• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

Westland Whirlwind Variants and Projects

Jemiba

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Staff member
Top Contributor
Senior Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2006
Messages
8,182
Reaction score
806
Tried to match the Whirlwind tail, wing and cockpit, which seem to have been
used at least as basis, with the Hercules engine. Looks a bit bumble-bee like. ;)
 

Attachments

JFC Fuller

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
3,352
Reaction score
648
joncarrfarrelly said:
The statement about Packard producing Peregrines as an "extension of their production for American PT-Boats" makes absolutely no sense. The engine used in the PT boats was Packard's own 4M-2500, a 2500 cu. in. V-12 which had no relation to the Peregrine, or any other R-R engine for that matter.
The reason it may make no sense is that it seems to have been lifted from a "what if" (i.e. fictional) post at the key publishing forums. See this thread: http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?130464-Merlin-XX-Whirlwinds-and-Packard-produced-Peregrines

It seemed weird to me because the National Archives have several files on the Whirlwind including some comprehensive narrative on the various Mk.II proposals but at no point is there any reference to Packard.
 

ReccePhreak

CLEARANCE: Restricted
Joined
Nov 11, 2007
Messages
24
Reaction score
0
I would LOVE to see more info on the proposed photo-recce Whirlwinds, enough to allow me to convert an existing model to one. ;)

Larry
 

JFC Fuller

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
3,352
Reaction score
648
Massive Whirlwind thread here: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,5734.0.html

Could the mods merge them?

Of course, thanks for the clue ! ;)
 

brewerjerry

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
76
Reaction score
5
ReccePhreak said:
I would LOVE to see more info on the proposed photo-recce Whirlwinds, enough to allow me to convert an existing model to one. ;)

Larry
Hi
My reasoning would be to use the resin nose in the special hobby ' different whirlwinds' kit as a basis, just remove the 'cannon stuff' and measure up where the cameras could fit .
the theory being westlands wouldnt have wasted the metal work they used in building a PR nose and just re used it for the cannon trials of L6844
cheers
jerry
 

JFC Fuller

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
3,352
Reaction score
648
Does anybody have the Air Ministry Specification (F.37/35) for the Whirlwind at hand?

I am trying to track down where to idea that it was intended as an escort fighter came from; the claim is made in several books but the most authoritative only state that it was intended as a cannon fighter....?
 

Arjen

It's turtles all the way down
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,639
Reaction score
398
From 'The British Aircraft Specifications File' by KJ Meekcoms and EB Morgan, Air-Britain.
F.37/35

Single Seater, Day and Night Fighter
Westland P.9 Whirlwind
See other types below
File no. 465863/35/RDA3
Issued to Tender, 15/2/36

Air Staff Operational Requirement OR.31 required a fighter capable of operating by day and night for home defence or with the Field Force. In order to obtain a striking power superior to the eight-gun fighter, it was necessary to provide four 20 mm automatic guns. At least six firms responded with designs for a heavily-armed high-speed fighter with an all-round clear view for the pilot.
Types mentioned:
- Westland P.9 Whirlwind
- Bristol Type 153 and 153A
- Boulton and Paul F.37/35
- Fairey unspecified project
- Hawker F.37/35
- Supermarine Type 312 Spitfire
- Westland Type P.9 Alternative Designs
 

Arjen

It's turtles all the way down
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,639
Reaction score
398
A little more information.

- 'The British Fighter' by Francis K Mason, Putnam 1992, states F.37/35 called for an interceptor, apparently quoting the specification: 'day and night bomber destroyer'.
- 'Whirlwind - The Westland Whirlwind Fighter' by Victor Bingham, Airlife 1987, says the first specification required 'A speed in excess of the contemporary bomber of at least 40 mph at 15,000 ft'. Bingham also discusses the Whirlwind's use both as a low-level interceptor and low-level fighter-bomber.
- 'The British Fighter since 1912' by Peter Lewis, Putnam 1965, in one sentence mentions low-level escort missions for the Whirlwind.

Based on these clues, the Whirlwind was probably designed as an interceptor but ultimately was used in different roles. Until someone unearths the full text of OR. 31 and/or F.37/35, design for use as an escort fighter can't be ruled out, but seems unlikely.
 

