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What is the most overlooked, undervalued, underestimated aspect of WWII?

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  • Originally posted by Canuckster View Post
    I don't recall the discussion but think one of the major concerns would be the construction of the Mosquito being wood. Didn't they get former piano makers etc to construct it. Not sure how easy it would be to get facilities used to constructing metal skin a/c to ramp up to build wooden ones.
    During WW1 many furniture making business(including piano makers) were used as sub contractors for aircraft manufacture. However by mid 1930's most combat aircraft were metal made. My wife's father was an out of work carpenter in the Tyne Side shipyards. The Unions organised a protest march on London. Whilst some walked all the way many went to London on a union chartered train and only walked the last few miles. He went down on the train but got off at St Albans and walked to Hatfield and asked the De Haviland factory if they needed a carpenter - he was taken on at once . He worked as a master chippy on the Mosquito prototype. Getting skilled wood workers was always a problem.

    Wood was a strategic material as much of it had to be imported and the balsa wood used as a sort of sandwich filler in the plywood skinning of the Mosquito had to come from South America. Even during WW1 wood for aircraft construction had been a problem, especially during 1917 when the USA decided not to export any spruce (there was a failed attempt to start building American designs in the mass). In WW2 with supplies of spruce and other pinewood from the Baltic and Norway cut off it was still a problem and might well have curtailed Mosquito production. Attempts were made to increase domestic pinewood production but it takes time to grow trees
    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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    • Originally posted by Canuckster View Post
      I don't recall the discussion but think one of the major concerns would be the construction of the Mosquito being wood. Didn't they get former piano makers etc to construct it. Not sure how easy it would be to get facilities used to constructing metal skin a/c to ramp up to build wooden ones.
      Actually, DeHaviland wasn't the only company to build "plywood" aircraft. Fairchild Aircraft in the US used the "Duramold" system they developed to do the same thing. Kind of interesting to compare processes. The US one looks like it would be easy to train most workers to do, but does require far more industrial process equipment than the DeHaviland process. I think Fairchild's system does produce a far more even quality of product however.





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      • Duramold was heavier. Only De Haviland was building high performance combat aircraft out of wood. The Japanese did try and produce a wooden version of the Hayate (Frank) but it was too heavy.
        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


        • Germany tried to build several all or mostly wood aircraft but had issues with the glues and resins they were using. A major part of that problem was the German government continued to allow companies to monopolize processes and patents even when these were harming production of war materials.

          The Ta 154 is a good example of this. The company making the glue for it was destroyed in a bombing raid and no other company made that specific glue, nor could any other company make it as the process was patented.

          The US didn't bother with wooden aircraft simply because there was no need. The Soviets built a lot of their aircraft in part from wood. The Germans did likewise.

          As for Duramold, it's likely lighter and stronger than the DeHaviland process (Duramold wood products are about 20% stronger than aluminum), but it requires considerable industrial machinery to produce, by comparison. The DeHaviland process is largely handwork using adhesives applied by brush or roller with natural drying rather than using a vacuum oven or induction heating.

          One might note that the Duramold process is still used today in industry, basically unchanged from the original process of the late 30's.
          Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 11 Apr 18, 14:11.

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          • Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
            Germany tried to build several all or mostly wood aircraft but had issues with the glues and resins they were using. A major part of that problem was the German government continued to allow companies to monopolize processes and patents even when these were harming production of war materials.

            The Ta 154 is a good example of this. The company making the glue for it was destroyed in a bombing raid and no other company made that specific glue, nor could any other company make it as the process was patented.

            The US didn't bother with wooden aircraft simply because there was no need. The Soviets built a lot of their aircraft in part from wood. The Germans did likewise.

            As for Duramold, it's likely lighter and stronger than the DeHaviland process (Duramold wood products are about 20% stronger than aluminum), but it requires considerable industrial machinery to produce, by comparison. The DeHaviland process is largely handwork using adhesives applied by brush or roller with natural drying rather than using a vacuum oven or induction heating.

            One might note that the Duramold process is still used today in industry, basically unchanged from the original process of the late 30's.
            But is it sused in aircraft?

            The He 162 Volksjager had a wooden wing. On the demo flight this ripped apart killing the pilot.

            The resins were a real problem. That used by De Haviland had a definite time limitation. Post war a number of British companies were given the job of coming up with solutions which led to Araldite. However one of these was BICC in which Dad was a senior engineering manager which meant I grew up with loads of the De Haviland resin around the place (and we had the world's strongest sailing dinghy). However I now have inherited a solid mahogany coffee table which I dare not breath upon in case it collapses as itis glued together with De Haviland resin.
            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


            • Originally posted by MarkV View Post
              But is it sused in aircraft?
              Yes.

              https://www.diamondaircraft.com/tech...rts-catalogue/

              Interestingly, Hughes' Spruce Goose was constructed using this method.

