boacvc10
Topic Author
Posts: 481
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:31 pm

Supermarine Spitfire early history

Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:22 am

I didn't know about the WW2 funding contribution of Lady “Poppy” Fannie Lucy Houston without whom the Supermarine Spitfire would not have been ready for action in the Battle of Britain, according to https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-gold-digger-who-saved-britains-wwii-winning-plane?ref=home
Up, up and Away!
 
User avatar
spudh
Posts: 346
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:00 pm

Re: Supermarine Spitfire early history

Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:04 am

Interesting article, thanks for sharing.
 
salttee
Posts: 2138
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:26 am

Re: Supermarine Spitfire early history

Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:57 pm

"Churchill won" the battle of Britain with the planes Chamberlain built.
"Churchill won" the battle of the Atlantic with the ships Chamberlain built.
 
GDB
Posts: 12971
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

Re: Supermarine Spitfire early history

Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:25 pm

salttee wrote:
"Churchill won" the battle of Britain with the planes Chamberlain built.
"Churchill won" the battle of the Atlantic with the ships Chamberlain built.


Re-arming started in 1936, a last act, admission maybe by PM Stanley Baldwin, who had mocked Churchill's warnings about Hitler - from way before he took over Germany - that actually Hitler WAS a threat after all.
Chamberlain did have, and reflected a wider public fear of another war, based on the still fresh in the memory experience of WW1.
But he also was an arrogant prick, who thought he could reason with, or even play Hitler, he was part stalling for time it's true but he also really thought he could prevent Hitler from going any further.

This arrogance played a part in his political demise, once war was declared he did not seriously adjust his government to the task at hand, he even had a minister who cautioned against bombing German factories in case the owners sued.
After the failure of the Norway campaign, he had pissed off so many of his own MP's, the total contempt he had always shown to opposition MP's was not forgotten either.

A coalition was the only way to properly mobilize and retain the support of the people once the going got really tough, Chamberlain could never lead it, in any case he would be dead from cancer by the end of the year.
Churchill did have the support required, ironically from many Labour MP's, including their leader and future PM, Clem Attlee.
Attlee had been wounded at Gallipoli, the campaign that cost Churchill his job in WW1, however unlike most, even to this day, Attlee never blamed Churchill for that disaster, from what he experienced it was poor execution by senior officers.
Given how that had and still does, hang over Churchill's reputation, it is logical to assume that Attlee made that point during all the political moves to get as many MP's as possible to ensure that once Chamberlain was gone, Churchill would replace him.

To the Spitfire, not the easiest of that generation of fighter aircraft to produce in bulk, one of Churchill's early acts to to rationalize and greatly increase aircraft production, especially fighter aircraft, even more so, the Spitfire.
In the Battle Of Britain, the main stress on the RAF was attrition and replacement of pilots, not aircraft. Churchill had brought in a hard driving new head of aircraft production, his work bore fruit just in time.
The sort of thing Chamberlain would have have done.
 
User avatar
SheikhDjibouti
Posts: 955
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:59 pm

Re: Supermarine Spitfire early history

Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:53 pm

salttee wrote:
"Churchill won" the battle of Britain with the planes Chamberlain built.
"Churchill won" the battle of the Atlantic with the ships Chamberlain built.

In general principle, you are correct.

The question that begs is; should Chamberlain get credit for the Spitfires available at the Battle of Britain, or be criticised for all the Spitfires that were not available, but could have been if somebody else (not Chamberlain) had been in positions of influence during the early development of the Spit? I'm not sure I have an answer for that.

Or is your point simply that Churchill did not win the Battle of Britain, just as Chamberlain did not build any Spitfires?
There are two things that happen when you get old.
1. You start to lose your memory.
2. What was I saying again?
 
salttee
Posts: 2138
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:26 am

Re: Supermarine Spitfire early history

Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:17 pm

My point is that a good man was sacrificed to the politics of war. Chamberlain played the only hand he had. To begin, in 1936 there were still many who favored alliance with Germany, expecting Hitler to mellow out as time went on. Chamberlain was in power during that transition and he inherited a country virtually without an army, he had no way to challenge Hitler, so he played good cop, later Churchill got to play bad cop. They were both on the same team.

There are two things I resent, the smearing of Chamberlain's name to an unnecessary degree by Churchill and his herd of sheep and the stigma that became attached to the word "appeasement", which has since been used to fuel the calls for several unnecessary recent wars.
 
salttee
Posts: 2138
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:26 am

Re: Supermarine Spitfire early history

Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:25 pm

GDB wrote:
Attlee had been wounded at Gallipoli, the campaign that cost Churchill his job in WW1, however unlike most, even to this day, Attlee never blamed Churchill for that disaster, from what he experienced it was poor execution by senior officers.