Schneiderman

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
Messages
1,389
Reaction score
359
A few comments.
A good place to ask about the details of the specification would be http://www.raf.mod.uk/ahb/. They have provided copies of specs. to me in the past with no charge.
Also you could try http://www.whirlwindfighterproject.org/
Supermarine tendered two designs to F.37/35 of which one, Type 312, had the same (+/-) fuel tankage as the Spitfire, on which it was based. Not sufficient for an escort role.
I'm not sure that the concept of an escort fighter was seen as high priority in 1935/36 as bombers were expected to carry sufficient defensive armament
 

Tony Williams

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 10, 2013
Messages
521
Reaction score
181
Website
www.quarryhs.co.uk
Schneiderman said:
I'm not sure that the concept of an escort fighter was seen as high priority in 1935/36 as bombers were expected to carry sufficient defensive armament
The RAF firmly believed that a long-range escort fighter was not viable because it would need to carry so much fuel that it would be too big to compete with the enemy interceptors. Some of them continued to believe this even after the Merlin-engined Mustang was in service. So they gave no priority to long-range fighters able to "mix it" with interceptors.
 

JFC Fuller

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
3,352
Reaction score
648
Thank you everybody, subsequent to making that post I have been able to spend some time with the papers of the Air Fighting Committee, an entity established in the 30s to examine aspects of air combat. In 1937 it ruled out single-seater escort fighters, left the door open for multi-seat long range fighters though thought they may prove impractical but felt that "cruiser bombers" would be the most viable approach. By "cruiser bomber" they seem to have meant something akin to the XB-41 and YB-40 aircraft the USAAF tried in 1943; that being an aircraft with additional armour, guns and ammunition compared to the standard bomber aircraft to operate as an escort. This concept appears to have gone nowhere and by 1939 the solution was considered to be turret mounted 20mm Hispanos paired with with gyro gunsights; twin turrets on the MkII variants of the Halifax, Stirling and Manchester and quad turrets (with substantial ammunition allowance) on the aircraft to specification B.1/39.

In summary, the occasionally made claim that the Whirlwind originally had an escort role doesn't appear to stand up to scrutiny.
 

Kadija_Man

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
2,016
Reaction score
99
Schneiderman said:
A few comments.
A good place to ask about the details of the specification would be http://www.raf.mod.uk/ahb/. They have provided copies of specs. to me in the past with no charge.
Also you could try http://www.whirlwindfighterproject.org/
Supermarine tendered two designs to F.37/35 of which one, Type 312, had the same (+/-) fuel tankage as the Spitfire, on which it was based. Not sufficient for an escort role.
I'm not sure that the concept of an escort fighter was seen as high priority in 1935/36 as bombers were expected to carry sufficient defensive armament
Bombers were also expected to "always make it through" and be "uninterceptable" until the advent of Radar.
 

Kadija_Man

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
2,016
Reaction score
99
Tony Williams said:
Schneiderman said:
I'm not sure that the concept of an escort fighter was seen as high priority in 1935/36 as bombers were expected to carry sufficient defensive armament
The RAF firmly believed that a long-range escort fighter was not viable because it would need to carry so much fuel that it would be too big to compete with the enemy interceptors. Some of them continued to believe this even after the Merlin-engined Mustang was in service. So they gave no priority to long-range fighters able to "mix it" with interceptors.
Except for the already mentioned Mustang, and of course the Thunderbolt and the Mosquito and the Tempest...
 

Hood

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
1,713
Reaction score
938
I suspect the "escort" description came from assumptions or sloppy authorship after the war. Probably because it had two engines it was being compared to aircraft like the Me-110 and P-38 (though even the latter was not designed as an escort). All other interceptors in 1940 in Western Europe were single engine and the Whirlwind would have seemed the 'odd' one to anyone who had no knowledge of the specification it was designed for.
 

Tony Williams

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 10, 2013
Messages
521
Reaction score
181
Website
www.quarryhs.co.uk
Kadija_Man said:
Except for the already mentioned Mustang, and of course the Thunderbolt and the Mosquito and the Tempest...
I doubt that any Mossie driver would have been keen to tackle a Bf 109 or Fw 190...

It was the Mustang which really changed the long-range escort game. The Thunderbolt went part-way there, but IIRC was replaced in the escort role by the Mustang and went upon to earn its chops in the very different world of ground attack.

An important factor is that once RAF Bomber Command had become totally focused on night bombing, escort fighters simply had no role in the RAF except for the relatively small number of tactical raids which required daylight for maximum precision (and the Mossie could often manage those by itself).
 

Schneiderman

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
Messages
1,389
Reaction score
359
Kadija_Man said:
Bombers were also expected to "always make it through" and be "uninterceptable" until the advent of Radar.
True, that belief had held since the early 1920s but doubts were already beginning to be expressed in the early 1930s after the RAFs annual exercises seemed to indicate that, despite numerous problems, interception rates were sometimes higher than expected. The case for the fighter was then raised by several influential people (Dowding for one) and specs. for new types took on a higher priority. Radar certainly reinforced their arguments considerably, the weak element in early detection having been resolved.
 

