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leitmotiv
02-02-2007, 10:45 AM
Just received this from Amazon:

KNIGHTS OF THE SKIES: ARMOUR PROTECTION FOR BRITISH FIGHTING AEROPLANES. Michael C. Fox. Air Research, 2006. ISBN: 1-871187-50-8

Covers the history of armoring in British aircraft from WWI to WWII. Should be an interesting read on a poorly covered subject.

leitmotiv
02-02-2007, 10:45 AM
Just received this from Amazon:

KNIGHTS OF THE SKIES: ARMOUR PROTECTION FOR BRITISH FIGHTING AEROPLANES. Michael C. Fox. Air Research, 2006. ISBN: 1-871187-50-8

Covers the history of armoring in British aircraft from WWI to WWII. Should be an interesting read on a poorly covered subject.

JtD
02-02-2007, 12:23 PM
Sounds interesting.

woofiedog
02-02-2007, 01:38 PM
Look's like some Great reading... an article on British Armor Plate during WWI.

Link: http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Armour_Plate

Sometimes skill didn't always account for survival; fate or fortune also played a role, said Raymond A. Brooks, America's last living World War I ace, before his death last summer.

"If your engine gives out at 18,000 feet or your wing breaks off, you're out of luck and there's nothing you can do about it," the veteran told Morrow.

"I survived," he said. "And as far as I was concerned, it was luck, pure luck."

Kurfurst__
02-02-2007, 02:55 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by leitmotiv:
Just received this from Amazon:

KNIGHTS OF THE SKIES: ARMOUR PROTECTION FOR BRITISH FIGHTING AEROPLANES. Michael C. Fox. Air Research, 2006. ISBN: 1-871187-50-8

Covers the history of armoring in British aircraft from WWI to WWII. Should be an interesting read on a poorly covered subject. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Sounds like a good read... I am actually surprised someone even dares to publish a book on such very very special subject.. rather risky if you ask me, but great for us anyway!

How much was it?

ploughman
02-02-2007, 03:40 PM
It's no Harry Potter, but it'll sell.

Aaron_GT
02-02-2007, 04:10 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I am actually surprised someone even dares to publish a book on such very very special subject.. rather risky if you ask me, but great for us anyway! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well Michael J. Fox is not doing so much acting these days so maybe he doesn't mind putting in the work and taking the risk on publishing it. Oh... you mean Michael _C_. Fox.. dunno then.

MB_Avro_UK
02-02-2007, 06:46 PM
hmmm...

British RAF Bombers had almost no armour...The British Air Ministry view was that it was more important to carry bombs than protect the crews.

That's why the RAF 'heavies' carried twice the bombload of a B17 or B24.

And that's why RAF bombers had very low cal. guns and a minimum of turrets with no ventral protection.

I know of a guy who was am RAF Halifax pilot and the crew managed to beg or steal a piece of steel from the armourers to sit on to protect their body vulnerable areas from flak... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/sadeyes.gif

Interestingly,the chance of survival from a Lancaster being hit was 7% but for a Halifax was 10%. The reason given was that the escape doors were more effective for a Halifax.

Maybe that's why the RAF had the heaviest allied aircrew loss rate in WW2 of 55,000 men (over 50% of those in service).

Maybe the Russians had greater losses but I don't have the figures.

The US concept was more sound. They equipped their bombers with better armour and guns of a higher calibre. After initial unescorted daylight setbacks against the LW they regrouped and devolped excellent escort long range fighters such as the Mustang and Thunderbolt.

But the RAF continued to fly at night unescorted and were massacred by LW radar equipped night fighters. There were no escorts for the RAF...

Nothing in war is perfect..

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

HellToupee
02-02-2007, 07:30 PM
with h2s there wasnt room for vental protection, they had low cal guns because thats what they had.

Armour wouldnt help much vs the firepower of night fighters, it was better to save weight and fly faster than carry the armour.

Loss rates were high because getting out of a crippled bomber in the middle of the night is not easy.

There were escorts for the raf night bombers, mosquito night fighers hunted down the german nightfighters.

leitmotiv
02-02-2007, 08:53 PM
The book is 16.93 pounds from Amazon U.K., or 24.39 dollars fro Amazon U.S., Kurfurst.

fireman196988
02-02-2007, 09:42 PM
Armour wouldnt help much vs the firepower of night fighters, it was better to save weight and fly faster than carry the armour.

But they didn't use the less armour weight savings for increased speed but for a heavier bomb load. Not a great trade-off in my view.

Fireman

Ratsack
02-02-2007, 11:07 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by HellToupee:
....

