Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dornier Merkur

The Dornier Merkur's first flight was in February 1925. It was a successor to the Dornier C Komet, which first flew in 1922. The Merkur had additional space for up to eight passengers and various technical improvements.
Walter Mittelholzer and CH-171 made a record flight for time, flying the distance of 20.000 km from Zurich to Cape Town in december 1925.
Swissair took over Ad Astra's two Dornier Merkurs after its founding, but got rid of them in the same year.

Source: sr692

Monday, December 28, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

72 Years Ago

December 21, 1937:
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated film ever, premieres at the Carthay Circle Theater.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fairey Swordfish

It was a large, slow biplane with a low wing loading, ideal for actions off carrier decks. The structure was largely metal, covered with fabric. The first machine was powered by a Bristol Pegasus IIM air-cooled, nine cylinder radial, developing 635 hp. These were severely underpowered. The next, much improved, prototype used a Pegasus IIIM3 with 775 hp. First flown in 1934, this aircraft exceeded the governments demands, so an order was placed for the first 86 production examples in 1935. The first deliveries were made in the following year, further orders continuing well after the beginning of the war.
The three seater airplane could easily lift off a carrier deck with a standard 18 inch 1,610 lb. torpedo slung between the wheels under the fuselage. It's ungainly looks gave it the nickname "Stringbag", after a type of shopping bag used to carry all manner of things by old English ladies.
In spite of it's seeming lack of sophistication, the Swordfish was to prove excellent in its intended role. Although highly vulnerable to attack by fighter planes, it's low speed and stable stance made it easy to line up for a torpedo attack, coming in from abeam of a hostile vessel, while staying below the level the enemy ships could fire their guns. It's slow flying speed made landings much safer on carriers.....into the wind, the closing speed could be as little as 30 knots.
Because they were helpless against fighters, these airplanes were usually only operated far out sea, where land based opposition could not reach. Swordfish based at Malta were operated at night and were all but invulnerable to the opposition. Starting in 1940, squadrons of Swordfish stationed here had sunk more than a million and a half tons of enemy shipping....a record never to be equaled. Maintenance was a breeze on such a simple design.
Swordfish were used tentatively for escort duty at the very beginning, until they had a chance to prove themselves. This soon came to pass, when a floatplane version, flown by W.M.L. Brown off the HMS WARSPITE was used to spot for the guns of that ship, resulting in the destruction of seven German destroyers. (Brown dealt the finishing blow to one of these with a bomb from his aircraft). Shortly afterwards, the same pilot executed the first dive bombing attack by the Fleet Air Arm, resulting in the sinking of a U-boat.
The Swordfish became legend when they made naval history at TARANTO, Italy. The modern Italian fleet was anchored here on the night of November 11, 1940. That evening, two strike forces of twelve aircraft each, were launched from the aircraft carrier HMS ILLUSTRIOUS. Under a full moon, with total tactical surprise, they evaded heavy fire and barrage balloons around the port, came in low and sank one battleship and crippled two others. A heavy cruiser and a destroyer were also severely damaged. This strike reduced Italian naval power by half, for a loss of only two Swordfish (one crew).
The Japanese envoy in Italy took a great interest in this attack, studying its execution carefully. The Taranto raid, by proving the vulnerability of closely moored ships to aerial attack from aircraft carriers, showed the way to the future of air power. He was shortly recalled to Tokyo and was instrumental in planning the attack on Pearl Harbor against the Americans. This, of course, had an immense effect on world events and the course of the war.
The other fabled exploit by Swordfish involves their part in the sinking of the famous BISMARCK.
After a long cat-and-mouse sea chase by the Royal Navy, it was two torpedo hits from Swordfish of 818 Squadron, operating off the carrier HMS ARK ROYAL, that finally succeeeded in damaging the steering and crippling the German ship. This allowed other fleet ships to catch and destroy her with gunfire and surface torpedoes.
Swordfish assembled in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia were used on merchant ships with hastlly added flight decks to guard convoys in the Atlantic. These were known as MERCHANT AIRCRAFT CARRIERS or MAC ships, for short.
Special Canadian closed cockpit versions were used throughout the war in Naval Air Gunner and torpedo training out of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. They were even used by Canada briefly after the war, until being replaced by Fairey Fireflies and Supermarine Seafires.
A total of 2, 396 Swordfish were built.

