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Author Topic: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines  (Read 58320 times)

Offline robunos

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Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« on: September 10, 2012, 02:10:43 pm »
I have two questions about British wartime high power piston engines :-
With hindsight, given all its' problems, and that Bristol had to assist in it's development, would it have been better to cancel the Napier Sabre as soon as practicable, and merge Napier's resources with Bristol, and use them on Centaurus development/production?
Also, could the Rolls-Royce Vulture have been made to work, without a complete redesign?

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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2012, 04:09:36 pm »
It had become apparent that a longe-range heavily loaded bomber like the Manchester had problems when it lost one engine... the Vulture problems were well on the way to being sorted but RR thought their efforts should go into the Merlin and putting 4 Merlins onto the Manchester could be achieved without too much hastle... using Blenheim power pods..Avro could modify wing jigs quite easily so the Lancaster was born. So the question is should we have used it in this application... would the Hawker Tornado been a better bet than a Sabre-Typhoon.Consider if the Merlin supercharger technology had been used to do a proper high-altitude version (by the way the prototype 2-stage Merlin supercharger used the impeller from the Vulture added to existing Merlin impeller). One of the problems with Centaurus was cost of manufacture ..about twice the Merlin; Sabre I seem to remember is 4 times the Merlin.  The problem at Bristol was leadership... no Fedden... so Napier's resources would not necessarily have helped as they were leaderless too!
"... prototypes are a way of letting you think out loud. You want the right people to think aloud with you.” - Paul MacCready, aeronautical engineer.

Offline alertken

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2012, 11:13:57 am »
The established reciprocists let Ministers down over Hypers. Amply funded from 1935, schemed into numerous applications by 1938, planned for such new production investment as Standard-managed Walton Agency (for Sabre), what was delivered was modest and sad. Ministers disliked putting Pratt on Warwick, but where was Centaurus? etc. That is why Whittle thought to have receptive ears for his lobbying to Nationalise the entire aero-engine industry, and to distance his gyre from failed pistoneers. Nuffield peddled Pratt licence in Wolseley. Ministers persevered...and Griffon, Centaurus did ultimately come good. Deerhound, Sabre, Vulture, Crecy, Exe did not. “Peregrine,Vulture,Sabre,Hercules VI, Centaurus,Griffon are outstanding examples of (hopes) disappointed or deferred” Postan,Official History, War Production, P167.

Offline George Allegrezza

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2012, 01:24:38 pm »
Note that the advanced British engines tended to have high BMEP and specific power.  This meant the compnents were under a great deal of stress and, when coupled to high boost pressure, led to a lot of component failures (as have such combinations throughout the history of reciprocating piston engines).  The sleeve-valve engines were an even more demanding case, the drive systems for which requiring a lot of carefully machined components with even greater precision than poppet-valve designs.

Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2012, 01:48:12 pm »
Ministers persevered...and Griffon, Centaurus did ultimately come good. Deerhound, Sabre, Vulture, Crecy, Exe did not. “Peregrine,Vulture,Sabre,Hercules VI, Centaurus,Griffon are outstanding examples of (hopes) disappointed or deferred” Postan,Official History, War Production, P167.

Whilst I would agree that the Sabre was "deferred" I think it is difficult to say it did not come good- the type ultimately powered over 3,300 Typhoons, over 1,000 Tempests and had the war gone on it would have powered many more as well as all the Fury's that would have been acquired by the RAF.

Whilst the Sabre is not a legendary engine like the Merlin or the R2800 it certainly played a significant part and formed a major part of british tactical airpower in the late war period.

Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2012, 06:54:39 am »
Ministers persevered...and Griffon, Centaurus did ultimately come good. Deerhound, Sabre, Vulture, Crecy, Exe did not. “Peregrine,Vulture,Sabre,Hercules VI, Centaurus,Griffon are outstanding examples of (hopes) disappointed or deferred” Postan,Official History, War Production, P167.

Ministers, and civil servants, were actually quite good at backing winners and understanding commitments. Rolls-Royce had realised the gargantuan job of improving the Merlin whilst also developing the Peregrine, Vulture and Exe. Hives asked to  be released from such a large development undertaking in order to concentrate on the Merlin development and the huge production orders, the development of the Griffon, initially for naval application, and to run down the other programmes. This was agreed to and so Hooker, Rubbra and Lovesey set about keeping the Merlin at the forefront of development whilst ramping up production at Crewe; and putting resources behind Ford for the Trafford shadow factory as well as their own shadow factory around Glasgow not to mention Packard in the USA. All these required a commitment of key personnel to smooth the inevitable issues, technical and organisational that arose along the way. As the war continued RR did start work on the PI26 Crecy engine which was the last word in stretching all the technologies to the limit! Also towards the war's end the Pennine, a larger version of the Exe was built and run. The Exe itself served as the power for the Battle 'taxi' and gave many hours of satisfactory trouble free service. The Centaurus suffered from a lack of leadership commitment at Bristol and also the Shadow factory for it proved problematic especially as Fedden had been pushed out.
Napier's issues with the Sabre were incredibly serious, with the Typhoon being a glider for a period. EE takeover put some commitment into the top team and with the aid of Bristol who made some sleeves from existing material stock and allowed Napier to demonstrate that a huge improvement in reliability was possible along with help from Derby to address bearing cooling issues, meant that the Sabre was no longer in terminal decline. Again getting the shadow factory up to speed was a time-consuming activity. RR were asked to do a Sabre replacement in a similar manner to the Griffon being a Merlin successor. This was the Eagle II.
Fell, the chief engineer on the Deerhound told me that with resource commitment the engine could have been a runner but other priorities delayed it and then the Turbine age arrived to upset every piston engine developer's dreams.
The Griffon was being developed in readiness to replace the Merlin.
So what would an Exe, Deerhound, Centaurus, Griffon be installed in if they had come along earlier?
The gold standard of development may be this curve?
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 07:11:51 am by tartle »
"... prototypes are a way of letting you think out loud. You want the right people to think aloud with you.” - Paul MacCready, aeronautical engineer.

Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2012, 10:40:52 am »
As I implied above, the Sabre suffered in providing high power at altitude and in 1943 there started a project to put this right . The 36 liter Sabre was schemed with a two-stage supercharger and interstage charge cooling (may actually be after stage cooling as per 2-stage Merlin and Griffon.. no real point doing it in between from a thermodynamic point of view, I believe) delivering 25 lb/sq in boost. This was finally built in 1947! It was to deliver 3350 bhp vs the 1941  Sabre V figure of 2600 bhp. This is a multiplier of 1.2885 ... if we take the Merlin figure of 2600 bhp for 1941 and apply the Sabre multiplier we get 1906 bhp which was available in 1943. So we might assume that with the right team driving the project at Napier this may have been available about the same time. So what price a Typhoon with altitude performance in going into service late '43?
The drawing below is the E122 which was number allocated to this Sabre. It was, I think, never actually run at Napier but the engine itself was passed to Derby by the Air Ministry who also cancelled further Sabre work but did allow resources to switch to Ministry funded gas turbine work... probably a good move. In the meantime the back-up programme for the Sabre replacement at Derby, initiated when Sabre was looking like a failure was actually under way with the Eagle 22 46 litre H24 engine delivering 3200bhp with 18lb'sq in boost; first run in 1944 the RR engine went in early versions of the Wyvern.
The E122 Sabre layout is shown in accompanying drawing
« Last Edit: September 13, 2012, 10:42:30 am by tartle »
"... prototypes are a way of letting you think out loud. You want the right people to think aloud with you.” - Paul MacCready, aeronautical engineer.

Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2012, 03:37:22 pm »
Tartle,

Thanks for the excellent post, do you know what sort of altitude performance Napier were aiming for in the E.122? by 1946 the Griffon 130 with the three speed two stage supercharger could maintain over 2,000 hp at 20,000ft.

A Fury with the E.122 would have been an incredible fighter!

Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2012, 04:47:49 pm »
Still working on that one.. there must be a performance graph hidden in a file somewhere. The drawing was published in  Vassey's book 'By Precision into Power'. He states that most paperwork was destroyed when Napier Aero Engines Ltd was wound up in the 60s. I have found 'stuff' in amazing places so there is still hope? One thing he did publish is a list of the project E numbers that A J Rowledge started when he was appointed chief draughtsman in 1903.
Another Sabre related one is E123, a paper project converting the Sabre into a 2-stroke engine of 4000hp! I have only recently got sight of the book so am busy combining it with the contents of my tea chest(s).
Fred Morley who steered the Spey projects once told me that he had helped with the original Sabre problems and said the major issue with such a high performance engine was that it was really an oil-cooled engine as it was the parts water couldn't reach that determined the integrity and the lifetime of components such as sleeve and piston, con rod etc.
Photos below show the development challenge of the more conservatively rated Eagle 22!
"... prototypes are a way of letting you think out loud. You want the right people to think aloud with you.” - Paul MacCready, aeronautical engineer.

Offline Johnbr

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2012, 05:07:25 pm »
Thanks for the great posts.

Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2012, 02:24:42 am »
Regarding the Sabre, I think that the criticisms of Napier's management and the commentary on how things changed after EE were brought on to the scene are borne out by the way in which the power output from the engine, the early Typhoons were flying with 2,200hp but by 1945 the Sabre VII was running at 3,055 hp in Fury prototypes and as we see from the E.122 there was a development path to 3,350hp. It is also interesting to note that due to the large base power of the Sabre VII the type would still give 2,000hp at 20,000ft. The E.123 sounds very interesting, I also recall a proposal for a 32 cylinder Sabre.

The E.122 was chosen, in January 1945, as the engine for the production version of the Blackburn Firecrest; however this was abandoned in October 1945 when it was found that the use of the Sabre would require the engine to located behind the pilot in order to offset the engines greater weight: this in turn added greater weight to the whole aircraft so orders for three E.122 Firecrests were cancelled. This left the E.122 without a platform and perhaps explains why it took until 1947 to actually build it.

As for the importance of the engine, over 5,000 Sabre powered Tempests, Typhoons and Furys were ordered and at D-Day the RAF had 27 squadrons of Typhoons, 18 of which were ground-attack units within 2nd Tactical Air Force which formed a major part of that forces tactical offensive capability.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 02:46:53 am by JFC Fuller »

Offline alertken

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2012, 06:03:11 am »
27 April,1938. RAF Expansion Scheme 'L' approved; "Compulsion" to cease civil work and move much UK engineering into munitions. New Air Ministry Agency Factories funded, 1938/39 (such as Glasgow-for-Merlin, 5/39). <1,000h.p Merlin, Mercury, Pegasus, Dagger now; >1,000h.p Merlin, Hercules, Sabre asap please. AM Freeman has by now told Fairey to stop peddling Wright, General A/c ditto Hispano, Nuffield ditto Pratt and instead to help make things happen NOW!
 
Thin R&D teams are trying to match Wright/Pratt at 2,000h.p, while making 1,000h.p types pass 150 endurance tests and be production-repeatable by labour that had not served a craft apprenticeship. This is the sense in which I made the Sabre comment about not "coming good": this design was difficult to make by diluted labour, difficult for 19-year-olds to keep serviceable in the field.
 
In anticipation of Hyper power, Air Ministry issued Specs and funded prototypes intended to displace 1935-designs in time for the expected show of 1941. So:
ASM Boarhound was for Heavy Bomber AW.48 to Spec. B.1/39, to which V-A bid V.405 with Griffon, Gloster bid with a mix of Hercules VI and Centaurus;
Centaurus was for much, in 1938, but firstly for Warwick and Hawker "B" (Bristol-built Tempest II): A.M had no intention of building Wellington and Hurricane through 1944; Sabre was for Hawker P.1005 high speed bomber, for Firebrand (yes, initiated in 1940!), and for Hawker "N" (Gloster-built Typhoon);
Griffon was for Firefly, and the Blackburn bid, B-28 to Spec. B.3/40, light recce-bomber;
Exe was for Barracuda;
Vulture for Hawker "R" (Avro-Yeadon-built Tornado).
Of the Hawkers, "N" was seen as soonest, best, such that (by then MAP) attempted to have the airframe built by Bell, the engine by GM* and in Canada.
 
The development of Merlin, like that of Spitfire, saved our bacon. While I here criticise dearth of operable UK Hypers (Sabre arriving just in time for D-Day), which protracted feeble designs past their best (Whitley was built to July,43: “obsolete” in an A.M. Report of August,’38!), I have no doubt that entirely comparable pain preceded US Hypers. Didn't engines dish more B-29s than did enemy defences?
 
(corrected #24 below, 15/8: Chrysler)
« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 08:43:23 am by alertken »

Offline LowObservable

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2012, 07:10:55 am »
The Hyper story as a whole is fascinating.

Everyone in the late 1930s was convinced that it was the killer technology for the next generation of high-speed aircraft - but none of the engines ever worked as well as, or delivered much more power per cm3 or lb than conventional engines pushed to higher BMEPs with multi-stage blowing/intercooling, higher octane ratings, water/methanol or nitrous.

In the process, a remarkable number of aircraft procurement plans were more or less run into the ditch (Bomber B being the biggest example, closely followed by all the USAF's unconventional fighters, with Typhoon/Tempest having been made much more complicated than necessary).

Tartle's Merlin chart says it all. (It's in Setright, by the way.) Even allowing for brochuremanship, the fact is that the P-51H Allison V-1650-9 was officially rated at 2280 hp is important given that the US goal for Hyper was 1 hp/cu in.

Mind you, I'd still love to see a Sabre-powered Unlimited at Reno...

Offline George Allegrezza

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2012, 09:12:02 am »
There's a very good discussion of US Hyper experience in Graham White's SAE book on WWII engines.  Adding to what LO wrote, another objective of Hyper was to enable embedding engines within wings or very low profile nacelles.  The cooling problems of such installations made them impractical even ignoring the (very)fundamental problems with the base engines themselves. 

Each of the Lycoming and Continental hyper projects slowly died as wartime funding was directed to production radials and the Allison and Packard/RR Merlin inline programs.  When Luke Hobbs convinced the Army to let P&W abandon the H-24 sleeve-valve engine in favor of the R-4360, it was the end of the Hyper story. 

Oh and re: your comment about Sabres at Reno, this year's winner of the AIAA student design competition was an unlimited racer.  Might be a fun Friday item for the Ares blog.

Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2012, 12:42:42 pm »
Thin R&D teams are trying to match Wright/Pratt at 2,000h.p, while making 1,000h.p types pass 150 endurance tests and be production-repeatable by labour that had not served a craft apprenticeship. This is the sense in which I made the Sabre comment about not "coming good": this design was difficult to make by diluted labour, difficult for 19-year-olds to keep serviceable in the field.

On this I agree, the Sabre's maintenance issues are well documented, but lumping it into the same category as the Exe, Deerhound and Crecy seems excessive.
 
Quote
The development of Merlin, like that of Spitfire, saved our bacon. While I here criticise dearth of operable UK Hypers (Sabre arriving just in time for D-Day), which protracted feeble designs past their best (Whitley was built to July,43: “obsolete” in an A.M. Report of August,’38!), I have no doubt that entirely comparable pain preceded US Hypers. Didn't engines dish more B-29s than did enemy defences?

The importance of the Merlin is difficult to understate, not just Spitfires and Hurricanes but ultimately Lancasters and Mosquitoes, it was Britain's primary means of air defence and primary means of air offence. It is also worth mentioning that NAA made the Merlin do truly wonderful things in the Mustang (as LO alludes to) and one wonders what structural reasons prevented the UK from doing the same. Of course the Mustang is not the only example, between Blenheims and Whitleys 2TAF No2 group operated Bostons and Mitchells whilst the Buckingham failed and was replaced by a (cancelled) order for Invaders. Then there is the Spitfire 21 and Spiteful fiasco whilst NAA turned out tuned Mustangs, Republic pumped out Thunderbolts, Vought produced the Corsair and Grumman the Hellcat of turkey shoot fame; many of each operated by the UK. Certainly the low cost of lend-lease plays a part but to be blunt about it, US industry out-designed the UK.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2012, 05:31:07 am by JFC Fuller »

Offline Basil

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2012, 01:53:01 pm »
I wonder why Napier didn't add a turbocharger (or twin turbos) to the Sabre to boost the high altitude performance. The installation would have been bulkier than two stage supercharging but it would not have consumed that much engine power. The British industry already had a lot of experience in turbine design but it seems turbochargers were not really considered on British aircrafts - not even on bombers or nightfighters (in contrast to American aircrafts like P-38, P-47, P-61c, B-17, B-24, B-29). Rolls Royce tried a compound turbine on the Crecy but this engine didn't mature. Even in Germany, despite the shortage of nickel and other high temperature materials, companies experimented a lot with turbocharging, like the BMW 801j (serial production), DB 621 (twin turbo), DB 623 (twin turbo), DB 624 (turbo compound), DB 625 (twin turbo), Jumo 205 and 207 (turbo diesels, serial production), Jumo 222 (some), etc.

Offline robunos

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2012, 02:55:15 pm »
Apologies for not replying sooner, but I've been struck down with a malfunctioning PC...
Thank you all for your informative replies, once again, you've the gaping holes in my knowledge...
Regarding the Sabre being stopped in favour of the Centaurus, I had it in mind that this would permit the Centaurus to appear in production quantities sooner, thus it could replace the Sabre in the Hawker fighters ('Tornado II' and Tempest II instead of Typhoon and Tempest V), and hopefully offer increased reliability. My belief for this is that Centaurus builds on Hercules experience, as well as Bristol radial engine experience in general, whereas the Sabre was effectively a clean sheet of paper design.
Further, the Centaurus would be applicable to re-engine other Hercules-engined aircraft, Halifaxes, Beaufighters, etc, with the appropriate modifications.
On the Vulture, my main reason for asking was that I've never seen a decent account of this engines problems. Most accounts merely state 'insurmountable technical difficulties', or some such. 'The Great Gunston', in 'Rolls-Royce Aero Engines', talks of a design fault in the big end arrangement, mentioning 'mating surfaces fighting each other', and an article by an uncredited authgor on Typhoon development in an old 'Air Enthusiast' speak of a spate of conrod bolt failures, but other than this, I've seen nothing.
Secondly, since, as I understand it, the Vulture was effectively a 'Double Kestrel', if it's problems were overcome, would a version based on the Merlin have appeared? And if so, would it have displaced the Griffon? Would there even have been a Griffon-based engine of this type?...
I agree, it's impossible to overstate the importance of the extent of the development of the Merlin during the war. The Merlin was *the* war-winning engine, especially in the ETO.

cheers,
            Robin.
Where ARE the Daleks when you need them......

Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2012, 04:05:04 pm »
Regarding the Sabre being stopped in favour of the Centaurus, I had it in mind that this would permit the Centaurus to appear in production quantities sooner, thus it could replace the Sabre in the Hawker fighters ('Tornado II' and Tempest II instead of Typhoon and Tempest V), and hopefully offer increased reliability. My belief for this is that Centaurus builds on Hercules experience, as well as Bristol radial engine experience in general, whereas the Sabre was effectively a clean sheet of paper design.

Actually the Sabre was the third in a line of Napier H engines starting with the Rapier before moving to the Dagger and then the Sabre. The primary problem was a lack of leadership and direction at Napier's. Something that was largely solved when English Electric entered the scene. Whilst the Sabre had its own unique set of maintenance hurdles one gets the impression that Napier on its own could not break of the small volume, hand-craft, high performance mentality- something that was compounded by their own relatively thin staff that prevented them from supporting the production effort at Walton (Shadow factory to make up for the small capacity of the Napier factory at Acton). The Walton factory itself suffered from a lack of skilled labour, both machinists and management, and this certainly contributed to some of the reports of defective engines being delivered.

The Sabre needed to be developed by a large and well lead company with an established manufacturing base, it was instead developed by a small and poorly lead company that lacked a major manufacturing capability and the resources to rapidly develop one to support a still developing engine. However, one must not forget that in the second half of the war Sabre powered aircraft formed a very large part of RAF tactical airpower.   

Offline Nick Sumner

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2012, 05:51:09 am »
Great info! Many thanks Tartle!

A couple of things;

alertken - I believe it was the Centaurus that GM were going to build in Canada not the Sabre.

American hypers were all failures -Continental IV1430, Lycoming H2470, Pratt and Witney H3730, Wright R2160 Tornado - some were killed because their makers were too busy with other projects, some because they just didn't work as well as hoped. With the exception of Allison and the V1710, US manufacturers were unsuccessful outside their comfort zone of 14 and 18 cylinder radials.

