Skip to comments.BRITAIN IS SEEKING WAR PLANES HERE (Real Time + 70 Years)
Posted on 04/14/2008 6:42:45 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
London, April 13. Finding that it cannot catch up with Germany quickly enough in the race for air supremacy, the British Government announced today that it had decided to make inquiries for military aircraft across the Atlantic.
Definite exploratory action is being taken in regard to the possibility of the supply of aircraft for the Royal Air Force both from the United States and Canada, Earl Winterton, Under-Secretary of State for Air, told questioners in the House of Commons.
Cheers from all parts of the House greeted the announcement, which followed pressure from influential quarters in recent weeks.
No orders have yet been placed except for training planes from the Boeing branch factory at Vancouver, B. C. It is understood, however, that a mission will leave this country within ten days to discover how many airplanes can be built for Britain across the Atlantic and how quickly they can be delivered.
What Britain needs above all at the moment and hopes to obtain from the United States is a fleet of heavy long-range bombers. According to well-informed aviation experts, there is not a single bomber in the Royal Air Force today which is capable of flying to Berlin and back.
Undoubtedly the German conquest of Austria was the greatest single factor in forcing the British Government to look across the Atlantic for these bombers. A contributory cause, however, is believed to be the unexpected trouble the government is having with the engineering unions in its effort to speed up the rearmament program.
The unions thus far have shown themselves deeply suspicious of the governments intentions and reluctant to change their rules so as to permit the dilution of skilled by unskilled labor in armament factories. The government is still confident of winning the unions help, but at the same time it fears that negotiations between the employers and the unions will take a long time.
Accordingly, the Cabinet has decided to look elsewhere and explore every available source for new airplanes, even if it means going outside the country. For, without help from outside, the British Government now fears, it may find itself in a position of serious inferiority if a war should come.
The British are not too hopeful at the moment of getting what they need from the United States. They are aware that American aircraft factories are busy with American armament orders, and they also understand the political difficulties that may stand in the way of British orders.
Similar inquiries made in the United States and Canada eighteen months ago produced such discouraging replies that the British dropped the idea of help from across the Atlantic and called upon their own aircraft industry for a redoubled effort.
But the British Government now wonders whether substantial orders will not be more welcome to the United States in the midst of a trade recession than in the booming Autumn of 1936. Moreover, it feels that nothing could have a more sobering effect upon Europe than the spectacle of American factories turning out airplanes in large quantities for the British war machine.
Commenting on Earl Wintertons announcement in London that the British Government was exploring the possibility of obtaining warplanes from this country and Canada, officials said that there was not the manufacturing capacity in this country for quick delivery of anything like 10,000 planes, but that there was a reasonable margin between orders in hand or in prospect and manufacturing capacity.
Obviously certain equipment developed by the American aviation services and of a secret military character, such as superchargers, controls and special types of armament, could not be made available to Britain, but officers said that, while this equipment was desirable, it was not vital.
Shadow factories, it was explained, were those that had been surveyed by the government with a view to ascertaining their potential productive capacity of armaments. A survey completed in Canada by the National Defense Department some time ago embraced more than 700 Canadian concerns.
Already some Canadian plants are turning out war material for the British Government, shells for the new 3.45-inch field gun being made by the National Steel Car Company of Hamilton.
As far as British purchases of aircraft in Canada are concerned, nine Canadian concerns are building planes for the National Defense Department, all of them types employed by the Royal Air Force. These include the speediest fighters and bombers.
Some of those companies have representatives at present in London and they are believed to be advancing to the War Office the advantages of having efficient aircraft factories established remote from centers that might be destroyed by aerial bombing in the event of war.
The unions acceptance of this recommendation will probably enable strike leaders to save their faces, as only a part of the workers struck and many have already returned to work.
The press is unsympathetic to the strike, which is attributed to professional agitators led by Diego Luis Cordoba, a Negro Communist and a former member of Congress.
You will soon bow down to your German masters.
(This comment was also about 70 years too late.)
Back then, the NYT was against communists - as opposed to today.
According to well-informed aviation experts, there is not a single bomber in the Royal Air Force today which is capable of flying to Berlin and back.
