NOTICE TO ARCHIVE USERS: Prior to creating this website, I delved into many areas of fascination. Much of what I encountered randomly on the web was of interest to me and I clipped it as I found it, with little interest in preserving the source information, inasmuch as it was to be a personal archive. Many references are, therefore, unidentified. But, since creating this site, it has occurred to me that this information, if assembled in one place, would hold tremendous potential for others. I, therefore, endow the Institute of Discrete Information with this cache of wisdom in hopes of helping wider humanity. It is the work of many, in some cases, anonymous souls. Some of it is my own. If anyone recognizes their work and would like credit, please contact the Institute with the website that is the source. I hope that you will find what you need here. Sincerely, The Author.
A FAMOUS HISTORIC AIRPORT:
The History of Chicago Midway Airport
Imagine a place where the past meets the present each day; where the spirit of days gone by exists in harmony with plans for the future. Chicago Midway Airport is just such a place.
Midway occupies one square mile of land on the City's south side, just ten miles from the downtown area. From modest beginnings in the 1920's, this pioneer airfield grew to be the busiest airport in the world - a distinction it held for three decades.
In 1926, the City of Chicago began leasing the land on which Midway stood. In late 1927, airmail contractors were flying regularly through the airport. By December 1927, the facility was dedicated as Chicago Municipal Airport.
By 1928, the airport saw its first full year of operations, boasted 12 hangars and 4 well-marked runways. The first passenger terminal and administration building was dedicated in November, 1931 by Mayor Cermak.
Chicago Municipal Airport or "Munie", as it was known to early pilots, earned the title 'world's busiest' after serving more than 100,000 passengers in 1932. It maintained that distinction each year after until O'Hare became the world's busiest in 1962.
The first non-stop scheduled flight between Chicago and New York took place on January 9, 1935. TWA flew a DC-3 aircraft registering a flying time of 4 hours and 5 minutes. The following month on February 21st, American Airlines inaugurated a flight from Los Angeles to New York, via Chicago. Even with stops the flight set a record time of 11 hours and 42 minutes.
The Chicago City Council changed the airport's name in 1949 to Chicago Midway Airport in honor of the World War II Battle of Midway.
GERMAN COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT:
PRE W.W. II FLYING BOATS (DORNIER)
Friedrichshafen - The structure of industry in the region of Lake Constance is something special. Many companies emerged from the former "Luftschiffbau Zeppelin", like for example, Dornier which is now a majority-owned subsidiary of Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG (Dasa/Munich). This traditional company stands for technical innovation and activities in the fields of aviation, space technology, defense & civil systems.
Count Zeppelin often gave special tasks to Claude Dornier who later became owner of the company. Thus, in 1914, he assigned the young graduate engineer the responsibility for development of large all-metal aircraft. This challenge became the foundation of Dornier's career. His career at Zeppelin started with his appointment as manager of the independent "Do" department. By 1922, he was already the head of "Dornier-Metallbauten GmbH". He became its owner in 1932.
Claude Dornier's work carried over half a century. His guiding principle was: "For all my designs, I have always set myself ambitious goals knowing that the end result would be significantly lower than the expected one". ( Observation: This is nothing new. I have similar statements made by successful Americans. It is a universal truth. Strive for perfection and you get the best possible result. Give no life to limitation.)
Claude Dornier's successes spanned the closing years of the Hohenzollern monarchy, the post World War One period and the economic miracle years. At this time, which was characterized by rapid and even erratic technological development, Dornier designed and built almost 80 types of aircraft. Many models made his name known worldwide, such as the Dornier Wal flying-boat family, Do 18, Do 24 and Do 26. A technical sensation at that time: the twelve-engine flying boat Do X which had its maiden flight in 1929. The commercial aircraft of the twenties and thirties (Komet and Merkur) were also familiar to many passengers because of their use by Lufthansa. An outstanding development of that time was the Do 335, the fastest series propeller aircraft in the world with tractor and pusher propeller.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF U.S. AIRLINES:
AMERICAN AIRLINES: Formed in 1931 as American Airways. In April 1934, American Airways became American Airlines. C.R. Smith was elected president of American Airlines on October 25, 1934.
To all members of the American Airlines organization, C.R. Smith was "Mr. C.R.," or simply "C.R." Over the next five years, he consolidated American's crazy-quilt routes into a smooth, sensible network and standardized the company's collection of various airplanes with a fleet of new DC-3 aircraft. Smith was influential in the design of the DC-3, which would become the "workhorse" of passenger planes in the 1930s and 1940s. (From the American Airlines Website)
CONTINENTAL AIRLINES: Formed in 1926 as Varney Speed Lines
DELTA AIRLINES: Formed in 1929, out of business in 1930, resumed operations in 1934
NORTHWEST AIRLINES: Formed in 1926 as Northwest Airways, renamed Northwest Orient, later dropping Orient
TWA (TRANSWORLD AIRWAYS): Formed in 1930 through the merger of Western
Air Express (1927) and Transcontinental Air Transport (1928), to become
Transcontinental and Western Air; renamed Trans World in 1950(TWA) Significant
Dates in TWA History:
AIR CANADA: Formed in 1937 as Trans Canada Airlines, renamed Air Canada in 1964.
U.S. AIR CARGO CARRIERS:
EVERGREEN: Formed in 1924 as Johnson Flying Service, renamed Evergreen in 1975
(NOTE: The Ford 5-AT Tri-Motor was used for freight service, flying the mail, and early passenger transportation. The Ford Tri-Motor "Tin Goose" was the first airplane flown over the South Pole, by Admiral Byrd in 1929.)
WORLD WAR 1:
The Camel epitomized the fighter pilot's dream. Fast, maneuverable and equipped with two machine guns synchronized to fire forward through the propeller arc, it was not suitable for the novice.
More than 5,400 Sopwith Camels were built and was immortalized by several
famous pilots. It could turn out any German pilot in the sky but if handled
without respect would throw pilot and machine into a dangerous spin.
Sopwith Camel F1 Fighting Scout
Technical Details: The Camel F1 was powered by the 95kW Clerget 9B rotary engine. It had a maximum speed of 113 mph (182 km/h), with a ceiling of 19,000 ft (5800 m). It was armed with two belt-fed Vickers 0.303 machine guns. Pilots flying Camels accounted for more Axis planes shot down than in any other aircraft.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE CAMEL FROM: French Canadian
museum Web Data:
Sopwith Snipe Fighter
Technical Details: The Snipe was designed around the new 230 hp Bentley BR2 engine. It powered the aircraft to 121 mph (195 km/h), with a ceiling of 19,700 ft (6000 m). It was armed with the standard set of twin, front mounted, Vickers 0.303 machine guns, and could carry four 20 lb. bombs under the bottom wing.
WORLD WAR 2:
STALLION IN THE SKY (P-51 Mustang)
P-51 Mustang page @
Let me just say that you need not be a pilot or an engineer to appreciate the elegant beauty of the P-51.
One of my loves for vintage aircraft, especially the ones from the World War II era, is the artwork painted on the planes. I like the different types of markings that pilots, fighter squadrons, or fighter groups paint onto the planes. I like all of the paint-jobs from the checkerboard tails of the 325th Fighter Group to the scroll on Don S. Gentile's P-51B, "Shangri La". This leads me to the next reason why I like vintage planes: I like the neat names those pilots give their planes back in those days. Painting names onto planes just do not happen anymore. The government would probably consider such acts as vandalism.
