A different night-fighter force for Luftwaffe?

tomo pauk

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Formidable, yet historically it was bested? Or at least the LW night-fighter force seems to me incapable to wreck the RAF night bombing/intruder/NF force unless the RAF makes a big mistake, like it was the Battle of Berlin.
So what changes are in order for them to them to up the bar? Still under 'zero-sum game' rules, ie. for something to be made, something else will not materialize. New tactics and organization, for the spanking new hardware to shine? What money hole to get rid off? Best people the LW has to organize lead the force from the ground?
 

HoHun

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Hi Tomo,

Formidable, yet historically it was bested? Or at least the LW night-fighter force seems to me incapable to wreck the RAF night bombing/intruder/NF force unless the RAF makes a big mistake, like it was the Battle of Berlin.
So what changes are in order for them to them to up the bar? Still under 'zero-sum game' rules, ie. for something to be made, something else will not materialize. New tactics and organization, for the spanking new hardware to shine? What money hole to get rid off? Best people the LW has to organize lead the force from the ground?

Build the Bf 162 in a night-fighter version instead of the various Do 17, Me 110 and Ju 88 variants.

The Me 110 had (mostly) sufficient performance, but was limited by its small internal capacity, and also to a degree by its weight-lifting capacity, as night fighting required more and more technical equipment to be carried in the aircraft. The Do 17 didn't have the performance, and the Ju 88 was large enough and a good performer, but I'd imagine that the Bf 162 would be an even better performer. Not that I have ever seen any actual data on the latter! :-D

The one non-aircraft change that comes to my mind is better preparation for Window, as the Germans were aware of the technique. I'm a bit out of my area of specialization here and could easily be mis-remembering stuff I read years ago, but I believe some steps actually had been taken to allow re-configuration of some of their equipment to different frequencies - however, not in a systematic manner and with the kind of preparation needed to make this operationally useful in the case the British really started dropping "chaff" in earnest, as they historically did.

Regards,

Henning (HoHun)
 

Hood

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Was Kammhuber wrong to back the He 219 horse so stridently or was Milch wrong backing the Ta 154 horse so stridently? The result being chaos and two types crippled by delays and technical issues.

It feels like this is the time when the RLM should have looked at a clean sheet nightfighter to avoid all the myriad of Ju 88/Do 217/Me 110/Me 410 lash-ups to have something in service by late 1943 and mass produced.
 

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The one non-aircraft change that comes to my mind is better preparation for Window, as the Germans were aware of the technique. I'm a bit out of my area of specialization here and could easily be mis-remembering stuff I read years ago, but I believe some steps actually had been taken to allow re-configuration of some of their equipment to different frequencies - however, not in a systematic manner and with the kind of preparation needed to make this operationally useful in the case the British really started dropping "chaff" in earnest, as they historically did.

They will need the 'aggressor squadron' equivalent - a test department, if you will.

Basically, now we have this or that piece of equipment to slam those un-sporty RAF BC fellows. The 'test department' says: oh, really? just wait until we show how that can be avoided/bested/fooled/whatever in matter of weeks; if we can do it, the British will do it.
 

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It feels like this is the time when the RLM should have looked at a clean sheet nightfighter to avoid all the myriad of Ju 88/Do 217/Me 110/Me 410 lash-ups to have something in service by late 1943 and mass produced.

I'd also favor a bespoke design.
 

Pioneer

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I guess the principle question that needs to be asked is why did the Luftwaffe neglect nightfighters pre-war in the first place - this equates to not just specialised nightfighter designs, but tactics and C3 alike.

Wouldn't the manufacturing of the Bf 162 only equate to one more design type to be built by an already hard-pressed German aircraft industry and one additional type for the Luftwaffe to maintain? At least with the utilisation of the likes of the Me 110 and Do 17's it utilised existing aircraft that weren't as viable in daylight/frontline service aanymore
Id also have to question whether the Bf 162 would have stood the test of time as a nightfighter specialised or not, as British modern heavy bomber's became more capable.

Regards
Pioneer
 

tomo pauk

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I guess the principle question that needs to be asked is why did the Luftwaffe neglect nightfighters pre-war in the first place - this equates to not just specialised nightfighter designs, but tactics and C3 alike.