-article by Lance Russwurm


MANUFACTURER: Fairey Aircraft Co. Ltd./ Blackburn Aircraft Co. Ltd.
TYPE: two or three seat, carrier based, or floatplane equipped torpedo bomber, spotter, reconnaissance naval aircraft
POWERPLANT: one 690 hp. Bristol PegasusIIIM.3 or one 750hp. Pegasus XXX
DIMENSIONS: WING SPAN: 45' 6" (17' 3" with wings folded), LENGTH: 36' 4", HEIGHT: 12' 10", WING AREA: 607 sq. ft.
PERFORMANCE: MAXIMUM SPEED: 139 mph., CRUISING SPEED: 104-129 mph., CLIMB TO 5000 FT: 19 minutes, 0 seconds, RANGE: 350 nm, SERVICE CEILING: 15,000 feet
ARMAMENT: one fixed .303 Browning mg and/or one flexible .303 Lewis or Vickers mg aft. OFFENSIVE: one 18" 1,650 lb under slung torpedo, or, one 1,500 lb mine, or, three 500 lb bombs, or, two 550 lb and two 250 lb bombs, or, three Mk. VII depth charges, or, eight 60 lb rockets.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Polish St(r)eamline

Pm36-1 locomotive (1936)
with a streamlined fairing designed at the Warsaw University of Technology

Source (Wiki, EN)

Flying Proletarian

Art object by Yuri Avvakumov

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Red Racer

1932 Fiat Camerano 1100cc


Red Colossus

120-meter monumental lighthouse, Leningrad
V. Rozhnovsky's entry to the 1932 contest

New designs were submitted in 1930s and 1940s.
The structure has never been built.

via babs71 @ LJ

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Junkers Ju 288

The Junkers Ju 288 was a German bomber project designed during World War II, but which only ever flew in prototype form. The first of 22 development aircraft flew on 29 November 1940.
The first example was completed by mid-1940. Power was supposed to be supplied by two 24-cylinder Jumo 222 six-bank, four cylinders per bank, hyper engine output class powerplants, but problems with 222 development meant the first prototypes flew with BMW 801 radial engines, instead. The first flight-quality 222s did not arrive until October 1941, and even at this point it was clear they were nowhere near ready for full-scale production. When it became apparent the 222 was not likely to become a viable powerplant, in May 1942, Junkers proposed replacing them with the much heavier Daimler Benz DB 606s instead.
As these technical difficulties were being addressed, the lack of a strategic bombing doctrine within the Luftwaffe meant the mission and purpose of the Ju 288 remained nebulous throughout its development. As an interim measure, RLM ordered the Junkers Ju 188, which was a fairly minor upgrade of the original Ju 88 incorporating the basic cockpit design of the never-produced Ju 88B. Work continued on the 288 throughout, but in 1944 the project was finally abandoned as Luftwaffe priorities became more intensely focused on homeland defense.

Info: Wiki

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Swedish Armor

The LK-II was designed as Germany's response to the English 'Whippet' tank of WWI. Designed just before WW1 ended, only test models were assembled. In the greatest secrecy, they were imported in parts as steam plates and tractor details. After the reconstruction of the vehicles, trials were held at Svea and Göta Livgarde. The tanks had the designation Stridsvagn fm/22, shortly thereafter being known as Stridsvagn m/21.
Sweden bought 10 tanks in Autumn of 1921. The Strv m/21-29 (9.7 tons, 1 MG, 4-14mm armor, crew of four, Swedish Scania Vabis 1554 85hp petrol engine, 18 km/h) was a modernised version of the normal m/21.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


20mm vz. 36 Oerlikon VKPL
A Swiss anti-aircraft cannon at the Czechoslovak service

Saturday, November 28, 2009

One Dial, Two Sets of Numerals

Panerai California 1936
A prototype of the famous Radiomir divers' watch

(shown: modern replica by Panerai)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Treaty Cruiser

The Washington Naval Treaty of 1921 introduced very strict limits on the construction of battleships and battlecruisers, defined as warships of more than 10,000 tons standard displacement or with armament of a calibre greater than eight inches (203 mm). Under this limit, far fewer restrictions applied. The 10,000 tons and 155 mm (6-inch) level was set. The emergence of these new, powerful cruiser classes sparked off something of a cruiser arms-race.

Here is one of the first 'treaty cruisers', HMS Suffolk:
Ordered on 15th February 1924 from HM Dockyard, Portsmouth and laid down on 30th September that year. The ship was launched on 16th February 1928 and completed on 31st May 1928.
Armed with eight 8-in guns in twin turrets on a 10,000-ton displacement with a thin (50mm) armor belt.

Battle Honours:
NORWAY 1940 - BISMARCK Action - ARCTIC 1941-2 - BURMA 1945

Michelin's Rival

Bergougnan Tires ad
France, 1930s

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Future We Were Promised

Arthur Radebaugh's art was featured in one of my first posts here, about two years ago. Since then, a Website dedicated to his legacy has been closed. But I have managed to collect some examples of Radebaugh's artwork.

Radebaugh article & album @
(sorry, Tome, I'm using the same stuff again, here and there)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Was Ist Das?

Streamlined rear-engine passenger car
Berlin, 1930

© Bundesarchiv

Italian TV Set

Made by SAFAR company in 1939
SAFAR, Società Anonima Fabbricazione Apparecchi Radiofonici,
was in the electronic TV development business as early as in 1934. In 1939 it began experimental broadcasts from the Monte Mario Studio, Rome, using domestic and German equipment.
At least three types of TV sets were offered by SAFAR for 1940.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sickle, Hammer, Deco

Soviet pavilion at the 1937 Paris World's Fair
Designed by Boris Iofan
Sculpture: Vera Mukhina