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Gervasius
Nov 2, 2010




Grimey Drawer

BIG HEADLINE posted:

It kinda started with the B-36, which omitted any defensive weaponry other than an a rear autocannon turret.

Original B-36 started with sixteen 20mm cannons in twin retractable turrets. That's a lot of defensive firepower. They started to remove them in mid-1950s.

First US bomber designed without defensive guns was, I think, B-1A.

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Xenoborg
Mar 10, 2007



Stravag posted:

Halfway through B52 models. Iirc they only ever had t ailguns to discourage pursuing fights and none of the waist belly or dorsal mounts. The last b52 runs may not have had tailguns at all

All B-52s had tailguns, but the last models ditched the gunner being an a pressurized section in the tail and moved his seat into the cockpit to control the gun remotely. They scored some kills in Vietnam, but they've all since been removed since fighters with guns arn't a bombers major concern anymore.

MrYenko
Jun 17, 2012

#2 isn't ALWAYS bad...


zoux posted:

Also what did the engines need to do that was so hard, was it just a question of the scale of the airframe or were their other design goals

If you want to lift more stuff, you need a bigger wing, and more structure, and more fuel, and more more more. It all needs more power. The US had more production of 2000+hp engines than pretty much all the other combatants combined. Japan particularly suffered in the late war not due to an inability to design super-high output engines, but an inability to actually build more than a handful of them. Germany started to have significant challenges of the same type towards the end of the war, but was better able to produce DB605s and the like.

Meanwhile Pratt and Whitney had 3500hp engines on the test stand in 1944, and was churning out R-2800s like comparative candy corn.

Having nearly unlimited access to raw materials makes a difference, as it turns out.

aphid_licker
Jan 7, 2009

kiss kiss



Pillbug

Kinda funny how the US had this entire war-winning weapon that they ended up not actually needing. Like even if the A-bomb doesn't shake out they can push Japan back to the home islands and then starve, or invade, or bomb even flatter with conventional airpower than they historically did. And in Europe it never was a factor either.

Stravag
Jun 7, 2009



zoux posted:

Actually let me clarify: turrets on bombers are badass, they just don't seem to be terribly useful.

Turreted bombers would have ruled the skies for maybe a couple years if ww2 had kicked off like 5-7 years earlier. That was back enough that it was easier to bolt extra engines on to make things faster because engines werent getting better fast enough

Sagebrush
Feb 26, 2012


"Why does that Subaru break down every time you look at it, Travis", Punchy said. I nearly fell out of the jump seat in my Brat, aghast. "That thing a princess?" I coughed and gulped. "Hahahaha, nice one, Punchy", I said

Gun turrets on bombers don't make sense any more because fighters can shoot from way outside gun range these days. But bombers should definitely carry turreted Sidewinders.

Stravag
Jun 7, 2009



Sagebrush posted:

Gun turrets on bombers don't make sense any more because fighters can shoot from way outside gun range these days. But bombers should definitely carry turreted Sidewinders.

Flight of the old dog style air mine missiles hell yes lets do it

Godholio
Aug 28, 2002

Does a bear split in the woods near Zheleznogorsk?


zoux posted:

At what point did US Bomber Command go, you know what, turrets on bombers are stupid?

Also what did the engines need to do that was so hard, was it just a question of the scale of the airframe or were their other design goals

The early 1990s.

Edit: I'm sarcastically referring to when the B-52H had it's rear cannon removed (1991). The last active duty USAF tailgunner (obviously crosstrained to something else) retired in 2017. Allegedly there are two others floating in the guard somewhere, probably on KC-135s.

Godholio fucked around with this message at 22:29 on Apr 6, 2021

Uncle Enzo
Apr 28, 2008

I always wanted to be a Wizard

Sagebrush posted:

Gun turrets on bombers don't make sense any more because fighters can shoot from way outside gun range these days. But bombers should definitely carry turreted Pye Wackets.

