What have you learned about WW2 recently?

Discussion in 'General' started by dbf, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    Here's something new and pretty neat that I learned about WW2 just now.

    Seems that in Operation Bowery (one of the Malta Convoys) the USS Wasp, escorted by the Royal Navy's Force W, was ferrying 47 Spitfires to the very beleaguered garrison at Malta. The HMS Eagle was ferrying another 17 Spits. Of the 64 Spitfires launched from both carriers, 61 arrived safely. Not a bad ratio I think. Now here's the neat part. One Spitfire piloted by Canadian P/O Jerrod Alpine Smith had trouble with is long range fuel tank soon after taking off and had to jettison it. Realizing that he could not make it to his destination, P/O Smith made arrangements (circling the Wasp after dropping the malfunctioning fuel tank) to land on the USS Wasp. The ship's Captain gave permission for this feat, and ordered the deck cleared at once. Smith made a successful landing, and was awarded USN pilots wing onboard the USS Wasp. Now wasn't that cool?

    A Spitfire readying to take off from the Wasp.


    Operation Bowery - Wikipedia
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  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Something I didn't know about the circumstances surrounding PoW pay....from Parliamentary debate about compensation
    British Prisoners of War (Hansard, 15 January 1997)

    "The scale of those deductions came as a surprise to me as I began to examine these matters. For those in Germany, the average deduction was about 30 per cent. of net pay, and for those in Italy 65 per cent."

    "My constituent, Captain Freddie Harris, has a particularly interesting story. He had 832 days of deductions from his pay. During that period, he was a POW in Italy for 588 days. At the end of his time in a POW camp, the Italian Government fell, Italy came out of the war and he escaped. Many of those who escaped with him were recaptured by the Germans and put into other POW camps. Not unnaturally, their deductions continued. My constituent escaped and became a partisan and spent the rest of the war fighting on behalf of the allies. He was no longer a POW. Not unexpectedly, the British Government and his family did not know the full facts at the time. Communications were understandably not fully maintained between partisans and our Government. Fighting as a partisan, he was no longer being paid by enemy forces in the way that POWs were. In spite of that, the deductions in this country continued."

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  3. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    I believe that US enlisted POWs were paid at the rate of $1.00 per day of captivity. Officers received no pay but were promoted to the rank of their contemporaries dates of rank once they were sprung.
  4. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    So I guess we can ass-u-me he landed with a full internal tank. That weight must have made it even harder.

    Our sales rep in Indiana was on the USS Landsdowne when she fired the coup de grace into the Wasp. He was active in veteran organizations after the war and was on the team who brought the bell and other artifacts fact to the state from the USS Indiana when she was being scrapped in 1963.
  5. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    Not sure how much fuel the Spitfires carry as opposed to Corsairs, Hellcats, Dauntless's (that Dauntless, plural, as in more than one Dauntless....not really sure how to properly pluralized that one), etc., or the effect of landing with a full tank of gas. I know that aircraft are not allowed to land with any part of a bomb load for obvious reasons, but now that you mention it I'm sure a full tank of gas would add a good bit more weight to the aircraft in question.
  6. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    Internal fuel capacity of Spitfire Vc BR126 coded X-3 as flown off the Wasp was 85 imperial gallons. At approx 7.3lb per imperial gallon = 620lb less what he used on takeoff and while waiting for the deck to be cleared. Not sure how long it was in the air but there were 5 mins between the final Spitfire launch and the recovery of this one.

    Wasp put on full speed for the recovery and the aircraft stopped 15ft from the forward end of the flight deck undamaged. It was flown off to Gibraltar the next day. 8 days later it flew off HMS Eagle to arrive, belatedly, in Malta.

    For anyone interested there has been some recent research trying to identify all the Spitfires flown to Malta in 1942 in the various operations.
    Malta Spitfire Serial numbers February to October 1942
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  7. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    That's some good info there ES, where'd you come across it? Not your everyday WW2 information, but trivia such as that is always interesting to me.
  8. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

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  9. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    A lifetime of being a geek about WW2 especially anything related to naval aviation! And a good memory for a timeline of events and trivia, or at least where to find them. Not to mention a well stocked library.

