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Best bomber of WWII.

Discussion in 'Aircraft' started by Ted, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. JimboHarrigan2010

    JimboHarrigan2010 Member

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    I'd go for a Ju 88 myself, it was a very versatile aircraft in many ways. You could dive bomb in it, could be used as a torpedo bomber and certain models were used as night fighters. Overall a very effective aircraft.
     
  2. Ardent Escaper

    Ardent Escaper Member

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    There were many very good bombers in WW2 on both sides, but my personal choice for "Best" would have to be the Lancaster.

    The B-29 arrived too late to give a good account of itself, and the B-17 just couldn't carry enough bombs.

    The Mosquito was great for its speed, but also had a limited bomb load.

    The Wellington was designed by a genius, but would have been better with 4 engines.

    Marc
     
  3. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    Burning to the ground every single city of importance before it even dropped two nukes still didn't qualify as "too late to give a good account"?

    How can the Lanc be considered superior to the B29 when it didn't have the speed, ceiling, payload, range, firepower and avionics the B29 had?
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Don't forget the B-29's mining campaign against Japan either.

    Once the B-29s teething troubles were worked out, it was a rather exceptional long distance bomber.
     
  5. CPL Punishment

    CPL Punishment Member

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    The Lanc had a very impressive ordnance load, and the bomb bay was exceptionally adaptable to a wide variety weapons, but these advantages were purchased at the cost of range and defensive armament. Only in very special circumstances could the Lancaster fly in daylight and survive. (Two occasions come to mind: the saturation bombing preparatory to Operation Goodwood and the attack on the KMS Tirpitz with Tallboy bombs, In both cases there was little or no fighter opposition.)

    The Lancaster's defensive armament was good for a British heavy, but a joke when compared to any American heavy bomber. On a typical Bomber Command ship this was two .303 Brownings forward and four more in the tail position, the "Mighty Wurlitzer" tail turret. Some early versions had a two-gun dorsal turret, but these created such a high level of parasite drag that by late 1942 most operational Lancs had the top turret removed and plated over. The Canadian-built Lancasters (the majority built) didn't even have the structural provisions for a top turret, their air-frames being simplified and lightened for quicker build time and longer ranger. Consequently the Lanc had no defense at all against a beam attack. What defense existed was often ineffective, the cone of fire, the range, and the weight of fire were just not in the same league as the cannon-armed night fighters that came up to destroy them. The tail gunner did, however, do a vital service as a rearward look-out who could warn of the approach of a night fighter and suggest evasive maneuvers. I am surprised that the tail gunner crew position was retained throughout the war when one considers the weight of the gunner, his weapons, ammo and the turret itself. Britain had some excellent radar engineers who could have designed a rearward looking aircraft warning system that would have been more effective than even the best human eyes at detecting night fighters closing from behind. The Lancaster also had only minimal armor protection, mostly in the form of armored crew seats.

    The B-17 did have a restricted offensive load in comparison. This was party due to the weight of all the guns and gunners, but it was also a consequence of the aircraft's layout which gave it a short but deep bomb bay -- best suited to 500 lbs and 1000 lbs GP bombs. However, because of her well-laid out compliment of .50-cal BMGs (many in powered turrets), armored flight controls, formation flying, the Norden bomb sight, and the daylight precision bombing doctrine of the USAAF the B-17 could do more actual damage to Germany's war-making power with their fewer but more on-target bombs than the night-flown Lancasters which had to attack city-sized targets to achieve any effect at all. (In fairness one must note the exceptional case of the Operation Chastise attack on Germany's Ruhr-based heavy industry. However, that raid was carried out by the best crews in the RAF. The vast majority of Bomber Command night crews weren't skillful enough to have done as well as Gibson's men.)

    The Wellington was designed by a genius, but it wasn't his best work. Wallis first considered geodesic construction in the context of a proposed airship that would be both lighter and stronger than the box truss technique favored by Count von Zeppelin and his followers. That project came to naught, but Wallis was intrigued by the idea and successfully advocated its adoption by Vickers for their medium bomber design, mainly because Vickers was not primarily an aircraft manufacturer. By using the geodesic method Vickers could build its bomber with a minimum of specialized tools and machinery. By the time the Wellington appeared many American manufacturers were already using the much superior stressed skin construction, which is still the dominate technique today. It is notable that no other operational bomber used the Wallis construction method.
     
