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World War 2 WITHOUT Jet Technology

papacavy

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Yup, throwing another wrench into the alternate history machine!

This time, please consider if the Germans placed a lower priority on jet technology and concentrated on piston-engine fighters. If some of the blunders made by Goering and Hitler's interference were avoided, and the Luftwaffe managed to retain air superiority over the Continent (how could they do that, I ask) and blunted the Allied air offensive, then the Germans could concentrate their efforts on improving aircraft already in production and incremental steps in fighter development, sort of the way America did.

I know this comment will rub some experts the wrong way, but the purpose of these exercises (other than to give me writing ideas, of which you will all receive ample credit) is to explore how to achieve this alternate history, not kill it in its crib.

So, boys and girls, let the ideas flow.
 

pathology_doc

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Let us assume for a moment that this ban on jet development extends across all combatants. I will concentrate on the European theatre to make things simple, since both sides fielded jet fighters in combat there, even if they never met each other in battle.

The obvious conclusion is that the final generation of piston-engined fighters gets a guernsey and makes it into combat where it either didn't in real life or didn't do so in significant numbers.

In Britain, this means one or more of the Spiteful/Seafang, final-generation Tempest or (Sea) Fury, the Hornet, or perhaps even the MB.5; in the US, the P-51H and close relatives thereof for the USAAF & the F8F for the Navy and Marines; in Germany, the Ta-152 and the Do-335. In other words, all those fighters which in testing or in service (however brief, in peace or in later wars) which you would expect to be able to make at least 450mph and preferably closer to 475mph on their acceptance flights.

IMO the debate will now circulate around the practical questions as to why each should or should not make the grade, although much wish-fulfilment may enter into it. ;) Compared to those of the Allies, the choices of the Luftwaffe (in terms of what actually had a fair chance of becoming hardware) appear somewhat more restricted...
 

Jemiba

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Not sure, that I understand your question. Hitlers interference with the use of the Me 262 was largely
exaggerated (the "Blitzbomber" discussion). Piston engined fighters actually were developed and improved
until the end of the war, see Fw 190/Ta 152, Do 335 and maybe Ta 154. Even the Me 109 was developed
further and further. The number of jet fighters actually used always was low. So, were's the difference
between your scenario and that, what actually happened ? Getting back air superiority ? With sufficient fuel
supply and possibility for enough training to ensure a supply of fully trained pilots, as the allied training
schemes and facilities did. Both things were only partially, if at all dependent on the airforce.
You are asking, if Germany would have had a chance of winning the war by changing decisions with regards
to aviation only
to defeat the allied air offensive, that began in earnest in, say, 1942, does I understand
that correctly ?
 

riggerrob

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Jets did not make significant contributions on either side.
On the German side, most of the limits were metallurgical, with late-war engines being limited to a 25 hour running life. The few Me-262s that did make it into combat only killed a few Allied airplanes.
On the British side, metalurgy was also a major limitation and Gloster only got the Meteor into production in 1944. Then Meteors were limited to intercepting V-1 bombs over the British Isles, a huge propaganda campaign!!!
The RAF was afraid to fly Meteors over occupied Europe for fear that the Luftwaffe might capture one. I am not sure if Meteors had sufficient range to do much damage even if they could cross the English Channel.
If the jet-powered Meteor never made it into production, then deHavilland would have been forced to further develop the Mosquito. The first objective would have been to improve the Mosquito's landing characteristics ... leading to the OTL Sea Hornet. deHavilland was also mumbling about a Griffin-powered Super Mosquito. I wonder how long before they installed a nose-wheel in a Mosquito variant?
Speaking of Griffin engines, since the Griffin solved the Spitfire/Seafang's worst handling characteristic, would there have been any incentive to install a nose-wheel?
How fast would a perfected Spiteful/Sea Fang be capable of?
I also wonder how long before the Fleet Air Arm installed a nose-wheel in a deck-landing airplane?
In other news, we wonder how long before the Brits developed a long-range fighter that could compete with the P-51 Mustang.
Without jet engines, helicopters would have been limited to short-range missions powered by radial engines.
Without significant numbers of helicopters, would para-troopers and gliders remain popular?

In further speculation, how would the Cold War have developed with piston-pounding airplanes? How long before the Russians built a piston-pounding bomber that could compete with the B-36?
Would Lockheed's Constellation still be the best three-engine airliner plying the trans-Atlantic trade?
Would Budd have developed more piston-pounding military transports?
 

Jemiba

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Thinking more about papacavy's first thread, the basic idea may have been, that the advent
of the jet engine led many design teams to focus mainly on jet aircraft, with the piston engine/
prop ones just left as temporarily stopgaps.
As the limits of the "old" propulsion system were already clearly recognised then, a stop of further
jet development wouldn't be very plausible, I think. Only if the jet engine would have proved to
be not feasible at that time, maybe due to metallurgical problems, this could have happened. But
wouldn't those limitations have hampered further development of piston engines and their turbo
chargers, too ? Gas turbines weren't new, just their use in aircraft. Turbo chargers not either.
The world of aviation may have been completely different, if we assume, that jets wouldn't have
flown around that time.
 

