The Mini-burger

FanFic in the Birmoverse

Questions from Madoc

Hey everyone

I had some PM questions from Madoc which I thought I’d post up here with his permission.


Hello and good day.

I’ve recently discovered your Axis of Time series and am damn hungry for the “Last Good War” as I’ve already devoured your first two in the series. I do have some questions though and I hope I’m not too late into the writing process of “Last Good War” to ask them.

In “Designated Targets” Kolhammer makes mention several times of their building F-86 Sabre jets and of images of them roaring off the deck of the Clinton. I’m wondering about the backstory to that. As of 1942 there was nothing about the North American Sabre in existance. So there wouldn’t have been anything that could be accelerated by the knowledge from 2021. I’ve no doubt the aviation and history enthusiasts aboard the Multinational Force ships might have plenty of pictures and maybe some really good computer drawings of Sabres tucked away in their files and on the FleetNet. But those would only be of very general utility when it comes to manufacturing a machine like the Sabre jet. It’d be even more unlikely for any of those historical files to go into a depth so great as to contain the full set of manufacturing plans and specifications for that is what it would take to actually manufacture the same Sabre jet fighter plane in 1942 that originally took to the air in 1947.

I’m hoping this was more of a line about Kolhammer wanting a first generation jet fighter being operational in ’43 rather then specifically producing a North American F-86 Sabre. Time being the most limited resource in the Axis of Time world, I’d think it would make more sense for the folks of 2021 to concentrate on enhancing existing aircraft and designs then in trying to recreate something entirely new. New, at least, for the Contemporaries.

For instance, Lockheed already had a jet fighter plane under development as of 1942. In fact, it had been working on such an aircraft as far back as 1939. I’m referring to the Lockheed L-133 and it was to be powered by a jet engine of Lockheed’s own design as well, the L-1000. Here’s a good, if brief, write-up of this aircraft:

This was a private venture on Lockheed’s part and it was kept going once the US got into the war but once the US Army Air Corps found out about it they told Lockheed to shelve it and concentrate its resources on putting out more P-38’s and Lodestars. While this didn’t do the US much good in getting jet fighters into service first it did prove a more war winning strategy overall.

So, perhaps instead of trying to field the F-86 Sabre in 1942, Kolhammer and his lads could concentrate on things like the L-133 and its L-1000 engine. That engine was an axial flow turbojet just like the jet engines the Germans came up with. The axial flow being more efficient than Whittle’s centrifugal flow designs. While the L-133 would’ve still been more of a paper project as of 1942 there were plenty of other aircraft out there which, with a little bit of 2021 help, could’ve been rapidly put into service and become world beaters. Aircraft in the US like the ones inspired by the Air Corps’ R-40C Proposal of 1939. That proposal called for advanced and unorthodox aircraft designs and spawned the XP-54 “Swoose”, XP-55 “Ascender” and XP-56 “Black Bullet” machines. All of which were pusher prop fighters which would’ve been ideal for jet engine installations. These planes, in Our Time Line, were all handicapped by a lack of suitably powerful enough engines. Something which jet engines made with 2021 engineering input would readily address.

One other thing, and I hope I’m not belaboring the point here, but with Kolhammer being a US Navy Aviator he’d be very much steeped in US Naval Aviation history. Thus, while he’d aware of the F-86 Sabre and know of its import on aviation history, he’d also know US Naval Aviation jet aircraft history as well. As good as the F-86 was, it was not suitable for carrier operations. It takes more than a different coat of paint to make a land based aircraft into one suitable for carrier operations. So, Kolhammer would’ve known that the first US Navy jet – pure jet, mind you – was the McDonnell FH-1 Phantom I. Design work on this aircraft started in ’43 and its first flight was in early ’45 so this too is one that could be worked with.

Now, all this being said, I’m really looking forward to seeing how things are going to turn out in this next book. I’m wondering whether you’ve got Hoover collapsing in on himself and fading from the scene or whether he makes some last desperate strike against the “perverts from the future” before becoming consumed in the flames of his own demise. I’ve also got to wonder what Stalin has up his sleeve and how many advanced weapons the Soviets have been able to salvage and make use of. This should be a great romp coming up.

Any thoughts of follow-on books? Of “shared world” anthologies?


Okay. Madoc. You’re right about the 86 not being carrier worthy. It wasn’t. I’d have to go back and check but my memory was of Kolhammer musing about such a development rather than actually driving it. He does ask Mike to head up a research project into the Sabre, but not as a carrier plane. Or at least I hope not. That’ll be one for the rewrite files if he did.  In Last Good War, as per your suggestion, most of the Allies  R&D effort goes into upgunning already vailable tech, or accelerating stuff that was just over the horizon. With one or two diffs.


There is a new carrier based jet in book 3. The A4 Skyhawk. They don’t have many, and they only fly off 21 C vessels, but of course they are well beyond anything the Japanese could develop.
I have a military editor sending me some notes on this, but perhaps you’d have your own opnions. Anyone else should feel free to jump in too.

As to fan fic, if you read back a few entries you’ll see I’m not just in favor if it, but we’ll be having a little festival of fan stories here later this year.



From darkman-perth-au on 01/19/06


Fanfic: Temp computer hackers!! I can not see fleetnet being very secure in its present form. Theres bound to be a few smart eggs already hacking it.


From ajdenny on 01/19/06


A Skyhawk could fly off a 1942 Carrier. The RAN and NZ Skyhawks flew off the Melbourne, which began construction in 1943 as the British light fleet carrier HMS Majestic. Like Majestic, a carrier would need major flightdeck modifications, but if in the two years between Books 2 and 3 the US has B-52s, then I don’t see why couldn’t build or modify carriers to be suitable for jet operations.

The reason I’ve never said anything about the F-86 is I thought the earlier jets were pretty bad. What would be the point in building them knowing a Mig-17 type of fighter build by the Nazis or Soviets would blow them out of the sky?


From SFMurphy on 01/19/06


The Skyhawk is the best choice that I can see. Earlier jets used by the United States Navy tended to be underpowered. They really didn’t even have a peer interceptor along the same lines as the USAF until they fielded the F-8 Crusader, which was also supersonic capable.

Considering the potential enemy that 21C forces would face in the third novel, unless the Japs or Germans have something I’m not seeing, the A-4 should be up to the task. It is small, robust, easy to maintain, and it is still in use today with a private company in the American Southwest to train U.S. Navy pilots in dogfighting. The Kuwaiti Air Force also used them to shoot down helicopters during the Iraqi Invasion.

Since the 21C forces are likely to be leapfrogging to better models, they’d probably bypass the F-8 Crusader and go to an F/A-18 Hornet. I suggest that plane mainly because the F-14 Tomcat is an extremely complex engineering task compared to the Hornet. I also think they’d bypass the F-4 Phantom due to their previous knowledge of the Phantom’s relatively poor dogfighting ability.

Having said all of that, at some point, Contemporary and 21 C engineers are likely to start creating hybrid designs that mix the best of both worlds.

Northtown, Missouri


From SFMurphy on 01/19/06


AJ, per WW-Two carriers, I agree. Though if it were me, I’d modify the Essex class carriers to the post war angled deck configuration. With the benefit of the Clinton as a model from which to work on, perhaps the Essex and follow on carrier classes would feature other modifications that would make them a sort of “hybrid” carrier.

Northtown, Missouri


From Brandon Clark on 01/19/06


Long post coming up…

The A-4 is an awesome plane, if you arm it with a pair of M39 20mm cannons instead of the Mk. 12 20mm originally used you will be putting 50 20mm rounds a second on target which is more then the Colt Mk. 12 which was an Americanized version of the British Hispano 20mm which fired 1000 rounds per minute for a total of 32 rounds per second. The muzzle velocity of the two guns were the same as was bullet weight. Coincidently a Saber armed with 4 M39s was produced in 1952 as part of the USAF’s Gunval program, total fire rate of the 4 cannons was equal to one M61 Vulcan 20mm gatling.

The A-4 had a heavy bomb-load for its day though the A-6 could carry 10,000 pounds of bombs a thousand miles and return to its carrier, but it couldn’t carry a gun or AIM-9s for self-defense. The A-4 if I remember correctly dropped the majority of bombs the Navy dropped in the Vietnam Conflict. It was a little light on the range side, its combat radius unrefueled with out drop-tanks was I think around 300 miles. I also heard it was decent in the A2A role.

The Germans had a post Me-262 fighter on the drawing boards, it was the Me-P1011 and would look similar to the Mig-15.

The Americans test launched the AIM-4 Falcon in 1950 which was a SARH AAM with a 6 mile range and a 6 pound warhead, which would probably destroy any of the flimsier Japanese aircraft. Zuni 5 inch and Hydra 2.75 inch rockets and the launchers would be nice… As would 25mm anti-tank guns based on the GAU-12 and M242 cannons. And not to mention Cluster bombs like the Mk. 20.


From ajdenny on 01/19/06


It would be interesting to see the Nazi reaction to the simple fact that all of the achievement future military technology comes from the people who kicked their asses.


From Brandon Clark on 01/19/06


Argh! I forgot, The F-86 was navalized for carrier use, as the FJ-2 Fury.

Also, the F-86 is a damn-good airframe, better then any of the post WW2 Navy fighters. Plus, having very similar aircraft like the F-86 and its navalized variant would decrease logistics headaches. I can see why Kolhammer would opt for the F-86 and its navalized variant…

Also, the F-86 was the best aircraft in the Korean War, period, end of discussion…

Birmo, how about having the military in your book adopt the 1962 aircraft designation system which is still in use today?


From ajdenny on 01/19/06


Oh yeah, one more thing. Birmo, you said any fanfic collection would be more regarding the social consequences of the Transition. I thought what about the Pill? If it was been produced in the California Free Zone, and mailed where ever like drugs are now off the Internet, it would have ‘interesting’ consequences. Or better yet, by 2021 what if RU486 was as easy to manufacture? On that alone I think Hoover could rally support against Kolhammer & Co.

Anyway, once I get my novel ‘Veil’ done, between re-writes that’s going to be my 10,000-word contribution to BirmoWorld.


From madoc62 on 01/19/06



Thanks for posting my questions.

As to my points about the F-86, let me be a bit clearer.

There’s no way the world of 1942 could create the F-86 of Our Time Lime (OTL) with the information brought along from 2021. Sure, they’d have pictures galore of the Sabre and maybe even some truly awesome 3-D computer renderings and such. But that’s not what’s needed to make an actual machine. For that you need not only the full-on plans for the F-86, you’d also need the full-on manufacturing plans. And you’d need the plans and schematics of how to build the tools to build the tools which would build the machine tools that would then build the actual F-86.

So, instead of trying to recreate an F-86 Sabre it’d make more sense for the 2021 crowd to apply their advanced knowledge to bettering the 1942 state of the art. The end result of that, unfortunately for us folks, is that after 1942 _NOTHING_ is the same.

The only things which could be exactly duplicated would be those things which the Multinational Force happened to bring with them. Thus the AK-47’s get rushed into production within a few months of the Transition. But an F-86? Which only existed within the hard drives of their computers? No way.

And neither would a B-52.

However, there would soon be jet powered, swept wing, bubble canopy fighter jets zooming through the skies. And there would also soon be multi-jet engined heavy bombers streaking to their targets as well. But they couldn’t be copies of F-86’s or of B-52’s. They’d fill the same missions as they’d be designed to the same criteria. But they would be the same as in OTL.

Also, and more realistically, I rather doubt the Air Corps would cotton to these “up timers” dictating aircraft procurement designations for machines which didn’t exist in 1942. Neither the F-86 designation nor the B-52 were anywhere close to being assigned as of 1942 or ’43. So, when the 2021 tech starts making its way into the military industrial complex of the early 40’s America then the types of designs that spring forth will be very much different from what occurred in OTL. And so too would the numbers assigned them.



From madoc62 on 01/19/06



I’ve a couple thoughts on the Fury. The FJ-1 was what North American first came up with and it has distinct similarities with the F-86. Placed next to each other you could plainly tell they came from the same family. But they weren’t much closer than that. The Fury was a fat airplane and had straight wings. This was due to all the fuel it had to carry and the fact that swept wings made for worse handling at low speeds – speeds like the plane would have to fly when coming back aboard a carrier. Thus the Navy direct North American to make the Fury with straight wings.

That’s not as much of a hold-back as you might imagine. A number of Navy jets had straight wings through the 1950’s and they performed quite well even through Korea. It was only once we’d figured out how to make the jet engines more powerful, efficient, and responsive to discrete throttle adjustments (like what you gotta do when trying to trap) that the Navy felt it worth having its fighters have cranked wings.

The FJ-2 and its follow ons reflected these changes – but they sharply diverged from the original F-86 resemblance. The requirements for carrier based aircraft really are different. Landbased machines can get away with much lighter structures as they’re not having to “crash” every time they land. Now, that’s not to say you can’t operate landbased aircraft off of carriers, Dolittle demonstrated that pretty well. But doing so repeatedly tends to break those landbased aircraft rather fast. So, carrier based aircraft are different from the design stage on.

As a result, there was little commonality of parts between an F-86 Sabre and the FJ-2 Fury.



From madoc62 on 01/19/06



My question about “shared world” anthology wasn’t so much about fan fic, although that was one possibility, but more about having other established authors being able to play, officially, in the world you’ve created. I fully understand wanting to limit it though!



From Brandon Clark on 01/19/06



You forget the various aircraft the MNF brought with them. The Raptors engines are unbelievably advanced, let alone the engines of the helicopters, the Marine VTOL aircraft, and some of the support aircraft like ASW and Airborne Surveilance birds. Just a looksie at those engines would provide a wealth of information.

I mean we developed the B-29 at this time which is in and of itself a big bomber. The Corsair was a complex machine.

Now, think about the massive amount of computer power the MNF possesses, I am sure there is some Aeronautical Engineer in the MNF with a Aircraft Design Program like modern-day aircraft companies use. Not to mention the knowledge the engine techs have in their head.

Furthermore, the F-86 Saber was an outstanding dog-fighter and fighter-bomber that was solidly built and racked-up an impressive 10:1 kill ratio against the Mig-15. Furthermore the USAAC Bomber Generals would be drooling over the B-52 especially when they hear it stats such as the capability of carrying a crap-load of bombs from America into the German heartland and back again and take a crap-load of battle-damage and fly above the German 88mm Guns and Wasserfall SAMs.


From MickH on 01/19/06


Watched an interesting doco on the history channel recently, It was about the Allies & Soviets hunt for Nazi technology at the end of the war. Well the short version is that both the F-86 and the Mig ? (first Russian jet) were based DIRECTLY on the design of the Nazi’s top Aviation designer, the swept wing configuration being the most distintive. On the whole the Germans were the most technologically advanced so I wonder whether Birmo has taken this into account. but, then again, I suppose the data from the future evens things out on all sides.

Because the Nazis already had a viable Rocket design in production, surely they would have a jump on the rest with ICBM’s, If I remember correctly, the V3 was supposed to reach New York. So even though the Allies would now be able to build them too, they still have to play catch up big time with production.

My 2 cents,
definitely the F86 for the Airforce (did you know they were assembled up-sie-down!)

The F4 for the Navy (maybe the Harrier for the Marines)

For the Nazi’s a better version of the M626 with there own version of the F86 (like I said the Allies stole the designs)

The Soviets would probably stick with the Mig designs.


From Surtac on 01/19/06



The A4 sounds like a good idea to me. IIRC, Ed Heineman designed it originally in about 1952 as a light weight carrier based successor to the A-1. So does that mean all you’ve gotta do is find him in ’42 and show him pictures of what he came up with a little while later? 🙂


From Anonymous on 01/19/06


Great post Madoc and the rest. I love all this techo stuff.

The engine in the Locheed is a direct line decendant of the one in the Sabre and continues on to the F4 Phamtom.

The XP-55 that Madoc menitons looks exactly the same as the Japanese Shinden both flown in 1943 & the PX 54 is similar to the Junkers Ju EF112 both flown 1942. Perhaps spying was more prevelant and successful.


From kyee7k on 01/19/06


you’re absolutely right that the allies would not be able to mass produce the same technology that yielded the f-86, but the spare parts for the f-22 (navy version; jet engines, spare ejector seats, and various computer parts, etc.) and the technicians would and the knowledge that the pilots hold would be immeasurable tools that the contemporaries would use to build up their industries.
as for the new f-86 not being able to be carrier equipped–it’s possible since a lot of that same know-how could be applied to this and newer planes. i would say that the birmoverse f-86 would have the same airframe (more or less), but have a more efficient engine and the arrangement of the talehook assembly and the engine would reflect this change as a result cad/cam programs available to the military contractors. the same effect would also be reflected in the “slightly” (:D) enhanced versions of the shermans.
the prospect of constructing the b-36 might be possible with realistic heavy modification that would allow for the 1-2 atomic bombs(again, the same modifications would increase the yield of the bomb to maybe 50-75 kT and make it slightly less massive than the original), but only in limited number and only could it be mass produced until after the war. going with the b-52 is a bit of a stretch. i’d say 1950, but also in limited numbers.
just my 3 cents.
madoc, i think jb uses the same fighter/tank designations is that he doesn’t want to confuse his audience or further complicate his story by continuing to explain the “new” fighters; although he did do it to great effect with the mk-1 assault rifle. but i understand that he doesn’t want to slow down the pace of the book like clancy does with his.


From badg3er on 01/19/06


I have been thinking more and more about whether certain design criteria could be met by the ‘temps.

Take for example aircraft design. With modern aircraft – the viability of the frames of an f14 etc depend on
a) the metal/ material structures and
b) the design

without both, there is no way known someone in 1942 could construct a F14 with the same flying characteristics and longevity.

Remember a number of the first passenger jets named comet (? hope i have that correct) fell out of the sky due to fatigue — due to 2 reasons — metallurgy and design.

The planes that have performed well against their peers in any era i bet had both advanced metallurgy and design to make them light and rugged. I am not a weapon affaisionado – however i suspect that somewhere in the 50-60’s the “resistance” to “wounds” of an aircraft became 3rd or 4th fiddle to speed and the ability to pre-punch the opponent via missles etc. Example — i bet an F14 would not take as much damage as a generic WW2 fighter before becoming un-viable in the sky.

I do however have faith in the ability of skilled machinists and metal workers to be able to re-create “future tech” if given the knowledge. Most metallurgy is a “simple” mix of time heat and basic ingredients.

The design however — i would find really fucking hard to believe (sorry birmo 😦 ) as being in the fleet net — companies dont give that shit away

but hey – i love the books


From ajdenny on 01/20/06


I agree with what Brandon last said.


From savo on 01/20/06


Hell they built the bomb from a few bits of paper. On a total war time footing why can’t the uptimers in California or even the temps hand build the airframes of A4’s (the original first few were hand built) and BUFFs for that matter. There are no exotic materials necessarily involved in its construction, aluminium is used extensively. The pilots armoured bucket can be laminar aluminium, lots of things can be jerry rigged to work. A workable radar was available. Infra Red sensors were available. No flash electronics required in the A4 but again can be jerry rigged, modern electronic circuits and chips are based on printing, there was a printing industry who knows how many flexi pads they have that can be rigged up. The US at that time had a missle called the BAT it was a TV guided glide missile. C’mon! (Layton Hewitt was on TV) you’re sounding like Admiral King. It can be done. Plenty of spare jet engines for the Clinton but they would be HUGLY overpowered for a little A4 (about 5 times the thrust required) stick em on a couple of hand made B52’s. The entire B52 was designed in a motel room over one weekend in 1948 (so legend goes) after the orginal plans for a prop driven craft were scapped. 1948!! and it is expected to be flying until 2045. The US already knew how to make jet enqines so the machine tools ARE available, its a matter of advancing to 1947 when Pratt & Whitney flew their J47 engine the first US axial flow turbine (long ones not squat ones like Whittles) Just have to ramp up the thrust from 5500 lbs to 11000 for the top of the range Skyhawks
All of the research dead ends are covered all of the designs available, skilled engineers & mechanics available. I say its doable. Sure none of Hillary’s crew have probably built an airframe before but put them with some of the ladies from Seattle who put the B17’s together and I’m sure between them they will be able to say ‘this goes with this, goes with this goes with this and this goes with that at..’.


From savo on 01/20/06


Hey it must be a good post I wasn’t MARKED FOR DEATH


From smurfo on 01/20/06


My first post here so be gentle.

The Skyhawk would be cool. The Kiwi’s flew them up to 2001 so you maybe able to track down a pilot to get some first hand info.

If the Skyhawk makes it in how about Sidewinders? They were about the same era and they must be able to be reverse engineered since the Soviets got their version from a dud that came back in a Chinese plane.

Loved the first book Birmo, haven’t got into the second one yet but looking forward to it.


From Brenton on 01/20/06


I have nothing of practical or productive to bring to this interesting blog chat but i am a fan of your first books Mr Birmingham (dear god i bet you get that all the time) but i had nov idea these books even existed till i looked you up in google search and read the bio on ou on wikipedia and it led me to this site but i am looking forward to reading another side of your writing and am sure i will like it as much as felefel,tasmanian babes fiasco and dopeland (i am making no comparison between those books and your axis of time series that would be downright foolish) glad to be able to say this to you whethere you read it or not

thanks Mr Birmingham for giving me a the literary shovel to escape a bastiel of boredom and give me a heap of laughs as a consequance i hope to have even half the “life experiances” you had, cheers again Jb


From ajdenny on 01/20/06


Brandon – I read what you said on an earlier thread about soldiers been trained not to think of people as people, but rather targets.

I agree. You made me think of this German language film that starts with some underworld gang soldier having his aptitude for sniping tested by a master assassin.

The assassin asks the soldier if as a sniper, he could kill someone who through the scope looked like his father, to complete a mission. The soldier’s answer wasn’t important. It was becaue he immediately started showing empathy towards the target, the assassin wouldn’t bother training him.


From madoc62 on 01/20/06


Brandon & Mick & all,

Folks, I’m not saying that the ‘Temps couldn’t reproduce aircraft which looked a whole lot like the F-86 and B-52 that we know. Given the time and resources they certainly could. While the reproductions might look a heckuva lot like the machines from OTL, upon closer examination the similarities would end there.

So, they only be an F-86 or a B-52 in name only. And if that’s the case then I don’t think the ‘Temps would appreciate the 2021 crowd getting to slap those names on them as it would be the ‘Temps building the things in the first place.

For instance, instead of calling their new jet fighter the “F-86” – this when the Air Corps was still designating its fighters as “Pursuit” aircraft, hence the “P” – they’d be more likely to assign the next available number in their system. Perhaps for aircraft which in OTL would’ve only gotten as far as a paper design but in the Birmoverse were never even bothered with due to the 2021 tech. So, perhaps this new 2021 tech inspired jet fighter would be called the P-69 or P-71 or so on. And instead of the new multi-engined jet heavy bomber being designated the B-52 it would’ve picked up the B-40 tag as that wasn’t assigned until 1943.



From madoc62 on 01/20/06



A few other things about the Allies “stealing” Nazi technology et. al.

As you might’ve guessed, I’ve a pretty deep interest in aviation history. I also enjoy making scale plastic models and among these are what’s known as the “Luft ’46” genre. That refers to the advanced and “what if” designs proposed by the Germans during WWII, most of which never existed other than on paper or, at best, would’ve only taken flight had the war lasted until 1946. Hence the ’46 part.

These designs are pretty fascinating and the usually look really, really cool. As most of them only existed on paper they thus avoided dealing with any unpleasant realities of actually having to have lived up to their promised performance specs. Thus their fans are free to boast about how great they were without worry of being contradicted by any harsh reality.

Yes, the Germans came up with a whole bunch of really cool designs. Yes, in certain areas they had the lead. But to blithely declare they had the lead in all areas – and then to assert that all the Allies could do was steal the German’s designs – rather misses the reality of the world.

By the late 1930’s all the major powers realized that the piston engine had about reached its zenith in power production. They’d all spent the decade pouring huge amounts of research effort into squeezing ever decreasing amounts of extra horsepower out of their engines. They aeronautical engineers knew that in order to go much faster they’d have to find some new means of powering their birds. Thus you had jet engine research efforts in the UK, in Germany, in the US, in the Soviet Union and even in Italy. As this was dealing with basic engineering principals, there was no unique lock on the knowledge that any one nation could achieve. And progress in each of these nations was not dependant upon stealing information from any of the others. The Russians proceeded with their own programs completely unaware of Whittle. Lockheed had no idea of what Junkers was doing and the Italians went it alone as well.

