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Long-range Spitfires and daylight Bomber Command raids (was: #1 Jet of World War II)



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 19th 03, 11:22 AM
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
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Default Long-range Spitfires and daylight Bomber Command raids (was: #1 Jet of World War II)

On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 20:39:22 GMT, Guy Alcala
wrote:

Let's just say my reply has been delayed, but here goes.


[snip more gratuitous and unprovoked logical discourse. NB all
gallons referred to in this post are Imperial, not the inferior Yanqui
oppressor's titchy competitive effort.]

[Quill on longitudinal instability on Mk Vs]

Ah, now we can compare close readings and interpretations of same. Onward.
We agree on all the above, but I posit that the commitment would result in a shift to
Mk. VIIIs (or Mk. IXs with similar tankage), accepting the likely temporary decrease
in production.


Actually I don't see there being a production shortfall, except at
Castle Bromwich which would need some retooling to produce Mk VIII
airframes instead of IXs as it ended Vc production in July - October
1943. The rear fuselage tanks could be post-production fittings at
Maintenance Units, which would only receive as many airframes for
fitting as tanks were available. So there'd be two deployment streams
(short-range and long-range Mk VIIIs) until Boulton Paul or whoever
else could produce sufficient tanks for full production fitting.

Much like the behaviour of the actual Mk IX/XVIs with rear-fuselage
tanks in 1945.


True, but those Mk.IX/XVIs also had extra fuel in the regular fuselage tanks (ca.
94-96 gallons, depending on the source) forward of the datum.


66 or 75 gallons according to the Pilot's Notes and Shacklady &
Morgan.

And correct me if I'm
wrong, but ISTR that only those a/c with cut-down rear fuselages got the aft tanks;


Nope: the standard fuselage versions actually got larger internal
rear fuselage tankage - 75 vs 66 gallons. At least that's what the
Pilot's Notes say. [BTW, the VII/VIII/PR.X Pilot's Notes have some
range/climb/cruise graphs which I think might be relevant to this
discussion]

and if you want to extend the escort range it's the amount of fuel you
can carry internally to fight and return on that determines escort radius, no
matter how much fuel you hang externally to boost endurance.


Agreed. This is why the rear-fuselage tankage issue is critical to
this speculation.


Not for combat radius/return, unless you can use rear fuselage tankage for that;
otherwise you're just extending the endurance and ferry range.


This is how Supermarine and the RAF saw it: instability in the early
stages of a flight was acceptable, providing that the fuel load had
been consumed to the point of stability before the aircraft entered
combat. As this is the attitude historically adopted with
rear-fuselage tanks in the Mk IX/XVI, it's not such a stretch to
invoke it a little earlier.

The Mustang could only
retain a fraction (ca. 25-50%) of that rear tank fuel to use for combat without being
dangerously unstable, with the contemporary Spit possibly (probably?) being unable to
retain any of it;


Actually, the relevant testing in January 1945 revealed that the
acceptable manoevering limit with the 75-gallon rear fuselage tank was
9.9 inches aft of the datum, or after 34 gallons had been used.
Clearly the tank didn't need to be emptied for this to be achieved.

at best, it could retain the same fraction as the Mustang. The
Mustang with rear tank didn't have 269 U.S. gallons to fight and return on; it had
somewhere between 205 and 227, depending on what fraction of the aft tank capacity
allowed acceptable combat handling.


In this case we have a Mk IX with 85 gallons internal forward tanks
and about 40 gallons in the rear tank within apparently tolerable
limits for combat.

To be an acceptable long-range escort, the Spit still needed the extra forward
fuselage fuel of the later Mk. IXs and the Mk. VIIIs, plus the leading edge tanks of
the latter. The Mk. VIII carried 124 Imperial gallons internally (149 U.S), ALL of
which was usable in combat, plus whatever extra fuel usable in combat (if any) a rear
tank provided.


Ah, here we disagree: as far as I know, most IX/XVIs didn't have
enlarged forward tanks (in the traditional position forward of the
cabin bulkhead, behind the engine), and most MK VIIIs seem to have
been similar. So the best reliable figure for the internal capacity
of the Mk VIII would actually be around 110 Imp galls. I suppose Air
Commodore Alcala, Director of Fighter Operations in this scenario,
will be pressing the Air Member for Research and Development to get
them all with the enlarged forward tanks as well....

[increased tankage of 2 Spits IXs from Wright Field, July 1944]

In the case of the Spit wing it seems to have been a strength issue, at least
according to Quill


Yes, but I suggest what Wright Field did was a reliable indicator of
what the USAAF would have done if Spitfire production and procurement
was within their grasp. A&AEE whinges about instability would get
short shrift in this situation.

. So I
suggest basic experience of rear-fuselage tankage, and measures to
combat the worst CoG issues resulting were at hand in plenty of time
to have an impact on the postulated fitting of rear-fuselage tanks in
the summer of 1943.


The difference being that the flights to Gibraltar were ferry flights, and no
formation maneuvering or combat flying with the aft tanks full was required.


Sure, but how different is this from Vcs emptying them on the climb
out of East Anglia and the cruise out to Holland? The short-ranged
Spit Vs and IXs could handle combat in those areas, while the LR Spits
would be briefed to pick up their escorts further out over the Zuider
Zee. Giving them an extra 30-45 minutes of flight on internal fuel,
even with the most restricted utility (e.g. only on the way in, no
combat endurance to remain after entering combat) is still of use, and
reflects the utility of giving them drop-tanks to start with. The
final determinant is the distance over enemy territory a Vc could
return on forward tanks alone after exhausting the rear tank, dropping
the 90-gallon drop-tank and spending 10 minutes at high throttle
settings in combat. This is obviously *not* a profile which makes it
contender for deep-penetration escort, but it still means they should
be able to operate out across Holland beyond Amsterdam and up to the
German border. Even a marginal improvement like this would have had a
real and clearly-observable benefit in supressing bomber losses.

In the end, even the RAF cleared the rear-fuselage tanks for
production usage in 1945, and they were happy enough to fit half of
the tankage in the FR XIV and the full thing in the XVIII.


Again, both a/c with cut-down rear fuselages.


Yes, but the cut-down fuselage doesn't seem to be a factor in deciding
whether a Spit got rear-fuselage tanks or not: the IX and XVI with
conventional fuselage got them, the FR XIV got them and I suspect the
XIV would have got them if it hadn't been succeeded on the production
lines by the XVIII in 1945, which only came in a cut-down fuselage
version. As it was, the example of the FR XIV and the IX/XVI
indicates the cut-down fuselage actually had a lower capacity for
rear-fuselage tankage (66 vs 75 gallons).

Getting to our respective readings and
conclusions on Quill, I note that he says in the case of the Mk. 21 that he disagreed
with A&AEE on whether the Mk. 21's handling was acceptable at a certain point, and
that he felt that such handling deficiencies could be accepted to get an a/c with
superior performance into the field (he's also man enough to admit that he may have
been overconfident by this point that average squadron pilots wouldn't have had
serious difficulties, based on his own skills).


I suspect A&AEE were right on that point; but it's instructive to see,
yet again, that Quill states a fix for the stability and trimming
issues that plagued the F.21 in 1944 was known about (enlarged tail
surfaces), but production issues ruled it out until 1945. Take the
MAP monkey off Supermarine's back, demanding production at the expense
of development all the time, and this and a lot of other relevant
problems could have been dealt with earlier.

Now, it may just be a question of him
not thinking to mention it, or the way he worded it, but he maentions no such
disagreement between himself and A&AEE regarding the handling of the rear fuselage
tank-equipped a/c; he just says that the handling wasn't acceptable for a long time,
and required a lot of development.


The origin of the "acceptability" comments over the rear-tank tests
appears to be Supermarine's development testing. Aircraft would only
go to A&AEE after they had arrived at what they saw as a production
standard (e.g. Quill testing the 75 gall RF tank in July 1944, but
Boscombe Down not getting it for another six months). Also, note that
the A&AEE testing was not a peacetime acceptance test as such - the
aircraft and fittings involved were often ordered into production
anyway to minimise delays to production totals, and A&AEE testing was
often being performed as representative of current or imminent
production. F.21's were actually being produced before and after
A&AEE first critically reported on them.

I'm certainly not going to claim, based on such flimsy evidence, that this is
definitive proof that the a/c couldn't have been flown in operations with an aft tank
with accceptable handling much earlier given sufficient motivation, especially given
your comments re the prevailing attitude of the A&AEE. But I do think it at least
suggests that the Cg problems were real and agreed to be so by both the A&AEE _and_
Quill. And that's as far as I'm prepared to gaze into my crystal ball. Your reading
may well be different.


And it is, I'm afraid. A&AEE seem to get their first rear-tank Spit
in January 1945, and quantify it as acceptable once 34 gallons out of
the 75 were used. Nobody was going to Boscombe Down and pushing this
idea, the whole issue seems to come from Supermarine. Posit a burning
interest in the Air Ministry in increasing inernal tankage in 1943
(e.g. ACM Kramer getting upset) and I suspect things would have been
remarkably different.

I suggest
with the equivalent of Eaker, Spaatz and Arnold lighting fires under
people's arses to increase range in 1943, this would have happened
earlier.


Not Eaker or Spaatz; it was Arnold through Giles. From "To Command the Sky":


I stand corrected.

As to someone lighting fires for the R.A.F., that was what Pete and I were
postulating, only for the Spit IX/VIII, with the highest priority to getting increased
range British fighters in the U.K. soonest, with all other Spit improvements pushed
back. Grabbing available Mk. VIIIs first (the MTO and CBI/PTO will just have to suck
it up for a while), at the cost of MK.XII/XIV production,


It wouldn't have been at the expense of Mk XII or XIV production if
you're specifying a start after Schweinfurt II in October 1943. The
XII production run had finished, the XIV was settled month beforehand
and was going to start to appear in a dribble in December 1943 as
production deliveries of Griffon 65s began.

then either expanding Mk.
VIII production at the cost of the Mk. IX


That would have been possible, but only at the point of converting
Castle Bromwich over to the VIII in the summer or autumn of 1943.
This needs a demonstration of the effectiveness and need for it
somewhat earlier: hence my LR Vs in 12 Group in July.

or (if possible) transitioning to Mk. IXs
with the extra leading edge tanks of the VIII, with aft fuselage tanks and whatever
airframe mods required to pack usable _combat_ fuel in.


That would have required prducing the VIII wings & airframe, I
believe, rather than stuffing a Merlin 60-series into a Vc airframe as
was done to churn out IXs. So I think there would be production
infrastructure issues. As it was, the Supermarine production group
around Eastleigh delivered about 90 Mk VIIIs to the RAF in July 1943,
which should be enough to prove the concept if you grab them all.

Sure, and that with an aft tank was next on the agenda after boosting production of
the standard Mk. VIII/leading-edge tank Mk. IX. Either of the latter should have given
us an escort radius of 250-300 miles.


See my note on the actual forward-tank capacity of most VIIIs.
Although this may have been changeable.

Unfortunately, a similar chart for a Mk. V doesn't seem to be available on the site,
but I have my doubts that the Mk. V was carrying around any such ballast in 1943, or
if it did, so far aft. Of course, AB197 was a very early Spit IX (the report date
seems to be June 10th, 1942), so that ballast was probably reduced as more operational
equipment was added, but it at least suggests (combined with the Mk. V's further aft
Cg vs.the Mk. IX as reported in various tests on the site) that the Mk. V was pretty
much at the limit, while the Mk. IX had considerably more Cg range available.


I can't find anything to substantiate this with the V myself, and I
understand the validity of your reservations. Nevertheless, the
critical issue as I see it is whether any rear tankage could become
available given improvements in the CoG by means of the enlarged
elevator horn balance and convex Westland elevator. I fully accept
this would, in all probability, have been insufficient to allow a 75
gallon rear-fuselage tank to be carried and cleared for combat. The
critical issue is whether this would have been enough to permit a
rear-fuselage tank to be used in the early stages of flight to extend
the pre-combat range. Given that this was done with a 29 gallon rear
tank, I think there is a useable margin, albeit a smaller one than a
LR-fitted Mk VIII with better weight distrubution and enlarged tail
surfaces would have.

I'm focusing on using the V not because it had more or even
comparitive utility with the Alacal/Stickney LR Mk VIII (something
I've argued for in the past myself), but because even with the greater
constraints involved, it was a more likely concept-demonstrator in the
historical timescale. If you want an overnight conversion to LR Spit
IXs at any given point without the example of a LR operational trial
in the RAF to start with, you'd have to posit the removal of most of
the higher command and their staff involved to eliminate their
existing preconceptions and prejudices.