I even like the lettering of squadron identification, which was the European Theatre method. I can identify most of the Mustang squadrons with one of my airplane reference books, which has a short Mustang fighter group/squadron identification list. I guess I am a Mustang nut. Incidentally, Gentile's "Shangri La" wore the code "VF-T".
Everybody who is a Mustang fan probably knows by now that the Mustang was designed within 120 days which was the British deadline for the project. The Mustang was initially designed as an interceptor in place of the Curtiss P-40 that the British had wanted NORTH AMERICAN to build under license. NORTH AMERICAN said they could do better than the P-40, and they built the NA-73X Mustang prototype with three days to spare. The Mustang's performance was immediately greater than that of the P-40. The British were happy and placed an order. America liked the fighter also and likewise ordered the plane.
The original Mustangs employed the Allison V-1710 engine, which did not perform very well in Europe. (Some people said Europe was too humid for the engines.) The American Packard Motor Company (or something like that) was granted a license to mass-produce the Rolls Royce Merlin engine for the British war effort. NORTH AMERICAN decided to install a Packard-built Merlin onto a Mustang, (The British also installed a Rolls Royce Merlin in one of their Mustangs at the same time with similar outcome.) and the rest is history. The Merlin engine improved the performance of the Mustang dramatically by increasing the airspeed from a maximum of about 390 to 435 mph. This is the reason why almost all subsequent Mustangs flew with a Packard V-1650 Merlin. The performance was so great that the plane was mass-produced for American usage as an escort fighter for accompanying the American daylight bomber aircraft. Its great range allowed the Mustang to escort bombers deep into enemy territory thus protecting the mammoth beasts from the German air defense.
A P-51D Mustang from the 361st Fighter Group, 375th Fighter Squadron is named "LOU IV". This plane is better known for being photographed with three other planes from this squadron. It is one of the few colored group shots of Mustang fighter planes while airborne during WWII. "LOU IV" is an early version of the P-51D model that does not have a dorsal stabilizing extension in from of the tail. The spinner is yellow, as is the front of the plane. "LOU IV", squadron coded "E2-C", sports D-Day invasion stripes. Final noteworthy note, the wings and tail section are painted blue. If anybody knows why the squadron selected to paint some of their planes' wings and fuselage blue, please tell me why. They could not be considering camouflage over the sea, could they?
A plane from this same squadron has a very special distinction of being the first plane to down two jet fighters. Lieutenant Urban Drew, flying "Detroit Miss" (Serial Number 44-14164: WOW! I must be a Mustang nut because I remembered the serial number.) with the squadron code "E2-D", caught two Messerschmidt ME262 jet fighters about tree level either landing or taking off at a German airbase and flamed them both.
For the American Army Air Force in Europe, the Mustang entered combat with the Ninth Air Force with the 354th Fighter Group also known as the Pioneer Mustang Group. These planes initially escorted the Eighth Air Force's bombers. Major James Howard, who was an ace while flying with the AVG's Flying Tigers in the Asian Theatre, single- handedly repelled a German fighter onslaught on a large group of American bombers. The bomber crews were sold on the Mustang escort, and Howard received a Congressional Medal of Honor. Howard's P-51B Mustang was named "Ding Hao!" and carried the letters "AJ-A". For more stories about Howard's adventures whether in Europe or in the Pacific while flying with the AVG Flying Tigers, see his autobiography, "Roar of A Tiger".
The Mustangs did such a good job that all subsequent Mustangs went to the Eighth for bomber escort service. The Ninth's fighter role was being changed to a fighter-bomber role and were given P-47D Thunderbolts instead. As more and more Mustangs arrived in Europe, so did more and more new American fighter units. The famous 56th Fighter Squadron was supposed to get P-51's, but their new planes were diverted to a new fighter group that arrived from stateside. Colonel Hubert "Hub" Zemke, the Commanding Officer for the 56th, did not mind. He liked their P-47's and was in no hurry to switch. Later, Zemke became the CO of the 479th Fighter Group and eventually flew a Mustang. Zemke's successor as the 56th CO was David Schilling who told the war department where they could shove the Mustang because he wanted nothing but the Thunderbolt.
Zemke's time in a Mustang was relatively short. His group was on a mission when they ran into some foul weather. The devastating winds sheared the wings from the fuselage of Zemke's plane. His seat was ripped out of what remained of his airplane. Zemke was knocked unconscious until he almost was on the ground again. Thankfully, somehow his parachute had been triggered. He would spend the rest of the war in a POW camp. Zemke had flown many different P-47's, one P-38, and one P-51D in combat. His unnamed Mustang from the 436th Fighter Squadron, 479th Fighter Group was coded "9B-Z". Zemke's fond war memories are found in several books about the 56th FG and in his autobiography, "Zemke's Wolfpack".
The following are two Mustangs from the same fighter group, the 55th FG. The first baffles me because none of the squadrons in the 55th FG had squadron letters beginning with a "Y". All three squadrons in this fighter group began with a "C". My conclusion to this is that somebody goofed on the paintjob while restoring it. The second is a Mustang painted in the livery of the 343rd FS of the 55th FG, coded "CY". Note the difference between these Mustangs and the one earlier; these two planes are the later versions of the P-51D model, which has a slight dorsal extension leading to the tail plane. NORTH AMERICAN engineers added this additional lateral surface area to help stabilize the plane better in flight. "The Millie G" was also from the 343rd FS and wore the squadron code CY-G.
The following is a Mustang with Capt. Clarence "Bud" Anderson's P-51D-paint scheme. His plane from the 363 FS, 357 FG was named "Old Crow" and was tagged "B6-S".
While you are at the bookstore or the library, you can also check out "Bud's" famous buddy, Chuck Yeager, who I think was a lieutenant during WWII. Well, go see his autobiography, "Yeager", to find out. Chuck or Charles shot down 5 Messerschmidt ME-109's during one mission! Actually, two of them crashed themselves out of the sky, but they still count as kills. Yeager's last P-51D was named "Glamorous Glen III" with letters "B6-Y" with serial number 44-14888. (That's a very easy number to remember.) You should all know that after the war, Chuck flew the Bell X-1 rocket plane and became the first person to break the sound barrier.
B-18A Bolo BOMBER Specifications (CONVERTED DC-2 /
ARMY AIR FORCE and AIR CORPS:
Q-4: BIT OF AIR FORCE HISTORY
In the Air Corps Act of 1926, Congress changed the name of the Air Service to Air Corps, but left unaltered its status as a combat arm of the US Army. Enlisted personnel served in the Army Air Corps and officers received commissions in the Regular Army, Air Corps, or in the Army Air Corps Reserves. In 1935, the Army reorganized and divided the Air Corps, establishing the General Headquarters (GHQ) Air Force to command and control the Air Corps tactical forces, and the office of the Chief of the Air Corps to provide overall policy and logistical support.
Although the Air Corps proved an adequate organization in peacetime, the demands of rearming prior to World War II caused the Army Chief of Staff to reorganize the air arm. On June 20, 1941, Army Regulation 95-5 established the Army Air Forces (AAF) as a semi-autonomous organization within the Army and gave the new Chief of the Air Forces control over the activities of the GHQ Air Force (now called the Air Force Combat Command) and the Air Corps. The Chiefs of these respective organizations, instead of reporting to the Army General Headquarters and the Army General Staff as they had previously, now reported to the Chief of the AAF.
