Monday, 13 September 2010

A Wellington in a day.

There is a fascinating article on the BBC news website about how workers in 1943 manufactured an entire Wellington bomber in under 24 hours - from parts to a flying aircraft.

Such records are, of course, largely false. Much preparation of parts goes ahead before them, and the work is just a case of assembling the constituent parts into a whole. Much more famously, the US did a similar thing in the war when they assembled an entire Liberty ship - the Robert E. Peary - in under five days. In the latter case, the ship was not ready for sea after those days, and much other work needed to be done.

However, saying such things is slightly parsimonious. Both cases were extraordinary achievements in organisation and willpower. The women and men working on the Wellington should deservedly have been proud of their record.

It also exemplifies one other point: unlike Germany and America, Britain and Russia put all of its might into winning the war. mobilising all of their industrial and human resources into winning. In comparison, Germany did not mobilise all of its industry until late-on in the war - Hitler was concerned that Germans would be demoralised if they could not get their cars or new cookers.

In comparison, Britain and Russia put all their effort into winning the war. There was little done in Britain between 1939 and 1944 that was not focussed on the war. America mobilised its industry, but such was the scale of their industry that they did not have to mobilise it fully.

The article begs one question: I wonder what happened to that Wellington bomber? Did it survive the war, or did it fall victim like so many of its brethren?

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