Monday, September 29, 2014

Techblogging August 1944, II: To Sail Beneath the Saffron Flag

Fraternal Brother Liu Chu Wan!

Knowing of old how discretely you vet my cousin's correspondence. I implore your assistance. The matter of self-murder comes up several times in the letter which follows, and I fear my cousin's mood, as he will have heard of the first, the death of Admiral Moon.  There has been a fall in the American female suicide rate this year, which Time magazine attributes to nothing less than prosperity. I do not wish to infect my cousin with mad impulses, but I do believe that this anecdote will illuminate changes in the American mood, changes that confirm to me the odds of a postwar housing boom. The item is on a a separate page, if you deem it best to remove it, I would ask that word of it might be whispered in the ear of my cousin and lord.  

Your Loving Elder Brother, Tay Chao She

My Dearest Reggie:

Just a brief note to append here before I sail. I will left the household in Santa Clara bring you up to date. Sparrow is refit and ready to sail. Fat Chow will join us in Hawaii. As I have hinted several times, our orders take us to the Philippines as part of MacArthur's navy for a landing on Leyte preparatory to the taking of Luzon. The young people are proceeding south with Wong Lee, your youngest to begin his V-12 programme at the University of California, "Miss V.C." to enroll at Stanford, of all places.  She had a busy summer, even managing to reach Nootka, where I relented and had Joseph George take her under his wing and spin tales about the old blackbirding voyages up to Tsawatti. Combine that with Old Liu's tales of Chilcotin cattle drives and Columbia river barges, and she has the old "Red Route" from Whampoa to Spokane. Now she only needs the deeds, to know when and how the ranches along the way came into her family's ownership, to put the rest of the Nootka connection together. As far as I know, those do not exist outside Chicago, but that does not mean that she will not keep looking. 

I am sorry to divert you with my little game at this moment. I cannot, still, believe that I am sailing to war at my age, but all the arrangements have been made, and if the strain prove too much for me, there will at least be some poetic closure of a life spared by Japanese shrapnel so long ago. I am sentimental. 

I would prefer better.

Flight, 17 August 1944


“Aircraft in Battle”/ “The Air and the Invasion” Aircraft were involved!

“The Airborne Army” As was noticed by Time, although not so far here by you, Reggie, as I cover it in its calendar turn below, SHAEF has erected the airborne corps of the allied armies into an international First Airborne Army. This must broadly imply the intention to  use this force in a multi-corps operation, although it is difficult to imagine quite that many paratroopers floating to Earth. I cannot help but notice the shortfall in new, large transport aircraft production.

“War in the Air” The not-quite fall of Brest and Lorient “wins the Battle of the Atlantic on land.” Or wins it more, and even more when the ports actually fall. LaPallice is bombed again, in case there is any more intact concrete down there. The paper goes on to note that the lack of aerial reconnaissance made the Germans blind. This meant that it took until the 12th for the Germans to realise that they had to withdraw from Normandy or risk being encircled by the American breakout. This in turn meant daylight movements through Falaise under continuous air attack. The pilots report a “terrific” slaughter of vehicles, although I would be more comfortable with a count of them made from the ground. Even if the air attack on the retreating Germans proves less effective than it initially seemed, this really has been the coming of age of “air superiority” in warfare.

“Relation of Air to War” Air ChiefMarshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory* gave  an extended talk to the press on the relationship of air to ground in the recent campaign that repeats what I have already said at greater length. The enemy could not strike back due to our fighters, could not use the main roads, due to our fighter bombers, could not use river bridges that were knocked down by our medium bombers, could not hold fortified positions that were attacked by our heavy bombers, were groping in the dark for lack of aerial reconnaissance.

“For Photographic Reconnaissance” The paper celebrates the Spitfire XI P.R. variant with a 16650hp Merlin 61, 63, or 63A engine and the gun compartment in the wing removed to install a fuel tank taking up nearly the whole of the leading edge.

Here and There

Inventor Adam Craigon of Toronto, Canada, has the solution to the flyimb bomb problem, and has cabled Mr. Churchill offering his services.  As the paper goes to press, the existence of the “Gyro Gun-Sight Mk. IID" is revealed to those of us who have not previously benefitted from a private briefing by your eldest son. Sid Hall's boy, John, has been killed in a flying accident. The Consolidated B-32 is revealed, justifying the reduction in B-24 production in a more seemly way than admitting that they are being taken out of frontline service in Europe, or so I hear. 

The paper notices an article in Flugsport on the B-40 “Flak cruiser,” and summarises its 1940 article explaining why the concept is unsound. Further on the theme of old grievances, it notices that the  article contains a picture published in Flugwehr in 1940 showing the Defiant’s four guns, “then an official secret in Britain.” The Lamplugh Committee report on the future of civil aviation calls on the Government to make an Official Statement. The cabin of the B-29 is said to be made of a self-sealing material developed by Du Pont de Nemours. Sounds a little far-fetched to me. Major Mayo, latterly promoter of the Short-Mayo Composite Aircraft, is now the promoter of Shipping Airlines, ltd, the airline formed by “forty shipping companies.” If I had not already reason enough not to rush into this. The US War Department announces that the P-63 Kingcobra is now in service. Various towns are in rivalry to build a “super airport” for Atlantic service to London.

“Avro York: Some Impressions and a General Review of Britain’s Latest Civil Aircraft” This is an odd one. The AvroYork is the Lancaster bomber conversion, so it is old news. Except that bombers are not really convertible into transports. Bombers lift weight, while transports lift volume. (The Spitfire V, for example, takes off with a combat load of fuel and ammunition equivalent to twelve passengers.) In the case of the York, the problem has been solved by replacing the short fuselage of the Lancaster with a very long one. It cruises at a lower speed, needs the triple empennage removed in the Lancaster, and probably has a lower maximum combat load. (I cannot be bothered to check.) In return, it gets the room to carry 24 passengers, plus conveniences such as a kitchen. Remembering the distant days of prewar commercial flying and my uncommonly extensive but still minimal experience, my impression was that European airlines favoured comfort, American ones, speed. However, many of the “comfort” factors were not ones well described by advertisements. Cabin temperature, noise, and chair comfort mattered more than promenades, in other words. The York looks comfortable, but we are not told about how noisy it is. The engine plant is a 1250hp Merllin, suggesting considerable exhaust noise; but on the other hand, there are fully feathering Hydromatic propellers.We are thrown back on the question of whether the engine will be economical to maintain.

“New Zealand Wants British Commonwealth Air Route”

Behind the Lines

The paper is amused that General Korten has received the Order of the Sacred Treasure from Japan in the same week that notices his replacement, Lieutenant General Kreipe, who replaces him on account of Korten’s execution in the bomb plot against Hitler. In other court news, a German paper credits Albert Speer with inventing the V-1. Pictures of the Finnish Air Force’s Curtiss Hawk 75s appear, the continuing existence of which (if it is not an old picture, or training aircraft) does precious little credit to the Red Air Force.

Beaufighter Strikes” Who does not want to hear about planes with four 20mm cannons and six .303 machine guns and twelve 6” rockets and torpedoes and bombs? It is unfortunate that they only get to shoot at coasters, but some of the coasters have AA batteries.Vroom! Zoom Zoom! It is like dealing with Jackie’s brainstorms again. Remember the machinery of old Furious?

“Studies in Recognition” Covers the Wildcat and Yak-9. Is there not an old enough version of the FW190 to which to compare them?


