AHC: Peerless Air Ministry

I an going to have to do a bit of a rewrite, as I just looked at the MB2 design again and realised that it had a low-back design with a segmented teardrop canopy. Where As OTL the later MB3 had a high-back fuselage with a comformative canopy. At this time my research has found no reason for this. Also OTL by the time the MB3 flew the advantages of the Malcolm hood as used on the Spitfire would to me seem to have been obvious, so why was it not used on the MB.3? I see some interesting PAM reasoning and changes hatching here
The MB2 used the air cooled Dagger engine (wiki says an air-cooled engine was used for for hot climates).

Were any of the Bristol radials ever considered?
 
I think the low frontal area of the Dagger would have been seen as advantageous over any radial engine. Also at 1000hp in 1938 the Dagger VIII was more powerful than anything then offered by Bristols. If the Bristol Taurus engine had been in production on time and reliable then that might have been an option.
 
Dagger engine offered 1,000 horsepower and better visibility over the nose. The narrow Dagger engine provided better visibility when zig-zagging along the taxiway. Most tail-wheel airplanes are blind straight-ahead while on the ground. 1,000 hp. was pushing the maximum possible from an air-cooled inline engine. Few reliable competitors produced more than 300 hp. Air-cooling was largely irrelevant when compared to climate.

As for canopies …
Full-blown bubble canopies provide the best visibility for dog-fighting, but also create more drag than Malcolm hoods. Malcolm hoods were almost the best compromise. The perfect compromise were the last few Focke-Wulf 190s with semi-Malcom hoods.
 
10.35 Managing expectations and preparing the ground.
10.35, Managing expectations and preparing the ground.

Even with the current air campaign continuing Sir Phillip had been preparing the ground ‘so to speak’ for Sir Hugh Dowding to take over as the Chief of the Air staff. Persuading the Prime Minister Winston Churchill that Sir Hugh was the right choice had not been as difficult as Sir Phillip had feared, with no Professor Lindemann to drip verbal poison in his ear it was much easier to remind Winston of just what a remarkable achievement had been wrought through the foresight and dedication of Sir Hugh. Sir Hugh’s ability to grasp the implication of new technology and to get civilian scientists and the military personnel to work together towards a common goal was an attribute which would be invaluable in a CAS trying to build an offensive bomber force based on new aircraft, new technology and methods.

Going down to Checkers with Sir Hugh for dinner with Churchill, had given Churchill a little time to get to know Sir Hugh in a more relaxed and informal setting. Churchill had in years past dubbed Sir Hugh as ‘A Dismal Jimmy’ however within the dour and stern public persona, dwelt a man not only of deep thought but of strong passions and unconventional beliefs. Hearing Sir Hugh infusing about skiing in the Alps and actually regretting the fact the current war prevented him from pursuing his passion for winter sports showed another side of the man. However it was later when Churchill was sitting brandy and cigar in hand after dinner that he started asking the difficult questions, such as what should be the priorities for the CAS over the next six months to a year? Sir Phillip had of course as AM been working with his own staff and the current leadership of the RAF on various iterations of future plans but he now waited to see what Sir Hugh would come up with, would he stay on script or like Portal a couple of weeks earlier say only what he thought the Prime Minister wanted to hear and what would boost the importance of Bomber Command.

After pausing for a moment, Sir Hugh had looked at the PM and started by saying that currently his first priority was still on winning the current daylight battle and dealing with the tactical changes being instigated by the Luftwaffe and containing the burgeoning night time attacks, However the changes in the Luftwaffe assault and the approach of the autumn equinox meant that in reality the immediate threat of invasion was receding and that for practical purposes the nation would have at least six months to prepare before any such renewed threat of invasion could be turned into reality. With this as a given and the fact that any preparations on the continent for a renewed attempt at subduing Great Britain by air assault or invasion would become apparent well before such operations could proceed, then the nation and the RAF could plan with some confidence on where to allocate the available resources for the next six months at least. Sir Hugh having set the ground, continued by stating within the codicil of the RAF and in particular Fighter Command being in a position to face the possible renewed assault in the spring it was import to evaluate and priorities what other actions by the Nazis were likely to be the biggest threat to the UK in the next six months. With the fall of France in particular, the strategic land scape had changed beyond any previous measures planned for by any of the British armed services.