Here is a question for the military experts among us. Did any nation have heavy bombers capable of an England-Berlin round trip? In production quantities, that is.
The unions thus far have shown themselves deeply suspicious of the governments intentions and reluctant to change their rules so as to permit the dilution of skilled by unskilled labor in armament factories.
Hitler did not have to worry about labor problems. The Party eliminated unemployment by assigning everyone a job and rendered negotiations unnecessary by setting wages and conditions.
Ah yes, back when American had an industrial base to offer...
Yeah, the U.S. had thirty B-17s ready to go when Hitler invaded Poland in September 1939.
We did. In 1938 I believe early models of the B-17 were entering service. I’m not sure when the early-war British bombers like the Wellington and the Halifax were in service with the RAF, but in any case, those were twin-engine medium bombers and probably did not have the range to make a trip to Berlin. And in any case, even in 1938, they would’ve been slaughtered by the Luftwaffe.
Germany never really developed a decent heavy bomber at all. General Weber, their strongest proponent, was killed in an air crash. The only true heavy bomber the Luftwaffe ever had was the Heinkel He 177, and it was as dangerous to its crews as it was to anybody under its bombs.
And Goering is reported to have believed that large numbers of smaller planes would impress the Fuhrer more than a smaller number of large ones.
I don't know about that. Check out some of my posts about the Spanish Civil War. A Times reporter named Herbert Matthews was a big cheerleader for the Loyalist (Soviet sponsored side.) He later performed the same service for the Castro revolution in Cuba.
One of the more salient differences between the German and the British/American bombing campaigns is that the Germans never developed a production heavy bomber.
The Lancasters and Liberators totally outclassed the Heinkel, Dorniers etc.
(But again, neither ally developed V2 rockets).
That’s right. Hitler never cared about what, he only cared about how many. Plus Goering and a lot of the other German high commanders (and Hitler) had a lousy grasp of grand strategy. They saw the Luftwaffe as a tactical force to support the Wehrmacht, not as a strategic asset in its own right. They didn’t have anybody with the brains and balls of an Arthur “Bomber” Harris or Curtis Lemay.
The RAF did buy some B-17s, IIRC, but I think they all ended up with Coastal Command as maritime patrollers. By the time we got into the war and the improved B-17F and B-17G were coming out, the RAF had their own heavies like the Stirling and Lancaster, and either didn’t want ours or we couldn’t produce any spares to sell them.
They had one, the He 177. Heinkel tried something very odd with that plane...to cut down on the drag of a four-engined aircraft, they tried using two engines to drive one prop. So it looked like a big twin-radial-engined airplane, but each “engine” was actually two big Daimler-Benz liquid-cooled V-12s sharing a common gearbox and prop shaft, surrounded by a round radiator. They were also going to try to use condensation steam cooling, routing coolant through panels in the wing skin.
It was an engineering disaster. The engines regularly caught fire or tore themselves apart with vibrations, and many crews were killed. The plane never came close to the performance of any American or British heavy bomber.
The Germans did not see the advantage in 4 engine bombers because they really didn’t have to fly that far. The FW 200 Condors were the long range workers.
I forget to add "in 1938" to my question. So in April 1938 the Brits couldn't have just gone down to the long-range heavy bomber factory and placed an order for a few hundred to be delivered next year. They were still in the development phase.
On a related question, back on March 6, 1938, the Times posted the following article, which I posted 70 years later:
WHEELING, W. Va., March 5 (AP). Louis A. Johnson, Assistant Secretary of War, said in and interview tonight that the army had perfected an automatic landing device which eliminates the danger of fogs at airports.
Reporting more than fifty successful landings by this method he said:
The pilot merely sits in the ship, keeps hands and feet off the controls, and the plane is landed by men operating the device from the ground.
He said that he made a recent flight from Chicago to Washington in two and a half hours in an army stratosphere plane flying 368 miles an hour at 25,000 feet.
In an address here tonight at the midwinter conference of the Legion of Honor Mr. Johnson, former national commander of the American Legion, said that it was time for those who love America to pledge themselves anew to the sound and healthy principles of Americanism.