A few months later, in December 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Congress passed the First War Powers Act giving the President temporary authority to reorganize the United States Army to prosecute the war. On February 28, 1942, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9082 dividing the War Department into three branches: The Army Air Forces (AAF), the Army Ground Forces, and the Army Services of Supply. In this reorganization, the functions, duties, and powers of the Chief of the Army Air Corps and of the Commanding General, GHQ Air Force (Air Force Combat Command), passed to the Commanding General, Army Air Forces. Thereafter, the Air Corps no longer sanctioned as an administrative part of the Army Air Forces. But Congress had not abolished the Air Corps in the War Powers Act, and it had not given the President or the War Department the power to do so. Instead, the Air Corps now existed exclusively as a combat arm of the Army, like the Cavalry and Infantry.
During World War II, the War Department normally appointed, assigned, or detailed enlisted personnel, noncommissioned officers, warrant officers, and officers to one of the Army's combatant arms or services, including the Air Corps. United States Military Academy graduates and a few other officer candidates continued to receive commissions in the Regular Army, Air Corps.
(Scott Command Post 6/13/93)
FLIGHT TERMINOLOGY, TECHNOLOGY AND STORIES:
The Terminology of W.W.I Aviation
I am compiling this list of terms used by W.W.I aviators. If you would like to contribute an interesting and unusual term and its meaning, please send it to Mark Dziak. Thanks a lot to everyone who sent me terms. (Cannot find a current link to this very good website! The host server has no current reference. Dr. Sleeper 4/16/98. Where are you Mark?)
ACE- used by the French, British, and Americans for an aviator who had
shot down five enemy aircraft. For the German equivalent, see 'Kanone'.
BLOODY APRIL- name given to the April of 1917, when German Albatros scouts
inflicted unprecedented casualties on Allied air services.
CENTRAL POWERS- the German, Austro-Hungarian, Bulgarian, and Turkish coalition
which was allied against the Allied Powers.
'D'- the German specification for a biplane, an example being 'Albatros
'E'- the German specification for a monoplane, an example being 'Fokker
FEE- a nickname for the F.E.2b, a British two-seat pusher biplane.
'G'- a German specification for a heavy bomber, an example being
HARRY TATE- the British R.E.8 two-seater biplane became the unofficial
namesake of the British actor Harry Tate.
JAGDGESCHWADER- a German fighter command, usually comprised of four to
KANONE- the Central Powers' term for an aviator who has destroyed ten
or more enemy aircraft.
LEAD- placing a gun's crosshairs in front of a target to compensate for
the speed of the target and the angle it is at in relation to the gun.
NO-MAN'S LAND- the horrible area between the German and Allied front line trenches.
OBSERVER- the aviators who occupied the back seat(s) of bombing and reconnaissance aircraft.
P.B.I.- contraction of 'P'oor 'B'loody 'I'nfantry, a phrase used by the
QUIRK- the nickname of the British B.E.2c two-seat reconnaissance biplane.
R.A.F.- contraction of 'Royal Air Force' which was the combination of
the British Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service. The R.A.F. was
founded on April 1, 1918.
SARDINE CAN- nickname of the Fokker E.III
TOMMY- a term for British soldiers. TRIPEHOUND- nickname of the Sopwith
Triplane, the British triplane scout.
WILLY- often 'Uncle Willy.' A derogatory term for Kaiser Wilhelm, coined
by the Germans.
YAW- the rotation of the aircraft in the horizontal plane. The yaw is controlled by the rudder.
* * * D A S J A G D G E S C H W A D E R * * * By MARK DZIAK.
(SOME USEFUL DESCRIPTIVE TERMS AND PHRASES HERE, Dr. Sleeper)
Chapter One: Condor Squadron
Four miles from the lines, heavy guns sounded as a constant rumble. Cakes of frozen snow gleamed vaguely in the pitted black road. The fall was days old. Bundled in his trench-coat and a useless tartan blanket, Lieutenant Edwin Winthrop was stung in the face by insect hailspits. He wondered if his frozen moustache would snap off. The open-top Daimler was unsuitable for this cruelly cold French winter night. Sergeant Dravot had a dead man's indifference to climate. The driver's night eyes were sharp.
Blood-coloured fire-flashes stained low clouds over the near horizon. If a shell caught the wind a certain way, its whistle was distinguishable from the babel of bombardment. In the trenches, they said you only heard that particular shrilling if the shell was the one that would kill you.
The staff car was finally passed through. The aerodrome was a converted farm. Deep cart-ruts marked the track to the house.
Condor Squadron had been Spenser's show until this afternoon. After an hour's cramming, Winthrop was not really au courant with the mysteries. He had been briefed on tonight's work but given only the barest sketch of the big picture.
'Do well, young man,' Beauregard said, 'and there's a pip in it.'
Winthrop had been in France long enough to know how to avoid the shivers by tensing every muscle. The memory of Spenser, smiling through blood trickles, undid the trick. Aching cheek muscles gave way and the chattered like a puppet.
The farmhouse was blacked out, but faint light-ghosts outlined the windows. Dravot held the car door open. Winthrop stepped down, frosted grass crackling under his boots, scarf dampened with huffing steam. Dravot stood to attention, eyes frozen unblinking, tusk-like teeth sticking out of his moustache.
A door opened. Smoky light and brittle hubbub spilled out.
The low-ceilinged room was a makeshift mess. Pilots sat about playing cards, writing letters, reading.
He had burning daredevil eyes, an Antipodean twang and a razored double dash of moustache. 'For shame.'
'Captain Spenser drove four three-inch nails into his skull,' winthrop said. 'He is on in definite leave.'
officer as he was taken to the ambulance. He was being despatched to Craiglockhart War Hospital near Edinburgh, commonly known as 'Dottyville'.
throat-deep black chuckle grew into a resonant, mirthless explosion.
reckoned the Allies' ace of aces.
'The Chateau du Malinbois,' said the blushing lieutenant. 'That's a Hun field.'
'Jagdgeschwader Eins,' put in one of his pals, whose hair was almost as red as Albright's.
'Quite right, Ginger. Dear old JG1. We're fast friends.'
'That's the Richthofen Circus,' Allard intoned, ominously.
'Our intelligence is that chateau is more than a billet for Boche fliers,' Winthrop said. 'There's odd nocturnal activity. Comings and goings of, um, unusual personages.'
Winthrop took his hands off the map, which curled into a tube. He laid out photographs of the Chateau du Malinbois. Black bursts of anti-aircraft fire, known to one and all as Archie, were frozen between castle and camera.
Winthrop tapped areas of the picture. 'These towers have netting draped around them. As if the Boche doesn't want us to know what he's up to. Camouflage, as our French allies would say.'
'The pilot will have a Verey gun. He can pop off a flare to throw some light on the subject.'
'I'll wager JG1 will be delighted at our company.' Courtney said. 'Probably lay out a red carpet.'
In the pictures, the Archie was uncomfortably close to the visible struts of the photograph's aeroplane.
'How's your crate, Red?' Cundall asked.
Albright shrugged. 'Better than she was. The camera's still slung.'
Albright hauled into the cockpit and checked his guns, a fixed Vickers which fired through the propeller and a swivel-mounted Lewis attached to the upper wing. On a jaunt like this, he should get back without firing a shot. Malinbois that they were coming. As a rule, the Boche didn't take to the air unless they had to. Allied policy was to mount offensive patrols constantly,t remind the Central Powers who owned the skies.
Cundall and his cronies had ventured out to watch Albright depart. The pilots took a professional look at the SE5a, examining the fuselage where bullet-holes had been darned. They agreed the aeroplane, a relative newcomer, was acceptable.