So this is why I think LR Vs would be an issue worth consideration
even taking into account their inferiority from all aspects of the job
when compared to the VIII. I think it's more credible to posit
changes in the Vs proving the concept, as this would be more
institutionally tolerable. This is important from my point of view,
as I think any counter-factual speculation has to be made within the
known constraints of the industrial, economic and institutional
context to remain credible.

[production pressures]

I don't underestimate the pressures, I just think (as you mentioned a few paragraphs
above) that if the decision had been made to go over to daylight, fighter range
extension would have increased in priority and changes would have to have been
accepted, whatever the disruption elsewhere. Because otherwise, it wasn't going to
work.


Indeed, but when the RAF actually faced this dilemma, at the end of
1939 and then again in spring 1941, they abandoned daylight bombing.
The two concepts had become divorced, for understandable external
reasons, and asserting a sudden and complete reversal of this is
stretching the credibiluity of the institutional appreciation involved
in the speculation.

Now I think the concept is possible, and a valid piece of historical
speculation, but I also think it has to work within the context
involved, and, frankly, anybody demanding a reduction in Spitfire
production in favour of speculative operational development was on a
losing wicket. The British strategical position in this respect can't
be overstressed too much: the USAAF had a doctine and institutional
ambition towards independence which was served by the 8th AF campaign,
secured by other forces doing things like protecting their bases and
dealing with the existing war against Germany. They had room to stop
and rethink tactics and strategy, and change production priorities
accordingly.

The British did not have this space. They had to maintain existing
commitments and fight the war as it existed from a smaller industrial
and economic base closer to the enemy threat. Proving strategic
concepts, even ones which had great war-winning potential, was a
luxury that could not come at the expense of the means for repelling
the enemy in the meantime.

The RAF could not prejudice production of their main fighter when it
was needed for home defence, operations in the MTO and Far East and
supply to the Russians. The difference between these commitments and
facilitating daylight strategic bombing was the difference between
fighting the war and demonstrating an abstract concept. Whatever
happened in the skies over Germany, Fighter Command were conceiveably
in a position to lose a war for national survival. The 8th AF wasn't.
No lack of respect intended. The 8th might prove vital in winning the
war, but high Spitfire production was known to be needed meanwhile to
avoid defeat and stay in the war, which was an essential prerequisite.

The Mk XIV was settled long before production started in October 1943,
the number of airframe's you'd be losing in that year (six for
development work most of which didn't need massive work for Mk XIV
testing and ended up testing contra-props instead, maybe 20 for
delivery to operational squadrons) is trivial. Simply cutting out the
Mk VIII airframe allocation to the Mk XII production might free twice
as many as that.


And we'll be happy to take them, and we'll just have to accept the occasional FW-190
Jabo getting through.


They weren't much of a threat on the larger scale, but if you're
assuming a change of events in autumn 1943, the XII production run is
effectively already over and done with.

But we'll also take the airframes that became 610 Squadron's
Mk. XIVs in January 1944.


If you've got CBAF producing VIIIs or LR IXs in January 1944, which is
perfectly possible if you start in July or August 1943, there's no
shortage of airframes. Also, bear in mind production factor I've
pointed out earlier - it's likely you'll have more airframes than rear
tanks available by the end of 1943, so you might as well do something
to enhance the remaining non-rear-tanked airframes. I really don't
see either Griffon Spit (XII and XIV) having a substantive impact on
LR Spit VIII supply in late '43 - early '44. I do think that the F.21
and later Seafires would have been delayed if Supermarine were working
like demons on rear-tank stability problems in autumn 1943, though.
But as I've already said, small loss.

If we're talking about an operational need in the summer of 1943,


No, the postulated date of the decision (to go over to days) was sometime in the fall
of '43, although the exact date was a bit unclear. It seemed to be in the
September/October timeframe, but we were unable to get ACM Kramer to be more precise.


Well, pending a decision from "Butch" Kramer, let's assume either the
first or second Schweinfurts as the PoD for this speculation. The
faster the better, as far as the Controller of Research and
Development and the MAP production executive are concerned: getting
Castle Bromwich to produce Mk VIII wings and getting Boulton Paul to
do the pressurised, self-sealing tanks are the major bottlenecks in
the short term.

Good points, and I don't disagree about the utility of the Mk. V as 'certainly better
than nothing,' and better to lose people one at a time rather 7 or 8 at a time Again,
my main concern with the V is whether they could in fact have been given the radius
(not range).


I appreciate the distinction, but I think increasing range was the
first, and most easily achieveable step.

I don't think the early XVIs actually had the rear-fuselage tankage
when they first came off the production lines (September 1944),


Right, I should have said the rear fuselage tank (and I think they only came in with
the cut-down rear fuselage) about 16-18 months early, as i forget just when those
versions came out, but I think it was only in '45.


That's right. But while I'm always sceptical about blanket
counter-factual claims about the relative ease of any one measure
changing things, I have to say I can't see any overpowering practical
reasons why they couldn't have arrived sooner, once the institutional
prejudices and conflicting strategic alignments have been addressed.
And I honestly think they are addressable.

Please desist from this moderate rationality or I will complain to
your ISP.


Did I mention that I have INCONTROVERTIBLE PROOF that the U.K. government has been
testing UFOs ( and dissecting ALIEN CORPSES) at their base at Machrihanish,


Nah, you're just confusing Alien corpses with the average westie.
Understandable mistake. We only retain them to give the midges a
round-the-year locally-available food supply until the German tourists
appear in the summer.

cleverly
disguising test flights of same as those by Aurora and, in times past, SR-71s? Wait,
I hear the black helicopters coming to get me. I can feel the beams as they try to
alter my brain. Excuse me while I done my tinfoil hat.


Interesting theory, although it lacks credibility, until we
acknowledge the critical role played by the Templars and the
Illuminatii in the Ministry of Aircraft Production in 1942 [censored]

Gavin Bailey
--

Another user rings. "I need more space" he says.
"Well, why not move to Texas?", I ask. - The ******* Operator From Hell

  #2  
Old August 20th 03, 09:20 AM
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
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On Wed, 20 Aug 2003 02:04:33 -0400, (Peter
Stickney) wrote:

[arbitrarily moved to this thread by me]

I've been delayed my own self, but I'll invite myself back in...


By all means, except I also note a depressing lack of nationalistic
abuse in this post.

[rear fuselage tanks in Spit Vcs]

The Spit, especially the small tailed Mk V, had a very narrow CG
range. Something on the order of 1.6". The later aircraft, both the
2-stage Merlin powered VIII, IX, and XVIs, and the various Griffon
models, also had a narrow range, but had the advantage of a heavier
engine way up front to even things out. It'a also teh case that
retracting the gear on a Spit translated the CG aft nearly half of its
range. That's teh problem with dainty little airplanes - it doesn't
take much to upset 'em.


OK, but let's be clear about the standard of aircraft modification
involved. Did this include an enlarged elevator horn balance, and if
not how much aftwards CoG movement did bob-weights plus elevator
adaption provide? Quill states that the bob weights gave about 2
inches of rearward travel, and the westland elevator tested at the end
of 1942 gave a "significant amount of C of G travel" with the enlarged
horn balance being "even more effective", although I don't have exact
figures for the CoG movement involved.

Other U.S. fighters that I could dig up in short order are the P-40,
with a CG range of 8.9", and the P-63 with a range of 5.4". On first
analysis, stuffing an aft fuel tank into a Spit V is a much more dicey
proposition that doing the same with a P-51.


Agreed, but is this insoluable? The question doesn't appear as easily
to definatively answer (either way) as it first appeared to me.

Actually, if you're looking for a fairly long-ranged Medium/Low
altitude escort fighter already in RAF hands in 1942, might I suggest
the Allison-engined Mustang I, IA and II. They're long legged, adn
while they don't climb as well as a normally loaded Spit V, they're
danged fast, accelerate well, and can meet an Fw 190A on fairly equal
terms. Mustang Is were the first RAF fighters over Germany, after teh
fall of France, and they spent a lot of time stooging around in the
same areas that are being proposed as Medium Bomber targets.


Su I've no objection to using them as B-25 escorts, as they
actually were historically, except to expand this usage. I still feel
the altitude limitation and the numbers available leave the LR Spit V
a live issue nonetheless. Even Typhoons got used as 2 Group escorts
on occasion, and in this scenario there's a real attritional premium
to be paid for allowing the Luftwaffe undistracted attention on
daylight Lancaster forces, above and beyond what B-17s suffered, and
as a result I think the "everything and the kitchen sink" approach
would be adopted. The commitment of the available fighter force would
need to be much higher than the RAF historically got away with.

Perhaps. It's also the case that the RAF were never really in the
Long Range Escort business. Most of their missions didn't require
flying Combat Air Patrols over German airfields near Prague. The aft
fuel tank didn't provide a whole lof of gain for the RAF.


Precisely. We need to posit a sufficient instiutional change of
policy and interest to even begin this, but as nothing would happen
without it, we might as well take it as a given.

Just my opinion, mind, but I think the thing that really would have
crimped an RAF long range day bombing effort would have been pilot
availability. The RAF Night Heavies (Except, I think, for the
Sirling), were 1 pilot airplanes.


They all had facility for 2 pilots, e.g. extra controls could be
fitted to the Halifax and Lanc if neccessary, but basically they had
ceased to be 2-pilot aircraft by 1943.

That's not enough if you expect to
be getting shot at by people wh actually can see what they're shooting
at. You're going to want copilots, and where are you going to get
them? The Empire Air Training Scheme was a tremendous achievement,
but it was pretty stretched supplying the pilots that the RAF needed
in real life. And you'll have to divert even more pilots to be
instructors.


The loading on the training infrastructure would increase, and the
attritionally-supportable force would shrink, but then again BC took
heavy casualties and expanded, and I'm not aware of a critical aircrew
shortage: aircrew training slots seem to be over-subscribed since
1941, with pools of aircrew forming everywhere except in Bomber
Command. The output of trained pilots is an issue, but then I'm not
aware of it being inadequate historically. If anything, the British
prioritised aircrew training too much in the period 1941-43 with
repercussions elsewhere on the war effort (e.g. infantry replacements
in 1944-45).

Again, I must disagree. The cold, hard numbers say that the Spit was
a lot less tolerant of stuffing weight behind the wings. It's
intersting to note that the Wright Field modified Spits got a big
chunk of their extra capacity by stuffing fuel into the wing leading
edges, which not only didn't upset the CG as much, but moved it in the
forward (good) direction, somewhat counterbalancing the tank behind
the cockpit.


Yes, but even the Wright Field Spits also had 43 gallon tanks behind
the pilot, against 33 gallons in the wings (according to the A&AEE
report summary on MK210 in S&M). Wing tanks have always been a given
with me, as you & Guy have already specified Mk VIII airframes, which
had 25 gall leading-edge tanks, but as Quill states, the only
available space for major increases in internal fuel was behind the
pilot.

You have also opened the drop-tank issue a little wider here with the
two 62 gallon underwing tanks carried by MK210, which is also useful
for the discussion. The Vc airframe could well have taken drop tanks
in the under-wing bomb positions: a 44 gallon drop tank under each
wing would give us another 88 galllons to go with a 90 or 45 gallon
slipper tank. Granted, this isn't increasing the combat radius, and
even I'm dubious about the weight issues, but every gallon gives
greater possibilities for deeper penetration escort up to the limit of
the internal fuel only return-to-base range.

Much less, according to the reports. To increase the CG range of a Mk
V enough to fit a rear tank, you'll need a bigger tail, and ballast in
the nose. At that point, it stops being a Field Conversion, and
starts looking like a remanufacturing job.


This all hinges on the CoG travel the remedial measures like
bob-weights and elevator modification provides. I can't really go any
further until I have some kind of figure to associate with the latter.
I appreciate the rational grounds for your doubts, but I don't think
this issue is resolved yet.

If I get a chance, I'll run some numbers for how much fuel it would
take to get a Spit V to its rear limit. At a first guess, I'd say
"Not Much". The rearward shift when the gear comes up is a problem.


Granted. But none of this works without the hierarchy breathing fire
from the CAS on down for long-range escorts a la Arnold. Let me know
what you think could be done with a range of figures, from 4 inches
rearward travel on up, which seems a reasonable conjectural starting
point for me. Don't forget to use the Vc airframe as a reference
rather than a Vb in regard to landing gear.

Alternatively, sit out in the sun with a cold beer instead.....

