A really interesting thread - What was interesting about the Merlin was its versatility - it powered the majority of designs the British put in the air throughout the war, in terms of numbers produced the vast majority went into heavy bombers likely over 100 000 of 150 000 units in total manufactured. Wellington, Halifax, Lancaster, Beau-fighter, Mosquito, Hurricane, Spitfire, Mustang... not to mention 15 + less well known aircraft it also powered.. It was instrumental to the war effort in Europe, surely one of the best examples of the advantages of commonality and modularity in fighter design.
Most of the Beaufighters used Hercules radial engines. AFAIK, the Merlin was too valuable for other aircraft when the Bristol radials were quite capable and what the aircraft was actually originally designed to use. The Beaufighters received derated Merlins when the Hercules was needed for Short Stirlings. Notice that the British were quite willing to make major production switches and design changes in a type on a temporary basis based on transient war conditions when they thought their war effort needed to do so?
YelliChink 12/23/2010 3:04:45 PM
Dare I say it? Kelly Johnson got it wrong. Yes I dared say it.
Next up, how did we screw up the Mustang?
Kelly Johnson didn't get it wrong. He got everything right. The problem is not Kelly Johnson, but rather USAAC officers and generals who conjectured up twin-engine fighter concept and gave fundings for V1710 with turbo-supercharger. Mr Johnson is an aircraft design genius, and what he did is designed a package perfected for the customer's specification. Just because USAAC's dickheads (or in Chinese we call them swine heads) made the spec wrong, it doesn't traspire to Kelly Johnson.
That is the point isn't it? Refer to the P-51 example. See what you write below that I highlight in red.
As a result, if you absolutely, positively have to fight in a twin-engine fighter, you would rather be in a P-38 than any other contemporary twin-engine fighters. Not Bf-110, not Ju-88 and certainly not Pe-2.
I would rather be in an F7F.
Look at the history of weapons development in WW2, the generals usually got it wrong most of the time. Mustang is the result of private endeavor by North America to make something for the customers. They subjected to zero bureaucratic decision from USAAC and Brits at that time just want to get as many airframe as possible to make up the mistake that the US is making (with the P-38, P-39 and P-40) today. Even the endeavor to mate Merlin 61 and Mustang airframe were from Merlin company and an RAF commander, not through top-down decision making procedure by USAAC.
The first Merlin P-51 (B/C models) are perfect INTENDED for the role of high altitude bomber interceptor escorts (Accident of design it became an escort) . You screwed the Mustang when USAAF generals and colonels started to inject their own opinions.
Oh yeah we want bubble canopy (correct decision), so modify the rear fuselage (botched-should have modified more area into the vertical stabilizer) , and put more oil tanks in it (needed).
Oooh we want more fire power, just add two more .50 cals into the wing, and change the structure if needed. (Botched decision. Four H0-5 type Brownings was the correct fix. It would fit the existing volume and mass margins.). And don't forget to add the bomb rake and electrical connection and switches. (overload the electrical supply and use the fighter for a role where other better designed ground attack planes [Jugs] were available.)
That's how you screw up a perfect good escort fighter. Fortunately, the enemy screwed even more.
� 1998 -