If one cannot get enough of civil aviation talk, three letters cover railways and civil aviation; Indicator’s complaints about young pilots; and talking about talking about civil aviation. The residuum are two letters answering “Ex-Halton Apprentice’s” criticisms recently.  One writes to defend Halton on the score of teaching new engines and basic thermodynamics; the other supposes that Halton apprentices’ time is wasted by too much theory. 

Time, 21 August 1944

“Surrender Terms”  The Allied terms for German unconditional surrender (never mind that this is a contradiction) are published. The Allies will provide for destitute Germans and there will be no monetary reparations. Border adjustments are yet to be determined.

“Kings” Bulgaria and Roumania are surrendering more.

“Bishop’s Move” The Chicago Daily News reports that the Russian ambassador to Rome has approached the Vatican to talk about talking.

“A Little Matter of Castling” The Socialists and Communists have agreed on an electoral pact in Italy. It is bad and wrong, the paper thinks, because the lire circulation has doubled since Mussolini’s fall, and the national debt has quadrupled, and naturally all of this must end in tears, which will be the worse for having a left-leaning government.

“Rice Up, Prices Down” A bumper crop of rice has brought the price of rice down in China and set back inflation. The paper supposes that this might be the salvation of Free China. Maybe –if enough Soongs overeat themselves to death.

“Vernichtungslager” The Russian press has just published the first eye-wtiness description of a Nazi “extermination camp,” at Maiden, near Lublin, where poison gas chambers killed 250 people at a time, and great crematoriums burnt the corpses. It is almost inconceivable to me –would be inconceivable if the vast population deportations had not long since told us that something of this magnitude had to be going on in the interior of the Reich. Nor were the Nazis respecters of rank and influence. Leon Blum is reported to have died here.

“Iki, Waki, Konki, Sookekki,” (“spirit, harmony, stamina, total action”) is reported to be the winning slogan “to stir Japanese fighting forces now in their eighth year of war” in an contest run by the Imperial Rule Assistance Association. 

I would personally have proposed, “To discretely withdraw from the dinner party early, pleading prior obligations.” I find it hard to believe that there is not a poetic way of saying it in Japanese.

“Selective Service” The paper reports an anecdote of the Generalissimo intervening to end abuses in conscription. Is the paper truly this innocent?

“The Wind from Tauroggen” The paper’s extended discussion of the ongoing German bomb plot treason trials sends me to your encyclopedia, after first pulling the relevant volume out of your son's hands, as he is more than a bit jealous of the lost companion of his childhood I learn various things about the Napoleonic wars, generals named Yorck and Scharnhorst, and the campaign of 1812/13 which the paper deems to be relevant to the fact that the Germans are going to shoot some generals to encourage the others.

“Big Game” World leaders are excitable.

“Pawns” And Poles.

“Ttile V Nonsense” GI theatres will not be allowed to screen the latest Zanuck or Fibber McGee and Mollyproductions, as they are deemed political, as are British newspapers, the Air Force’s Offical Guide, and famous books by famous persons named Charles Beard and Catherine Drinker Bowen, without prejudice to the chances of famous books written by other famous books. The paper continues to blame Senator Taft.

“Anticlimax” Plans for the next Big Four meeting are presumably unfolding, but there's little to say. Therefore, ,gossip!

“Seven Forward Passes” General MacArthur announces the “strategic” conquest of New Guinea. Expect more conquering later. 

“The Noose Tightens” A “medium-sized” force of B-29s flying from a base “somewhere in Southeast Asia,1800 miles from the target” bombed the Palembang refineries. The same night, the first night incendiary raid was made on Nagasaki. It was a “precision job,” the paper says with no sign of irony. Do not play poker with the paper! The Philippines were bombed by carrier aviation, and heavy bombers from the Southwest Pacific Command attacked Davos. Hopefully the bombers will not go so far astray as to damage the old house. Also attacked, the Whangpoo of Shanghai, the “Volcano Islands,” and the Kuriles.

“The Forgotten War” There’s a war in China! If it starts going badly, we won’t be able to invade China so that we can invade Japan. Which is to be presented as something that follows from the first. 

“Interim Guidepost” Talking about talking about postwar oil advances to the point of an “interim guideline.” America and Britain will together dispose of the world's oil. I wonder what the owners of the world's oil will think of it?

“Where it Hurts” Plans for the big crackdown on Argentina are almost finalised! We are almost ready to punish them for doing what they did. (Being nice to Germany?) Of course, it won’t lead to anything so crass as crimping Argentina’s exports to Britain.

“Schizophrenia” The Allies are winning because the Germans are incompetent? That cannot be what the paper is saying. I certainly hope that this “strange split personality career” will lead to “physical disintegration,” but it seems a bit premature, jokes about Mr.Janeway aside, to expect it.

“Attack in the South” The landings on the French Mediterranean career, perhaps the point of the preceding piece, are covered. I notice “German radio direction-finding stations,” so at least I know that radar is secret this week. It seems that the invasion was a success, which pretty much puts paid to the German occupation south of the Loire, not that that was not already in the cards.

“Graduation Exercise” Somehow, Colonel Harry Flint of the United States Army arranged a frontline combat appointment in spite of being 56. He died a hero. It bears repeating that for such a young country, the United States has a remarkably old military leadership.

“A Hell of a Nerve” The German counterattack at Mortain was savaged by artillery called in from an American forward position on a hilltop which the Germans were never able to take. Various implausible stories are told.

“Counterattack” The Germans have counterattacked around Warsaw, which probably dooms the rising by the partisans there, which the Russians were not any too  happy about. Places near the Baltic which no-one but the Russians care about have been liberated.

“The Blitz and One Man” Our Trotskyite friend, Mr. Mangan, has shown up in London as a correspondent for the paper reporting on the “robobombs.” He tells the story of a toolmaker at a London factory whose house was near-missed. A wife and two children had to be accommodated at their grandparents’, although apparently the family chickens were left to fend for themselves. The house had its roof cracked, furniture thrown down, and the blast “pushed the back and front walls [eventually revealed to be brick shells] some eight inches from the sidewalks.” This made it difficult to patch the roof, which was done with a piece of tarpaulin. The family was allowed to move into some vacant homes across the street. He has since seen more of “the things,” including one more in his immediate vicinity. He is exhausted, production is suffering from constant alerts, and he definitely does not want to live in a “miserable brick house” any more. That preference may pass once peace returns, but word to the wise. I also wonder how many people are living in houses with similarly displaced walls and tarpaulin roofs.

At least the RAF is doing its best.

“Death in Manchuria” The Japanese have announced that they have executed three American soldiers for killing a Manchurian police inspector in the course of an attempted escape.

“U-Boats’ End” The paper notices that the Battle of the Atlantic is still over. 

“Soldiers’ Return” General Somervell has given a talk to the press deprecating the chances of a very rapid demobilisation. Brigadier General William Tompkins, a Corps of Engineers man, is in charge of demobilisation plans, since it takes the brains of a civil engineer to draw  up a mobilisation plan for an uncertain future date at which war may or may not continue in one or more theatres, depending.

“The Rescue of Tweed” A member of the prewar American garrison of Guam walks into American lines, having hidden in the hills for four years. (In next week's number, he gets divorced from his wife on return to Los Angeles.)

“Slimy Slim” there is a three-humped sea serpent in Idaho’s Payette Lake, say locals, with a broad wink and a nod, holding out their glasses so that the paper can buy another round.

“Dewey’s Choice” Governor Dewey has chosen Tom Curran to run for Robert Wagner’s old seat. Curran is against communism and the Roosevelt Administration, says the GOP press. Good to know.

