WWII quality....the manufacturers.

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Lucky13, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Fellow gentlemen, members of the "family" and worshippers of the golden joystick........ With all the talk about the best this and best that, I can't remember any talk about the quality of the machines itself. So, who had the best quality in their products between '39 and 45, the best way of solving problems with their machines etc.? We're not putting Supermarine Spitfire against Messerschmitt 109, Vought F-4U against Focke Wulf 190....no, let's do it country by country. U.S., Russia, Germany, GB, Italy, Japan..... Who was the better builder in UK, Supermarine or Hawker, Germany, Messerschmitt or Focke Wulf, U.S., North American or Grumman, Russia, Mig or Lavotchkin etc.? You get the point....
     
  2. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Brewsters out. :lol:

    I would say, especially with US and Germany, quality might be hard to pinpoint on one company seeing as a manufacture was sometimes undertaken by several companies for the same aircraft. I could be wrong.

    But if anything, I would choose (with my limited knowledge) North American had some quality machines.
     
  3. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    The Quality of Luftwaffe aircraft declined as the war progressed. I am not saying that the Germans were incapable of making quality machines but the lack of raw materials made for using materials that normally would not be used.

    I would say for the most part the allies quality remained about the same throughout the war. Having said this they had the raw materials to do so.

    I do however agree with Njaco that you can not really pinpoint it because different companies were making the same aircraft and the quality could vary from company to company.

    Either way this is going to make for an interesting discussion especially with some of the members here.
     
  4. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Chris - you don't really think there are members with strong opinions on this subject do you?

    I would speculate (without proof) that the Brits certainly were on par with anyone in context of quality and ahead in context of pioneering use of wood in high performance a/c.. having said that is comparing the Mossie to Ta154 a fair comparison? I don't know, and certainly USSR has to compete here also

    I would speculate with some proof that nobody mass produced with quality like we (US) did. We went from mass producing razor blades and cars to aircraft that are still in service today (i.e C-47 last built in 1944).. Nobody compares to methods used to produce a Liberty ship in less than 5 days (Great Brit design!). Nobody consistently put pencil on paper to innovative new aircraft first flight like we did.

    Having said that the He162 is an example of German capability also

    As to specific unit quality - interesting question with too many variables largely time based. On one hand we started w/all man force and quickly trained new workforce with no prior skills including black and female and turned 'em out. On one hand Germany started with highly skilled labor and gravitated to slave labor whose enthusiasm for quality may have been 'suspect'.

    Jes my thoughts
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    :lol:

    It will be interesting my friend....

    Agreed

    Agreed as well.

    Agreed as well.
     
  6. ppopsie

    ppopsie Member

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    Quality; an interesting subject to me. I would like to ask you guys about what was the best quality manufacturers in each nations.

    An excellent reading; http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/other-mechanical-systems-tech/bf-110-analysis-6399.html

    As for Japan and of the production of A6M Zero either by Mitsubishi and Nakajima, some people saying in favor of Mitsubishi for its workmanships. That was however after major part of skilled male workers were drafted from the factories.
     
  7. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Drgn, would you give the USSR some credit for their production methods, ie moving whole assemblies within days? I know the thread is aircraft quality but were Russian machines of quality or just quanity? I agree with you on the US and we probably take the cake, hands down, but when bringing in the subject of mass production I think the Russians might have a slight edge in that. The quality of their machines I'm not that familiar with.
     
  8. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    Off my knowledge of tank production; the Soviet Union was poor. It was all quantity.

    T-34s were rolling off production lines without optics and IS-2Ms did not have tempered frontal armour. Just a couple of examples ... they were crap.
     
  9. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Agreed pD. Credit must be given to the Soviets for there ability to work under the conditions that they did but they were all about pumping out quanitities of equipment but were not to worried about quality.

    It did work for them though. It got the job done.
     
  10. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Thanks Pd,You always hear about how the T-34 changed tank warfare but I guess it was design over quality. Learn something new everyday. Thanks.
     