JFC Fuller

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Meteors were deployed to the continent and were attached the 2TAF, they did fly sorties against German positions in the very last months of the War. The counter V1 missions were hardly propaganda either, huge resources were expended against them.

Removing jet engines from WW2 is unlikely to make any difference whatsoever to the way piston engined types were developed prior to 1945, they all would have looked the same. The only thing that may have been different is on the propulsion side, with engineers freed from turbojet development more intellectual resources could have been deployed on the more advanced piston engine solutions. Think Jumo 222, a high-altitude Sabre, or Rolls Royce Crecy. Of course that doesn't make necessarily make these engines viable.
 

pathology_doc

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Jemiba said:
. Only if the jet engine would have proved to
be not feasible at that time, maybe due to metallurgical problems, this could have happened. But
wouldn't those limitations have hampered further development of piston engines and their turbo
chargers, too ?

You raise an interesting point; one of the little gems in JSP2 is the metallurgical concerns the Japanese had when considering the copying of US turbosuperchargers. This may well be why AFAIK the majority of supercharging in other nations seems to have been engine-driven, either because turbocharging had been tried and failed or because the engineers were aware of the problems and it was easier not to confront them if they didn't have to (on a "best is the enemy of good enough" basis). Clearly if your metallurgy is up to scratch from the start, you're going to be less hesitant to give it a go. Building a moving part that has to keep a precise (and complex) shape and size at several hundred degrees K while spinning at up to 10,000rpm isn't easy.
 

Grey Havoc

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Something I mentioned over in the 'The Luftwaffe WITHOUT Messerschmitt' thread is arguably also relevant here:

Grey Havoc said:
Another possibility that opens up is that the Göppingen Gö 9 program isn't curtailed, due to a more pressing need for new fighter types. Which means that the Dornier Do 335 or similar may show up sooner (giving even the Spitfire and Mustang a hard time, not to mention the poor ground pounders).
 

riggerrob

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Yes, supercharger experience definitely led to jet engine production. The biggest challenge was metallurgical, finding steel alloys that would hold together at high temperatures and rpms. Consider how quickly Rolls Royce was able to "productionize" jet engines after Whittle worked out the basics. RR's experience with Roots and Hooker superchargers made all the difference.
 

famvburg

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I don't think it was so much the Griffon engine in the Spitfires, et al, that solved the particular problem as it was the contra-prop installation. I guess that set-up could have been installed on a Merlin. On a twin engine, counter-rotating props solve the torque problem as long as both engines are running and then with one engine out you have the single engine operational issues, which even with contra-props fitted to both engines you still have some of those same engine-out issues. I always thought of the Hornet as an improved Mosquito, so maybe DH would have combined the best features of both to get a larger Hornet and maybe even replaced its Merlins with Griffons. Is 3 engine Constellation a typo? Who knows about Budd and what they would have done. All it takes is money. :)
 

pathology_doc

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By the time the Hornet came along, the Merlin it used was running at 2000hp, well into Griffon territory, and there seems no point in going to the Griffon when you consider the size and weight penalties for the relatively small amount of power that might have been gained.


I'll have to delve back into my massive tome on the Spitfire and one or two other books to fill in my knowledge of Merlin contraprop work. I know they did some experiments, but I suspect they concluded that the pilots had things sufficiently well in hand that it wasn't worthwhile under the circumstances. That being said, Spitfire Merlins topped out around 1700hp, whereas the 60-series Griffon that went into the Spit XIV and 20-series was already 300hp clear of that and with a significantly larger prop and lots more torque. I suspect there might have been a greater call for a Merlin contraprop if a Seafire based on the Spitfire VIII or IX had ever gone to sea, but that never happened.


There is however Shorts' Sturgeon to consider. IIRC the idea there was to fit Merlin contraprops to enable a smaller propeller arc and thereby minimise the thrust-line offset for carrier landings if one engine failed. This was done and it seemed to work, but the end of the war and the cancellation of the carriers intended to take it spelled the end of the Sturgeon as a bomber. Eric Brown's two-volume "Wings of the Weird and Wonderful" featured this airplane, and I suspect the volume I've got is the one with the Sturgeon in it. I'll have a look and try to get back to you.
 

alertken

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(fb: the 3 engine Connie alludes to awful reliability).

UK/US handled "these Whittles" by assigning R&D to teams not then in aero-engines, but with industrial turbine or with supercharger experience (Allis-Chalmers, GE, Westinghouse; Rover, BTH, MetroVick). In UK's case Ministers were dismayed by proper aero teams' appalling work on >2,000HP Hypers, and by desperate delays in airframers' Super enhancements of designs originated by 1939, so they put (to be) Meteor and Vampire into design teams not otherwise distracted.

I am really saying, with others here, that WW2 did conclude, in effect, without Jet Technology. I do not believe that the shoal of types that just missed Service v.Japan would have been earlier deployed if reaction thrust had not been under development. Silo teams/resources, not mutually conflicting.
 
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