Chapter CXLV: A Cooled Head in a Crisis Part II

El Pip

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Chapter CXLV: A Cooled Head in a Crisis Part II.

The Air Ministry's response to the Cooling Crisis had a decidedly rocky start, the mandarins preference for a cautious and considered evolution clashing with their Minister's love of action and dramatic change. The civil services plan had been to convene a committee with broad terms of reference to think through the implications, consider the consequences, explore the ramifications and then arrive at the conclusion the service had pre-selected - which was that things were basically fine and very little change was required. Unfortunately, for the civil service, in such a situation a suitably energetic and determined Minister can triumph over bureaucratic inertia and so their hopes for masterly inactivity were dashed. As a brief aide mémoire the three points of consideration were;
  1. Which firms should be in the Ring
  2. How to properly disseminate knowledge and research around the industry
  3. How to stop the Admiralty disrupting the Ring and duplicating their efforts
We will begin with the second point as it was mostly self contained so can be relatively briefly covered. The problem was far from a new one inside the Air Ministry and the Crisis mostly just accelerated existing plans, though only mostly. To be brief the Ministry already had a limited system of Resident Technical Officers (RTOs), a mix of Air Ministry civilian scientists and mid-ranking RAF officers, assigned to the more crucial airframe design offices to report back on progress. It was decided to expand and build upon this system, the Ministry first made clear all the firms in the Ring, airframe and engine, would have an RTO assigned and they would be responsible for checking the designs teams were aware of the latest research. Significantly it was also decided to end the pretence that all firms in the Ring were equal, those that the Ministry trusted would get a single RTO who's job would remain mostly liaison and reporting, while less trusted firms would be assigned teams of RTOs and be subject to greater scrutiny. Naturally this was unpopular with the firms of the Ring who had been used to a far cosier relationship, though they had a slightly more legitimate complaint in their concerns about trade secrets leaking to their competitors. From a certain perspective such leaks were the entire object of the RTO scheme, to try and drag up the general level of the industry by sharing information, and if you were a leading firm that was likely to involve a lot of giving and very little receiving. As has been discussed airflow over engines was still a black art even at the cutting edge of research and the same could be said for a wide range of similar specialist areas, even workable 'rules of thumb' were enough to give a significant advantage if your rivals didn't know them. The Air Ministry's were aware of this tension and so were at pains to explain that they intended to respect actual trade secrets, though admittedly for selfish reasons; homogenising the design process so all the firms had similar approaches and philosophies would entirely defeat the point of the portfolio approach of engine design, if everyone made the same assumptions they would make the same mistakes. This reassurance, and the blunt truth that all the firms were dependent on government orders to a greater or lesser extent, was enough to get the scheme through with relatively less practical fuss even, even if several protests were made for form's sake.


LOvlWYT.jpg

The core team working on the Supermarine Spitfire photographed on the day of the successful first flight of the prototype. The central seated figure is the Chief Designer R J Mitchell, to his left is his deputy Harold Payn and to his right the RTO for Supermarine, the Air Ministry scientist Stuart Scott-Hall, the final two figures are the Vickers Chief Test Pilot Joe Summers and his deputy Jeffrey Quill. Having been involved with the project from the start Scott-Hall had established a strong and close relationship with the Supermarine design team, indeed often being considered a part of the team by those he worked with. While this was the ideal, a strong team producing a world class aircraft, it must be said that not all RTOs had such a pleasant or collaborative relationship as those assigned to Supermarine or Rolls Royce.

At the highest level the response became more political and for our purposes the only noteworthy chance was a reshuffling of the Air Council. Prior to the Crisis research had sat with the Air Member for Research and Development (Air Member meant a serving RAF officer, as opposed to the Civil Members which covered everyone else) but it was 'recognised' that bringing in more civilian scientific expertise could be helpful, it being deliberately obscure quite who had 'recognised' this problem. In any event Churchill's old friend and advisor Professor Lindemann was elevated up to being the Civil Member for Aeronautical Research, the dividing line being that he would be more concerned with theoretical and government research while the Air Member would supervise the industrial side. While arguably at least in part a nepotistic appointment it was greeted with relief in the scientific side of the Ministry; it finally resolved the fight between Lindemann and Tizard that had been raging across the Ministry's many research committees and councils. The Air Council itself was less than delighted by the appointment because the main reason Lindemann stopped fighting Tizard was that he was too busy fighting the rest of the Council, contemptuously ignoring his brief to forcefully express his opinions on everything from RAF force composition to civil airport strategy. While that problem would only worsen throughout Lindemann's tenure on the Council the rest of the measures were a success. The expanded RTO scheme would achieve it's aim and while technical problems would still occur, indeed were accepted as an inevitable side effect of an ambitious development programme, there would at least be no more mistakes caused by designers being unaware of the latest research.