Gavin Bailey

--

Another user rings. "I need more space" he says.
"Well, why not move to Texas?", I ask. - The ******* Operator From Hell

  #3  
Old August 20th 03, 09:42 AM
Guy Alcala
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Posts: n/a
Default

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised wrote:

On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 20:39:22 GMT, Guy Alcala
wrote:

Let's just say my reply has been delayed, but here goes.


[snip more gratuitous and unprovoked logical discourse. NB all
gallons referred to in this post are Imperial, not the inferior Yanqui
oppressor's titchy competitive effort.]

[Quill on longitudinal instability on Mk Vs]


snip

Much like the behaviour of the actual Mk IX/XVIs with rear-fuselage
tanks in 1945.


True, but those Mk.IX/XVIs also had extra fuel in the regular fuselage tanks (ca.
94-96 gallons, depending on the source) forward of the datum.


66 or 75 gallons according to the Pilot's Notes and Shacklady &
Morgan.


I was referring to the increased tankage forward of the firewall.

And correct me if I'm
wrong, but ISTR that only those a/c with cut-down rear fuselages got the aft tanks;


Nope: the standard fuselage versions actually got larger internal
rear fuselage tankage - 75 vs 66 gallons. At least that's what the
Pilot's Notes say. [BTW, the VII/VIII/PR.X Pilot's Notes have some
range/climb/cruise graphs which I think might be relevant to this
discussion]


Yes, you're right about the aft tanks. OTOH, those a/c with cut down rear fuselages also
had increased forward fuselage fuel and in some cases leading edge tanks (according to
several sources which I take to be credible), and I think larger horizontal tails, so
clearly they wanted to move the Cg back forward again (more fuel forward, less aft) and
improve the stability. For instance, here's a post from a couple of years back on this
subject:
------------------------------------------------

The Pilot's notes state the following tankage:

The Spitfire 1/II/V had 85 gallons of internal tankage, in two tanks
behind the engine and in front of the pilot. Additional fuel was
carried in 30, 45 or 90 gallon "slipper" tanks under the fuselage.
These were in common use after 1941.

Early Spitfire IX's had the same internal tankage, while at the end of
1944 a further 75 gallons of internal capacity in rear fuselage tanks
was provided. This caused CoG problems as described, but in reality
they seem little worse than those experienced in USAAF Mustangs using
a similar rear-tabkage arrangement. In late model Spitfires with
tear-drop canopies (late '44 production), the front tankage was
increased to 95 gallons while the rear fuselage tankage was reduced to
66 gallons (for roughly the same total tankage). Also, late
production Spitfires had the leading-edge wing tanks used in the Mk
VII/VIII for an additional 26 gallons of internal capacity. From
mid-1944, the existing slipper tanks were augmented with longer
"torpedo"-shaped drop tanks with a 50 or 90 gallon capacity.
Spitfires operating in 1944 seem to have used the latter tanks very
frequently, judging by the photographic evidence.

The Spitfire VII & VIII formed the airframe basis for the later
production Spitfires, and apart from some early Mk XII Spitfire's
converted from Mark V's, all Mark XII and Mark XIV Spitfires had
similar tankage arrangements of 96 gallon forward internal tanks and
26 gallons in wing tanks. Later Mark XIV and Mk XVIII Spitfires had
rear fuselage tanks, either of 62 gallons capacity.

Early Mark XIV's (examples in the RB-serialled series at least) did
not have rear tanks, and seem to have had Mark VIII-arrangement (with
reduced forward tankage capacity previously mentioned) and I suspect
the rear fuselage tanks only arrived with the later production Mk XIVe
models, again after mid-1944.

Some examples of
the Spit V had a smaller rear tank, though I believe this was used for ferry
only.


That's correct. The CoG issues were regarded as insurmountable until
larger tail surfaces arrived with the Mark VIII and later-production
Mark IX's. This is a bit suprising as the Mark V rear-fuselage ferry
tank carried 29 gallons, while flight testing of a Mark IX with the 75
gallon rear-fuselage tank indicated that the lateral instability
associated with the extra tankage eased considerably after 35 gallons
had been used, taking the remaining capacity close to the earlier 29
gallon tank level. This of course is a comment made in ignorance of
the physical positioning of the tank, which would have the biggest
impact on the CoG and consequent stability of any one factor.
--------------------------------------------------------

You may recognize the poster's style, although he's since undergone a revolutionary
reincarnation ;-)

snip

The Mustang could only
retain a fraction (ca. 25-50%) of that rear tank fuel to use for combat without being
dangerously unstable, with the contemporary Spit possibly (probably?) being unable to
retain any of it;


Actually, the relevant testing in January 1945 revealed that the
acceptable manoevering limit with the 75-gallon rear fuselage tank was
9.9 inches aft of the datum, or after 34 gallons had been used.
Clearly the tank didn't need to be emptied for this to be achieved.


at best, it could retain the same fraction as the Mustang. The
Mustang with rear tank didn't have 269 U.S. gallons to fight and return on; it had
somewhere between 205 and 227, depending on what fraction of the aft tank capacity
allowed acceptable combat handling.


In this case we have a Mk IX with 85 gallons internal forward tanks
and about 40 gallons in the rear tank within apparently tolerable
limits for combat.


With which tail, and did the a/c have leading edge tanks?


To be an acceptable long-range escort, the Spit still needed the extra forward
fuselage fuel of the later Mk. IXs and the Mk. VIIIs, plus the leading edge tanks of
the latter. The Mk. VIII carried 124 Imperial gallons internally (149 U.S), ALL of
which was usable in combat, plus whatever extra fuel usable in combat (if any) a rear
tank provided.


Ah, here we disagree: as far as I know, most IX/XVIs didn't have
enlarged forward tanks (in the traditional position forward of the
cabin bulkhead, behind the engine), and most MK VIIIs seem to have
been similar. So the best reliable figure for the internal capacity
of the Mk VIII would actually be around 110 Imp galls. I suppose Air
Commodore Alcala, Director of Fighter Operations in this scenario,
will be pressing the Air Member for Research and Development to get
them all with the enlarged forward tanks as well....


Every source I have implies or claims that all Mk. VIIIs had the bigger forward fuselage
tanks, but I'm willing to be convinced otherwise. But the tank size increase, according to
a different poster from a couple of years ago, was something that could be done on any Mk.
VIII or IX -- the space was always there, it just hadn't been used. Oddly enough,

http://www.fourthfightergroup.com/ea...9tactical.html

which contains the tctical trial data for AB 505 from April 1942, (i.e. prior to the
testing of AB 197, which had the usual 85 gal.), states that

"25......... The fuel capacity of the Spitfire IX is 92 gallons, 57 in the top tank and 35
in the bottom tank. This is 10 gallons more
than the Spitfire VC."


[increased tankage of 2 Spits IXs from Wright Field, July 1944]

In the case of the Spit wing it seems to have been a strength issue, at least
according to Quill


Yes, but I suggest what Wright Field did was a reliable indicator of
what the USAAF would have done if Spitfire production and procurement
was within their grasp. A&AEE whinges about instability would get
short shrift in this situation.


Oh, I don't know. They found it impossible to increase the tankage of the P-39/P-63 for Cg
reasons, and those a/c certainly could have used it in our service (it didn't matter to the
Russians, but that was due to local theater conditions).

. So I
suggest basic experience of rear-fuselage tankage, and measures to
combat the worst CoG issues resulting were at hand in plenty of time
to have an impact on the postulated fitting of rear-fuselage tanks in
the summer of 1943.


The difference being that the flights to Gibraltar were ferry flights, and no
formation maneuvering or combat flying with the aft tanks full was required.


Sure, but how different is this from Vcs emptying them on the climb
out of East Anglia and the cruise out to Holland? The short-ranged
Spit Vs and IXs could handle combat in those areas, while the LR Spits
would be briefed to pick up their escorts further out over the Zuider
Zee. Giving them an extra 30-45 minutes of flight on internal fuel,
even with the most restricted utility (e.g. only on the way in, no
combat endurance to remain after entering combat) is still of use, and
reflects the utility of giving them drop-tanks to start with. The
final determinant is the distance over enemy territory a Vc could
return on forward tanks alone after exhausting the rear tank, dropping
the 90-gallon drop-tank and spending 10 minutes at high throttle
settings in combat. This is obviously *not* a profile which makes it
contender for deep-penetration escort, but it still means they should
be able to operate out across Holland beyond Amsterdam and up to the
German border. Even a marginal improvement like this would have had a
real and clearly-observable benefit in supressing bomber losses.


If the fuel in the external drop tank(s) is already roughly equal to the internal capacity
needed to return, as it was with the 90 gal. tank, adding extra internal fuel that can't be
used in combat does nothing for the combat radius, which is what we're interested in.
Zemke makes this point with regard to the carriage of 2 x 108 USG tanks on P-47s prior to
the D-25 models. All the earlier versions had 305 USG internal, and the switch from a
single CL 150 (nominal) USG tank to a pair of 108s did little or nothing to extend the
radius, although it did boost the endurance in the same area. zemek says that average fuel
burn on escort missions was around 200 gal./hr., giving them at most about 90 minutes on
internal fuel (this is with some combat allowance). Only when the D-25 and subsequent
models entered service with the 65 gallon rear fuselage tank did the extra external fuel
give an increased radius. Presumably most of this 65 gallons was usuable within Cg
limits. Since it took quite a while for them to replace all the earlier models, even in
the 56th, the extra radius couldn't be used for a long time.

In the end, even the RAF cleared the rear-fuselage tanks for
production usage in 1945, and they were happy enough to fit half of
the tankage in the FR XIV and the full thing in the XVIII.


Again, both a/c with cut-down rear fuselages.


Yes, but the cut-down fuselage doesn't seem to be a factor in deciding
whether a Spit got rear-fuselage tanks or not: the IX and XVI with
conventional fuselage got them, the FR XIV got them and I suspect the
XIV would have got them if it hadn't been succeeded on the production
lines by the XVIII in 1945, which only came in a cut-down fuselage
version. As it was, the example of the FR XIV and the IX/XVI
indicates the cut-down fuselage actually had a lower capacity for
rear-fuselage tankage (66 vs 75 gallons).


See the two-year old post above, which indicates measures to move the fuel and Cg forward
on these a/c.

Getting to our respective readings and
conclusions on Quill, I note that he says in the case of the Mk. 21 that he disagreed
with A&AEE on whether the Mk. 21's handling was acceptable at a certain point, and
that he felt that such handling deficiencies could be accepted to get an a/c with
superior performance into the field (he's also man enough to admit that he may have
been overconfident by this point that average squadron pilots wouldn't have had
serious difficulties, based on his own skills).


I suspect A&AEE were right on that point; but it's instructive to see,
yet again, that Quill states a fix for the stability and trimming
issues that plagued the F.21 in 1944 was known about (enlarged tail
surfaces), but production issues ruled it out until 1945. Take the
MAP monkey off Supermarine's back, demanding production at the expense
of development all the time, and this and a lot of other relevant
problems could have been dealt with earlier.


Certainly what we intended to do, with range extension pushed to priority one. Would you
happen to know what the production of Mk. VIIIs was in say October through Dec. '43, or
maybe Jan. '44, inclusive? I'm thinking that a move like Arnold's (he gave the ETO _all_
P-38 and P-51 production for a three month period in late '43), giving Fighter Command all
the Mk. VIII production in that period, would be enough to get us going. The MTO and
everyone else will just have to accept Mk. VC Trops and/or Mk. IXs for a while longer (they
were already using them in any case).

Now, it may just be a question of him
not thinking to mention it, or the way he worded it, but he maentions no such
disagreement between himself and A&AEE regarding the handling of the rear fuselage
tank-equipped a/c; he just says that the handling wasn't acceptable for a long time,
and required a lot of development.


The origin of the "acceptability" comments over the rear-tank tests
appears to be Supermarine's development testing. Aircraft would only
go to A&AEE after they had arrived at what they saw as a production
standard (e.g. Quill testing the 75 gall RF tank in July 1944, but
Boscombe Down not getting it for another six months). Also, note that
the A&AEE testing was not a peacetime acceptance test as such - the
aircraft and fittings involved were often ordered into production
anyway to minimise delays to production totals, and A&AEE testing was
often being performed as representative of current or imminent
production. F.21's were actually being produced before and after
A&AEE first critically reported on them.


And Quill mentions that the F.21 a/c which A&AEE finally accepted had its handling much
improved over the original version he was trying to get them to accept.