JFC Fuller

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
3,352
Reaction score
648
I am frankly unconvinced as to how seriously anyone actually thought bombers were "uninterceptable" the consistent presence of defensive armament on new types all the way through the interwar period suggests otherwise.

The origin of the Whirlwind escort fighter story is probably as Hood described, one author suggested it based on the aircrafts configuration and it came to be fact thereafter.
 

Schneiderman

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
Messages
1,389
Reaction score
359
It hinged on an mistaken assumption that the bombing of civilian centres would cause widespread panic and a rush to capitulate, so not so much that bombers were 'uninterceptable' but that most would get through and create chaos. So on that basis the best response was to have more bombers of your own, mutually assured destruction. False premise and hence false strategy
 

brewerjerry

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
76
Reaction score
5
Hi
My whirlwind notes are in storage, but there was an AHB narrative at the NA/PRO about the whirlwind, might be something in there ?
One random thought i recall was the escort of the cologne blenheims, ( 1941? ) but the whirlwinds only went to as far as antwerp
Cheers
Jerry
 

iverson

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
Sep 24, 2009
Messages
296
Reaction score
94
Tony Williams said:
Kadija_Man said:
An important factor is that once RAF Bomber Command had become totally focused on night bombing, escort fighters simply had no role in the RAF except for the relatively small number of tactical raids which required daylight for maximum precision (and the Mossie could often manage those by itself).
Actually, Beaufighters and Mosquitos were used as escort night fighters fairly extensively late in the war. They might have been used earlier, had AI radar sets been released for use over the continent.
 

Tony Williams

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 10, 2013
Messages
521
Reaction score
181
Website
www.quarryhs.co.uk
iverson said:
Actually, Beaufighters and Mosquitos were used as escort night fighters fairly extensively late in the war. They might have been used earlier, had AI radar sets been released for use over the continent.
That's really a different issue. We were discussing day fighters providing close support to bomber formations. Bombing at night was not done in formations, but usually in a steady stream over the target area. The RAF night fighters were sent in to detect and hunt down the Luftwaffe night fighters rather than provide close protection, which is generally not feasible at night.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
12,115
Reaction score
2,626
F37/35 Spec was purely for a cannon-armed fighter, nothing related to escort duty. There was no requirement for extra range, twin engines, etc.

4 cannons were required however, and the extra weight of this meant more power was needed than the Merlin could give at that time. The various projects mostly used Hercules, Vulture or twin engines to get enough power. Camm's F37/35 Hurricane would have been even slower than the Mark I as it stuck to the Merlin.

In the end, increasingly powerful Merlins allowed heavier guns to be carried by the Spitfire and Hurricane making the Whirlwind redundant.
 

LowObservable

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2006
Messages
2,189
Reaction score
92
Posting this here because there's no Welkin page:

I'd never seen this photo before last week. There is a better version here, via the RAeS licensee... search "welkin" and it is on the third page.

https://www.maryevans.com

It's the only photo I have ever seen that shows more than one of the 60-plus Welkins that were built.
 

Attachments

nuuumannn

Cannae be ar*ed changing my personal text
Joined
Oct 22, 2011
Messages
189
Reaction score
321
It's the only photo I have ever seen that shows more than one of the 60-plus Welkins that were built.
In 4+ Publication's monograph on the Welkin there are two smashing images of a line up of six Welkins on the field at Yeovil. The caption describes them a very rare. There is also a close up of the Welkins from the image you posted, LowObservable. (I'm not gonna scan the images for fear of breaching someone's IP)
 

kitnut617

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
Dec 15, 2006
Messages
366
Reaction score
81
Some years ago, there was an article in Air-Britain's AeroMilitaria magazine (sorry, can't remember the issue #), it was about the Whirlwind and Welkin. It says that before the Welkin got it's name, it was referred to as the Merlin Development Whirlwind.
 