“Airborne Army” The Allied parachute divisions have been organised into an army-level command under Lietenant-General Lewis Hyde Brereton, formerly commanding IX Air Force, with the husband of Daphne du Maurier to give him an infantryman deputy. An old Army Air Corps man of my acquaintance pointed out that it was a fine appointment, because at least his men are ready to parachute this time.

“New Boss” “Burly Major General Curtis Emerson LeMay, 37, crack Flying Fortressman” has been ordered to “China” to take over the B-29 force. I suppose that I have been complaining about the age of the American general officer corps enough that I cannot now also complain that a man in his thirties has been given a fleet. The paper notes that managing the B-29s is technically difficult. Their remote control guns, cabin supercharging, and “a set of engines that can suck the tanks dry long before their time if controls are not set just right” are mentioned. Am I reading tea-leaves to see these as a new set of concerns? The issue here is that while my sources at Boeing are frank about the engine problems, and the sorry story of premature remote control armament applications is brought home to me every time I talk to your eldest son, I had not heard about difficulties with the cabin supercharging. This is a pretty abstract concern right now, but I have a high opinion of the company involved, and should like to hear if it is not justified.

“Stubborn Nations” There used to be fortresses in Brittany in the old days! There still are! We have to take them before we can use the ports, and we might actually take St. Malo soon, although it is protected by Nazi fanatics and the “mad” Colonel Andreas von Auloch, who lost his family in a Berlin bombing, which tragedy will cause him to actually do his duty, because that is the only conceivable explanation.

“Defeat in the North” Thanks to the slashing attacks of General Omar Bradley’s tanks and infantry and the direct command of General “Ike” Eisenhower, our troops “outblitzed” the Germans. Outwitting the Germans with American speed and daring, with the Canadians and British helped by inching forward. The upshot is . . .not entirely clear. The Seventh Army might be encircled on the left bank of the Seine? The language will look pretty embarrassing if Kluge manages to fall back intact on the Somme! I think that I shall not bother to revise this passage next week. Let it stand as an example of not to cover an unfolding story instead.

“Career’s End” The paper covers Don Moon’s death in a regrettable way.

Stumpy’s Boys” Mrs. Michael C.Niland, of Tonawanda, N.Y., nicknamed “Stumpy,” has four sons in the service.Three are missing. In the last week, she has received confirmation of the death of two of them.  Only one is still safe as far as is known, but he is a sergeant paratrooper in France, and so in rather imminent peril whenever SHAEF decides what to do with its new Airborne Army. One would think that the Army would have learned from the Sullivan fiasco. 


The fight in Washington continues over whether the emergent shortages of radar, heavy trucks and bombs are so pressing as to derail reconversion.  Economists Lewis Bassie and Irving Kaplan, who published a report saying that the Army had more than enough stuff, even without access to classified information, have resigned. Donald Nelson, however, has won approval for a slightly delayed and slightly reduced version of his reconversion plan. The Army will let 20,000 aircraft workers go now, and 80,000 by year’s end, although concealing this “in an optimistic release which chose to stress increased production of long-range bombers –Boeing B-29s and the new super-Liberator, the B-32.” The main result of this is the cancellation of Higgins’ C-46 shop and a cutback in P-47 output. Some contracts are to be transferred from southern California to Dallas, and from Akron to Evansville. A big strike in the trucking industry in the Midwest for a 7 cents/hour increase is apparently evidence of a “War’s-almost-over” psychology.

“The Deserters” Meanwhile, the West Coast workforce is voting with its feet. Los Angelese is said to be losing 7000 workers a month, San Francisco, 4000; Portland and seattle, 15,500. Then it theorises that the workers are leaving to get permanent work in their hometowns while the getting is good. Then the paper notes that there is still a labour shortage on the West Coast, that Boeing needs 4000 men, and that our yards in Portland need 11,500, the logging industry 7000. I will not speak to the other employers, but when we say that we need 11,500 people or the Victory Ship programme is going to fall behind, what we mean is that we have bitten off more than we can chew and would love to get away with blaming labour shortages. Now, that said, we could certainly deliver more Victories if we had more labour. Realistically, though, that would mean addressing the problems that are actually driving labour away, mainly housing.

“Behavior on V-Day” The nation’s department stores are getting ready for V-Day by preparing to close the store, remove merchandise from show windows and even board them up, and, as Milwaukee’s Boston Store says, “Finish waiting on your customer; then get out and celebrate.”

“Fabulous” The Agriculture Department specialists says that this will be a fabulous harvest, with the biggest wheat crop ever harvested, near record yields of corn, oats, small grains, rice, peas, beans, vegetables, tobacco. Chagrined experts blame excellent weather for the starvation deficit, and point to continuing drought in the East Central states, and a roaring wind and hail storm that streaked for a hundred miles through Montana and Canada. There’s still time to lose the tree fruit crop!

“St. Louis Tension” Race tensions erupt on St. Louis’s streetcar system.

“Liberation” The people of Guam greet liberating American soldiers warmly. A range of colourful stories are told to the paper’s correspondent.

The Waikiki Conference” The President went to Hawaii, stayed at the Holmes Mansion on Waikiki Beach, enjoyed the sun and rested, and met with Nimitz, Halsey, Macarthur and a Lieutenant General named Richardson. The upshot is the final word that the Philippines will be invaded, and by MacArthur’s forces, though as the paper points out, this was put in train months ago. Marshall and King would have accompanied him to a real war conference. The President then sailed up to Alaskan waters and back via Seattle. (Our young Lieutenant A. was very briefly presented to him at Bremerton.)

“Roper and Gallup” Roper’s opinion survey shows that  52% of Americans approve of the President, while the Gallup survey finds Dewey slightly ahead, albeit with only 35 of 48 states so far surveyed.

“Creditor Canada” Canada offers potential foreign buyers a $300 million line of credit in hopes of maintaining trade post war. It also offers a not terribly generous set of veteran’s benefits which will probably be revisited in the face of the more generous American arrangements. It seems penny wise, pound foolish to go cheap on postwar payments after being so extravagant during the war.

“Battle for Reconversion” The current question is the level of unemployment compensation to be paid laid off workers. The CFL, AFL, and National Farmers’ Union are backing a proposal for a peak rate of $35/week for 104 weeks for a man with three dependents who had been earning $48/week. The Senate has predictably split between “pro New Deal” and others, and the named others are ‘the conservatives, ’including  “all Republicans (save North Dakota’s lone corporal, Bill Langer) and a solid regiment  of Southern Democrats,” with Arthur J. Vandenberg and Millard Tydings arguing that debt spending is wrong, and Vermont’s Warren R. Austin seeing another step in the road to national socialism. The upshot is that the Senate bill was defeated, and the action moves to the House.


“Everybody Busy” Business boomed in every corner of the land where the paper’s tireless correspondents were vacationing in desperate attempts to escape the heat. Car loadings were up 2% on the strength of the harvest and exports; department store sales were up 4%, but merchants were cautious in placing orders for fall goods; output of power was up; private construction was up 132%, public, surprisingly enough, up 12%; steel production was at 97% of capacity; wheat prices are down on the season in spite of CCC buying to shore up prices, but still 10 cents higher than last year; cotton prices were down; lack of shipping holds back cocoa, coffee and sugar sales, but a large cargo of olives is en route to the US from “Hitler? I do not recall anyone by that name-“ country.