Night-fighing was expected to be done by all avaialble fighter types in 'major' airforces of the world (how and if these air forces and fighter types were actually capable to pull that off is another question). Eg. RAF bought Spitfire and Hurricane as both day and night fighters (not that they were used in that capability, but still).
The task included wide usage of serarchlights, and together with radars available the 1st LW night kills were made well before LW have had radar-equipped night fighters; they lagged in that regard aft the RAF by about a year, talk winter of 1941-42 vs. winter of 1940/41 for the RAF.
Ground-based radars were in use in Germany by the time ww2 started, used as a part of the Luftwaffe's C3 network.
 

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Hi Hood,

Was Kammhuber wrong to back the He 219 horse so stridently or was Milch wrong backing the Ta 154 horse so stridently? The result being chaos and two types crippled by delays and technical issues.

I think Milch was opposing to the He 219 based on his perception that it was an overly expensive aircraft, though he might have accepted it has an effective one. Supporting the Ta 154 would have been consistent with that, but I'll admit that I haven't read much about that type, except that it started out as a bomber project originally. So it was a bit of a pet project for Milch, possibly?

My impression had been that he favoured the Ju 88 line as a night fighter, partially because he thought it was practically as effective as the He 219 but more economic to produce. There's a bit of reading between the lines involved though, I am by no means a night fighter expert.

Regards,

Henning (HoHun)
 

BB1984

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Ref airframes:
  • As discussed in the hypothetical Luftwaffe thread, there is no technical reason that a Ju-88G type night fighter could have been in service much earlier, esp with the BMW-801. This could have kept the Me-110 out of night fighting all together, or at least confined to an interim role.

  • The story I've seen ref the Ta-154 is that it had a lot of promise but was dependent on a special glue that was only made in one factory, which was then bombed, so maybe have more than one factory that could make that resin.

  • I'm not sure I see any big advantage to a "clean sheet" night fighter design. A head to head comparison of the He-219 with the Northrop P-61 is interesting: I don't see that the P-61, a purpose built night fighter, shows any material advantage over the bomber descended He-219.
Ref electronics
  • More emphasis earlier on airborne electronics, esp ECM / ECCM. Tomo Pauk has already mentioned that the Germans were behind in getting radar airborne and of course they were way behind on centimetric. Tomo Pauk's aggressor squadron idea would have helped a lot with this as well, though admittedly that's a very modern concept.
 

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Hi,

  • The story I've seen ref the Ta-154 is that it had a lot of promise but was dependent on a special glue that was only made in one factory, which was then bombed, so maybe have more than one factory that could make that resin.

  • I'm not sure I see any big advantage to a "clean sheet" night fighter design. A head to head comparison of the He-219 with the Northrop P-61 is interesting: I don't see that the P-61, a purpose built night fighter, shows any material advantage over the bomber descended He-219.

I believe I've read that the bombing caused a delay, but an adequate substitute could be found. A bigger problem seems to have been the small cockpit of the Ta 154, which made installation of electronics difficult and addition of a third crew member a challenge, as by the time it entered service, the Luftwaffe was considering a rear gunner as defence against the Mosquito night fighters a necessity. (A three-man cockpit was considered for the He 219 as well.) Another delay was due to the re-design of the nose section to use conventional metal construction instead of wood, since crew survivability in the case of a crash was expected to be poor in an all-wood aircraft.

With regard to the He 219 vs. P-61 design origin, I don't think there was any difference in the focus of the designers on both sides of the Atlantic in putting night-fighting suitability over everything else. The potential Zerstörer role of the He 219 certainly had to be stressed in a war economy were purpose-built types were considered a poor use of resources, while the P-61 was ordered as a pure night-fighter by the USAAF - only to spin off a reconnaissance version shortly thereafter, while the "multi-role" He 219 served in a single role only. Neither design team seems to have made any concessions to secondary roles, anyway.

Regards,

Henning (HoHun)
 

Hood

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Night-fighing was expected to be done by all avaialble fighter types in 'major' airforces of the world (how and if these air forces and fighter types were actually capable to pull that off is another question).
Very true, I can only think of the P-61 that was purpose-built and that was sub-optimal in many ways - probably because of the lure of the turret fighter, something that German nightfighters avoided. Although German aeronautical engineers loved their remote-controlled turrets, Schräge Musik was simple and worked and remained the go-to method for dorsal guns even in the 1945 jet-powered nachtjager designs.
Again Kammhuber seems to be an enthusiastic supporter of early Schräge Musik trials.

