Ok, so with China done I started looking at merging UK/Can/Aus/NZ aircraft production. That was the initial intention, about 11am yesterday morning...things have gotten a little unhinged since then. I'm not sure that's a good thing or a bad thing. Anyway:
I have pretty much consolidated aircraft types; there are some duplicates to allow production rate changes over time, but by and large things were fairly orderly and linear and aircraft numbers pretty much what they originally were...before I started messing with things. Here's how things have worked out so far:
* Conceptual background: With a relatively open Mediterranean, UK production is less stressed; there is less of a need to hold masses of aircraft in reserve, and more of an ability to plan ahead & tool new aircraft lines up. Meanwhile, Russia is under even more pressure than historical and pretty much needs anything that can fly - but preference here is for US equip as maintenance & ancilliaries are far more suitable given cicumstances. So, PTO gets scraps, then actually sees some modernish UK aircraft - to a certain extent this is a case of "wouldn't it be funny if...", but I figure there's no harm in that, and it keeps things interesting.
- Beaufighter models partially merge
- Blenheim IVF introduced as early-42 long-range "fighter"; this is a bomber with a gunpod strapped to the belly as per Blenheim IF. Strictly night-fighter/long-range shipping protection, being terrifyingly slow, but it's a capability missing that can be filled.
- Buffalo models merge
- Hurricane IIb / XIIb merge
- Hurricane IId deleted (short war in Libya = likely not built)
- Hurricane III (technically existed as Packard Merlin aircraft; I've reappropriated the designation) replaces IIc / FR.II / IV as "refreshed" fighter-bomber from mid-43 with ability to lift bombs and a single drop tank at the same time - ie, it's actually of some use slinging bombs.
- A trickle of Spitfire V start to arrive mid-42 onwards; just a few per month, more as a morale booster than anything else, before ramping up towards the end of the year
- Spitfire VIII models merge
- Kittyhawk models merge
- UK Thunderbolt removed (! - yes, really); historically these were apparently meant to be fighter-bombers rather than air superiority fighters; that seems very odd in context of how WITP games tend to go, and the US has a notorious P-47 Gap which could probably use filling, so I got rid of'em. Replacing them is interesting...read on.
- CAC Boomerang removed. We have a fair number of spare Hurricanes kicking about - the Russians don't seem to have been fans - which makes this a basically unnecessary project. More sensible to concentrate on Beaufort>Beaufighter>Mosquito production in Australia, I think - best one efficient production focus than two 'ok' ones.
- Mosquito fighter models partially merge
- Mustang models partially merge
I think that's it. So, filling the new CW P-47 gap: The interesting thing about easing up in 1941 is that it puts Hawker Tornado back on the table for UK; historically this was cancelled mid-1941 as engines were being a pain and it wasn't thought a good use of resources at the time - effectively in doing that you're moving the timetable on the new Hawker fighter airframe up about 6-8 months - you end up with Tornado rather than Typhoon, I guess.
Engines for it - three appropriate 2000ish HP UK aero engines in the pipeline - RR Vulture, Napier Sabre and Bristol Centaurus. Vulture is available early, but was famously catastrophic in bombers; "allegedly" worked ok in Tornado, so given an ability to say "ok, keep it in production for fighters" we might assume that worked out in ETO, but given problems were basically with cooling I suspect tropical heat would have killed it stone dead. Sabre has been around since before the war, but was subject to excessive tinkering by Napiers and not really useful overseas until 1943; Centaurus is a bit of a techy design, but seems to have worked out ok, and is available 1942 - given less war stress, production can probably 'go' earlier. So, focus should drift towards C - with derated-Centaurus (still hot out east, remember, so reliability won't be so hot even though it's a radial) - Tornado starting to trickle in to PTO late 1943, as Hurricane supplies start to dry up, before uprating and accelerating in 1944. Very much a low-altitude short-range aircraft in comparison to Thunderbolt - but something a bit different. A few Mustangs will also show up mid-44 for LR escort duties.
Accelerating Centaurus deployment also has a few beneficial consequences in:
- Beaufort models partially merge
- Bolingbroke IV and Blenheim IV merge; some extra Blenheim made available from mideast. Of course, they're still Blenheims in the end...
- Hudson models merge
- Ventura models merge
- UK Liberators mostly removed. Some GR.III retained for VLR naval search/mining, but otherwise these are wanted by MTO. CW will receive the aircraft, but not until mid-44.
- Wellington GR / B production increases to cover for Liberator on night-bombing/naval search
- Warwick GR / B comes in mid-44 as Wellington replacement; with Centaurus available this is a much more viable aircraft.
- Martin Baltimore arrives as MTO-flow daylight bomber to cover lack of Liberator and eventually displace Blenheim; basically a cross between A-20 and B-25, with none of the really good things about either, but it's available and a dead rat nailed to a tree stump is preferable to Blenheim, so...
- A very small number of bomber-variant (ie the "holy crap that's fast" ones) Mosquito are introduced from 1943 for irritation purposes, ramping up end 1944.
- Vengeance models merge
- Lancaster FE accelerates to whenever the war in Europe is now supposed to end - likely a bit sooner - replacing Liberator. I have it down for 4/45, but who knows.
Recon, transport & patrol aircraft merge; not much to change there.
This is an interesting one. There is a question in my mind as to what goes on with Martlet/Wildcat; the FAA seems to have ended up with the aircraft as a consequence of diverted French orders - the French will now be able to take them on to a certain extent. The way I've chosen to set things up is:
- Fulmar is available in greater numbers
- Sea Hurricane likewise, with Sea Hurricane III coming in late 42 on the same basis as land version (ie, better load capability = drop tanks off carrier deck = useful range)
- Firefly availability moves up to late 43; there seems no particular reason why the aircraft can't be made available as it's in production and needs elsewhere are less critical by this point.
- Martlet is available as replacements, but 42-arriving carriers carry SH/Fulmar mix on arrival, so total # available decreases. Wildcat unchanged.
- A few navalised Mosquito available late 1944 - naval conversions were apparently actually made around this time, but the aircraft never made it into service for some reason. Can't think of a reason not to...
e: yes I can - seems these were a one-off for bouncing bombs, which I don't think we can really represent. So no Mosquitos off carriers - the main navalised variant didn't show up until post-war.
- Corsair, Hellcat unchanged. Given availability of Centaurus-Tornado I suspect Hawkers would have gone ahead with P.1009 equivalent (ie Sea Typhoon), which I could see replacing one of these lines in theory, but I don't really think production would be up to it until after the war's pretty much over, which makes it a bit pointless.
- Walrus/Seagull V models merge
- Sea Otter is introduced late 43 as Walrus successor with a little more range
Taken as a whole, I guess that makes CW air forces more 'tactical' and less 'strategic', and although available aircraft numbers will be higher it's something of a downgrade in effective capability in game terms (loss of Thunderbolt and most Liberator is a big kick), but it's one way you might weight things given a different overall war situation.
Now, this stuff is all a bit back-of-the-envelope, and everything's still in .csv format from my moving slots around - so comments & corrections are downright demanded.
< Message edited by kfsgo -- 12/23/2011 2:47:59 PM >