              The He 162 Volksjager had a wooden wing. On the demo flight this ripped apart killing the pilot.

              The resins were a real problem. That used by De Haviland had a definite time limitation. Post war a number of British companies were given the job of coming up with solutions which led to Araldite. However one of these was BICC in which Dad was a senior engineering manager which meant I grew up with loads of the De Haviland resin around the place (and we had the world's strongest sailing dinghy). However I now have inherited a solid mahogany coffee table which I dare not breath upon in case it collapses as itis glued together with De Haviland resin.
              I agree. The German stuff was pretty crappy and crystalized in a relatively short time leading to it losing its strength. The Germans ended up using urea and phenyl formaldehyde for their glue as you can see in this article:

              https://airandspace.si.edu/collectio...29-v3/stealth/

              That's pretty common for plywood bonding, but the quality of the product, along with its application in proper conditions is paramount to it bonding correctly. No doubt, building airplanes in caves by kerosene lantern probably didn't help things in the German's case...

              The British stuff wasn't intended to last much longer than the war. I can understand that. Why build better than you need?

              http://www.timberdesign.org.nz/files...0Lavalette.pdf

              There are still a few Timm N2T trainers that used the Duramold process flying around like this one photographed in 2014. Their process was a variant of the Duramold one called "Aeromold."

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              • Smoking and lung cancer and te Phony War

                Originally posted by Desiree Clary View Post
                Of course they have the right to smoke. It's what they should have done that I am addressing, from the purely medical point of view. My bf (a surgeon) said that when he was a teenager (in the sixties) working at a Catholic hospital in Ft. Worth, lots of the docs smoked. Now, not so much. You couldn't find an ashtray in my home hospital except in the social worker's office. (they have to provide one, under "proper" circumstances (i.e., no oxygen masks or tanks and nobody else in the room).
                Thanks for posting that.
                It reminds me of an amazing 'true' anecdote my father told me about his stint ‘waiting for the balloon to go up’ (or whatever the French equivalent of the day was!) during the ‘Phony War of 1939/40.

                I believe this ‘probably’ happened and my ole man wasn’t just seeing how gullible I was when it came to trusting what he said!

                He said (well okay…. ‘claimed’) that one day when they were all bored out of their minds, the battalion (or maybe his company) got a visit from the ranking medical officer accompanied by a couple of ‘medical scientists’.

                These guys (who my dad said looked pretty bored as well) addressed the unit and said they were gathering info on the actual number of full on cigarette and cigar smokers who contracted lung-cancer and then said:
                “Because of course, you poor benighted schmucks (or a term to that effect), smoking CAUSES lung cancer. So you people can think of yourselves as guinea pigs doing your bit for science.”

                My father swore they did not say “may cause lung cancer” or “we are try to see if there is a link between smoking and lung cancer” they said it ‘causes lung cancer’.

                Unit commander started to say something about not being sure why the army had time to do this weird stuff during a war, but was cut short by one of the ‘scientists’ who gave him a look (as only the French ‘professional class can do) which implied ‘you may exist my dear fellow but that does not mean what you think could ever matter.’

                Anyway they took some details from the ‘schmucks’ and then left.
                Amazing thing was one of them smoked cheroots the whole time he was there!

                The ‘schmucks’ never heard anything more due to errr…ummm…. certain developments they were involved in a few months later involving a German invasion, a military disaster and a errr…ummm certain port on the northern French coast err what was the name of that place? Oh yeah ‘Dunkirk’. Yeah that was it.

                This was France 1939 or 1940. An official visit it would appear, by medical professionals, sanctioned by the French military.
                Strangest ‘war story’ my dad ever told.

                I suspect that the role of smoking in health issues was probably under closer scrutiny a lot earlier than is normally recognised.

                That is if his little tale was true.
                God he could be a confounding old cote sometimes.

                Regards
                lodestar

                Comment


                • Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
                  No one warned of the dangers of smoking in the 30s and 40s, even the fifties and 60s. If you were male usually you smoked. Not so much with Females. I often think about the smoke covered places of entertainment where I spent my youth. lcm1
                  Women smoking,especially in public, only began to become common after the introduction of machine made cigarettes drastically lowered the cost of these. A woman smoking was once regarded as somewhat louche and as such it was taken up by many in the suffrage movement as a public act of defiance. But the idea that a women smoking was a might disreputable lingered.

