Jump to content

  • Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log in with Windows Live Log In with Steam Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account

Photo
- - - - -

British vs. US Carrier Design in WWII


  • Please log in to reply
1282 replies to this topic

#821 Lightning

Lightning

    Forum Guru

  • Forum Guru
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,723 posts
  • Joined 10 Years, 3 Months and 10 Days
  • 44 topics

Posted 28 January 2012 - 04:01 PM

Why is it that everybody who writes about FAA aircraft, are, according to you complete liars?


That comment is a lie in itself. Saying someone is wrong is not calling them a liar. Embellishment during wartime for propaganda or morale purposes is not lying. You, and everybody else here, know that I have never before called anybody in this forum a liar--not in eight years; not in over 2500 postings, and not in hundreds of threads. If you want to make a statement, at least be accurate in your wording, and quit trying to put words in the mouths of others.

I have repeatedly pointed out where you have made grievous errors regarding a whole range of aeronautical concepts, yet you blithely carry on as though you are the sole
repository of aeronautical truth and are uniquely gifted to judge the veracity of others.


I have made some errors. So have you. The main difference between us is that I admit it when I am wrong whereas you don't. I can't think of a single time that you have
acknowledged having been wrong in this longest thread in the history of this forum, and I call upon our colleagues who have participated to verify this. You are incapable of acknowledging error! Your ego won't allow it. Your strategy, when successfully challenged on a point, is to tap dance around the issue by providing documents that seemingly agree with you but, when examined closely, have important details that you have conveniently left out. In addition to that, you present your own presumptions, assumptions, and opinions couched in terms that you try to pass of as fact. Then, when there is no way to deny that someone else has made a valid point, you simply ignore that point in subsequent postings as though it were never raised. The one thing that you will never do is admit that you are wrong--And your credibility suffers as a result.

Every time you cite a source as agreeing with your position, you accept it as absolutely accurate and dependable, even if it is obviously not. On the other hand, when someone provides a reference that refutes a contention of yours, you belittle it by calling it "a work of complete fiction," an exaggeration, an under-or over-estimation or some other disparaging term. If a source provides performance figures or specifications that are significantly below what you state for an airplane, you say that the airplane, under actual conditions, actually out-performed those specifications. When published specifications for an airplane are higher than you say they were, you say that, under actual conditions, it under-performed those figures and that they refer to a "fantasy airplane." When you try to prove your point, you give range, speed, climb, altitude, load, etc. figures that are not to be found in the vast majority of references (if in any)--even ones that you yourself have cited when trying to make previous points.

As to knowledge of those aeronautical concepts to which you refer, you have often parroted the numbers given in documents, tables, charts, etc. without really knowing where they came from or how they were arrived at. You make uninformed, incorrect statements about how a biplane has twice the lift of a monoplane. You expound on how a wing with more area has more lift than one with less area, without regard to factors like aspect ratio and airfoil section. You make statements about cruise and climb with complete disregard for the differences between climb- and cruise-props and their affect on performance. You confuse the importance of lift-weight ratio and excess-power as to their effect on climbing ability. You seem to be oblivious to the "cube law" and how it affects top speed vs cruising speed. If "grievous" errors have been made, it is you who have made them. Yes, I make mistakes, but my knowledge of these things is certainly not second to yours (I am being kind here), and when it comes to the actual flying of airplanes, you don't have a clue. When I make a mistake, I admit it. We have yet to see evidence of that quality in you, and I doubt we ever will!

The author of the article states that the aircraft achieved 385 mph during the flight on which he was an observer. He then goes on to describe FAA TB doctrine and the use of dive brakes, but he does not refer to dive brakes during his dive where he observed a speed of 385mph... In Carrier Observer, Wallace (p182) describes how some FBII pilots prefered to dive with the flaps normal, and then use the elevator trim tabs to pull out, he states that this overstressed the wings, and was officially frowned upon, but was probably a widespread practise amongst FBII pilots.


He was being given a demonstration of torpedo bombing as carried out by the FAA. Such a demonstration, being given to a member of the US press and in full view of official FAA observers on the ships, would have been conducted according to FAA doctrine, which you admit called for diving with dive brakes extended. The writer, whether he was in the aircraft or not, described the procedure according to that doctrine, and his description includes retraction of the dive brakes toward the end of the dive, clearly indicating that the dive was to be conducted with extended dive brakes. Do you really believe that the pilot would violate doctrine with an audience of his superiors watching while he flew a civilian foreign correspondent in an extended high-speed dive without dive brakes at 385 mph from 12,000 feet all the while putting the plane, the correspondent, and himself in danger of having a wing failure? Can you imagine the public relations disaster throughout the US had that correspondent been killed under those circumstances?

Also, you state that the correspondent observed a speed of 385 mph. If he truly observed that speed, it had to be on the airspeed indicator i.e. it was indicated
airspeed
. That would equate to a TAS of 454 mph at 12,000 ft and 418 mph at 6000 ft! This is obviously ridiculous, so there is no way that he "observed" a speed of 385 mph--dive brakes or not.

The VNE of FBII was 300mph with Dive Brakes and 360 mph w/o, both speeds being IAS, so a TAS of 385 mph with the flaps in the normal position is quite possible in a dive from 12000ft.


If that plane were put into an extended 75 deg dive at 12,000 feet with no dive brakes--especially with that 1550 lb torpedo--the speed would have increased to beyond Vne in short order. (Remember when you kept harping on the fact that the TBD in only a 45 deg dive, would quickly accelerate beyond Vne?)

A TAS of 330 to 360 mph is also possible with the dive brakes deployed


At 360 mph TAS with dive brakes, the Vne of 300 mph IAS would be exceeded at 12,500 feet. At 330 mph TAS with dive brakes, that 300 mph IAS would be exceeded at 6700 feet. In the first case, a Vne dive with dive brakes could not be made below 12,500 feet. In the second case, over half the dive from 12,000 feet would remain when speed would have to be reduced. Either the pull-up would would have to be initiated too high, or the speed would have to be significantly reduced during a major portion of the dive.

...and 385mph is certainly possible in dives from higher altitudes


Not below 17,000 feet with dive brakes without exceeding Vne, and what good is diving from so high at 385 mph on a dive- or torpedo-bombing mission when speed has to be constantly reduced after passing through 17,000 feet? Also, 17000 feet is about the service ceiling of the Barracuda.

Without dive brakes, a dive at 385 mph TAS the Vne of 360 mph (is that 360 mph Vne with a torpedo attached?) would be exceeded at 5000 feet. At 8000 feet, the TAS would be 400 mph at Vne. I don't believe dives at over 400 mph in a plane like the Barracuda are practical even though theoretically possible. Even if the dive brakes were retracted, a speed of 385 mph would have to be progressively lowered below 5000 feet to maintain Vne. This is also not practical because it would result in an extended dive at Vne. And again, diving without dive brakes on a torpedo mission would violate doctrine.

The FB was designed in response to a 1937 air ministry specification which was not even published in its entirety until early 1938 (6 Jan.). The first prototype flew in Dec 1940, but was then extensively redesigned and the 2nd prototype didn't fly until 29 June 1941, and the first production FBI was 18 May 1942, and the first production FBII was 26 Dec 1942. The type was known by name to the public in 1943, but no official information regarding appearance and performance was released until spring 1944 (hence the above article, which doesn't mention the FBII by name or show photos. The Flightglobal archive has no mention of the aircraft until 1943 and no photos until 1944...


So, you admit that the Barracuda was not a "new type torpedo bombing monoplane." Photographs and information on the plane may not have been released until spring 1944, but the design was, by that time, seven years old, the prototype had already flown over three years earlier, and the public was already aware of it for over a year. Hardly a new type in the spring of 1944--not even new to the public, who, as stated, were well aware of its existence.

The fact that a dive of ~30 seconds is referred to as a few seconds is simply journalistic license.


As is much of those articles you cite.

An aircraft which is diving, and levels off at a few hundred feet, might also be stated to have pulled out at a few hundred feet. Technically, until the aircraft levels off, it
is still diving.


I agree, but in an example you gave in a much earlier posting, your source said that the vertical dive had been "held" until 200 feet above the water. You accepted that without question and cited that source as proving your point--physics and aeronautical principles be damned. (That was one of those issues about which you never acknowledged being wrong). At a 300 mph IAS vertical dive speed (i.e. Vne with dive brakes), a 6g pull-out would have to be initiated at 1200 feet in order to be level at 200 feet.

#822 Lightning

Lightning

    Forum Guru

  • Forum Guru
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,723 posts
  • Joined 10 Years, 3 Months and 10 Days
  • 44 topics

Posted 28 January 2012 - 06:13 PM

The FAA didn't engage in area bombing of industrial complexes. They tried to hit key components of individual industrial targets such as the cracking plants and storage tanks of oil refineries.


No, you're just stating another one of your assumptions as if it were fact. How on Earth could you possibly know whether the FAA ever bombed any industrial complexes or not? Did the Barracudas ever bomb land targets? Did they ever bomb the Japanese mainland? How big/small does an industrial target have to be to be called a complex? A small target composed of only two or three separated buildings is a complex.

"Tank farms" composed of dozens of individual tanks full of fuel and oil are certainly area targets. Are you saying that an Avenger flying over such a target and releasing a stick of
four 500 lb bombs at predetermined intervals cannot destroy a greater number of such tanks and cause more damage than a dive bomber dropping half, or even as many, bombs in a concentrated pattern? Have you ever actually seen a cracking plant? They're a complex maze of buildings, pipes, tanks, etc. that cover a considerable area. Do you think that there is only one key element to be destroyed? Common sense answers these questions. When a target, to include key components, is spread out, it is more vulnerable to such area bombing. Again, the only thing you can think of as an arguing point is dive bombing. The diminution of the importance of dive bombing as the war progressed into its later stages has already been addressed.

Many of the bombing attacks on the Japanese mainland were carried out by swarms of Avengers flying in close formation and releasing their bomb loads in unison. Their superior range and speed while carrying heavy bomb loads and long-range drop tanks made them better for the task than the Barracuda. The fact is, they had the capability for such missions that the Barracuda simply did not have.

The whole point of dive bombing is to plant bombs precisely on individudual docks, buildings, locomotives, rail lines, turn tables etc etc. The idea that any naval strike has
enough load capacity for saturation bombing is laughable.



Don't laugh too hard, unless it's at yourself. When you can't quote me as having actually said something you can dispute, you try to attribute to me statements that were never made. You know that I never even implied that the Avenger ever engaged in "saturation bombing." Area bombing is not restricted to either saturation-, or carpet-bombing. You're so transparent!

Why in god's name would a force of dive bombers attacking any dispersed target, plant all their bombs at "one point"? Describing airfields, marshalling yards and large factory buildings as a similar target to a troop concentration is bizarre.


As usual, you try to distort the point. That "one point" refers to one dive bomber as opposed to one low-level bomber. If you're going to destroy a relatively large spread-
out target such as you name above, it would take significantly more dive bombers to do the job than it would low-level attack planes bombing in the way described. Use your common sense.

Again, you are purposely mis-stating what I said! Can't you accurately read??? I clearly stated that "troop concentrations, dispersed fighting positions, etc" are area targets, and they are! It's not that you can't understand, its that you don't want to understand!

The idea that attacking industrial targets with anti-personnel bombs is also so laughable that I ignored it.


I can almost hear your forced, silly laughter as you continue to try to misrepresent what I have written. Only someone that is purposely being disingenuous would interpret what I wrote in the way that you present it here. If I were you, I'd be ashamed to allow myself to appear so incapable of understanding something so obviously clear. And you do it over and over again! And don't make the childish retort that it is because I can't express myself well! I'll leave that determination up to the other members of our forum. I'll wager that none of them have any difficulty understanding exactly what I wrote--a wager that I would win hands down!

Just in case you really can't grasp something so simple, I'll go over it again. Area targets that are composed of such things as airfields, railroad marshalling yards, large factory
buildings, and loading docks are engaged with, but not restricted to, a spread of demolition bombs. Area targets that are composed of numbers of personnel, such as troop concentrations, dispersed fighting positions, troops advancing along a wide front, etc. are engaged with a spread of anti-personnel bombs. Add to that "etc." category "contonment areas"--You do know what a contonment area is, don't you? (Hmmm. Maybe not.)

There, now. That isn't so hard, is it it? (Hmmm. Maybe it.... Naw!)

#823 dunmunro1

dunmunro1

    Regular Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPip
  • 499 posts
  • Joined 8 Years, 5 Months and 20 Days
  • 3 topics

Posted 28 January 2012 - 09:26 PM

[quote name='Lightning']Being the most important does not require being the most numerous nor does it require complete replacement of the lesser aircraft before becoming the most important. The fact that the Avenger was overall better than the Barracuda and that this was recognized by the FAA to the extent that it was decided to replace the latter with the former was quite sufficient.

The primary job of carrier combat aircraft is to attack and destroy the enemy wherever he is found. Carrier attack planes are often within range of targets that cannot be reached by land-based aircraft. In this respect, they are an extension of air power The Avenger was more capable than the Barracuda of doing this in an overall way, and in the last phase of the war, due to the improvements to the Mk XIII torpedo, its original potential as a torpedo bomber was finally realized, and it was therefore better in this role than the Barracuda.[/QUOTE]

The attacks on Tirpitz and the antishipping strikes in Norway, all in 1944-45 were all carried by FBIIs. AFAIK, the RN never attacked a single naval target (other than subs) with the Avenger. To say that the Avenger was more capable and more important than the FBII is obviously untrue. The RN simply didn't trust the Avenger as capable of attacking naval targets, and neither did the USN until there was less than a year left in the war. The Avenger was never trusted to attack the enemy wherever he was found, as it was incapable of accurate bombing of naval targets, and even when made reliable a 33 knot torpedo will never match the accuracy of a 40+ knot weapon.



