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  #71  
Old 15th February 2005, 02:15
Nash Nash is offline
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Spitfire XI -- EN409 -- Multiple wing rivet failure in dive.
Spitfire XI -- EN409 -- Prop/gear broke off in dive.

It is indeed the aircraft tested by Fuehrer Martindale. I would like to see what happens with Thunderbolt in a speed exceeding M=0,9!
Not just was EN 409 the aircraft Martindale had his accident in, it had been used for high speed testing since late 1943, before finally being lost at the end of April 1944.

The figures I have seen show it reaching mach 0.89 when being piloted by sq/ldr Tobin in late 43/early 44.

In contrast, US trials of a P-51:

"In July 1944 Wright Field test pilots explored the high speed dive characteristics of a Merlin powered Mustang. A series of dive tests were made starting from about 35,000 ft. in a test airplane equipped with a mach meter. The idea was to explore the effects of compressibility such as buffeting, vibration, control force changes, and so on. Initial dives showed the onset of the problem to occur at just under mach .75. Additional dives were made, usiung three test pilots, which carried the aircraft sucessively to mach .77, then .79, and up to mach .81, and finally to mach .83 (605 mph) As the dive mach number was increased the compressibility effects became more violent, but the aircraft wsa still controllable, and it was possible to fly it out of the problem when desired, at mach .83 the shaking and buffeting of the aircraft was so strong that it was decided to explore no further. The airplane had suffered considerable structural damage and was written off." (America's Hundred Thousand)

and:

Flight Research Branch, tests of P-51D:

"The airplane has been dived to a maximum mach number of 0.85, and on several occasions to 0.84. In each case the pilots reported the vibration became extremely heavy beyond 0.80. In each dive to 0.84 or above the vibration becames sosevere that the airplane was damaged. The leading edge skin of a wing flap was buckled between rivets, a coolant line cracked and hydraulic line broken due to vibration on various dives to 0.84 and above. "
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  #72  
Old 15th February 2005, 04:21
Six Nifty .50s Six Nifty .50s is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juha
Hello again Six Nifty .50s
I'm not sure if this is relevant, but I once read that there were problems with the bearings of the Pachard Merlins and the the reason given in the article was bad quality control at Pachards or at one of its sub-contractors or to be more precis the reason given was the place where the machine-tool operators poured their stale Coke.That isn't relevant to Merlins of the Hurricanes of the 43 Sqn but maybe to the Mustangs and to the Spits, if they were Mk XVIs and the failures happened in certain timeframe.
Hello Juha.

Only two of the 39 Spitfires on that list were Mk XVI and they belonged to No. 421 Squadron. Because the engines were changed so frequently it is possible that both planes had their Packards replaced with Rolls-Royce Merlins before they crashed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Juha
maybe the British only tried to put the blame of the bearing failures on Americans

No one should be surprised. Here is something you'll never find in Rolls- Royce press releases:

In May 1943 (long before Packard-powered Spitfire XVIs were in service), RAF Fighter Command informed the USAAF that on average the Allison engine lasted about three times longer than Merlins in-between bearing failures. They noted the V-1710-39 was routinely overboosted to 72" Hg manifold pressure for up to twenty minutes at a time without damaging the engine. They said that the Allison could get them home even when the bearings were ruined, which is more than they could say for the Merlin. They also told the USAAF that the Merlin did not run efficiently below 1600 rpm and the higher fuel consumption made that engine an undesirable alternative for Tac/R missions. Finally the RAF recommended that the automatic boost controls should be removed from all P-51 airplanes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jukka Juutinen
The civilian Merlin was not rejected for being unreliable! The fact is that civilian Merlin were approaching 2000 hrs TBO.
I doubt that was anywhere near the average. It sounds like more company propaganda from Rolls-Royce, and sales were poor.
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  #73  
Old 15th February 2005, 04:52
Six Nifty .50s Six Nifty .50s is offline
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Six Nifty .50s
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
[Spitfire XI -- EN409 -- Multiple wing rivet failure in dive.
Spitfire XI -- EN409 -- Prop/gear broke off in dive.

It is indeed the aircraft tested by Fuehrer Martindale. I would like to see what happens with Thunderbolt in a speed exceeding M=0,9!.
I would like to see what happens to a Spitfire in a speed of Mach .91, or Mach .89, or whatever it was. That story has been rubbished by British aerospace engineers. They said that long before it reached that speed, the Spitfire would have broken up, much like those from the list I posted earlier.

