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French Heavy Bombers - Unsung Pioneers


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BB3_Oregon_Steel #1 Posted 17 July 2019 - 05:32 PM

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While not commonly known or being planes which covered themselves in glory in the air over France, the Armee de l'Air was one of the early pioneers in the field of heavy strategic bombers and spent a good deal of time in the 1920's and early 1930's developing the type.  Several unusual and unique designs were tested and fielded and since WG seems to be focused on the odd, unusual and largely unknown aircraft in those they introduce to the game, I thought presenting these planes here might be helpful. 

 

What separates these aircraft from the medium bombers which predominate (with the exception of the B-17) in the game, these aircraft were designed to carry much heavier bomb loads over substantial distances and to accomplish this, most of these aircraft needed to use a four engine configuration to accomplish this.  

 

Unlike my previous post on French fighters, I'm not going to attempt to place these planes in some sort of developmental line but instead am going to give them a suggested tier based on their performance characteristics. 

 

Tier II – Farman F.211

Year of introduction: 1932

Crew: 4

Configuration: High wing monoplane

Powerplant: Four 300hp Gnome-Rhone Titan 7Kcrs radial engines

Speed: 137mph (220 kph)

Armament: Four 30cal mgs

Ordnance: 3,086 lbs

 

The Farman F.211 was an early attempt at creating an effective monoplane heavy bomber for the Armee de l’Air. At the time of its development, engines with the horsepower available to drive such a large aircraft and bombload were difficult to obtain so Farman took two 300hp engines and mounted them back to back, the forward engine being a tractor configuration with the rearward facing engine acting as a pusher without experiencing the drag inherent in a conventional 4 engine design.  This would become a defining characteristic of early French Heavy Bomber designs.

 

Tier II Latecoere 550

Year of introduction: 1933

Crew: 5

Configuration: High wing monoplane

Powerplant: Four 500hp Gnome-Rhone 9Kdr radial engines

Speed: 157mph (252 kph)

Armament: Four 30cal mgs

Ordnance: 3,100lbs

 

Originally developed as a seaplane torpedo and conventional bomber, the aircraft was constructed in such a way that it could be easily converted to a land based bomber in a matter of hours. The aircraft used the same unusual tractor/pusher engine arrangement as the Farman F.211.  Bombs or torpedoes were carried in a bay beneath the fuselage which helped reduce air resistance. The aircraft was of composite construction with the forward half of the aircraft being all metal.

 

The aircraft showed early problems with its handling and while those were largely corrected, the aircraft was deemed too slow of its purpose and the type was never ordered into production.

 

Tier III – SAB AB.80

Year of introduction: 1934

Crew: 4

Configuration: High wing monoplane

Powerplant: Two 860hp Hispano-Suiza 12Ybrs inline engines

Speed: 205mph (330kph)

Armament: Three 30cal mgs

Ordnance: 5,500 lbs

 

The SAB AB.80 was an all metal monoplane that was eventually envisaged to form the basis not only of a bomber but also as a troop transport similar to the German JU.52. The aircraft featured armored fighting compartments and bulletproof glass and carried a very heavy bomb load for a bomber of her period, especially one with only two engines 

 

The aircraft was never put into production and only a single prototype was built.

 

Tier IV – Farman F.222

Year of introduction: 1935

Crew: 6

Configuration: High wing monoplane

Powerplant: Four 950hp Gnome-Rhone 14N-11 radial engines

Speed: 199mph (320kph)

Armament: Three 30cal mgs

Ordnance: 9,240 lbs

 

The Farman F.222 continued Farman’s development of the four engine heavy bomber and would become the primary heavy bomber of the Armee de l’Air in the years prior to WWII and was the only four engined bomber in the Allied inventory when the war began.  Main improvements over the earlier F.211 model was a far more powerful powerplant as well as semi-retractable landing gear. Able to carry a phenomenal amount of ordinance over long distances, the F.222 truly was one of the first strategic bombers to be fielded by any air force.

 

By the beginning of WWII, these bombers were beginning to show their age and were employed mostly in dropping leaflets urging the Germans to surrender during the “Sitzkrieg” that developed before the German invasion.  They eventually were used for night bombing raids not deemed to be sufficiently fast or well protected to be used for daylight bombing.   

