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 (1939-1945) WWII Battles    
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/7/2017 8:41:27 AM
The Lancaster flew 156,308 operational sorties. Of the 7,377 Lancasters built, 3,249 were lost in action.

Only 35 Lancasters completed more than 100 successful operations.

The greatest survivor completed 139 operations and survived the war, only to be scrapped in 1947.

A secret report at the end of 1942 estimated that of every 100 aircrew only 13 would live to complete a tour of 50 operations.

The figures above beg the question-Why were so many lost???

I can think of one structural defect-it was unable to see what was immediately underneath it.

Further it's armament was puny-a max of eight .303 M/c guns as opposed to 50 calibre.

Thirdly it's flight planned routes were so routine that the German nightfighters just had to wait for them.There are close to a thousand bomber wrecks in Isselmeer and the Zuyder Zee alone-this is down to routing.

What are your thoughts in relation to the exorbitant loss of these valuable aircraft.

Regards

Jim
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Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/7/2017 12:37:49 PM
Is the 3,249 figure just combat losses, or does it include all causes?

Yes, it's a lot of aircraft, but even so, does it represent an inordinate number of losses, under the circumstances? U.S. B-17 losses in the ETO totalled 4,754 out of 12,731 built, although not all of those served in Europe. B-24 losses in the ETO would add another 2,112. This despite heavier defensive armament, including bottom turrets.

Is what we're seeing simply a function of what is to be expected when large numbers relatively slow aircraft, of limited maneuverability, are flown into the teeth of effective defenses?
---------------
Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

anemone
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/7/2017 1:26:29 PM
Jim -thank for your interest and input.The number of Lancasters lost is from all causes-operational losses were 3137.I brought this up because I was once a member of Research Team looking into Lancaster loses where the aircraft had just disappeared-and the reason I mentioned the graveyard of the Zuyder Zee and Isselmeer in Holland.

This was the regular route out from the Ruhr-very close to the German Nightfighter station at Leeuwarden equipped with the Me 110,210 and 410-most of were armed with the twin 30mm cannons sticking out of the rear roof of the cabin-this was the deadly Schrage Musik. The N/F placed itself just under the Lanc's belly ever so slightly port or starboard and blasted the wing tanks and underbelly- giving the unwitting Lancaster absolutely no chance.

Had the Lancaster been fitted with a dorsal turret-this would have evened up the odds; but Harris would have none of it-it was only bomb load to target that mattered-aircraft and crews were replaceable'

The B17 Fortresses were very heavily armed with up to 12/14 X 50 calibre M/c guns and they flew in defensive boxes giving maximum cover to most of the box; but daylight bombing was also a dangerous trade and German fighters were fearless in guarding the homeland.

Regards

jim
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redcoat
Stockport, UK
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/7/2017 2:48:32 PM

Quote:

Had the Lancaster been fitted with a dorsal turret-this would have evened up the odds; but Harris would have none of it-it was only bomb load to target that mattered-aircraft and crews were replaceable'
What evidence do you have that Harris was behind the decision to remove the ventral turret on the Lancaster ?

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/7/2017 3:37:07 PM
430 of the Lancasters were built in Canada at the Victory Aircraft Plant in Malton, Ontario. Malton is where Toronto's Pearson International Airport is now.

70 went missing in action and another 30 crashing upon their return to England or while on a training mission.

Most of the Canadian built Lancasters went to 6 Group.

They differed from the British built Lancasters in that the Merlin engines were built by Packard in the US.

Instruments and radio equipment were to be of Canadian or US design.

Other than that, a Lanc was flown to Canada to act as a template in August of 1942. All 55,000 parts were copied exactly.

I read on the Bomber Command Museum site that there were 55,000 different mechanical processes in the manufacture of this plane.

It was necessary to have the same parts just in case a plane had to be cannibalized for parts.



A.V. Roe complimented Victory on the workmanship on these planes. And the different parts of the plane were subcontracted out to different Canadian firms and then shipped to Malton for final assembly at Victory.

This is the 100th Lancaster to be built in Canada. These workers, many of them women were very proud of their war work.