The Gallipoli blunder was Churchill's and it should have cost him his career. Gallipoli was a strategic fuckup, the problems weren't at the battalion level. Britain lost several battleships in the early hours of that fiasco. And Churchill was a navy man.
 
GDB
Posts: 12971
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

Re: Supermarine Spitfire early history

Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:27 pm

salttee wrote:
GDB wrote:
Attlee had been wounded at Gallipoli, the campaign that cost Churchill his job in WW1, however unlike most, even to this day, Attlee never blamed Churchill for that disaster, from what he experienced it was poor execution by senior officers.


The Gallipoli blunder was Churchill's and it should have cost him his career. Gallipoli was a strategic fuckup, the problems weren't at the battalion level. Britain lost several battleships in the early hours of that fiasco. And Churchill was a navy man.


That's yours and the views of many, however as a junior officer injured twice there, Attlee did not see it that way. He was there, politically he also greatly differed from Churchill, already being a Labour Party member.
My own view is that it was a WW2 style combined ops/amphibious landing attempted in WW1.
Certainly there was a very long gap between arrival in the area and the landings, between shelling and landing, with little or no co-ordination between the Naval and land forces.
Like so much else in WW1, the technology was way ahead of most of those running both the government and military, this was by no means confined to the UK, it was pretty much universal.

But the plan was signed off by the government and senior military leaders, not just by one man in the Cabinet,
They were all culpable.
Only one however chose to fall on his sword and send himself off to serve a tour in the trenches, despite being rather older than officers of that rank in that position on the line.
Another, head of the RN, Jackie Fisher, the father of the early 20th Century Royal Navy, brought back from retirement on the outbreak of war, reacted rather differently. He disappeared for a few days, before being found in a London hotel, once found started making all sorts of impossible demands for power in a Parliamentary Democracy. He'd had a breakdown.

The other was the PM at the time, Asquith, a man in his mid 60's who spent a lot of his time, even after the war started, even during meetings about the war, writing several love letters per day to his 27 year old mistress.
Even after losing his own Son in the war, he was still governing as if the conflict was an irritation.
The next big disaster, the Somme, finally saw Asquith removed and replaced by another maverick, David Lloyd George, who had been in Cabinet with Churchill after the 1906 Liberal election landslide.
What Lloyd George did to re-organise both government and industry to meet the demands of the conflict, was also repeated by Churchill after he became PM.

I agree that the 'appeasement' tag has too often been mis-used, but the fact remains that the government Chamberlain was a part of, before becoming PM, chose to ignore intelligence reports from Germany, when Churchill cited them, via back channels from horrified civil servants, he was mocked as an old war-monger.
At least Baldwin eventually accepted that he was wrong, hence him being the PM to start re-arming, before his retirement. He lacked Chamberlain's arrogance after all.
 
salttee
Posts: 2138
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:26 am

Re: Supermarine Spitfire early history

Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:54 pm

Good for you.
You can continue to heap scorn on the man who was actually responsible for winning the Battle of Britain and the Battle of the Atlantic.
 
Spit21
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun May 21, 2017 4:19 pm

Re: Supermarine Spitfire early history

Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:24 am

My reading of Chamberlain is similar to GDB's, based on 50 years of reading all kinds of stuff related to Spits, the Battle of Britain and Churchill.* I'm influenced by reports of Churchill's graciousness and refusal to pile-on Chamberlain. Maybe those are somewhat overstated but still plausible.

I'll give Chamberlain credit for Spits. It could just be that, naturally, no one then or now could see one without falling in love and act acting appropriately, whether that be to enlist, lobby or vote in Parliament for Spits.



*A few years ago I encountered this fresh (1992) installment to that reading that delivers a fine "you are there" report of the relevant events, insightful observations and moving conclusions: The Duel: The Eighty-Day Struggle Between Churchill and Hitler by John Lukacs. Among other things it's a vivid reminder of how fluid decisions about the future were in those early summer weeks of collapse.
 
salttee
Posts: 2138
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:26 am

Re: Supermarine Spitfire early history

Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:31 am

Spit21 wrote:
My reading of Chamberlain is similar to GDB's, based on 50 years of reading all kinds of stuff related to Spits, the Battle of Britain and Churchill.
I have no doubt that the last 70 years has produced an abundance of rah rah about how Britain won the war with Churchill's guidance and vision. After all, it was Churchill himself who wrote the most widely quoted history of the war, Churchill was a writer and a historian, along with being a dedicated self promoter. Who was to question "the great man's" version of events? Besides, as with all wars there were things that were better left unsaid lest the honor or nobility of sacrifice of those who didn't return be imperiled. And if one wanted a book about the big war to sell well for the first 30 or so years post war, playing up the glory and wisdom of the (local) army had to be the name of the game.

I don't doubt that everything you've read has led you to the conclusion that Winston Churchill saved the world from Nevile Chamberlain's folly just in the nick of time.

If you want to continue spouting the party line, I believe you are ethically bound to read the other side of that coin.
https://www.amazon.com/Appeasement-Rear ... 0742545377

Spit21 wrote:
I'm influenced by reports of Churchill's graciousness and refusal to pile-on Chamberlain. Maybe those are somewhat overstated but still plausible.
Churchill was the first, the loudest and the most persistent person on the planet to slander Nevile Chamberlain. His whole viewpoint of WW2, from the time it played out until the writing of its history was predicated on the premise that Chamberlain's actions as PM were bordering on treasonous.

Here is a snippet from a review of "The Gathering Storm".
Churchill doesn't explain in his brief "Preface" how war could have been prevented, but two thirds of his memoir is taken up with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's conduct in office in the crucial years 1937-1940. During that time Churchill was the most high profile critic of the prime minister's appeasement policies, marked by Britain's extraordinary and devastating security concessions to Hitler. Churchill was particularly outraged by what he saw as the prime minister's purposeful obstruction of British rearmament in the face of the manifest threat from Germany. Churchill's book may be read as a record of his frustration and its sum and substance amounts to an indictment of Chamberlain.
http://desip.igc.org/Hitler-Chamberlain ... nswar.html


Spit21 wrote:
I'll give Chamberlain credit for Spits. It could just be that, naturally, no one then or now could see one without falling in love and act acting appropriately, whether that be to enlist, lobby or vote in Parliament for Spits.
You should give him credit for the hurricanes too, and for near doubling of the size of the RAF during his time in office, as well as his support for and more importantly his allocation of funds for the navy. Please remember that while Chamberlain was in office there was a depression in progress, money was tight and the economic mood of the country was very conservative. He did what he could, he did about all he could. At that time the British army was in no position to even think of projecting power into mainland Europe, so he funded the air arm and the navy. History, real history, has shown that to have been the correct choice.
 
WIederling
Posts: 5904
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2015 2:15 pm

Re: Supermarine Spitfire early history

Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:43 am

salttee wrote:
Good for you.
You can continue to heap scorn on the man who was actually responsible for winning the Battle of Britain and the Battle of the Atlantic.


I'll never get how some acclaimed Hero can never do wrong
and the alleged Villain never do right.

Then, quite a lot of Heros and Villains are just that by (public and or media) acclaim.
Nothing in their personal doing to make them special if you look closely.
Murphy is an optimist
 
WIederling
Posts: 5904
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2015 2:15 pm

Re: Supermarine Spitfire early history

Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:55 am

salttee wrote:
Please remember that while Chamberlain was in office there was a depression in progress, money was tight and the economic mood of the country was very conservative.


Kriegsmüde.

The situation was mostly fall out from the Versailles Treaty "achievements".
German population was initially as fed up with going to war as the Britsh were.
Reparations pressed Germany for effciency ( Reichsbahn profits )
Military prohibitions forced innovative solutions
and the "Dolchstoßlegende" together with the perceived as massively unfair
demands from the Versailles Treaty promoted the fascist lockstep approach
in NAZI ideology.
When Chamberlain returned to London "peace in our time" he needed all the time
that could be made available to turn increased military spending into an
available and effective counterforce to the German Reich.
Murphy is an optimist
 
salttee
Posts: 2138
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2016 3:26 am

Re: Supermarine Spitfire early history

Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:10 pm

In the 1930s it was assumed that bombing would decide future wars.

Until the summer of 1938, the Royal Air Force (RAF) remained committed to deterrence of air attack via the threat of retaliatory strategic bombardment. The persistence of this commitment was extraordinary, given the RAF’s lack of bombers with sufficient range and payload to inflict more than token damage on Germany. Indeed, the strength of the RAF’s ideological commitment to strategic bombing stood in stark contrast to its inability to provide convincing answers to such basic questions as what targets to bomb, how to reach them, chances of hitting them, how hard to hit them, how to determine damage inflicted, and what effect on German morale and industry?

