Americans win Battle of Britain with Super Fuel

#1
So the Telegraph is reporting today that an American writer is claiming that fuel supplied by America was more significant in winning the Battle of Britain than the Aircraft or the men that operated them

American Super Fuel

So does any one have any idea if this claim can be refuted as the article and the RSC asks or do we indeed owe our freedom to the USA.

And before any one accuses me of yank bashing if it is the case that the fuel was the difference then so be it, my suspicion is though, is that we couldn't have shipped enough across the Atlantic to make the difference this fellow claims.

Any thoughts


Zippy483
 
#3
BULLSHIT!!! Surely the pilots' skill won the battle of britain??? okay fuel may have helped but it didnt increase our pilots ability to control the aircraft or foresee the runs they'd need to make to attack an enemy. Fcuking yanks trying to steal our glory.....again
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
Fuel may have been a factor bought a gallon of high octane fuel on it's own won't shoot down a German bomber that is a fact
So Men and Machines were just as important

P.S. we bought the fuel perhaps the yanks should remember we paid for everything we got and alot of there kit was built to our specification they were years behind us and the Germans in some respects


Not yank bashing either I just hate this they gave us our freedom and loads of supplies sh1t
 
#5
zippy483 said:
So the Telegraph is reporting today that an American writer is claiming that fuel supplied by America was more significant in winning the Battle of Britain than the Aircraft or the men that operated them

American Super Fuel

So does any one have any idea if this claim can be refuted as the article and the RSC asks or do we indeed owe our freedom to the USA.

And before any one accuses me of yank bashing if it is the case that the fuel was the difference then so be it, my suspicion is though, is that we couldn't have shipped enough across the Atlantic to make the difference this fellow claims.

Any thoughts


Zippy483
God Bless America I have no idea how the planet would survive without them....


But it would be interesting to find out!
 

maninblack

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
Whilst the 100 octane fuel from the US did improve performance the fuel was not approved until the end of 1939 by which time the MkII Spitfire was already tested on standard fuel at 366mph at 20,000 feet by Martleshame Heath.

The fuel is a part of the story but did not give the speed improvement claimed by this academic although I have seen comments from Alex Henshaw and Jeffrey Quill about the noticable performance increase with 100 octane.

Please keep in mind that the more an academic is discussed the more the name is remembered. At this point the more likely their other work is to be published and hence the academic self licking lollipop is created.
 
#7
contributing factor at most - AVGAS used to come in many forms, NONE of which were pioneered by america. the "octane number" of a fuel does not constitute how well it combusts or how powerful it is. Some engines - particualr high revving prefer lower octane fuels. The biggest factor in AVGAS has always been the lead content as it acts as an oxygen source and knock resistor used in advancing the timing (good thing) of the engine.
 
#8
Older Arrsers may remember a long-running BP ad which showed some Spitfires in line ahead and specifically claiming that BP developed the "100 octane fighter fuel" that helped win the BoB.

Maybe one of aviation boards can confirm whether British aero engines were suddenly adapted for "new" high-octane fuel, or whether engine power development was incremental. Since the Merlin had a straight lineage from the 1920s air race engines, its hard to believe that performance fuel additives were a 1940s US invention...

Maybe BP will respond in the coming days.....
 
#9
jsut to tag on to mainblacks point - the fuel would provide no more power if the set up on the engine was not altered, it can have a detrimental effect in some cases.
 
#10
Both Planes Specs

Specifications (Spitfire Mk Vb)

Data from The Great Book of Fighters[98] and Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War II[99]
General characteristics
Crew: one pilot
Length: 29 ft 11 in (9.12 m)
Wingspan: 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m)
Height: 11 ft 5 in (3.86 m)
Wing area: 242.1 ft² (22.48 m²)
Airfoil: NACA 2200
Empty weight: 5,090 lb (2,309 kg)
Loaded weight: 6,622 lb (3,000 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 6,770 lb (3,071 kg)
Powerplant: 1× Rolls-Royce Merlin 45 supercharged V12 engine, 1,470 hp at 9,250 ft (1,096 kW at 2,820 m)
Performance
Maximum speed: 378 mph, (330 kn, 605 km/h)
Combat radius: 410 nmi (470 mi, 760 km)
Ferry range: 991 nmi (1,140 mi, 1,840 km)
Service ceiling: 35,000 ft (11,300 m)
Rate of climb: 2,665 ft/min (13.5 m/s)
Wing loading: 24.56 lb/ft² (119.91 kg/m²)
Power/mass: 0.22 hp/lb (360 W/kg)
Armament
Guns: Mk I, Mk II, Mk VA
8 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns, 350 rpg
Later versions (VB on)
2 × 20 mm (0.787-in) Hispano Mk II cannon, 60 rpg (later 120 rpg (Mk VC))
4 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns, 350 rpg
Bombs:
2 × 250 lb (113 kg) bombs


Specifications (Bf 109 G-6)