While the Air Ministry was united in it's belief that the Ring system worked, there was far less unanimity on which firms should be inside the system. Rolls Royce and Bristol were naturally safe and after their exploits on fixing the Arctic Hampden/Dagger so were De Havilland. Armstrong Siddeley managed to retain their place after the appointment of a new chief engineer, the talented but mercurial Stewart Tresilian, and the introduction of a particularly large contingent of RTOs to keep a very close eye on the rest of the design team. This left Napier and here the splits inside the Air Ministry became apparent, as one would expect the Engine Production department were in favour of another chance being extended to Napier but faced opposition from those who wanted to see change, not just Churchill but also a group around the Permanent Secretary for Air, Sir Christopher Bullock. While Sir Christopher had not been in favour of kicking Napier out, that would be a change too far, he had wanted to see new firms enter the engine market and some more competition for firms he feared were getting complacent. With an expansion of the Ring out of the question, the Chancellor may have been supportive of defence spending but like his department he retained doubts over the entire concept, the reformers around Sir Christopher chose to sacrifice Napier in order to get a new firm onto the approved list. With the Minister and Permanent Secretary both keen on change, if perhaps for different reasons, the search for a new company to join the Ring began.

NZWbQwp.jpg

The propeller shop section of the High Duty Alloys Ltd foundry in Slough. Another of the reasons for the survival of Armstrong Siddeley within the Ring was it's ownership of High Duty Alloys (HDA), a firm that had long been identified as a valuable national asset. HDA produced high strength nickel-aluminium alloys and in particular specialised in the RR alloys, so called because they had been developed by Rolls Royce for their high performance racing engines. The world of specialist alloys was considered by the Air Ministry to be an example of successful knowledge sharing, the National Physical Laboratory, Armstrong Siddeley, Rolls Royce and HDA had all contributed and the alloys themselves were widely used by all the British engine manufacturers and many foreign firms as well. It was also noted that the nascent jet engine programme at RAF Martlesham Heath was steadily increasing it's demand for HDA's alloys, another strong reason to support the facility and it's parent company.

There were several companies available to replace Napier, despite official discouragement the gathering storm clouds and events overseas had encouraged a few firms to start work on aero-engines in the hope of finding their way into the Ring as rearmament gathered pace. Top of list, at least in the mind of it's owner Lord Nuffield, was Wolseley. The Wolseley Libra engine was powering the Vickers Venom fighters being sent to Spain, so there was a quasi-official stamp of approval for their work and it was unarguable that Wolseley had the factories and experience at mass production of engines. The key argument against was that the Libra was the largest engine Wolseley had ever made and, while it was fine for service in Spain, it was far too weak for RAF use; at just under 600hp the Libra would need to almost double in power to reach the 1,000hp that was deemed a minimum for the latest types. There had to be a degree of dissembling about this, admitting that the Monarchists were getting engines that the RAF would not accept for their own use would cause no end of diplomatic problems, but it was undoubtedly a factor. Lord Nuffield was aware of the limits of Wolseley's current range and had a proposal, he had approached the US firm Pratt & Whitney for a licence to build their R-1830 Twin Wasp engine and the Americans had responded enthusiastically. This pointed to the other major problem with bringing Wolseley into the Ring, the tendency of Lord Nuffield to treat requirements as optional and specifications as suggestions. It was government policy for the RAF to only purchase British designed engines, a policy that the government was attempting to extend out to Imperial Airways and civil aviation in general. A sudden volte face on that requirement would certainly aid Wolseley, but it was hard to see how it would aid the government's industrial and trade policy, unsurprisingly therefore his proposal was firmly, and not particularly politely, rejected. Instead Wolseley were given the requirements for the next generation of engines, essentially a minimum of 1,500hp but with potential for 2,000hp or more when fully developed, explicitly told this set of requirement were non-negotiable, and sent off to start designing it. Naturally Lord Nuffield was annoyed by this, not only had his licence building plan been comprehensively rejected but Wolseley were still not in the Ring, so there was no guarantee the future engine would be ordered even after his team had designed and tested it. That said the continued success of the Spanish Venom would ensure a steady stream of Monarchist orders and from other smaller airforces keen to buy a combat proven fighter aircraft on the cheap. These orders would be enough to keep Wolseley in the aero-engine business in the short term, though their long term future would depend on their next design gaining the favour of the Ministry.


