The key to survival is to make the escape routes as short as possible. This based on what I see requires a radical rethink of how that bird was laid out.
a. The canopy is the logical bailout route for the pilot (ejector seat straight UP.)
What ejector seats? nice to have but not likely
The Heinkel one with the mortar charge under it? What he can do, Avro can do.
b. As radio man and flight engineer are sitting in a death box right behind the pilot and on top of the no-escape route bomb-bay, their only quick way out is to fare that canopy back in the redesign and shove them in with the pilot under a longer glass house (two more ejector seats straight UP.)
OBNW writes:Straight up was the designated exit route thought the canopy hatch
c. The bomb-aimer is in the nose below the forward nose turret. Since that turret is a scheduled deletion for a glass house pointed nose faring to reduce drag, he gets a seat (more room for him and the bombsight with no turret, the more comfortable position also makes his job far easier) and a cleared bailout route: so out he goes straight DOWN. (Ejector seat of course.)
Not only ejector seats but downward units too, sure you don't want zero zero units as well?
Too complicated. A drive spring and drop rails is sufficient.
d1. The poor rear gunner is stuck all alone in his little turret with a bulkhead (and a damned toilet!*1) between him and the side entry exit door at the back of the plane. The whole tail design demands a rethink. How about we put him in a seat with a gunner's sight and slave that tail turret's guns to his sight? Who says the fire director and aimer (him) has to be coincident with the guns? Rip the toilet out and give him an escape path DOWN where it is. He has to make do without an ejector seat as we have weight to worry about. Still has that bulkhead to crawl through. Nothing we can do about that with this solution.
Actually the designated escape route for the rear gunner was to turn his turret to the stops open the turret door and drop out backwards, a simple effect escape route ruined by the need to climb back into the plane to get a parachute first
1. Suppose the turret jams? I don't want him trapped in it.
2. Why can't his escape chute also double as his seat cushion? It's kind of stupid to not make a fundamental double duty design item, don't you think? If he's going to use a Heinkel seat (British version) don't you think he should sit on it? He's gonna need a seat cushion when that mortar goes off under him.
d2. Or we can stick the rear gunner behind the flight engineer and fare that guy into the spinal glass house canopy with the pilot and radio-operator (co-pilot, since I would put [rudimentary] flight controls in the number two position-REDUNDANCY always in case the primary position and pilot fails) . Stick the dorsal guns there at the rear of the glass house canopy as well. And of course he gets an ejector seat. The rear guns are slaved to that gunner position so that the rear guns track what the rear gunner sees. He didn't see anything most of the time anyway, so who cares if it works? Crew morale is an HFE factor
or replace the whole lot with 3 crew and invent the Canberra bomber (a B57 to US types)
1. We don't have jet engines. We have an ICE (Merlin) engined air force.
2. 1943 They don't have time to waltz around. The Lancaster is the bomber that carries the air war on its back. It fortunately is not as bad a design as the B-17 for what we want, so we can work with it.
3. The Canberra is properly a jet powered aluminum skinned Mosquito.
About crew moral and those popguns. If the Browning .303s were anything like the US model ANM-2's then those damned things gave off a muzzle flash you could see a mile away in the dark. You don't want to do that with a nacht jager wild boar looking for you in the dark over Bremen. A simple thing like a flash-hider never occurred to anyone?
The sop was not to fire unless fired at (and then not always). The corkscrew was the preferred defense (not sure if the Halifax or Stirling was capable of it. Reports say that B17 and B24 weren't despite usually being bomb free and being used as elint/jammer aircraft)
That sounds like what the USN called jinking, where you use random elevator and rudder inputs to pitch and yaw on your flight path to throw off a track solution. That's an aircraft AAA defense, useless against fighters. Under no circumstances would I fire unless I had a track solution. German fighters often rattled the lion by shooting their nose guns when they thought they were close and still could not see the bomber. Gunner panics and voila, Muzzle flashes and thirty seconds later Schrage Musik!
Congratulations, you just designed the B-47!
Yes and would have needed to wait to the 50s for it lol
1945 actually. It FLEW in 1947! Hence the '47's famous double meaning.
The RAF high command does not come off too well, I'm afraid.
OBNW wrote:They were making it as they went along, it was only a few years earlier that allowing aircrew parachutes became acceptable, its amazing what 20:10 hindsight can produce, the bottom line in Night bombers is which of the available options would you prefer to crew, one with a low chance of getting out or one in which there was a much higher chance of NEEDING too?
Given that the RAF spent at least 100,000 pounds on the plane and another 100,000 pounds on the crew? They should want a plane where the experienced crew has a better chance than tyros to fly back through the use of clever tactics. And if the bomber is too shot up to land, then they want the crew the option to safely bail out over friendly territory. I KNOW intuitively that more than 9800 English Lancaster, Halifax, and Stirling aircrew made it to ground via parachute after bailout. Yet the German Luftwaffe only records ~9800 POWs taken and well over 50,000 dead.
How many English aircrew were killed by German civilians after they hit German sod? Remember 1 in 3 American aircrew was estimated as KILLED after hitting German soil via parachute. That is is some >11,500# men of the 26,000 DEAD.
# a third again of 24,000 prisoners is 12,000 men.
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