В.Кондратьев Самолеты первой мировой войны
ШОРТ "БОМБЕР" / SHORT BOMBER
Первым английским бомбардировщиком специальной постройки была машина фирмы Шорт Бразерс, которая так и называлась "Бомбер", то есть "Бомбардировщик". Самолет создавался в 1915 году по заданию Адмиралтейства. Морское начальство раньше своих сухопутных коллег осознало необходимость в аэроплане подобного назначения.
Фирма Шорт изначально занималась выпуском гидросамолетов, поэтому "Бомбер" появился на базе поплавкового гидроплана-разведчика "Шорт 184". На самолете слегка изменили конструкцию крыльев, увеличили размах и установили вместо поплавкового колесное шасси.
"Бомбер" представлял собой трехстоечный полутораплан с деревянным каркасом и полотняной обшивкой. Несмотря на свою одномоторную схему, это был самый крупный на тот момент самолет Великобритании. Размах его верхнего крыла превышал размах большинства двухмоторных аэропланов Первой Мировой войны.
Экипаж состоял из двух человек: пилота и стрелка-бомбардира.
Первоначально стрелок размещался спереди, но затем членов экипажа поменяли местами, а в задней кабине появилась двухпулеметная турель.
В ходе испытаний выявилась недостаточная продольная устойчивость машины. Для ее улучшения пришлось значительно удлинить фюзеляж и увеличить площадь вертикального оперения.
В 1916 году самолет запустили в серию сразу на пяти фирмах: Шорт Бразерс, Мэнн Эджертон, Пэрнэлл, Феникс Динамо и Санбим. "Бомберы", сделанные на Санбиме, комплектовались двигателями этой же фирмы мощностью 225 л.с., а на всех остальных стояли 250-сильные "Роллс-Ройсы".
Конструкторы Шорта позаботились о повышении живучести своего изделия: большинство машин оснащалось двойным управлением и бронированными топливными баками.
Общее число построенных "Бомберов" относительно невелико - всего 83 экземпляра, но это не помешало им сыграть заметную роль в боях на западном фронте.
Весной 1916-го "Бомберы" начали поступать в подразделения военно-морской авиации (RNAS) на восточном побережье Англии. Эти машины многократно бомбили вражеские корабли, порты, базы подводных лодок и другие береговые объекты в оккупированной немцами Бельгии. Случалось им выполнять и более дальние рейды на территорию самой Германии.
Летом того же года командование RFC обратилось к морякам с просьбой о передаче части бомбардировщиков в связи с намечаемым наступлением на реке Сомма. Лорды адмиралтейства согласились выделить 15 машин, которые приняли активное участие в битве.
Боевая служба первых бомбардировщиков Великобритании оказалась короткой. Уже в начале 1917 года, в связи с появлением более совершенных самолетов фирмы Хэндли-Пэйдж, "Бомберы" были сняты с вооружения. Интересно, что их поплавковый предшественник "Шорт 184" прослужил значительно дольше.
"Санбим", 225 л.с. или "Роллс-Ройс", 250 л.с.
1 пулемет "Льюис" на турели, до 420 кг бомб.
Размах, м 25,9
Длина, м 13,7
Высота, м 4,57
Площадь крыла, кв.м 62,2
Сухой вес, кг 2086
Взлетный вес, кг 3084
Двигатель: Роллс-Ройс "Игл"
число х мощность, л. с. 250
Скорость максимальная, км/ч 124
Дальность полета, км 600
Продолжительность полета, час,мин 5,0
Время набора высоты, мин/м 26/2000
Потолок, м 2890
Экипаж, чел. 2
Вооружение 2 пулемета
420 кг бомб
А.Шепс Самолеты Первой мировой войны. Страны Антанты
Шорт S.224 "Бомбер" (Bomber)
На базе S.225 по заказу "Ройал Нэви Эйр Сервис" фирма "Шорт Бразерс" создала самолет, базирующийся на береговых аэродромах. Машина получила обозначение S.224 "Бомбер" и имела существенные отличия от своего прототипа.
Во-первых, из-за более легкого шасси самолет сделали полуторапланом, уменьшив размах нижнего крыла. Шасси стало колесным. Основное шасси представляло собой четырехколесную тележку с резиновой амортизацией. Во-вторых, несколько облегчили несущую конструкцию фюзеляжа. В-третьих, изменилась система подвески бомбовой нагрузки.
В остальном машины S.225 и S.224 были идентичны. "Бомбер" в основном применялся для нанесения бомбового удара по наземным целям и кораблям в прибрежной зоне. Причем базировались самолеты как на аэродромах в Англии и Шотландии, так и на территории Франции и Бельгии. Однако при нанесении ударов по наземным целям самолеты несли большие потери, так как оказались тихоходнее и слабее защищены, чем аналогичные машины как Антанты, так и Германии. Поэтому оставшиеся из 83 построенных к концу 1916 года машины использовались на морском театре военных действий, в том числе в действиях по прикрытию судоходства в Ла-Манше.
