Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I happened upon that amazing video a few days ago, OME. I thought I knew a bit about WWII and its aeroplanes, but this story was news to me!  Amazing things can be achieved in wartime. 

 

A Russian prince who escaped the Bolshevics! 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Amazing things can be achieved in wartime.

I often think about that........I watched a doco a while back about the German war machine. When they started mass production of the BF-109 (these are rough figures from memory), in the first year they made about 3000, the second around 7000 and the third around 13000.

The P-51 was 102 days from ordering to having the first prototype.

Seems we are doing well now if we can get an aircraft from prototype to operational in 10 years or more.

Link to post
Share on other sites

On 18 February 1942, the Australian War Cabinet authorised an order for 105 CA-12 aircraft. On 29 May 1942, the prototype Boomerang, A46-1, conducted its maiden flight from Fisherman's Bend, flown by CAC pilot Ken Frewin. This initial prototype had been completed within only three months of having received the order to proceed. Admittedly, a lot of the components used in its construction were already on hand, being parts of the Wirraway and Beaufighter.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

But the several areas where the Nazis set themselves up to fail in their air war strategies, was -

1. Both Hitler and Goering insisted on every aircraft part that was produced, being used to build aircraft. They failed to understand the need to keep around 10% of production in stock as spares.

As a result, when the pressure really came on the Nazis in the attack on Russia, a sizeable percentage of the Luftwaffe aircraft were grounded for a lack of spares.

This then meant the ground crews started to cannibalise working aircraft that were grounded due to easily repairable damage, to keep other aircraft airborne, that had suffered mechanical failures.

 

2. Hitler in particular, was not really interested in aircraft, or air wars. He was an Army man who believed Wars were won by men on the ground with tanks, artillery and powerful ground-based weapons. He failed to understand the major importance of air warfare.

 

3. The Nazis War Planning and Armaments Production Planning was initially erratic and lacked cohesion. It was not until Albert Speer was placed in charge of Industrial Production, that Nazi armaments output ran efficiently and effectively.

Speer was a superb manager, and the Nazi regime would have collapsed much earlier without his brilliant industrial production strategies.

 

It's interesting to see the figures for Nazi war production. There's talk of the "lost years" of Nazi armaments production between 1939 and 1941. But there were two factors at play there. One was, German industry was still fragmented and operating on a basically peacetime basis, and it wasn't until Speer was appointed Minister for Armaments and Arms Production in Feb 1942, that armaments and industrial production started to soar.

 

Secondly, German industry produced ammunition and explosives on a huge scale between 1939 and 1941, and by 1942, the Nazis had mind-boggling amounts of ammunition and explosives on hand - so ammunition output was curtailed in 1942, in favour of increased armaments production.

 

Interestingly, in the 1939-1940 period, German tank production increased by 120%, naval construction (mostly U-boats) increased by 170% - yet aircraft production only increased by 8%.

The problem with Nazi aircraft production was that, even after Speer was appointed, he had no direct control over aircraft production - as compared to the many other production facilities he administered.

This problem was compounded by the Nazis deciding to continue and increase production of proven aircraft designs from 1942 - thus leading to bigger numbers of available aircraft - but at the expense of the development of improved and faster aircraft designs - which was where the Allies concentrated their efforts.

 

Thirdly, German industry spent a lot of the 1939-1941 period on construction works for the Wermacht - increased and improved housing for troops, POW and concentration camp facilities, and bunkers and other major Wermacht projects - as well as substantial amounts of civilian construction work.

This construction activity impinged on armaments production in that period, and it wasn't until 1942 that Nazi construction activities were reduced, in favour of greatly increased armaments production.

Along with Speers organisation, this made for a substantial surge in armaments production. This was also helped by conquered countries facilities, and forced labour, being added to the output of Germany itself.

 

One interesting factor, although not likely to be of major importance in the Nazi armaments story, is that the cost of German military aircraft and armaments continued to fall substantially, all through the War, with an 18% cost reduction in military aircraft purchase prices, in the period from 1939 to 1942. This is somewhat academic, I guess, as Govts at war simply create money to produce armaments, and worry about the economic impact later.

 

https://www.jstor.org/stable/40186123?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents

Edited by onetrack
Link to post
Share on other sites

On 18 February 1942, the Australian War Cabinet authorised an order for 105 CA-12 aircraft. On 29 May 1942, the prototype Boomerang, A46-1, conducted its maiden flight from Fisherman's Bend, flown by CAC pilot Ken Frewin. This initial prototype had been completed within only three months of having received the order to proceed. Admittedly, a lot of the components used in its construction were already on hand, being parts of the Wirraway and Beaufighter.