As to the similarity of airframes, well, that too dealth with basic physics. If you want to get technical about it, everyone – and I do mean EVERYONE – has stolen from the Wright brothers. Their aircraft was a canard design. So, does that mean that the engineers who came up with the Curtiss Ascender put canards into their design because they “stole” it from the Wright’s? Or when the Henschel engineers designed their Hs. 132 jet dive bomber with its pilot position being prone that they too stole the Wright’s idea?

The short answer is: NO.

Look, the three “X” planes I made mention of, the XP-54, -55, and XP-56 were all conceived and built by aeronautical engineers who had no idea of what the Germans were proposing as there was no knowledge of those proposals until after the war. Thus there could not have been any “stealing” of those ideas. Those three US aircraft, in particular, were designed and built before many of those “Luft ’46” German concepts were even ever put to paper.

The area of the advanced aircraft designs the Allies came up with during WWII is a muchly underserved one. Lotsa folks know of the German jets and rocket planes and think that the Germans were the only ones doing advanced stuff during the war. Yet that’s simply not true.

For instance, today when we hear about “JPL” – the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California – we think of all the satellites and robotic space exploration missions it runs. Yet the JPL was started back in the 1930’s to explore _rocket_ powered flight. Among the gems to come from this research was exploration in the field of ramjets, that is, jet engines which dump fuel directly into the air mixture without using any turbines at all. The V-1 was powered by a ramjet engine. From this JPL research, Convair came up with a late war proposal (late ’44 or early ’45 if I recall correctly) for a ramjet powered interceptor, which would’ve been designated the P-92 had it gone forward.

The thing looked like a straight tube with delta wings and tail. The pilot would’ve sat in what was both the nose and the ramjet engine inlet. The design would’ve have awesome performance – rivaling that of the Me-163 but without having to mess with all that T-stoff and C-stoff. This was highly advanced stuff that would’ve been a real world beater – had there been a need for it.

As it was, the Allies were winning the war with the weapons they already had in hand and had no need to waste production resources on these proposed designs. And once the war ended, so to did the need for those designs and they faded into history. So much so, in fact, that most folks are completely unaware of them and now seem to think that only the Germans thought of anything advanced or original.

And that’s just not the way it really was.



From SFMurphy on 01/20/06



I agree with your assertion that the A-4 in Birmoverse probably, when you got down to the nuts and bolts of one, wouldn’t look exactly like the original A-4s. The same could be said for any piece of tech (or tools, for that matter). The 21C folks would know shortcuts that the original builders of the aircraft in question wouldn’t have known. Further, they would have better tools at their disposal that the originals didn’t have.

As for why build such things, well, keep in mind in the two novels so far that in this verison of 1942, the Allies are not only losing, the Soviets have decided to take a powder and not press on the German’s Eastern Front.

That is one motivation right there to upgun to better systems.

Second, the Germans have gotten their hands on some of the advanced technology and are aggressively using it.

That is motivation number two.

Motivation number three is that the Germans might get a nuke. If I were General Marshall, I’d be all over trying to get better systems into play as fast as possible.

Not just aircraft, but also ground based systems.

In any event, I think the more fascinating portion of the Birmoverse (you can tell I’m a fan) is the social issues he raises. Normally someone gets zapped into the past and the social conflict the person from the future might cause is glossed over. In Birmoverse, we see a fair amount of ugly consequences.

As it stands, I don’t see why, with future assistance, the World War II allied industrial base couldn’t make a ten to twenty year leap ahead in a short period of time.

Northtown, Missouri


From madoc62 on 01/20/06



I agree. With the geo-political changes the 2021 folks have brought with them, the Allies face a different and more dangerous situation in the Birmoverse than in OTL. I also agree that aggressively applying everything that the 2021 folk can bring with them would be of paramount importance. That would indeed speed up the pace of weapons technology advancement.

What we’d get from that are _new_ machines and weapons which would fulfill the role & missions of designs which in OTL wouldn’t see the light of day for some years hence. But the key here is that those machines would not be exactly what took place in OTL. They be different. In some cases, drastically different.

Thus, instead of seeing a 1942 version of the 1947 F-86 Sabre we’d be much more likely to see a revamped Bell P-59 Airacomet. The Airacomet’s first flight was in October of ’42. The plane was hamstrung by the inadequacies of those early jet engines. In the Birmoverse, perhaps thing’d be different.

So, instead of trying to make an entirely new jet aircraf from scratch, they could set their sights on improving the GE jet engines to better power the Airacomet as well as “uplifting” the plane’s design with modern technology lessons – cut down its turtle decking to give it a bubble canopy, sweep the wings, install hydraulic boost to the control surfaces, make the tailplane all moving, etc.,.

Doing that would mean we’d get a fast, high performance jet fighter into the air a _whole_lot_faster_ than trying to build something new from scratch.

And once those 2021 technologies start getting applied to 1942 tech then nothing from that point forward will look the same as in our time line.



From Birmo on 01/20/06

AJ. It’s an open source story mate. Write what you want.

Kyee7K: Spot on, brother. reading some of Tom’s books is like cutting your way thru a forest of razor wire because of the tech designations on every second line.

Savo, I think I’m going to send you a big cookie.

Smurfo. Howdy. And the point about the Kiwis is well made. I mention it book 3. Some Malaysian air crew would be intimitely familiar with it too, and as you aay recall there was some Malay connection to the MNF in book 1, so I’ve hand waved a couple of their guys into the backstory for this very purpose.

Thanx Brenton. Start with Felafel, I think.

Madoc, yr point about the designations is well made. It is EXACTLY the sort of thing which would lead to masssive pissing contests and bureaucratic guerilla warfare. But it’d also slow down the story. Indeed, I had this very discussion with my editor the other day. In LGW Jones has a huge fight with the ‘temp USMC about what Division he’s going to park his expanded MEB in. The editor suggested that this could be one of the first cuts in my rewrite.

On a general note. This is an excellent discussion so far, and we should say thanks to Madoc for kicking it off.


From MickH on 01/20/06



I here you and agree that of course the major nations were working towards there own jet aircraft and didn’t mean that the Nazis were ahead in all things. There were three main areas the Allies were interested in, Rocket and aeronautical technology, and the Bomb. Rather than paraphrase it, I suggest anyone interested have a look at

which details it nicely. It also backs up the evidence I saw on the History channel documentry re the 262, that “…The impressive machine became the model for the American F-86 Sabre jet fighter and the Russian MiG-15.”

I have seen and read a lot of info that follows this theory, maybe their wrong and your right, wouldn’t be the first time, sometimes a theory by a history researcher suddenly becomes eccepted as fact with little evidence to back it up.



From madoc62 on 01/20/06



Well, over the years there’s been a lot of mythology which has grown up about the Me-262 and its influence on post-war aircraft design. The Me-262 was indeed an advanced aircraft and sported a number of highly innovative features. But it was hardly the end-all / do-all of aviation technology that it was made out to be.

The plane’s swept wings, of which much has been made of, were really not anything related to some unique Nazi insight into high speed aerodynamics. They were, instead, a pragmatic engineering solution to a last minute change in power plants. Originally, the Me-262 was to use jet engines which the designers placed in the middle of the wings, much like the Gloster Meteor.

However, as the aircraft design was nearing completion the Messerschmitt engineers learned that this particular engine choice would not be available in time for the aircraft to be produced. What would be available was both heavier and longer and thus unsuitable for placement within the aircraft’s wings. Hanging the engines beneath the wings would work but their weight would throw the aircraft’s center of gravity off.

Now, in peacetime the prefered solution to this would’ve been the full redesign of the aircraft fuselage and structure. But the Messerschmitt engineers weren’t working in peacetime. So, their solution was to simply sweep the wings backward. This was a simple, quick, and easily adopted fix to move the aircraft’s center of lift back in line with its center of gravity.

The first versions of the Me-262 which took to the air had this wing sweep – but only outboard of the engine mounts. In flight testing the engineers learned that, due to the shape of the wing inboard of the engines, the airflow was turbulent enough such that it blocked the effect of the wing flaps along the trailing edge of that section of the wing. The solution? Extend the width of the wing at its root along the fuselage. This had the desired effect of smoothing the airflow along that section of the wing and of also making the wing appear to be of one continuous sweep.

The Messerschmitt engineers did figure out that their swept wing was more prone to stall at low speeds so they installed automatic deploying leading edge slats. But then, those were also a feature of their straight winged Me-109 as well.

So, while swept wings and automatically deploying leading edge slats were advanced features they were not unique and nor were they something which only the Germans thought of. The Curtiss XP-55 Ascender had swept wings but few folks point to it as being a “revolutionary” aircraft. Perhaps the Curtiss folks should’ve hired a better PR man.

Another point to consider is how many other German jets had _straight_ wings. The war’s fastest bomber, the Arado Ar-234, had wings that were swept no more than a Mustang’s – i.e. almost right angle straight. And since the Ar-234 first flew almost a full year after the Me-262 you’d have thought the Arado engineers would’ve incorporated swept wings if they were anywhere near as “revolutionary” as the Me-262’s champions like to claim.

When the Soviets first introduced the MiG-15 into air combat over Korea, the UN pilots made huge claims as to the Soviet jet’s capabilities. The thing was described as being super fast, super maneuverable, super well armed and just an all around super airplane. It was a pretty intimidating thing. Later, when US Air Force pilots actually got their hands on a MiG-15, as flown to South Korea by a defecting North Korean pilot, they found that the MiG jet was quite a bit less than super. Oh, it was still a hot little number alright and it had a lot of advanced features. But, it wasn’t anywhere near as advanced nor as “super” as initially described. General Chuck Yeager was one of the first pilots to evaluate that MiG-15 and he was well aware of the awesome reputation it had among UN pilots who fought against it.

Yeager attributes that reputation and the “super” qualities alleged to the MiG-15 as being created by guys who had something of a vested interest in making their opponent out to be as capable as possible – and then still being able to best him. It just wouldn’t have done for the Sabre pilots to have described the MiG as being some horribly limited little jet as that would’ve made the staggering kill ratio against it become less impressive. Thus, the capabilities of the MiG-15 began to gain the stuff of legend.

Same thing with the Me-262.

It too has gained an awesome reputation as being a “wunder weapon” of almost impossible capabilities. That has a particularly nice ring to it if you also happen to be one of the guys who just succeeded in blowing an Me-262 out of the sky with your “obsolete” Hawker Typhoon having just jumped one of those jets as it came in to land.

Enough of that and you’ve got historians parroting the same message as to how great these German weapons were.

Make no mistake, a goodly number of them were highly capable machines which sported some very advanced features. But to say that they were the basis for all the avancements after the war? Well, no. That’s being far too overly generous.



From McKinneyTexas on 01/20/06


I’m violating Rules One and Two. Rule One is stay with what you know and Rule Two is don’t drink and post. Warning: I was 19 when I puzzled out the mechanics of the BIC pen—techno is not my thing. That out of the way, as the reality of the Transition becomes more accepted, look for a jump start in how the sharper, more driven folks in the US, UK and ANZUS adapt and adopt most if not all of the 21st’s program. Innovation and improvement on what was known to have happened between ’42 and the early sixties seems inevitable. The 21ster’s won’t want to reinvent the wheel, they’ll want to make it bigger, better, faster etc. Madoc is right: nothing will be actually the same, although it may be given the same name.

Also, as seemingly inefficient as market capitalism seems to be sometimes, look at our arms race with the former USSR for a useful comparison. A state-controlled economy that overtly quashes freedom of thought does not produce a better plane or submarine, as real events have shown us.

Finally, the US/UK/ANZUS have [conservatively] 98% of the new stuff concentrated in the Zone compare to 2% or less dispersed over Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and Stalinist Soviet Union. The good guys have every advantage technologically, socially, economically, resource-wise and otherwise. Especially useful, if note is taken of it, is Max Hastings eye-opener, Armageddon. The West needs to know that it was outfought on the ground by the Germans and that if the Soviets hadn’t been in the fight, a different result would have obtained (probably a conventional standstill followed by Berlin being nuked). Logic takes a beating if the Soviets and Nazis come even close to the West technologically. Some surprises, yes, but the West should win handily.


From MickH on 01/20/06


So what about a British advanced aircraft, say the Canberra or B-57. Built in 1949 primarly as a second strike bomber, it could possibly be fast tracked too. Be nice to see a non-US aircraft on the Allies side.


From Brandon Clark on 01/20/06


The British Canberra Bomber didn’t fly till late 40s but that was with the post-war military slashing that went on…

The main problem would be with the engines, but to counteract the possibility that the engines might not be as strong it might be able to be built out of wood like the Mosquito.

It is as fast as many piston-fighters and can fly around 48,000 feet


From MickH on 01/21/06


ok and of course the Gloster Meteor

The Gloster Aircraft Company was responsible for building Britain’s first jet aircraft, the G.40 built to specification E.28/39. First flight of the prototype, W4041, was from Cranwell on 15 May 1941. Before this date specification F.9/40 was issued calling for a twin-engined jet fighter. The specification was written around Gloster experience with the low-powered G.40 (one W.I engine of 860lbs thrust) and the company proceeded with development. An order for twelve aircraft (DG202-213) was received in February 1941. First flight was by the fifth, Halford H.1 engined, prototype DG206 at Cranwell on 5 March 1943. Gradually more prototypes were brought into the flight test programme and as problems were identified, so great effort was made to address them.

So How about them Bermo, the RAAF had them too.
I didn’t realise they were building them so early!


From MickH on 01/21/06


Another British Jet was the Vampire.

Here is what the wiki has to say about it:

The de Havilland Vampire, or DH.100, was the second jet engined aircraft commissioned by the Royal Air Force during WW II, although it never saw combat. After the war, it served with the front-line RAF until 1955. It also served with foreign air forces, including those of Australia, Canada, Finland, France, India, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Rhodesia and Switzerland. Almost 4,400 Vampires were built, a quarter of them under licence.

The Vampire began as an experimental aircraft, unlike the Gloster Meteor which was always specified as an interceptor. Given the specification E.6/41, design work on the DH-100 began at the de Havilland works at Hatfield in mid-1942, two years after the Meteor.

Originally named the Spidercrab, the aircraft was entirely a de Havilland project, and it utilised the company’s extensive experience with using moulded plywood for aircraft construction (see Mosquito). It was the last time composite wood/metal construction was used in high performance military aircraft. It had conventional straight mid-wings and a single jet engine, placed in an egg-shaped, aluminium-surfaced fuselage, and exhausting in a straight line. To reduce the losses caused by a long jetpipe the designers used a distinctive tail with twin booms, similar to that of the Lockheed P-38.

So Brendon this aircraft would be perfect!
They even made a naval version called the Sea Vampire and was the first Jet the British Navy owned.

The RAAF had these too.

The Brits also had a range of bombers too that all started with V. the Victor, Valiant and Vulcan I think ,though I’m not sure about the Victor.

In an earlier thread I think I metioned I was a RAAF brat? Well I seen A lot of these aircraft flying when I was a kid. i saw Vulcan bombers in Malaysia in the late 60’s, Dad use to work on Sabres and was a member of the famous Black Diamonds Areobatic team (maintenance). Saw Vampires, don’t think I saw any meteors except for the ones mounted on poles at the main gates of Williamtown Air Base!`:-)

Dad also worked on the Desault Mirage as an airframe fitter and laters as a Warrant Officer Engineer but don’t get him started on them, they were pieces of shit and we should never have bought them from the French.

Maybe I should get him on here Birmo, if you want to ask him any Technical questions about Sabres or any other RAAF aircraft for that matter, he had nearly 30 years experience working on them.


From smurfo on 01/21/06


Birmo if we can have Skyhawks in WW2 how about tricking up a C47 with auto-cannons as a gunship like in Nam? Or even going all out and developing C130 Hercs? These would be great for transport and tricked up as gunships. (They might be a bit vulnerable but if we establich air superiority should be ok).

Another thought was update the parachute technology from the old round ones to modern cell based manueverable chutes (for special forces at least)

Hmmm this is getting some ideas going, how are plans going for the fanfic festival (a lot of f’s there!).


From Dan on 01/21/06


Smurfo, Birmo’s already done the AC-47 Spooky – he called it the Cyclone in Designated Targets, used to great effect turning SS troops into mulch…

MickH, the B-57 was the designation given to Canberras built under licence by Martin in America. Smae aircraft, different name. And you’re right about the names for the V bombers – IIRC, the Valiant was first, then the Victor and the Vulcan. The former entered service in 1951, while the Victor and Vulcan entered service in 1952.


From Brandon Clark on 01/21/06


Mick, the Meteor’s were in some cases slower then the fastest allied piston engine fighters of the time and early Meteor’s wings had the dendancy to break off.

There is also the De Haviland Venom, Supermarine Swift, Supermarine Attacker and also the Supermarine Spiteful (not sure on its history but it was a propellor fighter capable of 480 mph) the Hawker SeaHawk

P provided the link that had all of these above mentioned fighters:


From Brandon Clark on 01/21/06


Hmm, I wonder if it is possible for the allies to build the newer 40mm/L70 with the Breda modifications and just say to hell with the older or rather new Bofors 40mm/L60. Faster fire-rate and longer-range, and couple it with RF fused anti-aircraft shells, nice air defense against Japanese dive and torpedo bombers…

For an gunship, look at the C-119. You wouldn’t be able to mount a 105 in it like you can in the Herc but certainly Vulcans and Bofors 40mm guns, possibly a low-pressure 76mm.

It would hold until someone builds an aircraft similar to the Herc and capable of carrying the 105 Howitzer.

Birmo, just so you know, I am not trying to hijack, I am just wargamming all this in my mind…


From MickH on 01/21/06


Guys! Guys! Rather than get into a “I know more than you do” pissing competition (and we can all use Google as well as everyone else), my original point was to offer Birmo some other Aircraft alternatives other than American as I believe this fits in with the books current ethos.

I was amazed at how early on the Brits were working on the Meteor and the Vampire would work well in the Birmoverse as well due to its Plywood construction.

Yeah, sure these airframs had problems in reality, they were prototypes after all, but I think that with a little help from the Zone, they would be up to the job and be put into production quickly.

At the risk of repeating someones elses earlier thread (sorry in advance) how about an answer to Hitlers Panzers? An early version of the Warthog would probably do the trick. The Vulcan cannon and the spent uranium shells may be a problem. So may be encasing the pilot in Titanium (I think its titanium, I am winging it here without googling!)

cheers! 🙂


From Brandon Clark on 01/21/06


Mick, the A-10 pilot is encased in titanium and I know of only one large source and it is in the USSR. Turbo-fans have to be R&Ded before you can build an A-10. If you use turbo-jets a major advantage is gone, loiter time.

The GAU-7 Avenger is a large gun, way larger then the M61 Vulcan 20mm. The GAU-7 is about 20 feet long and weighs some 4,000-5,000 pounds, the ammo drum alone is bigger then a VW Beetle. With DU it can be replaced with tungsten, the only problem is it is a heavy metal and toxic.

The P-47 is a ground ground attack aircraft. Perhaps the Aussie’s Bradleys still carry the M242 25mm chain gun, whose rounds would probably tear through the frontal armor of many German tanks.

Of course, you don’t have to destroy German armor. I believe one tactic P-47 pilots used was to attack German armor from the front or the rear and aim so the bullets would ricochet into the underside of the tanks. Also .50 call and 20mm cannons were known to damage the tracks of tracked ground vehicles, which might cause a thrown track and destroy the tank’s mobility which is better then nothing at all.


From smurfo on 01/21/06


To take out large numbers of Panzers how about early attack helicopters. Accelerate the development of the Bell 47 and give it some primitive wire guided missles? Or replace Bazookas with RPG’s? For something more exotic do the 21C’ers have the specs for anything that can be released over that battlefield that will stop the panzer engines? (On the downside would probably be classified as gas warfare).


From ajdenny on 01/21/06


There were only two battalions of panzers in a 1942 division – only a good day that could mean having 100 runners, and even then, a fair wack of them are going to be undergunned Panzer IIIs, the obsolete Panzer IIs of the recon platoons and the Panzer IVs equipped with that low velocity 75mm for infantry support. You wouldn’t need that many attack helicopters to knock them out.


From savo on 01/21/06


smurfo: Something like an EMP? a maser will bugger up a vehicles ignition system the same way, (CHiPs were thinking of deploying them until someone pointed out you could end up cooking the driver) but I don’t know if there is enough suseptible electronics in a Panzer.


From ajdenny on 01/21/06


In Whitley Strieber & James Kunetka’s nuclear war novel Warday, they at least postulate that the electric ignitions in cars built before 1977 / 78 would survive an EMP pulse of 52,000 volts. Maybe Panzers would be the same.


From savo on 01/21/06


smurfo: Something like an EMP? a maser will bugger up a vehicles ignition system the same way, (CHiPs were thinking of deploying them until someone pointed out you could end up cooking the driver) but I don’t know if there is enough suseptible electronics in a Panzer.


From savo on 01/21/06


I’m not getting Sanction 5’ed any more but my entries are now stuttering


From MickH on 01/21/06


Guys! Guys! Rather than get into a “I know more than you do” pissing competition (and we can all use Google as well as everyone else), my original point was to offer Birmo some other Aircraft alternatives other than American as I believe this fits in with the books current ethos.

I was amazed at how early on the Brits were working on the Meteor and the Vampire would work well in the Birmoverse as well due to its Plywood construction.

Yeah, sure these airframs had problems in reality, they were prototypes after all, but I think that with a little help from the Zone, they would be up to the job and be put into production quickly.

At the risk of repeating someones elses earlier thread (sorry in advance) how about an answer to Hitlers Panzers? An early version of the Warthog would probably do the trick. The Vulcan cannon and the spent uranium shells may be a problem. So may be encasing the pilot in Titanium (I think its titanium, I am winging it here without googling!)

cheers! 🙂


From MickH on 01/21/06


ummm? whats happening?
Ghost postings?


From Birmo on 01/22/06


I have no idea what is going one here, Probably a JS gremlin.


From BrettC on 01/22/06


The Nene that powered the Vampire FB9 (used by RAAF) and the Mig15 (used by, oh, all the baddies) was a straight through development of the Whittle. First built 1944 in OTL.

The RR Avon was first built in 1945, and was used on everything from Canberra, to Lightning (with a brief trial in Mirage) but also in the Oz built Sabre (the fastest of the breed). Starting at about 6500 lb thrust it ended up around the 16000lb mark, using reheat.

As for turboprop, a turboprop Meteor was flying before VE day (or thereabouts) based on the Derwent the Meteor went to war with in 44.

All of these were already using ’42-equiv technology and metallurgy, so would provide pretty easy wins for birmoverse. All we need then are the airframes to wrap around the motors.

The Skyhawk is a great start – very simple to build yet making a huge leap in aerodynamics to a tough transonic fighterbomber. (Wish I’d thought of it first!) The Hawker Hunter, Northrop F5 or Mig21 or some kind of bitzer based on each of them would be the main alternatives to aim at. The Canberra similarly gives a very simple to build bomber that can handle very high altitude or low level visual bombing (perhaps using either Norden or SABS sights (the latter, I think, being used by the RAAF Canberras in Vietnam). The ‘temps could punch out many more Canberras than BUFFs. Or even turboprop B29/B50s or Lancasters, but Canberras use less material then any of them. I spose some IL-28 lookalike would be a reasonable variation, too.

What they’d need is simplicity of manufacture, with best available motors and armament and a pretty good Mach number capability. (The Spitfire had a higher critical Mach number (0.89) than the Me262 (0.86).)

In 42-44 infrared, TV-guided, wire-guides and radar controlled weaponry was already under development by all sides. The Brits and US already had the techological lead but desperation meant the Germans tended to try the technologies out first. (And because of the Allied tech lead, countermeasures to German missiles were very quickly deployed.)

On the ground, the Germans would probably have Speer locked in a room (being as he publicly regretted his Nazi past) managing production of Panthers or T34 knockoffs with 88mm cannon. Tigers were far too costly and mechanically unreliable, and don’t even think about Tiger IIs or Maus. Or does everyone end up fielding M48/M60s or T55s?

When will that book be published????


