WW2 German Production Problems

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,057
Martin Baker MB5. The pilots liked it, the maintenance crews liked it, and it flew at cutting edge performance of the time.

Led by Donald Douglas, the council organised the distribution of wartime aircraft production in America from 1943 I believe. The whole point was reduce commercial and political interference which it managed successfully (after North America's strike which had to be put down with armed soldiers, but that was before the Council operated). I have no need for bridges, thank you.

So your claim is there was never any element of politics or buisnes smanipulation to US aircraft selection and production during ww2 afer 1943 . None what so ever.

It seems a rather big claim.
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,232
My gosh, what a doubting Thomas... Well, In Wings On My Sleeve Eric Brown lists the MB5 among his ten favourite aeroplanes of WW2, calling it "A real beauty". Your doubts are merely speculative. The project hadn't faltered at all. The MB5 was a redevelopment of the unsuccessful MB3, itself an attempt to address the flaws/failures of the MB2. It was an ongoing project which ended abruptly with the refusal of service contracts for the MB5. Martin-Baker had reached the end of that road and the authorities were making it clear there was not going to be any chance of production contracts.

Lamentably unstable directionally? Odd - I've never come across that before and I've been a fan of the MB5 since I read a magazine article in the 70's. Eric Brown certainly didn't comment on any such problem, and indeed, the contra-rotating propeller would cancel out torque issues. From your own source...

Pilots who sampled the fighter for the magazines Flight and The Aeroplane in late 1947 were generous in their praise of its handling and manoeuvrability.

In contrast, we have for example the Supermarine Spiteful, technically a replacement for the Spitfire but in many ways a continuation design, put into production before the wars end, but too late for any deliveries for RAF, and the end of the war in May 1945 cancelled production. The introduction of newer and hopefully more effective types is part and parcel of strategy in the industrialised warfare of that period. If you don't upgrade, your enemy will. The introduction of jets at that time was unproven technology so Britain was not going to rely on it in preference to piston engine technology.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,057
My gosh, what a doubting Thomas... Well, In Wings On My Sleeve Eric Brown lists the MB5 among his ten favourite aeroplanes of WW2, calling it "A real beauty". Your doubts are merely speculative. The project hadn't faltered at all. The MB5 was a redevelopment of the unsuccessful MB3, itself an attempt to address the flaws/failures of the MB2. It was an ongoing project which ended abruptly with the refusal of service contracts for the MB5. Martin-Baker had reached the end of that road and the authorities were making it clear there was not going to be any chance of production contracts.
When did Eric Brown fly the aircraft, (page number in wings on my sleeve, gonna ereference works please go the whole hog)


Lamentably unstable directionally? Odd - I've never come across that before and I've been a fan of the MB5 since I read a magazine article in the 70's. Eric Brown certainly didn't comment on any such problem, and indeed, the contra-rotating propeller would cancel out torque issues. From your own source...

Pilots who sampled the fighter for the magazines Flight and The Aeroplane in late 1947 were generous in their praise of its handling and manoeuvrability.
The key thing to note was 1947., 3 years after the prortoitype was flown, problems ecocountered with the prototype in 1944 could have been fixed by then. Nothing incocnsistent at all.,


In contrast, we have for example the Supermarine Spiteful, technically a replacement for the Spitfire but in many ways a continuation design, put into production before the wars end, but too late for any deliveries for RAF, and the end of the war in May 1945 cancelled production. The introduction of newer and hopefully more effective types is part and parcel of strategy in the industrialised warfare of that period. If you don't upgrade, your enemy will. The introduction of jets at that time was unproven technology so Britain was not going to rely on it in preference to piston engine technology.

The Spitful having much in common with the spitfire wa snot a completely new design,. A quicker production/development cycle could reasonably be expected.

You still have not produce anything thats says why the MB5 was not further developed,.


here another webpage talking about teh MB 5's instability. Note the test pilot was NOT brown. It also says that delays were caused by Martin endless tinkering. And that Eric brown flew it in 1948.

"The work on the aircraft was delayed because of other war work with which Martin-Baker was involved. In addition, Martin continued to refine and tinker with the MB5’s design, much to the frustration of the Air Ministry. However, the Air Ministry decided that Martin was going to do whatever he thought was right and that the best course of action was to leave him alone; the MB5 would be done when Martin decided it was done."