Robunos - the RR Heritage books have good info on the Vulture, IIRC 'RR Piston Aero Engines' from them has all the details (sorry my books currently all boxed so can't check) the biggest problem was lubrication (which was the cause of the engine failures and fires) RR say they solved them as the axe fell. The notion of a Vulture with Merlin pots is intriguing - there was a 24 cylinder 'H' engine schemed based on Merlin cylinder blocks that had a projected P-W ratio better than Eagle 22, but I've always thought that Eagle 22 was so heavy because RR were determined to push both piston speed and boost pressures through the roof with that engine so it had to be beefy. Perhaps Tartle can confirm or correct that?

Offline robunos

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2012, 02:39:06 pm »
Quote
the Sabre was the third in a line of Napier H engines starting with the Rapier before moving to the Dagger and then the Sabre

I'm aware of the Rapier and Dagger, However these were air-cooled with poppet valves, I believe. Also these had the cylinder axis vertical, rather than horizontal. In contrast, the Centaurus was effectively an enlarged, 18-cylinder version of the Hercules, itself basically a two-row Perseus, and all of these engines were based on the experience leading back to the Jupiter of 1918.
I'm not denying that the Sabre eventually came good, but speculating that the Centaurus could have got there earlier, and with less trouble (and perhaps more cheaply too).
@Nick Sumner. Where can RRHT books be obtained from? I've never seen them for sale...
THanks also for your thoughts on the Vulture. What I'd read had led to believe that the nature of the problem was overstressing of the big ends, which led to me musing if the problem could have been solved by, ironically, going the Napier route of two crankshafts, even though this would incur a size and weight increase...
This then generates another dimension; should more have been made of the Fairey P.24? From the little I know of it, it seems very attractive indeed. Should this have replaced the Sabre in production?

cheers,
            Robin.
Where ARE the Daleks when you need them......

Offline Nick Sumner

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2012, 03:38:48 pm »
Robunos - HS 16 Rolls-Royce Piston Aero Engines - a designer remembers is available direct from RR here

http://www.rolls-royce.com/about/heritage/publications/

Or you can search for it on

www.bookfinder.com

but it seems to be more expensive there.

I think the big end problems were exacerbated by the lubrication problem

Offline PMN1

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2012, 04:12:06 pm »

The Griffon was being developed in readiness to replace the Merlin.


This is from Colin Sinots's 'The RAF and Aircraft Design: Air Staff Operational Requirements1923 - 1939

This is refering to what became the Battle

Noname1.jpg



Noname2.jpg

Now my understanding that this 'Griffon' wouldn't be the 'Griffon' that we actually got but how would this Griffon have compared to the Merlin and actual Griffon if developed?
« Last Edit: September 15, 2012, 04:22:23 pm by PMN1 »

Offline PMN1

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2012, 04:15:59 pm »

Regarding the Sabre being stopped in favour of the Centaurus, I had it in mind that this would permit the Centaurus to appear in production quantities sooner, thus it could replace the Sabre in the Hawker fighters ('Tornado II' and Tempest II instead of Typhoon and Tempest V), and hopefully offer increased reliability. My belief for this is that Centaurus builds on Hercules experience, as well as Bristol radial engine experience in general, whereas the Sabre was effectively a clean sheet of paper design.


I've seen a referenece to Freeman not liking Bristol radials and ordering the Centaurus to be removed from the Tornado so delaying the whole Centaurus fighter possibility, given his other decisions that seems a bit out of character, has anyone else seen any referenece to that?


Offline PMN1

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2012, 04:21:46 pm »
Great info! Many thanks Tartle!

A couple of things;

alertken - I believe it was the Centaurus that GM were going to build in Canada not the Sabre.



Apparently Feddon was in Canada to discuss this but was recalled.

It has been pointed out elsewhere how happy Bristol would be about handing over sleeve valve know how to General Motors.

Offline alertken

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2012, 08:15:58 am »
NS/PMN1: it was both. I, too, have MAP, 5/40 exploring GM Centaurus. Then P.Butler,Air Arsenal N.America,MCP,2004,p.34 has: UK Lend/Lease Requisition No.151, 9/4/41, for 750 Bell Typhoons: MAP "had hoped to have (Sabre) built by Chrysler (so my bad to say GM), and also considered using...R-2800 (so Hawker "B", "N", "R" and "P"!)...But political and other obstacles to producing a Br.design in US were too great".Just as cash and operability constraints limited UK buys (pre-Lend/Lease) of US engines.
 
We're in danger of circular discussion here. Some authors have lain lapse of 1939/40 Requirements and designs (some with Hypers) at Beaver's door, for priority on 5 NOW! types, summer 1940. Well, quite so...for now, but not forever, once we survived into winter. Picture yourself as Freeman, RAE and his staff, 1938/39 trying to disseminate new technology for 1941 while NOW! delivering some utility. Resources could go into Dagger or Sabre, Hercules or Centaurus, Merlin or Griffon et al.  His options, I suggest were: 1): duplication (B+N+R) v. bet the farm on one... (which?); and 2): build death traps now as education templates, v. hold the new factories idle waiting for proper types...(which?) .
 
OP asked: could Hyper pain have been avoided? I suggest...only by taking up one of those options, in 4/38 Expansion Scheme "L"...which would have left RAF with a few parent-built Blenheims, Battles and bi-planes in May,1940. Not good.               
« Last Edit: September 16, 2012, 08:24:10 am by alertken »

Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #25 on: September 23, 2012, 04:04:17 am »
To wade further into the defence of the Sabre I think think there are other issues at work in its reputation. Not only did it suffer from being developed by a small and poorly managed team and from being manufactured by ill-suited labor, but it also seems to have been tainted by the initially poor performance of its first platform. It is also worth noting that in 1945/6 the Sabre VII was generating 500hp more than the production Centaurus variants at the time. It was not until the DPI variants appeared much later that the Centaurus caught up.

Another alternative for consideration may be that it could have been possible to terminate the various Martin Baker projects (I know everyone loves the MB.5 but what was the point?) and push that team together with Folland to pursue the Fo.117/118 as the Centaurus fighter leaving Hawker to focus on the Sabre powered Typhoon/Tempest/Fury and Vickers-Supermarine to focus on the Griffon powered Spitfire/Seafire/Spiteful/Seafang.

Leaving Napier, who effectively had no other credible production engines in 1940, to develop the Sabre whilst RR focussed on the in production and in use Merlin and Bristol to focus on the also in production and in use Hercules easily seems the most logical approach. Perhaps a better question is why the Hercules itself was not pushed further faster, the Hercules 763/773 family (1948) was making 2,185 hp on 115/145 octane fuel for instance with some qouting the 760 series with 2,300hp  at takeoff which compares very favourably with the late variant Merlins.

 
« Last Edit: September 23, 2012, 05:27:38 am by JFC Fuller »

Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2012, 10:52:45 am »
General Patton once said
“We have got by due to persistence and on the ability to make plans fit   circumstances."
Ely Devons was an economist. Between 1940 and 1945 he became the first Chief Statistician for the Central Statistics Office, then Director of Statistics, and finally the Director General of Planning, Programmes and Statistics with the MAP. He wrote a book "Planning in Practice: Essays in Aircraft Planning in Wartime". In the appendix he sets out the issues facing planners in mid 1944 as they tried to plan component  production requirements up to the end of 1945. I thought worth scanning part of the appendix relevant to the topic.
"... prototypes are a way of letting you think out loud. You want the right people to think aloud with you.” - Paul MacCready, aeronautical engineer.

Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #27 on: September 26, 2012, 10:55:56 am »
...and the rest of Devons.
"... prototypes are a way of letting you think out loud. You want the right people to think aloud with you.” - Paul MacCready, aeronautical engineer.

Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #28 on: September 26, 2012, 01:19:42 pm »
PMN1 etc,
The original Griffon was a derated 1931 Schneider 'R' engine ...here are a couple of pics. It has the same bore and stroke as the 'R'  which was carried through to the wartime Griffon which was in fact an entirely new engine, being technologically a new version of the latest Merlin technology plus some ideas that could not easily be put into an engine already in massive production at Fords etc.
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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #29 on: September 26, 2012, 01:47:47 pm »
Robunos... the Fairey P24 was a nice concept but being developed at Fairey meant it was short of muscle in the manpower department.
I have a spec for the moderately superchrged version which reads
rated power: 1,500 bhp @ 2,600 rpm
 max Take off power: 1,540 bhp @ 2,300 rpm
 rated altitude: 9,500 feet
 normal rpm: 2,600 rpm not normally exceeded for continuous cruising at any altitude.
 max permissible rpm: 3,000 not to be used for more 5 minutes consecutive running.
 diving rpm: 3,150 rpm at not more than 1/3rd throttle opening.
 max permissible boost: +3 lbs/sq in.(for not more than 5 mins)
 rated boost: +2lbs/sq in.
 fuel: DTD 230 [ I think is 87 octane]
 bore: 5.25"
 stroke: 6.0"
 capacity: 3118 cu. in (51 litre)
 
 The flight engine rating data is:
 rated altitude: 10,000ft
 rated boost: +1/2 lb/sq in
 max permissible boost: +3 lb/sq in
 normal rpm: 2,400
 take off rpm: 2,
 bhp @ 2,400 rpm @ 10,000 ft - 1,275
 bhp @ 2,750 rpm @ 10,000 ft - 1,425
 bhp @ 2,130 rpm @ +3 lb/sq in boost - 1,300

The engineer who gave me the spec originally worked on this but was subsequently employed at RR.. was this another reason for interest in an 'H'? The engine is now at Yeovilton. See pics here

RR had a look at the concept and maybe this led to the Merlin 'H' project which crudely put had an angle of 180 degrees between cylinders and then two were put close together each driving one of two contra rotating propeller shafts... being independent, like the P24 one half could be idled to reduce power and consumption. It would have developed 3500 to 4000 hp at 17,000 feet altitude. Advantage over P24 would have been the use of standard Merlin parts for critical moving components. Until I can get to an A3 scanner here is a two part scan from the RRHT cutaways book.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 02:03:30 pm by tartle »
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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #30 on: September 26, 2012, 01:51:20 pm »
Nick... the reason the Eagle 22 was relatively heavier is because they were conservative at the beginning but also to get the relative speeds down to improve reliability..
There is a parameter known as Mean Piston Speed that turns out to have a good correlation with engine reliability. Measured in ft/sec values of 2600 for cruise and 2900 for take off seem to be the boundaries between a reasonable engine life and one that begins to reduce reliability. A blanket figure of 3000 is often taken as the limit between engines that stay in one piece and those that have issues and are likely to break unexpectedly. Modern F1 Grand Prix racing engines can operate at 3800 and we know how long they last and what happens when things go wrong!
MPS is calculated as Speed [(rpm) x stroke (in.)]/6.

Napier Sabre V has T/O rpm of 3800 and at maximum rating  4000rpm; cruise is 3250 rpm; stroke is 4.75 in. dry weight 2360 lb
P/W 1.29
MPS= 3008 @ T/O
          3166 @ max
          2573 @ cruise

Eagle 22
max rating 3200 bhp, 3500 rpm
stroke 5.125 so MPS = 2989 dry weight 3900 lb gives P/W = 0.82

Merlin 61:
1290 bhp at 3,000 rpm stroke 6.0 so MPS = 3000 dry weight 1640 lb gives P/W = 0.96
note MPS is same number as rpm! so T/O MPS =2900 and cruise MPS = 2600.

Rolls-Royce 'R'
Stroke= 6.6, max rating 2350 bhp @  3200 rpm Dry weight 1640 lb P/W = 1.54
MPS = 3520

Conclusion ... Merlin is on the boundary of acceptable for T/O and cruise; Sabre is moving towards racing category and Eagle draws back. If Sabre could be made reliable enough to take-off with confidence it would cruise ok... but could you rely on combat rating? This is one reason that tbo was lower than other engines.
Hope that helps.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2012, 01:42:21 am by tartle »
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Offline LowObservable

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #31 on: September 27, 2012, 07:18:20 am »
Tartle - Have you ever run across anything that explains how come the Battle/P-24 combo ended up at Wright Field?

Peter Masefield writes in his autobiography, Flight Path, that the Battle was designed around the P-24 - hence its miserable performance with the Merlin.

Offline alertken

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #32 on: September 27, 2012, 09:04:24 am »
Bulman (long-time senior AM/MAP engine R&D man), An Account of Partnership, RRHT,2001,P.349 has Halford moving (briefly, unhappily, and IIRC, early,1944) to RR with Sabre, which "Very soon...emerged with very little modification as (RR) Eagle".

Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #33 on: September 27, 2012, 02:00:53 pm »
Alertkin,
Bulman's memoir was published after his death and a decision was made not to do more than minor edits in order to preserve his authentic voice... that doesn't mean that his recollections were correct. In the 1960s Fred Morley told me he was involved in assessing how the lubrication of the Sabre could be improved, at the same time as Bristol was helping with the ovality problem of the sleeve valves. This would account for the need for a Sabre at Derby. Remember that the Eagle 22 has a swept volume 25% greater than the Sbre at 46 li vs 36.65. I noted above in another post that the last Sabre development was sent to Derby for their interest but it was far too late in the day to have an influence on the mechanical layout which was fixed and running by that time.  That might be what was remembered. Note also the Eagle incorporated RR's experience on Crecy, Pennine and Exe sleeve valve experience and incorporated into the engine, which differed from the Sabre in many ways.
It was not uncommon for engines from different companies to arrive at another's door. When I was a stress engineer on Advanced Projects I stressed every big fan engine going; and in the turbine office I worked on other engines... I found the first performance calcs that I did ...on an Allison lift jet years prior to the XJ-99 collaboration.... something I had completely forgotten!
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Offline alertken

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #34 on: September 27, 2012, 09:24:53 pm »
Thank you. Musicians, I believe, "sample" others' work.

Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #35 on: September 28, 2012, 03:19:51 am »
Alertken ...and earlier they 'riffed'. Good way of thinking about it, not thought of it like that before.
As to P24 in America:
My notes of a conversation, 8/10/1965, with Frank Greaves who tested the P24 said

LowObservable:
"Fairey hired A. G. Forsyth to design the 'perfect engine. Forsyth had worked at the DEngRD dealing with all the designs of engines submitted by the manufacturers. He had therefore a great store of useful knowledge to apply to the Fairey engine. He designed the Prince, a V-12 of 26 litre capacity to compete with the Kestrel. Although no orders were placed it did have the effect of speeding up RR Kestrel development.  Forsyth went ahead in October 1935 with the totally new P.24, aimed at carrier-based aircraft. Twin-engine reliability was to be gained (for the first time in any engine) by having two halves each comprising a vertically opposed 12-cyclinder unit with a side supercharger, with pressure-glycol cooling. Each crankshaft was geared to its own coaxial propeller of Fairey constant speed type. Each half engine was tested throughout 1938 (the test bed could not handle the 2,200 total horsepower), and on 30th June 1939 the P.24 was flown in a Battle (K9370). With a potential for 3,000hp, the P.24 was considered for the Hawker Tornado and then the P-47 Thunderbolt, the Battle flying some 250hrs at Wright Field in 1942, but wartime pressures forced the termination of what was a very promising engine. The Americans argued in the evaluation report that it was an undeveloped prototype and would require a great deal of effort to get it ready for production".
« Last Edit: September 28, 2012, 05:18:30 pm by tartle »
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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #36 on: September 29, 2012, 10:51:24 am »
This is reason for the request to borrow Fairey Battle with P24......
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Offline LowObservable

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #37 on: September 29, 2012, 01:01:13 pm »
Thank you Mr T. Please accept 2 free Internetz in recognition of your awesomeness.

Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #38 on: September 29, 2012, 04:23:21 pm »
We could read our own discussion group posts too!
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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #39 on: September 30, 2012, 10:48:37 am »
Bearing in mind the help Napier needed to get the Sabre workable in a decent time we could assume that RR and B carried on helping and the rate of power increase followed the Merlin curve... see below. Also if RR and B had been invoved from the start then the blue curve would lurch six months to the left (time 1st squadron of Tiffies had to 'train' whilst Sabre was fixed) .. giving a high power VII early 1944... That means Fury will be earlier and have better topside performance... makes you ponder doesn't it?
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Offline robunos

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #40 on: September 30, 2012, 02:54:12 pm »
Quote
We could read our own discussion group posts too!
C'mon... that was four years ago, had a kip since then............. ;D
I'd forgotten about that topic...
 
I agree, to stand any chance, the P.24 needed to be developed by one of the 'big boys', but somehow, I can't see that happening.
Thanks for the information on the Merlin H, that's new to me, did it progress any farther than drawings? Or was it just a paper design to counter the P.24 should any further interest be shown?
Quote
He designed the Prince, a V-12 of 26 litre capacity to compete with the Kestrel.
Now I've read, I think in 'Aeroplane Monthly', that the Kestrel was RR's response to the Fairey Felix, a licence-built Curtiss D-12, so here we have things coming full-circle...
before we leave the subject, and just for information, does anyone have an image of the Prince, as I've never seen one?
 
Re. the chart above; now this is what I was getting at in my original post. The help RR and Bristol give Napier gives the historical Sabre timeline. If Bristol and RR are in from the start, Sabre milestones come 6 months sooner. But this means effort and rescources diverted away from RR and Bristol's own projects. If, however, the Sabre is abandoned early, and these rescources are available to RR and Bristol, are their own engines, and particularly the Centaurus, earlier in reaching their respective milestones? I have to say IMO, RR were right to drop the Exe and Crecy, particularly the latter.
 
cheers,
          Robin.
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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #41 on: September 30, 2012, 05:39:28 pm »
Robunos... yes the HmmmMerlin was just a 1940 paper exercise.. would have been built very quickly as it used Merlin 61 components where possible... the drawing is from Lyndon Jones RRHT book of cutaways. The Fairey Felix was just the name for the Curtiss D-12, which Fairey intended to licence-build in Britain but never did. He did import 50 engines though. The D-12 looked like pic below.
 Forsyth used the valve gear on the Prince and P24.
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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #42 on: October 07, 2012, 04:17:29 am »
One of the aero engine research methods I use is to find out about an engine and then discover what it powered; research the aircraft and find information about the engine to inform the next cycle of research. Recently one such cycle of researching the Merlin 2-stge supercharger engines led me into our local OXFAM bookshop where I discovered a copy of "A Most Secret Place" by Johnson and Hefferman. This covers an interesting selection of  A&AEE reports written by test pilots at Boscombe Down 1939-45; the second author flew on some of the original flights that generated the information for the reports...hair-raising!
The High altitude Wimpey and its Merlin 60 was what I was after and it was a revelation to flesh out the meaning of comments in the Fedden and Hooker stories...... but I was also intrigued to discover the reports on Martin Baker's fighter prototypes.
Martin’s Aircraft Works’ was founded by Sir James Martin as an aircraft manufacturer in 1934. The factory was established in 1929 and four aircraft prototypes were produced: MB1, MB2, MB3 and MB5. It was during the designing and testing of the MB1 where James Martin and Captain Valentine Baker started their friendship and ‘Martin-Baker Aircraft Company Ltd’ was established.
The MB3 fighter is of interest here as it was originally proposed with a Griffon but , under pressure from the Ministry, was fitted with a Sabre. After the MB1 a spec F.18/39 was drawn up to cover an MB proposal. Requirements included max level speed not less than 400 mph at 15,000 ft; service ceiling 35,000ft; AUW not to exceed 12,000 lb; armament 6 20-mm cannon. Order signed in summer 1939.
War priorities meant prototype not ready until Aug 1942 and it first flew on Aug 31st. On 12th September 1942, during a test flight of the Martin-Baker MB3 prototype, Captain Valentine Baker was tragically killed. The engine seized and he was forced to make an emergency landing, during which the aircraft struck a tree stump. Captain Valentine Baker's death greatly affected Sir James Martin, so much so that pilot safety became Martin's primary focus. The Sabre had suffered a failure of one of the cranks driving the movement of the sleeve valve.
The MB5 was an MB3 development with a Griffon. It flew on 23rd May 1944 and after a mod to the tail to improve directional stability was found to have superb handling. Its 2,350bhp Griffon conferred at top speed of 460 mph at 20,000ft possibly the fastest single-engined piston fighter at that time.
Ill luck again? The Griffon failed on take-off at a Farnboro' postwar display... but this time it was landed safely.
So what if MB had been given authority to push through development at haste, then it is possible the MB3 or MB5 could have been in production at the end of 1942...hmmm
« Last Edit: October 07, 2012, 04:19:43 am by tartle »
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Offline alertken

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #43 on: October 07, 2012, 07:52:03 am »
Why no resources into MB5? The officlal mind was informed by wisdom that RAE+scientists (graduates) did Pure, industry (engineers, ex-apprentices) did Applied Research. So Eureka! novelty in State-funded labs, Product Definition and Production in firms. This all speaks to British class structure, and to a 1917 decision to confine Farnborough to Experiment. So, with scarce business, only 1920s' Ring of firms was admitted by Air Ministry to tender for R&D. Not enough work even for them. So, as 1930s unfold...no succour for Fairey-in-engines (original, or Curtiss-licence), or Wolseley (original, or Pratt-licence), or General (Hispano-licence). Don't need them/can't employ who we have already. Airspeed slithered in with (to be) Oxford off a PV civil type requiring no R&D.
 
