For aircraft enthusiasts: WW2 aviation, where designers got it wrong and other disasters.

boris bubbanov

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I think some of these designs have too little stabilizer - or the stab was located where it was seeing too much prop wash and that caused issues as well.

You would think a competent manufacturer could simply replace the existing prop, with one with less pitch. I suspect the designers were paranoid about providing the aviator with too little thrust on takeoff - what's a "good design" for a rookie pilot is not the same as what someone with multiple missions would want.

We lost a lot of drivers in motor racing in this same fashion. Only the luckiest and most adept pilots end up getting the work done.

Excellent thread, Blazer!
 

Bob Womack

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isn't it curious that WW2 German aircraft all look like pissed off dobermans, and the allied planes kinda have a "Snoopy" look about them?
Look at the German uniforms. The Germans had a grasp of style that we didn't take time for. Look at the German PzKpfw VI Ausf. E Tiger I tank. It wasn't the most successful design but, by George, it looked like it would eat your lunch and it scared the crap out of one and all!

Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-299-1805-16%2C_Nordfrankreich%2C_Panzer_VI_%28Tiger_I%29.2.jpg


But as a bespoke, handmade vehicle where all parts were hand-fitted, there were very few parts that could be exchanged between examples. To repair the silly transmission you had to remove the turret, remove all driver accoutrements, unbolt and drag the transmission back to the turret ring area, and hoist it out. The Sherman's tranny unbolted from the outside and the mobile repair shops carried spares that could be bolted right on without adjustment. Believe it or not, the dumpy old Sherman had a far higher crew survival rate than the Tiger because it was easier and quicker to exit when there was a brew-up. The Tiger was also unable to cross the little Roman hump-back bridges all over Europe because of its weight. But darn, it is the archetype for tank looks.

Bob
 

Blazer

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isn't it curious that WW2 German aircraft all look like pissed off dobermans, and the allied planes kinda have a "Snoopy" look about them?

I'd say they were that way by design, I mean take the Messerschmitt Me-262 and tell me that it doesn't look like a great white shark.
shark1.png
Messerschmitt_Me_262A_at_the_National_Museum_of_the_USAF.jpg

It still is by far the meanest looking Jet fighter of all time.
 

Fenderdad1950

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My dad who was a crew chief in the Army Air Corps in WW2 ( US Air Force started at the end of WW2) He had no sentiment for the P-39 Airacobra. Engine was in back of the pilot and a prop shaft ran underneath the pilot. They lend-leased most of them to Russia. He retired a major in 1950, Las Vegas, Nellis AFB, where I was born:D
airc.jpg
 

Chuckster

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All of this is way before my time, but fascinating and I thank them all for their service.

While on a fishing trip this summer, my son and I visited the crash site of a B52 bomber that went down in the dead of winter in 1963. The story is absolutely amazing, please read it if you have time:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1963_Elephant_Mountain_B-52_crash

The debris field is spread across the face of the mountain, and you can walk through most of it. Kids and vandals got to it back in the day, but now it's very somber and preserved as much as possible.

A very long ride on a terrible gravel road to get there, but I'm glad my son got to see their sacrifice.

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Oxidao

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what's a "good design" for a rookie pilot is not the same as what someone with multiple missions would want.
I think so. All extreme machines are critical at some point, it is always a compromise between safety and performance.

If you give a huge engine torque (take-off power) and low aerodynamic maneuverability at low speed (ailerons) to a pilot with just 150 to 200hrs flight time... Things happens.

Add a tandem landing gear on the fuselage instead of the wings, a bumped short runway, a wind gust on the wrong side (right side normally for a clockwise engine)... and you are done.

Being just a take-off issue, I won't call it a bad design.
I want all that power when airborne.

edit. ... and as far as I know, the only way to counteract torque on a propeller engine is having another one on the oposite wing rotating in the oposite direction.
 