[QUOTE]The Avenger had far-better performance than the Barracuda. Because of this superiority, it could attack the enemy sooner, at greater range, and, because of its more-varied and heavier weapons array, with more lethality. It was a far-better low-level attacker due to its speed in the attack, its ruggedness, and its weapons. It was better as a level-bomber--at all altitudes. When it had to carry its heavy loads to high altitudes, for instance to attack the enemy on the other side of a mountain range, it could--whereas the Barracuda would be wallowing around and gasping for air down low as it futilely clawed for altitude at its already slower climb rate. And the Avenger could do all these things at distances farther away from its carrier/base than the Barracuda had the capability of reaching. I don't need to explain why superior range, endurance, and payload make for a better ASW aircraft. [/QUOTE]The Avenger was slightly faster in level flight, but it's climb rate was no better than the FBII and it was no where near as manoeuvrable, and was not stressed to anywhere near the same limits as the FBII. Any aircraft stressed for DB attacks will pay a penalty in terms of weight and/or wing area, but again the accuracy of delivery in paramount in a naval strike aircraft, not simple load capacity.


[QUOTE](Oops! I forgot. The Barracuda could dive bomb--That changes everything--Not so fast). I came across this tidbit while reading about the Tirpitz. It's from Tirpitz, The Life and Death of Germany's Last Super Battleship by Niklas Zetterling & Machael Tamelander, page 267:

"Of course, with its 60 degree maximum dive angle it was not a genuine dive bomber. Perhaps calling it a glider bomber might be more appropriate."

Of course you'll counter by citing that "Flying Magazine" article written by a foreign correspondent. Such writers, although they do their best at accuracy, are usually not experts on the numerous subjects they are assigned to cover, and they are writing to meet a deadline and don't have time to adequately do research. The author(s) of a book, on the other hand, are usually experts on their subject and do have time to research it before submitting the manuscript. One of these authors made a 15-deg error. I think it is more likely to have been the magazine writer.
[/QUOTE]The only time the FBII was limited to 60 deg dives was when it was carrying centreline ordnance on a DB mission. Most of the FBIIs that attacked Tirpitz, for example, carried wing mounted bombs and could dive at 75 degrees. However, during the first attack on Tirpitz (and Tirpitz was not anchored but underway) 10 FBIIs were equipped with 1 x 1600lb bomb each and scored 4 hits. When carrying torpedoes or wing mounted bombs the FBII could dive at ~75 degrees like any other DB.

Again, you imply that the author of the Flying Magazine article fabricated his story...:( You call him a liar yet piously claim not to...:rolleyes:


[QUOTE]This brings up an issue that bears consideration. If the Barracuda was designed to be a vertical dive bomber, why wasn't it built, or at least retrofitted, with a bomb swing? It seems strange that the lack of this feature prevented the airplane from using its most-potent dive-bombing weapon--the 1600 lb bomb--in a vertical dive-bombing attack. Maybe Messers. Zetterling and Tamelander were on to something. [/QUOTE]The FBII could carry a wide assortment of wing mounted ordnance including 2, 3 (with asymmetrical loading) or 4 x 500lb bombs, 2 or 3 600lb DCs (also used as anti-personal weapons) or up to 6 x 250lb bombs, or a combination of the above and could carry out DB attacks at ~75degs with any of the above. However, it was still a much more accurate bombing platform when carrying 1600lb bombs on a DB mission, than the Avenger could ever hope to be.


[QUOTE]
Previously crippled targets? At least they were underway and operational. Whenever you read about the Barracuda, about the only thing that consistently comes up is its attacks on the Tirpitz--a ship that had been previously heavily damaged by mines and was at anchor undergoing repairs. The Barracudas had several "shots" at the ship. The first was a surprise attack by 40 of the planes. This was followed by several other attacks by 38 and 34 Barracudas respectively. After attacks by a total of 112 Barracudas, the Tirpitz was still a threat and had to finally be destroyed by Lancasters bombing from high altitude. All while the ship was anchored helplessly in port. Very impressive! [/QUOTE]Right so now Tirpitz, which was repaired, and fully operational, in a heavily defended anchorage equipped with very heavy flak, nearby fighter support and rapid acting smoke screens is downgraded, according to you, to a helpless target swinging at anchor. The facts are simple: The RN had a choice of aircraft to attack Tirpitz and they chose to leave the Avenger on the beach and use the far more effective FBII; nothing can better illustrate the RN's attitude towards the Avenger! The poor performance of the American made 1600lb AP bombs spared Tirpitz from suffering much greater damage.



[QUOTE]Could the Avenger have done better? Probably not at that stage of the war and under those circumstances, but then the Barracuda could probably not have done as well as the Avenger against those Japanese capital ships late in the war. [/QUOTE]The fact that the Avenger could not match the FBII prior to late 1944 (when the IJN was no longer a serious threat) is so obvious and self evident that even you have no choice but to admit it, but the 2nd half of your statement is patently untrue and their is simply no evidence for that statement. The FBII would have done much better on the missions where the Avenger was armed with bombs and at least as good, and almost certainly better, during the TB missions. Overall, the available data suggest that the FBII would still have been far more effective even after the USN torpedo problems were finally sorted out.



[QUOTE]Eric Brown on the Barracuda:

So the Barracuda had good handling qualities during normal flight. So what? I don't doubt it. Some other less-than-steller combat airplanes of the war had beautiful handling qualities in normal flight but, when engaged in their combat roles, were markedly inferior to others that that did not handle nearly as well in cruising flight.[/QUOTE]The Avenger is a perfect exampleand "...when engaged in their combat roles, were markedly inferior to others that that did not handle nearly as well in cruising flight..."

[QUOTE]"Good turn of speed in diving"? Rather tepid, don't you think? Doesn't sound like 385 mph in a 75 deg dive to me.

Very poor takeoff and very good landing qualities? Sounds like a wash to me. I can't see why you used this quote to make your point. It actually does just the opposite![/QUOTE]Brown was describing the FBI (of which only 30 were ever built) with a 1300hp engine. He states quite clearly the 1640hp Merlin 32 greatly improved the TO performance of the FBII. However, according to RAE testing even the FB1 was almost as fast as the Avenger IC: Trials of the Mk 1 at Boscombe Down in October 1941 showed a weight of 12,820 lb (5,830 kg) when equipped with 1,566 lb (712 kg) torpedo; at this weight the Mk 1 showed a maximum speed of 251 mph (405 km/h) at 10,900 ft (3322 m) versus 252 mph for the TBFIC at 4200ft @ 16000lbs. (Secret Years) The problem with many stated performance figures for the FBII is that they often state performance figures for the FBII with the engine at it normal rated output rather than with the WEP output of 1640hp.

[QUOTE]Another quote by Eric Brown--one that relates to your interminable extolling of the Barracuda's dive-bombing ability:


Since Brown also flew the Barracuda (see your earlier quote), this, in essence, says that it could not dive vertically--and probably at not more than about 60 deg. This agrees with Messrs. Zetterling & Tameland above and therefore substantially weakens your contentions of the Barracuda's advantage over the Avenger because it could dive bomb--its only advantage, and the one on which you have mainly based your argument. [/QUOTE]"....in the dive speed [with a dive brake] was slow to build up and a very steep angle was possible- 70 to 80 degrees..." Brown, Wings of the Navy, p107.



[QUOTE]"Probably"? Another assumption not based in fact! Those figures (i.e. 75 fighters and 23 bombers destroyed) come from Naval Aviation Combat Statistics - WW II; OPNAV-P-23V; 17 June 1946. They are not claims.[/QUOTE]Of course they are "claims" and not verified kills. The USN never attempted to correlate kill claims with IJNAF losses on an individual aircraft basis. 98 kill claims form ~46000 sorties...not too impressive is it?

[QUOTE]Since the Avenger was a torpedo bomber, a strike bomber, an ASW aircraft, an EW aircraft, etc. common sense should tell you that the overwhelming number of those missions did not involve aerial combat with other aircraft. It was never intended to be a fighter or interceptor, so it did not seek out those fighters and bombers as its intended targets. They were encountered during the conduct of missions in keeping with the roles mentioned above.[/QUOTE]Exactly, and the overwhelming majority of the time carrying all those guns and ammo was simply a waste of load capacity.

[QUOTE]If arming the Avenger was a waste of time, the naval air experts would have recognized it. The only gun that was removed was the ventral .30 cal. The forward-firing armament was increased from one .30 cal synchronized cowl gun to two .50 cal wing guns firing outside the propeller arc. The defensive turret armament was also increased from one to two .50 cal. Obviously, if operational experience had shown the existing armament to be a "waste of time," the foregoing improvements would not have been undertaken.
[/QUOTE]
"...common sense should tell you that the overwhelming number of those missions did not involve aerial combat with other aircraft."


[QUOTE]By the way, how many aerial kills did the Barracuda have--especially of fighters? [/QUOTE]I don't know and it really doesn't matter, since statistically the number would be insignificant.



[QUOTE]Tillman states:



Another silly editorial comment (notice the use of the word "clearly" when it is no such thing). In it you imply (1)that the Swordfish and the Albacore were superior to both the Barracuda and the Avenger (2)that the Avenger was a dangerous aircraft to fly. NONSENSE ON BOTH COUNTS, and you know it! [/QUOTE]When operating from CVEs both the Swordfish and Albacore were superior to either the TBF or FBII in terms of aircraft landing and TO safety. That the Avenger was dangerous to operate from CVEs is an established fact and RN aircrews also encountered severe problems with the TBF when trying to fly from CVEs in light winds and preferred the Swordfish, as we have previously discussed.



[QUOTE]"The 27 TBFs sustained 10 losses to all causes, very few of which
were combat related.
In fact, the 37 per cent loss rate was the highest
of any navy aircraft engaged in Torch, and was mainly attributed to the
relative inexperience of the escort scouting pilots....
"


You're admitting that (1) the Avenger was able to fly combat missions without high losses, and (2) that the losses that were incurred were due to inexperienced pilots--not to any deficiencies in the airplane. [/QUOTE]These were combat missions; the aircraft were trying to support an Allied landing! If there had been more severe opposition TBF losses would have been even higher. The fact is that the TBF could not operate safely from CVEs, under all conditions is a simple fact.





[QUOTE]And your point? The vast majority of Avengers were deployed on USN carriers in all major theaters. During the last 16 months of hostilities, the torpedo bomber squadrons of the fleet carriers of the British Pacific Fleet were re-equipped with Grumman Avengers. This was due to the performance of the Barracuda being insufficient.

Those numbers you quote include September 1945. The Avengers in British service decreased rapidly after VJ day (August 14, 1945), but on VJ day, the BPF had five Avenger squadrons and only four Barracuda squadrons on its carriers. [/QUOTE]The war ended in August 1945. The BPF did not fully convert to TBFs until October 1944, and by mid 1945 the TBF itself was being passed over for strike missions in favour of the Firefly and F4U. Like the Seafire III the FBII was handicapped, not so much by it's inherent performance problems, but by the lack of well developed ancillary systems such as effective drop tanks. By utilizing a DT design that was available from 1941 (the 90 gallon P40 DT), the Seafire greatly increased it's operational efficiency and usefulness. Similarly, the FBII needed a lightweight DT with 45-90 gallon capacity to allow it to fly longer range missions with a reduced ordnance load. The data from Philippine Sea is very clear that SB2C DB attacks, were far more accurate then level or GB TBF attacks, and the FBII was at least as good a DB than the SB2C and probably better.



[QUOTE]You're getting more laughable by the minute! Which niche are you talking about? Strike bomber, level bomber, torpedo bomber, ASW, EW? After all, it could perform all these roles equally well and perform them better than the Barracuda.

Failed weapons system? That's your convenient little code phrase for "defective torpedo" which you know has nothing to do with the aircraft itself. What about the real weapons systems mentioned in the foregoing paragraph? And even regarding the torpedo, once the improved Mk XIII became available, the Avenger was a more effective torpedo bomber than the Barracuda. [/QUOTE]I have repeatedly pointed out that when the Mk XIII proved to be useless, that the TBF was unable to carry out bombing attacks against naval targets with sufficient accuracy to make flying those missions worthwhile except that nothing better was available. As a "weapons system" the TBF did not have the flexibility to change attack modes while retaining sufficient effectiveness. The data from the Philippine Sea is very clear. The TBF was a hopeless platform for making bombing attacks against surface ship targets; IT WAS A FAILURE AS A WEAPONS SYSTEM! Both the RN and USN knew this, but the USN had no choice but to continue to employ the TBF as the SB2C was also a very marginal aircraft, and was also very late on the scene.





[QUOTE]And all that ordnance load--that was less than the Avenger's in both weight and diversity--was carried externally, out in the air stream where it caused tremendous drag.

The Avenger carried the improved Mk XIII torpedo that weighed 2216 lb. That in itself was 216 lb heavier than the Barracuda's bomb load of 4 x 500 lb, and 666 lb heavier than the Barracuda's Mk 12 torpedo.

The FB V was a non-entity as far as WWII is concerned. Only 37 examples were built before war's end, and none of them flew operational missions. If you insist on including it in the discussion, then the post-war variants of the Avenger must also be considered, and , anyway, they replaced the remaining Barracudas post war.