[Read More]


I have mentioned this before but there are two Lancs still flying. One is in the UK

The other is near Hamilton, Ontario, not far from Buffalo, New York.

It's at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum and was built in 1945.





Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
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Posts: 669

Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/7/2017 3:44:48 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Had the Lancaster been fitted with a dorsal turret-this would have evened up the odds; but Harris would have none of it-it was only bomb load to target that mattered-aircraft and crews were replaceable'
What evidence do you have that Harris was behind the decision to remove the ventral turret on the Lancaster ?
--redcoat


I believe it did have a dorsal (top) turret. In the night bomber role, however, I wonder how valuable gun turrets really were. After all, you have to be able to see your target in order to hit it.
---------------
Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

MikeMeech
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/7/2017 3:57:16 PM

Quote:
Jim -thank for your interest and input.The number of Lancasters lost is from all causes-operational losses were 3137.I brought this up because I was once a member of Research Team looking into Lancaster loses where the aircraft had just disappeared-and the reason I mentioned the graveyard of the Zuyder Zee and Isselmeer in Holland.

This was the regular route out from the Ruhr-very close to the German Nightfighter station at Leeuwarden equipped with the Me 110,210 and 410-most of were armed with the twin 30mm cannons sticking out of the rear roof of the cabin-this was the deadly Schrage Musik. The N/F placed itself just under the Lanc's belly ever so slightly port or starboard and blasted the wing tanks and underbelly- giving the unwitting Lancaster absolutely no chance.

Had the Lancaster been fitted with a dorsal turret-this would have evened up the odds; but Harris would have none of it-it was only bomb load to target that mattered-aircraft and crews were replaceable'

The B17 Fortresses were very heavily armed with up to 12/14 X 50 calibre M/c guns and they flew in defensive boxes giving maximum cover to most of the box; but daylight bombing was also a dangerous trade and German fighters were fearless in guarding the homeland.

Regards

jim
--anemone


Hi

The Lancaster, Halifax and Stirling were originally designed to have the F.N. 64 under turret. In service this was found inadequate for night use due to its periscope sighting system. Also evidently the turret had no means for the gunner to determine which direction his guns were pointing relative to the direction in which his own aircraft was flying. The position of where this turret was fitted was later used for the H2S fit. However, a single 0.5 inch MG was used on aircraft not fitted with H2S for under defence in a limited way by Lancaster aircraft of No.3 Group and Halifax aircraft of No. 4 and No. 6 (RCAF) Groups.
Harris was rather interested in aircraft armament, while AOC 5 Group he up-gunned his Hampden aircraft, twin VGOs in the dorsal position, and when AOC Bomber Command had some 0.5 inch rear turrets fitted to some aircraft. Both of these fits were 'off ration' which Harris had the Rose company undertake.
At the end of the war the subject of armament (and much else) and the problems with it was included in the 'Despatch on War Operations, 23rd February to 8th May, 1945' which was the official report from Harris.

Mike

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/7/2017 4:26:17 PM

Quote:
I believe it did have a dorsal (top) turret. In the night bomber role, however, I wonder how valuable gun turrets really were. After all, you have to be able to see your target in order to hit it.


German night fighters had radar to bring them close to the Lanc. They would come up from underneath.

They also had Schräge Musik, the upward firing cannon to tear the belly out of the plane.

The ME Bf110G was a particularly good night fighter.

So the Lancaster couldn't fire at these guys who were below them.

The stories recounted by gunners on the Lanc or any other bomber indicate that they didn't get much warning and a night fighter could whip by before the man could respond.

This clip is supposed to be the radio chatter in a Lancaster on a bomb ran. Listen to what happens when a night fighter shows up. This was a successful shoot by the rear gunner I think.

I hope that this isn't a propaganda piece.

It sounds as though they do see the fighters for a bit.

[Read More]

More chatter

[Read More]

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/7/2017 8:08:37 PM
Schräge Musik was not introduced until the early Summer of 1943. And it was not a game winner. It simply made engagement somewhat safer for the Luftwaffe pilot. And in late 1942 Wilde Sau practices began replacing earlier techniques. "Window", first used during the Battle of Hamburg, had a lot to do with tactical changes in night fighter practices.

