Fate of Battle of Britain Merlins

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by yulzari, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    I have heard that there were shortfalls in the production of Rover Meteors ( Merlin tank engines) so sub standard new production and old worn aero Merlins were diverted to become Meteors.

    Does anybody have any more information or numbers?
     
  2. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    As I understand it it wasnt the actual engines that became Meteors but some of the reusable components. I have an interesting book produced by the Rolls Royce trust that covers the Meteor I will have a look in the pile of boxes that is my book collection for it and see if it contains the info you need.
     
  3. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    Did'nt the Meteor use a cast steel block not alloy?
     
  4. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    It wouldnt be cast steel the technology wasnt really around for casting large steel objects. Possibly you mean cast iron?
     
  5. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    It's what I am reffering to, but my own experience with engines very few are cast iron, mostly varieties of soft casting steels!
     
  6. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    Thank you fastmongrel.

    My young memories of the Dodd (?) Meteor engined RR lookish alikeish car was of an aluminium block.

    It might be that used Merlins were reduced to individual parts and reintroduced into production if up to standard still with the rest put to scrap so I can see the temptation to raid the 'scrap' pile for lesser stressed ground use.
     
  7. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Merlins as used in the BOB were returned to Rolls Royce and reworked as Merlin 45's for the Mk V. Its an interesting topic as the RN and Russia both wanted the old Merlins for use in MTB's, both assuming that the old versions would be available for reuse.
     
  8. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    #8 fastmongrel, Oct 29, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
    Hi yulzari I have found the book (right at the bottom of the 3rd box very dusty box :() its called The Rolls Royce Meteor, Cromwell and other applications, historical series No35. Published by the Rolls Royce Heritage Trust. ISBN 1872922244

    Theres too much for me to type out so I am going to try and scan the relevant sections.

    A few facts to get you started the Ministry of Air Production transferred 2000 worn out Merlins with 2 piece blocks to Rover so Rover could strip them for the crankshafts and other parts.

    The Glasgow factory sent 600 crankshafts to Rolls Royce Derby that had failed inspection because of hairline cracks these were tested for 740 hours and showed no problems so they were used in the initial RR built batch of Meteors.

    Browns foundry of Derby produced cast iron wheelcases, sumps and exhaust manifolds which were of very high quality. There usual product was cast iron fire grates and cookers.

    The bore size was standardised as + 20thou so that liners removed from Merlins could be reground, chromed and used as standard Meteor parts.

    The Meteor ran backwards to suit the tank transmission and the camshafts used the same lobe form as an unsupercharged Kestrel engine.

    Its an excellent book and I had forgotten how interesting it is I would highly reccomend getting a copy.
     
  9. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    It seems that every Merlin was stripped and parts of it reused thats why early versions are so rare.
     
  10. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    fastmongrel, excellent thank you.

    Just looked up 2nd hand price for the book. £69/86€! Too much for me.

    So parts of a Battle Merlin II could have ended up finishing the war in a Lancaster, Cromwell or MTB. That might explain why there were so many more Merlin installations than Merlins.
     
  11. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Yikes £69 mine cost me £14 from a museum bookshop. I have scanned a few relevant pages plus the index if you want anymore pages scanned let me know. If you message me an email address I can send the scans to you I dont want to put the scans on a open forum just in case I infringe copyright.
     
  12. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I must apologise as I didn't take a copy of the documents that I read in the NA. I did read what I said above but cannot support it so I can understand your doubts.

    The paper was a discussion paper in reply to a request from Russia for 300 Spitfires a month and old Merlin engines for their MTB's. It went into some detail re what was available and allowing for the second line aircraft which still used them mainly Battles in training, the numbers were very low, too low to make it worthwhile. The diplomatic problem was caused by the British Ambassador and his staff, who when asked in Russia said that the engines shouldn't be a problem. As you might expect Russia kept using this to get what they wanted.

    Next time I will copy anything and avoid confusion
     
  13. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Why would the Russians want Merlins for their patrol boats when they had their own aero engines, or even the engine from the T-34, that they could have used?
     
  14. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea, it was as big a suprise to me as anyone. Also if you look at the Russian MTB's they were tiny and very, very fast. I also found the request for Spits unexpected. Every time you hear what they thought of the spitfire they call them too slow, or too fragile, or lacking in this or that, but they pestered the UK for more every chance they had.
     
  15. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    The Merlin recycling process is a reminder of how much the UK became a war economy where the reuse of existing components was valued as a production enhancer whereas a market economy would have seen them as metal scrap and made new ones. After all, their service life was seen in months at best and weeks often.
     
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