Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Famous wooden and steam warships that changed the battlesphere

USS Monitor

The USS Monitor became a legend when she tangled with the seemingly unstoppable Confederate CSS Virginia during the American Civil War.

Northern spies reported to the US War Department that the Merrimack was being rebuilt as an ironclad. Then Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles, confessed his fears that the reborn Merrimack would break through the imposed blockade at Hampton Roads, Virginia, and then steam up the Potomac River to shell the White House itself. Secretary Welles, an accomplished politician, was able to acquire the funding for building Northern ironclads within days and then created the “Ironclad Board” to oversee construction. Secretary Welles charged the board to review ironclad plans and propose to the Navy Department the most promising of these designs. Three were chosen: a casemate design like the French Gloire, eventually to become the USS New Ironsides; a small armored gunboat to be named the USS Galena; and a turreted ironclad to become the USS Monitor, this design brought forth by one John Ericsson. Ericsson maintained a history with the Navy Department, feeling that he had been cheated out of payment for work completed in the past. He was known as a difficult man to deal with but he gained respect by being the recorded inventor of the screw propeller. The board members, themselves a collection of shipbuilders and engineers, were unsure about the radical design submitted by Ericsson for the blueprint represented no other ship built up to that point in history. One of the board members suggested to Ericsson that he add masts and sails as additional propulsion. Ericson refused because he understood that warship building was currently undergoing a revolution of sorts, doing away with masts and sails in favor of self-propulsion. Many of the shipbuilding firms of the time were still tied to wood construction and canvas rigging. Welles spoke to Ericsson in support of his all-iron design and was told "the sea would ride over her and she would live in it like a duck". Still, many other Navy professionals disapproved of the unconventional design. Sitting American President Abraham Lincoln, however, overruled them all and Welles funded the three designs with work to begin immediately.

To this point, there was nothing like the USS Monitor on the seas - the vessel alone contained some forty-seven patentable inventions. She was a small, flat, armored-hulled ship with a hat box-looking revolving gun turret. The turret was protected by eight layers of one-inch curved iron plate. The hull was constructed in two parts: the upper deck with .05-inch flat iron plate bolted to iron beams. This deck was fitted to the bottom hull like that of a raft. The freeboard, made to reduce waves washing over the deck, was only 18-inches high and proved ineffective to the point that sea duty could be a crew hazard. The deck armor provided minimal protection from overhead "plunging" fire but she was built as a response to the Confederate CSS Virginia - and not defensive, projectile-lobbing shore batteries. The hull sides fielded 5-inches of iron plate, bolted to 24-inches of oak timbers.

The USS Monitor showcased a shallow draft, allowing her to operate in less than 11 feet of water. Ericssson developed the Monitor's engine, calling it a “vibrating lever”, and outputted enough power for the vessel to make 6-knots. The 120-ton, 20-foot diameter turret was the most ingenious invention on the Monitor and was built to rotate a full 360-degrees in 24-seconds using a separate small "donkey" engine. The turret was supported on a central column, or spindle, and rode a few inches above the main deck. Ericsson designed the turret to support two 15-inch Dahlgren smoothbore cannons but, in the end, had to settle for 11-inch caliber Dahlgren types due to availability.

The New York Times called the Monitor “Ericsson’s Folly” but one hundred days later on January 30, 1862, thousands came to watch the launching (or sinking as some would have had it) of the iron ship at the Greenpoint Brooklyn NY yard. Ericsson’s Monitor was launched into Manhattan’s East River before her two rival designs were completed. The hull floated and she looked like a drifting shingle along the surface of the river. She was launched sans turret at this point for the turret was to be mounted sometime later. After the turret was put in place, and when her crew came aboard, her brown water maiden voyage officially began. She steamed to the New York side of the river and turned towards Brooklyn, then back and forth like a drunken man; her crew finding that she would not respond to her rudder control. Adjustments were made onboard and additional short trips from Greenpoint were made until Lieutenant John Worden, commander of the USS Monitor, was fully satisfied.

Fearing the CSS Virginia would attack the Northern blockade, it was decided her blue water shakedown cruise would have to be made on the way to Hampton Roads. Her brave volunteer crew of 49 officers and enlisted men would have to drill and steam along the way at sea. As John Ericsson did not claim his design to be built for ocean going, a plan developed to maneuver her into shallow coastal waters like those found at Hampton Roads. On Thursday March 6th at 11AM, she was towed by the screw tug USS Seth Low out of New York Harbor between Staten Island and Long Island, accompanied by the two wood screw gunboats - the USS Sachem and the USS Currituck - as armed escorts. By 4PM, the flotilla rounded Sandy Hook and entered unprotected waters, steaming south down the New Jersey coast line for the 400-mile journey to Hampton Roads, Virginia.

The Monitor and her escort continued through the night in relatively calm waters. The waves came over the deck due to the low 18-inch freeboard and limited the crew from going out on deck with any degree of safety. By 6AM on Friday March 7th gale wings from the east hammered the Monitor as she was approaching Cape May at the southern end of New Jersey. Lt. Worden wrote in the ship's log “very heavy sea, and ship making heavy weather”. The ship started leaking at the base of the turret and water flowed into the engine room. As water spilled into her design like a waterfall, the ventilator system failed and the ship filled with dangerous carbon dioxide fumes, some of the men beginning to faint. Worden was concerned the ship might flounder so the tug USS Seth Low towed Monitor back towards shore and into calmer waters. When Monitor got inside of protected waters, Chief Engineer Isaac Newton was able to vent the engine room of the carbon fumes and restart the engines and pumps, in effect saving the grand ship.

Monitor resumed her southward trip at 8pm Friday night with the gale having passed. The seas were reported as moderate with clear skies and she steamed on at 5 knots. However, by midnight off the Maryland coast, the weather worsened yet again and the seas were breaking over the air vents and smoke stack. As the sea pounded Monitor, the tiller ropes came loose and the Monitor turned broadside into the sea. Worden feared a rogue wave would capsize the ship but the tiller was repaired in time and she was able to steer once again. By dawn on Saturday March 8th, the sea had calmed and Worden had the tug tow her into shallow water so the crew could eat breakfast. Engineer Newton took advantage of the time to pump the Monitor out again and make repairs the best the crew could - the Monitor and her crew would need every ounce of perfection and luck when going into harm’s way and facing off against the most powerful ship in the Confederate Navy.

At noon on Saturday, Worden sighted Chesapeake Bay in the distance and, by 3PM, he could see shell fire exploding in the air - he ordered his crew to prepare the Monitor for action. The crew had ample solid shot and powder stock piled in the turret for the two 11-inch smoothbore cannons. A pilot boat came out to meet the Monitor and Worden received the worse news possible - that he was too late and the Ironclad CSS Virginia was already shelling the blockading Union Naval Squadron. At 9PM, Worden brought Monitor alongside the squadron’s flagship, the USS Roanoke. Lt. Worden learned of the day’s carnage by the Virginia - still called the Merrimack for the North - the USS Cumberland had been sunk and the USS Congress was burning. Worden, along with all present, saw Congress blow up around midnight. As if this was not enough, the USS Minnesota and the USS St. Lawrence had run aground in the fighting. Monitor released her tug and escort and was ordered to protect the grounded USS Minnesota that was sure to be attacked by the Virginia the following morning. Worden maneuvered Monitor alongside the Minnesota - Captain Van Brunt of the 4,833-ton frigate looked at the 987-ton Monitor like a pigmy next to a giant. Lt. Worden was welcomed aboard the Minnesota and met with Captain Van Brunt; the meeting was short, both men having had a hard day. Van Brunt came to the point, “If I cannot lighten my ship off of the bottom I will destroy her”. Worden replied “I will stand by you to the last if I can help you”. Bravely spoken words from a captain with the untested Monitor in his command. By 1862, Ironclads represented the most powerful warships in the world, officially ending the reign of the wooden tall ships that owned the oceans for hundreds of years, depending on the winds and range of firepower to be truly effective. Ironclads could propel and steer under their own power and afford their crew greater protection while also serving as highly-capable battering rams in the way of the old Ancient ships.

On Sunday morning, dawn broke over Hampton Roads and the CSS Virginia was at protected anchor below the battery of guns at Sewell Point. With Captain Buchanan injured, acting Captain Lt. Jones looked towards what he thought would be his first victim of the day, the frigate USS Minnesota. In the early light, looking through his spyglass, Jones saw a small cheese box-shaped object positioned on a flat shingle-type raft floating beside the frigate and immediately recognized it as the pride of the North - the USS Monitor. Lt. Jones told Lt. Davidson his intention to ram the Monitor and keep at her until the contest was assured. Lt Worden, with little sleep, was up early and had Monitor's crew sit down for their breakfast. From his vantage point, he could see the CSS Virginia and her flotilla at Sewell Point. At 6AM, the Virginia slipped her mooring but Jones kept her close due to heavy fog and needing the tide to still come in. Around 8AM, Virginia began to make steam, smoking towards the crippled Minnesota.