When Minister Swinton in 1936 caused SBAC to endure "sub-contracting" (licenced second-source, supervised by Design Parent) he found himself obliged to concede the point that resultant hi-volume production experience must not create Post-War design competitors. So, few, very few design tenders were considered, 1938-44 from new entrants like Heston, Folland, Cunliffe-Owen...and MBA. The only exception, by Cripps, arose from the need to berth WEW Petter+his jet bomber notion. Craven/Vickers had only grumpily tolerated Westland as second-source Spitfire/Design Authority Seafire (and, later, small-Merlin-Mark Spitfires) because their owner, John Brown, was a fellow-mariner with whom he could resolve future competition issues. Petter kept on bidding against Vickers, 1941-44, and a jet bomber was a bridge too far, so he had to go. Cripps sent Petter up North to bring English Electric back into Aero R&D in direct contravention of Swinton's deal. All this is why those Folland fighter-types got nowhere, and neither did MBA's.
 
It's also why Power Jets could not become a Design+Production Authority. Me, too, would yell Tom and Dick and Harry Civilian Repair Organisation Mod. Centres like Marshall's, Field's: modest Post-War business would have been a cat-fight of incomers v.incumbents. All too hard.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2012, 07:56:35 am by alertken »

Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #44 on: October 07, 2012, 01:06:32 pm »
The necessary technologies (skills.methods, techniques) are usually underestimated... the IMechE did research that showed on complex projects that project estimate time 't' was out by Pi squared if neither the team or leader had done a project all the way through (i.e. a factor of ten); if the leader had done one before but team had not the multiply 't' by pi (around 3); if the leader and team had done similar just before then multiply 't' by pi/2 ....i.e.40% longer!
This may also account for reluctance.....
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Offline Johnbr

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #45 on: October 15, 2013, 07:31:22 am »
Cutaway of the RR Crecy II.

Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #46 on: October 15, 2013, 12:37:57 pm »
I assume this is the drawing in RRHT's 'sectioned drawings of piston aero engines' which published Lyndon Jones exceptional work from original detail drawings... he was, as I've written somewhere else, a technical illustrator in, I believe Dunwell's Engineering Technical Illustration Department at RR Derby... these drawings were 'foreigners' done out of his interest. The book is worth buying... I must... but the list is so long.
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Offline J.A.W.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #47 on: March 07, 2014, 06:49:00 pm »
Camm's remarks about the political aspects of successful aircraft must surely also apply to engines.

There are various authors on the subject who remark on the chicanery/undermining that went on
between makers - even in the dire need of wartime exigency.

The case of the Napier Sabre is illustrative, with R-R/Bristol (& Rotol ) apparently cited as being on
record in attempting to have it cancelled - in favour of their products.

That Napier had serious issues with making a satisfactory mil-spec production item is beyond question,
but so is the fact of the Sabre's design being an 'apotheosis' (as Len Setright  termed it) of the reciprocating
fighter mill, in specific output & combat performance terms.

As the sole example of a liquid cooled 24 cylinder 'hyper' aero-engine to make its mark in combat during
WW II the Sabre is quite remarkable too.

As for a Sabre flying again, I put the question to Mike Nixon, the U.S. warbird engine man of Reno race fame,
& he reckoned that it was quite straightforwardly feasible, & that the 'complexity' of legend was, traditional British
'nuts & bolts' constructional style aside, not as difficult as is commonly imagined.

Kermit Weeks - over to you, unless Richard Branson & Peter Jackson want to do a Nile Expedition to Khartoum
& lift out those unused greased/crated  Sabres dumped off the jetty after the completion of Tempest F6
tropical type-testing back in the day..
"I choose to believe - what I am programmed to believe.."

Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #48 on: March 08, 2014, 12:09:48 am »
I think we have said elsewhere that the issue with the Sabre was development timescales of a new engine versus the number of engineers at Napier that had the expertise to solve the problem.. also the strength of management team to resist production of engine too early.... Hives resisted the development of the Griffon to enable his team to concentrate on the Merlin; the same goes for Vulture. In 1940 the time and space needed to solve Vulture engineering problems (which were solvable) was not available; to complicate the issue the Manchester was a heavier aircraft than the 1936 target so a more powerful Vulture was necessary for performance..making the cooling issue even worse (bad design of nacelle by Avro so a big redesign there) the right decision was made to go Lancaster with Beaufighter power eggs.
Remember that RR/Bristol were having to devote lots of energy to service issues and now Ministry wanted them to analyse Napier's Sabre problems and help there.. Bristol had issues with Centaurus and so they were keen on clarity from Ministry which meant concentrating on their own stuff. 
"... prototypes are a way of letting you think out loud. You want the right people to think aloud with you.” - Paul MacCready, aeronautical engineer.

Offline J.A.W.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #49 on: March 08, 2014, 03:43:06 pm »
Indeed, mention of problematic Vulture issues in Manchester service use bring to the fore
the fundamental differences in flying/engine requirements between fighter & bomber/transport roles.

The Vulture powering the Hawker Tornado prototypes evidently did not hammer itself to destruction
- unlike those consigned to drudge duty in the Manchester.

The incorporation of a coordinated engine/prop management system for enabling fighter pilots to
focus on combat flying rather than faffing about fettling myriad controls - which were properly the
province of a dedicated flight engineer - is another often over-looked feature of effective European fighter
aircraft, even radials ( BMW with 'Kommandogerat' & later Bristols too).

Certainly the U.S. pilots who flew the Merlin Mustangs appreciated the automation advantages by comparison to
their home-grown machines with their numerous settings of revs/boost/mixture/prop/turbo/cooling flaps & etc needing to be juggled - esp' at times when concentrating on combat flying manoeuvres was of paramount importance.

A number of fighter pilots comment in their memoirs on the various attributes of the engines they operated
with frank candour, & in the main, do present like motor racers - in as much as they appreciate the
power/speed advantages & ability to take high power settings - without wilting - for as long as needful,
to beat the opposition.

Obviously the aircrew flying Atlantic patrols for many hours out over the ocean would have different priorities,
'cept for their mills to keep on turning, obviously.

As for the poor bloody blokes in vulnerable bombers lumbering painfully slowly over 'Festung Europa',
- how many would have lived out useful lives if the likes of the proposed Sabre powered high speed
cruise 'Super Mosquito' or Hawker high speed bomber designs had made large-scale service instead ?
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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #50 on: March 08, 2014, 04:41:05 pm »
There is a fascinating story to be told about the 'hammering' that the RR Griffons received in the Shackleton 1945-90. A very different operating requirement to that of a later-mark Spitfire.
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Offline J.A.W.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #51 on: March 08, 2014, 06:23:32 pm »
Please do tell, when able, T..

I always wondered how R-R wangled that Shackleton gig for the Griffon too..
Was it a contra-deal with Bristol getting the Centaurus in the Sea Fury?

Since the Griffon was originally built to a Fleet Air Arm requirement, & the Centaurus was famed
 for its long ( 3,000hr, according to Len Setright) TBO, it seems they got them around the
wrong-way..

If the many decades long Shackleton operational service life had always been envisioned by H.M. Govt,
 then mayhaps the Napier Nomad could have got to really prove itself - on a cost/benefit basis too?

& surely, the hammering dealt out to Griffon crankshaft bearings by Spitfires running on +25lbs boost
for anti-Diver V1 chasing duty in mid `44 - ought to have provided a harbinger of potential 'ropy' bottom
end issues?

What were Griffon TBOs?
Did the MOD stipulate a target TBO for Shackleton service contracts?
Was it a nice little earner for R-R, or simply an annoying distraction from pressing turbine matters?

Thanks in advance - for any gen forthcoming on these questions..
« Last Edit: March 08, 2014, 06:34:07 pm by J.A.W. »
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #52 on: March 08, 2014, 07:53:23 pm »
Here's a bit about the Chrysler Hemi V16 aircraft engine, by way of comparison/possible technical interest.

http://www.allpar.com/mopar/hemi-aircraft.html

IMO - they'd have been better-off taking up Beaverbrook's offer to do the Sabre instead,
akin to what Ford (UK/GB) & Packard did with the Merlin.

Ford (USA) did do some interesting aero-engine stuff too, but that ended up truncated for use in a tank..
« Last Edit: March 08, 2014, 07:55:14 pm by J.A.W. »
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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #53 on: March 08, 2014, 11:57:00 pm »
It is fascinating how various parts of Ford reacted to the war.
We know Ford built a huge factory to produce Merlins at Trafford, Manchester, UK working closely with RR Derby to understand every critical part and how to mass-produce them... which meant every drawing was redone to tighten up tolerances where necessary for Ford's processes to ensure interchangeability, etc,etc.
Ford France were to be the producer for French government...9e.g. for Dewoitine D520) ...fortunately nothing had got under way during first six months of 1940!
Ford USA were very 'iffy':
In June 1940, Henry Ford had offered to manufacture 1,000 aircraft a day if the government would let him do it his way, and during a discussion with Secretary of the Treasury regarding what the Ford company might produce, Ford's son Edsel tentatively agreed to make 6,000 Rolls-Royce liquid-cooled engines for Great Britain and 3,000 for the U.S. RR supplied a complete set of drawings of Merlin XX and Ford set about redrawing them for production. However, at the beginning of July, Henry Ford stated that he would manufacture only for defence, not for Britain, and the entire deal was declared off. Members of the Defense Advisory Commission subsequently began negotiations with other manufacturers in an effort to place the $130,000,000 Rolls-Royce order, and Packard Car Company was eventually chosen because the engine's British parent company was impressed by its high-quality engineering (also some key engineers from Derby who had been at RR's US car plant in 1920 that was eventually closed had migrated to Packard). Agreement was reached in September 1940, the drawings supplied to Ford USA were extracted and sent to Packard, and the first Packard-built engine, designated V-1650-1, ran in August 1941. Packard were first into production with the Merlin 60 series with the two-piece head. Sometimes it is stated that the head was specially designed for Packard... it wasn't. Production logistics meant it was easier to incorporate into ptoduction in USA so they were first to produce it.
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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #54 on: March 09, 2014, 12:11:25 am »
The key engineer to facilitate US Merlin production was Maurice Olley who was the man that made Cadillacs smooth ride!
'A fundamental engineer'
"Olley was what I call a fundamental engineer, as opposed to a higher-profile guy like [Chevrolet chief engineer] Ed Cole," Walters said. "Cole was an engineer, too, but took credit as an executive for a lot of other people's work. He was able to sell large programs to boards of directors and such that Olley couldn't do."
Olley was born June 12, 1889, in Scarborough, England, attended the Birmingham Technical School and the University of Manchester in England. He was a tool designer for H.W. Ward & Co. in Birmingham and was with Rolls-Royce from 1912 to 1917 as a designer on the personal staff of Sir Frederick Henry Royce.
"In that capacity, he was one of the three developers of the first Rolls-Royce aircraft engines," Walters said. "They were water-cooled eight-cylinder inline engines." 
Olley moved to the United States in 1917 to take charge of aircraft engine production for Rolls-Royce in New York and Cleveland. He reported directly to Royce. "No drawing was ever approved unless Royce approved it himself with a big script 'R' on it," Walters said.[Olley also designed the reduction gearbox used on some versions of Liberty engine]

Olley was promoted to chief engineer for Rolls-Royce in America in Springfield, Mass.
In 1930, Olley joined Cadillac in Detroit as a troubleshooting engineer. His services were so much in demand that in 1934 he was given a specially created position in GM as engineer in charge of the Product Study Department.
From 1930 to 1937, Olley was largely responsible for the design of various independent suspension systems and their introduction on GM cars. His work helped define modern ideas of automotive ride and handling.
Olley returned to Europe in 1937 as passenger vehicle engineer with Vauxhall Motors, GM's English subsidiary. He took a leave of absence in 1939 to act as U.S. engineering representative on aircraft engines for Rolls-Royce, supervising the manufacture of Rolls-Royce parts and the start of the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine production at the Packard plant in the United States.
During the final years of World War II he was an adviser to the British Ministry of Supply. After the war he returned to Vauxhall.

This is the standard history but it is worth reading this to get two sides to the story of Merlin production in USA. I think the truth is lost in the mists of time but one can get a reasonably accurate story from devining these two!

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Offline J.A.W.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #55 on: March 09, 2014, 01:11:56 am »
Yeah T, I've heard that ol' Henry & Adolf were into mutual admiration..
& like ol' Joe Kennedy, father of J.F.K. ( but unlike Adolf, ironically), he was an old school Anglo-phobe..

Still, as an autocrat, Ford could largely do want he wanted - with his stuff - in the USA.

Thanks for the link, but I'd reckon though - the proof is in the pudding, as it were, aero-engine-wise,
& Ford (USA) did build thousands of aero-engines in WW 2, but they were P&W R-2800s,
- not their in-house 'Merlin-beater'..
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Offline alertken

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #56 on: March 09, 2014, 01:23:49 am »
T: many tks for this. Revisionist received wisdom is that Henry Ford, with other US businessmen, 1938-ish, was for strong European leaders, anti-Bolshevism. Not that he wanted UK to fall to fascism, but he wanted UK to stop distracting Men of Steel from the job of toppling Stalin. So: no US Ford munitions for UK.

The logic of this is that Ford/France and Ford/UK became involved in Merlins, insubordinate, and despite Henry. Your links now introduce Henry's preference not to batter Britain but to beat Merlin by building a better engine...for any Customer Approved by his Govt.

Surely that is right. I cannot accept that Ford/UK could have happily thwarted Henry by aiding a Govt. of whose Policy he disapproved.I prefer the reading that, rather than footle with alien drawings, to fit Merlin for scientific production, it would be quicker, cheaper to bring his own product onstream. Good luck to Packard... while you are bogged down, I'll be steaming ahead.

Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #57 on: March 09, 2014, 05:50:30 am »
Politics of the time probably meant the PR (aka our PM's earlier job... ah that explains a lot) dictated how the situation was presented. Also can you imagine what RR people would have said if they had to take on the Ford! Royce was so offended at the Renault and RAF engines in WW1 that he went against the commercial factions in RR who wanted just to keep factory busy (not making much from cars in a war! not till they armoured them!) and the Eagle/Falcon/Hawk were born and were made in quantities exceeding any other UK design.
And Henry Ford would have a good idea that taking on a British inch thread machine could be a nightmare ...no would be a nightmare! Commonality would dictate that change. Incidentally the Eagle 22 was a What-if engine... what-if we have another round of piston engined aircraft before the jets take over? What-if Napier never get their development act together? etc.
Maybe Henry realised USA would get dragged into war and so the resources of Ford were better kept to meet the needs of a domestic customer rather than a foreign one with the Atlantic to slow communication. I remember the revelation of getting a drawing through to Indianapolis from Derby in 1977 that took 4 hours to FAX, in pieces, so much faster than the post, or jumping on an aeroplane.
P.S. eventually we ( a group gathered round a millionaire collector of engineering.. hear the Merlin roar) will restore a Sabre we have in the cupboard!
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 06:05:32 am by tartle »
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Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #58 on: March 09, 2014, 09:05:15 am »
The Ford GAA V12 aero-engine has its own thread here: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=5494.0

It apparently achieved 1,800 hp on the bench, could have made for an interesting engine for the P-51.   
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 10:25:35 am by JFC Fuller »

Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #59 on: March 09, 2014, 12:01:18 pm »
stuff here
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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #60 on: March 09, 2014, 02:00:41 pm »
Pugh's 3 volume work on RR gives this Ford>Packard explanation.
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Offline J.A.W.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #61 on: March 09, 2014, 03:15:25 pm »
Interesting, thanks, T..

Not too many DOHC aero-engines built, ( Lion, Jumo 211, AM 38),
& valve gear issues being a significant factor in hot-rod Merlin Reno racers.

Exciting news about the pending Sabre restoration,
- is that pic of a crashed Sabre unit with a bent prop shaft?
Or is it a distortion in the photo?

I note that a (partial) Sabre overhaul special tools kit was recently being offered
on the Hawker Tempest Page site, if of interest..
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Offline Kevin Renner

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #62 on: March 09, 2014, 03:47:01 pm »
Ford's not quite still born V-1650 in a cutaway reveils its auto motive origins. The side by side connecting rods for one. But Ford would of also used steel csstings in place of forgings as Ford pretty much led the world in the technology at that time. But the time frame that would be needed to bring the engine into service made it a non-starter IMO.

I sometimes wonder if the RAF and would of been better served if Napier had built license built R-2800s. As wonderful of an engine as the Sabre was for a nation at war there is another factor involved. I wonder just what the total man hours were in the production of each
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 03:55:30 pm by Kevin Renner »

Offline J.A.W.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #63 on: March 09, 2014, 04:30:27 pm »
Link to Sabre service tools.

http://www.hawkertempest.se/sabreservicetools.htm


R-2800 vs Sabre?

Well - how many V1 cruise-missiles did R-2800 powered aircraft intercept?

The hi-po P-47M was ostensibly cobbled up to be a V1 catcher, but was both too late & too slow..

A few Sabre Tempest units stopped 800+ V1s from killing Londoners in `44..

Radials have their place, in bombtruck/transporters, but as fighter power, they are not a match
for thoroughbred in-lines.

Too thirsty/draggy & prone to wilt at extended high power settings.

Like Grand-Prix racers, fighter jocks want the most powerful, responsive, hard running engines
to power their machines to victory..

Hawker Fury article from 'Flight' (& note Sabre in-line power performance beat radial Centaurus performance).

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/Fury/Sea_Fury_Flight.pdf

« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 04:45:51 pm by J.A.W. »
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #64 on: March 09, 2014, 04:59:53 pm »
Sabre full tool kit laid out, - only 'bout a thousand items..

http://www.enginehistory.org/members/articles/NapierSabre/Tools/index.html
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Offline robunos

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #65 on: March 10, 2014, 04:27:05 pm »
Quote
Ford's not quite still born V-1650 in a cutaway reveils its auto motive origins. The side by side connecting rods for one. But Ford would of also used steel castings in place of forgings as Ford pretty much led the world in the technology at that time.

I think reliability would have been a strong point with this engine, good for bomber applications, but I wonder about it's development potential, for fighters...

Quote
I sometimes wonder if the RAF would of been better served if Napier had built license built R-2800s.

Which brings us (almost) neatly back to the start of this thread... ;D

cheers,
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Offline J.A.W.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #66 on: March 10, 2014, 05:43:54 pm »
& Robin, if going by the relevant available data, the answer to the case in point - is a resounding no..

The RAF had R-2800 powered aircraft on strength, but used few of them in hot combat roles in the ETO,
the most intense, technologically demanding theatre in the WW 2 air-war.

& when they did, like the infamous suicidal Ventura daylight raid on the Phillips works, it was V.C.-time.

The RAF had P-47s, which the RAF deemed as suitable for operations against the lesser forces of Nippon,
but assuredly not a match for their Sabre powered Hawkers in either A2G or A2A roles in the 2nd TAF,
or as ADGB defence assets..

Even the Soviets, who received ~200 P-47s under Lend-Lease, found the idea of using the turbo-
boosted, high-altitude developed Thunderbolt - for low-level tactical A2G/A2A ops as ludicrous..

I do wonder if they ever used them post-war in attempts to catch the snooping PRU 19 Spitfires
flying high & fast over the 'Iron Curtain'?