    Seriously though, there are some fantastic websites out there which some may not have across.

    USN ship histories DANFS
    Individual Spitfire histories on a searchable database Spitfire pilots and aircraft database -
    Royal Navy warship histories http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-aContents.htm

    Some modelling sites are good to thumb through as they are populated by many people, I hate to call them rivet counters, who are looking for great detail.

    Can’t give away too many secrets!
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  10. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Japan lost about 2 million soldiers and 1 million civilians during the war, approximately 4% of the pre-war Japanese population of 73 million. That is a lower number than I would have expected but the military/civilian ratio is also a surprise.
  11. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Given that estimates of the numbers of deaths due to Allied bombing alone vary from 241,000 to 900,000 I would be wary about such stats - what is your source?
  12. chipm

    chipm Well-Known Member

    Leni Reifenstahl

    1. She was a much worse person than i thought.
    2. She was much more talented and much more groundbreaking of a filmmaker than i realized.
    3. She was in Hollywood during Kristallnacht. None of the major studios wanted to have anything to do with her, except Disney.
    Yeah..... it would be Disney.
    4. She died in 2003 at 100+ years of age.
  13. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    HMS Anson and Howe were originally to be named Jellicoe and Beatty. Anyone know why they were changed before launching?
  14. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    AIUI those Admirals were considered to have been too recently deceased (1935/36) to be commemorated by having ships named after them. Not to mention that They had generated quite a bit of controversy in their careers.
  15. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    there are things you can't make up: Polka as mining countermeasure

    25 F-10 radio mines, containing from 120 to 4500 kg TNT were installed by the retreating Red Army in Vyborg.
    Of these, 17 exploded, and 8 were neutralized when it became clear that the mines were driven by a radio signal:

    Found devices were sent to Helsinki, analyzed by specialists, who discovered that pre-war pause musical melodies (tunes between two broadcasts) of Kharkov and Minsk radio stations are used as trigger signals. Finnish experts picked up a melody that sounded in the same range of frequencies: the tune of the Karelian folk dance "Säkkijärven polkka".

    The Finns broadcasted the song at the same frequency the mines detonated at, from September 1941 to February 1942 until “proper” mine jamming equipment was brought in.
    When the Soviets caught wind of this, they attempted to change the frequency to detonate the mines. Once the Finns heard of this, they broadcasted the Säkkijärven Polkka on every possible frequency that the mines could operate at.

    The head of this operation said later in life during an interview:
    “In the crowds and the homeland, the operation received a legendary reputation because of its mystery. Säkkijärvi's polka went together about 1,500 times. All kinds of rumors circulated about somebody crazy enough to have emitted it on every radio station.”
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
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  16. Jim Klag

    Jim Klag Member

    Very interesting factoid. During America's participation in the war, American car makers manufactured less than 200 total civilian automobiles. I had no idea until I read this about a week ago.
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  17. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Here's a site I like. It shows what all the American car and truck manufacturers produced during the war as well as many other companies like John Deere, Firestone and Chris-Craft.

    The US / American Automobile Industry in World War Two - WWII
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  18. Jim Klag

    Jim Klag Member

  19. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    I came across this list of British Lend-Lease supplies to Russia from Hansard in April 1946 which I thought might be of interest.

    The tanks figures break down as follows (from Zaloga Soviet Lend Lease Tanks of WW2)

    Tetrach 20
    Matilda 1184
    British built Valentine 2327 + 25 Bridgelayers
    Canadian built Valentine VII 1388
    Churchill 301
    Cromwell 6
    Of these some 710 were lost in transit.

    And the aircraft:-
    Hurricanes from Britain & Canada 3360 (with 117 rejected and 399 lost)
    Spitfires 1341
    Typhoon 1
    Hampden - 25 (including some damaged)
    Mosquito 1
    Albemarle 14 (with 2 lost en route to Russia)

    The US built aircraft supplied to USSR on the British Lend-Lease account were mostly P-39 Airacobras along with some P-40 Tomahawks and A-20 Boston / Havoc.

    Exact figures sometimes vary slightly between sources
  20. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Kingcobras were also supplied but appear to have arrived too late for combat. They were issued to Soviet Squadrons with an inscription implying that they were of Soviet origin!

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