I am skeptical about this story. We did not have radar at the time. How else could someone on the ground see what the pilot couldn't? My theory is the army planted this story to give our future opponents something to think about. Anything to this remote landing capability thingie? And how about the speed and altitude figures cited?
Thanks for the interesting post: that sounds like a monster.
IIRC the Germans produced a large number of wild late-war designs, including four-engine Jets like the He 343, and the various “Luftwaffe 46” hybrid rocket/jet/planes one sees on the Discovery Channel.
Wasn’t there also a super-heavy prop bomber developed for bombing New York? Made of wood? Like a Luftwaffe Grey Goose?
True, but the Condor wasn’t strong enough to be a heavy bomber since it was just a converted passenger aircraft. After the addition of a little armor, the guns, gondolas, equipment for maritime patrol, etc., several of them broke their backs on hard landings. I don’t know that they ever fixed the structural weaknesses.
The Germans had a few halfway decent heavy bomber designs like the He 277 (basically an He 177 with four separate engines), Ju 290, etc., but they never focused on them. By the time they realized how useful they were—mainly by the RAF and the Eighth Air Force raining death on them every day and night—they were in no position to need a strategic air force anymore.
You ever heard of Walter Duranty?
They had another land-based four-engine heavy, the Junkers Ju 290, that I think was primarily built as a maritime patrol bomber. At some point, they lengthened the wings and put two more engines on it to make the Ju 390. One of those supposedly flew from Germany to within 12 miles of New York City, and back, nonstop, in 1944.
There was a Heinkel heavy bomber design, the He 274, called the “Amerikabomber,” but I don’t think it ever got past a couple of prototypes. I don’t remember if it was made of wood or not. The Germans tried to do a ripoff of the famous wooden British Mosquito, but unfortunately for them, they found out (the hard way, via a crash at a demo for Nazi bigwigs) that the glue they were using to hold the plane together actually ate through the wood and weakened it.
They didn’t lack for design creativity, but between having their industrial base bombed into the Stone Age, and the incredible idiocy of Hitler and his cronies, they couldn’t translate that creativity into manufacturing. Fortunately!
This sounds like the use of multiple radio beacons throwing out different signals which interfere to give a continuous tone along certain lines. This established a cone for the plane to fly down.
The "battle of the beams" during the British/German bombing campaigns used somewhat similar principles to get bombers to roughly the right areas.
Ah the “Amerikabomber”, yes that was it! Thank you Moose!
"Real Time +70 Years" would be 2078. There is only one "real time." Now.
I wouldn't want to be on an aircraft that is being remotely landed in "roughly the right area."
I once read (and I can’t substantiate where I read it) that one of the major reasons Germany lost the war was because it did not build a long-range bomber.
Ah, I just remembered the absolute altimeter, which was radio-based and which was certainly available in 1938. It just timed the delay in ground-reflected waves to work out distance above ground.
THAT plus the cone thing would have helped a lot in blind landings.
I got the message the last time you posted it. It is still wrong. See my tagline.
Yes. Next time do it right.
This will bend your head. An F-15 Strike Eagle can carry more bomb load than a B-17.
LOL, yes. My post 24 clears that up I hope.
Hmm, why ever am I thinking of the mysterious death of Ron Brown all of a sudden?
[Puts on glasses and rubs chin thoughtfully] Hmmm. Ground-reflected waves. It just might be crazy enough to work!
Dude, it IS 2078.
Summer Glau has been the dishy terminatrix-President of the United States ever since the world ended in 2015.
The only newspapers left in the world are the ones in Homer’s basement, hence these articles.
Faster, too, I'll bet.
Reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode where some 1960's era soldiers are magically transported back to the Little Big Horn where they share Custer's fate. Their sergeant back in the twentieth century says something like, "Too bad they didn't take a tank with them."
Odd comment, considering the masterful job Walter Duranty did in covering up Stalin's atrocities.
I hope they get those planes in time!
At about this same time my Dad got sent to the panhandle of Florida to build airfields to train those Brits to fly those planes.
I understand the main planes we ended up with, pre-war, were the B-24 Liberator (Good), the PBY Catalina (Very Good) and the Brewster Buffalo (Very Bad).
Any connection to this factoid found at http://www.pafw.com/nasp.htm?