I'm certainly not going to claim, based on such flimsy evidence, that this is
definitive proof that the a/c couldn't have been flown in operations with an aft tank
with accceptable handling much earlier given sufficient motivation, especially given
your comments re the prevailing attitude of the A&AEE. But I do think it at least
suggests that the Cg problems were real and agreed to be so by both the A&AEE _and_
Quill. And that's as far as I'm prepared to gaze into my crystal ball. Your reading
may well be different.


And it is, I'm afraid. A&AEE seem to get their first rear-tank Spit
in January 1945, and quantify it as acceptable once 34 gallons out of
the 75 were used. Nobody was going to Boscombe Down and pushing this
idea, the whole issue seems to come from Supermarine. Posit a burning
interest in the Air Ministry in increasing inernal tankage in 1943
(e.g. ACM Kramer getting upset) and I suspect things would have been
remarkably different.


Pete and I certainly hoped that would be the case, although I don't know that the rear
tankage was critical. As long as we could get standard Mk. VIIIs (or LE-tank Mk. IXs) for
the initial day transition period (France/Low countries/Ruhr/German coastal targets), if
the Spit aft tank was taking too long Mustang production would probably cover our needs (as
well as those of the U.S.) by the time we were ready to go deep. And then we'd be on the
continent, and it would become almost a non-issue.

snip

then either expanding Mk.
VIII production at the cost of the Mk. IX


That would have been possible, but only at the point of converting
Castle Bromwich over to the VIII in the summer or autumn of 1943.
This needs a demonstration of the effectiveness and need for it
somewhat earlier: hence my LR Vs in 12 Group in July.


See Pete's post Mk. V Cg range.


or (if possible) transitioning to Mk. IXs
with the extra leading edge tanks of the VIII, with aft fuselage tanks and whatever
airframe mods required to pack usable _combat_ fuel in.


That would have required prducing the VIII wings & airframe, I
believe, rather than stuffing a Merlin 60-series into a Vc airframe as
was done to churn out IXs. So I think there would be production
infrastructure issues.


As it was, the Supermarine production group
around Eastleigh delivered about 90 Mk VIIIs to the RAF in July 1943,
which should be enough to prove the concept if you grab them all.


That's what we want, say 6 squadrons worth of Mk. VIIIs to start with.

Sure, and that with an aft tank was next on the agenda after boosting production of
the standard Mk. VIII/leading-edge tank Mk. IX. Either of the latter should have given
us an escort radius of 250-300 miles.


See my note on the actual forward-tank capacity of most VIIIs.
Although this may have been changeable.


And see my comments.

Unfortunately, a similar chart for a Mk. V doesn't seem to be available on the site,
but I have my doubts that the Mk. V was carrying around any such ballast in 1943, or
if it did, so far aft. Of course, AB197 was a very early Spit IX (the report date
seems to be June 10th, 1942), so that ballast was probably reduced as more operational
equipment was added, but it at least suggests (combined with the Mk. V's further aft
Cg vs.the Mk. IX as reported in various tests on the site) that the Mk. V was pretty
much at the limit, while the Mk. IX had considerably more Cg range available.


I can't find anything to substantiate this with the V myself, and I
understand the validity of your reservations. Nevertheless, the
critical issue as I see it is whether any rear tankage could become
available given improvements in the CoG by means of the enlarged
elevator horn balance and convex Westland elevator. I fully accept
this would, in all probability, have been insufficient to allow a 75
gallon rear-fuselage tank to be carried and cleared for combat. The
critical issue is whether this would have been enough to permit a
rear-fuselage tank to be used in the early stages of flight to extend
the pre-combat range. Given that this was done with a 29 gallon rear
tank, I think there is a useable margin, albeit a smaller one than a
LR-fitted Mk VIII with better weight distrubution and enlarged tail
surfaces would have.


See Pete's post, which seems to confirm my reservations.

I'm focusing on using the V not because it had more or even
comparitive utility with the Alacal/Stickney LR Mk VIII (something
I've argued for in the past myself), but because even with the greater
constraints involved, it was a more likely concept-demonstrator in the
historical timescale. If you want an overnight conversion to LR Spit
IXs at any given point without the example of a LR operational trial
in the RAF to start with, you'd have to posit the removal of most of
the higher command and their staff involved to eliminate their
existing preconceptions and prejudices.


Well, we're already postulating that Winston has tossed most of the CBO out the window and
told Butch to knock off most of the area bombing and switch to days, so existing prejudices
have already been overturned. There'd still likely be a rearguard action, but it would be
difficult to sustain when those 'action this day' prayers start being delivered to Portal
on down.

So this is why I think LR Vs would be an issue worth consideration
even taking into account their inferiority from all aspects of the job
when compared to the VIII. I think it's more credible to posit
changes in the Vs proving the concept, as this would be more
institutionally tolerable. This is important from my point of view,
as I think any counter-factual speculation has to be made within the
known constraints of the industrial, economic and institutional
context to remain credible.


I accept the idea, but retain my caveats over Cg, now strengthened by Pete's comments.

[production pressures]

I don't underestimate the pressures, I just think (as you mentioned a few paragraphs
above) that if the decision had been made to go over to daylight, fighter range
extension would have increased in priority and changes would have to have been
accepted, whatever the disruption elsewhere. Because otherwise, it wasn't going to
work.


Indeed, but when the RAF actually faced this dilemma, at the end of
1939 and then again in spring 1941, they abandoned daylight bombing.
The two concepts had become divorced, for understandable external
reasons, and asserting a sudden and complete reversal of this is
stretching the credibiluity of the institutional appreciation involved
in the speculation.

Now I think the concept is possible, and a valid piece of historical
speculation, but I also think it has to work within the context
involved, and, frankly, anybody demanding a reduction in Spitfire
production in favour of speculative operational development was on a
losing wicket. The British strategical position in this respect can't
be overstressed too much: the USAAF had a doctine and institutional
ambition towards independence which was served by the 8th AF campaign,
secured by other forces doing things like protecting their bases and
dealing with the existing war against Germany. They had room to stop
and rethink tactics and strategy, and change production priorities
accordingly.

The British did not have this space. They had to maintain existing
commitments and fight the war as it existed from a smaller industrial
and economic base closer to the enemy threat. Proving strategic
concepts, even ones which had great war-winning potential, was a
luxury that could not come at the expense of the means for repelling
the enemy in the meantime.

The RAF could not prejudice production of their main fighter when it
was needed for home defence, operations in the MTO and Far East and
supply to the Russians. The difference between these commitments and
facilitating daylight strategic bombing was the difference between
fighting the war and demonstrating an abstract concept. Whatever
happened in the skies over Germany, Fighter Command were conceiveably
in a position to lose a war for national survival. The 8th AF wasn't.
No lack of respect intended. The 8th might prove vital in winning the
war, but high Spitfire production was known to be needed meanwhile to
avoid defeat and stay in the war, which was an essential prerequisite.


I don't agree that was the case by mid '43. Under no conceivable set of circumstances
could Fighter Command lose air superiority over the UK then. As it was, Fighter Command
was over-manned and equipped, and as you have yourself stated, under-utilized. What
happened in Burma and in the Italian campaign weren't going to decide the war, and the
Russians could have survived quite well without Spitfires. If nothing else, we could have
produced more P-39s/P-63s, which in any case were etter suited to conditions on that front.

snip areas of agreement or mild disagreement

Please desist from this moderate rationality or I will complain to
your ISP.


Did I mention that I have INCONTROVERTIBLE PROOF that the U.K. government has been
testing UFOs ( and dissecting ALIEN CORPSES) at their base at Machrihanish,


Nah, you're just confusing Alien corpses with the average westie.
Understandable mistake. We only retain them to give the midges a
round-the-year locally-available food supply until the German tourists
appear in the summer.

cleverly
disguising test flights of same as those by Aurora and, in times past, SR-71s? Wait,
I hear the black helicopters coming to get me. I can feel the beams as they try to
alter my brain. Excuse me while I done my tinfoil hat.


Interesting theory, although it lacks credibility, until we
acknowledge the critical role played by the Templars and the
Illuminatii in the Ministry of Aircraft Production in 1942 [censored]


That would explain the Templars' intimate knowledge of Spitfire fuel tankage, as reposted
well above ;-)

Guy

  #4  
Old August 20th 03, 04:45 PM
John Halliwell
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

In article , The Revolution Will Not
Be Televised writes
They all had facility for 2 pilots, e.g. extra controls could be
fitted to the Halifax and Lanc if neccessary, but basically they had
ceased to be 2-pilot aircraft by 1943.


I'm not sure if they were intended to be operational with two pilots,
I've only ever seen references to an extra set of controls if required,
presumably mostly for training (although all the sources I have suggest
training was done with only one set of controls). Most sources seem to
suggest movement to/from the nose was awkward enough without extra
controls getting in the way.

Even for daylight ops, I'm not sure if a second pilot would have been
carried, maybe the flight engineers would have received additional
training (as some did unofficially from their pilots). I'm not sure when
autopilots became common equipment (1943 perhaps?), they'd take some of
the workload off the pilot.

--
John
  #5  
Old August 21st 03, 03:46 AM
Peter Stickney
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

In article ,
(The Revolution Will Not Be Televised) writes:
On Wed, 20 Aug 2003 02:04:33 -0400,
(Peter
Stickney) wrote:

[arbitrarily moved to this thread by me]

I've been delayed my own self, but I'll invite myself back in...


By all means, except I also note a depressing lack of nationalistic
abuse in this post.


Oh, well then, how's this: The last time a Brit tried to hand my
family a line like that we threw his tea in the harbor.


[rear fuselage tanks in Spit Vcs]

The Spit, especially the small tailed Mk V, had a very narrow CG
range. Something on the order of 1.6". The later aircraft, both the
2-stage Merlin powered VIII, IX, and XVIs, and the various Griffon
models, also had a narrow range, but had the advantage of a heavier
engine way up front to even things out. It'a also teh case that
retracting the gear on a Spit translated the CG aft nearly half of its
range. That's teh problem with dainty little airplanes - it doesn't
take much to upset 'em.


OK, but let's be clear about the standard of aircraft modification
involved. Did this include an enlarged elevator horn balance, and if
not how much aftwards CoG movement did bob-weights plus elevator
adaption provide? Quill states that the bob weights gave about 2
inches of rearward travel, and the westland elevator tested at the end
of 1942 gave a "significant amount of C of G travel" with the enlarged
horn balance being "even more effective", although I don't have exact
figures for the CoG movement involved.


That's going to take a lot of fiddly meaduring & figuruing to say for
sure, but, looking over the inboard profiles (X-ray views) of both
aircraft, one thing does stand out - a Spitfire's cockpit is aft of
the wing, and well aft of the CG. And the fuselage ahead of the
cockpit is already full of stuff. (Fuel, mostly) The available space
behind the cockpit is a long way aft of the CG, which isn't good.
A Mustang's cocpit is over the wing. The aft tank location is
basically right at the trailing edge. Not only is the airplane more
tolerant of how it's loaded, the tank location is in a better place.

That might be a reason for the Sutton Harness in a Spit- you wouldn't
want the pilot leaning forward causing the airplane to nose down!
(Actually, I have doen this with light airplaes, to demonstrate the
balance of forces to (captive audience) passengers - lean forward,
nose down, lean back, nose up.)

Other U.S. fighters that I could dig up in short order are the P-40,
with a CG range of 8.9", and the P-63 with a range of 5.4". On first
analysis, stuffing an aft fuel tank into a Spit V is a much more dicey
proposition that doing the same with a P-51.


Agreed, but is this insoluable? The question doesn't appear as easily
to definatively answer (either way) as it first appeared to me.


Well, for teh Mk VIII and Mk XIV, it indeed was. FOr a Mk V, I'm not
sure.

Actually, if you're looking for a fairly long-ranged Medium/Low
altitude escort fighter already in RAF hands in 1942, might I suggest
the Allison-engined Mustang I, IA and II. They're long legged, adn
while they don't climb as well as a normally loaded Spit V, they're
danged fast, accelerate well, and can meet an Fw 190A on fairly equal
terms. Mustang Is were the first RAF fighters over Germany, after teh
fall of France, and they spent a lot of time stooging around in the
same areas that are being proposed as Medium Bomber targets.


Su I've no objection to using them as B-25 escorts, as they
actually were historically, except to expand this usage. I still feel
the altitude limitation and the numbers available leave the LR Spit V
a live issue nonetheless. Even Typhoons got used as 2 Group escorts
on occasion, and in this scenario there's a real attritional premium
to be paid for allowing the Luftwaffe undistracted attention on
daylight Lancaster forces, above and beyond what B-17s suffered, and
as a result I think the "everything and the kitchen sink" approach
would be adopted. The commitment of the available fighter force would
need to be much higher than the RAF historically got away with.