Schneiderman

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
Messages
1,389
Reaction score
359
Article in The Aviation Historian no 20 on the Whirlwind’s disappointing performance. Author claims it was down to the propellers fitted.
I didn't find the argument particularly convincing. There is a distinct shortage of detailed information on propeller characteristics from that era but what is available suggests that the problem was more complex than portrayed. Not to say that the DH prop was in any way 'best-in-class' but other factors had to be in play to explain the lacklustre performance of the Whirly
 

sienar

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2009
Messages
631
Reaction score
235
Article in The Aviation Historian no 20 on the Whirlwind’s disappointing performance. Author claims it was down to the propellers fitted.
I didn't find the argument particularly convincing. There is a distinct shortage of detailed information on propeller characteristics from that era but what is available suggests that the problem was more complex than portrayed. Not to say that the DH prop was in any way 'best-in-class' but other factors had to be in play to explain the lacklustre performance of the Whirly
Such as what? And why did the second prototype perform well at altitude but the near identical, sans props, production type didn't?
 

nuuumannn

Cannae be ar*ed changing my personal text
Joined
Oct 22, 2011
Messages
189
Reaction score
321
the consistent presence of defensive armament on new types all the way through the interwar period suggests otherwise.
Indeed, the power operated turret had much to do with the concept of bomber defence in the mid '30s and into the '40s as it turned out, as new bomber specs in the mid '30s insisted on being fitted with them. Before WW2, Britain was the only country building power turrets ready for service and the turret shaped its aircraft defence requirements. There was a period were lots of new specifications were being written with power turrets aboard; fighters, bombers small and large, maritime patrol flying boats etc

It was believed by some that the turrets gave British bombers a decisive advantage, but ironically, before the war, C-in-C Bomber Command Edgar Ludlow Hewitt stated that experience in Spain showed that fighter escort was essential and he highlighted the advent of the power turret as a weakening of gunnery accuracy and decried this in a report, the date and title of which escapes me, but it led to centralised gunnery training. As pessimistic as he was, his was a realistic voice of how Bomber Command aircraft would fare in the face of attacks against German targets in the first year of the war.
 

Schneiderman

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
Messages
1,389
Reaction score
359
Such as what? And why did the second prototype perform well at altitude but the near identical, sans props, production type didn't?
Too much to go into here but performance comparisons with other propellers and aircraft shows that the Whirlwind was always lagging somewhat. Yes, it was better with Rotol props but there were clearly other things that were having an impact, tip thickness and mach alone does not explain it. It is reported that RR were never particularly happy with the air intake design and location in the radiator duct so there may be factors at play here which contributed to the drop-off in both climb rate and top speed at relatively low altitude.
 

Wyvern

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
311
Reaction score
273
In British Secret Projects 3, one of the projects mentioned was a single-engined Whirlwind, but it retained the engine mounts and had guns in them, or was that a Welkin?
 

gruff

CLEARANCE: Restricted
Joined
Jan 31, 2020
Messages
10
Reaction score
2
Literature usually states that all Whirlwinds were scrapped, but some 20 years ago, I briefly had in my hands a book about Air museums in Britain showing the picture of a survivor, somewhere I don't remember. Can anybody comment...?

Also a Flight Combat simulator introduced the plane a while ago. I seem to have deleted the Youtube videos I had but It was a flop. Complains were of the ridiculous ammo supply, a maximum speed (reportedly) about 100kph below the real plane and a structural speed limit of 750/468 (?) kph/mph.
Does anybody know the Whirlwind's never exceed speed?
 
Last edited:

EwenS

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
Feb 20, 2010
Messages
71
Reaction score
96
Literature usually states that all Whirlwinds were scrapped, but some 20 years ago, I briefly had in my hands a book about Air museums in Britain showing the picture of a survivor, somewhere I don't remember. Can anybody comment...?

Also a Flight Combat simulator introduced the plane a while ago. I seem to have deleted the Youtube videos I had but It was a flop. Complains were of the ridiculous ammo supply, a maximum speed (reportedly) about 100kph below the real plane and a structural speed limit of 750/468 (?) kph/mph.
Does anybody know the Whirlwind's never exceed speed?
Niall Corduroy's book "Whirlwind Westland's Enigmatic Fighter" ends with a photo G-AGOI (ex P7048) and notes that she was used as "a company runabout" until around 1951 when she was scrapped. Rumour had it that its remains were buried in the Yeovil factory. The engines were later used in jigs to test helicopter rotor blades. The individual aircraft histories usually end with dismantling of the survivors by Westland or scrapping by Airwork.

Beats a fancy company car any day!

The final disposition of P6994 sent to the USA was unknown after Jan 1944 although rumour had it that the engines were used in a speedboat.
 

gruff

CLEARANCE: Restricted
Joined
Jan 31, 2020
Messages
10
Reaction score
2
Thank you for the pictures. the End of the Line one is really interesting as it shows the wing structure.

I might have found the book I was referring to: Aircraft Museums of the United Kingdom. However since I lost Hi-Speed internet due to the current events I cannot check it.
 
Top