 

Tier V – SNCAO 700

Year of introduction: 1940

Crew: 5

Configuration: Monoplane

Powerplant: Four 1,140hp Gnome-Rhone 14N-49 radial engines

Speed: 340mph (547kph)

Armament: One 20mm, two 30cal mgs

Ordnance: 4,900 lbs

 

A far more modern aircraft than the Farman F.222 then in service, the SNCAO 700 was developed as a replacement.  Much faster though carrying a smaller bomb load, a single prototype had been constructed and flown prior to France’s surrender in 1940.

 

Tier VI – Bloch MB.162

Year of introduction: 1940

Crew: 5

Configuration: Monoplane

Powerplant: Four 1,100hp Gnome-Rhone 14N-48 radial engines

Speed: 342mph (551kph)

Armament: Two 20mm, two 30cal mgs

Ordnance: 7,940 lbs

 

Developed from an earlier mail plan design, the MB.162 was fast, carried an impressive bomb load, a long range and was well armed for a French bomber.  In many ways, the MB.162 was similar to the American B-17 but faster, with a heavier bomb load and less well protected.

 

Large orders were placed for the type with production due to begin in 1941, however only one prototype had been completed before France’s surrender and it was captured by the Germans and used as a transport aircraft as well as for clandestine operations where the use of a recognizable German built aircraft might be disadvantageous.

 

Tier VI – Breguet 482

Year of introduction: 1947

Crew: 3

Configuration: Monoplane

Powerplant: Four 1,350hp Hispano-Suiza 12Z inline engines

Speed: 348mph (551kph)

Armament: One 20mm, three 50cal mgs

Ordnance:5,500 lbs

 

Originally designed as a two engine bomber using a pair of Gnome et Rhone 14L radial engines, the development failure of that powerplant led to an expansion of the design and the use of four Hispano-Suiza inline engines.

 

Two prototypes were ordered and were nearly completion when the Germans invaded France.  One survived the war and was completed but was never used as a bomber but instead became an engine test bed and research aircraft.

 

Tier X – SNCASO SO.4000

Year of introduction: 1949

Crew: 2

Configuration: Swept wing Monoplane

Powerplant: Two 4,980lbf Rolls Royce Nene 102 turbojets

Speed: 528mph (850kph)

Armament: Two 15mm

Ordnance: 11,000 lbs

 

The SO.4000 was an early twin engine turbojet bomber designed to meet an Armee de l’Air specification for a high speed heavy bomber.  Carrying an impressive bombload, a full sized prototype was constructed and flown but never entered production.

 

Tier X – Sub Aviation Vautour II

Year of introduction: 1952

Crew: 2

Configuration: Swept wing Monoplane

Powerplant: Two 7,710lbf Snecma Atar 11E-3 turbojets

Speed: 687mph (1,016kph)

Armament: None

Ordnance: 9,700 lbs

 

The Vautour II project developed three aircraft using the same basic airframe, a bomber variant presented here, an interceptor variant and an attack aircraft. The bomber variant carried no defensive armament relying on its speed to fend off attackers and to reach its targets.

 

Forty of this model were constructed with 36 for France and 4 for Israel.  The bomber version lacked radar and other low visibility engagement systems and it was withdrawn from French service in Europe fairly early on and reequipped for photo reconnaissance duties.  The type did see extensive combat in the hands of Israeli pilots where the mild weather of the Middle East and Mediterranean made the lack of low visibility capabilities less of a drawback. 

 

 


Edited by BB3_Oregon_Steel, 17 July 2019 - 10:16 PM.

"Don't mess with me because I can squish you like a bug, that is If I should decide to notice your existence in the first place".  

