No Westland Lysander, Army gets two A/C types instead

The Britsh specification A.39/34 for the Army cooperation aircraft called for just one aircraft type, a 2-seater with good low-speed abilities, and ability to be armed with bombs and guns. So let's split this for the needs of this thread:
Army will buy a light aircraft type for artillery spotting and liaison, as well as the ability to carry one stretcher, all while using very short strips; the another aircraft type needs to be much more suited for combat, while also suitable for take off and landing strips that can be substantially worse than the airbases the RAF uses. Monoplanes both of them, single-engined. The combat type is a single seater, with spare space that allows for a 2-seater to be produced need-be.

Ease of construction is also a requirement for the both types, so is the ease of servicing, fueling and arming (for the combat type).
Catch is that neither of these types has dibs on the modern and most powerful engines,. The non-combat type can get any engine made in UK that has less than 350 HP. The combat type is limited to under 900 HP engine, again made in UK. These power values are for 1935-36, by what time the winners will get the contract, 300 aircraft for each type. Expected is that prototypes fly before 1937, with production start before 1939.
If and when the engine supply improves, AM will reconsider what kind of engines' upgrade can happen.

Army also has no dibs on the modern monoplanes the RAF is ordering or it is about to order, like the Battle, Hurricane or Spitfire, even with the lower-powered engines.
 
Bristol 148, designed to the same spec as Lysander. The prototype flew wth a Mercury, but the RAF would have squashed that, as they did wth the Navy using the same engine on the Skua, so it's likely that it would have ended up with a Perseus instead.
 
The 148 was later re-equipped with the Bristol Taurus proving capable of 290mph. It could have proved a capable ground attack aircraft. As for the spotter aircraft the Auster A.O.P. is the most likely option, though if they make the choice early enough there is an off chance one of the smaller companies could licence (or rip off) the Fiesler Storch.




 
Last edited:

marathag

Kicked
Army will buy a light aircraft type for artillery spotting and liaison, as well as the ability to carry one stretcher, all while using very short strips; the another aircraft type needs to be much more suited for combat, while also suitable for take off and landing strips that can be substantially worse than the airbases the RAF uses. Monoplanes both of them, single-engined. The combat type is a single seater, with spare space that allows for a 2-seater to be produced need-be.
1280px-Vought_V173_Front_view.jpg

Two 80HP air cooled engines the Zimmer Skimmer the V-173. Wood and fabric Proof of concept for testing

USN had Zimmerman's concept and scale model data in 1939, but he had been working on the concept for many years before that as he worked at the NACA wind tunnel at Langley
1669870870136.png

His 1935 patent drawing for his 'Aeromobile'
1669870773420.png


Crew is already prone, so perfect for Stretchers :cool:

EDIT:
STOL? with 30mph headwind, didn't need the runway, just ramp up the throttle and release the brakes.
No wind? less than a football field
 
Last edited:
The radial-engined fighters built for Specification F.5/34 might give a good example of what was reasonably plausible in a British pre-war aircraft designed for use from less-developed airstrips, although none were designed specifically for ground attack or short field operations.

The Hawker Henley (a dive bomber derived from the Hurricane) and the Fairey design for specification P.4/34 (which evolved into the Fulmar) might also give some useful indications of the direction Britain was heading in for light ground attack aircraft- specifically, two-seater dive bombers. OTL not particularly optimized for forward deployments.
 
Bristol 148, designed to the same spec as Lysander. The prototype flew wth a Mercury, but the RAF would have squashed that, as they did wth the Navy using the same engine on the Skua, so it's likely that it would have ended up with a Perseus instead.

The 148 was later re-equipped with the Bristol Taurus proving capable of 290mph. It could have proved a capable ground attack aircraft. As for the spotter aircraft the Auster A.O.P. is the most likely option, though if they make the choice early enough there is an off chance one of the smaller companies could licence (or rip off) the Fiesler Storch.

Indeed, something like the Auster is just fine IMO.

As for the combat A/C, i'd want something ... meaner :) Power of 1100 HP is 200 more than it is specified, and Taurus is not readily available, not even for all the RAF and FAA plans and wishes.
The bombed-up Gloster F.5/34 perhaps? Even with Mercury engine it should be able to lug some half-decent bomb load, fine MG battery for strafing. All while not being that much afraid of the enemy fighters, being about as fast as Hurricane I. Maybe a monoplane Gladiator - no worse than the MC.200, and fuselage is produced using traditional methods and materials?
Napier's engines might find actual use if the MB.2 is chosen, the Dagger III engines providing 650-755 HP in the second half of 1930s. It will be more expensive choice than the, Kestrel, though let alone the Mercury.
 
As for the combat A/C, i'd want something ... meaner :) Power of 1100 HP is 200 more than it is specified, and Taurus is not readily available, not even for all the RAF and FAA plans and wishes.
Then poach Battles from Bomber Command, who don't really want them and speed up development of the Merlin XX.
 
Then poach Battles from Bomber Command, who don't really want them and speed up development of the Merlin XX.

I want a meaner combat aircraft - reasobalby small, performer despite the 2nd best engine in the nose, 1-seater from the get go, with good maneuverability. Battle does not tick any of the boxes.
Plus, we're in 1936-38, BC is yet to receive their Battles.
 

