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What if we had Jets sooner?

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posted on Dec, 3 2006 @ 06:38 AM
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It is fairly well known that Frank Whittle patented the jet engine in 1930 but was met by a tidal wave of indifference from the British authorities. What is less well known is that Hans von Ohain met with similar sentiments in Germany, the 1939 flight of the He 178 often being mistakenly seen as a sign that the Germans embraced the new technology immediately, where the stuffy old Brits did not.

This leads me to wonder what might have happened IF (that very big two letter word) the air ministry had ordered a prototype jet aircraft straight away instead of wasting so much time. Thoughts of Jet propelled Spitfires in the Battle of Britain are a very tempting fantasy indeed!

indeed it is not completely unrealistic either as a jet propelled Spitfire variant was schemed by Supermarine during 1942 but the company was far too busy to divert effort into such a risky scheme.

The E28/39 was actually ordered in 1939 and became Britains first jet to fly in May 1941. Taking this as a benchmark it is not too unbelievable to foresee successful bench testing of the Whittle engine taking place by 1932-33, with govt backing, and a jet powered test aircraft (with open cockpit and fixed gear!) taking to the air during 1934-35. in these circumstances the Spitfire might have been ordered as a Jet right from the off! So what are the likely scenarios?

I envisage two likely outcomes from this.

1 - Germany is dissuaded from her aggressive policy in the 1930's by this advanced technology from Britain and war is not declared in 1939 at all - maybe the war then starts in 1943 instead after Germany has caught up and much of the world ends up nuked?

2 - technical flaws in perfecting the new technolgy means that by the summer of 1939 neither the HurriJet or the JetFire has reached a single squadron of the RAF, which is entirely reliant on the Gloster Gladiator and a small pre-production trials batch of Merlin engined Hurricanes, only produced to get pilots used to monplanes with retracting undercarriages before the jets come along, for air defence. Britian dare not stand up to Germany, who takes over all of Europe unopposed and then simply marches into the UK at will after sweeping the obsolete RAF from the skies as easily as they had the Poles a few months earlier.

In either case it looks very much like history turned out for the better overall, or am I being unduly pessimistic? How do you think things might have turned out?

Gloster E28/39 - first allied jet aeroplane



Supermarine Attacker F.1 - real life end result of efforts to put a jet in the Spitfire





posted on Dec, 3 2006 @ 08:09 AM
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I recommend you get a look at Bill Gunston's "The Jet Engine" - he explains the beginning in a chapter - its a nice read.



posted on Dec, 3 2006 @ 08:21 AM
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Is that a polite way of telling me that my opening paragraph is wrong kilcoo? Either way, I will look out for that book, thanks.



posted on Dec, 3 2006 @ 08:52 AM
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Originally posted by waynos
Is that a polite way of telling me that my opening paragraph is wrong kilcoo? Either way, I will look out for that book, thanks.


No, well... maybe the bit about von Ohain isn't exactly spot on.


But it goes into nice detail (but not too much) about Whittle's problems and the reasons why the air ministry thought a turbojet would never work.

As I said its a nice read, I have it lying in the research office - if its only a few pages, I might see about scanning it.



posted on Dec, 3 2006 @ 09:33 AM
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If you could that would be great, thank you.



posted on Dec, 3 2006 @ 10:49 AM
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Alternative history is a fascinating game; a whole genre of fiction is in my local bookstore.
This scenario is interesting, but two things stand in the way of it's plausibility: The British government at the time was broke, and pacifist.
I think Hitler would have rolled the tanks even if this development had occured; he thought a political settlement with GB would occur after France fell, and the Battle of Britain was a diversion in preperation for Barbarossa.



posted on Dec, 10 2006 @ 08:17 AM
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Sorry about the delay in getting this done.


Anyone that wants a copy U2U me with an email address



posted on Dec, 10 2006 @ 10:43 AM
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This is one area of speculation that facinates me!

I would think that if the Jet engine had emerged sooner, the second world war might have been a little shorter, but the air war would have been far more deadly. The reason is that the higher speed of jet combat forced an evolution in fighter tactics. it would have been simular to intrdusing the machine gun in the American Civil War. Hundred, pehaps thousands more airmen would have been killed as they tried to learn to dog fight at speeds in excess of 600mph.

Tim



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