World War 2 is regarded as the most devastating war of the 20th century. There are lots of reasons for why the war started, but its root cause comes from World War 1. After the Germans had lost the war, the League of Nations agreed that she had to be punished. They (Mainly Britain, France and America) decided that Germany would be punished by a treaty of terms called the Treaty of Versailles. This was a very harsh treaty and Germany suffered a lot. America felt sorry for Germany and agreed to loan her money.
With the extra money the Germans started to recover, but with the Great Depression which started in 1929, the German economy fell again. When this happened the National Socialist German Workers Party, NAZI, took advantage of the weak economy. Their leader was Adolf Hitler and during the Great Depression their number of supporters grew. Adolf Hitler had managed to persuade the previous president of Germany (President Hindenburg) to appoint him as Chancellor and when he had banned all other political parties and when President Hindenburg died, Hitler appointed himself as FUhrer of Germany.
This happened in 1934. World War 2 started in September 1939 after Nazi Germany had invaded Poland. Adolf Hitler had a written agreement with Neville Chamberlain that he would not attack any more people if he got the Sudetenland. He did not honor his agreement when he invaded Czechoslovakia and then Poland. When Hitler had successfully invaded Poland with the help of the Soviet Union, the British and French sent him an ultimatum that if he did not withdraw his troops they will declare war. And so World War 2 started. AIRCRAFT AND AERIAL WARFARE OF WORLD WAR II
In the aftermath of World War 1, where the use of airplanes and the development of the Air Arms had come almost as an afterthought, it was clear that an effective air force, which could achieve superiority, would be critical to any future successful military conquest. It was with this in mind that careful attention was paid to the development of Military Aircraft in the Allied and Axis Powers’ preparations, and the race to re-arm, in the years leading up to WW2. Airplanes played an extremely important role in World War 2. The Germans used a tactic known as Blitzkrieg (Lightning War) to invade their enemies.
This tactic enables them to quickly destroy their enemies. This tactic relies on Airplanes, Assault tanks and infantry all working together to catch the enemies by surprise. Without Airplanes the Blitzkrieg tactic wouldn’t have worked as well, as the Airplanes drop special troops near the cities to blow bridges and supply lines. The Planes then went on to attack the cities, causing chaos. Germany quickly went on to attack France and she was also conquered. That left only Britain standing between the NAZI’s and control over the whole of Europe.
Hitler planned to conquer Britain but before he could do that he had to obtain Air Superiority over Britain. This is where great airplane battles come in, this was known as The Battle of the Atlantic. There were several other fields of war as well in World War 2, but we will be discussing mainly the battle Between the Air force of Germany (Luftwaffe) and the Royal Air Force of Britain (RAF). TYPES OF AIRCRAFT USED DURING THE WAR There were several types of Aircraft used in all fields of the war and even in the Battle of the Atlantic alone there were several types.
There were Bombers and there were Fighters and then there were some planes designed to act as both. This discussion will be about four of the main aircraft in the Battle of the Atlantic and some of these were also the main aircraft of the entire war. If it wasn’t for these aircraft the war might have gone in to the favour of the Nazi’s. The fight between aircraft is known as a dogfight. The following four aircraft will be discussed in detail: * The De Havilland ‘Mosquito’ * The Supermarine Spitfire * The Hawker Hurricane * The Messerschmitt De Havilland Mosquito
The De Havilland mosquito is a bomber aircraft. Dubbed as the “Wooden Wonder”, it was one of the first true multi-tasking aircraft. The use of wood was chosen as it is very strong when laminated and it also kept the weight down. Another advantage of making use of wood was that furniture manufacturers could be subcontracted to make the plane without disrupting Britain’s overstretched aircraft industry. It was a bomber, night fighter, fighter and it also performed photo-reconnaissance roles. The Mosquito almost didn’t come to be as it was too radical a concept for the Air Ministry.
The specifications for the aircraft to be built were that it be able to carry both long range and heavy bombs. It should have a high cruising speed, defensive armament such as nose and tail guns and a range of 4828 kilometers (3000 miles). De Havilland agreed to build the plane when the threat from Hitler appeared quite likely. Following experience obtained with the Albatross, the De Havilland Company knew that aerodynamic cleanliness was vital. A minimum skin area was needed to keep the drag to a minimum. An initial order of 50 aircraft was placed in March 1940.
