Aviation of World War II
PV-1 "Ventura (Harpoon)"
The interest of the Royal Air Force in the military version of the Lockheed 18 Lodestar led to the creation of an aircraft called the Ventura. Compared to the Hudson aircraft, the Ventura had more efficient weapons, higher payload, and more powerful engines. The aircraft entered service with the British Air Force on 3 November 1942.
The serial Ventura was a twin-engined cantilever monoplane. The vehicle was completely all-metal with a mid-wing.
Powerplant. On the "Ventura" were Pratt-Whitney R-2800-S1A4-G engines (1850 hp), on "Ventura" II and later modifications - R- 2800-SB2-G (R-2800-31, 2000 hp). Both are air-cooled, double-row star-shaped, 18-cylinder. They worked on 100-octane gasoline. The aircraft was equipped with three-bladed automatic propellers Hamilton Standard "Gidrometik" 23E-50-287 with a diameter of 3.23 m, wide-bladed type. The propeller pitch control is hydraulic.
The engines were powered by gasoline from tanks with a total volume of 2139 liters. The tanks were in the center section (between the nacelles and the fuselage) in front of and behind the main spar and in the consoles just behind the engines (behind the main spar). All tanks were integral and protected with an inner shell made of several layers of natural and synthetic rubber. During long-distance flights, two more metal-protected tanks were installed in the middle of the fuselage. Removable unprotected tanks, located in the bomb bay, with a capacity of 2953 liters, were introduced on the Ventura II.
The Ventura designers took care of the crew, providing a toilet, ventilation and cabin heating. It was ventilated with air taken from the incoming stream by small intakes on the fuselage. Heating was carried out by five Stuart Warner gasoline heaters.
The bomber had the most modern instrument and radio equipment by the standards of the late 30s. On board were an automatic radio compass, a Sperry A-3 autopilot, a whole set of gyroscopic instruments, and an interphone.
Each Ventura carried a camera. It was mounted on the port side behind the front door. It was used both as perspective (through the round window on the left) and as planned (through the hatch below). The device had a set of interchangeable lenses with different focal lengths.
Everyone except the radio operator was covered by the armored backs of their seats. The armored partition was also in front of the dashboard. Another sheet of armor protected the side of the stowage of lighting bombs in the cockpit. The visor of the cockpit and the lower window in the rear firing point were made of bulletproof glass.
Armament. The upper turret, compared to the Hudson, has been moved forward, placing it immediately behind the front door. Further to the tail, in the glazed lower ledge, was another machine-gun mount.
The Ventura was armed with two 12.7 mm and six 7.69 mm machine guns. Two Browning machine guns (7.69 mm) were in the glazed toe of the bombardier's cockpit. Ammunition was 375 rounds per barrel. These machine guns rotated only in a vertical plane and had two fixed positions: straight ahead and 25 ° down. Directly over the head of the bombardier, two large-caliber Colt Browning machine guns were stationary. They stood asymmetrically: the left one protruded slightly forward to place ammunition boxes one after another. Each box contained 125 rounds. These machine guns were hydraulically cocked, and fired when the pilot pressed a button on the steering wheel. The Boulton-Paul C top turret was taken from the Hudson without any changes. Her two Vickers machine guns had a stock of 500 rounds each. Except for the small areas behind the keel washers, she shot through the entire upper hemisphere. Two more "Browning" stood on the pivot at the lower firing point. They also had 500 rounds each. The trunks could rise 8 ° up and fall 70 ° down, turn 25 ° left and right. The radio operator fired these machine guns, he also reloaded them. The electric release of the upper and lower turrets was blocked if they were aimed at structural elements of the aircraft.
The Ventura carried its bomb load only inside the fuselage. The bomb bay was located under the cockpit floor, from the radio operator's seat to the trailing edge of the wing. There were seven bomb racks inside. For Ventura I the total load was limited to 1134 kg, for Ventura II - 1361 kg. The assortment of ammunition included high-explosive, armor-piercing high-explosive, fragmentation and depth charges of several types.
A total of 487 Ventura II aircraft were built, but only 166 of them were sent to the countries of the British Commonwealth (Great Britain, Canada and South Africa). 264 vehicles after the outbreak of the war in the Pacific were requisitioned by the US Army Air Force, they were operated as "Model 37" or R-37. Another 27 were taken by the navy, which designated them PV-3.