Success or not for the combatants depended on the base design, so the P-70/Havoc for example proved less successful but Beaufighters and Mosquitos excelled. Even Hellcats proved good night-fighters!

I think Milch was opposing to the He 219 based on his perception that it was an overly expensive aircraft, though he might have accepted it has an effective one. Supporting the Ta 154 would have been consistent with that, but I'll admit that I haven't read much about that type, except that it started out as a bomber project originally. So it was a bit of a pet project for Milch, possibly?
I think he was hoping too much that the Ta 154 would replicate the Mosquito's success for the Luftwaffe too...

A bigger problem seems to have been the small cockpit of the Ta 154, which made installation of electronics difficult and addition of a third crew member a challenge
...which led to the problem of it being too small, how the pilot could be expected to scan the sky with two stonking great Jumo 213s either side of him is a mystery.

stressed in a war economy were purpose-built types were considered a poor use of resources
Maybe but Germany's war economy had dozens of cases of goldplating, churning out Tigers and Panthers was hardly cost-effective for example. I guess it really depends if the Ju-88/388 lineage was considered adequate enough to meet the need, and it can't be disputed that the numerous Luftwaffe conversions did the job in some measure and RAF losses could be severe to nightfighters.


As to tactics, it feels like by 1944 there should have been greater efforts at interdiction over bomber airfields. Scrap the mini-Blitz that is a waste of time, the Germans can't miss flying over bomber fields in East Anglia and Lincolnshire/Yorkshire. Get loitering in greater numbers, pins the Allied intruders back too.
 

_Del_

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The mistake that stands out in my mind would be the cancellation of the intruder missions over England and the North Sea. Not just chasing down bombers, but finding them as they formed up (pre-bomber stream) or landed, and even dropping bombs and strafing Bomber Command fields.
Should have kept at it early, imo. The value not just being in the damage done, but in the psychological effect and the disruption to the operations.
 

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Re. Ta-154: it would've probably give less problems if it was made from 'normal' materials, ie. light alloys, no wood? A bit more attention to the design or/and construction of undercarriage is also needed, seems like 6 of 12 examples lost were lost due to U/C (diagram). Three were lost due to engine problems, per same source.

Re. He 219: use the BMW 801s for starters? DB 603A was plagued with reliability problems in 1943 and early 1944. Smaller size than Ju 88 should've give better performance.

How about 1-engined 2-seat night fighters?
 

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Hi Hood,

I think he was hoping too much that the Ta 154 would replicate the Mosquito's success for the Luftwaffe too...

A bigger problem seems to have been the small cockpit of the Ta 154, which made installation of electronics difficult and addition of a third crew member a challenge
...which led to the problem of it being too small, how the pilot could be expected to scan the sky with two stonking great Jumo 213s either side of him is a mystery.

stressed in a war economy were purpose-built types were considered a poor use of resources
Maybe but Germany's war economy had dozens of cases of goldplating, churning out Tigers and Panthers was hardly cost-effective for example. I guess it really depends if the Ju-88/388 lineage was considered adequate enough to meet the need, and it can't be disputed that the numerous Luftwaffe conversions did the job in some measure and RAF losses could be severe to nightfighters.

Well, the Ta 154 was originally conceived as a high-speed bomber, not a night fighter, so the poor visibility probably wasn't seen as a problem. There was also the Ta 154A-4, Ta 154C and Ta 254 line of development with a revised nose in which the pilot sat higher (and the main armament was mounted below the cockpit floor). However, even in that configuration, visibility was a still limited, especially compared to the He 219's very wide field of view.

I wouldn't necessarily say Milch was wrong in considering the He 219 overly expensive in its role, but on the other hand, it was available, and it was effective. Was the Ju 88 lineage as effective, and how long would it have stayed so? That's probably a question that could only be answered by having a long and hard look at operational statistics.

Heinkel argued in mid 1944 that the He 219, when fitted with the same engines, was 30 km/h faster than the Ju 388. It was also already in production, while the Ju 388 was still being introduced to the production lines, and He 219 production could be ramped up quicker than Ju 388 production according to Heinkel. Against the Ta 254, which by that point apparently had replaced the Ta 154 in Luftwaffe planning, Heinkel argued that the Focke-Wulf type's introduction time was uncertain, and that the He 219 could be switched over to wooden wing with a low-risk development his design office had already considered, and which would reduce the aluminium requirements for the He 219 from 3900 to 1400 kg. His presentation includes a weight breakdown, and a bit to my surprise, about one third of the fuselage structural weight consisted of steel. For the wings, it was only 20% steel, and 80% aluminium, roughly. (I'm relying on the reproduction of Heinkel's presentation in Luftfahrt International 16 for all of this.)

