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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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I see I should have put my in-AAR reasoning clearer. It's being done so that the CIGS has automatic seniority over all Allied troops that operate with British Forces, this being aimed at mainly the French. In reality it's just me wanting to play with history for a bit.

I remember the time that I military-controlled my British pup... ooops... allies. They loyally followed the command to march from Leningrad to the Siberia, then back. :p Imagine what it'd actually be like:

"Hey chums, a mission for you all, start marching east."

"But sir, when can we come back?"

"When you actually want some of our cheese, come back." :p
 

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I remember the time that I military-controlled my British pup... ooops... allies. They loyally followed the command to march from Leningrad to the Siberia, then back. :p Imagine what it'd actually be like:

"Hey chums, a mission for you all, start marching east."

"But sir, when can we come back?"

"When you actually want some of our cheese, come back." :p
Yum, cheese. :)
Am I the only one who likes it? :eek:
 

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Intermission #6

“Fighter Aircraft of the Royal Air Force” - Jane's Information Group, 2007


The transition of the Royal Air Force from piston-engined Aircraft to jet-powered ones was a process that took longer and was beset with more problems and delays than one might expect from a country that had helped pioneer jets since the late 1930s. The Gloster E.28/39 was the first British jet and was already fraught with problems and delays, from it's inception in the late 1930s to it's first flight in June 1941. In the beginning it had been the lack of funding, later it had been the pressure of a wartime economy that needed to provide aircraft of types that were already proven. During these years companies all over the world perfected the piston engine, pushing the envelope ever further, faster and higher. It became clear however that soon enough technology would simply no longer allow faster and bigger engines, and as a result money all over the world began to flow towards various jet projects. In Britain the Ministry of Defence decided after long deliberations that a British Jet Fighter Programme was needed sooner rather than later, and issued specification E.12/42 in March 1942. Many proposals were considered, with most companies bringing in some form of proposal or other, even though all of them were busy with building or improving existing models that were piston engined, for example Hawker was busy working on the Tempest, while Supermarine was having troubles with the next marque of the Spitfire. Both the Hawker and the Supermarine proposal were deemed workable, in fact the Hawker project would eventually become the Sea Hawk, but some sort of Jet Fighter was needed before the Germans or the Soviets put their own projects into Squadron service, so the only proposal that would be ready to fly in an acceptable timespan was chosen: Gloster Project P.1/42, soon to be known as the Gloster Meteor. The reasons for this were plain, Gloster had been working on it as a company funded project since 1941 in anticipation of a MoD specification, and had therefore been able to provide a life-sized wooden mock-up of their then unnamed aircraft.


fs3-1b1.jpg

MoD officials and selected RAF ground crew inspecting the mock-up


But even so progress was slow, because Gloster was entering a field of aeronautics that was completely new, and a cautious approach was deemed prudent. The Gloster Meteor was in principle based on the earlier Jet prototype of 1941, straight wings and a generally unexciting conventional structure. Low wings, all-metal fuselage and a t tailplane mounted high to keep them clear from the blast of the mid-wing mounted jet engines. Type approval came through within weeks, and the Gloster Meteor first taxied in late April of that same year, powered by Rolls-Royce W.2 Engines, the first to be developed by Frank Whittle since Power Jets had become a grudging sub-division of the former- or rather their Aviation Engine branch. The Engine still had various flaws, mainly the centrifugal central compressor and generally engine life, resulting in the aircraft being grounded until these problems could be resolved. The Rolls-Royce W.23 Welland and the de Havilland Goblin engines were fitted to two of the Prototypes instead as the planes were moved to RAF Cranwell under the strictest secrecy. There further tests were conducted before the prototypes could be released for actual flight testing. In September 1942 the Prototype DG206 flew for the first time, followed by extensive testing. By that time intelligence had shown that both the Germans and the Soviets were working on their own programmes and the development was sped up, but still, the programme progressed slowly, so that by the time when the Meteor actually was ready for Squadron service, the development of replacements was already underway. Even so the first production version, the Gloster Meteor Mk.I ( the prototypes being re-designated as Mk.0 and being used for engine tests and experiments ) was approved for production in December 1943, but when the first four examples crashed within short order, a furious Churchill ordered production halted immediately until the faults could be corrected. The Gloster and Rolls-Royce Engineers went over the planes with a fine comb and failed to find any evidence of any sort of fault. The plane was seemingly fine. At that time Barnes Wallis and Frank Whittle teamed up again[1] and the two went over the plane again, and as it turned out then the Meteor Mk.I suffered from stability problems at high transonic speeds, experiencing large trim changes, high stick forces and self-sustained yaw instability (snaking) due to airflow separation over the thick tail surfaces, and that, combined with pilots that were not used to the handling and the speeds of the aircraft, accounted for the crash rate. The Mk.I was therefore withdrawn from service before it had entered the same and was sent back to the factory. What resulted two months later was the Gloster Meteor Mk.III. Extensive tests followed, as no one wanted another debacle and so it took several months before No. 111 Squadron was declared operational on 6th June 1944.