Two miles away on the Minnesota, Worden stood on deck observing the Virginia. At 8:30AM, just a mile away from the Minnesota, she opened fire, sending a shot over Worden's head and into the side of the Frigate. Minnesota was still aground with Lt. Worden on board Monitor - his intent was to confront Virginia as far away from the Minnesota as possible. As Minnesota opened fire with her aft guns, Worden moved Monitor towards the threat. Worden had one immediate problem, however, for the speaking tube between the pilot house and the turret had broken down. The only way around it was to use "runners", messengers sent from point to point to deliver messages, so between Paymaster Keeler and Clerk Toffey, orders were relayed in this fashion.

When the two Ironclads were within 100 yards of each other, the Monitor fired the first shot of the one-on-one engagement and hit the Virginia at the waterline. The Virginia turned starboard towards the east and was now broadside to the Monitor, who was now steaming west. The Virginia opened up on the Monitor with a full broadside of 3x8 inch smoothbores, 1x7 inch rifle, and 1x6.4 inch rifle. Executive Officer Lt. Green indicated “It was a rattling broadside… the turret and other parts of the ship were heavily struck but the shots did not penetrate, the tower was intact and continued to rotate”. Green further noted the surprise of his men in the turret, relieved that the shot from the CSS Virginia did not penetrate the iron plate of the Monitor or stop the turret from revolving. The underlining stress and fear of the Virginia’s guns by the Monitor’s crew was now being replaced with confidence that the Virginia could not sink the mighty Monitor. Some of the crew felt the Virginia was firing canister shot and not solid shot due to the sound against the iron plate. They were ultimately proved correct in their assumption.

The Monitor steamed slowly by the Virginia, firing solid shot against her casement. The revolving turret was able to concentrate fire towards one area, trying to penetrate the armor or, at least, dislodge the iron plates. Intense musket fire from the crew of both ships towards one another was noted. After two hours of firing, Jones felt his ship had met her match - he was impressed with the revolving turret that could fire with internal control. Jones could see her draft was shallower than the Virginia’s and the Monitor had greater mobility, allowing her to move around the Virginia at will. This mobility allowed the Monitor to find blind spots and fire on the Virginia without the Virginia being able to fire back at the Monitor.

The ships circled each other, firing through the smoke and limited visibility and colliding with each other at least five times. The officers on board the Monitor began to realize the Virginia was trying to maneuver closer to the Minnesota so she could rake her with cannon fire. Worden tried to ram the rudder and propeller of the Virginia to disable her so the Monitor could concentrate her fire on vital parts of the ship. Soon, the Monitor ran out of ammunition stored on the gun deck. This forced Worden to disengage from the Virginia and replenish the shot and powder from below decks. Worden knew this would give the Virginia time to move against the Minnesota. Virginia made a slow turn and moved towards the grounded wooden frigate but herself ran aground. The Monitor had finished rearming and was in pursuit. Worden came in so close to the Virginia that the Virginia's guns could not be lowered enough to hit the Monitor. The Monitor fired many shots into the Confederate vessel without a return volley.

The Virginia continued to burn coal, trying to get off the sand bank, and Jones knew he was in trouble by becoming lighter - the Virginia would rise higher in the water, exposing her wooden hull to enemy fire. By adding additional fuel into Virginia’s boilers she pulled herself off the bank. Jones had a decision to make: he knew he could not get close enough to the Minnesota due to the shallow water she was in and the Monitor maintained the Virginia's number. His ship had a deep draft so he decided to ram the Monitor even though the iron prow had been broken the day before. The Virginia had difficulty maneuvering and it took almost an hour to get into position. When she finally attacked the nimble Monitor, she was able to swerve, taking a glancing blow. The two ironclads were at point blank range and, as the Virginia passed by, Lt. Green on the Monitor fired both 11-inch guns, striking the casement of the Virginia about half way up from the water line. These did not penetrate but the concussion hammered the gun crew enough to cause their ears and noses to bleed. Shortly after noon, the Monitor was hit with a damaging shot on the pilot house at a range of 30 feet. Lt. Worden was looking out the eye slits and was temporally blinded in his right eye and permanently in his left. The powder burns on his face were serious and never fully healed. The order was given to the helmsman to change course while the damage was checked. Worden told the crew “I cannot see, it’s up to you to save the Minnesota”. As the officers consulted, the Monitor was steaming in shallow water so low that the Virginia could not follow - the decision was to return to the fight.

Lt. Jones on the Virginia was keeping an eye on the Monitor and trying to position his ship to finish off the Minnesota. Time was not on his side with the tide going out against his ship's 22-foot draft. Jones checked the ship and found the bow was leaking from the hit on the Monitor and the ammunition supply was running very low. Feeling he had driven the Monitor from the field, he set course for the protection of Sewell Point. The officers reported Virginia’s new course away from the Minnesota to Worden who ordered several shots to be fired at the Confederate vessel. The four hour duel was over.

The Monitor returned to the Minnesota’s side with cheers from her crew - she had not sunk the Virginia but her mission to save the frigate was a complete success. The day’s battle was a disappointment to the crew of the Virginia, who failed to destroy the Minnesota or sink the Monitor, and the Northern blockade remained in place.

For the next two months, the Monitor protected the ships blockading Hampton Roads. The Virginia returned up the Elizabeth River to the Confederate Navy Yard at Gosport. Major repairs were needed and she returned to the fight on April 11th. The plan was to use the Virginia to lure the Monitor away from Fort Monroe where the Northern fleet controlled the bay. If the Monitor took the bait, a number of southern warships would attack and board her. Virginia played her part as the lure but could not bring Monitor out. After some exchange of fire the Virginia returned to base.

On May 3rd The Union Fleet started shelling the Confederate stronghold at Sewell Point with President Lincoln in attendance. All of a sudden the Virginia appeared and the entire fleet retreated along with the Monitor back to Fort Monroe. Lincoln was not impressed by the Northern response. By the 11th, the Confederates at Sewell Point withdrew and the Navy Yard at Gosport fell into Union hands leaving CSS Virginia without a home base. Virginia, having few options at this point, took a small flotilla up the James River, trying to reach Richmond, but she grounded out and had to be burned so as not to fall into enemy hands. The pride of the Southern fleet was gone.

Richmond seemed to be wide open for the taking so Monitor, and the armored gunship Galena, led a flotilla of seemingly unstoppable Union ships up the James River. At Drewry’s Bluff, a fort with heavy guns has been constructed just 15 miles below the Confederate Capital of Richmond. When Monitor and the flotilla arrived, their guns could not be raised enough to shell the fort, however, the plunging fire from the bluff struck the ships. After four hours, the Monitor and the northern flotilla limped back to Hampton Roads. Richmond was saved.

Monitor remained on the James River during the retreat of the Army of the Potomac. On December 12th the USS Monitor received orders to steam south to blockade Wilmington. She was towed by the USS Rhode Island and, as they reached Cape Hatteras, a storm hit. Monitor, not an inherently seaworthy vessel, took on water in the rough action and, at 12:30AM on December 31, 1862, she sank with 4 officers and 12 men on board in 220 feet of water.

The wreck of the Monitor was discovered in 1973 and, on January 30, 1975, the site became a National Marine Sanctuary - this approximately 16.1 miles off Cape Hatteras.

Napoleon I

France jumped ahead of the naval show-of-force game being played out with Britain, introducing their revolutionary Napoleon I screw-driven, steam-powered battleship.

The screw propeller was first used on a military vessel in 1852 by the French with the introduction of the Napoleon a 90-gun ship-of-the-line as part of the French Navy - becoming the very first screw-driven steam battleship in the world. Before the adoption of screw propulsion in warships during the 1850s, the technology of choice was steam used to drive a paddle wheel attached to the side of the warship. This arrangement formulated several distinct disadvantages. Firstly, the size of the wheel reduced the number of guns that could be mounted for a broadside along that particular side of the ship. Secondly, enemy cannon shot could easily render the wheel out of commission making it a vulnerable target in any attack. New technology was needed to place the driving force of a military warship out of harm’s way. It was the invention of screw propulsion that finally made steam-powered warships practical. Cannon fire would not be obstructed and the underwater propeller would be well-protected from both shot and shell. The screw propeller was a radical leap forward and started one of the major arms races in naval history.

France and England were the two major sea powers of the day and were always trying to evolve a major naval technological advantage in an effort to gain sea-going superiority over the one another. Over the next decade, at least 100 wooden steam battleships were built in France and Britain alone. Launched in 1850, the Napoleon was the lead ship of a class of 9 battleships built over a 10 year period under the watchful eyes of naval designer Dupuy de Lôme. She was 239ft (73m) in length and 55ft (17m) in breadth while displacing 5,120 tons. She was fitted with two gun decks and featured a 45-gun-strong broadside. The height of the battery above the waterline was 6ft 4in. Under full steam and sail, she could make 13 knots ( 8.089mph) across short distances with a sail area of 3,411 square yards. Napoleon's success made the fleets of the world turn completely to a steam screw, such was her revolutionary inception. She was launched in 1850 and, during the Crimean War in 1852, her design execution attracted world attention with the introduction of steam power and a large coal supply giving her longer range than her contemporaries. Her engine gearing created maintenance problems (common to most early geared-screw machinery) and new direct-drive engines were ultimately fitted. She was the only French ship-of-the-line with two funnels.

