German Bomber modified for A Bomb Delivery

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Huck
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Post by Huck » 21 Aug 2005 00:20

It seems that the info is correct, the pictures are from "German Aircraft of World War 2" by Smith & Kay.

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Auseklis
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Post by Auseklis » 21 Aug 2005 10:15

Hm,

Griehl / Dressel: "He177 -277-274" has the following entry for V38 listed:

Werknummer 550002 KM+TB: Prototype with FuG200 and 216, A-Turret (2 MG 131), delivered to testing facility Werneuchen on 27.04.1944.

That would make V38 a ship-hunter?

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Grzesio
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Post by Grzesio » 23 Aug 2005 08:34

Griehl in "Luftwaffe over America" also states that He 177 V38 with the enlarged bomb bay was intended for tests in the Ju 287 program.
Then, Smith and Kay are NOT the most reliable source one can imagine - if there is a couple of differing information about certain events/planes circulating around, they almost always choose the wrong one in their book.

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Auseklis
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Post by Auseklis » 23 Aug 2005 08:59

But why was a "Hohentwiel"-Radar installed?

If V38 was delivered for testing in 4/44, when was it pulled out of the Radar-test program at Werneuchen to be reconfigured?

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Grzesio
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Post by Grzesio » 23 Aug 2005 11:04

OK, sorry, I was not too precise, writing from memory - I don't want to speculate if it actually was V38 or not, as I cannot remember it now - I meant the He 177 with an enlarged bomb bay, which according to S&K was intended as an atomic bomber.

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Auseklis
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Post by Auseklis » 24 Aug 2005 07:52

V38 was the one with the enlarged bomb bay. But since V38 was configuered as a ship-hunter, I would think the bomb-bay was for a anti-ship weapon.

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PapageiStaffel
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Post by PapageiStaffel » 24 Aug 2005 11:36

Hi,

An antiship weapon surely with wings that maybe the reason why the germans removed the bomb bay doors. Myself for the He 177 V38, I leaned to a big bomb like the Grand Slam carried by modified Lancaster.

So long.

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Re: German Bomber modified for A Bomb Delivery

Post by Simon Gunson » 03 May 2009 10:44

Many books have speculated that He177V38 (W.Nr.550002) which was located incomplete at Prague-Ruszin was indeed an "atomic bomber"... but this was probably due to many not fully understanding the large non-standard bomb bay...
The reason for Dambuster Lancasters having their keels cut away did not become apparent until much later either and that proved to be a special bomb. I made an observation on Peter's website that it seemed more than co-incidence that the He-177 could no longer survive in UK airspace even if it could accommodate a nuclear weapon therefore it seemed more than co-incidence to me that the Ju-287 had identical bomb bay dimensions to the V38.

Some photos per request:
Image


This photo was taken inside a hanger before the Soviet capture of Prague
Image

This photo of the bomb bay is earlier than the outdoors shot of V-38 with it's fuselage cladding stripped away.
Image

I have a friend and historian in Prague, Peter Lemkin who advises me that both before and after Prague fell to the Soviets there were many American intelligence raids by into German held Czechoslovakia by ALSOS teams. It seems that some of the knowledge about V38's purpose was obtained by ALSOS raids before the Soviets overran the area.

Incidentally Stammkennzeichen for the V38 was KM+TB

I was told on Peter's website during that debate by another member that there were in fact three He-177 converted with enlarged bomb bays. From memory the contributor said these were V36, V37 and V38

Former Luftwaffe pilot Peter Brill revealed at a conference in Sabadell on 2 April 2005 that he was especially selected for He-177 training in night time astro navigation. He reported to Sprottau, where four crews were being trained to bomb New York.

I have a new question to ask in case anyone knows please. Was V38 one of the airframes being converted for an A-7 ?

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Re: German Bomber modified for A Bomb Delivery

Post by phylo_roadking » 03 May 2009 17:09

Former Luftwaffe pilot Peter Brill revealed at a conference in Sabadell on 2 April 2005 that he was especially selected for He-177 training in night time astro navigation.
Interesting comment - inferring/confimring that this wasn't standard. John James in The Paladins refers to the RAF being far in advance of the LW in nighttime navigation, mandating right back to the early 1930's that their night-bombers have dedicated navigator's space and astrodomes for star-shooting at night...

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Re: German Bomber modified for A Bomb Delivery

Post by Ome_Joop » 04 May 2009 01:07

How much bigger was the bomb bay of the He-177 V38 vs other He-177's?
What were it's dimensions, or was it just the same size but without seperations of the 3 bomb bays?