But the FB II could not conduct torpedo attacks at the speed and altitude that the Avenger, with the improved Mk XIII torpedo, could.[/QUOTE]Yes carrying wing mounted ordnance degraded performance, although centreline ordnance had little effect. However against most land based targets that the USN attacked (mainly island airfields, beachheads, and close support missions with the carriers nearby) the effective bomb load of the TBF and FBII would have been the same or nearly the same but the FBII would have delivered its payload with far greater accuracy and since IJN/IJAAF fighter opposition was minimal, most of the time, the lower speeds of the FBII, with maximum wing mounted ordnance, would not have been an issue. The FBII could have carried a 2216lb torpedo but would have had to reduce the fuel load to do so; the FBII with full fuel and a 1650lb torpedo weighed 13900lb, and max TO was 14250lb, so a reduction in fuel load of ~30IG would have allowed it to carry the even last version of the MkXIII. The fact is that the FBII could have replaced both the SB2C and TBF if the USN had agreed to mass produce it in the USA, as the RN proposed. If the USA had mass produced the FBII they would have also been able help engineer the needed improvements in DT types, capacity and availability.

As we've discussed the Avenger, with a 33knot torpedo will not match the accuracy of a 40+ knot torpedo. Perhaps if the war hadn't wound down so soon the USN would have brought their 45 knot torpedo into operational use.

Edited by dunmunro1, 28 January 2012 - 09:42 PM.


#824 dunmunro1

dunmunro1

    Regular Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPip
  • 499 posts
  • Joined 8 Years, 5 Months and 20 Days
  • 3 topics

Posted 28 January 2012 - 11:27 PM

That comment is a lie in itself. Saying someone is wrong is not calling them a liar. Embellishment during wartime for propaganda or morale purposes is not lying. You, and everybody else here, know that I have never before called anybody in this forum a liar--not in eight years; not in over 2500 postings, and not in hundreds of threads. If you want to make a statement, at least be accurate in your wording, and quit trying to put words in the mouths of others.


"Embellishment" is simply another term for lying.

He was being given a demonstration of torpedo bombing as carried out by the FAA. Such a demonstration, being given to a member of the US press and in full view of official FAA observers on the ships, would have been conducted according to FAA doctrine, which you admit called for diving with dive brakes extended. The writer, whether he was in the aircraft or not, described the procedure according to that doctrine, and his description includes retraction of the dive brakes toward the end of the dive, clearly indicating that the dive was to be conducted with extended dive brakes. Do you really believe that the pilot would violate doctrine with an audience of his superiors watching while he flew a civilian foreign correspondent in an extended high-speed dive without dive brakes at 385 mph from 12,000 feet all the while putting the plane, the correspondent, and himself in danger of having a wing failure? Can you imagine the public relations disaster throughout the US had that correspondent been killed under those circumstances?

Also, you state that the correspondent observed a speed of 385 mph. If he truly observed that speed, it had to be on the airspeed indicator i.e. it was indicated
airspeed
. That would equate to a TAS of 454 mph at 12,000 ft and 418 mph at 6000 ft! This is obviously ridiculous, so there is no way that he "observed" a speed of 385 mph--dive brakes or not.

Again, you now accuse the author of actually fabricating the entire story! You also add a number of things to the author's flight which he doesn't state, namely that his flight was abnormal in any way, or was being given special scrutiny; you simply don't know that, and shouldn't be using your own assumptions to challenge the author. I have quoted other authors, such as Wallace in Carrier Observer to show that making DB profile TB attacks without dive brakes was a common practice. The Secret Years states that the FBII could be dived at any angle without exceeding the IAS limitations with any possible weapon load, even without the use of dive brakes. In fact, after reading about the early problems encountered with trim changes while using dive brakes during TB attacks, it is quite likely that the pilot opted not to use them, especially with a civilian journalist aboard. Everything about the account in Flying Magazine is within the flying limitations in the FBII Pilot's Notes and squares with the operational use of the aircraft as described by Wallace.


The author was a correspondent for Flying Magazine, not the Ladies Home Journal, and as such can be expected to be fully conversant with aviation and would know how to translate IAS to TAS. RAE testing of the FBI, which was somewhat lighter than the FBII, showed that 350mph (TAS) was possible in a dive with wing mounted ordnance but the problem was not (and never was) excessive speed since it proved impossible to exceed the IAS limitations in dives even with maximum centre line ordnance



If that plane were put into an extended 75 deg dive at 12,000 feet with no dive brakes--especially with that 1550 lb torpedo--the speed would have increased to beyond Vne in short order. (Remember when you kept harping on the fact that the TBD in only a 45 deg dive, would quickly accelerate beyond Vne?)



At 360 mph TAS with dive brakes, the Vne of 300 mph IAS would be exceeded at 12,500 feet. At 330 mph TAS with dive brakes, that 300 mph IAS would be exceeded at 6700 feet. In the first case, a Vne dive with dive brakes could not be made below 12,500 feet. In the second case, over half the dive from 12,000 feet would remain when speed would have to be reduced. Either the pull-up would would have to be initiated too high, or the speed would have to be significantly reduced during a major portion of the dive.

According to The Secret Years, The maximum TAS encountered in the FBI at 12820lb (with a torpedo) was 330-350mph (TAS) w/o dive brakes and 280 mph (IAS) with air brakes deployed however the altitudes were not stated for the IAS speeds. The FBII was also unable to exceed VNE even without dive brakes being deployed, but being ~1000lb heavier was somewhat faster in a dive.

Not below 17,000 feet with dive brakes without exceeding Vne, and what good is diving from so high at 385 mph on a dive- or torpedo-bombing mission when speed has to be constantly reduced after passing through 17,000 feet? Also, 17000 feet is about the service ceiling of the Barracuda.

Without dive brakes, a dive at 385 mph TAS the Vne of 360 mph (is that 360 mph Vne with a torpedo attached?) would be exceeded at 5000 feet. At 8000 feet, the TAS would be 400 mph at Vne. I don't believe dives at over 400 mph in a plane like the Barracuda are practical even though theoretically possible. Even if the dive brakes were retracted, a speed of 385 mph would have to be progressively lowered below 5000 feet to maintain Vne. This is also not practical because it would result in an extended dive at Vne. And again, diving without dive brakes on a torpedo mission would violate doctrine.

The service ceiling of the FBII was 21,600ft at 14,080lb (achieved with 4 x 450lb wing mounted DCs Wings of the navy). Service ceiling at ~13900lb (full fuel and torpedo) would be higher, and at 1/2 fuel would probably reach ~25000ft. Effective ceiling at 14,250lb was ~15000ft (RAE testing) but this represents a considerable overload and was achieved with maximum wing mounted ordnance for increased drag, while the climb rate would have been higher than at the 100fpm at max service ceiling. Of course climbing to these altitudes at max weight would have reduced range considerably, but a climb at target distance, when the aircraft was lighter would have presented few difficulties.

The FBII was a draggy airframe. As I've explained it was impossible to exceed the VNE with any weapons load, with or without the dive brakes. Drag sometimes has it's advantages.

So, you admit that the Barracuda was not a "new type torpedo bombing monoplane." Photographs and information on the plane may not have been released until spring 1944, but the design was, by that time, seven years old, the prototype had already flown over three years earlier, and the public was already aware of it for over a year. Hardly a new type in the spring of 1944--not even new to the public, who, as stated, were well aware of its existence.

The FAA design specification was "seven years old" not the FB design! as it must have taken at least two years to finalize the initial design phase, the initial prototype of the FBI/II did fly about 3 years before the article was written, but the FBII had only been in service for about 1 year at the time of the article being written. Again it was a new design (the newest in fact) in FAA service.

At a 300 mph IAS vertical dive speed (i.e. Vne with dive brakes), a 6g pull-out would have to be initiated at 1200 feet in order to be level at 200 feet.

Yes, and that's why the FBII had to be much more highly stressed than the TBF.

Edited by dunmunro1, 29 January 2012 - 01:32 AM.


#825 dunmunro1

dunmunro1

    Regular Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPip
  • 499 posts
  • Joined 8 Years, 5 Months and 20 Days
  • 3 topics

Posted 29 January 2012 - 12:19 AM

No, you're just stating another one of your assumptions as if it were fact. How on Earth could you possibly know whether the FAA ever bombed any industrial complexes or not?


Umm...:o...reading.


Did the Barracuda ever bomb land targets? Did they ever bomb the Japanese mainland? How big/small does an industrial target have to be to be called a complex? A small target composed of only two or three separated buildings is a complex.


The FBII bombed the Indaroeng Cement Plant, "...the only source of cement in South East Asia..." on 24 August 1944 and the FBII DB attacks "...achieved a high standard of bombing accuracy..." (Hobbes, The BPF, p52-53)The FBII was used against a wide variety of land based targets in 1944 and made its last strikes with the BEF/BPF on Oct 19 1944, 10 months prior to war's end.

"Tank farms" composed of dozens of individual tanks full of fuel and oil are certainly area targets. Are you saying that an Avenger flying over such a target and releasing a stick of
four 500 lb bombs at predetermined intervals cannot destroy a greater number of such tanks and cause more damage than a dive bomber dropping half, or even as many, bombs in a concentrated pattern? Have you ever actually seen a cracking plant? They're a complex maze of buildings, pipes, tanks, etc. that cover a considerable area. Do you think that there is only one key element to be destroyed? Common sense answers these questions. When a target, to include key components, is spread out, it is more vulnerable to such area bombing. Again, the only thing you can think of as an arguing point is dive bombing. The diminution of the importance of dive bombing as the war progressed into its later stages has already been addressed.


Absolutely and positively a DB could do more damage to oil tanks or cracking plants because each bomb released has a much high probability of striking the intended target, instead of empty ground (or water). Oil storage tanks, for example are usually surrounded by earthen walls intended to shield them from all but direct hits. Given that the FBII could put ~40% of it's ordnance onto a moving target measuring 800 x 120ft, we can safely assume that static oil storage tanks with a similar surface area would be hit with even higher precision, and that nearly 100% accuracy would be achieved against a cracking plant. If the Avenger could achieve better accuracy than the FBII, then the RN would have used it during the Tirpitz strikes but it couldn't and the RN didn't.

Many of the bombing attacks on the Japanese mainland were carried out by swarms of Avengers flying in close formation and releasing their bomb loads in unison. Their superior range and speed while carrying heavy bomb loads and long-range drop tanks made them better for the task than the Barracuda. The fact is, they had the capability for such missions that the Barracuda simply did not have.


Yes, and the Norden bomb site could hit a pickle barrel from 20,000ft...:rolleyes: Sorry, but the sad fact is that formation level bombing was woefully inaccurate, even with 4 engined heavies with 4 or 8 times the bomb load.



Don't laugh too hard, unless it's at yourself. When you can't quote me as having actually said something you can dispute, you try to attribute to me statements that were never made. You know that I never even implied that the Avenger ever engaged in "saturation bombing." Area bombing is not restricted to either saturation-, or carpet-bombing. You're so transparent!


"Many of the bombing attacks on the Japanese mainland were carried out by swarms of Avengers flying in close formation and releasing their bomb loads in unison."




As usual, you try to distort the point. That "one point" refers to one dive bomber as opposed to one low-level bomber. If you're going to destroy a relatively large spread-
out target such as you name above, it would take significantly more dive bombers to do the job than it would low-level attack planes bombing in the way described. Use your common sense.


Common sense says that the aircraft that has a smaller CEP will place more bombs on the target.

#826 Lightning

Lightning

    Forum Guru

  • Forum Guru
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,723 posts
  • Joined 10 Years, 3 Months and 10 Days
  • 44 topics

Posted 05 February 2012 - 10:31 AM

[quote name='dunmunro1']The attacks on Tirpitz and the antishipping strikes in Norway, all in 1944-45 were all carried by FBIIs. AFAIK, the RN never attacked a single naval target (other than subs) with the Avenger. To say that the Avenger was more capable and more important than the FBII is obviously untrue. The RN simply didn't trust the Avenger as capable of attacking naval targets, and neither did the USN until there was less than a year left in the war. The Avenger was never trusted to attack the enemy wherever he was found, as it was incapable of accurate bombing of naval targets, and even when made reliable a 33 knot torpedo will never match the accuracy of a 40+ knot weapon.[/quote]

More assumptions presented as fact: The RN didn't trust the Avenger? Where have you ever seen that in writing in any reasonably reliable reference? The USN didn't trust the Avenger? Balderdash! Incapable of accurate bombing? Just incapable of steep dive bombing. A dive bomber has better accuracy on a pin-point target, but that does not mean that low-level glide bombing is not accurate. Also, low-level bombing is more effective than dive bombing in cases other than pin-point targets, and the Avenger was a better level bomber--at any altitude. Furthermore, because of its greater speed, it was a more effective skip bomber, not to mention being a better ground-support attacker with its machine guns, bomb load, and rocket fire.

Speaking of trust, I guess that, when all those Barracudas in the Pacific were replaced by Avengers, the RN was really displaying its trust in the Barracuda and its distrust of the Avenger. This came about as the result of the Barracuda's inability to adequately perform its mission because of speed, altitude, and range deficiencies. The Avenger, on the other hand, was doing just fine in both the RN and the USN--those navies that didn't "trust" it. And even on VJ Day, those "untrusted Avengers" still outnumbered those "trusted Barracudas" on RN carriers. Oh, by the way, the RN must have really liked the Avenger since they not only got them from the USN but they also had some of them transferred from the New Zealand Air Force. Gee, all of that from a plane that nobody "trusted."

As to that statement about the accuracy of a 40 kt vs a 33 kt torpedo, you fail to realize that speed alone does not determine accuracy. Even more important, that improved 33 kt Mk XIII torpedo, when launched at 260 kt and 800 feet, covered 1000 yards of the total range to the target in the air. It then hit the water only 400 yards from the target and traveled at that 33kts through the water for only 400 yards. It traveled in the air almost as far as that 40 kt torpedo traveled through the water--and at a much higher speed. The USN torpedo-attack tables also provided for Avenger attacks from 800 feet and 280 kt which would allow launching from a longer range and give an even greater range/speed advantage to the Avenger using the improved Mk XIII.

