Whimsical challenge, assault glider 1940.

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Riggerrob

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May I pose a whimsical challenge?
Build a better assault glider.

It is the summer of 1940 and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill is shocked by German successes with paratroopers and assault gliders.
You are a civilian engineer or RCAF engineering officer tasked with designing an assault glider to the same specifications as the German DFS 230. It must be so economical to build that it is expendable. It must carry 10 heavily-equipped infantrymen plus a pilot or two. Maximum tow speed 150 mph. It must have a comparatively flat glide (20 to 1 ?) ratio so that it can release its two-rope at 10,000 or 15,000 feet and well off the target so that it can glide silently to its target. Glide ratio can be adjusted by flaps, spoilers, adjustable drag chutes, or you brilliant invention.
It will be manufactured by semi-skilled labour at furniture factories, etc. It must be easy to dis-assemble for shipping and quickly assembled by RCAF airplane mechanics supervising infantry. The maximum shipping volume is one railroad car. Bonus points if un-bolted flying surfaces can be stowed inside the fuselage for shipping.
The only difference from the original time line is that RCAF generals are enthusiastic about building assault gliders.

Later glider projects will include a 2/3 seat training glider, a 30 seat assault glider and a glider big enough to carry light tanks (10 tons).
 

Vigilant1

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Summer of 1940? The Battle of Britain is on, and it's far from clear how things will turn out. If Churchill is thinking about gliders, it is likely about how to defend against them and deny their occupants a foothold on the besieged island he calls home.
Okay, we'll grant that he's looking ahead with optimism toward an eventual allied offensive. What they did end up building later in this size range was the Slingsby T. 18 (program later abandoned when US Waco gliders became available). So apparently that was believed to be the best fit for all their conditions (available this, available production capability, resource allocation, etc). I don't think we'll be better able to assess those things in retrospect than they did at the time.

Maybe whisper in his ear that assault gliders are a dead end? :)

Whimsical to the RAF in 1940? A U.S. built CG-4 with a union jack on the tail and RAF roundels?😉
 
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Riggerrob

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Sort of dear Vivgilant 1,

Britain built more than just 18 Slingsby T.16 Henguist glider prototypes (a pilot plus 18 soldiers).
OTL They started by building 1,015, 8-passenger Hotspurs, but those were relegated to training new pilots when they proved too small for major assaults.
Britain did build more than 3,600 Horsas (2 pilots and 28 soldiers) and 344 Hamilcars (2 pilots plus 7 tons of cargo).
The British Army's Glider Pilot Regiment also flew plenty of Waco "Hadrian" gliders (2 pilots plus 13 soldiers)into battle.

But - returning to my original challenge - let's see some new thinking on an old concept.
 
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Hephaestus

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Brits already had it sorted out :) But yeah definitely not your glide ratio - but if you don't totally botch up the controlled crash you bring a jeep with you.

At least its structurally efficient. But probably hard to train that many autogyro pilots.
 

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Riggerrob

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Dear Hephaestus,
Have you ever seen young soldiers drive jeeps?
They "land" three or four times per mile.
Their "landings" would jar the teeth out of experienced Baja racers!
Hah!
Hah!
 

Riggerrob

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Dear BJC,
It took a few more years for Domina Jalbert, Steve Snyder, Carl Yarbanay, etc. to perfect ram-air parachutes.

Yes, I am familiar with the RA-1 parachute because I wrote manuals for its predecessors: Talon 2, Telesis 2 and Aviator.
Tandem parachutes are great if you can train one senior jumper (tandem instructor) per soldier, but in this 1940 scenario, trained parachutists are in short supply.

But what do I know with only 4,600 tandem jumps???????
Hah!
Hah!

Master Corporal (retired) Rob Warner, CD, BA, Private Pilot, Strong Tandem Examiner, FAA Master Parachute Rigger, a couple of sets of military jump wings, etc.
 

karmarepair

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Have you ever seen young soldiers drive jeeps?
They "land" three or four times per mile.
Young sailors driving small boats, much the same thing. The throttle is a toggle switch to them. We finally started putting them in shock absorbing seats/saddles/vertical open lid coffins.
 

Hephaestus

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Dear Hephaestus,
Have you ever seen young soldiers drive jeeps?
They "land" three or four times per mile.
Their "landings" would jar the teeth out of experienced Baja racers!
Hah!
Hah!
I've had my head bounced off the roof of a few Iltis' over the years yes...

I still like the autogyro conversion if you can make it work, and not too many people fall out :) But I did say "if they don't botch up the controlled crash" for a reason. Autorotating down from a couple thousand feet has the possibility of doing a wee bit more damage than the airtime those 60hp the engine could manage :)

The average crash test dummy gets a jeep, the good ones get a deuce :)
 

Twodeaddogs

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you've already got thousands of low powered radial engines so build an equivalent of the Gotha 244. It gives you a cheap assault aircraft that, if it survives the landing, can be flown home or be used to ferry supplies and manpower.
 

TFF

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It will all about radar detection. If they release from the tow, and become invisible, you have a winner. No fan or prop noise to be tracked from the ground. It will bring back the search light as a defensive tool.
The real issue is training. Can you make flying a glider cool for someone wanting to pick it as a job, so they do not force people into it and not get people who fit the assignment best.
 

Riggerrob

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Sorry dear Hot Wings,
But I am restricting this whimsical project to materials and tools that were available in 1940.

Now let's see your sketches of a 1940-vintage Croses Para Cargo or Wainfain Facetglider.
 

Vigilant1

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Sorry dear Hot Wings,
But I am restricting this whimsical project to materials and tools that were available in 1940.

Now let's see your sketches of a 1940-vintage Croses Para Cargo or Wainfain Facetglider.
20:1 glide ratio is a criteria. Whatever the glider turns out to be, it will have to be aerodynamically clean and it will need a low span loading.

Assuming an unprepared landing surface, it will need to land at low speed to avoid breaking up/injuries. That means a low wingloading or some very fancy high lift devices.

If the requirements are the same as real-world 1940 and the materials, technology, and tools are the same as 1940, will the answers be different from those produced in 1940? There haven't been any aerodynamic breakthroughs or knowledge jumps in this flight realm since then, at least that I can discern.
 
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rv7charlie

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But I am restricting this whimsical project to materials and tools that were available in 1940.

Now let's see your sketches of a 1940-vintage Croses Para Cargo or Wainfain Facetglider.
If those are the restrictions ('tools' to include design software and construction methods), the end-products already exist. What's the point of the exercise?
 
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