Great Designs

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Trans-sane, May 22, 2010.

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  1. Trans-sane

    Trans-sane LE Book Reviewer

    A program I watched last night about the role of design in all aspects of World War II from aircraft and tanks to propaganda. There were three stand-out items on the program for me.

    The first was the Sten submachine gun which was made from pretty much the contents of the local hardware shop. The Mk.2 production version cost only £2 7s. After going into production at what was formerly the largest toy factory in Britain (possibly the world), the owner took a look at the Sten Mk.2 declared it wasn't good enough, reduced the number of parts from 69 to 47 making it even cheaper in the process. The Sten may well have had a reputaion for being a bag of shite but it was so simple we could and did build them by the million.

    The next was the liberty ship program. They were the Sten of cargo ships. Ugly, unsexy, utalitarian to a painful extent, but totally pre-fabricated. One snipette of contemporary radio featured in the program stated the Richmond Yard in Virginia managed to launch onefour days and fifteen hours after laying the keel. This sort of speed and build rate was the main reason the sea lanes were not closed by the U-boat pack. The septics could build merchant ships faster than tthe box heads could sink them.

    The final and by far the sexiest bit of kit featured was the de Havilland Mosquito. The Air Ministry was sceptical apparently. Mind you I'd be if I was being offered a plane built in a furniture factory out of wood. But it was so damn light that its two Merlin engines made it the fastest aircvraft in the world untuiil the Germans developed a jet fighter. And the air frame was so versatile that it was used in probably a greater range of roles than any aircraft before or since. If I could fly I'd want a Mosquito :D
  2. I too watched the programme and was really impressed. This is the sort of the thing the BBC is still good at and makes the licence fee worthwhile, wish they did more of it.
  3. The STEN and the LIBERTY ship where products of times of desperation.
    In Peace time neither could have been put into service.
    The Sten killed many of ones comrades and the Liberty ship had a trick of falling into two pieces whilst at sea.
    Both war winners thought.
    The Mossei, well I doubt the RAF of early 39 would have ever entertained it and Sir Geoffry had to beg the RAF of 40 to give permission to build what was an excellent design from day one.
    One of the finest warbirds of all time.

  4. Cold_Collation

    Cold_Collation LE Book Reviewer

    And don't mention asbestos...
  5. Well Rodger me stupid.
    The most fantastic informative Post in the history of Arrse.
    Well done CC I bow my heed to my intellectual superior.

  6. Haveing seen one of the RR Griffon engined P51 Mustangs in the US a few years ago I have dreamt about doing the same thing to a Mossie, a carbon fibre/Titanium rebuild with a couple of Griffons ,christ it would be fun, roll on my Euro millions win
  7. Found it on iPlayer "The Genius of Design"
    There's also another one called "The boats that built Britain - WW2 Landing Craft"
  8. ...Or the war!! Still, i think you got away with it??

    Seriously...For my two penneth i should say the concrete sounding stations set up around the country to detect incoming enemy aircraft. The dishes and larger mirrors were designed and developed by Dr William Tucker. Whilst i appreciate that the advent of RADAR killed off this form of aircraft detection, it must be highlighted that the mirrors/ dishes were located to ensure that they could be interlocked along the coastline. Radar would go onto use the same system, only to much greater effect. So although obsolete by the outbreak of war, they were a great idea, well executed and well designed...RADAR was better though!!!!
  9. I think the Anderson Shelter has to be mentioned. Such a simple, but effective, bit of kit.
  10. Cold_Collation

    Cold_Collation LE Book Reviewer

    Goodness me, you think so? Thanks. What a wonderful way to start the week.

    I was actually agreeing with you that they were very much of their time, and adding that there were more than just structural problems with the design.

    I shall endeavour to disagree with you in future, if you think it'll bring us closer.

  11. No ya quite alright with present situation.

  12. just to be fair to the boxheads ... the much maligned suspension system on the panther tank (froze solid in russia, tended to be a bit fragile) actually works like a gun stabilization system allowing the panther to fire its gun accurately while moving. nothing like as good as modern systems but still a big leap forward for the time.
  13. Your right about the sten my grandad told me a story of his natinal service days. One of his oppos jumped off the back of a wagon holding one and this was enough of a jolt to fire off a burst with the saftey on
  14. Does anyone know what the programme was called, or if it's on the Iplayer?
  15. Quite, before it was the "Wooden Wonder" it was "Freeman's Folly", after Air Marshal Sir Wilfrid Freeman who everyone thought was mad to have ordered it. He was certainly proved right. The Mossie wasn't built for longevity though, a couple of examples in Israeli and Yugoslav service in the '50s literally came unglued in the air- that must have been fun...