[quote]The Avenger was slightly faster in level flight, but it's climb rate was no better than the FBII and it was no where near as manoeuvrable, and was not stressed to anywhere near the same limits as the FBII. Any aircraft stressed for DB attacks will pay a penalty in terms of weight and/or wing area, but again the accuracy of delivery in paramount in a naval strike aircraft, not simple load capacity.[/quote]

Read source after reference after source, and see how the specifications of the two aircraft match up. Then read some more and do the same thing again. Then come back and say that those sources/references are "pure fiction" and tell us how the TBM really underperformed all those published specifications and how the Barracuda really exceeded them.


[quote]The only time the FBII was limited to 60 deg dives was when it was carrying centreline ordnance on a DB mission. Most of the FBIIs that attacked Tirpitz, for example, carried wing mounted bombs and could dive at 75 degrees. However, during the first attack on Tirpitz (and Tirpitz was not anchored but underway) 10 FBIIs were equipped with 1 x 1600lb bomb each and scored 4 hits. When carrying torpedoes or wing mounted bombs the FBII could dive at ~75 degrees like any other DB.[/quote]


03 April 1944: At 0528, Tirpitz is attacked by 40 bombers from the carriers Victorious, Furious, Emperor, Searcher, Fencer, and Pursuer. She is hit by 10 bombs of 225 kg and 4 of 775 kg. 132 dead and 316 wounded. At 0636 there is a second wave with no success.

The first wave struck at 05:29, as tugs were preparing to assist the ship out of her mooring. The second wave arrived over the target an hour later, shortly after 06:30. She was obviously at her mooring when attacked, and she would never have been able to slip her moorings, be tugged out to open water, and get underway in only 1:08 before the second wave attacked.

"Like any other DB"? According to Eric Brown, very few dive bombers could dive beyond 60 degrees. Brown's comment was not about the Barracuda Mk I but was a general statement addressing dive bombers in general. The Barracuda could dive bomb, but it was not among the best dive bombers of the war, and only a few of them could dive more steeply than 60 degrees.

[quote]Again, you imply that the author of the Flying Magazine article fabricated his story...:( You call him a liar yet piously claim not to...:rolleyes:[/quote]

Again, "embellishing" a story for propaganda or morale purposes is not lying. It has been done in news reports long before, during, after WWII and is still being done. You know that, don't you? At least you should know it.

[quote]The FBII could carry a wide assortment of wing mounted ordnance including 2, 3 (with asymmetrical loading) or 4 x 500lb bombs, 2 or 3 600lb DCs (also used as anti-personal weapons) or up to 6 x 250lb bombs, or a combination of the above and could carry out DB attacks at ~75degs with any of the above. However, it was still a much more accurate bombing platform when carrying 1600lb bombs on a DB mission, than the Avenger could ever hope to be.[/quote]

The Avenger could carry more ordnance, of greater variety, at a higher speed, at a higher altitude, and over a greater range than the Barracuda. The later variants had hard points on the wings that could carry either drop-tanks or bombs. They also had launching-stubs that accommodated eight air-surface rockets. I won't waste time listing all of the various weapons combinations that were capable of being carried, much of which was carried in an enclosed bomb bay.

"Could ever hope to be"? More hyperbole!

[quote]Right so now Tirpitz, which was repaired, and fully operational, in a heavily defended anchorage equipped with very heavy flak, nearby fighter support and rapid acting smoke screens is downgraded, according to you, to a helpless target swinging at anchor.[/quote]

The attack consisted of 40 Barracuda dive-bombers carrying 1,600-pound (730 kg) armor-piercing bombs and 40 escorting fighters in two waves, scoring fifteen [14?] direct hits and two near misses.The aircraft achieved surprise, and only one was lost in the first wave; it took twelve to fourteen minutes for all of Tirpitz's antiaircraft batteries to be fully manned...The second wave arrived over the target an hour later, shortly after 06:30. Despite the alertness of the German antiaircraft gunners, only one other bomber was shot down. (See Wiki)

Like I said, a surprise attack. And the second wave? No longer a surprise, but only one Barracuda shot down. Where was all that "very heavy flak"? Where were all those "supporting fighters"?

03 April 1944: At 0528, Tirpitz is attacked by 40 bombers from the carriers Victorious, Furious, Emperor, Searcher, Fencer, and Pursuer. She is hit by 10 bombs of 225 kg and 4 of 775 kg. 132 dead and 316 wounded. At 0636 there is a second wave with no success.

22 August 1944: Attacked by 32 Barracudas from carriers Indefatigable, Furious, Formidable, Nabob, and Trumpeter with no success.

24 August 1944: Attacked by 33 Barracudas from carriers Indefatigable, Furious, and Formidable. Two hits. 8 dead and 13 wounded.

29 August 1944: Attacked by 26 Barracudas, with no success.

http://www.kbismarck.com/tirpitz.html


[Quote]The facts are simple: The RN had a choice of aircraft to attack Tirpitz and they chose to leave the Avenger on the beach and use the far more effective FBII; nothing can better illustrate the RN's attitude towards the Avenger! The poor performance of the American made 1600lb AP bombs spared Tirpitz from suffering much greater damage.[/Quote]

The "facts" are not simple, but your motives are quite clear: There are many reasons for wartime decisions, and you don't know which ones were considered here. How many Avengers were available? Where were they located? How experienced were the Barracuda pilots as opposed to their Avenger counterparts? And now the failure to sink the Tirpitz after so many attacks is blamed on the American bombs being no good! Let's see, now: The American Avenger was no good. The American 1600 lb bomb was no good. The poor Americans! Think how much quicker the war would have been won were it not for those Americans and their poor-performing weapons!

[quote]The fact that the Avenger could not match the FBII prior to late 1944 (when the IJN was no longer a serious threat) is so obvious and self evident that even you have no choice but to admit it, but the 2nd half of your statement is patently untrue and their is simply no evidence for that statement. The FBII would have done much better on the missions where the Avenger was armed with bombs and at least as good, and almost certainly better, during the TB missions. Overall, the available data suggest that the FBII would still have been far more effective even after the USN torpedo problems were finally sorted out.[/quote]

More editorial comment. "Fact"?--No fact at all--only your opinion. "Obvious and self-evident"?--Only to you. "Would have"?--Says who? You, and only you! "Almost certainly"?--Not certain at all.--Again, only your opinion."Suggest?--You've made a lot of suggestions that you present as unsubstantiated facts."Would still have been
"?--More speculation! These terms certainly have their place in any discussion, but you over-use them when trying to pass off your opinions as facts. Your arguments then become, in essence, "shoulda, coulda, woulda."

[quote]The Avenger is a perfect example and "...when engaged in their combat roles, were markedly inferior to others that that did not handle nearly as well in cruising flight..."[/quote]

There goes another unsubstantiated assumption! "Markedly inferior"! The Grumman Avenger? One of the most respected combat planes of WWII! A warplane whose record eclipses that of the Barracuda--both during and, for quite a few years, after the war? Another one of your "facts" that is no doubt published in any number of WWII historical accounts. I challenge you to find one that states this marked inferiority--or inferiority of any degree. You will find just the opposite.

[quote]Brown was describing the FBI (of which only 30 were ever built) with a 1300hp engine. He states quite clearly the 1640hp Merlin 32 greatly improved the TO performance of the FBII. However, according to RAE testing even the FB1 was almost as fast as the Avenger IC: Trials of the Mk 1 at Boscombe Down in October 1941 showed a weight of 12,820 lb (5,830 kg) when equipped with 1,566 lb (712 kg) torpedo; at this weight the Mk 1 showed a maximum speed of 251 mph (405 km/h) at 10,900 ft (3322 m) versus 252 mph for the TBFIC at 4200ft @ 16000lbs. (Secret Years) The problem with many stated performance figures for the FBII is that they often state performance figures for the FBII with the engine at it normal rated output rather than with the WEP output of 1640hp.[/quote]

For one thing, I have consulted numerous references, and they all gave 1640 hp for the Mk II. They also gave top speeds ranging from 210 mph up to 240 mph, with most stating 228 mph. The RN's -1Cs only had 1700 hp. Compare that with 276 mph for the later TBM with the 1900 hp engine. You're not seriously sugesting that the production Barracudas were were only a few mph slower than the production TBMs are you? If you are, you are truly speaking of those "fanasy airplanes" you like to refer to.

Also, you are comparing the speed of the Barracuda at 10,900 ft--far above normal surface-attack altitudes--with that of the Avenger at 4200 ft--much nearer the altitudes most likely to be encountered during such attacks--especially against ships and during island assaults.

[quote]"....in the dive speed [with a dive brake] was slow to build up and a very steep angle was possible- 70 to 80 degrees..." Brown, Wings of the Navy, p107.[/quote]

Per Friedman:

"Friedman makes a few notes about the Barra in British Carrier Aviation--says it was a poor dive bomber due to heavy controls and a tendency to skid in a steep dive with the dive brakes on. Much more satisfactory as a steep glide bomber."

Is Eric Brown contradicting himself? If so, which statement is correct? Forgive me for being skeptical, but I would very much like to see the context from which that incomplete quote was taken.

[quote]Of course they are "claims" and not verified kills. The USN never attempted to correlate kill claims with IJNAF losses on an individual aircraft basis. 98 kill claims form ~46000 sorties...not too impressive is it?[/quote]

The Navy did not compile an official list of aces and their shoot downs, but their scores were "confirmed" victories--not "claims."

The scores achieved by the following fighter pilots were confirmed victories. Had they been claims, their scores would have been much higher:

Top three USN:

D. McCampbell--34 confirmed. Are you suggesting that his actual score was really only 11?
E.Valencia--24 confirmed. Are you suggesting that his actual score was really only 8?
C. Harris--23 confirmed. Are you suggesting that his actual score was only 8?

Top USMC:

J.Foss--26 confirmed. (Gregory "Pappy" Boyington's score of 28 were not all in the USMC--some were with the AVG.) Are you suggesting that Foss's actual score was only 9? Those kills by Boyington in the AVG were also confirmed--The Chinese government paid him $500 apiece for them, and they were not about to pay for "claims."

The USN/USMC pilots were superb. If the actual scores of their best were all below a dozen, that would indicate that they were no better than mediocre-to-average by WWII standards. Don't belittle their achievements by saying that their scores were only one-third of the figures which are published confirmed victories.

[quote]Exactly, and the overwhelming majority of the time carrying all those guns and ammo was simply a waste of load capacity.[/quote]

This is a ridiculous statement. Many fighter pilots in WWII never even saw an enemy plane during their whole combat tour. Were the guns on their fighters a waste of load capacity? Why Did the Barracuda have defensive armament? Why did pilots wear parachutes and Mae Wests? Why did they carry sidearms? The vast majority of them were never shot down. Wasted load capacity?

The Avenger took part in all the major carrier vs carrier battles in the Pacific--including the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot. Are you saying that contact with enemy fighters was not a significant consideration? To fly those planes without defensive armament into areas where contact with fighters was a real danger would have been almost as ridiculous as your statement!

[quote]"...common sense should tell you that the overwhelming number of those missions did not involve aerial combat with other aircraft."[/quote]

But there was clear and present danger that there would be contact with enemy aircraft on any given mission , and for those planes to not have been equipped to defend themselves would have been criminal. See preceding reply.

[quote]I don't know and it really doesn't matter, since statistically the number would be insignificant.[/quote]

The reason it doesn't matter to you is because you don't know.

[quote]When operating from CVEs both the Swordfish and Albacore were superior to either the TBF or FBII in terms of aircraft landing and TO safety. That the Avenger was dangerous to operate from CVEs is an established fact and RN aircrews also encountered severe problems with the TBF when trying to fly from CVEs in light winds and preferred the Swordfish, as we have previously discussed.[/quote]

The Swordfish and the Albacore are not relevant to the current discussion. Granted, the Avenger was less than ideal for operations from short-deck carriers because of its weight and aerodynamic characteristics, but it was those factors that made it the fast, high-flying, long range, heavy-load carrying strike bomber that it was, and it surpassed the Barracuda in all these respects.

Your contention that the Avenger was "dangerous to operate from CVEs" is another one of your attempts to present opinion as fact. Challenging would have been a much better term, but thats not in keeping with your ongoing attempts--no matter how futile--to portray the Avenger as a failed, poor-performing aircraft--something that no sensible person who knows anything about the Avenger's war history would give the slightest bit of credence to.

[quote]These were combat missions; the aircraft were trying to support an Allied landing! If there had been more severe opposition TBF losses would have been even higher. The fact is that the TBF could not operate safely from CVEs, under all conditions is a simple fact.[/quote]

Yeah, yeah, we all know. Operation Torch was a piece of cake. The Avengers faced no meaningful opposition. Their support of the landing was unimportant, etc, etc, etc. The "fact" (and it most certainly is not a fact) is that it was a dangerous plane, etc, etc, etc.

Want to consider how safe the Barracuda was? Consider this:

John Moffat RN, the Swordfish pilot from HMS Ark Royal that is credited with dropping the fateful torpedo that hit the rudder on the Bismark. He had a wide and varied wartime career after the Bismark mission, leaving Ark Royal 2 weeks before she was sunk and serving on many of the Fleet carriers in both Pacific, Med and Atlantic. In his career he had occasion to fly virtually every aircraft the Royal Navy had- British & American- He ended the war running an aircraft distribution base in the south of England, receiving new aircraft from the factories, having them checked out, then sending them off to their carriers. He had flown Seafires, Hellcats, Corsairs, Skuas, Fireflies, you name it. The one aircraft he did not fly- by choice- was the Barracuda. When asked about them he described them as a death trap, loathed by their crews and just 'damn dangerous'. Underarmed, underpowered, with twitchy flight charateristics and a tendency to overheat- not something desirable on long flights over the ocean.