The RAF was certainly embarrassed that its own new-fangled Meteor jets could not run intercept
vectors successfully on those recce Spits either..
« Last Edit: March 10, 2014, 05:57:30 pm by J.A.W. »
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #67 on: March 10, 2014, 06:49:21 pm »
A brace of Hawker Furies, showing the contrast between Centaurus & Sabre installations..

http://www.aafo.com/hangartalk/showthread.php?2812-Hawker-Fury-Prototypes-3-amp-4& p=110375#post110375
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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #68 on: March 11, 2014, 02:48:55 am »
To put the challenge of Napier's problems into context this is a chart I have drawn up from a status report for Typhoon 17 dec 1943!
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Offline J.A.W.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #69 on: March 11, 2014, 04:13:14 am »
& yet the Typhoon squadrons had seen off the FW190 fighter-bombers earlier in `43,
- hunting them down relentlessly - like coursing hares - as they fled back to France while frantically pumping
high-test C3 juice into their superchargers as ADI - in a vain attempt to stop their air-cooled BMW radials
 from wilting at max boost..

Something the then available Spits ( or unavailable Tornados) could not do..

Indeed, the sorry debacle that was Sabre production is a blot on the copy-book of British mid-war schemes.

However, they did get good enough to run rat-catching of Me 262s in `45, once Rotol had been tuned up
enough to provide props capable of handling higher boost/powered Sabres..

& right up to the mid-50s there were enough functional Sabres still on hand to provide for TT Tempests to
lead  Meteors & Vampires a merry dance - in air-to-air gunnery training..

To bad the fools then scrapped the bloody lot..
« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 04:17:41 am by J.A.W. »
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Offline Basil

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #70 on: March 11, 2014, 05:39:41 am »
J.A.W.,
exhaust thrust stubs do no help in cylinder scavenging - in contrary, they add additional work to the piston to expel the spent gases through the nozzle. To get a scavenging effect you have to combine different exhaust headers (depending on the firing order) so that the vacuum left by the preceding pulse helps to expel the following pulse (as a nice example see the "bundle of snakes" headers of a Ford GT 40).
You are right, the rod construction of a radial with its master rod and slave rods is not too elegant with all its problems of uneven firing, vibration and other engineering challenges. It's a pity the different patents for true motion connecting rods (especially by Curtiss Wright in the 1940s) did not realize into hardware.
I do not agree that radials are not suited for very fast propeller aircraft - many of the fastest piston aircrafts had radials installed; also see Reno. Besides, the hot cooling air from radials was used to get additional thrust which works even better at high speed (as it was done with the radiator heat of liquid cooled engines). I know of a net thrust calculation of the stillborn BMW 802 - the thrust from hot cooling air did by far exceed the cooling drag of the engine and power consumption of the cooling fan (BMW was supplying total power packages to airframe manufacturers, not just the bare engines). Of course radials normally have a slightly higher fuel consumption because of cylinder head temperature regulation.

Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #71 on: March 11, 2014, 06:26:35 am »
XP-47J, XP-72, Tempest II, Fury/Sea Fury, all achieved impressive performances on radials. The Sabre was outstanding at low to medium altitude in Europe and certainly hung around for years after the war.

Offline Basil

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #72 on: March 11, 2014, 08:40:57 am »
Sorry, I placed my input in the wrong thread (was intended for "Increasing the Charge"). Admin, would you please remove it from here? Thank you.

Offline J.A.W.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #73 on: March 11, 2014, 01:52:08 pm »
XP-47J, XP-72, Tempest II, Fury/Sea Fury, all achieved impressive performances on radials. The Sabre was outstanding at low to medium altitude in Europe and certainly hung around for years after the war.

JFC F, That (seemingly mythical) '500mph' prototype Thunderbolt performance is oft repeated, but have you
(or anyone) ever seen any actual tests that verified it?

& I mean 'Boscombe Down' type by the USAAF Air Materiel Command, not possibly spurious manufacturers
'fudged' figure 'estimated' performance..

There is no doubt that by sheer mass the big radials could shift well designed fighter air-frames along
smartly ( viz F4U/F7F/F8F types also) if in short, heat rejection limited bursts , but that did not mean they were ideal for the task, when compared feature for feature with in-line rivals.

 For example, the late production P-47N became a virtual flying 'gas-tank'  - wet wing
'n' all - to feed its thirsty turbo R-2800, that it got so heavy as to require nearly a miles worth of
 take off run, & was at dire risk of becoming a rolling crematorium if lift off did not occur..

& when you look at the max continuous cruise listed in aircraft data sheets, the R-2800 powered fighters
make ~100mph less than what a Merlin Mustang or Sabre Tempest could comfortably accommodate.
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #75 on: March 12, 2014, 11:18:01 pm »
A Kiwi Tempest pilot on 'Rat-catching' anti-Me 262 duties, Ron Dennis ( together with his wingman),
ran the Tempest WFO for 50 miles in hot pursuit of such a German jet & shot it down, when the Jumo
turbines cried 'enough' 1st..

He was quoted re the Sabre Tempest,

"The engine loved tough handling & never objected to maximum revs or boost for extended periods."

When Rotol props finally appeared ( something Camm was reportedly pissed-off about) the Tempest was
cleared for +13lbs boost/3850rpm settings, something Ron Dennis liked, since he reckoned the
earlier De Havilland props were prone to blade shedding when run hard at the Sabre's higher powers..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #76 on: March 13, 2014, 11:20:49 pm »
Notwithstanding all the production dramas, service difficulties & associated costs,
Sabre power did enable the air-superiority Tempests of the 2nd TAF to bag every example of the
Nazi wunderwaffen turbine-powered & long-nosed/hi-po piston engined  LW types in service in `44-45.

RNZAF top scoring ace Evan Mackie really liked the Tempest, rating it over both Spitfire & Meteor types that
were available to him in the final months of the conflict, as 2nd TAF Wingco Flying..

He reckoned..

"The harder they were flown, the better they went...they could be thrown around the sky like a piece of paper."


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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #77 on: March 14, 2014, 12:47:28 am »
1944-45 was the period in which reliability of Sabre increased massively; the overhaul life was still low but at least you knew it was not going to fail you. It still consumed many man-hours to manufacture and spares demand was obviously higher but it had its place in the mix of things. Still was extremely useful as a ground attack vehicle although rockets projectiles were not that accurate they were psychologically effective..... but that is another thread...
Nan-hours because it needed nursing like a one-year old which is more or less what it was in development terms.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 02:21:18 am by tartle »
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #78 on: March 14, 2014, 02:19:04 am »
AFAIK, although cleared to use them, Tempests never did fire RPs in anger in WW2..

Typhoons however - did fire off more than 200,000.
- If any doubt the effectiveness of RPs, just look up the unfortunate 'Friendly Fire' incidents that featured them..
Viz, Johnny Baldwin's wing led decimation of RN minesweepers in the channel....or the 'Cap Arcona'..

& again,much like Grand-Prix racers, I doubt that fighter pilots cared much what TBOs amounted to..

Larry Bell worked out a deal with GM to over-boost the Allison mills in his P-39s even at a cost of 40hr TBOs,
- on behalf of the VVS - for the Russian Front..
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 02:33:19 am by J.A.W. »
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #79 on: March 14, 2014, 09:44:04 pm »
1944-45 was the period in which reliability of Sabre increased massively; the overhaul life was still low but at least you knew it was not going to fail you. It still consumed many nan-hours to manufacture and spares demand was obviously higher but it had its place in the mix of things. Still was extremely useful as a ground attack vehicle although rockets projectiles were not that accurate they were psychologically effective..... but that is another thread

'Nan-hours' T?
No wonder they had trouble getting Sabre production satisfactorily sorted,
if those 'nans'.. had more'n likely wanted to..
 ..hive off & feed the bloody cat, make the old mans tea, or some such powder-taking type activity..

Mind you,

R. Beamont wrote that he'd got a right bollocking - for being openly critical of Hawker workers ethics
when they went on strike, - just as Tempests were badly needed for anti-V1 defence duties..

Something neither Henry Ford or uncle Joe would've been too cool about, nor Todt/Speer like-wise..
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 02:44:32 am by J.A.W. »
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #80 on: March 20, 2014, 10:58:37 pm »
R-R did do well in WW2 with conservative V12 designs - intensively developed - by an excellent team.

By contrast, R-R did not do so well with their 24 cylinder engines, & gave up on amazing stuff like Crecy..


Here is a current DOHC conversion - built to overcome the propensity for R-R valve gear to 'dissolve'
under the brutally high stress rigours of racing.

http://www.cottamengineering.com.au/tractor_pulling.html
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #81 on: March 22, 2014, 09:23:45 pm »
This 'Flight' page has a data table pertaining to Hawker Sabre-Fury performance & a bit on Bristol & R-R SFC..

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1946/1946%20-%202181.html

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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #82 on: March 23, 2014, 01:45:22 am »
see also this page 279
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #83 on: March 23, 2014, 04:01:38 pm »
Published specifications for Napier Sabre, inc' Mk 7 with 3,500hp take-off rating ( on +20lbs boost).

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/Aircraft_Engines_of_the_World_Napier_Sabre.pdf
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #84 on: March 26, 2014, 08:17:11 pm »
& for those who think the Sabre was too complex..

Check out this example of mechanical monstrosity for comparative complexity.

http://www.weakforcepress.com/TornadoWP800.jpg
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Offline LowObservable

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #85 on: March 29, 2014, 06:25:10 am »
The BRM V-16 of fighter engines. Eek!

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #86 on: April 30, 2014, 04:10:04 pm »
Whilst at Kew I came across these Exe RE1SM performance curves.
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #87 on: April 30, 2014, 05:50:26 pm »
The Exe appears to be R-R's riposte to Halford's Napier Dagger?

Bigger in displacement - but still too small to make enough power for ever larger airframes..

& air-cooling large inlines seems a developmental dead-end, given the valuable increases in fuel performance
which allowed significant supercharging/boost/power development, all of which demanded more cooling..

Radials naturally allow more space for increasing cooling fin areas than closely grouped inline cylinder banks do.

Autocratic, authoritarian, sure, but IMO - Hives was correct in deciding to drop this one..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #88 on: May 01, 2014, 04:51:34 am »
Or a judgment that the FAA's glycophobia was not sufficient reason for a whole new engine program?

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #89 on: May 01, 2014, 05:24:42 am »
As far as I am aware the Exe was only ever specified for one programme (S.24/37- ultimately the Fairey Barracuda) although I seem to remember seeing somewhere that it may have been intended for Fairey FC.1 in place of the Taurus. Certainly it seems to have been in the output region that was most common for "commercial" airliners at the time.

Somewhere in Kew there is an RAE file looking at different cowling types for it.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #90 on: May 01, 2014, 03:27:13 pm »
Or a judgment that the FAA's glycophobia was not sufficient reason for a whole new engine program?



Or perhaps Hives was being pragmatic about R-R's apparent predilection for problematic X layouts?
& buoyed up by Merlin progress - decided that if a Merlin still wasn't enough then a Merlinised
R/Buzzard-Griffon would be..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #91 on: May 05, 2014, 06:46:35 pm »
One of the oddest things in relation to the subject question was, IMO..

How Bristol could be compelled 'kicking & screaming' under protest to share its hard won sleeve-tech with
Napier, yet neither Bristol, nor Napier got to share in, or utilize R-R's splendid - Hooker initiated- supercharger
advances..

In the US  -  P&W produced independent types of 2-stage supercharging for its R-2800..
..mechanical for USN, & turbo for USAAF,
& Tartle has shown us a proposed scheme for a turbo-Typhoon, - but it came to naught..

Bristol & Napier never got 2-stage superchargers into service..

Strange, really.
 

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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #92 on: May 07, 2014, 05:24:15 pm »
There is a difference between a war-time imperative to keep the Typhoon going and performance improvements on Bristol's engines. RR did not have something magic to hide from the others ... the Merlin superchargers were the result of hard work by a large number of departments at Derby. Maybe Bristol had starved its engine department of resources because of the money spent by Fedden on the sleeve-valve and so they did not have the engineering expertise in-house to 'sweat the details'. One Kew  file I saw today gave costs of resources at Napier to develop and produce the sleeves to the Bristol standard. Lots of machinery needed to be imported from the USA.
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #93 on: May 07, 2014, 06:25:10 pm »
Indeed, the infamous 'centerless grinders' - being purloined from P&W  for Napier - story..

However, it does seem odd that the significant advances in supercharger tech were not also applied,
given the wartime need..

Unless of course, a 2-stage Sabre Tempest would make the Griffon Spitfire completely redundant..
& the industrial politics must take precedence?
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #94 on: May 08, 2014, 01:35:15 am »
Remember that at one period no new sabre 'planes were being delivered to front line units as all the new engines and spares were being used to keep what the RAF had in the air...(even Earls Court Olympia Halls were set up for Sabre overhaul to keep aeroplanes in the air.... this did improve but given the weak management and lack of technical staff at Napier would any sane Air Staff member swap horses. The Griffon II was an new beginning based on BxS of the Griffon I but incorporating features that were intended to mitigate or eliminate issues that were coming to light in intensive service; these features were proved out then fed back into the Merlin development programme.... not a trivial task with Derby, Crewe, Glasgow, Manchester and the Packard factory in USA churning out the hardware. The beauty of the setup at RR is that there were craft-based facilities at Derby to try out one-off ideas and specials; Crewe was craft plus some standard jigs and fixtures with some flow on the lines. Glasgow did most things in-house and was semi automated (no infrastructure of the right sort of skillsets existed locally). Ford was automated to a high degree and change over to different marks often meant new machine tools. The Packard team were able to incorporate the two-piece head in production before the UK as they had not got tools installed for the previous design and so could start with the latest scheme from Derby modified to suit the US production practice. Quite a planning nightmare (see Devons)!
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Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #95 on: May 08, 2014, 05:50:51 am »
From Sir Alec Cairncross (worked at MAP for most of the War, ultimately becoming Director of Programmes) "Planning in Wartime: Aircraft Production in Britain, Germany and the USA":

Quote
The Sabre engine was a constant headache...The design was too intricate and the sleeve valves caused endless difficulties until Banks [Francis Rodwell, a noted engine expert and ultimately given such titles as 'director general of engine production', and 'director of engine research and development'] took things in hand and forced Napier's to switch to sleeves designed by Bristol. As [Wilfred Rhodes- Chief Executive of MAP from 1942 and had of RAF R&D and industrial policy prior to 1940] Freeman told C-in-C Fighter Command in July 1943, 'the Sabre was designed without any idea of how it was going to be put together'. The truth was that the engine had been inadequately developed because the research and development staff was starved by an unadventurous management and numbered under 500 at the beginning of 1943 when Bristol had a development staff of about 1500 and Rolls Royce twice as many. It cost five times as much to manufacture as the Merlin and two and a half times as much as the Hercules....It proved as difficult to maintain as to manufacture, needing frequent replacement when in use operationally.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #96 on: May 08, 2014, 12:01:19 pm »
Frank Halford who designed Napier's wartime machines was quite cavalier in his approach to production matters.. he would get the ***dynamics right and it was up to Brodie and people like him to figure out how on earth to translate the 'design' into a producible engine.... without the boss seeing anything change. Difficult to work in that sort of environment!
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #97 on: May 08, 2014, 12:10:08 pm »
The BRM V-16 of fighter engines. Eek!

Would that make the Sabre the BRM H-16 of fighter engines?

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #98 on: May 08, 2014, 02:23:38 pm »
Or as Len Setright & Bill Sweetman  put it - examples of slanted anti-Sabre opinions?

From  Sweetman's 'High Speed Flight'..

"By May 1942, with the Vulture long dead & buried, R-R was still trying to replace the Sabre with the Griffon, which did not match the Sabre's late `41 in service rating until 1945.
The Air Ministry's controller of R & D noted in that month:
 " I have the uneasy feeling that this ( the Sabre/Typhoon development program) is suffering through all the
propaganda regarding the Griffon Typhoon.""


Halford's Sabre design was proven sound, it was poor old Napier's ancient/tottering  production facilities that weren't up to it - & the needful English Electric take over was sorely belated, given the situation..

That Sabres were available - to provide the service they did, was indeed remarkable.

& while the Merlin was a winner with economies of scale, what cost all the R-R no-goes,
- the X-mills, Eagle/Sabre copy & ( sadly,IMO)-the Crecy?
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Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #99 on: May 08, 2014, 03:30:13 pm »
Yes, it's all a conspiracy, obviously- the whole of MAP and AM were in on it, there was probably even special symbols and societies.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #100 on: May 08, 2014, 03:49:42 pm »
Yes, it's all a conspiracy, obviously- the whole of MAP and AM were in on it, there was probably even special symbols and societies.


JFCF, that is quite a position to forward.. do you have evidence to support such claims?

I'd reckon it is more like 'business as usual' whether - 'cut throat' or 'the Firm comes 1st' - wartime or no..

Actually - given the profits to be made, likely - its even more so in wartime..
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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #101 on: May 08, 2014, 04:43:01 pm »
JFCF...very droll!
We have all we need to realise why the Sabre never reached its full potential; weak management, inadequate technical team, production started too early due to pressing military needs; complex design not worked through enough on test bed.
Far from being a copy the Eagle was a rethink of what was needed to a follow-on specification that begat the Sabre; one of the motivations for keeping Napier in the game after the Dagger was to keep up competitive pressure on Rolls. Even with the big dev team at Derby Hives knew he could not keep all the projects going. As it was pretty obvious that the big Hawker had two other engines as possibilities and the Manchester was never going to be a success even if engine worked... hence the Lancaster configuration. Rolls did have solutions running as discussed elsewhere in the forum; but Hives did not want the complexity of that engine and the Peregrine diluting resources. Incidentally Fred Morley, who worked on the Sabre told me that they were aware of the Sabre as he and others had been asked to contribute to getting it right in its early service days... this meant he knew what design principles he wanted to alter when the Sabre task came along. Superficially a Sabre-derived engine but in fact a thorough rethink as scrutinising sectioned drawings will show. The Crecy was a Ministry-sponsored project in case gas turbines took longer to get right than expected, and took a long while to develop as it only had a small dev team who were not pre-eminent in their field... I guess it helped train some engineers.  The Exe, was a Rowledge project after he returned from illness, met the RN spec'n. Again Hives took the brave decision not to develop it further. So in spite of having the biggest engineering team Rolls tried to keep focussed on the V-12 configuration, whilst keeping a watching brief on other possibilities. I think its good practice.
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #102 on: May 08, 2014, 05:45:37 pm »
Well T, "droll" is a way of putting it..

In the 'walks like a duck, quacks like a duck' - dep't..

.. for R-R to be unsuccessful with the Vulture in the Sabre competitor stakes..
 ..& with the Griffon in the Sabre substitute stakes..

.. the H-24 Eagle sure looks like a case of.. 'can't beat 'em - join 'em ' ..to most..

& as the written commentaries relate, a reiteration spoiled by typical R-R design conservatism shortcomings..

T, to your knowledge, is the Eagle H-24 - lack  of magneto drive redundancy - flaw story, true?
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #103 on: May 08, 2014, 06:18:09 pm »
R-R Eagle H-24 seems to have fallen into the same pit as the U.S. 'Hyper' H-24s..

Too heavy/bulky/lazy for effective flight utilization &  too late..
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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #104 on: May 09, 2014, 01:31:32 am »
Well T, "droll" is a way of putting it..


T, to your knowledge, is the Eagle H-24 - lack  of magneto drive redundancy - flaw story, true?

I am afraid so!
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Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #105 on: May 09, 2014, 03:36:19 am »
JFCF...very droll!
We have all we need to realise why the Sabre never reached its full potential; weak management, inadequate technical team, production started too early due to pressing military needs; complex design not worked through enough on test bed.
Far from being a copy the Eagle was a rethink of what was needed to a follow-on specification that begat the Sabre; one of the motivations for keeping Napier in the game after the Dagger was to keep up competitive pressure on Rolls.

Precisely, indeed I have seen more than one source state that a major factor behind the Sabre's survival was a desire to keep Napier in business as a design house.