From Brandon Clark on 01/22/06


Attack helicopters, I’d say screw it and go for UH-1 Huey and AH-1 Cobras, I am sure the Marines of the 82nd MEU still have them or at the very least, have fond memories of them and can speed along their building.

Imagine an AH-1 with a minigun and a MK. 19 grenade launcher in a chin-turret, that would be great for the fighting in the Pacific. Rockets with high-explosive anti-tank warheads could hold against German tanks until the first wire-guided, radio-guided or camera-targeted fire-and-forget anti-tank missiles come on line.

A single-engined Cobra is hard to hit head on, it is a meter wide at the cockpit, slightly wider at the engine. The only problem is the two bladed rotor, you can hear it for miles. I am not sure if it is feasible but worth a look.


From SFMurphy on 01/22/06


The Editor wants you to cut an interservice rivalry scene, John? Hmm.

That is something you could probably pick up later down the road with another project. You just have Jones arguing endlessly with a Marine temp officer about the divisional unit designation. I suspect given what you’ve said here, there would probably be wide spread pissing matches over the lineage of every unit in the 21C force, to include air squadrons, helicopter squadrons, regiments within 5th Marine Division.

I don’t know, I think it’d take more than a 2.75 inch zunni rocket (that is the rocket pods you see in so many movies in something that looks like a barrel) to take out a German World War II tank. If it was me, I’d want TOW missiles and those should be doable once electronics are up to speed.

There was a version of both the AH-1 and the UH-1 that featured a 40mm chin mounted grenade launcher during the Vietnam war. It was fairly effective from what I understand. And the 21C folks would have additional types of munitions for that launcher such as thermobaric rounds (they are experimenting on a thermobaric for the M-203/M-320 undermounted grenade launchers) which have the effect of sucking all of the wind out of a room or cave.

One upside of using the UH-1/AH-1 is that the initial version of the AH-1G Cobra used the same engine as the Huey. If the temps can develop the engine, they can power both (since airframe wouldn’t be the real problem, I wouldn’t think).

Northtown, Missouri


From Brandon Clark on 01/22/06


The engine used in the UH-1 and the AH-1G is the Avco Lycoming T53-L-13 turboshaft which I’ve been told is not a big massive engine or a very complex engine.

The Mk. 19 is an awesome weapon that would tear German half-tracks to hell….


From badg3er on 01/22/06


Perhaps i didnt get my point across clearly enough.

A modern machine is built with
a) design techniques and knowhow that has been proven thru trial and error, and CAD/CAM. Mistakes from the past are (generally) learned from, and the solutions incorporated into future projects (Madoc said something very similar above when talking about the advent of swept wing design). The lessons learned from those comets crashing pointed to fatigue – a problem solved thru design and advanced metalurgy.
b) Metalurgy – eg a F111 turbine blade – the grain structure of this item is a testament to modern metalurgy techniques – and today they are creating blades from single grains which is astounding. The upshot is a lighter more robust engine that creates more thrust.
c) Design philosophy – Cost of product. Look at WW2 – the T34 tank was a very basic machine that succeeded becuase it was a simply / cheaply produced machine. Stalins factories could punch these things out by the thousands (sometimes as is Staligrad straight un-painted off the line into battle). The ruskies would zerg rush and swarm Nazi formations. The more i read about it, the more i firmly stand in the belief that the russians won only becuase they were more willing to sacrifice insane numbers of men and materials. /ramble off producing large numbers of future-tech would hobble industry by tying it up time and resource wise trying to re-create great leaps in technology that rely on items that need raw materials that have never been required before in great quantities eg for electronics “tantalite”

Conclusion: due to the fact that revolutions in design have not been tried and tested – and that i doubt that “blue-prints” for designs would not have travelled back with the fleet – Flaws in design and metallurgy will hobble the introduction of f86’s and other war machines either thru failure of components or thru potentially poor / low performance. The industrial implications of finding / mining and producing materials required for modern electronics is not quite as simple as saying – all we need is some tantalite – go buy me some from the LME (London Metal Exchange).

I half wonder whether we will see the west ham-strung in LGW by the very fact they have tied up the industrial complex whilst stalin punches out even greater numbers of T34’s and he goes on smash-fucking spree thru Europe.

By the way — why has no-one considered invading North America via Alaska?


From madoc62 on 01/22/06



Good points. Another example, the B-52. Yes, the concept was nailed down fairly quickly in a meeting between Boeing engineers and the Air Force project officer. But that didn’t mean it was a simple thing.

The men who came up with the concept and design of the B-52 were men who’d years of experience. Experience not just at designing large bombers but specific experience at first having designed the B-17, applying the lessons learned there then designing the B-29, applying the lessons learned there then designing the B-47, applying the lessons learned there, designing the B-50, applying the lessons learned there and _then_ stepping in to design the B-52.

In 1942 / 43 these guys were still eyeball deep into making the B-17 into the weapon it became and were only just begining the process with the B-29. There’s tens of thousands of hours of engineering experience which would have yet to be gained before they attempted, in OTL, something like the B-52. Sure, the 2021 folk can help with that but only so much and only so far.

There’s also the technological gulf to consider. Yeah, the jet engine maintenance techs off the Clinton could probably recite chapter and verse about the jet engines which power the Raptors and such. And their understanding of advanced turbojet engineering principles would be of enormous use to the emerging jet engine technologists of 1942. But for anything specific? That’s a different case. The 2021 guys are highly specialized experts. They have to be. But how effective – on the short term – would they be when trying to better the jet engine technology as it exists in 1942? The standard Allied jet engine was based on the ones which Whittle came up with – centrifugal flow, not the axial flow turbines of today.

The design philosophy is different, the materials are vastly different, and I think it would be very difficutl for the 2021 techs to translate their knowledge into terms which could quickly make things better for the 1942 crowd. Difficult but not impossible – but not overnight either.



From Brandon Clark on 01/22/06


The United States military is not filled with uneducated idiots. The men and women who run the reactors on Navy carriers and subs all have or are in the process of getting degrees in Nuclear Engineering. Many pilots have degrees in engineering, mathematics, physics, science or other advanced fields. Every captain of a nuc sub has a nuclear engineering degree. All officers have degrees and in many cases they got a masters by the rank of Oscar Four.

I am sure there are some men and women in the MNF with degrees in fields such as metallurgy, the hard-core sciences, the engineering fields, the computer fields, and such. The average welder aboard one of these ships can tell the contemps crap-loads about steels that haven’t even been dreamed off in 42/43. More over, there is aboard all of these vessels civilian contractors who work for these companies who assist the military in trouble-shooting problems with the hardware.

Do you really think with all that advanced knowledge that a working prototype of a axial flow turbo-jet delivering perhaps 4,000 pounds of thrust hasn’t been hammered out by the designers at P&W or GE?


From ajdenny on 01/22/06


I remember reading something about when the 56th Fighter Group joined the 8th Air Force in England. Along with its complement of P-47s came representatives from Republic, who feed back the combat experience of the group into making better planes.

In fiction its probably easier for non-technical writers to treat soldiers as the uneducated idiots Brandon mentioned above. In reality education was important not just in 2021 or 1942 – I bet if Birmo had sent the MNF back to 1917 you would find the same sort people in the military. Treating technology seriously because their lives depend on it.


From Birmo on 01/22/06


‘By the way — why has no-one considered invading North America via Alaska?”

Badge. I thought very carefully about generating this particular subplot, but it all got to horribly complicated.

As to the educational levels of the MNF guys, I think I made the point a couple of times that by the time Targets rolls around, most of the officers and tech staff have been pulled off the line for duty in labs and lecture halls. When the Big Hill sails again in book three it’s with a mostly temp crew from the Auxilliary Forces. I suppose I should have written a sub plot following someone into Caltech, but that would eat into the time I had for describing Panzer coulmns getting atomised by the RAF and USAAF, abnd since I write what I like to read, that was a no brainer.


From madoc62 on 01/22/06


Brandon & all,

Sorry if I didn’t make myself clearer. No, I don’t think the 2021 crowd are a bunch of useful idiots. However, I think there’s more of a gap between their knowledge in the 2021 world and the lower tech available in the 1942 world.

Bridging that gap is going to take time and that’s something which neither the 2021 folks nor the ‘Temps have enough of. This bit about the jet engines got me thinking about that.

To the techs of 2021, they’re used to having fully integrated computer diagnostic support with online tech publication libraries, and AI systems to fault monitor and run down errors and failures. They’re also used to engineering that has benefited from eighty years worth of experience in dealing with these systems to make the extremely failure resistant in the first place.

I’m not saying their knowledge wouldn’t be useful nor applicable but I think it’d be more in the mid-term of an effect. Getting down to the specifics of how to improve the efficiency of a General Electric J-31 Turbojet would be something else and again. That’s the jet engine that represents the “state of the art” of jet engine tech in the US, circa 1942. And it bears only the most general layout to the modern high-tech supercruise capable jet engines of 2021.



From SFMurphy on 01/22/06


Maddoc, have you read Turtledove’s Guns from the South?

If you have (Spoiler, for those that haven’t) there is a scene where General Lee is talking to an armorer. They’ve recently acquired AK-47s from some time traveling Afrikaners. A long discussion ensues between the armorer and Lee about the fact that weapsons design evolves over time and that the weapon they had (the AK) had a number of intermediate steps that aren’t available for them to study. Furthermore, the Afrikaners are not very disposed toward helping the CSA achieve an independent production capability.

They are, however, able to arrive at a stop gap solution using the technology at hand that still makes the AK more capable than a Spencer rifle. The cartridge they use isn’t as good, in fact it turns the AK into a bolt action rifle, but that is still better than the musket.

In Birmo’s case (and this is why I’m prepared to believe that it is possible, inspite of your very well reasoned arguments to the contrary) the Contemporaries have a willing, highly motivated and highly educated corps of men and women fully prepared to do everything they can to impart their knowledge. And the Contemporaries, inspite of their rather reprehensible cultural flaws, are more than willing to listen and learn.

BTW, my father is a Vietnam Era helicopter mechanic and he said he didn’t see any reason why, if someone was there to do the teaching (in the case of the Huey, the fleet has examples they can reverse engineer) why they wouldn’t be able to build a Huey in 1942.

In fact, his certificate from Bell Helicopter for the AH-1 Cobra hangs on the dining room wall right now.

Per other issues, such as tanks and such (something I can speak on a little more authority since I’m a ground pounder) there are a number of very simple modifications that could be made to contemporary vehicles such as the M-4 Sherman. One I’d be looking to make, especially if the Germans developed panzerfaust or something like an RPG would be slat armor.

Slat Armor is a simple cage (looks like a cattle fence in some ways) that surrounds the vehicle in question (used on Strikers and ASLAVS in Iraq). An RPG round often hits these slats and detonates prior to impact.

Wouldn’t take General Bradley’s welders (same guys who made the hedgerow killing front plows) anytime at all to hammer those out.

The Shermans could be upgunned and armed with improved munitions. I’d go with a Tungsten Sabot round myself (since I suspect there isn’t a lot of depleted uranium laying about just yet).

I’d do the same with halftracks, put a roof on them and so forth.

Northtown, Missouri


From badg3er on 01/22/06


i think the ground tech is alittle less complicated than the air-tech


From Brandon Clark on 01/22/06


Madoc, I take it you know that a modern carrier doesn’t just carry fighters. The current air-wing compliment contains some older aircraft in the form of EA-6Bs, turbofan driven S-3 Vikings, and turbo-prop driven aircraft for airborne early warning and cargo missions.

Murphy, I got several ideas. Old Jeeps carrying Mk. 19 automatic grenade launchers. M-79 LAW rockets, cheap, easy, disposable, and the shaped-charge round could probably punch through the armor of German tanks. Certainly Marines in 2021 would hit on these ideas…

As for Shermans there is no quick fix, any fixes would take some time to effect the assembly lines and the war is still raging.


From Brandon Clark on 01/22/06


Perhaps an early variant of Chobham armor can be made, I heard that the sandwiching of steel and ceramics is tougher then equivelant thickness of solid steel.

Maybe the other tanks should be abandoned and only the M-4 and M-26 be produced? I reckon with American industrial base we could probably still produce more M-26s then total German tank production… Use the Super Shermans and up-engine them and perhaps use them as scouts, while the M26s engage enemy armor and support infantry…


From Birmo on 01/22/06


Damn. I’m gonna have to go thru here with a notebook before I sign off my final edit of book 3.


From ajdenny on 01/22/06


I thought the M-26 couldn’t fit inside an LST, or took as much room as two M4s anyway? I was thinking though, given weaponary like thermobraic munitions, it might be possible to take a port on D-Day, making moot this limitation.

Playing the Operation Art of War Vol 1 1939-1955, the M-26 is marginally better then the T-34/85, but to go toe to toe with Tigers you need to equip your tank units with M48 Pattons. I don’t know just how much of this would translate into the real world.


From MickH on 01/23/06


LOL Birmo,

It has got pretty heavy hey?


From Brandon Clark on 01/23/06


The Tigers and King Tigers are over-rated, they were maintenance hogs, broke down alot, Germany only produced 1300 compared to nearly 50,000 Shermans.

If you develop the M26 I am sure MNF people can help create a 105mm smoothbore tank gun firing sabot rounds as well as high-explosive anti-tank rounds, which would probably be enough to turn Tigers and King Tigers into jack in the boxes.


From SFMurphy on 01/23/06


I don’t know, by 1942, there’ll be a lot of M-4’s laying around. In some cases Industrial Production momentum would create so much material that it would be easier to upgrade what you’ve got rather than move on to a new item. Besides, there are a lot of improvements one can make to a Sherman, believe it or not.

The LAWs are a great idea, Brandon. M-79s and M-203 type weapons are another, though I think John already mentions some of this in the second novel.

I think Chobham armor is going to be a bit of a stretch, Brandon. A real stretch. But I can see them using some of the wheeled vehicle designs, especially the LAVs.

AJ, I think you are right about the M-26 tanks. Still, with all of the possible upgrades, I can see the U.S. modifying their LST designs to reflect what the 21C folks know.

Northtown, Missouri


From madoc62 on 01/23/06



I am _not_ saying the uptimers wouldn’t be able to change things for the better in 1942 / 43. Clearly, they have and they will continue to do so. However, once they get past the general “everyone knows that…” phase of things their knowledge will have to bridge that gap between their world of 2021 that’s filled with eighty years worth of more supporting technology and knowledge and the world of 1943 that has none of that.

So, sure, with 2021 help, the ‘Temps will come up with all manner of high tech goodies – but they won’t do it as fast as some folks here are thinking. As we’ve seen Designated Targets, the Allies are already starting to field rapid fire high velocity rotary canons for anti-aircraft defense (i.e. Vulcans / CIWS Phalanx) to replace the Metalstorm units aboard the Trident. But these are “hand made” custom things, not full scale production items. They’re great to have but they’re not the things you need to win a war. Not in those limited quantities.

With that same sort of effort expended, and by pulling off some turbo-shaft engines from the MF’s spares, I’ve no doubt that the 2021 folks and the ‘Temps could come up with something akin to a Huey or a Cobra. But that’s the thing, it would only be _A_ Huey or _A_ Cobra. The stocks aboard the MF are extremely limited and taking an engine away from them is one less engine the 2021 troops have to keep their weapons online.

It would be a while, perhaps a year and maybe more, before the ‘Temps had geared up their industries to even be able to attempt mass production of some of the higher tech weaponry – say, things equating 1950’s era tech. The basis for much else simply doesn’t exist and would take a good while longer to ramp up.

I mean, a lot of the high tech weaponry we take for granted today is extremely dependant upon cheap computational power – i.e. microcircuitry provided by integrated circuit computer “chips.” Vacuum tubes just won’t cut it and transistors, as invented at Bell Labs in 1947, would still be too bulky and also be very time consuming to build. Those computer chips require a huge amount of precursor technology be in place to even begin build crude prototypes.

None of this technology is impossible to set up and I’m sure all of it will be – but not soon. And not fast enough to have the effect that some are hoping for in the short term.

As to the M-4 Sherman tank, in 1943 the thing was a world beater. It was the best general purpose tank in the world at that time. It was fast, well armored, well armed, and easy to maintain. It was a good balance of all those factors and it really did sweep all before it. In 1943. Toward the end of ’43 however, is when the Germans introduced their next generation of tanks – the ones which resulted from all their combat lessons learned. And from that point forward the Sherman lost its edge fast. The only way it remained an effective weapon thereafter was because it was used in overwhelming numbers. And that’s horns of this dilemma.

Do the ‘Temps heed the 2021 lessons and curtail the Sherman’s production run whilst pushing the Perhsing’s forward? If they do that then they’ll face an acute shortage of _any_ usable tanks on the front lines whilst they make that change. Or do they keep producing as many Shermans as they can while trying to play catch up – knowing things’ll be worse once the new German armor hits the field in ’43? Either way, Allied troops are going to die. It’s just a question of how many and how soon.



From SFMurphy on 01/23/06


Maddoc wrote: It was fast, well armored, well armed, and easy to maintain.

Here is where I beg to differ. Fast, yes. Easy to maintain, I’d grant.

But well armored and armed, no. The tank was a funeral pyre in the making with a gasoline engine. German guns were regularly able to penetrate Sherman armor and the 76mm gun of the Sherman often was not enough to get through a German tank.

What made the Sherman successful is that the Allies could produce more of them than the Germans could their tanks. Their speed did enable them to get behind the German tanks for rear kill shots, but I wouldn’t say they were a great tank.

I think the Sherman could be successful with a number of modifications. Just look at what the Israelis did to their Super Shermans. But the original M-4 was not a great tank.

It was average, just barely. And nowhere near a match for Soviet Tanks, which is something one might want to keep in mind as the Sovs seem to be sitting out the war at the moment.

Northtown, Missouri


From Brandon Clark on 01/23/06


The M26 Pershing is 1940s technology and started reaching American units after the Battle of the Bulge. Heavier tanks were aleady in the R&D phase before 43, I do not see why with the war on, the new-timers experience and knowledge, and the war effort, that a tank like the Pershing can’t be produced before June of ’44.

Best solution, keep producing Shermans until Pershing production is sufficient to start replacing Shermans in the Divisions slated for Europe, and don’t send any Pershings to the Pacific theater.

I do not see why a jet-powered aircraft like the F-80 couldn’t have been rushed through the R&D phase with few flaws thanks to the MNFs computing power, the one flaw would be the engines of course. But areodynamically and with respect to flight-control surfaces, hydraulics, guns, and internal structure, probably few flaws.

Madoc, do you see a jet-powered American aircraft before 1945? An American tank capable of destroying a King Tiger before 45?


From Brandon Clark on 01/23/06


The M26 Pershing is 1940s technology and started reaching American units after the Battle of the Bulge. Heavier tanks were aleady in the R&D phase before 43, I do not see why with the war on, the new-timers experience and knowledge, and the war effort, that a tank like the Pershing can’t be produced before June of ’44.

Best solution, keep producing Shermans until Pershing production is sufficient to start replacing Shermans in the Divisions slated for Europe, and don’t send any Pershings to the Pacific theater.

I do not see why a jet-powered aircraft like the F-80 couldn’t have been rushed through the R&D phase with few flaws thanks to the MNFs computing power, the one flaw would be the engines of course. But areodynamically and with respect to flight-control surfaces, hydraulics, guns, and internal structure, probably few flaws.

Madoc, do you see a jet-powered American aircraft before 1945? An American tank capable of destroying a King Tiger before 45?


From badg3er on 01/23/06


If the pershing was in development in the early 40’s, and was only beginning to be delivered AFTER the bulge, what does that say to you?

The industrial complex was unable to instantly change from mass production of what it was already geared up to produce –

the more elegant solution as offered above is to modify current designs ie up-gunning, reactive armour, better sighting, night vision, more reliable mechanics, sticking a high powered diesel in the sherman.

The dakota cyclone was magnificent – i fucking cheered when i read about that.


From madoc62 on 01/23/06



The M-4 Sherman _was_ a great tank – in 1943. All tracked vehicles are going to be more difficult to maintain than wheeled vehicles of the same size and weight. The thing with the Sherman was that it was easier to maintain when compared to other tank designs – especially the German tanks but less so with the Soviets. As to modifying the Sherman, yeah, that can be done – and was done during the war. Just look at the Firefly version the Brits cooked up. That took some awesome squeezing to get that big a gun not only into the Sherman’s turret but to also do that without having to completely remachine a new and wider turret ring in the tank’s hull.



From Brandon Clark on 01/23/06


A lot of stuff could help the Sherman from becoming the Ronson Lighter.

Sloped add-on armor might help the Sherman against German tanks, but reactive and slat armor wouldn’t do crap against German main tank guns firing AP rounds.

The Pershing could probably be mass-produced earlier if the Army realizes the Sherman is out-classed versus follow-on German tanks….


From madoc62 on 01/23/06



Why bother with the P-80? As of 1942, the US already had a fully functional jet powered fighter aircraft already in the air – this, being the Bell P-59 Airacomet. Hampered by underpowered engines and conservative aerodynamics, the design, in OTL, was little more than a bridge between the prop age and the jet age. Apply 2021 “lessons learned” to both the GE I-16s which powered it and perhaps install a new, higher speed, wing and you might have a vastly different machine on your hands – and all in time to join the fight in early ’43. That’d be two years ahead of when the P-80 Shooting Star first took flight in Our Time Line.

As to tanks, yeah, I’d much prefer the Pershing – but what do our guys do in the meantime? Muck about with too few M-3 Lee’s – or, even worse, too few M-2 Stuart’s? Remember, as of mid-42, the Sherman was just begining to get into full production. And this was in answer to the desperate need for something better than the Stuarts and Lees which had been fielded before it. Shuting down the production lines in anticipation of the Pershing’s coming along could be a horrendous disaster. Or it could be exactly what is needed. A bloody choice either way.



From Brandon Clark on 01/23/06


Madoc, not sure about the Airafart, but why go with a first generation get fighter like the Airacomet when you may be able to leap-frog up to a better jet. Wasn’t there an upgrade to the P-51 which allowed it to reach speeds near 500 mph?

Keep the Sherman in mass production until you get Pershings produced, don’t send any Pershings into the Pacific Theater since a basic Sherman is better armor and gun-wise then any of the Japanese tanks. Only add on reactive or slat armor to defend against shaped charge explosives the Japanese developed to be carried by suicide troops.

I heard that a T-25 tank which was a prototype before the T-26 which later became the M26 existed in 1943. The reason why Pershing was so slow is because of idiots in the Army.

But of course men like Patton and McNair (the main Generals who opposed a heavy tank) might have their way and a lot of good tanker will die from it…


From SFMurphy on 01/23/06


Halon fire supression systems mounted in the engine compartment might help too.

Maddoc, I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree on the Sherman. I’d rather have a survivable tank as opposed to something that brews up the moment it is hit. Sherman equipped units managed to win their battles based upon sheer weight of numbers.

Or as more than one German said of them, “You make them faster than we could destroy them.”

John, I’d stick with your F-86 and A-4s.

Northtown, Missouri


From ajdenny on 01/23/06


At the moment I’m reading ’64 Days of a Normandy Summer: With a Tank Unit After D-Day’ by Keith Jones, who was a lieutenant in the British 11th Armored Divison. Even in its understated British way, it makes harrowing reading. With total air superiority, massive artillery support including the 16-inch guns of battleships, and more then a 3 to 1 superiority in tanks, the British were still ground into the mud by the German defenses.


From madoc62 on 01/23/06



I think you’re still missing my point. I’m not saying the Sherman’s being gas fueled wasn’t a problem. But, as of 1943 when the M-4 first appeared on the battlefield, its merits were so far above what it replaced and what it faced, that its demerits weren’t as significant. In the Birmoverse we’re talking about late ’42 and early ’43 – not ’44 onward when Shermans were facing Tigers and Panzers which went through them like blowtorches through butter.

Halon is an excellent idea – but even an automatic CO2 fire suppression system would be a smart move at that point. So to would be keeping the ready rounds in water baths. That sort of thing could be more or less instantly adopted and would only be hindered by institutional inertia.