Image
http://the.secret.birds.free.fr/

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Re: German Bomber modified for A Bomb Delivery

Post by Ome_Joop » 04 May 2009 02:12

mandating right back to the early 1930's that their night-bombers have dedicated navigator's space and astrodomes for star-shooting at night...
How would that be possible as Training Command began it's research in Astro-Navigation only after a certain Flight Luitenant Waghorn (staff member at No 10 flying training school) wrote a paper in august 1936 stating that the RAF needed to be given greater consideration to navigation and that Astro Navigation was still wraped in much unnecessary mystery.
Only in February 1939 the Navigation Training Syllabus on was modified so as to include a 4 week Astro-navigation course for pilots and observers...
Problem with that is that the seperate Navigator classification came in the RAF only in 1941!!!

Source A forgotten offensive by Christina J. M. Goulter

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phylo_roadking
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Re: German Bomber modified for A Bomb Delivery

Post by phylo_roadking » 04 May 2009 02:34

How would that be possible
Because the answer is in the word "mandating". They could issue the specification for the aircraft, but it would be 2-3 years before service aircraft appeared out of them. For instance, the MkIA Wellington came into service with an astrodome immediately before the war... but don't forget Specification B.29/36 was an outgrowth of the original B.9/32 i.e. issued in 1932. The RAF began its astro- and night navigation late when it had a night bomber force to make it necessary...something the government only agreed to spend money on from 1935 but the RAF knew it wanted before that as a result of the 1933-35 Air Exercises (AND remember the Cabinet halted the growth of Bomber Command again for a quite a time in 1938! After the fiasco of the Munich Crisis, when Dowding said he didn't have enough fighter aircraft to defend the UK) but James' point was that they DID start the aircraft development, built the cost of future training into the five-year development plan...and didn't rely on technical aids to nightflying at the start of the war as the LW did.

The RAF knew the actual training was a future requirement, and started late with the training when it became necessary for the hardware - when the aircraft they had issued the specs for...to suit the offensive policy the Cabinet had selected from a range of options in 1935...actually began coming into service in the last few years of the decade. In modern terms - the aircraft development needed a longer lead time than the training. Look for example at the Hampden - also built to B.9/32 of 1932, the first prototype didn't fly until June 1936! 8O And it was ANOTHER full two years before No. 49 Sqn received the first service items in September 1938! :o

Another reason for the late starting of courses was that as well as the halt order on Bomber Command aircraft in 1938 - the RAF was chronically short of bomber crew training aircraft; a LOT of its Ansons, Airspeed Oxfords etc. were pressed into the early ranks of Coastal Command in a panic at the outbreak of war. They were SO short of multi-engined, multi-crew trainers that they were negotiating through late 1939 and early 1940 to buy several hundred Capronis from ITALY...

The humble Liutenant Waghorn may have been a specialist in his particular field - aircrew training - and was able to prceive certain lacks as of 1936...but I doubt he was fully clued up in the Air Staff's many-layered and interdependent growth plan for the RAF, and how they had to foster entire aircraft design streams, the growth of squadron numbers, the building of new airfields, the parallel development and expansion of the RAF's technical/engineering support...and how it was going to be much nearer the end of the decade before any of the pilots he was training were to actually sit in an RAF bomber capable of reaching the Ruhr at night and thus notice their as-of-1936 lack of skill... :wink:

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Re: German Bomber modified for A Bomb Delivery

Post by Simon Gunson » 04 May 2009 05:16

I can't add to the debate about RAF astro-navigation, however I have read some years ago about the Luftwaffe that by 1944 the occupation of navigator in Luftwaffe bomber units had been dis-established in most units. Remembering that in the Battle of Britain much of the navigation was radio navigation and not astro-navigation. Also in BoB night targets were being marked by specialist pathfinder units like KG100.

I did some digging overnight and discovered that the V38 airframe had been assigned to E-Stelle Werneuchen which was a night fighter training and research unit.

I have to correct a earlier comment. V38 was converted along with some sister aircraft. I may be incorrect but these don't seem to include V36. These other aircraft were apparently destroyed by an American air raid on the field on 25 March 1945 leaving V-38 the only surviving airframe.

The group does however seem to include V37 (KM+TN), V39 (KM+TY), and V103 (KM+TL). Another He-177 A-5 aircraft sktz code KM+TK appears to have also been with the same Eprobungstelle.