I've deliberately left the Aussie stuff out....I can't think of any successful military designs we've had. Maybe someone will come up with something? The Wirraway, Boomerang and Nomad were nothing to be proud of.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

In WW2 the accident and non combat crash rate was extremely high but my guess is that it was acceptable collateral damage as a result of the desire to gain the upper hand and win the war. Over 15,000 Americans were killed in training accidents alone and that was in the US before they even got to the war zone. More planes were lost due to pilot error or mechanical failure than were shot down by the enemy & more than 1000 were lost on their delivery flights. This is only American data sourced from "Army Air Forces Statistical Digest of WW2"

 

There were 27,000 people killed every day from 1/9/39 to 14/8/45 to put it all into perspective.

  • Informative 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

But the several areas where the Nazis set themselves up to fail in their air war strategies, was -

1. Both Hitler and Goering insisted on every aircraft part that was produced, being used to build aircraft. They failed to understand the need to keep around 10% of production in stock as spares.

As a result, when the pressure really came on the Nazis in the attack on Russia, a sizeable percentage of the Luftwaffe aircraft were grounded for a lack of spares.

This then meant the ground crews started to cannibalise working aircraft that were grounded due to easily repairable damage, to keep other aircraft airborne, that had suffered mechanical failures.

 

2. Hitler in particular, was not really interested in aircraft, or air wars. He was an Army man who believed Wars were won by men on the ground with tanks, artillery and powerful ground-based weapons. He failed to understand the major importance of air warfare.

 

3. The Nazis War Planning and Armaments Production Planning was initially erratic and lacked cohesion. It was not until Albert Speer was placed in charge of Industrial Production, that Nazi armaments output ran efficiently and effectively.

Speer was a superb manager, and the Nazi regime would have collapsed much earlier without his brilliant industrial production strategies.

 

It's interesting to see the figures for Nazi war production. There's talk of the "lost years" of Nazi armaments production between 1939 and 1941. But there were two factors at play there. One was, German industry was still fragmented and operating on a basically peacetime basis, and it wasn't until Speer was appointed Minister for Armaments and Arms Production in Feb 1942, that armaments and industrial production started to soar.

 

Secondly, German industry produced ammunition and explosives on a huge scale between 1939 and 1941, and by 1942, the Nazis had mind-boggling amounts of ammunition and explosives on hand - so ammunition output was curtailed in 1942, in favour of increased armaments production.

 

Interestingly, in the 1939-1940 period, German tank production increased by 120%, naval construction (mostly U-boats) increased by 170% - yet aircraft production only increased by 8%.

The problem with Nazi aircraft production was that, even after Speer was appointed, he had no direct control over aircraft production - as compared to the many other production facilities he administered.

This problem was compounded by the Nazis deciding to continue and increase production of proven aircraft designs from 1942 - thus leading to bigger numbers of available aircraft - but at the expense of the development of improved and faster aircraft designs - which was where the Allies concentrated their efforts.

 

Thirdly, German industry spent a lot of the 1939-1941 period on construction works for the Wermacht - increased and improved housing for troops, POW and concentration camp facilities, and bunkers and other major Wermacht projects - as well as substantial amounts of civilian construction work.

This construction activity impinged on armaments production in that period, and it wasn't until 1942 that Nazi construction activities were reduced, in favour of greatly increased armaments production.

Along with Speers organisation, this made for a substantial surge in armaments production. This was also helped by conquered countries facilities, and forced labour, being added to the output of Germany itself.

 

https://www.jstor.org/stable/40186123?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents

I can't argue with your facts, but the point I was trying to make was just how quickly new machines were developed and manufactured on both sides compared to the timeframes today. I know that today's airframes are far more complex, but there are other regulatory hindrances at play too.

I don't find the issue of keeping spares in stock difficult to comprehend, they still do the same now, they haven't learned.

  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing is for sure - during WW2, regulatory hindrances were not even part of the equation. What was needed, got done - fast.

 

The spares problem is simply because bean counters rule at all times, in peacetime. The "Overheads" cost of "Major Inventory" and the associated warehousing, fills multiple books on economics.

Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing is for sure - during WW2, regulatory hindrances were not even part of the equation. What was needed, got done - fast.

 

The spares problem is simply because bean counters rule at all times, in peacetime. The "Overheads" cost of "Major Inventory" and the associated warehousing, fills multiple books on economics.