Warships made of wood and powered by steam engines were the dominate ship of the world's navies by the early 19th century. In the 1820s and 1830s, steam engines were first tried in tugs, gunboats and sloops. Larger engines were built by the 1840s, making them usable in medium-sized ships like frigates. In the 1850s, steam-powered wooden battleships combined their steam engines with a sailing rig, just in case the coal ran out. Many nations did not have worldwide coaling stations.

In the late 1830s the screw propeller attracted naval interest not only in Britain and France but also in American where experimentation was underway. The American USS Princeton was being built at the same time as the British HMS Rattler, both ships were sloops and their respective navy departments felt they performed their mission rather well. France jumped ahead in 1845 with the first screw steam-powered frigate - the Pomone. By the end of the decade, both Britain and France were building steam-powered versions of the ship-of-the-line, leaving America was somewhat behind.

In 1850, the British Admiralty decided that no more sailing warships would be built and the government committed 100,000 pounds for machinery for its new steam battle fleet. Most of the world’s navies were essentially forced to follow suit. Britain converted 41 sail-only ships-of-the-line to steam and built 18 new ones. France fell behind by converting only 28 ships to steam and built an additional 10. Russia learned the hard way, losing her sailing fleet during the Crimean War and built just 9 steam-powered ship-of-the-line battle ships. 

HMS Victory

The HMS Victory began her service in 1765 and continues as the oldest commissioned warship in the world today, this as a museum.

As fate would have it in 1758, the same year of Lord Nelson's birth the Board of Admiralty ordered twelve new ships of the line, among them a 'first-rate' ship with 100 guns, to be named Victory. HMS Victory is a first-rate warship with four masts built to be a floating gun platform with 100 cannon of different calibers arranged on three decks. She took seven years to build at a cost is today’s money of 50 million English pounds, designed by Thomas Slade of the Royal Navy and laid down in Chatham Dockyard, England. Sir John Lindsay, Victory's first Captain, took command In March 1778. On May 8, 1778, she set sail for sea duty for the first time exactly 13 years and a day, 4,746 days from the time of her launching. Her active service life began on Friday June 13 when she sailed from Spithead as the Flagship of the Channel Fleet and first cleared her decks for action on the July 23, 1778.

A story in itself is the construction of the Victory. The 18th century shipwrights had only simple gear and tools and the difficulty of moving enormous timbers from where they were felled to the dockyard in Chatham. This extensive skilled workforce of about 250 men were required to accomplish the work. The shipwrights needed a hundred acres of oak forest, about 6,000 selected mature oak trees found in the weald forest of Kent and Sussex in England. The balance of the timber needed was fir, elm, and pine and was cut and stored knowing the wood required seasoning or drying for many years.

First the keel on July 23, 1759 then the frame was constructed; shipwrights would normally cover the ship in canvas for several months for more seasoning of the wood. Luck would have it for Victory that the Seven Years' War ended so her construction was stalled. Peace meant that she was not needed so her frame remained covered for three years, this increased seasoning turned out to increase her strength and sturdiness. Certain sections of a ship framework had to be made from a single piece of oak, so mature oak trees of great size were sought after. The largest oak trees required were for the 30 feet high 'stern post' which took some of the greatest stresses placed on the ship. Other valued oak trees had “Y “shaped curved branches which enabled the knees and clamps to be made from one piece for increased strength. Perhaps the most difficult of the trees to locate were the timbers used for the wing transom needing a very wide forked mature oak tree. Light supple wood like fir and spruce was required for the decks, masts & yard arms. Seven mature elm trunks were used for the keel.

The Victory having 3 masts and a bow sprit is called a rigged ship vessel. Each of the masts supports yards horizontal spars were named after their respective masts. The lower yard, topsail yard and the topgallant yards were made from either fir or pine because of its light weight and being flexible. The masts required so much bulk it took 7 trees to make each one, each tree were combined and built-in as one with iron hoops and joined tightly with hundreds of yards of ropes. The masts used 27 miles of rigging and carried four acres of canvas for the sails. Two tons of iron and copper nails are needed for the deck. Iron bolts were passed through the timbers and joints with the ends clenched with washers holding the ship together. A ship the size of Victory required more than 26 miles (42 km) of flax and hemp rope with the largest rope for the anchors being 19 inches (47 cm) in circumference. As an historical note typically, hemp contains below 0.3% THC, while cannabis grown for marijuana can contain anywhere from 6 or 7 % to 20% or even more. The smoking lamp was not lit on board Victory.

Close to 4 acres of sails were needed comprising of 37 sails with a total sail area of 6,500 square yards (5, 428 square meters). Dundee weavers who manufactured the bolts of cloth for the Navy during this period and would have spent around 1,200 hours just to stitch the top sail together. Spare sails were needed so an additional 23 sails were carried on board. When in full sail HMS Victory carried thirty seven different sails. These canvas sails were mostly hung from horizontal yard arms mounted on her four masts, the bowsprit, the foremast, the mainmast and the mizenmast. Just the right combination of sail had to be rigged, to little sail and the ship did not move fast enough through the water. Too much sail in a strong wind and the mast might snap. At times little sail was necessary for leaving or entering ports. To trim or adjust a sail the crew had to climb the rope ladders to their assigned “yard” the horizontal bar that supported the sail. The orders were to “Make Sail” or unfurl the area of sail to catch more wind, or “Trim Sail” to reduce or furl the sail area by rolling up and tying down the sail. The crew of Victory was expected to hear the order, climb the rope rigging ladders to their assigned station and have full sail in six minutes. 120 plus men were needed to accomplish this task and it was not uncommon for inexperienced sailors to fall to their death from wet ropes and gusts of wind. HMS Victory's design allowed speeds up to 8 knots or 10 mph, and being a First Rate ship being maneuverable required her for active service between 1778 and 1805 and became one of the most sought after ships in the Navy.

The Victory carried 7 anchors of various sizes; the two main anchors were used for holding the ship in deep water. The larger and heaviest of the two weighing 4 tons was always rigged on the starboard or right hand side of the ship due to prevailing winds found in the northern hemisphere. It was the heaviest work on board to raise the anchor, and at the center of the ship were two capstans connected together vertically. All hands helped in this being the most difficult job on board for sailors and marines alike. The capstan was a big wench with 12 heavy wood bars made long enough for six men to stand side by side and walk around the capstan pushing against the bars to raise the anchor. Around 144 men were needed to raise the largest anchor, the huge anchor cable made of hemp was very heavy especially when wet. The anchor rope cable was carefully coiled to prevent the cable from rotting and the crew stored it on a special slatted floor allowing the water to drain off and air to circulate around the rope to dry. Below the water line additional protection was needed for the ships oak hull due to the teredo worm. The teredos are not worms at all, but rather saltwater clams notorious for boring into and destroying anything wooden immersed in sea water, like a wooden ship. The remedy for ships of the period was covering the hulls bottom with copper sheeting. Victory’s hull needed 3,923 copper sheets of 4ft by 1ft pieces (15,692 sqft) weighing a total of 17 tons.

Six boats carried aboard HMS Victory were comprised of a Launch, Barge, 3 Cutters and a Pinnace which is a light boat, propelled by sails or oars, formerly used as a tender for guiding merchant and war vessels. These boats were used for many purposes including conveying stores, personnel, mooring and anchoring the ship. They were also employed for towing when calm wind stalled the ship. The Launch was the largest of the boats on board being 34 feet (10.3m) long and used for carrying men and supplies, and at times anchor work. The boat was usually rowed by 16 oarsmen, and could also be sailed. Troops were ferried to shore in the boats and were the first assault craft to be used in war. The boats were not considered lifeboats, to lower a boat took too much time to save a sailor who fell overboard, life at sea was expendable. During battle removing wooden objects was necessary to reduce collateral damage of splintered wood flying across the deck. All wood items were sent below the main and gun decks, like mess tables, benches and furniture. The boats were towed behind to limit cannon hits creating flying splinters. When clearing the decks for action was called an experienced crew could clear the decks in a ship the size of Victory in ten minutes.

All cannon on the Victory were short ranged smooth bore muzzle loaders. Three main types of shot were used in the cannon, round solid shot, used to pummel an enemy ship’s hull. Next dismantling shot, used to hammer down the masts and rigging, third was anti-personnel shot or grape shot, which were small iron balls used to maim and kill enemy crew members. A broadside was when all the cannons fired on one side of the ship. To keep the ship from listing badly the guns were fired one by one from bow to stern in a wave effect. Each carriage and cannon weighted about 1,500 lbs. A trick of the era to extend the range was to skip the cannon shot off the water like one would do with a pebble on a pond. When the enemy was sighted, the Royal Marine drummer would, Beat to Quarters, a special drum roll which on modern ships has reverted to sounding a bugle for Action Stations. Both methods are calls for Battle Stations and the crew would clear the decks for action and man the guns. Each cannon had its own crew which was typically twelve men and a boy, who would run to the lower decks for the gunpowder filled cartridges from the magazines below decks. All Royal Navy gun crews like the ones on Victory would go through countless drills to prepare their guns for firing by constantly practicing to fire a broadside continuously every ninety seconds. Most naval battles would often begin with great lines of opposing warships sailing past each other firing broadsides with no assured outcome. Normally what was required was close-quarter hand-to-hand fighting between the crews of ships alongside each other. In these deadly battles pikes, cutlasses, pistols and downward musket fire from the rigging was used with great accuracy by the crews on both sides.

