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What if the Germans Introduced the Me-262 and others listed below in 1943

Discussion in 'What If - Other' started by Punisher88, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    By 1944 most German aircraft had alot of wooden components. The tail assembly of Me 109's was wood. Propellers were almost universally wood. The vaulted Ta 152 had wooden flaps and control surfaces.
     
  2. efestos

    efestos Member

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    IMHO, the Nazis should have started to use wood in their aircraft much earlier.

    The ARADO 96 saw her wood version in 1945 ... The Salamander ...

    Better than ask about the me 262 and all that myth of the nazi´s later technologies... the What if should ask about th planes and the tanks in the 30's.

    They weren´t as cool as the horten and the jets, but had far more influence.
     
  3. Nicnac

    Nicnac Member

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    But, in the end, isn't Russia the great equalizer? Regardless of the technology, training, and numbers you bring to the battle, once you get into that vast land of mud, rains, and ridiculous cold, you are reduced to primitive warfare, the way the 'natives' like it.
     
  4. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    In my opinion it wasn't the designs of the "wunder waffe" so much as materials, as mentioned. The Germans had great shortages of rare earth alloy ores, and they really needed them for the turbine blades of their Wagner Axial Flow turbo-jets. Without those materials, the engines would never have the reliability needed for a combat aircraft.

    They also (somehow) could never perfect a great resin bonding cement for their own versions of the 'wooden" aircraft of the allies. Their's tended to "fall apart" after a few air hours, not a good thing in a warplane.

    Great designs on the drawing board won't win or loose wars, poor material or lack thereof can loose them all by themselves.
     
  5. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    One reason for not using wood is that there are substancial penalities associated with it in aircraft construction. First, it isn't completely dimensionally stable. That is, it warps. Next, it involves a strenght penality. This in turn means more weight than using light weight metals like aluminum. Wood also requires more careful selection of grade and type in order to have the proper strength and other qualities.

    So, if you have a choice you would go with all metal construction over alternatives simply because you get a stronger, lighter aircraft.
     
  6. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

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    Wood is also a lot less predictable engineering-wise than metals, so the safety margins in the design have to be larger, hence heavier, or you risk many more failures. Less difference with plywoods, but still considerable.
     
  7. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    The "Mossie" made all the difference in the world, the Germans never could duplicate it and it rivaled metal construction strength to weight ratios.

    Essentially they used similar techniques as modern fiberglass wet lay-up. The positive mold made of concrete was covered with something to prevent the wood sticking to it (I presume a kind of wax), then strips of thin veneer were laid up in different directions to improve the tensile strength in all directions, just as today you would lay up fiber glass or carbon mats. The wings and fuselage were all made in "formed halves", and then bonded and bolted/screwed together with brass screws.

    In the concrete molds the first skin of spruce or birch veneer would be covered by a sandwich layer of balsa wood, followed by another layer of veneer. Metal fittings were embedded into the wooden layers and placed under hydraulic pressure to bond them tightly together. There were high wattage radio waves introduced to speed the drying process, and once everything was dry, the fuselage or wing half would be removed from the mold and after installation of some forms and systems (pipes, cables, wiring) heat glued and bolted to the other halves to form a whole section.

    The whole thing would be covered in another layer of thin wood, covering the glued joints. I think the whole airplane was in the end process painted with a water repellent as a surface protection and to improve aerodynamic smoothness. That is what I remembered off the top of my head, here is a section from an authority or two which I had forgotten about.

    The genius of the aircraft's construction lay in the innovative and somewhat unorthodox use of seemingly commonplace materials and techniques. The bulk of the Mosquito was made of plywood. Stronger and lighter than most grades of plywood, this special plywood was produced by a combination of 3/8" sheets of Ecuadorean balsawood sandwiched between sheets of Canadian birch plywood. Like a deck of cards, sheets of wood alternated with sheets of a special casein-based (later formaldehyde) wood glue.

    Forming the fuselage was done in concrete molds. Left and right sides of the fuselage were fitted with bulkheads and structural members separately while the glue cured. Reinforcing was done with hundreds of small brass wood screws. This arrangement greatly simplified the installation of hydraulic lines and other fittings, as the two halves of the fuselage were open for easy access by workers. The two halves of the fuselage were then glued and bolted together, and covered with doped Madapolam fabric.

    The wings were also made of wood. To increase strength, the wings were made as one single assembly, onto which the fuselage, once both halves had been mated, was lowered and attached. Metal was used sparingly in the construction of structural elements. It was mostly used in engine mounts and fairings, control surfaces, and of course, the brass screws.

    The glue used was initially casein-based. It was changed to a formaldehyde-based preparation when the Mosquito was introduced to fighting in semi-tropical and tropical climates, after some unexplained crashes led to the suspicion that the glue was unable to withstand the climate. De Havilland also developed a technique to accelerate the glue drying by heating it using radio waves. (this isn’t microwaving, they were simply high wattage radio waves)

    The specialized wood veneer used in the construction of the Mosquito was made by Roddis Manufacturing in Marshfield, Wisconsin, United States. Hamilton Roddis had teams of dexterous young women ironing the (unusually thin) strong wood veneer product before shipping to the UK. (bold mine)

    [this only produced the thin birch veneer sheets, not the multi-layered plywood itself in the final construction]


    Goto:

    Mosquito, de Havilland


    and:

    The method of construction was also unorthodox for the time. The body was made as two moulded pieces, by pressing the wood in a concrete mould. These halves were then glued together to form the basic body before the wings were attached. Rivets were then used to give extra strength. The glue was changed when the Mosquito was introduced to fighting in semi-tropical and tropical climates, after some unexplained crashes led to the suspicion that the glue was unable to withstand the climate. DeHavilland also developed a technique to accelerate the glue drying by heating it using radio waves. (bold mine)

    Goto:

    British Armed Forces & National Service
     
  8. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    This is called induction heating and is not a new process. This was widely used then and today in things like heat treating, soldering and, similar processes. Most induction heating sets ran at 450 KHz back then.
     
  9. efestos

    efestos Member

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    In fact I was thinking in the Ar 396 (Ar 96 made in wood) and the late developments of the Ju 52. More than in the combat planes.

    "MOSKITO" Ta 152.

    " Just prior to delivery the only factory making Tego-Film, in Wuppertal, was bombed out by the Royal Air Force, and the plywood glue had to be replaced by one that was not as strong, and was later found to react chemically, apparently in a corrosive manner, with the wood in the Ta 154's structure. In July, several A-1s crashed with wing failure due to plywood delamination. This same problem also critically affected the Heinkel He 162 Spatz, Ernst Heinkel's "Volksjäger" jet fighter program entry."

    Henschel 162 .
     
  10. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I agree Terry, what I think was unique was applying the process to the new formaldehyde-based glue used in the "Mossie".
     
  11. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    Doesn't really matter if it's wood. It still has beautiful lines for an aircraft.

     
  12. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    The American Jack Northrop had a beautiful little fighter online too, sadly it also had lateral stability problems and crashed early on in its life as well. That killed the best "flying wing" pilot we had at the time.
     

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  13. LouisXIV

    LouisXIV Member

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    Of all these possibilities, I think the only plausible one was the Me-262. It could have been ready as a fighter in mid-1943. It would have made a difference in the air war if it had.

    Remember that it had a significant impact even at the end of the war. Adolf Galland wrote that, with two pods of rockets under the wing, it could fly into a formation of B-17s, take out two almost guaranteed, and get away again. It was known to shoot down Mustangs at will. The only losses in combat were if they were surprised by a diving Allied fighter or shot down by AA.

    The Allies thought so much of them that at the end of the war they would have relays of fighters flying "CAP" over the German airfield that had been identified as having the Me-262s. Apparently the Germans had to scramble a squadron of FW-190s from another field to clear the air just so the Me-262s could take off.

    What did the Allies have to counter it? The Gloster Meteor was not available until just before the end of the war, and never left Britain. The two U.S. jets mentioned above were not ready until after the war (Although if the Me-262 had been a problem they might have been given higher priority.)

    Would the Me-262 have made a difference in the long run? Not really. The main German problem was not how much they could build, but how much fuel they had to run them. According to a statistic I saw a long time ago, the Germans claimed that 67-75% of the AFVs they lost during the war were abandoned due to lack of fuel, mostly in 1944-45.
     