As to the fielding of the M-26 in OTL, US Army tank doctrine was fundamentally flawed. It assumed that tanks would not engage other tanks. Only tanks and tank destroyers would engage each other. Thus there was no need for heavy firepower nor superior armor on tanks. This led to the Sherman being the primary tank for the US. Yes, the Pershing could’ve been available – in extremely limited quantities – on D-Day. But how many Shermans would that have cost our invasion force? At that point we needed big numbers to overwhelm the Germans in Normandy and by concentrating on the production of Shermans alone we got those big numbers. I don’t know what the results would’ve been had we put more effort into fielding the M-26 earlier. But I’d be a bit hesitant at second guessing the guys on the spot who had to make those sort of decisions based on only the facts they knew in 1942 and not some 20/20 historical perspective from half a century on.



From Brandon Clark on 01/23/06


All good idea, but the main problem is the high-velocity guns and infantry carried anti-tank weapons. Fire-supression systems and better ammo-storage devices won’t prevent a German 88 or high-velocity 76 from going through the armor.

Up-gun it, perhaps add-on armor, all of it should be measures to upgrade the effectiveness of the Sherman until a replacement comes on-line and in sufficient production capacity to switch Sherman production factories to something else.


From savo on 01/24/06


Just had a bit or a read about early jet engines and one of the most critical problems it seems was mpg. How far the things could fly on the fuel they could carry. It looks like Birmo should speak to our ecologist cheesburger patrick muller.
I know there are drop tanks but I am constantly remined of the old bell jet ranger helicopters I know different but similar problems. It had a limited operational radius (abt 300k) but you could purchase at a very large additional cost external fuel tanks which added so much weight the operational radius was actually reduced when using them.
Further reading elicits (I like that word) that the M4 had water/glycol ammunition tubs and was mod’ed to fit a 17lb’er. Also the Marines claim the addition of flame projectors were the single greatest contributor to victory at Io Jima. Modified suspension changed it operating radius and the only thing missing now is the armour.


From savo on 01/24/06


‘Nuther thing: What do 21C military have today that’s low tech effective and not used back then?
Assault rifles – covered
grenade machine gun – M19 or Mk 47 how difficult is the ammunition to make
Armoured Personnel Carrier – ‘used’ tanks – M113? armour up a half track?
Rapid removal/treatment of wounded – Katamine? better bandages, CPR
Night vision – too high tech?
Multi barrel guns – too high tech?
Non-Energetic Reactive Armour – disrupts shaped charges – is there sufficient need? just rubber in steel box
Bolt on ceramic armour
Camouflaged uniforms – soaked in shear thickening fluid for ballistic resistance
Better helmet
High energy rations
Better tactics Combined forces
RPG and the like
Battle field surveillance – camera on a balloon

Brainstorm – What other stuff?


From SFMurphy on 01/24/06


I’d be real careful using camo uniforms in the European Theater of Operations. The U.S. Army did have camoflauge uniforms in development during the war and didn’t use them because they were too similar to German camo uniforms.

Maddoc, I concede your point on the Sherman and yes, it certainly is a hell of a lot better than the M-3. My thing is that it can be made a better tank and my problem (as historian) is that I tend to see the whole war from our point of view, not from 1942.

Which might be Kolhammer and company’s point of view as well.

Many of Savo’s issues are worth paying attention too. I think most basic medical advances would do more to win the war in many ways, especially if they had a rapid and efficient casevac system.

Brandon, I agree about the high velocity guns. I don’t think it is possible to turn a Sherman into an Abrams, but I think you can increase survivability, which would make it harder to destroy, harder to kill the crew (the crew is really more important than the tank if you ask me) and give you more tanks to fight with in the end.

Work calls.

Northtown, Missouri


From Brandon Clark on 01/24/06


Casualty evacuation is a prime reason to builld helocopters, even a Bell-47 capable of carrying just two casualties would help. There was a powder invented during WWII, forgot what it was called, but it acted like sand to soak up blood and boost its coagulating effect…

A simple re-arranging of the armor and crew protection systems may help, such as something to help prevent spall from flying around. Perhaps forged or rolled-steel add-on armor can be achieved. The main thing to understand is that with a penetrating round the best thing to happen is it to enter and exit cleanly, not bounce around, and not cause the inner parts of tank armor to spall

Savo, Gatling guns go as far back as the Civil War. They sort of were forgotten with the single-barrel conventional bolt machineguns. The reason why a gatling wasn’t put on aircraft is several reasons, size, vibration, torque, and power. Early M61s I think were electrically driven instead of hydraulic and pneumatic. You would have to instal a bigger alternator into the engine to provide the extra power for the gun’s drive.

It would require a vew steps but certainly doable in the 40s.

Night vision goggles require electronics and transistors, but I think starlight scopes are doable since they don’t require electronics.

All the Mk. 19 is is a much larger M2 fifty call, no bells or whistles but perhaps stronger steels or you can reduce the fire-rate from 300 rpm to 160.

Now, I am going to take a leap. The Marine Corps have traditionally been the lowest budgeted force and the last to get the special goodies. Even though they have metal storm guns I’d bet in the weapon lockers aboard the Amphibs they got all sorts of older weapons stored: The AR-15s, grenade launchers both M203 and Mk. 19 pumpkin chunkers, shoulder-mounted assault weapons which are recoiless rifles, AT-4, Stinger SAMs, TOW and Javelin ATGMs, all sorts of explosives (gotta love HE), M40 sniper rifle or the Marine Corps follow on, M82 Barretts which are sniper rifles chambered in .50 cal BMG, among lots of others. The Navy SEALs may still have some older M79 light weight anti-tank weapons as well as modified M14 rifles… A lot of that stuff is doable.


From Garth on 01/24/06



I’m a first time poster here, and a big fan of the series. I’ve been reading your posts with great interest. But in thinking that the 2021 folks don’t have the ability to downshift their knowledge/experience to a 1942 mindset/industrial base, I believe that you are making an erroneous assumption.

A population the size of the multinational force, especially a population that is overwhelmingly military, is going to contain a good number of military history hobbyists. These are people who will have exactly the kind of knowledge, and probably on-hand reference material (since in the 2021 world one would assume that they’d have all their books and references in electronic format), to be able to avoid the vast majority of design down-shift issues you presuppose.

For instance, although I’m not military/former military my personal hobby is scale aircraft modeling. My local club (in the Washington, DC area) has a couple hundred members, a good number of which are active duty military. Indeed one of our former members is an F-14 aviator who recently finished a tour as a US Navy Air Wing Commander (CAG). It’s not a far fetch to assume that the Clinton crew would have at least one (and probably multiple) aircraft modelers/aviation history enthusiasts who would have things like F-86 cutaways/schematics and blueprints (since I have several books in my personal library that contain them)

This kind of occurrence can be extrapolated across the breadth of a circa-1942 military R&D system. There are Marines I know who have restored antique (WWII, Korean and even Vietnam-era) military vehicles – including tanks. There are sailors I know who are intimate with the design details of German Type XXI U-boats.

And actually, consider this, the primary curricula of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis is engineering. How many USNA grads would the Clinton and Leyte Gulf have in their surviving officer compliments? These are people who would not only have a solid grounding in 2021 engineering, but also in engineering history.

Indeed, as a US warship the Clinton would have hosted USNA midshipmen during their Summer cruises, and could be presumed to have in her lattice memory a vast engineering library, both current and historical. So who’s to say that she wouldn’t have the complete engineering blueprints for each model in the FJ Fury series?

Just some thoughts. Hope I haven’t offended.


From badg3er on 01/24/06


Ok then, with some more thought — and taking into account points made above, what will make or break the allied push for high (or higher) tech equipment will be the ability to manufacture it.

To mass produce intricate items from ‘temp available materials (lets say the components that go into the action components of the “Lysaght-47”) tooling will be required. Tooling that either would need to be made by super skilled machinists – or by CNC CAD/CAM mills etc. Dies-sets in those days would have been generally cut from soft steel, then hardened. This has problems associated with warping during the heat treatment. Now-a-days, tooling is more often rough cut – hardened, and then finished with a combination of wiring cutting and grinding.

Issues with the above:
1) availability of highly SKILLED tool makers during wartime
2) availability of quality steels with which to make tooling from
3) Good heat treatment facilities which either require a highly skilled technician in the BLACK ARTS of hardening steel (which is how my toolie does some things in a rush sometimes) or good temperture and other monitoring equipment
4) CNC machining capability – requiring distribution of electronics right down the supply line, as every stage would have some requirement for it.

I suppose setting up a hundred watchmakers in a room and setting them off to hand make these things would / could work — and that i think was the scenario you alluded to with the manufacturing of the multi-barrel guns used on the Dakota Cyclones, however in total war, you might end up in the same position that the Nazi’s found themselves in where they had good advanced designs, without the industrial backing to produce them in numbers that mattered.

Perhaps the most important thing that Hammer would need to do is set up the zone NOT to produce weapons, but the machines and electronics used producing the materials and components in those weapons — and let the military machine (with guidance) use the new bounty as it sees fit.

Somebody mentioned above designing against steel spawling when hit by high velocity projectiles. The solution to this issue would be a combination of design (angle of material v projectile – sloped armour), metal composition, and heat treatment. Without a good supply of steel of the right composition, no amount of fucking around heat-treating it will get you anywhere – you may as well make the things from melted down chinese tractors and live with the shrapnel from a hit.

bloody hell i am rambling again, haven’t written reports for so long it shows :/


From Garth on 01/24/06


Brandon –

Instead of upgrading guns, what about upgrading the ammo? I would think that it would be possible to rapidly develop and start producing high-velocity sabot rounds that would make a huge difference for 75mm and 76mm (Firefly) Shermans.


From Garth on 01/24/06



What about improved submarine design? Upgrading the underlying machinery (diesels, batteries, etc) couldn’t happen, but there could be a quick switch to an Albacore-type teardrop hull type (or maybe the 1/2 step that was taken when the WWII fleet boats were upgraded into Guppys and Guppy IIs). There could also probably be a quick implementation of the snorkel.

Actually, one BIG thing would be to utilize the Havoc in the same way for submarine warfare that the Brits are utilizing Trident for anti-air and anti-surface – have the Havoc act as the coordination center for wolfpacks of US fleet subs. Remember that the decision to sic the fleet boats against Japanese merchant shipping played an incredibly significant role in strangling the Japanese war effort.

Someone else mentioned putting angled-decks on US carriers. Great idea, especially since the mod isn’t all that difficult (extend the port deck a bit, reposition the arrester gear and train pilots to approach while leaning on the rudder a bit) and the first Essex-class CVs are just about ready to enter service at the end of 1942, but are still under construction. IIRC the conversion of the US angled-deck testbed, the USS Antietam, was done VERY quickly.


From Brandon Clark on 01/24/06


Garth, I was thinking about a Sabot and a HEAT round, but on the rifled guns of the Sherman you would need to make the sleeves around the penetrator rotate and keep the spin of the Sabot to a minimum. DU is out of the equation but tungsten I think was being mined at the time, though lacks some of the DU superior armor piercing qualities. Jacket the tungsten in steel and you got a better penetrator. You also need to do the same thing with high-explosive anti-tank rounds, the spin of the projectile will draw pressure away from the copper or tin liner of the HEAT round. But it probably wouldn’t require a major change in the Shermans, maybe a small change in the gun itself. I am sure they can reverse engineer the idea from some of the rounds in the 82nd MEU and 2nd Aussie Cav’s supply.

And I am sure a couple of the Marines know a thing or two about how to make a better propellant.

How fast was the FRAM done on the Essex class carriers, are we talking a month of six months? The allies can’t afford to have their military tied up for six-months in upgrades.

Here is an entire thread on Tank armor, dealing with Shermans, Panzers and Tigers oh my!


From madoc62 on 01/24/06



You’re into scale aircraft modeling too? Coolness! I’ve settled on 1/72nd for my collection as the size of the end product fits better into my small house and it seems that there are more of my prefered subjects (prototypes, what if aircraft and so on) in that scale than others. So, my collection has a lot of WWII birds and onwards.

Now, as to what the Multinational Force folks brought with them, yeah there’d have to be a bunch of engineers and historians aboard. They’d probably have an awesome library between them all. Amongst that library would most likely be some truly detailed entries about all sorts of aircraft. Such things will indeed be of tremendous use to the ‘Temp crowd.

But high resolution, ultra-crisp photos of machines in museums, well researched articles on service histories of such subjects, and even full color 3-D computer graphic presentations of these machines would only be of limited use to the ‘Temp engineers. And of even less use in exactly duplicating the subject designs.

You see, such things are nice but they are _not_ manufacturing plans. As detailed as they’d be they would not include the information necessary to manufacture these items. Pictures and write-ups are great but there’s whole reams of additional information needed to go from those images to actual manufactured hardware.

So, instead of hoping to duplicate the hardware from the near future, the 2021 crowd and the ‘Temps would be much better served by applying what they could from the 2021 folks onto the existing 1942 base. You wouldn’t get supersonic vertical take-off jet fighters with laser target designated smart bombs overnight. You would, however, get weapons just sufficiently advanced overt the bad guys so as to give your guys the edge.

And that’d be enough.



From Garth on 01/24/06


Hi Brandon,

We’re not talking a full-up FRAM/SCB here. Just the mods necessary to put an angled deck onto the CVs. According to the Antietam’s mods happened during a yard period from 9/52 to 12/19/52 … so just 2 1/2 months. We’re up to what date in the series? Late Summer 1942, with the Essex commissioning only three months later. I would think that there wouldn’t be much of a problem doing the mods as they’re being completed.

Angled deck mods to the Independence-class CVLs and the various CVE classes would be impractical. The CVEs probably wouldn’t have enough length and the CVLs had enough stability problems as it was. Saratoga, Enterprise and Wasp could possibly have the mods done, although Wasp’s asymetric hull could create issues as bad as with the CVLs.

I think that the option would be out for Ranger. Her unique funnel arrangement (three folding stacks on either side of the flight deck) would have to be completely redesigned and trunked along the lines of the other carriers.


From Garth on 01/24/06


Hi Madoc,

I’m 1/72 also. 250+ in my built collection, at least that many in my unbuilt stash. Latest (finished last night) is a RN Corsair II from 1944.

Perhaps I just need some clarification as to what you mean by manufacturing plans. Is this limited to the detailed design specs/blueprints, or does it include all the other management-related aspects (subcontractors, logistics, etc)?

In the case of the former, books like Bill Gunston’s Aircraft Cutaways series (showing detailed internals, including placement of components, cross sections, etc) are in fairly decent distribution within the modelling/enthusiast community.

In the case of the latter, while Grumman built a “break-apart” TBF and sent it to Eastern Aircraft for the car engineers to pour over, the experience with Vega building B-17s and Martin building B-29s pretty much from the designs themselves was more typical.

Sure, there won’t be an “exact” F-86 reproduction. But NA can produce something that looks the same, flys almost the same, with an enormous amount of commonality in the internals, in an incredibly short period of time (remember how quickly the P-80 went from design to prototype). Indeed, the end-result will probably be better than the original F-86 because many of the later lessons (such as the incorporation of the all-flying tail resulting from the X-1 flights) can be applied from the get-go.


From Brandon Clark on 01/24/06


Maddoc is right about one thing, there are experimental prototypes such as the Ascender and the Black Bullet as well as the L-133, could probably become very good aircraft with help from the MNF’s knowledge and technology.

But artistic license comes into effect….


From Garth on 01/24/06


The question would be why stick with piston-engined (or even turboprop) technology when jet engine tech is available?

I can definitely see the rationale for producing the A-1, since at the time jet engines didn’t provide any ROI for attack missions beyond light strike. But for fighters it seems to me the sensible course is laid out in the book – go for a quick win with the F-86/FJ family and then try to leapfrog forward to a simple and cheap, yet robust supersonic design like the F-5.


From Garth on 01/24/06


The question would be why stick with piston-engined (or even turboprop) technology when jet engine tech is available?

I can definitely see the rationale for producing the A-1, since at the time jet engines didn’t provide any ROI for attack missions beyond light strike. But for fighters it seems to me the sensible course is laid out in the book – go for a quick win with the F-86/FJ family and then try to leapfrog forward to a simple and cheap, yet robust supersonic design like the F-5.


From Brandon Clark on 01/24/06


Garth, do you think it is possible to leap-frog ahead of the Germans before they put up sufficient Me-262s and Ar-234s and perhaps follow-on jet-powered aircraft, which could deprive the Allies of superior air forces which would also make an invasion of Europe that much harder?

Or should the Allies redesign the Airacomet or perhaps the L-133 or the Ascender or the Black Bullet to be engined by a Whittle Engine or a axial-flow TJ that produces 1800 pound of thrust instead of the Saber’s 6000?

I am sort of split on the issue… But Birmo is the head-honcho and I am starting to feel like I am doing something unethical….


From madoc62 on 01/24/06



You’ve only a mere 250+ unbuilt kits in your collection? Feh! You piker! I’m just a hair’s breadth under a thousand in mine! (Of course, your a wee bit ahead of me in the built department – I’ve completed but three kits in the past year…)

Now, as to how the Allies should go aircraft wise, I don’t trying to duplicate 1947 vintage aircraft in 1942 would be the best thing. It’d take too long to design, prototype, test, develop, set up production, produce a usable amount, and then deploy all of that.

Instead, it’d make more sense to try and improve what you had immediately at hand and then try and “uplift” the advanced prototypes you already had. Thus you’d stand a better chance of getting new weapons that were “good enough” into the field rather than aiming for new weapons that were “perfect.”

So, I could see the Allies pushing hard for an improved P-59 Airacomet on this side of the pond and the UK pushing for a Meteor by early ’43. A redesigned wing, some changes to the flight controls, and whatever refinements the jet engine specialists from the Clinton and 2021 crowd could render might make enough of a difference to make those two birds into truly hot ships circa ’43.

With the Abrams as being a “god level” tech model and with the extensive armor history knowledge of the 2021 crowd at hand, I could also see the treadheads of ’42 making some profound changes as well. No, there’d probably not be turbine powered and Chobham armored brutes running around by ’43 but you can bet the Sherman would see some substantial, if stop-gap, changes made and the Pershing would be rushed as hard as it could be rushed – and probably look unlike what we would otherwise recognize.

At this stage in its development there’d be enough time and room to make those changes in the Pershing. A bigger turret, perhaps. Sloped armor, perhaps. Etc.,.

APC’s? Sure. But those take a dedicated hull to be really effective. Slapping more armor onto the M-3 halftrack might work. Then again, the increased weight might make the thing useless in the field. I dunno.

I think our guys could certainly use something like the “AK” as an assault weapon. Although, our Garand was an excellent combat gun already.



From Cockroach on 01/24/06


Lets see.
First on the issue of the A-4:
An angled deck is not essential for jet opperations of carriers. It sure is nicer as it allows both take off and landings to occure in parralel. So in other words it would be possible to opperate them off the Enterprise etc. The more major problem is which that prevented the Argentinians from using their carrier against the Poms in the Falklands: getting enought airspeed to take off with a meaningful weapons load. This means either steaming dead into the wind at high speed or steam catipults -this is the problem with opperating them off the older ships.
I would doubt the first few Essex class ships would be fitted with angled decks (the need to rush them into service) but after the first three to five then it may be introduced.

On the issue of Helicopters:
Sure the UH-1 may be nice but the turboshaft poses a problem. In the short term the H-34 ( poses a solution for the lift role. It was capable of carrying up to 16 troops and was powered by a radial engine with an output of around 1600 horse-power.


From badg3er on 01/24/06


Perhaps as this is a FICTION novel some artistic license is allowed — and we should look at what might be on the border of probability.

I would conceed — even in light of everything i have posted above, that it MIGHT be possible to an A4 in the sky – but would not assign it the characteristics of the the one we know in our time.

It would likely have a lower service ceiling, have less in the way of avionics and controls, have less capable radar, and weaponry — perhaps fitting knock-off MG42’s or something (good gun from my understanding with current equivalents – but i aint a gunhead) – lower top airspeed, and to top it off – perhaps a few failures in the field from bad design / component failures – rather than from enemy fire.


From savo on 01/24/06


Of course! Damned things are as big as a bus inside. Definately the solution for helicopters. Conventional engine P&W double was powerful enough, no need for flash avionics, metal rotors, reasonable capabilities. Armour the nose, slap a couple of rotary cannons on pintles and you have a pretty good gunship ground support craft able to be built with 40s tech. Excellent


From savo on 01/24/06


We’ve had an awful lot of thinking about what Kolhammer can bring the Allies, but what will they be facing? Germany will probably be receiving raw materials from USSR. More automatic grenade launchers on the beaches, some Luft 46 air craft, upgraded version of the Flettner 282, Mk 108 Aircraft cannon used as an infantry weapon. Hybrids of German Russian tanks. The U-boats are facing a major upgrade, better SAMs, stronger ‘atlantic wall’, greater defences in the south, North Afrika? actually guided V1’s, V3 operational?


From Garth on 01/25/06


A few quick comments.

The F-86/FJ series was designed by the end of 1945 (the straight-wing XP-86 mockup was rolled out in mid-45, the decision to go with the swept wing happened later in the year). Putting it into production took “longer” relative to other US wartime designs (like the F8F and P-51) because the US had switched to a peacetime production schedule. The Airacomet was an ineffective design. Especially since P-80s were starting to deploy just as the war ended, since production go-ahead was given during a wartime environment).

I think that getting facsimiles of both the P-80 and F-86 (including the swept wing) into production within a year is definitely dooable in 1942.

The benefit of an angled deck isn’t just the ability to conduct launch/recovery ops simultaneously. With the slow response times of early jet engines it’s an absolute lifesaver. Before they were put on carriers, there were HORRENDOUS accidents as jets would try to bolter but wouldn’t have the power to make it. Result is a jet aircraft plowing into the aircraft park on the bow.


From Steve on 01/25/06


F-86 Sabre was definitely doable in 1942-3 – hell, it first flew only 5-6 years later, so a quantum leap in technology wasn’t required.

Likewise the B-52.


From madoc62 on 01/25/06



Neither the P-80 nor the P-86/ F-86 existed in any form as of 1942 – at least not amongst the ‘Temps and amonst the 2021 crowd they only existed on computer hard drives. So, getting either of those birds – or even close facsimiles of them – into production within a year would be one helluva stretch.

What the Allies need _now_ is a fighter aircraft that performs much better than what they currently have in the inventory. Something a leap ahead of the A-36 / P-51A, or P-47A or P-38D then entering service.

A re-engined, re-winged P-59 Airacomet could well be that aircraft. Yes, with its conservative airframe design and lackluster engines the Airacomet of OTL served only as a stepping stone into the jet age. Had it better engines and a higher speed wing – swept or otherwise – then things might’ve been different.

And as far as the next step goes, why bother with trying to create something entirely new – as would be either the P-80 or F-86? Instead, why not take the then existing and the then flying R-40C aircraft and change out their ineffective and underpowered piston engines with “uplifted” jets? This way you’d get airframes already designed for higher speeds to begin with. The XP-54, XP-55, and XP-56 were all spec’d out at flying in the 500mph range. The advanced piston engines that were supposed to be developed enough to yield such performance figures never did live up to their design goals and thus the R-40C series of aircraft never did either. Swap out those underpowered piston engines and replace them with jets and you’re likely to have some truly great “second generation” jets and have them in production by mid to late ’43.



From Brandon Clark on 01/25/06


Maddoc, production doesn’t automatically equal several hundred aircraft a month. It certainly could be designed and a few working prototypes could be built in that time.

Now, certainly research and development should being ASAP on the next generation of engines and airframes.

Maddoc, is it even possible to fit a jet engine that can met those performance goals into those airframes? That is the deal, are those air-frames capable of carrying a whittle engine, a L-1000 axial-flow engine or another turbo-jet rapidly designed by GE or P&W, say something on the size of the Sabers’ engine?


From madoc62 on 01/25/06



OK, so you expend all that effort and by the end of 1943 you have maybe a dozen or so aircraft. That’d be about enough to conduct engineering development testing of the prototype configuration. It would not be enough to fully equip even a single training squadron with those aircraft. And in the meantime the Nazis are gunning down huge numbers of Allied pilots stuck flying their P-40’s and early model Thunderbolts.

Or you could do the “uplifting” of the Airacomet and have _several_ combat squadrons in service in England by the end of ’43. No, an “uplifted” Airacomet wouldn’t be as great as an F-86 but it might be about as good as a P-80 or at least pretty damn close. Yes, the Airacomets might well be superceded by the next generation of jet aircraft which hits the front within six months or so of their initial introduction. But during those few months the Airacomets would be gunning down the Germans in their jets and also giving the US Army Air Corps the experience at jet aircraft operations it would desperately need in order to make those second generation jets all the better.