Ginger spun the SE5a's propellor. The Hispano-Suiza engine did not catch first time.
'A bit more elbow-grease.' said one of the cronies, Bertie.
Major Cundall consulted his watch (one of the new wrist affairs they wore in the trenches) and noted time of departure in a log book. Winthrop checked his own pocket watch. Half-past ten on the evening of February the 14th, 1918. St Valentine's Day.
HISTORY OF GERMANY'S HIGHEST MILITARY HONOR:
Orden Pour Le Mérite (Blue Max)
The German empire's preeminent state, Prussia, bestowed its highest military honor, membership in the order Pour le Mérite, on 81 airmen during World War I. Popularly known as the Blue Max, the medal bore a crowned F for Frederick the Great, who established the order in 1740. The medal was inscribed in French, which was then the language of the Prussian court in that Frederick was a great admirer of French court customs and insisted the language be used in his court. In contrast to the U.S. Medal of Honor and Britain's Victoria Cross, the Blue Max was presented in large numbers to senior military leaders and royalty as well as to officers for bravery in battle.
The award came in one class, that of knight. It was worn around the neck on a cravat. There was also a higher award of the order called the Orden Pour le Mérite mit Eichenlaub (the Order for Merit with Oakleaf). No combat flier received the order with Oakleaf during the war although Manfred von Richthofen was proposed for it.
The first awards presented to aviators were given to Oswald Boelke and Max Immelmann on January 12, 1916. They had each scored eight victories on that day. As the war progressed it became increasingly difficult to meet the progressively higher requirements to be awarded the Blue Max. By the end of the war, the last two aviators to be presented the award had 30 victories.
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WORLD WAR II IRON CROSS / RITTER CROSS / GRAND CROSS (Below is the text of the order reinstating the Iron Cross and establishing new classes of it. Dr. Sleeper)
Re-institution Order of the 1939 Iron Cross
On September 1, 1939 the Iron Cross was re-instituted by order of Adolf Hitler. For the convenience and interest of those involved in researching the Iron Cross, I have provided a translated copy of the renewal order below.
After I have determined to call to arms the German people, as a defence against an attack that threatens them, in memory of the sons of Germany who in heroic battles in the previous great wars have stood for the country, I renew the Order of the Iron Cross.
Iron Cross Second Class
II. The Knight's Cross is larger than the Iron Cross Second Class. It is worn on a black, white and red ribbon around the neck.
III. The Grand Cross is twice the size of the Iron Cross Second Class and is worn on a wide black, white and red ribbon around the neck.
Berlin, 1 September 1939
The Second-in-Command Nazi
Goring was born in 1893 and died October 15, 1946. He was a leader of the Nazi party and at one time the designated heir to Hitler. He was one of the architects of the Nazi police state, and ultimately he would be sentenced to death by the International Military Tribunal at Nurenburg.
Goring was born in Bavaria and he was the second son of the second wife of Heinrich Ernst Goring. Heinrich Goring was the German consul to Haiti. Goring's mother had a Jewish lover by the name of Ritter von Epenstein until Goring was 20 years of age. Goring was trained for a military career and he served with distinction in World War I, as a commanding officer of the famed squadron in which Baron von Richthofen was a member. Goring became an "ace" in the German air force.
Goring was greatly angered by Germany's loss in the Great War to the Allies. He also resented the way civilians treated army officers after the war. He therefore left Germany and went to Sweden and Denmark as a commercial pilot. In 1922, he married Baroness Caren von Rosen. She had divorced her husband in order to marry Hermann Goring.
Goring had met Hitler in 1921 and joined the Nazi party late in 1922. He briefly commanded Hitler's Storm Troopers, the notorious "brown shirts". Goring took part in the 1923 Putsch and was badly wounded in the groin. His arrest was ordered by the government but he and his wife escaped to Austria. His wounds were so bad that he had to be given large doses of morphine to ease his pain. He became severely addicted and twice he had to undergo treatment at a mental hospital in Sweden. In 1927 he returned to Germany and again became a leader in the Nazi party. He was given one of the 12 seats in the Reichstag that the Nazis won in the 1928 elections. When the Nazis gained 230 seats in the Reichstag in the 1932 election, he was elected president of that body.
Between 1928 and 1933, Goring made every effort to disrupt the democratic system. After Hitler came to power in January of 1933, Goring spent his energies to get the Enabling Act passed. Hitler appointed him as minister of the Interior in Prussia, Germany's largest state. His task was to Nazify the Prussian Police and establish the secret political police (known as the Gestapo). He also began establishing the first concentration camps in Germany early in 1933. The Reichstag fire, which he probably had set, enabled Goring to arrest many Communists in the Reichstag to prevent them from voting against the Enabling Act.
For the rest of the decade Goring was unassailable as Hitler's most loyal supporter and #2 man. Goring held many of the important posts in Germany's government during the '30's. He was the Reich commissioner for aviation. He was made head of the Luftwaffe, or German air force. In 1933 he became master of the German hunt and the German forests. In 1934 he took a leading part in the purge of Ernst Rohm.
In the same year he made a major bureaucratic mistake: He turned the Gestapo and the concentration camps over to Heinrich Himmler. Himmler would later transform this office into one of the most powerful and terrible police positions in the history of the world. In 1937 Goring became Hitler's minister for economic affairs. In addition Goring was a roving ambassador for Hitler and was a key assistant at all of Hitler's big conferences.
Goring may or may not have been sincere in his desire to avert or postpone war. Nevertheless his Luftwaffe played a decisive role in the early years of spectacular blitzkrieg victories. Goring seemed to delight in acquiring the wealth of Jews arrested and killed, both before and during the war.
Goring's demise as a significant figure took place when he was unable to resist Hitler's shift in emphasis from the production of fighter planes to the production of bombers. Goring claimed, in 1940, that the Luftwaffe could defeat the British at Dunkirk. The Luftwaffe failed. In 1940 and 1941, Goring claimed that the Luftwaffe could defeat the British in the Battle of Britain. The Luftwaffe failed. In late 1942, Goring claimed that the Luftwaffe could supply the 6th Army trapped at Stalingrad. Again, the Luftwaffe failed. And finally, Goring boasted that the Luftwaffe would shoot down British and American bombers, and save the cities of the Reich from air attacks. After some initial successes, the Luftwaffe failed. Hitler reached a point where he could barely stand to be in Goring's presence.
But Goring had other problems: He was addicted to drugs and his behavior became quite bizarre. He dressed in different uniforms; sometimes as many as four or five different ones on a given day. He wore make-up and jewelry. Sometimes he was elated. Sometimes he was incredibly depressed, but always he was bombastic and egocentric. He stole art from all over Europe.
In 1939, Hitler had designated him as his successor. In 1940 he was given the special rank of Reichsmarschall des Grossdeutschen Reiches. Other Nazi leaders resented his position and despised his self-indulgence. Even though Goring became less and less effective, and was seen less and less at Hitler's headquarters, Hitler would not "dump" him. Goring was the only Nazi leader, other than Hitler, that Germans could identify with, and it would not be politically advisable to dump such a popular leader.