Until Hamburg, Germany relied on a series of Himmelbett stations which comprised the Kammhuber Line. Himmelbett stations consisted of Wurzburg radars twinned with Freyas. Freya was a long distance radar that could sometime pick up RAF bombers before they left English air space. The Wurzburg was a fine-tuning radar which directed night fighters to potential bomber targets. Eventually, however, the night fighter would have to rely on an on-board Lichtenstein radar set, whose array was sufficiently unwieldy that n-fs fitted with it suffered loss of speed and manoeuvrability. And even then, visual contact was usually needed before the night fighter could get into position. So don't think that German night-fighters had it all their way. Once they made visual contact they had something like even chances of disabling the bomber, but only the best pilots made a habit of success.

Keep in mind, too, that the German radar Wurzburg/Freya duo could only handle (I believe, but can't state with certainty) one night fighter at a time. This was one of the reasons for the RAF technique of "streaming", which in effect was pushing a large number of bombers through a narrow air corridor in as brief a time as possible. A typical major raid by RAF BC during the year pre-Schräge Musik was ~700 a/c (The first 1,000 bomber raids against Cologne took place in late May 1942). At best all 700+ would pass over a very few Himmelbett Stations so rapidly that most bombers would never be even considered by a night fighter.

There is no question that the typical RAF 'Heavy' was under-armed. And it is probable that larger caliber weapons in more locations might have saved some RAF BC a/c. But consider Jim's comment:
Quote:
I believe it did have a dorsal (top) turret. In the night bomber role, however, I wonder how valuable gun turrets really were. After all, you have to be able to see your target in order to hit it.
The benefit was in eyeballs, not guns. Bombers didn't want to shoot down night fighter, they wanted to evade them or scare them or otherwise distract them. Jim's "...after all you have to be able to see your target in order to hit it" applied to the night fighters as well. Spotting a night fighter and going into evasive manoeuvres to "disappear" was the best guarantee of completing an Op.

Arthur Harris has a lot to answer for, IMHO. But I think he was simply a cold-hearted sonofabitch who looked at numbers. I think he balanced a/c losses against bomb tonnage and decided in favour of tonnage. His command's function wasn't to destroy the Luftwaffe, but to destroy Germans. More or better weapons on his a/c wouldn't meet his requirements, but large bomb capacity might.

I have trouble thinking about the "cost" of Lancs, or Hallys, or Mossies, or any other a/c during the war. The Lanc was one of the most adaptable of the 'Heavies' used in the ETO. Remember that it was the Lanc that was adapted for the Dams raid (dropping the dorsal gun; cutting the airframe away to fit the rails for the mine). The Lanc carried Tall Boy and Grand Slam bombs (the Grand Slam weighing in at 22,000 lbs, which is the same weight as the MOAB dropped by the US recently in Afghanistan [which was claimed to be the largest non-atomic bomb ever dropped, by the way]).

I think the Lanc was, at least for the ETO, the best bomber available. It has flaws. It could be mis-used. It had design weaknesses (e.g., a very small forward escape hatch). It was, of course, only as good as the men who crewed it, and was always judged by the enemy it faced.

Cheers
Brian G
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anemone
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/8/2017 4:03:44 AM
Many thanks to you all for the interest and input.I fear that I made a grave mistake at the beginning-it was not the absence of a dorsal turret but a ventral turret(Picked up by Mike)-this I am afraid loused up my whole discussion point vis a vis safety from attacks from a night fighter directly below.I can only make an abject apology for what can only be described as a Howler.

The ventral (underside) FN-64 turret quickly proved to be dead weight, being both difficult to sight because it relied on a periscope which limited the gunner's view to a 20 degree arc, and too slow to keep a target within its sights. Aside from early B Is and the prototype B IIs, the FN-64 was almost never used.

When the Luftwaffe began using Schräge Musik to make attacks from below in the winter of 1943/1944, modifications were made, including downward observation blisters mounted behind the bomb aimer's blister and official and unofficial mounts for .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns or even 20 mm cannon, firing through the ventral holes of the removed FN-64.

