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Flying bombs / pilotless bombers: good for Allies?

Aviation Discuss Flying bombs / pilotless bombers: good for Allies? in the World War II - Aviation forums; ...assuming they did built something like that, and deployed them in hundreds, and than in thousands?...

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    Creator of Interesting Threads tomo pauk's Avatar
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    Flying bombs / pilotless bombers: good for Allies?

    ...assuming they did built something like that, and deployed them in hundreds, and than in thousands?


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    Senior Member davparlr's Avatar
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    Only if they could provide accuracy better than bombers. Outside that, they were terror weapons which I don't think were effective. Toward the end of the war, some guided weapons had potential using line of sight visual guidance and, more importantly, TV guided weapons.

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    One of the more tragic failures of vision is that the US did not combine the V-1/Fi103 technology (also built by the US as the Loon) with the TV guidance used in the USN's Project Aphrodite and the minitaure/subminature vaccum tube technology that came out at the end of WW2 to build a low cost air-launched precision guided missile with a range in excess of 100 miles. Even a modest development effort could have had this ready by the Korean War. In fact, it was not even ready for Vietnam. We finally had something like that for Desert Storm, a mere 40 years late.

    And the Loon could have been equipped with the USN's Bat missile radar guidance technology to build a long range antiship weapon as well. The Bat's main drawbacks were inadequate range, it being dependent on the altitude of the launch aircraft and the inability to figure out which ship in a convoy you were shooting at. The powered Loon would have solved the range problem and the target selection problem could have been handled by simply launching more missiles. Imagine a Battle of Midway style action fought using B-29's launching radar guided Loons day and night from altitudes above the capabilities of IJN aircraft. Tom Clancy probably would describe it as "The War of the Worlds and our side gets to be the Martians."

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    Creator of Interesting Threads tomo pauk's Avatar
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    Here is an article about the Miles Hoop-la, the un-maned plane that carries a single 1000 lb bomb, 'bomber' being powered by Gipsy Major engine. The accuracy was deemed enough to hit a city (reckon the city needed to be big ). Guess Hamburg & Tokyo fit here (not that I'm enamored with bombing of cities, but that was being done repeatedly).

    Miles Hoopla

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    There were several projects for such weapons and they date back to WW I.

    Curtiss/Sperry "Flying Bomb"

    Interstate BQ-4/TDR

    or the Miles Hoop-la

    http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:A...f7Yt1R-Kt5j6jA

    As has been said, the problem was in aiming them at anything smaller than a large city. Accuracy decreases with the square of the range. Double the range and the impact area is four times the size.

    Project Aphrodite or Perilous also springs to mind.

    Operation Aphrodite - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Some have suggested that the project was given up as being TOO Perilous for the Allies.

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    Senior Member davparlr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shortround6 View Post
    There were several projects for such weapons and they date back to WW I.

    Curtiss/Sperry "Flying Bomb"

    Interstate BQ-4/TDR

    or the Miles Hoop-la

    http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:A...f7Yt1R-Kt5j6jA

    As has been said, the problem was in aiming them at anything smaller than a large city. Accuracy decreases with the square of the range. Double the range and the impact area is four times the size.

    Project Aphrodite or Perilous also springs to mind.

    Operation Aphrodite - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Some have suggested that the project was given up as being TOO Perilous for the Allies.
    Don't forget the Kettering Bug - Kettering Bug - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    Creator of Interesting Threads tomo pauk's Avatar
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    I've already said that city was reckoned as a fair target for better part of the WW2, so if it can hit such a target than it's a viable weapon.

    The RAF & USAAF can use their heavy or medium bombers to launch it from, say, 100 miles away and the return, so keeping the accuracy within acceptable margins. Makes the job for escorts far more simpler.

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    Performance of the bombers while carrying such weapons is best described as dismal, making interception by fighters easier and also lowers operational ceiling making it harder to dodge flak. launching from aircraft could degrade the accuracy even more. If the bombers have trouble figuring out were they are to drop dumb bombs, launching missiles in exactly the right direction at exactly the right time is going to be an even bigger problem. Say your missile will stay in a two mile circle at 100 miles but now you are dropping them from aircraft that could be anywhere in a two mile circle themselves. your impact area just went to 4 miles across.

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    Banned Siegfried's Avatar
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    One is left wondering what some of these half baked missiles were ment to achieve? All would have been excedingly easy to intercept, all I think would actually have been easy
    AAA or FLAK targets. Only in the case of weak defenses would they be fully usefull; so what is the point? Was it that dangerous for a Corsair or Hellcate to put 2000lbs down on a relatively undefended area. The only thing I can think of is the possibillity of extreme accuracy.