As to R-40C aircraft, they were all designed to use piston engines that were supposed to be the culmination of over a decade’s worth of research under the Army Air Corps’ “Hyper” program. These engines were truly massive things – they’d have to be given their intended horsepower ratings – so the fitting of even the standard Whittle centrifugal flow jet turbines into the space these “Hyper” engines formerly occupied would not be a problem. Hell, the Northrop XP-56 got such poor results from their Hyper engine choice that they went with a Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engine instead! The diameter on that thing was easily greater than the Whittle jets and much greater than the axial flow turbines like Lockheed’s.

So, swapping out jets for the “Hyper” piston engines on these machines would not have presented much problem from a structural standpoint.



From Stevo the WA Devo on 01/25/06


I’ve finally discoverd this “R&D” Tech area on Birmoverse so here goes/
All the commentsI have read are from different perspectives absolutley right, even the conflicting ones.

What we’d end up seeing I think is an amalgam of things occuring. That is product on prodcution line updates (such as Australia’s Boomerang fighter fitted with a turbocharger giving it performance to Match the Zero(which happened just never produced), the sherman having its probs resolved,)and local versions of OTL coming to bear.(ie, an analogue of the F-86/B-52/A-4) not to say they are going to be exactly like our versions but they will have the same niche role fulfillment and design philosophy.

When the tech catches up then the mods to make it more like our designs will occur. at this stage the allies have just one thing going for them. The massive industrial base of the english speaking world and the pool of R&D talent.

By 42′ sikorski had flown the first chopper, by himself as an old man. now get the photos of what they built down the years to him and maybe fast trak a bell 47 armed with zuni or even nine inch rockets used on the mustang during korea. Turns a small GP helo into a tankbuster. said before no doubt.

Remember at the end of european fighting Heisenberg and the rest of the german nuclear effort were captured and held at Farm Hall in UK. When the USAAF dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and then later told these scientist about what had happened in barest detail, heisenberg was pretty much able to give a lecture the next day on how the bombs worked. He only overestimated how much uranium was used.
Give them (R&D) future knowledge of how things work and you immediately clear up a lot of theoretical ground and pave the way for actual tech advancements.
Sorry I Ramble


From Garth on 01/25/06


The XP-80 went from contract to concept, to design, to prototype production to “flight-ready” in 143 days (June 23, 1943 – November 15, 1943). First flight occured on January 8, 1944 (day 203) … a delay necessitated because of an intake design flaw resulting in a destroyed engine.

Further design refinements (the result of changed specs and the trial/error process) added more delays, so the first YP-80As didn’t make it to the ETO until April 1945, where they did fly combat patrols in the last days of the war (over Italy).

As I mentioned earlier, I have detailed cross sections and design histories of both the P-80 and F-86 in my own personal (and fairly unremarkable by serious modelling-standards) library. They go into some detail about the design challenges facing Lockheed and NA in building those aircraft and how they were overcome. From an engineering perspective.

So the immediate impact of having something like that on hand is that 1.) you can skip the conceptual phase and jump directly into mid, if not late, design (since the cross sections significantly reduce the need to design components), a significant time savings and 2.) you know what the problems were, how they were overcome and therefore avoid a lot of the teething pains that come from prototyping a revolutionary concept.

With both the P-80 and F-86 we are talking about aircraf that were originally produced using the tooling methods and materials available in 1942. We aren’t talking exotic materials like titanium or carbon composites. It’s completely within reason, therefore, that Lockheed could be hand-producing P-80s (and by which I mean aircraft that are closer to production standards than the XP-80 was) well within the original timeline’s 5-month window. All you’re doing is advancing the window by a couple of years.

That deals with getting an aircraft designed and built … by hand. For mass production you can look at how quickly Eastern Aircraft went from producing cars to aircraft (8 months) and from producing prebuilt TBF subassemblies provided by Grumman to producing honest-to-god TBMs all on their own – 4 months. Similar case studies can be seen in Vega and Douglas built B-17s (a much more complex aircraft than a P-80) and in Martin-built B-29s (a much more complex aircraft than a B-17).

My rough guesstimate is that having cross sections, 3-d models (useful for windtunnel work) and lessons-learned knowledge would cut the time to a hand-built aircraft by a 1/3 (and this is conservative — probably closer to 1/2), to 95 days/3 months. Using Eastern Aircraft (and others) as examples, it seems to me that from saying “go” full up production of P-80s and F-86s could happen in as few as 7 or 8 months.

One more thing to consider … training pilots on flying the new aircraft. One would think that the 2021 MNF would have programs well advanced from today’s publically-available PC flight simulators (like MicroSofts). Simulators that include hyper-realistic simulations of planes like the P-80 and F-86. Result is that pilot acclimation can start well in advance of actually having an aircraft to fly (this, btw, is how pilots are taught to fly the F-117 and F-22, for which there are no 2-seat trainers). The result here is compressing the production-to-combat timeframe.


From Garth on 01/25/06


And another quick point … keep in mind that when a CSG deploys it takes a good number of civillian “tech-reps” along with it. These are engineers and other support personnel from manufacturers who specialize in a particular system/product/piece of hardware/etc. Like, say, jet engines.

They’ll bring to the table even more specialized engineering knowlege and references then would be available by the aircraft maintenance crews. Sure, they won’t be able to build P&W F119s, but they could have the ability to take a Whittle engine and kick it up a notch . Or two. Or three …


From savo on 01/25/06


(NOTE: the comment below is not actually from a journalspace member. Their IP has been logged.)

I still see the A4 has viable alternative. None of the airframes mentioned have anywhere near the 14,000lb war load of an A4, nor the ceiling, the range, the speed, the ground attack capabilities, carrier operations ability or the ‘futuristic‘ look. Why would FDR tell Boeing or whoever to shut down a production line and re tool to build something that looks like an ordinary 1940’s plane but without a propeller? Why not keep the ordinary plane, its doing okay. A couple of the XP planes sure look futuristic but don’t have the capabilities.

Sure it was four years from initial specs from the Navy to there being enough of them to field squadrons. No war, no urgency and they started off with no intimate knowledge of the beast. I don’t think there is an arguement. Call em A4(21C) if you want. I don’t even think there could be a problem with production lines pumping them out let alone hand building the buggers. Metallurgy’s been put forward as problematic, but its not – each batch of steel made can be tweeked to whatever the client wants, even the oldest of bessimer furnaces allow for that. Got to be able to find some tech head maintence chief/geek that knows how much boron goes into the mix and yes it DOES have to be cooled over water for 3 hrs before rolling, every one knows that.

Tim you shouldn’t have shown me how to do this coz I figured out this. Anything else??


From Brandon Clark on 01/25/06


Maddoc, you just want to see those things fly, don’t you.

You wouldn’t have to devote the entire war budget and economy to researching and developing the more advanced air-frame and engines of something like the Saber or the Skyhawk or the B-52. Hell, you could use the surplus from the Manhattan Project (which their will be with the up-timers knowledge and expertise).


From Anonymous on 01/25/06



I also don’t see the rationale for limiting the A4 to 21C ships (by which I mean the Clinton, since the Kandahar lacks catapults and arrestor gear). In July 1944 the US Navy conducted carrier trials with a modified B-25H (PBJ-1H in Navy parliance), which is significantly larger and heavier than an A-4.

In the trials, conducted on the USS Shangri-La (coincidentally named after the smart-ass remark FDR gave when asked where the Doolittle B-25s launched from), the PBJ went through multiple traps and catapult launches (using the Shang’s 1944-vintage hydraulic cats). The project was deemed a technical success, but was considered to be extraneous to other existing capabilities (and actually, in the AoT universe it might actually make a good deal of sense. Hmmmm).

Additionally, it is my recollection that several times throughout the 1950s and 60s A-4s were operated off of the Essex-class CVS conversions, which unlike the CVA conversions retained their hydraulic catapults.

Unless the AoT “A4” is larger than a B-25, there should be no problem with it operating off of Essexes (and possibly Enterprise, Wasp and Saratoga).


From Brandon Clark on 01/25/06


Who knows, the Kandahar might be carrying catapults and arrester gear. An A-4 is coming in around 100 knots, which is faster then the prop planes of the 40s.

The Allies may not have a lot of A-4s, so placing them on the Clinton and Kandahar which are big ships and would have some advanced damage control ability and much more flight deck space is a smart move.

Birmo, the Navy (modern-day) is looking at electromagnetic catapults so I doubt the Clinton would have those Fuel-Air explosive Catapults you mentioned (maybe as a secondary capability if the electro-magnets stop working).

I am not sure on the take-off run of a ‘Nam era Skyhawk but the Kandahar might have a flight deck of around 800-1000 feet, something to consider. Both could land and launch something like a B-25 without the need for catapult launches, though the landing is going to be a bitch without the wires.

Also to jet-mod a carrier, jet blast deflectors, a shame no one mentioned them, and a shame to have your deck crew turned into crispy critters… And a better system of guiding aircraft down to the flight deck for trap.

Nothing much to add….


From Garth on 01/25/06


FYI, the B-25 carrier trials post above was mine. The dangers of posting from a different PC without updating the user settings …


From madoc62 on 01/25/06


Brandon & all,

Yes, I’d love to see these things flying. I just don’t share your enthusiasm that all it will take are some good computer graphics, some nice “aircract history” write-ups on an afficianod’s hard drive, and application of 2021 tech to make them available so quickly. I also think we’d get better results to the field faster if we concentrated on improving what was already existing rather than trying to create from scratch.

The reason why the P-80 went from concept to flight so quickly was the years that Lockheed spent puttering about with its L-133. They’d done an awful lot of research on the concept and that fed directly into the Shooting Star. As of 1942, Lockheed wouldn’t be nearly as close to that level of knowledge.

Garth, the differences that I’m talking about between the historical reference information which we like to have as scale modelers and afficianados and that which is needed for manufacturing are pretty deep. Yes, that level of reference information will be extremely valuable. It’d be just the sort of thing which spies would kill for – literally.

However, there’s a level of information required to manufacture such an item which those references don’t even touch. Sure, the general layout is depicted. Sure, the “walk around” photos of the thing would, with detailed photographic analysis, show the exact measurements of the items visible in the photos. But that’s not enough.

A detailed write-up of the development and manufacturing history of the F-86 might mention that certain engine support frame components were heat treated. Great. That’s nice to know. But to what tempurature? For how long? In what medium? Yes, those “walk around” photos would show how many rivets were set into a particular panel. But were those rivet holes drilled or punched? That affects the strength of the material. What thickness is that particular panel? What’s the hardness and material properties of that panel? As the photos only show the one side of that particular portion of the structure, what about the portion on the other side? Is that machined? Stamped? Welded? Are there re-enforcing braces there? Yes, those computer 3D representations show the exact angle of sweep for the F-86 – but what about the wing’s contor? The drawings are very accurate but they’re only representational. Their fidelity of detail may be accurate, when scaled up to lifesize, only down to a half inch or so. That’s fine for a scale modeler but that’s nothing you’d want to bet a pilot’s life on in trying to build an actual aircraft.

I’m not saying the 2021 reference information won’t be helpful and nor am I saying it won’t dramatically speed things up in terms of getting much more modern weaponry to the field much faster. Clearly, it will. But I rather doubt the ‘Temps would be able to field completely new designs until late ’43 or early ’44. And that, I think, is being real optimistic and only referring to a handful of such items.

In the meantime, I think we’d get better results going after things that yield a five or seven percent improvement rather than the fifty or sixty percent ones. The smaller percent things can be done quick, dirty, and into the field but fast where they would have an immediate and telling effect against the bad guys. Those bigger ticket items (the F-86’s, the B-52’s and so on) would take so long that they’d arrive only after the bad guys had fielded their next generation of weaponry.

In this case, better is the enemy of good enough.

And I’m arguing that whilst a “F-86” would be better, a re-engined, re-winged P-59 might be good enough.



From Brandon Clark on 01/25/06


The fleet of P-51Ds are fully capable of dealing with the -262s until an advanced American jet comes on line. By the time the Germans start fielding a follow-on to the Me-262 America will have maybe a hundred second generation jets (as opposed to first generation F-80s) that will probably top whatever the Germans field. By late 40s, I figure a super-sonic fighter jet will be getting into production. After that, maybe computers, avionics, radars, missiles and engines have really played catch-up to build jets equievelant to the F-15 and F-16 in the late 50s and early 60s.


From savo on 01/26/06


(NOTE: the comment below is not actually from a journalspace member. Their IP has been logged.)

This just looks so much better

than this.

Can’t wait to read about them kicking the CRAP out of this

Look what you’ve made me do TimT I’ve lost all my dignity


From Garth on 01/26/06



The only reason why the P-51Ds were able to cope with the -262s was because 1.) Doolittle had made a decision that essentially freed 8th AF’s fighters to conduct low-level search and destroy missions instead of just performing bomber escort and 2.) we quickly identified that the plane was vulnerable during launch and landings and adapted our tactics to exploit that weakness.

I’d think that with their 21C information sources the Germans would know about this (indeed Designated Targets has the -262 operational in Summer 1942) and would know that the priority would have to be to protect the -262s at all cost. One way of doing this would be to have FW-190s and Me-109s flying CAP over -262 fields, to intercept and draw off the P-51s before they could jump the -262s.


From savo on 01/26/06


This just looks so much better

than this.

Can’t wait to read about them kicking the CRAP out of this

Look what you’ve made me do TimT I’ve lost all my dignity


From savo on 01/26/06



From Brandon Clark on 01/26/06


Why take the Black Bullet, the Ascender and the Swoose Goose and re-engine them?

They were never combat proven, some of them showed problems in handling, and some of them may turn out to be ineffective aircraft in combat.

When you can invest in building two combat proven aircraft such as the F-86 and the A-4. The F-80 scored the first jet on jet kill against a better Mig-15.

Personally, with computer aided design and testing, it will not take 2-4 years to design one of these aircraft, the design work can be done in a few weeks if not less. A large portion of the testing work can be done in a computer program (note that this is done now with aircraft and ships and even nuclear weaponry). A prototype may be flying with in three months of construction beginning. The result, by 1944 a fighter capable of beating the Me-262 and forming the back-bone of the USAAC’s fighter squadrons will be in service and probably flying in England, especially with the Luftwafe updating the Me-262 which will delay its full-scale production.


From Garth on 01/26/06



Also remember that the MiG-15 has a design lineage tracing to the Ta-183 (originally proposed/designed by Kurt Tank in 1944).

It would be fair to hypothesize that the Germans themselves now see the -262 as a stop-gap measure until a Ta-183 facsimile can make it into service.

Actually, there’s a “Quiet Room” option, come to think about it. Infiltrate teams into Germany to remove (preferably by extraction) guys like Tank and Von Braun from the picture. Rob the Germans of their brain trust.


From madoc62 on 01/26/06



Why take those aircraft and rework them?

Simple. Because they already existing in actual form as of 1943. The facsimile P-80, F-86 and B-52 do not exist in any form other than historical database records on the hard drives of the 2021 crowd.

As to computer design assisting the process, yeah, you bet it will – but I doubt it will be to the extent you think. Computers are marvelous tools with a great deal of capability to them. But even such tools are limited to what they’re designed to do.

Computer assisted design requires very specialized computer programs. These programs are further specialized for the particular areas of engineering that they’re to work on. Aside from general depictions and some gross calculation work I rather doubt that computer engineering programs set up to help the ship’s engineers aboard the Clinton will be of much use to the aerodynamicists trying to figure out the specifics of high speed airflow over the surface of the Air Corps’ new jets.

Yes, they will be of some use and, yes, that use will greatly speed up those particular phases of those particular processes. But simply placing a computer into the desing process isn’t going to change the 1942 /43 design process into an overnight affair.

I’d also have to question just how many of such programs existed aboard the Multinational Force to begin with. Full-on CAD programs are highly specialized things and the ones used for manufacturing design and such don’t seem very likely to have been installed aboard the Clinton (or any of the other ships in the MF) as they’d not find much use. Thus they’d have been a waste of drive space. I know that the flexpads belonging to various individuals within the fleet is likely to have some rather esoteric software installed and that no doubt there are plenty of hobbyists aboard who had a particular interest in CAD work. Perhaps those programs are left overs from their gaining their engineering degree – or are on their flexpads because they’re currently studying to gain such a degree. Perhaps those programs are aboard with what few civilian contractors were when the Transition happened.

In any event, such programs are going to be rare, likely to be highly specialized with a maritime / naval architecture bent, and more importantly, going to require a highly trained and experienced operator to use. As such, they’ll be of some use (ref. the redesigned aircraft propellors which gave the Me-109’s more loitering time over the UK) but there’s simply not enough of them, with enough aeronautical engineering CAD programs, with enough trained operators, and with enough means to extract the info on the computers into formats usable in 1942/43 to make the sort of difference you’re bespeaking.

Until every aero engineer in each design house has his own flexpad and his own workstation with dedicated aircraft CAD systems and specialized CAD printers and even more specialized computer controlled machining stations, then you’re still dealing with the world of mid-war Allied aircraft industrial production. High speed miracles did occur back then but they didn’t happen as overnight as you might hope.

This is why I’m arguing for working with what is at hand first. Squeeze the few extra percentage points of advantage out of those systems while also working to field the next generation of weaponry that’ll yield a few more percentage of its own.

Remember, “better” is the enemy of “good enough” and it is “good enough” which will win the war.



From Garth on 01/26/06


A few more points.

First, anyway you look at it the P-59 was a pig of a plane. It was a great testbed for jet engine integration, but the fact that it was so quickly supplanted by other design (FH Phantom and XP-80 in 1944 and the FJ/F-86 series in 1945) is because, quite frankly, it sucked … and was considered completely unsuitable for combat. Reengineering swept wings onto it may help in some areas, but doing so is going to probably take just as much time as getting the XP-80 or F-86 into production. Why not start with a winner?

Second, I think that the idea of the Clinton not having the kind of advanced CAD programs onboard is implausible. It’s probable that within both her ship’s complement and the civillian tech reps that would be aboard there are more than a few who are in the process of earning advanced engineering degrees (and probably specializing in aeronautical engineering) while at sea (something made possible through distance learning methods).


From madoc62 on 01/26/06



The P-59 was not a “pig of a plane.” It was simply designed and flown early on in the race. The entire intent of the program was to learn about designing, building and operating jet aircraft. The program, in OTL, was highly secret and compartmentalized. Thus the Bell engineers couldn’t bring in outside specialists to help make their design better. They had to do it all on their own and the design suffered for it. Lockheed, on the other hand, had not only its design for the L-133 as that basis for the P-80, it also had the advantage of the lessons learned from the P-59 program.

With this in mind, in the Birmoverse, there’d be no need for Bell to either be as conservative or limited in its design process and there’d be all those 2021 aero experts to help out. In addition to what CAD would be available.

Thus you’ve a choice: work with an aircraft program that is already in the hardware / flight test stage or expend your efforts creating an entirely new program from scratch. Which do you think will get an advanced jet fighter into operation first?

The Clinton might well have some advanced CAD programs aboard – embedded in the ship’s mainframe in order to assist the ship’s engineers in fabricating certain, lower level, replacement parts. The CAD program and its associated spec library would be attuned and limited to naval architecture needs. Perhaps the aviation maintenance section might have programs in line with their needs – spec’ing out small replacement parts for their birds.

That’s not the same as the CAD programs which would be running in the factories and design houses back home in 2021.

Yes, the engineers – both tech rep and continuing education aboard the ships – would have some sort of CAD programs available. Those would be great on of important use. Used to their best advantage in very specific areas they could indeed spur things along faster. But not the industry wide nor overnight effect that we hope.

The bulk of the engineering would still have to be done by the ‘Temps and done by the industry standards of wartime ’42. The 2021 computers will be of enormous assistance but they won’t completely revolutionize the process until there’s a whole lot more of them with a whole lot more engineers trained in their use and until there’s the kind of specialized aircraft design CAD software worked out as well.



From madoc62 on 01/26/06



I’m a big fan of alternative history tales where folks from the future/present are plopped back into the past. I’m especially interested in such tales that have realistic limits on what the uptimers can accomplish in their new downtime environment. Among the best that I’ve found in this vein so far has been Eric Flint’s “1632” universe of tales.

I’ll bet a bunch of the folks who’ve enjoyed reading John’s “Axis of Time” are already familiar with Eric’s work. For those who’ve yet discovered them – high yourself out to the local SF bookstore and start buying them. NOW. Don’t worry, doing so won’t affect John’s book sales as it’s not going to be until later this year that “Last Good War” comes out!

Anyway, the premise of the 1632 tales is that a far future race makes a minor mistake in its time traveling efforts and creates these little “bubbles” of time warping effects. One of those bubbles engulfs the small contemporary time West Virginia town of Grantville back to 1632 _Germany_, right in the midst of the Thirty Years War. The bubble is but a few miles in diameter and is big enough to have picked up the entire town, a local coal mine, a local powerplant, the town’s small water treatment facility, and that’s about it.

Eric was _very_ specific about the event _not_ picking up the town’s junkyard, _not_ picking up any local National Guard Armory – replete with machine guns, grenade launcher, mortars, tanks, etc., nor picking up any factories, airports, or so on.

In discussion on the Baen WebBoard, Baen Books publishes these tales, Eric made it real clear he wanted his tales to explore the _difficulties_ the uptimers had in both adapting to their downtime situation as well as to applying their uptime tech knowledge in the best manner possible. A lot of folks put forward their arguments that Grantville would become this huge arsenal city and center of industry – and that it would do so overnight – simply because the uptimers had all this accumulated knowledge and because they had computers too.

Eric and others went to great lengths to demonstrate why that wouldn’t be so. Why trying to make it so would’ve been a disaster for the Grantville folks, and also why making it so in the book would’ve made for rather dull reading too.

So far, I’ve seen John resisting the impulse to make the Birmoverse awash in 2021 tech wonders. And his stories have benefited for that.

That’s the primary reason I’m arguing that the results of applying all the Multinational Fleet’s technology and knowledge would be more limited than some of what is being proposed here. Yes, it is important. Yes, it will have a radical effect. But no, for the sake of reality and for the sake of good storytelling, that effect will not be as fast as some migh wish.



From Garth on 01/26/06



I’m glad that you brought up Flint and the 1632 series. One of the things that I’ve thought of pointing out is how (I think in “1633”) the existance of a copy of Chapelle’s “The History of American Sailing Ships” in the library of one of the uptimers (Jeff Higgins, iirc) has allowed Gustav Adolph’s shipwrights take a 150+ year leap forward to building Humpreys-style frigates.

Respectfully, the same principle seems to apply here.


From madoc62 on 01/26/06



Agreed. That book was indeed a gold mine for the 1632 shipwrights. But it didn’t mean the Grantville boys were producing Iowa class battleships by 1633. That seems the intent here. In Flint’s series it wasn’t until late 1633 that they even had the first keel laid to the new class of uptime inspired vessels. And that’s in the shipyard which the Grantville boys set up directly. Gustav’s works are something else and again.

As another example, many folks were arguing that by 1633 Grantville would be fielding full-on machine guns. Or at least be producing Gatling guns by the hundreds, if not thousands. Instead, they had better effect in jumping gun technology ahead by about two hundred or so years. The good guys had percussion cap muzzle loading muskets at that point. That may not sound like much but their effect on the battlefield was telling.

Now, the Grantville boys could’ve expended their resources on fielding those machine guns or Gatlings. And they may well have gotten a handfull of them out by the end of 1633. At which point they’d have been overwhelmed and slaughtered by the bad guys. Instead, by concentrating on what already existed that they could improve upon, they achieved that “few percentage points worth of difference” and came out ahead.

That’s what I’m arguing for here.



From Garth on 01/26/06


One more thing to add. Flint has a really good baseline for Grantville in the form of Mannington WV. He tries incredibly hard to stick to that baseline, right down to knowing the number and type of licensed ham radio stations on what would have been the day of the Ring of Fire.

Nothing that myself, or Brandon or the others have put forward violates that principle. Modern day USN carriers DO have significant onboard CAD capabilities (both mechanical and aeronautical engineering) for instance. Why? Because modern US carriers have at least a couple hundred ambitious officers, some of whom work on earning, say, a Masters of Aeronautical Engineering degree while on deployment.

