Guns of Muschu
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CAC Boomerang
 
 
Compact, ruggedly built and heavily armed, the Boomerang found its niche as a ground support aircraft in New Guinea
 

 

Featuring in one segment in "The Guns of Muschu" the CAC Boomerang gave valuable service to the Australian campaign in New Guinea.
 

Opening the throttle, speed built quickly and soon passed three hundred knots. Altimeter unwinding, Martin aimed at the western end of the island. At a thousand feet, he began pulling back on the stick. He felt the G forces coming on as he leveled from the dive one hundred feet above the trees. At over three hundred knots he streaked along the middle of the island, engine howling and supercharger whistling. Flashing over the hills at the eastern end, he hauled back the stick and climbed vertically. He snap rolled the little aircraft, counted one, two, three clockwise rotations, paused, then reversed it. One, two, three.

Passing three thousand feet, he flipped inverted, pulled through, tucked back down into another dive, this time at half throttle. Again he howled low over the trees, then allowing speed to wash off, began a wide circuit out over the southern coast.

Martin was thoroughly enjoying himself. For an aircraft someone once described as being built from spare parts, baling wire and Golden Syrup tins, the Boomerang was a bloody marvel. It might not be the world’s greatest fighter, but it was maneuverable, strong and very, very noisy. By now every Jap on the island would be aware that he was around...
 

Possibly one of the most under rated aircraft of the Pacific War, the CAC Boomerang was designed and built at a time when it was feared that Australia would be cut off from Britain or the USA. Largely built from components already available, including the engine, a Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp radial of 1,200 hp (895 kW) already being manufactured in Australia under licence for the Beaufort bomber, the prototype was designed and built in under six months from inception. First flown in May 1942, it was found to lack the high altitude performance needed to be used as an interceptor, being almost sixty miles an hour slower than the Japanese Zero.

Although a development featuring a more powerful supercharged version of the Pratt and Whitney radial was flown, the urgency for a locally manufactured fighter had passed by late 1942, and the Boomerang was adapted for other uses.

 

The Boomerang found its real value as a close support aircraft. In contrast to Europe or North Africa, the ground war in the jungles of the south-west Pacific was, in broad, an endless series of small unit actions fought at very close quarters by widely dispersed forces with no clear front lines. It was here that the Boomerang found its niche: as close to the troops on the ground as possible.

It had the range to go wherever it was needed, heavy armament by the standards of the day, being fitted with two 20mm cannon and four machine guns. Excellent low-level handling helped avoid ground fire, extensive armour plating protected the pilot and the simple wood and aluminium airframe proved very capable at resisting battle damage.

No. 4 Squadron and No. 5 Squadron flew Boomerangs in New Guinea, the Solomons, and Borneo in the close support role with marked success. Tasks included bombing, strafing, close infantry support, and artillery spotting. For larger enemy formations, Boomerangs often operated together with heavier aircraft, the Boomerang getting in close to confirm the identity of a target and mark it with a 9kg smoke bomb. This pioneered the Forward Air Controller concept still in use today.

250 Boomerangs were constructed by CAC.

 

Specifications

  • Length: 25 ft 6 in (7.77 m)
  • Wingspan: 36 ft 0 in (10.97 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 7 in (2.92 m)
  • Empty weight: 5,373 lb (2,437 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 7,699 lb (3,492 kg)
  • Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp radial engine, 1,200 hp

Performance

Armament

  • 2x 20 mm Hispano cannons
  • 4x 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns
  • Bombs could be carried on wing and central hardpoints
 
 
 
 
 
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