Sir Hugh ventured that the biggest effect would be on the navy who’s task of ensuring the safe flow of men and materials in and out of UK ports had just been made immeasurably more difficult with the German U-boats and aircraft now having direct access to the North Atlantic from French bases. Also with the loss of air cover for Royal Naval units operating in the western Mediterranean due to the declared neutrality of Vichy France meant that Malta was now more vulnerable and immensely more valuable to the RN.

Therefore Sir Hugh suggested that in those circumstances the RAF priorities would remain the rebuilding the home defense force with day and night fighter squadrons to a level determined by the Government. These Squadrons must have the newest and best fighter designs available. This meant, Sir Hugh continued that the current three frontline single engine fighters would need to be replaced before the Spring. In the case of the Spitfire that would mean a newer mark armed with four cannon and the latest mark of Merlin engine. For the Hawker Hurricane that meant as it was now marginal as a front line fighter then it’s replacement, the Tornado needed to be phased into production and squadrons rearmed. As to the Defiant, Bolton and Paul had no aircraft of their own to replace it and it was intended that they would build another deign such as the Tornado, however the production capability of the three main Hawker group factories was quite sufficient to meet future requirements for the Tornado. So therefore Sir Hugh thought it would be better to keep Bolton and Paul building the Defiant as it already had the four cannon armament and would remain a viable fighter in operational theaters where the opposition was of commencerent quality. As they are replaced the existing Spitfire Mark 2’s and the Hurricane Mark 2’s would come available for reinforcing the RAF squadrons in other theaters of operations.

Having concluded that point Sir Hugh briskly continued by stating that training in all it’s guises needed to remain a top priority so that the RAF could continue to grow in capability. Training abroad especially of pilots would in the next six months start to have a major effect, as the first classes of pilots, and other ranks who started their training at the outbreak of war graduated from their training and joined their units. Sir Hugh stressed that as far as he was concerned the conservation of experienced crews to pass their experience and skill onto the new intakes was more important than wasting their lives in offensive gestures and propaganda stunts.

At this Juncture Sir Hugh reminded Winston Churchill of the series of discussions they had had late in nineteen thirty five stretching into nineteen thirty six, regarding the importance of the then embryonic RDF research, where Churchill himself had stated that in nineteen seventeen it was the U-boat and not the Hun Bombers that had almost brought Britain to the brink of disaster. With this in mind the new offensive capability given to the Nazi U-boats by the fall of France could not be underestimated.

As to Maritime Command, Sir Hugh was emphatic that providing sufficient aircraft and crews to carry out the now much harder task of protecting the trans ocean trade, so vital to the country should have priority above that of Bomber Command. Before Churchill could interject angrily as Sir Phillip thought he would, Sir Hugh continued by stating that currently Bomber Command was not fit for purpose and as CAS one of his highest priorities would be to rectify that but not at the cost of stripping other commands of resources needed to pursue the countries war aims and even its survival as a free nation.

Sir Hugh then finished by saying that the primary task of the next CAS over the next six months to a year was to lay the ground work resources wise to enable the British Nation to Rearm and to be in a position to prosecute an offensive war as soon as practicable. Turning to Sir Phillip he concluded by saying that detailed plans and dispositions as well as resource requirement were and would be prepared by the AM in line with the stated war aims of the Government. Looking Churchill strait in the eye Sir Hugh then reminded him that all of them had served on the western front in the Great War and had experienced the horrific losses incurred when offensive action was taken with unprepared troops, without the right weapons and tactics purely for the sake of being seen to be doing something and that it the Prime Minister merely wanted a ‘yes man’ for the post of CAS then Sir Hugh was not his man.