*Nods Procuremently*

Dead Reckoning
Sep 13, 2011


Captain von Trapp posted:

That overall sentiment aside, the need to be able to accurately blow things up from a long way away is probably too important to wed to one type of launch platform. And that overall sentiment aside, the need to best prioritize limited funding is a constraint that doesn't always allow you do to the most militarily sensible things.

Mortabis posted:

If the ability to fire missiles off of trucks ever saves us having to deploy a ship instead it'll easily pay for itself.
The issue is that every basing scheme for land-based strategic weapons in the western Pacific is wildly implausible, ridiculous, or both. The General wasn't wrong.

FuturePastNow
May 19, 2014




Next thing they'll be adding laser turrets to bombers to shoot down incoming missiles.

Stravag
Jun 7, 2009



LAMS never worked out well for me. Now hooking 5 AMS (c)s to a dire wolf on the other hand...

aphid_licker
Jan 7, 2009

kiss kiss



Pillbug

PYE WACKET is the absolute peak of the code name art form.

Jobbo_Fett
Mar 7, 2014

It would be a sad error in judgement to mistake me for a corpse.


Clapping Larry

MrYenko posted:

If you want to lift more stuff, you need a bigger wing, and more structure, and more fuel, and more more more. It all needs more power. The US had more production of 2000+hp engines than pretty much all the other combatants combined. Japan particularly suffered in the late war not due to an inability to design super-high output engines, but an inability to actually build more than a handful of them. Germany started to have significant challenges of the same type towards the end of the war, but was better able to produce DB605s and the like.

Meanwhile Pratt and Whitney had 3500hp engines on the test stand in 1944, and was churning out R-2800s like comparative candy corn.

Having nearly unlimited access to raw materials makes a difference, as it turns out.

Is this in comparison to US production numbers or Japan actually only building a tiny number of those?

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

Dead Reckoning posted:

The issue is that every basing scheme for land-based strategic weapons in the western Pacific is wildly implausible, ridiculous, or both. The General wasn't wrong.

Who said anything about strategic? Or bases, for that matter?

Acebuckeye13
Nov 2, 2010

There's only one prescription for Nazism and it's 76mm HVAP





Ultra Carp

bewbies posted:

The milhist thread and other places about the internet spend a lot of time breaking down how bad both Germany and Japan were at the economic side of war but for my money there wasn't a bigger boondoggle in that era than the B-29, and this by a pretty wide margin.

bewbies posted:

Lancaster could have, or I'm sure they could have developed a slightly smaller device that the 17 or 24 could haul if they hadn't had the 29 to fence the specs.

This take is absolutely dumb as hell. The B-29 was such a massive leap in both technology and capability that it wasn't fully retired until 1965, twenty years after the war ended. No other bomber was able to come close to its performance during the war, and only the B-29 was capable of flying from bases in the Pacific all the way to Japan and back. Not the Lancaster. Not the B-24. Just the B-29. And after the war, the B-29 served as the backbone of the US bomber fleet for nearly a decade before finally getting phased out by the B-47.

There are plenty of wastes of money in Allied procurement programs. The M7 Medium tank. Project Habakkuk. HMS Vanguard and, one could even argue, the Iowa-class battleships. But the B-29, though expensive, resulted in a massively successful program that together with the atomic bomb ushered in an entirely new era in global politics.

That ain't happening with a loving Lancaster.

MRC48B
Apr 2, 2012



aphid_licker posted:

PYE WACKET is the absolute peak of the code name art form.

I was going to post this. Bring back PYE WACKET you cowards.

You could probably actually make it work with modern electronics too.

Nebakenezzer
Sep 13, 2005

The Mote in God's Eye



zoux posted:

At what point did US Bomber Command go, you know what, turrets on bombers are stupid?

Also what did the engines need to do that was so hard, was it just a question of the scale of the airframe or were their other design goals

Good question, I wish I could give you a better answer. The engines are the last generation of piston aircraft engines, and make 1 hp per pound. Before they started catching on fire.

BIG HEADLINE posted:

It kinda started with the B-36, which omitted any defensive weaponry other than an a rear autocannon turret. Of course, the B-36's original defensive capability was being able to fly where any interceptor couldn't reach it.

