Making the Fairey Battle viable

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Sazzer, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. Sazzer Well-Known Member

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    I'm a great believer in 'If it looks right, it'll fly right' and I've always been of the opinion that the Fairey Battle did actually look 'Right'.

    Obviously the weight/power ratio and defensive armaments let it down massively but just look at it, it looks like it should have been an incredibly capable aircraft!!!!

    So I've seen you guys do this before and I'm sure you can all do it again, do what ever it takes and make this great looking air-frame into a great warplane.
    I'm even happy if it means changing roles to the Fleet air arm, theaters etc... but I just think this aircraft deserves better than its poor war history.

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    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
  2. jsb Well-Known Member

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    All single engined multi seat bombers basically sucked in WWII without air superiority, so you have to add engines or spitfires :)
     
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  3. Dalekiller Well-Known Member

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    Have World War 2 start several years earlier :biggrin:
     
  4. naraic Well-Known Member

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    For what its worth Im working on a 1936 Anglo Italian war timeline. Given the standard of fighter in existance at that time what small amount of battles in service could do reasonably well.

    Please note there are storyline reasons why Britain doesnt just trash Italy. Britain does have international commitments that it cant just pull away from and certain powers that it would expect be allies arent.
     
  5. Dalekiller Well-Known Member

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    Well yeah, it could pull in a much larger force into that region due if everyone else keeps out, but its not going to be a big force.
     
  6. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    The Battle was chosen because it didn't cost very much money and could carry the same bomb load as the more expensive 2 engined Blenheim

    Unescorted Battle, Il2, Stuka and Devastator (even the Avenger on its first mission) were all found to be desperately wanting in the face of modern single seat single engined fighters

    As for the AC perhaps the Design gets built with the P.16 Prince (1540 HP) or even P.24 Monarch (2000+ HP) engine and subsequent AC get to use the Contra Rotating props later trialed on this ac and who knows maybe a spinner?

    Could this get it closer to 300 MPH - I'm not so sure but it would certainly be an improvement
     
  7. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    Oct 18, 2009
    It's got no business being over land in Europe during the day. That said it did reasonably well attacking the Channel ports at night, and other than the lack of proper depth charges was fine for coastal patrol. It would have done well in the desert until the Luftwaffe arrived in force and in East Africa would have no problems coping with the Italians. It's always puzzled me why when they had hundreds of Battles the Australians sent hastily converted Wirraway trainers into action as ground attack aircraft. I've also long thought that the Battle could have been adapted as a torpedo bomber, and it would have to have had more chance of surviving than the Vickers Vildebeest thrown against the Japanese in Malaya provided the pilots had trained properly to make the most of the Battle. Until the Zeros and Oscars arrived in Siam and Malaya they would have done fairly well, and the Nates and Clauds would have struggled against them.
     
  8. Mike D Well-Known Member

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    Stick some folding wings on it, hang a torpedo under it and let the navy chuck it off the end of their carriers?
     
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  9. Dalekiller Well-Known Member

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    Make it a radio guided bomb?
     
  10. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    Oct 18, 2009
    Too slow and too big a target to fly straight and level as a drone would have to. To reach its target the aircraft would need to fly between the trees and at top speed, that needs a pilot on board. Really the Battle needs to be kept away from enemy fighters as possible and needs to minimise an attacking pilots options. Staying down in the trees does that, the only truly viable approach is from above and behind. A fast moving aircraft close to the ground is no easy target even if it's not shooting back, the slightest mistake could see them flying into the ground and unlike the target the fighter pilot doesn't know which way they'll go next.
     
  11. Just Leo Contrarian with a heart of gold

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    The Battle was ordered in significant numbers to fit an RAF schedule. The P4/34 would have been somewhat better, without necessarily being good, but looking just as right.
    Nothing works out right when you allow the Germans 3 days to establish AA defenses at a target, and you do nothing to establish local air superiority. It would have performed fine attacking undefended tribal villages in the Empire, but times change.
     
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  12. tomo pauk Well-Known Member

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    Jan 20, 2016
    I'd love to see it navalized, that would mean flying during the night or flying in low-threat enviroement hunting dome subs and looking for other enemy ships. It was a bit too long, though. Not sure what a radial engine can do with it, being shorter in general. If Fairey pulls it without a major hiccup, that means no need for Albacore and Barracuda.
    Even in non-navalized form, but with Merlin VIII and adopted to carry a torpedo, it can nix the Botha disaster.
     
  13. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    I don't think there are any British radial engines powerful enough available at the right time for the Battle. However if a naval version is planned from the start (a big if I know) then surely either the aircraft or the Illustrious class lifts would be designed accordingly.
     
  14. Just Leo Contrarian with a heart of gold

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    The Battle could be redesigned for naval use, able to fit on lifts, and with folding wings. They could call it Fulmar, but would they be smart enough to put bombs on it? It would still be somewhat late, given naval priorities.
     
  15. Glyndwr01 Well-Known Member

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    http://www.warbirdsforum.com/topic/2926-1933-proposal-for-a-twin-engined-battle/
    [​IMG]

    http://panzercentral.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=93&t=45546
    Despite being a great improvement on the aircraft that preceded it, by the time it saw action the Fairey Battle was slow, limited in range and highly vulnerable to both anti-aircraft fire and fighters with its single defensive .303 machine gun. Though the Battle was obsolete by the start of the Second World War, it remained a front-line RAF bomber owing to a lack of a suitable replacement.