  14. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Fuel isn't the only problem. Engines are the big issue. The Jumo 004 is so unreliable that it would be impossible....I M P O S S I B L E.... for the Germans to keep 50 Me 262 flying on a daily basis. In non-wartime or less desperate circumstances the RLM would never, ever have accepted the Jumo 004 as servicable as an engine.
     
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  15. LouisXIV

    LouisXIV Member

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    Okay, the engine was a problem, but not so much of a problem that they couldn't keep some of the jets available at all times. This also in 1945 when they were really resource-poor.

    If the airplane had been operational in 1943 and the engine was recognized as a problem then, don't you think they could have come up with improvements or an alternative? Especially in 1943, when they had more to work with?

    Remember that almost every aircraft had teething problems at first. The Mustang was available almost from the beginning of the war, but was never really effective as a high-level, long-distance fighter until they figured out they needed to put a supercharger in it. The B-29 was held back from production for almost a year until the engineers got it to "fly right." The B-17 was completely rebuilt after the British complained that it couldn't do the job and was unstable. You'll find that type of story for almost every airplane in service.
     
  16. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

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    I always understood that most of of the engine problems were due to a lack of certain specific alloy metals - which I believe were getting pretty short even in 1943. Sure improvements could have been made and possibly some more alternative materials tested, but as i understand it there really hasn't been much in the way of an alternative found even up to today for turbine blades, although bearings have changed a lot.
     
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  17. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    "Spartanroller" has this right, the choice of using the Wagner style axial flow engine instead of von Ohain's original certrifugal flow turbojet (like Whittle's) was the downfall of the project. They shot themselves in the foot when the alloy needed could only be found in the Soviet Union, and dried up when they broke the "pact" and invaded.

    There was no substitute for it, and never was until far after the war was long over.
     
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  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It was recognized as a problem in 45. The engineers still recognised it as a problem when it went into production and right up to the end of the war.
     
  19. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Too true. Pre-Barbarossa the Soviets supplied the Nazis with a great number of the non-ferrous, and light metals, as well as many rare earth elements needed for alloys. Starting (pre-1941) with manganese, chromium, copper, lead, zinc, tin, tungsten, molybdenum, niobium, tantalum, nickel, and bauxite.

    The Soviets had the sources of metallic magnesium which is a "sulpher fixer" when used as an alloy in the production of high-grade steels, especially in the high-nickel "stainless" steel.

    Manganese, as a mineral, was largely mined in the eastern Ukraine area, I think the other main known sources at the time were in southern Africa, China, and the US at the time, certainly not Germany. This was to come to haunt the Nazis in the production of the turbine blades for the Jumo 004 turbojets.

    Even today, metallic magnesium is widely used in aircraft production as an alloy of aluminum, and still used as well in the "de-sulpherization" of high grade steels. Each mineral was mined and shipped from the USSR to Germany, nickel from Norilsk (northeast of Moscow) and magnesium from Sverdlovsk (formerly Ekaterinburg). The Nazis were receiving chromium from Turkey and some tungsten from Spain. The former Soviet Union had been Germany’s major supplier of both those raw materials (nickel and magnesium), until June of 1941.

    The Finns had supplied Germany with some nickel, but after the "Winter War" Finland lost its own nickel deposits to the USSR in one of its territorial concessions. Norway’s nickel deposits were and remain pretty small, and Sweden (while originally identifying and naming "nickel" in the 1700s) had nearly none to export to Germany after Finland gained its independence.

    The "advanced" alloys needed to produce the great "Krupp Stahl" of the Krupp works needed high quality iron ore (Sweden), chromium (Turkey), nickel (originally Finland and to a lesser extent Norway), tungsten/wolfram (USSR, Spain), manganese and magnesium (USSR). None of were or are local minerals in quantities sufficient in Germany for mass production.

    The same alloy materials hindered the production of the high-speed turbine blades needed for the axial flow turbo-jets.
     
  20. Stitchy

    Stitchy Member

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    Not to quibble, but the Mustang actually ended up with an entirely different engine shortly after it entered service; it started life with an Allison V-1710 (same engine as the P-38), but some far-sighted British test pilots (after receiving and testing an early Mk I Mustang) suggested the aircraft might do better with a Rolls-Royce Merlin installed and, voila, a star was born.
     

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