Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Muscle and Grace

'...virtually no original German planes remained from either World War I or World War II.'  Der Spiegel explains.   They were all destroyed in 'de-militarisation' programmes after the second War.  Why?  Germany was hardly going to rise from the ruins and start flying them about, now was it?

Anyway, the Military History museum in Berlin is raising a Stuka from the Baltic seabed.  'The Junkers Ju 87 "Sturzkampfbomber," ....   with its trademark siren, known as "Jericho trumpets," blaring as the aircraft hurtled down to its target.'

They look extraordinarily modern for 1940; just look at those sophisticated wings.

This is Italo Balbo's Savoia-Marchetti SM.55X flying boat , also looking good, from the same period.
Yes, one is a warplane and the other an aircraft of the Italian Formation Flight, but somehow they capture the different design mindsets  of two great  engineering traditions.


Bill Quango MP said...

Its not so much that they were all destroyed post war as it is that a 1940's JU87B stuka is 72 years old.

The Spanish airforce was mostly equipped with Luftwaffe planes. They had the Heinkel-111 medium bomber in service until about 1955. Which is most odd as it was obsolescent in 1940 and obsolete by 1943.

The USA was using the B-47 Stratojet
nuclear bomber at the same time.

There are about about 300 spitfires in museums around the world. They were built in huge numbers and sold to most commonwealth countries post war, where they were still {just} good enough for front line service until the Migs started showing up around the Korean war time.

And the spitfire was iconic even its own day. There were plans to preserve some every early on. Unlike the everyday German aircraft that no one really wanted.

Even our own Hurricane is in very short supply. Only a few airworthy in the world. And those were ones found in foreign corners of the globe, left behind in storage somewhere. Israel. Finland. Hong Kong.

Its even worse for the Italian airforce. Small production numbers to begin with and being overrun by axis and allies meant many were destroyed. The 1940 Macchi C.202 has {wiki} only 2 examples in museums.
Despite the fact it was in service until 1951.

Nomad said...

Interesting. Do we detect your roots showing (as those naughty barbers say)?

A few years ago I happened to be in Queenstown(NZ) on the day they closed that airport. It was done with some fanfare and the three local resident Dakotas took to the sky one after the other and flew off, over the folk lining the edge of the lake to watch them go, in different directions. I think the locals were very sad to see them go.

hatfield girl said...

I'll see your Spitfire and raise you a Mosquito Mr Q.

Hermann Goring remarked:

"In 1940 I could at least fly as far as Glasgow in most of my aircraft, but not now! It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy. The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again. What do you make of that? There is nothing the British do not have. They have the geniuses and we have the nincompoops. After the war is over I'm going to buy a British radio set - then at least I'll own something that has always worked." [wiki article on the Mosquito]

Not surprised about the Italian air force. Mussolini had his airforce marshal brought down by Italian fire in North Africa. He was too much the professional soldier and not enough the Fascist evidently, but killing him put an end to ay serious air power for Italy.

Bill Quango MP said...

Herman never tired of blaming his subordinates for his own failures.

He complained bitterly in 1943 that the jet aircraft prototype shown to him and Hitler in 1937 "conjoured up before my very eyes, is still nowhere to be seen."

Well, he was head of the air force. He showed no interest in it, preferring the much easier to produce, proven piston engine planes.

The German wooden wonder came much to late. The Focke-Wulf Ta 154 Moskito. It wasn't very good.

hatfield girl said...

It was seeing that Lancaster in the flypast that turned my thoughts to planes, Nomad. Did you see, the Queen murmured (I swear)
'It's alright; it's one of ours.' as it went over.

hatfield girl said...

'preferring the much easier to produce, proven piston engine planes.'

DeHavilland's had an awful time getting a plane whose defence system was its speed and manoeuvrablity and whose build was of non-strategic materials - hence wholly innovative - past the British powers that were.

Failure of the imagination has much more to answer for than lack of technical skills and invention in British industrial decline.