This topic has come up often on the Usenet message boards over the past 10 years. Been there, done that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
In RAF it was generally considered Packard was of worser quality rather than RR.
My research indicates the exact opposite.

I just surveyed 162 Spitfires for engine failures and only nine were Spitfire Mk XVI. And it is not clear if any of these Mk XVIs had the original Merlin 266 installed. Possibly all nine of them had Rolls-Royce replacement engines when they were lost.
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  #74  
Old 15th February 2005, 06:35
Six Nifty .50s Six Nifty .50s is offline
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Six Nifty .50s
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
The matter of training is disputable - generally US pilots had more flying time amassed but this does not mean they were better. Otherwise, generally RAF pilot had quite a lot of flying time when entering RAF Squadron - it was a rule that after basic training, pilot was sent for a non combat duties and only after a tour eg. in gunnery school or army co-operation, he was sent to a combat school. By 1943/44 all key positions in RAF fighter squadrons were held by seasoned combat veterans, and if you doubt importance of experience, you shod re-read Gabby's book!
They may have been seasoned, but that was not always enough.

Except for one plane, the No. 133 Eagle Squadron was wiped out near Brest on 26th September 1942, partly due to the poor leadership of the Englishman who was leading the squadron. It started with the RAF weatherman who failed to predict high winds and the controllers at Exeter who did not keep track of their progress, but then the mission commander Flight Lieutenant E.G. Brettell made several mistakes that one would expect from a novice pilot, not a seasoned veteran. Only Don Gentile escaped because he aborted early. Robert Beaty managed to fly all the way back to the UK, although he ran out of fuel and crashlanded with serious injuries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
NMF was not very common during Normandy Campaign
It was a gradual process starting in May 1944, but nearly all USAAF fighters had a natural metal finish by August 1944. New planes were delivered unpainted and old planes had the paint stripped off, except for spot colors on the noses, tails and glare panels. There are hundreds of photographs to prove it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
There is a number of German claims for Mustangs in Caen area - actually this was a RAF operational area and those claims are generally for Spitfires. I investigated in great depth Polish combats on 7.06.1944 and 18.08.1944 and managed to obtain accounts of German pilots. In both cases 'Amis' were reported and in one case, German pilot reported he was attacked by Thunderbolts, even if there were none in vincinity!
With thousands of engagements over the skies of Europe, a few cases of misidentifiation matters little. But if you insist on playing that game, here here are a few others:

23rd April 1943
Spitfire XII EN601 of No. 41 Sqn was on a shipping recce to Dieppe when shot down by JG26 but it was claimed as an RAF Mustang I. The South African pilot F/Lt T. R. Poynton was killed.

24th February 1944
Lt. Waldemar Radener of JG 26 claimed to have shot down a P-47 SE of Bonn. But there were no P-47s in the area at the time, and a German researcher discovered his victim was a P-51 flown by Don Rice of the 357th FG, who had shot down Gerhard Loschinski just moments earlier.

15th June 1944
Luftwaffe pilots of JG 2 claimed to have shot down four RAF Mustangs but the only RAF air-to-air combat losses listed this day were three Spitfires from No. 421 (RCAF) Squadron.

29th December 1944
An Fw 190D-9 of JG26 was shot down in error by a Bf 109, probably from JG27. Shit happens.

29th December 1944
In his combat report this day, Fritz Ungar of JG 54 misidentified No. 56 Squadron RAF Tempests as P-47 Thunderbolts.

22nd February 1945
Heinz Gehrke of JG 26 reported he was shot down by a Spitfire near Plantleunne, but his own official casualty report credits his downing to a Tempest at 1745 hrs. This matches the after action report of D.C. Fairbanks (an American) who flew RAF Tempests with No. 274 Squadron. Spitfires, Tempests and Thunderbolts had similar elliptical wing planform shapes so occasionally there was an ID problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
As a side note in regard of identification, quite often D-Day stripes did not help in preventing of freindly fire, so why to mention colourful markings!
Agreed, but I noticed that RAF fighter pilots did not shoot at USAAF planes so often after natural metal finish and bright spot colors became standard.

Found some relevant comments from LeRoy Gover, who piloted Spitfires with 66 and 133 Squadrons, RAF and later flew Thunderbolts with the 336th Fighter Squadron, USAAF....

" February 21st, 1943 - My P-47 is being painted white on the nose and tail today, so those bastards won't shoot at us. About four of us have been shot at now by Spits, Typhoons and [British] ground defenses because they think we look like FW-190s. I hope it works, because we have enough trouble with the Jerries having to worry about our own guys.

