A letter from Flying magazines editor Jan 1941

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Thorlifter, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    This is a letter from the editor of Flying and Popular Aviation magazine posted on January 1941. I thought it was very interesting.

    We will not be surprised if England, led by her Royal Air Force, wins the war in 1941. Few people seem to realize the scope of the offensive the British are almost sure to launch next spring or summer. The major portion of that offensive will be by air. Perhaps the size of the British Isles on a map of the world deceives most people. But only the aerial offensive itself will be launched from England proper; it is being prepared for in advance in practically every part of the world. Today British warplane production is tremendous, even from the standpoint of present American production. Canada already has trained tens of thousands of military flyers and additional tens of thousands are to be trained. Several thousand flyers soon will come to the United States for initial training at many of those private flying schools throughout the country that have been training U.S. Army pilots. New Zealand, Australia, Africa as well as England are sending thousands of young men to Canada for training in flight, bombardment, gunnery and navigation.

    By next summer the British will have thousands of first-line warplanes in reserve, including several thousand of the most modern American warplanes. The R.A.F. will have sufficient numbers of Bell Airacobras, Curtiss P-40's, Martin 167's, Douglas Bostons, as well as veteran Lockheed Hudsons, on hand this spring - and production of these types is running ahead of schedule - to wipe the German air force out the skies over England. Britain's long range Wellington bombers will be augmented by numbers of Consolidated B-24's and Boeing Flying Fortesses (both brand new and U.S. cast-offs). They will carry the actual offensive over German. The B-17's will go over, accompanied by long-range, heavily-armed fighters, at altitudes up to 35,000 feet. German fighters will be almost helpless against them. Those bombers, using a gyroscopic bomb sight similar to, but not, ours, will go after German industry with no holds barred. At 35,000 feet British bombers will be well out of range of anti-aircraft; sound detectors are nearly useless at such range. German interceptors - even if they are warned of the bombers approach - could not reach such high altitudes before the bombers work was done and they were on their way home. So German - and Italian - industry will be subjected to devastating bombing raids in broad daylight as well as at night. The question will be, how long will Germany be able to stand "total war" more devastating than that to which London has been subjected.

    Whats-In-The-Wind (The rest of the letter from the editor seems to just be giving tidbits of information. I left some of the less informative statements out)

    One of the west coast manufacturers is working on a big seaplane that can be launched from a land catapult, which would be the American answer to Britain's pick-a-back experiment. AOPA's Air Guard soon may be taken over the the Army. Can any reader suggest some soft material, like sawdust, from which a landing strip for seaplanes could be made on an airport? (note from Thor - could this be a reference about the Pykrete carriers?)

    Early in the war, we're told, German Dornier Do-17’s were such cold meat for British pursuit pilots that 15 German pilots refused to fly a mission over England one day and were lined up and shot.

    50 Ryan ST trainers now are being built for the Netherlands East Indies government and that government also is after some pursuit ships and Martin patrol boards

    It is not widely known that a number of Curtiss Hawks recently were delivered to Iran.

    The Martin company recently got a contract for $106,125,396 worth of planes (probably PBM patrol boats) from the Navy

    A recent fire at the Waco company probably will cost them $10,000

    The British have raised the age limit for pilot recruits from 28 to 31 years

    During the first nine months of 1940 the British bought $77,256,731 worth of airplanes

    Did the Fairey Swordfish torpedo planes that recently sank part of the Italian navy in Taranto harbor do that dangerous night flying just a few feet off the water using American radio altimeters?

    The army recently bought: $1,531,331.10 worth of wheels and brakes from the Goodyear company, $963,500 worth of compasses from the Pioneer instrument company, $2,745985 worth of altimeters from Kollsman, $131,306,962.21 worth of engines from Wright and $122,323,020 worth of aircraft engines from Ford.

    The Navy bought $662,044 worth of Link Trainers

    There is at least one major move afoot in Washington to ground all private flyers. Admiral Towers, head of Naval aviation, recently advocated grounding private planes lest they fly over powder plants and drop small bombs on them.

    50 Lockheed Hudsons are being fitted with extra gas tanks so that they can be flown across the Atlantic.

    Ferry flights to Britain of Consolidated PBY’s and Model 31’s are expected to start soon

    The British soon will be using a new bomb sight fitted with an explosive device set to automatically blow up the sight itself in case the bomber is forced down or crashes on enemy territory.

    R.A.F. engineers want to fit a new twin engine American fighter with a second seat for a rear gunner (P-38 maybe???)

    The Army Air Corps wants U.S. auto manufacturers to build 8,000 twin engine bombers and 4,000 four engine bombers

    The Navy has 2,235 warplanes on order, still to be delivered

    Instead of the announced 7,000 new pilots in 1941, the Army is stepping up that figure to 12,000 with a new system of conditioning and training.

    A west coast manufacturer recently completed an 80h.p. radio controlled plane capable of 150 m.p.h. which will be used for anti-aircraft gunnery practice.

    A new bomber for the British, the Martin Baltimore, soon will go into production

    Three Douglas Army bombers, flying a bombardment mission from their Hawaiian base recently, intercepted an ocean liner 350 miles at sea, “bombed” it and flew home.
     
  2. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Amazing! I think the author really was asking about a 'soft' landing solution for sea-planes, rather than the floating, 'ice' landing strips, which were, as far as I know, only released from the 'Secret' list in the 1970s.
     
  3. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Fascinating, interesting to look back and see what of those predictions came true. This was, of course written before Pearl Harbor and the author couldn't have known that the USA would be fully committed to war at the end of that year. Had the USA not entered WW2, things might have been very different. It also doesn't take into account the German capacity for innovation and invention and ultimately the war would have dragged on much longer had the US remained neutral.
     
  4. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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  5. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #5 Jenisch, Apr 11, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2013
    The mention of the RAF pilots trained overseas is interesting, I'm wondering what advantage in fighter pilots Britain had.
     
  6. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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  7. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Interesting read Thor, thanks for posting!

    Agree too, probably the P-38 for that experiment, idea later realised on the NF version.
     
  8. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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  9. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Really interesting read! Thanks for sharing.
     
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