Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Flying Tank II.

This is coolbert:

Here is another version of the flying tank that was proposed during World War Two [WW2]. A flying wing type of glider [Baynes Bat], of British design, that actually flew in prototype version.

Did not ever come to fruition. The tank needed to meet specifications was not available. You had a wing without a tank rather than a tank without a wing!!

As without other proposed flying tanks, glider wings strapped to a tank, the glider/tank towed aloft to landing zone, released, flown to ground by a pilot, wings then discarded, the tank moving directly to combat.

[those eccentric British put the horse before the cart, or is it the other way around!?]

"The Baynes Bat was a famous experimental glider of the Second World War, designed by L.E. Baynes. It was used to test the tailless design that he had suggested as a means to convert tanks into temporary gliders so they could be flown into battle."

"In 1941 the British Sailplane Designer L.E.Baynes made a proposal that armoured fighting vehicles, such as the 8 1/2 ton tank, could be provided with detachable glider wings to enable them to be flown to battlefields behind tugs."

"a swept wing with vertical stabilizers on the wing-tips"

[the flying wing has become only "fly-able" with the advent of modern computers correcting constantly and supplementing the handling by a human pilot. Those vertical stabilizers have ONLY become common and popular on modern commercial aircraft as of recently [the last decade or so?]]

A flying wing glider designed to accommodate and fly into the landing zone a tank of no more than eight tons. This was evidently the British Tetrach tank.

Again, the idea was to have a light-weight [relatively speaking] tank land on the battlefield BEHIND ENEMY LINES in support of lightly armed paratroopers. Provide fire support besides what the parachutists could carry on their backs.

"The Tank, Light Mk VII, Tetrarch I was a British light tank produced during the Second World War, initially for the reconnaissance role but later for use by airborne forces."

The Tetrach was flown into combat, but INSIDE OF A GLIDER, NOT AS AN AUTONOMOUS FLYING VEHICLE!

"Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment, 6th Airborne Division- landed by Hamilcar glider as part of Operation Overlord on June 6, 1944 on the River Orne"

No mention is made of whether the pilot of the Bat WOULD ALSO BE A CREW MEMBER OF THE TANK! I would have to think that training a man to be both tank crew member and pilot would be too difficult, time consuming, and a waste of resources?!

The Bat was tested in 1/3 scale as a prototype and found to be suitable for operations. Had good handling characteristics, according to the test pilot, Kronfeld.

With a caveat:

"Robert Kronfeld finishes with his conclusions:"

"'In spite of its unorthodox design the aircraft handles similarly to other light gliders with very light and responsive controls and is safe to be flown by service pilots in all normal attitudes of flight'. So it is strange that when Captain Eric Brown, who was an extremely experienced test pilot flew it, he found such poor harmony of controls."

The name of Captain ERic Brown has been mentioned in a previous blog entry. The most highly respected British test pilot. Test flew a German Me-163 and Me-262 AFTER the war.




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