blitz bomber

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Gotha Bomber Plane

In the autumn of 1916 the Germans began to equip with the Gotha twin engined bomber.  Of a pusher layout, these aircraft could fly at 15,000 feet, above contemporary fighter’s maximum height.  With a range of 800 km (500 miles) and a bomb load of up to 500 kg (1,100 lb), the Gotha’s were designed to carry out attacks across the channel against Britain.

A group of four squadrons was established in Belgium, and they carried out their first bombing raid towards the end of May, 1917.  This 22 plane sortie, against the town of Folkestone, caused 95 deaths.  In mid June a force of 18 Gothas attacked London in broad daylight.  They were met by over 90 British fighters, but not one Gotha was brought down.  This bombing raid caused 162 deaths.

On the 7th of July 1917 over a hundred defensive sorties were flown against a 22 plane Gotha raid.  In this case one Gotha was shot down, and three were damaged, at the cost of two fighters shot down by the Gotha’s defensive gunners.  It was only when the RFC began to equip their home defences with Sopwith Camels that the Gothas began to suffer serious losses and were forced to switch to night attacks

Gotha G.V Stats

Top speed: 87 mph (140 km/h)

Range: 522 miles (840 km)

Weight: 6,038 lbs (2,739 kg)

Wingspan: 78’ (24 m)

Length: 41’ (12 m)

First flight: 1915

Engine type: Mercedes D.IVa

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Arado Ar 234 “Blitz” reconnaissance/jet bomber prototypes, during testing of the original retractable trio of skid landing gear and the take-off nosegear trolley.

This was eventually changed to a more conventional retractable landing gear, as the improvements in performance such clear configuration gave weren’t enough to offset the troubles it gave, among them uncontrollable landings once the aircraft touched the ground (with high risk of damage to the plane), complete reliance of ground personnel and equipment just to taxi back to base, and risk of the trolley hitting the aircraft during take-offs, as seen on the second GIF. 

A group of people stand outside the Bedford Hotel on Southampton Row to watch at men at work beside a large crater. The damage was caused by a 50 kilogram bomb during a Gotha raid on the night of 24 - 25 September 1917.

2

Gotha Bomber

These aircraft could fly at 15,000 feet, above contemporary fighter’s maximum height.  With a range of 800 km (500 miles) and a bomb load of up to 500 kg (1,100 lb), the Gothas were designed to carry out attacks across the channel against Britain.

The planes were slow, ungainly, and notoriously difficult to take off and land in. English home front artillery was largely ineffective and british fighter planes had trouble reaching the altitude where the Gotha flew. 

The Germans hoped to cause widespread panic and even uprising with these raids.  In this they failed, but the raids tied down a large number of aircraft, anti-aircraft guns and personnel that otherwise could have been used directly on the Western Front.  The need for a coordinated air defence was one of the major reasons for the formation of the RAF in April of 1918.

One of the conditions of the armistice was that the German would hand over all their night bombers.  When the British saw how few of these aircraft there actually were they initially suspected the Germans of hiding some of them.

The seeming invincibility of the bombers, especially in 1917, had a great influence on British military thinking well into the Second World War, for it was here that the British concept that “The heavy bomber will always get through” was born.

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Arado Ar 234 “Blitz” (Lightning).

-First operational jet-powered bomber-.

General characteristics:

Crew: 1Length: 12.64 m (41 ft 6 in)Wingspan: 14.41 m (47 ft 3 in)Height: 4.29 m (14 ft 1 in)Wing area: 26.4 m2 (284 sq ft)Empty weight: 5,200 kg (11,464 lb)Max takeoff weight: 9,800 kg (21,605 lb)Powerplant: 2 × Junkers Jumo 004B-1 axial flow turbojet engines, 8.83 kN (1,990 lbf) thrust eachPowerplant: 2 × Walter HWK 109-500A-1 liquid fuelled jettison-able RATO rocket pods, 4.905 kN (1,103 lbf) thrust each (optional).

Performance:

Maximum speed: 742 km/h (461 mph; 401 kn) at 6,000 m (20,000 ft)Cruising speed: 700 km/h (435 mph; 378 kn) at 6,000 m (20,000 ft)Range: 1,556 km (967 mi; 840 nmi) with 500 kg (1,100 lb) bomb loadService ceiling: 10,000 m (32,808 ft)Rate of climb: 13 m/s (2,600 ft/min).

Armament:

Guns: 2 × 20 mm MG 151 cannon in tail firing to the rear (installed in prototypes only)Bombs: up to 1,500 kg (3,309 lb) of disposable stores on external racks.

(Wikipedia).