So, maybe Milch's reservations against the He 219 were misguided, even if the type might have been more expensive than the potential competitors. However, in the end it wasn't up to Milch to make a decision anymore, as he had been removed from his post, and other people were calling the shots.

Regards,

Henning (HoHun)
 

tomo pauk

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The story I've seen ref the Ta-154 is that it had a lot of promise but was dependent on a special glue that was only made in one factory, which was then bombed, so maybe have more than one factory that could make that resin.

Curiously enough, wood was without problems on the Me 163, that used a lot of it in the wing and tail.
 

red admiral

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One issue is that RV Jones is still figuring out exactly how the whole night fighting system works and how to attack its vulnerabilities.

Faster nightfighter? Try harder attacking the Wurzburg sites or voice comms links to eliminate the GCI they're still dependent on for moonless nights.
 

T. A. Gardner

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It isn't the airframe that needs updating, but the electronics and tactics the Germans were using. For example, the Germans might have learned from the Japanese as early as mid 1940 that microwave (3 to 10 cm) radar was possible as the Japanese were already working towards a usable model based on their version of the cavity magnetron. That would make German nightfighter radar far more potent than it was.
Another might be the Germans discover that liquid nitrogen cooled IR seekers are far more efficient and they use that technology to supplement their radar systems.
An early switch to nightfighters making a running fight out of the bomber stream would help too. That is, the Germans try to inject nightfighters into the stream as early as possible while it is still forming and crossing the Channel or North Sea and they keep this going all the way to the target and then back to England if possible. That way the nightfighters have the longest engagement time possible meaning more potential intercepts and shootdowns.
The problem with the early German systems were, they were designed for maximum control and an efficient engagement of one bomber at a time (the Kammhuber line). The British quickly realized the weakness of this and streamed bombers into the line overwhelming the few nightfighters in their control boxes with multiple planes passing at once meaning that most were never engaged at all.
Streaming the nightfighters into position to follow the bomber stream to target then back to England would have given them more time to engage more bombers with the ground controllers giving a running commentary on the position of the stream in general.
All of this would have forced the British into providing far more escorting nightfighters to counter, as best they could, the German ones. That in turn would detract from replacing losses and building up the bomber force.
 

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Lot of good points ref Ta-154 development history in this thread!

Ref the Ta-154 vs. He-219 vs. Ju-88, here's my revised thoughts
  • Ju-88 was the "bird in the hand", it worked and acceleration of the development of a Ju-88G type night fighter was technically simple and straightforward, so it could have been both in service and effective much earlier than was the case, probably 2 years ahead of the He-219.

  • Ta-154: part of the attraction was that it could be built largely outside the conventional aero-industry and using a lot (50%+) of wood instead of strategic materials. You can see the desire to persist, at first because of the increased overall aircraft production that would result, and later because of the enormous investment into that new production system. Then it was a race between overcoming multiple development problems (including glue problems) and the end of the Luftwaffe's patience, a race the Ta-154 lost.

  • He-219: with 2020 hindsight it's easy to see that Heinkel was right and that the He-219 was the correct alternative to the Ta-154 (too troubled), Do-335 (too late), and Ju-388 (not enough advantage over He-219, which going back to its roots, could also be developed into a bomber version).
    • It's worth noting that, unlike a Ju-88G type which we can easily see accelerated into production in 1941 (with the BMW-801), the He-219 wasn't really started until after the Luftwaffe rejected Heinkel's extremely advanced P.1055/P.1056 projects in 1941. Heinkel didn't start on the radically different P.1060 (which turned into the He-219) until after those rejections, starting work on the prototype He-219 in February 1942.
 

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Hi Tomo,

Formidable, yet historically it was bested? Or at least the LW night-fighter force seems to me incapable to wreck the RAF night bombing/intruder/NF force unless the RAF makes a big mistake, like it was the Battle of Berlin.
So what changes are in order for them to them to up the bar? Still under 'zero-sum game' rules, ie. for something to be made, something else will not materialize. New tactics and organization, for the spanking new hardware to shine? What money hole to get rid off? Best people the LW has to organize lead the force from the ground?

