Are you seriously comparing the performance of the Battle and the Stuka? What they have in common are they are both aircraft, they both carry bombs, and they both can be shootdown. So, from that set of facts they're on an equal footing.
Err… actually spec wise they do have a lot in common. Similar speed, range, altitude. Both vulnerable to AA or fighter intercepts
If anything, battle actually has the edge.
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
The British have captured Patani and its airfield on the morning of December 7th? The Thai battalion that fought so hard against the Japanese in the OTL put up no resistance against the British? The airfield is already in use. This must have been dealt with a long time ago, but the RAF is using Fairly Battles? An aircraft taken out of service after the Greek Campaign for being obsolete and highly vulnerable. The Battle was a virtual death trap. Is the RAF expecting to face no opposition in this new war?
Hi Belisarius II, I haven't written about Pattani and its airfield yet, are you confusing it with Phuket Island?
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
I would caution on overloading the Battle in what are Hot conditions. Aircraft performance drops as air temperature increases and Malaya is literally the definition of "HOT" conditions. A 1500lb payload in European conditions is still possible in Malaya but climb performance would be worse as would takeoff runs. Running scenarios with 1000lb means you can likely use the range figures and performance figures available without having to fudge them.

The Fairey Battle was an advanced aircraft when introduced and should be remembered as effective when not faced with fighter opposition or large numbers of autocannons defending small, fixed targets. As far as dropping bridges goes the 500lb bomb is the smallest that would reliably drop steel girder spans and likely need to get lucky and hit above pylons to drop a span. The nature of a Railway bridge is one of over engineering with rather thick iron trusses in order to take rapid weight changes as trains go over them. A few lb of C4 in the right place can drop them but bombs using explosive force need either direct hits on pylons or massive blast to work.

The effort it takes even today to drop bridges show how important not just direct hits but multiple hits are needed unless the bomb used hits the right place the structure can survive repeated efforts.
Hi alspug, thank you for this. I'm only working with a 1,000lb payload because as you say I can use the performance figures that ae published. We digressed in conversation over the capabilities of the Fairey Battle.

And your right about the element of luck or skill to drop a railway bridge with a 500lb bomb. I introduced the idea of the Battle being used in a dive bombing role in https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/malaya-what-if.521982/post-23932863, but so as not to introduce spoilers, kept the target practice quite vague. So with considerable practice, and no opposition from either the air or ground, they could take their time on a non moving target. We'll take another look at the Battle when there is opposition later in the story.
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
Great update. I continue to enjoy your story. I really like the part where the RAF and RCAF are using what they have the best way they can. The peace time mindset is gone. I noticed that someone was commenting on Park's tactics. His usual way of interception is to use his ground control to vector multiple small groups from different directions at different intervals. It is hit and run tactics and draws off the escort so a later group hits the bombers.
Hi Llewwyy, thank you. I think Keith Park was a pragmatist, adopting tactics that suited the resources he had to undertake the role.
 
Err… actually spec wise they do have a lot in common. Similar speed, range, altitude. Both vulnerable to AA or fighter intercepts
If anything, battle actually has the edge.
The real difference in the two is the Battle was a Glide Bomber vs Stuka being a true Dive Bomber.
 
The real difference in the two is the Battle was a Glide Bomber vs Stuka being a true Dive Bomber.
I'm fairly certain the Battle was stressed for bombing at a dive angle of up to 80º, which is a pretty blurry line between diving and gliding -- though I'm not sure it was common to actually dive that steep in practice nor do I believe it was official doctrine.
 
The real difference in the two is the Battle was a Glide Bomber vs Stuka being a true Dive Bomber.
The Battle was also a low-level ground attack aircraft with little protection against small arms fire. The Stuka was a dive bomber with a much greater bomb load, dive breaks, more armor, and a radial engine. The Stuka proved to be a great threat to even the most heavily armored warships. It was an effective close air support aircraft all the way to the end of the war. It was becoming increasingly more vulnerable and was largely replaced in the ground attack roll by the FW-190F/G. The Battle had to be pulled out of combat service in the first year of the war.
 