March 9th, 1943 - We were fired on by our own coast guns [British] on the way home. I guess the white stripes don't work very well "
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  #75  
Old 15th February 2005, 08:42
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Juha Juha is offline
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Hello Six Nifty .50s
thanks for clarification. My impression has been that Spit XVIs were allocated to certain sqns because at least part of the engine tools were different for Packard Merlins from those for RR Merlins. If I'm right it would be illogical to supply RR Merlins to Mk XVI sqns if they were not changing RR Merlins to all of sqn's Spits. But I can be totally in error in this, I freely admit.

On the story on Packard machine-tool operators pouring their stale Coke to cutting-oil tanks. I checked that briefly, it is in one of Alec Hexshaw's articles in Aeroplane Monthly (Feb 1984 or 83, father's duties suddenly overrun aviation research this morning) on Merlin reliability problems, mostly on skew-gear failures but he also mentioned this. But it caused sometimes problems in connection rods, not in bearings and usually engine failed at the climb test at latest so it probably did not cause many engine failures in sqns.

On S/L Martindale's dive. You think that there was a calibration error in Mach meter, don't You? What You think was the real Mach number S/L Martindale reached in that dive or was generally possible to reach in late marque Spits? I asked this because I'm interested in the max diving speeds of the different WWII fighters. And I have bought the explanation that Spit could dive so fast because it had so thin wings.
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  #76  
Old 15th February 2005, 15:28
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Quote:
Only two of the 39 Spitfires on that list were Mk XVI and they belonged to No. 421 Squadron. Because the engines were changed so frequently it is possible that both planes had their Packards replaced with Rolls-Royce Merlins before they crashed.
What does it mean - frequently? Otherwise claim that Packards were exchanged for RRs in a Mk XVI equipped unit I find just ridiculous.

Quote:
No one should be surprised. Here is something you'll never find in Rolls- Royce press releases:
No doubt but where I can find it? What is the source?

Quote:
I doubt that was anywhere near the average. It sounds like more company propaganda from Rolls-Royce, and sales were poor.
Frankly, I do not see any civilian market for high power in-line engines and I believe this was the main reason of lack of successes.

Quote:
I would like to see what happens to a Spitfire in a speed of Mach .91, or Mach .89, or whatever it was. That story has been rubbished by British aerospace engineers. They said that long before it reached that speed, the Spitfire would have broken up, much like those from the list I posted earlier.
Which British engineers? Could you name them? I understand you claim that engineers at RAE Farnborough were unable to calculate IAS properly.

Quote:
This topic has come up often on the Usenet message boards over the past 10 years. Been there, done that.
Well, I cannot find usenet boards a completely reliable source of opinions.

Quote:
My research indicates the exact opposite.
I just surveyed 162 Spitfires for engine failures and only nine were Spitfire Mk XVI. And it is not clear if any of these Mk XVIs had the original Merlin 266 installed. Possibly all nine of them had Rolls-Royce replacement engines when they were lost.
Well, it is not clear if those Spitfires that suffered structural failures were made of US Alclad but it is absolutely clear Packards were not exchanged for Merlins.

Quote:
Except for one plane, the No. 133 Eagle Squadron was wiped out near Brest on 26th September 1942, partly due to the poor leadership of the Englishman who was leading the squadron. It started with the RAF weatherman who failed to predict high winds and the controllers at Exeter who did not keep track of their progress, but then the mission commander Flight Lieutenant E.G. Brettell made several mistakes that one would expect from a novice pilot, not a seasoned veteran. Only Don Gentile escaped because he aborted early. Robert Beaty managed to fly all the way back to the UK, although he ran out of fuel and crashlanded with serious injuries.
A well known story but I would like to read enquiry board report concerning the event.

Quote:
It was a gradual process starting in May 1944, but nearly all USAAF fighters had a natural metal finish by August 1944. New planes were delivered unpainted and old planes had the paint stripped off, except for spot colors on the noses, tails and glare panels. There are hundreds of photographs to prove it.
A risky thesis having in mind a lot of aircraft were moved from 8 to 9 and there is just enough photos of rather worn camouflaged P-47s. Also, some US units continued to camouflage their aircraft. correctly considering it caused more disadvantage than advantage.