For context, here's an overview over the development of the night fighter strengths I prepared a while back.

It's based on https://www.ww2.dk/oob/bestand/njagd/bnjagd.htm

Regards,

Henning (HoHun)
 

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muttly

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I feel that the 219 was good as anything else in the night fighter role. Much better
than the Ju 88 or any of the 110 variants.
 

T. A. Gardner

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With the Ta 154, the issue was the destruction of the only Tego process factory in Germany (the glue issue). Why the Germans couldn't recover from this was never clear, but without it they were forced to rely on far less reliable adhesives and methods building wooden aircraft components.
 

_Del_

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I feel that the 219 was good as anything else in the night fighter role. Much better
than the Ju 88 or any of the 110 variants.
I have read that the much higher performance figures for the 219 were without the aerials, and that as equipped the difference in raw speed between the Ju-88 and the He-219 was much slimmer. Meanwhile the endurance/range was half that of the Ju-88. When you factor in that the Ju-88 was in production and service in various forms, streamlining logistics and training, there's a strong argument for more Ju-88's particularly as they can be churned out faster. Add to that, the Luftwaffe is so desperate for fighter aircraft that it is currently using Ju-88's and other night-fighter twins against day-light formations, it's easy to see the argument for passing on the more capable, but more resource-intensive Uhu, even if it's a pity (and a decision I am not completely convinced of).
 

royabulgaf

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"Maybe but Germany's war economy had dozens of cases of goldplating, churning out Tigers and Panthers was hardly cost-effective for example." Too true. There seems to be something in the German engineering mentality to not go with a sheet metal stamping when a precisely machined tool steel fitting will do just as well.
 

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The mistake that stands out in my mind would be the cancellation of the intruder missions over England and the North Sea. Not just chasing down bombers, but finding them as they formed up (pre-bomber stream) or landed, and even dropping bombs and strafing Bomber Command fields.
Should have kept at it early, imo. The value not just being in the damage done, but in the psychological effect and the disruption to the operations.
Agree wholeheartedly _Del_ , the German's seemingly gave away the initiative and adopted a pure defensive posture to the US/British strategic bombing campaign.

Regards
Pioneer
 

T. A. Gardner

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I feel that the 219 was good as anything else in the night fighter role. Much better
than the Ju 88 or any of the 110 variants.
I have read that the much higher performance figures for the 219 were without the aerials, and that as equipped the difference in raw speed between the Ju-88 and the He-219 was much slimmer. Meanwhile the endurance/range was half that of the Ju-88. When you factor in that the Ju-88 was in production and service in various forms, streamlining logistics and training, there's a strong argument for more Ju-88's particularly as they can be churned out faster. Add to that, the Luftwaffe is so desperate for fighter aircraft that it is currently using Ju-88's and other night-fighter twins against day-light formations, it's easy to see the argument for passing on the more capable, but more resource-intensive Uhu, even if it's a pity (and a decision I am not completely convinced of).
Eric Brown, the legendary British test pilot, flew several He 219A-2 captured at the end of the war. He was not impressed by its performance and called it "underpowered." Other comments were it had a poor rate of climb and sluggish acceleration. On the other hand, he praised the cockpit layout, view, and ease of flying it in poor weather and at night.

If anything, the correct decision would have been to nix the He 219 entirely in favor of more Ju 88 and 388 nightfighters.
 

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Hi Del,

I have read that the much higher performance figures for the 219 were without the aerials, and that as equipped the difference in raw speed between the Ju-88 and the He-219 was much slimmer. Meanwhile the endurance/range was half that of the Ju-88.

I'm not sure this just wasn't a result of comparing the early He 219 with DB 603A engines to the late Ju 88 with the more advaned Jumo 213E powerplants. Which set figures are you using for each type?

With regard to endurance/range, the projected Ju 88G-7(N) according to a data sheet reproduced in Griehl's "Nachtjäger" carried 2350 kg of fuel internally, while the He 219A-5 carried 2590 kg internally. The He 219A-2 didn't have the extra tanks in the engine nacelles yet, so it had only 1925 kg of fuel internally, which might have given rise to the idea its endurance was inferior, though it certainly wasn't half of the Ju 88's even then.