Actually, according to the A&AEE's reports on testing Mustang Is, and
various Mk Vs, I don't see a whole lot of difference in altitude
performance, even without the Mustang II's higher-supercharged engine.
It didn't climb as well as a Spit, adn it didn't quite turn as well,
but it did out-speed, out-turn and out-zoom the Fw 190As that the
Abbeville boys were flying. (Speaking of which, is Holly Hills still
extant? I know he was recovering from his stroke a few years back.)


Perhaps. It's also the case that the RAF were never really in the
Long Range Escort business. Most of their missions didn't require
flying Combat Air Patrols over German airfields near Prague. The aft
fuel tank didn't provide a whole lof of gain for the RAF.


Precisely. We need to posit a sufficient instiutional change of
policy and interest to even begin this, but as nothing would happen
without it, we might as well take it as a given.


Well, I could begin my somewhat-factually based Nationalistic Rant
about how the Brits, and Europeans in general never figured out how to
put long range into fighter airplanes becasue their countries are so
danged small, and that you can't ever be more than an hour from a
National Border or coastline, unlike those of us who need to be able
to fly stuff from San Francisco to Honolulu routinely, but I won't.

Just my opinion, mind, but I think the thing that really would have
crimped an RAF long range day bombing effort would have been pilot
availability. The RAF Night Heavies (Except, I think, for the
Stirling), were 1 pilot airplanes.


They all had facility for 2 pilots, e.g. extra controls could be
fitted to the Halifax and Lanc if neccessary, but basically they had
ceased to be 2-pilot aircraft by 1943.

That's not enough if you expect to
be getting shot at by people wh actually can see what they're shooting
at. You're going to want copilots, and where are you going to get
them? The Empire Air Training Scheme was a tremendous achievement,
but it was pretty stretched supplying the pilots that the RAF needed
in real life. And you'll have to divert even more pilots to be
instructors.


The loading on the training infrastructure would increase, and the
attritionally-supportable force would shrink, but then again BC took
heavy casualties and expanded, and I'm not aware of a critical aircrew
shortage: aircrew training slots seem to be over-subscribed since
1941, with pools of aircrew forming everywhere except in Bomber
Command. The output of trained pilots is an issue, but then I'm not
aware of it being inadequate historically. If anything, the British
prioritised aircrew training too much in the period 1941-43 with
repercussions elsewhere on the war effort (e.g. infantry replacements
in 1944-45).


It's a good question, though. If you suddenly start needing twice as
many bomber pilots, the repercussions will be far & wide.

Again, I must disagree. The cold, hard numbers say that the Spit was
a lot less tolerant of stuffing weight behind the wings. It's
intersting to note that the Wright Field modified Spits got a big
chunk of their extra capacity by stuffing fuel into the wing leading
edges, which not only didn't upset the CG as much, but moved it in the
forward (good) direction, somewhat counterbalancing the tank behind
the cockpit.


Yes, but even the Wright Field Spits also had 43 gallon tanks behind
the pilot, against 33 gallons in the wings (according to the A&AEE
report summary on MK210 in S&M). Wing tanks have always been a given
with me, as you & Guy have already specified Mk VIII airframes, which
had 25 gall leading-edge tanks, but as Quill states, the only
available space for major increases in internal fuel was behind the
pilot.


43 of _whose_ gallons? It's worth pointing out that the Wright Field
modded aircraft used a somewhat smaller tank behind the cockpit, adn
stucl 150 U.S. Gallons of fuel under the wings, where CG wasn't an
issue. I'll admit to being a bit puzzled about why the RAF never went
for wing rack mounted drops on a Spit, until it occurred to me that
there isn't any significant amount of fuel in the wing, and teh
plumbing and pumping is going to be a royal pain.

You have also opened the drop-tank issue a little wider here with the
two 62 gallon underwing tanks carried by MK210, which is also useful
for the discussion. The Vc airframe could well have taken drop tanks
in the under-wing bomb positions: a 44 gallon drop tank under each
wing would give us another 88 galllons to go with a 90 or 45 gallon
slipper tank. Granted, this isn't increasing the combat radius, and
even I'm dubious about the weight issues, but every gallon gives
greater possibilities for deeper penetration escort up to the limit of
the internal fuel only return-to-base range.


See above.

Much less, according to the reports. To increase the CG range of a Mk
V enough to fit a rear tank, you'll need a bigger tail, and ballast in
the nose. At that point, it stops being a Field Conversion, and
starts looking like a remanufacturing job.


This all hinges on the CoG travel the remedial measures like
bob-weights and elevator modification provides. I can't really go any
further until I have some kind of figure to associate with the latter.
I appreciate the rational grounds for your doubts, but I don't think
this issue is resolved yet.


Well, the elevator balance change will add to the stabilizer/elevator
combination area, and that's good. It also will reduce the control
forces for pitch, possibly to the point whre the controls are
over-balanced, and once you start waving the stick around, it wants to
amplify the action, and that's bad, leading to overcontrolling at
beast, and breaking the airplane at worst, especially with an airplane
that's already pretty light on the controls, like a Spit. The
bobweight tends to resist this overbalancing, at a cost in stick
forces. The thing is, the amount of influence from the bobweight
changes, like the elevator balance, with deflection. It's confusing,
adn there's no intuitive answer other than make the tail bigger.
The same applies to the rudder, as well.

If I get a chance, I'll run some numbers for how much fuel it would
take to get a Spit V to its rear limit. At a first guess, I'd say
"Not Much". The rearward shift when the gear comes up is a problem.


Granted. But none of this works without the hierarchy breathing fire
from the CAS on down for long-range escorts a la Arnold. Let me know
what you think could be done with a range of figures, from 4 inches
rearward travel on up, which seems a reasonable conjectural starting
point for me. Don't forget to use the Vc airframe as a reference
rather than a Vb in regard to landing gear.


I'll get round to it, after...

Alternatively, sit out in the sun with a cold beer instead.....


After the Great Blaster Worm and Sobig Hydra chases I've had this
week, that's top priority. (Work real job, than travel up to the
North COuntry to help out some former clients)

--
Pete Stickney
A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many
bad measures. -- Daniel Webster
  #6  
Old August 21st 03, 07:53 AM
Guy Alcala
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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised wrote:

On Wed, 20 Aug 2003 08:42:55 GMT, Air Commodore Guy Alcala, Director
of Fighter Operations wrote:


Isn't rapid promotion in wartime wonderful? And to think, I was just a lowly Wing Commander on
Butch's staff a month or so ago, along with then Group Captain Stickney.

snip

Yes, you're right about the aft tanks. OTOH, those a/c with cut down rear fuselages also
had increased forward fuselage fuel and in some cases leading edge tanks (according to
several sources which I take to be credible), and I think larger horizontal tails, so
clearly they wanted to move the Cg back forward again (more fuel forward, less aft) and
improve the stability.


Ah, but the tankage juggling didn't happen quite as sequentially and
in such a comprehensive fashion. These things were much more
piecemeal than an overall summary makes them appear. A comprehensive
history of the modification states at and after delivery of all
Spitfire models would be nice, but frankly it seems like a task better
left to candidates for extensive residence in purgatory.


Reviewing some of the "here they are, now they're gone" tank capacities in the A&AEE test
reports on the 4th FG website, I'm beginning to think you're right.


For instance, here's a post from a couple of years back on this
subject:


Well, this chap seems to talk some sense for once in this
thread....[cough]

In late model Spitfires with
tear-drop canopies (late '44 production), the front tankage was
increased to 95 gallons while the rear fuselage tankage was reduced to
66 gallons (for roughly the same total tankage).


That's not entirely true, although I do enjoy the rueful pleasure of
hoisting myself with my own petard. I don't think it's possible to
definatively state that all RF-tanked Spit IXs had increased forward
tankage. There's no reason this can't be the case in the ATL we're
considering, though.

The Spitfire VII & VIII formed the airframe basis for the later
production Spitfires, and apart from some early Mk XII Spitfire's
converted from Mark V's, all Mark XII and Mark XIV Spitfires had
similar tankage arrangements of 96 gallon forward internal tanks and
26 gallons in wing tanks.


Again, this seems to be out, based on my understanding as it has
evolved over the past couple of years.


Indeed.
--------------------------------------------

AFDU Wittering July 1943 Spitfire XIV JF317

SHORT TACTICAL TRIALS OF EXPERIMENTAL SPITFIRE XIV

INTRODUCTION

On instructions from Headquarters, Fighter Command, an experimental Spitfire XIV JF317 (Griffon
61) was made available by
A&AEE for three days for short tactical trials. The trials took the form of a direct comparison
with a Spitfire VIII (Merlin 63)
JF664, and flying took place from 27 to 29 July 1943.

BRIEF DESCPRIPTION

The aircraft used is a conversion of the Spitfire VIII. The larger engine involves a much longer
engine cowling and the extra
weight forward has been balanced by ballast in the tail. The fin has been increased in area to
help directional stability and a
large rudder is fitted. This aircraft had the normal span wings of the Spitfire VIII with small
span ailerons, but the extended wing
tips had been replaced by the standard wing tips as on the MK IX. The engine is not
representative of production as the FS
gear is higher and the MS lower. A five blade propeller is fitted. The engine had a Bendix
injection carberator and boost for
combat is limited to plus 15 lbs. The Spitfire VIII weighed 7,760 lb, the XIV 8,376.

snip

Range and Endurance- Both aircraft carry the same amount of fuel (96 gallons in the main tank
and 27 gallons in two wing
tanks.) Refueling checks made to compare consumption showed than when the two aircraft stayed
together throughtout the
trials, the Griffon engine was using approximately 10-15 gallons more fuel per hour than the
Merlin.
-----------------------------------------------------

So it appears that the "standard" Mk. VIII as well as the Mk. VIII(G) conversions did indeed
have an internal capacity of 123 gallons, as early as July 1943. But then the weight and
loading data for the second _production_ Mk. XIV, RB. 141, dated 15 Dec. 1943, state that it has
112 gallons, 85 in the fuselage (i.e. the original fuselage tanks) plus the 27 in the wing L.E.
Just to confuse things, there's the later test below:

-------------------------------------------------------

INTRODUCTION

1. In accordance with instructions from Headquarters, A.D.G.B., tactical trials have been
completed on Spitfire XIV. Aircraft
No. RB.141 was delivered to this Unit on 28.1.44 for comparative trials with the Tempest V. It
was discovered that this
aircraft was not representative of production aircraft for Squadrons, and Spitfire XIV No.
RB.179 was made available and
delivered on 25.2.44. The operational weight with full fuel and ammunition is 8,400 lbs. To give
a clear picture to the greatest
number, the Spitfire IX (maximum engine settings +18 lbs boost, 3,000 revs) has been chosen for
full comparison, and not the
Spitfire XII which is a low altitude aircraft built only in small numbers. Tactical comparisons
have been made with the Tempest
V and Mustang III, and combat trials have been carried out against the FW 190 (BMW 801D) and Me
109G.

snip

TACTICAL COMPARISON WITH SPITFIRE IX

13. The tactical differences are caused chiefly by the fact that the Spitfire XIV has an engine
of greater capacity and is the
heavier aircraft (weighing 8,400 lbs. against 7,480 lbs. of Spitfire IX).

Range & Endurance
14. The Spitfire XIV, without a long-range tank, carries 110 gallons of fuel and 9 gallons of
oil. When handled similarily, the
Spitfire XIV uses fuel at about 1 1/4 times the rate of the Spitfire IX. Its endurance is
therefore slightly less. Owing to its higher
speed for corresponding engine settings, its range is about equal. For the same reasons, extra
fuel carried in a long-range tank
keeps its range about equal to that of the Spitfire IX, its endurance being slightly less.
------------------------------------------------------------

Now, was that 110 gallons a misprint, a rough rounding (seems unlikely), representative of the
"standard" production a/c (details of differences not given) as opposed to the "non-standard"
RB. 141, or just Supermarine fitting in whatever tanks they happened to have on the shelf on any
particular day?

Later Mark XIV and Mk XVIII Spitfires had
rear fuselage tanks, either of 62 gallons capacity.


Note that the FR XIVs, with cameras in place of one of the RF tanks,
still had the second 33 gallon tank. I think RF-tanked Mk XIVs can't
be dismissed out of hand. But one maniacal idea at a time.