"Greensted was not overly impressed with the aircraft’s first flight, because the MB5 exhibited directional instability; in fact, he said the aircraft “was an absolute swine to fly.” Martin listened intently to Greensted’s comments and immediately went to work on a solution. The increased blade area of the contra-rotating propellers had a destabilizing effect when coupled with the MB3 tail that was originally used on the MB5. To resolve the issue, Martin designed a taller vertical stabilizer and rudder, which were fitted to the MB5. The change took six months for Martin to implement, but when Greensted flew the aircraft, he was impressed by its performance and handling. In addition, a new horizontal stabilizer was fitted, but it is not known exactly when this was done. From its first flight until October 1945, the MB5 accumulated only about 40 flight hours. Martin-Baker had been informed around October 1944 that no MB5 production orders would be forthcoming, given that the war was winding down, and any production aircraft would most likely enter service after the war was over."

"In 1948, the aircraft returned to RAE Farnborough, where it was flown by legendary pilot Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown. Although Brown was slightly critical of the aircraft’s lateral handling qualities, he said the MB5 was an outstanding aircraft and that he had never felt more comfortable in a new aircraft."


Martin-Baker MB5 Fighter
 
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Likes: sailorsam

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,232
Interesting. Well, nothing I've seen elsewhere confirms this websites info about directional stability, and I won't accept a solitary website is proof. The MB2 had directional instability I notice, but an aeroplane with such properties does not receive the generous praise the MB5 was certainly accredited with.

Regarding Eric Brown's memoirs, I don't recall he says a lot about the MB5 other than list it in his top ten WW2 aeroplanes but I will check for you. He does discuss an aeroplane that most certainly had issues (by way of comparison), regarding the German He162. Brown rather liked it but he was quite clear that this aeroplane had very short coupled responses on rudder, which means that with a high rate of roll secondary effect from rudder was actually dangerous because it could flick the aeroplane uncontrollably. This is reinforced by the event of the death of a test pilot who Brown had warned about this handling issue. The aeroplane was seen to enter uncontrolled and irrecoverable gyrations which led to a fatal crash. This is confirmed by the German records who were well aware of the touchy handling. They instructed pilots to use smooth movements and not to make sudden control inputs.

Whilst I understand your doubts, it would be as well if the source of the comments about the MB5's handling was investigated also.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,057
Interesting. Well, nothing I've seen elsewhere confirms this websites info about directional stability, and I won't accept a solitary website is proof. The MB2 had directional instability I notice, but an aeroplane with such properties does not receive the generous praise the MB5 was certainly accredited with.

Regarding Eric Brown's memoirs, I don't recall he says a lot about the MB5 other than list it in his top ten WW2 aeroplanes but I will check for you. He does discuss an aeroplane that most certainly had issues (by way of comparison), regarding the German He162. Brown rather liked it but he was quite clear that this aeroplane had very short coupled responses on rudder, which means that with a high rate of roll secondary effect from rudder was actually dangerous because it could flick the aeroplane uncontrollably. This is reinforced by the event of the death of a test pilot who Brown had warned about this handling issue. The aeroplane was seen to enter uncontrolled and irrecoverable gyrations which led to a fatal crash. This is confirmed by the German records who were well aware of the touchy handling. They instructed pilots to use smooth movements and not to make sudden control inputs.

Whilst I understand your doubts, it would be as well if the source of the comments about the MB5's handling was investigated also.
that's two different web sites not one. And one gives a list of sources. Which at least superfically seems to have covered some reasonable research,.1

RAF Fighters Part 2 by William Green and Gordon Swanborough (1979)
British Experimental Combat Aircraft of World War II by Tony Buttler (2012)
Wings of the Weird & Wonderful by Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown (1983/2012)
Sir James Martin by Sarah Sharman (1996)
“The Martin-Baker M-B V” Flight (29 November 1945)
“M-B V in the Air” by Wing Commander Maurice A. Smith, Flight (18 December 1947)
“Martin-Baker Fighters,” by Bill Gunston, Wings of Fame Volume 9 (1997)
The British Fighter since 1912 by Francis K. Mason (1992)


Martin-Baker MB5 Fighter

History of the Martin-Baker MB5 Airplane


And brown flew the plan in 1948. It; s not exactly any real evidence that aircraft was as good in 1944. Generous praise a prototype received in 1947 and 1948, hardly relevant at all to decision made in 1944.

have you any evidence that is dated to well after the war?
 