Whether the He 219 really was more resource-intensive than the Ju 88 still is an open question, as far as I can tell. Heinkel in the aforementioned presentation made the point that the use of raw materials in the He 219 was virtually the same as in the Ju 88, which seems plausible as they have a very similar empty weight. Heinkel also included a learning curve diagram showing the manhours per airplane development over the production run, but unfortunately, I don't have any figures for the Ju 88 to compare them too. Heinkel's claim is that the He 219 was designed for ease of production, and from "Stürmisches Leben", Heinkel had learned about the importance of that when losing the Luftwaffe fighter contract to Messerschmitt, so I'm ready to believe this claim.

That the He 219 was a resource-intensive aircraft basically was the claim of its opponents, and with Milch being a central figure there, so I wouldn't buy into that wholesale without trying to check it against all available sources.

Regards,

Henning (HoHun)
 

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Hi T. A.,

Eric Brown, the legendary British test pilot, flew several He 219A-2 captured at the end of the war. He was not impressed by its performance and called it "underpowered." Other comments were it had a poor rate of climb and sluggish acceleration. On the other hand, he praised the cockpit layout, view, and ease of flying it in poor weather and at night.

The He 219A-2 was equipped with the DB 603A engine, which was 1943 engine. Brown called the Do 335 equipped with the same engine "overpowered", but the Do 335 came in slightly under 10 tons flying weight, while the He 219A-2 weighed in at 12500 kg.

That seems like a very narrow band of "normal power" ... note that Brown was talking about "feelings" there, anyway. In terms of data, the He 219A-2 at full take-off weight and equipped with antennae and flame dampers had a climb rate of 7 m/s up to 2 km, which seems OK for a night fighter, considering that rapid climb isn't very high on the list of its operational priorities anyway.

Regards,

Henning (HoHun)
 

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I'd suggest for the He 219 to be the German equivalent of the F7F (without the folding wing and other naval specifics, obviously). BMW 801 power, shorter fuselage - that of the He 219 strikes me as too long (5ft longer than on the F7F, wing size was in the ballpark) - and thus heavier, draggier and requiring more manhours than it might be necessary. BMW 801 was reliable in 1943 and the whole power plant installation will be lighter than DB 603-based installation.
It certainly won't be doing 450+- mph, especially when the antennae are in place, but it should be pretty zippy. Yes, the time-table need to be at least 6 months better than on the historical 219 in order for all of this to work.
 

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Hi Tomo,

I'd suggest for the He 219 to be the German equivalent of the F7F (without the folding wing and other naval specifics, obviously). BMW 801 power, shorter fuselage - that of the He 219 strikes me as too long (5ft longer than on the F7F, wing size was in the ballpark) - and thus heavier, draggier and requiring more manhours than it might be necessary. BMW 801 was reliable in 1943 and the whole power plant installation will be lighter than DB 603-based installation.

The Grumman F7F two-seaters were limited to 375 US Gallons internal fuel, which comes down to 1020 kg of fuel, compared to the Heinkel's 2350 kg (in the A-2 version - as pointed out above, the A-5 had even more internal fuel). I believe that extra fuel capacity might explain the difference in length.

(The F7F manual points out that an extra 80 US Gallon tank was available as reserve, to be installed in the lieu of the second seat when the aircraft was flown with a single pilot, showing that maybe the US Navy felt the aircraft was a bit shorter legged than they'd have liked it to be :-D)

With regard to the use of the BMW 801, it's important to keep in mind that this engine was reliant on the availability of the C3 fuel, which limited the number of engines of this type the Luftwaffe could use. The DB 603 ran on B4 fuel, which was available in greater quantities and less demanding on refining capacity.

Regards,

Henning (HoHun)
 

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Hi,

Wouldn't the manufacturing of the Bf 162 only equate to one more design type to be built by an already hard-pressed German aircraft industry and one additional type for the Luftwaffe to maintain?


As the Bf 162 had a high degree of commonality with the Bf 110 that it was based upon, I wouldn't say so. At the very least, it was a very efficient way to add another design type, if you'd like to count it as a separate type.

Id also have to question whether the Bf 162 would have stood the test of time as a nightfighter specialised or not, as British modern heavy bomber's became more capable.

I think the only improvement in capability the heavy bombers really made was to improve their altitude performance as better engine types became available. With the Bf 162 accepting the same upgraded German engines as the Me 110 did, its performance would have improved at the same pace as the Me 110's.