The fitting of these guns was hampered as the same ventral position was used for mounting the H2S blister, which limited installations to those aircraft fitted with bulged bomb bays which interfered with the H2S. Wikipedia
As well as any changes to length of bomb bay
Regards

Jim
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BWilson

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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/8/2017 4:45:00 AM
(the Grand Slam weighing in at 22,000 lbs, which is the same weight as the MOAB dropped by the US recently in Afghanistan [which was claimed to be the largest non-atomic bomb ever dropped, by the way]).

 There is more than one way to look at ordnance characteristics.



Bomb Filling Weight (pds) Blast yield equivalent

G Slam 9,136 6.5 tons TNT equivalent
MOAB 18,700 11 tons TNT equivalent


 The claim about MOAB seems quite reasonable in view of this data.

Cheers

BW
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redcoat
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/8/2017 8:26:32 AM
The saga with the ventral turret is a warning about relying on operational research, if the enemy changes its tactics.
The decision to remove the ventral turret was taken after operational research had shown that the position was completely ineffective in countering night fighters attacking from the rear, which was the standard tactic used by Luftwaffe night fighters at that time. Given that crew casualties were a major concern it only made sense to remove a crew position which research had shown played no part in helping defend the aircraft.

anemone
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/8/2017 9:00:26 AM
Thanks for the comment redoat-however my pitch was to provide a means of combating enemy night fighters equipped with Schrage Musik from attacking from below it's target- as opposed to attacking from behind I fully realise that no workable solution was found; but the B17 had a perfectly workable ball turret underneath.

I also understand the reason for the removal of the turret that was fitted-one less crewman and a useless contraption equals greater bomb load-this was the fate of the Lancaster-a flying testbed for bigger and bigger bombs at the expense of defensive armament.

Regards

Jim
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MikeMeech
UK
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/8/2017 11:45:12 AM

Quote:
Thanks for the comment redoat-however my pitch was to provide a means of combating enemy night fighters equipped with Schrage Musik from attacking from below it's target- as opposed to attacking from behind I fully realise that no workable solution was found; but the B17 had a perfectly workable ball turret underneath.

I also understand the reason for the removal of the turret that was fitted-one less crewman and a useless contraption equals greater bomb load-this was the fate of the Lancaster-a flying testbed for bigger and bigger bombs at the expense of defensive armament.

Regards

Jim
--anemone


Hi

While the Sperry Ball turret operated well enough in a daylight situation it would still have limited vision at night and suffer from the same 'night problems' as anything else, that is a German night fighter climbing towards a bomber stream would see the bombers at about three times the distance the bomber crew would have seen them. This is due to the bomber crew having to look down into the 'clutter' below to try and see the smaller night fighter while the night fighter crew were looking up and could see the larger bomber silhouetted against the sky. Of course when B17 and B24 aircraft were fitted with H2S/H2X the Ball turret was removed to fit it.
The view of Harris was stated on armament was stated by the end of 1942 (page 108 of source mentioned previously), the characteristics that turrets should have if they were worth carrying were as follows:

"(a) The gunner must be provided with an uninterrupted field of view.
(b) Guns mounted in turrets must be of sufficient calibre to penetrate the armour plate fitted to German fighters when engaged at normal fighting ranges.
(c) Turrets should be so designed that the gunner could escape in an emergency (irrespective of the position in which the turret is installed) without having to depend on power supply from the aircraft engines.
(d) Adequate means of heating the turret should be provided in order to prevent the guns and turret components from freezing up, and to keep the gunner reasonably warm and so maintain his efficiency."

So that is the view of Harris, he and Bomber Command felt themselves let down, stating (page 111)stating:

"Throughout, those responsible for turret design and production displayed an extraordinary disregard of the requirements of the Command."

Although it has to be said a lot of experimentation with 'better' armament was undertaken, usually running into 'technical' problems, this included Dorsal and Ventral twin 20 mm turrets controlled from the rear turret position, twin 20 mm guns on the rear of two of the engine nacelles (again controlled from the rear 'turret' position). Airborne Gun-laying Turrets (radar equipped) were tried out, although there were IFF problems (Infra-red Type Z equipment was one of the methods used to try to overcome this problem).