    The only thing impressive, and it is very impressive, is the guidance technology: color TV guidance over 50 miles.

    The Curtiss Sperry flying bomb probably would have disgraced America given that it would be mainly randomely killing civilians and this would have initiated such attacks without precedent.

    The US actually did use a gyro-stabalised glide bomb, the GB-1, against Cologne in early 1944. It was dropped from B-17's. It was about as accurate as the V1. Was this the first vengence weapon? The TV-guided "GB-4", developed directly by the USAAF, was a more refined weapon than the GB-1, with a similar configuration but cleaner implementation. It was actually used in combat (bunkers around normandy), but though it had performed well in tests, for various reasons it did poorly in the field. One of the problems seems to have been the poor quality of the image returned by early TV camera tubes, which restricted operations to broad daylight, fair weather, and easily distinguished targets. A pulsejet-powered variant, the "JB-4", was developed but never got out of the test stage.

    German missiles, the V1 and V2 were designed to avoid interception. Greatly improved guidance in the case of the V1 was litterly only weeks away, may even have made the war had not the invasion cut of the guidance transmitters. The greatly improved V2 guidance was also reaching some conslusion after 3 years of work. (highly columated beam).

    In WW1 the Germans, under the aegis of Wener von Siemens, developed a number of glide bombs and glide torpedoes that were remotely controlled via cable and to be launched from Zeppelins or giant Zeppelin-Starken bombers against shipping.

    The Germans did develop a TV guidance system in WW2 called Tonne Seedorf. It used synchronised crystalised oscilators to help preven jamming. The problem was that in European conditions visibilliy is too poor. However pictures of TV images through the seekers head are available and on a sunny day are very good.

    Another issue was the non use of gyro-stabalisation of the TV head (on both US and German missiles)

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    Senior Member davebender's Avatar
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    Ruhr

    Something like the V1 might be good for attacking targets in the Ruhr Valley. The first few attacks probably won't achieve much but once you get major targets such as Krupp and the hydrogenation plants dialed in they could be attacked every night at low cost.

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    Creator of Interesting Threads tomo pauk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shortround6 View Post
    Performance of the bombers while carrying such weapons is best described as dismal, making interception by fighters easier and also lowers operational ceiling making it harder to dodge flak. launching from aircraft could degrade the accuracy even more. If the bombers have trouble figuring out were they are to drop dumb bombs, launching missiles in exactly the right direction at exactly the right time is going to be an even bigger problem. Say your missile will stay in a two mile circle at 100 miles but now you are dropping them from aircraft that could be anywhere in a two mile circle themselves. your impact area just went to 4 miles across.
    Why would the performance & ceiling been dismal? The heavies were cruising at 200-250 mph anyway, and the bomb can be designed so a better pert of it is situated in the bomb bay. A guided bomb weighting 5000 lbs can be lifted in the air as any other payload weighting 5000 lbs, no problems for any allied heavy bomber. Sure enough, later Lancs, or B-29s can carry many times as much
    You do have a point about the accuracy of the air-launched bomb, wonder how accurate were V-1s launched from He-111s?

    Quote Originally Posted by Siegfried View Post
    One is left wondering what some of these half baked missiles were ment to achieve? All would have been excedingly easy to intercept, all I think would actually have been easy
    AAA or FLAK targets. Only in the case of weak defenses would they be fully usefull; so what is the point? Was it that dangerous for a Corsair or Hellcate to put 2000lbs down on a relatively undefended area. The only thing I can think of is the possibillity of extreme accuracy.
    Since LW Flak was able to kill huge amounts of RAF bombers (from 2 per night in 1941, to 10 in 1943), why do you think that eg. Miles Hoop-la would be such an easy prey?

    The only thing impressive, and it is very impressive, is the guidance technology: color TV guidance over 50 miles.

    The Curtiss Sperry flying bomb probably would have disgraced America given that it would be mainly randomely killing civilians and this would have initiated such attacks without precedent.

    The US actually did use a gyro-stabalised glide bomb, the GB-1, against Cologne in early 1944. It was dropped from B-17's. It was about as accurate as the V1. Was this the first vengence weapon? The TV-guided "GB-4", developed directly by the USAAF, was a more refined weapon than the GB-1, with a similar configuration but cleaner implementation. It was actually used in combat (bunkers around normandy), but though it had performed well in tests, for various reasons it did poorly in the field. One of the problems seems to have been the poor quality of the image returned by early TV camera tubes, which restricted operations to broad daylight, fair weather, and easily distinguished targets. A pulsejet-powered variant, the "JB-4", was developed but never got out of the test stage.