There were escorts for the raf night bombers, mosquito night fighers hunted down the german nightfighters. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Toward the end of the war there were. Early on, the bombers were on their own.

There was a very aggressive electronic war going on, too. The German night fighters had a device that homed in on the emissions of the H2S radar, and another that homed in on the Monica tail warning radar. The irony of the latter was probably lost on the RAF crews.

The Brits meanwhile were jamming the fighter control frequencies, or even giving false commands. The Mossies were also equipped with a particularly evil little gadget that interrogated the German night fighters' IFF. The Mosquito radar op would set off this nasty little blighter, and all the German night fighters in the vicinity would light up.

cheers,
Ratsack

HellToupee
02-03-2007, 07:27 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Ratsack:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by HellToupee:
....

There were escorts for the raf night bombers, mosquito night fighers hunted down the german nightfighters. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Toward the end of the war there were. Early on, the bombers were on their own.

There was a very aggressive electronic war going on, too. The German night fighters had a device that homed in on the emissions of the H2S radar, and another that homed in on the Monica tail warning radar. The irony of the latter was probably lost on the RAF crews.

The Brits meanwhile were jamming the fighter control frequencies, or even giving false commands. The Mossies were also equipped with a particularly evil little gadget that interrogated the German night fighters' IFF. The Mosquito radar op would set off this nasty little blighter, and all the German night fighters in the vicinity would light up.

cheers,
Ratsack </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Monica was a bit of a disaster but they were removed tho as soon as they studied the equipment of a night fighter they captured.

Mossie nightfigthers operated as intruders as early as 1942

H2s was also was found to be able to spot german fighters attempting vental attacks.

MB_Avro_UK
02-03-2007, 06:19 PM
Hi all,

IMHO if RAF bombers had been provided with extra armour (other than no armour) and had been equipped with 0.50 inch calibre guns, there would have been many,many more RAF survivors alive today http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif.

Loss rates for RAF bomber crews peaked in 1943 to 1944 at about 70%.

Their loss rates were the highest of British/Commonwealth forces in WW2 and higher than WW1 infantry.

This fact is forgotten and ignored in my country (UK).

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

HellToupee
02-04-2007, 05:03 AM
IMO better off ditching the heavys for more mossies http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Guns and armour wouldnt help as they had more trouble seeing them than shooting them, armour might have helped with flak shapnel etc but not the guns on those night fighters.

p1ngu666
02-04-2007, 07:59 AM
wouldnt of made too much of a difference imo, mostly it was because they couldnt see, hard to hit the enemy night fighters. the 50cals they used later on could freeze up too...

mynameisroland
02-04-2007, 10:15 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by MB_Avro_UK:
Hi all,

IMHO if RAF bombers had been provided with extra armour (other than no armour) and had been equipped with 0.50 inch calibre guns, there would have been many,many more RAF survivors alive today http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif.

Loss rates for RAF bomber crews peaked in 1943 to 1944 at about 70%.

Their loss rates were the highest of British/Commonwealth forces in WW2 and higher than WW1 infantry.

This fact is forgotten and ignored in my country (UK).

Best Regards,
MB_Avro. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

You cannot box formation bomb at night, you cannot fight off nightfighters that you cant see, no WW2 bomber, not even the B29 carried armour plate sufficient to protect their crew against multiple 20mm and 30mm cannons.

Its easy to criticise the decisions made 60 years down the line but realistically if you added extra guns and weight without increasing HP the Halifax and the Lancaster become slower and fly lower thus INCREASING the chances of their crews being killed. It is arguable that by removing their dorsal and nose turrets the bombers would actually have stood a better chance of survival - the speed difference between the Bf 110 and the Lancaster was marginal enough as it was.

The most survivable bombers were the ones that flew fast not the ones laded with guns and armour.

RocketDog
02-04-2007, 10:24 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by MB_Avro_UK:
IMHO if RAF bombers had been provided with extra armour (other than no armour) and had been equipped with 0.50 inch calibre guns, there would have been many,many more RAF survivors alive today http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

As an aside, the physicist Freeman Dyson wrote in his semi-autobiography "Disturbing the Universe" about how he was involved in operational analysis in WWII. IIRC, he took part in statistical studies that revealed that night-bomber aircrew survival rates didn't vary much with experience. The conclusion was that the LW night fighters were so effective that if they found a bomber it would usually get shot down and that the defensive armament didn't work. Dyson and colleagues recommended that the best way to increase survival rates would be to remove ALL defensive armaments (since they clearly had little effect). The bombers would then have been lighter and a bit faster, reducing the chance of interception, and if one was then shot down the loss of aircrew would have been reduced. The RAF rejected their recommendations because of worries over aircrew morale. Even if they would actually have been safer flying an unarmed and faster bomber, the crews wanted the largely illusiary security offered by defensive guns. Dyson's group also correctly deduced that the LW fighters were so effective because of "upward firing cannons".