  11. AL Schlageter

    AL Schlageter Banned

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    The fit and finish of the Me262 was certainly not that good with the amount of body filler used as can be seen in photos of non camouflaged 262s.
     
  12. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    The best built T-34s would have not been as well built as the Western Allied or German machines; they certainly would not have had the added features (radio being left from many Soviet tanks) and, as I said, some were rolling off without optical sights leaving the gunner to guess ... even those with optical equipment did not compare to the Germans or Western Allied.

    The armour production of the Soviet Union was pathetic, at best. And the T-34 was not reliable ... it was just easier to fix. The reliability, probably, comes from the poor build quality.
     
  13. AL Schlageter

    AL Schlageter Banned

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    That sounds like early war T-34 production plan_D. Did this continue for the rest of the GPW?
     
  14. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    Yes it did. The IS-2M had the exact same problems with quality of build.

    The only improvements in Soviet armour forces was the slow (and slow has to be bold) introduction of radio sets.
     
  15. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    What would be the definition of Quality? If something is easy to fix would that count?
     
  16. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    That would be a quality of design; it's was designed as a simpleton's tank. All it took was a log to prop up the thing, and everything is open for you to fiddle.

    Ease of maintenance wouldn't be brought into the equation when talking about build quality.
     
  17. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Thanks. I was just thinking that the ease of repair might mistakenly translate into quality. Sometimes something might seem good when the problems are minimized. You may not remember the 6 seconds it took to fix a broken bolt as opposed to something far more labor intensive.
     
  18. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    That's exactly why everyone thinks that T-34s were reliable. T-34s were getting iced up and fires had to be lit under their bellies to get them started, their engines broke down many times over ... but because the T-34 was so simple, it'd be fixed within a hour or two and it's gone down in history as being reliable .. .it's just easy to fix and the problem forgotten.
     
  19. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    During the war years the US adopted 2 processes to control quality at all military contractors and they were known as Mil-I-45208 and Mil-Q-9858. They provided to the basis for modern quality control and were the forerunners of ISO 9001/ 2000 which is so commonly used today throughout industry. To be honest, the old "Mil-I" and "Mil-Q" were in many ways to the current ISO standards as they focused on only the quality of the product. ISO took quality a step further to ensure that there was "quality" at all levels of company function and management.
     
  20. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Joe brought out the Quality Standards for US during WWII as well as current ISO 9001 and Sigma Six.

    A note, Definitions of Quality during WWII included many terms ranging from

    Meets Design, meets Specification
    Zero Defects/Failures within Design and Specification parameters

    Today it must achieve yet another more subjective standard - Customer Delighted which generally implies Value across four primary dimensions - Quality, Service, Cost and Time.

    To increase value today to maintain "delighted" one generally has to focus on methods and process and match market hype to Customer Sat.

    Back to WWII. Good stuff was designed by all the combatants. Customer Sat was more or less defined by cost, time to battlefield, mean time between service/failures, and Service/Logistics behind the maintenance and Repair and last but not least "did it achieve the result I was looking for?"

    From USSR point of view and US POV, the T-34 and Sherman met most expectations in 1943 from tactical point because we strove for mobility and speed in our armor - but woe to the Tanker when he encountered Panthers and Tigers in numbers in 1944... so "Customer Sat" waned and T-26 was next design and spec for US because the expectations changed.

    Njaco- give to Sovs great credit for building production facilities out of harm's way (BTW Speer's decentralization efforts were under even tougher conditions because there was no such thing as 'out of range') and the amount of war material produced...

    Having said that, the production quality in context of fit and appearance at least through comparison of MiG21 to say F-4 or MiG 15 to F-86 was sub par to US standards. Same for M-4 vs T-34 or Mustang vs Yak-3 or IL-2

    My first walk around on a MiG21 captured by Israelis in 1967 and brought to Nellis for initial Red Flag showed really huge gaps in just plain old sheet metal to sheet metal butt joints.. but it was one hell of an airplane so it definitely achieved design and spec and Customer Sat and Value prop from a quality standpoint. Ditto MiG 15 vs F-86
     
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