You can't convince me the Soviets didn't have a few cobbled-together Wasserfall copies stashed away, though.

x 2

The B-36 started off with a bunch of 20mm autocannons that poped up like Cobra Commander dreamed them up. These eventually got deleted to let the bomber climb higher (and everybody realized that firepower kept scaling up, making the gun duals of WW2 a thing of the past.)

I can tell you, Mr. Headline, that the Soviets actually tried to get the Wasserfall working directly as part of their post-war SAM program. Chertok gestures now and then to Soviet SAM efforts as this whole other thing he wasn't involved with, except perhaps during the earlier part of the Great Patriotic War when he was working on that Soviet Komet. Somewhere in Rockets and People, vol. one, he happens to meet the Von Braun of the Soviet SAM programs, and they have a discussion where this dude points out to Chertok the rocket interceptor is already totally reliant on radar guidance from the ground, so it made sense to do a little more RnD and make workable SAMs.

Godholio
Aug 28, 2002

Does a bear split in the woods near Zheleznogorsk?


^That is a great anecdote.

Jobbo_Fett posted:

Is this in comparison to US production numbers or Japan actually only building a tiny number of those?

Both. I imagine their long-range planners were expecting to have more time to continue development of ~future weapons~ while the US rebuilt the Pacific Fleet, maintaining some form of superiority or parity until a treaty would be signed and they could maintain most or all of their gains.

ought ten
Feb 5, 2004



zoux posted:

So what was the drat problem with making the big plane.

I want to know what I thought zoux was asking, which is what was the drat problem with making the XC-99. It’s chonky

bewbies
Sep 23, 2003



Fun Shoe

[s]

Acebuckeye13 posted:

This take is absolutely dumb as hell. The B-29 was such a massive leap in both technology and capability that it wasn't fully retired until 1965, twenty years after the war ended. No other bomber was able to come close to its performance during the war, and only the B-29 was capable of flying from bases in the Pacific all the way to Japan and back. Not the Lancaster. Not the B-24. Just the B-29. And after the war, the B-29 served as the backbone of the US bomber fleet for nearly a decade before finally getting phased out by the B-47.

There are plenty of wastes of money in Allied procurement programs. The M7 Medium tank. Project Habakkuk. HMS Vanguard and, one could even argue, the Iowa-class battleships. But the B-29, though expensive, resulted in a massively successful program that together with the atomic bomb ushered in an entirely new era in global politics.

That ain't happening with a loving Lancaster.

It was a terrible waste of resources. You seem to be in love with the performance parameters and not familiar with their cost or operational history.

Also, it was super obsolete shortly after the war (look at their performance in Korea).

MrYenko
Jun 17, 2012

#2 isn't ALWAYS bad...


Jobbo_Fett posted:

Is this in comparison to US production numbers or Japan actually only building a tiny number of those?

The Ha-43 and Ha-45 are both easy comparisons to the R-2800, so we’ll use that.

Nakajima built something like nine-thousand Ha-45s.
Mitsubishi built seventy-seven Ha-43s.
Nash-Kelvinator built sixteen-thousand, nine-hundred and eighty-seven R-2800s. Nash was the smallest licensed producer for Pratt and Whitney.

(I couldn’t find a breakout of specifically how many -2800s P&W built specifically during the war, and that engine didn’t cease production until 1960, at which point they’d built 160k overall. Nash’s numbers are wartime-only. I guesstimate that the wartime -2800 numbers are clear of 120k.)

The Japanese never successfully got anything more powerful to production, while Wright had the R-3350 in full production before the end of the war (production priorities meant that the B-29 was the only significant user of the engine before the war ended.) Pratt and Whitney had the R-4360 flying in numerous prototypes and pre-production aircraft before the end of the war, and it probably would have seen combat had the war been prolonged at all.

The disparity is pretty significant.

Raenir Salazar
Nov 5, 2010

No way...


