Britain selling weapons to Nazi Germany?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Radovan, Nov 10, 2006.

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  1. Just been listening to a debate on Radio 5 about wearing the poppy, and the pacifist bloke in the studio mentioned something about Britain selling weapons to Nazi Germany! Is there any truth to this?
  2. Considering we had Germany under embargo, highly unlikely.

    Or was he confused by the swatstika on British suppied Finnish aircraft like the Blenheim and Gladiator?
  3. Old Adam dons anorak! :roll:

    I have it in my boys' book of aeroplanes (William Green: War Planes of the Second World War - Fighters Vol. 1) that the very first prototype Messerschmitt Bf 109 V1 (Werk-Nr.758), was powered by a Rolls Royce Kestrel V engine, a fore-runner of the Merlin, and flew for the fist time in September 1935.
    Subsequent prototypes and early production Mks were powered by Junkers Jumo 210 series and later Mks by the Daimler Benz DB 600 series.

    I heard a tale that there was a bit of double dealing to get hold of the Kestrel V but any prospect of further units was firmly knocked on the head.

    Supposedly the reason they wanted the Kestrel was that the Junkers Jumo 210 series needed some development and the 109 had to compete for the contract against the Heinkel 112, Arado 80 and Focke-Wulf 159, a month after the first flight.

    The Junkers engine powered the 109 throughout the Spanish Civil War but most Battle of Britain 109s (mostly 'E' variants) were powered by the Daimler Benz DB600 series.

    Anorak off! :D

    Anyway, that might have been what this guy was on about, in part, but it was just one engine and spares
  4. Of course we sold them weapons. Germany was one of our oldest allies and our Royal family had BIG ties with theirs. Why shouldn't we have sold them weapons?

    Their armed forces attended our manouvres and we attended theirs. We also gave them the concept of Blitzkrieg.

    In 1932 nobody knew how bad it would get.
  5. Seeing as the pacifist wasn't able to provide any specific examples to support his claim, it was a very weak argument from the start. PTP's suggestion of confusion over Finnish aircraft markings sounds plausable though.

    Still, to make such a comment without being able to back it up with specific examples, on a national radio station, is not going to do much for your credibility is it.

    Edited to add: GDav, are you able to back up your statement above with specific examples?

  7. Absolutely. I'm in the process of reading an extra biography of Winston Churchill by Roy Jenkins and Hansard is stuffed full of entries where WSC visited Germany for military exercises and how the UK hosted the German High Command for the same in the inter war years.

    If I'm not wrong Germany was able (with permission) to copy what was then a fairly sophisticated sighting system for fighter planes, at a time when they weren't even allowed an air force, after seeing it demonstrated in the UK.

    Fuller was published of course but the fact that the Wehrmacht were able to see his "one-two-one" tactics on Salisbury Plain gave Guderian the idea for Blitzkrieg.

    History is a funny thing mate.
  8. Pre-1933 maybe but were any dealings going on post-1933, i.e. Nazi Germany era?
  9. With the caveat that I don't have the book to hand, so this could all be b*ll*cks....

    IIRC, the reflector sight was shown to the Germans on a courtesy visit some time after Hitler came to power. From what I can rememberBob Stanford Tuck's biographer recalls that Erhard Milch asked if he could sit in the cockpit of a Spitfire. Tuck hesitated because the aircraft had the then-secret sight in the cockpit, but was over-ruled by a senior officer who, in a fit of politeness promptly demonstrated the cockpit to Milch and showed him how the sight worked.

    Tuck suspected that Milch took the idea back to Germany and set the German boffins to work. I don't think that there was any permission for this development per se - rather if they didn't have the idea already, then they cracked on with it once the secret had been revealed.

    On the same visit, BTW, Milch attended a cocktail party and loudly asked (I paraphrase) 'So, how are you coming along with the development of radio direction finding equipment, gentlemen?' A scene that would have done justice to a Whitehall farce ensued (sudden silence, gentle sound of breaking glass as cocktails were dropped in horror by certain guests). Milch didn't get an answer, and added , 'Come, come, gentlemen, we know you're working on it just as we know you know we are working on it [actually, we didn't...], and we think that we may even be slightly ahead of you.'
  10. There would not have been an arms embargo in 35 when RR sold the Kestral to What was the Bayerishe Flugwerke (Spelling).
    They where a small German company and no one would have considered Willy Messersmitt to be a leading aircraft designer who would turn out the most built fighter of all types.
    The Kestral was at the end of it's development line and RR where already well into the design of the Merlin which would become their Premier design of the ealy war years.
    Perhaps they where happy to lead the Germans down an old design.
    I think that the Kestral was start point for the Perigrine which powered the Westland Whirwind and that was a non too reliable engine. I'd have dig out a copy of The Aeroplane to confirm.
  11. Why would we be so suprised at War Office (read MoD) 'over sights' and naivity?

    One only needs to read the invoices in the 70's and 80's towards the Middle East to realise that it's not a new thing helping a future foe to tool up.

    Krupp was once rumoured to say that he thanked his R&D department; The British Forces, for all the help they gave him in producing some particularly nasty weapons systems. :wink:
  12. I think you're right JW. Wasn't the Whirlwind originally designed for twin Merlins, byt they were in short supply so the Peregrine was used?

    The Whirlwind I think would have been a hell of a fighter with 2 Merlins, just look at the Hornet , and we'd have had it in 1941!
  13. There would hav been restrictions but the terms of the armistice would have allowed for some sales up until the point where HMG realised there was a fresh threat.

  14. On or around Dec 1939??
  15. Twaaaaaaat!