Monday, November 24, 2008

RAF Museum Hendon


From the ‘ID this Fighter Jet’ thread on ADVRider I learned that there is a RAF Museum at Hendon in north London reachable by tube train. Here are some of the aircraft that particularly interested me there.

The museum is in four hangers. The first hanger I went to has the oldest aircraft and it closes about 11 AM and the Battle of Britain hall then opens.

This is a replica of a Vickers Vimy. The Vimy was the first plane to fly non-stop across the North Atlantic; it was a RAF bomber that just missed the First World War. The actual plane that Alcock & Brown crossed the Atlantic in 1919 is in the Science Museum.

Notice the open cockpit and the lovely four bladed wooden propellers. When it arrived over Ireland the field they chose to land in was boggy and the plane tipped up on its nose. Well Ireland is so wet i suppose all fields are like that there.

The flight of the Vimy was a difficult one. Brown had to climb out onto the wings six times during the flight to chip off ice that formed there. Several times, Alcock had to fly precariously close to the ocean, hoping that the warmer air of the lower altitude would melt the ice that kept clogging the engine. And on at least two occasions, Brown made what he thought would be a last entry into the flight log and stuffed it into his shirt, hoping his experience would be of use to later aviators if his body were ever found. Sixteen and a half hours later, on the morning of June 15, the Vimy landed in a bog near the installation at Clifden, in Ireland. People on the ground tried to wave them off from the bog and direct them to a landing field that was prepared for aircraft; Alcock and Brown just waved cheerfully back. Before taking off, Brown had removed a front nose wheel from the plane in the hopes of reducing weight and drag. Now, without the front wheel, the Vimy landed in the bog and simply ploughed its nose into the soft mud. Local people and soldiers ran up to the plane and asked Alcock where he had flown from. When he said they had flown across the Atlantic, the crowd broke out in laughter.

Alcock and Brown’s historic 1919 flight ended ingloriously, as the Vimy ploughed into an Irish bog—its front landing gear had been removed before the flight. The first people to greet the aviators thought they were joking when they claimed they had just flown across the Atlantic.

Quote and picture from:

Liberty L-12 engine.

In May 1917, one month after the US had declared war on Germany, a Federal task force known as the Aircraft Production Board summoned top engine designers Jesse Vincent (of Packard) and E.J. Hall (of the Hall-Scott Motor Co.) to Washington D.C. They were given the task of designing as rapidly as possible an aircraft engine that would rival if not surpass those of Great Britain, France, and Germany. The Board specified that the engine would have a high power-to-weight ratio and be adaptable to mass production. The Board brought Vincent and Hall together on 29 May 1917 at the Willard Hotel in Washington, where the two were asked to stay until they produced a set of basic blueprints. After just five days Vincent and Hall left the hotel with a completed design for the new engine. ... By the time of the Armistice with Germany, the various companies had produced 13,574 Liberty engines, attaining a production rate of 150 engines per day. Production continued after the war, for a total of 20,478 engines built between July 4, 1917 and 1919.

Quote from

A 45 degree V engine as is the usual Harley Davidson.

Oddly Wikipedia only lists the DH9 & DH10 as significant aircraft that I recognise amoungst those that used the engine yet it is an engine that I was very pleased to see because I have seen it referred to so often. And look how many were made! I see it was also used in some tanks. One of the listed aircraft is the quite extraordinary Caproni Ca.60 that I first met on the ‘ID this Fighter Jet’ quiz. A nine wing & eight engine aircraft, see here:

Sopwith Triplane. This aircraft served the RAF actively for just about a year in 1917. It was soon rendered obsolete because aircraft development was so rapid at that time. What is significant about this aircraft is it was the first tri-plane. The Germans were impressed by its qualities and designed their own which became legendary as the aircraft used by Manfred von Richthoven and immortalised by Snoopy in the Peanuts cartoons by Charles Schulz

One of Snoopy's most famous alter-egos is as the World War I Flying Ace (first appearance, October 10, 1965), often seen battling his arch-enemy, Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron). For this, he would climb to the top of his doghouse, don goggles and a scarf (trailing behind in the "wind"), and thus fly his Sopwith Camel (the type of plane flown by Arthur "Roy" Brown, who was credited with shooting down the Red Baron in World War I, and whose surname matches that of Snoopy's owner) and travel all the way back to July 27, 1914 the day World War I began. The Red Baron, like other adult figures in Peanuts, was never drawn in a strip; his presence was indicated through the bullet holes that would riddle the doghouse in a dogfight, and Snoopy's angry outbursts in German: (usually accompanied by fist-shaking and "Curse you Red Baron" while his "Sopwith Camel" doghouse plummets to earth trailing smoke). In I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown Charlie Brown's sister Sally Brown jumps on the doghouse and flies with Snoopy.