These appear to have been aircraft associated with modifications performed by Letov factory from September 1943 to August 1944 when all work ceased. It is interesting to note that a Japanese export order for He-177 A-5 aircraft was canceled in August 1944 about the same time revolts against the Nazis broke out in Roumania.

It is worth recalling that Deutsche Luft Hansa pilot Flugkapitan Rudolf Mayr in association with Sonderkommando nebel and several civil test pilots (Quenzler, Warsitz, Patin, Matthies) allegedly established an air bridge to Ningxia from Odessa between April and August 1944 using three Ju-290 aircraft.

It is a known historical fact that a fourth Ju-290 aircraft, Ju-290A-3 werke # J900163 Luftwaffe code PI+PQ was ordered on 2 September 1944 to be converted for a mission to China to carry VIP Ulrich Kessler, but work on the aircraft was interrupted by general anti Nazi uprisings in Bulgaria where the aircraft was to fly from, preventing it's mission.

It could be that these disruptions prevented delivery of the He-177 aircraft too.

In terms of the nuclear angle if these were the same aircraft destined for export to Japan, then it is at least possible that they were intended to use the Japanese atomic weapons being prepared by the Japanese 8th Imperial Army Laboartory at Hungnam under Dr Yoshio Nishina rather than a German atomic weapon. Food for thought.

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Re: German Bomber modified for A Bomb Delivery

Post by Ome_Joop » 05 May 2009 20:17

phylo_roadking wrote:
Because the answer is in the word "mandating". They could issue the specification for the aircraft, but it would be 2-3 years before service aircraft appeared out of them. For instance, the MkIA Wellington came into service with an astrodome immediately before the war...
-
-
...and how it was going to be much nearer the end of the decade before any of the pilots he was training were to actually sit in an RAF bomber capable of reaching the Ruhr at night and thus notice their as-of-1936 lack of skill... :wink:

B.3/34 Twin-engine night bomber & bomber/transport - Virginia, Heyford & Hendon replacement - transport requirement later removed after protests from manufacturers Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, Handley Page Harrow

Curiously according to the RAF mandate shouldn't the Whitley (a Nightbomber!) have a dedicated navigator's space and astrodomes for star-shooting at night...as spec B.3/34 was from July 1934, well after the mandate?
Whitley came in service in 1937 and had to do a few years without an astrodome.

But even those Wellingtons with the dedicated space and astrodome still had problems in 1940 as there was no sufficient training (crews with almost no experience in nightflying and training and still had to do with nav-aids and procedures wich were merely modified versions of near obsolete intstruments and methods).
Even after the invasion of the low-countries :D the vital importance to any given target had yet to be given the overall operational priority it deserved.
The common navigation (by Wellingtons crews wich had those astro-domes)!) was to fly to the Dutch coast by deadreckoning, make a pinpoint there in order to calculate a wind for the run to a recognisable target, then rely on map-reading, aided by occasional illumination from flares and the Navigator's prime aid....the Eyeball Mk. I 8O
Waste of Astrodomes..altough the Astro hatch seemed to be a good escape route!

Mandate seems to forgotten the training part all together as according to Arthur Harris (Deputy Director of the plans Division) That the AirStaff was indifferent to, or Ignorant of, long-range navigation problems (he highlighted this in a minute to the Director of Staff Dutoies and Director of Training in November 1936).

Many senior officers, including the Chief of Air Staff, who shared the view expressed by the Deputy Director of Staff Duties (Group Captain Maynard), in October 1939 that long-range navigation over the sea and interception of naval targets amounted to a comparatively simple exercise. To provide crews with an accurate target position before take-off was thought to be sufficient!!!
Does not seem to explain why the need for an Astrodome but shows the lack of interest in (Astro) navigation (training)!?

Info mostly grabbed from Wellington Bomber by Chaz Boyer and A forgotten offensive by Christina J. M. Goulter

Back to the He-177.
I have a new question to ask in case anyone knows please. Was V38 one of the airframes being converted for an A-7 ?
According to (Airdoc by Mafred Griehl...pic!) an A-7 is distinguishable by it's revised (squared) side windows wich V38 does not have.