Data from The Great Book of Fighters[146] and the Finnish Air Force Bf 109 Manual
General characteristics
Crew: One
Length: 8.95 m (29 ft 7 in)
Wingspan: 9.925 m (32 ft 6 in)
Height: 2.60 m (8 ft 2 in)
Wing area: 16.05 m2 (173.3 ft2)
Empty weight: 2,247 kg (5,893 lb)
Loaded weight: 3148 kg (6,940 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 3,400 kg (7,495 lb)
Powerplant: 1× Daimler-Benz DB 605A-1 liquid-cooled inverted V12, 1,475 PS (1,455 hp, 1,085 kW)
Performance
Maximum speed: 640 km/h (398 mph) at 6,300 m (20,669 ft)
Cruise speed: 590 km/h (365 mph) at 6,000 m (19,680 ft)
Range: 850 km (528 mi) with droptank 1,000 km (621 mi)
Service ceiling: 12,000 m (39,370 ft)
Rate of climb: 17.0 m/s (3,345 ft/min)
Wing loading: 199.8 kg/m² (40.9 lb/ft²)
Power/mass: 330 W/kg (0.21 hp/lb)
Armament
2 × 13 mm MG 131 machine guns with 300 rpg
1 × 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon with 200 rpg. G-6/U4 variant: 1 × 30 mm MK 108 cannon with 65 rpg
1 × 300 l (78 US gal) drop tank or 1 × 250 kg (550 lb) bomb or 4 × 50 kg (110 lb) bombs
2 × WGr.21 rockets (G-6 with BR21)
2 × 20 mm MG 151/20 underwing cannon pods with 135 rpg (optional kit - Rüstsatz VI)
 
#11
I think you will find that BP will have something to say about this. The special fuel according to them was developed at their Sunbury on Thames Research centre in 1938/9 (a new alkylation process)when they were the Anglo Iranian Oil Co. Its been in Numerous company publications over the years, indeed I worked in one of the former labs that developed it for a few weeks once. They have lots of staff who are in the Royal Society of Chemistry so they are bound to pick up on it.
 
C

cloudbuster

Guest
#12
I thought a recent DT article provided evidence that it was, in fact, the Royal Navy who ensured victory in the BoB?

(Other claims are available, your mileage (and credibility), may vary).
 
#13
BiscuitsAB said:
God Bless America I have no idea how the planet would survive without them....


But it would be interesting to find out!
Stick around 50 years. :twisted:
 
#14
Advantages of 100 octane were well known by the mid 30's, problem was making it in quantity at the right price. Quantity production was first achieved by Shell in the US.

IIRC a key figure was Dr Doolittle of Shell aviation, a more important achievement than his visit to Tokyo.
 
#15
Now there was me thinking the reason that the Crabs, god bless their cotton socks, won the BofB because they had superior early warning of raids coming in, and superior command and control over the squadrons. If this had not had the planes in the right places and fully tanked up ready to go, it wouldn't have mattered what petrol they were running on.

Yes the planes were good, and some magic fuel may have improved their performance, and the pilots were good too, but if you don't get the planes and pilots into the right place at the right time, pissing in the wind will be as effective.
 
#16
Christ, they're like a history-borg assimilating all others into their national self-deception aren't they? Hey, next it turns out that Vienna in 1683 wasn't saved by the Grand Duke of Warsaw, but by Patton travelling back in time, that Octavian was advised by Chester Nimitz at Actium, and that 14th century scottish aristocrats were fighting against the english for mid-18th century enlightenment values in some sort of dress rehearsal for the American revolution (rather then their own power and dynastic influence), like out of braveheart...
 
#17
What were the Krauts using?

Octane is related to resistance to detonation it won't give any advantage unless more power can be made by advancing the ignition or increasing the combustion chamber pressure prior to ignition. I think the planes were still normally aspirated at the time so pressures would have dropped and the benefits reduced as the altitude increased.

Wasn't it a tactical decision to largely keep Fighter Command out of the action on the wrong side of the channel? Turning the tables on the Luftwaffe with a better ratio of fuel to munitions and no penalties through needing to keep enough juice to scamper back across the channel with your tail between your legs suggests superior tactics was the key factor.

We also withdrew the Beaufighters from frontline service, it was them the Box heads were knocking out of the sky over Frogland - not the Spits and Hurricanes.
 
#18
There may be an element of truth - I have seen plenty of passing references over the years to the 100 octane fuel being valued during the BoB - but our US friend may also be confusing later shipments of high octane fuels which increasingly helped the RAF and USAAF develop the edge over the LW, especially 1943-45. IIRC there was even some 140 or 160 octane avgas favoured for late model P-47s (don't have reference books to hand). But of course the point in 1943-45 was that the German fuel quality was falling steadily whilst the Allies' was increasing.

Equally, the western aircraft (including Spits and Hurris) supplied to the Soviets supposedly disappointed, partly because Soviet fuel quality was rougher. But almost certainly more that it hurt Uncle Joe to admit domestic kit was so unpolished.

If the Yanks really wanted credit for "winning" the BoB, amazed they haven't claimed Mr Browning's design for an automatic weapon...
 
C

cloudbuster

Guest
#19
WO2.Ghandi said:
We also withdrew the Beaufighters from frontline service, it was them the Box heads were knocking out of the sky over Frogland - not the Spits and Hurricanes.
I think you may mean Fairey Battles and, to a lesser extent, Bristol Blenheims
 
#20
There was me thinking the victory was won by the mighty RR Merlin engine, Hurricane and Spitfire fighters, radar, enigma decoding and British innovation and grit.
 

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