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  #161  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 11:17 AM
merlin merlin is offline
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Originally Posted by Astrodragon View Post
That Spec was a year earlier, but they hadnt actually licensed the gun.
Also, the Whirlwind mounted them upright in the fuselage, so it didnt have problems.
What they are doing at this point in time is looking for a gun & license for ALL their fighters, not just a specialised one.
How do mean 'specialised!?

Amongst the designs that tendered for the Spec. were three twin engined - Bristol 153a, Westland and Supermarine; and five single engined aircraft - all to be with wing mounted cannon - Bristol 153, Boulton-Paul P.88a (Hercules) and P.88b (Vulture), Hawker and Supermarine.
The Air Ministry wanted five prototypes - 2 Westland, 1 Supermarine (twin), and 2 Boulton-Paul. But the Treasury only would allow one type.
Having the P.88 (I prefer the 'A') in the air earlier gives the RAF more time to sort out the problems of the cannons in the wings.
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  #162  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by merlin View Post
How do mean 'specialised!?

Amongst the designs that tendered for the Spec. were three twin engined - Bristol 153a, Westland and Supermarine; and five single engined aircraft - all to be with wing mounted cannon - Bristol 153, Boulton-Paul P.88a (Hercules) and P.88b (Vulture), Hawker and Supermarine.
The Air Ministry wanted five prototypes - 2 Westland, 1 Supermarine (twin), and 2 Boulton-Paul. But the Treasury only would allow one type.
Having the P.88 (I prefer the 'A') in the air earlier gives the RAF more time to sort out the problems of the cannons in the wings.
Remember, the RAF didnt think theer would be any problems, and the Air Minsitry was its usual inefficient self. As it was, the cannon problem wasnt solved in OTL until late in 1940. This time (thanks to a certain amount of griping from the FAA), they get it a bit more together and fix it far sooner. The RAF still has to learn about the icing problems, though this wont affect the Navy nearly as much
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  #163  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 12:51 PM
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1937
On the 1st of January the Royal Navy's first new battleship, HMS King George V, was laid down, the first ship to be built after the naval treaties exclusions on new building expired. Considerable discussion had gone on over the design of the ship (especially before the conclusion of the naval talks), with respect to gun calibre (14" or 15"), and the amount of armour. The naval staff preferred a ship armed with 3x3 15" guns, but Admiral Chatfied was unhappy about the thickness of armour possible with this design.
There were also issues as to whether the USA would go down to 14". It was then pointed out that this ship (intended to be deployed primarily in European waters, didn't need aircraft; it would normally be working either with a fleet or light carrier, and in any case the 2-3 planes it could carry were not going to be much use. As a result of eliminating the aircraft, the armour belt could be made shorter, thus thicker for the same weight, and the staff settled on the 9x15" design, which the USA was agreeable to. KGV was expected to commission in the middle of 1940.

The Gloster Goshawk fighter starts to enter service in March. The RN has initially ordered 300, although there are issues with the mass-production of the Hercules which are being looked at. Gloster expects to be able to deliver up to 20 a month once production is established.

Martin-Baker Cormorant dive bomber starts delivery in April. Again engines are in short supply. The initial order is again 300.
The Swordfish orders , including delivered aircraft, are now 700 (to be delivered up to mid-1939). The progress and capabilities of its replacement will determine if any additional orders will be placed

While these orders are seen as quite large, the FAA points out that allowing for normal use and attrition this will give only about 100 planes in service ( not enough for all the projected or building carriers).

Contracts for development of a new TBR prototype have been given to Fairy, Blackburn (on strict instructions it will be ready on time..), and Boulton-Paul
The Hercules engine continues its development, the big problem being not so much the engine as the difficulty of getting the sleeve valves produced in the sort of numbers that will be needed in wartime. While this is addressed, engines are being produced as fast as possible.