On July 9, 1778 Victory put to sea along with a force of thirty ships of the line. A French fleet of twenty-nine ships was sighted 14 days later on July 23rd 100 miles (160 km) west of Ushant. The French had orders to avoid battle, and upon sighting the British fleet two of the French ships escaped into the port of Brest. Both fleets found themselves maneuvering during heavy winds in a squall. The battle began with the British more or less in a column and the French in a less effective position. In Battle weather can play a role, at the beginning the winds allowed the French to sail there First Ships of the Line against the British. At almost noon Victory opened fire on the Bretagne a 110 gun ship of the line which sailed in line with the Ville de Paris of 90 guns. The engagement was indecisive however Sir Hugh Palliser's British rear division suffered a great deal. Due to the loss of British ships Admiral Keppel was blamed and court marshaled however after review he was cleared for the actions during the first battle of Ushant.

At the second battle of Ushant in March 1780 Victory was commanded by Captain Henry Cromwell and flew the flag of Rear Admiral Richard Kempenfelt. Victory sailed with a total of 18 ships, eleven other ships of the line, a 50-gun fourth-rate, and five frigates, to overtake a French convoy that sailed from Brest. Kempenfelt was unaware that the convoy was protected by 21 ships of the line with Adrimal de Guichen in command. Kempenfelt ordered a chase when the French fleet was sighted on December 12th. When the British sighted the French greater compliment of ships, Kempenfelt was forced to withdraw with the 15 captured prize ships from the French convoy. As in the first battle the weather removed the possibility for a decisive battle with the French.

On May 11 1803 the war between Britain and France and Napoleon Bonaparte evolved with Spain becoming allied with France. Five days before, Vice-Admiral Nelson hoisted his flag in Victory 1803. Samuel Sutton was assigned as his flag captain of Victory as she sailed as Nelson’s flag ship of the Mediterranean fleet. The color was changed from red to the black and yellow scheme. Her gun ports were originally yellow to match the hull but later repainted black, giving a pattern called the Nelson’s checkerboard.

Victory was passing the island of Toro on 4 April, 1805, Nelson cruised towards Sicily expecting the French fleet would be sailing for Egypt, however Villeneuve was entering Cádiz to connect with the Spanish fleet. When French Admiral Villeneuve learned that he was to be removed from command he took his ships to sea on the morning of October 19, sailing north towards the Mediterranean and unknowingly towards the British fleet, launching the Battle of Trafalgar. The first casualty on Monday morning October 21, 1805 was the landsman Aaron Crocan a seaman with less than a year's experience at sea. At five thirty he fell overboard from HMS Conqueror into a heavy swell and was never seen again. As a boat was started to be lowered a shout from the masthead called “ship ahoy”, the combined fleet had been spotted and was about 11 miles away. From Victory Nelson issued a rapid series of signals to gather the fleet towards the enemy. The British ships began to form up behind Victory and the Royal Sovereign. The French and Spanish Grand Fleet sailed in line about two hundred yards apart. The Grand Fleet had 40 sail and the British had 32 ships, at about 8am most of the British crews had breakfast, soon Nelson's famous last signal was sent, "England expects that every man will do his duty".

The normal battle at sea of the day would have been both fleets sailing parallel against each other firing broadsides. Nelson inVictory decided to divide his fleet into two battle lines and sail through the enemy fleet at a 90 degree perpendicular angle. This initiative strategy became the “crossing the T” plan or being able to fire a broadside at your enemy while they could only fire forward or aft with minimum cannon towards the British ships. Victory lost 57 killed and 102 wounded, Admiral Nelson was shot and mortally wounded. The British fleet killed was 449 and had 1,246 wounded with no ships lost. The French lost 2,218 men and had 1,155 sailors wounded. The Spanish men killed were 1,025 and 1,383 wounded. 7,000 men were captured on 21 French and Spanish ships, along with one ship destroyed. The battle made Britain the master of the seas and Nelson the supreme hero in British history with Victory becoming the most principle warship of sail, even to this day.

Today HMS Victory remains in commission as the flagship of the Royal Navy's Home Command. She is the oldest commissioned warship in the world in her role as a museum ship supported on cradles in dry dock. The USS Constitution, launched 30 years later, is the oldest commissioned warship still afloat.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Experimental Airplanes by Arado during WW2

Arado Ar E.381

The diminuitive Ar E.381 can be seen carried on the underside of this Ar 234 jet-powered bomber.

The Ar E.381-series of prototypes was submitted in 1944 for review by the German Air Ministry. Whilst a plethora of companies (including Messerschmitt and Sombold) were competing to fulfill the role of what was to be dubbed "the parasite fighter" - small but fast rocket-powered fighters - the Arado Ar E.381 showed promise.

The Ar E.381 went through three major engineering design revisions, from the I to the II and finally to the III variant. Through the progression, the fuselage design was enlarged ever more so and streamlined to a more acceptable form. In the end, the Ar E.381 III would be the closest version to come close to production with the ability to be carried underneath an Arado Ar 234C-3 jet bomber and armed with six RZ65 or 73 type spin-stabilized rockets.

Perhaps the most interesting design element of the Ar E.381 III was the fact that the pilot was confined in the prone position once inside of the vehicle, allowing the design to be truly aerodynamic and not required the use of a true 'cockpit' in that sense.

In concept, the Ar E.381 III would be attached to the underside of the Ar 234 bomber, taken to the desired altitude (reported about 3,281 feet or 1,000 meters) and released. From there, the Ar E.381 III would go into a dive and achieve a momentous speed of up to 510mph. For a second run, the Ar E.381 could ignite its rocket booster and fly in for another attacking pass.t motor. Once fuel was spent, the system would have to glide home and land under its own power, on a single skid running along the bottom of the fuselage (a braking parachute was also deployed). At most, an Ar E.381III pilot could conceivably make two passes at a bomber formation before running out of fuel.

The Ar E.381 was built to be simplistic, therefore all amenities such as heating were provided by the carrier craft until departure from the main unit. This engineering kept the Ar E.381 light and non-complicated to produce. The system itself could be taken apart into several major components consisting of the wing assembly, the fuselage and the tail section.

In all, several mockups and airframes were constructed for further testing, with a reported unmanned air-towed version undergoing further trials but ultimately the Ar E.381 remained an unfinished concept at best. In the end, the German Air Ministry would not pursue the parasite aircraft idea to the end.

Length: 18.70ft (5.70m)
Width: 16.57ft (5.05m)
Height: 4.95ft (1.51m)
Max Speed: 556mph (895kmh; 483kts) Rate-of-Climb: 0ft/min (0m/min)
Service Ceiling: 3,281ft (1,000m; 0.6miles)

Accommodation: 1
Hardpoints: 1
Empty Weight: 0lbs (0kg)
MTOW: 3,307lbs (1,500kg)

Engine(s): 1 x Walter HWK 509B rocket motor

Armament Suite:
1 x 30mm cannon
6 x RZ65 OR 73 spin-stabilized air-to-air rockets

Arado Ar E.530

The Arado E.530 lost out to the Messerschmitt Zwilling series of similar design.

The idea of twin fuselage aircraft was always in the minds of military aircraft engineers throughout the Second World War. Conceivably, these systems would offer up double the performance and capabilities of their single fuselage counterparts and receive the ability to take on roles outside of their intended realms. The North American F-82 "Twin-Mustang" was really the only successful venture into this type of aircraft mating, though many attempts - such as this E.530 by Arado Flugzeuwerke were proposed. In Germany, this style of aircraft was typified with the designation of "Zwilling" meaning "twin".

The E.530 was design for comparison against the Arado Ar 440 but resembled the proposed Bf 109Z series. Both fuselage portions of the E.530 were pencil-like and joined by a central wing structure and an aft elevator horizontal surface. Wings were straight-edged, similar to that on the Messerschmitt Bf 109 series. Envisioned as a single-seat, fast bomber, the E.530 could have conceivably succeeded in its intended role based on the power of the conceived powerplant (consisting of a pair of Daimler-Benz DB 603 G series piston engines) and the aircraft's overall size and tubular shape. Crew accommodation amounted to one pilot positioned in the port-side fuselage which was to also contain a pressurized cockpit allowing high-altitude exposure. In terms of armament, offensive and defensive firepower were not included in the design. Instead, the potency of the E.530 system lay in the ability for the aircraft to carry a single 1,100lb bomb in an under wing rack positioned directly center between the two fuselages. Beyond that, the E.530 had no other option but to flee any direct encounters.
When compared with the Messerschmitt Bf 109Z "Zwilling" design, logistics in construction of the E.530 design would have been problematic. Whereas the Bf 109Z could depend on a surplus of production parts already in circulation (as it was closely related to the base Bf 109 fighter), the E.530 was effectively an all-new design needing specialized parts to complete its construction on any level. As a result, the Arado Ar E.530 design was not followed up on and - considering the supply demands for Germany at the time - it is no doubt that the E.530 would have had a hard time existing in a nation facing a defensive battle against Allied might. 

Arado Ar E.561 Heavy Fighter

The Arado Ar E.561 was a complicated design best left to the imagination.