    So, I will assume that its obsolescence is recognized by 1938 and an upgrade program initiated. The engineers, unable to acquire a single engine that would provide suitable power decide to make it a twin radial engine design by using the wing structure of the current Bristol Blenheim (so as not to impact Blenheim production).

    The production aircraft would feature a strengthened structure, crew compartment armour, self sealing fuel tanks, a solid nose containing four Browning machine guns, and the newer 905hp Bristol Perseus XII engine. Though the later Perseus 100 would produce 1200hp I don't think that the airframe could handle that much power so engine upgrades would end with the 955hp Perseus XVI in 1940.

    Though the dimensions would now be very similar to the Blenheim, the twin-engined Battle would still be some 1000kg lighter, even with the 300kg turret. This would probably boost the airspeed by about 100km/h over the heavier Blenheim but I am going to be very conservative and say 50km/h for a top speed of about 475km/h. Range with a standard fuel load would probably drop slightly but still be up near 1500km.

    It would also have a Browning in each wing and four more in a Boulton Paul dorsal turret. Personally, I would prefer 12.7mm HMG's over 7.7mm MMGs but British doctrine at the time specified either the latter or 20mm cannon. It would still be able to carry 4x 113kg (250lb) bombs internally and two more externally.

    For Coastal Command, these could be replaced with a single under-slung 18 inch Mark XII torpedo (702 kg). In the Mk XIIF, the long-range fighter and night fighter version, I would expect to see two of the nose guns replace by HS-404 20mm auto-cannon with two more in a bomb bay gun pod. The external hardpoints could then be used for drop-tanks to improve range or airborne interception (AI) radar pods (when available) as required.


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    Fairey Battle Mk.XII
    Specifications

    General characteristics

    Crew: 3 (Pilot, Navigator/Radio Op, Gunner)
    Length: 12.91 m
    Wingspan: 17.17 m
    Height: 4.72 m
    Wing area: 43.6 m²)
    Empty weight: 3350 kg
    Loaded weight: 5200 kg
    Powerplant: 2× Bristol Perseus XII radial engine, 905 hp each

    Performance

    Maximum speed: 475 km/h
    Range: over 1500 km
    Service ceiling: 8,310 m
    Rate of climb: over 7.6 m/s

    Armament

    Mk XII (1939)
    Guns: 1× 7.7 mm Browning MMG in each wing
    _____4× 7.7 mm Browning MMG in nose
    _____4× 7.7 mm Browning MMG in rear dorsal turret
    Bombs: 4× 110 kg bombs internally
    _______and 2× 110 kg bombs or 2x drop tanks externally
    _______or 1× 728 kg Mk XII torpedo

    Mk XIIF (1940)
    Guns: 1× 7.7 mm Browning MMG in each wing
    _____2× 7.7 mm Browning MMG in nose
    _____2× 20mm HS-404 cannon in nose
    _____2× 20mm HS-404 cannon in bomb bay gun pod
    _____4× 7.7 mm Browning MMG in rear dorsal turret
    Bombs: 2× 110 kg bombs or 2x drop tanks externally
    Last edited by Janissarius on 24 Dec 2010, 05:19, edited 1 time in total.
     
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  16. bsmart Well-Known Member

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    The big problem with the Battle was the concept of carrying small bombs INSIDE the wing. This caused a very thick wing which required more HP to pull through the air. Thin the wing, add dive flaps and you may have a decent dive bomber. Add folding wings and it might make a fair torpedo bomber for the FAA. But not with those thick wings!
     
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  17. Admiral Beez Banned

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    Jun 24, 2012
    Location:
    Canada
    Here's a Canadian version with a Wright Cyclone engine.

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    Put the Typhoon's Napier Sabre into it. See prototype below with Sabre.

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    or, RR Exe engine.

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    Fairey Prince engine.

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    A Centaurus would be better, but the Taurus below slows the slight diameter of the nose for radials.

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    My fave is the what'if with the Hercules, see here http://www.thescale.info/news/publish/Fairey-Battle-Classic-Airframe.shtml
     
  18. Admiral Beez Banned

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    That sounds like the Fairey P.4/34, that inspired the Fulmar.

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    I've always thought the Fulmar should have been made torpedo capable.
     
  19. zert Casual Reader, Interested Follower

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    Dec 19, 2010
    Some of the hypothesized conversions look viable. It is a true shame that the RAF/RN planes were shafted by budget problems and small build numbers.
     
  20. tomo pauk Well-Known Member

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    Jan 20, 2016
    FAA is also partly responsible for it's procurement troubles, like asking from RR to develop the Exe despite having other engines either in offer or in pipeline, Roc fiasco, not jumping on the opportunity to test Hurricane for the CV suitability ASAP (avoids small build numbers) etc.

    The Stuka was just fine a dive bomber, with thick wings and all. The thick wing goes with territory - Battle was one of the 1st combat aircraft with cantilever monoplane wing designed in UK.

    More than one Hercules Battles were made:

    hercBatt.jpg
     
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