Were those statements "obvious facts"? If they were made about the Avenger, you would have said they were.

[quote]The war ended in August 1945. The BPF did not fully convert to TBFs until October 1944, and by mid 1945 the TBF itself was being passed over for strike missions in favour of the Firefly and F4U. Like the Seafire III the FBII was handicapped, not so much by it's inherent performance problems, but by the lack of well developed ancillary systems such as effective drop tanks. By utilizing a DT design that was available from 1941 (the 90 gallon P40 DT), the Seafire greatly increased it's operational efficiency and usefulness. Similarly, the FBII needed a lightweight DT with 45-90 gallon capacity to allow it to fly longer range missions with a reduced ordnance load. The data from Philippine Sea is very clear that SB2C DB attacks, were far more accurate then level or GB TBF attacks, and the FBII was at least as good a DB than the SB2C and probably better.[/quote]

But the BPF did convert to the Avenger, and , although the conversion was not complete until October 1944 (a full 10 months before the end of hostilities), it was started earlier.

And the Barracuda flown by the BPF was most certainly hampered by its inherent performance problems. That was one of the main reasons it was replaced by the Avenger.

Again, the only thing you can think of in trying to make the Barracuda superior to the Avenger is dive bombing, dive bombing, dive bombing. As if every other mode of aerial attack is completely inferior to dive bombing. By the end of the war, dive bombing was on its way out. The Douglas AD Skyraider prototype was ordered over a year before the end of WWII but missed combat.It was meant to replace the Avenger, the Dauntless, and the Helldiver in the dive- and torpedo-bombing role. By the time it began delivery in 1946, dive and torpedo bombing were a thing of the past. The Skyraider went on to be far more devastating in the low-level bombing and ground attack roles than it ever would have been as a dive bomber.

The Helldiver went through a number of problems before it was developed into an effective weapon, but once that was accomplished, it was a good dive bomber. It was a purpose-built dive bomber, and there is no evidence that the Barracuda was "at least as good a DB...and probably better." The only thing that is "very clear" here is that the only major factor in your condemnation of the Helldiver is that it was an American aircraft.

The following quote from the website of the Mid Atlantic Air Museum is relevant here:

" At Philippine Sea in June 1944, equipped with greatly improved torpedoes, Avengers hit the carrier Hiyo, which sank soon afterwards. In this respect they were more successful than the American dive-bombers at Philippine Sea, and this increased US Navy's emphasis on torpedo attack in subsequent operations."

[quote]I have repeatedly pointed out that when the Mk XIII proved to be useless, that the TBF was unable to carry out bombing attacks against naval targets with sufficient accuracy to make flying those missions worthwhile except that nothing better was available. As a "weapons system" the TBF did not have the flexibility to change attack modes while retaining sufficient effectiveness. The data from the Philippine Sea is very clear. The TBF was a hopeless platform for making bombing attacks against surface ship targets; IT WAS A FAILURE AS A WEAPONS SYSTEM! Both the RN and USN knew this, but the USN had no choice but to continue to employ the TBF as the SB2C was also a very marginal aircraft, and was also very late on the scene.[/quote]

And I have repeatedly refuted those arguments. That is the major problem here. This thread is so long because the same arguments have been repeated over and over and over again!


[quote]Yes carrying wing mounted ordnance degraded performance, although centreline ordnance had little effect.[/quote]

That wasn't the only thing that degraded the Barracuda's performance in the Pacific, as has been pointed out many times here. I'm not going to go over it again.

[quote]However against most land based targets that the USN attacked (mainly island airfields, beachheads, and close support missions with the carriers nearby) the effective bomb load of the TBF and FBII would have been the same or nearly the same but the FBII would have delivered its payload with far greater accuracy[/quote]

Only against "point" targets, and they were not the only type targets to be attacked. In fact, they may have been in the minority--I don't know, but then neither do you.

[quote]The FBII could have carried a 2216lb torpedo but would have had to reduce the fuel load to do so; the FBII with full fuel and a 1650lb torpedo weighed 13900lb, and max TO was 14250lb, so a reduction in fuel load of ~30IG would have allowed it to carry the even last version of the MkXIII.[/quote]

The Avenger's load-carrying ability was around 7600 lbs; that of the Barracuda was around 4800 lb. The Avenger would not have to sacrifice anything in order to carry any of its maximum ordnance load. 'Nuff said.

[quote]The fact is that the FBII could have replaced both the SB2C and TBF if the USN had agreed to mass produce it in the USA, as the RN proposed. If the USA had mass produced the FBII they would have also been able help engineer the needed improvements in DT types, capacity and availability.[/quote]

If this isn't out-and-out conjecture of the first order, nothing is! The RN had already replaced the Barracuda with the Avenger. Why on Earth would either the RN or the USN want to replace the Avenger or the Helldiver with an aircraft that had proven so inadequate to the job in the Pacific that it had itself been replaced on RN carriers by the Avenger?

There was no reason to engineer the deficiencies out of the Barracuda. The USN (and the RN) already had a superior aircraft in the Avenger, and it was already in mass production. [i]Woulda, coulda, shoulda.


[quote]As we've discussed the Avenger, with a 33knot torpedo will not match the accuracy of a 40+ knot torpedo.[/quote]

Addressed earlier:

Mk XIII: 1000 yds in the air at almost 260 kt forward speed, then 400 yds in the water at 33 kt. Total time to travel 1400 yds = 28 sec. (Dropped from 800 ft at 260 kt)

Mk 12: 194 yds through the air at 113 kt, then 1206 yds through the water at 40 kt. Total time to travel 1400 yds = 57 sec. (Dropped from 150 ft at at 113 kt)

Let's see. Which one gets to the target faster? If speed equals accuracy, that means that the Mk XIII is....Hmmmmm.

#827 Lightning

Lightning

    Forum Guru

  • Forum Guru
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,723 posts
  • Joined 10 Years, 3 Months and 10 Days
  • 44 topics

Posted 05 February 2012 - 12:04 PM

"Embellishment" is simply another term for lying.


Already addressed.

Again, you now accuse the author of actually fabricating the entire story! You also add a number of things to the author's flight which he doesn't state, namely that his flight was abnormal in any way, or was being given special scrutiny; you simply don't know that, and shouldn't be using your own assumptions to[ challenge the author.


Not abnormal in any way? If he had dive brakes deployed as required by doctrine, he would never have been in a 385 mph TAS dive. If he was in a 385 TAS mph dive with dive brakes (probably not possible), he would have been way over Vne. If he was in a 385 mph TAS dive without dive brakes, he would have been violating doctrine, and he would have exceeded Vne as he passed through 5000 feet. What else do you need, to show you that such a dive was anything but normal?

And the author went into detail about how he and other observers were on the "target ships" the day before. Do you think he, a civilian non-citizen, was there by himself observing classified military tactics. Of course he had an official escort, and of course he was given scrutiny--both on the ship and from the ship during his flight! I know from experience, and you should know from common sense, that civilian guests--especially foreign nationals--are not allowed free access on sensitive military installations without an escort, and that extra pains are taken to ensure their safety.

I have quoted other authors, such as Wallace in Carrier Observer to show that making DB profile TB attacks without dive brakes was a common practice. The Secret Years states that the FBII could be dived at any angle without exceeding the IAS limitations with any possible weapon load, even without the use of dive brakes. In fact, after reading about the early problems encountered with trim changes while using dive brakes during TB attacks, it is quite likely that the pilot opted not to use them, especially with a civilian journalist aboard. Everything about the account in Flying Magazine is within the flying limitations in the FBII Pilot's Notes and squares with the operational use of the aircraft as described by Wallace.


You, yourself, stated earlier that some pilots violated doctrine by diving at high speed without dive brakes and were taking chances of over stressing the wing. You also added that this was "frowned upon." Do ya think?

"Any angle without exceeding IAS limits?" Hmmmmm.

Now let's see. First you lauded the ability of the Barracuda to dive at steep angles and low speed using the equally lauded dive brakes. Then you praised the aircraft for being able to dive at high speed without those pesky dive brakes. Now you are saying that the Barracuda cannot exceed the IAS limitations (Vne) in a fully loaded condition even without the dive brakes. In other words, the Barracuda can dive under any load conditions, in any configuration, at any speed, with, or without, dive brakes, depending on your argument at the time! Can it mix a martini?

The author was a correspondent for Flying Magazine, not the Ladies Home Journal, and as such can be expected to be fully conversant with aviation and would know how to translate IAS to TAS.


Again, could he see an airspeed indicator? Could he see an altimeter? Did he know the outside air temperature? Did he have an E6B computer (circular aviation slide rule) handy--and, if so, did he know how to use it? Or did he simply guess at the IAS and altitude, assume standard conditions, and apply the old rule-of-thumb--and very inaccurate--method of "2% per thousand."?

According to The Secret Years, The maximum TAS encountered in the FBI at 12820lb (with a torpedo) was 330-350mph (TAS) w/o dive brakes and 280 mph (IAS) with air brakes deployed however the altitudes were not stated for the IAS speeds. The FBII was also unable to exceed VNE even without dive brakes being deployed, but being ~1000lb heavier was somewhat faster in a dive.


Altitudes not stated? that's an important consideration. Somewhat faster? Another 20 mph would put it at Vne. See preceeding comments. Either the Barracuda was a fast diver or it wasn't.

The service ceiling of the FBII was 21,600ft at 14,080lb (achieved with 4 x 450lb wing mounted DCs Wings of the navy). Service ceiling at ~13900lb (full fuel and torpedo) would be higher, and at 1/2 fuel would probably reach ~25000ft. Effective ceiling at 14,250lb was ~15000ft (RAE testing) but this represents a considerable overload and was achieved with maximum wing mounted ordnance for increased drag, while the climb rate would have been higher than at the 100fpm at max service ceiling. Of course climbing to these altitudes at max weight would have reduced range considerably, but a climb at target distance, when the aircraft was lighter would have presented few difficulties.


So much of this quote is conjecture based on your personal assumptions that it is hardly worth responding to. "Would be"--Assumption. "1/2 fuel load"--Why not 1/3 or 1/4 fuel load? Take your pick as long as you can make it agree with your "argument du jour."Would have been higher"--How much higher? How much service ceiling would it add? "Few difficulties"? Which few? I remember your criticism of the TBD when you said it really didn't have the published level-bombing altitude because it would use up all its fuel in the climb. And, as I said in an earlier posting, so many of your stated performance figures don't show up in the many reference sources one comes upon when conducting a rather lengthy search. "Probably reach 25,000 feet"? I have never seen the service ceiling of 25,000 feet given for the Barracuda.--Assumption! 25,000 feet? from an airplane having a low-altitude engine and that was replaced by the Avenger in the Pacific because, among other performance deficiencies, it had seriously degraded altitude capability--degraded from a ceiling already significantly less than that of the Avenger?

Just one example: Wiki gives the service ceiling as being 16,600 feet. It gives the loaded weight of 13,200 lb.and a maximum takeoff weight of 14,100 lb. These numbers are in reasonable agreement with most other references. Your figures above give a service ceiling of 21,600 feet at only 20 lb less weight than that maximum takeoff weight of 14,100 lb. That's a difference of 5000 feet at essentially the maximum takeoff weight--and, anyway, what airplane is at its service ceiling at maximum takeoff weight? This is representative of almost all of your arguments: You overstate your figures and understate those of others in the discussion.

If your method of determining performance numbers were applied to the TBM, It would "probablly" have a speed of 325 mph, a range of 3000 miles, a service ceiling of well over 30,000 feet, and a weapons load or 4000 lbs (or more!). Unrealistic? Sure it is, but at least I admit it! So far, the performance figures you give for the Barracuda are so far out of line with the overwhelmimg number of reference sources that give much-lower numbers--lower in every catagory--that one has to very seriously question them, and that is being kind.

The FBII was a draggy airframe. As I've explained it was impossible to exceed the VNE with any weapons load, with or without the dive brakes. Drag sometimes has it's advantages.


"Draggy airframe"? You have been saying that the Barracuda was only a few mph slower than the Avenger--a "cleaner" airframe having more power! If all that air-frame drag materially contributed to slowing the airplane down in a dive, it would also slow it down in level flight--with or without the external weapons load.

The dive-speed issue has already been addressed above.


The FAA design specification was "seven years old" not the FB design! as it must have taken at least two years to finalize the initial design phase, the initial prototype of the FBI/II did fly about 3 years before the article was written, but the FBII had only been in service for about 1 year at the time of the article being written. Again it was a new design (the newest in fact) in FAA service.


It must have taken at least two years to finalize the the initial design phase? Possibly, but again, you don't really know that. During WWII it was not unusual to go from just embarking on a design to a flying prototype in two years.

The Barracuda was the most-recent design in FAA service. There's a big difference. After the war, the most-recent designs in some South American air forces were P-38s, P-51s, and F4Us. Would you have called them "new" designs? The Barracuda had been around for several years when that article was written. Really new designs in 1944 were planes like the P-80 and the Gloster Meteor--not planes that had been designed 5-7 years before and had been flying for three years.

Yes, and that's why the FBII had to be much more highly stressed than the TBF.


So? The Barracuda was a dive bomber. The Avenger, although not a dive bomber, was so much more.

