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Halifax : Another Drewes victory

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by Martin Bull, Mar 18, 2003.

  1. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    No armour, Erich :(

    Self-sealing, yes, but not much use against a MG-151 shell or two....

    It's widely-said ( and I'm not sure if it's totally true ) that the only piece of armour plate on a Lancaster was the back of the pilot's seat. One day I shall find out if this is definitively true.

    But for sure, no wing-tank protection.
     
  2. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    good grief ! I can understand fully some armor around the cockpit crew for protection but at least 20mm or 15mm around the front and underneath the tanks. As has been discussed earlier the weight most probably would of been a detriment but yet even with a little more protection I wonder how many RAF heavies and crews could have been saved ?

    I think I am gaining egg on my face. Bruno Rupp from NJG 3 shot down 1 Lanc in spring of 1945. SM useage showed only 2 rounds being used and shots into the fuel tanks.......

    E
     
  3. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Yes, and I've just opened Williams' 'Night Fighters' and immediately found Paul Zorner quoted as saying, reference a success on 5/6 January '44, :

    'Because of the weather conditions the only possible way to attack was from directly astern. I had to keep my nerve, get in close and aim accurately. I fired between his two starboard engines from a range of 100m. The wing began to burn fiercely at once...'

    Of course there were variations ; I believe that Hans-Joachim Jabs refused to use S/M at all.

    Armour plate : I have a little piece from a Lancaster here ( about 6cm x 10cm ). It is one-quarter inch thick and it's very heavy. The other pieces of structural metal I have are very light indeed, with many holes cut to save weight. Large areas of armourplate would have added a huge weight penalty....
     
  4. No.9

    No.9 Ace

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    I met a man yesterday who was engaged in wooden prop manufacture prior to and at the beginning of the war until he was able to leave this reserved occupation and join up. He made laminated wooden props working to 1mm tolerances. I believe one of his last jobs was to make an experimental 4 blade prop for a Spitfire.

    If you have any questions re wooden prop manufacture I’d be happy to pass them on to him.

    No.9
     
  5. TA152

    TA152 Ace

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    I found some more information on why the Lancaster had a much higher bomb droppage figure than the Halifax.

    The Merlin powered Halifax was underpowered and operated at a lower alitude than the Lancaster and suffered higher losses. In 1942 the losses were deemed serious. The period of March to August the monthly percentage of Halifaxes missing from sorties dispatched by 4 Group fluctuated between 4.8 and 10.1 percent. As a result the squadrons were suspended from operations for three to four weeks to rest and regroup. The Halifax continued to be generally unsatisfactory through out 1943 and it was not until about Feb. 1944 that the Hercules powered Halifax became available in quantity.
    At this point the Merlin Halifax was dropped from operations against German targets except for the Merlin powered Halifaxs of 346 and 347 Free French Squadorns flying out of Elvington Yorkshire.
    The Merlin Halifaxs were sent to Palestine and other Mediterranean bases. Also some were sent to Coastal Command.
    A total of 1,967 Merlin Halifaxs were produced so that many were taken out of main force operations in 1944-1945 plus the one month period they did not fly in 1942 while the Lancaster continued bombing the whole period and thus ran up a much larger bomb score.

    A side note I found while researching this is only one German night fighter complete crew won Knight's Crosses. Gunner, Wilhelm Gansler, radar operator Fritz Rumpelhardt, and pilot Major Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer, aka the ghost of St Trond. Mostly by blowing poor underpowered Halifaxs out of the sky !

    :(
     
  6. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    At long last I've found something about armour-plate on Lancasters.

    I must have heard and read 20 times that the 'pilot's seat back was the only armour-plate on the aircraft'.

    WRONG ! [​IMG]

    From the Lancaster workshop manual : -

    ' Engine Installation / Section 39 - Armour Plating '
    Armour plating is provided in the outboard nacelle at the bottom of the fireproof bulkhead, and at the bottom of the front end of the rear fairing. The plating on the bulkhead is bolted to the rear face, from which it is separated by distance pieces.'

    So it's correct to say 'the only armour plating for crew protection' or even 'the only armour plating in the fuselage' ; but in the 'plane - no !
     
  7. TA152

    TA152 Ace

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    I read also that some of the mid-upper turrets had a little armor depending on the type installed. Also the mid-upper gunners did not like the roundal painted so close to their position in the Lancaster.