PV-2 Harpoon. The Ventura had many shortcomings, including - high landing speed, cramped bomb bay and the range for use in the Pacific Ocean I would like to have more. Work on the modernization of the PV-1 began in July 1942 under the general supervision of J. Wessell, lead engineer of the project was S. Forter. The new car was named "Model 15". She changed the design of the wing consoles behind the nacelles. The wingspan increased quite significantly - by 2.9 m, reaching 22.86 m. Almost the entire wing was filled with integral gas tanks. Together with additional tanks in the bomb bay and suspended on pylons under the planes, the aircraft now carried 7052 liters of fuel (230% of what the Ventura I had). This greatly increased the range. Even with the main tanks, the estimated flight range exceeded 2800 km. The increase in wing area was supposed to decrease the landing speed and increase the payload. The horizontal tail has acquired a rectangular shape, its area has increased significantly. The keel washers also almost doubled in width - this was how it was supposed to increase the directional stability and make it easier, if necessary, to fly on one engine. To increase the capacity of the bomb bay, its flaps were made strongly convex - the car acquired a characteristic "belly". Now inside it was possible to hang more bombs (up to 1814 kg) or two Tiny Tim missiles (only one was included in the PV-1 bomb bay). Underwing pylons for dropped tanks or additional bombs (up to 454 kg in caliber) were still preserved. Thus, the maximum bomb load of the new aircraft was 2722 kg. Under the planes were placed missiles - 8 HYP HVAR, as well as on the PV-1 of the last series. Small arms now consisted of nine large-caliber machine guns. Five were stationary in the nose of the fuselage, two on the upper turret "Martin" and two in the lower rear mount. The motors remained the same type (R-2800-31), but their hoods were slightly changed and equipped a new exhaust system, while the exhaust manifold outlet was moved back. We have also introduced more powerful, larger-sized oil coolers. Some changes were made to the equipment of the pilot's cockpit - made it more convenient and comfortable. The cockpit visor is now rounded rather than V-shaped. The first prototype of the aircraft, called the PV-2 "Harpoon", was laid down on November 8, 1943. From March 1944, the plant began to hand over the first production aircraft to military acceptance. The production of "Harpoons" was rapidly expanding, since May 1944 the production of old PV-1s ceased altogether.
On the last, 35th copy of PV-2D in September 1945, immediately after the news of the surrender of Japan, the production of "Harpoons" was stopped. A total of 3028 Ventura and Harpoon aircraft were manufactured (Hudson produced 2941).
PV-1 Ventura in the USSR
Since January 1944, Ventura, based in the Aleuts, began bombing the northern Kuril islands of Shumshu and Paramushir. The main targets were Japanese facilities in Kataoka (now Baikovo) and Kashivabar (Severo-Kurilsk), as well as airfields.
These forward bases were well covered by anti-aircraft artillery and fighter aircraft. Many planes were damaged, after which they could not count on returning home. Then the knocked-out PV-1s (as well as aircraft of other types) turned to Kamchatka and landed at the local airfields or just in the tundra.
The first vehicles from the VB-135 squadron landed at the Yelizovo airfield on June 15, 1944 after a raid on Shumsha. First, R.Bona's PV-1 sat down with a damaged engine. A little later, the I-16 was brought to the airfield by the plane of the pilot Shuett, wandering over the tundra in search of a landing site. His tanks had been punctured and the fuel would not have been enough for the return trip to Attu.
Then "Ventura" appeared quite often. On July 24, J. Vivian's plane reached Kamchatka on one engine, fighting off Japanese fighters. Soviet I-16s drove off the Japanese and brought the PV-1 to Yelizov.
But not everyone was lucky. On July 20, the plane from VB-135 did not reach the airfield and landed right in the forest. On August 13, K. Lindell from VB-136 made it to the landing site, but, sitting down on one engine, missed and crashed into trees. On August 28, J. Dingle did not release flaps during landing (bullets pierced the hydraulic system, he was fired upon by Japanese fighters over the island of Onekotan), and he suffered an accident. On August 20, J. Coles (VB-136), with two damaged engines and a punctured hydraulic system, landed on his belly in the tundra - while landing his PV-1 exploded. On September 11, D. MacDonald from VB-135, hit by fighters, sat down in Petropavlovsk, but the landing gear broke, and the car was skipoted.
Some crews, reaching the Soviet coast, were thrown out with a parachute. This was done, for example, by J. Power's crew from VPB-131 on February 21, 1945.
According to the then Soviet-Japanese treaty of neutrality, American aircraft and their pilots were subject to internment. The pilots were transferred to the 60th NKVD marine border detachment. Then the way lay to the assembly camp for internment in Central Asia, and from there, through Iran, home to America. The planes remained in Kamchatka.
In total, from July 1944 to May 1945, eight PV-1s from the VB (VPB) -135, -136, -139 squadrons landed in various regions of Kamchatka. All of them had combat injuries of varying severity. Self-detonation devices placed on some secret equipment of the machines were not turned on by the pilots. The Ventura were carefully studied by officers of the 128th mixed division, based in Kamchatka, and by representatives of the Far Eastern Front's air force. Five of them have been completely restored. They were operated by the 128th division, although these aircraft were not officially on its staff. The PV-1s were mainly used to patrol the coast, and they flew quite a lot: for example, in January - February 1945, the Ventura made 62 sorties. In the documents of the division, the vehicles were listed as B-34. One "Ventura" was chosen by the divisional commander, Lieutenant Colonel MA Eremin - he flew on it on regiments scattered throughout Kamchatka. The further fate of these machines is unknown.