Mission Statement

Written by Ryan Crierie on Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 9:01 am

A long time ago, I had the idea to create a series of websites under the following domain names:

www.usaaf46.com
www.raf46.com
www.vvs46.com

And use them to disseminate information on whatever paper projects everyone else had in World War II; as a counter to all the sites which give you the performance claims for some dirty paper that got drawn on at Messerschmitt in January 1945.

I think part of the problem is that the RLM assigned designator numbers to lots of things, even if they were very vague sketches on paper; while in contrast, the Allies didn’t assign designations until something fairly concrete had been put forth by the manufacturer.

For example, there was a proposal/design by Avro for a Stratospheric bomber based off their Lancaster, which I found in British Secret Projects – Fighters and Bombers 1935-1950 by Tony Buttler. (An excellent book BTW, well worth adding to your library)

Avro 684 Stratospheric Bomber

Avro 684 Stratospheric Bomber


The Avro 684 was proposed in August 1941, having a pressurized cabin and a Merlin 45 in the lower fuselage which drove a blower to supercharge the other four Merlins on the wings, to provide 20,000 ft equivalent air pressure to them at altitudes from 20,000 to 40,000 feet.

The 684 design was terminated due to the development engineering for the Lancaster and the York transport (which used a significant percentage of parts from the Lancaster) requiring the majority of engineers and draftsmen at Avro.

Another reason why it may have been terminated was possible lukewarm support from the Air Ministry.

At the time, Bomber Command wanted sheer tonnage, and the reduced payload of the 684 compared to the Lancaster, along the the requirement for the fifth engine to supercharge the other four would have made it uneconomical.

Economics by the way, also dictated that the Lancaster form the backbone of Bomber Command, despite the crew having a much lower chance of survival if the aircraft was hit, because over the lifetime of a single Lancaster on average, it would drop more tonnage onto German cities before it was lost on operations than other bomber types.

Economics also dictated the development of the Avro Lincoln/Shackleton, which were basically re-engined lancasters with a new wing as the RAF’s follow on for the Lancaster post 1945.

Despite only a marginal improvement in speed and altitude over the Lancaster, the program was cheap enough to go ahead — it is very important to remember that by 1944-45, Britain was essentially broke; they had no more money with which to fund the development of a brand-new high altitude bomb truck to replace the Lancaster, and B-29 development in the US was fantastically expensive (compararable with the Atomic Bomb).

Categories: Aircraft, British Secret Projects

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