Zombificus

Bristol Beaufighter Mk.V -- The Turreted Beau

Would You Like This Plane In War Thunder?  

36 members have voted

  1. 1. Would You Like This Plane In War Thunder?

    • Yes
      34
    • No
      2
    • Maybe / I Don't Know
      0
  2. 2. Should It Be Researchable Or Premium?

    • Researchable
      25
    • Premium
      4
    • Event/Gift
      4
    • I Don't Know/Don't Mind
      1
    • I Voted "No" In The Last Question
      2
  3. 3. If The Mk.V Had 240 RPG For Its Hispanos, What BR Should It Be?

    • 1.7
      0
    • 2.0
      4
    • 2.3
      14
    • 2.7
      14
    • I Voted "No" In The First Question
      2
    • Other (Please Comment)
      2
  4. 4. If The Mk.V Had 60 RPG For Its Hispanos, What BR Should It Be?

    • 1.0
      0
    • 1.3
      2
    • 1.7
      14
    • 2.0
      15
    • I Voted "No" In The First Question
      2
    • Other (Please Comment)
      3


The Bristol Beaufighter Mk.V (or NF Mk.V) was a short-lived experimental model, trading most of the plane's forwards armament for the flexibility of a Bolton-Paul turret with quad .303 machine guns. Though the two conversions did see limited service in 1942, they were considered unsuccessful due to their low speed and reduced weaponry, so no more Mk.Vs were made. In War Thunder, however, the Mk.V would be an interesting twist on a proven design, which could also fill the niche of a lower-tiered British heavy fighter to compete with Germany's Bf 110s and Do 217s.

 

Image result for bristol beaufighter mk.v

 

History:

In late 1941, the Short Stirling bomber programme was underway and demand for the Hercules engine for these bombers meant that the Beaufighter had to use different propulsion. The result was the Beaufighter Mk.IIF night fighter, using Merlin XX engines, which would be the main variant until 1942, when the Mk.VI and its Mk.VIc Coastal Command variant (our first in-game Beaufighter) entered service with the original Hercules. In the meantime, several designs for improved Beaufighters were built on the Mk.II airframe: the powerful but overly expensive Mk.III (Hercules-engined) and Mk.IV (Griffon-engined), which were to carry six 20mms and six machine guns; and the more unusual Mk.V. 

 

The Beaufighter Mk.IIF (Left) compared to a model of the Mk.V (Right)

Image result for bristol beaufighter mk.iifImage result for bristol beaufighter mk.v

 

Whereas the Mk.III and IV had such vastly improved armament that they overran the cost the RAF was willing to pay, the Mk.V went the opposite direction and it removed most of its armament. Instead of six .303 machine guns and 4x 20mm Hispano Mk.I cannons, the new variant carried only 2x Hispano Mk.Is, replacing all other guns with a four-gun Bolton Paul turret mounted just behind the cockpit. The Beaufighter Mk.IIF had been having trouble accurately shooting at nighttime targets, partly due to the difficulty of simultaneously flying the plane and aiming its guns in the dark; the Mk.V was supposed to improve the plane's performance by reducing the pressure on the pilot, with the gunner in the turret now being responsible for shooting down the enemy.

 

On paper, it was a great solution: the pilot could focus on flying, giving the gunner a stable firing platform and a good position, while the gunner himself would be able to concentrate on aiming without the distraction of keeping the plane airborne.  It was also hoped that the turret would give the Beaufighter greater flexibility when engaging foes, especially nimbler single-engined fighters like the Bf 109, since it wouldn't need to get its nose on target to be able to attack the enemy. The theory behind the Mk.V's design was put to the test from Summer 1941 to Spring 1942, when the two prototypes were flown experimentally by No.29 Squadron. Unfortunately for the Mk.V and the RAF's hopes of increasing nigh fighter kills, they found that the aircraft's reduction in performance (prototype R2274 had a recorded top speed of just 302mph at 19,000 ft) and overall lack of firepower wasn't worth the potential usefulness of the turret. The design was considered a failure, and no further Mk.Vs were built. 