These will be the same idiot beancounters that have a fit about penalties built into contracts being applied because spares weren't available, but because it's from a "different bucket of money" despite being from the same company, can't see any connection between the two. :bash:

It doesn't help that those negotiating the contracts always take the cheapest options, walk away with their rewards for being frugal while those left suffer the nightmare of no spares or support because that would have made the contract more expensive.

  • Winner 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
I've deliberately left the Aussie stuff out....I can't think of any successful military designs we've had.

 

"Successful" is a subjective term. I agree that the products of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation were not up to dealing with the Zero and its like, as could the stuff that the Yanks were producing, but the Boomerang was a successful army co-operation aircraft, either attacking ground targets directly, or marking them for the New Zealand Corsairs. Our Beaufighter out-flew the original British one. The Wirraway was never meant to be a combat aircraft, but needs must. And everyone forgets the CAC-15 of which only one was made, but whose performance put it in the class of other late WWll developments from the US and Britain.

 

By the time this last group of aircraft had reached maiden flight stage, the war was almost won. Besides, the ability of the US in mass production aircraft that were better than the unchanging aircraft of the Axis Powers, markedly reduced the need for these prototypes. Finally, the acquisition of German jet technology, as well as British jet technology, put paid to piston-powered aircraft

Link to post
Share on other sites

And everyone forgets the CAC-15

I checked it on wiki.....I had to laugh...Because of protracted development, it wasn't completed until after the war when it was made obsolete by jet aircraft.

How Australian is that?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

And no other country had aircraft that didn't get off the drawing board because of the change in military aircraft power plants?

 

This is a newsreel for home consumption, but there are some nuggets of gold in the commentary.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not suggesting other countries don't have any issues but that was just so typically Australian. We always have to re-invent the wheel but with flat sides.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We may have been behind the 8-ball in the high-tech, big-dollar aircraft design stakes - but we punched pretty well above our weight in many other areas.

 

Few people realise we had our own home-grown tank (the AC1 Sentinel) - built with a fully-cast, one-piece hull - a fact which astounded the Americans, and they had to come and investigate it.

Never before in the history of tank making had anyone achieved the construction of a one-piece, cast hull for a tank.

Previously they were all riveted (whereupon they would split open like a tin can under a shell impact - but the Americans thought they were particularly clever, by welding the hull of their tanks together in sections.

 

Then there were the developments such as the Owen gun - a superbly simple piece of weaponry that the Aussies loved.

Known as the "Diggers Darling", it was more reliable than any other firearm produced, and it was the only weapon that kept on firing in "severe service" testing (which involved being immersed in mud, and covered in sand).

In addition, it only cost AU£15 ($30) to manufacture! (1940's money). We produced a total of 45,000 Owen guns.

 

And GMH just happened to have the largest manufacturing facilities in the Southern Hemisphere during WW2. GMH turned its factories over to War production and produced such a massive range of products, it's difficult to list them all.

The optical lenses production of Australia during WW2 was astounding. We needed good lenses for everything from gunsights to binoculars, and we initiated our own glass lens making and grinding from a base of virtually nothing at the start of WW2, until within about 18 mths, we were capable of supplying not only all our own lenses needs, but we could supply them to our Allies as well.

 

https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/BRG+213/121/9

 

The "Optical Munitions" of WW2 - 'Optical Munitions' [Part 1], D.P. Mellor

  • Like 1
  • Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

We also made aero engines and aircraft instruments.

 

Here's a view of the AC1 Sentinel

 

1582581155811.png.5bf31a158767b2797e18c84b6fd06666.png Sentinel tank - Wikipedia

 

Although we built 68 of them, the manufacturing might of the USA made it more economical to simply concentrate on servicing the US types.

 

The other Aussie variant of a foreign design was the Bren Gun Carrier.

 

 

(Sorry about the Kiwi bragging)

 

The LP2 and 2A carriers were the most prolific of the carriers produced in Australia with approximately 4800 being built. They were manufactured between 1941 and 1943 at different factories in four states: Ford Motor Company at Homebush in Sydney, Victorian Railways and Metropolitan Gas Works in Melbourne, South Australian Railways at Islington in Adelaide, and the State Engineering Workshops in Fremantle. Large numbers of subcontractors supplied the parts needed to build and equip each carrier.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That Bren gun carrier was a great piece of machinery. I'd love to see a competition between the Bren gun carrier and the Jeep. This video makes you think that as a battlefield vehicle, the Bren gun carrier would out do the Jeep. Not so great as a vehicle for simply conveying passengers in off-battlefield locations.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Freighter Industries in South Australia manufactured semi trailers and for WW2 converted to building gun turrets. A couple of decades after the war this had morphed into building fork lift trucks. I got the job of doing the drawing of a new model "chassis" weldment. There were two engine options, the Holden and Chrysler flat head six, and the chassis was similar to the US tank construction, or a crayfish, with the outer skin carrying all the loads and brackets to support the components welded to the outer skin, and I quickly learnt the value of making datum tools to measure out from a know point rather than trying to measure in from a 3D curve. Freighters also designed a 4WD in Adelaide to do the same job as a jeep, but with the end of the war and the release of the Land Rover, shelved it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Bren Gun Carrier (or Universal Carrier) drivetrain is simply the Ford V8 truck drivetrain of the day (with the "big" 95HP flathead Mercury engine), dropped into a steel hull.