There is a tendency amongst many to think that a combat engine is nothing but RPM and HP. It is of course nonsense, especially when aircraft and engines become near consumables as they did 1939-45, manufacturing cost, MTBF/MTBO are equally important factors and here the Sabre fell comparatively short which is why less than 10,000 of them were made compared to 150,000 Merlins.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #106 on: May 09, 2014, 03:44:54 am »
JFCF...very droll!
We have all we need to realise why the Sabre never reached its full potential; weak management, inadequate technical team, production started too early due to pressing military needs; complex design not worked through enough on test bed.
Far from being a copy the Eagle was a rethink of what was needed to a follow-on specification that begat the Sabre; one of the motivations for keeping Napier in the game after the Dagger was to keep up competitive pressure on Rolls.

Precisely, indeed I have seen more than one source state that a major factor behind the Sabre's survival was a desire to keep Napier in business as a design house.

There is a tendency amongst many to think that a combat engine is nothing but RPM and HP. It is of course nonsense, especially when aircraft and engines become near consumables as they did 1939-45, manufacturing cost, MTBF/MTBO are equally important factors and here the Sabre fell comparatively short which is why less than 10,000 of them were made compared to 150,000 Merlins.

JFCF, feel free to provide relative TBO times for fighter use Merlins & Sabres..
You could start with the Merlins which were rated at over 2,000hp,
- since AFAIK , no Sabres were rated at less than that..

& the RAF were still working their Sabre Tempests hard - right up to the mid `50s - do note..
Can't have been too dicey mechanically though eh, especially dragging a drogue at jet interception target speeds..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #107 on: May 09, 2014, 05:20:35 am »
Oh come of it, the Sabre maintenance issues are well documented by multiple sources.

Even right through 1942 the type had a TBO of just 25 hours and it took until 1944/45 for the production/maintenance situation to converge sufficiently to end the engine shortage.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 05:33:00 am by JFC Fuller »

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #108 on: May 09, 2014, 05:50:38 am »
Alec Harvey Bailey whose wartime job was in-service defect investigation and support for development of solutions quotes  Merlin lives in hours as:
                1939                1944/45
Fighters      240                 300/360
Bombers    300                 360/420
Transport                          480/500
%age of total engines to reach time expiry passing through repair orgs, 1942 onwards 35% ave
Ave life of engine passing thru' rep org from 42 onwards                                             60% approx of nominal life for type.
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Offline CJGibson

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #109 on: May 09, 2014, 05:58:36 am »
Mere curiosity, but how was 'time expiry' defined. Hours? Wear measurement? Measurement of power ouput on a dynamomenter?

Thanks

Chris

Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #110 on: May 09, 2014, 06:48:33 am »
Chris
Hours was a basic measure but as all components on a not new engine may have different lives the strip would reveal amounts of wear, burnishing, cracks etc. These would be compared with allowables in repair manual that Harvey Bailey's team would have tested at Derby and come up with a recommendation. New defects would be passed back for Defect Investigation action. Rolls had a team of people who worked with the commercial repairers to ensure they were up to scratch and to advise and teach where necessary. A very effective network which ensured, with all the other activities, the BoB pilots had a machine to fly in spite of German action! One reason the Germans got their numbers wrong for the rate of depletion of Britain's fighter force.
After all as Hives said this was a competition in which there was np point in coming second!
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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #111 on: May 09, 2014, 12:39:59 pm »
Back in 1938 the policy of keeping four engine firms (as laid down by Lt Col L F R Fell in 1919) was still extant and giving concern in 1938... See first attachment nelow. There is another document pointing out that Napier themselves put themselves in such a vulnerable position. 
Also attached is a forecast of RR and Napier production requirements into 1940 which in hindsight makes fascinating reading!
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Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #112 on: May 09, 2014, 01:20:30 pm »
Mr Handley Page was certainly proven correct...

I am curious to know what the Air Ministry was planning to do with Armstrong Siddeley, the Deerhound seems to have been going nowhere fast and they were clearly facing a cliff.

Offline J.A.W.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #113 on: May 09, 2014, 04:10:00 pm »
Oh come of it, the Sabre maintenance issues are well documented by multiple sources.

Even right through 1942 the type had a TBO of just 25 hours and it took until 1944/45 for the production/maintenance situation to converge sufficiently to end the engine shortage.


Ah 1942, that would be the initial year of service for the Sabre.. ..when both it & its airframe (Typhoon)
were rushed into service to counter another high powered/performing low TBO combination in the BMW/FW 190.

Got any figures for the TBO of Griffons used in Spitfires in `43/44?
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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #114 on: May 09, 2014, 04:48:02 pm »
The problem with Armstrong Siddeley was J D Siddeley himself... he was autocratic in style and only wanted to produce for profit so never put any money to speak of into aero engine development. The firm put money into cars but not aviation although they did acquire AVRO and High Duty Alloys and let them get on with it.
All the aero companies constructed 'Shadow Factories' during the 1930s and geared up for war. Armstrong Siddeley produced nearly 30,000 Cheetah (a development of the Lynx) aero engines for Avro Anson etc, thousands of tank gearboxes, thousands of torpedo engines and gyroscopes and the Whitley bomber. It also undertook development of the Deerhound engine and was a subcontractor working on Merlin engines, Lancaster cockpits and bomb doors.
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Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #115 on: May 09, 2014, 04:49:29 pm »
1941 was the first year of service for the Typhoon, No.56 squadron first received the type in September of that year but it was so unreliable (primarily the engine) that the squadron was not declared fully operational until 30th May 1942.

To be fair to the type it then remained in service and production, with only relatively minor modifications, for over three years after that (even though the engine continued to be maintenance heavy) quite a feat for a WW2 fighter and in many ways reminiscent of that fractionally earlier (by about eighteen months/two years) RAF attempt at a high performance four hispano single seater, the Whirlwind, which ultimately also managed three years of successful operations in a very similar role; it was expensive, maintenance heavy, and took a long time to get right but ultimately proved a very effective fighting machine. 
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 04:54:30 pm by JFC Fuller »

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #116 on: May 09, 2014, 04:53:21 pm »
Tartle,

Indeed, Armstrongs was a generic engineering firm that happened to have some aviation in it whereas the others were, by comparison, more focussed. The curious thing for me was what the Ministry thoughts were to the company in 1938/40, AS engines don't appear in any of the major programmes at that time.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #117 on: May 09, 2014, 05:36:17 pm »
JFCF,
There was the minor problem of the tails coming off. The whole Typhoon programme was nearly abandoned in October 1942 but Roland P Beamont had recently been appointed to lead 609 sqdn who had become the 2nd squadron to reequip with Typhoons.
Bee had been rested from front line duties by being assigned to Hawkers to act as a test pilot. This spell in Hawkers had given him a taste for test flying, particularly the powerful and punchy Typhoon. He was therefore delighted to be posted, in June 1942, from Hawkers to No 56, the first operational squadron to be re-equipped with Typhoons and after a month to No 609, the West Riding Auxiliary Air Force squadron. Arriving at 609 as a flight commander, Beamont began to lead the "Tiffies" on low-level day and night intruder and ground attack operations across the Channel. It was largely due to Beamont's inventive employment of the Typhoon as a fighter-bomber that he gained steadily increasing respect for himself and a type of aircraft then still regarded as decidedly dodgy. Bee was summoned to a meeting called by the C-in-C Leigh Mallory at the end of 1942. To his astonishment he found a lobby of Engineering Branch officers backed up by Spitfire men opposed to continued production of the Typhoon as a waste of resources on the grounds it was an inferior machine not suitable for fighter command... Bee spoke out against them arguing  that the Typhoon was 'undoubtedly superior to the Spitfire for all purposes at low level'. When it was found that none of the opposition had actually flown a Typhoon the aircraft was given a stay of execution... in the meantime it was up to Squadron Leader Beamont and his squadron to show what they could do with it. Bee had already developed the technique of night time locomotive-busting rhubarbs and continued to show HQ the potential for using the Typhoon at low altitude; eventualyl HQ realised that the role for thee aircraft was different to that of the Spit and both programmes survived. Reliability of the engine was an issue with 609 at one point having 35 pilots and six operational Typhoons.
I think I posted this chart before but here it is again.

 
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #118 on: May 09, 2014, 05:45:36 pm »
1941 was the first year of service for the Typhoon, No.56 squadron first received the type in September of that year but it was so unreliable (primarily the engine) that the squadron was not declared fully operational until 30th May 1942.

To be fair to the type it then remained in service and production, with only relatively minor modifications, for over three years after that (even though the engine continued to be maintenance heavy) quite a feat for a WW2 fighter and in many ways reminiscent of that fractionally earlier (by about eighteen months/two years) RAF attempt at a high performance four hispano single seater, the Whirlwind, which ultimately also managed three years of successful operations in a very similar role; it was expensive, maintenance heavy, and took a long time to get right but ultimately proved a very effective fighting machine.










Yes, 'to be fair', Typhoons had managed a year in service by late `42..

From D.N. James - 'Hawker, An Aircraft Album';

"...in the face of suggestions to withdraw it from service, the Typhoon used its excellent low level performance
in No 609 Sqdn to beat the tip-&-run raiding Focke-Wulf 190 fighter-bombers along the south coast of England
beginning in November 1941."

Those operations obviously required working their Sabres fairly hard, & what were the TBOs managed by
the 'clipped cropped & clapped' over-boosted Merlins in Spits - given the same task?





Only ~100 Whirlwinds were built & were disliked by the Spitfire 'mafia' - maybe even more than Typhoons..

They were kept out of the Battle of Britain - up north - well away from 11 Group, who 'didn't want passengers'
- or words to that effect..

Whirlwinds were out of their depth against the FW 190 too, viz - 'The Channel Dash' where a bunch got the chop..
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 06:06:42 pm by J.A.W. »
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #119 on: May 09, 2014, 08:20:04 pm »
Youthful Kiwi Group Captain Desmond Scott took over 486 (NZ) Sqdn in mid `43, & he related that..

"By this time the Typhoon had mended its ways... &... once it had settled down...for all its faults...
it was to become the greatest low attack aircraft of the 2nd World War. Tough, pugnacious, uncompromising
it might have been, but loaded with bombs or rockets it became the nightmare of the Wehrmacht's skies"

& he goes on to compare it with the P-47..

"The pot-bellied Thunderbolt was not unlike the Typhoon in some respects. Powerful, large & heavy,
it would made a suitable American wife for its British counterpart. (!)
 The Typhoon had the edge over it low down, but the Thunderbolt excelled in the higher altitudes."



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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #120 on: May 10, 2014, 01:25:00 am »
Do we agree that once the terrible unreliability of the Sabre was overcome and the Typhoons structural weakness was sorted the combination of aircraft and engine made for an excellent low level tactical support vehicle; the low tbo gave logistics problems and slowed the build up of operational numbers. Also in chase mode it became an essential tool to counter the V1 missile (silly me! I assumed as it was Bee that it was Typhoon... it was of course later when he formed the first operational wing of Tempests.). Lack of serious supercharger marks meant that higher altitude duties were carried out by other more suitable aircraft but that enabled the Typhoon squadrons to hone their specialist skills at lower altitudes, to the benefit of invading forces as the allies moved back into Europe. Unfortunately for piston engines their days were numbered as a new technology rapidly developed to take their place. The jet era was about to take off.
What the RR, Bristol and Napier development streams tell us is how technical and political skills and networks of interested parties play a major part in determining the direction and rate of travel; forcing the pace of operational introduction can have huge consequences diverting resources to support operations whilst the teams mitigate the effects of insufficient development.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2014, 09:19:30 am by tartle »
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #121 on: May 10, 2014, 02:27:06 am »
Yes T, & worse, since the exemplary piston powered Sabre/Tempest was followed by promising turbo jet mills,
(Frank Halford showed some ability there too..) - but sitting on so many up-engined Meteors - while deferring
the needed F-86/MiG 15 analogues - put Britain's fighter future too far on the back foot..

By the way - R. Beamont  also reckoned he had the measure of the Vampire - when he was test piloting a Tempest & tangled with G. De Havilland doing the same in his prototype jet..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #122 on: May 10, 2014, 03:22:23 am »
tartle,

Strengthening the rear fuselage, a new canopy, more powerful Sabre variants, a bit of armour, tropical filters, its an interesting collection but relatively minor compared to what was being done to other types. The lack of high altitude capability comes down to the basic weaknesses at Napier, only solved by the intervention of EE and the Ministry but for which the Air Ministry must surely take some of the blame. EE dropped the E.118/119 (with two-stage 3-speed supercharger) work.

JAW,

Whirlwind losses in the channel dash were mostly due to being outnumber 5-to-1 by 109s. The type sparred with 190s on a regular basis once they started appearing.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #123 on: May 10, 2014, 03:48:39 am »
Roland Beamont's obit. here. Doesn't mention things we are interested in though!
Transcript of an interview here.
Yes the takeover by EE meant that the small engineering team (that had not designed the Sabre; Halford's lot did that) were told to concentrate on development rather than more radical change such as three speed two stage blowers. Shame though! But the team under Chatterton did get Sabre to Va and start compound engines-Nomad I and II-(also Deltic and production of Sea Lion!).
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #124 on: May 10, 2014, 04:14:43 am »
From a 1952 Aeronautics article on the Folland Fo.108:

Quote
Napier was provided with the fifth aircraft P1778 for carrying out experiments in 1943 on the Sabre E118 with three-speed superchargers and intercoolers; a very close cowling was combined with ducted wing radiators.
 

On that basis this might be the E.118 mounted in Folland Fo.108 P1778:

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #125 on: May 10, 2014, 04:27:46 am »
tartle,

Strengthening the rear fuselage, a new canopy, more powerful Sabre variants, a bit of armour, tropical filters, its an interesting collection but relatively minor compared to what was being done to other types. The lack of high altitude capability comes down to the basic weaknesses at Napier, only solved by the intervention of EE and the Ministry but for which the Air Ministry must surely take some of the blame. EE dropped the E.118/119 (with two-stage 3-speed supercharger) work.

JAW,

Whirlwind losses in the channel dash were mostly due to being outnumber 5-to-1 by 109s. The type sparred with 190s on a regular basis once they started appearing.

JFCF,
- the late Typhoons also got the thinner Tempest tailplane which settled some of the compressibility 'burble'..

The poor old Whirlwind was a bit of an orphan, & with no future once R-R stopped supporting Peregrines.
Westland were in bad odour with the MAP/AM too - for shoddy practices.. .. & unlike the Typhoon, which could
unleash its brutish Sabre if raw speed were needed, the WW could not out-pace the FW 190..

It is pretty plain if you compare the Sabre E.118 illustration (as posted by T) with the Eagle 22, the 2-stage supercharger on an H-24 wasn't rocket science, but R-R clearly had the clout to keep those cards well in hand..

The ability of the Sabre to hack its max rating for take off - shows it wasn't a unit strength issue..
 
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #126 on: May 10, 2014, 04:36:54 am »
From a 1952 Aeronautics article on the Folland Fo.108:

Quote
Napier was provided with the fifth aircraft P1778 for carrying out experiments in 1943 on the Sabre E118 with three-speed superchargers and intercoolers; a very close cowling was combined with ducted wing radiators.
 

On that basis this might be the E.118 mounted in Folland Fo.108 P1778:


Thanks for posting that JFCF, it resembles a strangely distorted mutant Hurricane!

I recall reading that the poor old Fairey Battle - when Sabre test powered - got a bit too lively..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #127 on: May 10, 2014, 04:38:08 am »
And the Typhoon very nearly became a similar orphan....

Hence the similarity. Both aircraft were designed to very similar requirements and resulted in types with very similar capabilities being used in very similar roles. They were both expensive, both took a long time to develop and both used niche engines. Westlands were about as popular as Napier; the Whirlwind had a well managed engine manufacturer but a poor airframer behind it whilst the Typhoon had the reverse. RR tuned a pair of Peregrines to 12lb boost where they achieved 1,000hp at 3,000rpm.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #128 on: May 10, 2014, 04:50:42 am »
And the Typhoon very nearly became a similar orphan....

Hence the similarity. Both aircraft were designed to very similar requirements and resulted in types with very similar capabilities being used in very similar roles. They were both expensive, both took a long time to develop and both used niche engines. Westlands were about as popular as Napier; the Whirlwind had a well managed engine manufacturer but a poor airframer behind it whilst the Typhoon had the reverse. RR tuned a pair of Peregrines to 12lb boost where they achieved 1,000hp at 3,000rpm.

Sidney Camm & H-S had a wee bit more heft than Westland..
Building too many Hurricanes for too long is one thing, but dumping the flagship is another..

Typhoon carried 4 cannon too - with more than twice the ammo, & had more power on less boost - per cylinder..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #129 on: May 10, 2014, 05:11:31 am »
You have completely misread my post regarding contractor prowess.

Tyhpoon only had more cannon rounds because it was specified later with a continuous feed system, Westlands had a number of proposals to increase the ammunition capacity on Whirlwinds using continuous feed systems.

This is not a Whirlwind versus Typhoon discussion. The point is that two very similar specifications, barely two years part, produced aircraft with very similar characteristics that were used in very similar roles with the latter entering service almost exactly two years after the former.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #130 on: May 10, 2014, 06:01:41 am »
There are two files I accessed at Kew last Wednesday. I was only there for three hours and they were not the primary purpose of the visit; a quick 'riffle' determined they are worth looking at again on another visit. One was a correspondence file on the Sabre... the thing that struck me was the costings for everything a development and production manager would need; the inference being that Napier had not invested in facilities to develop anything for years.
The other file was on the Folland test beds... as I ahdn't done any prior reading I could not pick up the flavour but the stuff you are mentioning now will give me more context to understand how the letters and memos and minutes fit in the general scheme of things. May be in a couple of weeks....?!
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #131 on: May 10, 2014, 07:47:10 am »
I am scheming my own trip to Kew in the next few weeks, unfortunately I am currently constrained to weekends (Saturdays), and consequently I have not been for months and so my "to view" list is absurdly long. My next trip will be focussed on bombsight development.

With regard to engines, sometime in or just before 1935 the Air ministry seems to have decided that its next generation of engines needed 2,000 hp. It is from this that the Sabre, Vulture and Centaurus all seem to have derived from this basic requirement. Curiously, it also the figure used by Lancelot Lw Whyte in his famous turbine quote from the same year.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #132 on: May 10, 2014, 03:58:13 pm »
Ok here's my attempt at a thread topic summary..

WW2 showed that the single 2,000+hp engine powered fighter was superior to a twin with 1,000+hp,
for both A2A & A2G roles.

The Merlin Mustang showed it was possible to achieve a good combination of performance on the lower
size/power range of US designs & proved the P-38 to be uncompetitive, as well as far too costly.
(No one else really wanted it & even the USAAF quickly dropped it, post-war)

The British rightly recognised that their P-38 analogue, the Whirlwind, was not up to it either..

The Tornado/Typhoon was intended to replace the Hurricane/Spitfire, but the dual development situation
of unexpected difficulties with getting enough of the big 2000+hp mills built & the like success of the
progressive power increase of the Merlin & the airframe of the Spitfire ( albeit not as successful as the P-51,
- since the Griffon was needed to match Merlin Mustang performance, & its 'development' was dragged out to the diminishing marginal returns/Grandpa's axe level).
& as we have seen - there were various industrial/political indulgences/ramifications at play here too..

The US ploughed on with its workman-like behemoths powered by (exceptionally lively for a radial) R-2800s..

The Germans & Japanese were caught resting on their laurels piston-wise, & the Russians were stuck
with small fighters with limited armament due to low engine powers too, although they showed acceptance
of low TBOs as a trade off for running their engines very hard..

R-R were found wanting with their 2000+hp piston designs & (it appears) wangled a compromise advantage
by exclusive use of its sophisticated multi-stage mechanical supercharging - adoption of which was
(oddly, IMO) absent from its more highly -but slowly- developed British sleeve valve rivals from Bristol & Napier.

The Americans were happy to develop (or accept R-R) & use mechanical & turbo multi-stage supercharging,
although their sole  V 12 (Allison, a Merlin analogue) again missed out on a really competitive airframe/supercharger combination..

& by wars end, much to poor ol' Frank Whittle's chagrin,  R-R snaffled his gas turbine, while the US did like-wise
with Frank Halford's iteration of it - while holding the purse strings over bankrupt Blighty to justify it..

No real future for the British piston engines post war either, since - even though the sleeve valve mills had come good, the RAF were of course jet-bent & the US had the civil market flooded with its cheaply obtainable radials..