In 1945, as the Russians and Americans closed in on Berlin, Goring was seldom found playing an active military or governmental role. Toward the end he even began to negotiate on his own without the authorization of Hitler. Goring tried to take power even before Hitler committed suicide. Goring was finally abandoned by Hitler and other Nazi leaders. In May of 1945 he surrendered to the Americans. Goring was the #1 figure at the Nurenburg Trials. The Allies did not realize the degree to which Goring had lost favor during the war. Goring tried to defend himself and the Nazi regime. He denied complicity in the war crimes, and blamed them all on Himmler. He was found guilty, but the night before he was to be hung, he took poison in his cell. He was cremated and the location of his ashes has never been revealed. Goring believed that by 1995 a small statue of himself would be found in every German household. On this matter, as on so many other matters, Hermann Goring was wrong.
Copyright 1995: Alice Jagger
Hermann W. Goering
HERMANN WILHELM GOERING, 1893-1946), German Nazi political leader and chief of the air force. Behind a facade of liberality, geniality, and flamboyant behavior, he concealed considerable brutality and cunning. His World War I fame and his social connections, as well as his intelligence and energy, seemed to open great opportunities for him in the Nazi state. His erratic and capricious style of life and work eventually frustrated most of his efforts, however.
Goering (or Goring) was born at Rosenheim, Bavaria, on Jan. 12, 1893, the son of a high colonial official. He entered the army, became one of Germany's World War I flying aces, and won the Pour le Merite,Germany's highest award for valor, as leader of the famous Richthofen squadron in 1918. After the war he led a vagrant life as a pilot and as an aviation agent. While in Sweden he married Karin von Kantzow.
They settled in Munich in 1922, and Goering soon joined HITLER, who appointed him commander of the SA (Storm Troopers). In the Nazi Beer Hall Putsch of November 1923, Goering was wounded and escaped to Austria. He became addicted to drugs while recovering but was cured after his return to Sweden in 1925.
In 1926 an amnesty permitted him to return to Germany. He again joined Hitler and acted as a liaison with aristocratic, business, and military circles. Elected to the Reichstag in 1928, Goering became its president in 1932.
Roles in Nazi Germany
After Hitler's accession to power in 1933, Goering tried to remedy his main political weakness, the lack of a secure position within the party organization. He nazified Prussia while its prime minister and made an essential contribution to the establishment of Hitler's absolute rule. Hitler, however, eliminated the autonomy of the states, thereby frustrating Goering's attempt to build up the Prussian secret police, the Gestapo, as his personal force. To secure the support needed to defeat his rival, Ernst Roehm, chief of the SA, Goering handed over the Gestapo to Heinrich HIMMLER in 1934.
Goering was more successful in developing the air force into the showpiece of Nazi rearmament following his appointment as aviation minister and head of the embryonic air force in May 1933. He added to his power in 1936, when he became commissioner of the four-year plan, which made him the nominal, and for a time the actual, economic dictator of Germany.
Although the extent of his political power varied, his position permitted Goering to live in luxury and to indulge in his numerous and costly hobbies. Widowed in 1931, he married the actress Emmy Sonnemann in 1935.
At the outbreak of WORLD WAR II in 1939, Hitler named Goering his official successor and after the victory over France in 1940 rewarded him with the new title of "Reichsmarschall. But the air force's defeat in the BATTLE OF BRITAIN later in 1940 and its inability to defend Germany against air raids discredited Goering. He slipped into inactivity, became ill, and again resorted to drugs. In April 1945 he tried to succeed Hitler in the apparently sincere belief that Hitler was incapacitated in Berlin. Goering was sentenced to death at the Nuremberg trials but committed suicide in Nuremberg on Oct. 15, 1946, the day before his scheduled execution.
University of California at Berkeley
BIOGRAPHY: (See website: http://www.accessweb.com/users/mconstab/colishaw.htm or go to http://www.accessweb.com/users/mconstab/index.html-ssi for more about Canadian aces.)
Raymond Collishaw was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia on November 22, 1893. When WWI started he tried to enlist in the Royal Canadian Navy, however, he heard nothing from them for some time. Having attended a flying meet at Lulu Island near Vancouver, and hearing that the Royal Naval Air Service was hiring, he decided to apply for them instead. He applied in Esquimalt, B.C. and then was sent to Ottawa, Ontario for a final interview. He was enrolled as a Probationary Flight Sub-Lieutenant and would become a full one upon completing a flying course. At his own expense! He then travelled to Toronto to attend the Curtis Flying School, the only flight training school in Canada at the time. The candidates waited a long time to get into the school, throughput was slow and the weather was getting cold and would soon curtail flying. Due to the destitute condition of many of the RNAS "students" the Royal Navy decided to give them basic naval training in Halifax and then ship them to England and have them do their flight training there. He did his basic training on the cruiser HMS Niobe until January, 1916. It was then that he boarded the White Star liner Adriatic for England with a bunch of other Canadians, including Lloyd Breadner, who was to become the RCAF's Air Chief-Marshal in WWII.
He was posted to the naval air station at Redcar for what passed as flight training. Despite problems with landings Collishaw soloed with only 8.5 hours of flying time. Collishaw made some serious mistakes. Once while attempting to deliver a note from a mate to a local girl he crashed into a row of outhouses, covering himself in excrement and toilet paper and destroying the plane. The girl was not impressed.
He received his wings and was posted to 3 Naval Wing, a bomber wing flying Sopwith 11/2 Strutters as one-seater bombers and two-seater fighter scouts. He participated in the first strike on the Mauser Arms Works at Oberndorff, Germany. His duty was as a pilot in a two-seater fighter-scout as cover for bombers.
On one, supposedly, easy flight he was ferrying a Sopwith 11/2 Strutter to their new base at Ochey without a rear gunner. He accidently strayed over the front and was jumped by six Albatros DIIs. The first hint he had of their presence was tracer bullets slamming into his instrument panel, one hitting his goggles and partially blinding him with glass. In despiration he dove for the trees hoping to lose them. One Albatros followed and crashed, another cut in front of him and presented a point-blank target. Collishaw didn't miss and sent him into the ground with an accurate burst. Now he had to get home without instruments and nearly blinded. He guided his way home by the sun and landed, gratefully, on a field. Men came running to his plane, he thought to help him. That is until he saw a line of Fokkers on the field. He had landed at a German base. Quickly he gunned the motor and took off with Fokkers behind him and clipped two trees at the end of the field. They caught his slower plane and riddled it with bullets, but he managed to lose them in clouds. He was several miles past the front before he realized it and managed to land at a French airfield near Verdun. He stayed several days to have his eyes patched up by a local doctor. The French were so impressed with his feat that they awarded him the Croix de Guerre and the British posted him to an all fighter squadron.