Quote from here

From there I went to the next hall.

There was a Sopwith Camel in the next hanger. It was the plane that replaced the Triplane and which Snoopy believed he was flying.

But I was particularly delighted to find this:

That aircraft is the Hawker Hart. It was used by the SAAF where it was called the Hartbees. My father flew in one of those in Abyssinia as the gunner/navigator/observer in the rear cockpit so he most likely did exactly as the man in that plane is doing.

Here is a better picture of the Hart.

It was much faster than contemporary fighters, an astonishing achievement considering it was a light-bomber, and had high manoeuvrability, making the Hart one of the most effective biplane bombers ever produced for the Royal Air Force.

Quote from That speed advantage was between the two wars, by WW2 it was outdated. It served pretty well in Abyssinia because the Italians were not very aggressive opponents. He kept a diary during the war and I published parts of it on Wild Dogs including the Abyssinia campaign in the Hartbees. It starts on page 2 of this thread

Nearby is this Messerschmitt ME 109G in desert camouflage . My father spent most of his war career flying in the desert so ME109s (E & F models more likely) painted like that he must have seen but his plane was not shot down; flying in Martin 167 Marylands which were a big step up from the Hartbees. Look at those two big guns on the top of the fuselage, 13mm machine guns. Another gun fires through the center of the propeller.

The Bf 109 was flown by the three top-scoring fighter aces of World War II: Erich Hartmann, the top scoring fighter pilot of all time claiming 352 victories, Gerhard Barkhorn with 301 victories, and Günther Rall claiming 275 victories. All of them flew with Jagdgeschwader 52, a unit which exclusively flew the Bf 109 and was credited with over 10,000 victories, chiefly on the Eastern Front. Hartmann chose to fly the Bf 109 in combat throughout the war, despite being offered the use of the Me 262. Hans-Joachim Marseille, the highest scoring German ace in the North African Campaign, also claimed all of his 158 victories flying the Bf 109, against Western Allied pilots.

Quote from . Those are amazing numbers when you consider the US top scorer had 40 and the British 38 victories; see

Kawasaki Ki-100 1b fighter from late in the war. Unfortunately there is no Mitsubishi A6M Zero which I regard as one of the outstanding fighters of all time and I have never seen one. The Ki100 was an excellent aircraft apparently.

More here

Rolls-Royce Merlin 23. Notice that there is a gearbox on the front of the engine so the prop turns much slower than the crankshaft.

Better photos of the Merlin engine. The lighting and space was very poor in the Science Museum. To me this is one of the outstanding machines of all time. Here showing the supercharger which was the crucial deciding component of the design.

Here is a de Havilland Mosquito which uses the Merlin. Antonia has an acquaintance who was associated with the Duxford museum and I said of all the aircraft there the Mosquito was the one I would most like to be taken for a flight in. An incredible wooden aircraft that was so fast the Germans could really do nothing about it for years.

Duxford in another RAF Museum which I went to a few years ago. It is on an airfield and has quite a number of flying aircraft. It has a B52 but that display hanger was being heavily revised when I was there so I never saw it.

Note the cruise missile in the background.

Here is an interesting quote from Goebbels:

Even more impressed was Hermann Goering: on 31 January 1943, Mosquitoes disrupted two Nazi parades which were to be addressed by Goering and Goebbels respectively. It is worth repeating the reported comments of Goering himself:
"In 1940 I could at least fly as far as Glasgow in most of my aircraft, but not now! It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy. The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again. What do you make of that?"

