Bomb tonnage on WWII Short Sunderland

Information requests specifically on flying boat guns, gun turrets, depth charges and rockets. This is the place to post photos, plans and documents to form an historical archive.

Bomb tonnage on WWII Short Sunderland

Postby sunderlandmr5 » Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:42 am

Hi All

Quick question, which I'm pretty sure i know the answer to but, thought I'd
put it out to the Forum Brain Trust to check on.

In my reading of books/commentaries by WWII Sunderland pilots, they
(when starting out on sortie) would invariably state what bomb load they
were carrying eg 2000lbs of Depth Charges ( x8 -250lbers or x4 450 lbers)etc.

Now whilst browsing the net I see modelling articles on Sunderlands, including
additional depth charges on cradles on the floor of the bomb bay, with the comment that
the crew could re-load if the ones on the bomb racks were used up.

Questions I have are these

1) If the pilot's who wrote these books/commentaries states
2000 lbs of bombs then it's the 8/4 carried on the racks in the bomb bay (or if 450 lbers out side).
Additional bombs on the floor would make it 4000 lbs which to me would
carry the Sunderland grossly over it's take off weight.

2) If the aircraft had used its bomb load on a run against a submarine(S),
when would the crew have time to reload and arm the next 8 depth Charges to
carry on fighting?

3) If on occasion as it happened, a Sunderland crew had a run in with the Germans
(either Luftwaffe or Kreigsmarine) and the aircraft had been damaged, to the extent
the crew had to ditch any weight, the 1st pilot could drop the remaining depth charges.
How would the crew have time to hoist any additional depth charges on the floor and ditch
them overboard?

Hope what I'm saying makes sense, but your comments would be most welcome

Thanks/regards

Alan
sunderlandmr5
 
Posts: 153
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:25 am
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Re: Bomb tonnage on WWII Short Sunderland

Postby Fred » Mon Dec 26, 2011 3:27 pm

Why ditching?

Depth's were neccesary like bombs to "sharp" the fuse...without every of these it is an bloody old part of metal...
Fred
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:13 pm
Location: Halle/S., Germany

Re: Bomb tonnage on WWII Short Sunderland

Postby sunderlandmr5 » Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:46 pm

Fred wrote:Why ditching?

Depth's were neccesary like bombs to "sharp" the fuse...without every of these it is an bloody old part of metal...



There are instances where a Sunderland crew has fought it out with either a German Submarine or
aircraft only to be severly damaged in the process, if one or more of the engines had been damaged, the
1st pilot would need to maintain height as best as he could.

In order to maintain height to make it back to base or at least friendly territory, it would not be uncommon for
the 1st pilot to jettison the depth charges to save weight and thus less weight, easier to maintain height.

If you're in the Bay of Biscay/ North Atlantic and your home base was Castle Archdale for example, then it's long way home especially, if any of your engines are giving you grief or crew wounded , not to mention keeping a wary eye out
for marauding Luftwaffe aircraft.

Regards

Alan
sunderlandmr5
 
Posts: 153
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:25 am
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Re: Bomb tonnage on WWII Short Sunderland

Postby dogsbody » Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:11 pm

But did a Sunderland carry more than the 8 bombs/depth charges that were carried on the wing racks? Could more weapons be stored inside, to re-load the movable wing racks?



Chris
"What young man could possibly be bored
with a uniform to wear,
a fast aeroplane to fly,
and something to shoot at?"
User avatar
dogsbody
 
Posts: 494
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:58 pm
Location: Northern Alberta, Canada

Re: Bomb tonnage on WWII Short Sunderland

Postby sunderlandmr5 » Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:43 pm

dogsbody wrote:But did a Sunderland carry more than the 8 bombs/depth charges that were carried on the wing racks? Could more weapons be stored inside, to re-load the movable wing racks?



Chris


Hi Chris

My personnal opinion is No, they didn't, if you have ever seen the floor of a Short Sunderland
bomb bay, there doesn't appear to be enough room, plus the weight issue.

However the one thing I have learned from things about WWII, is that don't assume or take
things for granted.

Regards

Alan
sunderlandmr5
 
Posts: 153
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:25 am
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Re: Bomb tonnage on WWII Short Sunderland

Postby Pondskater » Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:33 pm

Interesting question - and typically there are probably two elements to it. Could the Sunderland carry spare bombs and reload in flight? And did they actually do it.

It seems there was a discussion in planning for the Sunderland II in 1939/40 about increasing the bomb load by using storage on the floor and winching a fresh load onto the racks in flight. The main concern then was the effect on the centre of gravity - returning low on fuel and oil, the CofG was a long way aft, although a night landing technique using the inner engines would keep the tail up. As a result the report recommended storing the bombs further forward than the bomb compartment if possible. So yes, it was investigated.

Overloading was a general issue in the Sunderland as it developed, especially when it reduced the amount of fuel which could be carried. By the time of the MkII and MkIII the Sunderland was getting heavier - radar, deicing kit, stiffening to the hull and floats and other mods all added weight. The MAP drew up lists of kits which could possibly be removed in a bid to get more fuel on and therefore more range.

All the accounts I have read of actual operations never mention reloading. It was unusual for a crew to find a submarine to attack - extremely rare to find two in a single mission. So the need to increase the bomb load was superseded by the need for longer range to fly as far out into the Atlantic as possible. So no, not actually implemented.

You are right that they ditched depth charges when they met the Luftwaffe - with the chance of meeting a Ju88 probably higher than meeting a submarine in 1943, it adds another reason for not carrying all that extra weight.

I can understand a modeller wanting to show a fully kitted out aircraft, with additional bomb racks, airscrew storage etc, but if reality is the aim, then I would recommend picking one of the test aircraft at MAEE Helenburgh as the subject for the model.

HTH

AllanK
User avatar
Pondskater
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:28 am
Location: UK - Deep south west

Re: Bomb tonnage on WWII Short Sunderland

Postby sunderlandmr5 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:23 am

Hi Allan

How are you? Great to hear from you!!

Thanks for your comments, pretty much summed up everything in a nutshell.

I was quite sure Depth Charges on the Sunderlands bomb bay floor was more 'Modellers Licence",
as opposed to actual occurance.

BTW, really enjoyed your book Wings On Windermere, has some excellent photos that have
helped me in my Sunderland model build.

Regards

Alan
sunderlandmr5
 
Posts: 153
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:25 am
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Re: Bomb tonnage on WWII Short Sunderland

Postby Pondskater » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:13 pm

Glad you like the book - sharing the info was the point of doing it.

Not been a good year for writing but I've come across a few more bits and pieces on building Sunderlands and probably need to get back to some more serious work. Those general themes about fighting weight for range run through the whole Sunderland history and it would be good to tell the Sunderland story again using those and the way politics tripped up Short Brothers. Maybe one day.

I like the idea of "modeller's licence" - keep firing occasional questions and together we usually find answers on here.

AllanK
User avatar
Pondskater
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:28 am
Location: UK - Deep south west


Return to Flying Boat Weapons



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Help keep this forum ad-free - please Donate


This free, ad-free forum is hosted by ForumLaunch
cron