Harris was also keen to have RAF night-fighters, particularly Mosquito aircraft go out with the bomber stream, he suggested to Sholto Douglas in October 1942 that: "...some Mosquito fighters might profitably be mixed in the bomber stream." He did not get that until June 1943, then Fighter Command released Beaufighters, which did not have the speed to be effective, then early model Mosquito night fighters were released to be used, the most modern equipped Mosquito aircraft were not allowed out over enemy territory until after D-Day. When they were finally out German Night Fighters started to have a difficult time.

Also it should be remembered that a lot of equipment was being fitted to Bomber Command heavies particularly electronic warfare devices. ABC when fitted to Lancasters not only required aerial fitments and internal equipment but also a Special Operator, making an 8 man crew.

Mike

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
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Posts: 669

Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/8/2017 12:28:06 PM
Just as an aside, some versions of the U.S. P-61 "Black Widow" night fighter had a dorsal turret with four .50 machine guns. It had full traverse and could fire 90 degrees upward, when controlled by the gunner, or be locked forward and fired by the pilot. It also had a fixed ventral pod with four 20mm guns.
---------------
Jim Cameron

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anemone
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/8/2017 1:13:50 PM
Mike-Given how much more effective the 50 calibre gun was in defending American bombers during their daytime raids, why did the RAF continue to equip their aircraft almost exclusively with .303 calibre guns right up until the end of the war?

Was it a supply issue? Politics? Cost? Weight? Reliability?I have to say that I have a sneaking suspicion it was "weight" coupled with a "lack of enthusiasm to change"-ie. "leave well" -Alone

Regards

Jim
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redcoat
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/8/2017 2:02:58 PM

Quote:
Thanks for the comment redoat-however my pitch was to provide a means of combating enemy night fighters equipped with Schrage Musik from attacking from below it's target- as opposed to attacking from behind I fully realise that no workable solution was found; but the B17 had a perfectly workable ball turret underneath.

I also understand the reason for the removal of the turret that was fitted-one less crewman and a useless contraption equals greater bomb load-this was the fate of the Lancaster-a flying testbed for bigger and bigger bombs at the expense of defensive armament.

Regards

Jim
--anemone
The reason Schrage Musik was so effective was because the bomber crews and their high command were unaware that this tactic was being used. When they did eventually find out the bombers were fitted with a radar warning system which warned them when an aircraft was slowly approaching them from below enabling them to take effective evasive action, this greatly reduced losses from this type of attack.

It should be noted that there was a discussion within Bomber Command on whether it would be more cost effective to remove all defensive armament from the heavy bombers, the theory was that the increased speed that this would give the bombers would be a far more effective in reducing losses than any defensive armament.

brian grafton
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/8/2017 6:02:24 PM
Sure does, Bill. I tend to think lift weight.

Cheers
Brian G
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Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
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Posts: 669

Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/8/2017 7:25:46 PM
I see to recall that there was a similar discussion about removing the defensive armament from U.S. bombers. The savings would have been not just in weight (guns and gunners), but in losses of highly trained aircrew. I believe that the morale factor of keeping the guns won out.
---------------
Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/8/2017 8:52:37 PM
Not sure, Jim, but seem to remember that part of the problem was the formattting and adaptability of the bomb bays in US a/c at the time. Bomb loads in B-17s and B-24s were smaller and less flexible than in Lancs and Hallys, and extension or the rather small bomb bay of the -17 would have done horrible things to the balance point.

The morale issue was critical, of course. The Eighth took incredible punishment in the opening phases of its campaign, with losses as high as 10% on certain missions. RAF crews lost crews as well, but the did not see the losses as they occurred and did not face such high loss rates with the potential regularity the USAAF could contemplate. Only with long-range fighter support and – later – bases in Europe did the morale issue ease, IIRC. Maybe adding the two cheek guns helped a bit too.

I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but folks tend to forget that the B-17 was an "old" design by the time the US entered the war. They also tend to forget that its initial specification was as a "defensive bomber". Its chief adversaries were expected to be naval vessels (then the only way to assault the US), protected by carrier-launched enemy a/c or by ship-board anti-aircraft armament.