“Joe Frazer and Graham-Paige” This is the defunct automaker that “Cousin H.C.” has chosen as his wedge into the market. Either the word has gotten out, or his partners-to-be have chosen to take a profit, because the paper here covers the rapid run up in their shares this week. Anyone who has been inside of Willow Run knows this for a stock bubble, and I am wrestling with my conscience about jumping in. Perhaps tis really is the right time to be in the South Pacific. If you want to take up the slack, dear Reggie, I shall not judge.

“Border Warfare” Speaking of, new airlines keep popping up in Mexico.

“Up 10%” Americans made more money last June than in any previous month in history, with total income paid to individuals of $13,496 millions, up the titular 10%. Federal interest payments, up 20% over the last year, and higher transportation industry payrolls were the biggest factor, although the continued rise in  military payments were also major factors, with factory and farm net ioperating income, in spite of accounting for nearly half of individual income, counting for a much smaller share in the rise. Between taxes and the higher cost of living, however, the actual gain in wealth was smaller.

“Trouble in Akron” There is a tire crisis again this week. Given how hard it is to sort out whether we have a rubber shortage or not, the paper comes down on blaming labour, and the Navy, for cancelling the Brewster Corsair contract instead of the Goodyear, which would have freed up labour in Akron. There is disagreement over how many labourers Akron, with its 80,000 man workforce, is actually short. The WMC says 1400, industry 2700. Either way, they are not going to be found outside Akron, so he solution is to make the workers work harder for less money. But only for three months, it is promised.

“Cold Comfort” The ice making industry is going through the biggest boom in history due to the temporary shortage of mechanical refrigerators. To meet demand, which is pretty high back East this last month, the industry must produce close to 50 million tons this year. The story, here, however, is Chicago’s City Ice & Fuel. An optimistic quote at the back of the paper, saying that the company does not fear the refrigerator, since it will let Astor Street take care of itself while it options the “Henry Ford of the refrigerator” position. All very well, but what it is doing with its August windfall is to buy up all of the preferred stock issued during the company’s expansionary period in the 1920s.

“Burial in Vermont” Vermonters are amused, and also disgusted, by the War Food Administration’s disastrously failed attempt to bury nine carloads of bad eggs  “beyond the town limits of South Burlington.” It is going to get worse, too, as the 6.2 million cases of eggs bought by the WFA to maintain the price of 30 cents/dozen are mostly still clogging valuable cold storage space needed by this season’s crops.

“West Edmond’s Hour of Glory” Fears that America will run out of oil soon are alleviated by the discovery of a large new field in West Edmonds, Oklahoma. It will not, however, reverse the downward trend which has seen the amount of oil discovered in America each year decline since 1937.

Science, etc.

“Smaller and Hotter” The old-fashioned furnace may be doomed, due to the introduction of cheap new miniature house heaters. This week, the anthracite coal industry introduced its own “pint-sized burner.” A steel pipe 18 inches long and four in diameter for a four-room house, or 6” for a deluxe six-room house, it has a ram feeder at one end, an ash extractor at the other, a water jacket, and a water pump, and requires only a small vent, so that it does not have to be installed in a new or existing chimney. The key is a new and more efficient grate, which is said to produce 40% more heat per unit of coal. The Bituminous Coal Institute, meanwhile, is advertising a coal stove three feet high and two feet square, capable of heating a four-or-five room house (if the circulation takes care of itself!) It will run three days between stoking, and twenty-seven stove manufacturers expect to market it before war’s end. Stewart-Warner, meanwhile, has a gasoline burner the size of a waste basket capable of heating a 20 room house, and, of course as you would expect from the name, based on the company’s aircraft heater. The cost of the central heating unit is not announced, but a one-room version will cost $20 to $30. Fuel costs will be “no higher than those of the old fashioned furnace.”
Rather more promisingly, the company is planning to adapt the design to fuel oil and natural gas.

Pointless Pen” Stratopen has announced a new fountain pen to be called the Stratopen, which uses a ball bearing instead of a pen point. Invented by a Hungarian newsman named L. J. Biro, and developed in Argentina, it “works on the same principle as a printing press.” From the description which follows, this might be the least useful analogy ever attempted in science reporting, but it sounds very useful for high altitude balloonists and mountain climbers.

“Tonsil Blitz” Four hundred grinning natives (actually, a colony of sealers, but Aleut sealers, so close enough), all wards of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, greeted the three man annual medical mission to the Pribilof Islands. The grins permitted the nose-and-throat man in the mission to detect “bad” tonsils, and he promptly had 104 of them out of the 400 hundred residents, operating without sterilisation equipment and without testing for adverse reactions to anaesthetic. Post-operative care consisted of free blankets and a truck ride, although the mission did stop off in Seattle to arrange the shipment of 10 million units of penicillin.

“Photographic Reconnaissance” The paper strikingly calls tuberculosis the second most crippling American disease after –common cold! I suppose that from a coldly utilitarian point of view, this is exactly true. There are, according the latest report of the Tuberculosis Control Division, 1.5 million American consumptives, and tuberculosis is stil the leading cause of death by disease in adults aged 15 to 35. The rate of death rose in 1944 for the first time in decades, and the Division has launched a campaign to X-ray (eventually) every American with new mobile X-ray machines. Although, at the same time, the disease needs to be considered as a public health problem. The death rate in San Antonio, the worst-rated city, is ten times as high as in Grand Rapids, with the best showing. Coloureds died from three to six times more often than Whites, and almost seven times as often in Newark, N.J, presumably the outlier in that statistic. In short, it is part of the “slum” problem. 

Press, Culture, Etc.

“Teddy Bear’s Father” Cliff Berryman, the editorial cartoonist who invented the “teddy bear,” was feted in Washington this week, while in the same recent issue of the Cleveland News there appeared a testimonial to Giljan patent medicine by Alexander Kellough of 2508 Morris Black Place, and Mr. Kellough’s obituary.

“Dewey Stands Firm” The other Dewey. The paper cross-promotes the Fortune article, but gives us a little more perspective. Criticisms of Dewey's "practical" educational programme are old, but novel is Dewey's criticism of Robert Maynard Hutchins of the University of Chicago*.

“Mellowing Modernism” Modernist art apparently normally involves all those paintings that look like babies made them, and also buildings that are very ugly. On the contrary, now, sometimes, says the paper, because it has a budget for photographs that it has not used up with pictures of politicians.  For perspective, New York City’s Municipal Asphalt Plant is the lead illustration. It is modernist and ...well, it's something. 


“So Smelly the Rose” Tokyo Rose gets American syndication in the Bay Area, from KYA, just in time for me to be out of the country for the duration. The transcripts will be carefully purged of dangerous Japanese propaganda, which can only be safely heard by discerning adults, such as readers of this paper.

“Beard’s Last” A paperback mass market “Basic History of the United States” is to be Charles and Mary Beard’s last, according to the authors. The paper gives it a three page review-and-retrospective that I glanced through very quickly in the interest of finding out who, exactly, they are. (Left-leaning historians/independently wealthy dairy farmers, apparently.) I mention this to you, beloved cousin of all too-short-leisure time, because they fall in the “post war depression” camp.

“Historical Amnesia” Howard Fast presents a new interpretation of the end of Reconstruction in the South, in which it turns out that the winners were the ones who won.

“The Invaders” Even the paper thinks that Ilya Ehrenburg’s latest is a bit much.

Jingle All the Way” Alan Kent and Austen Herbert Johnson write “singing commercials,” which they represent as more effective than “nongsinging commercials.” They seem somewhat less than disinterested.

Flight, August 24 1944


“The Under-Belly Again” The paper is surprised by the landing in France, which it expected would wait until events had made it even more pointless than it is rapidly proving to be already. To cap the silliness of the commentary, it adds (and agrees with Time here) that it cut off one of the German lines of retreat from Italy. My experience in land warfare maybe confined to chasing Boers, but even I know that armies retreat on their communications.