College Slice

bewbies posted:

[s]


It was a terrible waste of resources. You seem to be in love with the performance parameters and not familiar with their cost or operational history.

Also, it was super obsolete shortly after the war (look at their performance in Korea).

How much of that is because they couldn't freely go into Manchuria and Soviet airspace to destroy facilities?

PookBear
Nov 1, 2008


Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody's going to die.


zoux posted:

At what point did US Bomber Command go, you know what, turrets on bombers are stupid?

Also what did the engines need to do that was so hard, was it just a question of the scale of the airframe or were their other design goals

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schnellbomber

nazi germany realized it a lot sooner

Jobbo_Fett
Mar 7, 2014

It would be a sad error in judgement to mistake me for a corpse.


Clapping Larry

MrYenko posted:

The Ha-43 and Ha-45 are both easy comparisons to the R-2800, so we’ll use that.

Nakajima built something like nine-thousand Ha-45s.
Mitsubishi built seventy-seven Ha-43s.
Nash-Kelvinator built sixteen-thousand, nine-hundred and eighty-seven R-2800s. Nash was the smallest licensed producer for Pratt and Whitney.

(I couldn’t find a breakout of specifically how many -2800s P&W built specifically during the war, and that engine didn’t cease production until 1960, at which point they’d built 160k overall. Nash’s numbers are wartime-only. I guesstimate that the wartime -2800 numbers are clear of 120k.)

The Japanese never successfully got anything more powerful to production, while Wright had the R-3350 in full production before the end of the war (production priorities meant that the B-29 was the only significant user of the engine before the war ended.) Pratt and Whitney had the R-4360 flying in numerous prototypes and pre-production aircraft before the end of the war, and it probably would have seen combat had the war been prolonged at all.

The disparity is pretty significant.

Yeah, I just wanted to know by what metric.

bewbies
Sep 23, 2003



Fun Shoe

Raenir Salazar posted:

How much of that is because they couldn't freely go into Manchuria and Soviet airspace to destroy facilities?

I mean, they got so thoroughly brutalized in Korea proper that they had to switch to nighttime ops (albeit after wrecking a bunch of stuff in the DPRK). I can't imagine things would've gone better for them had they gone into Soviet airspace; either getting mauled during the day or bombing indiscriminately at night.

Acebuckeye13
Nov 2, 2010

There's only one prescription for Nazism and it's 76mm HVAP





Ultra Carp

bewbies posted:

[s]


It was a terrible waste of resources. You seem to be in love with the performance parameters and not familiar with their cost or operational history.

Also, it was super obsolete shortly after the war (look at their performance in Korea).

so obsolete that the B-50 was being built into 1953

Like, I'm well aware that the B-29 had a ton of issues. It was still a powerful aircraft that performed a unique role both during and after the war, and your assertion it was a waste of money is completely ridiculous.

Sagebrush
Feb 26, 2012


"Why does that Subaru break down every time you look at it, Travis", Punchy said. I nearly fell out of the jump seat in my Brat, aghast. "That thing a princess?" I coughed and gulped. "Hahahaha, nice one, Punchy", I said

bewbies posted:

It was a terrible waste of resources. You seem to be in love with the performance parameters and not familiar with their cost or operational history.

Also, it was super obsolete shortly after the war (look at their performance in Korea).

The B-29 was worth every penny of its development costs as it was the only aircraft capable of carrying an atomic bomb to japan, ending the war

bewbies
Sep 23, 2003



Fun Shoe

Acebuckeye13 posted:

so obsolete that the B-50 was being built into 1953

Like, I'm well aware that the B-29 had a ton of issues. It was still a powerful aircraft that performed a unique role both during and after the war, and your assertion it was a waste of money is completely ridiculous.

They spent 3 BILLION DOLLARS on just under 4,000 frames in an era when a frontline fighter cost 50 grand, and wound up with a plane that burst into flames with alarming frequency, while performing a role that probably didn't really need to be played to end the war (though it should be noted that they contributed to Operation Starvation, which was a much more sane use of military resources).

