The RAF, just that little bit better in 1940

Am not talking about an all singing, all dancing, smash the Germans in 10 days, but, a small step in the right direction. Little things like,

The Merlin 45 being ready in mid 1939 and being retro fitted in the Mk I Spitfire by early 1940, therefore giving the RAF a MK V, and a MK VB in summer 1940.

The Hawker Hurricane Mk IIc ready for action late spring

The Short Stirling in Service by late spring, early summer 1940, the HP Halifax also.

As for the numbers, mid June.

MkV's 12 Squadrons, Hurricane Mk IIb 4, Stirling 4, and Halifax 3.

Will the fighters make the BoB shorter, yes. By how much, a couple of weeks?

The ability to take the fight to over France and the Low countries much sooner, yes, a few months? High level bombing and low level strikes on Luftwaffe airfields, makes Herman a sad boy.

Type about this for a bit.:)
 
Get Castle Bromwich spanning out Spitfires on schedule would be a major boost. You can realistically look at 250 extra Spitfire aircraft a month. now to match that you need more pilots!
 
Am not talking about an all singing, all dancing, smash the Germans in 10 days, but, a small step in the right direction. Little things like,

The Merlin 45 being ready in mid 1939 and being retro fitted in the Mk I Spitfire by early 1940, therefore giving the RAF a MK V, and a MK VB in summer 1940.

The Hawker Hurricane Mk IIc ready for action late spring

The Short Stirling in Service by late spring, early summer 1940, the HP Halifax also.

As for the numbers, mid June.

MkV's 12 Squadrons, Hurricane Mk IIb 4, Stirling 4, and Halifax 3.

Will the fighters make the BoB shorter, yes. By how much, a couple of weeks?

The ability to take the fight to over France and the Low countries much sooner, yes, a few months? High level bombing and low level strikes on Luftwaffe airfields, makes Herman a sad boy.

Type about this for a bit.:)
I think one thing they needed which did not really exist is a method of collating hard won operational experience and disseminating it to in service squadrons

OTL replacement squadrons particularly in the earlier part of the Battle were 'relearning' the hard lessons that had already been learned by the units they replaced.

Another pod is negating the ramp head debacle at RR that delayed the evolution of the Merlin by at least a year if not more

Getting (as mentioned) Castle Bromwich pull its finger out of its arse earlier would also help massively.

I am a big fan of the Hispanio 404 20mm but the Oerlikon FFL while not as good was a more mature weapon system and is significantly lighter so better suited to early war planes.

Its effectively the same gun the A6m Zero used - so maybe have this adopted in the late 30s allowing for reliable 'cannon fighters' in 1940
 
I think the major improvements are of the "lessons that need to be learnt" variety. The RAF learnt more about modern air warfare during the four week Battle of France period than it learnt in the previous twenty years.

The Germans didn't get everything right but their experience in Spain, Poland, Czechoslovakia and even Austria taught them the basics. How does the RAF get that experience in a Democracy.

The only technology the RAF should have adopted earlier that I can think of that doesn't involve a time machine or a supply of Unobtanium was the Constant speed propeller. Everyone understood the need but production was slow.
 
Boulton Paul makes the P.94 - the single seat no turret variant of the Defiant. Supposedly the prototype performed quite well.
 
Okay - 1938 gives us a lot of time.
Have Gloster start making Hurricanes by 1939. Hurricanes themselves could use less draggy exhausts, better carbs, and better radiators ('beard' type might be easiest to make fast), so we'd probably have 335+ mph Hurri 1 with these changes.
Have Boulton Paul make Spitfires, not Defiants.
Do not make more than 500-ish Battles, have Fairey make fighters instead.
No Whirlwind, have Westland make Spitfires instead.
See how good Blenheim and Beaufort do with Merlin instead of radials. Have Bristol try out both Hurricane and Spitfire with Hercules.
Kill the Botha.
Produce the Spitfire III.
Drop tanks for fighters.
Train the night navigation and combat, try to cover the shortcomings that will surface.
 