It was not designed to have great offensive range when bombed up because it was designed as a defensive weapon. It had major defensive gunnery because it was expected to face carrier aircraft with a gun deficit. I don't think "de-gunning" the -17 would have served any real end. There may have been slightly larger bomb loads, because the -17s often flew with reduced bomb loads to reach targets in Germany. But the maximum load they could carry could not be altered upward without challenging the integrity of the air frame.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
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"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

Jim Cameron
North Bellmore, NY, USA
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/8/2017 10:20:02 PM
I don't recall that any talk of removing defensive armament - and I'm not sure how seriously​it was considered in the first place - included modifications to the bomb bay.
---------------
Jim Cameron

Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

anemone
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/9/2017 5:06:17 AM

Quote:
During WW2 RAFBC flew a total 364,514 operational sorties were flown, 1,030,500 tons of bombs were dropped and 8,325 aircraft(all types) lost in action.

Harris was advised by an Operational Research Section (ORS-BC) under a civilian, Basil Dickins, supported by a small team of mathematicians and scientists. ORS-BC (under Reuben Smeed) was concerned with analysing bomber losses.

They were able to influence operations by identifying successful defensive tactics and equipment, though some of their more controversial advice (such as removing ineffectual turrets from bombers to increase speed) was heeded and sometimes acted upon.
BC Survey 1945


Regards

Jim
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MikeMeech
UK
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/9/2017 10:40:15 AM

Quote:
Mike-Given how much more effective the 50 calibre gun was in defending American bombers during their daytime raids, why did the RAF continue to equip their aircraft almost exclusively with .303 calibre guns right up until the end of the war?

Was it a supply issue? Politics? Cost? Weight? Reliability?I have to say that I have a sneaking suspicion it was "weight" coupled with a "lack of enthusiasm to change"-ie. "leave well" -Alone

Regards

Jim
--anemone

Hi
The daylight 'self-defending' bomber formation was not effective whether armed with 0.5s or .303s, both led to high losses. The RAF realised this early in the war, the USAAF found this out during 1943. For daylight the high performance escort fighter was the way to go, the heavily armed bombers in formation could put up a strong defence but was still inadequate as a sole defence.

Night bombing was a bit different, as is obvious, the bombers were not flying in defensive formations and as mentioned the enemy fighters would see the bombers generally before the bomber gunners' saw them. Any defence would be individual defence and basically they would nearly always be out gunned to some extent compared with a fighter. That said, as I mentioned, the British were working on variations of the 20 mm armed 'turret' to replace the .303 turrets, rather like the RAF fighters had all or some of their .303s replaced by 20 mm. The Lancaster IV (later called Lincoln) was equipped with 0.5 in. guns in front and rear turret but with a 20 mm armed turret in the dorsal position. It still had the H2S in the ventral position, this equipment was considered more 'useful;' than an a turret in that position and is the main reason that ventral turrets were not fitted in that position, not weight! Harris is on record and by deed as wanting the bombers up gunned and complained about MAP not supplying what was needed, he was concerned about weight but not in the context of weaponry, why do you think it was he that did not want to up gun, the Rose turret only came into service due to his and his Command's efforts not MAP or the Air Ministry.

The weight problem was always there as bomb-load/fuel compromise was always relevant, if you needed to hit a target at long distance then you would have to carry less bombs, and vice versa. If you wanted to carry a very heavy bomb, such as Grand Slam or Tall Boy then you would not have the nose and upper turret fitted (or bomb doors). To carry the Upkeep weapon for the Dams Raid 617 Sqn had the dorsal turret removed. I think most of the argument over weight was about how much armour plate should be fitted to a bomber and if its effectiveness was worth the cost of less bombs or fuel.

The B17 did carry heavier bombs and Special Weapons under the inner wing between the inner engines and the fuselage. For example the 'Disney' bomb (originally developed by the Royal Navy), this was 14 feet long and weighed 4,500 lb. The converted B17s could carry two, but had a much reduced fuel load (so short range) and needed a very long runway to take-off and its performance was much reduced. So again compromises had to be made.