Brng it up again and it's off to Wandsworth with you, for sabotaging the war effort.

You may recognize the poster's style, although he's since undergone a revolutionary
reincarnation ;-)


Via a publically-acclaimed stint as a German emperor's hairstyle...

Nonetheless, it's a reasonable summary but I think the forward tank
size is probably not representative. The Pilot's Notes for the Mk XII
give a standard 85-gallon forward tankage, the PN's for the F.21 give
it the same tankage and ditto for the Mk XVIII.


Interestingly enough, the tactical test of the Mk. XII EN. 223 in Dec. 1942 includes the
following comment:
-------------------------------------------
Flying Characteristics

5. In the air the handling of both EN.223, and another production Spitfire XII which was made
available by Supermarine for one day, were felt to be far superior to the normal Spitfire IX or
VB, being exceptionally good in the lateral control which is crisper and lighter due to the
clipped wings. The longitudinal stability is much better than that of the Spitfire V, and in the
dive it was particularly noticed that when trimmed for cruising flight, it stays in easily at
400 m.p.h. I.A.S., and does not recover fiercely. In turns the stick load is always positive and
the control very comfortable.
-----------------------------------------------

Also "It is fitted with facilities for beam approach and about the first seven, including the
aircraft on trial, have the oil tank behind the pilot. This is not acceptable operationally and
subsequent aircraft will have the oil tank mounted immediately aft of the fireproof bulkhead.
The fuel capacity is retained at 85 gallons, and jettison tanks can be used if required."
Moving the oil tank forward would of course shift the Cg in the same direction, boosting the
stability even more.


Both of the latter
were definative production versions, with plenty of time to include
larger forward tankage in the production lines if it had been decided
upon as a production version requirement.

The PN's for the VII/VIII/X do refer to an increased 96 gallon forward
tankage, so you're right and it would be valid for the Merlin LR Spit,
but not for the Griffons, I suspect.


So it seems, from the Mk. VIII/conversion Mk. XIV test quoted above, and the various Mk. XIV
prodution tests..


In this case we have a Mk IX with 85 gallons internal forward tanks
and about 40 gallons in the rear tank within apparently tolerable
limits for combat.


With which tail, and did the a/c have leading edge tanks?


Vc tail, no leading edge tanks. I think we can summarise on a LR Spit
VIII having the following:

96 gallons internal forward tanks (47 and 49 gallons)
25 gallons internal wing tanks (two 12.5 gallon tanks; conservative
figures used)

The Spit VIII srs ii a.k.a. Spit LR VIII gets this extra -

75 gallons internal rear fuselage tank.

This gives a potential internal fuel capacity of 196 gallons, with a
further 90 available from external slipper or drop tanks. How this
translates to range might be worth exploring. Much of this is pure
conjecture on my part, I should add, and please correct me if you have
a better idea of the figures involved.

The PN's for the VIII give an allowance of 9 gallons for run-up and
take-off. That should be out of the rear tank.


Depends. For safety reasons it's more likely to be from one of the main tanks, so as to avoid
any fumbling during takeoff if there are feed problems. I'm assuming that all the drops, aft
fuselage and L.E. tanks all feed into one of the main tanks, like the Mustang. I don't know the
details of the Spit's fuel plumbing.


Climbing at 160 IAS (if I'm assuming this correctly from the curves
given) should take perhaps 15 gallons and maybe 15 minutes to 25,000
feet on a low revs weak mixture. The performance curve I'm looking at
only covers a clean aircraft, so an extra 5 gallons or so to cover the
higher weight might be reasonable. I'm assuming wing rendezvous and
assembly could be done on the climb phase, if not let's assume another
5 gallons. This knocks off 34 gallons from the rear tank, and should
mean the aircraft is reasonably stable when they depart the English
coast.

I imagine the rest of the profile would be flown at a low-revs,
high-boost weak mixture cruise. That could go down to 1,800 rpm, but
then there's the tactical need to maintain a high airspeed. I suggest
your wing commanders cruisie at 2,200 rpm and +4 boost, for a
consumption of 61 gallons per hour. That should give about 6.5 air
mpg, or maybe 6 when the drag of the external tank is taken into
consideration.


What kind of air speed does that give you? Zemke says that they normally cruised at maybe
210-220 IAS on Rodeos (doesn't say specifically what the cruise was on Ramrods), giving 320-325
TAS at escort altitudes.

There obviously needs to be a contingency reserve on the internal
forward fuel, maybe 10 gallons as a minimum. This gives us 24 gallons
in the wing tanks, 86 usable in the forward tanks, 41 left in the rear
tanks and 90 in the drop tank. The priority would be to expend fuel
in the tanks which cause performance degredation, so the rear and drop
tanks would have the priority. We'd have to assume a minimum of 10
minutes at full combat settings for the engine, which at +18 lbs and
3,000 rpm (even if it might not attain this in high-altitude combat, I
want to be conservative). At 150 gallons per hour, this means as much
as 25 gallons being used in combat, and this must come from the
internal fuel.

So the internal fuel situation is looking like 34 gallons for climb
and assembly from the rear tank, a 10 gallon reserve from the front
tanks (the last to be emptied and the ones you'd be on when stooging
about East Anglia in the fog desperately seeking somewhere to land)
and 25 gallon allocation for combat from the same tanks.

This leaves 41 gallons in the rear tanks and 76 gallons in the wing
and forward tanks, not including 90 in the drop tank.

The remaining 117 gallons of internal fuel should give a still air
range of about 700 miles, or about 350 miles radius under good
cruising conditions. The 90 gallon tank should give a further
still-air range of 500 miles or so, but none of that can be relied
upon as it will be jettisoned at the first sing of combat. The range
on internal fuel is more impressive than I thought. The drop tank
would be useful getting across the North Sea, and as the USAAF
demonstrated, could be held on until German fighters were spotted long
past the enemy-held coast, and so the internal fuel would really only
be needed for combat and returning from combat.

If these figures (admittedly from a "back of fag packet" provenance)
have any pretence at being representative, it seems the Director of
Fighter Operations (Air Commodore Alcala) and the Air Member for
Research and Development (AVM Stickney) might be on to something here.
The Spit LR VIII might well have been very useful as an
intermediate-range escort.


I think some of your assumptions are a wee bit optimistic for Wing-size ops, but agree with the
general tenor.

Every source I have implies or claims that all Mk. VIIIs had the bigger forward fuselage
tanks, but I'm willing to be convinced otherwise.


I'm not going to push that angle: it seems a reasonable enough
assumption on the basis of the evidence I have.

But the tank size increase, according to
a different poster from a couple of years ago, was something that could be done on any Mk.
VIII or IX -- the space was always there, it just hadn't been used. Oddly enough,


Some IXs did get it, but I can't discover the logic or process
involved at this stage.


I increasingly wonder if it was a matter of "whatever the subcontractors deliver today." Any
idea who made the internal tanks (if not Supermarine), and if there was more than one company
involved?


which contains the tctical trial data for AB 505 from April 1942, (i.e. prior to the
testing of AB 197, which had the usual 85 gal.), states that

"25......... The fuel capacity of the Spitfire IX is 92 gallons, 57 in the top tank and 35
in the bottom tank. This is 10 gallons more
than the Spitfire VC."


That's interesting, as it's not the actual VII or VII forward tank
profile (47 gallons top and 49 gallons bottom). This might be an
unrepresentative example. I think the VIII capacity is plausible
enough, and they began production in November 1942.


Yeah, I have no idea where the 92 gallons comes from, or how it can be considered "10 more than
the Spit Vc."

Yes, but I suggest what Wright Field did was a reliable indicator of
what the USAAF would have done if Spitfire production and procurement
was within their grasp. A&AEE whinges about instability would get
short shrift in this situation.


Oh, I don't know. They found it impossible to increase the tankage of the P-39/P-63 for Cg
reasons, and those a/c certainly could have used it in our service (it didn't matter to the
Russians, but that was due to local theater conditions).


They did apparently stick a 43 gallon tank behind the pilot, which is
interestingly enough when we bear in mind the 75 gallon tankage
becoming tolerable after 34 gallons were used; i.e. taking it down to
41 gallons behind the pilot. I really think there is some valid
mileage there, especially since MK210, the aircraft in question had
normal Vc/IX tail surfaces, and not the Mk VIII extended tail which
would have improved stability further.

If the fuel in the external drop tank(s) is already roughly equal to the internal capacity
needed to return, as it was with the 90 gal. tank, adding extra internal fuel that can't be
used in combat does nothing for the combat radius, which is what we're interested in.
Zemke makes this point with regard to the carriage of 2 x 108 USG tanks on P-47s prior to
the D-25 models. All the earlier versions had 305 USG internal, and the switch from a
single CL 150 (nominal) USG tank to a pair of 108s did little or nothing to extend the
radius, although it did boost the endurance in the same area.


I appreciate the distinction, but pre-combat endurance at the range
limit is still an important advantage, especially in this scenario.
I'm not asserting that an LR Spit could replace the longer ranged
escorts like the P-38 and P-51. It could have moved out to
Thunderbolt-radius, and that would have been a major benefit. While
the early P-47 groups were complaining about range and endurance
difficulties, they still did a lot of good work within their
attainable radius.


Agreed. It seems that the break point in practice for radius extension is reached when the
external capacity is roughly 2/3rd of the (combat usable) internal. Beyond that you're just
boosting the endurance or ferry range.

snip

Certainly what we intended to do, with range extension pushed to priority one. Would you
happen to know what the production of Mk. VIIIs was in say October through Dec. '43, or
maybe Jan. '44, inclusive?


No, but the service acceptances by the RAF seem to be (by a hand and
eye count of the appendices in Shacklady & Morgan, so I can't claim
any real authority for these figures) about 90 in July 1943, 98 in
October, declining to 67 in November, 53 in December and 28 in January
1944. This doesn't reflect production figures per se, as the aircraft
had often been in storage for some time or were shipped to Casablanca
or India, and had actually been produced earlier. But it does give an
indicator of deliveries, which is almost what you want.


We're in fat city, then, and I see no need to mess around with Mk. Vs. The October acceptances
will allow us to form 3 squadrons immediately plus 50% reserves (ideally we'd want at least
100%), more than sufficient force for escorting the first 'Combat wing' of heavies we form in 3
Gp.

Bear in mind there was a minor changeover to Mk XIV production
(starting with 2 aircraft in October 1943, to about 7 per month in
December 1943) at this point. Otherwise the Eastleigh production
group under Supermarine were moving to producing Seafires and fooling
about with XVIII and F.21 development (which would take aeons to
culminate in a production version). The main production resource was
Castle Bromwich, which was churning out Mk IXs at this point.

I don't see why Mk VIII airframe production couldn't be extended and
maintained at about 90 per month. That should be enough to operate 9
squadrons (on 20 a/c i.e. strength, 10 per month per sqn to replace
losses) on a reasonable 50% per month wastage figure without even
touching CBAF. As tanks become available, the CBAF IXs can mutate
into VIIIs and then LR VIIIs.


Seems reasonable, although we'd want to boost Mk. VIII production well above 90/month, to allow
us to re-equip Fighter Command faster and supply the overseas squadrons. In the meantime, they
get the Mk. IXs that we're not replacing with Mk. VIIIs.


I'm thinking that a move like Arnold's (he gave the ETO _all_
P-38 and P-51 production for a three month period in late '43), giving Fighter Command all
the Mk. VIII production in that period, would be enough to get us going. The MTO and
everyone else will just have to accept Mk. VC Trops and/or Mk. IXs for a while longer (they
were already using them in any case).


Well, it looks like the real bottleneck is in fitting enlarged main
tanks, wing tanks and rear fuselage tanks to the IX. I don't have the
information to scale this into consideration, but I can't believe that
tank production couldn't have been expanded.

And Quill mentions that the F.21 a/c which A&AEE finally accepted had its handling much
improved over the original version he was trying to get them to accept.


Yes, they did: by early 1945, after production deliveries began in
August 1944. In my version of this scenario, after appointing myself
as Air Member for Production at the MAP and Air Council, I'm telling
Supermarine to continue Mk VIII production and move the F.21 onto the
back burner, although fighting for an allocation of Mk VIII airframes
for conversion to Mk XIV offset from Castle Bromwich beginning
production of LR Spit IXs with LR Mk VIII tankange to keep ACdr Alcala
and AVM Strickney quiet. This gives us an interim two-stage Griffon
version in service in February 1944 without all the dislocation caused
by the arseing about producing unusable F.21s in the short term.


