World War 2


A bundle of reference links

Whilst going through the archives of Spinneyhead, I’ve found a few posts and links that might be of interest to modellers-

Fetch!
The Russian dog anti tank mine.

Captured
In the dynamic flow of a battlefield equipment can get lost or captured. A quick trip through captured and repurposed weaponry-
The world of captured planes
Captured Planes
Captured Allied planes (Warning- cheesey beyond belief music, which is a shame because there are some very useful images here.)
A collection of pieces about captured B-17s
Fleet Air Arm planes captured by the Axis
A gallery of tanks captured by the Germans
Modelling a captured Russian KV-2
Israel made good use of captured T54s and T55s and various other vehicles.
Russian tank museum, including many captured tanks.
Captured First World War tanks.
Ships captured by the German Navy.

Test Beds
I’ve just been to the Museum of Science and Industry and checked out the aviation hall. Interesting stuff-
Avro Lancasters were used as flying test beds for jet engines. Video of the tests is online here.
The Avro 707 isn’t quite a flying wing, but I have a soft spot for the delta wing planes such as this and the Vulcan.
A picture of the Hafner Rotachute (more) hiding away in the corner of a painting has given me ideas for another novel way to land assault troops. The Germans used similar devices for spotting from U-Boats.
But the most affecting plane in the whole display is still the tiny Yokosuka OHKA, a suicide jet that was pretty much a desperate last gasp from the Japanese.

Wing and a Prayer
The Me-163 ‘Komet’ was quite an astounding beast. I alluded to a similar plane when the Wasp squadron visited Dreamland (Chapter Three, blink and you miss it). Flight Journal has a long interview with one of the Komet’s chief test pilots.
It also has to be remembered that the Germans weren’t the only ones experimenting with new and unusual aeroplane designs. The Allies’ first jet plane was the Gloster Whittle, a pre-cursor to the Meteor and test bed for jet engines.
The ‘Hiller-copter’ and Landgraf H-2 were early twin bladed helicopter designs.
America experimented with flying wings in designs such as the XP-56 and XB-35, which I’ve mentioned many times before, but there were also experiments with gliders along the same lines.
The Brits also experimented with flying wings, as well as canard and tandem wing designs.
Even the Swedes got in on the act with the Saab 21A.

And also- Engines of the Red Army

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Who were the Few

A group of historians are arguing that it wasn’t the efforts of Fighter Command in teh Battle of Britain that kept Hitler from invading Britain, but the threat of the Navy to his invasion fleet. RAF types are, obviously, offended by this theory.

I don’t see why both sides can’t be right, to an extent. Without the destruction of the RAF the invasion couldn’t happen because there would still be air cover for the Navy, which would deal the killing blow to barges full of German soldiers crossing the Channel.

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Let loose the mosquitos of War

The Nazis in Italy released malaria carrying mosquitos in an attempt to halt the Allied advance, it is claimed. If true this would be the only known instance of biological warfare in Europe during WW2. Invading troops had been given anti malaria drugs and didn’t succumb, but cases of the disease soared amongst the civilian population.

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Inside Hitler's Bunker

There are moments of pitch black comedy, and even farce, in Joachim Fest’s account of the final days of the battle for Berlin.

Soviet General Chuikov was caught off guard by a German delegation to discuss surrender or ceasefire terms and was without his senior staff. Uniformed members of his immediate entourage had to stand in. A civilian composer, there to write about the liberation of Berlin, was stuck in an antechamber and told to remain absolutely quiet. As the debate dragged on, the composer eventually passed out and fell out of the closet. He was carried away, and no-one present thought to mention the strange event.

The book also has some interesting observations on Hitler’s character, that fit well with the back story for my in-development webcomic. Both Hitler and Goebbels spoke at different times of how, when they fell, they would take the German people, and as many others as possible, with them. “Hitler’s bomb” is a popular conspiracy/ alternate history theory. It is entirely conceivable that Hitler, in possession of an atomic bomb but surrounded and unable to launch it at Moscow, London or Manhattan would detonate it as Russian forces approached. This leads directly to the situation at the start of the story, with the the city a mass grave and memorial to the greatest crime of all time and the Berlin wall going around the city to keep scavengers and trophy hunters out and a lot of secrets in.

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Colour of Evil

Recently discovered colour footage has been used to piece together Hitler in Colour, a documentary about the man and his use of film and other propaganda.

David Batty, producer of Hitler in Colour, said: ‘Hitler’s rise to power mirrored the rise of colour film. In the Thirties there were two colour film studios: Agfa in Germany and Kodak in America. Hitler had an eye for PR and realised the power of colour film so he handed it to his cronies.

‘We believe Hitler was the most filmed person in the world up to his death.’

Hitler in Colour

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I-401

A large World War two Japanese submarine has been found on the sea bed off Oahu. The sub was captured at the end of the war whilst on a mission to drop germ bombs on US cities, or bomb the Panama Canal, using the folding wing bombers it could carry in its hold. When Russia wanted to inspect I-401 it was scuttled to keep the secrets of the largest pre nuclear submarine from them.

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All Quiet on the Eastern Front?

The D-Day memorials, as all these things do, brought a lump to my throat when I thought about the sacrifice of those years. This article in the Guardian has a timely reminder that even more soldiers, on both sides, died in Russia and Eastern Europe.

(The Eastern Front, Stalingrad, Enemy at the Gates [Two very different films about the battle for Stalingrad.])


Test Beds

I’ve just been to the Museum of Science and Industry and checked out the aviation hall. Interesting stuff-

Avro Lancasters were used as flying test beds for jet engines. Video of the tests is online here.

The Avro 707 isn’t quite a flying wing, but I have a soft spot for the delta wing planes such as this and the Vulcan.

A picture of the Hafner Rotachute (more) hiding away in the corner of a painting has given me ideas for another novel way to land assault troops. The Germans used similar devices for spotting from U-Boats.

But the most affecting plane in the whole display is still the tiny Yokosuka OHKA, a suicide jet that was pretty much a desperate last gasp from the Japanese.


Wing and a prayer

The Me-163 ‘Komet’ was quite an astounding beast. I alluded to a similar plane when the Wasp squadron visited Dreamland (Chapter Three, blink and you miss it). Flight Journal has a long interview with one of the Komet’s chief test pilots.

It also has to be remembered that the Germans weren’t the only ones experimenting with new and unusual aeroplane designs. The Allies’ first jet plane was the Gloster Whittle, a pre-cursor to the Meteor and test bed for jet engines.

The ‘Hiller-copter’ and Landgraf H-2 were early twin bladed helicopter designs.

America experimented with flying wings in designs such as the XP-56 and XB-35, which I’ve mentioned many times before, but there were also experiments with gliders along the same lines.

The Brits also experimented with flying wings, as well as canard and tandem wing designs.

Even the Swedes got in on the act with the Saab 21A.