It was built by laying up strips of thin wood in a mould; there were not frame members and stringers like an ordinary sailing dinghy but some racing dinghies were also made in the same way, the Finn was one that was popular here. Full details of this wonderful airplane in Wikipedia:

The North American P51 Mustang. An absolutely wonderful aircraft designed to a British specification. The original ones with a 1 100HP Allison engine were dogs and only used for light duties. However the RAF fitted 1 490 HP Merlin engines to four and that absolutely transformed the aircraft. It is now rated as one of the truly great fighters of the war. Just another of the Merlin’s achievements.

They were used in the Korean War (1950 – 1953) but ‘our’ side got a huge fright when the communists used their Mig 15s. The SAAF went there & were issued with Mustangs but were later upgraded to F86 Sabres which were equal to the Mig 15.

2 Sqn had a long and distinguished record of service in Korea flying P-51D Mustangs and later F-86F Sabres. Their role was mainly flying ground attack and interdiction missions as one of the squadrons making up the USAF's 18th Fighter Bomber Wing. During the Korean conflict the squadron flew a grand total of 12 067 sorties for a loss of 34 pilots and two other ranks. Aircraft losses amounted to 74 out of 97 Mustangs and four out of 22 Sabres.

Over 75% of the Mustangs shot down & they were not targeting the Migs.

Quote from:

To me this is the highlight of that hall, the Messerschmitt ME 262 jet aircraft.

Tricycle undercarriage, almost all planes have it now but that was just coming in then. The plane’s design was completed in early 1939 while WW2 only started in September that year. Willy Messerschmitt was very advanced in his thinking about this aircraft (his other aircraft were fairly ordinary). It was problems with the engines and other development priorities that delayed the introduction of this aircraft.

This is the view I like most. The elegant triangular shape of the fuselage going down to join the wing roots to the cockpit and then tapering back to the tail. The designer had such sympathy for the flow of air over the aircraft. Pure mechanical elegance. A lovely piece of design, one of the prettiest aircraft of all time.

There is one in the military museum in Johannesburg; I have not been there. Replicas of this aircraft are currently being made in the US for commercial sale.

Junkers Jumo 004 jet engine. I discussed it in the Science museum post.

Close up. Just look how simple this thing is compared to a piston engine like the Merlin engine. Unfortunately it is sectioned open on the other side so you can see the internal turbine blades etc but that side was behind barriers.

I was interested to see this Bristol Beaufort. My father was in the SAAF flying in the Hawker Hartbees initially then in a Martin Maryland. They were sent to Madagascar which was held by the French. He kept a diary throughout the war and I posted part of that on the web here The first bit of that extract is when they were shot down in Madagascar and had a splendid adventure while returning to their base. He was very cheerful about that adventure and writes amusingly about it. The flight he was in had some Marylands and some Beauforts. This is his entry about the Beaufort – a plane he detested. I have transcribed the whole thing as written including the idiosyncratic punctuation and sentence construction. I could have condensed it but preferred to leave it in its original form.


The Beauforts have been up to their usual tricks again – 100% on the ground, but in the air all kinds of funny things have been happening – bits of metal coming off the engines into the oil sumps – excessive vibrations etc. etc. – they have been placed U.S. (unserviceable) half a dozen times – an inspection staff of experts have been got up from the Union to strip them & hunt up the faults – half a dozen have been found, but nothing serious. It’s a bloody farce – first totally U.S. then U.S. except in the case of extreme emergency, then only fit to fly over the land, then totally U.S. again etc. etc. – we don’t know our arseholes from our elbows – again I will quote from the War Diary.
2.6.42 – “36 Flight has again found pieces of metal in the oil filters in one of their Beauforts. As a result of this all Beauforts have been grounded until further notice.”
4.6.42 “Beauforts still grounded.”
5.6.42 “Beauforts still grounded, & will be for the next week or more.”
8.6.42 “The Inspection staff arrived by Lodestar to look into the Beaufort trouble.”
9.6.42 “The inspection staff has stripped the Beaufort engines, but thus far the cause of the trouble has not been found. We will just have to wait and see. The aircrews have lost all confidence in the Beauforts, & are of the opinion that it is unfair to expect a person to fly over the sea in these aircraft.”
15.6.42 “The inspection staff has been unable to find out just why the Beauforts have been giving trouble. However Colonel Driver (O.C Inspection Staff) informs us that he has recommended that the Beauforts should not fly over the sea.”
16.6.42 “Our Beauforts are in the air again! One of 36 Flight Beauforts vibrated excessively in the air, & on landing it was discovered that the airscrew of one engine had ‘excessive play’. This was put down to reduction gear. Again we must ‘wait & see’.’
19.6.42 “This evening we were informed that the Beauforts were serviceable again. We wonder how long it will be before they are grounded again.”
26.6.42 “Today it was discovered that the fuel pressure in the Beauforts is only 2 lbs per sq inch instead of 9 lbs per sq inch, so they are grounded again.”
27.6.42 “We have seven pilots & 4 aircraft in the flight. We could do with a few more machines – but NOT Beauforts.”