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #133 on: May 10, 2014, 04:57:22 pm »
Don't agree with the tone of it unless I am missing irony;
RR did not snaffle jet from Whittle but swapped a tank engine factory with Rover to obtain the Barnoldswick jet dev team and other facilities, with the approval of Whittle who had been helped by RR when Rover had difficulties.
The Griffon programme was delayed not by development problems but by priorities in winning the BoB and keeping Hurricane and Spitfire competitive as we have documented elsewhere on this site.
The genesis of the Mustang started nearly a decade later than the Spitfire and Hurricane and the start of real combat rather than exercises had allowed the British Mission to specify a role somewhat different to the spit and Hurri specs and also that of Tornado/Typhoon spec. so direct comparisons are not particularly useful ... studying the evolution of the three families of specs and responses shows how they fit together; it is hard to imagine but RR was concerned but not worried by other manufacturer's engine programmes; its job was to ensure enough Merlins were available from all sources and that performance was kept on par with the ME's engines. When the FW190 appeared extra effort was made to introduce more performance in the form of Spit IX and eventually when it seemed the right moment switching to Griffon enabled the performance enhancement to proceed apace; details elsewhere on the website. The lobbying to keep Spitfire came from Spitfire competent service people and as we have seen Beamont made cogent case for keeping faith with the big Hawker (as the Hurricane was really the last of the 'old fashioned' a/c it was natural that they should get the job of a big fighter); the two stage supercharger was not exclusive to RR; but liquid cooled engines have a better chance of a space efficient system... the intercooler air/liquid is smaller than air/air intercooler so it becomes a challenge (but not impossible) to fit it all in on air cooled systems; RR did an air cooled intercooler on a test installation at Hucknall before the outbreak of WW2 and realised for the range of aircraft underway at that time it was a non-starter.
RR and Pratt and Whitney worked together on Nene and Tay engines; GE and Whittle worked on I-16 series; just as Lombard did the B.26 there was a straightening of flow path and also the single sided impeller was adopted by Allison influenced by aircraft installation and supercharger experience.
Incidentally the Allison V-12 seemed to have every configuration of supercharger known to the world and a few more besides! But lack of focus by its sponsors prevented a decent outcome.
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #134 on: May 10, 2014, 05:33:45 pm »
T, my understanding is that Whittle was left disgruntled by the R-R take over & advocated nationalisation
of the British aero-industry to accord with the Labour party program then in vogue..

R-R were - as I have previously noted - good at wringing the best out of their conservative
 ( if not somewhat old-fashioned)  - V 12s, it was the innovative stuff & the 2,000+hp jobs that
they found difficult..

That R-R could wield their considerable other skills & powers to advantage - is beyond question..

The Mustang was certainly in the 2nd generation of fast monoplane piston powered fighters, but NAA
were able to both develop it - to use much more power ( then completely redesign it around the Merlin
- as the H model) & mass produce it for decisive use within the duration of the war..

That R-R pumped out masses of useful Merlins is a fact, but it is today - disputable - that many of
the aircraft they powered were in fact of realistic value to an efficacious war machine.

GM could have learned a few needful things from R-R for Allison ( & the reverse also applies),
- ironic that they ended up selling Allison to R-R..

& NAA were not happy with political pressure deeming that the Allison be used for their twin Mustang..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #135 on: May 11, 2014, 02:40:20 am »
Im not sure that RR found "the innovative stuff & the 2000+hp jobs" difficult- in fact I would say its safe to say they didn't. By all accounts the Vulture problems were virtually solved when it was cancelled and it apparently ran at 2,500hp on the bench. It was dropped because once it was decided the P.13/36 aircraft would have four smaller engines only the Tornado was left as an airframe for it. Thus, rather like the Peregrine, the single role engine died to allow resources to be focussed on the Merlin. Griffons in operational Spitfire units were achieving 2,000hp from January 1944 and that engine went on to power Shackletons until 1991, 30 years after the last Sabre ran.

The Sabre lived because it was Napier's only product- they had nothing else to focus on, and they still made a hash of it until EE took them over.

As for many Merlin powered aircraft not having realistic value? I would be curious to know where you think that applied, all those Mustangs, Spitfires, Seafires, Hurricanes, Mosquitoes and Lancasters were very useful. Total Sabre production may be as low as 6,000, it was certainly well below 10,000. By contrast 150,000 Merlins were produced and a further 57,400 Hercules. 

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #136 on: May 11, 2014, 03:08:25 am »
All sounds a tad too convenient really, Vulture problems solved & good to go - then cancelled?
Not very likely.. & how many X-type engines actually entered service - anywhere?
Avro had been ready to go with the Tornado, which was scheduled as the R-R powered Spitfire replacement.

The Sabre design was proven sound, but archaic, mouldering, Napier production facilities, not so much..

& as previously requested JFCF, do you have any TBO figures for the 2000+hp Griffon, with its ropy crank issues?

There were probably 5,000 or so Merlin powered Hurricanes & Spitfires that were needless production..
Obsolescent Whitleys, ineffectual early Mk Halifaxes, pointless P-40s,- all soaked up Merlins to no real good.

& if there was a 2-stage Hercules available, there could be more fitted to Lancasters, with higher op altitudes.

Of course, if Sabre production development had been organised properly, then a Super Mosquito &/or Hawker
equivalent may have been built in numbers & made the lumbering Lanc redundant, & spared the lives of many thousands of poor bloody bomber crews so cruelly lost over Europe..

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #137 on: May 11, 2014, 03:32:13 am »
Napier production: just over 5000 including prototypes.
 168,040 Merlin engines were produce... just over 55,000 by Packard
57,400 Hercules
The RR Eagle 22 was produced in small numbers; when a larger engine to follow on from the Griffon it was felt scaling up the Griffon would be not feasible technically; detonation would probably set in due to the increased flame front travel.
Because of the issues with X configuration engines of smaller power than what was now required- even though Vulture problems had been solved- it was decided that an H configuration similar to what had been once schemed for a Merlin derivative. but rotated 90 degrees. The decision to go for an H-24 was influenced by the Sabre but the Derby design team went in for some simplification. Whilst RR realised poppet valves on a high performance 3,500 hp engine using highly leaded fuels would not allow the development of long life so sleeve valves were chosen.... however RR considerably refined the sleeve drive to increase the potential for reliability compared to Sabre.
First run in March 1944 it first flew in the Wyvern in Dec '46. The only reason it went into the Wyvern was to enable flight testing to get under way in spite of the delayed development of the A-S Python; a short production run (Derby flexibility) was laid down for the prototype Wyverns. It was 22 March 1949 before a Python Wyvern flew, later even than the Cyde version which made it into the air on 18 January 1949.
RR had realised that the prop jet 'fighter' was a dead end and would never fill factories ... so the military emphasis was jets.
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #138 on: May 11, 2014, 03:45:49 am »
It is not a tad convenient but a brave decision to ask for in the midst of a war. Why continue with Vulture whose primary aeroplane was to be the Manchester when the RAF had realised two-engined heavy bombers was not a good idea; Hence the Lancaster. As to a tin engine mosquito type bomber... what numbers would be needed to deliver the tonnage of ordnance and in the vein of the what-if game we seem to be in...  'what-if they were confronted by ME 262s with trained pilots'?
I was very lucky to have started my career among the people who worked on these engines in WW2 and I do not recognise the 'tad convenience' view of the period as explained to me then. Without doubt there were political lobbying aspects to the decisions... Firms like Napier deserved better management but the military tried very hard to help them stay in the race over a period of twenty years from 1925 but they did not relate.
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #139 on: May 11, 2014, 03:51:56 am »
If you have Griffon TBO figures feel free to post them, one suspects that they beat the abysmal 25 hours the Sabre was achieving in late 1942.

Vulture cancellation was highly convenient, it allowed RR to focus on lower cost and in production engines- the Merlin and later the Griffon. In fact it was entirely sensible and logical as well as convenient. 

All those Spitfires, Hurricanes, Halifaxes, Whitleys and P-40s were far from useless. They were credible aircraft used effectively in front line roles until something better came along. Take the Halifax and Lancaster, the former was flying operational missions 12 months before the latter, the Whitley Mk.V (with Merlins) was flying operational missions a full 12 months before even the Halifax. There is considerable complexity of taking a type from prototypes, to mass production, to operational frontline use whilst ensuring continuity of supply and thus capability.   

Why a super Mosquito? The Merlin powered one was perfectly adequate, the decision to use four engined heavies was a product of pre-War policy decisions and the industrial infrastructure built up to support that. It is also not relevant to this thread.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 04:09:40 am by JFC Fuller »

Offline J.A.W.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #140 on: May 11, 2014, 03:53:57 am »
Sorry T, but even a cursory look at the 'simplifications' R-R did to their Eagle 22 (Sabre - Chinese copy) show the
poorly thought out/needless design flaws & attempted palliative band aiding - which effectively doomed it,
 turbine age or no.. see '...Power to fly' thread.
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #141 on: May 11, 2014, 04:07:50 am »
If you have Griffon TBO figures feel free to post them, one suspects that they beat the abysmal 25 hours the Sabre was achieving in late 1942.

Vulture cancellation was highly convenient, it allowed RR to focus on lower cost and in production engines- the Merlin and later the Griffon.

All those Spitfires, Hurricanes, Halifaxes, Whitleys and P-40s were far from useless. They were credible aircraft used effectively in front line roles until something better came along. Take the Halifax and Lancaster, the former was flying operational missions 12 months before the latter. There is considerable complexity of taking a type from prototypes, to mass production, to operational frontline use. 

Why a super Mosquito? The Merlin powered one was perfectly adequate, the decision to use four engined heavies was a product of pre-War policy decisions and the industrial infrastructure built up to support that. It is also not relevant to this thread.

JFCF, AFAIR, 2000+hp Griffon TBOs were nil in 1942, & the 'fixed' Vulture was not forthcoming - so the Sabre
had to fly, fully sorted or not..

There was certainly not need for thousands of Hurricanes or single stage Spitfires to be built in 1943/44..

By mid 1944 even Spit IX units were re-equipping with Tempests - for post invasion service..

Britain did very poorly for indigenous medium bombers, & while the Mosquito could be bulged to take a cookie,
if a sufficient supply of British 2000+hp engines had been built ( & not many Griffon Spits made service, either) along the lines of the P&W 2800 availability, then an efficient Lancaster substitute could have been viable..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #142 on: May 11, 2014, 04:16:00 am »
T, ~5,000 Sabres seems a bit low, since they flew about 3,300 Typhoons & 950 Tempests, & likely - given
the severe early & ongoing regular serviceability issues - more than a few spares would have been needed.

The RAF kept operating Sabre Tempests up 'til the mid `50s,
- so either more were built or TBOs must've improved quite markedly..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #143 on: May 11, 2014, 04:20:59 am »
5,000 is the official number from Napier... I guess they should know. Plenty of spares to keep them flying maybe?
I am not going to be drawn into a tit for tat conversation... let us agree to differ. Fred Morley who designed the Eagle 22 did not take a copycat attitude... and did not claim that the prototype was what would have gone into production... there was little development done on the 'beast'. It was at the stage of the Merlin A in the development cycle so will show prototypical characteristics and mistakes. It did have a supercharger using the latest Merlin aerodynamic understandings.
I have looked through major service problems with Griffon and a flaky crankshaft never gets a mention. there were camshaft issues and piston sticking and seizure issues that had to be sorted which meant that the 1945 life was 250 hours going up to 300 shortly after. Anyway 50 years later the last development of the Griffon was to re-engine the RAF BoB Memorial Flight with ex-Shackleton 58s. These were modified to fit in the Spitfire XIX to replace the 60 series (lack of spares) and entailed quite a few changes to fit inside the casing and mounting arrangement. There was also another mod for the Fairey Firefly at Yeovilton.
Incidentally there was a three speed supercharged Griffon.
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #144 on: May 11, 2014, 04:28:20 am »
Yes T, the 100 series Griffon used for the Mk XVI Spiteful prototype..

AFAIR, some of the early 2-stage Griffons which were over-boosted to +25lbs for V1 interception duties
ran into a spot of bottom end bother, with main bearings breaking up..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #145 on: May 11, 2014, 04:29:10 am »
Merlin Spitfires and Hurricanes were still very much in use in the latter years of the war, especially the Far East where Hurricanes were still being used very effectively right through to the end of the war- and their advantage was they were cheap. There is also an issue keeping equipped squadrons supplied with aircraft, wastage required continuous production even when no new squadrons were being converted.

Britain did poorly in medium bombers because it took a policy decision prior to the war that it didn't need any- so the Albemarle was all but sabotaged by the decision to make it out of wood and steel and nothing else was done to produce a new type until the war began. Producing a new type for service use after that was not viable, as both the Whirlwind and the Typhoon (and others, notably for this scenario the Buckingham) show the time from specification to frontline operational use for a new high performance type in this era was 4 years. It is not coincidence or conspiracy that the war was fought almost entirely by types either in/near production, or evolved from such types, by 1940.

RAF squadrons converted in every direction, some units went from Typhoons to Spitfires, some went from Spitfires to Tempests etc, etc. It is total production that is telling.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #146 on: May 11, 2014, 04:35:48 am »
5,000 Sabres would seem about right, for a long time there were Typhoon airframes waiting for engines such was the shortage. TBO does not mean new engine, it means overhaul. Those post War Tempests would have been very low hour airframe and engine units delivered in late 45 then not used very hard there after. There is also nothing special about the Tempest going on to the mid-50s; Beaufighters went on even longer as did Brigands and Spitfires.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #147 on: May 11, 2014, 04:44:16 am »
Operational service & loss rates also tell a story, Hurricanes weren't fit for duty in the ETO post D-day,
& while the RAF wanted all the Mustangs it could get,( even the Allison powered early models), they
could find no use for any other US fighters there either.

P-47s were sent to replace the Hurricanes for Burma though, & Spit VIIIs also belatedly showed up there to do good work, but there were also large numbers of Spitfire Vs on hand, that if found unsuitable for conversion to Mk IX spec - were basically dead wood..

Spit IXs were pressed into fighter-bomber duties, but although lacking the more warlike capabilities of the Typhoon, some kind of work had to be found for them.

Even Mk XIV Spits were used fairly sparingly, with a significant number held in store - prior to going east too..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #148 on: May 11, 2014, 04:46:15 am »
Should we start another thread on what fighters were good for what and get back to piston engine problems?
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #149 on: May 11, 2014, 04:50:01 am »
5,000 Sabres would seem about right, for a long time there were Typhoon airframes waiting for engines such was the shortage. TBO does not mean new engine, it means overhaul. Those post War Tempests would have been very low hour airframe and engine units delivered in late 45 then not used very hard there after. There is also nothing special about the Tempest going on to the mid-50s; Beaufighters went on even longer as did Brigands and Spitfires.


Well there must've been something a bit special about them, if they were so expensive to operate..

I don't suppose those sluggish Bristols or clapped out Spits could have been good enough to provide realistic
A2A gunnery training for the jets..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #150 on: May 11, 2014, 04:55:03 am »
Should we start another thread on what fighters were good for what and get back to piston engine problems?

T, form & function do inter-relate, engine problems could & did make or break fighters..

No tickee, no shirtee,
&
No Vulture, no Tornado..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #151 on: May 11, 2014, 06:17:20 am »
And ETO wasn't the only theatre, hence my mentioning of the use of Hurricanes in the Far East.

Typhoon was not a viable combat aircraft until May 1942 and only then in low altitude operations and still expensive to procure. A Tempest did not shoot down an enemy aircraft until June 8th 1944, by which time the Luftwaffe was an almost spent force. The Typhoon managed to miss (by a country mile) the big late 1940 air superiority campaign over England and the Tempest managed to miss the major part of the big air superiority campaign over Europe in early 1944.

It was Merlins in Spitfires, Mustangs, and R2800s in Thunderbolts that did the hard A2A work. 

I am at a loss as to why you think 1944/45 programme low hour airframe/engine Tempests flying in the mid-50s is "special", so were multitude of other types.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 06:35:59 am by JFC Fuller »

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #152 on: May 11, 2014, 07:12:10 am »
The point I am making is not about form and function but that we seem to be getting into generalisations that don't relate back to 'problems with British High Power piston engines... the problem of drift!
Twin Mustang test pilots must have been peeved when the Buy America people got Allison back into the Mustang... also the increasing licence fee for Merlins (cash strapped nation) gave an excuse too.
By the way the Whittle comment you made... He certainly was peeved at what was going on but was not upset at RR who he appreciated were trying to get his engines right. It was the loss of authority over Power Jets that really got to him.
The Mustang was created incredibly fast to a clear spec. with the dubious benefit of having a war to speed things up and the benefit of advances in supporting technologies such as understanding turbulence effects in wind tunnels etc. Whilst Meredith helped the spit team reduce drag; the extra work done in the previous 5 years enabled Edgar Schmued to ensure thrust was generated from the radiator; the mathematics of conics was used to profile the fuselage and wings leading to a much smoother profile plus the use of low drag wing profile (which did not work the way expected... compressibilty was not suppressed to avoid turulence). If the UK had understood turbulence in wind tunnels earlier the Typhoon may not have happened and the Tempest would have been designed in its place... that would have been interesting!
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #153 on: May 11, 2014, 03:01:03 pm »
And ETO wasn't the only theatre, hence my mentioning of the use of Hurricanes in the Far East.

Typhoon was not a viable combat aircraft until May 1942 and only then in low altitude operations and still expensive to procure. A Tempest did not shoot down an enemy aircraft until June 8th 1944, by which time the Luftwaffe was an almost spent force. The Typhoon managed to miss (by a country mile) the big late 1940 air superiority campaign over England and the Tempest managed to miss the major part of the big air superiority campaign over Europe in early 1944.

It was Merlins in Spitfires, Mustangs, and R2800s in Thunderbolts that did the hard A2A work. 

I am at a loss as to why you think 1944/45 programme low hour airframe/engine Tempests flying in the mid-50s is "special", so were multitude of other types.

The ETO was the most technological & intense combat zone however, which is why Hurricane/P-40/Spit V
were past their best by date by 1944 there..

Indeed it wasn't until well into 1942 (when Typhoons were operational) that Spitfires were even based
out of Blighty, & Hurricanes had shouldered that burden since `39..

In June `44 hundreds of futuristic Luftwaffe V1 cruise missiles began streaming towards London, & the
new Tempest was the best performing fighter to intercept them, & certainly - the R-2800 powered jobs
were not.. months later when that task had been done the Tempest was sent to the continent ( replacing
the Merlin Mustangs in 122 Wing) to spearhead the air-superiority duties of the 2nd TAF, since the
Luftwaffe were proving far from spent..

The power available from the Sabre enabled the Tempest to demonstrate the best performance
available to the RAF in these low level roles, & the high  airframe Vne allowed the initiative to be
maintained in A2A actions, since the LW fighters could not simply dive away to evade as they had
always been able to do with Spitfires..


& how many other 'British wartime high power piston engine' powered fighters were redesignated TT,
for extensive dedicated use  - for realistic A2A jet fighter gunnery training?
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #154 on: May 11, 2014, 03:14:14 pm »
Gentlemen, I must thank you for the vast amounts of information you've provided in this topic, and the passion with which you've argued your various positions. However. I have to agree with Tartle, that the thread is beginning to drift from it's intended course. So, as a way of bringing things back on course, let me, as the OP, summarise my understanding of things as explained so far.

The Vulture; suffered problems with lubrication, which were effectively solved when the programme was cancelled in favour of Merlin production, due in part to it's intended airframes being developed with alternative engines, Manchester/Lancaster, Halifax to-be going with four Merlins, Tornado/Typhoon with Sabre.

The Sabre; not cancelled as no other engine of comparable power available at the time, despite short TBO, and need to keep Napier in the engine business, diversion of Bristol effort to assist Napier no factor in slow development of Centaurus.

The above then leads me to a further question, just why was Centaurus development so protracted? Were the problems technical, industrial, political, or military?

And finally, regarding the pros/cons of the Sabre, on 12th October 1944, Roland Beamont suffered an engine failure in his Tempest, which led to him becoming a POW for the remainder of the war...

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #155 on: May 11, 2014, 03:57:14 pm »
Ah, Robin, - R. Beamont was captured due to crashlanding in German held territory during a combat op.
Without the technical report to confirm the root cause we cannot per se blame the Sabre for it..

As to why - if was 'fixed' - no further Vulture production was deemed useful is more contentious,
especially given the lack of successful X-type service aero-engines anywhere.