Gloster_Meteor_Mk_III_ExCC1.jpg

No.111 Squadron Meteor Mk.III conducting CAP over southern England​


Production was slow, and it was not until May 1945 that all Fighter Command Squadrons were equipped with the new Aircraft. This gave the RAF time to develop new doctrines and procedures for a completely new Aircraft, and that was time well spent. The main opposition for the Allied Air Forces were at the time high-performance piston-engined fighters of all classes that turned out to be much more manoeuvrable, if slower than the Meteor, so new tactics were needed. Coincidentally the tactics adopted were not new, but rather ones that had been used by the Far-Eastern Squadrons in the dark early days of the war in the Pacific when RIAF and RAF Squadrons with elderly aircraft had been forced to fight against superior Asiatic Aircraft of Japanese make. They were changed and adapted, and in the end written into the manual for Jet Pilots, making 'dash, shoot and run' official policy for the first time. Thanks to the low-performance early jet engines the speed advantage of the Meteor Mk.II over the enemy fighters of the time would not have been all that great, and even with the RR Dervent III engine the the Meteor Mk.III[2] was a cumbersome aircraft and a poor gun platform, signing it's death warrant even then.

Initially combat for the Meteors consisted of ground-attack missions and escorting the heavy bombers deep into Axis territory so far their range would allow, so combat between the remnants of them and the Axis Air Forces was initially limited to breaking through the defences over the front and fighting off the Axis planes that intercepted the bombers. During this they never faced their direct Axis counterparts, even though both Germany and the Soviet Union were known to field jets at the time. The first Jet vs. Jet air battle took place in June 1945 when a group of sixteen Meteors, escorting a small group of Lancaster Bombers attacking military infrastructure in East Prussia encountered a Squadron of Soviet Mig-9 Jet Fighters. The Soviets had height and surprise on their side, and their smaller jets were more manoeuvrable than the larger RAF ones, but the Soviets were powered by a home-grown version of the BMW 003 engines that the Germans had handed over in 1943 as a 'sign of good will'[3], so the British had a slight speed advantage of roughly 20 kph, and their pilots were all veterans from the Battle of Britain and the heavy air fighting over the European Front, while the Soviet pilots were all relatively green, having received their planes only days before. The following battle was furious and bloody, but in the end superior training and experience prevailed. When the Soviets fled from the Battlefield, they had to leave eight of their number behind. The victory had come at a heavy cost, for six Meteors had been shot down, ripped apart by the massive Soviet 37mm cannon, and this showed that the Meteor was a good fighter, but too cumbersome to really rule the skies in the environment of the front.

The intended successors for the plane was to be decided by a competition centred around specification E.15/45. Gloster had not had the time to develop an entry, while the planes that had not made it the last time were entered that both also vied for contracts with the Royal Navy. As neither were chosen for the FAA neither Supermarine nor de Havilland were unduly troubled and the competition went on.