These entries in an official war diary give one to think – It’s all very well producing more and more aircraft to win the war, but one must at least produce an aircraft which can go out and do a job of work, & which if not shot down by enemy gunfire, will come home to fly again. But these Beauforts now – designed as coastal patrol aircraft to fly hundreds of miles out to sea – hai-bloody-corna (Zulu for never)!

The main trouble seems to be in the Taurus engine, but even so, if fully feathering propellers were fitted she would still be able to fly on one engine. But what have we?

The Goddam plane is manufactured and sold with patents & manufacturing rights & yards & miles of red tape covering up & binding down everything. No matter what defect or fault one discovers in the plane, nothing may be done about it without getting permission from the Air Ministry, who have to get it from the manufacturers. So, in spite of the fact that everybody knows that fully feathering props, which, when feathered would offer no wind resistance, would make the Beaufort a more or less safe plane to fly, nothing is, or can be done about it, & in the meantime some patriotic capitalist way back in England is turning them out by the hundreds & thousands & with the proceeds is adding more plush to his already well upholstered bottom & has acquired for himself a title or two for his good work, while the fellows who have joined up to fight for what they have been told is their Freedom? (makes me laugh) have to fly these deathtraps, these flying crashboats, & get killed in them miles & miles from enemy action, & write the planes off into the bargain so that Lord Sir Bloody Hell can sell the RAF another one to take its place to provide another flying coffin for another crew.

That’s what we’re fighting for – freedom of mankind, democracy etc. etc. & all the other political catch phrases. I can now see how bolshevism & revolutions start – no matter what form of government one has, it is inevitably proved to be (if it doesn’t prove itself) rotten to the core in at least one respect, so the man in the street or the bloody fool in the front reckons it’s time for some other form of government, & hey Presto, we have a revolution, but the next government proves just as rotten as the previous one, in other ways.

I still reckon the good old Stone Age was the best, where it was the case of the survival of the fittest individual, every man for himself, & the weakling went down.

It’s the weakling who can’t fight his own way which has to resort to underhand ways of ‘proving what a strong man he is’ & our modern age of civilization and law? Protects the cranky brained weakling & tells us what a big business man he is & what a boon to the country – bullshit!

Maybe someday when I read all this I might grin & call myself many kinds of bloody fool but at the moment I’m just bloody wild & wish I had Mr. Bristol or Mr. Beaufort or whatever his measly name may be here to give him a workout & then a proper military deepsea burial in one of his own flying shithouses. If we had been over Tenanarieve on Union Day in a Beaufort instead of a Maryland I wouldn’t have been here to tell the yarn – and yet the Yanks have long since stopped production of the Maryland – they reckon its out of date & our Bloody Prick is still building and selling his Beauforts.


Generally he was pretty cheerful in his writing but the war and the death of friends & colleagues due to those lousy planes really got to him as he wrote that. I leave it as a testament to the cynicism brought about by war.

Hendon continued:

The biggest hanger was next. In it was this miserable FW-190. I would have loved to see a proper one as they were one of the outstanding fighters of the war but all they had is this poor example which has a second seat grafted in behind the original absolutely ruining the lines of the plane.

There is this Lancaster which is not easy to photograph. Another of the wonderful aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Merlins. Look at that huge bomb bay.

The Lancaster could carry 7 tons of bombs 2500km compared to the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress which could carry 3 tons 3000km. More Consolidated B-24 Liberator 4-engined bombers were built than any other; it could carry 4 tons 3000 km. It is all to do with how good a wing you have and how much armament you fit. The Lancaster operated at night with less armour but a good wing. The older B-17 had a much earlier (and wider) wing and lots of armament because it operated in daylight as did the Liberator. The Liberator wing was the narrowest and most efficient. The Germans did not have a 4-engined heavy bomber (well they did but in such small numbers that they can be discounted and they came towards the end of the war).