Indeed, it would be very easy to argue that the MNF has design/engineering capabilities much more advanced than what some of us have been suggesting. For instance, carriers these days also have machine shops with computer-driven milling equipment more advanced than, say, what the Teutel guys use on “American Chopper” to custom fabricate parts for their motorcycles. Plug in a 3D model of an F-86 and a couple of hours later you have an incredibly precise windtunnel model. Take that capability and add 15 years so we’re in 2021 and who knows what kind of onboard fabrication a carrier like the Clinton might have.


From Garth on 01/26/06


But Madoc, what you are describing (arquebuses to machine guns) is several hundred years of technological leap requiring multiple generations of precursor technology.

You don’t need that sort of technology to jump from 1942 to 1945 or 46. The tooling used to build the XP-80 was lifted from the P-38 production line. The tooling used to build the F-86 from the P-51 line. The limiting factor therefore isn’t going to be in the production machinery … it’ll be in the design and prototyping of the aircraft.

We have a baseline for time-to-production – the example of Eastern Aircraft going from producing TBFs from kits to producing TBMs all on its own: 4 months.

We have a baseline for time-to-prototype – the example of the XP-80 being flightworthy 143 days from concept.

It’s the time-to-prototype that can be compressed by the technology brought by the MNF. By at least 1/3 to 1/2. This isn’t unreasonable, by any stretch.


From madoc62 on 01/26/06



The primary reason the P-80 got produced so fast was because Lockheed had, by that time, a whole buncha guys with a huge amount of design and production experience. In 1942/43 they don’t. They’ve got some but not like when Kelly got the go for the P-80. The primary reason North American was able to produce the F-86 design so quickly was because guys like Edgar Schmued, and others, had accumulated vast experience building thousands of Mustangs. As of 1942/43, North American was still expanding and wasn’t close to the giant it became when it was time for the Sabre.

As to the Eastern Aircraft bit, it’s vastly different from going to full-on production and assembly when you’ve got actual hardware, full-on production blueprints, production specs, and a legion of Grumman experts all on hand to help with the process and when you got a relative handful of 2021 techs – each getting pulled six ways to Sunday to help other _vital_ projects – who are providing technical advice based on their knowledge of circa 2021 aircraft, 2021 industrial techniques and 2021 materials. Yes, there’d be lots that’s readily transferable but there’d also be a pretty big gap between what the 2021 boys are used to (computer controled machining, ultra-high speed lathes, laser accurate measurements, ultrasonic welding, exotic alloys being routine, and building most of your airframe out of materials which wouldn’t otherwise be invented for some fifty odd years.)

Yeah, they’d work wonders. Yes, the Allied war machine would benefit tremendously. But I still think it’s too much of a leap to see P-80 clones zooming around by ’43. And it’d make more sense to have uplifted P-59’s zooming around then instead with re-engined P-54’s soon to follow.

Also, what would be more exotic, from a story telling perspective? The known P-80 or the relatively unknown P-54? What would be more “alien” to set the Birmoverse apart – a simple “fast forward five years and resume” or “where’d that thing come from?” change?



From Brandon Clark on 01/26/06


Maddoc, it isn’t going to take 7 years to design and build an engine producing 6000 pounds of thrust like the engine in the Saber, not with the knowledge and tech of the up-timers. They could concievably take the engines out of the Super-Hornets (I am assuming Super-Hornets are aboard the Clinton) and use those as blue-prints, granted they would have trouble with them.

A few of the pilots and jet turbine engine mechanics from the up-timers as well as some contemp designers could design an axial-flow engine on a computer (I am sure there are probably a few of those P&W or GE Reps onboard the Clinton would probably have a computer program capable of performing the virtual testing of the engine and airframe).

All the desingers have to do is feed into the computer the engine information and run the simulations through various virtual-world environmental conditions. The engine would be built in said computer with 1940s era technology and metallurgy (some of which was quiet advanced for its day such as the hulls of subs and in the power-plants of Warships and hydroelectric dams).

DoE and DARPA does nuclear-testing in a computer nowdays, and the aviation community uses computers for alot of stuff, and as I said I am betting those Company-Reps with the MNF have programs in their flexi-pads capable of doing VR Testing. I am also betting that the Tech-Reps who deal with the Air-Frames have flexi-pads and Data Slates with the necessary programs to build and design an aircraft in VR and test it in VR.

The end result is you can cut out a lot of time in R&D, Prototype Testing and the run-up to production.

With respect to Machinery, a rivet gun is still a rivet gun, a screw-driver is still a screw driver, a lathe is still a lathe, a milling machine is still a milling machine. Not alot of other tools got to be built, you could concievably use tools already in use.

No, we will not see the current industry mass-producing F-22s before 1950, but certainly well before the first flight tests of the YF-22 and YF-23 in our time if there is a need to produce such aircraft.


From savo on 01/26/06


(NOTE: the comment below is not actually from a journalspace member. Their IP has been logged.)

If the P 54 is taken up What is going to be the ground attack craft. I presume from the comment by Mr Birmingham “Panzer columns getting atomised by the RAF and USAAF” he intends to have the new craft kick the shit out of tanks. P54 has some cannon but no strike capability.


From Birmo on 01/26/06


You now what I’m going to do? Two things. I’m gonna shift this discussion to the permanent display so it can just go on and on and on. And I’m going turn it into a short story if I ever do that collection.


From SFMurphy on 01/26/06


You can have a room full of engineers and officers arguing about various things, John. Hell, you can do multiples.

One for tanks and Army stuff.

One for ships.

One for aircraft.

Northtown, MIssouri


From Brandon Clark on 01/26/06


I can see it now, a Captain from the MEU, a Captain from the 2nd ACR, maybe a Lt. from the Leyte Gulf, not mention a submariner, duking it out verbally with some bunch of contemps officers and various arms-companies all competing for various contracts….

I am going to push this thread to 200 and then shut up.


From SFMurphy on 01/26/06


Say, Brandon. You are not thinking that 2 Cav in the first novel is 2nd Armored Cav U.S. Army are you? I made the same mistake.

It is Australian Army 2 Cav, though they appear to be set up the same way as an Armored Cav Regiment.

I was confused for quite awhile until I got that one cleared up.

Northtown, Missouri


From madoc62 on 01/26/06



One thing that might help with this is some authorial fiat.

How many tech reps were aboard the various MF ships?

What level of tech support did they have at hand?

What is the industrial capacity of the various MF ships?

How fast do _you_ think the technology should progress?

Using Eric Flint’s “1632” as an example, he got into some pretty serious demographics before he did his story. He knew the total population of Grantville, knew its age makeup and knew, roughly, its skill set. Thus, both he and the anthology writers had a defined and intentionally limited resource to work with. As a result, there didn’t “just happen to be” any nuclear weapon specialist in Grantville when their Transition (“Ring of Fire” in Flint’s stories) took place. Nor any aeronautical expert, nor any guerilla warefare experts, etc.,. But there were a bunch of folks with other knowledge and skills as would befit and small coal mining town. So, how ’bout what you’ve got aboard the Clinton, et. al.?

This’d help resolve a lot of this current debate.



From Brandon Clark on 01/26/06


Murph, not really. I got that cleared up quickly. If they got a similar TO&E to the US 3rd ACR they can kick the ass of any Panzer Army the Krauts field. I wonder if the 2nd ACR would have MLRS, those things are awesome, a battery can obliterate a grid like you wouldn’t believe.


From badg3er on 01/26/06


i am beginning to be swayed by the arguments put foward here be various parties advocating that building these machines in the 40’s would be possible.

What i think might be the major hinderance in the availibilty of special materials
eg plastics and basic components
eg ceramics and basic components
eg trace elements for special steels and aluminium
eg tantilite used for electronics

no industry, or only small industry exsisted at that time for alot of these items, but that are the basic building blocks of modern machines.


From Garth on 01/26/06


Brandon –

The true limiting factor in building F-22s and/or F-23s is going to be flight control and targeting computers. Those aircraft are inherently unstable and require fly-by-wire tech just to get off the ground.

Actually, it would be dirt simple for for the MNF to get the ball rolling on building F-117 facsimiles. Afterall the -117 is just an aluminum structure/airframe utilizing faceting and covered with RAM (which the MNF should have hands-on-experience with courtesy of the Clinton and Kandahar’s aircraft battle damage repair and corrosion control guys, since they are flying F-22s, F-35s and navalized RAH-66s.) Since F404s will be a ways off there would have to be another powerplant option (possibly four of the lesser-powered jet engines), and since the same is true of FLIR/Laser self-designation you wouldn’t have a true precision-targeting capability.

But again the problem would be actually flying the thing, since without flight control computers the -117 can’t be controlled in flight.


From Garth on 01/26/06


Here’s another idea to mull over …

In the late 1980s the USN was getting ready to start the operational testing of a 13″ subcaliber sabot round for the 16″ naval rifles of the Iowa-class battleships. And DARPA had done the initial theoretical work on an 11″ subcaliber round.

The 13″ round had a 43-mile range and would have carried submunitions. It would have been targeted using the 1943-vintage analog computers the Iowas used for plotting fire.

The 11″ round was theorized at having a 100-mile range and would have been a GPS-guided penetrator.

Plans for both are pretty widely available around the internet, especially on battleship advocacy/fan sites. Given the assumption that the MEU’s Marines should have experience with both artillery ballistics and submunition artillery rounds, there’s a good probability of getting the 13″ round into production quickly.

The 11″ round would be a little more tricky because it was supposed to be GPS-guided. However, iirc in WoC the processing power of a Data Slate is given at something like a trillion calculations per second. So working out the ballistics and targeting properties wouldn’t be all that difficult, and combined with overhead drone spotting effective targeting should be possible.

Do we know what the status of the USN’s battleships are by the end of Designated Targets (ie, were any in Pearl Harbor when the Dessaix’s Laval attack took place)?

Of the USN’s 16″ battleships (I’ll leave the 14″ and 12″ ships out of this for now), two of the Colorados are available (the third, West Virginia, would be at Puget Sound being rebuilt), the two North Carolinas are available and the four South Dakotas are available (and please note, these ships carry 16″ rifles with lesser capability than those of the Iowas). The Iowa and NJ are due to commission in early and mid 1943 (respectively) and the Wisconsin and Missouri in early and mid 1944 (again, respectively).


From Brandon Clark on 01/26/06


Garth, nice idea on the sabot rounds to the Battleship guns. probably doable, the only reason why the Navy was looking at those extended range projectiles was for stand-off range because of advances in Soviet shore-based anti-ship defenses and a few other reasons.

I remember during the Doolittle Raid all of the Battleships sortied from Pearl and patroled the West Coast. Whether or not any Battleships were lost in the 2nd Attack on Pearl is for Birmo to decide.

But with all truth the 5 inch guns on the Destroyers and the 6-8″ guns of the CLs and CAs, the Navy really has nothing to worry about when it comes to naval gunfire in the support of amphib operations, it is just that a 16″ HC round can create a crater 200 feet in diamter and penetrate something like 36 feet of reinforced concrete.

Garth, I thought the F-117 reguired fly-by wire as well. An even better idea is to see if the up-timer’s computer power can solve the problems with Jack Northrop’s flying wings and the XB-35 and YB-49 bombers and possibly increase their stealth characteristics.

I would bet that men like Hap Arnold upon hearing about the B-2s successes would light a fire under the seats of Northrop about it….


From savo on 01/26/06


(NOTE: the comment below is not actually from a journalspace member. Their IP has been logged.)

Is anyone going to write a fanfic about contacting Nikoli Tesla, he lived in New York until 1943. He might give Kolhammer the plans for his teleforce ‘death ray’ instead of Hoover seizing them. Anybody know if the details have ever been released?


From ajdenny on 01/26/06


An Australian cavalry regiment is a battalion size unit, with no organic tank or artilley components. At the moment the regular army cavalry regiment is equipped with ASLAVs, while the Army Reserve (think National Guard) Regiment is equipped with M113 ACVs.


From Garth on 01/27/06



True about the -117 being FBW. One of its first nicknames was apparently “Wobblin Gobblin”, adopted after the pilots were briefed on what would happen should the FBW system go down in flight.

The sabot rounds for the BBs were also designed to support evolving Marine OTH vertical envelopment tactics, which had the Marines leveraging the new capabilities of the Osprey(which were supposed to be in service over 10 years ago, when the BBs were projected to have still been in service) to press much further inland during the initial assault than had previously been the case. If you were to take a D-Day map of Normandy, put an Iowa in the area where the USS Nevada was operating and extend the NGFS radius out from ~20nm to ~43nm or ~100nm the advantages of such a capability are astounding.


From Garth on 01/27/06


Madoc et al:

This article might be instructive on what is possible. Woman in England is building her own Mk.II Spitfire from scratch (using only original blueprints and assistance from someone who has worked with Spits).

Article describes her project as “an exact reconstruction of a Mark II Spitfire, one of the aircraft which took part in the Battle of Britain. “. The woman herself is cited as saying: “That is very different to what we are doing here. We are sticking exactly to the blueprints, making it like the originals were made.”

Now take this and extrapolate to the capabilies of not just one woman and a knowedgable friend over the course of 11 months working from her garage … but the entire industrial might of the US, circa 1942.


From ajdenny on 01/27/06


I wonder where she’s going to get the eight .303 Browning machine guns from?


From Brandon Clark on 01/27/06


Garth, it is amazing that after some 40 years of missile dominance in the Navy’s Surface Warfare fleet that the Navy is revisiting the gun… They already boosted the range of the 5 inch guns out to about 65 nautical miles, a 4 fold increase.

But you know what would really help the contemp navy in NGFS? Shells fused to detonate above the beach and enemy battle-positions. They might be able to rig up 16″ clusterbomb rounds.

The Iowa increased main-gunnery range out to something like 35,000 yards before the turret incident.

Birmo, do the Contemps know about Roswell yet?


From madoc62 on 01/27/06



I’ve never maintained that these “wonder weapons” couldn’t be made. I’ve never maintained that they wouldn’t be made. My main point has been that they wouldn’t get made as fast as some of you think. I’ve also maintained that trying to make such advanced weapons now is a waste of precious resources as by the time they hit the field the enemy will already have weapons there to counter them. And in the meantime their first generation advanced weaponry will have exacted a terrible toll on our forces.

I’ve said this is a question of “good enough” vs. “better.” Clearly, an F-86 or even a P-80 clone may well be “better” than an up-engined and up-winged P-59 Airacomet. But the Airacomet, with those improvements, might be “good enough” to dominate the battlefield at precisely the time when the Allies need that help.

Another way of looking at this is “opportunity cost.” The resources of the MF are very limited. They can only be stretched to speed up so many projects. By definition, effort spent on making an F-86 clone is effort that can not be spent doing anything else. So, what are you folks willing to give up in order to make an F-86 possible? As the 2021 folk and the ‘Temps are wearing themselves out trying to make that F-86, or even worse, a B-52, what else is going on?

As of the end of “Designated Targets” it’s now late 1942. The USAAF has just barely started its bombing campaign in Europe. In OTL its first raid on Germany didn’t happen until January of ’43. Now the 8th Air Force is going to face a Luftwaffe armed with jets and rocket planes. Weapons which it wouldn’t have otherwise faced until more than a year and half later. And we’d have to expect that the Germans are rushing their second generation of advanced weapons into production as fast as possible.

So, what are we doing in the interim?

Even with massive 2021 tech help it would still take most of ’43 to get something like an F-86 into the fight. First off you’d have to create the aircraft from scratch. Aside from the virtual world, nothing about it existed in ’42. The depictions of it on the MF’s hard drives will be exceptionally helpful – but they won’t be manufacturing blueprints. So the ‘Temps won’t be able to cookie-cutter the things out as if executing a contract spec order.

This new jet fighter will have to be designed, developed, tested, prototyped, produced, deployed, and made operational all from scratch. And aside from having a couple of aircraft deployed on a fast track for “sniper” type missions, it’s going to take months beyond that before the first jet fighter squadron would be operationally ready enough to deploy. That means late ’43, early ’44.

What’s happened in the interim? Facing a Luftwaffe armed with jet fighters and rocket planes of its own, how well do you think the 8th AF will have fared in trying to bomb Germany’s industrial capacity?

How well do you think that’ll go over in Congress when so many “We regret to inform you…” notices go out to the families of those bomber crews? What will the answer be from the Zone and from the Hammer? “Well, you see, we’re working on this really nifty new weapon and its gonna be ready real soon now…”

No doubt, it will be a wonder weapon once it’s fielded and makes it to the front in great enough numbers to be more than a pinprick. No doubt.

Is that the best way to do things? Is that the best way to make use of the 2021 resources?

How about, instead of devoting all that effort into those big ticket – and long lead time – items, the 2021 tech gets applied to projects that would be “good enough” instead?

How about we fast track the turboprop engine technology (from the Whales, E-2’s and helos aboard the MF) such that we can re-engine the B-17’s and B-24’s. Not so much for higher speeds but for higher altitudes. The higher those bombers can go, the more difficult it’d be for the Luftwaffe to intercept them. Once they got much above 30,000 feet, cannon based AAA becomes utterly ineffective. At that point all they’d have to deal with are those fighters and much above 35K feet is where the max ceiling of the 109’s and 190’s caps out. Hell, even the max ceiling of the 262’s isn’t much higher than that. Perhaps turboprop engined B-17’s and B-24’s could fly above both the flak and most of the fighters.

Such a re-engining would allow the 8th to get on with the job of pounding the Nazis into rubble, allow the American aviation industry to get on with the business of producing the aircraft it was already geared up for, and keep the pressure on the Germans. This, instead of waiting for the “better” jet engined B-52.

Yeah, we can do the “better” options. They’re sexier, they’re cooler – but are they really what we need _right_now_? If “good enough” keeps more of our guys alive whilst killing more of the enemy, _right_now_, then isn’t that the wiser use of our resources?



From Brandon Clark on 01/27/06


Madoc, I don’t believe a re-engined and re-winged version of the Airacomet would’ve made a decent jet fighter.

Now Madoc, here is the deal. An Invasion of Europe will not take place for a long-time yet, Germany’s production of -262s is delayed because Goering ordered revampments to the air-frame and engines. And I wouldn’t doubt that they are really lighting the fire under the follow-on to the -262 which will utterly tear the hell out of a revamped P-59.

Now, the Me-262 may wind up after the modifications with a top-speed of 580 mph, more then likely blowing a revamped P-59 to hell and back.

A redesign of the B-17s or B-24s for turbo-prop is needless, we got a much better bomber entering into production, the B-29.

Nevermind the utter worthlessness and utter stupidity of daylight strategic bombing.


From Garth on 01/27/06



The horse has actually left the barn on this, imho. At the end of Designated Targets there’s a squadron of “F-86s” in existance.

Whether those are built to original timeline production specs, built to some sort of FJ Fury-derived specs (since the F-86 was derived from the FJ), or built to some sort of hybrid spec is something Birmo alone knows.


From madoc62 on 01/27/06



Uh, I think you might be conflating some things. Kolhammer does _mention_ the F-86 Sabre but even in “Designated Targets” those birds have yet to take wing in any form but electronically.

Just look up above at John’s comment on this:

“Okay. Madoc. You’re right about the 86 not being carrier worthy. It wasn’t. I’d have to go back and check but my memory was of Kolhammer musing about such a development rather than actually driving it. He does ask Mike to head up a research project into the Sabre, but not as a carrier plane. Or at least I hope not. That’ll be one for the rewrite files if he did. In Last Good War, as per your suggestion, most of the Allies R&D effort goes into upgunning already vailable tech, or accelerating stuff that was just over the horizon. With one or two diffs.”



From savo on 01/27/06


(NOTE: the comment below is not actually from a journalspace member. Their IP has been logged.)

Imagine folks (coz that’s what we are doing here) 2004 a world war erupted between the Sino Soviet alliance and the United Commonwealth of America, the rest of the planet is dragged in, an American is steaming to engage the Sino Navy and suddenly another fleet from 2084 flashes into being, there is a bit of gun play and then every one realises they are on the same size. The Americans are on the ropes they need advanced help from the future fleet and all they get offered is a version of the F22 or even worse an FA/18 with other engines. bugger that! we already have that. You lot aren’t worth the trouble. You shot the shit out of our fleet and now offer us only what we already have. Close that development area down in California, it wasn’t worth it. I’d be somewhat disappointed too. The suggestion is, is that that is all that could be offered – nothing that they haven’t developed already or are close to fielding. An A4 is a type of airframe not seen in the 40′. It will be fururistic and au contraire buildable. How disappointed will the politians be, we stopped a production line of P-40’s to get this. A war is fought on many levels and not delivering futuristic technical aid will destroy any power or influence Kolhammer has. Its all he has to offer.


From madoc62 on 01/27/06



Using that same scenario, the 2084 fleet pops in and they offer us two different things; the first is to produce their F996-D1’s – which is their standard ubber-fantastic kill’em-all unbeatable air superiority fighting machine. Producing these F996-D1’s will take just about all their resources and time. It will also take them about a year before they can get the first one out of the new factories they’ll have to build to make them.

The other thing they offer us is applying their advanced technology to enhance our existing F-22’s such that they become three times as lethal. This can be done in but three months and, once set up, can be produced in our existing factories. Thus we’ll soon be able to apply this new stuff to all our F-22’s. So, within three or four months it will be as if we suddenly had three times the number of F-22’s we started with.

Option two isn’t very sexy. In fact, it’s kinda mundane.

Guess which one would win the war for us first? Guess how many of our guys would get killed whilst waiting for those oh-so-shiny-and-new F996-D1’s to start rolling out the factory doors?

That’s about the situation we’re discussing when talking about producing F-86’s vs. upgrading P-59’s.

Remember, “good enough” will win the war. Waiting around for “better” will lose it.



From Brandon Clark on 01/27/06


I am really done with this thread, I am getting tired of this thread being used by certain people to entertain their ideas of what if… But a few last statements.

The P-59 was a dead-end, even if you re-engine it and re-wing it, I do not believe it can hold the line against the Me-262. While a P-59 capable of going 530 mph with handling characteristics similar (which I doubt) to the Me-262 is being mass-produced, Germany might have developed a better Jumo engines capable of pushing the Me-262 to around 600 knots. The result, an aircraft that was obsolete when it was pushed into service and turning Luftwafe pilots into Aces.

Madoc, the Swoose Goose, the Ascender, the Black Bullet, and a revamped Airacomet will be obsolete before they are even mass-produced. More over, some of these aircraft have no growth potential other then as stop-gap measures. I for one would not want to buy aircraft which I would gbe forced to replace in just a few short years…

Look at the upgrades and versions of the F-86 including the bomber escort version the F-93, lots of growth potential there. The airframes inspired another successful aircraft, the F-100 Super Saber

Radar directed Flak has already made obslete the B-17, B-24 and to a degree the B-29, which is why the B-52 should be designed and pressed into service ASAP. And the AoT B-52 could probably bomb Europe from American shores which only the B-29 can barely do.

Reasons for mass-producing the B-29 now and R&D of a B-52 over up-grading current bombers: you will be facing Me-262s, Bf-109s and FW-190s armed with proximity or acoustic-fused rockets. Using B-17s and B-24s against missile and rocket armed Me-262s with 30mm cannons will not succeed. Moreover, who knows what advancements the Dessaix had in its own computer memory, enough to increase the range of the 88mm or enough for the Germans to leap-frog into surface to air missiles? Which would turn those B-17s and B-24s into so much burning wreckage falling to earth. Maybe the Germans find a way to give the Bf-109 and Fw-190 a higher ceiling, in which case your turbo-prop driven bombers are still vulnerable… And the result, a waste of tax-payers dollars…

Madoc, R&D and prototype work for an F-86 or even a B-52 is small potatoes compared to the work going on with the Manhattan Project, which is in any case of far more importance then debating the what-if scenarios of up-engined unproven aircraft….


From Garth on 01/27/06


Oh, c’mon Brandon … this is all just fun and games, right?

It being midnight here on the US East Coast, it’s time for me to turn in. But I thought I’d throw a few things out before doing so:

“General Henry H. Arnold, finished explaining why precious resources were being diverted from building B-17s to B-29s and even a prototype test squadron of B-52s.” narrative, Designated Targets, p.69

“I want to ramp up production of the F-86 by the end of Winter (1942/43), but I also want to be read to jump through another generation, up to a prototype F-5 by the end of next year (1943)” Kolhammer, Designated Targets, p.97

“Rosanna’s eyes glazed over as he squirreled on about the new F-86s. ‘… and they’re building them with ejector seats and drop tanks. They even reckon they’ll have heat seekers ready by the time the first squadrons are … ” Wally Curtis, Designated Targets, p.237.