The Arado Ar E.561 was on the drawing boards as early as 1937. Classified as a heavy fighter, the type would have lived and died via its combination of firepower and performance. World War 2 brought about the need for purpose-built bomber destroyers and heavy fighters capable of bringing down most anything in the skies. The Ar E.561 was envisioned to be just that, however, a complicated engine arrangement no doubt stalled the project to the point that it became one of many of the Luftwaffe's aircraft creations throughout the war - nothing more than an intriguing paper airplane design.

The Arado Ar E.561 was designed around a stout fuselage which contained seating accommodation for three of the four crew (the fourth crewmember was a gunner manning the lower-rear machine guns). Though the E.561 gave the appearance of having two engines - one per wing - in extended nacelle positions, the engines were actually placed within in the center portion of the fuselage. The variable-pitch propellers were to be operated by these rear-mounted engines via shafts running across the wing roots and into the pseudo-nacelles extending beyond the leading edges. The idea behind this type of arrangement lay in the thinking that should one engine experience failure whilst in flight, then the single operational engine would be able to switch over and run both propellers - basically allowing the aircraft to continue to fly without the total loss of any one engine. This arrangement was, however, only limited to the operation of both engines at half-speed which would have deteriorated performance of the large aircraft substantially. The rear-mounted, shaft-controlled propeller system design idea was only operationally attempted (with modest success) in the underpowered Bell P-39 Airacobra product - that being a single-seat lightweight fighter type. The tail section of the E.561 followed suit with that as found on the Messerschmitt Bf 110 "Destroyer" - and aircraft to which the E.561 would have shared some similarities to - featuring two vertical tail surfaces across a large spanning horizontal plane.

Armament was a combination of offensive and defensive systems. 4 x MG 151 20mm cannons would have been arranged just under the cockpit seating area for a devastating forward offensive punch. The rear of the craft would have been defended by a pair of 13mm heavy caliber machine guns - two controlled from a rear-facing dorsal cockpit position and the other from a ventral downward rear-facing gun position at rear.

Due to its "drawing board-only" existence, no performance data of the E.561 was available. In any case, it most likely would have been a bloated "tweener" design without the performance specs to take on the nimble single-seat fighters of the Allies but might have been a formidable bomber-destroying platform. The attempt at ingenuity in having the engines mounted in the fuselage allowed for a more streamlined shape would have presented a very complicated internal working for engineers to devise effectively given the constraints of a wartime Germany. 

Armament Suite:
4 x MG 151 20mm cannons in nose
2 x 13mm machine guns in rear cockpit
2 x 13mm machine guns in aft ventral station

Arado Ar E.560 Medium-Range Tactical Bomber

The Arado E.560 would have been an impressive machine had it been completed and flown before the end of the war.
The Arado E.560 series of developmental high-speed jet bombers saw a large evolution on paper. Design of the platform centered around the closing days of the Second World War and showed the extent to which the Germans were planning on utilizing the relatively newfound technology of the turbojet to deliver munitions against Allied targets through unquestioned speed and cutting edge design. Fortunately for the Allies, many of these systems fell by the wayside as Germany was playing a defensive game by war's end. The E.560 was such an idea, developed in the closing weeks of World War 2 - that any information on the machine survived is a bonus.

From an external perspective, it becomes easy to see the similarities inherent in the E.560 design, showcasing much the same look as the more famous Arado jet product - the Ar 234 "Blitz" - a single-seat twin engine reconnaissance/bomber aircraft that actually saw production by war's end. The E.560 showed off a similar glazed cockpit at the extreme forward of the fuselage and contained a seating arrangement for two personnel in a pressurized cockpit (for high-altitude work). The engines were held under each wing and differed by developmental model (described in better detail later in this article). Wings were of a swept-back variety which in itself was becoming quite a revolutionary step towards the modern jet fighter. A tricycle undercarriage landing gear system also figured prominently into the design. The Arado Ar E.560 series was envisioned - and classified - as a high-speed tactical bomber of medium range capability, able to mount a substantial internal bomb load. Other unique design features included communications equipment and automatic course correction systems.

The Arado E.560/2 series would have featured twin BMW 803 series double radial piston engines rated at about 4,000 horsepower each. Each engine would power twin contra-rotating blades and develop a maximum speed of well over 500 miles per hour. This initial model was designed with a T-style tail assembly and the base two-man cockpit. The Arado E.560/4 was next in line though this time, the design featured 4 x BMW brand 003E turbojet engines rated at 2,646lbs of thrust each - two engines per wing. The tail was redesigned to feature a more traditional empennage though most everything else of the base E.560/2 remained the same.

The next 560 model of note became the E.560/7 featuring 2 x BMW 028 turboprop engines rated at 6,200 horsepower each - one engine to a wing. This was followed by the truly ambitious E.560/8 which sported an impressive 6 x BMW 003 series turbojet engines at 1,984lbs of thrust a piece. Two engines would have been clusters inboard near the wing root with single engine mountings held outboard. A bulged bomb bay is also noteworthy here. The final design model of note became the E.560/11. This aircraft sported 4 x BMW 018 model turbojet engines at 5,071lbs of thrust apiece, the aforementioned two-man cockpit, single vertical tail surface and swept-back wings. Each wing held two engines apiece. This particular model also focused more in on defensive armament and included twin forward-firing fixed MG 151/20mm cannons, 2 x rear-firing fixed MG 151/20 cannons and a remote controlled MG 151 20mm cannon fired via a periscope (similar to the tail armament of the Arado Ar 234 mentioned at the top of the article). By the time of this design, the bomb load was an impressive 8,818lbs of internal ordnance.

It is hard to say with any level of certainty how the Arado E.560 would have fared in any of these forms. The Ar 234 was a relatively successful foray into the world of turbojet power and met with modest success in the closing months of service that it had so it leads one to believe that the potential in the Ar E.560 could actually be achieved should more time been given to development of the project. In any case, with Germany on its heels, machines such as this potentially war-changing high-speed bomber might have played a great role in disrupting the advances of the Allied cause. At any rate, the E.560 would go down as many of the "what-if" products proposed by the Reich throughout the war and - more specifically - in the closing months of the great conflict. For certain, the air war would have taken on a whole new look might these machines ever have squared off with the Allied offerings available at the time. 

Arado Ar E.580 Single-Seat Jet Fighter

The E.580 was intended to compete with the Heinkel He 162 Volksjager design - the latter eventually winning out.

Once the Volksjager competition came around in 1944, Arado Flugzeugwerke went back to a 1943 design it had had and touched it up some, producing the E.580 design model. This aircraft was to be a single-seat, single-engine jet fighter to help in defense of the Reich and eventually turn the tide of the Allied advance in the war. Designed with simplicity in mind (in both construction methods and pilot operation), the E.580 was Arado's answer for the new RLM proposal. Unfortunately for Arado, the Heinkel He 162 won out - and the E.580 became paper history.


Outwardly, the E.580 shared some similarities to the Heinkel design. As in the Heinkel He 162, the engine of the E.580 series sat atop the fuselage, wings were of a straight-line design (no sweep), all armament was kept in the nose, a tricycle undercarriage was featured (a growing novel concept of new aircraft designs for the time) and the empennage was detailed by the split-vertical fin arrangement. The engine layout of the E.580 - as opposed to the layout found on the He 162 - appeared more integrated into the fuselage design with the rear of the pilot's canopy seemingly disappearing into the jet intake. The engine selected would have been the BMW 003A-1 series turbojet. How this layout would have eventually fared creates some skepticism as the canopy would have no doubt blocked airflow into the intake. Armament was never finalized but proposed weaponry would have been either a pair of MK 108 30mm cannons or MG 151/20 20mm cannons. In either case, these would have been situated in the nose and were potent enough to contend with both fighter and bomber alike.

The Heinkel He 162 eventually won the competition and - by this author's judgment - rightfully so. By all accounts it was the more sound design on paper with the He 162 eventually seeing production in limited numbers. Both design attempts - it should be noted - were early forays into single-engine jet aircraft designs. How the E.580 would have fared in real combat is left up to the imagination.  

Specifications for the Arado Ar E.580
Length: 25.79ft (7.86m)
Width: 25.00ft (7.62m)

Maximum Speed: 462mph (744kmh; 402kts)

Armament Suite:
2 x MG 151/20 20mm cannons OR 2 x MK 108 30mm cannons n nose.

Accommodation: 1

Engine(s): 1 x BMW 003A-1 turbojet engine.

Arado Ar E.555 Long-Range / High-Speed Bomber

Development into the Arado Ar E.555 series was halted in December of 1944, no doubt due to the advance of the Allies.

Arado proposed this E.555 flying wing concept towards the end of 1943 as a high-speed long-range bomber. The flying wing concept had eluded aircraft engineers for decades but it was seen as a potentially stable design allowing for greater payloads and control. Arado produced no fewer than 15 flying wing E.555 designs of various types for the RLM throughout 1944 - each with considerable groundbreaking features.