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Bob Womack

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My dad who was a crew chief in the Army Air Corps in WW2 ( US Air Force started at the end of WW2) He had no sentiment for the P-39 Airacobra. Engine was in back of the pilot and a prop shaft ran underneath the pilot. They lend-leased most of them to Russia. He retired a major in 1950, Las Vegas, Nellis AFB, where I was born:D View attachment 931415
The local museum just got their P-39 flying. They had a non-flying P-63 as well but had evaluated it as un-restorable and traded it off.

0000084079.jpg


Because that top plexiglas panel in the canopy couldn't be ejected, emergency escape through the doors was difficult. You couldn't "bunt" by inverting and pushing forward on the stick to eject yourself.

Bob
 

Dacious

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I don't think there was any realistic chance of Britain being invaded after the summer of 1940 passed and Germany got knee deep in the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.

Germany just did not have the manpower or equipment to invade England and continue its quest to subdue the Soviet Union.

I read an eye opening statistic many years ago...once Hitler invaded the USSR in 1941, there was never less than 63% of the Wehrmacht forces deployed on the Eastern Front.

That means that Germany always had 2/3 (or more) of its forces fighting the Soviets, leaving no more than 1/3 spread across North Africa, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland and Norway.

Not to denigrate the efforts of the Allied Powers (including our fathers and grandfathers), but I don't believe that most Westerners understand the scale of fighting on the Eastern Front. By the time of the Normandy Invasion in 1944, the Soviets had virtually destroyed Army Group[ Center in Operation Bagration, driving Germany out of the USSR and it was in a steady retreat back to its borders. The Soviets could have entered Germany much earlier than April 1945, but Stalin was maneuvering for the postwar world and strategically conquering other areas of Eastern Europe before taking Berlin.

1941 was a period of great risk for England - before the US entered the war U-boats were sinking more convoy ships than were getting through. My Nan and Grandad cut up their rations to feed my dad and his brothers and sister. They were slowly starving.

German tip and runs by fighter groups kept the RAF under extreme pressure and round the clock bombing of the Midlands kept Britain on its knees.

The FW190 when it appeared was beating up on Spit Vs before Thunderbolts and before the Typhoon appeared. Only once the Spit Mk 9 arrived late 41 could Brit pilots take on the 190 with assurance.

If Germany fielded the ME262 prior to the US entering the war England's struggling fighter defences could have been annihilated within weeks. 4 x 30mm cannon and 100mph and 10,000 feet ceiling advantage.

Germany still had a 3:1 machine and aircrew advantage - it never had more than 1,000 bombers and 700 fighters on the line against Britain during the Battle of Britain according to Speer's adjutants' figures.

Plane production eclipsed Britain all through the war as did pilot training. It couldn't match America and the Commonwealth but Britain could have been finished - it was touch and go until 1942.

If Britain had fallen Germany could have sent Gibraltar, Africa, Burma, Singapore, Malaya tumbling like dominos before Pearl Harbour; which would have also assisted the Japanese, and freed whole airforces to concentrate on Russia - which was also fighting the Japanese.

It could have been a different world. We're lucky Hitler was overconfident and his generals didn't openly challenge him over his decision to turn the ME into a blitz-bomber.

They never realised how close they came to knocking out the RAF. A few more weeks In 1940 and the RAF was finished, if they'd just kept up raids on airfields they could have uncontested air superiority over South East England as over France and the British army was in no condition to resist, having left it's heavy weapons at Dunkirk.

In 1941 and even 1942 looked to them like they'd still win.
 
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Masmus

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The US started to develop the B36 in case Brittain fell. It was designed to fly from the US to Germany drop ten thousand lbs of bombs and return. It wound up being delayed because of existing B29 production and was not needed since Brittain didn't fall.

I saw an interview a long time ago with the Russian tank busting ace of WWII where he said his favorite plane to attack with was the P39. He rewired the fire control to shoot the cannon and machine guns at the same time and said it was nearly impossible for him to miss. So at least someone liked the plane.
 

perttime

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The Merlin engines on Spitfires and Hurricanes were pretty good. BUT.