“A Great Air Victory” The German position in France is collapsing, and aircraft were. . .

War in the Air

It is difficult to say anything meaningful about the fighting in France, north or south, when things are developing so rapidly, but it is worth noting a raid by Bomber Command against nine German fighter bases by 1100 Lancasters and Halifaxes of Bomber Command, flying by daylight with American fighter escort. That is new, and rather frightening for the Germans, because, as various correspondents to the paper have pointed out so often, the British bombers carry so many bombs. (5000 tons in this case.) 750 Fortresses and Liberators were also used. In other news, Jugoslav ground crews are being trained by the RAF for Marshal Tito’s forces. Our SHAEF Correspondent reminisces about the days when gliders were being flown out to participate in the invasion of Sicily. The gliders were put on autopilot and towed behind Halifaxes which were routed far out into the Bay of Biscay to avoid Ju88 fighters, and landed with only 30 minutes of fuel at Gibraltar after long flights, with much greater mileage than the Waco tows from America. A new incendiary bomb consisting of a small canister of gasoline containing a solution of methane under pressure is announced. It produces a jet of flame, which burns for about two minutes.

Here and There

According to a senior officer of AA Command, the cost of destroying a flying bomb with artillery is about £500. AirChief Marshal Sir William Mitchell died of a heart attack last week. Canadian factories have made more than 2300 aircraft for the American services. “S for Sugar's” famed record of 114 operational flights has been surpassed by “N for Nan,” at 115; 119 to Berlin. Dr. May Smith is to give a talk to the London Technical College on “Fatigue and Boredom.” The RAF Transport Command Liberator “Commando” carrying Lord Beaverbrook back from New York to London has taken the eastbound Blue Riband at 17hr 34 minutes, besting the old record by 3 hours. In a statement to the shareholders of Bristol Aeroplanes, W. G. Verdon Smythe said that “progress has been made” on the Brabazon I.

“London-Paris” The twenty-fifth anniversary of the first regular air service between the two cities is coming up this week. Just when depends on which Handley Page bomber or DH4 is deemed to be the first scheduled, paying flight. Even more shipping companies apply for airlines. I suppose they think that the future for new shipbuilding is cloudy and that there is no point in leaving the money in equities, or something. This is absurd. There will be mass scrappings at the peace, including of near-new Liberties, and the Victories are going to be neither numerous nor economical.

W. Nichols, “Plastics for Aircraft Engineers” There will be a lot of “push” for plastic products after the war. The question is “pull.”

BRICOVMO, Ltd., announces that “The REME of to-day is the motorist of tomorrow.” That is, in the future, well-bred gentlemen (he smokes a pipe, so he must be a gentleman; though, as he is doing it while hovering over open pistons, not a very bright one) will want highly reliable BRICCOVMO parts to do frequent repairs on his very nice auto. Something of a poser as to how highly reliable parts are involved in frequent repairs, but I am not in the business of selling piston rings, pistons and liners. An earnest boy fiddling with his Lincoln, apparently convinced that a healthy-sounding engine will win a girl’s heart, it might be a bit more plausible.

Behind the Lines

Japan is increasing the mobilisationof its women. General Galland says that German fighter quality is improving rapidly, and that the number being built well exceeds losses. V1 and V2 operations have increased.

“Last of the Many” The last Hurricane off the old Hawker Aircraft, Ltd, production line is to be delivered this week.

A. Sipowics, “Endurance and Range: An Elementary Outline of How a Pilot Can, by Simple Means, Make Allowance for Wind Strength and Direction” Technical,but quite interesting.

“Cyclones New Fins” A method of putting aluminum fins on steel cylinder barrels developed by Wright will improve the coolilng of air-cooled engines and save precious alloy steel.

“Studies in Recognition” Gives us the Ju 188 and C. 202 fighter.


L. Shelford Bidwell writes to say that his last letter about jets was wrong, and that he has more thoughts about thrust augmentors. The salient point is that they would only be useful if the gas thrust out of the back of a jet was moving at a supersonic velocity. While all of this is pure science fiction for the  moment, it does underline that the apparent simplicity of the jet engine is likely to get quite complicated in the future era when the  simple ones have been made to work properly.

R. E. Gregory writes to say that the German Air Force has probably disappeared because it is all converting to an Me. 163” flying wing rocket interceptor of which he has heard somewhere, and that the final battle over Germany will pit these hot ships against our supposed jet fighters.

Service Aviation is amused by Squadron Leader (Chaplain) Perkins, who trained as a fitter, and was once a fitter in Air Marshal Coningham’s squadron, and who helps out around the field when not attending to his sky piloting.

Time, 28 August 1944

“War Without End?” London News Chronicle political correspondent E. P. Montgomery fears that if the Nazis go underground, this war might be prolonged indefinitely in a terroristic campaign of underground resistance. The paper is somewhat skeptical, but points out that he is right to fear that the shooting might not end on Armistice Day.

“Straws in the Wind” Sweden and Switzerland cut Germany, give it the silent treatment, allow that they’ve always admired the Allies’ dress sense, natural wit, but do not quite go so far as to notice a vacancy in their social calendars on date of next Allied to-do. Also something about iron ore, machinery, ball bearing exports. It is easy to ostracise a trading partner when she runs out of things to trade!

“Bulgaria: To the Exit” Speaking of. . .

Greeks and Latins are excitable.

“Down with Cake” The paper is still upset with Dr. Goebbels.

“One-third of a Petticoat” British clothes rationing is extremely strict, which is amusing because women like to buy clothing.

“Burning Questions” Asia is “burning at both ends.” And since China “occupiers in Asia a strategic position somwheat like that of Germany in Europe,” a communist takeover in China will “dominate the world.” The paper’s reputation as a haven for China hands is clearly justified, because nothing I can imagine will cause the Communist stock to fall further in China than warning that  a Communist China will “dominate the world!” God, Reggie, was that moment, crossing the bar of Pleiku, the last time I ever saw you cry? Not the last time that I cried, but the last time in shame. 

“Beyond China’s Sorrow” The paper’s correspondent in the Communist controlled areas discovers that the Communists are reformers, determined to improve the lot of the peasantry. Imagine if any previous insurgent dynasty had adopted that tack! Imagine if the paper actually knew any Chinese history!

“Powder Keg” It turns out that Chiang does not like Communists. Who knew? In all seriousness,, three stories in a row suggests that the Luce press is starting to take the Communists very seriously. I imagine that means that Soong and Chiang are finally convinced of the threat. Given enough American guns and silver, I assume they think that they can defeat the Communists in the field. The guns will probably be forthcoming, the silver not so much. And even if it were, the problem with men like Soong is that they are allergic to the feeling of it running through their fingers. I debated mentioning a short notice about one of Dr. Sun’s grandsons’ marrying a San Francisco Chinatown department store heir in last week’s number. Now it seems more relevant. It’s not that silver spent in China arriving in San Francisco is news so much as what the fact that of it failing to stay in China tells us about the future of the Middle Kingdom.

“The Spinner” Gandhi and Jinnah fail to talk about talking.

“Pan-Arabia” Middle Eastern politicians talk about Arab unity. Next up, American politicians talk about nonpartisanship, followed by British politicians discussing the importance of seapower to an island nation.

Latin (Americans) are excitable.