Only in November that same year did Geoffrey de Havilland take the prototype of the Mosquito for its first flight. The aircraft had a brilliant performance, ‘fighter-like handling’, thanks to its two Merlin Rolls-Royce engines. It had a fast top speed which allowed it to outpace the enemy fighters. When the skeptics saw that it was really a remarkable aircraft, the bomber version was given priority production. But the production was slow and the first squadron was only ready in May 1942. After a successful debut in a raid on 31 May 1942, the Mosquito was allowed to join the Main Force.
The Mosquito really became famous when it bombed the Gestapo Headquarters in Oslo on 25 September 1942. From November 1943 Mosquitoes were also used to destroy U-boats before they entered a port. They were warned of these opportunities by code breakers. At that moment the U-boats travelled up to the surface and were vulnerable. In total the Mosquito destroyed 8 U-boats! A total 7781 Mosquitoes were built until production ceased in 1950. FACTS of the De Havilland Mosquito B. XVI * First Flight: November 25, 1940 * Power: 2 x Rolls Royce 1230 horsepower Merlin 21 liquid-cooled in-line piston engines * Armament: 908kilograms/2000lb bombs
* Wingspan: 16. 51 meters * Length: 12. 47 meters * Height: 4. 66 meters * Wing area: 42. 18 meters squared * Weight Empty: 5947 kilograms * Weight Max: 10 160 kilograms * Maximum Speed: 656 kilometers per hour * Range: 2390 kilometers * Climb: 878 meters per minute * Crew: 2 Mosquito during flight: The Supermarine Spitfire The Supermarine Spitfire is a fighter airplane, it was built by the Supermarine Aviations Works Ltd. It was the iconic fighter of the RAF. It is a single seat fighter that was used by the Royal Air Force and other allies throughout the war.
It was the only fighter plane that remained in production throughout the war. The plane was designed by Reginald J. Mitchell. He had designed many aircraft other than the Spitfire for the Supermarine Aviations Company. He did this in the competitions known as the Schneider Trophy competitions. This competition was a race where planes from different countries competed against each other. The race promoted aviation improvements. The race was specifically known for its assistance in advancing designs of airplanes, particularly in the fields of aerodynamics and the design of the engines.
The competition would show its results in producing some of the best fighters of World War 2. Reginald J. Mitchell lived only long enough to see the prototype of the spitfire fly, before dying of cancer in 1937. Further development of the Spitfire was led by Joe Smith. After the Spitfire passed the trails in 1936, the British placed an initial order for 310. In order to meet the needs of the government the Supermarine Company built a new plant. The factory was quickly built as war was on the horizon and after only two months it was ready to start producing Spitfires.
The Spitfire was built with an elliptical wing so that it was able to carry eight . 303 caliber machine guns. The engine was a Rolls-Royce Merlin designed by Henry Royce. During the course of the war the Spitfire continually got upgraded and changed to ensure it remained an effective front line fighter. A total of 24 versions of the Spitfire were built. Some were small little changes in the plane while others had huge changes. There were different wing designs for different weapons. The original Spitfire carried only eight . 303 machine guns, but it was found that a mixture between .
303 machine guns and 20 mm cannons made a more effective attack. To accommodate this new idea, the company designed ‘B’ and ‘C’ wings which could carry a mixture of the cannons and machine guns. They also changed the engine of the Spitfire later on; they changed it to a Rolls-Royce Griffon. When the war started the Spitfire was the RAF’s most advanced fighter. Together with the Hawker Hurricane they successfully protected Britain against invasion. The closest Nazi competitor to the Spitfire was the Messerschmitt but the Spitfire had brilliant handling and speed while the Messerschmitt wasn’t as easy to fly and it was slower.
There was over 20 000 Spitfires built throughout the war. The Spitfire remained in action with some countries until the early 1960’s. With the invasion of France in 1944 Spitfires were sent across the channel to aid in destroying the Luftwaffe and to obtain air superiority. When fewer German aircraft could be seen, they also provided ground support and attacked targets of opportunity in Germany’s rear. “Once you’ve flown a Spitfire, it spoils you for all other fighters. Every other aircraft seems imperfect in one way or another.