I'm fairly certain the Battle was stressed for bombing at a dive angle of up to 80º, which is a pretty blurry line between diving and gliding -- though I'm not sure it was common to actually dive that steep in practice nor do I believe it was official doctrine.
The Battle wasn't a dive bomber, and was never equipped with dive breaks, or bomb slings. The bombardier lay in a prone position on the floor of the plane to aim and release the bombs. Without a sling at an 80-degree angle the centerline bomb will hit the propeller. Without dive breaks the plane will tend to overspeed and be more unstable in flight, making accurate bombing much harder. The only real dive bomber on the Allied side in the Battle of France was a squadron of French Vought SB2U Vindicator's. They took heavy loses but hit a number of high value targets. They were able to fly off and I believe they ended up in French North Africa.
 
The Battle was also a low-level ground attack aircraft with little protection against small arms fire. The Stuka was a dive bomber with a much greater bomb load, dive breaks, more armor, and a radial engine. The Stuka proved to be a great threat to even the most heavily armored warships. It was an effective close air support aircraft all the way to the end of the war. It was becoming increasingly more vulnerable and was largely replaced in the ground attack roll by the FW-190F/G. The Battle had to be pulled out of combat service in the first year of the war.
If they still have them in theatre then the use that they have been put to is exactly what they were asked to do in France (disastrously as it turned out). So Battles bombing bridges is not a surprise. The fact that they were expecting minimal opposition from the Thais and that their best fighter that might appear was a P-36 with fixed undercarriage was likely why they considered using Battles an acceptable risk.

In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king.
 
The Battle wasn't a dive bomber, and was never equipped with dive breaks, or bomb slings. The bombardier lay in a prone position on the floor of the plane to aim and release the bombs. Without a sling at an 80-degree angle the centerline bomb will hit the propeller. Without dive breaks the plane will tend to overspeed and be more unstable in flight, making accurate bombing much harder. The only real dive bomber on the Allied side in the Battle of France was a squadron of French Vought SB2U Vindicator's. They took heavy loses but hit a number of high value targets. They were able to fly off and I believe they ended up in French North Africa.
The battle did not have centre line bombs - it had 4 cells for 250 Ib bombs 2 in each wing just outboard of the undercarriage

These as I understand it had hydraulic bomb cradles (?) that after the bomb was loaded would be lifted into the cell - if dive bombing (or what we would call glide bombing as the RAF was not all that into "loss altitude bombing") then those bomb cradles would be left in the lowered position

It then had 4 hard points for bombs outboard of those on each wing which obviously needed no preparation - it is one of those that I understand is being used to mount a 500 Ib bomb under each wing ITTL.

You are correct in that the Battle had a floor bomb aimer position like the Devastator and Avenger and other single engine bomber aircraft of this period

world-war-ii-14th-may-1940-a-bomb-aimer-who-lies-prone-on-the-floor-of-the-plane-looking.jpg


TBD+Bombing+Doors+1505-1519.jpg

Ill find the avengers later

But very similar aircraft in terms of role etc as bombers
 
Are you seriously comparing the performance of the Battle and the Stuka? What they have in common are they are both aircraft, they both carry bombs, and they both can be shootdown. So, from that set of facts they're on an equal footing.
Same speed ( 257 vs 255 ) , same range ( 1000 vs 950 ) , same bomb load ( normally around 1000 lb ), light defensive armament of rifle calibre MG front and rear meaning same horrible vulnerability to fighters ( Skutas got pulled from the BoB just like Battles from the BoF ). So yes. swap who had the Battle and who had the Stuka and nothing changes. It was all on what they were fighting not the plane.
 
The real difference in the two is the Battle was a Glide Bomber vs Stuka being a true Dive Bomber.
The Germans determined that the optimal dive angle for the JU-87 was 70 degrees. That was the angle that pilots were trained and tested at and, outside of propaganda footage, almost always the angle used in combat. This is an angle that most “glide bombers” could generally match, though they were not always equipped to do so. It makes the difference between the two designations kind of hazy.
 
Where did they get these Battles? The squadrons that used them converted to medium bomber types, and the remaining battles were used for training & target tug jobs. Where did they get new pilots to fly Battle equipped squadrons in Malaya?
Maybe you should try reading the story instead of telling us that nothing can ever stop the Japanese tide. The Battles were sent to the Empire schools to help training. These aircraft were available to the RACF if they wanted to use them until better aircraft came along as they raised Article XV Squadrons for Singapore.

