, including on Halifaxes:






Alternatively, use of systems such as the H turret with 20mm cannon might have occurred:



One might even have seen a revisit of the 40mm cannon:


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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2020, 03:08:28 AM »
Some more inspiration - if one were to follow the USAAF lead and do away with camouflage:

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Offline deathjester

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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2020, 03:35:32 AM »
How about a version of the Whirlwind with Merlin 65's?

Offline Geoff

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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2020, 12:56:08 AM »
Well I have got a Spit Mk VI and it has a slipper tank in the kit. However I cannot decide if I just want to change the serial to make it a wif, or to have a high altitude scheme of PRU blue, or perhaps an overall light grey? Any opinions please (if any one is interested)

Offline Volkodav

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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2020, 10:17:38 PM »
How about a version of the Whirlwind with Merlin 65's?

I was just thinking of the Whirlwind though not a Merlin powered one.  The need for a long range day bombing escort fighter could have been enough to keep the Peregrine development, therefore the Whirlwind production and further development kicking along.

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: An RAF Bomber Command Daylight operation query
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2020, 03:08:42 PM »
How about a version of the Whirlwind with Merlin 65's?

I was just thinking of the Whirlwind though not a Merlin powered one.  The need for a long range day bombing escort fighter could have been enough to keep the Peregrine development, therefore the Whirlwind production and further development kicking along.

Potential left in the Kestrel/Goshawk/Peregrine(/Vulture) line was pretty limited, which is why RR wanted to focus on developing the Merlin & Griffon. Still, a bit more work & a slightly enlarged Whirlwind may have resulted in a decent escort fighter.

Merlins on a Whirlwind wouldn't (really) have worked without a drastic redesign because of the extra weight (all forward of the CoG) & higher fuel consumption.
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