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Old 04-22-2010, 02:59 AM   #1
copeab
 
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Default [WWII] Vultee Vengeance dive bomber (USA)

Vultee Vengeance dive bomber
Copyright 2010 by Brandon Cope

The Vengeance was an American-built dive bomber. Initially, the US Army Air Force was uninterested in the design; it was the British, impressed with the performance of the Junker Ju 87 (p.W114) who first ordered the plane, in 1940. However, it was two years before deliveries began and, by that time, the US had become involved in the war and ordered numbers of the aircraft, designating it the A-31. However, the Americans quickly realized the plane was not really satisfactory for combat, so it saw only training activities with them (including as a target tug). The British by 1942 had become aware of the vulnerability of dive bombers to fighters (as they had shown against the Ju 87), so it was decided not to use the Vengeance in Europe. However, it was judged suitable for use in the Far East (primarily in Burma) when provided with fighter escort, like the Hawker Hurricane (p.W:AKM77), and entered service there in mid 1943. The Vengeance was generally effective although fighters were soon able to carry the same bomb load while being much less vulnerable to enemy fighters. About 1,950 were built, 830 of which were the Vengeance IV (A-35 in American service): Some 560 of these were used by the British (some transferred to the Australians), 23 by Brazil and the rest by the US.

The Vengeance was somewhat unusual for a dive bomber in that it carried most of it's ordnance internally. Also, while it was normal for dive bombers to perform very steep dives, the Vengeance actually dove vertically (until the final version). However, the required wing angle for this dictated the plane to be flown in a slightly “nose-up” position which, combined with the long radial engine, interfered with the pilot's forward view (this was fixed in the Vengeance IV, with a slight wing angle). One distinctive visual feature was the wing resembling a 'W” from overhead or below; this occurred because the center of gravity had been miscalculated during design and it was far easier to stagger the wing than to completely relocate it.

The Vengeance IV (A-35B) uses 57 gallons of aviation fuel per hour.

Subassemblies: Light Fighter-Bomber chassis +3, Light Fighter-Bomber wings +3, three retractable wheels +1.
P&P: 1,268 kW HP gasoline engine w/1,268-kW aerial propeller, 275 gallons aviation gasoline in self-sealing fuel tanks (body and wings)
Occ: 2 CS Cargo: 2 Body

Armor:
All: 2/3
Pilot/Gunner: 0/+30 BU

Weaponry
6*Long Aircraft HMG/M-2 [Wings:F] (300 rounds each)*
Long Aircraft HMG/M-2 [Body:R] (600 rounds)
2x500-lb bombs [Body:U]
2x500-lb bombs [Wings:U]
* link fires all six

Equipment
Body: Medium radio receiver and transmitter, navigational instruments, bombsight.

Statistics
Size: 40'x48'x15'
Payload: 2.27 tons
Lwt: 8.2 tons
Volume:* 312
Maint.: 31 hours
Price: $41,600

HT: 9
HP: 330 [Body], 360 [each Wing], 30 [each Wheel]

aSpeed: 279
aAccel: 5
aDecel: 24
aMR: 7.75
aSR: 2
Stall: 78

Design Notes
Design speed was 312 mph. The historical value has been used, as well as wing area (332 sf). Loaded weight was increased by 17%. The cost, weight and HPs of the wings were tripled and chassis were doubled.

Variants:
The Vengeance I, II and III were virtually identical to each other, with a total of 1,000 built. They had four wing Browning M-2 (Aircraft LMG) wing guns and two of the same in the rear position. There were no wing bomb racks. The engine was slightly smaller (1,192-kW) and the fuel tanks were standard. Loaded weight was 7.15 tons. Most were used by the British, with some going to China and the Free French. It was slightly more accurate as a dive bomber (+2), but gave the pilot a -1 to Vision rolls to the front (other than for dive-bombing).

The A-35A had two fewer wing guns and the wing hardpoints were only rated for 250-lbs each. All 100 were used by the US.
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GURPS 3e stuff: http://copeab.tripod.com

Last edited by copeab; 05-06-2010 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 04-22-2010, 03:07 AM   #2
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Default Re: [WWII] Vultee Vengeance dive bomber (USA)

There is a story which I have chosen not to include in the basic write-up because it is probably pure military legend, but it's worth noting separately:

Indian pilots had suffered several fatal crashes during dives they couldn't recover from and complained to the British. A British pilot arrived and berated them for their lack of piloting skills and, grabbing the nearest Vengeance, took off to give them a proper demonstration of flying skill. He couldn't pull out of a dive either and promptly augered the plane into the ground. Only later was the cause of these crashes shown to be the shift of the center of gravity when not carrying a gunner ...
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