Driftless

Donor
(snip)
Maybe a monoplane Gladiator - no worse than the MC.200, and fuselage is produced using traditional methods and materials?
(snip)

Would a shoulder-winged monoplane Gladiator work better for the Army support role? (theoretically better vision to the ground). Something configured like the PZL.7/11/24 fighters of the Polish air force. In the mid-30s, they were competitive
 
I want a meaner combat aircraft - reasobalby small, performer despite the 2nd best engine in the nose, 1-seater from the get go, with good maneuverability. Battle does not tick any of the boxes.
Plus, we're in 1936-38, BC is yet to receive their Battles.
OK a somewhat off ball suggestion. A single seat version of the Miles Kestrel trainer with 2 x .303 MGs and bomb shackles rated for 250lb bombs.


1669901516481.png
 
Would a shoulder-winged monoplane Gladiator work better for the Army support role? (theoretically better vision to the ground). Something configured like the PZL.7/11/24 fighters of the Polish air force. In the mid-30s, they were competitive
If we settle for the fixed U/C fighters, the Fokker D.XXII is a much better performer. Or a Ki-27. Hanging the bombs on a high-wing aircraft might be a bit iffy.
The short range recon job is the remit of the 'light' half of the Army aircraft, a 2-saeter powered by a small engine, indeed the high-wing type like the Piper Cub, or the aforementioned Auster and Storch.
 
Then poach Battles from Bomber Command, who don't really want them and speed up development of the Merlin XX.
Bomber Command do want Battles. They would prefer twin ‘heavies’ but Battles got to equip the newly expanding squadrons and the Battle was a strategic bomber in accordance with their doctrine. Albeit only from France against the Ruhr.

The RAF and Army period model for a tactical aeroplane is the Hart series of types. With an Austerish AOP then they would look for a stressed skin metal monoplane equivalent. Hence the Fairey and Henry light bombers. The low speed and STOL portion of the original requirement would be met by the AOP type. With the power of engines then in production they would need a greater wing area than the new monoplane fighters to lift a substantial bomb load off the existing or expected grass fields so slinging a couple of 500 pounders under, say, a Hurricane was not on. Especially with a fixed pitch propellor.

Perhaps they might otherwise look to carry a Lysander 2x250lb load but in a single seater that can use small fields. Perhaps a Pegasus Gladiator for the tactical role of close support? Quick and cheap. The intended Vulture/Sabre/Centaurus next generation fighters will be the replacement as they can carry a worthwhile load whilst functioning also as a fighter unloaded. As to a dive bomber, the Pegasus Gladiator can be made to do the job if built as such. The OTL equivalent being the Henschel 123.
 
Bomber Command do want Battles. They would prefer twin ‘heavies’ but Battles got to equip the newly expanding squadrons and the Battle was a strategic bomber in accordance with their doctrine. Albeit only from France against the Ruhr.
Senior officers in Bomber Command were trying to get the Battle cancelled almost as soon as it entered production. They only persisted with it because there was no alternative available in the numbers needed.
 
Equip the OTL army co-operation squadrons with Hurricanes (built by Westland instead of the OTL Lysanders) for CAS & tactical reconnaissance and form flights of Austers for AOP & light liaison (on the scale of one flight per division) 3 years earlier than OTL, i.e. from 1938 instead of from 1941.

The Hurricane entered service in November 1937 and the Lysander entered service in May 1938. IOTL the first 144 Lysanders were ordered from Westland in September 1936. If 144 Hurricanes were ordered from Westland in September 1936 there's enough time for No. 16 Squadron to re-equip with Westland-built Hurricanes in May 1938 and enough time for Rolls Royce to expand its factories to build the extra Merlin engines.

It doesn't fit the conditions in the POD. However, it's feasible, it's affordable and it's what the RAF ended up doing IOTL. Albeit many of the Lysander squadrons converted to Curtiss Hawks instead of Hurricanes. Last, but by no means least, we have more Hurricane squadrons during the Battle of Britain. According to Bowyer in "Aircraft for the Few" there were 162 "Lizzies" in 9 squadrons at the height of the battle. Imagine what Dowding and Park could have done with another 162 Hurricanes in 9 squadrons.

The above was what I was going to do in "The Hour of the Hurricane - An Imaginatively Titled Hawker Hurricane Thread".
 
Last edited:
OK a somewhat off ball suggestion. A single seat version of the Miles Kestrel trainer with 2 x .303 MGs and bomb shackles rated for 250lb bombs...
I posted this in another thread -
Miles Emergency Fighter.png

- (although based on a Master rather than Kestrel) but needs an alternative engine, if Mercury not available.

Edited to add, maybe if Alvis carry on with the Pelides?
 
Last edited:
We know it could carry underwing weapons, because it did in trials. Give it a late model Perseus and it should do well.

1669910844856.png
1669910879829.png
1669910916650.png
 
Last edited:
There were single seat Masters built, in small numbers, as panic fighters in 1940. A cottage industry kit company released a Master in the 80s, but they'd used the wrong info and it was the fighter version.
The only external difference is that the canopy behind the slanted sliding bit is solid.
Good luck getting Pegasus engines, as both the Hampden and Wellington used those, not to mention the Swordfish.
 
Last edited:
Good luck getting Pegasus engines, as both the Hampden and Wellington used those, not to mention the Swordfish.

Mercury is probably the engine here. Another engines that might be of use are the Kestrel (until the stocks last, and please, with "beard" radiator) and Dagger.

That's a Master III with a US engine (I forget which) rather than the Mercury of the Master II.

Twin Wasp Junior. A tad worse engine than the Mercury, it was often used as a replacement for it.
 
Top