Churchill had sat quietly for a moment took a puff on his cigar, a quick quaff of his brandy and then slowly broke into a grin. Sir Phillip gave an almost audible sigh as Sir Winston looked at him and said words to the effect that sometimes having a contrary curmudgeon at your elbow was timely and a necessary restraint. Churchill continued by saying that he looked forward to receiving their plans and recommendations as soon after the formal transfer of Command as possible and that the date of that transfer would be agreed with Sir Hugh as soon as practicable in the current circumstances so that he and Sir Phillip could arrange for his replacement at Fighter Command. To this Sir Phillip replied that the intention of the AM was that Keith Parks would be promoted to take over Fighter Command’ as not only was he successfully handling his Group against the might of the Luftwaffe but he had previously served as Sir Hugh’s deputy at Fighter Command and therefore had an intimate knowledge of the entire command that would mean that he would as the expression went ‘be able to hit the ground running’. Sir Hugh smiled and continued to say to Churchill that such a promotion would definitely put some other very senior noses in the RAF out of joint but so be it, Sir Hugh was not going to be CAS to court popularity but to get the job done whilst losing as few of the country’s fine young men as possible.
 

Driftless

Donor
Looking Churchill strait in the eye Sir Hugh then reminded him that all of them had served on the western front in the Great War and had experienced the horrific losses incurred when offensive action was taken with unprepared troops, without the right weapons and tactics purely for the sake of being seen to be doing something and that it the Prime Minister merely wanted a ‘yes man’ for the post of CAS then Sir Hugh was not his man.

Churchill had sat quietly for a moment took a puff on his cigar, a quick quaff of his brandy and then slowly broke into a grin. Sir Phillip gave an almost audible sigh as Sir Winston looked at him and said words to the effect that sometimes having a contrary curmudgeon at your elbow was timely and a necessary restraint.
It sounds like Dowding will serve as the wise and disciplined parallel for what Alan Brooke would later become for Churchill. Leaders who aren't afraid to seriously challenge the boss, when it's needed.
 
As they are replaced the existing Spitfire Mark 2’s and the Hurricane Mark 2’s would come available for reinforcing the RAF squadrons in other theaters of operations.
Spitfires in Malta and Egypt before spring 1941? The Regia Aeronautica will bleed. Just a few Spitfire squadrons in Malta and Egypt will seriously attrite the Italians. Add 1 Beaufort/Flamingo and 1-2 Stringbag squadrons and then Malta has offensive capability 1 year earlier than OTL.

If the RAF can send a couple of Hurricane squadrons in Greece (instead of the OTL Gladiators), the Italians will face even more serious attrition in winter 1940-1941. If the RAF takes actual measures to build up Crete in the six months before the german invasion, then Britain gets another unsinkable carrier in the Mediterranean.

As to Maritime Command, Sir Hugh was emphatic that providing sufficient aircraft and crews to carry out the now much harder task of protecting the trans ocean trade, so vital to the country should have priority above that of Bomber Command.
And this children is how the Battle of the Atlantic was won!
 
The two Dowding Brothers need to gang up on Churchill and get some Merchant Aircraft Carriers converted over the winter rather than Catapult Armed Merchant Ships.
 
Arthur Dowding and the rebirth of the FAA would be a whole new time line, Perhaps I might tackle that in the near future! If you recall from earlier ITTL Mk1 Hurricanes were sent out to Malta and Egypt Earlier in 1940. Unfortunately nothing has made it there since! But that will change.
 

Ramontxo

Donor
Is the Sea Hurricane being hurried? (with folding wings please, it has been stated here that it was particularly easy to develop and folding wing version of it)
 
Sorry the terrors of sell checker. As to the Sea Hurricane, not needed in this time line as the FAA have their own dedicated four cannon fighter in the Folland Falcon.
 
As posted earlier the RAF under pressure from the AM have been working on navigation by night over enemy territory since September 1939. It can be taken as a given that most bomber crews can actually locate the right city, Whether a pathfinder type force is raised earlier or not will depend on the right butterflies actually hatching.
 
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