In Feb. 1917 the Allied squadrons on the Western Front were being pulverized during the Arras offensive. Several Naval squadrons were sent to lend a hand. The RFC did not view them as a real benefit, however, as the RNAS had a pretty easy time of flying compared to them. Many RNAS pilots were shocked to find the fighting over the front was continuous, with 3 and 4 flights a day and every one guaranteeing a battle with the Huns. Several times Collishaw found himself alone just as the Albatroses showed up, the rest of the RNAS pilots skipping out with "engine trouble". He flew the Sopwith Pup, a single-gun, underpowered aircraft that was easy to fly and very manoueverable. He brought down an Albatros just after arriving at the front, but then had trouble with his gun freezing up in the frigid air. It wasn't until March that he brought down another aircraft while escorting FE2bs on a spy mission over Cambrai. He shot down the leader of a flight of Halberstadt fighters that were trying to intercept the "Fees". In another mission his goggles were again shot off and his gun jammed so that he had to lean into the slip-stream without eye protection to unjam the gun. He froze his face quite badly and was hospitalized for a month. Upon returning to the front he was posted to Naval 10 equipped with the new Sopwith Triplane. The triplane was even more agile than the Pup. With three wings it had an incredible rate of climb, better visibility above and a small turning radius. It was slower than the Albatros DIII but in WWI aircraft agility counted for a lot. Its major drawback was the single machine gun, as the Albatroses had two forward firing guns. Even so, the Germans had a nasty surprise with the appearance of the Triplane. Collishaw downed a plane in his first day flying the Triplane in combat. In the next few weeks he downed four more aircraft. Then Naval 10 was moved to Droglandt, near Belgium. Preparations for the Messines offensive were underway and the RFC needed assistance in providing protection for reconnaissance and bombing flights. Collishaw and Naval 10 were facing the cream of the German Army Air Service and would be in the thickest air combat facing Baron von Richthofen's Flying Circus. Collishaw commanded "B" flight solely comprised of five Canadians. The fighters in Naval 10 had painted the cowlings of their Triplanes to identify the various flights in the air. Collishaw's flight had black noses, so, in an effort to boost morale and solidarity they painted the rest of their Triplanes black and added suitable names to each. Collishaw flew "Black Maria", Ellis Reid flew "Black Roger", John Sharman was in "Black Death" and Mel Alexander flew "Black Prince". Thus they became Naval 10s "Black Flight". Within weeks they were the terror of the German Army Air Service.
The war was nearly over, but Collishaw persisted in attacking enemy aircraft, almost getting shot down in October, 1918. He was ordered to report to the Air Ministry in London, and three weeks later the Armistice was signed. He was officially credited with 60 kills, however, that doesn't take into account the 8 balloons he shot down. Balloons were frequently more hazardous to attack than fellow aircraft due to the defensive arms and supporting aircraft they had around them, but for some reason they were not credited as an aircraft kill. Collishaw claimed that he downed 81 aircraft and balloons. Had be flown for the RFC this total would have been closer to his credited kills than 60, as the RFC was more lenient in awarding kills to pilots. In the RFC Raymond Collishaw would have been the highest ranked ace of the war, and would undoubtedly have been awarded the Victoria Cross. Many pilots in the RFC were given the VC for efforts less heroic or hazardous than many of Collishaw's, but the RNAS pilots were definately second-class when it came to awards. Collishaw was nominated twice for the VC but had them downgraded to DSOs.
In 1939, he was promoted to the position of Air Commodore and given command of what would become known as the Desert Air Force. His group was outnumbered by the enemy, but by resorting to deception, improvisation, and determination, he maintained the offensive and his crews destroyed 1100 enemy aircraft.
In July, 1942 Collishaw was recalled from the desert and was replaced with Air Vice-Marshal Coningham. He was given the a posting in Fighter Command in Scapa Flow, Scotland. This was considered to be a "peaceful" posting where aviators could unwind from long periods of front line duty. Certainly Collishaw needed it. By this time the Luftwaffe had other problems in Europe and did not bother with raiding Scapa Flow. Ray Collishaw was retired from the RAF in July, 1943 with the rank of Air Vice-Marshal, this was not a unanimous decision, as in his autobiography he used the term "was retired from the RAF". It isn't likely that this old warrior would have voluntarily retired in the middle of a war. Still he soldiered on as a regional air liaison officer with the civil defence organization until the end of the war. Following the war he returned to British Columbia as part owner of a mine near Barkerville. He finally settled down to a good, and finally, peaceful life. He died in West Vancouver in 1975 at the age of 82.
Landing a Seaplane
They say fools rush in, so I shall try to write a bit about how to take off and land a seaplane! I don't promise that this will help you GET your seaplane rating, but it MAY help you want to!
A seaplane is really a pretty special case, because it is not JUST an airplane, but is an airplane fastened, securely we hope, to a BOAT.
Boats have to deal with problems that result from "hydrodynamics" while airplanes have to deal with problems that result from "aerodynamics." Seaplanes get to deal with both sets of problems simultaneously! The take off in a seaplane has to be both a boat and an airplane.
There is one very important lesson that every seaplane pilot has to learn before they get very far along. This is the single MOST important difference between seaplanes and land planes. This can be summed up in a single pithy sentence. "REMEMBER, YOU HAVE NO BRAKES!" The only way you can "brake" a seaplane, as with a boat, is to slam it into reverse! When was the last time you backed up your airplane! Some can, but not many. With a seaplane you have to get everything together before you start the engine. Once the engine starts running you WILL start going. It is kind of important that you have a place to go,cause you WILL be going there as soon as it fires!
When you start out from the dock in a speedboat there are several stages you go through. A boat always creates two waves. A bow wave and a quarter wave. One of these is in front of the boat, and one behind. The boat tends to get trapped between these waves and can only go as fast as the wave. This is about equal to the square root of the distance between the waves in feet. For example, a 16 foot boat will prefer to go about 4 mph. You can see this very clearly in a good sixteen foot canoe! It will easily glide along about 4 mph. Try to go 6 and the bow goes up in the air and you wallow along. Our "hydrodynamics" is working here. In order to go faster than the wave we make, we have to climb up that bow wave. This really takes LOTS of push. Once you make it to the top of the bow wave, the boat will come right up out of the water, and you are just skimming along on a small portion of the bottom near the back of the boat! You are sort of "flying" on top of the water from "hydrodynamic" lift. It takes so much power to get up that wave, that you always have extra push when you reach the top, and you quickly accelerate to a higher speed. In a boat we say you are "on the plane" or "planning." Once you get to that point you can keep adding push and going faster and faster. It is sort of a wet version of the "sound barrier" only it occurs at a much slower speed!
Since this happens at such a slow speed, we will clearly have to make it by this "hump" and get up "on the plane" before we can even think about going fast enough to fly like a bird on our wings. However, any lift we can get from our wings will help us make it up the "hump."
When the seaplane is just out there floating like a boat, the center of lateral resistance of the floats is right about where the wheels would be on a tricycle gear airplane. If it is a flying boat, it is in the same place. The center of lateral area is behind that point. You will see many floatplanes with extra vertical surfaces added on back by the tail. These make up for the side area of the floats out in from of the CG. It is important that the CLA be behind the Center of Lateral Resistance on the water. What this means is the seaplane will work like a big weather vane. Give it a second for two without your doing anything to prevent it, and you will turn right into the wind. Seaplanes really do not need windsocks or airport advisories to tell them the direction of the wind!
Here is a seaplane RULE. Always START your takeoff run into the wind! Even if you are flying off a river, and the wind is blowing straight across the river, start into the wind. You can always turn later. With land planes you always have to take off in a straight line because you are following a yellow line down the middle of a straight runway! It is very important to follow that line! We all learn that early in our flying careers. I can still hear my instructor saying "Keep it straight!" Fortunately, with seaplanes, it is really hard to keep the line down the middle in place! If you have to make a crosswind takeoff in a seaplane start directly into the wind. When you start to move you start to turn in the direction you want to go. As your speed builds up, you just turn a little slower, making a big swooping curve across the wind. The idea is to make the centrifugal force from your turn cancel out the force from the wind so you don't tip over either way! Works GREAT.
Back to that take off. When you first start off, you are going real slow and you sit level and just ghost along like the canoe. When you start to get serious about going, and start putting in throttle to take off, the nose starts to come up. You are now climbing that bow wave over the "hump" to get that plane on a plane! This takes a LOT of power. Another RULE for seaplane pilots is "If you can get it over the hump, it will usually fly!" It actually takes most airplanes less power to fly than to get over the "hump" and up on a plane! Sometimes you can help it a little with the controls, but they really don't do much at the slow speeds we are making before we start to plane. When the critical speed is reached the nose will start to come down and you will start to plane. Now the airplane will accelerate quickly.
