Beaufighter wheels-RAAF Mk Vlc

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Beaufighter wheels-RAAF Mk Vlc

Postby rhagger » Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:31 pm

A19-93 was a 30 Sqn Mk Vlc that crashed on take off in June 1943. I have been searching photos of A19 serialed a/c looking to see what sort of wheels/tyres were fitted now that Ultracast have released a selection of wheels (spoked/nonspoked/block tread etc). It appears that Mk 1 a/c often had spoked smooth treaded wheels but I have not been able to make out what were fitted to Vlc aeroplanes.
Thanks for any replies.
Robert
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Re: Beaufighter wheels-RAAF Mk Vlc

Postby Peter Malone » Sun Jul 16, 2017 12:34 am

Hi Robert,
Based on my small collection of photos of Bristol built Mk.VIc aircraft, in which one can actually see the wheels, (most shots seem to be of crashed aircraft), it would appear that spoked wheels and smooth tyres seem to be the norm. I think that the solid wheels didn't appear until the Mk.XI and Mk.X. Some of those later A/C had treaded tyres.
If Syd is around he may be able to add more.
Cheers,
Peter
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Re: Beaufighter wheels-RAAF Mk Vlc

Postby rhagger » Sun Jul 16, 2017 6:06 pm

Thank you Peter.
Cheers,Robert
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Re: Beaufighter wheels-RAAF Mk Vlc

Postby Biggles81 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:56 pm

Robert,

1AD noted to 4 Maintenance Group HQ (Parent to 1AD and 1AP) on 13 Apr 1943 that Beaufighter VIs A19-102 to 107 had quote "Wheels fitted to the undercarriage are of a different type being fitted with dual brakes" and "Tail oleo strut of a modified type" . This is the earliest reference in RAAF Beaufighter files to the later wheel type that I have found. That is not to say that there were not earlier Mark VIs with the twin brake wheel erected at 2AD/2AP, as the documents where each of the Depots note changes to airframes to higher headquarters as identified are a bit patchy in the files. A19-93 was EL438 and A19-102 was EL396 so there is a strong possibility that A19-93 had the later wheels however it appears it was erected at 2AP and there is not a corresponding message noting attributes similar to the 1AD document I quoted above.

Cheers,

Ken
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Re: Beaufighter wheels-RAAF Mk Vlc

Postby rhagger » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:36 pm

Thanks for looking into this further Ken,
it seems either type of wheel may have been fitted. If I stumble across any other info or photos I'll post another reply.
Cheers,Robert
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Re: Beaufighter wheels-RAAF Mk Vlc

Postby Peter Malone » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:38 pm

Ken,

I agree that the document you quoted shows that, probably most, if not all of, the later, Bristol built, Mk.VIc aircraft received by the RAAF had dihedral tailplanes, dual-brake wheels, modified tail wheel oleo etc. However, you seem to make the assumption that the RAF serial numbers were assigned in numerical sequence as the aircraft rolled off the line, and that the quoted mods appeared on all aircraft after a particular serial. I think that assumption is invalid.

You suggest that EL438, (A19-93), would probably have been fitted with the dihedral T/P and dual-brake wheels because EL396 was, as the latter has an earlier serial. This does not necessarily follow.

Looking at RAAF A/C: EL518, (A19-109), had 'spoked' wheels. EL435, (A19-96), had a flat T/P. Both have serials higher than EL396.
Looking at RAF aircraft: EL223 had 'spoked' wheels and dihedral T/P. EL224 had 'spoked' wheels and a flat T/P.

Ken, you and I are guilty of making a fundamental research error. The late John Hopton, researcher extraordinaire, told me many years ago, "Never rely on [url]just one[/url] piece of data. You must have at least three before you are in a position to form any sort of conclusion". Wise words! I quoted solely photos, you quoted only a single document. I think that neither of us has the answer.

Now, what is the third piece of evidence?

Cheers,
Peter
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Re: Beaufighter wheels-RAAF Mk Vlc

Postby Biggles81 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:16 pm

Hi Peter,

Hence my qualifications of "a strong possibility" and also noting the lack of reports in the engineering files from 2AD/2AP for the Mark VI deliveries that were clearly going through erection there at the time, including the subject airframe A19-93 (noting of course they may exist in other inaccessible files at the NAA).

Given the proclivity for Beaufighter wheels when visible to have covers over them in the majority of photos and often lost in the shadows when not, I would never make an unequivocal statement on this issue.

As to the third piece of evidence - that is the $64000 question. Twin brake wheels were embodied as a modification (802) and RAAF Beaufighter Instruction No 5 implies (as I cannot access the actual file in the NAA), that the RAAF chose to fit an improved drum brake shoe to those aircraft with the earlier spoked wheel rather than embody Mod 802 shows that both styles of wheel existed side by side on service airframes.

Maybe "strong" was the wrong qualifier. The point I guess I was making is that the improved twin brake wheel predated the Mark XI and X deliveries and its appearance on RAAF airframes coincided with batches of the earlier Mark VI deliveries.

I think as we have discussed before we both have worked/work in the grey areas of inference and probability. In my profession "possible" is considered an assessment based on weaker evidence than a "probable" assessment and certainly is not confirmed. A strong possibility would still indicate less than a 50/50 likelihood without some other collateral evidence (ala Hopton).

Cheers,

Ken
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Re: Beaufighter wheels-RAAF Mk Vlc

Postby Peter Malone » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:48 pm

Hi Ken,

Yes it was the 'strong' that registered with me. I don't deny the possibility that A19-93 may have had the dual-brake wheels. I also believe that it may equally have had the earlier style wheels. In short, neither of us know.

I am wary of assuming that aircraft were numbered sequentially as they left the production line. I would suggest that the order of receipt that they arrived in Australia is a slightly more reliable clue as to what order they left the production line.

In that context,
(a) Photos show some of the early Bristol built A/C, (e.g. EL245, EL246 and EL435, rec'd by the RAAF in December 42), still retained the flat T/P, and presumably, the early wheels.
(b) EL396, EL411, and the three JL serialled A/C, mentioned in your note from No. 1 AD, were rec'd by the RAAF in late February/early March. These A/C are documented as having dual-brakes, dihedral T/P and other mods.
(c) EL438, (A19-93), was received in mid January, and lies between the two batches above, one with flat T/P and early wheels, and one with dihedral T/P and dual-brake wheels.

Ken, I'm not trying to pick a fight, merely trying to ensure that we don't mislead Robert and any other readers that might look at this thread. Neither of us has the full story. Hopefully, as we continue researching we will find some more info. Till then we'll just have to try and make judgements on what we have. I welcome any input from others who may have further info that will help.

Cheers,
Peter
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Re: Beaufighter wheels-RAAF Mk Vlc

Postby rhagger » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:06 am

Hi Peter and Ken,

Thank you both for helping out with this subject.

So far I've interpreted the information to suggest that either style of wheel may have been fitted A19-93.

Page 92 of Beaufighters over New Guinea by George Turnbull Dick (and available to download from the link below) includes the information ..." A19-93, the first Beaufighter to arrive at Moresby with a dihedral tailplane"...
This is supported by a photo on page 46 of Neville Parnell's Beaufighters in the Pacific which shows the aft section of this aircraft being salvaged and does appear to me to have such a tailplane.

http://airpower.airforce.gov.au/Publica ... -1943.aspx

I trust this topic of wheel and tyre styles has not led to any toes being 'tread' upon.

Cheers,
Robert
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Re: Beaufighter wheels-RAAF Mk Vlc

Postby Peter Malone » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:34 am

Hi Robert,

I have both those references. Ken is a long way from his library, so may not be able to view the photo in Nev's book.

You don't need to worry about mangled toes. Both Ken and I are 'big boys' and can have discussions without resorting to fisticuffs and foot stomping. ;)

Cheers,
Peter
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