The Battle was also a low-level ground attack aircraft with little protection against small arms fire. The Stuka was a dive bomber with a much greater bomb load, dive breaks, more armor, and a radial engine. The Stuka proved to be a great threat to even the most heavily armored warships. It was an effective close air support aircraft all the way to the end of the war. It was becoming increasingly more vulnerable and was largely replaced in the ground attack roll by the FW-190F/G. The Battle had to be pulled out of combat service in the first year of the war.
The Battle was a light strategic bomber that was pressed into tactical attacks against defended targets that any single engined bomber would have been slaughtered.

The Stuka used an inline engine and as the need for armour and range went up the bomb load dropped, similar to the Battle it could carry up to 1800kgs over short ranges. It was horrifically vulnerable to fighters and any kind of decent air defence which is why it was only ever successful for short periods over the Med before enough fighters were available to counter them, the success of KG X Stukas is due to the lack of fighter cover over the fleet in the Eastern Med. They hit Illustrious while she was launching replacement cap fighters and the loss of Gloucester and Fiji was due to the Crusiers running out of AA ammunition after fighting off previous attacks from the same group of Stukas over previous few days.

The Stuka could only be used on the eastern front while the Luftwaffe had local air superiority which is why it was being phased out by 43 as by this point it was becoming a death trap even against the rudimentary Russian air defence systems.

I think you confuse good management from the RAF pulling an aircraft out of action once it's seen as obsolescent vs any kind of defended airspace where as the Axis forces kept their single engined dive bombers in service way past the point they should have due to a lack of replacement and adherence to a flawed doctrine. The Battles have worked well in this chapter due to the complete lack of any air defences.
The Battle wasn't a dive bomber, and was never equipped with dive breaks, or bomb slings. The bombardier lay in a prone position on the floor of the plane to aim and release the bombs. Without a sling at an 80-degree angle the centerline bomb will hit the propeller. Without dive breaks the plane will tend to overspeed and be more unstable in flight, making accurate bombing much harder. The only real dive bomber on the Allied side in the Battle of France was a squadron of French Vought SB2U Vindicator's. They took heavy loses but hit a number of high value targets. They were able to fly off and I believe they ended up in French North Africa.
Battles could dive bomb quite easily to 60°, they used the gun sight to help aim. Pre war testing showed good accuracy (Peter Smiths Divebomber) but as the Battle was seen as a strategic light bomber and not a tactical bomber the RAF brass saw no need for further training. As Cryhavoc has stated no bomb crutch was needed as the battle carried all it's ordinance on wing points.

In this story the RACF have been training with Glide/Dive bombing so decent accuracy can be achieved, similar to when the RAF/RAAF/RIAF trained on Vultee Vengances later on during the Burma campaign.
 
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The Battle was also a low-level ground attack aircraft with little protection against small arms fire.
At risk of sounding like Air Vice Marshal Stevenson... good enough for the Far East.

Japanese ground forces in Malaya had no equivalent of the Flakvierling 38 and I have yet to see any reliable report of an Allied ground attack aircraft downed by Arisaka rifles or Nambu machine guns.
 
If they still have them in theatre then the use that they have been put to is exactly what they were asked to do in France (disastrously as it turned out). So Battles bombing bridges is not a surprise. The fact that they were expecting minimal opposition from the Thais and that their best fighter that might appear was a P-36 with fixed undercarriage was likely why they considered using Battles an acceptable risk.

In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king.
I think you are off on fighters, the Curtiss P-36 used by Thailand did have a retractable undercarriage, however, the P-26 "Peashooter" had a fixed undercarriage. In fact Philippine Air Force's 12 x P-26s shot down several Japanese aircraft, and damaged more. .
 
I think you are off on fighters, the Curtiss P-36 used by Thailand did have a retractable undercarriage, however, the P-26 "Peashooter" had a fixed undercarriage. In fact Philippine Air Force's 12 x P-26s shot down several Japanese aircraft, and damaged more. .

Curtiss 75N used by Thailand were simplified fixed undercarrage models
 
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