There was a bit of an issue with the carburettors on early ones until 1941:

"Early versions of the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine came equipped with an SU carburettor. When an aeroplane equipped with such an engine performed a negative G force manoeuvre (pitching the nose hard down), fuel was forced up to the top of the carburettor's float chamber rather than down into the engine, leading to loss of power."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss_Shilling's_orifice
 

Telekarster

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I used to have a client that told me about working on and around the Wright R-3350 radial, the turbocompound version with the three exhaust turbines geared back to the crankshaft. I don’t remember which plane it was, C-119 maybe? But I do remember he said the ground crews adapted the acronym “PRT” (power recovery turbine) to stand for “parts recovery turbine.”

:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

It's been a lot of years but I think our Ventura was powered with Pratt & Whitney R-2800's, but yeah.... all those old war birds require constant maintenance and inspection, and they go through parts regularly. Costs a lot of $$$ to keep em in the air, hence why we were a volenteer crew but it was sure a lot of fun and great experience to actually work on something that was in the air during WW2. It really connects you with that history.
 

Telekarster

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My Nan and Grandad cut up their rations to feed my dad and his brothers and sister. They were slowly starving.

My Mom, still living, has vivid memories of the war to this day. She'll tell that for her family, Thanksgiving 1944, the main course was not Turkey but Horse rump that her Father bought on the black market so they could have "something", and they were lucky to have it. Everything went to the war effort. You simply couldn't get things like normal meats, sugar, flour, gasoline, tires, etc. to hear her tell some of the stories of what they had to endure, most people today cannot fathom it I don't think.

It could have been a different world. We're lucky Hitler was overconfident and his generals didn't openly challenge him

Absolutely right. I've had the honor and privilage of knowing many WW2 vets over the years and most believe that we won that war by the skin of our teeth, via conversations I've had this is my estimation of it anyway. I think Hitler only needed maybe another year of production/refinement of his advanced weapons technology, and indeed I too believe the world we know today would've been vastly different. Again I don't think people really know just how close we came to that "alternate reality", and movies/documentaries etc. don't really paint that picture too well IMO. How could they, really...
 

Rufus

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1941 was a period of great risk for England - before the US entered the war U-boats were sinking more convoy ships than were getting through. My Nan and Grandad cut up their rations to feed my dad and his brothers and sister. They were slowly starving.

German tip and runs by fighter groups kept the RAF under extreme pressure and round the clock bombing of the Midlands kept Britain on its knees.

The FW190 when it appeared was beating up on Spit Vs before Thunderbolts and before the Typhoon appeared. Only once the Spit Mk 9 arrived late 41 could Brit pilots take on the 190 with assurance.

If Germany fielded the ME262 prior to the US entering the war England's struggling fighter defences could have been annihilated within weeks. 4 x 30mm cannon and 100mph and 10,000 feet ceiling advantage.

Germany still had a 3:1 machine and aircrew advantage - it never had more than 1,000 bombers and 700 fighters on the line against Britain during the Battle of Britain according to Speer's adjutants' figures.

Plane production eclipsed Britain all through the war as did pilot training. It couldn't match America and the Commonwealth but Britain could have been finished - it was touch and go until 1942.

If Britain had fallen Germany could have sent Gibraltar, Africa, Burma, Singapore, Malaya tumbling like dominos before Pearl Harbour; which would have also assisted the Japanese, and freed whole airforces to concentrate on Russia - which was also fighting the Japanese.

It could have been a different world. We're lucky Hitler was overconfident and his generals didn't openly challenge him over his decision to turn the ME into a blitz-bomber.

They never realised how close they came to knocking out the RAF. A few more weeks In 1940 and the RAF was finished, if they'd just kept up raids on airfields they could have uncontested air superiority over South East England as over France and the British army was in no condition to resist, having left it's heavy weapons at Dunkirk.

In 1941 and even 1942 looked to them like they'd still win.