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caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,232
There's the problem. There's no evidence of why no decision was made. Actually I doubt there was much development work conducted after the prototype was handed to the RAF in 1944 and I've not seen any mention of it. The facts remain that Martin Baker was determined to secure a contract for a production RAF fighter aircraft. The MB2 didn't cut it. The MB3 was good but flawed. The MB5 redeveloped the MB3 with a new fuselage and armament layout with great success. Yet he did not develop the design further nor did the RAF make any positive decision. In aircraft development/procurement of that period there any number of imperfect designs adopted for service, many of which received protracted fixes during service (such as the B24 for instance, which although outperformed the B17 in some respects was - in the words of at least one senior USAAF officer, responsible for 6% of their flying and 29% of their casualties) The Germans are infamous for their continued resolution of one issue after another in what often appears to be a concerted effort to prove critics wrong.

Also, I note that aeroplanes with issues are described as such. One does not call an aeroplane "A real beauty" if you have problems keeping it straight. You might compliment certain features, but the main bugbear is the point at which a description was made. Of course design in that era was less than perfect also. The Spitfire is rightly praised for its benign and gentle handling (amongst other things), yet it was moderately nose heavy, suffered instability at full fuel load in most versions, and lost considerable height in spins (my copy of the MkIX notes says that permission is required before spinning a spitfire and the manoever must not be conducted below 3000ft. Modern display pilots mention having to allow for the nose heaviness in manoevers in magazine articles).

Of course the Spitfire has assumed legendary proportions, an aeroplane that generations without any living memory of the conflict will still go misty eyed over. It stands to reason that flaws are overlooked, especially because the aeroplane was such a good flyer in most respects. The MB5 had no such legend, no such war record, and the opinion of its qualities dates not from 1947/48 but it's test flying from late May 1944.

So, no production because....

1) Move toward jets - No, because no such decision was made. jet aircraft were untried technology in 1944 and no-one was going to place trust in such contraptions at a stage when the war was turning in the Allies favour. Jets promised much, and the development of British engines proved valuable in the long run. But procurement of such aircraft was not entirely at the expense of the piston engine.. F51's were still in active service in a couple of south American states during the seventies.

2) The designer was a perfectionist - I don't doubt it. Most designers were. But minor issues with aeroplanes do not prevent service of themselves if the aeroplane is shown to be worthy and neither do designers keep their products from service because it wasn't good enough. Like Messerschmitt for instance. Willy Messerschmitt wanted his 262 to be the perfect jet interceptor. He almost ignored demands from the Luftwaffe/RLM to fit bomb racks and delayed the introduction of his aeroplane not because of bombing capability as is usually stated, but the difficulties of unreliable jet turbines (Incidentially, trial flights of the 262 by the Allies needed four engine changes and suffered two engine failures in flight. A bona fide 262 is almost restored to flying condition right now. They plan to fly it with expert Steve Hinton at the controls. Once. Then it'll be parked in a museum). The point is, perfectionist or not, Messerschmitt submitted his aeroplane for acceptance trials.

3) Directional instability - Well, I've yet to be convinced. fact is, any such property deemed the cause of contract denial would have long since reached the press.

4) Status - The Air Ministry was often very biased about procurement. Reginald Mitchell ran into this issue himself before the war because his company had only made flying boats and floatplane racers. The quality of his product, and the support of Rolls Royce, got around bureaucratic obstacles. But then, the MB5 was equally if not more advanced for its time, impressive to the those who flew and maintained it. Martin Baker never did supply a fighter to the RAF or RN. Or anyone else. In fact, the company abruptly finishes working on flying designs in favour of ejection seat development which became their 'name' product and still is. The change of direction is very notable.

5) Internet info - Well, no. Websites vary considerably and many describing themselves as seriously scholarly often contain errors and urban myths. Like the Gotha 229. A stealth fighter? No. It just wasn't. But it was a flying wing - a form that since the arrival of the American B2 has been associated with stealth technology, and as we all know, German technology in WW2 was years ahead of everyone elses ... Ahem.

But you won't agree - I understand that. As much as you attempt to underline flaws in the MB5 which seem to appear out of the blue in recent years - like a lot of internet info that really shouldn't be believed - the last word has to be the reports of the aeroplane made by the testers. As far as I know, they were fulsome in praise from the beginning.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,057
There's the problem. There's no evidence of why no decision was made. Actually I doubt there was much development work conducted after the prototype was handed to the RAF in 1944 and I've not seen any mention of it. The facts remain that Martin Baker was determined to secure a contract for a production RAF fighter aircraft. The MB2 didn't cut it. The MB3 was good but flawed. The MB5 redeveloped the MB3 with a new fuselage and armament layout with great success. Yet he did not develop the design further nor did the RAF make any positive decision. In aircraft development/procurement of that period there any number of imperfect designs adopted for service, many of which received protracted fixes during service (such as the B24 for instance, which although outperformed the B17 in some respects was - in the words of at least one senior USAAF officer, responsible for 6% of their flying and 29% of their casualties) The Germans are infamous for their continued resolution of one issue after another in what often appears to be a concerted effort to prove critics wrong.