 

Yes, it's haughty and its arrogant but you're a battleship with 16 inch guns and Britannia Rules the Waves.  Maybe a bit of arrogance in this case is appropriate.  


qu33kKC #2 Posted 17 July 2019 - 09:42 PM

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Tier III – SAB AB.80

 

dat corrugated metal skin.  *weeps in parasitic drag*



BB3_Oregon_Steel #3 Posted 17 July 2019 - 10:15 PM

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View Postqu33kKC, on 17 July 2019 - 01:42 PM, said:

Tier III – SAB AB.80

 

dat corrugated metal skin.  *weeps in parasitic drag*

 

Yes, very Ju 52ish isn't it.  :teethhappy:


"Don't mess with me because I can squish you like a bug, that is If I should decide to notice your existence in the first place".  

 

Yes, it's haughty and its arrogant but you're a battleship with 16 inch guns and Britannia Rules the Waves.  Maybe a bit of arrogance in this case is appropriate.  


Captain_Underpants53 #4 Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:37 PM

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View PostBB3_Oregon_Steel, on 17 July 2019 - 12:32 PM, said:

While not commonly known or being planes which covered themselves in glory in the air over France, the Armee de l'Air was one of the early pioneers in the field of heavy strategic bombers and spent a good deal of time in the 1920's and early 1930's developing the type.  Several unusual and unique designs were tested and fielded and since WG seems to be focused on the odd, unusual and largely unknown aircraft in those they introduce to the game, I thought presenting these planes here might be helpful. 

 

What separates these aircraft from the medium bombers which predominate (with the exception of the B-17) in the game, these aircraft were designed to carry much heavier bomb loads over substantial distances and to accomplish this, most of these aircraft needed to use a four engine configuration to accomplish this.  

 

Unlike my previous post on French fighters, I'm not going to attempt to place these planes in some sort of developmental line but instead am going to give them a suggested tier based on their performance characteristics. 

 

Tier II – Farman F.211

Year of introduction: 1932

Crew: 4

Configuration: High wing monoplane

Powerplant: Four 300hp Gnome-Rhone Titan 7Kcrs radial engines

Speed: 137mph (220 kph)

Armament: Four 30cal mgs

Ordnance: 3,086 lbs

 

The Farman F.211 was an early attempt at creating an effective monoplane heavy bomber for the Armee de l’Air. At the time of its development, engines with the horsepower available to drive such a large aircraft and bombload were difficult to obtain so Farman took two 300hp engines and mounted them back to back, the forward engine being a tractor configuration with the rearward facing engine acting as a pusher without experiencing the drag inherent in a conventional 4 engine design.  This would become a defining characteristic of early French Heavy Bomber designs.

 

Tier II Latecoere 550

Year of introduction: 1933

Crew: 5

Configuration: High wing monoplane

Powerplant: Four 500hp Gnome-Rhone 9Kdr radial engines

Speed: 157mph (252 kph)

Armament: Four 30cal mgs

Ordnance: 3,100lbs

 

Originally developed as a seaplane torpedo and conventional bomber, the aircraft was constructed in such a way that it could be easily converted to a land based bomber in a matter of hours. The aircraft used the same unusual tractor/pusher engine arrangement as the Farman F.211.  Bombs or torpedoes were carried in a bay beneath the fuselage which helped reduce air resistance. The aircraft was of composite construction with the forward half of the aircraft being all metal.

 

The aircraft showed early problems with its handling and while those were largely corrected, the aircraft was deemed too slow of its purpose and the type was never ordered into production.

 

Tier III – SAB AB.80

Year of introduction: 1934

Crew: 4

Configuration: High wing monoplane

Powerplant: Two 860hp Hispano-Suiza 12Ybrs inline engines

Speed: 205mph (330kph)

Armament: Three 30cal mgs

Ordnance: 5,500 lbs

 

The SAB AB.80 was an all metal monoplane that was eventually envisaged to form the basis not only of a bomber but also as a troop transport similar to the German JU.52. The aircraft featured armored fighting compartments and bulletproof glass and carried a very heavy bomb load for a bomber of her period, especially one with only two engines 

 

The aircraft was never put into production and only a single prototype was built.