 

Specifications (With Beaufighter TF Mk.X for comparison):

Max Speed: 302 mph at 19,000 ft (Mk.X has 320 mph at 10,000 ft)

Primary Armament: 2x 20mm Hispano Mk.I (Mk.X has 4x 20mm Hispano Mk.II and 6x .303 Browning)

Secondary Armament: 4x .303 Browning in Bolton-Paul turret (Mk.X has 1x .303 Browning in observer's position)

Payloads: None (Mk.X has 1x Mk.XII torpedo or 8x RP-3 rockets)

Crew: 3: pilot, observer and gunner (Mk.X has only the pilot and observer)

Radar: Yes (Airborne Interception Radar System)

 

The Mk.V's place in War Thunder:

With considerably less forwards armament, the Mk.V is ideal for a much lower BR than its late-mark companions, placing it in competition with Tier I and II heavy fighters like the Do 217, Breda 88, Yak-2 KABB and Ki-45. Britain currently lacks a heavy fighter anywhere below 3.0, and while the Spitfires and Hurricanes are strong offerings, it would be nice to have something heavier to give British pilots something different to sink their teeth into. It's hard to emphasise how much less powerful the Mk.V is for frontal armament than the Mk.VIc, and with a total lack of payloads (like Mk.II, it was intended as a pure night fighter) it would have to rely on killing planes and light targets, so it's essential that it be significantly lower than the Mk.VIc and Mk.X, which not only have better guns but can also attack naval and ground targets.

 

Given that the faster and more manoeuvrable Yak-2 KABB has two 20mms and two machine guns at 2.3, while the more sluggish Do 217 J-1 has four 20mms and four machine guns at 2.7, a BR amongst its equivalents and contemporaries (i.e. somewhere in the low 2.X range) makes a lot of sense for the Mk.V. One significant factor might be the ammunition count for the Mk.V's 20mms, which might place it considerably lower than the Yak-2 and similar: while the 240rpg total carried by other Beaufighters is more than adequate for two 20mms around 2.3, I've seen comments online suggesting that Jane's encyclopedia lists just 60rpg for the Mk.V, in which case it's in similar straits to many 1.3 French fighters, which also have just 60rpg for their 20mms. If anyone can confirm or deny this claim of 60rpg, I'd really appreciate being able to set the record straight.

 

Whether it winds up in Tier I or Tier II, the Beaufighter Mk.V would be a valuable addition to the tech tree, ideally following its Beaufort bomber ancestor. Its turret will give it some formidable defences in the upper hemisphere, and the position of the turret should allow it to fire forwards at planes ahead of the Beaufighter, so it's not like it's defenceless with just two 20mms, but this plane won't be able to rely on sheer firepower to win the day. In an escort role for friendly bombers, the turret and forwards 20mms should be a great help, but its lack of armament compared to other fighters at its tier might force a less aggressive style of gameplay than its later cousins. Since I can't currently rule out the rumour of Mk.V having just 60rpg, the poll will allow separate votes for the BR of the hypothetical 240rpg and 60rpg possibilities. I hope you like this little-known aircraft and support its place in the game.

 

More Pictures:

A painting of the Mk.V, showing its dark night fighter camouflage

Image result for bristol beaufighter mk.v

An info-card for painting model Mk.Vs, showing the camouflage and markings of one of No.29 Squadron's Mk.Vs during summer 1941

Image result for bristol beaufighter NF mk.v turreted

A model of the Mk.V, prominently showing its Bolton-Paul turret

Image result for bristol beaufighter mk.v

A frontal view of the model

Image result for bristol beaufighter NF mk.v

Another view of the same model

Image result for bristol beaufighter NF mk.v

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_Beaufighter

http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_beaufighter_variants.html

https://www.baesystems.com/en/heritage/bristol-156-beaufighter

http://www.aviation-history.com/bristol/beaufite.html

https://www.friends-amis.org/index.php/fr/document-repository/english/fact-sheets/38-the-bristol-beaufighter/file

 

 

  • Upvote 3
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It would be nice to see some dedicated turret fighters ingame +1

  • Like 1
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On 23/11/2019 at 13:20, markskinner87 said:

Very good as long as it still has wing MGS.

 

P.S still waiting on the defiant.

 

Read the description.  It's got two cannons in the nose plus the turret.  Most of the early Beaufighters didn't have the planned wing-mounted machine guns since they were needed for Spitfires and Hurricanes at the time.

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Too many paper planes/ single prototype/ not-deemed-good-enough-for-service-yet-strangely-effective-ingame-coz-no-RL-data-to contradict-broken-implementation types in the game already.
 

A Beaufighter IC on the other hand... Crews preferred the IC to the VIC, as it was faster on the deck where they used it; the VI was built with work at altitude in mind.

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