“The End is in Sight” The paper went to press too early to cover the fall of Paris, unfortunately for it. Or the announcement of the closing of a “pocket” around Seventh Army, if that happened. It does, however, have General Montgomery’s word that the “end is in sight.” Never mind that: what line will the Gemans hold? Because if they have the Pas de Calais…

“We Must Be Prepared” The paper quotes the German press to suggest that the Germans contemplate withdrawing from the whole of France, with Brereton’s Airborne Army as a hovering menace if they fail to assume a position where they can adequately cover their front and rear. The paper digresses into a discussion of the advance of General Patch’s Seventh Army (he is this week’s cover), which strikes me as a complete irrelevance, because the issue here is whether the “whole of France” means that we will cross the Somme. If we do, the flying bomb launch areas in the Pas de Calais are ours, and my assumption that the fall will see a resumption of “Hundred Days” style fighting will have been overtaken by events, and the question suddenly becomes one of crossing the Rhine before the Fall flooding.

“Tactician’s Dream” Amphibious invasions are easy when no-one resists them. I suppose the question is whether the units of 7th Army would have been more useful somewhere where there were Germans to fight, or clearing the southern half of France for future use.

“One Down, Three to Go” Colonel v. Auloch has surrendered St. Malo. Now there are only St. Nazaire and Brest to go.

“No Reasonable Standards” The Germans in Italy really ought to admit that they have been beaten, and run away. But they haven’t! It is almost as though they expect to hold their well-prepared positions against probing Allied attacks by weakened forces until winter. One can hardly imagine how the Germans could have the effrontery, or what we could possibly have done to avoid this situation arising in the first place….

“Stage Wait” The paper is upset that the Russians have not opened their airfields to parachute resupply missions for the Warsaw rising, quoting sources which imply that it is all politics. Which it may well be, but there are logistical difficulties in undertaking such things, and one might wish to hear that these have been overcome before attributing it all to politics.  Especially as the Germans are counterattacking in the Baltic.

“Deflation in the Marianas” Seventh Air Force flyers and ground crew in the Marianas were finally issued their pay last week. The problem was that there was nothing to spend it on. “The A.P.O. did a land-office business, nearly ran out of money-order blanks.” And I say onto you again, Reggie, that selling $5000 houses in this market is a pipe dream. (And so are schemes for selling ice boxes to an untapped market of people too poor for mechanical refrigerators. Also cheap cars, I suspect.)

“Two First Teams” Admiral Nimitz finally tells us what he is going to do about having two commanders afloat. He will have two fleets commanding the same ships! Admiral Halsey will be in command of the invasion of the Philippines, but Admiral Spruance will retain a headquarters, where he will plan future operations. Presumably, in time, when Spruance is allowed to return to the sea, Admiral Halsey’s staff will be put in charge of planning operations even further in the future. Meanwhile, Twentieth Air Force launched a daylight attack on the steel mills at Yawata. An array of adjectives and stock phrases that will be familiar to you from last summer fail to obscure the loss of 4 B-29s out of an unspecified number taking part. This does not bode well for unescorted daylight B-29 raids.

“Another Paris” The Japanese summer offensive in China is approaching Kweilin, a major Fourteenth Air Force base in Kwangsi Province. The paper reports questions about how hard the defending army is likely to fight, and then segues to the campaign around Myitkyina, where General Stilwell continues to use up his troops in a campaign that must surely, eventually, give us the two-lane country road that will solve the logistical problem of conducting a strategic air offensive against Japan from Chinese bases.

“Test Pilot” Captain Gus Lindquist, who two weeks ago flew a specially-modified Spitfire across the Atlantic ferry route, was listed missing in action this week after wangling a combat sortie out of IXth Air Force.


“The Debate Begins” Tom Dewey this, Tom Dewey that, only two-and-a-half months to go!

“At Dumbarton Oaks” The World Security Conference talks about talking about world security. Over “broiled chicken, peach ice cream, California wines.” One could do better, but world security would be nice, so let’s not carp.

“Roosevelt 286, Dewey 245?” Two-and-a-half months, etc. Or, “Governor Dewey couldn’t beat a corpse in a fair fight.”

 “Fairy Tale” The biggest sedition trial in U.S. history is taking a two-week vacation, because the war with Nazi Germany is almost over and no-one cares about the cranks and square pegs who used to write about how wonderful the Nazis were. (Vierecke, Elizabeth Dilling, Lawrence Dennis.) 

“Shades of Opinion” Congressman the Reverend Clayton Powell visits Martha’s Vinyard, points out the irony of rich people sunbathing, colour barrier in American society. Reporter in attendance points out that Powell is quite light skinned for a Negro, gets peeved answer to the effect that skin colour is irrelevant to the racial divide. Words fail me coming, going and in the middle. Perhaps I should take a gin and tonic?

“Peacetime Draft” America is determined to have a peacetime draft, determined to sidle into  it with no-one who counts ever actually taking a definitive stance pro or con.

“The President’s Week” The President gave several press conferences. Reporters were divided about just exactly how dead he is, the general consensus being more-or-less dead. Donald Nelson has been yanked out of the War Production Board and sent to China to consult on urgent matters while his chief rival in the reconversion debate takes over as his deputy, suggesting to the courtiers that he is on the outs. On the other hand, Senator Truman drops by the White House to thank the President for supporting his candidacy for Vice-President. Which, if I can recall the distant events of two months ago, is something that did not actually happen then, but, of course, is now something that happened. The President also ordered the Navy to seize “99 San Francisco Bay shops in which 3000 A.F. of L. machinists have refused, despite a WLB order in May, to work longer than 48 hours a week.” Bill and David have had to maneouvre this very carefully, with much time spent at the coach house plotting strategy.

“No Time to Die” Metropolitan Life Insurance” reports an extraordinary drop in the self-murder rate, which it attributes to prosperity.

“Sin in Paradise” Prostitutes in Honolulu are so wealthy that they have bought proper houses. Other people are so appalled that they have publicised this. Still others are so appalled that they have demanded that the police oust the prostitutes from their homes. The paper gives solid coverage, because it gets a little thrill when it typesets “prostitute.”

“Brotherly Greed” Three Southern Senators demand that America annex various islands in various places around the world. The paper discreetly suggests that afternoon sessions of the Senate not be taken that seriously.

“Steep Rock” A very large quantity of iron ore discovered at Atikokan will mean virtually nothing to anyone because there is a great deal of iron ore in the world. Although that is not what the paper says.
“Invitation to Catastrophe” Senator Truman is conducting hearings into the question of a united American department of defence because the current arrangements are, see the title. Various fiascos in which interservice coordination might have made a difference are adduced, plus Canol, where the Senator seems to be stretching. The implication is that an admiral might have told General Somervell that there was such a thing as tankers, but insofar as the project was justified at all, it was by the claim that the Japanese might have prevented tankers from reaching Alaska. Is the problem the Navy Department? That is what Senator Truman says, although since he presents the case in terms of ancient history (“advocates for the Navy succeeded in their effort” in 1798!)

“Patton Regilded” As the paper points out (noting General Bradley’s promotion elsewhere) he has returned under the command of his former subordinate,  which speaks well of an ego that has not been presented to me as capable of taking such a check. A complicated man, one would suspect.

“Soldiers’ Rewards” General Lesley McNair’s estate was listed at probate at $2,720. The paper opines that American soldiers are veritable military monks, who have never been known for their wealth. It is noted that brigadier generals receive a mere $8000/year. This rather leaves one with the impression that the General must have had considerable debts. Or that his estate has been manipulated to avoid the estate tax, as I have heard is sometimes done. Who would believe that Grandfather would die poor?