Quote:
With thousands of engagements over the skies of Europe, a few cases of misidentifiation matters little. But if you insist on playing that game, here here are a few others:
A few? Even during the Battle of Britain there were claims for He 113 even if it was known the only German fighter was one-oh-nine. Misidentifications between 109s and 190s were so common that I think I can double your samples here working solely on my not too good memory.
Also, I have an account of Ottomar Kruse, II/JG26, in which he clearly states that all enemy aircraft were US to them.

Quote:
29th December 1944
An Fw 190D-9 of JG26 was shot down in error by a Bf 109, probably from JG27. Shit happens.
Do not you mean the case of Siegfried Benz downed on 24.12.1944?

Quote:
Agreed, but I noticed that RAF fighter pilots did not shoot at USAAF planes so often after natural metal finish and bright spot colors became standard.
I do not think they were shooting them that often before, because it was decided already in 1943 to make separate sectors for USAAF and RAF - my source - W/C Tadeusz Sawicz.

Quote:
Found some relevant comments from LeRoy Gover, who piloted Spitfires with 66 and 133 Squadrons, RAF and later flew Thunderbolts with the 336th Fighter Squadron, USAAF....
What is the source? Anyway, ground defences of every nation fired at everything in the air and those were not US boys simply because there were none at the time.
I have to note here that I have heard several RAF pilots complaining about US abilities to identify own aircraft.
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  #77  
Old 15th February 2005, 15:31
Nash Nash is offline
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Nash
Quote:
In May 1943 (long before Packard-powered Spitfire XVIs were in service), RAF Fighter Command informed the USAAF that on average the Allison engine lasted about three times longer than Merlins in-between bearing failures.
Do you have a source for this?

AIR 2/7498 - 95A (British archives reference) has correspondence from Air Marshall Tedder, commander RAF forces in the Middle East, asking for more P-40Fs (Packard Merlin engined) rather than P-40Ks (Allison engined), both because of the better performance of the Merlin engined variant, and because they suffered less bearing failures than the Allison engined aircraft.

The records also show lower serviceability rates for the Allison engined P-40 variants in North Africa than for the Hurricanes serving there.

Quote:
I would like to see what happens to a Spitfire in a speed of Mach .91, or Mach .89, or whatever it was.
Ask and you shall receive:


(If the image contravenes any rules, eg size etc, or if images aren't allowed, please tell me so I can remove it)

The image is part of a preliminary report on the dive tests (they were still using a Mustang I as well at that point), Martindale's accident came later.

Quote:
That story has been rubbished by British aerospace engineers. They said that long before it reached that speed, the Spitfire would have broken up, much like those from the list I posted earlier.
Have they? I've never seen that claimed, could you please provide a source?

I do know that later on the RAE (who carried out these tests) wrote to Supermarine saying that the Spitfire was the most suitable aircraft for the tests because it could sustain higher mach speeds than either the P-51 or P-47.

Quote:
My research indicates the exact opposite.

I just surveyed 162 Spitfires for engine failures and only nine were Spitfire Mk XVI.
Spitfire XVIs served in fairly small numbers, becoming involved very late in the war.

The information I have seen is that the RAF had to abandon the use of 100/150 fuel, which allowed 25 lbs boost in Merlins, in their Spit XVIs because it was causing problems with the Packard engines.

Quote:
And it is not clear if any of these Mk XVIs had the original Merlin 266 installed. Possibly all nine of them had Rolls-Royce replacement engines when they were lost.
Possibly the other 162 Spitfires had replacement Packard engines when they were lost?

The truth is, the types weren't usually mixed and matched, because different spares and tools were required, which would make servicing a nightmare.

There's a good reason why they gave a different model number to the Spitfire XVI (which was a Spitfire IX, but with the Packard built engine). It wouldn't make much sense to create a new model, then go and mix the engines up afterwards.

Quote:
In May 1943 (long before Packard-powered Spitfire XVIs were in service), RAF Fighter Command informed the USAAF that on average the Allison engine lasted about three times longer than Merlins in-between bearing failures.
Source please. As I said, it's contradicted by what I've seen.
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  #78  
Old 15th February 2005, 15:49
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nash
Spitfire XVIs served in fairly small numbers, becoming involved very late in the war.
The information I have seen is that the RAF had to abandon the use of 100/150 fuel, which allowed 25 lbs boost in Merlins, in their Spit XVIs because it was causing problems with the Packard engines.
The truth is, the types weren't usually mixed and matched, because different spares and tools were required, which would make servicing a nightmare.
There's a good reason why they gave a different model number to the Spitfire XVI (which was a Spitfire IX, but with the Packard built engine). It wouldn't make much sense to create a new model, then go and mix the engines up afterwards.
Nash
Spitifre XVIs saw some extensive service since late 1944 and comments about them were varied. Complaints about quality, similar to those concerning CBAF Spits back in 1940, were mixed with appreciation in those units, that had a mix of rather clapped Mk IXs dating back to 1942!
A mix of variants in one Squadron was theoretically possible and I think differencies were minor for a qualified groundservice, the key was doubtless spares supply and rationalisation of spares stock within a unit.
I have to say that I never saw any complaints concerning Packards in Mustangs used to chase V1s but that they worked quite rough. Perhaps no direct comparison to RR Merlins there?
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  #79  
Old 15th February 2005, 17:14
Nash Nash is offline
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You forced me to look up the production numbers, which tell an interesting story.