The de Havilland Vampire was the product of an in-company and privately funded effort to develop an aircraft that could hold it's own against the Meteor, and when the Meteor won the competition for the first jet by simply being closer to production, the engineers at Hatfield went back to the drawing board. As a result the Vampire was a very capable aircraft when it was submitted to E.15/45. The specification detailed a 'single engined jet-turbine powered aircraft' that could act as a conventional fighter and as an Infiltrator to replace the Mosquito and the Hornet in the rear area interdiction role and that was to be powered the the RR Nene Engine that was beginning to be the jet counterpart to the piston Merlin Series. The company was less than delighted, but Churchill as Minister of Defence had insisted that the same level of commonality as with the piston-engines was to be achieved with Jets. The d.H 110 as it was submitted dutifully had a Nene in it's belly, hardpoints for bombs or rockets under it's outer wings and two more for fuel tanks between the main fuselage and the twin booms. This turned the Vampire into an excellent first generation jet.

Competition came from Supermarine who struggled to get their unwilling Attacker design ready for combat service both for the RAF and the Fleet Air Arm. The Attacker was a much more conventional design and was based on the proposed but aborted Spitfire replacement, the Supermarine Spiteful. Also powered by a Nene, the Attacker had only one hard point for a fuel tank under it's belly, and more under it's wings. Tests were carried out and as it turned out the Attacker suffered from some serious faults. None were as severe as those of the Meteor Mk.II, but they were enough for the RAF to choose the Vampire instead. For one the Attacker retained the conventional undercarriage of the Spiteful and had therefore poor ground visibility, and on grassy airfields the same arrangement caused the engine to create a long furrow in the ground that 'three men could lie down in'. While this was not a problem on the airstrips in the UK that were all equipped with tarmac runways at that point this meant that the plane would be hard to operate on the forward bases on the continent. Supermarine took this lesson to heart even though the company pouted somewhat since they had brought the Spitfire. R.J. Mitchell was called back from medical retirement to help design one last aircraft that would eventually become the Swift. In the meantime the Vampire entered service with the RAF and the RCAF, the latter equipped with Vampires made at Avro and de Havilland shadow plants in Canada itself.


arch491.jpg

RCAF Vampire on patrol, April 1946​


The end of the War however did not stop development. Operation Paperclip had yielded valuable insights into German and Soviet work on advanced aeronautical designs, and amidst the post-war rationalizations of the Industry that would see companies like Bristol, English Electric and Percival either disappear completely or be swallowed by the likes of Supermarine and de Havilland, a new generation of British Jet Fighters was born. Once again Supermarine stepped forward in 1948 with the Type 510 that had won a competition against the Vickers 545. Once again a Supermarine design was beset with teething problems which delayed the entry into service, and by the time it was ready in 1952, it's main rival, the Hawker Hunter flew and was bought by the RAF, also winning several lucrative export contracts. The Swift was not cancelled though, and so once again a Hawker and Supermarine product served side by side, and both had later variants produced that pushed the RAF into the supersonic age. The Hunter was however to be the last major jet fighter produced specifically for the RAF by Hawker-Siddley, for the last aircraft family that emerged from the hallowed halls that had spawned the Hurricane and her descendants was the supersonic Harrier for the RN and the RAF. This was a result of the replacement competition that was won by English Electric ( a subsidiary of Supermarine until the brand name was deleted and the company fully folded into Supermarine in 1974 ) and their Lightning design that would go on to form the backbone of Fighter Command and many Allied Air Forces for the next decades, together with the Canadian Arrow, breaking multiple speed records and being the first British plane with variable Geometry wings from the Mk.VIII on out, while the plane also was the first Allied Aircraft that was able to intercept the American Burbank U-2 ( nicknamed Dragon Lady ) spyplanes from above and with a speed advantage[4].


