Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

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antwony
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Re: Early model Seafire's operational issues

Post by antwony » 08 Apr 2022 09:44

antwony wrote:
11 Jun 2018 10:08
Would argee that WW2 histography would tend to portray the situation vis-a-vis aircover at Salerno as disasterous and in particularly the Seafire being a disaster. But, I'd disagree. The Seafire's on the CVE's were meant to transfer to Salerno airfield on D +1. I think it was about a week they operated off the too slow, too small decks. They still flew the bulk of the missions over the landing zone. There were only 36 fighters in Sicily, the rest of the land based planes were operating out of Tunisia, which was quite a ways off.
Have done a bit more research and it would seem that the American Escort Carriers had an unusual advantage over British carriers, with their armoured (metal) decks, in operations off Salerno.

According to some interviews I listened to at the Imperial War Museum’s website, one of the problems (the biggest one maybe ???) with the Seafire’s landing in low wind was that as they came in too fast, when they caught a wire the tail rose and this resulted in the propeller smashing into the deck. Fortunately, as both the propeller of the Seafire and the deck of the American Escort Carriers were wooden this “only” resulted in the propellers getting chipped.

According to Douglas Parker, about two inches of the propeller got chipped off per landing. Apparently, the ship’s carpenters got to work with some sandpaper (or something) and could repair the chipping. No one mentioned this, although Parker may have alluded to it, but I presume they must have shortened the undamaged blades too. According to George Baldwin, this shortening didn’t effect the planes performance adversely and later Seafires came with shortened blades from the factory.

However, Parker mentions a technical term “sink”. He was saying the shorter propeller blades increased the engines revolutions, requiring the pilots to use less forward throttle on take off. He explained this was cumulative as more and more 2 inch shortenings happened to the propeller blade. Until, eventually their “sink” was such that they only had 5 feet of clearance from the surface of the water at launch. Once a plane’s sink had got to five feet, it was classified non operational.

Do we have any aviation experts, particularly the naval kind, who would like to comment on ; Parker vs. (or not) Baldwin?

Baldwin’s interview, he starts talking propeller blades after 10 min 30 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80011776
Parker’s interview after 24min
https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80015067

Apologies to the mod’s if linking to IWM is against forum rules.

EwenS
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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by EwenS » 08 Apr 2022 15:16

antwony
Neither of the links you post seem to have anything to do with Seafires or Salerno.

With regard to the operation of Seafires from the 4 US built escort carriers at Salerno, the problems they experienced are well recorded. The collision of prop with deck is usually referred to as “pecking” not “chipping”. It happened to other aircraft types as well. It was the captain of HMS Hunter, Capt HH McWilliam, who, after consultation with the ship’s engineering staff, recommended shortening the prop blades by 2” each because the fleet was running out of new props to fit as replacements for those damaged. This had no discernible affect on performance of the aircraft.

I’ve never read of it being done more than once to each prop.

There were two problems at Salerno with the Seafire:-
1. The inexperience of the pilots on a type that had only entered service in June 1942 and who had trained on other types. Many of the Seafire squadrons at Salerno had had the aircraft for less than 3 months.
2. The operating conditions with low winds from small escort carrier decks, ships that could only do 18 knots max. The fleet carriers could generate another 12 knots of wind over the deck. That made all the difference. Fleet carrier Seafire losses in the Med in 1943 were not nearly as great as on the escort carriers.

The fact that a carrier had a steel or wooden deck made no difference to the “pecking” problem that I’ve ever read about. Barring the question of mechanical problems, any aircraft will “sink” below the level of the flight deck if there is insufficient wind over the deck. The solutions are to make the aircraft lighter for the available wind, or increase ship speed to generate more wind over the deck. See above.

While the Seafire earned a bad reputation at Salerno the US built escort carriers were again in action in the Med with Seafires in Aug 1944 during the Operation Dragoon landings in Southern France and then again in the Aegean in Sept / Oct 1944 and then in 1945 in the Indian Ocean. Despite often encountering low wind conditions, loss rates to deck landing accidents never again approached the levels at Salerno. The reasons being better training for the pilots and more experience of the type in service.

As for British built escort carriers not using the Seafire operationally, that has more to do with the timing of their entry into service (late 1943 / early 1944) and the realisation that the Seafire with its fragile undercart was not suited to operations in the rough Atlantic and Arctic with much heavier seas than the Med, than the fact that they had steel decks. For those 4 ships the choice was Sea Hurricanes or Wildcats. Only a couple of US built ships used Seafires in the Atlantic. Tracker traded hers for Wildcats in Dec 1943 while Fencer did likewise in March 1944 just when the British built ships reached the Atlantic.

You will find histories for all the escort carriers here
http://www.royalnavyresearcharchive.org ... lBBkMrTWhB

Edit. The other way of generating wind over the deck to launch an aircraft is to use a catapult. Unfortunately the Seafires used at Salerno we’re not compatible with the US catapults that used tail down launching. Unicorn and the fleet carriers had British catapults that used a collapsible trolley to support the aircraft in the flying position. It however was clumsy to use and slowed down launch times compared to free take offs. The first British naval aircraft designed for tail down launch was the Griffon engined Seafire XV which was tested in prototype form from Sept 1944 and entered squadron service in May 1945, just too late to see combat.

antwony
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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by antwony » 09 Apr 2022 13:24

EwenS wrote:
08 Apr 2022 15:16
antwony

Neither of the links you post seem to have anything to do with Seafires or Salerno.
Yes, the links aren't the best and unfortunately, I 'm not able to edit that post anymore.

You need to go to Reel 2 of the Parker interview and it's after the 22nd (not 24th) minute of tape when he starts talking about chipping, which is the word he uses.

Baldwin starts talking about pecking and a "spokeshave" on Reel 4 at 10:30.

Thanks for the rest of your mail.

EwenS
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Location: Scotland

Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by EwenS » 09 Apr 2022 16:17

Thanks for the corrections.

You might also be interested in these pages on the Seafire which have some embedded videos of Seafires landing on at Salerno as well as on fleet carriers.
https://www.armouredcarriers.com/seafire-development

Note Hugh Popham's comments about flying the Seafire from one of the fleet carriers at Salerno
".....We, with our bigger decks and higher speed, had no such troubles: in fact the squadron got through the operation without a prang at all,...."

There is also a comment in there that the worst offenders for flight deck incidents were those pilots transferred from the fleet carrier Indomitable who clearly had trouble adjusting to the smaller escort carrier decks with lower wind over the deck. (Indomitable had been torpedoed andcsentbto the US for repair, leaving her 3 Seafire squsdrons behind to join the escort carriers). And it was the larger light carrier Unicorn that had the highest accident rate. She was probably not able to use her additional speed as that would have broken up the Task Group formation. But clearly the shape of her hull and flight deck disturbed the airflow in some way that was detrimental to landing on Seafires.

ThatZenoGuy
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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by ThatZenoGuy » 07 May 2022 15:20

A 190 would have bad characteristics for a carrier plane, namely it had to go fast, otherwise it'd stall.

You could 'fix' this issue via making it have larger wings or a more advanced flap system, but that means heavier weight, more drag, slower speed.

And if the wings get too big, now it's hard to store in the hangars, might not fit the elevator, etc, or the wings might not be structurally sound for folding mechanisms, etc.

I think you can certainly make a carrier plane out of the 190, it might even be a pretty good one, the 190 was a reliable aircraft after all (the most important trait for carrier planes is...To work reliably because salt is a bitch), but the work to carve such a plane out of the original design would be quite large.

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