                  Doctors were certainly often heavy smokers. I can remember as a teenager in the early 60s lying in a hospital bed awaiting an operation and the surgeon telling me what was going to happen whilst he puffed away on a huge pipe. Most smoking bans were on the grounds of fire risk rather than for health reasons.
                  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


                  • Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                    Women smoking,especially in public, only began to become common after the introduction of machine made cigarettes drastically lowered the cost of these. A woman smoking was once regarded as somewhat louche and as such it was taken up by many in the suffrage movement as a public act of defiance. But the idea that a women smoking was a might disreputable lingered.

                    Doctors were certainly often heavy smokers. I can remember as a teenager in the early 60s lying in a hospital bed awaiting an operation and the surgeon telling me what was going to happen whilst he puffed away on a huge pipe. Most smoking bans were on the grounds of fire risk rather than for health reasons.
                    Mind you mark, thinking about women smoking, I do remember when I was a lad the wife of my older cousin strumming away at the piano with a 'Fag' hanging out of her mouth and squinting through the smoke at the sheet music. It got her in the end though she died at a fairly early age. lcm1
                    'By Horse by Tram'.


                    I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                    " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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                    • Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
                      Mind you mark, thinking about women smoking, I do remember when I was a lad the wife of my older cousin strumming away at the piano with a 'Fag' hanging out of her mouth and squinting through the smoke at the sheet music. It got her in the end though she died at a fairly early age. lcm1
                      Tobacco merchants will have a lot to answer for.
                      Will no one tell me what she sings?--
                      Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
                      For old, unhappy, far-off things,
                      And battles long ago:
                      -William Wordsworth, "The Solitary Reaper"

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Desiree Clary View Post
                        Tobacco merchants will have a lot to answer for.
                        James I initially banned tobacco in England as being injurious to health but a combination of the new American colonies and his own civil servants dangled all that lovely tobacco tax revenue in front of him and he changed his mind. Nothing much changes in politics.
                        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


                        • Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                          Women smoking,especially in public, only began to become common after the introduction of machine made cigarettes drastically lowered the cost of these..
                          I avoid women smokers like the plague, I mean who the hell wants to snog a woman who stinks like a trucker?..

                          PS- the young blonde who worked in our local Co-op was a smoker, I asked her why she started and she replied- "So that I can have smoking breaks like everybody else". You couldn't make it up..

                          PS again- my brother-in-law smoked like a chimney and because I'm a non-smoker he half-jokingly said "Huh, you're not a man if you don't smoke!"
                          He died of lung cancer 6 years ago but I'm still around..

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                          • Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                            James I initially banned tobacco in England as being injurious to health but a combination of the new American colonies and his own civil servants dangled all that lovely tobacco tax revenue in front of him and he changed his mind. Nothing much changes in politics.
                            Yeah, I recited parts of his "Counter-Blaste to Tobacco" https://www.laits.utexas.edu/poltheo...te/blaste.html
                            in my High School Speech class, all in a ruff and fake Vandyke. I wondered what changed his mind. Money talks, as you imply.
                            Will no one tell me what she sings?--
                            Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
                            For old, unhappy, far-off things,
                            And battles long ago:
                            -William Wordsworth, "The Solitary Reaper"

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Desiree Clary View Post
                              Yeah, I recited parts of his "Counter-Blaste to Tobacco" https://www.laits.utexas.edu/poltheo...te/blaste.html
                              in my High School Speech class, all in a ruff and fake Vandyke. I wondered what changed his mind. Money talks, as you imply.
                              My father when a supervising engineer on part of the West Coast main line electrification found time to oversee the excavation of a pub that had been on site from before the introduction of tobacco to England. A large number of discarded clay pipes from late Elizabethan times to the ate 18th century were found. I still have them in a cabinet he made for them along with a write up. The early ones are incredibly small and often when found on other sites refereed to as fairy pipes. This is because tobacco was extremely expensive at the time. It became cheaper when it began to be grown around Liverpool (and pipes became larger) but James banned English production in order to favour the American colonies. The colonists showed a degree of ingratitude that makes one wonder why he didn't shrug his shoulders and hand the whole lot over to the Dutch (now there is a good alternative history project).
                              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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                              • Just a gentle reminder to get back on topic, folks.
                                ACG Staff
                                "England expects that every man will do his duty!" (English crew members had better get ready for a tough fight against the combined French and Spanish fleets because that's what England expects! However, Scotland, Wales and Ireland appear to expect nothing so the Scottish, Welsh and Irish crew members can relax below decks if they like!)

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