“Last Dime” An admiral who declined to be named suggested that there would be less distress amongst the dependents of enlisted men if there were less pressure on them to buy war bonds.

“Better Mousetraps” Seabees in the South Pacific are so bored that they are weaving and selling grass skirts to the natives, allegedly making money because their skirts are better than the native product.

“Worst Yet” Coloured troops in a stevedore battalion in Seattle rioted last week under the perception that even Italian POW labourers were being better treated than they.

“Taboo on Tips” Stockbrokers were sternly warned against giving tips and rumormongering by the president of the NYSE. That should fix the problem! (Incidentally, this follows up on last week’s speculative boom in auto  shares. So if you were still thinking about getting in, it is probably too late now.)

“Peace Terms” Charles Bowles says that the Office of Price Administration will deregulate gradually once peace returns, as prices are quite distorted.

“Why Railroads Go Broke” The Erie Railroad has started paying the 4% mortgage bonds it issued in 1847. When the $2,482,000 in bonds issued have been redeemed with interest to maturity, they will cost the company around $13 million.

“the Great Egg Scandal” the WFA has a half billion eggs in cold storage, but at the same time has lifted the top ceiling on egg prices by 8 cents a dozen over the last two weeks because the egg-laying season is coming to an end. So, on the one hand, we have an egg shortage, on the other, a surplus.  Mayor La Guardia, whose importance to the story is obvious to all, complained that consumers were the ones to gain no benefit from this whole affair. Except in having eggs instead of no eggs?

Texa’s Gordon L. Harwell, and Forrest E. Mars of Mars Candy have started building a $750,000 plant in Houston that will produce 25 to 30 million lbs of “vitaminized, weevil-proof” rice for the army each year. This “converted” rice will be quite a boon for the army in the unlikely event that there are still troops in weevil-infested tropical zones when the plant begins operating.

“Unfair Competition” A clause has been inserted into cinema contracts allowing the studios to cancel any “razzle-dazzle” openings that coincide with the sudden declaration of peace.

“Truck Terminal” There are too many trucks in Manhattan, so the Port Authority has announced plans for a $2.5 million “Union Motor Truck Terminal,” to cover a solid city block near the Manhattan end of the Holland Tunnel.

“Battle of the Giants” Our recruiters have been in the Higgins Yards, as opposed to their recruiters being in theirs’. Higgins huffs, Kaiser yields. “Giants?” Given what is going on in the Victory Ship programme, I continue to think that our labour shortage is the best thing that can happen to us.

Science, etc.

“Kitchen Front” Some sort of exhibition on the scientific future of the kitchen (perhaps an article in Women’s Home Companion?) leads us to conclude that the future might include: a prefabricated glass kitchen, including glass oven, refrigerator, cabinets; a “one-wall kitchen combination,” including a refrigerator with separate drawers; refrigerators with revolving shelves, sterilizing lamps to kill bacteria, ice-water taps, ice-cube ejectors, food-freezing compartments; a “stainless-steel, heated food wagon, complete with dish racks and thermos containers, which will enable a hostess to serve a piping hot meal without rising from her seat”; recessed kitchen fluorescent lighting; an electric garbage disposer which grinds the garbage up, flushes it away; a “hydraulic dishwasher” that also dries the dishes; an electronic device that removes all dust and smoke from kitchen air by electrifying it; an electric range with built-in pressure cooker, broiler, toaster, each with electronic control; a cordles electric iron; push-button window control; an electric clothes dryer; ceramic stoves in “any desired color;” unbreakable plastic dishes; a kitchenless house in which “the food department, concealed in the living room” would include a refrigerator in the rdio cabinet, oven in a desk drawer, and so on.

“Mumu” The exotic tropical disease filariasis has struck down hundreds of Marines, has been checked in clinical trials by daily injections of lithium antimony thiomalate. The doctor presenting the treatment admits that it has some toxic effects, but these, he thinks are less serious than the actual disease.

“Hypnoanalysis” In his new book, Rebel Without a Cause, 30-year-old penal psychologist Robert Mitchell Lindner*# presents the results of his psychoanalytic treatment of a young criminal, “Harold,” with the assistance of hypnosis.  Apparently, he cured Harold of blinking by helping him deal with a series of frightening episodes that happened when he was two. Can a cure of pathological criminality caused by ill-judged crib ornaments be far behind?

“Veterans on Campus” The vanguard of veterans on American college campuses find fraternity hijinks, and mandatory hygiene and gym classes to be childish diversions from their actual education. U.S.C. President Rufus v. KleinSmid implies that the classes might be done away with for veterans. No word on fraternities, though.

“Hard Knocks and Culture” For reasons unknown to me or anyone else, the University of Chicago gives four two-hour examinations in the full range of undergraduate classes to members of a special class for executives in the University’s School of Business. Which they pass! As the President of the university observes, it must be because they have learned all they need to know about “the humanities, and the social, physical and biological sciences” in the hard-knock school of life.

Press, Culture etc.

Andres Gerard’s The Gravediggers of France reveals that the prewar French press was horrible. Various veteran American reporters are now reporting from Rome, because it is very important, and not because it is cheap and gay.

WestbrookPegler is leaving Scripps-Howard for Hearst’s King Features Syndicate.

“Be a Composer” Music teacher Louis Ruben has invented an automatic composing machine consisting of an 18” by 7” cardboard rectangle with 16 twirling dials arranged in two rows. Anyone with elementary knowledge of musical notation can use this to produce a melody.

“’Ware the Reds” Veteran socialists and labour lawyer Louis Waldman warns that the greatest threat to the American working class is Communists taking over the CIO.

“The First Historian” The paper likes Russel Nye’s life of George Bancroft. If only Grandfather’s stories of racing the other Bancroft to the paper troves of the West could be printed. Now that would be a story.
“Robot Roll
... It offends all common sensibilities to hear one of the most amazing products of human invention of all time, the mathematical robot (TIME, Aug. 14), complacently referred to as a "gadget." I think TIME's writers should roll such words on their tongues just a mite longer to see if they really intend the connotation that is there. . . .
Kings Park, N.Y.”
Flight, 31 August 1944
“Tributes” General Montgomery has been able to announce a definitive, complete and decisive victory over the German 7th Army this week, and even note that aircraft were involved.
“The Price of Air Supremacy” The paper briefly notes the Prime Minister’s statement in the House about Air Force flying casualties far exceeding those of other combat arms before moving on uncomfortably to enemy air loss claims, before finally acknowledging the loss of 738 Bomber Command machines and 1041 Eighth Air Force during the Battle of Normandy.  (total aircraft losses, but not personnel are given elsewhere, at 2059.)
“Aircraft in Victory” The paper proposes that aircraft have replaced cavalry in the work of pursuit, which will certainly be the case when aircraft can seize fortresses, passes, fleeing Presidents, etc.
War in the Air
Paris is liberated, the Axis is crumbling, we have blown up all the Seine bridges and now need to pass it, and the RAF has dropped a record number of mines. The paper supposes that aircraft must have been involved in the liberation somehow. Rumania and Bulgaria surrender all the way. The paper is disappointed that so much of 7thArmy got away, but is hopeful that victory is imminent.

Here and There

The latest Australian-made Beaufort cost £44,000, against estimates in 1939 of £39,000. Martin Mariners now have an operational range of 5100 miles; that is, out and back. More C-54s have been ordered from Douglas. The Americans have been experimenting with powered gliders. The latest edition of Wilkinson’s Aircraft Engines of the World notes the 18 cylinder Bristol Centaurus

developed from the Hercules, a 49.7L, 2000hp radial engine. Altitude is not given. Has Bristol mastered the Rolls-Royce style two stage supercharger? Time will tell. The Society of Engineers Is publishing as a pamphlet R. H. Bound’s talk on aircraft hydraulics.