    German missiles, the V1 and V2 were designed to avoid interception. Greatly improved guidance in the case of the V1 was litterly only weeks away, may even have made the war had not the invasion cut of the guidance transmitters. The greatly improved V2 guidance was also reaching some conslusion after 3 years of work. (highly columated beam).

    In WW1 the Germans, under the aegis of Wener von Siemens, developed a number of glide bombs and glide torpedoes that were remotely controlled via cable and to be launched from Zeppelins or giant Zeppelin-Starken bombers against shipping.

    The Germans did develop a TV guidance system in WW2 called Tonne Seedorf. It used synchronised crystalised oscilators to help preven jamming. The problem was that in European conditions visibilliy is too poor. However pictures of TV images through the seekers head are available and on a sunny day are very good.

    Another issue was the non use of gyro-stabalisation of the TV head (on both US and German missiles)
    Wonder if there was a way to implement Gee, Oboe, X-Gerat etc for such weapons?

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    Banned Siegfried's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomo pauk View Post

    You do have a point about the accuracy of the air-launched bomb, wonder how accurate were V-1s launched from He-111s?

    Since LW Flak was able to kill huge amounts of RAF bombers (from 2 per night in 1941, to 10 in 1943), why do you think that eg. Miles Hoop-la would be such an easy prey?

    Wonder if there was a way to implement Gee, Oboe, X-Gerat etc for such weapons?
    A cruise missile flying at 300mph would be an easy target for both FLAK and fighters by day. At night its lack of evasive manouvers would also make it a relatively easy target. In anycase these US missiles were intended to attack targets not even well defended by the more deadly light FLAK.

    In anycase the slow US missiles would have been easy targets for the more effective short range and medium FLAK if that had of been available.

    Some or many, don't know exact figures V1 that were lanched from He 111 were launched over Schwann-See radio buoys dropped by Luftwaffe pathfinders using EGON (an Oboe like system good to put a bomb withing about 1.2km via 300m square at about 300km. I suppose the launch point was inaccurate and wind estimates were unavailable. It's not apparent why the system was so inaccurate (ie 6% found their targets). EGON used only a single Freya radar but EGON-II used two antena just like oboe and was more accurate.

    Using Oboe to guide a cruise missile would be relatively trivial, the signal that applies the dot or dash into the pilots headphones can easily be amplified and conditioned to apply directly to an auto-pilot trim. The Ewald-II Sauerkirsche guidance systems under construction for the V1 could have guided BV-246 glide bombs as well and controlled the air launched V1's. It really was not far away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomo pauk View Post
    Why would the performance & ceiling been dismal? The heavies were cruising at 200-250 mph anyway, and the bomb can be designed so a better pert of it is situated in the bomb bay. A guided bomb weighting 5000 lbs can be lifted in the air as any other payload weighting 5000 lbs, no problems for any allied heavy bomber. Sure enough, later Lancs, or B-29s can carry many times as much
    Lifting the weight isn't the big problem. It is the large increase in drag. Some B-17s had external racks for a pair of bombs up to 4000lbs each. They were seldom, if ever, used in combat because the external bombs caused too large a drop in performance.

    The B-29 is a far cry from the medium bombers you mentioned along with the heavies in your post. A Wellington with a V-1 Missile under it would be a Luftwaffe pilots dream

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    Banned Siegfried's Avatar
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    A great many USAAF B-17 missions plodded their way through Reich airspace at 150 knots.

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    Senior Member davebender's Avatar
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    cruise missile flying at 300mph would be an easy target

    A heavy bomber with payload cruising at 180 mph is an even easier target.

    $2,036 (5,090 RM). Production cost for V1 cruise missile.
    $0. Cost to recruit and train V1 aircrew.

    $215,516. 1944 production cost for B-24 bomber.
    $??. Cost to recruit and train B-24 aircrew.

    V1 type cruise missiles make a lot of sense because they are so inexpensive. You can purchase 100 V1s for the price of a single heavy bomber even before we factor in aircrew cost and the cost of producing airfields capable of supporting heavy bombers.

    Argus Motoren Company was working on unmanned aircraft during 1936. RLM didn't provide funding for development until 19 June 1942. Six years of minimal development. After RLM provided funding Argus and Fieseler required only two years to produce an operational weapon. If RLM had funded development during 1936 the V1 could theoretically been in service during the Battle of Britain.

    For RAF Bomber Command a weapon such as the V1 makes even more sense. Rather then sending hundreds of heavy bombers over Germany every night they could send hundreds of unmanned cruise missiles. The V1 wasn't terribly accurate but neither were British heavy bombers. With a bit of launch crew practise V1s should be able to hit Hamburg and the Ruhr.

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