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M2morris
09-04-2008, 12:31 AM
I've read it, heard it or seen it on TV a thousand times;

During cross-channel bombing missions over Germany allied fighters did'nt have the range so they had to abandon escort and turn back leaving the bombers to take care of themselves against the waffe.(pre-P-51)
I was wondering today why they never did this.

Excuse the crude paint-drawing, it's just to get my idea across.

Why couldnt they have used bombays for gas instead of bombs in some of, or in a few of the bombers in a formation.
I imagine this topic has been pounded to death, but I have never seen it here.
And the testing and development of in-air refueling during that time, well thats probably a topic in itself.

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b206/planegeek/B17Tj.jpg

TinyTim
09-04-2008, 01:16 AM
What bothers me even more is why didn't Germans use drop tanks on their 109s during BOB? It would mean quite a difference IMO, as similarly, on longer bombing missions they had to abandon their bombers and rtb, leaving them for the RAF to chew.

Aaron_GT
09-04-2008, 01:22 AM
Why couldnt they have used bombays for gas instead of bombs in some of, or in a few of the bombers in a formation.

The idea was developed in WW2 as far as I remember but the first refuelling fight was (from memory) a Meteor in something like 1947. There's probably an article on wikipedia.

M2morris
09-04-2008, 01:40 AM
I think that the prop-wash from that B-17 would make that fuel delivery line flail all over the place. It would take some designing to make it work.

Yeah, I agree TT, I can't believe the Germans were'nt using inflight refueling.

It seems like something they would have been leading in.

M2morris
09-04-2008, 01:42 AM
Originally posted by Aaron_GT:

The idea was developed in WW2 as far as I remember but the first refuelling fight was (from memory) a Meteor in something like 1947. There's probably an article on wikipedia.
oops sry Aaron.

I will go look for that.

luftluuver
09-04-2008, 01:50 AM
The first mid-air refueling between two planes occurred June 27, 1923, between two Airco DH-4B biplanes of the United States Army Air Service.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerial_refueling

M2morris
09-04-2008, 01:57 AM
Originally posted by luftluuver:
The first mid-air refueling between two planes occurred June 27, 1923, between two Airco DH-4B biplanes of the United States Army Air Service.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerial_refueling
Maybe those guys were passing bootleg whisky to eachother. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/53.gif

x6BL_Brando
09-04-2008, 02:21 AM
Both tankers and re-fuelling aircraft would have been terribly vulnerable to attack during the transfer process. You are forgetting that the Channel is only 20 miles wide, which hardly offers the distance to get the process started for a single aircraft, let alone for refuelling a whole fighter group.

Drop tanks would have been the answer - lucky for us British that they were never employed.

B

general_kalle
09-04-2008, 05:31 AM
well i guess its a little different situation when planes flew so slow that you could walk on the wings...i mean mid air refueling could be done simply by walking on the wing and pouring fuel from a can into the tank...

ImMoreBetter
09-04-2008, 06:17 AM
They did have bombbay fuel tanks, (only for the bombers themselves) for extremely longs distance missions.

jdigris001
09-04-2008, 07:16 AM
I seem to remember the poms did follow through first with A-A refueling but not until 1947, but it was seriously thrown around the ideas table of the Allies when they started to venture deep into Germany and had no fighter escort in WWII and when the B29s first came into range of Japan. The main obstacle was that big spinning thing in front or on the wings, get into propwash, turbulence and the hose method is a bit dangerous, the feeder boom method a better option for heavies but no good for fighters. feeder hose may be viable for fighters if the receiving boom can be in the wingtip but thats more weight, fuel transfer cofg etc and not to mention only 20 feet from that bloody big spinning thing, no room for error or turbulence etc. Thats the real reason they had to put it aside until jets

stathem
09-04-2008, 08:13 AM
90 page PDF on the history of inflight refueling here (http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/Publications/fulltext/75yrs_inflight_refueling.pdf)

Aaron_GT
09-04-2008, 11:25 AM
Ah, the Meteor might have been the first jet with boom-type refuelling, and my memory is failing me.

I'll back this up with a quote from one of my Lancaster books (I might actually not have lent that one out, if I can remember where I put it - in a big pile of unpacked boxes from moving I think) but I checked online and my memory does seem to be correct - the trials were with a Lancaster host, Meteor target, using boom refuelling in but in 1949 not 1947. I'm pretty sure it's mentioned towards the back of one of my Lancaster books in the section on test and development aircraft.

From the document stathem posted it does seem that a number of Lancaster tanker trials were conducted in 1947 which is probably why I was confused over the date.

The late 1940s USAF systems appear to have been made in the UK by the FRL company.

stathem
09-04-2008, 11:43 AM
From reading in there it seems the Meteor was the first single-seater type. (i.e. Fighter)

TinyTim
09-04-2008, 11:57 AM
Originally posted by M2morris:
I think that the prop-wash from that B-17 would make that fuel delivery line flail all over the place. It would take some designing to make it work.

Yeah, I agree TT, I can't believe the Germans were'nt using inflight refueling.

It seems like something they would have been leading in.

No no, I'm speaking simply about using drop tanks for their 109s, not in flight refueling! AFAIK they only used drop tanks on 110s, but not on 109s during BOB, although drop tanks as a mean of extending flight time / range were nothing new in 1940 in military aviation...

But it's OT, don't want to steal the thread.

Anyways, the tankers could turn back home quite soon (because you don't want to be at bomber altitude in the heart of Germany, alowing German fighters to climb above you).

Aaron_GT
09-04-2008, 01:03 PM
One of the things proposed certainly in the later 1940s and probably before was to have bombers take off with overload levels of bombs but less than a full fuel tank and then refuel to the full amount (greater all up weight than at takeoff) after getting to cruise altitude but still over home territory.

M2morris
09-04-2008, 06:12 PM
Originally posted by TinyTim:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by M2morris:
I think that the prop-wash from that B-17 would make that fuel delivery line flail all over the place. It would take some designing to make it work.

Yeah, I agree TT, I can't believe the Germans were'nt using inflight refueling.

It seems like something they would have been leading in.

No no, I'm speaking simply about using drop tanks for their 109s, not in flight refueling! AFAIK they only used drop tanks on 110s, but not on 109s during BOB, although drop tanks as a mean of extending flight time / range were nothing new in 1940 in military aviation...

But it's OT, don't want to steal the thread.

Anyways, the tankers could turn back home quite soon (because you don't want to be at bomber altitude in the heart of Germany, alowing German fighters to climb above you). </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Sry about that, thats what I get for skim reading and trying to deal with a wife and 2 year old at the same time and not watching what I'm doing.
Good point about the 109s and drop tanks.
Maybe they figured fifteen mintues of available combat time while on station was enough, so they opted for ammo-weight over fuel weight.

WTE_Galway
09-04-2008, 06:46 PM
Originally posted by M2morris:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by TinyTim:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by M2morris:
I think that the prop-wash from that B-17 would make that fuel delivery line flail all over the place. It would take some designing to make it work.

Yeah, I agree TT, I can't believe the Germans were'nt using inflight refueling.

It seems like something they would have been leading in.

No no, I'm speaking simply about using drop tanks for their 109s, not in flight refueling! AFAIK they only used drop tanks on 110s, but not on 109s during BOB, although drop tanks as a mean of extending flight time / range were nothing new in 1940 in military aviation...

But it's OT, don't want to steal the thread.

Anyways, the tankers could turn back home quite soon (because you don't want to be at bomber altitude in the heart of Germany, alowing German fighters to climb above you). </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Sry about that, thats what I get for skim reading and trying to deal with a wife and 2 year old at the same time and not watching what I'm doing.
Good point about the 109s and drop tanks.
Maybe they figured fifteen mintues of available combat time while on station was enough, so they opted for ammo-weight over fuel weight. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


I am not if the early Spits and Hurris could take one either. It seems fighters were seen as short range defensive interceptors at the time. It simply wasn't a consideration in 1930's fighter designs.

Have a read of this:

http://warandgame.wordpress.com/2008/08/03/the-luftwaff...-fuel-tanks-1939-40/ (http://warandgame.wordpress.com/2008/08/03/the-luftwaffe-and-drop-fuel-tanks-1939-40/)

The Luftwaffe was aware of the issue but the E4 had no external mounts and no fuel lines. The E4B had a bomb rack but was still unsuitable and had no fuel lines.

A field mod to do it was impossible so a redesign of the E4B was the obvious solution. This occurred with the E7 which could take a plywood drop tank.

jarink
09-04-2008, 07:03 PM
I can think of one big potential problem with in flight refueling as depicted in the picture in the first post. The wingtip of the P-47 (or any other fighter) would have to have been strengthened by quite a bit to withstand the stress of connecting the hose and passing fuel. There's also the problem of the space the plumbing would have taken up which would be even more of a problem in fighters with relatively thin wings like a Spitfire. It could potentially also be a problem with asymmetric weight distribution.

Moving the connection to the fuselage gets around those issues, but introduces the obvious problem of prop clearance.

As mentioned, prop wash from the tanker would also be a big problem. Prop wash from B-17s and B-24s was enough to toss other bombers in the formation around, so a fighter would have real problems keeping station, I think.

Didn't the Luftwaffe look at IFR as a possible way of getting enough extra range to reach the US?