“Lay-as-you-go-Runways” Prefabricated, bitumised strips, bonded with fuel oil, have been used to make runways for forward airfields. 

Behind the Lines 

German ace Erich Hartman is the leading Axis scorer, at 272 victories, mostly won over the Eastern Front. The German press reveals details of the He 177 Griffon, “Terror of the British ports.” The German party press claims that Germany’s true reserves are their secret weapons, born of German science, skill and ingenuity. A squadron of the German air force’s reconnaissance branch has photographed 11 million square kilometers in its service over Russia. German super-total mobilisation continues.

Flight’s War correspondent spends twelve hours aloft in a Sunderland buzzing freighters in the Western Approaches in case they are submarines in disguise. Sunderlands are now operated well under the early war maximum all up weight thanks to the availability of VLR aircraft, but this is still a bit of a strain.

“Civil Aviation’s Birthday” Another significant occasion is celebrated with a speech by Lord Brabazon on the theme of the sky caving in on British civil aviation. It is all due to the Ministry of Aircraft Production’s backwardness. Where are our 3000hp engines? I remember this from 1939! It turned out to be scaremongering then, but I am sure that it is simple fact this time around. There surely can’t be another explanation fora Tory Peer attacking a  minister in thecoalition government, even if he is the Liberal Party leader.

Studies in Aircraft Recognition Gives us, mass intake of breath, a new(ish) aircraft, the Northrop P-61 Black Widow, and compares it to the Focke-Wulf FW. 189, which I cannot recall ever hearing about before.

“Indicator” talks about “Artificial Gravity,” by which he means downward acceleration which sometimes produces “negative g” leading to controls warping.

“Five Years” An uncredited article celebrates the British aviation industry’s record over five years of blitzes and dispersal. Evrything is bigger and better and more numerous, and the closest I can come to an interesting fact (apart from 27,273 new British aircraft built in the last twelve months, plus 60,000 engines and 18,00 a/c repaired and returned to service by nearly two million operatives in 15,000 firms) is that the complicated and specialised businesses of making gun turrets and airscrews have become great industries. Since both involve automatic control, both involve the use of your eldest’s beloved “stability.” Because he sees those partial differential equations and head-splitting mathematical and arithmetical problems everywhere.

“Helicipters in Production” Sikorsky and Nash-Kelvinator have new models in production.

Henry F. Schippel writes on “Pre-Rotationof U/C Wheels” This is a proposed innovation involving rotating the wheels of aircraft undercarriages up to speed before they touch the ground, which, it is proposed, confers various benefits.


Several writers respond to Squadron Leader Potts and Roy Fedden on the subject of postwar civil aeronautical engines suggesting that diesel and perhaps opposed-piston engines might be looked at. Why not both? If there is anything a civil airline wants, it is a complicated new power plant on its planes!


Aero Digest, 1 August 1944

Editorial: Roosevelt stopped the B-17 until it wasn’t, thereby causing America to not win World War II as much. Three possible explanations for this ludicrous screed come to mind. (The main subject is a Congressional vote in 1939. There are better ways to attack the Administration, even in an aviation paper.) The first is that the paper has farmed out its editorial writing to a has-been who is living in the back of the office with a bottle of whiskey to keep him company. The second is that it is a clever plant by the Democratic campaign to discredit Roosevelt-haters. The third, depressingly more likely possibility is that it is expected to appeal to the kind of young man who reads Aero Digest.

“Northrop’s Vocational Programme” Northrop has a vocational programme to help injured workers re-enter the work force.

Washington In-Formation The Army is resisting premature reconversion and warning of a resumed strategic air offensive against Germany.

Aviation Engineering
A paper on the “ordered flow of materials at Willow Run,” a new aileron design, the importance of film processing to X-ray inspection

A guest editorial on why engineering design should be financed and promoted in all possible ways (and incidentally claiming that flying bombs and radar were invented in the United States); another paper on tooling docks; on rubber mountings; on proper use of operations manuals(!); the “comfortization features of the Consolidated 39” are discussed in a paper that notes how an unnamed executive who saved two days by flying coast to coast in 1930 then had recover for two; on weight control in light airplanes; testing aircraft electrical equipment (tree papers); and the “gaging of taper pipe threads.” The details of modern aviation engineering are pretty complicated. I wonder whether it is possible for anyone to fully grasp them?

Aero Digest, 15 August 1944


No, seriously, the paper hates President Roosevelt. For example, he gave an awful speech in North Dakota in 1932, and then there was an 8 year “Roosevelt Depression.” And everyone was fingerprinted! Tyranny!

General Articles: The AAF Material Command Production Coordination Miracle, continued; a proposed livery for our airways (heraldry!); legal liability for aircraft damage, which is actually a pretty creditable effort, but far too much for a single article to bite off; and articles about the achievements of AAF command (which trained 75,000 mechanics) and the RAF Air-Sea Rescue Service.

Washington In-Formation suggests that the Army is quite upset that some people are saying that the war is almost over. I can perhaps be forgiven for letting my eye roam over to a full page text ad from the Cone Automatic Machine company, which assures us that “Good Things Lie Ahead.” For example, a 7000hp electric motor has been developed; also a new resin dip that protects metal, feels like skin, and can be stripped by hand; also a new invention consisting of a plate that hangs over a bed and is a source of “radiant energy,” such that a two-hour rest beneath it is as refreshing as an eight-hour sleep; that plastics will be used in many things, such as “baby carriages, auto tops, furniture, bus seats, shoe tips, raincoats, luggage, shower curtains and handbags.” High pressure cylinders for holding compressed gases can now be made much more easily! The national producer’s council hopes to make homes 20% cheaper by promoting more modern building codes and labour regulations; the byproducts of sawdust are becoming so useful that sawmills are using coal for fuel! A synthetic shellac made from corn may replace the natural shellac, from India. A farm machinery manufacturer will produce refrigerators after the war, a French auto company will enter the American market with a cheap, small car, and a maker of paper parachutes for supply drops expects to continue into the postwar era as demand for light parcel express drops develops. And” a prominent scientist states that it may take twenty years to utilize fully the scientific discoveries made since Pearl Harbour.”

Engineering Articles

Fueling systems for airports; soundproofing problems; saving weight by adding wires; “safety glass” (actually plastics) for aeroplanes; yet more on aircraft hydraulic systems; “New Silicon Fluids.”

The news digest notes that GE will be making jet turbines; that E. E. Lothrop, formerly of Sperry, has resigned from the Research and Statistics Division of the Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce; that bonds have been issued to cover the building of Idlewild; and that, oh yes, perhaps of interest to some collectors of aeronautical trivia, aircraft production in July fell below 8000, and 400 below the target of 8274. Even 7000 aircraft a month is an enormous total, of course. The question is whether it is enormous enough. 


  1. I take it Dr. May Smith's talk on Boredom and Fatigue will include a practical demonstration?

  2. I was hoping she'd turn up on Google. Unfortunately, the normal people rarely do. (Although the dentist who was taking his eighteen year-old patient around to conventions to exhibit her perfect teeth didn't show up, either, so there's a limit to the rule that crazy people are remembered.)

    By the way, if no-one's checked out "There'll be a hot time in the town of Berlin...," that's one heck of a cultural artefact right there.

  3. Erik, I think this might interest you: