Professor Porsches`s Wars

Professor Porsches`s Wars

Karl Ludvigsen
ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
Most of us are familiar with Ferdinand Porsche's KDF that became the VW, the stylish design icon the 901 later becoming the 911 and following in his father footsteps Ferry Porsche has continued to create stylish well balanced motor cars, however the early work of Ferdinand is less well known outside the circles of historians. As with so many great designers he had the talent and vision to see his ideas into reality and thoroughly test them before production, he was also smart enough to listen to other designers and when stuck with a problem allow others to bring in new ideas and methods.

This well researched and illustrated book shows Ferdinand's first forays into the world of engineering at 13 years old providing an electrical plant in the family's home and workshop, moving on into motor car design, spearheading the use of front wheel drive via electric motors to make them more efficient and improve traction. The weight saved by removing the heavy and complex differentials and gear systems allowed them to be much more efficient with the primitive engines then in use; his first motor car produced in 1901 shows advanced thinking and its use of drive systems that are now commonplace.

The book then goes on to his time with Austro Daimler and his work on the four wheel drive military tug, then the larger versions for moving heavy artillery pieces. This was even before the Great War, rapid testing and research providing a solid reliable vehicle with the ability to cover most terrains,;his Goliath entering service in the Great War made his name known and respected.

Ferdinand then designs for engine plants for dirigibles and aircraft, ending up with high performance reliable engine units for aviation.

He then went on to improve his design work and create Giant land trains capable of pulling the massive 380mm Skoda howitzers, the entire unit weighing in at 90 tonnes! An interesting vehicle that is featured is the two wheeled tractor or Horse , an unusual and novel design that saw service as far away as Italy and Galacia, something I had never seen in period photographs.

Advancing the cause of aviation Ferdinands work on aircraft engines led to a new line of ultra reliable 24 valve six cylinder engines and by wars end a 27.5 litre six cylinder with four valve heads

Innovative designs such as the W9 are illustrated along with accurate drawings ,in the inter war years his agile mind was involved with the design and construction of prototype vehicles such as an amphibious 8 wheeled scout car with a novel steering systems, here superbly illustrated alongside original rare photographs of the machines undergoing testing.

As if that was not enough he turned his skills to improving Germany's poor design of tanks creating a new design of track bogey that utilised paired leaf springs with hard rubber rollers, a system later commonplace. Further design work with tanks followed right through the duration of the Second World War, and to its end; his input into the development of main battle tanks really pushed the boundaries of engineering.

His novel engine design for the Schnellboot shows the free thinking and solutions to a different range of problems.

Following on the book covers in details his meetings with Adolf Hitler and subsequent involvement with the re-armament of Germany, the early KDF drawings and layouts and the construction of the new workshops using a novel design of concrete poured over wooden formers, the work being carried out by Italian craftsmen.

Other works carried out by this very prolific engineer at the Kdf plants included the repair work and production of components for the JU88A the production and assembly of the V1 flying bomb.

The Kubelwagen then received his input followed by the type 128 amphibious version; Leopard tanks powered by Porches type 101 11.4 litre V10 engine soon followed moving up to 15 litre for the heavier Tiger tanks.

Outboard motors for military boats were designed and tested whilst tank designs and improvements were constantly moving forward.

He also found himself overseeing work at the Peugeot factory at Sochaux and was well respected by the family.

This excellent well illustrated book covers his life's work over 18 informative and well researched chapters, 276 pages with hundreds of high quality pictures and engineering drawings and does justice to one of the 20th centuries most talented and free thinking engineers whose ideas and creativity still abound today.

Karl Ludvigsen has spent a great deal of time researching for this book , and has brought together so much information not previously seen in one place; if you have an interest in main battle tanks, motor cars, or military conflicts over two world wars this book is a must read, its large format amply displaying a treasure trove of data images and text

A fascinating read and hard to put down and inexpensive for the sheer amount of data and information contained.

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