An excellent plan.

Pete and I certainly hoped that would be the case, although I don't know that the rear
tankage was critical.


Maybe not as much as I thought, but still, let's go for it as a Spit
VIII series ii (Long-Range) standard to come in when possible. With
ACM Kramer in charge that might happen a lot sooner than in OTL.


Not to mention Winston pushing.

I don't agree that was the case by mid '43. Under no conceivable set of circumstances
could Fighter Command lose air superiority over the UK then.


Well, we know that now, and I'm sure some did at the time, but don't
underestimate the retentive power of the 1940-41 institutional and
beurocratic memories, and the impact of the production priorities
which were shaped then.

As it was, Fighter Command
was over-manned and equipped, and as you have yourself stated, under-utilized. What
happened in Burma and in the Italian campaign weren't going to decide the war, and the
Russians could have survived quite well without Spitfires.


I'd say so as well, but the political ramifications were not easily
dismissed. The Aussies, India Command, the DAF, the Americans and
Russians had all asked for and been promised Spitfire allocations
which were still required at the time. These all had to come out of
Mk IX production. I don't think this is as big a problem as I'd
initially assumed if the main bottleneck is building and fitting the
internal tanks: there was no need to stop production meanwhile, even
if there was a shortage of tanks to fit them all.


Ah, but we're doing a direct swap, giving them Mk. IXs instead of Mk. VIIIs, just for a few
months. As it is, 31st FG was flying a mix of Mk. Vs, Mk. IXs and Mk. VIIIs in Italy, so the
U.S. would just have to wait on the Mk. VIIIs for a while.

If nothing else, we could have
produced more P-39s/P-63s, which in any case were etter suited to conditions on that front.


I wouldn't disagree with that, but again, it's a judgement borne of
hindsight. Nobody was going to emerge successfully unscathed from a
Chief of Staffs meeting with Winnie present after voicing the
suggestion that Russian allocation of British fighters be cut
entirely.


Hey, they can have all the Mk. IXs they want.

That would explain the Templars' intimate knowledge of Spitfire fuel tankage, as reposted
well above ;-)


Wait till the German emperor's hairpiece turns up on Google with it's
own unique contribution to make. Have I mentioned Sabre-powered
Lancasters yet?


Yes, you have, oh spawn of the devil;-)

Guy



  #8  
Old August 21st 03, 08:14 AM
Guy Alcala
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Peter Stickney wrote:

In article ,
John Halliwell writes:
In article , The Revolution Will Not
Be Televised writes
They all had facility for 2 pilots, e.g. extra controls could be
fitted to the Halifax and Lanc if neccessary, but basically they had
ceased to be 2-pilot aircraft by 1943.


I'm not sure if they were intended to be operational with two pilots,
I've only ever seen references to an extra set of controls if required,
presumably mostly for training (although all the sources I have suggest
training was done with only one set of controls). Most sources seem to
suggest movement to/from the nose was awkward enough without extra
controls getting in the way.

Even for daylight ops, I'm not sure if a second pilot would have been
carried, maybe the flight engineers would have received additional
training (as some did unofficially from their pilots). I'm not sure when
autopilots became common equipment (1943 perhaps?), they'd take some of
the workload off the pilot.


It's not so much a question of workload as is is, uhm, having a backup
pilot fully capable of flying a probably damaged airplane to a safe
recovery. Yes, quite a number of Lancaster and Halifax FEs got stick
time, but how many were practicing engine-out landings? For that
matter, if you've got a damaged airplane, you want somebody to fly
while the FE keeps things together.


I'll disagree here. You want two pilots so they can take turns flying tight
formation. For night ops it was no big deal to put the a/c on george and have
the first and second pilots swap out (before they replaced the 2nd pilot with
a FE). That's not an option when flying in a combat box. With only a single
pilot the formations are going to be looser, and that's the last thing the
Brit heavies need, as they're already going to be the ground bait. Once air
superiority is won and the invasion has happened it's not as big a deal,
becaue there's less need to fly tight formation for as long, but we're talking
about the period before that occurs. Both Lanc and Halifax have FE seats next
to (and slightly aft) of the pilot, so the space shouldn't be a too much of a
problem. I wasn't aware that these two a/c had provisions for dual controls
built in, although I knew that some had them; when we were trying to figure
out what mods we'd have to make to run these a/c by day, we had allowed a fair
amount of time to design and develop a production dual control system, so it
seems that we were overcautious in estimating how much time that would take.

Guy

  #9  
Old August 21st 03, 09:39 AM
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
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On Thu, 21 Aug 2003 06:53:31 GMT, Air Commodore Guy Alcala, Director
of Fighter OperationsGuy Alcala
wrote:

Isn't rapid promotion in wartime wonderful? And to think, I was just a lowly Wing Commander on
Butch's staff a month or so ago, along with then Group Captain Stickney.


I'm still the only one of the three of us to appoint himself to the
Air Council, so start bribing me now if you want me to rubber-stamp
your promotion to Air rank.

[96 gall forward tanks in Mk VIIIs reduced to 85 galls in Mk XIVs
using Mk VIII airframes]

[Snip AFDU report on Spit XIV]

So it appears that the "standard" Mk. VIII as well as the Mk. VIII(G) conversions did indeed
have an internal capacity of 123 gallons, as early as July 1943. But then the weight and
loading data for the second _production_ Mk. XIV, RB. 141, dated 15 Dec. 1943, state that it has
112 gallons, 85 in the fuselage (i.e. the original fuselage tanks) plus the 27 in the wing L.E.
Just to confuse things, there's the later test below:


[snip next test report]

Now, was that 110 gallons a misprint,


Nope, you've now moved onto the next tankage problem: the wing tanks!


Notice how I've been using a figure of 12.5 Imperial gallons for them?
Well, their size seems to fluctuate from 12.5 galls up to 16-or even
18 in some later Spits. 12.5 seems to be the most common as this
report bears out: 85 galls forward fuselage plus two 12.5 galls in
the wing giving 110 gallons.

a rough rounding (seems unlikely), representative of the
"standard" production a/c (details of differences not given) as opposed to the "non-standard"
RB. 141, or just Supermarine fitting in whatever tanks they happened to have on the shelf on any
particular day?


My impression, and it isn't any more than that, but it is nonetheless
based on some limited research on 125 Wing which fielded the first
Spit XIV sqns in 2 TAF, is that 110 is representative of the
RB-serials delivered in late '43 and early '44.

Note that the FR XIVs, with cameras in place of one of the RF tanks,
still had the second 33 gallon tank. I think RF-tanked Mk XIVs can't
be dismissed out of hand. But one maniacal idea at a time.


Brng it up again and it's off to Wandsworth with you, for sabotaging the war effort.


Listen, I'm all for your LR VIIIs, and I'm even helping by pushing for
rear-fuselage tanks for them, but the quid pro quo is XIV production
beginning on schedule, and the fitting of rear tanks to them whenever
possible.

Interestingly enough, the tactical test of the Mk. XII EN. 223 in Dec. 1942 includes the
following comment:


[snip better longitudinal stability characteristics than Mk V]

No argument here. Although it did need a larger rudder. And so do we
for the LR VIIIs, BTW.

Moving the oil tank forward would of course shift the Cg in the same direction, boosting the
stability even more.


A couple of blocks of steel ballast might assist....

The PN's for the VII/VIII/X do refer to an increased 96 gallon forward
tankage, so you're right and it would be valid for the Merlin LR Spit,
but not for the Griffons, I suspect.


So it seems, from the Mk. VIII/conversion Mk. XIV test quoted above, and the various Mk. XIV
prodution tests..


Right, there's only so much of this outrageous agreement I'm prepared
to stand.

The PN's for the VIII give an allowance of 9 gallons for run-up and
take-off. That should be out of the rear tank.


Depends. For safety reasons it's more likely to be from one of the main tanks, so as to avoid
any fumbling during takeoff if there are feed problems.


I've just been thinking of this. Why not run the rear tank via a pump
(or two for redundancy) to the main tanks to keep them full while
running down the rear tank, just like the approach with the wing
tanks?

I'm assuming that all the drops, aft
fuselage and L.E. tanks all feed into one of the main tanks, like the Mustang.


The drops on the Spit didn't at this point, as far as I know. This
caused problems involving fuel starvation when changing to main tanks.
Notably for Al Deere and Buck McNair. Although this might have been
down to vacuum problems in a common feed-line.

I don't know the
details of the Spit's fuel plumbing.


Annoyingly, I can't find anything but main tanks and drop tank feed in
the Pilot's Notes, so I don't know how the rear tank was handled.

I imagine the rest of the profile would be flown at a low-revs,
high-boost weak mixture cruise. That could go down to 1,800 rpm, but
then there's the tactical need to maintain a high airspeed. I suggest
your wing commanders cruisie at 2,200 rpm and +4 boost, for a
consumption of 61 gallons per hour. That should give about 6.5 air
mpg, or maybe 6 when the drag of the external tank is taken into
consideration.


What kind of air speed does that give you?


180 IAS according to the (rather small-scale) graph at 15,000 feet.
It claims to be valid from 10,000-25,000 feet, but not fully accurate
for rpm at different heights.

Zemke says that they normally cruised at maybe
210-220 IAS on Rodeos (doesn't say specifically what the cruise was on Ramrods), giving 320-325
TAS at escort altitudes.


By November 1942 the Spit Vs at least seem to be cruising at 300mph
TAS at 20,000 feet when anticipating enemy contact. 2,400 rpm +4 lbs
seems to have been one target setting recorded in some primary
documentation I've seen from that time. 2,400 rpm at +4lbs would
increase consumption to 66 galls per hour, but should permit
(according to the graph) 200 IAS within the acceptable revs range.
The Air mpg drops to 6, and we'd need to increase that consumption for
external tank drag, but it doesn't change things much. The relatively
low consumption of the Merlin seems to stand it in good stead there,
but I've always thought the P-47 cruised faster.

If these figures (admittedly from a "back of fag packet" provenance)
have any pretence at being representative, it seems the Director of
Fighter Operations (Air Commodore Alcala) and the Air Member for
Research and Development (AVM Stickney) might be on to something here.
The Spit LR VIII might well have been very useful as an
intermediate-range escort.


I think some of your assumptions are a wee bit optimistic for Wing-size ops


Sure, but I don't think I'm wildly out, and the figures were good
enough to be significant even with a fudge factor.

, but agree with the
general tenor.


Some IXs did get it, but I can't discover the logic or process
involved at this stage.


I increasingly wonder if it was a matter of "whatever the subcontractors deliver today." Any
idea who made the internal tanks (if not Supermarine), and if there was more than one company
involved?


Yes, there were several firms involved, some locally around
Southampton. I think CBAF made their own. I don't want to
investigate that nightmare much further. My own suspicion is that any
aircraft reserved as a test-bed tended to perform several test regimes
simultaneously and sequentially, going back and forth from Eastleigh
to Boscombe or Farnborough and having minor non-standard modifications
made on a constant, unrecorded basis. For example, one Spit being
used by A&AEE for gun heating trials with all the modifcations
involved would also have Supermarine sticking new fuel tanks in and
repositioning the IFF set at the same time, and apparently off their
own bat.

No, but the service acceptances by the RAF seem to be (by a hand and
eye count of the appendices in Shacklady & Morgan, so I can't claim
any real authority for these figures) about 90 in July 1943, 98 in
October, declining to 67 in November, 53 in December and 28 in January
1944. This doesn't reflect production figures per se, as the aircraft
had often been in storage for some time or were shipped to Casablanca
or India, and had actually been produced earlier. But it does give an
indicator of deliveries, which is almost what you want.


We're in fat city, then, and I see no need to mess around with Mk. Vs.


This is where my political considerations kick in: the promises to
the DAF, the 12th AF and the Russians and the Far East already exist
and need to be serviced. Almost all the VIIIs being produced are
being shipped out to overseas theatres. If you want the whole of Mk
VIII production, when does this decision get made?

My Mk V speculation was based on what would be likely with existing
resources. 12 Group needed that range, and FC didn't give a stuff
what they did with their Mk Vs (e.g. the LF Vb conversions at this
time). Increasing internal tankage would be a small step to them,
without major political considerations. I can only see this whole
scenario working if FC actually have some resources capable of
supporting a daylight effort; even the CAS can't complelely dictate
operational tactics to an RAF C-in-C.

The October acceptances
will allow us to form 3 squadrons immediately plus 50% reserves (ideally we'd want at least
100%), more than sufficient force for escorting the first 'Combat wing' of heavies we form in 3
Gp.