Two reasons why Britain was not invaded in 1940:

1. Hitler really did not want to. He actually admired Britain and was content to leave a diminished British Empire in place, IF they would agree to a peace treaty and allow him unrestricted action on mainland Europe and Russia. He wanted Lebensraum in the east, not Britain. Hitler was hoping the threat of Operation Sealion would force Britain to sue for peace and could not understand why they did not. (There was actually quite a bit of high level British sentiment in favor of settling, but that was covered up after the war was over. Why else do you think they kept Rudolf Hess in Spandau prison until he died?)

2. The Royal Navy is what actually prevented them from invading. The RN was much larger and more experienced than the growing Kriegsmarine. Most of Germany's naval strength was in its Uboat arm.
The Royal Navy would have slaughtered any attempt by a Germans invasion force to cross the Channel. Germany had NO proper amphibious landing craft, assembling a mish mash of barges as a vague threat. Neither the German Army nor the Navy had any stomach for a very risky amphibious invasion, of which they had no experience. Htler would have had to force them to try.

The Kriegsmarine alone could not eliminate the Royal Navy and clear the channel of mines. The English Channel is too small to employ Uboats effectively.

In order for the Luftwaffe to help destroy the Royal Navy, they first had to achieve Air Superiority over the Royal Air Force...no easy task. The defense always has the advantage...surviving British pilots shot down could return to action, German pilots shot down were prisoners of war. All the RAF had to do was SURVIVE. The RAF could have retreated to bases further inland from the Kentish coast (beyond German fighter cover) and still provide air cover. for the RN. I don't believe the ME-262 had any more fuel and time available over Britain than the notoriously short-legged Bf-109. The Spitfire and Hurricane were also very short ranged aircraft, but being on the defensive and enjoying the advantage of radar, they could wait to takeoff until the German raids built up over the French coast.

Germany came close, but after the defeat of France in 1940, there just was not enough time in the campaign season for the Luftwaffe to defeat the RAF in 1940 and then destroy the Royal Navy. After September, conditions in the English Channel would not allow the required weather or sea states for a successful amphibious invasion. Our own Normandy invasion of 1944 was rescheduled and in peril due to the weather, during the "good weather" of June.

The British people may have felt that they were under the threat of invasion until 1943-44, but the military facts say otherwise.

Edit:
Winston Churchill himself said that the only thing he really feared was being starved out by the Uboats. The threat of invasion was never what it appeared.

As proof, in Oct 1940, Churchill agreed to the transfer of (the few remaining )tanks and personnel to Egypt. Had there been a real threat of invasion, he never would have done so.
 
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thunderbaas

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Great analyse Rufus. Indeed Adolf never really intended to invade England. I'm dutch & have pictures of some of the "landing gear"the Germans trained with to invade England. You can not take them seriously. Old ships with steel plates welded in front of them. Still another tactical mistake Adolf made was that he let escape almost 300.000 soldiers from Dunkirk. He could have easily destroyed these British & French soldiers. But there are theories as well that he spared them because he wanted to make peace with The Brits. Still near the end of the war it is said that Hitler's lack of strategic knowledge (he acted mainly intuitive) was a serious help to the Allied forces.
 
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Blazer

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Great analyse Rufus. Indeed Adolf never really intended to invade England. I'm dutch & have pictures of some of the "landing gear"the Germans trained with to invade England. You can not take them seriously. Old ships with steel plates welded in front of them. Still another tactical mistake Adolf made was that he let escape almost 300.000 soldiers from Dunkirk. He could have easily destroyed these British & French soldiers. But here are theories as well that he spared them because he wanted to make peace with The Brits. Still near the end of the war it is said that Hitler's lack of strategic knowledge (he acted mainly intuitive) was a serious help to the Allied forces.

But it was invading the Netherlands that in retrospect cost Hitler the war.

Because the Dutch Army and Air force, although weakened, put up a very good fight.
fokker_t-v.jpg

This is a Fokker T-5 Bomber of the Dutch Air Force, almost all of them got destroyed on the ground when the Luftwaffe did strafing runs and found that, true to military doctrine, the Dutch parked their aircraft neatly in a row. The survivors flew to the Hague.