At this point in the takeoff "roll" we become aware of another great compromise between "hydrodynamics" and "aerodynamics." The floats or hull has a certain "flying angle of attack" that gives you the optimum "hydrodynamics." We also have a desired "flying angle of attack" for the WING that gives us the "aerodynamics" we need to fly. The float or hull angle is especially critical. A half a degree one way or the other from optimum can cause a large increase in drag and seriously lengthen the required take off run! When a seaplane starts to plane hydrodynamicly, that is "on the step" in seaplane talk, you will often notice old-time seaplane drivers gently and slightly moving the controls back and forth. The motion is almost imperceptible and they are varying that pitch angle by a fraction of a degree feeling for the perfect angle. Usually, when you hit it just right, you barely have time for a little brief self congratulations before the airplane leaps into the air! The change and acceleration is so marked that the airplane will almost leap off the water when you hit it. Once you are off the water, a seaplane is all airplane. You then fly it like an ordinary airplane until it is time to "land" it! Maybe we should say "lake" it? We will "fake" it.
Lets summarize the takeoff! Let the airplane weathervane into the wind. Apply full power into the wind. If you wish to go a different direction, begin your turn out of the wind after the airplane has begun to climb up the bow wave. As the nose comes down adjust your angle of attack with the controls to find that point where the acceleration is greatest. As the airplane leaves the water, fly it like any airplane. Go for it.
Now the other side of the coin. We got our seaplane into the air. Now we have to get it back down! Seaplane patterns are usually a little different than land plane patterns. Most of the seaplane bases I have alighted at use a pattern altitude of about 300 feet AGL. You are in the air, and in the air it is all airplane, so do a normal approach. You may or may not use flaps, depending on the airplane and the conditions. Seaplanes stop pretty quickly once they are on the water, because boats with no power slow down promptly as a rule! Attitude control is very important in a seaplane. Ideally, you want to land at that attitude you found just as the nose was coming down onto the step after climbing the bow wave.
If everything was set up properly on your seaplane, when you are at that optimum "hydrodynamic" angle on takeoff the tail of the hull or float is exactly parallel to the water on the bottom. The bow of the hull or float is well up, like a planing boat. That is absolutely as LOW as you want to ever let the nose get when you land a seaplane. If you get the nose down any from that you are liable to get those huge hydrodynamic forces toward the bow that will cause you to take an abrupt turn one way or the other as soon as you hit the water. If you don't turn you may just dig your float tips into a wave and submarine! I swear that I have see fish going by my windshield on a bad landing! It is really quite all right to have the nose a bit higher than that point even. If you hit the tail of the float first it will just help you gentle down into the water. However, do NOT ever do a "full stall" landing in a seaplane. If you "stall" just a little bit high, you will dig in and submarine. It really messes up your airplane when you sink it. This means you want to be within a pretty narrow range of pitch when you touch the water. The best way to do this, and it works on land also, is this. Establish the pitch angle you want to land at while well out on final! Get that angle and HOLD it. It will be safely above stall, probably 15 to 20 percent above Vso. Then add power to reduce you rate of descent to about 100 or 150 feet per minute. As you get closer to the water, ease in a little power to slow your descent. When you hear the water sizzling against the bottom of the float ease the power off gently while maintain the angle of attack. When it starts to fall off the step bring the controls full back, kind of a "WHoa, Nellie" motion. The airplane will settle quickly back to "displacement" mode, which is the "canoe" type activity. Then you can slowly taxi back to park.
A special case of this landing technique is used for "glassy water." When the water is smooth and flat it is almost impossible to tell where it is! Unless there is something floating the surface is impossible to determine exactly from above. We avoid this problem by making essentially the same landing as I pointed out above. Set up you landing attitude while well out on final. Add power to reduce your rate of descent to 100 or 150 feet per minute. When the trees around the lake start to get close to the horizon, ( they will be slowly rising in your field of view ) ease in a little more power to reduce you rate of descent. Keep it coming down slowly and hold that angle of attack constant. When you hear the splash, it is probably you, landing! After that it is a normal landing.
There are a lot of tricky details to learn about handling a seaplane when it is on the water. They relate to the braking problem, and to the effect the wind and water have on different parts of the airplane. The wind and the current may not be in the same direction.
I will summarize the landing technique and quit. Set up the desired landing angle of attack well out on final. Add power to control the rate of descent to something comfortably low. Ease in a bit of power to slow the descent as you approach the surface where you are going to alight! When you are safely down, cut the power and complete the landing. This technique also applies to land planes and will generally make your passengers say nice things about your landings. It is a good way to land large and heavy airplanes without damage. It requires precise control of attitude and power, and represents a skill well worth acquiring.
Last update 10/6/96 jrj
GUIDED TECHNOLOGY AND AERIAL BOMBS:
The first attempts to create an airborne counterpart of the naval torpedo took place in the United States during World War I. A pilotless plane was to be guided to a target and crashed into it in a power dive, exploding its charge. In 1916-17 a prototype called the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane made a number of short test flights proving that the idea was sound. In November 1917 Army representatives witnessed one of these flights and started a similar aerial torpedo, or flying bomb, project led by Lieut. Col. Bion J. Arnold for the Air Service and Charles Kettering for industry. The latter was assisted by Orville Wright and C.H. Wills of the Ford Motor Company. Various companies working together produced 20 complete pilotless aircraft (called Bugs), and a successful test flight was made Oct. 4, 1918. Since World War I ended five weeks later all projects were discontinued except for some experiments with Bugs. This project was dropped in 1925.
The Navy's Bureau of Ordnance decided to follow up one aspect of the over-all problem of the aerial torpedo and to develop a radio-controlled plane. An N-9 trainer seaplane was used as the basic "vehicle" and rebuilt with stabilization and radio control equipment developed by the Naval Research Laboratory and by Carl Norden. A successful flight without a pilot aboard took place Sept. 15, 1924; but the plane was damaged in landing and sank. Thus ended the career of the first of the drones, as pilotless planes not used for combat are now called.
During the next decade there was little missile research, but developments in electronics and progress in aviation produced results which were later applied to missiles. In 1936 the Navy began another drone program which was intended to provide realistic targets for antiaircraft gunnery practice but which directly influenced missile development. Lieutenant Commander (later Rear Adm.) D.S. Fahrney was in charge of the project. The plane used was a Stearman-Hammond JH-1, and the radio control equipment was again developed by the Naval Research Laboratory. This drone made its first successful flight Nov. 15, 1937. The following summer such a drone was first used for target practice by the antiaircraft batteries of the USS Ranger. Commander Fahrney then suggested the development of assault drones.
In January 1941 work began on the conversion of a TG-2 (torpedo plane) and a BG-1 (dive bomber) into missiles. The converted and pilotless torpedo plane, "flown" by a pilot in a plane ten miles away, successfully attacked a destroyer on March 23, 1942. The converted dive bomber was crashed into a raft towed by a tug in Chesapeake Bay on April 19, 1942. The controlling pilot who "flew" the drone by television was 11 miles distant at the time. These tests proved that assault drones were practical, and various planes were converted and used in World War II.