As I'd expect the Bf 162 to prove itself as the better night fighter than the Jumo-211-engined Ju 88, I'd expect that finally it would have been upgraded to use BMW 801 and Jumo 213 engines just like historical Ju 88 family night fighters, which historically could not be replaced by the Bf 110 because they offered the necessary room for electronics and crew. With the Bf 162 being larger than its Zerstörer cousin from the outset, we'd probably have seen fewer Ju 88 night fighters (or maybe none at all).

Regards,

Henning (HoHun)
 

tomo pauk

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The Grumman F7F two-seaters were limited to 375 US Gallons internal fuel, which comes down to 1020 kg of fuel, compared to the Heinkel's 2350 kg (in the A-2 version - as pointed out above, the A-5 had even more internal fuel). I believe that extra fuel capacity might explain the difference in length.

F7F was without wing tanks, despite the big wing. So this is one area to improve over the historical F7F. It's fuel tank in fuselage was also pretty small, eg. P-47 in 1944 carried 370 gals, again despite the smaller and well-populated fuselage on the Jug.
He 219 rarely, if ever, carried drop tanks, again an opportunity for it.

With regard to the use of the BMW 801, it's important to keep in mind that this engine was reliant on the availability of the C3 fuel, which limited the number of engines of this type the Luftwaffe could use. The DB 603 ran on B4 fuel, which was available in greater quantities and less demanding on refining capacity.

We can take a look at R. Inkol's post here. He lists the serious setbacks in combat readiness due to severe reliability problems the DB 603A had through the 1943, his source being Griehl's book about the Do 217 (main user of DB 603A in 1943).
 

HoHun

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Hi Tomo,

He 219 rarely, if ever, carried drop tanks, again an opportunity for it.

Now you're trying, in my opinion, to fix what ain't broken! :) A He 219 with an internal tank is going to be more aerodynamic than one with a short nose and an external fuel tank.

Heinkel notes that the A-2 could carry a central 900 L drop tank, but as far as I know, that might have been a theoretical option only.

We can take a look at R. Inkol's post here. He lists the serious setbacks in combat readiness due to severe reliability problems the DB 603A had through the 1943, his source being Griehl's book about the Do 217 (main user of DB 603A in 1943).

I'm not opposed to using the BMW 801 to power a couple of Heinkels early on, it's just that I don't think we're going to have enough C3 fuel to make the BMW the primary power plant for the He 219 if it's produced in much greater numbers than it was historically.

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Henning (HoHun)
 

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Now you're trying, in my opinion, to fix what ain't broken! :) A He 219 with an internal tank is going to be more aerodynamic than one with a short nose and an external fuel tank.

Heinkel notes that the A-2 could carry a central 900 L drop tank, but as far as I know, that might have been a theoretical option only.

No short nose - the F7F was with pointy nose :) Wings need to carry some fuel, even if just on the positions outboard the engines.

I'm not opposed to using the BMW 801 to power a couple of Heinkels early on, it's just that I don't think we're going to have enough C3 fuel to make the BMW the primary power plant for the He 219 if it's produced in much greater numbers than it was historically.

In case the 'alt 219' really gets to a meaninggful number produced, talk 1000+- instead about 300, something else does not get the BMW 801 engines and the fuel alocated. Most likely the Ju 88S sub-versions that have gotten it, and/or the Ju 88G-1.
Fw 190 can switch to Jumo 213A or DB 603A by early 1944, so it is a win-win situation.
 

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Luftwaffe NFs with just one engine, perhaps? They were mooting the Fw 190 inn that role, with radar on board; I'm not sure how much of success that was. Perhaps use the 2-seat 190S, so the pilot has a smaller workload?

(Americans used Corsair and Hellcat in the NF role, granted their radars have had the neat antenna since the wavelength used was much shorter, courtesy of mangnetron working principle.)

Japanese modified the Judy dive bomber in a fighter with a cannon is a Schrage Musik fashion; granted, lack of radar was a problem here. Judy was pretty fast on modest horsepower installed; visibility forward was also very good (important for night take off and landing). The German take on this theme would've also featured a proper protection for crew and fuel system, as well as at least a pair of wing cannons.
They also used the excellent C6N Saiun recon bird modified to the night fighter.

Granted, any of the suggested A/C need to be made from early 1943 in order to achieve meaningful results.
 