The FAA is in discussions with Roy Fedden (despite the sleeve valve issues, they are pleased with the Hercules) on the next generation of engines - naval aircraft are big, heavy, and always require a big engine, and Fedden has informed them that the new generation of engines wont grow as much as in the past, hes expecting the Hercules to top out at around 1600hp. The FAA therefore contracts with Bristol for studies on what is being called the Centaurus engine, with RR for an advanced descendent of the Merlin called the Griffon, and with Fairy for a version of their P.24 engine. Given their relatively small range of aircraft types compared to the RAF, they only expect to order one, but will pass on the data to the RAF to see if any of them are of use, they know the RAF is looking at engines in this power class for its bombers - they have put in a starting power of 1,800hp. The Navy is looking at availability in around 2 years to match up with new fighter and dive bomber specifications (and possible a TBR re-engining), as they are looking at a new set of specifications for planes to be available for squadron service in 1941 (having seen what the Air Ministry is expecting during this period)

Glorious and Courageous in particular have been heavily worked in the last few years, both in normal usage and the crises off Africa and Spain. Both need a refit. A full rebuild is examined and found uneconomical (it would cost almost as much as building a new CVL), and would take too long (2 1/2 years). Accordingly they are planned for a major refit lasting 3-6 months as soon as the new Ark Royal is available; this will involve making the flight deck a full length and covering in more of the lower deck (this will allow them to carry 48 planes as before, but the new larger planes), a refit to the engines (basically to do as much as they can in the time available), and general improvements and repairs. It is hoped to get the material ready in advance so as to reduce the time of the refit, as they are aware the situation in Europe isn't getting any better

As a result of the larger number of planes to be carried on the new carriers, the FAA reviews its squadron size. Its viewed as important to not break up squadrons where possible, but the old 12-plane ones look rather inefficient. After some studies, they decide to go for 18 as the new size (it's thought that an 18 plane torpedo or dive bomber attack is about the optimal for a single strike), while retaining a 'small' 12-plane squadron where these are too large for the desired aircraft mix.

Ark Royal would have a squadron of fighters, dive bombers and TBR (54 planes), plus a 12 plane squadron of TBR, for a total of 66 planes. This is a few more than designed, but they can just fit them in and in any case expect a few on deck at any time for operations. The 18 plane TBR squadron will be the strike squadron, the 12-plane one will handle reconnaisance and A/S work). Half the fighters are allocated to defence, the other half to escort, although if no fighter opposition is expected they will all be retained for fleet defence.

In April a problem was encountered with the 20mm Hispano system. The Air Ministry had been evaluating it in Hurricanes and Spitfires, and an unforseen issue had arisen. The original gun was mounted upright, fed by a 60-round drum. In order to fit in the thin wings of the new fighters, it had to be mounted on its side, and it didn't seem to like the position. The 60-round magazine was also seen as insufficient, and a belt-fed system was thought to be necessary. The Air Ministry, pushed somewhat by the FAA representative, who was eager to see the gun available to the navy, passed this information on to Marc Birkigt at Hispano-Suiza for investigation. As the drawings for the gun were already being examined for translation to imperial measurements, it was suggested that they could also look at possible solutions and collaborate with Hispano. The firm was rather reluctant to allow this as the gun had not yet been licensed, and the Air Ministry was not pressing the issue hard. However barbed comments along the line of 'if you won't license it we will, and then we MAY let you have some' from the Navy got them to release the money allocated rather more quickly.

Ark Royal, the first purpose-built aircraft carrier for the Royal Navy, commissioned in July. It was rumoured that FAA representatives at the commissioning required 2 days to recover...The carrier was earmarked for an immediate series of trials and exercises, with the squadrons embarking with the new Goshawk and Cormorant as soon as they were considered operational.

Only days after this, an incident at the Marco Polo bridge in China developed into a full scale war between Japan and China. This caused mixed feelings in the Navy - on the one hand it would probably require more strength to be sent to the area to act as a deterrent. On the other, if the Japanese were spending their resources on a land war, that left them less money to expand their fleet, which was already worryingly powerful

As a result of increasing war tensions, especially in Germany and Japan, 2 more fleet carriers are laid down in April to the 'Formidable' design.

HMS Implacable is expected to be ready in April 1940
HMS Indefatigable is expected in June 1940

An additional 8,000t or armour is ordered from abroad (bringing the total up to 20,000t)
Two further light carriers will be laid down in May

HMS Mars is expected in June 1939
HMS Glory is expected in August 1939
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  #164  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 01:24 PM
fastmongrel fastmongrel is offline
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Any chance you can get the Molins company involved with the Hispano earlier. They had an experimental 1,000 rpm version which never got into production. They were rather good at gun loading mechanisms most famous for the 6 pounder Tsetse Mosquito, maybe get them to work on the pom pom as well.
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  #165  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 01:30 PM
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Let me get this straight:

1) KGV with a 9x15" in spite of lacking British experience with triple turrets? (I've heard that the quads were mostly two doubles welded together) I approve of the concept but have to ask.

2) At the very least six decks by the time France fell IOTL?

3) Battle of Britain with Griffon-Spits?
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  #166  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by trekchu View Post
Let me get this straight:

1) KGV with a 9x15" in spite of lacking British experience with triple turrets? (I've heard that the quads were mostly two doubles welded together) I approve of the concept but have to ask.

2) At the very least six decks by the time France fell IOTL?

3) Battle of Britain with Griffon-Spits?
The 3 triples was actually the preferred option right up until the last minute when for no sensible reason they went for 14". They have loads of experiece with triple 6" and 16" guns

More than 6, depending on what gets sunk. They may not have 6 available, I havent got that far yet Norway is going to be interesting.

Probably no griffon spitfires, they didnt see the need until late in the war (the Griffin had been available for quite some time, its only slightly advanced)
Prepare to see the Goshawk in action though (but dont expect the Air Ministry to give them any credit!)
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  #167  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 01:49 PM
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I always considered the Air Ministry and the Ministry of Supply being bigger enemies to the RAF than the Luftwaffe or the Soviet Air Force.

Re triple turrets: Hmm. I see.

Re Carriers: Of course they will loose tonnage, but I can't see a Glorious type sinking happening.

Re Griffon Spits: See my first comment.
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  #168  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by trekchu View Post
I always considered the Air Ministry and the Ministry of Supply being bigger enemies to the RAF than the Luftwaffe or the Soviet Air Force.

Re triple turrets: Hmm. I see.

Re Carriers: Of course they will loose tonnage, but I can't see a Glorious type sinking happening.

Re Griffon Spits: See my first comment.
The Admiralty will still be wedded to the idea of sending out hunting groups at the beginning of the war, so carriers will certainly be attacked by submarines. However the light carriers are much better suited to this than the fleets. Given their underwater protection (auxilliary cruisers with this type of protection survived silly number of torpedo hits, 6 in one case) they are unlikely to lose one, but will have at least one out of action - fortunately the attacks will, as OTL, show them its a waste of carriers...
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  #169  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 02:09 PM
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1937 (cont)

For some years the British Government had been trying to get Australia to buy a modern capital ship to strengthen its (admittedly weak) defences, but Australia had always found the idea too expensive. Consideration had been given to 'gifting' them a ship built around the 4 spare 15" turrets still held in stock , but even this way it would still cost around 5.5M
Given the new light carrier design, a new suggestion was made - why not buy a light carrier, plus its airgroup, and a few escorts? This would cost half of what a battleship would cost (the running costs were only slightly smaller, but they didn't stress that point!).
The function of the RAN was not to fight the Japanese fleet. It was to supplement RN forces, and provide a reasonable basis for showing Australia was doing enough to justify RN reinforcement. If the Japanese attacked and RN forces were not in place, their job was to buy time for a fleet to arrive from UK waters. A carrier would actually do a better job in many respects than a battleship; it could cover a much greater area with its planes, and discommode light forces over a greater area. If a second was purchased, these and their escorts could cover 2-3 places at once, while only costing the same as a battleship, while together they would be a formidable striking force against anything not supported by its own carriers.

Secondly, such a purchase would solve the problem of the RAAF, who had no modern fighters. The Gloster Goshawk would be very suitable to the land based role - it could fly off unprepared or primitive strips, it was tough (built to handle carrier landings), fast and capable of outperforming anything in the area, sea or land based. Licenses could be arranged for the aircraft and engine, and the Australians could start to supply their own aircraft in a couple of years (by the time the carrier could be delivered). The naval version would equip their carrier.

Australia was quite interested in the idea. It still couldn't afford a battleship, but the new war in China made it clear that they couldn't just keep on ignoring Japan, and getting the bonus of a modern fighter, built in Australia made it a very interesting idea to them. It was also a good deal for the UK (who were involved in arranging generous licensing terms), as they were running out of shipbuilding ways (or more accurately the manpower to build ships as fast as required), and orders in hand were already at the limits of the British aircraft industry. The new China-Japan war was the final argument, and a deal was made that a light carrier would be built in the UK for Australia (the indiginous shipbuilding capacity couldn't handle so large a ship), being laid down in September 1937 for delivery in November 1939.
A production line for the Goshawk and the Hercules engine would be set up in Australia (although some equipment would, at least initially, have to come from the UK). Two carrier escort destroyers would be built in the UK, and two in Australia (with the assumption that further escorts would all be built in Australia). Australian pilots would be trained as part of the FAA, to gain experience ready for the delivery of the carrier.

The other big development as far as the FAA (and indeed the rest of the Navy) is concerned is radar. This has now been under development for 2 yearas, and the results have been very promising. There was an initial parallel development program with the RAF, but this only progressed slowly (which was of increasing worry to the FAA, as they saw it as essential to efficient operation of their new planes and carriers), and it was decided to bring the programs under the overall coordination of Watson-Watt, and as a result a prototype version of the Type 79 air warning radar was successfully demonstrated in the middle of the year.
HMS Glorious was due to go in for her refit and modernisation in September, expected out in January 1938, and she would be fitted with the first model for full evaluation. HMS Rodney and HMS Sheffield would also be fitted at about the same time for an evaluation .

HMS Colussus commissions in November, which allows planning to start for the refit of HMS Courageous. It is expected to allow for the installation of a radar system during the refit.

Of equal interest was the demonstration in August of a prototype AS radar developed by Eddie Bowen. This showed it could be possible to fit a radar capable of detecting surface ships on an aircraft, which if it worked would expend the capability of the FAA to detect ships in poor weather and night immeasurably. While it was currently fitted on an Anson, it was felt that if it worked it could be carried by the Swordfish.

Good news in October was that the Hispano 404 was fully licensed for production in the UK. The version is modified from the original version, with a stronger spring mechanism to allow it to work properly sideways, and a belt feed to allow a larger ammunition supply and to fit properly into the thin wings of the new fighters. The FAA is allocated a proportion of them. During the modification period they have been experimenting with a wing containing two cannon plus two .5", and one with 4 cannon (the original RAF experiments indicated that 4 cannon was the best solution). While both are suitable for use, due to the initial shortages of cannon, the intent is to produce the first 150 planes with 4 .5", the next 150 with 2 cannon and 2 .5", and then to move to four cannon for follow-on orders.

During the year Naval Intelligence has been keeping a close eye on the developments in naval aviation in rival countries.

In Germany, they have noted an increase in priority in the building of the Graf Zeppelin; this seems to have been achieved at the expense of the Tirpitz. Oddly, they do not seem to have been able to detect ant developments in torpedo planes, or dedicated naval aircraft. Their current assumption is that Germany will navalise a fighter and probably a Ju-87 as dive-bomber, but they are concerned that they haven't detected a modern torpedo plane. The Intelligence staffs are instructed to concentrate their efforts on finding it.

Japan is of course rather busy in China. It is much more difficult to get details on Japanese construction, but indications are that the demands of the war have if anything slowed naval construction. The Navy is keeping an interested eye on the use of Japanese carriers to support land operations.

The Japanese have a new torpedo bomber undergoing flight testing, the Nakajima B5 'Kate'. It is assumed that the testing will be accelerated to allow it to be combat tested in China. There is limited intelligence on this plane, but it is thought to be fast and long ranged. They are also thought to have a new dive bomber under development, but as yet little is known about the plane.

France is now considering a replacement for the aged Bearn, and looking with interest at the Royal Navy's light carriers, which they see as more cost-effective for them than a fleet carrier. Negotiations are in hand for one to be built in British yards, with a possible second ship to be built in France.

Italy is heavily involved in Spain, and as a result seems to be rather neglecting its naval aviation, although the traditional naval building program continues. Development seems to be on prototype, and it is assumed that the demands of Spain on the small Italian aircraft industry will continue to limit any major deployment of aircraft. The Italians have debued a new dive bomber, the Breda Ba.65, in the Spanish Civil war, and its performance is seen as good, although its range is thought to be limited

In America, the issue is, as usual, politics not resources. A new carrier, the USS Hornet, is to be laid down in September 1937, and it is thought the bringing forward of this ship is due to the RN building program. Or maybe the China-Japan war. Or maybe for some other non-understandable American reason, the Admiralty often has difficulty working out the logic of the US building program.

The Americans have a new torpedo bomber entering service, the Douglas TBD Devastator. This has considerably better performance than the Swordfish, and one of the aims of the new torpedo bomber design is to comfortably improve on the devastator. They also have a new fighter, the Brewster F2A Buffalo, due to fly late in the year. This comes as no surprise as the performance of their current biplane fighter is well below that of the Goshawk, an initial data suggests the new plane will have a similar performance (although it isn't expected into service until 1939)
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  #170  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 02:24 PM
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Aaaaaaaand there goes the Japanese Night-Fighting advantage, blown away in the blaze of modern Technology.
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  #171  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 02:40 PM
Paulo the Limey Paulo the Limey is offline
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Originally Posted by trekchu View Post
Let me get this straight:

1) KGV with a 9x15" in spite of lacking British experience with triple turrets? (I've heard that the quads were mostly two doubles welded together) I approve of the concept but have to ask.

2) At the very least six decks by the time France fell IOTL?

3) Battle of Britain with Griffon-Spits?
I've just finished re-reading this, and the carrier building programme is as follows:

Ark Royal Class

The Ark Royal would be laid down on 1st June 1934 for commissioning in July of 1937.
HMS Illustrious would be laid down in May 1935, to complete in July 1938

Improved Ark Royals
HMS Formidable would be laid down in May 1936 to commission in May 1939
HMS Victorious would be laid down in May 1936 to commission in July 1939
HMS Implacable is expected to be ready in April 1940
HMS Indefatigable is expected in June 1940


Colossus Class

HMS Colussus would be laid down in June 1935 to commission in November 1937
HMS Vengeance would be laid down in October 1936, to commission in December 1938
HMS Venerable would be laid down in December 1936 to commission in January 1939
HMS Mars is expected in June 1939
HMS Glory is expected in August 1939

So 6 modern Fleet Carriers by June 1940 (if not before, I'd expect construction to be hastened as the war clouds descend on Europe) plus C&G coming out of a refit. Backing these up are 5 Light Fleets, all with more aircraft with more performance than OTL.

Nice to see how the butterflies are affecting other nations. The US speeding up Hornet makes sense, but not to sure about the GZ.
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  #172  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Paulo the Limey View Post
I've just finished re-reading this, and the carrier building programme is as follows:

Ark Royal Class

The Ark Royal would be laid down on 1st June 1934 for commissioning in July of 1937.
HMS Illustrious would be laid down in May 1935, to complete in July 1938

Improved Ark Royals
HMS Formidable would be laid down in May 1936 to commission in May 1939
HMS Victorious would be laid down in May 1936 to commission in July 1939
HMS Implacable is expected to be ready in April 1940
HMS Indefatigable is expected in June 1940


Colossus Class

HMS Colussus would be laid down in June 1935 to commission in November 1937
HMS Vengeance would be laid down in October 1936, to commission in December 1938
HMS Venerable would be laid down in December 1936 to commission in January 1939
HMS Mars is expected in June 1939
HMS Glory is expected in August 1939

So 6 modern Fleet Carriers by June 1940 (if not before, I'd expect construction to be hastened as the war clouds descend on Europe) plus C&G coming out of a refit. Backing these up are 5 Light Fleets, all with more aircraft with more performance than OTL.

Nice to see how the butterflies are affecting other nations. The US speeding up Hornet makes sense, but not to sure about the GZ.
Yes, thats about it. They probably cant speed them up much more, things like the main machinery and so on tend to limit the construction speed. As it is they are building a fleet in 3 years and a light in just over 2, which is better than anyone else (until the war screwed it up, British shipbuilding was the most efficient in the world)
The Hornet will commission a year or so earlier (they started 2 years early, but they wont try and speed it up as much), mainly because they see the RN building up their carrier fleet, and its given the USN an excuse to get another carrier
The GZ is not much earlier than OTL, but as the Germans can see the British happily churnng our carriers they are giving her a bit more priority (she had rubbish priority OTL) at the expence of Tirpitz. At the moment, the KM is looking at a war no earlier than 44, when they expect to have S&N, B&T and the first 2 H class, plus 3 carriers, so they need to get a carrier operation and start working out how to use one (its harder than they think...)

Besides, dont you want to see a carrier vs carrier battle in the North Sea?
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  #173  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 03:00 PM
Paulo the Limey Paulo the Limey is offline
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Besides, dont you want to see a carrier vs carrier battle in the North Sea?
Well yes, but the RN carrier arm from this timeline versus GZ doesn't rate as a battle, more a live fire exercise for the FAA
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  #174  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 03:02 PM
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Aaaaaaaand there goes the Japanese Night-Fighting advantage, blown away in the blaze of modern Technology.
They never had much of one against the RN anyway, they were the other night-fighting experts.
The FAA will now be considering HEAVY night attacks, though...And as noone else can fly a carrier attack at night, thats going to amke some people unhappy...
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  #175  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 03:04 PM
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They never had much of one against the RN anyway, they were the other night-fighting experts.
The FAA will now be considering HEAVY night attacks, though...And as noone else can fly a carrier attack at night, thats going to amke some people unhappy...

Hehe. Looking forward to that.
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  #176  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 03:04 PM
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Well yes, but the RN carrier arm from this timeline versus GZ doesn't rate as a battle, more a live fire exercise for the FAA
Well, they wont have to face them ALL at the same time....
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  #177  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 03:46 PM
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1937 (cont)

The Italians have debued a new dive bomber, the Breda Ba.65, in the Spanish Civil war, and its performance is seen as good, although its range is thought to be limited
The Breda 65 was not a dive bomber at all. No provision was made for attack at a steep angle, nor was the Henley, in OTL. They were ground attack aircraft.

Also, the name applied to the Gloster fighter is also the name of a Rolls Royce engine of recent days. It had failed by this time, but would still be remembered.
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  #178  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 04:06 PM
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What's Napier doing in TTL...can it be looking at a rather good diesel......or are we too early?
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  #179  
Old January 2nd, 2012, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Astrodragon View Post
Besides, don't you want to see a carrier vs carrier battle in the North Sea?
Whilst nice I'd much rather see 70 odd million reichsmarks of tens of thousands of tons of steel and precious resources and roughly two thousand highly trained personnel in the form of a battleship as a flaming wreck and going to the bottom of the sea with few if any casualties in reply - and this coming from a battleship fan. Bugger fair.

Last edited by Simon; January 2nd, 2012 at 05:21 PM..
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Old January 2nd, 2012, 04:56 PM
trekchu trekchu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Whilst nice I'd much rather see 70 odd million of reichsmarks of tens of thousands of tons of steel and precious resoucres and roughly two thousand highly trained personnel in the form of a battleship as a flaming wreck and going to the bottom of the sea with with if any casualties in reply - and this coming from a battleship fan. Bugger fair.

Indeed. If you have a fair fight, something has gone wrong for somebody.
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