US Production wasn't so good.....

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Kitty, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    Got your interest? A bit annoyed that I've just dissed the amazing quantity of production from the US? Good.

    I've been thinking about the book Barnes Wallis's Bombs and it mentioned that near the end of the war, when 617 Squadron were joined by 9 Squadron as tallboy bombers, the need for the bombs far outstripped the capability of the British manufacturers. Now because of this Tallboy bombs were then also produced in America and shipped over empty to this country for use.

    Now here's the crux of the matter. The American bombs were so roughly made that they could not be used. They would have to be taken away, all of the welding rubbed down to smooth out the casing and the fins removed and re-welded on at the correct angles in order for the bomb to spin correctly and penetrate the targets. This cost time and effort that could have seen more Tallboy's dropped on other targets.

    So in such a specialised area the British manufacturing where precision over quantity came to the fore far outstripped the American quantity over quality.

    What do you think?
  2. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    There has to be quality not quantity in some things where near enough is not good enough.

    They should have had the expertise as torpedoes required a high amount of precision tooling however they were probably too busy.
  3. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    Yes but at the end of the day a torpedo has maybe a few hundred yards to travel and got a big target (usually) to hit. So a few minor faults could be overlooked. However with tallboy, it had to be dropped a mile form target, and any imperfection in the casing surface or a fin out of place by a few millimeters would see it spin badly, and in the case of the rough welding on the cases even hang up in the release mechanism.
    In this case near enough with torpedoes was just too far in the case of tallboy. And yet they continued to accept these faulty bomb cases from the US.
  4. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Before going into the main question, I just want to point out that the US Navy had very serious problems with their torpedos during the entire war. This is a good summary of some of the issues:

    WWII U.S. Submarine Service Torpedoes

    As to the differences in production quality and precision, there seems to be two issues:

    1) there was a very big difference in production methods (and to a great degree, ethos) between US and British manufacturing before the war. British production was not as industralised as the US. The US had moved into the Fordist production lines that had initially been created for the mass production of cheap consumer goods. Consumerism hadn't hit Britain before the war.

    Whereas the the British production of weapons and equipment was of a very high precision quality it just couldn't match the needs of the war. This is apparant in the problems encountered in the mass production of the Spitfire. Beaverbrook had to take Supermarine to task about it's appaling production record.

    The US utilised it's factories that had been turning out cars, fridges etc and used the same assembly lines to produce weapons. This speeded up production and allowed more a greater quantity to be prooduced but the quality standards were variable. One reason was because most of these factories were still run by their existing owners, and US production was as centralised during the war as it was in Britain. Another was that the great demand in workers meant that a lot of untrained people were recruited.

    2) Another issue in this particular case is probably that the US manufacturers were never told what it was that they were producing as the weapon was top secret. So their standards would have been based on their own knowledge of standard bombs that didn't require the same standards.
  5. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    If I recall correctly the manufacturers were informed that the highest standards were required and that the casing had to be smooth, fins welded at set angles etc etc etc. And yet the bomb casings that were being delivered were still sub standard.
    The precision schematics were given to the factory and yet they still produced Tallboy as if it were a Sherman tank.

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