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Red Devil Handgrenade: Why Red?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Michele View Post
    Leaving aside the issue of doctrine, I'd like to dwell on the issue of specifications. Yes, you are right, but it's not just a GIGO phenomenon.

    The factors were:
    - the regime wanted cheap stuff (this was like the famous supposed quote by Goering, "the Führer will ask me how many bombers we have, not how large they are");
    - the regime also wanted to avoid the not-built-here problem (less work in the Italian industries would have meant less popularity);
    - the industries therefore were given the opportunity to build and sell, for comfy prices, less-than-outstanding stuff;
    - the generals, mostly old and ready to refight WWI, did not trust newfangled tech gadgets anyway.

    So there was no pressure on any side to go for higher quality, R&D, and all that sort of expensive things.
    There was also an innate conservatism lower down. For example many in the air-force preferred slower but more manoeuvrable to faster but less agile (the Japanese had a similar problem at first). They were still thinking in terms of WW1 when Italy produced some of the fastest fighters of that war but suffered because they were fine if what you wanted to do was fly very swiftly in a straight line but not so good for classic dog fighting. The experience of the Spanish Civil War when the nimble Fiat CR 32 biplanes were more than able to hold their own against the Soviet I 16 monoplanes also misled them. Innovations such as enclosed cockpits got ditched from designs because of pilot demand.

    At the end of WW1 Fiat was producing excellent in line liquid cooled engines (and mass producing them at that) but somewhere along the road to WW2 they lost momentum and ended up with bulky underpowered radials.
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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    • #32
      Originally posted by MarkV View Post
      There was also an innate conservatism lower down. For example many in the air-force preferred slower but more manoeuvrable to faster but less agile (the Japanese had a similar problem at first). They were still thinking in terms of WW1 when Italy produced some of the fastest fighters of that war but suffered because they were fine if what you wanted to do was fly very swiftly in a straight line but not so good for classic dog fighting. The experience of the Spanish Civil War when the nimble Fiat CR 32 biplanes were more than able to hold their own against the Soviet I 16 monoplanes also misled them. Innovations such as enclosed cockpits got ditched from designs because of pilot demand.
      That all is true, too. However, it often happens that critics forget that there might be a trade-off. Moving to an enclosed cockpit, for instance, did not present only advantages. If that had been the case, then yes, the Italian pilots could be considered unexplainably conservative just for the sake of it.
      On the contrary, there were disadvantages too, even though the advantages were larger than the disadvantages. The Italian pilots overestimated the disadvantages, and thus objected to the enclosed cockpits.

      At the end of WW1 Fiat was producing excellent in line liquid cooled engines (and mass producing them at that) but somewhere along the road to WW2 they lost momentum and ended up with bulky underpowered radials.
      Which would seem to confirm what I wrote above as to the factors: at the end of WWI, Italy still wasn't ruled by the regime that was in power from 1922 on.
      Michele

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Michele View Post
        Yes. Indeed, even though you didn't state it, you surely had this in mind with your example, too: the G.55 and its Daimler-Benz engine.
        It should be noted that operational Centauros had an Italian built version of the DB 605
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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        • #34
          Originally posted by MarkV View Post
          It should be noted that operational Centauros had an Italian built version of the DB 605
          Sure, built in Italy but not an Italian design.
          Michele

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Michele View Post



            Which would seem to confirm what I wrote above as to the factors: at the end of WWI, Italy still wasn't ruled by the regime that was in power from 1922 on.
            Not sure how the Fascist regime was the issue. The 600hp Fiat A 30 in-line liquid cooled engine being produced in the early 30s if not quite the match of the Rolls Royce Kestrel was within touching distance and yet whilst Rolls Royce went on to develop the Merlin (and Daimler Benz the DB 601) Fiat switched to the 840 hp A74 air cooled radial - rugged and reliable but drag inducing and seemingly a technical retrograde step.

            Whatever one may, rightly, depreciate in the Fascist philosophy the Vortecist and Futurist elements within it meant that they weren't anti technology
            Last edited by MarkV; 19 Apr 16, 12:18.
            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by Michele View Post
              Leaving aside the issue of doctrine, I'd like to dwell on the issue of specifications. Yes, you are right, but it's not just a GIGO phenomenon.

              The factors were:
              - the regime wanted cheap stuff (this was like the famous supposed quote by Goering, "the Führer will ask me how many bombers we have, not how large they are");
              - the regime also wanted to avoid the not-built-here problem (less work in the Italian industries would have meant less popularity);
              - the industries therefore were given the opportunity to build and sell, for comfy prices, less-than-outstanding stuff;
              - the generals, mostly old and ready to refight WWI, did not trust newfangled tech gadgets anyway.

              So there was no pressure on any side to go for higher quality, R&D, and all that sort of expensive things.
              I'd add that the Italian aircraft industry when it came to fighter planes was locked into producing ones that were "pilot's planes" rather than first line fighters.
              That is, they were building aircraft that were maneuverable, had good control coordination, that sort of thing. But, such an aircraft, like those the Japanese were building, were not particularly fast, poorly armed, lightly armored (if at all), and basically obsolescent before they flew.
              Planes like the Cr 42, or Macchi 201, and even the 202 Folgore were not up to foreign competitors. Two machineguns wasn't going to cut it for armament any more than when the Germans switched to the short lived Me 109F series.

              So, the RA was flying planes that could often run circles around their opponents in traditional turning dogfight but couldn't stand up to the enemy's firepower, or to "zoom and boom" tactics using speed and vertical maneuvering.
              There was no real way to fix it for the Italians. They did produce a handful of later planes with the latest engines that were heavily up gunned, but these were, like their Japanese counterparts such as the N1K1 George or Ki 84 Frank, too little too late.

              As for the grenades being red, I'd bet it was because someone deciding such things found pink, blue, and green to be too gauche... Can't have a grenade that doesn't look good can you when you're Italian?

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              • #37
                Originally posted by sebfrench76 View Post
                According to me ,the most beautifully designed grenades of this era .Tells a lot about the Italian school of design from the 50's and 60's.
                The Italian grenades are so beautiful it must have cost epic sums of money to manufacture them in the kinds of numbers you are looking for--by the trainload.

                "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
                --Frederick II, King of Prussia

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by MonsterZero View Post
                  The Italian grenades are so beautiful it must have cost epic sums of money to manufacture them in the kinds of numbers you are looking for--by the trainload.
                  A well designed object can both look well, be functional and possible to manufacture economically. That is the essence of good design - I fail to see why looking beautiful automatically translates into costing a fortune.
                  Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                  Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                    A well designed object can both look well, be functional and possible to manufacture economically. That is the essence of good design - I fail to see why looking beautiful automatically translates into costing a fortune.
                    You cannot be more right !
                    That rug really tied the room together

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                    • #40
                      In any case, the M1935 hand grenades did not cost a fortune. Given the intended use, which I described above, they could skimp on the metal shell and on the explosive charge, which they did. I wouldn't be surprised if an impact fuse is also less costly than a time fuse.

                      Speaking more generally, the problem in WWII tended to be not so much the monetary cost, but the man-hours needed. A Beretta MAB 38 was incomparably more beautiful than a M3 grease gun, yes, the work of skilled craftmanship - but it required much more work.
                      Michele

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