There is a B-17 Flying Fortress

The B-17 was noted for its ability to absorb battle damage, still reach its target and bring its crew home safely. Wally Hoffman, a B-17 pilot with the Eighth Air Force during World War II, said, "The plane can be cut and slashed almost to pieces by enemy fire and bring its crew home." Martin Caidin reported one instance in which a B-17 suffered a midair collision with a Focke-Wulf 190, losing an engine and suffering serious damage to both the starboard horizontal stabilizer and the vertical stabilizer, and being knocked out of formation by the impact. The airplane was reported as shot down by observers, but it survived and brought its crew home without injury. Its toughness more than compensated for its shorter range and lighter bomb load when compared to the Consolidated B-24 Liberator or the British Avro Lancaster heavy bombers. Stories abound of B-17s returning to base with tails having been destroyed, with only a single engine functioning or even with large portions of wings having been damaged by flak. This durability, together with the large operational numbers in the Eighth Air Force and the fame achieved by the "Memphis Belle", made the B-17 a significant bomber aircraft of the war.

I have huge respect for the American airmen who flew over Germany in daylight in tight formation with all the anti aircraft fire and fighters pitted against them. Things were much better when the Mustangs came on the scene because they could stay with them all the way to the target and back and take on the German fighters. Before that they flew unescorted the final bit as they were out of the range of the other escort fighters.

I had never seen a Consolidated B-24 Liberator before (had seen Lancaster & Flying Fortress) and was particularly glad because my father flew in them towards the end of the war and was killed when it crashed into the Great Bitter Lake in the Suez Canal on a training flight.

18 313 Liberators were built, 12 731 Flying Fortresses and 7 366 Lancasters. More Liberators were built than any other military aircraft ever. It was faster, had considerably longer range and bigger payload than the Flying Fortress because it was a later (more modern) design. Reading in Wikipedia I see that the Liberator was not as rugged as the Flying Fortress so it was not as well regarded by the crews and officers.

There is also this Vulcan. It is so big and the hanger is so jammed full of planes that I could not get a decent photo of it. Quite a long time ago I was in Somerset in England at a farm when one of these by no means small aircraft came up the valley at really low level right over us; a truely impressive experience. I have never seen a B-52 even on static display.

The Vulcan has a big bomb bay and they had the full bomb load on display under it.

These planes first entered service in 1956 and ended service in 1984 so had a 28 year active service; pretty good when you consider how much jet engine and aircraft technology progressed in that time. However the Boeing B-52 entered service a year earlier and is still in service; in fact it is due to remain in service until 2040 which will be 80 plus years from the start. Think about that, a car made 80 years ago would have been built in 1928 and would not be in daily active use yet the B-52 is slated to be when it is that old. An interesting thing about the B-52 is Boeing proposed that the eight small jet engines be replaced by four big engines from a 747 Jumbo Jet. That would have significantly improved the fuel efficiency of the aircraft thus extending its range. It would also have eased maintenance as it has ancient heritage engines.

They have an English Electric Lightning. These entered service in 1960 and were retired in 1988 so were also in service for 28 years like the Vulcan. The Lightning was designed for defending Great Britain against Soviet attack. The primary requirement was very fast interception of inbound bombers so the emphasis was on climbing and maximum speed therefore the amount of fuel carried was limited as it adds to the weight but also, and this is most significant for aircraft flying over the speed of sound, the cross-sectional area of the plane. It was a very special plane designed for a very specific task and it was wonderful at that but it limited the use of the aircraft because it had such a short range it could only be used for defence, it had no attack capabilities.

The Lightning’s speed and climb performance were excellent not just by 1950s or 1960s standards but even compared with modern operational fighters. Its initial rate of climb was 50,000 ft per minute (15 km/min). The contemporary Mirage IIIE climbed initially at 30,000 ft/min (9 km/min), the MiG-21 managed 36,090 ft/min (11 km/min). The recent Tornado F3 43,000 ft/min (13 km/min).