The actual political changeover point would be earlier: the British
press, establishment and even some in the RAF were very impressed by
aspects of the USAAF daylight bombing effort in the spring and summer
1943. It would really have to happen about then, before Schweinfurt I
reinforced all their prejudices.

I don't see why Mk VIII airframe production couldn't be extended and
maintained at about 90 per month. That should be enough to operate 9
squadrons (on 20 a/c i.e. strength, 10 per month per sqn to replace
losses) on a reasonable 50% per month wastage figure without even
touching CBAF. As tanks become available, the CBAF IXs can mutate
into VIIIs and then LR VIIIs.


Seems reasonable, although we'd want to boost Mk. VIII production well above 90/month,


I'd agree, but frankly you're hitting the limit of the relevant
production resource, i.e. the Hampshire production group focused on
Supermarine's dispersed work. You might get 120 or so out of them per
month of they packed up everything else, bar a couple of PR Spits and
the beginnings of the Mk XIV. The next focus I suggest would be
getting Westlands, finishing off their Mk V production run with
Seafires to move to Mk VIIIs while tackling Castle Bromwich. I think
you could fully convert to Mk VIII-based production by spring 1944,
with an increasing number of rear-tank versions available within that
output, and with the Mk XIV entering service at the same time.

to allow
us to re-equip Fighter Command faster and supply the overseas squadrons. In the meantime, they
get the Mk. IXs that we're not replacing with Mk. VIIIs.


Seems reasonable. By this point the Burmese offensive has been put
off for shipping reasons, and the 12th AF and DAF will be able to
utilise bases on mainland Italy to support operations.

This gives us an interim two-stage Griffon
version in service in February 1944 without all the dislocation caused
by the arseing about producing unusable F.21s in the short term.


An excellent plan.


It shunts the F.21 off until later in 1945, but if the strategic air
offensive is to peak in 1944, we need the LR VIIIs we can get, and if
we're going back into Europe we need more XIVs in the next 12 months
than we need a slightly improved Mk XIV in 1945 at the expense of Mk
XIVs usable for D-Day. And the Admiralty can make do with modified Mk
LF Vbs for their Seafires, as their main fighter resources are going
to be Hellcats and Corsairs, anyway. The RN only needs good deck
fighters to take on the IJN, so it's in the political interest of the
US government (if not in the interests of King's ego) to keep them
supplied under Lend-Lease.

This all actually sounds quite credible, the more I think about it.

Maybe not as much as I thought, but still, let's go for it as a Spit
VIII series ii (Long-Range) standard to come in when possible. With
ACM Kramer in charge that might happen a lot sooner than in OTL.


Not to mention Winston pushing.


I think the political dynamic, i.e. when and how WSC starts pushing,
needs some exploration.

Ah, but we're doing a direct swap, giving them Mk. IXs instead of Mk. VIIIs, just for a few
months. As it is, 31st FG was flying a mix of Mk. Vs, Mk. IXs and Mk. VIIIs in Italy,


Likewise the 52nd FG: by spring 1944 and their conversion to
Mustangs, they seem to be almost totally converted to MK VIIIs.
That's about 140-150 Mk VIIIs, not to mention the couple of DAF wings
that had them.

so the
U.S. would just have to wait on the Mk. VIIIs for a while.


They would have been useful in 1943, but the peak for that would have
been the extensive over-water operations associated with Sicily,
Salerno and Anzio. They should be fine with Mk IXs in the short term
after September 1943, with the added bonus of getting longer-ranged Mk
IXs in the future. Same for the Far East. Uncle Joe can just get
some of our extensive stock of Mk Vs, and when he actually asks for Mk
IXs in early 1944, we can fob him off with the short-ranged versions.

I wouldn't disagree with that, but again, it's a judgement borne of
hindsight. Nobody was going to emerge successfully unscathed from a
Chief of Staffs meeting with Winnie present after voicing the
suggestion that Russian allocation of British fighters be cut
entirely.


Hey, they can have all the Mk. IXs they want.


Provided we're getting enough LR IXs for the strategic campaign, 2 TAF
and the DAF, that's fine. I think we'll be on 300 per month by this
stage (total Spit production).

That would explain the Templars' intimate knowledge of Spitfire fuel tankage, as reposted
well above ;-)


Wait till the German emperor's hairpiece turns up on Google with it's
own unique contribution to make. Have I mentioned Sabre-powered
Lancasters yet?


Yes, you have, oh spawn of the devil;-)


Well, it would just need the conversion of 55% of the total British
industrial base to cover replacing the disintegrating sleeve-valves,
and a further 2 million GRT of tanker tonnage to cover the extra oil
consumption involved, but this is a small strategic price to pay for a
fleet of Lancasters cruising at 275 mph at 18,000 feet*.

Gavin Bailey

[* For 5 minutes until the first engine failed.]
--

Another user rings. "I need more space" he says.
"Well, why not move to Texas?", I ask. - The ******* Operator From Hell

  #10  
Old August 21st 03, 10:15 AM
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
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On Wed, 20 Aug 2003 22:46:44 -0400, Air-Vice Marshal Stickney, Air
Member for Research and Development, wrote:

By all means, except I also note a depressing lack of nationalistic
abuse in this post.


Oh, well then, how's this: The last time a Brit tried to hand my
family a line like that we threw his tea in the harbor.


Now that was the kind of atrocity that should have featured in "the
Patriot"....

Still, an innovative approach to evading custioms duties and personal
taxation which I'm sure is maintained as a family tradition under the
IRS and the enlightened leadership of Lord Dubya of Shrub. Shame
about Shay's rebellion, not to mention Sam Adam's interesting
post-colonial take on sedition and the level of property ownership
required to participate in a representative democracy.

Ah, that feels better, now back to the mud-slinging of rational
discourse.

[rear fuselage tanks in Spit Vcs]

That's going to take a lot of fiddly meaduring & figuruing to say for
sure, but, looking over the inboard profiles (X-ray views) of both
aircraft, one thing does stand out - a Spitfire's cockpit is aft of
the wing, and well aft of the CG. And the fuselage ahead of the
cockpit is already full of stuff. (Fuel, mostly) The available space
behind the cockpit is a long way aft of the CG, which isn't good.
A Mustang's cocpit is over the wing. The aft tank location is
basically right at the trailing edge. Not only is the airplane more
tolerant of how it's loaded, the tank location is in a better place.


There's no denying it's a real problem.

Agreed, but is this insoluable? The question doesn't appear as easily
to definatively answer (either way) as it first appeared to me.


Well, for teh Mk VIII and Mk XIV, it indeed was. FOr a Mk V, I'm not
sure.


See what you think over the sums when you get a chance.

Actually, according to the A&AEE's reports on testing Mustang Is, and
various Mk Vs, I don't see a whole lot of difference in altitude
performance, even without the Mustang II's higher-supercharged engine.


At 25,000 feet? There's no doubt the Alison Mustang was very useful
below that height, but we need an escort force which performs well in
the 20-25,000 or even 30,000 feet band. I'm dubious about the Mustang
I in that environment, even more so with the Mustang II which I
thought had a lower-altitude supercharger peak.

It didn't climb as well as a Spit, adn it didn't quite turn as well,
but it did out-speed, out-turn and out-zoom the Fw 190As that the
Abbeville boys were flying. (Speaking of which, is Holly Hills still
extant? I know he was recovering from his stroke a few years back.)


Sorry, I don't know.

Precisely. We need to posit a sufficient instiutional change of
policy and interest to even begin this, but as nothing would happen
without it, we might as well take it as a given.


Well, I could begin my somewhat-factually based Nationalistic Rant
about how the Brits, and Europeans in general never figured out how to
put long range into fighter airplanes becasue their countries are so
danged small, and that you can't ever be more than an hour from a
National Border or coastline, unlike those of us who need to be able
to fly stuff from San Francisco to Honolulu routinely, but I won't.


Actually, I don't think that's sufficiently chauvanistic, in that I
think there is a cultural dynamic relatesd to geography at work.
However, the flip side of that is that the Europeans produced better
interceptors in the early war period partly because of their
willingness to cut weight (and fuel carried) to the minimum required
for an area-defence fighter. Now I actually think the early US
fighters (even the P-40 and P-39) were better than their later press
made them out to be, but in this instance I think that for all it's
shortcomings, the Spitfire in 1942-3 was the best type available in
meaningful quantity for altitude combat, which is one reason the USAAF
got it to replace the P-39.

Getting more fuel into the Spitfire airframe, for all the
difficulties, is a better option than trying to make the P-40 or P-39
a competitive high-altitude fighter.

[2 pilot regime]

The loading on the training infrastructure would increase, and the
attritionally-supportable force would shrink, but then again BC took
heavy casualties and expanded, and I'm not aware of a critical aircrew
shortage: aircrew training slots seem to be over-subscribed since
1941, with pools of aircrew forming everywhere except in Bomber
Command. The output of trained pilots is an issue, but then I'm not
aware of it being inadequate historically. If anything, the British
prioritised aircrew training too much in the period 1941-43 with
repercussions elsewhere on the war effort (e.g. infantry replacements
in 1944-45).


It's a good question, though. If you suddenly start needing twice as
many bomber pilots, the repercussions will be far & wide.


Agreed, but look how many pilots BC were going through in 1943. 100%
losses over 6 months is not insubstantial. If we can keep daylight
raid losses within bounds, which I think is possible, we'll be no
worse off even if we half the size of 3 Group's initial operational
strength.

Yes, but even the Wright Field Spits also had 43 gallon tanks behind
the pilot, against 33 gallons in the wings (according to the A&AEE
report summary on MK210 in S&M). Wing tanks have always been a given
with me, as you & Guy have already specified Mk VIII airframes, which
had 25 gall leading-edge tanks, but as Quill states, the only
available space for major increases in internal fuel was behind the
pilot.


43 of _whose_ gallons?


I thought Imperial - were the 62.5 gallon Mustang underwing tanks used
in that trial US or Imperial? They look bigger than 44/45 gallon RAF
tanks.

It's worth pointing out that the Wright Field
modded aircraft used a somewhat smaller tank behind the cockpit, adn
stucl 150 U.S. Gallons of fuel under the wings, where CG wasn't an
issue. I'll admit to being a bit puzzled about why the RAF never went
for wing rack mounted drops on a Spit, until it occurred to me that
there isn't any significant amount of fuel in the wing, and teh
plumbing and pumping is going to be a royal pain.


I think some of this was dealt with with the Vc, in terms of structure
and stressing for under-wing stores. I think 44 gallon ferry tanks
should be a possibility.

Well, the elevator balance change will add to the stabilizer/elevator
combination area, and that's good. It also will reduce the control
forces for pitch, possibly to the point whre the controls are
over-balanced, and once you start waving the stick around, it wants to
amplify the action, and that's bad, leading to overcontrolling at
beast, and breaking the airplane at worst, especially with an airplane
that's already pretty light on the controls, like a Spit. The
bobweight tends to resist this overbalancing, at a cost in stick
forces. The thing is, the amount of influence from the bobweight
changes, like the elevator balance, with deflection.


Absolutely. Over-tightening in turns was an issue, and this could
only be evaded, not resolved, in a regime putting more weight behind
the CoG datum.

It's confusing,
adn there's no intuitive answer other than make the tail bigger.
The same applies to the rudder, as well.


I'm going to give you those in new-production Mk VIIIs and IXs as a
priority. I took that as granted for the LR VIII with a 75 gallon
rear-fuselage tank.

For the LR Vc, we don't need as much in a rear tank, and we only need
it for 3 months or so as a proof of concept demonstrator before doing
it for real with the LR VIII.

Granted. But none of this works without the hierarchy breathing fire
from the CAS on down for long-range escorts a la Arnold. Let me know
what you think could be done with a range of figures, from 4 inches
rearward travel on up, which seems a reasonable conjectural starting
point for me. Don't forget to use the Vc airframe as a reference
rather than a Vb in regard to landing gear.


I'll get round to it, after...


Demotion may follow as a consequence of disobeying my petty whims.
Now, about those performance figures for Sabre-engined Lancasters....

[beer]

After the Great Blaster Worm and Sobig Hydra chases I've had this
week, that's top priority. (Work real job, than travel up to the
North COuntry to help out some former clients)


No beer for bad AMRD's. Just explain the priorities to your clients
would you, there's a good chap?

Gavin Bailey

--

Another user rings. "I need more space" he says.
"Well, why not move to Texas?", I ask. - The ******* Operator From Hell

 




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