“The RAF was, in the late 1930s,” observes air power historian Tami Davis Biddle, “an organization facing the fact that it could not carry out its own declaratory policy. Ironically, the Chamberlain government, on the recommendation of Sir Thomas Inskip, Minister for the Coordination of Defense, had already decided to shift the RAF’s funding priority from bombers to fighters. Inskip believed that German bombers could be more easily destroyed by British fighters in British air space than by British bombers over German airfields and aircraft production sites; fighters also were much cheaper to build than bombers, and the appearance of radar would tell Fighter Command where the attacking German bombers were.

Over the strong objections of the RAF, the Chamberlain government thus opted for defense over deterrence, thereby paving the way for the 1940 Battle of Britain.


http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.ar ... PUB622.pdf
 
GDB
Posts: 12971
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

Re: Supermarine Spitfire early history

Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:57 pm

salttee wrote:
In the 1930s it was assumed that bombing would decide future wars.

Until the summer of 1938, the Royal Air Force (RAF) remained committed to deterrence of air attack via the threat of retaliatory strategic bombardment. The persistence of this commitment was extraordinary, given the RAF’s lack of bombers with sufficient range and payload to inflict more than token damage on Germany. Indeed, the strength of the RAF’s ideological commitment to strategic bombing stood in stark contrast to its inability to provide convincing answers to such basic questions as what targets to bomb, how to reach them, chances of hitting them, how hard to hit them, how to determine damage inflicted, and what effect on German morale and industry?

“The RAF was, in the late 1930s,” observes air power historian Tami Davis Biddle, “an organization facing the fact that it could not carry out its own declaratory policy. Ironically, the Chamberlain government, on the recommendation of Sir Thomas Inskip, Minister for the Coordination of Defense, had already decided to shift the RAF’s funding priority from bombers to fighters. Inskip believed that German bombers could be more easily destroyed by British fighters in British air space than by British bombers over German airfields and aircraft production sites; fighters also were much cheaper to build than bombers, and the appearance of radar would tell Fighter Command where the attacking German bombers were.

Over the strong objections of the RAF, the Chamberlain government thus opted for defense over deterrence, thereby paving the way for the 1940 Battle of Britain.


http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.ar ... PUB622.pdf


That famous quote 'The Bomber Will Always Get Through' was made by PM Stanley Baldwin.
Many believed it, even more did after what happened in the Spanish Civil War, though that was not as it turned out a good template for the Battle Of Britain.

There was another maverick who was perhaps the most important man of all, Hugh Dowding, who created effectively the first proper system of air defence, using all the technologies available, such as radar, with secure comms and backed up by the expert Mark 1 eyeballs of the Royal Oberver Corps. All to build up a picture of what today would be called the 'Battlespace'.
The hub being at RAF Uxbridge, not far from me.
I had a chance to visit the preserved ops room bunker in 2006, it was still Ministry Of Defence property then, now I understand it's going to be more like a normal museum.
It's quite a thing to go down 60 feet of steps, to see the room as it was on 15th Sept 1940.

The brainchild of man who thought he could commune with dead pilots, he would tell RAF crews later in the war, referring to those to did in the BoB, 'that he'd been talking to his boys and they are doing fine'.

By the mid 1930's, with the first generation of monoplane bombers being tested or entering service, it would have been noticed by both the RAF and the Government, that these aircraft, even if many still had fixed undercarriages and some even open cockpits still, could outpace the biplanes that still made up the air defence, with just two or if lucky four, machine guns to use if ever they got close enough to a bomber.

This I think drove the need to rapidly modernise the fighter force, since whatever they said in public, the Government knew that Germany was also developing similar aircraft, some more advanced still that what the UK was producing in bombers.
'The Bomber Will Always Get Through' was an notion, made for political reasons, that was no longer true a few years later.
'
It's not about 'towing a party line' or whatever on Churchill, his leadership, expressed through his own style, was vital. To get things done, to sustain morale.
If you were lucky enough in WW2 to be 3000 miles from the fighting, in both main areas of combat, the perspective is different.
My Dad, who was a child in WW2, living right near the fighter airfield at RAF Northolt in West London, then in the 1950's did his National Service in the Army, thought of Churchill in the way I think many in Britain did then, 'a great war leader but bloody useless in peacetime'. But then he was a mainstream, moderate working class Labour voter. He remembered what Churchill did in war and what Attlee did in peace.

Ironically, Churchill's wartime Coalition brought many senior Labour figures into big government jobs (Attlee was his deputy), meaning they were more than ready when they won that unexpected landslide in 1945.
20 years later, as the grand funeral for Churchill happens, a frail Attlee, against the orders of doctors, attends. Wounded twice at Gallipoli, still convinced it was the fault of the senior military brass, not the idea itself.
It would be Clem's last major public appearance prior to his death in 1967.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Tristarsteve and 8 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos