AHC: Peerless Air Ministry

Yes the Supermarine type 318 was not a total loss but work had already stopped due to the reasoning that the RAF had the Sterling, Halifax and the Manchester entering production and the Type 318 offered no great advantage and also had the problem that it did not have a single bomb bay but had bomb cells in the wings and even the engine nacelles, This whilst permitting an impressive total bomb load seriously limited the maximum size of each bomb.
ITTL Barnes Wallis's, ' A Note on a method of attacking the axis power' Also contained a description of a new Victory bomber based an amalgam on Mitchel's 318 design and Barnes Wallis's lessons learnt on the design of the Warwick.
The prototype four engined Manchester is due to fly before Christmas and all bomber production is already allocated so fortunately the 318 will even ITTL be stillborn,
Now who is reading my notes? long range spitfire will be making an appearance and hopefully the reasoning behind it will be plausible.
TTL as of late 1940 Supermarine are preoccupied with getting the Spitfire Mark III ready for service.
 
Will the long range spitfire have the ferry range to go direct from gibraltar to Malta? This and the will to deploy them would vastly change the odds when the Luftwaffe joins the air campaign there. overall, having more and better fighters available mixed With more sensible deployment of them will see a far better situation in the Med. even if the Greek mainland is lost, I can foresee even greater losses for the Luftwaffe in taking Crete. As for Malta- every extra mile of ferry range the fighters have is another mile less the Med Fleet spends in contested waters. I’d expect to see RN losses reduce in line with the additional ferry range.
 
PTL,
Well done, you are definitely reading my notes!!! My lap top was hacked some weeks ago, luckily my secure vault files were not breached, was that you!?!? i will now have to bring that post forward.
 
At one time during
As long as they don't repeat the useless and counter productive fighter sweeps over France.
At one time during the 1941 fighter sweeps Fighter Command came to Dr RV Jones (Air Intelligence) asking him to investigate German Radars ability to detect bombs in aircraft. Their reasoning - Luftwaffe fighters would not intercept pure fighter sweeps but would intercept when bombers were included in the sweep.
Jones reply - What speed do pure fighter sweeps fly at and what speed when accompanied by bombers.
He recommended that all sweeps fly at the same speed,
 
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Spitfire fighters achieved similar distances to the Berlin mission during the War but only on ferry sorties. Mk Vs were flown from Gibraltar to Malta, a distance of 1,100 miles, ie equal to the England-Berlin round trip. A total of 284 gallons was carried: 85 gallons in the standard fuselage tanks, a 29-gallon rear fuselage tank plus a 170-gallon drop tank. The route was first flown in October 42 and the aircraft landed after 5¼ hours (210 mph ground speed, there was a slight tail wind) with 40 gallons remaining. The drop tank was not jettisoned and the average consumption was 4.51 ground miles per gallon, ie a maximum range of 1,278 miles in those conditions. A&AEE estimated the range of the Mk V with both the 29-gallon and ferry tank to be 1,624 miles assuming tank jettison (5.72 ampg); the range gain of 27% emphasises the drag of the big slipper tank. Achieving escort fighter range with the Spitfire was clearly possible but the bulky 170-gallon tank was not the answer.

As an aside, in their comprehensive tome Spitfire, The History, Morgan and Shacklady include a diagram of Mk V Spitfire range as an escort with the 90-gallon slipper tank. A 540 mile radius of action is claimed at a 240 mph cruise with 15 minutes allowed for take-off and climb plus 15 minutes at maximum power (ie combat). Starting from south-east England, such a radius takes in not only Berlin but also Prague and Milan. Maximum range with the 90-gallon external tank and 85 gallons of internal fuel is generally quoted as 1,135 miles with no allowance stated for combat and so forth. No Spitfire flew deep escort missions and this makes the claim for the Mk V having Berlin capability somewhat questionable.

Seems entirely doable. Better that you don't have the combat radius for Berlin TBH, it'll force them to stick to the Ruhr.
 