  6. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    Lanc was a beaut, not sure I'd want to fight on one. ...Yea, why would the Brits want a .303 as defensive bomber armament? Wouldn't one .50 do the job of two .303's? The legs are way longer on a .50 than .303?...Was the .303 the heaviest MG round the Brits had?
     
  7. f6fhellcat

    f6fhellcat Member

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    Personally, the B-29 would be one of the best bombers of the war, yet I doubt it would survive in the European theatre. Since Japan had little air power, the B-29 could easily fly into airspace unopposed to drop its payload. The B-17 is also a good bomber, but the guns installed on it couldn't keep enemy fighters off until fighter escorts and better flying formations came along. Still, the B-17 was pretty mass-produced by the time the B-29 came out, so I would have to agree with strength in numbers. I would also throw the B-25 into this ring as well. It was the only bomber larger than a dive bomber to be able to take off from an aircraft carrier and bomb the opposing homeland early in the war during the Doolittle Raid. That being said, it's hard to decide for sure what is the best bomber of the war since it's the pilot behind the controls that matters.
     
  8. Chi-Ri

    Chi-Ri Member

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    The German air defense was really much stronger than the Japanese one. But, B-29 was equally stronger than B-17 or B-24. So, I think Superfortresses would have coped quite well with all the tasks that were performed over Europe by both Flying Fortresses and Liberators - and may be with even lower losses.

    Regards,
     
  9. RD3

    RD3 Member

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    The most important improvement in the B29 was the pressurized cabine.
     
  10. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    What about the CFC turrets?
     
  11. efestos

    efestos Member

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    I guess the question is about heavy/medium bombers. If not, I'll vote for the Ilyushin Il-2 ... therre isntý any discussion about its effectiveness ... it suffer against the (so few) fighters , as all the other bombers of the WW II ... and I really dislike the bombing campaing over the cities as a very expensive, and questionably profitable, waste of effort.
     
  12. Gunney

    Gunney Member

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    B-17 and B-29 all the Way
     
  13. Chi-Ri

    Chi-Ri Member

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    Single-seater or two-seater version?

    Regards,
     
  14. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    The Lanc was a better bomber than the B17. In the Pacific, the B24 was superior to the B17.
     
  15. efestos

    efestos Member

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    Two seats version. That version was introduced in order to increase their chances of survival against the fighters of the LW. I guess that with better tactics and thhe turn o the tie of the war the second guy would have been unnecessary.
     
  16. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith Member

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    Surely if you had to fly any bomber over Germany in WW2, it`d have to be the Mosquito, particularly if you wanted to live........
     
  17. Colonel FOG

    Colonel FOG Member

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    I'll toss in my two-cents worth.
    Fighter-bomber: P-38 and Mosquito
    Dive-bomber: SBD Dauntless and Ju-88
    Torpedo-bomber: TBF Avenger
    Medium-bomber: B-25 and A-26
    Heavy-bomber: B-17 and Lancaster
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    While the Ju-88 could dive bomb I've never heard it was a particuarly good one. I suspect the Japanese dive bombers achieved more not to mention the Ju-87.
     
  19. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    The IJN dive bombers were limited in their payload. While the Dauntless could carry a 1000 pounder, the Val was limited to 500 pounds. And that often was the difference between crippling damage and readily repairable damage.
     
  20. surfersami

    surfersami Member

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    Although I really like the B-17, when you look at the reality of the war you notice that the 8th AF almost discontinued daylight bombing. It wasn't until the long range escort came into play that the daylight bombing really started to cause a massive dent in war production for the number of aircraft lost. The B-17 could take a beating, as did the B-24. The Brits quit flying the Lancaster in the daytime because it would have been suicide. The Mossie was amazing in the bombload, speed and ability to protect itself. The A-26 lost very few aircraft to enemy fighters, and the B-29 was a techno-wonder that was over-kill for the PTO. The B-29 did the job it was tasked to do, and no other bomber would have worked as well in the PTO. The engine fire thing was sorted out eventually, but not before a bad reputation was forever cast on the plane. Still, to walk up to a B-29 with 4 P-47 size egine nacelles hanging off of it is an amazing sight.
    The late war Corsair could carry the same typical B-17 bomb load and fight its way back home. That doesn't mean it was the best bomber. The BEST bomber is the one that does its job and returns its crew for another round. I stand firmly on the fence and will not waffle to one side or the other!!!:D
     

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