C.Barnes Short Aircraft since 1900 (Putnam)
The Short Bomber (1915-16)
In the early days of aviation, though forced into a defensive role, the R.N.A.S. never lost sight of the aeroplane’s potential as a long-range gun, and was more progressive than the Military Wing in developing basic bombing techniques. The functions of ‘Britain’s Sure Shield’ have never been solely defensive, and have always included the ability to strike the enemy on his own doorstep. Consequently, one of the first objectives of the R.N.A.S. in August 1914 was the destruction of the German High Seas Fleet in its base at Kiel before it could begin to prey on our merchant shipping. Neither naval bombers nor torpedo-planes existed at that date which could tackle such a task, and we have seen how Capt Murray Sueter set about obtaining operationally capable torpedo seaplanes. At the same time he called for a long-range land-based bomber to carry six 112-lb bombs in addition to a crew of two, and specified two engines, partly from the safety viewpoint, but mainly because the task required 300-400 hp, and no engines of this power existed. As is well known, the design chosen was Handley Page’s ‘Bloody Paralyser’, but this could not be produced before the end of 1915 and, after the fall of Antwerp, in October 1914, and the increasing U-boat and Zeppelin activity that followed, various stop-gap bombers were urgently pressed into service, beginning with the famous four Avros which raided the Friedrichshafen airship sheds on 21 November. The Short 184, with its big Sunbeam engine, was an obvious candidate for conversion into a landplane bomber, and a prototype was put in hand at Eastchurch concurrently with the emergence of 184 and 185 at Rochester, early in 1915.
The initial conversion was ready in only a few weeks, and the only alteration in the fuselage was the exchange of crew positions; the pilot’s controls were in the rear cockpit and the observer sat in front and was expected to climb on to the decking to fire a Lewis gun on a pillar mounting above the upper wing. The floats were replaced by a sturdy four-wheeled undercarriage, with band-brakes on the rear wheels, which were larger than the front ones. The wings were entirely new and developed from those of the Type 166 seaplane; they had two bays with a large top wing overhang braced by cables over kingposts above the outer struts. The large ailerons, on the top wing only, were inversely tapered, but the lower wing and remainder of the upper wing had a constant chord of 6 ft. The gap was increased by 9 in to 6 ft 3 in and the standard wing-folding arrangements were unaltered; a simple rubber-sprung tailskid replaced the tail-float. In this form the Bomber prototype (S.248, later 3106) flew steadily but was unable to lift a full load of bombs in addition to a crew of two, so the next step was to insert an extra 6 ft bay in each side of the wing assembly. With the span thus increased from 72 to 84 ft, the Bomber could take off with full load, but was totally unstable in pitch and yaw, being very difficult to fly on a course even in fine weather. When Wing Cdr Longmore came over from Dunkerque to try the first production Bomber, he rejected it as hopeless for its role of night bombing in any kind of weather.
Kemp and Longmore knew that the cure was simply a longer tail arm, but Horace Short refused to make this change without restressing the whole airframe, and Longmore was anxious to get the German batteries silenced as quickly as possible. So he arranged for Horace to receive an invitation from the Admiral commanding Naval forces in Belgium to visit the R.N.A.S. base at Dunkerque and possibly, it was hinted, be flown as an observer over the German lines. This was a bait that Horace could not resist, and he set off from Dover in high glee as an honoured guest on board a destroyer; immediately he had left Eastchurch, Longmore and Kemp got busy with handsaws, parted the longerons behind the rear cockpit and scarfed in a new parallel fuselage section of the correct length to permit normal wing folding, which proved to be 8 ft 6 in. They finished the job quickly, but when they wheeled the Bomber out for a test flight Horace Short’s secretary sent him a telegram saying that ‘monkey business’ was afoot. Horace came back at the double, and when Kemp met his train at Sittingbourne station he was obviously very angry and refused to speak to him. On arriving at Eastchurch, he examined the unofficial modification very closely and stumped off into his office, still without a word to anybody. Next morning, Kemp and Longmore braced themselves for the explosion, but apparently Horace had stayed up all night checking the strength of the lengthened fuselage, and they were greeted with one of his broadest smiles and an announcement that the job was already cleared for production; Horace knew when he himself had been ‘spike-bozzled’ - a very rare occurrence.
Before this episode orders had been placed with Short Brothers for 50 Bombers (S.249-283, 9306-9355), for which 250 hp Rolls-Royce engines were promised, and with the Sunbeam Motor Car Co of Wolverhampton for 20 (9356-9375) with 225 hp Sunbeam engines; soon more Rolls-Royce engines were released, and further orders were then placed with Mann, Egerton & Co of Norwich for 20 (9476-9495) and for ten each with Parnall & Sons, Bristol (9771-9780), and Phoenix Dynamo Co, Bradford (9831-9840), all with these engines. The first Sunbeam and Mann Egerton Bombers, like Shorts’ own 9306, were completed quickly early in 1916 to the unmodified drawings, and both were flown by Sydney Pickles, who agreed with Ronald Kemp that the tail was too short and refused to fly the first Parnall machine 9771 until it had been modified; all the fuselages were lengthened before acceptance, and at the same time the fin area of the Sunbeam-engined variant was slightly reduced by straightening the leading edge; this was also tried out on an early Short-built Rolls-Royce machine, but the latter was found to be better with the original fin unaltered. With the long fuselage, elevator control was powerful, and in conjunction with the four-wheeled undercarriage Kemp was able to taxi across some of the deeper ditches in the outlying areas of Eastchurch aerodrome; he would approach the ditch with the control wheel hard back, apply the band-brakes on the rear wheels as soon as the front wheels were across, then with the control wheel fully forward, he would release the brakes and lift the rear wheels across with a burst of throttle.