Apparently there was some work done on extending the range of the Spitfire although I don't know exactly how official it was. Jeffrey Quill in his autobiography Spitfire: A Test Pilot's Story wrote
Jeffrey Quill said:
Long range escort was the role in which the Merlin Mustang was particularly excellent because of the large load of fuel it was able to carry. True, the Spitfire Mk VIII, in service in 1943, was carrying additional fuel in its wing roots and also in jettosonabale tanks under the fuselage, but it was serving overseas and the problem of accommodating larger loads of fuel in the Spitfire at home was acute. The only available space was in the fuselage behind the pilot, but a tank of significant size there would have a major effect on the centre of gravity.

However, it seemed to both Joe Smith and myself that, for the purpose of escorting bomber formations in daylight, a degree of longitudinal stability in the early stages of a sortie would be acceptable. Therefore the fuel in the rear fuel tank could be used for take off and climb and during the early stages of the sortie, the main tanks and wing tanks remaining full. In this case the centre of gravity would be moving forward to an acceptable position by the time the aircraft reached hostile airspace. It was decided therefore to embody a rear fuselage tank in a derivative of the Mk XIV shortly due to come into production, the Mk XVIII.

In the meantime a 75-gallon tank was fitted in the fuselage of a Mk IX behind the pilot and we also fitted a bob-weight in the elevator circuit, so what with this and the large horn-balance on the elevator we hoped for the best. However the best and most expedient way to test this aeroplane was to fly it a good long way and see how everything worked. So I took off from High Post on Salisbury Plain with all tanks full, carrying a 45-gallon drop tank in addition, and set off at economical cruising boost and RPM in the general direction of Scotland. The weather was unsettled, so I decided to fly at low altitude which was not, of course, a favourable height for optimum air miles per gallon: but I thought that if I could fly a distance equivalent to John o' Groats and back non-stop at that rather unfavourable height, keeping to the east of the Pennines and the Grampians, it would be a useful demonstration.

The aeroplane was unstable to start with, but as soon as I had used up the rear fuselage fuel the handling was back to normal and I settled down to a long and enjoyable flight over a great variety of countryside from Salisbury Plan to the Moray Firth and back again, all below 1,000ft. In distance, and not taking into account the various diversions for weather and terrain, it was the equivalent to flying from East Anglia to Berlin and back. It took five hours.

This flight demonstrated, if nothing else, that there was no fundamental reason why the Spitfire should not be turned into a long-range escort fighter provided that certain problems could be solved.

A demonstration of this basic fact was also given by the Americans. They had two Mk IX Spitfires at Wright Field and by local modification they added two Mustang overload fuel tanks under the wings and some additional fuel inside the wings. They flew them across the Atlantic by the Northern Route – via Greenland and Iceland – and eventually they were thoroughly examined by the Supermarine design department. Unfortunately some of the structural modifications carried out were detrimental to the strength of the aircraft and so could not be considered for production.
 
Yeah, Portal was utterly opposed to long range fighers, beliving that they'd be unable to engage 109's and 190's and there was navigational concerns too.
 
Consider how badly the RAF chewed up the Me110s in the Battle of Britain, and you can see where he’s coming from. And the P-51 Mustang with drop tanks and a full load of internal fuel, especially the added tank behind the seat, was no match for less burdened aircraft. The trick, which Portal seems to have missed, is that you can arrange it so when your long range fighter actually meets the enemies short range fighters, the long range fighter has drained the awkward internal tanks, ditches the drop tanks, and can now meet the enemy on equal terms.
 
if Mustang pilots could do it, so could Spitfire pilots. As far as I am concerned Portals opposition was formed by nothing more than his own ego and Trenchardian viewpoint that fighters were a waste of time, only bombers mattered. Yes I do not like the man and along with Lord Chernwell and Bomber Harris I think they completely screwed the RAF in WW2. If more resources had been given to fighter bombers, Mosquitoes bombers and to air transport (two British Airborne Divisions in a single lift) in IMVHO the allies could have been knocking on the door of Berlin by April 1940.
 