The Centaurus problem is another thing, for an engine that was apparently type-tested & good to go
- before the war - to end up virtually missing it, is strange.. ..it was a very big lump though, so what
to put in?  There were no real British Do 217/B-25/B-26 equivalents for it.

 & the British did have reasonable qualms about the suitability of radial engines for fighters..

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #156 on: May 11, 2014, 04:00:41 pm »
JAW,

You have started to identify the continuity of supply and production timing issues that kept so many types in production during a period of massive industrial and force structure enlargement.

The Tempest was an outstanding fighter, but it arrived as the Luftwaffe was a shadow of the force it once was. It was August 27th 1944 that Bomber Command started sending its heavies on daylight raids for the first time since 1941- with Spitfire escorts.

Regarding TT types, just off the top of my head, Beaufighter and Firefly with the former lasting until 1960.

robunos,

As far as I can make out the main thing that held up Centaurus development was the Hercules programme which saw the type continually improved for evolved versions of existing production types (notably Beaufighters and Halifaxes) in much the same way as the Merlin seems to have held up a lot of the Griffon development. It must be remembered that Napier, in 1939/40, was not in volume production of a type for an existing platform, it was the only company completely free of any other type and thus able to focus solely on the development of a big engine. Note that Sabre production was just 1/11th of Hercules production and 1/30th of Merlin production.

The Centaurus was also unlucky with its platforms, the Firebrand not getting anywhere near "right" until 1945, the Buckingham was an abject failure and the Short S.36 (Super Stirling) was abandoned. It did power a number of Warwicks though....perhaps not something to boast about. 
« Last Edit: May 11, 2014, 04:22:13 pm by JFC Fuller »

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #157 on: May 11, 2014, 04:14:28 pm »
JAW,
You are right that we cannot blame the Sabre for Bee's crash and capture but we can blame engine failure.... maybe he took a shell in the engine.... we are not likely to find out as he crashed into German territory.
His 609 sqdn write up is interesting though.
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #158 on: May 11, 2014, 04:20:24 pm »
Well JFCF, the order of battle figures for the Luftwaffe do contradict your mere 'shadow' assertion.

Certainly the mass of sorties made by Allied forces made this appear to be the case, but a look at the unfortunate outcomes of some of those adventurous Lancaster daylight ops shows the LW still had teeth..

It is a notable credit to British design engineering that the Sabre saw service at all,
- yet also an indictment on British political/industrial organisation that so relatively few did..

& seriously, I cant see Vampires getting a realistic run around training-wise from a Beaufighter or Firefly..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #159 on: May 11, 2014, 04:24:36 pm »
JAW,
You are right that we cannot blame the Sabre for Bee's crash and capture but we can blame engine failure.... maybe he took a shell in the engine.... we are not likely to find out as he crashed into German territory.
His 609 sqdn write up is interesting though.


Thanks T, that link does state 'shot down by flak' as the cause of RB's capture, & while the Sabre may have been
quite an engine, being literally bullet-proof was not one of Frank H's design briefs  -I'm sure..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #160 on: May 11, 2014, 04:27:09 pm »
No they don't. The Luftwaffe could still mount ops but it was in no way the force it had been twelve months earlier. And once again, this is very much the wrong thread for this.

It is a credit to the British that they focussed on an engine that was just 20% the cost of the Sabre and available as a viable combat propulsion unit in 1939, 1940, 1941 and 1942, when the Sabre wasn't, and continued to be developed beyond that.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #161 on: May 11, 2014, 04:37:24 pm »
In October 1942 a presentation to senior Staff Members of Whitehall had a trip to Derby and part of Hives's presentation to them reads:

"At the beginning of the war, we insisted that a contract we had for a new type of engine, on which we had spent four years of development, and which was fully approved, should be cancelled, in order to reduce the types in production.Last year we cancelled the production of the 2,000 hp Vulture engine, because we were certain we could make a better contribution to the R.A.F. both as regard quality and numbers, by developing the Merlin.The engine that is planned to replace the Merlin at a future date is the Griffon, which is virtually a 24% larger Merlin. It follows the same technique, so that all our manufacturing capacity is used to produce this engine."
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #162 on: May 11, 2014, 04:41:07 pm »
JFCF, I think your cost focus is misplaced, yes, the spending Britain put into its air power was probably excessive,
but ensuring a technological performance edge for fighter air combat is a primary requirement, at any cost, as demonstrated by the perseverance with the Sabre/Typhoon program & one directly related to this thread topic..

( & the LW were - embarrassingly - able to put nearly a thousand fighters over Allied airbases on 1-1-45..)
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #163 on: May 11, 2014, 05:00:25 pm »
Force development and sustainment, of which technological edge is just a part, are the priorities. And the Merlin was demonstrably the right engine for that. The Sabre survived because Napier had nothing else to do.

Bodenplatte, the operation that required almost every Luftwaffe combat unit on the Western Front, that failed in its primary objectives and the consequences of which the Luftwaffe never recovered from. Certainly not the pre-44 Luftwaffe and still the wrong place for this discussion.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #164 on: May 11, 2014, 05:18:16 pm »
Force development and sustainment, of which technological edge is just a part, are the priorities. And the Merlin was demonstrably the right engine for that. The Sabre survived because Napier had nothing else to do.

Bodenplatte, the operation that required almost every Luftwaffe combat unit on the Western Front, that failed in its primary objectives and the consequences of which the Luftwaffe never recovered from. Certainly not the pre-44 Luftwaffe and still the wrong place for this discussion.

If the Sabre had been a lame duck like the Vulture, Napier would have been given other tasks..

It was primarily - the inability of any other  'British wartime high power piston engine' to provide performance
equivalent to the Sabre, that ensured that an effort made was maintained, even over the objections of R-R..

( & I can recommend D.Caldwell's books as good info re LW ops)..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #165 on: May 12, 2014, 04:22:02 am »
I can recommend the RAF's own official histories as good for the decline in Luftwaffe capability.

There was nothing else for Napier to do, all it had was the Sabre so it was allowed to get on with it until it became apparent the situation was so bad that EE was brought in. RR and Bristols (and their various Shadows) in the meantime turned out a combined total of over 200,000 Merlins and Hercules, with ever higher hp outputs, compared to a paltry 5000 Sabres. The Vulture was cancelled so RR could focus on the immediately available, far lower cost, and already in widespread use on multiples types- Merlin.

2,000hp Griffon engined Spitfires were in service in January 1944.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 04:28:45 am by JFC Fuller »

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #166 on: May 12, 2014, 04:36:11 am »
The Merlin production looks like this:

    Number of Merlins manufactured= 168,040    Derby 32,377
   Crewe 26,065
    Glasgow 23,647
    Ford, Manchester 30,484
   Packard, Detroit and Continental, Muskegan 55,523

Each tooksenior engineering personnel off the main 'job'; Ellor for instance went to Packard;


the mentoring scheme Hives set up as he overhauled the personnel system in the mid thirties meant(jets) Geoff Wilde was ready and willing (many years later he mentored me!).
Fortunately RR had the numbers to cope somehow... though it shortened many a lifespan.
Bye for now

 
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #167 on: May 12, 2014, 06:30:36 am »
Once again, some interesting points raised here...

Regarding Bee Beamont's crash and capture, I was using the passage in his own book, 'Testing Years', where he states that 'the engine stopped'; from that turn of phrase, I took it to mean that the failure was mechanical, rather than combat damage. I haven't read the PDF linked to yet, as the computer I'm posting from refuses to open it... >:(
 
Quote
As far as I can make out the main thing that held up Centaurus development was the Hercules programme which saw the type continually improved...in much the same way as the Merlin seems to have held up a lot of the Griffon development.

Hmm, the classic twin-track development dilemma. "Do we keep developing the existing type, or switch over to the new type?" Or, put more accurately, "When do we discontinue development of the old type, and change over to the new?"
In my original post, I suggested that Hercules engined types could have been up-engined with the Centaurus, paralleling the way Merlin engined Spitfires were 'Griffonised', but this seems not to have happened. I'm therefore assuming that the Hercules was adequate for the tasks required. A Centaurus Beaufighter would have been something to see, though (mind you, the Brigand was effectively this).

Just in passing, as it's really the subject for another topic, just what was so wrong with the Firebrand? It couldn't have been just that the early versions were Sabre powered?
 
Quote
the Buckingham was an abject failure.

I was under the impression that there was nothing technically wrong with the Buckingham, but rather the existing available US types, B-25 and B-26, were adequate for the task, so there was no point in further developing the Buckingham. I believe I'm right in thinking that the Brigand was effectively a torpedo bomber version of the Buckingham, and that seemed be okay...
Quote
If the Sabre had been a lame duck like the Vulture, Napier would have been given other tasks..

Which was what I was alluding to in my original post, switching Napier to Centaurus production...
Quote
& the British did have reasonable qualms about the suitability of radial engines for fighters..

Could you expand on this?
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #168 on: May 12, 2014, 06:58:03 am »
This thread is getting too diverse and most of these areas have been adequately covered elsewhere in the forum so I will keep my remarks brief.

There was little dilemma between evolution and new design, it was actually quite a simple choice. The oft-quoted example is this (from Postan), the Spitfire Mk.I took 330,000 man hours to design and develop but the subsequent 15 marks averaged just 41,000. Even the radically different and troublesome Mark XXI took 165,000 and this was the most time consuming of the Spitfire evolutions. The same applied to tooling and jigging, for the Spitfire Mark I this took 800,000 man hours but an average of just 69,000 hours for the other marks. As I remarked earlier, from specification to operational service for a wholly new type in this period was 4 years, evolutions could be done much faster.

Switching Napier over to another engine type would had a range of difficult issues. Firstly, there was only one economical Sabre factory (capable at most of 2,000 units a year) as the Acton facility had a very low capacity. Swapping this factory to a new type would probably have taken almost 12 months. The 2000 a year capacity was also relatively small beer compared to what was being achieved for other types. Also, such a move would have effectively killed Napier as an independent aeroengine design company which was considered undesirable.

The Firebrand story is far too long for here, suffice to say there were many better solutions. The Buckingham was regarded as unsuitable for combat use, the Brigand used a different fuselage and was much more successful.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 08:52:00 am by JFC Fuller »

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #169 on: May 12, 2014, 01:45:47 pm »
JFCF, thanks for that, things are a lot clearer, now.
I've also done my homework on the airframe questions, and got that clear, too.
Should also have said, that the last two points were aimed at JAW...

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #170 on: May 12, 2014, 03:06:21 pm »
R, the Centaurus is rather larger, heavier, & more powerful than the Hercules,

Most if not all airframes that accepted the Hercules - would not accommodate a straight swap.
Perhaps the lack of viable Centaurus recipients was the reason for the low development/production priority.

Of the big 3 Brit piston engines, Centaurus, Griffon & Sabre, only a few were actually produced, & flown,
- perhaps fewer than 15,000 of all - in total.

Griffons may have striven, struggled & been pushed to get to 2,000hp, & eventually a bit more, & keep it
at altitude  - due to R-R multi-stage supercharging prowess..
..but were always going to be the runt of this trio power-wise..

& given that the Centaurus was capable of a 3,000hr TBO VS ~350hr for the Griffon it is remarkable
that the Shackleton got & kept operating the R-R V12 for all those decades..
..must've been a nice little earner for R-R..

As to the suitability of radial engines in fighters, there is a fair bit about it in the '...power to fly' thread..
..but in a nut shell, the general characteristics & control systems of most radials were best suited to
efficient steady state running under the hand of a dedicated fight engineer, the needs of which could put rather
a burden on the sole operator in fighter combat & on the engine like-wise - if being abruptly/roughly handled..

In multi-engine bombers/transports, it was often the pilots job to work the only the flying controls
while the flight-engineer handled all the myriad engine fettling matters ( but together, as a team).

& JFCF,
I reiterate, while the Liverpool facility was solely built for Sabre production, if the Sabre itself
had proven itself a dud, like the Turkey, ah sorry - I mean Vulture..
.. Napier would have been kept busy with other work.

(& the RAF histories certainly show the Sabre powered Hawkers with their significant warlike superiority over the Spitfire for 2nd TAF purposes - were in the van of intense effort against the ever active Luftwaffe - right up to wars end).

« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 03:12:15 pm by J.A.W. »
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #171 on: May 12, 2014, 03:29:31 pm »
As has been pointed out by multiple posters the Vulture was cancelled to allow RR to focus on the far more important Merlin- which it did with great success. Napier on the other hand kept the Sabre because it had nothing else to do and individuals within MAP wanted to keep the company in the engine design and development business.

The Typhoon made for an excellent 2TAF attack aircraft nicely making up for the chronic interwar under investment in such types, it did sterling work and rightfully deserves praise for it but the air superiority campaign, the bulk of which the Tempest missed, was won by Mustangs, Spitfires and P-47s.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #172 on: May 12, 2014, 03:45:30 pm »
The Sabre, as the most powerful & most effectively utilised in wartime..
.. of the 3 big British high horsepower engines, & uniquely as a viable 'hyper'-type mill..
 .. made a primary contribution to the RAF in ADGB & 2nd TAF post invasion.

( American strategic airpower via the P-51 - wrought the most significant attrition on the Luftwaffe, true).

Merlin contribution via Mustang & Mosquito was very effective..
.. but while doing ah , sterling duty in heavy bombers, the actual effective value of that role, in itself, is moot.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 03:49:45 pm by J.A.W. »
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #173 on: May 12, 2014, 03:53:11 pm »
The Sabre was the most used of three poorly used engines- thats a great medal you just awarded. But I agree, the Typhoon units in particular were a key component of 2TAF and its primary close strike weapon.

The value of the role is not relevant to the value of the engine- and I will not rise to the bait of engaging in a long discussion of the efficacy of Bomber Command in its heavy form. Suffice to say those Merlins that powered Lancasters could equally have powered Mustangs, Spitfires or Mosquitos.

The British obviously go over their supposed (and apparently brief given their pre-war inventory) aversion to radial fighters given the mass orders for Centaurus powered Tempest IIs.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 03:55:02 pm by JFC Fuller »

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #174 on: May 12, 2014, 04:01:59 pm »
The Sabre was the most used of three poorly used engines- thats a great medal you just awarded. But I agree, the Typhoon units in particular were a key component of 2TAF and its primary close strike weapon.

The value of the role is not relevant to the value of the engine- and I will not rise to the bait of engaging in a long discussion of the efficacy of Bomber Command in its heavy form. Suffice to say those Merlins that powered Lancasters could equally have powered Mustangs, Spitfires or Mosquitos.

All M/Mustangs & the most efficacious Mosquitos & Spitfires utilized the multi-stage Merlins, the Lancs didn't..

The Tempests were also the air-superiority spearhead of 2nd TAF, & while cleared to carry ordnance
for the fighter-bomber role, were very rarely tasked with that duty - unlike the Typhoon & most Spitfires..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #175 on: May 12, 2014, 04:13:42 pm »
Mosquitos consistently used essentially similar variants of the Merlin to the XX used in the Lancaster, see: http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1954/1954%20-%201297.html

As pointed out previously, Tempests turned up too late for the most important work, great plane when it finally did arrive but June 1944 was cutting it fine. Spitfires were busy escorting daylight heavy raids by then as well as having responsibility for most of the medium-high altitude work.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #176 on: May 12, 2014, 04:35:15 pm »
Mosquitos consistently used essentially similar variants of the Merlin to the XX used in the Lancaster, see: http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1954/1954%20-%201297.html

As pointed out previously, Tempests turned up too late for the most important work, great plane when it finally did arrive but June 1944 was cutting it fine. Spitfires were busy escorting daylight heavy raids by then as well as having responsibility for most of the medium-high altitude work.


Opinions as to which 'work' is considered most important vary..

Some might argue that ADGB anti-JABO & anti-V1 duties were quite important, as the Sabre proved its worth..

Short range Spitfire coverage of initial legs of heavy bomber missions with little chance of engaging the LW,
might be regarded as make-work, by comparison..

Not so much useful high-medium altitude work going in the 2nd TAF post-invasion either..

The really good performing Mosquito types of bomber, PRU & NF used the 2-stage Merlins,
for low altitude strike/intruder sorties these were not so needful, true..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #177 on: May 12, 2014, 04:43:56 pm »
One Griffon issue - which was a problematic error - was the reverse rotation to the Merlin..

An avoidable cause of many needless Spitfire take-off dramas ( & crashes).

Who was the fool who signed off on that feature - as acceptable? 


Centaurus Tempests were too late for WW2, & were intended for duty against the lesser forces of Nippon,
same as RAF employment of Thunderbolts, seems  the RAF never saw radial powered fighters as fit for A2A combat roles against the 109/190s, ( FAA did a bit though, & lost a Corsair - intact - to be evaluated by the LW).
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 04:50:18 pm by J.A.W. »
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #178 on: May 12, 2014, 08:06:45 pm »
Here is a case in point..
- Tim Wallis had quite a few hours up in his Merlin Mk XVI Spit,
But he acquired a Griffon powered Mk XIV too.
Then one day he jumped into the XIV & took off on 'auto-pilot' ( Merlin rotation conditioning) & crashed..
Too bad he/his crew didn't have the gumption to put a prominent notice re opposite rotation trim - in the cockpit.

« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 08:50:39 pm by J.A.W. »
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #179 on: May 13, 2014, 12:08:29 am »
& footage of Sabre & Centaurus in flight powering a couple of big Hawkers..



« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 12:12:51 am by J.A.W. »
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #180 on: May 13, 2014, 02:12:52 am »
Spitfires did plenty of good medium altitude work post-invasion being the main top cover for 2TAF Typhoon operations. Remember that the 3rd Tempest Squadron was only converting in June 1944 and the total number of Squadrons available during the war only hovered around nine and didn't get there until December 1944. By contrast nine Squadrons of Spitfires provided just the outbound escort of the first Bomber Command heavy daylight raid in Homberg on the 27th August, a further 7 covering the egress.

Breaking the Luftwaffe pre-invasion was clearly more important work.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #181 on: May 13, 2014, 02:49:50 am »
"Breaking the Luftwaffe" ( actually never achieved , except by final surrender) before the invasion was done by:

A, In the case of the LW bomber force, by A. Hitler's insistence on attacking London via the 'Baby Blitz'..
&,
B, In the case of the LW fighter force, by the long-range depredations inflicted by the USAAF Mustangs..

Spitfires based in Blighty had tried 'leaning into France' since 1941- & had suffered a net loss..

Since according to pilots reports, unladen 'escort' Spitfires had difficulty keeping up with ordnance laden
Typhoons - at their Sabre-powered high cruising speed, the value of such 'high cover' is moot..

Especially since Spitfires apparently had difficulty coordinating 'high cover' - even for lumbering Lancasters..
According to D. Caldwell, on 15 July `44, a unit of JG 26 caught Lancs unattended & 5 went down..

& P.Clostermann writes that Spitfires also had plenty of (risky) employment dive-bombing V1 'ski sites'..

There were bags of Spitfires available, but not many were hi-po Griffon powered Mk XIVs, either..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #182 on: May 13, 2014, 04:42:55 am »
Wrong thread.

Plenty of spits being available is the point, they were in production, and their airframe and engine could be evolved rapidly and were doing things that Sabre powered birds couldn't dream of. They were 2TAFs air superiority capability and the bulk of ADGB.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #183 on: May 13, 2014, 02:45:14 pm »
Wrong thread.

Plenty of spits being available is the point, they were in production, and their airframe and engine could be evolved rapidly and were doing things that Sabre powered birds couldn't dream of. They were 2TAFs air superiority capability and the bulk of ADGB.



Simply wrong, JFCF.

The Sabre was the high horsepower aero-engine that provided the spearhead for the RAF in both ADGB
& 2nd TAF for A2A & A2G..

Sure, Blighty was crawling with Merlin Spitfires, but they did not offer either the performance or utility
of the Sabre powered Hawkers.

Here is what Bob Spurdle, Kiwi Spitfire ace, & C.O. of 80 sqdn in August `44, reckoned,
- when they received Tempests - to replace their Spit IXs..

"Our Tempests arrived! Brand new; shining in the sun! They seemed huge after our dainty Spitfires.
But could they go! We found they cruised almost 100mph faster than the Spits, climbed like rockets &
dived at incredible speeds...we were delighted...flying the best fighter in the Allies stable...
With over 2,400hp, the Napier Sabre motors let us outperform anything else..."