All production Bombers reverted to the normal crew arrangement, because gun-rings had become available for the rear cockpit, which was built up above the decking. Dual control was installed and the main fuel tanks were protected by armour plate; in both engine installations fuel was pumped into a small streamlined gravity tank above the cowling. The radiators were flank-mounted, alongside the Rolls-Royce and a little farther aft for the Sunbeam, to give access to magnetos and carburettors in each case. The bombs were carried under the wing on four racks whose attachment lugs were braced by cables to the tops of the adjacent wing struts. The somewhat heavy Woolwich carriers were specified, but Short Brothers saved weight by hanging the bombs from nose-rings, which had little effect on aiming accuracy; skeleton carriers were later standardised, the designed maximum bomb load being eight 112-lb bombs, although 65-lb were usually carried instead to increase range.
In September 1915 the first Zeppelin raid was made on London, inflicting unexpectedly high civilian casualties, and the demand for retaliation in kind, coupled with the more logical necessity of bombing the U-boat assembly yards at Antwerp, drew Parliamentary attention to the absence of effective R.N.A.S. bombers. Murray Sueter was continually pressed to confute the critics, and when at last the first long-fuselage Bomber arrived at Grain from Wolverhampton he had it photographed from a fixed point in four different locations on the aerodrome; a composite print gave the impression of four Bombers awaiting dispatch, and the photograph was circulated to M.P.s without comment, but was carefully kept from the Press; the deception was justifiable as a way of keeping up morale at a critical juncture, and disclosure could only have exacerbated the hostility between the Army and Navy supply departments, which came to a head in 1916 before the Bailhache and Burbidge Committees.
The Short Bomber deserves a place in history, if for no other reason, as the first big landplane flown by John Lankester Parker when, at Murray Sueter’s suggestion, he came from Windermere to Eastchurch to take up part-time test-flying for Short Bros, as assistant to Ronald Kemp. At first Horace Short refused to allow ‘that bit of a boy’ to fly at all, but when in desperation Parker tendered his resignation, Horace pointed out six Bombers waiting to be tested and said, ‘Go and break your bloody neck on those’, then drove quickly away so as not to witness the ensuing disaster; but there was no disaster, and Parker flew three of the Bombers (9328, 9329 and 9331) that day (17 October, 1916) and the other three (9326, 9327 and 9333) the next day; while he was climbing the fourth machine to 6,500 ft in 21 minutes, Horace looked up in wonderment and conceded to Oswald, ‘He’s a first rate pilot!’ He flew two more Short-built Bombers (9332 and 9330) on 28 October and then his first Sunbeam machine (9361) on 2 November. On 11 December he had to make two successive forced landings in 9362, which developed a punctured carburettor float, and brought these off successfully, but on 13 December 9339 had engine failure at 5,000 ft and had to be put down outside the aerodrome, running into a ridge in the ground and breaking two chassis struts. This skilful ‘deadstick’ landing considerably impressed his passenger, Lieut Wardle (the Admiralty acceptance officer), although Parker had expected a reprimand for not reaching the aerodrome from that height. Most new Bombers were first flown at Eastchurch, but a few were erected at Manston, where Parker tested Sunbeam-built 9366 on 7 December, Phoenix-built 9836 on 14 December and Parnall-built 9775 on 17 December.
Meanwhile, as Short Bombers were accepted for service, they had reequipped No. 7 Wing, R.N.A.S., at Coudekerque and went into action as night-bombers on 15 November, 1916, when four of them, each with eight 65-lb bombs, raided submarine pens at Zeebrugge. Fifteen more were attached to the newly formed 3rd Wing, R.N.A.S., at Luxeuil, whose task was to carry the war into the Saar Valley; from this unit grew the Independent Force, R.A.F., of 1918, the lineal ancestor of Bomber Command. In June 1916 the R.F.C. itself was desperately in need of more aircraft for the Somme offensive, and General Trenchard had asked the Admiralty most urgently to release as many machines as possible; the Admiralty responded generously to this cri-de-coeur, even though this put back the 3rd Wing’s own offensive till October; eventually 14 Short Bombers (9315, 9319, 9320, 9325, 9476-9, 9482-5 and 9487-8) were transferred to the R.F.C., in addition to one new Phoenix-built machine, A3932. With the arrival of Handley Page O/100 twin-engined bombers in November, the crisis was over and Short Bombers not yet delivered were cancelled, including the last 15 from Short Brothers, the last five from Sunbeam and the last four from each of the Parnall and Phoenix contracts, but Mann Egerton had delivered all their quota before the axe fell and these had been test-flown at Norwich by Clifford Prodger. A few Short Bombers remained with the 5th Wing at Dunkerque from January 1917 onwards, and on four successive nights in April they attacked the Zeebrugge Mole with 520-lb bombs in preparation for the famous naval raid on St George’s Day. Apart from those transferred to the R.F.C., 9311 was presented to the French Armee de l’Air for evaluation against their standard Caudrons and Breguets. One of the last Bombers on charge was the final one built by Shorts at Eastchurch, S.283 (9340), which was flown from Martlesham Heath to Grain on 9 November, 1917, but as late as April 1918 the first production Bomber S.249 (9306) was returned to Grain for gunnery trials, presumably as a target.