Now what the Germans would do is to attack an airfield, drop paratroopers in there, secure that said airfield and station their own planes there. But the securing of the Hague Airfield hit a MAJOR snag when the Junkers 52's they placed there, meant for the invasion of England, all of a sudden found themselves falling victim to the same strategy which cost the Dutch Air Force so many planes.
2t0c9ibb8ar01.jpg

Because the remaining Fokker T-5's did a bombing raid which destroyed over 200 planes on the ground and then the Royal Dutch Marines secured the air field once more. And while they were at it, took all the German paratroopers stationed there and shipped them to the UK, where they sat out the remainder of the war.

So in that Dutch victory, Hitler lost over 200 transport planes and a very experienced paratrooper division, there was no way in hell he could get all those planes replaced and new paratroopers trained in the two months before the Battle of Britain began.
 

notmyusualuserid

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Great info on a subject that I'm verry interested in too. Though I wonder what the connection with Telecasters is;) Off course you are familiar with German Jet engine attempts of which the "Messerschmidt 163" was quite disastrous as well. An even the attempts of manned rockets . Though verry interesting to read about absolutely hazardous for those involved.

(zag net pas dat je ook nederlander bent. Onze Fokker jagers waren tussen al deze "rampzaligen" toch niet zo beroerd ? Al waren ze ze niet opgewassen tegen de overmacht.
De Finnen hebben er toch nog aardig wat schade bij de russen mee aangericht volgens mij)

The Me163 was rocket powered.
 

notmyusualuserid

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When Hitler was shown the ME262 in 1941 his first question was 'can it carry bombs?'. Imagine if it'd been productionised as a fighter instead of loaded with 1000lb of bombs in 1941, three years before any allied jet fighter.....

The prototype Me262 had piston engines. Germany didn't have an operational jet engine until the summer of 1942.

It was designed as a fighter bomber, and had 4x 30mm cannon in its nose and could also carry 2x 500kg bombs.

Unfortunately for Hitler and the Luftwaffe, it wasn't ready to enter service until 1944 because of manufacturing and aeronautical problems. The Jumo jet engines were made on the cheap and had a short operational life. They had a distressing (for the pilot) tendency to flame out too.
 

Cesspit

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The battle of Britain and the decision to invade Russia were pivotal points in Europe. Britains air victory meant there was a base from which the invasion of Europe could be launched in 1944. The russian campaign was doomed from the start with Germany fighting on multiple fronts.

In the Pacific, Japan was doomed immediately because it missed the US aircraft carriers at Pearl Harbour. From that point the outcome was decided.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and I don't want to diminish the efforts and sacrifices made but in Europe Germany was being defeated on all fronts from 43 onwards and like wise, Japan was on the back foot from early 42.

Thanks again Blazer for a wonderful thread.
 

Jackroadkill

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But it was invading the Netherlands that in retrospect cost Hitler the war.

Because the Dutch Army and Air force, although weakened, put up a very good fight.
fokker_t-v.jpg

This is a Fokker T-5 Bomber of the Dutch Air Force, almost all of them got destroyed on the ground when the Luftwaffe did strafing runs and found that, true to military doctrine, the Dutch parked their aircraft neatly in a row. The survivors flew to the Hague.

Now what the Germans would do is to attack an airfield, drop paratroopers in there, secure that said airfield and station their own planes there. But the securing of the Hague Airfield hit a MAJOR snag when the Junkers 52's they placed there, meant for the invasion of England, all of a sudden found themselves falling victim to the same strategy which cost the Dutch Air Force so many planes.
2t0c9ibb8ar01.jpg

Because the remaining Fokker T-5's did a bombing raid which destroyed over 200 planes on the ground and then the Royal Dutch Marines secured the air field once more. And while they were at it, took all the German paratroopers stationed there and shipped them to the UK, where they sat out the remainder of the war.

So in that Dutch victory, Hitler lost over 200 transport planes and a very experienced paratrooper division, there was no way in hell he could get all those planes replaced and new paratroopers trained in the two months before the Battle of Britain began.

Have you seen the History Hustle video about the battle of The Hague's airport? It's very interesting.
 




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