The Allied use of operational analysis was vastly more effective than anything attempted by the Axis powers. The work of Blackett and E. J. Williams was fundamental in defeating the U-boats but because it was not as glamorous as cracking the Enigma code tends to get overlooked. Fascinating stuff.

Cheers,

RD.

EDIT - I see Roland posted exactly the same comments as me whilst I was still typing.

leitmotiv
02-04-2007, 10:44 AM
The high speed Lancs built in mid-1944, which had the same engines to be fitted on the Lanc follow-on, the Lincoln, had their nose and dorsal turrets removed. Only a handful were built, and they were assigned to Pathfinder Force "Masters of Ceremonies" raid leaders. During the winter of 1944, some Lanc squadrons removed their nose turrets, but they were later refitted. The stripped early Halifax IIs, which had their nose turrets removed and replaced with the streamlined Z fairing, often had their dorsal turrets removed as well. Of course, the late production Halifax II, and all Hercules Halifax varients had a perspex nose instead of a forward turret. Martin Middlebrook noted in his Bomber Command books that turrets were retained because the gunners gave the bombers their only means to spot fighters before they attacked---that in many cases they did not fire because it spoiled the surprise of the bomber suddenly going into a corkscrew. The irony, of course, was that by the fall of 1943 the German twin-engine fighters were primarily using the upward-firing Schrage Musik mounts which allowed the night fighters to approach undetected.

AOC Bomber Command, Harris, wanted .50 cal. machine guns fitted right after the .303s were proved useless in the Lancaster daylight raids of 1942, but the bureaucracy fought him tooth and nail---he finally had his own .50 cal. tail turrets made by a local company (Rose-Rice).

The American commander of the 20th AF, Curtis LeMay, finally took the most dramatic step in the night bomber war, and ordered all guns and ammunition removed from the B-29s when he started the low-altitude incendiary raids on Japan in March 1945. The gunners were retained as look-outs. Of course, the Japanese did not have near the night fighter defense system the Germans had, and the huge, powerful B-29 was faster than all the Japanese night fighters. The B-29s were so fast the same method might have worked in Europe, but the accuracy of the radar-directed German flak would not have allowed low altitude bombing.

leitmotiv
02-04-2007, 01:44 PM
Late-production Lancasters had .50 cal. tail turrets, and some had Martin (U.S.) .50 cal dorsal turrets. Before the H2S was standard on all Hercules Halifaxes, many had a .50 cal. free-firing ventral gun station, which slightly protruded from the belly. This made them the only RAF heavy of the 1944-45 period which had an antidote to Schrage Musik.

mynameisroland
02-04-2007, 02:42 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by leitmotiv:
Late-production Lancasters had .50 cal. tail turrets, and some had Martin (U.S.) .50 cal dorsal turrets. Before the H2S was standard on all Hercules Halifaxes, many had a .50 cal. free-firing ventral gun station, which slightly protruded from the belly. This made them the only RAF heavy of the 1944-45 period which had an antidote to Schrage Musik. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Most RAF bombers were designed with ventral stations including the Manchester IIRC but were removed. I still dont think a single .50 cal in the belly would significantly reduce the losses sustained by Schrage Musik armed night fighters, they just had too much firepower. Also the speed reduction would have rendered the bombers even more vulnerable.

I read about a study to give the Mosquito a very low profile turret to provide some rear defence and even the cleanest, lightest designs reduced its speed by 20mph or more, thus entirely ruining the Mossies main asset lol - thank goodness some ideas werent enforced!

leitmotiv
02-04-2007, 03:22 PM
The reason it reduced losses had nothing to do with firepower, and everything to do with having a pair of eyes scanning below to tell the pilots when attacks from beneath were impending (see THE NUREMBERG RAID, Middlebrook)!!!! The heavies' best defense was in evasion, not fighting. Another useful defensive measure employed was to fly an unpredictable zig-zag course to give the gunners a view below, and to possibly throw-off an attack from that direction. The Germans were using attacks from underneath before they had the vertically-oriented cannon. The technique dated to the earliest days of the night fighter war: the fighter would approach from underneath, and power up until the nose was pointed at the bomber's belly, and let fly.