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Britain's "Emergency Fighter"- The Miles M20

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by GRW, Nov 14, 2020.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Wouldn't have fancied it's chances with that fixed undercart.
    "Victory for Britain in the early stages of World War 2 (1939-1945) was not assured and this led the nation to invest in many programs to meet emerging wartime requirements. One issue at hand was the shortage of capable frontline fighters of modern design, the current stable made up of prewar Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfires which were capable aircraft but there was no guarantee of their availability if war material or production was disrupted by German bombers.
    Back in 1938, Frederick George Miles, technical lead at Phillips & Powis Aircraft Ltd (to become Miles Aircraft in 1943), penciled out a low-cost, wooden single-seat, single-engine monoplane fighter on his Miles "Master" - a low-wing monoplane trainer of which some 3,250 were ultimately built for the Royal Air Force and foreign customers. The gull-wing planform was retained in the new design and power would be served from a Rolls-Royce "Peregrine I" series inline engine fitted at front. Work continued on the design, which now carried the company model designation of "M.20" and a mockup was constructed in an effort to sell the type to the British government who gearing up for war. The aircraft was looked over during late June of 1939, prior to Britain's entry into World War 2, but interest was low and the design ultimately passed on.
    Everything changed in September when Germany crossed into Poland and forced Britain and France into a new World War in Europe. When France fell to the German onslaught, all of the pressure fell, in turn, to Britain which ultimately led to the "Battle of Britain" - the grand air war which saved the Empire and sent German warplanners an uncharacteristic defeat.
    The Miles company had continued work on the M.20 and, in June of 1940, delivered its revised M.20/2. Air Ministry interest was now piqued and this led to an important meeting in July to forward the M.20 project some. A window of three months was assigned to the design team and a contract was given for a single flyable prototype to be completed. There were also restrictions to further challenge the group and this included use of an existing engine (the Rolls-Royce Merlin XX became the front-runner) and other fighter aircraft related components. The aircraft would have to feature a fixed wheeled undercarriage to simplify operation, rely heavily on wood in its construction (metal was a fast becoming a rare available material), and there would have to be a complete lack of complex hydraulics to simplify construction.
    Beyond all this, the Air Ministry also was looking for an aircraft with very modern fighter-like performance. Required speeds were in the 350 mile-per-hour-range and a service ceiling of 32,000 feet was envisioned. For armament, it was requested that the fighter carry four 0.303 machine guns in each wing for a total of eight guns.
    The specification written to cover the new design became F.19/40."
    www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.asp?aircraft_id=953
     
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  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Except for the fixed landing gear, it kind of reminds me of the Tempest/Typhoon over all
    miles-m20-monoplane-fighter-great-britain.jpg
     
  3. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..you get what you pay for --limited time, materials, and $$$ = problems
    .....how much experience and history did Miles have in engineering/producing monoplanes/etc up to 1938? I would think ''not much''......
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    You miss the point...

    It was a cheap, easily built, mass production, high performance fighter, that was to be constructed if the Germans started hammering the British fighter factories. It was never meant to be a best-of-the-best or to supplant already existing fighters in production. It was a we-need-it-NOW-add-in-numbers fighter.

    The M.20, not only fit the bill, but exceeded it, outperforming the Hurricane(even though it had more ammunition & fuel and fixed gear), and coming close in performance to the Spitfire.

    It was not put into production, because the German attacks did not materialize and the narrow design specs did not make the aircraft readily adaptable to other uses.

    As such, Miles did an excellent job in designing a fighter to meet the limited specifications for said design.
     
  5. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Yeah, someone else mentioned that too. Wonder if there were influences in either direction?
     
  6. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Might surprise you-
    Miles Aircraft - Wikipedia
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Keeping it simple by keeping the radiator where it was. More design work would have been necessary to move the radiator further back in the fuselage or underneath the wings. Also it would have complicated production.
     
  8. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Hawker certainly fiddled around with their designs...so many problems...
    An early version looked like a Hurricane on steroids...
    [​IMG]

    With a radial...
    [​IMG]

    Wing radiators...
    [​IMG]

    Vulture engine, note twin rows of exhaust stubs...
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    founded in the 1930's? that's what I mean--they didn't have 50 years or even 20 years of experience --especially monoplanes
     
  10. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    no I did not miss the point .....
     
  11. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Do you mean you have to have 20-50 years of experiece before planning a monoplane??
     
  13. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Somewhat like Cessna (founded 1927) trying to build a high performance fighter in WW II. They were not focused on that type of plane, what they did build were great (mostly) but for a different market/purpose. No shame there.
     
  14. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    the other question: how many successful monoplanes had they built before that?
     
  15. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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  16. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    1. I've been in the engineering and manufacturing field for over 20 years..... even with today's modern computers, with software designed for engineers to invent, design, and build--they still make mistakes on very, very simple products
    2. they were still using biplanes in 1918 and after that
    3. yes, usually you have to have experience to build successful ''items''--especially things as complicated as airplanes--it's not like they are making refrigerators
    4. and again = a key issue! , sure, you can build a monoplane--but then building a combat monoplane is a lot different--difficult .....like I was saying in the Pershing tank thread--it takes a lot of time and ''many'' versions--modifications until you have what you need
    ..I just asked how many combat monoplanes did the company produce before that one?
     
  17. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    tha
    thanks for the reply
    1. the one plane was a trainer--not a combat plane
    2. the other one was a target tug
    --so both of these are not combat monoplanes---sure, they are monoplanes = see post # 16
    --the OP subject is a combat monoplane
    3. critical = it doesn't look like these were combat proven = so, we don't know if they were successful/reliable/etc
    4. ok, monoplanes -sure...but in my opinion, --like I said initially---it doesn't appear they had a long history of building monoplanes--especially combat ones--these are all mid 30s/etc
     
  18. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..so, in the end, the plane was not accepted/etc = failure
     
  19. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Sigh...The plane was not accepted, because the reason for it's acceptance(heavy damage to British aircraft industry) never happened.
     

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