HoHun

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Hi Tomo,

Luftwaffe NFs with just one engine, perhaps? They were mooting the Fw 190 inn that role, with radar on board; I'm not sure how much of success that was. Perhaps use the 2-seat 190S, so the pilot has a smaller workload?

How much fuel did the Fw 190S carry?

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Henning (HoHun)
 

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How much fuel did the Fw 190S carry?
Probably same as the 'ordinary' 190, the fuel tanks being at the lower 1/3rd of the fuselage?
Note that this: "Several old Fw 190 A-5s, and later in 1944 A-8s, were converted by replacing the MW 50 tank with a second cockpit." from Wikipedia is badly wrong, the Fw 190A carried no MW 50 in service.

Contrary to this, the Bf 109G-12 lost a good chunk of internal fuel tankage, since the L-shaped fuel tank lost the upper half or so of it's capacity. English-language Wikipedia notes that only 240L was carried, the drop tank being a regular feature on the G-12 to help out.
 
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HoHun

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Hi Tomo,

Probably same as the 'ordinary' 190, the fuel tanks being at the lower 1/3rd of the fuselage?
Note that this: "Several old Fw 190 A-5s, and later in 1944 A-8s, were converted by replacing the MW 50 tank with a second cockpit." from Wikipedia is badly wrong, the Fw 190A carried no MW 50 in service.

I believe the rear 115 L tank was originally introduced with the idea of being a multi-purpose tank, or maybe the idea was carried over from the Me 109's rear tank which could be used for petrol, too.

If the 525 L of fuel were kept in the Fw 190S, that would leave the type shorter on fuel than the Fw 190A-8 with its rear tank, and night fighters usually have to fly longer missions than day fighters due to the difficulty of finding their targets in the first place.

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Henning (HoHun)
 

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I believe the rear 115 L tank was originally introduced with the idea of being a multi-purpose tank, or maybe the idea was carried over from the Me 109's rear tank which could be used for petrol, too.

Fuel tank will not hold the GM1 mixture that needed to be held under very high pressure; it already had problems of being unstable in a steel tank. A GM1 tank does not need self-sealing construction, that we'd need for a fuel tank.
(manual for GM1 for pilots and ground crew, pressures of 150 atu are noted)
I'd buy a beer to anyone that can prove that Me 109 in service ever carried fuel in the MW 50 tank.

If the 525 L of fuel were kept in the Fw 190S, that would leave the type shorter on fuel than the Fw 190A-8 with its rear tank, and night fighters usually have to fly longer missions than day fighters due to the difficulty of finding their targets in the first place.

My suggestion is not an all-singing all-dancing combat aircraft, but something that can intercept RAF bombers reliably (ie. with a healthy speed advantage) while being affordable and easy to make and use. LW has a host of other NFs to cover the long missions.
Duration of flight can be easily improved by carrying two 300L drop tanks, plus the wings themselves can hold a lot of fuel.
 

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The problem with using single seat fighters, even with a second crewman to operate the radar, is they still aren't really set up for all-weather / night flying like larger twins are at the time. If you look at the Wilde Sau nightfighter operations with single-seat aircraft, it could work with well-trained, high-hour, pilots but when you put the average fighter pilot the Luftwaffe had, in say 1943, the attrition rate was near or exceeded 50%. That is, they were losing the plane, and even the pilot, every other mission. That's clearly not sustainable.

The US Navy in going to one seat nightfighters like the F6F or F4U limited these to one carrier (Enterprise) that specialized in night operations, and the pilots selected for the program had extra training in night flying and navigation along with having already flown hundreds of hours on operational types. These pilots greatly exceeded what the Luftwaffe had available outside a tiny handful of experten.
 

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The problem with using single seat fighters, even with a second crewman to operate the radar, is they still aren't really set up for all-weather / night flying like larger twins are at the time. If you look at the Wilde Sau nightfighter operations with single-seat aircraft, it could work with well-trained, high-hour, pilots but when you put the average fighter pilot the Luftwaffe had, in say 1943, the attrition rate was near or exceeded 50%. That is, they were losing the plane, and even the pilot, every other mission. That's clearly not sustainable.

Wilde Sau were 1-seaters, without radar. What I'm suggesting are radar-outfitted 2-seaters. Night fighters were operated by a small pool of well trained pilots, not the novices, that can sink their teeth in the pray by flying the 2-engined types.
Care to share some source wrt. 50% attrition rate?
 

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