From Wikipedia:

The British sold Lightnings to Saudi Arabia. They were hopeless for that country because they have a very short range and Saudi Arabia is a fairly big country. They did increase the fuel capacity by adding a bulge like a paunch under the fuselage. Judging by what has recently happened where Tony Blair had to put a stop to a corruption inquiry concerning the Saudi royal family and their current aircraft deal with the British it is obvious that they bought the Lightnings as a way of transferring state money to themselves via corrupt kick-backs. South Africa is buying Saab Grippens and BAC Hawks for a very similar reason except here it is the ANC that needs money besides some individuals not least of which was Joe Modise. English Electric ended up inside BAC and it now has a controlling stake in Saab aircraft so the same organisation was involved in both deals. The Grippen has a limited range of 1200 km which is better than the Lightnings but I wish I could find the operating range of the Denel Cheetahs that the Grippen is replacing because I expect it is something like twice that of the Grippen. (In fact the range of the Grippen has been increased 40% on the new NG version which we are not getting.)

Here in Cape Town there are three flying Lightnings at Thunder City. This is extraordinary because the other RAF museum with Lightnings is Duxford & although theirs is in airworthy condition it is not permitted to fly because of some government security law or something. Anyone can go for a flight in the two seater Lightnings at Thunder City. They will take you to Mach 1 for so much money and to Mach 2 for some more money but they don’t advertise the price on their website. Very few places where you can get a Mach 2 flight in the world.

Gary Powers was flying in a U-2 spyplane over the Soviet Union in 1960 when he was shot down. That was probably at 12,5 miles high (67 000 ft). The Soviet aircraft could not reach that altitude but they had a missile which could and that is how they managed to down the U-2 but the Lightning could get to that altitude easily and reached well over 80 000 feet on a couple of occasions as you will see if you read the Wikipedia article. Thunder City will take you to 50 000 feet and exceed the speed of sound while climbing vertically.

There is an English Electric Canberra. In general I don’t rate British military jet aircraft very highly but the Canberra is a worthy successor to the Mosquito in my opinion. The Yanks were also impressed by it so they had it built under licence by Martin as the B-57. It remained in service with the RAF until 2006; 57 years after its first flight. Thunder City had one but it crashed near Saldanha Bay as a result of hitting a sea-gull while doing low level flight. I was very sad when I heard of that; a machine I had great admiration for.

I had never seen one of these. Great plane though they came to regret that it had no guns in Vietnam; it used just missiles. The opposing Mig-21 had a nice big 23mm twin barrel cannon which they used with great effect against the American aircraft.

It is the tail that I particularly liked about this plane; those steeply anhedral tailplanes with the two jetpipes just in front really catch my eye. This was an American plane the RAF bought. It was a proper fighter with a long range so could be used for defence and attack (as it was in Vietnam).

Boeing CH-24 Chinook two rotor helicopter. First entered service with US Army in 1962 after a protracted development cycle starting from 1956. The poster at the Chinook stated that it is expected to remain in service until 2025 or 2030 so it will have an operational life of 60 years. I had not thought about how old this design already is. Some really long lasting aircraft designs were made in the late 50s & early 60s which I have tried to highlight here.

The final hanger is dedicated to the Battle of Britain and I was terribly disappointed by it. Although it has some interesting aircraft there I had seen most of them before but what was really terrible was the lighting. It was as if they wanted to present all the planes at dusk it was so dark in there. The one plane I really wanted to see and examine was the Junkers Ju-88 which is regarded as one of the great aircraft of WW2. Well they have one & I tried to photograph it but it is not worth showing. They did not have a FW190 but that is OK as it only came into service after the Battle of Britain. They have a Junkers Ju-97 Stuka dive bomber which I would have liked to have seen properly. But in the same hanger they had a V-1 and a V-2 which also missed the Battle. They were in a separate part of the hanger which was not nearly as dark.

In this brighter section there was also a Short Sunderland flying boat. I remember seeing them in Durban when I was young. From Wikipedia I find it was 35 squadron that operated them & that they are now based here in Cape Town at Ysterplaat. I have flown in their current aircraft which is a Dakota but with turboprop engines fitted. The Dakota is a plane that first flew in 1935 but it is still on active service so it should make 75 years of active service. We also have Avro Shackeltons flying here (not on active service but still airworthy). My point is we have museum aircraft flying here: Dakotas and Lightnings discussed here but also Shackeltons, and Hawker Hunter & Blackburn Buckaneer at Thunder City.