 

Tier IV – Farman F.222

Year of introduction: 1935

Crew: 6

Configuration: High wing monoplane

Powerplant: Four 950hp Gnome-Rhone 14N-11 radial engines

Speed: 199mph (320kph)

Armament: Three 30cal mgs

Ordnance: 9,240 lbs

 

The Farman F.222 continued Farman’s development of the four engine heavy bomber and would become the primary heavy bomber of the Armee de l’Air in the years prior to WWII and was the only four engined bomber in the Allied inventory when the war began.  Main improvements over the earlier F.211 model was a far more powerful powerplant as well as semi-retractable landing gear. Able to carry a phenomenal amount of ordinance over long distances, the F.222 truly was one of the first strategic bombers to be fielded by any air force.

 

By the beginning of WWII, these bombers were beginning to show their age and were employed mostly in dropping leaflets urging the Germans to surrender during the “Sitzkrieg” that developed before the German invasion.  They eventually were used for night bombing raids not deemed to be sufficiently fast or well protected to be used for daylight bombing.   

 

Tier V – SNCAO 700

Year of introduction: 1940

Crew: 5

Configuration: Monoplane

Powerplant: Four 1,140hp Gnome-Rhone 14N-49 radial engines

Speed: 340mph (547kph)

Armament: One 20mm, two 30cal mgs

Ordnance: 4,900 lbs

 

A far more modern aircraft than the Farman F.222 then in service, the SNCAO 700 was developed as a replacement.  Much faster though carrying a smaller bomb load, a single prototype had been constructed and flown prior to France’s surrender in 1940.

 

Tier VI – Bloch MB.162

Year of introduction: 1940

Crew: 5

Configuration: Monoplane

Powerplant: Four 1,100hp Gnome-Rhone 14N-48 radial engines

Speed: 342mph (551kph)

Armament: Two 20mm, two 30cal mgs

Ordnance: 7,940 lbs

 

Developed from an earlier mail plan design, the MB.162 was fast, carried an impressive bomb load, a long range and was well armed for a French bomber.  In many ways, the MB.162 was similar to the American B-17 but faster, with a heavier bomb load and less well protected.

 

Large orders were placed for the type with production due to begin in 1941, however only one prototype had been completed before France’s surrender and it was captured by the Germans and used as a transport aircraft as well as for clandestine operations where the use of a recognizable German built aircraft might be disadvantageous.

 

Tier VI – Breguet 482

Year of introduction: 1947

Crew: 3

Configuration: Monoplane

Powerplant: Four 1,350hp Hispano-Suiza 12Z inline engines

Speed: 348mph (551kph)

Armament: One 20mm, three 50cal mgs

Ordnance:5,500 lbs

 

Originally designed as a two engine bomber using a pair of Gnome et Rhone 14L radial engines, the development failure of that powerplant led to an expansion of the design and the use of four Hispano-Suiza inline engines.

 

Two prototypes were ordered and were nearly completion when the Germans invaded France.  One survived the war and was completed but was never used as a bomber but instead became an engine test bed and research aircraft.

 

Tier X – SNCASO SO.4000

Year of introduction: 1949

Crew: 2

Configuration: Swept wing Monoplane

Powerplant: Two 4,980lbf Rolls Royce Nene 102 turbojets

Speed: 528mph (850kph)

Armament: Two 15mm

Ordnance: 11,000 lbs

 

The SO.4000 was an early twin engine turbojet bomber designed to meet an Armee de l’Air specification for a high speed heavy bomber.  Carrying an impressive bombload, a full sized prototype was constructed and flown but never entered production.

 

Tier X – Sub Aviation Vautour II

Year of introduction: 1952

Crew: 2

Configuration: Swept wing Monoplane

Powerplant: Two 7,710lbf Snecma Atar 11E-3 turbojets

Speed: 687mph (1,016kph)

Armament: None

Ordnance: 9,700 lbs

 

The Vautour II project developed three aircraft using the same basic airframe, a bomber variant presented here, an interceptor variant and an attack aircraft. The bomber variant carried no defensive armament relying on its speed to fend off attackers and to reach its targets.

 

Forty of this model were constructed with 36 for France and 4 for Israel.  The bomber version lacked radar and other low visibility engagement systems and it was withdrawn from French service in Europe fairly early on and reequipped for photo reconnaissance duties.  The type did see extensive combat in the hands of Israeli pilots where the mild weather of the Middle East and Mediterranean made the lack of low visibility capabilities less of a drawback. 