Since a plane can carry a larger load in a glider than it can carry directly, the next plan was to build a glider bomb to be towed into the combat area and guided into the target just as the assault drones were guided. Several such developments were started, among them a glide bomb with a radar homing device. Called the Bat, it saw action in the Pacific. Other missiles were the BG-1 and BG-4 glide bombs, the latter television equipped, which were used in Europe. Four other missiles were developed in the United States: Little Joe, an antiaircraft missile propelled by solid fuel rockets; and three types of Gorgon, with pulse jet engine, turbojet engine, and liquid fuel rocket motor, respectively.
(Edited by Dr. Sleeper. Source for this information was a library book. Title lost.)
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
BQ-7 Flying Bomb
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
Approximately 25 high-time Fortresses (mainly B-17Fs) were converted into radio-controlled flying bombs under the designation BQ-7. They were designed to be used against German V-1 missile sites, submarine pens or deep fortifications that had resisted conventional bombing.
The name of the USAAF officer who first thought of the idea of using war-weary B-17s as flying bombs has been lost to history, but the plan was proposed to Maj. Gen. James Doolittle under the code name Operation Aphrodite, and he approved it on June 26, 1944. Responsibility for preparing and flying the drone aircraft was given to the 3rd Bombardment Division, which passed the job down to the 388th Bombardment Group, which in turn passed responsibility down to the 562nd Squadron based at Honington in Suffolk.
The B-17s selected for the project were stripped of their normal military equipment and packed with up to 9 tons of explosives. Each pilotless bomber was fitted with a radio-controlled flight system known as Double-Azon and a television camera was placed on the flight deck so that an image of the main instrument panel could be sent back to a controlling aircraft. A second TV camera was installed inside the Plexiglas nose which gave a television monitor in the controlling aircraft a view of the ground so that the robot machine could be directed onto the target. It was planned that a volunteer two-man crew would get the ship off the ground and up to an operational altitude of 2000 feet, point the aircraft in the general direction of the target, arm the explosives for an on-impact detonation, hand over control to the director aircraft that was flying above at 20,000 feet, and then parachute to safety while still over England. The canopy was removed from each aircraft, creating an open cockpit so that the two-man crew could parachute to safety with minimum delay once they had completed their task. The controlling B-17 would then direct the BQ-7 to the target area over the Continent and lock its controls into a crash course into the target before turning to escape.
Upon completion of the training program, the squadron with its 10 drones and four command ships moved to an airfield at Woodbridge, which was a few miles from the Suffolk coast northeast of London. They then moved to a small satellite air field at Fersfield, 25 miles from Woodbridge, in a very isolated area that was well away from any civilian areas.
The first mission took place on August 4. The target was a V-1 site in Pas-de-Calais. In the first phase of the mission, two mother ships and two drones took off. Unfortunately, one of the drones went out of control shortly after the first crewman had bailed out. It crashed near the coastal village of Orford, destroying two acres of trees and digging an enormous crater. The body of the other crewman was never found. The second drone was successfully dispatched toward the Pas-de-Calais. Unfortunately, clouds obscured the television view from the nose just as the drone approached the target site, and the target was missed by 500 feet. The second phase of the mission fared little better. One robot BQ-7 had a control malfunction before it could dive onto its target and was shot down by German flak. The other one missed its target by 500 yards.
On August 6, another task force of two robots and four command ships was sent out against V-1 targets in France. The crews parachuted clear without incident, but within minutes one of the drones went out of control and crashed into the sea. The other drone decided to develop a mind of its own and the explosives-packed aircraft began to circle the industrial area of Ipswich before flying out to sea, where it was harmlessly ditched.
After these early failures, General Doolittle decided that it might be a good idea to suspend further missions until it could be determined what was going wrong. Most of the advisers pointed the finger at the Double-Azon radio-control system and recommended conversion to a new system known as Castor.
The first Castor raid was an attack on targets at Heligoland. Unfortunately, the parachute of the pilot of one of the drones failed to open, and he was killed. The drone made it to Heligoland, but crashed some 100 yards short of the target, probably a victim of flak. The next mission was against targets on Heide/Hemmingstedt. The first robot crashed short of its target because of director disorientation caused by image distortion in the television monitor, whereas the second robot malfunctioned and had to be ditched at sea.
Further sorties against Heligoland took place in October, but yielded little success. One drone was shot down by flak, whereas another went out of control and ended up over the North Sea where it finally ran out of fuel and crashed into the water. A third drone failed to locate its target due to low visibility. The exasperated director crew pointed the BQ-7 in the general direction of Berlin and let it go. The fourth drone actually crashed near its target and caused some serious damage and fairly heavy casualties.
On October 27, the headquarters of the US Strategic Air Forces in Europe concluded that these attacks by BQ-7s against hard targets were not yielding much success, and decided that further targets for the BQ-7s would be industrial targets in large German cities. The next sortie was on December 5, the target being railroad marshaling yards west of Hannover. Bad weather hampered the mission. The first robot could not find the primary target, and was shot down by flak while approaching the secondary target. The second robot failed to explode when it crashed, leaving the Germans with a relatively undamaged aircraft with a complete set of remote-controls that they could examine. The last Aphrodite mission was on January 20, 1945, against a power station at Oldenberg. Both drones missed their targets by several miles. After this last effort, the Aphrodite concept was abandoned as being unfeasible.
In retrospect, the Aphrodite concept was a costly failure, and was often more dangerous to the crews which operated the drones than it was to the Germans. The hardware available in 1944 was simply not good enough to do the kind of job that was required.
Incidentally, the BQ-7 was not the plane responsible for the death of Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. The plane that killed JFK's older brother was a converted Consolidated PB4Y-1, a Navy version of the B-24 Liberator.
Joe Baugher email@example.com
Fieseler FZG-76 "V1 Buzz Bomb"
This is the infamous German flying bomb also known as the V-1 or "Doodlebug". It was the first successful guided weapon. Its pulse-jet motor pushed it at speeds of over 360 mph carrying a high explosive warhead of just under 2000 lbs. They were launched from ramps using steam catapults and approximately 9000 were fired against England during WW II. Far from the simple device it appears to be, the internal equipment included a magnetic compass, autopilot, range-setting and flight controls.
No history of our example is known although it was thought to have been brought to Canada as a war prize. It was extensively repaired before being acquired by the museum and is known to have several unoriginal components, but it is nonetheless rare.
V-1 Buzz Bomb
The German V-1 flying bomb, or buzz bomb, known originally as the Fieseler Fi 103, was the first of the Vergeltungswaffen ("weapons of vengeance," named in response to Allied air assaults on Germany during World War II). It emerged from proposals made in 1939 by the Argus Motorenwerke. The first V-1 test flight was made over the Peenemünde range in December 1941. The project was given high priority by the German High Command in 1942, with Fieseler Flugeugbau Firm, in Kassel, taking the leading development role. The V-1 weighed 2,180 kg (4,806 lb), including the gasoline fuel and an 850-kg (1,874-lb) warhead. Powered by a pulse-jet engine producing 300 kg (660 lb) of thrust and mounted above the rear of the fuselage, the V-1 was actually a small, pilotless aircraft having an overall length of 7.9 m (25.9 ft) and a wingspan of 5.3 m (17.3 ft). The speed range was 563 to 644 km/h (350 to 400 mph). The V-1 was used to attack London from sites near Calais, France, beginning in June 1944. More than 8,000 V-1s were launched against London alone. Ramp-launched by a hydrogen peroxide catapult, the V-1 could fly an average of 240 km (150 mi). At the end of a preset range, it was put into a dive and the engine cut out, giving the populace only a few seconds during which to take cover.
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Last update October 17, 1999. TOP