#828 Lightning

Lightning

    Forum Guru

  • Forum Guru
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,723 posts
  • Joined 10 Years, 3 Months and 10 Days
  • 44 topics

Posted 05 February 2012 - 12:32 PM

[quote name='dunmunro1']Umm...:o...reading.[/quote]

Where did you read that "The FAA didn't [i.e. "never did"] engage in area bombing of industrial complexes"? It's not so much what you read but what you read into what you read.

[quote]The FBII bombed the Indaroeng Cement Plant, "...the only source of cement in South East Asia..." on 24 August 1944 and the FBII DB attacks "...achieved a high standard of bombing accuracy..." (Hobbes, The BPF, p52-53)[/quote]

Sounds like an industrial complex to me--or was that plant composed of just one building? Did all of the FB IIs dive bomb, or was it a mixed mission of dive bombers and level bombers? (Or maybe all level bombers?--it doesn't say.) If a level-bombing raid is carried out at low level, high accuracy could be achieved. You have repeatedly said that the Barracuda could be used as a level bomber; maybe this (and similar raids) was one of those times.

[quote]The FBII was used against a wide variety of land based targets in 1944 and made its last strikes with the BEF/BPF on Oct 19 1944, 10 months prior to war's end.[/quote]

And you absolutely know that not one of those "wide variety of land based targets" was an area target attacked by level, low-altitude bombing? Suppose the missions against some of them called for area bombing? One possible answer is that the FAA would have used Avengers because they would be more effective.

Also, that last 10 months of the war was when the Avenger was riding roughshod over the Japanese. I guess the FAA decided that there was no need for the Barracuda during that time since the Avenger was doing a better job.


[quote]Absolutely and positively a DB could do more damage to oil tanks or cracking plants because each bomb released has a much high probability of striking the intended target, instead of empty ground (or water).[/quote]

Not so at all! What would destroy more Oil-storage tanks: three bombs hitting one tank, or four (or more) bombs hitting two, three, or four tanks? Then there is always the possibility that a dive bomber could miss the target--Yes, it happened often (although you won't admit it). Then all those bombs just make a bigger hole in the ground or a bigger splash in the water.

[quote]Oil storage tanks, for example are usually surrounded by earthen walls intended to shield them from all but direct hits.[/quote]

Don't tell me about tank farms and oil-storage tanks. I lived right next to the Exxon tank farm in Baltimore, Maryland. My apartment was less than 200 yards from one of the tanks. Those walls are more of a depression in the ground to contain the oil in case of a massive leak. They are not that high, and they are not right up close to the base of the tank. In order for them to protect the tank from a bomb, that bomb would have to be almost skimming the ground! A bomb arcing down at a 30 deg angle could hit that tank anywhere from 1/3 up its side to across its whole top.

[quote]Given that the FBII could put ~40% of it's ordnance onto a moving target measuring 800 x 120ft, we can safely assume that static oil storage tanks with a similar surface area would be hit with even higher precision...[/quote]

Do you mean to say that a dive bomber that groups its bombs with the pin-point precision you repeatedly describe could only put 40% of its bombs into an area covering 10,667 sq yds??? That means less than two hits out of a three-bomb "stick"! Also, all the storage tanks I have ever seen are, only guessing, about 100 feet high and and about 80-100 yards wide. That's a profile of only 3333 sq yds. The area of the tank's circular top--which would be the size of the target when in a steep dive--would be 7850 sq yds--not 10,667 sq yds.

That "moving" target to which you refer, is, unless I miss my guess, the Tirpitz. From all I have read, the Tirpitz was in the process of pulling up its anchors when the April 3, 1944 air strike took place--In other words, it was not yet moving. Aerial photos of the ship, taken while the attack was in progress, show no wake.

If you're basing your estimate of ~40% on that April 3 attack, that is one case out of a whole war and is therefore statistically meaningless. I could use the same logic on the follow-on attacks: July 17--44 Barracudas, no hits. August 24--33 Barracudas, 2 hits. August 29--26 Barracudas, no hits.

[quote]...and that nearly 100% accuracy would be achieved against a cracking plant.[/quote]

I guess so, considering the size of a cracking plant.

If the Avenger could achieve better accuracy than the FBII, then the RN would have used it during the Tirpitz strikes but it couldn't and the RN didn't.[quote]

Addressed earlier.

[quote]Yes, and the Norden bomb site could hit a pickle barrel from 20,000ft...:rolleyes: Sorry, but the sad fact is that formation level bombing was woefully inaccurate, even with 4 engined heavies with 4 or 8 times the bomb load.[/quote]

That "pickle barrel" statement was one of those morale-building pieces of propaganda discussed earlier. And there is a big difference between 20,000 feet and the altitudes at which the Avenger bombed.

[quote]"Many of the bombing attacks on the Japanese mainland were carried out by swarms of Avengers flying in close formation and releasing their bomb loads in unison."[/quote]

Three squadrons (36 aircraft) of Avengers dropping four, or less bombs each amounts to no more than 144 bombs and to 72,000 pounds or less. Surely you can't compare that to a 1000-plane raid dropping several million pounds. Saturation bombing destroyed the whole of smaller cities or huge areas of larger cities. Those raids by massed Avengers were area bombing but not saturation bombing in the true sense of the term. As I said, " Area bombing is not restricted to either saturation-, or carpet-bombing." Another way of putting it is: All saturation bombing is area bombing, but not all area bombing is saturation bombing..

[quote]Common sense says that the aircraft that has a smaller CEP will place more bombs on the target.[/QUOTE]

No it doesn't. It says that it will place more bombs on a smaller area of the target. It also says that, if it misses that small area of the target with the first bomb, the others will probably miss also.

#829 Lightning

Lightning

    Forum Guru

  • Forum Guru
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,723 posts
  • Joined 10 Years, 3 Months and 10 Days
  • 44 topics

Posted 05 February 2012 - 01:03 PM

to dunmunro1:

Let's cut to the chase.

Numbers games are going nowhere. Fuel and bomb loads can be manipulated to enhance one performance figure at the expense of another. Tests at experimental test facilities can be interpreted and tailored to explore the maximum of a given flight capability by imposing completely unrealistic requirements that would never be encountered under actual operational conditions. It must also be remembered that such games can as easily be played with the Avenger as they can with the Barracuda--and the result would be another 80+ pages with no end in sight. Trying to use the successes/failures of individual combat missions to compare the two planes is also meaningless--no two missions were ever the same, so valid comparisons cannot be made based upon them.

The sensible way to compare the performance figures of the two most-capable variants of the aircraft is to load both to their maximum-allowed fuel/weapons load and have a "fly-off." If that is done, the Avenger would:

Carry a heavier payload than the Barracuda
Fly faster than the Barracuda.
Climb faster than the Barracuda.
Fly higher than the Barracuda.
Fly farther than the Barracuda.

If you compare the armament of the two aircraft, the Avenger had the more-potent armament--both offensive and defensive.

If you compare the ruggedness, crew-protective armor, and resistence to enemy fire, the Avenger was more survivable. One big reason: Air-cooled vs liquid cooled engines.

If you compare the two aircraft as to their ASW, EW, and ELINT capabilities, (not what one says the aircraft could have done but what it actually did do--anything else is only conjecture), the Avenger was superior to the Barracuda.

On the Barracuda's side: It had better short-field abilities, and it could dive bomb at up to 60-75 degrees whereas the Avenger was limited to 45 degrees. You may think that these two advantages offset all those of the Avenger, but the evaluation of the two planes by history and historians tell a different story. So let's look at how others--and history--view these planes.

Here's a challenge for you: Pick a significant number (20; 30; 100) of references--books, WWII histories, magazine articles, websites, personal evaluations, etc, etc., wherein the histories and combat records of the Avenger and the Barracuda are given. You will find, in case after case, many negative comments regarding the Barracuda. These will range from mild criticisms to damning condemnations. The more sources you consult, the more obvious this will become. To put it mildly, the Barracuda has no better than an average reputation or combat record in WWII.

On the other hand, you will find no such disparaging statements regarding the Avenger. You will find only recognition of its exceptional combat record, and praise of its outstanding performance capabilities. Why do the overwhelming number of reference sources, as well as virtually all the historical accounts of the naval war in WWII, favor the Avenger? The answer is that the Avenger was a better, and more-respected naval strike aircraft than the Barracuda, and its importance to, and impact on, the war was significantly greater. The Barracuda was successful, but the Avenger was more successful.

There have been claims and counter claims spanning months during this thread. Tables of specifications; results of testing and the interpretation of these results; mission accounts; and personal opinions and assumptions. All have been quoted and have not resolved anything. The same arguments and refutations have been presented multiple times, and, if this keeps up, will be repeated again ad infinitum.

Personal opinions can be put forth, but actual events tell the true tale. The single most telling event concerning the Barracuda's inferiority to the Avenger was the en masse replacement of the Barracuda by the Avenger on the BPF carriers in the Pacific. This was made necessary because of the Barracuda's seriously degraded performance. There is no way to spin this--it is an historical fact. Any attempt to rationalize it away is futile--It happened!

The simple question is: Which plane--the Avenger or the Barracuda--is presented in a more-favorable light in the history of WWII?

I contend that the Avenger was the overall better combat plane of the two. History and historians agree with that view. If you accepted my challenge above, you already know that.

You are of the opinion that the Barracuda was better. Virtually no authoritative or official accounts of the WWII naval air war agree, nor do they portray the Barracuda as being even as good, much less better, than the Avenger. You are not arguing with me; you are arguing with history.

#830 stewartg

stewartg

    Regular Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 34 posts
  • Joined 8 Years, 4 Months and 5 Days
  • 5 topics

Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:48 PM

"The Avenger was the better aircraft, but the Barracuda was nowhere near as bad as it is often made out to be - and indeed had a few advantages over the Avenger."

I think that's my overall view.

#831 dunmunro1

dunmunro1

    Regular Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPip
  • 499 posts
  • Joined 8 Years, 5 Months and 20 Days
  • 3 topics

Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:51 PM

to dunmunro1:

Let's cut to the chase.

Numbers games are going nowhere. Fuel and bomb loads can be manipulated to enhance one performance figure at the expense of another. Tests at experimental test facilities can be interpreted and tailored to explore the maximum of a given flight capability by imposing completely unrealistic requirements that would never be encountered under actual operational conditions. It must also be remembered that such games can as easily be played with the Avenger as they can with the Barracuda--and the result would be another 80+ pages with no end in sight. Trying to use the successes/failures of individual combat missions to compare the two planes is also meaningless--no two missions were ever the same, so valid comparisons cannot be made based upon them.


Right, so official testing data in now useless, according to you.

The sensible way to compare the performance figures of the two most-capable variants of the aircraft is to load both to their maximum-allowed fuel/weapons load and have a "fly-off." If that is done, the Avenger would:

Carry a heavier payload than the Barracuda
Fly faster than the Barracuda.
Climb faster than the Barracuda.
Fly higher than the Barracuda.
Fly farther than the Barracuda.

How do you know this, without relying on official tests results, that you also discount?
Payload capacity of CV based FBII and TBFICs are basically identical (~2000lb or one torpedo)
The FBII could fly faster; VNE = 315 knots withmax bombload versus 285 knots for the TBM-3.
Initial FBII climb rate is better
Both aircraft had effective ceilings well above that needed for striking naval targets.
The only advantage was longer range.
The FBII could deliver it's payload with fewer losses, and greater accuracy.
The FBII could outturn and outdive the TBF1C


The TBF1C could carry a heavier payload farther than the FBII, but it could not carry a heavier payload, and their max payload capacity, while operating from a CV was basically identical. A CV task group, providing ground support against a nearby island, would not find the shorter range of FBII to be a disadvantage, for example, while it's greater accuracy of delivery would make it a much more effective aircraft.

The climb rate of the TBF3 is 1300fpm normal and 1580fpm combat, and for FBII, 1200fpm normal and 1780 fpm combat, as given by Friedman. The FBII is lighter than the TBF and has a better power to weight ratio, and it's combat climb is superior, probably until about 6000ft. There's an interesting summary of TBF and FBII performance here:

I'm going to summarize what I've learnt so far from this very interesting thread.

