Back to the Drawing Board

BTTDB

Back to the Drawing Board – The Beaufighter

Whispering Death A heavy fighter derived from a light bomber, the Bristol Beaufighter entered service in the summer of 1940 and by the end of the war nearly 6000 of them had been produced, proving highly effective over both land and sea. This is an incredible record for an aeroplane that was designed in a […]

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Back to the Drawing Board – The Royal Enfield Flying Flea

Designed by the Germans, copied by the British and thrown out of aeroplanes over occupied Europe, the Royal Enfield Flying Flea was the most successful military motorcycle developed for use by airborne troops in the Second World War. Ironically, the British Army would not have benefited from this light weight vehicle had it not been […]

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Back to the Drawing Board – The SM-62 ‘Snark’

The English language changed drastically during the swinging Sixties. ‘Cool’ suddenly meant fashionable or aloof, to ‘dig’ something was to enjoy it, and a Snark – once the sinister subject of Lewis Caroll’s poem The Hunting of the Snark – was now an intercontinental cruise missile capable of carrying a W39 thermonuclear warhead. Proposed as […]

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BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD – The Republic XF-84H ‘Thunderscreech’

Just over 75 years ago, the world’s loudest ever aircraft took to the skies for its first test-flight. When the US Navy voiced its need for a carrier fighter that did not require catapult assistance, Republic Aviation started experimenting with the USAF/Republic XF-84H experimental turboprop fighter. A variant of Republic Aviation’s F-84 Thunderstreak, this novel […]

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BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD – The Bachem Natter

As the Luftwaffe’s air superiority began to wane in 1943, various schemes were put in place to try and stop the Allies from seizing control. Guided defence missiles were still unreliable, their homing devices too primitive to allow any surface-to-air missiles to become operational. Surface-to-air missiles did, however, seem to be the best option available. […]

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BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD – COMBINATION WEAPONS

You would think that combining two deadly weapons to create a super-weapon would be a smart move for any warmonger. Some combination weapons, however, were simply over-ambitious monsters: clumsy, cumbersome, useless. The popularity of the combination weapon rose during the 16th and 17th centuries, when weapons-smiths were innovators and owning a trident dagger elevated one’s […]

The Lockheed XFV-1 in flight.

Back to the drawing board: The Lockheed XFV-1 Salmon

It could hardly have been the ambition of the Salmon’s creators that it should end up as an exhibit at Florida’s Sun ’n Fun Campus Museum. This, after all, was a US aircraft prototype designed to show the world that fighter aircraft could take off and land without needing a runway. Vast, expensive aircraft carriers […]

British soldiers with captured German Goliath tracked mines.

Back to the Drawing Board – The Goliath Tracked Mine

The Goliath Tracked Mine Standing at a mere 1ft tall and 4ft long, it must be assumed that the Goliath Tracked Mine was named with the same light-hearted irony as Robin Hood’s trusty, burly companion ‘Little’ John. The idea behind the miniature motor was inspired by the French vehicle designer Adolphe Kégresse after the Wehrmacht […]

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Back to the Drawing Board – Aunt Jemima

The brief was simple: create an explosive device which is easy to carry and innocent in appearance. No sticks of dynamite, no ticking time-bombs. As part of an attempt to supply arms to the Chinese to aid resistance against the Japanese during WWII, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) developed an incendiary known as ‘Aunt […]

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