They used the truck radiator, engine, 4 speed gearbox, tailshaft, and rear axle from the truck, and steered them using the truck brakes on the rear axle, to slow the track on the side you wanted to turn to.

 

There were three models, the LP1, the LP2 and the LP2A. The LP1 was a shocker, they overheated and cooked the occupants, they threw tracks for the slightest reason - and they were deadly to steer at speed.

The Bren Carrier only did 50kmh flat out (30mph), but if you tried to do gentle corrective turns at road speed with the LP1, it was impossible.

It would jerk wildly to the side you braked on, at speed, because there was no ability to gently "feather" the braking action. The truck brakes were good for sharp turns at low speed, but dreadful at high speed.

 

So the experts redesigned the steering system on the LP2, to allow the front track idlers to "cant" (tilt) a little.

This meant that at higher speeds, when you turned the wheel, it canted the front track idlers first, which caused the track to run in a slight curve ("track warp").

Further movement of the steering wheel applied the rear brakes, which then caused a sharper turn. So at road speeds, you only made small movements of the steering wheel, which caused only small amounts of turning action.

When you came to a 90° corner, you then turned the steering wheel more sharply (as you would in a car or truck), and the rear brakes applied to steer the Carrier sharply around the corner.

 

The LP2 and LP2A also had improved cooling systems and a lower rear axle ratio for improved driving - as well as host of other improvements that made them more driveable.

Unfortunately, our blokes got thrown into major battle with Bren Gun Carriers, particularly in the Middle East. As you could well imagine, they were no match for any German tank, nor the 88mm field gun.

A lot of our brave blokes met a horrible death in this little machines, which were only designed to carry troops forward into battle against infantry armed only with rifles and machine guns.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Carrier#/media/File:Australians_driving_Bren_Carriers_towards_Bardia,_Libya,_January_1941_(24667819900).jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

The Bren Gun Carrier (or Universal Carrier) drivetrain is simply the Ford V8 truck drivetrain of the day (with the "big" 95HP flathead Mercury engine), dropped into a steel hull.

They used the truck radiator, engine, 4 speed gearbox, tailshaft, and rear axle from the truck, and steered them using the truck brakes on the rear axle, to slow the track on the side you wanted to turn to.

 

There were three models, the LP1, the LP2 and the LP2A. The LP1 was a shocker, they overheated and cooked the occupants, they threw tracks for the slightest reason - and they were deadly to steer at speed.

The Bren Carrier only did 50kmh flat out (30mph), but if you tried to do gentle corrective turns at road speed with the LP1, it was impossible.

It would jerk wildly to the side you braked on, at speed, because there was no ability to gently "feather" the braking action. The truck brakes were good for sharp turns at low speed, but dreadful at high speed.

 

So the experts redesigned the steering system on the LP2, to allow the front track idlers to "cant" (tilt) a little.

This meant that at higher speeds, when you turned the wheel, it canted the front track idlers first, which caused the track to run in a slight curve ("track warp").

Further movement of the steering wheel applied the rear brakes, which then caused a sharper turn. So at road speeds, you only made small movements of the steering wheel, which caused only small amounts of turning action.

When you came to a 90° corner, you then turned the steering wheel more sharply (as you would in a car or truck), and the rear brakes applied to steer the Carrier sharply around the corner.

 

The LP2 and LP2A also had improved cooling systems and a lower rear axle ratio for improved driving - as well as host of other improvements that made them more driveable.

Unfortunately, our blokes got thrown into major battle with Bren Gun Carriers, particularly in the Middle East. As you could well imagine, they were no match for any German tank, nor the 88mm field gun.

A lot of our brave blokes met a horrible death in this little machines, which were only designed to carry troops forward into battle against infantry armed only with rifles and machine guns.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Carrier#/media/File:Australians_driving_Bren_Carriers_towards_Bardia,_Libya,_January_1941_(24667819900).jpg

What a great engine. I rebuilt one and put it in a 14 speed boat. huge torque.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...