 

 


:medal:

 

I would like one of each, please.  Tier II needs a bomber!


MSgt, USAF, (ret)

Ace_BOTlistic_Cosmo #5 Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:06 AM

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View Postqu33kKC, on 17 July 2019 - 04:42 PM, said:

Tier III – SAB AB.80

 

dat corrugated metal skin.  *weeps in parasitic drag*

lol... reminds me of the Ford Trimotor c.1925

just saw one at the Henry Ford Museum, so cool...

I flew in one and it was a fine machine

smooth does not always give the best speed

remember well placed ripples can increase speed

.

.

.

tho... corrugated aluminum is likely not the best surface to prove that

:facepalm:


Edited by Ace_BOTlistic_Cosmo, 18 July 2019 - 12:22 AM.

if the pilot's good, see, I mean, if he's really..sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low [he spreads his arms like wings and laughs],

you oughtta see it sometime, it's a sight. A big plane like a '52. VRROOM! There's jet exhaust, fryin' chickens in the barnyard.


jack_wdw #6 Posted 18 July 2019 - 03:38 PM

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The french also flew 3 He-177 A3's after the war (built at SNCASE)
And you also have the He.274 which was solely used by the french (2 built)

There is also the SNCAO CAO.700 which is comparable in stats to the MB.162 and the Breguet 482.

qu33kKC #7 Posted 18 July 2019 - 03:52 PM

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View PostAce_BOTlistic_Cosmo, on 18 July 2019 - 12:06 AM, said:

remember well placed ripples can increase speed

 

l-lewd!

 

oh, Ripples. . . . .

 

nvrmnd



J311yfish #8 Posted 18 July 2019 - 04:19 PM

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Regarding tier X

-- SNCASO SO.4000 and SNCASO SO.4050 would not both be the same tier.  4000 led to 4050.

-- SNCASO SO.4000 used Rolls Royce Nene, referenced in-game to Tier IX Supermarine Attacker.

-- SNCASO SO.4000 was evolved because it was not regarded favorably.  More promising was SNCAC NC.270.

 

 


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BB3_Oregon_Steel #9 Posted 18 July 2019 - 05:05 PM

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View Postjack_wdw, on 18 July 2019 - 07:38 AM, said:

The french also flew 3 He-177 A3's after the war (built at SNCASE)
And you also have the He.274 which was solely used by the french (2 built)

There is also the SNCAO CAO.700 which is comparable in stats to the MB.162 and the Breguet 482.

 

At this point I'm not including any aircraft that were not designed and built in France so none of the He constructed aircraft would be included nor any aircraft built for France by her allies. 

 

The SNCAO 700 is already included in the above listing. 


"Don't mess with me because I can squish you like a bug, that is If I should decide to notice your existence in the first place".  

 

Yes, it's haughty and its arrogant but you're a battleship with 16 inch guns and Britannia Rules the Waves.  Maybe a bit of arrogance in this case is appropriate.  


BB3_Oregon_Steel #10 Posted 18 July 2019 - 05:26 PM

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View PostJ311yfish, on 18 July 2019 - 08:19 AM, said:

Regarding tier X

-- SNCASO SO.4000 and SNCASO SO.4050 would not both be the same tier.  4000 led to 4050.

-- SNCASO SO.4000 used Rolls Royce Nene, referenced in-game to Tier IX Supermarine Attacker.

-- SNCASO SO.4000 was evolved because it was not regarded favorably.  More promising was SNCAC NC.270.

 

 

 

"SNCASO SO.4000 and SNCASO SO.4050 would not both be the same tier.  4000 led to 4050"  This is true, the SO.4000 was the Vautour which was further developed into the Vautour II (SO. 4050).  That being said, these were very different planes and when evaluating their performance against other aircraft already in game, both have performance characteristics equivalent to other T10 aircraft.  As I said earlier, I am not attempting to create a developmental tree, I am simply looking at the performance characteristics of aircraft and placing them in the appropriate tier based on their performance. 