And, of course, the kicker:

“There’s a test squadron of Sabers (sic?) out at Muroc, which I’d be happy to certify as battle ready. Two prototype midair refuelers are good to go …” Kolhammer, Designated Targets p.280.


From Brandon Clark on 01/27/06


Garth, it really is amazing how fast our industry geared up for war, utterly amazing. Our factories built more weapons of war then we had men to use them in combat. We even gave some to the British, the Free French, the Russians and various resistance movements, and we hadn’t tapped all of our available production capability.


From ajdenny on 01/28/06


I read in John Keegan’s Second World War the plan at first was to use this industrial potential to equip a 300-division army, in case the Soviets collapsed and by 1943 the United States was left fighting the Second World War on its own.


From madoc62 on 01/28/06



Well, color me stupid. You’re right. I completely forgot about that. With John stating that many F-86’s are ready in “Designated Targets” does indeed make moot further discussion as to whether developing the F-86 is a good idea.

I still stand on my original premise. I think such a build time, faster than either you or I came up with, is far too enthusiastic. I also don’t think it the best course. However, that’s not what John wrote and I’m not the type to carry on in the face of facts.

OK, so we’ve got F-86’s in production and entering squadron service as of February / March ’43.

B-29’s will be joining them. I wonder if they’ll be straight up 29’s or if they’ll sport the turbo-props (a.k.a. “compound engines”) of the B-50’s.

In any event, B-52’s won’t be long behind them.

And all this with air to air refueling.

It’ll be nice to see the F-5 get its due. In OTL that Northrop product never got the props it should’ve as it was always operating in the shadow of its bigger, heavier, and more expensive stablemates.

Yeah, ’43 is going to be a bad year for the Axis.

I do wonder what the Germans can come up with to face this? There’s likely to be at least one “Luft 46” afficianado aboard the MF who’s data files worked their way into German hands. But the vast majority of those “vunder veapons” were no more than paper studies and had they been translated to actual flight test would’ve been horrendous in the air. But, desperate times make for desperate measures (a la the Natter) so perhaps we’d see a profusion of such attempts.

This also begs the question of just what the Soviets will be up to. Their OTL post-war jet technology was deeply indebted to Rolls Royce and that’s just not gonna happen this time ’round. So, what are they going to field?




From Garth on 01/28/06


Hey Madoc, no worries, eh?

Whether they go to B-29s or B-50s is a good question. The B-50s weren’t turboprops, they just used R-4360 Wasp Major engines instead of the R-3350 Cyclone engines of the B-29 (although later -50s used in the aerial tanker role had two J47 jet engines as well). One big advantage the B-50 had was and aerial-boom style refueling capability, something that could be integrated into the -29 early on. Whether the Cyclones (which weren’t exactly the most reliable of engines early on) could handle the additional flight time is another question entirely.

One big advantage that could be gained in this area is that Consolidated put considerable effort into building a B-29 fallback option called the B-32 Dominator. Since the ‘temps know that the B-29 will be successful, throwing money at a decent but completely redundant aircraft is no longer necessary. Consolidated gets freed up to focus on other things (like maybe the B-36, should the B-52 prove too difficult to rush into production).

My guess is that the Luftwaffe would try for a Ta-183/MiG-15 facsimile, since Kurt Tank probably already has the concept bouncing around pretty well in his gray matter (a good reason for trying to either kidnap or otherwise take him out of the equation). The possibility that the Germans/Japanese have a copy of “Yeager” in their data is problematic … since he goes into a fair amount of detail on his experiences test flying a captured MiG-15, including lots of information on its flaws (there’s also more information on his MiG testing in the latest copy of Fine Scale Modeller magazine).

The Soviets were absolute masters of taking equipment apart and reverse-engineering it in very short order. Then evolving it. The MiG-15/Ta-183 is a good example, but an even better example is the B-29. From three USAAF examples that diverted to Siberia starting in July of 1994, the Soviets had their own Tu-4 copies flying within two years (Summer 1946).

It’s hard to say what happens in the AoT world. The Soviets probably would have obtained some historical information and plans from the Vanguard, but there’s a lower chance of it being as substantive as what the Clinton probably would have been carrying (not only because the crew is smaller, but because the Clinton is more likely to have the type of people on board who would want/need such information). They don’t have the greatest of industrial base (relative to the US). And they certainly aren’t going to lay their hands on actual examples of B-29s or Ta-183s.

Indeed, remember that Stalin had a very nasty habit of purging scientists and engineers who didn’t meet his exact specifications and deadlines. When the Soviets reverse engineered the B-29 into the Tu-4 they were so paranoid about the orders to build “exact copies, right down to the rivets) that they even included FOD dings/dents and BDR patches found on the combat-veteran B-29s they were working from. If Stalin says he wants a B-29 or MiG-15, my guess is that the biggest impact will be a lot of dead Soviet aeronautical engineers and industrial workers.


From tygertim on 01/28/06


Hey, Madoc, Fly!

Gotta Q. for you. There was an aircraft at the end of WW2 that almost made the show, called, (I think) the flying Flapjack. (It was a prop job,I forget the Designation for this plane, help me out here . . .) Went into production, but the war ended before it saw combat, and the order was canceled because the brass was interested in jets. Could you put jet engines in that baby? I think there was a prototype as early as ’39 but I could be mistaken. I would think it would work.
It’s not like the plans for an ice carrier ( made from a newly developed matrerial, and almost put into production by the allies, [3000 ft long by 500 ft] which is too off the wall. The flapjack was naturaly low radar signature, a plus.
What do you think???

See ya at the bar, buddy



From madoc62 on 01/28/06



Yeah, Baen Books strikes again, he? 🙂

As to the Chance Vought V-173 / XF5U “Flapjack,” that is one aircraft which really didn’t much of a future once the jet age dawned.

Its chief proponent, Charles Zimmerman, came up with the concept of a low aspect wing (i.e. one that was a short in span (tip to tip) but long in width (front to back)) realizing that an aircraft with such a wing could fly at extremely low speeds. The problem was that such wingforms generate large vortices at their wingtips and that imposes too much drag to make the aircraft useful. Zimmerman’s solution was to put the aircraft’s propellors out at those wingtips and thus counter the vortices. The V-173 & XF5U’s props were also special in that they were “hinged” much like a helicopter rotor’s.

The idea for the F5U was to provide a carrier based aircraft that could slow itself down to almost a standstill before it landed on the carrier. This being seen as somethng of an improvement over the existing types…

While the prototype, the V-173 was promising, there’s been much speculation that the XF5U would’ve had severe problems ever living up to its potential. The horsepower was there but the transmission gearing went through two ninety degree bends and that was a built-in garaunteed massive reduction of what would reach those props. Still though, it was an interest concept.

Now, if you removed those props and substituted jet engines instead of those Pratt & Whitney R-2000-7’s, I don’t know what sort of problems you’d be back to with the vortices deal. Perhaps wingtip endplates? In any event, the Navy didn’t see much future in the configuration even though it really liked the idea of a dead slow carrier approach.



From madoc62 on 01/28/06


In OTL the Soviets were no slouches when it came to aircraft design. In the early 30’s they led the way in a number of instances. And while the bulk of the Red Air Force was flying obsolete birds when the Nazis attacked, the Soviet aviation industry soon was fielding a number of excellent designs which were every bit as good as those in the West. The first Soviet rocket powered interceptor, the BI-1, took flight in May of ’42 a mere eight months after Willy’s “Little Flea” had taken to the air.

The main thing holding them back though, would be the jet engines. At the end of WWII, the best turbojets in the Soviet Union were the ones the took from Germany. And that’s the way it remained until that infamous “industrial exchange” with the UK.

If the Soviets step into the fray they’re going to be at a severe disadvantage on a number of fronts. The Nazis and the Allies will be fielding very advanced aircraft which the Russians will have no effective counter to. They’ll also be hamstrung by no longer having access to all that high quality high octane fuel which was coming across to them from the US. That means they’ll either have to develop it themselves, which will take up precious refining capacity, or force the Red Air Force to make do with less “tiger in the tank” when going up against the enemy’s jets.

Aside from the technical aspects, the Soviets are also going to have a helluva time fielding an army _and_ keeping themselves fed at the same time. Thanks to the massive food exports from the US, in OTL they didn’t have to choose, they were able to do both. Without those American foodstuffs keep the Russian breadbasket full, the Soviets will have to keep hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of troops back on the farm, farming. That will have a telling effect on any battlefield. The Soviet Union was perceived as having this bottomless pit of manpower to fight with. That simply wasn’t so. In OTL they were about tapped by ’45. In the Birmoverse, with having to do their own farming, that manpower crunch might hit a lot sooner and harder.

I’m also wondering what the current doctrine is regarding air to air refueling. To the best of my knowledge, we’ve not faced a situation where our enemies have sufficient air to air capacity to seriously threaten our tanker assetts. We’ve usually gone in with complete air dominance thus it really didn’t matter where we “parked” those tankers. Conducting operations over Europe would be something else and again. Thus we’d run into the “short leg” problem of those early jets. Even with “uplifted” jet engines and carrying drop tanks, the F-86 doesn’t have all that much tankage. Flying into Germany might not be so bad. But pulling long flights into the heart of Russia would be different.

Any ideas?



From ajdenny on 01/28/06


Yeah, jets don’t have the legs for long range fighter escort duties like the (compared to the F-86) venerable old P-51D. If there’s still going to be a strategic bombing campaign it’ll have to be with bombers that can fly high and / or fast enough to survive.

Like President Roosevelt, another person who will probably live longer because of the arrival of the MNF is rocket scientist Robert Goddard. I wonder if his team would be tasked with trying to build A-4s (the rocket, not the Skyhawk), ICBMs, or jump straight to cruise missiles?


From madoc62 on 01/28/06



Let’s see now…

The P-59 Airacomet may or may not have been a “dead-end” if it had been upengined and rewinged. At the very least it would’ve been a faster machine and one which would’ve gotten into to the front quicker. As it stands, we’ll never know.

I remember reading somewheres that the Air Force did a fly off between a P-80 and an Me-262 after the war and the Messerschmitt dusted the Shooting Star. Now, perhaps that was an early model of Kelly’s work but it is worth noting.

The R-40C aircraft are all “might have beens” due to their under-performing engines. Of the three, the Swoose, even though it was a twin boom pusher prop, was the most conventional in layout. It was also the largest and it had none of the stability problems which afflicted both the Ascender and the Bullet. As far as growth potential goes, the Swoose had that in spades. It was a much larger aircraft than the Sabre and it’s nose was entirely available for installation of true airborne intercept radar or the like. The F-86, with its nose mounted inlet only had room for a gun ranging radar, unless you made substantial modification to it, as in the case of the Sabre Dog. Still though, the Swoose would’ve had an advantage over the Sabre simply due to being bigger as that would allow more systems to be installed as well as the carriage of more fuel internally. That’s hardly a “dead end” nor “stop-gap” design. And while John has squadrons of F-86’s coming out the door before Groundhog Day ’43, I still think the reality would’ve favored upgrading the hardware that was already in existance rather than creating something entirely new.

My point about the flak wasn’t regarding the difficulties of targeting aircraft flying at 30,000 feet. That’s but a simple matter of ballistics and hoping that the target aircraft keeps on a predictable course. Rather, it was the fact that ground based AAA gun fire simply could not reach those altitudes. Lofting a shell six miles straight up is no mean feet for a cannon. I remember reading accounts where both the USAAC and the RAF tried running B-17 missions at that altitude. They found the Nazi interceptors had a much harder time running their attacks and they also found that the flak was only able to reach altitudes several thousand feet below them. The problem was that the engines simply weren’t rated for those heights. They bleed oil like it was water so the aircraft could not keep up at those altitudes for very long lest they run their engines dry. That would’ve been a Bad Thing(tm).

My point remains about “what do you do in the meantime?” if you’re switching over to B-29’s. The Boeing XB-29 Superfortress made its first flight on September 21st, 1942 and in OTL its first combat mission was still about two years after that. Sure, you can speed up the prototyping and all that but you still have to get enough of the birds produced to have a force worth fighting with. That also takes training the crews, setting up the logistical tail, and then deploying the whole show to the theater.

Yes, getting a more advanced bomber into the skies would be a good thing. But doing all we could to improve the existing machines – the ones which would bear the brunt of the fighting until those new ones arrive – would also be a good thing. Up-engining the B-17’s and 24’s so that they could at least stay above the flak would be worth it.

As to the Manhattan Project, I think the design of the Gadget would be simple enough. It’s the getting enough Plutonium to make it go bang. As I understand it, the current preferred method is through the use of centrifugal separation. That takes some awesomely high speed centrifuges and that takes some awesomely precise ball bearings. A bit outside the tech level of the 1940s. So, gaseous diffusion it is and that takes a lot of time. Perhaps, amongst the stored documents the Nazis retrieve out of the Dessaix’s portion of the Fleenet, there was a copy of Gingrich’s and Fortschen’s “1945” and thus make all haste to attack Los Alamos and Oak Ridge.

It’d be safe to say that after the Transition our A-bomb production facilities would be targets of choice and that there’d be no way the Germans would be putting any heavy water on any Norwegian ferryboats.



From madoc62 on 01/28/06



Seeing as how Goddard died of throat cancer in _1945_, I think it a safe bet that 2021 meds are headed his way long before then. And coming up with an ICBM would with a useful payload would be of enromous help in punching past both the Luftwaffe’s jet powered interceptors and also in reaching deep into the Soviet Union to get at its factories. You’d also have to think the guy would be deeply satisfied to learn how truly right he was in his rocket quest.



From Brandon Clark on 01/28/06


Madoc, Hanford might be a better target for the Krauts, especially since it is closer then Los Alamos or Oak Ridge…

The AoT Saber may be designed with an inlet-nose design like the F-8 or the F-16. Making it capable of day and night A2A. Thus you wouldn’t have to build a different aircraft for night-interceptions and night-escort…

AD, the F-86 was modified into a completely different aircraft, the F-93A, with an unrefueled combat range of 2000 miles. It was specifically designed as a jet-fighter escort for bombers.

Now I will admit the Swoose Goose looked stellar, but it also looks fragile, like it would break up if the pilot sneezed strong enough. Further more, having a radar so close to a pair of 37mm cannon would probably render the radar ineffective after a few bursts from such a heavy recoil gun. Unless the guns are replaced by a battery of Ma Deuces, which are going to loose effectiveness against larger aircraft and well-armored ground targets.

As for Strategic Bombing, it is a wash. If the Germans find anything about Strategic Bombing in the Dessaix’s banks, their production methods will radically change to a distributed production system (and the cost-gain equation of a Strategic Bombing Campaign in that scenario changes to the Nazis and Imperialists favor).

Why shatter a country’s infrastructure, turn its cities into rubble and destroy its economy knowing full well that you will have to occupy it for some months and invest alot of money in rebuilding it?

Now Madoc, suppose we do that, upgrade the B-17s and B-24s into bombers capable of flying at 30,000+ feet? And Germany instead of building original Me-262s build Me-262s with the capability of flying at 35,000 feet and improved engines (namely reliability). The result is bad, a lot of bomber crews will still get shot to hell. While we are upgrading B-17s and B-24s with turbo-props which would take money from a higher-flying, more reliable bomber capable of carrying a larger bombload futher and faster.

So instead of being able to put B-52s into production sooner, say around late 44 or late 45, we can’t put them into production until late 47. We could wind up having maybe a hundred B-52s capable of flying above flak and Me-262s sometime before the end of 1945.

But instead we get them in service sometime around 1947 just when guess what, a much better German fighter armed with bomber-destroying AAMs is able to counter the B-52s. The result, a lot of shattered up-lifted B-17s and B-24s with maybe a hundred thousand dead and B-52s which are now having to fight against a well-equipped opponent when they could’ve been built 2 years earlier and fly over Europe with impunity…

Now Madoc, it is quiet possibly that a few Atomic Bombs will be built earlier. Could the B-17 and B-24 carry the early Manhattan Project Bombs? The Avro Lancaster might have. Guess what, the B-29 could, the A-Bombs was one of the reasons why the designed it.

With your ideas, what would you get, several 20 Kiloton (or possibly 50 Kt) Atomic Bombs that cannot be used, and a weapon that cannot be used is a useless weapon. That I think is the best reason to start production of the basic no-frills B-29 as soon as possible and to hell with up-grading B-17s and B-24s.

Now, with Germany not having to worry about the USSR, the full-force of the Wehrmarcht and the Luftwafe is capable of being brought to bear against any Anglo-American Invasion, which means we probably could not do it in the spring of 45. There is no way I can see the war ending before the dates it ended in our time line.


From Garth on 01/29/06


Regarding the issue of fighter cover for the bombers, I wonder if the ‘temps would take a second look at the FICON/Parasite concept. The XF-85 was a complete disaster, but the USAF was also going to try using an F-84. IIRC the program was cancelled (thanks to aerial refueling advances) before the modified F-84 could be trialed.

Another option would be to change bomber tactics. IIRC Designated Targets indicates at least a preliminary precision-bombing capability, which will be used to cover the extraction of Brasch’s wife and son. I don’t know how reasonable a terrain-following capability would be, but I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility. With significantly improved bombing accuracy and a good down-in-the-weeds ingress/egress profile possible, massive high-level formation bombing becomes obsolete — you can switch to low-level penetration bombing by 3-plane cells or by individual aircraft.

Incorporating some sort of LO capability into ‘temp aircraft is another possibility. WoC talks about how SH-60s have been “stealthed” using some kind of composite RAM tiling. And even today the Brits have had some success at reducing the RCS of their Tornados by putting RAM on leading edges and intakes. The result isn’t a true Stealth capability … but added stealthiness that significantly decreases the detection range.


From savo on 01/29/06


(NOTE: the comment below is not actually from a journalspace member. Their IP has been logged.)

Garth: The Allies had ground mapping radar early in the piece. They had auto pilots that do the same thing as todays (I doubt as quickly) a marriage of both of these starts to give you terrain avoidance ‘nap of the earth’ flying.


From badg3er on 01/29/06


I hear that riding an F111 on NoE is quite the thrill.

Oh to be a pilot

again from what i have heard they have to “dial back” the sensitivity to avoid rupturing kidneys.


From Brandon Clark on 01/29/06


Badger, have you ever heard of the only F-111 crew to get a fighter kill credited to them?

Inreasing the range and accuracy of the 88mm FlaK gun is a simple matter of projectile, barrel and propellant. The Germans can very easily through ballistic improvements maintain accuracy, and by the way, the 88/L71 was capable of placing shells higher then 40,000 feet.

I do not see the reason for giving B-17s and B-24s turbo-props to allow them to operate above 35,000 feet, especially since bomb accuracy suffers in proportion to altitude…

A much better idea is this; jamming and chaff to decfrease Nazi radar effectiveness and go night-bombing…


From Garth on 01/29/06


badg3er … I’ve heard that flying the F-111 NoE in “go to war” mode (“hard” ride setting) can do serious damage to kidneys, backs and skulls … as well as leave a seriously nasty stench in the capsule from the pilot’s and WSO’s last meal coming back up.

Brandon … IIRC it was an EF-111 crew that got the kill.


From Brandon Clark on 01/29/06


Garth, you might be able to attach a refueling probe on the wings of aircraft like the P-47 and P-51, something to look into. Just need the fuel-hose out of the way of the prop, which they do on modified Blackhawks and Sea Stallions.

Stealth, a German experimental design used plywood impregnated with carbon as a radar-stealthy skin, and the Mosquito (one of the best damn aircraft in the War) was pretty LO when it came to radar….

Low altitude (less then 500 feet) decreases exposure to enemy AAA and Radar that is used to direct Night Fighters though it puts alot more stress on the bomber crew and exposes the bomber crew to dangers that they wouldn’t be exposed to flying high-altitude, such as the common infantry-men’s rifle.


From ajdenny on 01/29/06


Reading The Dambusters, low altitude flying in a Lancaster meant the turret gunners were just as likely to engage ground targets as night fighters. Certainly different from the image I had anyway, of waves of B-17s flying at 30,000 feet plus.


From Brandon Clark on 01/29/06


I just did some research, the first night-vision goggles and optics were used in WWII, mainly as scopes on sniper-rifles.


From savo on 01/30/06


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I figure since I pay my taxes I should be allowed a flight (NoE) in an F111, straight down Bungonia gorge going the rat below the lip of the rim.
Brandon: Both sides had the IR low light stuff (generation 0)


From Garth on 01/30/06



Agreed on the fueling probe. In fact, iirc some early US jet fighters had a refueling probe integrated into one of their external tanks (the Israelis are also trying this with their F-16s).

As long as the probe is outside the prop arc and extends far enough out (on helos the probe is telescoping), there shouldn’t be a problem.


From Brandon Clark on 01/30/06


Garth, are you talking about buddy refueling? The Navy still uses that system as well as the Probe-Drogue method.


From Garth on 01/30/06



No, not buddy stores (although that’s another concept we can add to the to-do list, because the A-1 Skyraider had the ability to act as a buddy tanker) … but the actual probe system being part of an external tank. The probe would telescope forward out of the tank to engage the drogue from the tanker.

I can’t remember which US aircraft could do this, but I think the FJ Fury series could. The Israelis were definitely working on such a system for their F-16s (which, like other F-16s have a native flying boom refueling set up).

For relatively little cost (some fuel space and some added weight in the probed tank) there’s a good deal of gain, not only the ability to be the receiver in a multi-point refueling exercise, but also the modularity of the system (when you need it you put the tank on, when you don’t you take the tank off … no need to modify/add weight to the actual airframe).


From savo on 01/30/06


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18 more posts and its hit 200. to keep on topic kinda: Madoc how was your first day?


From ajdenny on 01/30/06


I was reading (as ever) during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistani War the Pakistani F-86s got they’re collected asses kicked by Indian pilots flying Folland Gnats. The Gnat became the chief demonstration plane of the RAF Red Arrows.


From tygertim on 01/30/06


John, et al;

Look up Henry Kaiser, Liberty ships. I live on the west coast (California) and I used to live near where Kaiser had his shipyard in WW2. On a bet between to building crews, they assembled an entire liberty ship in 4 (!) days. What was important here were the manufacturing methods, which are sure to be applied by all the parties. So, Think:
Assualt ships with integrated landing craft, similar to today’s vessels, i.e. armed and dangerous, and takes the troops up ON the beach.
Put claymores on ships sides, hooked to radar for missles, and maybe torpedos? Mulitpal units for extended action?
Aircraft Carrier designs – tweaked with ideas from 1960 – 2021, (Spy radar? R2D2’s? ect.) and designed AROUND the ships capibilites.
Mountbatten was taken by a brit scientist who invented an ice material (perkilite?) as stong as or stronger than steel, (very strong, bullet ristant, fourty ft blocks making the ships sides) which would float. This was the basis for the “ice ships”. They had a proposal for an aircraft carrier 3000 ft long by 500 ft wide, to be used as floating airbases for B-25 Mitchell bombers. Due to a shift in stratagy to island hopping, they were never built.
Not all of the usefull aircraft have to be future designs; Retool the Mosquito bomber for ground support a la the warthog, and which can, even with the improved versions be built using local resources.

The AK is very sexy, no doubt about it. Just a suggestion for a stop gap weapon:
the korean war version/upgrade of the M1. It used a clip rather than a stripper clip and was very reliable and very little retooling at the factory. Give it a grenade launcher on this baby, wheeee!

Recoiless Rifles: I’m sure somebody could have some real fun with these.

Not so sexy, but necessary – modern bridging units for Engineer Bats.

All of this is off the top of me head, use or not gratis –



From Brandon Clark on 01/30/06


AJ, by the same token a force of better trained Israeli tankers using older M48/60s kicked the butts of better Soviet tanks in the hands of a less well trained unit of Syrians.

The Indian Air Force was probably better trained then the Pakis, had better tactics and possibly better control… Discipline and training makes a world of difference. Just look at the F-4’s (an abysmal dog-fighter) against the Mig-21 (a much better dog-fighter).

tyger, why the AK. I fired them, I can’t hit crap with them past 200 yards. I fired M-14s, beautiful weapons and I could hit man-sized targets past 500 yards (And they are full auto). And this rifle is based on the M1 Garand and the M1 Carbine (the latter being developed into a full auto after the war)

Grenade-launchers both the rifle-mounted and the automatic kind are awesome….