The base E.555 was the E.555-1, an all-metal flying wing concept with a delta shape. Two large vertical fin surfaces were attached to either wing assembly with the fuselage contained in the forward-most portion of the gull-like wing assemblies. The engines were to be a cluster of six BMW 003A series turbojets held slightly off of the fuselage and maintained in the aft area of the design. Requirements stated that this new bomber possess the ability to carry upwards of 8,818lbs and thus the E.555-1 was designed with a large under-fuselage internal bomb bay. The flying wing concept also played well into the design requirement of long range, needing to meet some 3,107 miles of flight time. The cockpit was pressurized to allow for high altitude work. It is assumed no fewer than 3 personnel would crew the system as there was a need for a pilot, copilot, and at least one gunner. Landing gears were of the tricycle type now beginning to take hold in newer aircraft designs. The E.555 would have utilized such a layout with the wing-installed gears were tandem for a total of four wheels to a gear. The nose gear was of a single arrangement mounting two wheels side-by-side.

Defensive armament consisted of a remote-controlled dorsal turret mounting twin MG 151/20 20mm cannons. This turret was located just aft of the cockpit and had a 360 degree rotation plus elevation. A second turret was mounted at the rear of the fuselage/wing area and was remote-controlled by a crew member via periscope. This position also mounted twin MG 151/20 20mm cannons and the gunner sat in his position just aft of the dorsal turret behind the cockpit. Fixed forward-firing MK 103 30mm cannons were added to either wing root (one cannon per side) to round out the armament.

The E.555 was planned in many forms covering E.555-1 to E.555-11 (14). Each version differed mainly in powerplant used, either of BMW or Heinkel branding. Beyond that, the wing design changed somewhat between designs and some were featured with twin tail booms or a traditional wing as opposed to the base flying wing originally envisioned. E.555-1 featured 6 x BMW 003 series turbojet engines, all mounted in a cluster above and at the extreme aft of the fuselage. E.555-2 was to be fitted with just four turbojet engines but these of Heinkel brand (He S 011). E.555-3 was designed with 2 x BMW 018 series engines while E.555-4 saw 3 x BMW 018 fitted. E.555-6 also had 3 x BMW 018 engines but featured a redesign of the wing elements. E.555-7 followed along the lines of the E.555-1 design but had 3 x BMW 018 engines instead of six with some subtle changes to the wing area. E.555-8a/8b saw a more radical take on the E.555 series design as a whole. It featured a swept-back wing surface area but twin tail booms ala the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, joined the ends by a single horizontal surface. E.555-9 was similar to this but the booms were not connect at the ends and featured outboard elevators. E.555-10 was similar to -9 but had outboard and inboard elevators to each tail boom end. E.555-11 was perhaps the most modern of all the E.555 design attempts as a complete traditional tail section was used with the 4 x BMW 018 engines all mounted atop the fuselage along the middle of the fuselage. Wings were still kept as swept-back. Along with the base E.555-1, the E.555-11 was perhaps the design with most promise.

By the end of 1944, the RLM gave up on the E.555 and ordered Arado to do the same. It is assumed because of the strides made by the Allies in capturing more and more German strongholds that resources needed to be put into a defensive war consisting primarily of fighters than bombers. Seeing it that the E.555's primary role was that of bomber and little else, there was no need to continually put more time, money and effort into a system that was limited in scope for the type of war Germany needed to fight by 1945. 

Arado Ar E.581.4 Single-Seat Jet Fighter
The proposed E.581.4 featured a single turbojet engine with an split-intake mounted in the lower fuselage.

The Arado Ar E.581.4 was conceived of as a single-seat jet fighter utilizing a delta-wing shape. The system was not a "true" flying wing design in that it made use of twin vertical tail surfaces at the trailing edges. The system was identifiably different by the design of the lower fuselage - itself a deep, hull-like construction featuring large split intake openings just under the cockpit with the exhaust located at the extreme aft. The single HeS 0111 turbojet engine would have made up most of the internal workings of the fuselage underside. Vertical surface systems were located to either side of the engine exhaust on the high-mounted main wing elements. The position of the cockpit was to have allowed for good all-around vision though downward views would have suffered significantly no doubt due to the large wing surface area. Proposed armament consisted of a pair of Mk 108 30mm cannons mounted at both wing roots. The undercarriage was intended to be of a tricycle arrangement with the main gears folding up into the wings themselves and the nose gear recessing into the fuselage underside. Entry into the cockpit was a hinged door making up the largest canopy portion, opening from left to right.

Length: 18.24ft (5.56m)
Width: 26.25ft (8.00m)

Maximum Speed: 531mph (854kmh; 461kts)

Armament Suite:
2 x MK 108 30mm cannons

Accommodation: 1

Engine(s): 1 x HeS 011 turbojet engine.

Arado Ar E.500

The E.500 was a proposed heavy fighter design put forth by Arado Flugzeugwerke of Germany. The system was designed as early as 1936 and featured a crew of four consisting of a pilot, co-pilot, dorsal turret gunner and ventral gun station gunner. The project advanced beyond the design stage as a full scale mock-up was created before the project's eventual cancellation.

A full-size mock-up of the E.500 was created before development stopped on the project altogether.

Design-wise, the E.500 was to be built around a twin-boom philosophy. The wings were high-mounted, running through each engine nacelle and spanning across the top of the gondola-style fuselage. The pilot and co-pilot were afforded good views outside their aircraft - particularly to the front, above and left and right sides thanks to the position of the cockpit at the extreme forward of the fuselage. The dorsal gunner sat in a seat directly behind the cockpit cabin and controlled a pair of 20mm Rh LB 202 series cannons. His vision was adequate as well. The fourth crewmember would have managed a ventral gun position in the lower part of the gondola. This gunner would lay in the prone position and utilize a periscope for aiming and firing.

Engines were intended to be fitted in the forward portion of the booms. The nacelles would run right into the booms which extended to the extreme aft of the aircraft. The tail booms were not joined but instead given independent elevators and vertical tail surfaces. The engines were envisioned as a pair of Daimler-Benz DB 603 series engines.

In any case, the design was quite ambitious by 1930's standards. It remains to be seen whether this system would have performed well in the intended role of heavy fighter. With four crew members, heavy armament, an oversized fuselage and large wing area, the E.500 design would have a decent enough time against Allied bombers but would suffer greatly against the more agile fighter types designed in the 1940's.


Accommodation: 4


Engine(s): 2 x Daimler-Benz DB 603 engines.

Armament Suite:

2 x Rh LB 202 20mm cannons in dorsal turret

2 x cannons in ventral gun position controlled through periscope.

Arado Ar E.654 (Kampfzerstorer / Skorpion) Heavy Fighter / Bomber Destroyer

The E.654 received its Skorpion moniker from the distinctive design of its tail.

The Arado Ar E.654 was proposed as a heavy fighter / destroyer platform designed from another Arado product - the Ar 240. Though the Ar 240 model eventually saw operational service with the Luftwaffe (albeit in limited numbers), the Ar E.654 would never see the light of day. Its unconventional engine arrangement provided some technological barriers to contend with so much so that the complex system was eventually shelved altogether.
The E.654 maintained some visual similarities to the Ar 240 with two wing-mounted engine nacelles, a crew of two and a long streamlined fuselage. Whereas the Ar 240 held its Daimler-Benz engines wholly in the wing nacelles, the E.654 attempted to utilize a more complex approach in order to maximize overall streamlining and benefit engine protection. The E.654 was designed to house the twin Daimler-Benz DB 614 OR 627 series engines within the fuselage itself while running the propellers via multiple gear shafts. This approach was highly apparent in the general design of the exterior of the aircraft as it would not have exhibited quite the large nacelles as those found on contemporary systems. Additionally, keeping the engine within the fuselage added some element of protection to the units as the fuselage was generally the most well-protected part of any aircraft, able to sustain large amounts of damage before losing integrity. The smaller nacelles also provided for better side visibility over the engines themselves, an issue apparent in the design of the Ar 240, that aircraft sporting its large wing-mounted engines to either side of the cockpit. A standard landing gear system was envisioned with the main gears recessing into each nacelle and a retractable tail wheel operating under the rearward portion of the fuselage. The tail section was dominated by a very distinguishable arrangement featuring a high-mounted tailplane with a protruding appendage - an interesting design approach even for this time.
The cockpit was of a glazed variety, again following the lead of the Ar 240 before it. The seating area was held well-forward in the fuselage providing exceptional views outward, above and down. The pilot sat extreme forward with the gunner seated directly behind in a back-to-back seating arrangement. The gunner would have operated the rear-ward facing machine guns through a periscope system.

At the heart of any heavy fighter was its offensive armament and the E.654 did not disappoint. A battery of 6 x Mk 103 series 30mm heavy cannons was arranged in groups of three in bulges on either side of the lower fuselage. Defensively, the E.654 utilized a system similar to the Arado Ar 240 aircraft - with the rear gunner controlling a dorsal and ventral turret (each fitted with 2 x MG 131 series 13mm heavy machine guns) in recessed positions near the base top and bottom positions of the empennage.

In all respects, the E.654 would have been a serviceable aircraft but the complexity inherent in the engine layout and operation doomed the type to the drawing board - similar to the fate that fell the E.561 proposal. Getting materials and parts for such a complex system proved too much for Luftwaffe technicians to address - especially when one considers the defensive war Germany was becoming embroiled in. It seems that the multi-shaft arrangement of the E.654's design would have developed other engineering obstacles as well with most of the issues no doubt related to potential vibration caused by the engine and shaft layout and maintaining the proper level of power generated at the engine, which would then have to be translated through the shaft and eventually to the propeller.