Even though aircraft technology has developed greatly since the Meteor took to the Air, Fighter Command today is still the same dedicated and professional force that defended Imperial airspace then. Today the Supermarine/EADS Typhoon[5] which also has a Naval variant in service with the FAA is a fighter that can trace it's lineage back to the days of the Sopwith Camel, the Supermarine Spitfire and the Gloster Meteor, and still the subjects of the Empire know that the Air Defence is in the hands of men and women that do their duty with all the dedication required.




ee-lightning-p261.jpg

Supermarine Lightning Mk.X of the Luftwaffe, Bruntingthorpe Airshow, 2005

typhoon_asraam1.jpg

Spm/MBB Typhoon Mk.III during the AFCAN 1999 exercise, somewhere over Canada​
















[1] They will soon in the main story. :D

[2] I am taking the Meteor F.4 as the basis for performance and so on.

[3] :D

[4] This is taken from the Wiki Article on the Lightning. An amazing aircraft that could be competitive even today.

[5] I really like this plane. It looks so freaking awesome in RAF markings.
 
Last edited:

Kurt_Steiner

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Fantastic update, although for a moment I was afraid that the Lightning was still in active use.

I should add that I lost my hopes in the Lightning after a fateful day, defending England in one of the Harpoon scenarios, when 6 Su 27 flying from Norway annhilated two Lightning squadrons in five minutes.

Snif, snif. It still hurts.
 

Lord Strange

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yey! Fighters! With jets! Seriusly, could the Lightning intercept a U2! Surely not when at its highest flight ceiling of 70,000 feet!
 

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Kurt_Steiner The Lightning is still among the fastest combat fighter Jets ever to be produced, and the AAO-verse Lightning is even faster and had modern contemporary electronics and engines when put out of service, never mind the cool and awesome variable geometry wings. :D

Lord Strange From the Wikipedia Article:


Wikipedia said:
The official ceiling was a secret to the general public and low security RAF documents simply stated 60,000+ ft (18 000+ m), although it was well known within the RAF to be capable of much greater heights; the official maximum altitude mainly being determined by cockpit pressurisation reliability and safety. In September 1962 Fighter Command organized a series of trial supersonic overland interceptions of Lockheed U-2As, temporarily based at RAF Upper Heyford to monitor resumed Soviet nuclear tests, at heights of around 60,000-65,000ft.[7][8] The trials took place in two stages, the second series consisting of 14 interceptions, including four successful and four abortive ones at 65,000.[9] The late Brian Carroll, a former RAF Lightning pilot and ex-Lightning Chief Examiner, reported taking a Lightning F53 up to 87,300 feet (26 600 m) over Saudi Arabia at which level "Earth curvature was visible and the sky was quite dark" but control-wise it was "on a knife edge". [10]

In 1984, during a major NATO exercise, Flt Lt Mike Hale intercepted an American U-2 at a height which they had previously considered safe from interception. Records show that Hale climbed to 88,000 ft (26,800 m) in his Lightning F3 XR749. This was not sustained level flight, but in a ballistic climb or a zoom climb, in which the pilot takes the aircraft to top speed and than puts the aircraft into a climb, trading speed for altitude. The normal service ceiling for this aircraft was 60,000 feet in level flight. Hale also participated in time-to-height and acceleration trials against F-104 Starfighters from Aalborg. He reports that the Lightnings won all races easily with the exception of the low level supersonic acceleration, which was a "dead heat".


:cool:
 

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Whooo! Wacky RCAF planes and RAF jets! Awesome!
 

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Kurt_Steiner The Lightning is still among the fastest combat fighter Jets ever to be produced, and the AAO-verse Lightning is even faster and had modern contemporary electronics and engines when put out of service, never mind the cool and awesome variable geometry wings. :D

Lord Strange From the Wikipedia Article:





:cool:

BLOODY HELLFIRE! :eek::wacko::eek::wacko::eek::wacko::wacko::wacko::wacko::wacko::wacko::wacko::wacko::wacko:
 

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Griffin.Gen Indeed.