The Short Bomber came into existence only as a stop-gap; it did its job and, when no longer needed, bowed itself out and was gone. No further development took place, but apparently a twin-engined Short bomber had been contemplated in 1916, because serials N507-8 were reserved for prototypes of this description; the engines were to have been 200 hp Sunbeams (Afridis or Arabs), but the project was cancelled before any work was done on it, probably because of Horace Short’s death; it was possibly a landplane derived from the twin-fuselage tandem-engined seaplane depicted in Oswald Short’s patent No. 3,203 of February 1915.
Span 84 ft (25-6 m); length 36 ft 6 in (11-15 tn), later 45 ft (13-7 m); area 870 sq ft (80-9 m2); empty weight 5,000 lb (2,268 kg); all-up weight 6,800 lb (3,082 kg); max speed (Sunbeam) 72 mph (116 km/h), (R-R) 77 mph (124 km/h); duration 6 hr.
K.Wixey Parnall Aircraft Since 1914 (Putnam)
Parnall and Sons Limited
Aircraft Built under Contract 1914-1918
In addition to the Type 827 and one Type 184 seaplane (No. 843) which it rebuilt in November 1916, Parnall became involved with one other Short-designed aeroplane during the First World War - the Short Bomber.
Bearing no official type designation the Short Bomber was planned as an adaptation of the highly successful Short Type 184 and was Short's response to the .Admiralty's request for an aeroplane possessing good range and heavy bombing capabilities. Early production Short Bombers incorporated fuselages of the same dimensions as the Type 184 seaplane, but later machines had lengthened fuselages to improve longitudinal stability. All production machines had dual controls, the observer being housed in the rear cockpit as opposed to the original front cockpit position on the prototype. The fuel tanks on Short Bombers were armoured, but the airframe was composed mainly of wood which was fabric-covered. The extensive overhang to the upper mainplanes was braced by wires stretching from the king posts. A characteristic feature of the Short Bomber was its cumbersome four-wheeled undercarriage.
A total of eighty-three Short Bombers were built, thirty-six by Short Brothers, twenty by Mann, Egerton, fifteen by Sunbeam, six by Phoenix Dynamo and six by Parnall. All except those produced by Sunbeam, which installed its own 225 hp Mohawk engines, were powered by the 250 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle.
First production aircraft were available late in 1916 and on the night of 15 November the type saw action when four joined eighteen other bombers, mostly French Caudrons, from the 4th and 5th Naval Wings.
The Short Bombers were operating with No.7 Squadron of the RNAS 5th Wing based at Coudekerque, and the targets for the force of twenty two bombers was Ateliers de la Marine, and the Slyken electric power station at Ostend. Each of the Short Bombers carried eight 65 lb bombs.
Considered as an interim type, the Short Bomber was required to serve as a long-range heavy bomber until the arrival in service of the Handley Page 0/100, Cmdr Murray Sueter's 'bloody paralyser of an aeroplane'. As a consequence the Short Bomber was never looked upon as a real operational success, but the type did, nevertheless, pave the way for the founding of the truly Independent Air Force of 1918.
Parnall received a contract to build ten Short Bombers (9771-9780), but this was later amended when the last four machines on the order were cancelled, as were a number of Short Bombers ordered from other manufacturers.
One of the Parnall-built Short Bombers flew with No.5 Wing of the RNAS while another Parnall-built machine was transferred to the RFC from No.3 Wing of the RNAS at Luxeuil.
Two-seat long-range heavy bomber. 250 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle III twelve-cylinder vee water-cooled engine.
Span 85 ft; length 45 ft; height 15 ft; wing area 870 sq ft.
Empty weight 5,000 lb; loaded weight 6,800 lb.
Maximum speed 77.5 mph at 6,500 ft; climb to 6,500 ft 21 min 25 sec; to 10,000 ft 45 min; service ceiling 9,500 ft; endurance 6 hr.
One .303-in Lewis machine-gun. Bomb load four 230 lb or eight 112 lb on underwing racks.
Production (Parnall only)
Contract for ten, only six built and last four cancelled.
F.Manson British Bomber Since 1914 (Putnam)
It was Commodore Murray Eraser Sueter who, more than any other, championed the cause of naval aviation as the modern extension of the Royal Navy's traditional task of attacking enemy ships at sea no less than in their ports. As Director of Admiralty Air Department since 1911, he had been instrumental in the creation of the Naval Wing, and shortly afterwards the Royal Naval Air Service. And once the marine aeroplane had proved itself potentially capable of lifting useful loads, be they in the form of additional crew members or fuel, he used his influence to accelerate the development of the torpedo-carrying seaplane.
As has been related, suitable targets for the airborne torpedo were seldom presented in the early months of the War in circumstances that could be exploited, and Sueter, pointing to the relatively high power of these torpedo-carriers, directed the Admiralty's attention to the development of the bomb-carrying seaplane. Indeed, the War was not four months old when Sueter began toying with the idea o f developing a really large, long-range aeroplane capable of delivering a heavy load of large bombs - even though such weapons did not then exist. He saw this delivery of high explosive against enemy ports and shore establishments as the natural extension of the heavy naval gun, without exposing the capital ship to the inshore dangers presented by submarine and mine. Unfortunately such a very large load-carrying aeroplane was not yet fully practical in the United Kingdom owing to the lack of adequately powerful engines. Instead, it seemed logical to modify an existing floatplane as a landplane and develop this as a stopgap bomber and, not surprisingly, the choice fell on Short Bros to undertake such work.
By the time the first Short 184 seaplane was completed, early in 1915, a landplane derivative was already well advanced (as No 3706). This prototype was generally referred to as the Type 184 landplane, and retained the equal-span, three-bay wings of the Type 184 seaplane. These, however, soon underwent extensive redesign as two-bay wings, the lower wings being shortened considerably and the outer pairs of interplane struts discarded; to support the large upper wing overhang, cable-bracing using kingposts was adopted. This wing design, with ailerons on the upper wing only, was to feature on production Bombers.
The fuselage of 3706 was little changed from that of a standard Type 184, complete with 225hp Sunbeam engine driving two-blade propeller. A sturdy but cumbersome four-wheel undercarriage was fitted with band-brakes on the rear pair of mainwheels. Perhaps the most grotesque feature was the positioning of the observer/gunner who, occupying the front cockpit, was required to climb on to the upper decking of the fuselage in order to man his Lewis gun, which was provided with a pillar mounting on top of the upper wing.
With the wings extended to span 84 feet, 3706 proved capable of lifting its intended bomb load of nine 65 lb bombs, its two-man crew and sufficient fuel for about four hours' flight. Handling in the air, however, was quite unacceptable, the aircraft being wholly unstable in pitch and yaw, and it became obvious that this shortcoming could only be overcome by substantially increasing the tail moment with a much lengthened rear fuselage, a remedy opposed by Horace Short, bearing in mind that the first production machines had been completed (but not yet flown) and that such a modification would demand substantial restressing of the fuselage. By a simple subterfuge, Ronald Kemp (Shorts' chief pilot) and Wg-Cdr Arthur Longmore, on a visit to the works, undertook the necessary modification to the first production aircraft during a stage-managed absence of the chief designer, by the simple expedient of sawing through the longerons immediately aft of the rear cockpit and inserting an 8ft 6in long, parallel-section fuselage extension. On his return, an angry Horace Short checked the stressing calculations and reluctantly agreed that the proposed modification was suitable for introduction in production aircraft.
By then, however, production orders had been placed, not only with Shorts but with sub-contractors, and a number of aircraft had already been completed to the original drawings, but remained unaccepted owing to the instability problems. The aircraft, therefore, had to undergo modification. While those produced by Shorts and the Sunbeam Motor Car Company retained the 225hp Sunbeam engines, the aircraft ordered from Mann, Egerton & Co, Parnall & Sons, Bristol and the Phoenix Dynamo Company were all destined to be allocated the new 250hp Rolls-Royce I (soon to be named the Eagle I).
These changes from the existing Type 184 fuselage served to delay acceptance of the Short bomber until well into 1916, by which time the first Handley Page O/100 twin-engine heavy bomber had flown, and plans had been laid to put this very large bomber into production for the RNAS. Therefore there was no question of extending production of the Short bomber, and Sunbeam-powered Short-built aircraft began delivery to the RNAS in mid-1916. In the meantime the cockpits had reverted to the customary arrangement of the observer/gunner occupying the rear cockpit, this being provided with the conventional gun ring. The Service aircraft proved capable of lifting a load of eight 112 lb bombs although, in the interests of a worthwhile range, 65 lb bombs were usually carried instead.
At about the time that the Shorts were being accepted by the RNAS, the RFC, suffering disastrous losses during the terrible summer battles on the Western Front, appealed to the Admiralty for the transfer of as main aircraft as could be spared, and a total of 15 Short bombers was accordingly delivered to the RFC. This had the effect of seriously delaying delivery of the bombers to the RNAS' 3rd Wing. In the meantime, other aircraft were delivered to No 7 (Naval) Squadron, 5th Wing, RNAS, and on 15 November 1916 four Shorts attacked the submarine base at Zeebrugge at night, dropping a total of thirty-two 65 lb bombs. With the arrival of much heavier bombs that winter, the 5th Wing's Shorts were able to mount raids against Zeebrugge on four successive nights in April 1917 using 520 lb light case bombs (each containing 340 lb of Amatol).