The E.654 received an internal project name of "Skorpion", no doubt due to the stinger-like protrusion at the top of the tail fin. It was also known by the descriptive name of "Kampfzerstorer". Arado designer Walter Blume headed up the project.

Specifications for the Arado Ar E.654 (Kampfzerstorer / Skorpion)

Length: 42.03ft (12.81m)
Width: 47.05ft (14.34m)
Height: 12.96ft (3.95m)

Armament Suite:
6 x MK 103 fixed-forward cannons in wings
2 x MG 131 13mm machine guns in dorsal turret (periscope aiming)
2 x MG 131 13mm machine guns in ventral turret (periscope aiming)

Accommodation: 2

Engine(s): 2 x Daimler-Benz DB 614 OR DB 627 engines.

Arado Ar TEW 16/43-23 Jet-Powered Fighter Aircraft

The Arado TEW 16/43-23 saw its end when priority was given to the Ar 234 Blitz.

The single-seat, jet-powered Arado Ar TEW 16/43-23 design was penciled sometime in 1943. Categorized as a fighter, the type might have been an impressive addition to the ranks of the Luftwaffe where jet-powered aircraft were beginning to take a larger priority over their piston-powered brethren. Regardless, the potential of the Ar TEW 16/43-23 was never realized for the Arado firm pressed forward with their other revolutionary single-seat, jet-powered bomber design - the Ar 234 "Blitz" (or "Lightning").

The aircraft featured a pair of underwing Heinkel He S 011 series turbojets in streamlined nacelles. The main wing assemblies were fitted about the midway point of the fuselage and were also high-mounted to allow for clearance of the engines. Each wing system sported a good deal of leading edge sweep as well as soft sweep along the trailing edge, both eventually tapering off at rounded wingtips. The empennage was made up of a single vertical tail fin to which a pair of horizontal planes were affixed. The tail surfaces also made use of sweep and capped with rounded ends. The pressurized cockpit was held well-forward in the design to which the pilot would have sat under a large two-piece canopy and behind a short nose-cone assembly. The raised fuselage spine would almost certainly have curtailed any visibility to the critical rear areas. The tricycle undercarriage was completely retractable and made up of two single-wheeled main landing gear legs recessing into the wings just inboard of each engine and a single-wheeled nose landing gear leg recessing forward into the nose cone. The nose wheel would have rotated 90 degrees to lay flat. The long streamlined fuselage was designed to house the three large internal fuel tanks necessary to feed the early generation of thirsty turbojet engines.

Armament was relatively modest and all systems were logically contained under the fuselage nose. This would have been comprised of a pair of MG 213/20 20mm cannons complimented by a single MG 151/15 15mm machine gun. Beyond that, no other forms of ordnance carrying were noted.

Performance was purely speculative and included an estimated stop speed of 572 miles per hour as well as a service ceiling of 39,370 feet. Dimensions were made up of a 34.9 foot wingspan, a 40.1 foot length and an 8.9 foot height.

The Arado TEW 16/43-23 saw its end when priority was given to the Ar 234 Blitz.

Specifications for the Arado Ar TEW 16/43-23

Length: 40.03ft (12.2m)
Width: 34.78ft (10.60m)
Height: 8.83ft (2.69m)

Maximum Speed: 572mph (920kmh; 497kts)
Rate-of-Climb: 0ft/min (0m/min)
Service Ceiling: 39,370ft (12,000m; 7.5miles)

Armament Suite:
1 x MG 151/15 15mm cannon under the nose
2 x MG 213/20 20mm cannons under the nose
Accommodation: 1
Maximum Take-Off Weight:15,432lbs (7,000kg)

Engine(s): 2 x Heinkel He S 011 turbojet engines.

Arado Ar TEW 16/43-19 Multi-Role Aircraft

The success of the Arado 234 and Messerschmitt 262 ended the pursuit of the Arado Ar TEW 16/43-19 multirole series.

With development of the advanced twin-engine, jet-powered Ar 234 "Blitz" bomber coming along, the Arado firm turned its attention to a more advanced jet aircraft with a multi-role capability in mind. The TEW 16/43-19 would have been produced in five distinct versions, each serving a dedicated purpose but utilizing the same basic airframe to save on cost, and was composed of the "Schnellbomber" high-speed bomber, the "Zerstorer" destroyer, the "Nachtjager" night-fighter, the "Schlechtwetterjager" adverse weather fighter and the "Aufklarer" reconnaissance platform. Despite the promising nature of the TEW 16/43-19 study (at least on paper), the equally promising development and arrival of the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet-powered fighter and the Ar 234 bomber meant that the need for the multirole design was no longer there. As such, the TEW 16/43-19 was relegated to history as one of the many German "paper" aircraft on file.

Design of the TEW 16/43-19 was decidedly Arado, even borrowing much of its external look and layout from the Arado Ar 234 before it. The pressurized cockpit was situated at the extreme forward end of the slim cylindrical fuselage. There was a crew of two, seated back-to-back under a glazed canopy. Wings were mid-mounted monoplane assemblies with sweep back at greater angles along the leading edges. The trailing edges also featured sweep back but this to a much lesser degree. The wings carried with them a good deal of surface area and tapered somewhat sharply to clipped wing tips. Each wing was to mount a single 3,000lb thrust jet engine of unknown make and model in streamlined underwing nacelles. As a unit, the wings were situated just ahead of amidships, concentrating a good deal of weight for the aircraft in the forward portion of the design. The fuselage tapered off into a conical tip at the extreme aft of the layout and itself would have housed three large internal fuel tanks to feed the hungry jet engines. The empennage was conventional, sporting a rounded edge single vertical tail fin and two swept-back horizontal planes fitted at the base of the fin. Both the main wings and the tail wings featured some level of dihedral (upward angle) when viewed from the front or rear. The undercarriage was to be of a tricycle arrangement, making use of two large, single-wheeled main legs and a single-wheeled nose landing gear leg. All were completely retractable with the main legs folding forward into the wings and the nose leg folding rearwards under and beneath the cockpit floor.

Armament for the TEW 16/43-19 would have varied on the model type. The high-speed "Schnellbomber" was to be fitted with a pair of rear-firing, remotely-controlled MK 213 series cannons to protect the "six". Bomb load was to be 5,512lbs carried as external stores. In additional to conventional ordnance, the high-speed bomber version was also envisioned to carry the Fritz X series of wire-guided missiles.

The "Destroyer" (Zerstorer) model type was to sport a battery of three MK 103 series 30mm cannons along with a pair of MK 213 cannons, all in a ventral pack. This would have been augmented by another pair of MK 213 cannons in the fuselage sides. All implements would have been fixed to fire forward. Additionally, the Destroyer would have mounted a pair of MK 213 cannons in a rear-facing, remote-controlled emplacement in the tail. Bomb load would have been a reduced 2,205lbs of external stores as needed.

The night-fighting "Nachtjager" was to be fitted with a pair of forward-firing MK 108 30mm cannons as well as 3 x MK 213 cannons in a ventral pack. An additional 2 x MK 213 cannons would have been mounted along the fuselage sides while a battery of 2 x MK 108 30mm cannons would have been set to fire at an oblique angle in the upper fuselage. The rear would be protected by a pair of MK 213 cannons remotely-controlled. Because of its night operations nature, a third crewmember would accompany the crew, his position in the rear portion of the fuselage just aft of the three large internal fuel tanks. Radar would have been fitted into a specially-designed nose extension.

Dimensionally, the Arado Ar TEW 16/43-19 would have sported a wingspan up to 53 feet, 2inches with a surface area of 501.6 feet. The fuselage would have measured 59 feet, 1 inch in length. Height would have been approximately 9 feet, 10 inches. A maximum weight of 35,274lbs was envisioned for the craft.

Specifications for the Arado Ar TEW 16/43-19

Length: 59.06ft (18m)
Width: 53.15ft (16.20m)
Height: 9.84ft (3.00m)

Armament Suite:
"Zerstorer" Destroyer:
3 x MK 103 30mm cannons in ventral gun pack
2 x MK 213 cannons in ventral gun pack
2 x MK 213 in fuselage sides (forward-firing)
2 x MK 213 cannons in remote-controlled tail gun position.
Up to 2,205lbs of external ordnance.

"Schnellbomber" High-Speed Bomber:
2 x MK 213 cannons in remote-conteolled tail gun position.
External ordnance in the form of bombs or missiles (Hs 295 Fritz X) envisioned.

"Nachtjager" Night-Fighter:
2 x MK 108 30mm cannons in ventral gun pack
3 x MK 213 cannons in ventral gun pack
2 x MK 213 cannons in fuselage sides (forward-firing).
2 x MK 108 30mm upward-firing cannons in oblique fuselage position.
2 x MK 213 cannons in remote-controlled rear-tail gun position.
Accommodation: 2
Hardpoints: 2
Maximum Take-Off Weight:35,274lbs (16,000kg)

Engine(s): 2 x turbojet engines developing 3,300lbs of thrust each.

Arado Ar TEW 16/43-13 Rocket-Powered Interceptor Aircraft

The TEW 13 series was to be powered by the volatile T-Stoff and C-Stoff rocket fuel combination.

The Arado Ar TEW 16/43-13 was a design concept envisioned as a rocket-propelled interceptor for the German Luftwaffe. The design was put forth by Wilhelm van Nes as one of three possible developments that also included a twin-jet powered aircraft and a jet/rocket-powered hybrid foray.