In 1938, federal legislation authorized a 3,000 aircraft ceiling for Naval Aviation, which in turn brought additional growth to The Pensacola Naval Air Station. Auxiliary airfields were added in and around Pensacola.
Great Britain for one.
Hah! I just knew Tin Miss was working on some scheme of her own
What is IOC? If it means they were on hand for the British armed forces then the first of those you listed really were available in April 1938.
Initial Operating Capabillty - first Squadron operational
The RAF was one of earliest Air Forces plan long range bombing opertaions. And miniscule as the force was by later standards, in 1938 RAF Bomber Command was probaly the largest strategic bomber force around
From the article:
According to well-informed aviation experts, there is not a single bomber in the Royal Air Force today which is capable of flying to Berlin and back.
I hate to say it, but we are again looking back at 1938 through the telescope of 1939 to 1945.
And so we see strategic bombers as being a big deal -- a war winning strategy, something that broke the back of the German war machine.
But let us not forget, that for the first FOUR YEARS of the war, until the end of 1943, the allied bombing campaign was pretty much of a joke. They measured accuracy in terms of miles, and they were lucky to hit the right CITY.
And one study even showed more air crews lost than the number of Germans killed on the ground by allied bombing.
Of course, by 1944, all that changed. But my point is, strategic bombers in 1938 were FREAKIN USELESS, a complete waste of time and resources, demonstrating yet again that the Brits (God love them) had their heads up their stinking a** er, I mean, in the clouds, so to speak....
What they should have focused on was tanks, trucks, radios and infantry support fighter aircraft -- just like the Germans did. Most of all, they needed infantry.
Of course, after the First World War, that was the one thing they didn't want to ever have to do again. It's hard to blame them, but the cost was the loss of Europe and many more years of war...
As I read it; The British were here trying to purchase
fighter planes. They wanted the Curtis P-40, but Curtis
did not have the production facilities to make P-40s for
them and meet its contract obligations to the Army Air
Corps. Someone came up with the plan to get North American
to build the P-40 under license. North American told the
British that they would not do this, but they would design
and build them a fighter that would be better than the P-40
and in less time than it would take for them to tool up for
P-40 production. 90 days later the new fighter rolled out
of a Hanger at North American, the British named the new
plane, The Mustang. At least, thats the way I read it.
They had never anticipated the French would totally collapse like they did thus bringing every city in the UK within range of Jerry's medium bombers.
They also didn't allow for the fact that this time, the Germans would not respect Holland's neutrality.
What's the first Axiom of War: All plans turn to sh*t when the bullets fly?
In his “The First and the Last” General of the Fighters Adolf Galland mentioned Germany’s insane addiction to dive bombing as the main reason Germany could never field a decent heavy bomber.
The HE-177 remained a cranky prototype because they could never make it work as a (four-engined!) dive bomber.
The Ju-88 would have been much more formidable if the dive-bombing requirement not turned it into a “flying barn door.”
Like so many of Germany’s great aircraft designs, the Amerikabomber never got past the prototype stage. The inside-and-out resemblance to the B-29 was uncanny. Unfortunately, the premise (pour out vast treasure to build a fleet of bombers that could carry one decent-sized bomb apiece all the way to the U.S. and fly back) was ridiculous and an utter waste of resources.
The German Mosquito as I read it had only an accidental resemblance to the Brit Mosquito and was developed specifically as a night fighter. It worked fine but German aircraft manufacturers were reluctant to take on a wood aircraft because wood is such an inexact, unpredictable material for engineers.
The main problem for the Germans were that their efforts were so divided and random. Unlike us, they did not field a few good designs and then churn them out in mass quantities.
You will notice in it that he is a true believer in government being the solution and that he does not have a grasp on what a free market is or what it can do. Many of his New Deal policies that he enacted we are still paying for today.
General Motors was a major stock holder in North American then and obviously wanted more markets for the Allison V-1710 which powered the P-39 and the P-38 plus the P-40. At some point, someone bit the bullet = did the right thing and married the P-51 to the Rolls Royce Merlin V-1650, then being produced by Packard Motors.
I've talked with retired executives with NA, and even they didn't have a clear picture.
But I KNOW on FR, someone can straighten it out for me.