Japanese shortage of raw materials

Discussion in 'Engines' started by cherry blossom, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. cherry blossom

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    There are several reports that late WW2 Japanese engines were not reliable because the materials were of lower standard than planned because some raw materials were not available. For example, Nakajima Aircraft Industries History(2) concludes its details of the Homare with “But because of the war condition, it became difficult to acquire high quality fuel that was required for the engine, maintain the quality level of machining process (due to a lack of skilled workers), and purchase special steel materials. As a result, its performance potential was not fully realized before the end of the war.”

    Does anyone know which materials were not available?

    There is a similar description of problems with the Ho-5 cannon. For example, Tony Williams writes about the 20x94 cartridge at An introduction to collecting 20 mm cannon cartridges “This cartridge was developed during WW2 for the Japanese Army air force's Ho-5 cannon, also known as the 20mm Type 2. The gun was based on a slightly enlarged Browning M2. As designed, it offered an impressive combination of high performance and light weight, but the lack of high-quality steels for gun-making meant that the ammunition had to be significantly downloaded to reduce the stress on the gun mechanism.” However, there is a subtly different account at The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia: Japanese 20mm Ho-5 Cannon blaming “Because of difficulties in quality control during production”.

    My guess is nickel, used in most steels, and perhaps vanadium, used I think in springs. However, does anyone know?
     
  2. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    #2 Shinpachi, Mar 24, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
    I think you have already hit the right answer to launch this thread, cherry blossoms:)
    You may think almost resources were in shortage including foods.

    People were requested compulsory delivery of their kitchenwares made of steel/aluminum/brass, watches, bells, bronze statues, platinum ring as metal resorces. Even cats and dogs were dedicated to the government as fur material.
    There were many sad stories of boys and girls who lost their pets.
     
  3. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I would imagine that material drives went on in most of the major powers countries, Shinpachi. Children often went around collecting pots and pans, tires, etc, etc, in the U.S. for the war effort. Also, I know the U.S. and Germany had war rations for common goods like sugar, coffee, gas, etc. I imagine the UK, Japan, and other powers did as well.

    The war effort for all countries was the #1 priority for almost ever aspect of daily living for many countries so I completely agree with you. I have never heard of cats and dogs being used for fur so I thank you for telling us about this.
     
  4. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    One of the most gruesome was the use of shaved concentration camp victims' hair for use as insulation in clothing for U-boat crewmembers.
     
  5. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Wow! This thread has become a very educational one instantly:shock:
     
  6. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I agree......
     
  7. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Shortage of nickel was fatal for the crankshaft of Kawasaki Ha-40 engine(copy of DB-601).
    The shaft was said broken after 80-100hours running.
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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  9. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    #9 tyrodtom, Mar 25, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012

    Have you looked at a map, New Caldonia is stuck out in the middle of the ocean, with Austrailia being the closes land mass. It'd have to be a strictly sea born invasion, it's well out of range of any possible air support from any Japanese land air bases. If they couldn't take Guadalcanal, they certainly had no chance taking New Caldonia.
    If the battle of the Coral sea had ended in their favor, New Caldonia was in their later plans, but taking New Caldonia without taking New Guinea, the Solomons and then the New Hebrides, first just don't seem possible.




    " Piddling around in New Guinea" ???
     
  10. cherry blossom

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    The nickel shortage was serious even before WW2 and Japan was unique in adding copper to armour as a substitute for some nickel www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a955281.pdf. Molybdenum was produced in Korea and seems to have been added to armour pre-war. The US text argues that this was to compensate for a nickel shortage but it has been argued that British homogeneous armour had a similar composition.

    I once found a book written by a Japanese engineer, "The Romance of Engines" by Takashi Suzuki, which claimed that the problem with the Ha-40 crankshaft was the heat treatment of the crankshaft pin The romance of engines - Takashi Suzuki - Google Books. Suzuki seems to argue that, at least initially, the Japanese alloys contained the same nickel content as the German alloys.

    What other raw materials were in such short supply that lower performance had to be accepted? For example, chromium was produced in both French Indochina and in the Philippines. Was enough produced so that this did not cause a problem until late 1944?

    ps. The best opportunity to take New Caledonia might have been late 1940 by landing a joint Japanese - Vichy force from Indochina to "reestablish French control".
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    France would never agree to Japanese troops on French soil unless they had no choice.

    However Japan might have approached the issue differently. France had few friends after July 1940. They could have courted France as an ally rather then taking advantage of Mers-el-Kébir to occupy Indochina. 1941 France might have bartered nickel in exchange for badly needed weapons and ammunition to defend places like Syria and Dakar.
     
  12. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    In late June, 1940 the Conseil General of New Caldonia decided to support the Free French, and shipped the Vichy supporting governor off to Indochina, so they'd already aligned themselves with the Allies before WW2 started in the Pacific.
     
  13. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Opportunity knocks for those willing to seize the moment.

    The New Caledonia garrison consisted of a single infantry battalion. The Free French take over was not popularly supported and there was talk of a revolt to restore French rule.

    1940 Japan was the amphibious warfare expert. They could offer to transport a French infantry division from Vietnam to New Caledonia. In return France would sign an economic treaty that offered Japan first right to purchase raw materials produced in French overseas colonies. A secret protocol would require France to close the rail line between the Port of Haiphong and KMT China, eliminating the need for Japan to tie down an infantry corps and a considerable quantity of airpower occupying Indochina.

    France and Japan both come out ahead in this arrangement. KMT China gets screwed but that's not a French problem.
     
  14. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your introduction of "The Romance of Engines" by Takashi Suzuki, cherry blossom, as I did not know his book.
    Suzuki's opinion is unique. I wish to read the book entirely in my local library in the near future.

    BTW, did he comment anything about another Japanese copy of DB-601, Atsuta, manufactured by Aichi Aircraft?
    Atsuta had no such crankshaft trouble. Of course, it contained nickel.

    It was molybdenum.
    There was an excuse that they could not produce hi-octane fuel because of its shortage.
     
  15. proton45

    proton45 Member

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    Rubber was in short supply...gaskets and other engine components that contained rubber where often made from substandard substitutes. My father was assigned to a team that was tasked with the problem of finding substitutes for gasket materials...because of the rubber shortage.
     
  16. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Japan shouldn't have had much of a rubber shortage. It had occupied or was allies with most of the rubber suppliers of the world. Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand all had a lot of rubber plantations.
    Of course, getting that rubber to Japan, in the last few years of the war, would have been a problem.
     
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