The simultaneous issue of these much heavier bombs and delivery of the first Handley Page O/100s, combined with the onset of German daylight bombing raids by aeroplanes over England, prompted the Admiralty to concentrate on operations by the new twin-engine heavy bombers; after all, the Short bombers had never been regarded as the mainstay of any strategic bomber offensive, but merely as an interim measure. Unfortunately the Short took an unconscionable lime to enter service, and when eventually it did so it was already something of an anachronism, with the inevitable result that most, if not all, had been withdrawn from operational flying by mid-1917. It is not even certain that any of the aircraft so generously handed over by the Admiralty to the War Office in 1916 were ever put to any operational use.
Type: Single-engine, two-seat, three-bay biplane naval landplane bomber.
Manufacturers: Short Brothers, Rochester, Kent; Mann, Egerton & Co Ltd, Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, Norfolk; Parnall & Sons Ltd, Eastville, Bristol; The Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co Ltd, Bradford; The Sunbeam Motor Car Co Ltd, Wolverhampton.
Powerplant: One 225hp Sunbeam; one 250hp Rolls-Royce (Eagle).
Dimensions: Span, 84ft 0in; length, 45ft 0in; height, 15ft 0in; wing area 870 sq ft.
Weights: Tare, 5,000 lb; all-up, 6,800 lb.
Performance: Rolls-Royce. Max speed, 77 mph at 6,500ft; climb to 10,000ft, 45 min; absolute ceiling, 10,600ft; endurance, 6 hr. Sunbeam. Max speed, 72 mph at 6,500ft.
Armament: One 0.303in Lewis machine gun with Scarff ring on rear cockpit. Maximum bomb load, eight 112 lb bombs on underwing racks; usual load, eight 65 lb bombs.
Prototypes: One, No 3706, first flown in mid-1915.
Production: A total of 83 Short Bombers (excluding prototype) was built. Short, 35 (Nos 9306-9340); Sunbeam, 15 (Nos 9356-9370); Mann, Egerton,'20 (Nos 9476-9495); Parnall, 6 (Nos 9771-9776); Phoenix, 7 (Nos 9831-9836 and A3932). 15 aircraft transferred to the RFC: Nos 9315, 9319, 9320, 9325, 9476-9479, 9482-9485, 9487, 9488 and A3932.
Summary of Service: Short Bombers served with 3rd Wing, RNAS, at Luxeuil, and with No 7 (Naval) Squadron, 5th Wing, RNAS, at Coudekerque.
P.Lewis British Bomber since 1914 (Putnam)
In pursuance of its vigorous policy of attacking the enemy by bombing, the Admiralty promoted a contest in 1915 to select a landplane bomber in which Short Brothers entered an extensively modified adaptation of their Type 184. 3706, the prototype, retained the 225 h.p. Sunbeam in a normal 184 fuselage but had the crew positions reversed. The pilot was transferred to the rear cockpit so that the observer could stand up to fire the single Lewis gun installed above the upper centre-section. 3706 received unequal-span wings with two bays and extensive overhang of the upper tips, for which kingpost-and-wire bracing was provided. Wings of ample area were fitted with the express object of conferring adequate weight-lifting qualities on the machine. The undercarriage was a somewhat complex arrangement containing four wheels, the front pair of which were of slightly smaller diameter than those at the rear. The two-bay wings were shortly replaced by new surfaces of increased span and three-bay bracing. The Short Bomber was sufficiently successful in its trials for a production order to be placed with Short Brothers and four sub-contractors, eighty-three examples being built. Those produced by Mann, Egerton, Parnall, Phoenix Dynamo and Short were fitted with the 250 h.p. Rolls-Royce Eagle, but Sunbeam installed their own lower-power 225 h.p. Sunbeam engine. Other changes in the production versions included the substitution of side radiators for the prototype’s awkward upper-nose unit, the armouring of the fuel tanks and the transfer of the observer to the rear cockpit, where he was provided with a set of controls and a Lewis gun. Later production Short Bombers were drastically altered by a considerable extension of the length of the fuselage, but the machine still retained its characteristic feature of a generous curved fin. Racks beneath the lower wings housed the bomb load, normally an alternative of four 230 lb. or eight 112 lb. missiles.
Short Bombers went into service in the closing weeks of 1916, and No. 7 Squadron, R.N.A.S., the first unit to receive them, sent four from Coudekerque on their initial sortie during the night of 15th November, 1916, to bomb Ostend with eight 65 lb. bombs apiece. For the ensuing few months, the naval pilots continued to mount attacks against the enemy with their large 85 ft. span Shorts until the arrival of even more effective equipment.
J.Bruce British Aeroplanes 1914-1918 (Putnam)
POSSIBLY because the R.N.A.S. might be required to put its aircraft to a wide variety of uses, the Air Department of the Admiralty early displayed an admirable flexibility of thought towards the design of aeroplanes. In 1915 the Admiralty proposed a competition for the design of a large bombing aeroplane and a fighting scout.
Short Brothers’ entry in the former category was a landplane conversion of the Short 184 seaplane. The prototype had the fuselage of a standard Short 184, complete with 225 h.p. Sunbeam engine; but the flying controls were placed in the rear cockpit, presumably to enable the observer to use the machine’s defensive Lewis gun which was mounted above the centre-section. To fire this gun the observer had to stand erect on the coaming between the two cockpits. A cumbersome four-wheel undercarriage was fitted, and there was a sprung tail-skid.