Also, I note that aeroplanes with issues are described as such. One does not call an aeroplane "A real beauty" if you have problems keeping it straight. You might compliment certain features, but the main bugbear is the point at which a description was made. Of course design in that era was less than perfect also. The Spitfire is rightly praised for its benign and gentle handling (amongst other things), yet it was moderately nose heavy, suffered instability at full fuel load in most versions, and lost considerable height in spins (my copy of the MkIX notes says that permission is required before spinning a spitfire and the manoever must not be conducted below 3000ft. Modern display pilots mention having to allow for the nose heaviness in manoevers in magazine articles).

Of course the Spitfire has assumed legendary proportions, an aeroplane that generations without any living memory of the conflict will still go misty eyed over. It stands to reason that flaws are overlooked, especially because the aeroplane was such a good flyer in most respects. The MB5 had no such legend, no such war record, and the opinion of its qualities dates not from 1947/48 but it's test flying from late May 1944.

So, no production because....

1) Move toward jets - No, because no such decision was made. jet aircraft were untried technology in 1944 and no-one was going to place trust in such contraptions at a stage when the war was turning in the Allies favour. Jets promised much, and the development of British engines proved valuable in the long run. But procurement of such aircraft was not entirely at the expense of the piston engine.. F51's were still in active service in a couple of south American states during the seventies.

2) The designer was a perfectionist - I don't doubt it. Most designers were. But minor issues with aeroplanes do not prevent service of themselves if the aeroplane is shown to be worthy and neither do designers keep their products from service because it wasn't good enough. Like Messerschmitt for instance. Willy Messerschmitt wanted his 262 to be the perfect jet interceptor. He almost ignored demands from the Luftwaffe/RLM to fit bomb racks and delayed the introduction of his aeroplane not because of bombing capability as is usually stated, but the difficulties of unreliable jet turbines (Incidentially, trial flights of the 262 by the Allies needed four engine changes and suffered two engine failures in flight. A bona fide 262 is almost restored to flying condition right now. They plan to fly it with expert Steve Hinton at the controls. Once. Then it'll be parked in a museum). The point is, perfectionist or not, Messerschmitt submitted his aeroplane for acceptance trials.

3) Directional instability - Well, I've yet to be convinced. fact is, any such property deemed the cause of contract denial would have long since reached the press.

4) Status - The Air Ministry was often very biased about procurement. Reginald Mitchell ran into this issue himself before the war because his company had only made flying boats and floatplane racers. The quality of his product, and the support of Rolls Royce, got around bureaucratic obstacles. But then, the MB5 was equally if not more advanced for its time, impressive to the those who flew and maintained it. Martin Baker never did supply a fighter to the RAF or RN. Or anyone else. In fact, the company abruptly finishes working on flying designs in favour of ejection seat development which became their 'name' product and still is. The change of direction is very notable.

5) Internet info - Well, no. Websites vary considerably and many describing themselves as seriously scholarly often contain errors and urban myths. Like the Gotha 229. A stealth fighter? No. It just wasn't. But it was a flying wing - a form that since the arrival of the American B2 has been associated with stealth technology, and as we all know, German technology in WW2 was years ahead of everyone elses ... Ahem.

But you won't agree - I understand that. As much as you attempt to underline flaws in the MB5 which seem to appear out of the blue in recent years - like a lot of internet info that really shouldn't be believed - the last word has to be the reports of the aeroplane made by the testers. As far as I know, they were fulsome in praise from the beginning.
Notihing you have produced relates to test flights in 1944. Everything you have produced in 1947/1948.
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,232
I'm sorry, but you cannot claim that. The initial tests in 1944 at the Aeroplane & Armaments Experimental Establishment praised the MB5 from the beginning. It was flown in public display at Farnborough in 1946 where it was praised by the pilot, Sqn Ldr Janosz Zurakowski, who considered the MB5 'superlative' and 'better than the Spitfire'. Not the sort of comment made about an aeroplane with 'lamentable' problems with stability.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,057
I'm sorry, but you cannot claim that. The initial tests in 1944 at the Aeroplane & Armaments Experimental Establishment praised the MB5 from the beginning. It was flown in public display at Farnborough in 1946 where it was praised by the pilot, Sqn Ldr Janosz Zurakowski, who considered the MB5 'superlative' and 'better than the Spitfire'. Not the sort of comment made about an aeroplane with 'lamentable' problems with stability.
You have not provided reference for this, Just Brown in 1948.