 

" SNCASO SO.4000 used Rolls Royce Nene, referenced in-game"  Also correct which is why I have already listed that engine as being fitted to the SO.4000. 

 

"SNCASO SO.4000 was evolved because it was not regarded favorably.  More promising was SNCAC NC.270."  I suppose that's possible, however the NC 270 never advanced further than a non-operational 1/25 scale model.  Tests done on the model indicated that it would require a much more powerful jet engine than the Rolls Royce Nene engine then available to gain adequate performance and further development was halted. 

 

As you've said, the performance of the SO.4000 was not deemed adequate which led to the development of the SO.4050.  Something similar could be said of most prototype projects which do not enter into production. 


Edited by BB3_Oregon_Steel, 18 July 2019 - 05:29 PM.

"Don't mess with me because I can squish you like a bug, that is If I should decide to notice your existence in the first place".  

 

Yes, it's haughty and its arrogant but you're a battleship with 16 inch guns and Britannia Rules the Waves.  Maybe a bit of arrogance in this case is appropriate.  


J311yfish #11 Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:07 PM

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This information comes from:

-- Combat Aircraft Prototypes Since 1945, by Robert Jackson (Book Club 1985)

-- Jet Bombers: From the Messerchmitt Me262 to the Stealth B-2, by Bill Gunston with Peter Gilchrist (1993)

 

SNCASO SO.4000 (03/1951) -- 2-engine bomber -- 1 built

 

SNCAC NC.270 (planned 09/1949) -- M.Robin -- 1 incomplete


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NL_Celt #12 Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:07 PM

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Looks like room for a bomber line!

BB3_Oregon_Steel #13 Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:58 PM

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View PostJ311yfish, on 18 July 2019 - 10:07 AM, said:

This information comes from:

-- Combat Aircraft Prototypes Since 1945, by Robert Jackson (Book Club 1985)

-- Jet Bombers: From the Messerchmitt Me262 to the Stealth B-2, by Bill Gunston with Peter Gilchrist (1993)

 

SNCASO SO.4000 (03/1951) -- 2-engine bomber -- 1 built

 

SNCAC NC.270 (planned 09/1949) -- M.Robin -- 1 incomplete

 

Ok, thanks for the information.  So to paraphrase, the SO.4000 prototype was found to be inadequate to meet the Armee de l'Air's needs which is why only the prototype was built.  The only thing I can see which does not match the information available to me is that the prototype flew twice damaging it's landing gear on both attempts but that's kind of a small quibble. It was not a successful design which is not all that uncommon with planes which only reach the prototype development stage. 

 

You're information about the NC.270 also largely matched my own and while I didn't mention the closure of the company which was developing the aircraft I was aware of that factor which contributed to the abandonment of the project.  It just didn't seem significant but it you think it was, I stand corrected. I'm not sure where the direct tie in between this abandoned project as the SO.4000 lies or where the existence and the fate of one influenced the other, for example, I don't see any support that the SO.4000 project was terminated because the NC.270 was in development. 

 

Still, very nice job with those cites.  It was an interesting read. :)


"Don't mess with me because I can squish you like a bug, that is If I should decide to notice your existence in the first place".  

 

Yes, it's haughty and its arrogant but you're a battleship with 16 inch guns and Britannia Rules the Waves.  Maybe a bit of arrogance in this case is appropriate.  


BB3_Oregon_Steel #14 Posted 19 July 2019 - 04:53 PM

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View PostJ311yfish, on 18 July 2019 - 10:07 AM, said:

This information comes from:

-- Combat Aircraft Prototypes Since 1945, by Robert Jackson (Book Club 1985)

-- Jet Bombers: From the Messerchmitt Me262 to the Stealth B-2, by Bill Gunston with Peter Gilchrist (1993)

 

Btw, thanks for pointing these references out, looks like they are both within my spending range and they'll make GREAT additions to my collection. :great:


"Don't mess with me because I can squish you like a bug, that is If I should decide to notice your existence in the first place".  

 

Yes, it's haughty and its arrogant but you're a battleship with 16 inch guns and Britannia Rules the Waves.  Maybe a bit of arrogance in this case is appropriate.  





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