Boeing's rooftop 'Village'

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Graeme, Sep 29, 2007.

  1. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    The ultimate camouflage, constructing a village/town on top of a factory roof. In this case, Boeing’s Plant 2 at their Seattle factory.

    Twenty six acres of factory roof ‘decorated’ with 53 houses made from canvas with painted windows. 24 garages, a corner service station, three greenhouses and a store. Numerous automobiles and even a cow grazing. It was a real cow, eating real grass. Trees up to 12 feet tall, shrubs and grass, were created from a million and a half feet of chicken wire covered with feathers and spun glass. They were coloured whatever hue was necessary to lend an aspect of reality. Roads and streets were shaped with more canvas, covered with burlap. Where ‘roads’ crossed Boeing Field, which was directly across the street from factories, they were made of dirt soaked in oil.

    Two of the buildings were real however. They housed anti-aircraft guns with crews. Those who flew over the area in Army transports recall that the camouflage was perfect, even at low levels, though it did seem weird to land on a country road. Occasionally, a pilot new to the area became confused, and had to be led down by another plane.

    The entire village was treated with fire-retardant chemical as a precaution. There were, in addition, 67 sprinklers and 100 fire hydrants. One million board feet of timber had gone into the construction of the village, an invitation to disaster by fire.

    The village on the of Plant 2 as photographed in 1945, after aerial photographs of the site were permitted. The ’roads’ across Boeing Field, still visible in this photograph, were allowed to deteriorate later in the war as air attack became less likely

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    You can just make out the 'trees' on top of Plant 2 at far right.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Remarkable
     
  3. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    It certainly was. But considering the generally poor bombing accuracy of the air forces of that era, it's almost guaranteed it would have been bombed to pieces simply because the bombardiers weren't aiming at it!
     
  4. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    And that plant later became the same area along the Duwamish where the B-2 and various F-35 components were designed. Right across the street from the Boeing Museum on Boeing Field, Seattle.
     
  5. Negative Creep

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    Could any heavy bomber even have reached it in the first place?
     
  6. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Sure! They just wouldn't have gotten back. Or would have reached it without a bombload.

    I do have some doubts about the efficiency of the camouflage. It's awesome in itself but just look at the area surrounding it. Suddenly you have a "dark block" (probably green in color) emerging in the area. Plus, the area is awkwardly square which makes it even more realistic. To the enemy this would take even more the attention than an aircraft factory.
    I do agree however that it would have been effective as a whole because the enemy would probably not aerial recon it, and be totally confused, even when seeing a green village in the middle of a grey area.

    Kris
     
  7. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    There were no Luftwaffe bombers that could have reached these factories in Seattle Washington and I dont believe the Japanese had any aircraft with the range either.
     
  8. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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  9. R-2800

    R-2800 Member

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    Cool camo. Looked like a good idea to me! Especially when people were paranoid back in 41'
     
  10. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    The two fears at the time, concerning the Boeing Plant were,..

    Submarine attack. The Boeing plants were on the Duwamish River, which flowed into Pugent Sound, so close the fog horns could be heard on thick nights. And Pugent Sound was deep enough to allow submarine access.


    and..

    Air attack. There was also the threat of Japanese pilots flying long-distance one-way missions from a carrier and dropping destruction by the ton.
    To prevent, or at least confuse the enemy...They created a village over the roof-tops of Boeing's Seattle Plants. The Army Engineers, Passive Defence Division were the instigators.


    This is all from the book, 'Boeing-Planemaker to the World' by Redding and Yenne.
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Lockheed and Douglas had the same set-up
     
  12. Nonskimmer

    Nonskimmer Active Member

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    Ha! Crafty. A good idea I suppose. It certainly couldn't hurt. :lol:
     
  13. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    As Joe pointed out above, other aircraft manufacturers participated in this 'deception'.

    Foreground is the Lockheed 'Ventillation', a Ventura with Constellation engines (shortened nose to clear the large diameter props).

    In the background you may just make out the air terminal covered in 'trees' and netting(?) over the hangers in the far distance.

    [​IMG]

    From 'Lockheed Constellation' by Stringfellow and Bowers.
     
  14. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Fog horns could be heard? Okay. Not sure what offensive significance that has in the author's eyes. None in mine. Nice words. Little meaning.

    And submarine access in Puget Sound attacking Boeing production? :lol: The author is an idiot.
     
  15. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    Well Matt, I have no knowledge/experience regarding Seattle.:confused: I assumed from the book 'fog horn' means the Pacific is close by, hence accessibility by submarine. Not the case?
     
  16. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    I tried to look up some information about this aircraft but didn't find anything about a Lockheed Ventillation. But then on good ol' Joe Baugher's site I found this reference:

    The first Ventura (AE658) took off on its maiden flight at the Lockheed Air Terminal on July 31, 1941. Although the dorsal turret was mounted, no armament was actually fitted. The Ventura I (Model 37-21-01) was powered by a pair of 1850 hp Pratt Whitney S1A4-G Double Wasps. 188 were delivered under the original British contract, with serials being AE658/AE845. One (AE662) was fitted with a pair of 2200 hp Wright R-3350 engines as a testbed for the engine installation in the Constellation transport. It had a shortened nose to permit propeller clearance.

    Interesting...
    Kris
     
  17. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    Hi Kris. Apparently Lockheed 'nicknamed' it the Ventillation-never official.
     
  18. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Cool. Thanks for replying Graeme :)



    Kris
     
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