The Sunderland has another interesting connection for me. My father went to England for training twice during the war. On the second trip in 1943 he went on three bombing raids over Germany, one laying mines off the Friesian Islands, once over Hamburg and once to the Rhur. These were night raids in a Stirling 4-engined bomber and the Hamburg raid was the scariest. The Stirling was the first of the three RAF four-engined bombers and it was quite a bit bigger than the other two (Halifax & Lancaster) but it was the slowest and carried the least load. As originally designed it was a modified Sunderland but it was changed as the specifications were altered but the wing was still very similar to the Sunderlands and it was one of the good things about the plane. It may have been slow but it was very agile so could thread its way between the searchlights and often escape when caught by them. My father was highly impressed by the Canadian pilot & his crew that he flew with.

The V-1 had a very simple pulse jet engine but it flew at 640 kph which was faster than most aircraft and too fast for anti-aircraft guns to follow. It was an early cruise missile.

Almost 30,000 V-1s were made. Approximately 10,000 were fired at England; 2,419 reached London, killing about 6,184 people and injuring 17,981.[7] The greatest density of hits were received by Croydon, on the SE fringe of London.

There is a V-2 ‘Flying Bomb’ but it really is a ballistic missile.

Over 3,000 V-2s were launched as military rockets by the German Wehrmacht against Allied targets in World War II, resulting in the death of an estimated 7,250 military personnel and civilians, while as many as 20,000 people at Mittelbau-Dora died constructing V-2s. This sets the record for the weapon that caused more deaths building it than from using it; most who died in the construction process were prisoners of the Germans. ....................................... The V2 program was the single most expensive development project of the Third Reich. 6048 were built, at a cost of approximately 100,000 Reichsmarks each; 3225 were launched. Despite being one of the most advanced weapons in WWII, it had virtually no effect on the outcome of the war. According to Freeman Dyson, who was working with RAF Bomber Command, "Those of us who were seriously engaged in the war were grateful to Wernher von Braun....Each V2 cost as much to produce as a high-performance fighter....German forces were in desperate need of airplanes, and the V2 rockets were doing us no damage....From our point of view, the V2 program was almost as good as if Hitler had adopted a policy of unilateral disarmament." It has been estimated that for the cost of the V2 program, Germany could have produced as many as 48,000 tanks. Others say it is fortunate for the Allies that Germany chose not to pursue development of the Wasserfall antiaircraft rocket, which, deployed in large numbers, could have devastated the bomber fleets. However, such comparisons of the opportunity cost of deploying the V2 versus other weapons systems need to consider the realities that Nazi Germany faced and the psychology of the senior Nazi leadership. For example, by late 1944 Nazi Germany did not have the fuel or qualified manpower to field an additional 48,000 tanks. The production of the fuel for one V-2 required 30 tons of potatoes. Sometimes as Germany lacked enough explosives to put in the V-2, concrete was used and sometimes the Germans put in V-2s photographic propaganda of German citizens who had died in allied bombing. With the war all but lost, regardless of the factory output of conventional weapons, the Nazis resorted to V-weapons as a tenuous last hope to influence the war militarily (hence Antwerp as V-2 target), as an extension of their desire to "punish" their foes and most importantly to give hope to their supporters with their miracle weapon. In short, the V-weapons were important to the Nazis even though they had dubious military value. The V2 lacked a proximity fuse, so it could not be set for air burst; it buried itself in the target area before or just as the warhead detonated. This reduced its effectiveness. Furthermore its guidance systems were too primitive to hit specific targets, and its costs were approximately equivalent to four-engined bombers, which were more accurate (though only in a relative sense), had longer ranges, carried many more warheads, and were reusable. Moreover, it diverted resources from other, more effective programs. Nevertheless, it had a considerable psychological effect as, unlike bombing planes or the V1 Flying Bomb, which made a characteristic buzzing sound, the V-2 traveled faster than the speed of sound, with no warning before impact and no possibility of defense. The V-2's undeniable value, despite its overall ineffectiveness, was in its novelty as a weapon which set the stage for the next 50 years of ballistic military rocketry, culminating with ICBMs during the Cold War and modern space exploration.

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