if Mustang pilots could do it, so could Spitfire pilots. As far as I am concerned Portals opposition was formed by nothing more than his own ego and Trenchardian viewpoint that fighters were a waste of time, only bombers mattered. Yes I do not like the man and along with Lord Chernwell and Bomber Harris I think they completely screwed the RAF in WW2. If more resources had been given to fighter bombers, Mosquitoes bombers and to air transport (two British Airborne Divisions in a single lift) in IMVHO the allies could have been knocking on the door of Berlin by April 1940.
Tad ambitious, don’t you think? Maybe April 1945? 😀
 
I was thinking more along the lines of the Vickers Viking using the Wellington's wings, and engines first (as OTL) then possibly jumping to a Varsity clone using Warwick wings etc. Whether that is possible without ASB I am still working on. I am still trying to research annual/monthly aircraft production figures for each aircraft type in the uk in WW2
 
Just beware of the comparative power and availability of engines for a 1940 Valetta. You can't magic spare 1,950bhp Hercules into 1940.
 
quick question - i was reading the below and its something that i have raised a couple of times - i.e. the best way to do tip and run on airfields - i'd suggested the SBC but with 20lb Frag bombs what other than numbers would be the benefits of using 2" or 3" mortar bombs over a larger fragmentation bomb ?

secondly the butterfly bomb was more of a pain to clear as became a 'land mine' the mortar bombs wouldnt have the same 'delayed action' ongoing effect

the later US 20lb 'parafrag' would be better that the early war free fall GB 20lb but........

On a more immediate issue Sir Hugh had been pushing for an means of attacking and disrupting the Luftwaffe bombing force at it’s bases on the continent. To do this effectively would take a combination of a suitable aircraft, ordinance and tactical use. As to aircraft , The Havock , was a good candidate with it’s speed and bomb load. Getting permission for the new 25cm AI equipped versions to attack German bombers around their own bases was another matter entirely. As part of this ‘defence by offence’ Sir Hugh Dowding had charged the various AM and RAF departments with designing and commissioning a British area denial bomblet similar in functionality to the German Butterfly bomb. However the first practical design actually came from an armaments officer, who whilst in France in May had improvised an area weapon by using a stock of abandoned 3” mortar shells in a modified 250lb capacity Light bomb carrier , unfortunately this officer had subsequently been captured and the pilot who had flown the aircraft had no details of how it was done or how the mortar shells were fused. However he had reported that the container had worked and scattered the mortar bombs all over the target area. Using this Pilots report as a starting point officers in Number Two Group had independently developed their own extemporised anti invasion scatter bomb system using the SBC (Small Bomb Carrier) and 25 ld practice bombs. Now the same team on hearing of the requirement for an area denial bomb were proposing a similar weapon using either the 2” mortar shell weighing just over two pounds or the three inch mortar shell that weighed ten pounds. The bombs would be fitted with new tails and fuses designed for that purpose. How quickly these could be developed and produce was an important question and once a workable design had been completed Sir Hugh intended to push for a high priority for this new weapon. On discussing the current Luftwaffe night raids Sir Hugh had baldly stated that killing sitting birds was easier than shooting birds on the wing. So he was proposing to go after the Luftwaffe bomber bases in France, Belgium and Holland. His intention was that each and every bomber base should be located and identified. Helpfully the lack of radio discipline in the Luftwaffe bomber units made this fairly simple. The RDF system gave warning of when bombers were assembling and tracked them till they returned to their bases. As they returned RAF intruder bombers would follow them and then bomb the bases as the returning bombers were landing. By this means Sir Hugh intended to not only disrupt the Luftwaffe operations but also destroy not only bombers but ground crews as well.

In discussions with Portal as AOC Bomber Command it was agreed that several of the Blenheim IV squadrons from No 2 Group would be reassigned to form the bases of an intruder force to attack German air bases. Whilst the fields in occupied Holland and Denmark were easily accessible from their current stations some squadrons would be relocated to airfields in southern England to facilitate attacks oh Luftwaffe bases in Belgium and France.
 
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