After the initial Typhoon equipped units - 486 (NZ), 3, & 56 sqdn's - had traded up to Tempests,
- it was realised that with the value of Typhoons for 2nd TAF in the forthcoming invasion ( carrying 4 cannons rather than 2 & ~x2 the ordnance, & ranging further than the Spitfires),  subsequently Tempest sqdns
were per 80 sqdn, giving up their Spitfires, for the push to VE-day..

The wartime RAF never had enough Sabre engine powered planes,
or Mustangs, but by 1944, Spits were a virtual glut on the market..
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 02:50:50 pm by J.A.W. »
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #184 on: May 13, 2014, 02:55:08 pm »
Simply right.

Sabre powered Typhoons were the primary close strike component of 2TAF where they did excellent work. But all the key fighter work was done by Merlin engined types. The Tempest was barely even in service for a full year of the European war and never got over ten operation Squadrons during that time. It did good work where it was available but it was never available in sufficient numbers to be that significant. Nobody is saying it was't a great aircraft, it clearly was, but its overall contribution was relatively small.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 03:14:18 pm by JFC Fuller »

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #185 on: May 13, 2014, 03:19:38 pm »
Glad you agree, JFCF..

That there were so few Sabres available - is not the fault of the machine, JFCF, however the facts speak..

From 'Air Enthusiast/48' - ' 122 Wing A Study in Air Superiority'

"The British contribution to the tactical airpower used in the invasion was the 2nd TAF.
As part of this build up, it was planned to provide a Wing of what were seen as the most effective
fighter aircraft available to the British at that time, the Hawker Tempest V."

After the V1 assault had abated, allowing the valuable Tempests to be released to 2nd TAF late in Sept `44,
they replaced the Merlin Mustangs in 122 Wing..

"This was the start of an amazing six months of intense activity for the Tempest Wing, during which they
inflicted enormous damage on the German forces & suffered severe losses themselves.
The Luftwaffe's reaction to the landings in France had been limited, but as the Allied forces advanced to the borders of Germany they were forced to react strongly to defend their homeland.
The 2nd TAF now had 5 squadrons of the most advanced fighter aircraft available based close to the front line of the Allied forces."

& as P. Clostermann put it, the task of the Tempests was..

"1,  Neutralisation of the German fighters, especially the jets."

The RAF had taken on small numbers of the new gen turbo jets themselves, but they weren't up to doing this..
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 03:27:41 pm by J.A.W. »
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #186 on: May 13, 2014, 03:38:40 pm »
Yup, absolutely facts speak for themselves. Just five squadrons- not a significant factor.

And actually, the engine being five times more expensive than the Merlin and not viable as a propulsion plant until well into 1942 was key to there not being many of them.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #187 on: May 13, 2014, 03:55:05 pm »
Monetary costs didn't come into it, when air superiority was at stake.. not a significant factor..

Albeit R-R took business very seriously, indeed..

Further Spitfire squadrons re-equipped with Tempests as they became available,
Since as P. Clostermann  wrote,

"The Spitfires were powerless. There was only one Wing of  3 Spitfire XIV squadrons & the rest were were equipped with Spit IX or XVIs...in any case the all the Spit IX squadrons operated most of the time as fighter-bombers. ... the poor Spits had neither the speed nor the range to force the new German fighters to fight."

It is clear that one of the key thread issues..
 - problems with British high horsepower piston engines -
..was the relative lack of them..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #188 on: May 13, 2014, 06:50:53 pm »
Some cogent R. Beamont comments on Tempest 2nd TAF combat flying..

"In wide-ranging low-level strikes a maximum cruising speed of 365mph IAS coupled with superbly precise
controls facilitated target area penetration & with accurate gun aiming...
...superior all-round & attack vision...the Tempest began to set new standards for these ops...
...provided the pilot with the most favourable conditions for ground attack,
 & for air-to-air combat experienced until then...resulted in a high success rate/low loss ratio...
...had established themselves as the most formidable low & medium altitude British fighters & the most capable type of all against the flying bomb...
...& also the general ease of operation of this big, powerful fighter which had a relatively low accident rate...
...the Tempest was less critical to land in crosswinds or turbulence than the Spitfire..."

Seems it was too bad - that so few were available, being more than worth their weight/cost in Merlin Spits..
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 06:55:29 pm by J.A.W. »
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #189 on: May 14, 2014, 12:24:49 am »
Another Kiwi ace Warren Schrader reckoned..

"...the Spitfire was quite a delicate thing really...whereas...the Tempest was a brute force aeroplane - a great big
aeroplane with a great big engine...for its size it was exceptionally manoeuvrable...fast rate of roll...
...of course the Tempest with its better performance...was a great advantage...& ...our armament
- the 4 cannon...it was an excellent gun platform..."

Although Schrader appreciated & took to the warlike advantages of the big Hawker machine,
 - having requested transfer to them, the wee Spit remained his favourite..

"I preferred the Spitfire...it was a much more pleasant aircraft to fly."
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #190 on: May 14, 2014, 01:44:52 am »
Nothing there to suggest any particular contribution from the Tempest in terms of air superiority. Their number simply didn't allow it. Ah well, at least all those Merlin types and Thunderbolts had decimated the Luftwaffe before the Tempest even got to shoot something down.

And costs absolutely came into it.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #191 on: May 14, 2014, 01:58:06 am »
 the relative lack of them. Quite. The reasons were neither a Spitfire mafia, nor RR politico-business clout. M.M.Postan, (Br) Official History, War Production, P.167: "Peregrine, Vulture, Sabre, Hercules VI, Centaurus, Griffon are outstanding examples of (hopes) disappointed or deferred". MAP in US 11/42 were humiliated visiting the “British Wing” of P&W/Hartford, 1938 £-funded, now filled with R-2800 Double Wasp, and at Curtiss-Wright viewing R-3350 Duplex Cyclone. UK was slow in Big Power. But so we were in Big airframes. None of the Super schemes to follow 1936 4-motors saw Service. Why?
 
 Well...the boys (and girls) done good to do what they did. No bombs fell on Connecticut. No torpedos impeded materiel delivery.
 
 Do we need to prolong a spat, Merlin v.Sabre?
 

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #192 on: May 14, 2014, 02:32:18 am »
Nothing there to suggest any particular contribution from the Tempest in terms of air superiority. Their number simply didn't allow it. Ah well, at least all those Merlin types and Thunderbolts had decimated the Luftwaffe before the Tempest even got to shoot something down.

And costs absolutely came into it.

Thunderbolts, despite being optimised & turbo-boosted for high altitude performance proved to be ineffective
compared to the Mustang ( which was ~1/2 as pricey) in the prime escort/strategic fighter duty - so, all but 1 unit ( 56th FG kept 'em for political & developmental reasons) were dropped from the glamour 8th AF air-superiority role & relegated to 9th AF tactical duties, although heavy & not at their best performance-wise at low altitudes..
~ 1,500 were lost between D-day & VE-day on costly A2G ops..

Yes - the Merlin Mustang did perform an exceptional role in decimating the LW`44/5, but Spitfires did not,
& Lancasters were (sadly) dropping thousands of Merlins on to Germany along with bombs, sometimes
over 300 a night..

The LW, despite all the pressures of the crushing Allied strength, maintained ops right up to the surrender,
inflicting losses - quite creditable under the circumstances, & left thousands of intact aircraft to be 'neutralised'
by the RAF disarmament teams post war..

The Tempest units more than carried their weight & justified their cost..



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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #193 on: May 14, 2014, 02:56:51 am »
A relative comparison of air superiority effectiveness can be seen in two NZ fighter squadrons viz 485 & 486..

485 flew Spitfire ops from Blighty beginning in March ' 41, they were credited with 63 E/A destroyed.

486 flew Tempest ops from May `44, they were credited with ~240 V1s & 59 E/A destroyed.

485 were due to transition to Tempests in 1945, but unfortunately there were not enough to go around..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #194 on: May 14, 2014, 03:09:42 am »
ken,

Precisely, the War for Britain started in September 1939 when Mk.I Spitfires were being delivered with two blade propellers and the Hurricanes .303s froze at medium and high altitudes. It was more than two-years before Pearl Harbour. Hence my mentioning of the Whirlwind earlier, in 1940 the RAF needed mature types in volume and the Spitfire was the only aircraft that met the requirement. The die was really cast before the war even started, in April 1939, when CBAF got the 1,000 Spitfire order which would have been Whirlwind if Westlands could have made it work earlier. 

JAW,

The Luftwaffe was a shadow of its former self post invasion, its a credit to its ground crews and pilots that it kept up ops but Bodenplatte was a last spasm not an indication of strength. 2TAF alone had 13 Squadrons of Spitfires and six of Mustangs on D-Day whilst the Tempest never even made it over 10 Squadrons during hostilities. ADGB Spitfire squadrons undertook large scale escort missions in support of bomber operations.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #195 on: May 14, 2014, 03:25:07 am »
JFCF, I suggest you check the LW ops record, since in fact due to their poor performance against the 8th AF,
their fighter units in the west were redirected to attack the fighter-bombers of the Allied tactical air forces..

I could post an order of battle that shows that more LW fighters were available in 1945 than in 1940..
(& I must remark that simply repeating erroneous assumptions - in lieu of data - adds no value to a thread)..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #196 on: May 14, 2014, 06:20:58 am »
JAW,

A comparison of 1944/5 to 1943 would be far more useful. Also, simple availability of aircraft tells us little. How many sorties could they generate and how many hours did the average pilot have also need consideration not to mention the relative growth of the Allied Air Forces. Anyway, that is not even relevant to this thread.

Offline J.A.W.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #197 on: May 14, 2014, 02:52:34 pm »
True, - however what is relevant - is the curious circumstance regarding the Merlin.

The USAAF found the excellent performance balance of the 2-stage Merlin & Mustang airframe
so effective - that its own indigenous (& expensive, albeit - not that a purchase price appears a primary factor) high horsepower big piston fighters were outmatched.
The Mosquito similarly, was the other performance standout Merlin powered aircraft.

& while by 1943,
- the Merlin Spitfire had (apart from 150 grade fuel/boost increases, but that applied to all piston engines ) reached a performance zenith, so the relatively few available Typhoons & Tempests ( & Griffon Spitfires, although few, also) had to step up - to meet the belated improvements shown by both piston & the new jet aircraft fielded by the LW, in the last year of the war.


 
« Last Edit: May 14, 2014, 02:55:46 pm by J.A.W. »
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Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #198 on: May 14, 2014, 03:31:57 pm »
Not really, The Typhoons were turned into CAS assets and the Tempests only existed in small numbers (ten squadrons being the wartime peak). Meanwhile Griffon spitfire squadrons were also standing up and the Merlin powered Spitfires still provided the top cover for the 2TAF bombers and escort for Bomber command heavies.


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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #199 on: May 14, 2014, 03:51:47 pm »
As previously noted, the Tempest Wings ( along with Spit XIV units) were the 2nd TAFs primary A2A outfits.

The RAF Merlin Mustangs were the primary escort fighters, since they had the range/endurance.

The Merlin Spitfires, as  noted by P. Clostermann were largely pressed into the fighter bomber role,
though of course, retained their A2A capabilities should the opportunity arise.

However the LW was under orders not to seek air-combat with Allied fighters except where tactical
advantage (numbers, altitude, location, surprise) held, & even causing jettison of ordnance was
considered a worthwhile feat.

The high performance Tempest attributes - as listed in previous posts - allowed a better prospect of
a positive outcome in A2A action, although they often fought in circumstances that met the LW conditions
'rules of engagement'-wise.

The LW particularly rated the ordnance laden, poor low level performance tactical P-47 units as juicy targets.
The Sabre engine allowed the Hawker pilots a significant power/performance characteristics advantage by
comparison, which is why the RAF chose not to operate its Thunderbolts in the 2nd TAF..

On this site - http://www.SpitfirevsBf109.com -  D. Isby kindly provides some interesting wartime reports..

..including USAAF interrogations of captured LW fighter pilots who give their views of the matter..

« Last Edit: May 14, 2014, 04:00:38 pm by J.A.W. »
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Offline tartle

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #200 on: May 14, 2014, 04:00:13 pm »
Production numbers for Centaurus...1938 to 1959= 5330
for Hercules [for comparison] = 65247     
both numbers are totals from all factories
makes you think doesn't it?

Production of Griffons 42-1951 =8,108
The Griffon 57 in Shackleton had a life of 2,000hrs This had the same power as the 'R' engine of 1931 same b and s but 'R' only had a 1 hr life.
Something improved over the years... of course duties play a part so a fighter engine is more likely to be consuming life at high powers compared to a transport etc.
there was a wartime project to put a turbocharger on the Griffon but jets put paid to that!
« Last Edit: May 14, 2014, 04:06:00 pm by tartle »
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Offline J.A.W.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #201 on: May 14, 2014, 04:07:38 pm »
Indeed T, an hour of flat chat air race running - turning a fat fixed pitch prop - is going to be more taxing
than a careful flight-engineer fettled flight at economical patrol cruise - over the cruelly beckoning Atlantic..

( & what is with the recent adventuresome script size posting?)
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #202 on: May 14, 2014, 10:14:53 pm »
Production numbers for Centaurus...1938 to 1959= 5330
for Hercules [for comparison] = 65247     
both numbers are totals from all factories
makes you think doesn't it?

Production of Griffons 42-1951 =8,108
The Griffon 57 in Shackleton had a life of 2,000hrs This had the same power as the 'R' engine of 1931 same b and s but 'R' only had a 1 hr life.
Something improved over the years... of course duties play a part so a fighter engine is more likely to be consuming life at high powers compared to a transport etc.
there was a wartime project to put a turbocharger on the Griffon but jets put paid to that!



So in total, ~18,000 of the big 3 Brit mills built, vs ~125,000 P&W R-2800s & even 20,000+ BMW 801s..

Poor bloody Blighty, eh..

Still, some of them - that were built - did all right for themselves, & no disgrace on a 1-to-1 tech level..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #203 on: May 15, 2014, 01:53:23 am »
J.A.W,

No, the Tempest was not 2TAF's primary A2A asset, it was a part of 2TAFs A2A force but not a very big one. As has been pointed out to you several times the Tempest never equipped more than 10 squadrons during the war. The vast majority of 2TAFs fighter capability, not to mention ADGB was Spitfire based and that type was doing both top cover for the Tempest units and mass escort for bomber command daylight raids.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #204 on: May 15, 2014, 02:10:29 am »
J.A.W,

No, the Tempest was not 2TAF's primary A2A asset, it was a part of 2TAFs A2A force but not a very big one. As has been pointed out to you several times the Tempest never equipped more than 10 squadrons during the war. The vast majority of 2TAFs fighter capability, not to mention ADGB was Spitfire based and that type was doing both top cover for the Tempest units and mass escort for bomber command daylight raids.

JFCF, Dogmatic reiteration - sans evidence - offers nothing useful..

& your opinion, no matter how many times you repeat it - does not stand with the facts..
Do kindly provide something fresh to back your assertions..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #205 on: May 15, 2014, 02:27:03 am »
The evidence is the fact that there were only ever a total of ten wartime Tempest squadrons and that on multiple heavy bomber raids Spitfires were the escort. That is not opnion, it is fact, happened and is demonstrable (and has been demonstrated in this thread)- it is you not providing evidence.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #206 on: May 15, 2014, 02:54:52 am »
JFCF, do try to provide some actual backing for your adamantly perseverated position..

I have posted excepts from written sources including Air Enthusiast & noted pilot/authors.
When will anything of equivalence be forthcoming from yourself?

The fact of the performance of Tempest as the best Allied fighter in 2nd TAF has been shown..
..the Tempest was specifically assigned the role of 'rat catching' - the futuristic & dangerous Me 262.

 & it was not seconded to the role of fighter bomber,  unlike the Merlin Spitfire, which was clearly passé in the primary A2A role..

It is true that there were not as many available as the RAF wanted, but if they had 'em, even more Spitfire
units, such as 485 (NZ) Sqdn would have been re-equipped, since the Tempest was proving much more effective..

Continue to post purblind denial of these facts if you will, but it can only reflect poorly on your credibility..

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #207 on: May 15, 2014, 02:56:23 am »
To get back to the topic at hand; So it can be argued that the focus (especially in terms of resources concentrated) on the Merlin family was ultimately detrimental to British engine development including work in the higher power brackets, hampering in turn the British war effort, not to mention the post-war era? With regards to what happened to the Vulture, you could argue that the Merlin was needed, but canning the Vulture altogether meant that a number of badly needed types had to be cancelled/were delayed/did not meet requirements, again with a detrimental effect on the war effort, which arguably became all too evident with the Fall of France and it's aftermath.
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #208 on: May 15, 2014, 03:02:12 am »
You have provided a series of interesting personal perspectives. I have provided facts, I am not going to repeat them but suffice to say that actual operations and the number of available Tempest squadrons are facts and do prove you wrong. Unless of course you think that 16 Squadrons of Spitfires escorting the first Bomber Command daylight heavy bomber raid against Germany since 1941 on 27th August 1944 is irrelevant?

That you are now resorting to insults rather than simply admitting that a fighter type that equipped a peak of just ten squadrons during the war and was only available operationally for less than a year of it was a relatively minor player in the grand scheme of things.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #209 on: May 15, 2014, 03:04:05 am »
The Merlin proved its worth with the Mosquito & Mustang in effective prosecution of the air war into Europe,
but I agree, there were thousands of aircraft of dubious utility built to soak up the tens of thousands built.

The Vulture was a dead duck from 1st principles, design-wise, (convenient claims of a 'cure' or no)..
 & AFAIK, - no X-type aero engine ever amounted to anything..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #210 on: May 15, 2014, 03:10:25 am »
You have provided a series of interesting personal perspectives. I have provided facts, I am not going to repeat them but suffice to say that actual operations and the number of available Tempest squadrons are facts and do prove you wrong. Unless of course you think that 16 Squadrons of Spitfires escorting the first Bomber Command daylight heavy bomber raid against Germany since 1941 on 27th August 1944 is irrelevant?

That you are now resorting to insults rather than simply admitting that a fighter type that equipped a peak of just ten squadrons during the war and was only available operationally for less than a year of it was a relatively minor player in the grand scheme of things.


FYI - JFCF, since it appears you wish to take this debate into personality issues , rather than stay on topic,
 It will serve no purpose to respond any further - to your repetitive, non-data backed opinion-based posts..
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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #211 on: May 15, 2014, 03:14:11 am »
To get back to the topic at hand; So it can be argued that the focus (especially in terms of resources concentrated) on the Merlin family was ultimately detrimental to British engine development including work in the higher power brackets, hampering in turn the British war effort, not to mention the post-war era? With regards to what happened to the Vulture, you could argue that the Merlin was needed, but canning the Vulture altogether meant that a number of badly needed types had to be cancelled/were delayed/did not meet requirements, again with a detrimental effect on the war effort, which arguably became all too evident with the Fall of France and it's aftermath.

Complete and utter nonsense of the highest order that suggests you have not even bothered to read the thread.

The post war era was defined by jets- piston decisions not really relevant ultimately.

The only type affected by Vulture cancellation was the Tornado- the Manchester failed because it was too heavy for the HP that could come from a twin engine powerplant in this era.

Merlin development allowed over 14,500 Hurricanes, 20,000 spitfires, 15,000 Mustangs, over 7000 Mosquitos and 7,300 Lancasters to be built and used to equip the vast bulk of the RAF forces deployed against Germany from the outbreak of war to its close when it was still powering new types (such as the Lincoln and Hornet). By contrast the Sabre, having only been able to become operational over two and a half years after the start of the war, powered a measly 3,300 Typhoons (which were only useful at low altitude so were turned into attack aircraft) and barely 950 Tempests- the bulk of which saw little if any wartime service.

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #212 on: May 15, 2014, 03:18:29 am »
FYI - JFCF, since it appears you wish to take this debate into personality issues , rather than stay on topic,
 It will serve no purpose to respond any further - to your repetitive, non-data backed opinion-based posts..

Please explain how pointing out that the Tempest was only available in a maximum of ten squadrons and only available at all during the last 11 months of the war (yes, that is "data") is taking the discussion into "personality issues"...?

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Re: Problems with British wartime high power piston engines
« Reply #213 on: May 15, 2014, 03:20:47 am »
Thanks for destroying this topic, guys.
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