As has been pointed out above, getting rid of the two speed props is a must, and easy to do. A few .50 Vickers in the wings wouldn't hurt either, along with the armor glass inserts and basic self sealing tanks for all the fuel tanks, not just some of them.
Keeping Hurricane pilots from getting burned up is a worthy goal.
 
If the RAF has large and increasing numbers of cannon armed fighters the Luftwaffe will have to switch to night bombing by late August.
 
According to this website.
.
The Merlin 45
1,515 hp at 11,000 feet
1,210 hp with +3lb boost at 18,000 feet

Put one of them in a Battle and it would turn it into a half-decent bomber by the standards of mid-1940.

As long-term members of the site aught to know I'm the biggest non-fan of the Boulton-Paul Defiant in the World. Having written that its biggest problem was that it it was under powered. If deployed in the north of England (i.e. beyond the range of the Bf109) it aught to do unwell against the unescorted bombers when they turn up and would improve its effectiveness as a night fighter in the Blitz.

It would also improve the performance of the Fulmar.
 
Well there are plenty of options for improvements, thing is how do you light a fire under the British government in early 1938 to get them implemented?
 
As has been pointed out above, getting rid of the two speed props is a must, and easy to do. A few .50 Vickers in the wings wouldn't hurt either, along with the armor glass inserts and basic self sealing tanks for all the fuel tanks, not just some of them.
Keeping Hurricane pilots from getting burned up is a worthy goal.
Good call on the Hurricane

I work very close to East Grinstead in Sussex

We had a fascinating talk at work last year from an Army Major who was a burns expert at this hospital (and who had been a trauma nurse at Camp Bastion) - which was the first specialist burns hospital in the world (and remains a specialist hospital today) and whose first large number of patients were Hurricane pilots in 1940 (they formed the Guinea Pig Club

She gave a very good talk about the history of the Hospital from WW2 right up to the somewhat tragic examples of service personnel wounded by IEDs and the like in the recent conflicts.

Apparently the task of upgrading the Hurricane main fuel tank forward of the cockpit was more difficult than on the Spitfire (which had 2 tanks) so it was decided not to bother outside of planned major re-servicing (aircraft were serviced every 20-25 flying hours and effectively given a major rebuild after 10 such services and usually - but not always - by this point placed into reserve or sent to a secondary theatre as they would have been replaced by more modern planes).

This decision was of course rapidly reversed as soon as it became apparent that far more pilots in the Hurricane were being burned than in the Spitfire

So I totally endorse this initiative
 
The Merlin 45 being ready in mid 1939 and being retro fitted in the Mk I Spitfire by early 1940, therefore giving the RAF a MK V, and a MK VB in summer 1940.

The Hawker Hurricane Mk IIc ready for action late spring.
The first contracts for 600 Hurricanes and 310 Spitfires were completed in September and October 1939, but to paraphrase Eric Morecambe, not necessarily in that order. Therefore, Spitfire 311 onwards would be built to Mk V standard and Hurricane 601 onwards would be built to Mk IIB or IIC standard.
 
Combat tactics: the Dowding Spread was not a very good idea. 200 yd harmonisation.
Much has been made of the Polish closing to 200 yards

The main reason was not just that they were mostly combat vets (which most of them were) but also the aircraft they had trained and fought in - like most other planes of the era - only had a pair (sometimes 4) of rifle calibre machine guns (and slower firing than the Browning MK2s at that) fitted to their aircraft and so would have had to get closer as they were only chucking out a fraction of the lead compared to the Brace of 8 faster firing guns of the Hurricane.

So 16 or 32 RPS compared to 150 RPS!
 
If you can get some realistic exercises held in 1938 then it should be glaring obvious very quickly that the parade ground Fighting Area Attacks are a disaster in the making. They're great for wowing crowds at air shows but utterly useless in practice.
 
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