The production of the 0.5 inch was undertaken in the US, to change over production in the UK would have caused a drop in production. However, IIRC before the US entered the war it was thought that British bombers would get up-gunned to 0.5 in. from that production. Due to the US entering the war the 0.5 in. went into US produced bombers and fighters, many of which came to be used by Britain under lend-lease instead of going into British built aircraft (there were some exceptions of course). So there were all sorts of 'problems' to contend with.

You would be wrong to blame Harris for all this as much was beyond his control.

Mike


anemone
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/9/2017 11:55:40 AM
As usual Mike-you make a lot of sense in your appraisals-which are always carefully written and sound "right"; but not being a Harris fan-I do have difficulty in absorbing as gospel- that much was beyond his control.

The very fact that defensive weaponry was at the end of the war-w as it was at the beginning-the .303 pop gun-- because the powers that be thought that was sufficient; and no upgunning of bombers was attempted until after wars end-speaks volumes.

Anyway thoroughly enjoyed reading your piece and "Lang may yer Lum reek"Many thanks for your input.

Regards

Jim
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Michigan Dave
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/10/2017 8:49:47 AM
Hi George, and Brian,

Is there a Lancaster bomber on display in the public park in windsor, ont.?
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/10/2017 10:33:04 AM

Quote:
Hi George, and Brian,

Is there a Lancaster bomber on display in the public park in windsor, ont.?
--Michigan Dave


Not in Windsor I'm afraid. There are 17 Lancasters left in the world, and we have 11 of them.

Only one is flying but there are others on display and a couple that are undergoing restoration. One of those is supposed to be restored to flight status.

When the war ended, the RCAF flew a bunch of mk 10's home to the east coast. They were supposed to head for the Pacific war but that war ended.


Some continued to fly with the RCAF as search and rescue.

But the salt air on the east coast was damaging the air frames and they were disbursed, mostly to western Canada where the climate was drier.

Some were reconfigured for other military purposes. Most went into storage.

This is a list of the world's surviving Lancasters.

[Read More]


There is one in the US, under restoration in Florida. I don't know whether Kermit Weekes owns it.

Dave, the closest one to you is the one that flies at the Warplane Heritage Museum at Mount Hope near the Hamilton airport.


Cheers,

George

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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/10/2017 12:46:59 PM
BBMF Lancaster and partners in flight at airshow


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Regards

Jim
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Michigan Dave
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/17/2017 11:22:49 AM
Great pic, Jim.

I think WWII planes have the coolest color schemes and designs?

MD
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/17/2017 7:25:16 PM
Jim, what was the RAF policy on nose art during WW2?

I noticed some art work on the Lancaster and wondered whether that was allowed during the war.

George

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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/17/2017 8:22:14 PM
George, it was allowed, and it was largely left to the air crew to name an a/c.

I don't think RAF and affiliates were as committed to racy paintings as were the US, but a/c names were there, Part of me thinks that was a necessary linking between crew and the inanimate object on which their lives depended. Naming was, IIUC, a vital part of war experience. Didn't have to be a plane, though that was obvious, it could be anything. A tank, a ship – in truth, anything which made your machine "someone" who cared about you and wanted to look after you, was vital.

Cheers
bg
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/17/2017 8:40:19 PM
Thanks Brian. I cannot recall where I read it but the Group 6 air crew were criticized by British officers for painting rather fetching young woman on the nose.

I assumed that that would not be permitted in the RAF.

The Canadian War Museum has a collection of nose art from Halifax bombers flown by Canadians. At war's end, the RCAF Hallies were sent to two places to be scrapped. One Canadian officer decided to take pictures of the nose art.

As well, 14 nose sections featuring the art work were shipped home to Canada.

The story of how the works were saved or recorded is here:

[Read More]

Cheers,

George




anemone
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/18/2017 2:00:03 AM
Lancaster nose art was rife in the Groups. One of the 90 Sqdn Lancasters which my uncle flew in was PA 167 and it's nose was emblazoned with a beckoning female called Piccadilly Lil


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Regards

Jim
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Michigan Dave
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Re: Avro Lancaster-The Sword of RAF Bomber Command
Posted on: 6/19/2017 6:36:56 PM
Some of these fighters helped escort the Lancasters, & other Bombers!?

Just as others would try to shoot it down!?

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