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'[PICLIST] [OT!] Re: Most influential civilian in W'
2002\01\17@162848 by Chris Eddy

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My vote is for the bloke that developed the British Spitfire. If it were
not for that airplane, they would have been speaking German in the
Isles.

Tough call, though, since the cracking of Ultra allowed so many great
things to be accomplished (or avoided). If we are talking about Ultra,
it was a group effort, many of which were armed forces personel. Turing
is an important link, because the Bronze Godddess would not have been
developed without Turings' pre-war thesis. Ultra could be cracked, but
very slowly, until the machine based on Turings work brought that time
down to 13 minutes.

I do not vote for the atomic crowd. Their biggest influence was after
the war, as they created the foundation for the cold war. They did not
have to have the bomb to stop Japan. It would have cost lives, but Lemay
would have smoked them out hut for hut. I am divided on the ethical
nature of LeMay's methods, even in a war setting.

But, let us not forget the contribution of the proximity fuze. It is an
unsung hero in the Pacific. Kamakaze would have been far more effective
without it. The Brittons invented it and the Americans solved practical
problems to make it operate out of a gun. If I had the article in front
of me, I could attach a name.

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2002\01\17@190830 by Sean H. Breheny

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I think the performance of the Spitfire is overrated. Don't get me wrong,
it was a very good plane, but the German planes were superior from the
beginning onward. Once the P-51 was mated with the Merlin engine, I think
it was superior to the Spitfire, especially in firepower. Also, the Battle
of Britain was fought over British soil (or water very close to England) so
when a British pilot was shot down or had to make an emergency landing, he
could be put back into service, whereas a German in the same circumstances
became a prisoner; this created an inherent advantage for the Brits. This
also affected fuel consumption, a Spit was almost right there at the fight
as soon as it took off, the Germans had to come from places in France.
        Finally, British defensive tactics were very good, using an
integrated air defense network including radar, spotters, and
well-organized control centers. So, in essence, I think the main British
advantages were the inherent one of where the battle was fought, combined
with the integrated air-defence network, along with a good but not stunning
aircraft.

Sean

At 04:21 PM 1/17/02 -0500, you wrote:
>My vote is for the bloke that developed the British Spitfire. If it were
>not for that airplane, they would have been speaking German in the
>Isles.

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2002\01\18@051018 by D Lloyd

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"My vote is for the bloke that developed the British Spitfire. If it were
not for that airplane, they would have been speaking German in the
Isles."

The Hawker Hurricane accounted for a far greater number of Luftwaffe
aircraft, I believe, but I'll agree with that statement about the Spitfire
as Reginald Mitchell came from my home town ;-)

Cheers,
Dan

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2002\01\18@053530 by Alan B. Pearce

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>I think the performance of the Spitfire is overrated. Don't get me wrong,
>it was a very good plane, but the German planes were superior from the

In fact it was really the Hurricane that won the Battle of Britain. There
were several times more Hurricanes than there were Spitfires at that time.
The ratio changed as the war progressed I believe.

>         Finally, British defensive tactics were very good, using an
>integrated air defense network including radar, spotters, and
>well-organized control centers. So, in essence, I think the main British
>advantages were the inherent one of where the battle was fought, combined
>with the integrated air-defence network, along with a good but not stunning
>aircraft.

I think this is more what won the Battle of Britain. Because the British had
radar they could see the enemy planes coming, and could keep their own
planes grounded until the enemy were near, giving them maximum time in the
air at the time fighting was needed, without having to use fuel patrolling
looking for the enemy. Because of this they were able to have the enemy use
fuel coming to them, giving the enemy limited time in the fighting zone, and
thus limiting their tactics.


So... my vote goes to those who invented radar.

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2002\01\18@053705 by Bond, Peter

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> Also, the Battle
> of Britain was fought over British soil (or water very close
> to England) so
> when a British pilot was shot down or had to make an
> emergency landing, he
> could be put back into service, whereas a German in the same
> circumstances
> became a prisoner; this created an inherent advantage for the
> Brits. This
> also affected fuel consumption, a Spit was almost right there
> at the fight
> as soon as it took off, the Germans had to come from places in France.

I see your point, but there was a lot more air activity than just the Battle
of Britain.  Whilst the Germans were overflying Britain and dropping bombs
on us (and being shot at by AA & fighters), we were going over there and
doing the same.  With fighter escorts, natch.  So the "inherent advantage"
was pretty much neutralised, given the numbers of pilots (and I don't just
mean British) who were shot down over axis territory.  Also, bombing targets
in Germany required overflight of a lot of enemy territory, whereas, as you
pointed out, the Germans could launch from France.

We also had "a few" problems with materials supply...

Still and all, I'd rather get my hands on a Spit than an Me262.

Peter
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