Bakelite, a synthetic material used on the M-16 (for damn near everything) was made before the First World War. This would drastically reduce the weight of the M1 Garand, Carbine and other rifles used by the Allies. Which is a very good thing since a soldier lives and dies by the total weight of the kit he carries in the field.


From madoc62 on 01/31/06



A couple of quick things about the XP-54 Swoose.

Mounting the radar in the nose along with the guns might indeed make for some shock and vibration problems. Nothing unique there as that’s a problem for avionics even to this day. Unless there’s some other change in the Birmoverse, I’d not expect that “fine General Motors product” i.e. the 37mm cannon, to see much use here either. The thing had rather poor mechanics and was so failure prone it was almost always pulled from the field as fast as it got there. So, perhaps it would’ve been a nice big batter of 20mm’s.

As to the XP-54’s structural integrity, well, the R-40C specification was for _fighter_ aircraft and that meant that in order to meet that spec the aircraft had to be built to withstand fighter operations. Nothing that I’ve read about those birds indicated any of them were noted for their structural failings. So, I rather doubt that the XP-54 was “fragile” in any way.



From madoc62 on 01/31/06



Thanks for asking. It went well enough. Typical first day in a big company – no PC, no phone, and an orientation that was excruciatingly boring. Well, at least the IT portion of it was. The security part was interesting as they made clear who the enemy was, what the threat is, and just what the penalties are if we screw up.

Hopefully, today I’ll have a fully connected PC. Of course, with the security situation being what it is, there’s precious little, if any, Web browsing allowed whilst at work. It seems this company is intent on having its workers actually work whilst on the company dime. Imagine that.

OK, off to work for me!



From savo on 01/31/06


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I was reading that the Swoose had to have an armoured engine cowling and cockpit upgrade which dropped its top speed markedly by adding an unexpected 1200lbs (not 100% on that weight). The first proto type crashed fairly early in the piece. It had radiators in the wings and the ejector seat ejected downwards which allowed the canopy to be much heavier and bullet resistant


From Brandon Clark on 01/31/06


I like the look of the air-frame, the only thing I would worry about is its G-Loading and what a burst of 30mm fire from an Me-262 would do to those fragile looking booms…

IMHO: The F-86 was a more robust air-frame that was later modified into an interceptor and long-range bomber escort, and the base airframe served admirably as a FB. A gun-armed Dog Saber with guns mounted on the air-intake couling (like the F8/A7) might be able to carry a more advanced radar that wouldn’t require a second man (like the other radar night fighters such as the Black Widow).

Looking at the Swoose Goose and those other XP aircraft, I don’t see alot of growth capability in them. The F-86 in AoT maybe able to be further upgraded as new equipment is produced and serving for perhaps a decade, it may also have the capability of going super-sonic with the addition of the right engine. I doubt the Swoose would be capable of hitting 600 safely…

As I see it, technology would rapidly out-grow the airframes…


From madoc62 on 02/01/06



Among the many different aircraft Vultee designed were a number of dive bombers. Thus I think the airframe structural guys on the Vultee staff who came up with the Swoose would probably have some idea of how to make their craft pretty robust and well able to deal with the G-loading expected for a fighter.

Also, the XP-54 was hardly the only twin boom fighter plane out there. Aside from the Lockheed P-38 there was also this little number:

The deHavilland Vampire

Now, the Lightning did have some problems with its tail early on in its service. The Lockheed engineers tracked that down to poor aerodynamics ahead of the tail unit and not due to any “fragility” of the twin tail booms themselves.

As to a burst of 30mm cannon fire being a bad thing for the Swoose, well, cannon fire tends to be a bad thing for aircraft, period. The Germans calculated that it only took one or two 30mm hits at the wing root to blow off a B-17’s wing in its entirty. If the Me-262’s guns could (and did) do that to something as massive as a B-17 then they’d be well able to damage anything else – be it a P-54 Swoose or an F-86 Sabre.

The F-86D Sabre “Dog” went over to all missile armament because there simply wasn’t enough room in the airframe for its guns. The early radars were that big and bulky and the Sabre airframe was that small. There simply wasn’t room in the F-86 airframe to place that much more hardware. That’s not the case with the P-54 Swoose as its forward fuselage was made large enough to mount _two_ of those 37mm GM cannons. Those things were massive guns and their ammo feeds and related hardware took up a whole lot more real estate than a 20mm mounting.

I’m not sure how you’re figuring the F-86 had more growth potential than the Swoose. The Sabre’s airframe was a whole lot smaller and more compact. That was a built-in limit right from the start. The bigger the initial airframe is the more room there is to play for additions, change in missions, more systems, and other modifications. That just ain’t the case for the smaller birds. Yes, North American did come up with its “F-86C” in which it tried to meet the Air Force’s need for a long range escort fighter. The Air Force took one look at that huge aircraft and called North American on its bluff. The F-86C was really an entirely new aircraft and bore little resemblance to its Sabre lineage. Thus the Air Force called a rose a rose and it became the YF-93A. So much for the basic airframe of the F-86 having more room for growth.

I’m not going to try and attack the Sabre for any “deficiencies” as it had few of them to begin with and that’s not really the point here. The F-86 was an excellent fighter for its day. It was perhaps the best gun armed jet fighter of the late 40’s and early 50’s. And having it available in 1943 is a heckuva thing. You’ll note though, how fast Kolhammer wants to move beyond the F-86 to having a F-5 analog. You’ll also note that even with the huge abundance of F-86 airframes being around no one, to the best of my knowledge, ever tried making the thing into a supersonic fighter. This, despite it being cheaper to up-engine and modify existing airframes rather than make an entirely new aircraft for the task.

The F-86 was, and is, an excellent design. By the mid-50’s though, the state of the art had moved on. In the Birmoverse, even if we’d gone with jet engined P-54’s, I’d fully expect the pace of aircraft evolution to be just as fast and just as remorseless.

And all this does point out the basic fact here. We are discussing the Birmoverse. As much as I would like to have seen those R-40C machines get their chance to shine in this alternate universe, that’s not what’s in the book. So, instead of continuing to debate all this cleric pinhead density stuff, I suggest we move on to the matters at hand.



From tygertim on 02/01/06


I mentioned the AK because Brimo had mentioned in DT that they were making them. I had the thought that doing the korean war mods to the M1 (thats the M14?) would be simpler and cheaper than a whole new set of tools and dies.

Gotta nother stupid Q for you. How would the A10 Warthog work out in the ’43 enviornment as a working plane??? Would it be some kinda continder for the dog fighting role as well as ground support? I still think modifying the Mosquito would do really well for ground support and tactical bombing. What do you think?

What would it take for Kolhammer to do an air launch of a rocket to obit with a survalance satlite as payload? Wasn’t there an option to use a bomber to take the rocket up really high and then launch???

Thanks much;



From Brandon Clark on 02/01/06


Madoc, what do you think, A-10 or the Su-25?

A-10 is slower then later versions of the Bf-109 and FW-190. But it has a kick-ass tank-busting cannon…

Fix the problems with the Bell Airacobra? Or re-gun the P-47?


From Brandon Clark on 02/01/06


Wait, maybe the A-26 and B-26? The A-26 was field modified to carry 6 .50 cal in the nose, 8 under each wing, two more on the outside of the fuselage plus the pair of dorsal machine guns for a total of 18 M2 fifty caliber machine guns firing forward… You might be able to fit something as big as the GAU-7 in the nose….


From madoc62 on 02/01/06



I’d have to think that the A-10 would make for one kick-ass fighter plane – circa 1943 and for a few years beyond that.

The thing was fast – by WWII standards – and due to its low-level close air support mission requirements, circa the 1970’s, it was also highly maneuverable. Add to that the fact that the thing is built like a tank and has that little pea shooter aboard and, yeah, I think it would’ve done well.

As to the Mossie down in the dirt, I don’t think that would’ve fared quite so well. The AAA would likely have shreded such a machine. They were robust enough for their normal missions but air to mud wasn’t one of them. Staying high and fast was.

Getting some sort of satellite resources available would be a high priority in the Birmoverse. The 2021 communications ability is a huge force multiplier for the MNF folk and its lack is sorely felt. So, getting some commsat up there would be a Good Thing(TM) as would a few weather sats. Then, just to be greedy, a few spysats would really help the Allies figure out what Uncle Joe was up to.



From Garth on 02/01/06



Remember that the B-25 was modified in its G and H versions to carry the 75mm cannon from the Chaffee light tank in the nose. Putting a GAU-8 into the nose shouldn’t be a problem, although the ammo drum may end up extending back into the bomb bay.

Also, in the AX competition the A-10 was opposed by the Northrop A-9, which bore a striking resemblence to the Frogfoot. It too was designed around the GAU-8.


From Brandon Clark on 02/01/06


The best thing for CAS really is a better system, as I understood it in Europe our guys didn’t always have air support and also weren’t really able to communicate with those aircraft.

Another thing that would help is try to get some night and all-weather capability to existing air-frames. It really would’ve helped in the Battle of the Bulge…

I am guessing some British and Austrailian sailors with the MNF might remember the old Goalkeeper CIWS system, they could probably sketch out a GAU-7 in a pinch. I am also guessing that in the weapon magazines of the Clinton and Kandahar exist some more conventional weapons, like Mavericks, Rockeye cluster bombs and hydra rockets and pod launchers. Mavericks might be a bit off, but cluster bombs and those rockets (which I am pretty sure are more accurate then the rockets in use during WWII).

As for air-frames, it depends on the philosophy. The A-10 can fly real low, get in the mud where it belongs, tear stuff to hell and back. But its slower speed and bigger target profile would make it an easier target for enemy gunners and the ‘Hogs would take more damage. I am not real sure that it can out-turn a Messerschmit or Focke-Wulf *shrugs*

A faster aircraft could ingress and egress faster, climb faster to an altitude above the light AAA cannons (20mm~40mm), but it would probably suffer payload, loiter time and accuracy. The up-side is that it might take less damage and would be better capable of fending off dedicated fighters.

I still like the Airacobra’s center-line mounted cannon (not the cannons itself merely the placement).

Don’t forget the Typhoon (or was it Tempest).


From savo on 02/01/06


(NOTE: the comment below is not actually from a journalspace member. Their IP has been logged.)

Talking about satellites (well someone was), what is the chance that any of the MNF high altitude drones (not satellites they are all back in 2021) will be operational come D-Day. Tehy are an obvious and enormous force multiplier.

There is a developing tech that uses balloons that stay aloft at 35,000m for up to 1000 days carrying 1500kg payload. I dare say if the design and construction knowledge is available to the MNF, it is adaptable to 1940’s tech, it is just a gas balloon. Silk has so many properties of the latest high tech fibers and has some additional benefits to them.

For battlefield observations a lot of the payload will be needed for maneuvering or rather station keeping, itcould not be tethered even though the atmosphere at that height is very calm – rope would be too long & too heavy.

Then there is the camera/telescope technology required. I anticipate they would have to be scavenged from the used drones. I couldn’t see 1940’s tech, even augmented tech being able to reduce the weight of the transmitter and camera arrays and still have a decent amount of maneuvering propellant. I suppose the transmitter could be replaced by rolls of film ejected from the ballon like early spy satellites but major problems arise from this. For the story’s sake it would have to be real time transmissions.



From Birmo on 02/02/06


This is cheating…


From Birmo on 02/02/06


… but i really wanted to be the 200th poster.


From Brandon Clark on 02/02/06


Yeah well, I am the 201st poster, beat that…

Savo, nice idea on the spy ballons. I wonder if something like a photo-electric cell can be developed, If it produces enough power you might not have to worry about power for the rig.

A U-2 would also be nice but a bit far off…


From Garth on 02/02/06


Actually, Brandon, a U-2 type aircraft should be possible. The U-2 was an evolution of the F-104 airframe (well, sort of, the -104 was used as the point of departure), but is really little more than a powered glider.

You may not get the altitude that’s possible with the real U-2, thanks to needing to go with a more primative jet engine. And I’m not sure pressure suit technology could advance quickly enough to keep up anyways. But it should be high enough to avoid interception by the -262 and -183 facsimiles that the Germans would likely be building.


From Brandon Clark on 02/02/06


Of course you can use the Sea Raptors as strategic reconnaisane platfroms…


From madoc62 on 02/02/06



I’ve a question for you about those drones – are they recoverable? What is their endurance?

Those things are fantastic force multipliers and I’d think that both the MNF boys and the ‘Temps would be bending every effort to keep them flying.

I’ve this vision in my head of those drones being recovered inflight by a high flying specially equipped airship. The drone, nearing the end of its endurance limits, flies to a predesignated location at a relatively lower altitude than it otherwise operates at. There it’d come to a hover beneath that blimp which would lower a guy on a cable to make the attachments.

Once secured, the drone would shut down and be hauled back to Earth for repair, refit, and relaunch.

Or so goes the vision…



From Garth on 02/02/06



Here’s another idea. Ever hear of the Fulton Recovery System?

Fulton was the name given to an aerial extraction system. You’d have a guy on the ground wearing a harness attached to a bungee cord attached to a cable. At the other end of the cable was a helium balloon.

The guy in the harness would inflate the balloon which would drag the cable up into the air. A specially equipped aircraft (C-130 type, iirc) with a set of “pincers” mounted on the nose would fly in and catch the cable. The guy on the ground would be lifted up into the air on a ballistic arc, then get reeled in to the aircraft.

For our purposes, there was a variation of this that was used to collect film cannisters from early spy satellites (before the day of digital backends and real-time data transfers). The cannister would be ejected from the satellite, deorbit and pop a chute. Plane (or even a helicopter, iirc) would fly in, snag the chute (and the cannister attached to it) and reel the cannister in.

Assuming that the Clinton’s AEW and tanker aircraft are based on the CSA, then there should be a COD/C-2 replacement version as well. It could have a Fulton-type system for recovering drones.

Alternatively, there’s a simpler option that the Navy used (uses?) to recover Pioneer-type RPVs to ships (it was well used during ODS when Pioneer drones were operatied from the Missouri and Wisconsin) … just rig a big net and glide the drone into it.



From Brandon Clark on 02/02/06


Garth, sometimes those squids and swabs surprise you…

The Marines say Hoorah, the Army says Hoohah and the Navy says Hooyah. The Air Force says Do we have to?

The allies can start targeting German land-line communications which would force the Germans to use radio (even if it is encrypted) which can be intercepted and would give the Allies an edge in the intelligence arena of battle.

Also, the military now days have ‘black-boxes’ that if placed near enough to phone-lines can eavsdrop on the telephone calls running through that phone line…

Intelligence and Logistics is half the battle…


From Madoc62 on 02/02/06



The reason why I was thinking of using the airship method would be its zero / lowspeed capabilities. From the way that John has described the drones it seems as if they’ve deployed a lot of stuff that could easily be destroyed at even a moderate airspeed.

Getting plucked out of the sky by an airship flying at just walking speed might be a way to avoid that. I’m thinking all the aerials as well as any lightweight lift devices which the drones deployed to stay airborne.

Mind ya, if Birmo says there ain’t none than having the same sort of aerial snatch ‘n grab methods used by those C-119’s which snagged the Corona spysats would do just fine.

That Fulton method was pretty cool and was sure to be a real wild ride for the recoveree. As I recall it was not adopted for regular service use as there was a distressing tendancy to cause severe back injury to guy getting plucked up. That, and the fact that if things went wrong you might wind up dragging the guy through the weeds at a couple of hundred miles an hour. Still though, it was fun to watch in both “Thunderball” and “The Green Berets.”



From savo on 02/02/06


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I was just reading some older posts including one from Stevo the Devo, and I read about a CA15 an australian designed fighter, then there is the XP54 and all of the other high performance designes. All were stopped by Pratt & Whitney. They failed to deliver or cancelled engines that had been promised. Lots of other types of craft would have gone past the prototype phase if the engines had been released. ANy clue as to why P&W failed?


From Brandon Clark on 02/02/06


Madoc, if you don’t mind, what do you think about the P-51H?


From madoc62 on 02/02/06



I’ve heard conflicting accounts of the reasons for those failures.

Back in the late 1920’s the US Army Air Corps recognized that the existing piston engine technology was begining to reach its limits and that something extra had to be done if more progress was to be made. As the Air Corps saw it, the future lay with liquid cooled engines of enormous displacement and very specialized construction. They issued a number of development contracts for such engines with the major aircraft engine manufacturers of the day. This came to be called the Army’s “Hyper” program and, on paper at least, the engines it eventually produced were awesome things indeed.

The problem was that they never lived up to their specifications. Here’s where the accounts differ. Some simply state that the inherent difficulties of trying to squeeze ever more horsepower out of internal combustion engines had reached its maximum with these designs. There simply wasn’t ever going to be the type of progress nor horsepower increase with internal combustion engines that the Army Air Corps was aiming for.

Other accounts lay the blame for the failures of the Army’s “Hyper” program squarely upon the fraud of the engine manufacturers. You see, during the 30’s what business there was in the US for the aircraft industry was on the civilian side, not the military. And the engines of choice for that side of the business were all radial air cooled engines. This was totally opposite what the Army wanted. And even though the Army was paying for its research into the liquid cooled designs, those payments weren’t enough to keep the engine companies afloat during the Depression. So, those engine companies shifted the funding they got from the Army over into their radial engine development and let the Army’s “Hyper” programs languish. This, while falsifying the reporting and accounting.

Then, come WWII when the Air Corps was counting on those “Hyper” engines as being ready, there wasn’t enough there. Thus the US had an excellent stable of large, high power _radial_ engines but was sorely lacking in the liquid cooled realm. This was so bad that we had to turn to Britain for a truly high performance liquid cooled machine, the Merlin.

Now, I don’t know enough about the politics and industrial policies of the US engine manufacturers during the 30’s to say whether or not the “fraud” allegations are true. It does seem odd that the Army poured so much effort over so many years into research in that area and it got so little in return. This, while the folks in the UK were apparently able to do a whole lot more with a whole lot less.

Then again, many of the goals of the “Hyper” program were highly aggressive and some of the particulars that the Air Corps insisted on where actually quite counter-productive.

A good book on all this is: “Allied Aircraft Piston Engines of World War II: History and Development of Frontline Aircraft Piston Engines Produced by Great Britain and the United States” by Graham White.



From madoc62 on 02/02/06



The P-51H? Well, from what I’ve read of it, that bird was like a gilded lilly. The folks over at North American Aviation took everything they’d learned about producing Mustangs and everything they’d learned from it combat performance and put the basic P-51 airframe through a wringer to incorporate all those lessons learned.

The result was a very refined – almost stylized – machine that was some kinda hot ship. It was everything that a Mustang could ever have hoped to be.

And it was essentially made obsolete the moment the first XF-86 passed V2, rotated, and lifted off the runway.



From savo on 02/02/06


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Thank you for that madoc. It was very interesting. It really is odd that little britain being bombed and their resources squeezed off could still produce enough Merlins to export.


From Garth on 02/03/06


The P-51H was definitely a hot ship, but it was too hot. Even with some of the design mods intended to over come the marrying of a powerful engine on a much lighter airframe (like increased height to the vertical stab), the plane had serious stability and control issues. Yeager is on the record saying that it was a real bear to fly, that the additional control and concentration required of the pilot led to the earlier onset of fatigue. In the hands of an experienced pilot it would be best used as a point-defense fighter (airfield CAP) rather than long-range escort.

OTOH, given a hypothetical desire to move forward with advanced piston engine fighters while freeing up resources for other, more advanced projects, I’d think that the best option would be to consolidate efforts around the F8F. Downside is that it would also produce a NIH reaction by AAF PTB.


From madoc62 on 02/03/06



This sounds like another ones of those things that depend on who you talk to – or more accurately, which resource you read. As I understand it, the H model was the most refined of all the Mustangs. It was about 1,000 pounds lighter than the D model and that was despite being a foot or two longer and with a much larger tail. That bigger tail did much to solve the ‘Stangs yaw problems. Also, being lighter meant the bird was much more handy than its predecessors.

Remember, this is a fighter aircraft we’re talking about here and its also one with but _manual_ flight controls. No “fly by wire” computer assisted flying to smooth things out as on the ELD of F-15. One thing that gets little mention is how finicky the P-51D was to trim changes. As the bird flew along and burned its fuel the pilot had to constantly retrim the aircraft to maintain steady flight. It took a lot of paying attention to. That was par for the course back then and, given how maneuverable the plane was, it was accepted as being the price for that maneuverability.

As to the mighty Bearcat, well, you’ll not find me arguing against that plane! It’s one of my favs. But the Bearcat had absolutely no legs at all. Even with that massive centerline tank it was still a short ranged beast. If you’re looking for point defense (like, oh, I dunno, keeping the bad guys away from your carrier) then it’s just the thing. One thing to remember though is that the first Bearcats only mounted but four .50 cals. By 1945 that loadout was considered rather light. It took a couple of years until they upgunned the thing to feature 20mm cannon instead. I don’t know what the rate of fire was for those guns but I do know the US was rather behind the curve when it came to cannon armament during WWII and thus preferred its fighters (both Army and Navy ones) to be sprouting large numbers of machine guns rather than fewer numbers of cannon. The US & UK aerial cannons tended to have too slow a rate of fire. I think the Nazis did a bit better but not by much.

Now, in the Birmoverse, if you could have the ‘Temps pick up a trick or two to increase the rate of fire on their 20mm cannons then that’d go a long way to making things better.



From madoc62 on 02/03/06



Actually, the UK didn’t do much exporting of its Merlins as their production capacity was pretty much tapped out meeting their own needs. The Merlin the USAAF used was locally built via the Packard company. Once the Packard guys managed to figure out the plans Rolls Royce sent them they then began flooding the supply channels with Packard built Merlins. This, to the extent that many RAF birds were flying with a mix of both RR built Merlins and Packard ones by mid-war.

I’m not kidding about having to figure out the plans by the way. The standards used for design blueprints in the UK was vastly different for those in the US. Something about “reverse projection” or some such. In any event, it really did take Rolls Royce and Packard some time to square that away and come up with a full set of plans which Packard could use to crank those Merlins out. But that they did and that they did too.



From Brandon Clark on 02/03/06


Madoc, on the cannons:

The Germans had an experimental cannon, the Mauser 213. It was 20mm with a fire rate of 1500 RPMs. Which led to the American M39, the British ADEN and the French DEFA cannons.
The MNF may use this since it is a slight change to the Gatling principle which alot of them know about.

They can always reverse engineer the Bushmasters on the ASLAVs (assuming they still carry them), change caliber and remove the dual feed system. The Bushmaster’s fire rate is around 200 RPMs but only because the engine is underpowered. The M230 on the Apache fires 600 RPMs and the Russian GSH-30-1 fires at 1500 RPMs. If the electric motor tech in 1940s isn’t upto par they can use gas-operated, pneumatic or hydraulic…

I wonder (doubt it though) if any of the up-timers ever heard of the Gast Principle.


From Garth on 02/04/06


Hey Madoc,

Do you have ranges for the F8F? My references are all over the place, with radiuses going from about 750nm all the way out to 1100 nm. And I think these only apply to the aircraft in USN service … when the Bearcats the French took to Indochina could carry two external tanks (125gal, I think), rather than the one normally carried by USN variants.


From ajdenny on 02/05/06


I was wondering that. Although I haven’t read Bernard Fall’s Hell In A Very Small Place for a while, I thought the Bearcat, flying from Dien Bien Phu Airstrip until artillery fire closed it down, and then off a carrier, was the primary CAS fighter bomber during that battle.


From Birmo on 02/06/06


I just imagined this scene where a couple of Zone engineers are sitting around trying to nut out sme design problem on the F-86 and one of them jumps up from the screen where he’s been dicking around on the net and yells, “hey. come look at this old blog. This might be what we need.”
And his buddy goes, “What the fuck do we need to know about cheeseburgers for you moron?”


From savo on 02/06/06


Oh that is gooood Birmo


1 Comment »

  1. There really should have been the introduction of the Skyknight.

    Not only is it well in the means for the ‘temps to develop (with 21C help of course), it’s also one of the most reliable carrier jet fighters in the 50s that could have gone up against a MiG-15 and won.

    Comment by Anung | 1 June, 2010 | Reply

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