Americans win Battle of Britain with Super Fuel

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by zippy483, May 13, 2009.

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  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

  2. But without the aircraft, the fuel would have worthless!
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  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
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  4. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    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
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  5. BiscuitsAB

    BiscuitsAB LE Moderator

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

    But it would be interesting to find out!
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  6. maninblack

    maninblack LE Book Reviewer

    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.
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  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.
    • Dislike Dislike x 1
  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.
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  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)
    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)
    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
    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)
    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)
    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.
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  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. 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.
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  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.
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