Out of over 20,000 Spitfires built, almost exactly 1 in 20 was a Spitfire XVI, which of course served for a fairly short time (as Franek points out, some early IXs were serving for years, as were many Spitfire Vs.)

So if in 9 Spitfires was a XVI, you'd expect in 9 engine failures to be as well. In fact, if there were 9 engine failures in Mk XVIs, you'd expect 180 in all Spits, and yet Six Nifty .50s says there were only 162, which gives the XVI a slightly higher failure rate than average.

Quote:
I have to say that I never saw any complaints concerning Packards in Mustangs used to chase V1s but that they worked quite rough. Perhaps no direct comparison to RR Merlins there?
Neil Sterling would be the best person to ask, as he has dug a lot of information on 100/150 fuel and it's use out of the British archives. I believe the information about the Spitfire XVI stopping the use of 100/150 early came from him, but I can't find it at the moment. One of the things I found though talks of timing problems on Packard built engines when running at 25 lbs boost that aren't present on RR engines.
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  #80  
Old 15th February 2005, 18:55
Six Nifty .50s Six Nifty .50s is offline
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Six Nifty .50s
In May 1943 (long before Packard-powered Spitfire XVIs were in service), RAF Fighter Command informed the USAAF that on average the Allison engine lasted about three times longer than Merlins in-between bearing failures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nash
Do you have a source for this?
BRITISH ARMY CO-OPERATION TACTICAL EMPLOYMENT
OF THE MUSTANG I (P-51)
26th August 1943

HEADQUARTERS
NORTHWEST AFRICAN STRATEGIC AIR FORCE
CHARLES F. HORN
Brigadier General, GSC,
Asst Chief of Staff, A-3

The Introduction of the report says it was filed as a result of contact with RAF Wing Commander Peter Dudjeen on 31st May 1943.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nash
AIR 2/7498 - 95A (British archives reference) has correspondence from Air Marshall Tedder, commander RAF forces in the Middle East, asking for more P-40Fs (Packard Merlin engined) rather than P-40Ks (Allison engined), both because of the better performance of the Merlin engined variant, and because they suffered less bearing failures than the Allison engined aircraft

The records also show lower serviceability rates for the Allison engined P-40 variants in North Africa than for the Hurricanes serving there.
That is very unlikely, unless the Allisons were elderly with high hours and there was a much greater supply of replacement Merlins.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nash
Have they? I've never seen that claimed, could you please provide a source?
You overestimate my willingness to spend hours reminiscing in the Usenet archives just so we can recount endless technobabble about the (alleged) dive speed of one Spitfire. Do it yourself.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nash
You forced me to look up the production numbers, which tell an interesting story. So if in 9 Spitfires was a XVI, you'd expect in 9 engine failures to be as well. In fact, if there were 9 engine failures in Mk XVIs, you'd expect 180 in all Spits, and yet Six Nifty .50s says there were only 162, which gives the XVI a slightly higher failure rate than average.
That doesn't make sense because I never said there was 'only' 162 Merlin engine failures. Those are just the ones I know about, because there is no basic reference source with a compiled list. What I posted was pieced together using several sources.

For the Battle of Britain period, I looked at FIGHTER COMMAND LOSSES by Norman Franks and he listed just a few RAF fighters lost to engine problems between July 1940 and October 1940. But then I checked the BATTLE of BRITAIN: THEN and NOW and found 35 RAF fighters reported lost to engine failure or some type of motor trouble -- not including a few cases that I discounted because they involved glycol leaks or pilot error in handling the fuel switches.

I do not live in the UK so I cannot visit their archives whenever I please. I own a few of the published RAF squadron histories. The ones that have an appendix showing a list of airframes is very helpful, but it will take time to find more of these at the local libraries.
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