  • The Barracuda Mk II's climb performance was superior to its contemporary the TBF-1C, and about the same as the TBM-3 or SB2C-4, both of which came 1.5 years later.
  • Speed was somewhere in between the TBF and TBM/SB2C.
  • The Barra's normal rating below 5,000ft is much lower than the TBM-3/SB2C-4's (only 1,300hp vs. 1,600hp), which does it a disservice, but at military ratings the performance numbers look quite good.
  • If the Barra can maintain 1,300/1,640hp (normal/military) at altitude then it should perform better than all U.S. models, since R-2600 engines are rated at only 1,350/1,450hp (normal/military) above ~8,000ft. Andy01, do you have any info on the Barra's thrust curves at altitude?
  • The TBF/TBM carry about 20% more internal fuel than the Barracuda, but cruise at similar speeds on about 10% more power. So the Barracuda's range deficit will be roughly 10% lower if both engines are equally thirsty. Any idea on the specific consumption of the Merlin vs. R-2600?
  • The TBF/TBM and SB2C could definitely go farther with drop tanks. Any idea how often they carried drop tanks on torpedo/dive bombing missions?
  • Speed at Sea Level, Normal & Military Engine Ratings - Scout (Clean)
Barracuda Mk II @ 12,600lbs (fuel: 230imp gal = 276 US gal, 2x 7.7mm gun) 205 / ~220kts (1,300/1,640hp)TBF-1C Avenger @ 14,400lbs (fuel: 335 US gal, 3x 12.7mm & 1x 7.67mm guns) 209 / ~217kts (1,500/1,700hp)
TBM-3 Avenger @ 14,800lbs (same as above) 216 / ~223kts (1,600/1,750hp)
SB2C-4 Helldiver @ 14,200lbs (fuel: 320 US gal, 2x 20mm & 2x 7.67mm guns) 228 / 235kts (1,600/1,760hp)
Time to 10,000ft, Normal Rating, Scout
Barracuda Mk II @ 12,600lbs 9.14min @ 1,300hp
TBF-1C Avenger @ 14,400lbs 9.2 min @ 1,500hp (SL-6,000ft) decreasing to 1,350hp (9,000ft+)
TBM-3 Avenger @ 14,800lbs 7.3 min @ 1,600hp (SL-4,000ft) decreasing to 1,350hp (8,000ft+)
SB2C-4 Helldiver @ 14,200lbs 6.9 min @ 1,600hp (SL-5,000ft) decreasing to 1,350hp (9,000ft+)

Time to 10,000ft, Normal Rating - Torpedo Bomber
Barracuda Mk II @ 13,900lbs (1x 1,800lb Mk XV) 12.57min @ 1,300hp
TBF-1C @ 16,400lbs (1x 2,050lb Mk 13-2) 13 min @ 1,500hp (SL-6,000ft) decreasing to 1,350hp (9,000ft+)

TBM-3 @ 16,900lbs (1x 2,150lb Mk 13-2) 9 min @ 1,600hp (SL-4,000ft) decreasing to 1,350hp (8,000ft+)

SB2C-4 @ 16,500lbs (1x 2,300lb Mk 13-3) 9.8 min @ 1,600hp (SL-5,000ft) decreasing to 1,350hp (9,000ft+)

Climb Rate at Sea Level, Military Rating
Barracuda Mk II: 1,780fpm @ 1,640hp
TBF-1C Avenger: ~1,500fpm @ 1,700hp
TBM-3 Avenger: ~1,800fpm @ 1,750hp
SB2C-4 Helldiver: 1,800fpm @ 1,750hp

All TBF/TBM/SB2C numbers from here: http://www.alternate...com/SAC/SAC.htm

http://warships1disc...um-attack-types

and some additional comments from the same thread:

One interesting thing is that the R-2600-20 engine on the TBM-3 & SBC2-4 doesn't seem to have offered as much of a benefit as its 1,900hp rating suggests:
  • The 1,900hp rating was for take-off only. Military rating was 1,750hp, only 50hp more than the TBF's R-2600-6. Normal rating was 100hp higher.
  • Prior to November 1944, the take-off rating was only 1,800hp.
  • Above ~8,000ft the R-2600-20 had the same ratings as the R-2600-6.


The liquid cooled Merlin has a lower specific fuel consumption:
Sea Level horse power and fuel consumption per hp/usgph
Merlin 32 @ 1600hp = 174gph = 9.2hp/gph
Merlin 32 @ 12lb boost (~1325hp) = 121 gph = 10.52hp/gph
R2600-20 @ 1670 hp = 204gph = 8.19hp/gph
R2600-20 @ 1560hp = 182gph = 8.57hp/gph
R2600-8 @ 1470hp = 176gph = 8.33hp/gph

If you compare the armament of the two aircraft, the Avenger had the more-potent armament--both offensive and defensive.

The Avenger had better offensive armament, because the FBII usually carried no forward gun, but the FBII carried a twin vickers MG with a lead computing gyro gunsight for the TAG, where the TBF1C used a simple ring sight for its rear guns.

If you compare the ruggedness, crew-protective armor, and resistance to enemy fire, the Avenger was more survivable. One big reason: Air-cooled vs liquid cooled engines.

The FBII was certainly more rugged, and had a stronger, but denser airframe, as it was stressed to higher g-limits than the TBF; this of course placed it at a disadvantage in terms of range because it had less internalm fuel capacity. I don't know how they compared in terms of armour but, IIRC, in USAAC service, there was little difference in sortie loss rate for liquid cooled and air cooled ground attack aircraft.

If you compare the two aircraft as to their ASW, EW, and ELINT capabilities, (not what one says the aircraft could have done but what it actually did do--anything else is only conjecture), the Avenger was superior to the Barracuda.

Both aircraft had similar capabilities at comparable times during WW2.

On the Barracuda's side: It had better short-field abilities, and it could dive bomb at up to 60-75 degrees whereas the Avenger was limited to 45 degrees. You may think that these two advantages offset all those of the Avenger, but the evaluation of the two planes by history and historians tell a different story. So let's look at how others--and history--view these planes.

Here's a challenge for you: Pick a significant number (20; 30; 100) of references--books, WWII histories, magazine articles, websites, personal evaluations, etc, etc., wherein the histories and combat records of the Avenger and the Barracuda are given. You will find, in case after case, many negative comments regarding the Barracuda. These will range from mild criticisms to damning condemnations. The more sources you consult, the more obvious this will become. To put it mildly, the Barracuda has no better than an average reputation or combat record in WWII.

On the other hand, you will find no such disparaging statements regarding the Avenger. You will find only recognition of its exceptional combat record, and praise of its outstanding performance capabilities. Why do the overwhelming number of reference sources, as well as virtually all the historical accounts of the naval war in WWII, favor the Avenger? The answer is that the Avenger was a better, and more-respected naval strike aircraft than the Barracuda, and its importance to, and impact on, the war was significantly greater. The Barracuda was successful, but the Avenger was more successful.

The Avenger had a number of fatal accidents and did have serious problems during its first year in service. These problems were sorted out, and because of the large numbers built the aircraft has a favourable reputation but it was not all sweetness and light. The pilots who died during CV/CVE TO and due to wing failure in TBFs would probably provide us with a different viewpoint if they could tell their tales. Even the SB2C is now regarded favourably and this is largely due to the US tendency to glorify their military hardware, by refusing to talk up its various faults, versus the UK (and Canadian) tendency to focus on shortcomings and by the fact that improved versions of the SB2C entered service in large numbers towards the end of war, as did improved versions of the TBF/TBM, while the final variant of the FB, the FB5 was only produced in small numbers. The fact that the TBF suffered fatal wing failures came as a complete shock to you and probably to most readers of this thread, but the FBII problems were probably well known, but history tends to get recorded this way, so TBF problems are forgotten while FBII problems are repeated ad nauseum.

The FBII, in the BEF/BPF based upon data from Hobbes suffered a 4.3% sortie loss rate, from all causes during 94 strike sorties up to Oct 15 44, while the 127 BEF/BPF TBF sorties up to Jan 29 1945 suffered a 13.4% loss rate.

The best way for a BEF/BPF strike pilot to stay alive was to pilot a FBII.



Personal opinions can be put forth, but actual events tell the true tale. The single most telling event concerning the Barracuda's inferiority to the Avenger was the en masse replacement of the Barracuda by the Avenger on the BPF carriers in the Pacific. This was made necessary because of the Barracuda's seriously degraded performance. There is no way to spin this--it is an historical fact. Any attempt to rationalize it away is futile--It happened!

The simple fact is, and irrefutable evidence has been provided to support this, is that the RN never considered the TBF as capable of attacking surface naval targets and when this possibility loomed the RN promptly withdrew the TBF from front line CV service.

The simple question is: Which plane--the Avenger or the Barracuda--is presented in a more-favorable light in the history of WWII?

I contend that the Avenger was the overall better combat plane of the two. History and historians agree with that view. If you accepted my challenge above, you already know that.

You are of the opinion that the Barracuda was better. Virtually no authoritative or official accounts of the WWII naval air war agree, nor do they portray the Barracuda as being even as good, much less better, than the Avenger. You are not arguing with me; you are arguing with history.

AFAIK, the RN never used the TBF to attack a naval surface target. The TBF was used to attack land based targets that were nominally beyond the range of the FBII. The commander of the BEF/BPF Admiral Fraser, who also commanded the strikes against Tirpitz resisted transitioning to the TBF, so the historical record is quite clear that the RN considered the TBF as incapable of performing as a naval strike aircraft. Unfortunately, the nuances of history tend to get overlooked in this day and age of Twitter length summaries of complex historical problems.

Edited by dunmunro1, 06 February 2012 - 10:25 PM.


#832 Flo

Flo

    Regular Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPip
  • 923 posts
  • Joined 3 Years, 7 Months and 24 Days
  • 46 topics

Posted 07 February 2012 - 09:32 PM

"The Avenger was the better aircraft, but the Barracuda was nowhere near as bad as it is often made out to be - and indeed had a few advantages over the Avenger."

I think that's my overall view.


:D Pretty much mine, too, Stewart. But I prize those advantages more than the Avengers marginally better performance. In fact, it's only the Avengers range that seems to offer any significant advantage that I can see.

True, it is highly significant, but set against that you have an aircraft much better suited to the RNs preferred methods- more agile, capable of rapid rerole, capable of dive bombing (RN style/ v.steep bombing by the precise USN definition provided pages back ;)) capable of safer flight deck operations.

Comparisons with USN operations are fairly moot, but in RN service the Barracuda suffered lower operational losses and enjoyed greater success, albeit given greater opportunity.

I kinda like the big, ugly sod!

#833 Flo

Flo

    Regular Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPip
  • 923 posts
  • Joined 3 Years, 7 Months and 24 Days
  • 46 topics

Posted 07 February 2012 - 11:25 PM

Bravo! :D

to dunmunro1:

Let's cut to the chase.

Numbers games are going nowhere. .... You are not arguing with me; you are arguing with history.


Without getting into the numbers, you appear to be saying that:

a) The Avenger had better performance.
B) It was better at every bombing profile.
c) It couldn't dive bomb.
d) It's very well thought of.

Therefore, it's better. Period.

Fair comment?

a) Is true enough, in most aspects. Barracudas had a slight advantage in initial climb and were considerably more agile, but there's no getting away from the Avengers range. I'd contend that everything else was close enough to make little difference in operational service.
B) I can't see how? It couldn't perform any manoeuvre unavailable to a Barracuda- quite the reverse, in fact. And you've been at pains to separate equipment from airframes, so, to be consistent with your earlier reasoning, no high-tech sights, radars or specialist training can make the airframe more effective.
c) It's more than just dive bombing, it's the ability to employ a high speed, three dimensional attack profile, generating angles and forcing defensive manoeuvre. As opposed to a straight run, in a shallow dive, with evasion on completion of the attack. A difference in tactics revealed in the descriptions of RN and USN attacks you can read in many popular books and memoires. Leading to;
d) The Avenger is very well known and thought of, but the Barracuda is obscure. A fairer opinion of it might be found by asking it's operators, instead of it's detractors. You've posted a pilot unwilling to fly it, I posted a link to a pilot fond of it, everyone seems to think Browns comments back their position...try this instead:



"Historically, Fairey's Barracuda was one of the most controversial aircraft of
World War 2. Protagonists state that it was ugly, underpowered, lacked performance, it
broke up in mid-air, couldn't pull out of a dive and pilots and their crews hated it.

After four decades of talking to ex-Barracuda aircrew the author has yet to find one that
actually hated the aeroplane, or had any misgivings about flying them, indeed many
appreciated its ruggedness and operational capabilities. Its ugliness if that is the right
word, is in the eyes of the beholder and many wartime aircraft designed to do a specific
role looked no better. If it appeared ungainly on the ground, and with everything folded it
looked as if it had been in an accident, its appearance in the air was no worse than many
other wartime combat aircraft

There were also many who felt that the Barracuda was better for the task than the
American-supplied Grumman Avenger. Any in-service shortcomings were overcome
gradually by progressive modifications so that early problems were eliminated.

Pilots brought through flying training on monoplanes instead of biplanes, had no problem
when introduced to the Barracuda. In fact as early as June 1943 the Ministry had identified
the basic problem - incorrect handling of the aircraft and engine by pilots.

Unfortunately the aircraft suffered bad press, and the stigma attached to it was carried on
by later generations who knew even less about the problems and how they were
overcome. This brief history attempts to set the record straight and show that the
Barracuda was in fact a valuable strike aircraft.
"

Fairey Barracuda, by WA Harrison, P1.

(Possibly a man with an agenda, but then the same can be said of the frames many detractors. Above quote blatantly plagiarised from NavWeaps.)

My contention, Lightning, is that as valid as your opinion is, it's only that. History doesn't show the Avenger to be a better plane. It does show it enjoyed considerable success. It's truly a great plane. But it's a different aircraft, not a better aircraft.

Apples to oranges, mate. :D

#834 Flo

Flo

    Regular Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPip
  • 923 posts
  • Joined 3 Years, 7 Months and 24 Days
  • 46 topics

Posted 07 February 2012 - 11:55 PM

You're using opinion to justify your viewpoint.

"The simple fact is, and irrefutable evidence has been provided to support this, is that the RN never considered the TBF as capable of attacking surface naval targets and when this possibility loomed the RN promptly withdrew the TBF from front line CV service."

That's hardly the case; rather, the poor performance of American torpedoes gave the Admiralty cause for grave concern. Much as the poor range of the Barracuda did. The quoted opinions of various admirals, British and American, give weight to possible reasons for the movement of FAA squadrons. However, the quotes are only a snapshot. The decision making process would, one would hope, involve more than just one senior officers preferences.

"AFAIK, the RN never used the TBF to attack a naval surface target. The TBF was used to attack land based targets that were nominally beyond the range of the FBII. The commander of the BEF/BPF Admiral Fraser, who also commanded the strikes against Tirpitz resisted transitioning to the TBF, so the historical record is quite clear that the RN considered the TBF as incapable of performing as a naval strike aircraft. Unfortunately, the nuances of history tend to get overlooked in this day and age of Twitter length summaries* of complex historical problems."