Design was conventional featuring a low-set monoplane swept-wing arrangement with slight dihedral and affixed to a somewhat portly fuselage. The pilot was seated nearly extreme forward in the design, with good views to the left and right of his aircraft. The forward windscreen view contained some framing and the rear view was blocked by the upper rear fuselage. The nose was capped with an aerodynamic cone assembly. The fuselage was essentially designed to house as much fuel as possible, consisting of the volatile T-Stoff and C-Stoff rocket propellants (also used in the more well-known Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet rocket-propelled interceptor). Power was to be derived from a single Walter-brand HWK 509A series rocket booster taking up the rearward portions of the inner fuselage aft. The tail section was adorned with a single vertical tail surface and appropriate horizontal plane, all with swept surfaces. The rocket propellant exhausted just aft of the tail fin base. Proposed armament for the TEW 16/43-13 was to be a pair of MG 151/20 20mm cannons along with a pair of MK 108 30mm cannons, all mounted in the lower fuselage nose. The armament was spaced in pairs to either side and below the cockpit seating position.

The undercarriage was completely retractable and differentiated from the conventional "tail-dragging" designs by fitting a tricycle arrangement. The arrangement was dominated by two main landing gears mounted under each wing near the wing roots and a nose landing gear recessing forward under the forward cockpit floor. The wheels of this system deserved mention for they were envisioned as spherical implements designed to save space and weight. Each "wheel" was crossed directly through its center at its x-axis and attached on either side to landing gear struts. As such, each landing gear (nose included) was allotted just a single wheel. This design was so unique that it was patented.

Specifications for the Arado Ar TEW 16/43-13

Length: 31.82ft (9.7m)
Width: 29.04ft (8.85m)
Height: 0.00ft (0.00m)

Armament Suite:
2 x MG 151/20 20mm cannons in nose
2 x MK 108 30mm cannons in nose
Accommodation: 1

Engine(s): 1 x Walter HWK 509A rocket engine

Arado Ar TEW 16/43-15 Interceptor / Fighter Aircraft

The Arado Ar TEW 16/43-15 design was a combination jet- and rocket-powered fighter proposal for the German Luftwaffe.

The Arado Ar TEW 16/43-15 concept was born out of an in-house research project studying the possibilities of jet-powered fighter aircraft. The design appeared as early as March of 1943 and became yet another example of the forward-thinking in aircraft technology as sponsored by the many German engineering firms of World War 2. The intent of the Ar TEW 16/43-15 design was to mate a jet engine with rocket-fueled power to complement all-out performance above 32,800 feet. The design never materialized passed the "paper" stage however.

Design was wholly Arado and made use of some distinct features. A pair of low-mounted, swept-back wings were fitted at the center of the tubular fuselage with slab sides. The wings sported some dihedral and featured curved tips. The single pilot would have sat in a pressurized cockpit fitted just aft of a short nose-cone assembly. Vision to the front quadrant from under the single-piece glass canopy would have been excellent. The fuselage tapered off at the rear to which sat a high-mounted "Tee" style tail system sporting two vertical fins. The horizontal tail surfaces were swept while the vertical fins were nearly triangular in shape. Perhaps the most notable design element of the TEW 16/43-15 was its positioning of the jet engine, this mounted along the top of the fuselage spine with the intake wrapped around and aft of the canopy. The engine compartment ran some distance behind amidships and exhausted between the twin vertical tail fins. Fuel for the two powerplants was dispersed about the internal fuselage, in positions both central and aft.

The TEW 16/43-15 was to be another Arado design to make use of the patented DVL 1940 spherical tires. The aircraft would have used these special space-saving wheels across two main landing gear legs and a nose landing gear leg in a tricycle arrangement. The nose landing gear retracted under and forward of the cockpit floor while the main legs retracted into each wing root. Each of the landing gear systems retracted forwards into their respective bays.

Armament was never overlooked on these types of aspiring Luftwaffe fighter designs and the TEW 16/43-15 did not disappoint. Weapons of choice would have been a pair of MG 151/15 15mm cannons or a pair of MG 151/20 20mm cannons. Additional armament could have been a single MK 103 30mm cannon or a pair of MK 108 30mm cannons. The armament was to be centralized along the fuselage sides forward of the wings.

Performance specifications were, of course, estimated. Power could possibly have been derived from a Heinkel-brand He S 011 series jet engine of 2,866lbs thrust. Rocket propulsion was to be a Walter HWK 509A series bi-fuel rocket thruster. The fuel for the thruster consisted of the volatile C-Stoff and T-Stoff fuel combination. A top speed of 572 miles per hour was envisioned as was an optimistic ceiling of 61,600 feet with a range of 745 miles.

Like many of the potential Luftwaffe plans throughout the war however, the TEW 16/43-15 remained the stuff of German dreams. It was never followed up on nor was a prototype ever completed let alone test flown - leaving to the imagination of what impact (if any) this fighter aircraft might have had on the outcome of the war. Needless to say, it was a complex design that would have had to clear many-a-hurdle to see fruition and was perhaps left best on the engineer's drawing board and nothing more. The idea of the jet/rocket-powered fighter lived on for a time in the post-war years but the theory was soon ousted by the advent of afterburning jet-powered engines to achieve the desired results.

Specifications for the Arado Ar TEW 16/43-15

Length: 38.55ft (11.75m)
Width: 33.79ft (10.30m)
Height: 9.19ft (2.80m)

Maximum Speed: 572mph (920kmh; 497kts)
Maximum Range: 746miles (1,200km)
Service Ceiling: 61,680ft (18,800m; 11.7miles)

Armament Suite:
2 x MG 151/15 15mm cannons OR 2 x MG 151/20 20mm cannons in fuselage sides.
1 x MK 103 30mm cannons OR 2 x MK 108 30mm cannons in fuselage sides.
Accommodation: 1
Maximum Take-Off Weight:14,705lbs (6,670kg)

Engine(s): 1 x Heinkel He S 011 turbojet engine developing 2,866lbs of thrust; 1 x Walter HWK 509A bi-fuel rocket engine.

Arado Ar Projekt II Nightfighter / All-Weather Fighter

The proposed Projeckt II featured a crew of two in a pressurized cabin complete with ejection seats.

The Arado Ar Projekt II was a proposed jet-powered fighter of considerable size. It carried a basic classification of nightfighter / all-weather fighter and appeared in paper form towards the end of the European Campaign. The aircraft featured several cutting-edge design aspects that included swept-back wings, wing-mounted jet engines, a pressurized crew cabin (complete with side-by-side seating for two and ejection seats) and a retractable tricycle landing gear system. The main gears would recess into the tubular fuselage while the nose gear disappeared just under the cockpit seating area.

Design was traditional in the jet-fighter sense with an aerodynamic featureless fuselage. The engines were mounted under each wing just past the wing roots and would have been either 2 x HeS 011A series or 2 x BMW 003A series turbojet engines (a performance speed of 466 miles per hour was estimated). Wings were monoplanes and shoulder-mounted high up on the fuselage just aft of the cockpit. The fuselage ended in a point with tail planes also featuring swept back design and a single vertical tail surface. Armament was intended to be 4 x MK 108 series 30mm cannons with two mounted high on the nose and two mounted underneath the nose.

In all, the Arado Ar Projekt II was an ambitious undertaking that most likely would have been limited by Reich production capabilities and turbojet technology. At least on paper, the Projekt II was a promising look into the future of jet-powered air combat and nothing was spared in its design by Arado. The fact that this aircraft (and most other German jet aircraft designs of the time) never even saw prototype construction was a benefit to the Allies and then some.

Length: 56.76ft (17.3m)
Width: 49.15ft (14.98m)

Maximum Speed: 466mph (750kmh; 405kts)

Armament Suite:
2 x MK 108 30mm cannons in upper nose section
2 x MK 108 30mm cannons in lower nose section

Accommodation: 2

Engine(s): 2 x HeS 011A OR 2 x BMW 003A-1 turbojet engines.

Arado Ar Projekt I Nightfighter
Projeckt I was a proposed nightfighter design featuring a two-man crew in a pressurized cockpit.
The Arado "Projekt I" was intended to be a two-man jet-powered night fighter. The aircraft featured a slender yet short fuselage with a delta-wing design extending from the cockpit down to the base of the empennage. The crew of two would have sat side-by-side in a pressurized cockpit offering up decent visibility forward, side and above. Twin vertical tail surfaces were affixed to the trailing edges of each wing assembly. Air for the twin BMW-brand 003A series turbojet engines was to be brought in from an under fuselage intake with exhaust jettisoned from the rear underside of the craft. A tricycle landing gear system was envisioned with the nose gear at extreme forward under the nose and the main gears recessing under each wing. Armament was intended to be a battery of 4 x MK 108 series 30mm cannons - no doubt a match for any Allied bombers it would have faced.

Length: 42.49ft (12.95m)
Width: 60.30ft (18.38m)

Maximum Speed: 497mph (800kmh; 432kts)
Rate-of-Climb: 0ft/min (0m/min)

Armament Suite:
4 x MK 108 30mm cannons in nose

Accommodation: 2

Engine(s): 2 x BMW 003A turbojet engines.


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