The landplane had completely different wings from those of the seaplane. Only two bays of interplane struts were at first fitted, and there were long extensions on the upper wings; king-posts were fitted above the outer struts. The upper wings were of constant chord, whereas those of the Short 184 had a slight inverse taper. Later, the span was increased considerably by the insertion of a third bay on each side; the upper wings retained their long extensions.
The machine promised well as a bomber, for its great wing area enabled it to lift what was then regarded as a substantial load. The type was ordered in some numbers, not only from Short Brothers, but from four other contractors.
The Sunbeam company were one of the four, and the Short Bombers built by them had the 225 h.p. Sunbeam engine. All the other production machines were fitted with the new 250 h.p. Rolls-Royce engine which was later named Eagle. No matter what engine was fitted, however, the radiator was installed in two elements, one on either side of the engine; the Sunbeam-built machines could be distinguished by their single central exhaust stack.
The earliest production Bombers had fuselages of the same dimensions as the Short 184, but later machines had much longer fuselages: presumably this modification was made to improve longitudinal control. All production machines, of whatever type, had the observer in the rear cockpit. Dual control was provided, and the fuel tanks were armoured.
A Short Bomber which was tested at the Isle of Grain in 1916 had a fin with a straight, sloping leading edge in place of the characteristic curve. This machine is believed to have been the modified prototype. It had the lengthened fuselage, and the modified fin was probably expected to be sufficiently large in view of the longer moment arm provided by the extended fuselage. Production Short Bombers appeared with the original curved fin, however. The production aircraft became available late in 1916, and were first in action on the night of November 15th of that year. The new machines had been supplied to No. 7 Squadron, R.N.A.S., of the 5th Wing at Coudekerque, and on that night four of them participated in the raid on Ostend. On that occasion each Short Bomber carried eight 65-lb bombs.
Ostend and Zeebrugge frequently provided targets for the Shorts, but difficulty was experienced with water and oil freezing during the winter of 1916-17; the sustained operational use of the big Shorts was consequently no easy matter.
The load and range of the Short Bomber had helped to foster the first ideas of strategic bombing of enemy munition and industrial centres in the Saar. In the spring of 1916 it was arranged that a bomber force would operate from Luxeuil; and in May of that year Captain W. L. Elder, R.N., went to France to prepare for the arrival of the new unit, which was to be known as No. 3 Wing, R.N.A.S. Its equipment was to consist of fifteen Short Bombers and twenty Sopwith 1 1/2-Strutters, with an ultimate total strength of too aircraft, and it was the true beginning of the Independent Force of 1918.
When the preparations for the establishment of the new Wing were well in hand, the Admiralty received an urgent request from General Trenchard. He asked the Admiralty to release as many aircraft as possible to enable the R.F.C. to make up its serious deficiencies in time for the Somme offensive, which was timed to begin on July ist, 1916. Owing to various difficulties of supply both at home and in France, the R.F.C. was short of no less than twelve squadrons.
The Admiralty responded generously to this plea, and handed over a number of 1 1/2-Strutters immediately. Whether any Short Bombers were transferred to the R.F.C. at this particular time is uncertain, but at least fifteen of them were in fact handed over. The Admiralty’s action seriously retarded the building of the R.N.A.S. 3rd Wing, which did not begin to operate until October 12th, 1916. It is doubtful whether any Short Bombers were on the Wing’s strength at that date.
The Short Bomber did not remain in service for long. Early in 1917 the Handley Page O/100s began to arrive, and their much greater bomb-carrying capacity made them more effective weapons than the Shorts.
Manufacturers: Short Brothers, Rochester.
Other Contractors: Mann, Egerton & Co., Ltd., Prince of Wales Road, Norwich; Parnall & Sons, Ltd., Mivart Street, Eastville, Bristol; The Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Bradford; The Sunbeam Motor Car Co., Ltd., Wolverhampton.
Power: 225 h.p. Sunbeam; 250 h.p. Rolls-Royce (Eagle).
Dimensions: Span: 85 ft. Length: 45 ft. Height: 15 ft. Chord: 6 ft. Gap: 6 ft 3 in. Stagger: nil. Areas: Wings: 870 sq ft.
Weights: Loaded: 6,800 lb.
Performance: Maximum speed at 6,500 ft: 77-5 m.p.h. Climb to 6,500 ft: 21 min 25 sec; to 10,000 ft: 45 min. Service ceiling: 9,500 ft. Endurance: 6 hours.
Armament: One Lewis machine-gun on ring-mounting on rear cockpit. The bomb-load consisted of four 230-lb or eight 112-lb bombs, carried on racks under the lower wings.
Service Use: No. 7 Squadron, R.N.A.S. 5th Wing; R.N.A.S. 3rd Wing.
Production and Allocation: The following table shows the number of Short Bombers built by each contractor and the number transferred to the R.F.C.:
Contractor Number built Transfers to R.F.C.
Short Brothers 36 4
Mann, Egerton 20 10
Parnall & Sons 6 -
Phoenix Dynamo 6 1
Sunbeam 15 -
Totals 83 15
One Short-built Bomber was transferred to the French Government.
Serial Numbers: 3706: prototype, built by Short Brothers. 9306-9340: built by Short Brothers. 9356-9370: built by Sunbeam. 9476-9495: built by Mann, Egerton. 9771-9776: built by Parnall. 9831-9836: built by Phoenix. A.3932: Phoenix-built Short Bomber apparently renumbered on transfer to the R.F.C.
Notes on Individual Machines: 9311: transferred to French Government. Used by R.N.A.S. 5th Wing: 9330, 9335, 9336, 9338, 9357, 9490, 9491, 9776, Transfers to the R.F.C.: 9315, 9319, 9320, 9325, 9476-9479, 9482-9485, 9487, 9488.
O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)
As will be evident from its appearance, the Short Bomber was a landplane adaptation of the famous Short Type 184 seaplane. The prototype (No.3706) was produced to meet the requirements of an Admiralty competition of 1915 for a bomber offering good range and load-carrying properties, for even at this early stage the RNAS was turning its attention to the possibilities of strategic bombing. The prototype originally had standard Short 184 three-bay wings, then two-bay wings with overhung top surfaces, but all production aircraft had three-bay wings of increased span. The fuselage, too, was lengthened on later production aircraft, though early batches had a short fuselage, as in the drawing. Contracts for over 80 Short Bombers were placed, of which 36 were by Short Bros (Nos.9306 to 9340), 15 by Sunbeam (Nos.9356 to 9370), 20 by Mann, Egerton (Nos.9476 to 9495), six by Parnall (Nos.9771 to 9776) and six by Phoenix (Nos.9831 to 9836). The Sunbeam Company fitted the 225 hp Sunbeam engine in their aircraft: otherwise the 250 hp Rolls-Royce was standard.
The Short Bomber first entered service with No.7 Squadron, RNAS. Four of the new Shorts (250 hp engines) joined 18 other bombers of the 4th and 5th Naval Wings in a raid on the Ateliers de la Marine and the Slyken Electric Power Station at Ostend on the night of 15 November 1916. Each Short carried eight 65 lb bombs, twice the bomb-load of the accompanying Caudrons, but well below the aircraft's total capacity of 900 lb. No.7's Short Bombers continued to raid enemy naval installations throughout the winter of 1916-17, until superseded by Handley Page O/100s when the Squadron moved to Coudekerque in April 1917.
Early in 1916 15 Short Bombers (together with 20 Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter bombers) were reserved for the initial equipment of the new RNAS bombing unit known as No.3 Wing, based at Luxeuil in the Nancy area, but ambitious plans for raids on German industry were seriously hampered by the need to transfer aircraft to the hard-pressed RFC, at the request of Gen Trenchard. It is not known to what extent the Shorts eventually participated in the NO.3 Wing raids which began on 12 October 1916.
No.7 Squadron of No.5 Wing, RNAS. Coudekerque. and No.3 Wing, RNAS, Luxeuil.
TECHNICAL DATA (SHORT BOMBER)
Description: Two-seat long-range bomber. Wooden structure, fabric covered.
Manufacturers: Short Bros, Rochester. Sub-contracted by Mann, Egerton & Co Ltd of Norwich; Parnall & Sons Ltd of Bristol; the Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co Ltd of Bradford, and the Sunbeam Motor Car Co Ltd of Wolverhampton.
Power Plant: One 225 hp Sunbeam or 250 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle.
Dimensions: Span, 85 ft. Length, 45 ft. Height, 15 ft. Wing area, 870 sq ft.
Weight: Loaded, 6,800 lb.
Performance: Maximum speed, 77 1/2 mph at 6,500 ft. Climb, 45 min to 10,000 ft. Endurance, 6 hr. Service ceiling, 9,500 ft.
Armament: One free-mounted Lewis gun in rear cockpit. Bomb-load of four 230 lb or eight 112 lb bombs on racks below wings.
H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)
Bomber. Whereas it was usual for the Short seaplanes of 1915 onwards to carry their bombs on a succession of tubular carriers under the fuselage, a feature which heightened their already distinctive appearance, the type of landplane bomber developed from them in 1916 had instead under-wing carriers. In order to save weight, Short Bros developed carriers of their own design, the bombs being suspended horizontally by their nose rings, but the official Government pattern appears to have been standardized eventually. The carrier attachments were braced by cables to upper-wing strut attachments. Eight bombs of 65 lb or 112 lb, in tandem pairs under each wing were typical loads, and sometimes small bombs, e.g. live incendiaries, were carried internally; but four 230-lb bombs could be taken, and in preparation for the great raid on Zeebrugge, which materialised on St George's Day 1917, 520-lb bombs were delivered by aircraft of this type. On the first aircraft, a Lewis gun on the top wing could be manned by the observer standing exposed to the slipstream on the decking of the fuselage between the cockpits. Later machines had a Scarff ring-mounting or, it appears, a mounting of a type incorporating wheels running on rollers and associated with the name of W. K. Boyne. The Phoenix-built aircraft were slated by the makers to have had 'bullet-proof tanks', but armour-protection for the tanks was probably specified, as for the original Handley Page O/100.