It was a stupendous waste of money, and would have been ruinous to a military not the midcentury US. That the US had the resources to keep developing and funding the thing doesn't make its cost to benefit ratio look any better.

zoux
Apr 28, 2006



ought ten posted:

I want to know what I thought zoux was asking, which is what was the drat problem with making the XC-99. It’s chonky

I was asking about the B-29 but really, I'm all about any kind of difficult plane development

KYOON GRIFFEY JR
Apr 12, 2010




in just purely inflation adjusted dollars that's a 43 billion program today.

Sagebrush
Feb 26, 2012


"Why does that Subaru break down every time you look at it, Travis", Punchy said. I nearly fell out of the jump seat in my Brat, aghast. "That thing a princess?" I coughed and gulped. "Hahahaha, nice one, Punchy", I said

So 1/40th the cost of the F-35 program, while building 50% more airplanes.

Godholio
Aug 28, 2002

Does a bear split in the woods near Zheleznogorsk?


bewbies posted:

[s]


It was a terrible waste of resources. You seem to be in love with the performance parameters and not familiar with their cost or operational history.

Also, it was super obsolete shortly after the war (look at their performance in Korea).

And it then did a great job at various maritime missions, airborne early warning, aerial refueling, SIGINT, recon, SAR...

And as mentioned, it pushed the envelope on a whole bunch of tech and TTPs that carried into the Cold War.

Sagebrush posted:

So 1/40th the cost of the F-35 program, while building 50% more airplanes.

Absolute madness. They could've just kept building B-17s, they were doing fine.

Godholio fucked around with this message at 01:54 on Apr 7, 2021

KYOON GRIFFEY JR
Apr 12, 2010




Sagebrush posted:

So 1/40th the cost of the F-35 program, while building 50% more airplanes.

id expect them to be cheaper considering the capability gaps

shame on an IGA
Apr 8, 2005



Raenir Salazar posted:

How much of that is because they couldn't freely go into Manchuria and Soviet airspace to destroy facilities?

There were plenty in Manchuria, China didn't stop flying Tu-4's until the Bush administration.

shame on an IGA fucked around with this message at 01:58 on Apr 7, 2021

Wingnut Ninja
Jan 11, 2003

Mostly Harmless


I can buy the argument that, in retrospect, the B-29 didn't provide a capability commensurate with its huge development cost, but "boondoggle" implies that it was not an effective combat aircraft, which doesn't seem to be supported.

Like, the Zumwalt class destroyers are what I would think of as a boondoggle, because not only did we spend a ton of money on them, but we didn't get any useful capability out of them in the end. The B-29 and its lineage undeniably did some useful things, even if you can argue there were other ways to achieve those goals for less money.

ought ten
Feb 5, 2004



zoux posted:

I was asking about the B-29 but really, I'm all about any kind of difficult plane development

All I’ve learned is it could carry 400 troops or ~100,000 lbs cargo. They built one XC-99 before cancelling the program, and it flew cargo routes for the Air Force. It’s in pieces in Arizona. There was a planned civilian passenger variant too, and Pan Am ordered 15 but the radials were too thirsty to make it cost effective.

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

Sagebrush posted:

So 1/40th the cost of the F-35 program, while building 50% more airplanes.

I hate to be the semi-defender of that godforsaken program, but the F-35 program costs that get quoted are every cent from the time some lobbyist engineer first sketched it on a napkin to the time the final airframe gets decommissioned around the time our grandkids are getting goatse'd on Mars. It's not comparing the same parts of the lifecycle.

Sagebrush
Feb 26, 2012


"Why does that Subaru break down every time you look at it, Travis", Punchy said. I nearly fell out of the jump seat in my Brat, aghast. "That thing a princess?" I coughed and gulped. "Hahahaha, nice one, Punchy", I said

Okay, looking it up the F-35 program is around 400-500 billion for development and acquisition. So I guess it's only ten or fifteen times as expensive per airframe as the B-29 program

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Arglebargle III
Feb 21, 2006




I had no idea the Oscar class submarine was designed to utterly buttrock an American carrier group.

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