Fraser was not 'the RN'. Somerville resisted several Admirals of equal standing in his desire to retain the Barracuda. They weren't 'the RN' either. Aircraft moves are a complex dynamic, requiring months of careful planning, extensive training, a massive logistical effort and huge potential disruption to the end user, the carrier weapon system they have to integrate into. Admirals opinions count, but there were and are a great many other factors that come into play before a squadron is detached or dispatched.

*Love that turn of phrase!

Edited by Flo, 15 February 2012 - 09:35 PM.
More detail provided by StewartG, on 15Feb12


#835 Lightning

Lightning

    Forum Guru

  • Forum Guru
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,723 posts
  • Joined 10 Years, 3 Months and 10 Days
  • 44 topics

Posted 08 February 2012 - 12:56 PM

Hi stewartg,

"The Avenger was the better aircraft, but the Barracuda was nowhere near as bad as it is often made out to be - and indeed had a few advantages over the Avenger."

I think that's my overall view.


I think your view is quite valid, and I agree. I have not portrayed the Barracuda as being a bad or unsuccessful airplane, and I have been quick to acknowledge its ability to dive bomb where the Avenger could not (at least not in the normally accepted sense of the term). The low-speed characteristics of the Barracuda may also have been better, but I have also seen references to the good low-speed handling and deck-behavior of the Avenger.

It would be presumptuous of me to say that the Avenger was superior to the Barracuda in every respect, but I believe that most people would agree, based on their respective records in WWII (and afterward) that the Avenger was the overall better of the two.

Regards,

Lightning

#836 Lightning

Lightning

    Forum Guru

  • Forum Guru
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,723 posts
  • Joined 10 Years, 3 Months and 10 Days
  • 44 topics

Posted 08 February 2012 - 05:39 PM

Hi Flo,

Without getting into the numbers, you appear to be saying that:

a) The Avenger had better performance.
B) It was better at every bombing profile.
c) It couldn't dive bomb.
d) It's very well thought of.

Therefore, it's better. Period.

Fair comment?


Not better period, just better. That period would suggest that I believed that the Avenger was better in every flight regime and combat category. That is obviously not so.

a) Is true enough, in most aspects. Barracudas had a slight advantage in initial climb and were considerably more agile, but there's no getting away from the Avengers range. I'd contend that everything else was close enough to make little difference in operational service.


In addition to superior range, the Avenger, in its later versions, was faster, had a higher ceiling, had a better climb rate, and could carry a heavier load (not restricted to only ordnance) than the later versions of the Barracuda. This is borne out in an overwhelming number of references. For example, the following is from the website Grumman Avenger in British Service:
http://www.historyof...avenger_UK.html '> http://www.historyof...avenger_UK.html

"The Avenger entered service on 1 January 1943 with No.832 Squadron, replacing its Fairey Albacores. The Barracuda followed on 10 January, replacing the Swordfish of No.827 Squadron. The Avenger was clearly the superior aircraft with a higher top speed, better rate of climb and longer range. It would eventually equip seventeen frontline FAA squadrons, significantly more than the Barracuda, even though more of the latter aircraft were available."

This view is presented, either directly or by stated specifications, by many reference sources. I therefore don't find those aforementioned numbers games, wherein cherry-picking and selective interpretation have been carried to extremes, of any real probative value.


B) I can't see how? It couldn't perform any manoeuvre unavailable to a Barracuda- quite the reverse, in fact.


Perhaps the Avenger was less maneuverable, but it was less maneuverable at greater range, higher altitude, and greater speed than was available to the Barracuda.

And you've been at pains to separate equipment from airframes, so, to be consistent with your earlier reasoning, no high-tech sights, radars or specialist training can make the airframe more effective.


Those high-tech items to which you refer are part of the airplane's hard-mounted equipment. They are just as much a part of the standard configuration as are the panel instruments. If they don't work, the airplane doesn't work.

Whether the torpedo works or not has nothing to do with the airplane's ability to use it. The Airplane can have performed its attack profile perfectly up to the time the torpedo is released. What happens after that is only up to the torpedo and has nothing to do with the airplane.

As to "specialist training," that merely allows the airplane to be used to its optimum abilities--abilities that are an integral part of its performance and were there all along.

c) It's more than just dive bombing, it's the ability to employ a high speed, three dimensional attack profile, generating angles and forcing defensive manoeuvre. As opposed to a straight run, in a shallow dive, with evasion on completion of the attack. A difference in tactics revealed in the descriptions of RN and USN attacks you can read in many popular books and memoires...


A high-speed dive (at up to 45 deg.) is a three-dimensional attack profile. During that dive, the "lining-up" on the target is far more precise than can be accomplished from a rapid pull-out from a 60 deg dive--a pull-out that entails a rapid and substantial change of direction and an equally rapid and substantial change in airspeed and trim as the dive flaps are "milked" up.

There was great value in the Avenger's being able to drop a torpedo out of a shallow dive at 240-280 kt from 800 feet. It was already turning-, climbing-, diving-away--or executing a combination thereof--at more than a mile from the target before the torpedo even hit the water!

The factors to which you refer certainly have their merits and advantages. Just don't think that they are always the most desirable in any given situation.

d) The Avenger is very well known and thought of, but the Barracuda is obscure. A fairer opinion of it might be found by asking it's operators, instead of it's detractors. You've posted a pilot unwilling to fly it, I posted a link to a pilot fond of it, everyone seems to think Browns comments back their position...try this instead:


I read the excerpt, so I won't repeat it here. My comments:

The fact that the Barracuda was (and still is) so controversial is a clear indication that there were significantly negative aspects in its history. The Avenger is not, and never was, controversial. It has a sterling history. There never were any concerns about its being underpowered, lacking performance, or breaking up in mid air. (There were structural failures, as there were with many other first-line warplanes, but they were not due to any flaw or weakness in the design, and they certainly never were to the extent that the airplane developed a reputation for them.) As to their not being able to pull out of a dive, I believe that was due to piloting technique and, although an undesirable "quirk," was not a fatal design flaw.

I don't think that the Barracuda was ugly. Even if it was, that has absolutely no bearing on its performance.

Maybe the author never met any aircrew that hated the Barracuda, but I have read statements about the plane, made by former aircrew, that were less than complementary.

Early problems (especially with the FB I) may have been eliminated, but those problems with severe degradation of performance in the Pacific were not with the FB I nor were they early in the war, and if they had been corrected, that costly and logistically draining replacement would not have been necessary.

Some of the bad press given the Barracuda as the result of pilot error was certainly unfair, but over 65 years have passed, and not a little of the criticism remains in respected accounts of the war. There has to be more to it than only pilot error.

There is no doubt about it! The Barracuda was a valuable strike aircraft, and I would be among the first to acknowledge that fact. And I would never make a statement to the effect that it was "the worst torpedo bomber on the face of the planet," or "a failure as a weapons system" merely to try to make an unsubstantiated point. This forum is better than that sort of thing--at least it has been up to now. (These comments were not made by you.)

I don't think that the author--Mr. W.A. Harrison--was being unreasonable in his comments. He presents the Barracuda in a favorable light without resorting to unfounded exaggeration, personal interpretation of specifications, or negative hyperbole when mentioning the Avenger. For these reasons, I don't reject what he says out-of-hand.

The name of the book, on the other hand (i.e. Fairey Barracuda), can be expected to be a bit biased. No harm, no foul.

(Possibly a man with an agenda, but then the same can be said of the frames many detractors.


A bit more than possibly, but not in an extreme or obstinate way. As to the pro-and-con commentators over the years, there has been ample time for the events of the war to have been studied and put into perspective, and, that being said, the Avenger has come through that scrutiny in a more favorable light than has the Barracuda.

My contention, Lightning, is that as valid as your opinion is, it's only that. History doesn't show the Avenger to be a better plane. It does show it enjoyed considerable success. It's truly a great plane. But it's a different aircraft, not a better aircraft.


We hold opposite opinions here, Flo (surprise!). History shows the Avenger to be an overall more successful and significant warplane than was the Barracuda. This is tantamount to saying that it was the better of the two.

The fact that the Avenger replaced the Barracuda en masse in the Pacific because of the latter's degraded performance is a strong case for the Avenger's superiority. You don't replace a good airplane with a not-so-good airplane! Were the Avenger only moderately better than the Barracuda, such a replacement would not have taken place--for reasons given by you to another poster. The disparity had to have been considerable.

Apples to oranges, mate. :D


They're both fruit; they both grow on a tree; they both have skin; they both have seeds; and they both yield great juice. More similarities than normally meet the eye. :D

Regards,

Lightning

#837 Flo

Flo

    Regular Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPip
  • 923 posts
  • Joined 3 Years, 7 Months and 24 Days
  • 46 topics

Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:41 PM

So you're not exempt, either! :P

The RN did not replace either aircraft in service. When one couldn't meet their expectations as a weapon system they employed the other. Stewart provided/referenced a document stating quite clearly that the decision to employ Avengers on Fleet carriers was made in order to be more compatible with their USN counterparts. I see that as pragmatic, Stewart sees it as wasteful and inefficient, but it had no bearing on the perceived abilities of either airframe. Endless debate about Frasers(or Somervilles) opinion vs Cunninghams, the failure of weapons fitted to one versus the inability of the other to deliver its promised performance in the face of extreme environmental conditions can carry on for pages, months or even spread over onto other boards. ;)

We can argue the toss about better torpedoes becoming available for the Avenger, or Japans latitude being close enough to Europes for the Barracudas performance to return to acceptable levels, but the fact is that both aircraft were in operational service at the close of hostilities.

I know you believe the continued development of the Avenger makes it superior, but in reality all that really demonstrates is that the airframe continued to be developed.

Why did Grumman continue to develop a radial where Fairey concentrated on a Turboprop? Start another thread. It'll be fun. I suspect we'll be changing sides, though. You like hi-tech, I prefer proven tech. ;)

Anyway, good to see you're still smiling, mate.

Edited by Flo, 15 February 2012 - 09:36 PM.


#838 dunmunro1

dunmunro1

    Regular Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPip
  • 499 posts
  • Joined 8 Years, 5 Months and 20 Days
  • 3 topics

Posted 09 February 2012 - 09:27 AM

You're using opinion to justify your viewpoint.

"The simple fact is, and irrefutable evidence has been provided to support this, is that the RN never considered the TBF as capable of attacking surface naval targets and when this possibility loomed the RN promptly withdrew the TBF from front line CV service."

That's hardly the case; rather, the poor performance of American torpedoes gave the Admiralty cause for grave concern. Much as the poor range of the Barracuda did. The quoted opinions of various admirals, British and American, give weight to possible reasons for the movement of FAA squadrons. However, the quotes are only a snapshot. The decision making process would, one would hope, involve more than just one senior officers preferences.

"AFAIK, the RN never used the TBF to attack a naval surface target. The TBF was used to attack land based targets that were nominally beyond the range of the FBII. The commander of the BEF/BPF Admiral Fraser, who also commanded the strikes against Tirpitz resisted transitioning to the TBF, so the historical record is quite clear that the RN considered the TBF as incapable of performing as a naval strike aircraft. Unfortunately, the nuances of history tend to get overlooked in this day and age of Twitter length summaries* of complex historical problems."

Fraser was not 'the RN'. He resisted several Admirals of equal standing in his desire to retain the Barracuda. They weren't 'the RN' either. Aircraft moves are a complex dynamic, requiring months of careful planning, extensive training, a massive logistical effort and huge potential disruption to the end user, the carrier weapon system they have to integrate into. Admirals opinions count, but there were and are a great many other factors that come into play before a squadron is detached or dispatched.

*Love that turn of phrase!


The RN withdrew the TBF from CV service in 1943 when it was apparent that the Mk XIII torpedo was no good. So why didn't the RN simply equip the TBF with 1000, 1600 or 2000lb AP bombs in lieu of torpedoes? The answer is that the TBF could not achieve an acceptable level of bombing accuracy against naval targets; but you don't have to take my word for this, as the USN discovered the same thing and accounts of the TBF at Philippine Sea, for example, prove it. Only dive bombing could provide the needed accuracy otherwise the USN would have been happy to have replaced both the SBD and execrable SB2C with the TBF/TBM, but the USN couldn't equip their CVs solely with the TBF/TBM because the TBF/TBM couldn't hit naval targets with torpedoes, because the MkXIII simply didn't work until mid to late 1944 and the TBF/TBM couldn't bomb naval targets with the needed accuracy. The result was that the SBD had to soldier on throughout all of 1943, as the only truly effective USN attack aircraft. Fortunately the IJN CV's required all of 1943 to refit.

Edited by dunmunro1, 09 February 2012 - 09:38 AM.


#839 flying kiwi

flying kiwi

    Regular Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPip
  • 341 posts
  • Joined 4 Years, 3 Months and 7 Days
  • 4 topics

Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:53 AM

Aw Flo, the Fairey Gannet is one of my favourite planes, based 100% on how it looks. I never realised quite how big they were until I stood next to one last Saturday. Would there have been a piston engine that could fit in the same space and do what the Double Mamba was capable of?

#840 Flo

Flo

    Regular Member

  • Regulars
  • PipPipPip
  • 923 posts
  • Joined 3 Years, 7 Months and 24 Days
  • 46 topics

Posted 09 February 2012 - 12:48 PM

Nope, it was a superbly engineered naval aircraft, as were all Faireys products (-devil smiley-). I would have taken a picture of the gate guard at Yeovil if I knew you were a fan. :D

I'd question the wisdom of investing huge sums in it's development, though, when the country was in utter penury. Particularly when our generous American allies had provided us with aircraft almost as good for a knock down, bargain price. The flip side is that the government of the day wanted to keep the British aircraft industry alive, which I can't really argue with.




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

AVIATION TOP 100 - www.avitop.com Avitop.com