    I sure have learned alot through this thread, even if it has not always stayed on the subject very well. Now I can say I have seen an ME-110 in Iraqi markings ! :eek:
     
  8. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Ta :

    for Heinz W. Schnaufer.....my addition maybe off though.

    1 Whitley
    5 Wellington's
    5 Stirling's
    22 four engine bombers.....unknown type
    27 Halifax
    60 Lancasters

    E
     
  9. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Going by the list in Hinchliffe's book, Erich, ;) , I think you're right !

    BTW, said book ( ' Schnaufer : Ace Of Diamonds ' by Peter Hinchliffe , Tempus 1999 ) is currently available in the UK at reduced price and is a book I'd recommend. I found it very interesting and informative, not just about Schnaufer ( although his story is fascinating enough ) but about the Nachtjagd as a whole.
     
  10. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    The list I gave is from research from my files:

    Bestätigte Nachtjagdabschüsse/Chef für Auszeichnung und Disziplin

    this is from the Freiburg BA/MA archiv

    although impressive from June 1940 to May 4, 1945 it is not complete with all victorie listings. this is proven in our compilation of Me 262 night victories for our book.

    Yes Hinchliffe's Schnaufer book does have a listing at the back. Hopefully his work on Helmut Lent will be amongst us shortly

    E
     
  11. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Sorry to but in on this topic chaps, but know Martin may be reading this one..

    Martin ch4 tomorrow...Monday...dambusters raid..programme comaparing RAF then and now..could todays aircrew complete that mission...simulators apparantly...

    Looks good tv.
     
  12. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Yes - Channel 4 have been 'flogging' it hard with trailers all last week.

    It'll either be very good indeed [​IMG] or....very bad indeed :(
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Eh, back to the part on which place to shoot on the bomber:

    From the same book Williams' 'Night Fighters' , except that I don´t have the pilot´s name, but one of them as well said that shooting between the engines as well gave the crew a chance to bail out. I guess that means that if you shoot 1-2 engines out in a quick succession the plane might dive and couldn´t be pulled up??

    --------

    As well two interesting things on Schräge from the same book:

    1. They used blue light first for the gun sights and actually couldn´t see a thing even with the lowest resolution. One optician helped and the colour was changed to red, after which they saw the bombers perfectly. It seems the red colour is lest difficult for one´s eyes to adopt?!But indeed interesting to know that without an optician´s view the gun might not have been that useful?

    2.As well the crews were doing the Schräge´s installation themselves ( I don´t know if this happened all the way in war ) so for a while they didn´t hit a thing as the sights were not ok...

    :eek: :confused:
     
  14. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Interesting......the SM was first a field modification and then it was a set up from the factories, especially Ju 88G-6's. The armorer's would set the angle of the guns and put in what rounds as per pilot preference. Usually a calm form of HE with Glimmspur which was a faded form of tracer, some AP was also included.

    E
     
  15. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    And Erich, back to those Lancaster fuel tanks....

    I've just found on a large wartime cutaway diagram of the Lancaster, the following description of the fuel tank structure : -

    ' swash-plate former plates, stringers, plating and bullet-proof skinning '.

    This must explain how I found some quite thick alloy sheeting ( too thick for airframe skinning ) when examining the remains of JB-659 recently. Note that this is NOT armour-plating ; it could possibly deflect a rifle-calibre 7.92 bullet but the only effect it would have on a MG-151 shell would be to cause it to explode....
     
  16. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    interesting Martin ! Did the bullet proof skin actually surround the indivdual fuel tanks ? or were they just above and underneath within the wings and between the wing spars ?

    E
     
  17. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    errrh - I'll have to suggest to Otto to include an icon of someone scratching their head ! :(
     
  18. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Martin / Ta, are you guys familiar with this site on the Halifax ?

    www.57rescue.org

    interesting forum too

    ~E~
     
  19. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Yes, I reckon this to be the very best site about the Halifax - I don't think ther's anything quite as good for the Lancaster.
     
  20. TA152

    TA152 Ace

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    Thanks Erich, I did not know this site and I see it has a forum. I am going to read thru it tonight and see if they are very knowledgeable about the Halifax. If I find anything worth posting I will put it here. Might as well let this thread go to 100 posts! :cool:
     

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