Lord Strange I couldn't believe it either when I first heard of it on another board some time ago, but I read it on various sources now.
 
Aug 15, 2008
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I should really write an update regarding mirages and rafales in response to your latest update. But anyways, great work, trek. :p:D
 

Thomas Kenobi

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Always happy to read one of the aircraft intermissions! Great work!


Just a side note:
For one the Attacker retained the tricycle undercarriage of the Spiteful and had therefore poor ground visibility, and on grassy airfields the same arrangement caused the engine to create a long furrow in the ground that 'three men could lie down in'.

The tricycle landing gear, is the one mostly used today, with one gear in the front and the two main ones slightly aft of the centre of gravity.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tricycle_landing_gear
I believe you were refering to a conventional landing gear here.


edit:
I should really write an update regarding mirages and rafales in response to your latest update. But anyways, great work, trek. :p:D

I was never too fond of the mirage myself, but I'm afraid I have to concede that the Rafale looks a lot sleeker than the Eurofighter. The Rafale design has that perfect predator look, as opposed to the flying platform look of the Eurofighter.
 
Aug 15, 2008
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Kurt_Steiner The Lightning is still among the fastest combat fighter Jets ever to be produced, and the AAO-verse Lightning is even faster and had modern contemporary electronics and engines when put out of service, never mind the cool and awesome variable geometry wings. :D

Just something I'd like to mention, your electronics for the Lightning will not get too modern for one simple reason: lack of space. The nose air intake limits what you can be placing on her.

btw, did you ditch the Tornado?

I was never too fond of the mirage myself, but I'm afraid I have to concede that the Rafale looks a lot sleeker than the Eurofighter. The Rafale design has that perfect predator look, as opposed to the flying platform look of the Eurofighter.

That's why I fall for the Rafale too. :p

btw, trek, my solution to this: buy Rafales, nothing more I'll say. :p:D
 

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btw, trek, my solution to this: buy Rafales, nothing more I'll say. :p:D

That doesn't really surprise me, not at all I am sad to say.

As for the rafale, her cheekbones are somewhat too high for my tastes. :D
 
Aug 15, 2008
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That doesn't really surprise me, not at all I am sad to say.

I was hoping to at least extract a frown from you, but it looks like that you know things well enough that the report does not indicate a reduction in furture carrier abilities (perhaps a bit, but anyways) for the RN. Still, I feel that the RN is not building enough escorts for her future carrier fleet. ;)

As for the rafale, her cheekbones are somewhat too high for my tastes. :D

Strange, that's what I feel about the Typhoon. :p

btw, I'll take your no response as meaning the Tornado was ditched.
 

trekaddict

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I overlooked that, but yes, no Tornado in the AAO-verse. Why really, the Lightning was, or rather would have been a competetive aircraft even back then had she been upgraded over the years. See her as the F-4 Phantom of the AAO-verse.
 
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I overlooked that, but yes, no Tornado in the AAO-verse. Why really, the Lightning was, or rather would have been a competetive aircraft even back then had she been upgraded over the years. See her as the F-4 Phantom of the AAO-verse.

Disappointing trek, the Lightning performs fantastic as an interceptor, but her useful load is too small, limiting her role as an effective fighter-bomber. I'll still get the Tornado if I were you.
 

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Disappointing trek, the Lightning performs fantastic as an interceptor, but her useful load is too small, limiting her role as an effective fighter-bomber. I'll still get the Tornado if I were you.

For the Fighter-Bomber we have TSR.2. :D
 
Aug 15, 2008
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For the Fighter-Bomber we have TSR.2. :D

To me, the TSR.2 is strictly a tactical bomber. You don't really expect her to conduct a dogfight do you? :p I feel that the Lighting got herself a limited lifespan not because she's not awesome, quite the contrary, but because she does not strictly have multi-role capabilities. See the Mirage III and her derivaties, which is still used today in front-line service.