I got He-177A-7' werk nr :
550316
550256 (GP+RZ)
550210
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Re: German Bomber modified for A Bomb Delivery

Post by phylo_roadking » 06 May 2009 00:18

The problem with the RAF's plans were that they were designed for delivering a service with specific capacities in the first weeks of Autumn 1939...coincidently when WWII broke out :wink:

From 1935 to that 1939 date at the end of August, start of September (also the date of the Barley harvest on mainland Europe, the date any "expected" grat war was to start, when the close of the harvest freed up Reservists for mass callup without affecting that year's food supplies) the Air Ministry planned a series of squadron expansions, station building and staffing, and of more interest to what's being discussed - gradual aircraft development. The Whitley MkI-III was viewed as an interim design, and was already obsolete by 1939, even though it had only been in service for two years.

However - it WASN'T replaced for a number of reasons. First of all - the 1938 temporary moratorium on Bomber Command's aircraft...which therefore impinged seriously on the VERY carefully -"phased" bomber development plans!...threw the Air Ministry's plans out of kilter. Although it needed to be replaced - it's successor wasn't ready...

The SECOND problem for the Whitley was the events of early 1940. As a result of Norway, France and all the aircraft losses there, as well as the loss of Britain's foothold on the Continent, the loss of so much of the Army's equipment in France...AND of course the loss of its Continental ally france, and thus forward bases for the medium bombers of the AASF etc. - the British Cabinet were forced into a series of war production decisions based on the urgent need to replace lost items of all types, and to do it FAST...and to do it with no help i.e. to prosecute the war on their own.

As M.M. Postan reports in his British War Production - http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/U ... index.html the cabinet gave priority to aircraft production - to both replace what was lost AND urgently build up the bomber force mandated by the now long-range requirement...AND mandated that NO designs other than those already in production as that minute would be built. In other words - for nearly a year the cabinet tied British aircraft factories into producing more of the same - including the sad old Whitely. Certain changes COULD be made and WERE made - improved engine types as later marks of Merlin etc. became available, that sort of thing...

...and in the case of the Whitley it got an astrodome after the first few of 1814 MkV aircraft.
Whitley came in service in 1937 and had to do a few years without an astrodome
We shouldn't exaggerate exactly how many aircraft that meant :wink: Only 34 MkIs, 46 MkIIs, and 80 MkIIs were built before the MkV arrived in service with the first of those nearly two thousand.

The problem with Bomber Command's aircraft was....the 1938 moratorium meant the Air Ministry's plans for progressive bomber development to culminate no earlier and Autumn 1939 was thrown out of step with ALL their other plans -

1/ the lack of bombers built for nearly a year meant there were still two squadrons on the outbreak of war equiped with the decrepit HP Heyford, even though it was declared obsolete in July 1939;

2/ the MkI-II-III Whitelys weren't replaced on schedule with newer marks, including those that DID have an astrodome and navigator's station;

3/ As O-J noted, "Only in February 1939 the Navigation Training Syllabus on was modified so as to include a 4 week Astro-navigation course for pilots and observers"...which WAS seven months before the planned completion of the Air Ministry's plans :wink: The EARLIEST point they planned to go to war....

4/ BUT due to the moratorium, the aircraft with the equipment/provision to make use of that training weren't all in service yet.

EDIT: the AIr Staff were VERY determined that the RAF wouldn't be going to war BEFORE all those layered/phased plans came together on that 1939 date :wink: At the time of the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, they said they would ONLY be "able" to send four squadrons of medium (two-seat biplane) bombers overseas immediately, at a time when the British government and others were threatening war with Italy. later, in 1938, the did the same - and told the Cabinet that the UK was not ready to defend itself from air attack, that they didn't have the number of fighters/squadrons to defend the UK Home Base...which as ell as pulling the rug out from under any idea of standing up to Hitler militarily, it engendered a separate panic all of it's own and the Bomber Command moratorium! 8O

So in effect and in reality - the Air Staff's plans were drawn up to present the Cabinet with a war-making tool as of the end of August 1939...which included the air defence of the United Kingdom AND the 1935-decided-on STRATEGIC capability to attack North German ports and Germany's war production capability in the Ruhr by day AND by night. But because of the way they had to manage both their money from the government and gradually "grow" the RAF establishment AND the need to progressively develop the RAF's aircraft and technology...not before that date. It ALL was supposed to come toegther then - not before. All the different steps and streams could be discerned separately, but didn't all come together until that point. And the actual training course itself would have been the easy bit - it would come at the end of extending training facilities - fields, units, etc - as well as the take-on of new trainer types (which as I've noted were in short supply) which needed the same progressive development...targeted at devlivery of a full capability in August 1939 :wink:

(The Air Ministry would have worked WONDERS with MS Project.... :lol: :lol: :lol: )

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