6Cx6SkV.jpg

A 1937 advert for the "new" Alvis aero engines, the advert ran in the specialist technical press and was aimed at Air Ministry staff, 'air minded' politicians and RAF officers, the people who would influence the next generation of RAF specifications and Air Ministry contracts. The engines themselves were licensed derivates of Gnome et Rhône engines, or would be if they existed; despite the adverts claims only the Pelides had been built and tested at this point. The Pelidies was one of the many engines based on the G&R 14K Mistral Major and retained the basic shape and major features while replacing the French fixings and accessories with British items. The 14K was not the first twin row radial, and it certainly wasn't the best, but it was the most widely used, aside from Alvis half a dozen other companies had taken a licence and it had been this ubiquity that had encouraged Alvis to select it. However, like it's fellow licensees, Alvis soon discovered the basic 14K design needed a great deal of work to make it reliable, a fact G&R would tacitly admit when they were forced to redesign the original engine after complaints from the French Air Ministry.

In a similar position to Wolseley were Alvis, another motor manufacturer that wished to take advantage of re-armament to expand into aviation work. The Alvis management had taken to their endeavour with gusto, constructing a vast and modern new aero-engine factory and development centre which included everything from an aluminium foundry to electro-plating shops and X-ray testing facilities. While the Alvis board had ambitions to design their own engines in the short term they had reached a similar conclusion to Lord Nuffield and decided to licence a foreign design to produce and learn from. While Wolseley's choice of the American Pratt & Whitney was at best poorly received by the Air Ministry, Alvis' selection of the French firm Society des Gnome et Rhone (G&R) can only be described as catastrophic. As we have seen any foreign design was against policy, a French design hit the issue of the still lingering anti-French feeling after the Abyssinian War and a G&R design was particularly unfavourable as they were widely viewed as still owing Bristol a great deal of money for the licence that G&R had taken on the Bristol Jupiter in the 1920s. These factors would likely have been enough to sink the project, but the final killer blow (should one have been required) was the fact that the engine that Alvis were attempting to sell, the Pelides, was not very good. The faults it had inherited from it's French ancestor are too numerous to list in detail, but in summary the engine was unreliable, lacked development potential, never lived up to it's claimed power and, in a grimly familiar detail, had serious overheating problems due to lack of cooling fins and poor airflow design. While Alvis strived to fix some of these problems, eventually coaxing a heavily revised Pelidies into passing an Air Ministry 50hour test, many of the problems were too inherent to solve without starting almost from scratch. Unsurprisingly therefore the Ministry's Engine Department found it easy to recommend sticking to policy and keeping Alivs off the approved list and outside the Ring.

At the other extreme lay the last option, or at least the last serious option, Fairey Aviation. While in the Ring on the airframe side the engine development efforts of the company had never attracted the interests of the Ministry, yet the Fairey board had persisted. As mentioned Fairey were the opposite of the previous two firms in that they had a small but experienced design team and their own all British designed engine, the H24 Monarch. Unfortunately this contrast also extended to facilities and Fairey entirely lacked the modern engine factories, laboratories and testing equipment of their rivals. As an example Fairey lacked a test rig large enough to test their new engine at full power or any form of engine production line. With a definite Air Ministry development contract Fairey could find funding to expand their design and testing facilities, and Ministry plans had always assumed that the bulk of engine production would be done by the Shadow Factories, so these were not insurmountable problems. A more serious issue was their engine design, while the Monarch was attracting attention for it's twin propellers and unusually resilient design in terms of power and performance it was solid but nothing special, and that was assuming the final engine achieved it's projected performance, hardly a certainty given the immaturity of the design. The counter-argument was that the Ministry perhaps should be backing some 'average' engine designs to provide backup for the cutting edge work being done by others in the Ring. Previously that role had been filled by Armstrong Siddeley, but as that firm was now looking to use it's Dog series to push itself into more advanced work there was perhaps an opening. Should any of the next generation of large high powered engines fail then the Monarch was about the right size and power to be an acceptable substitute, particularly for medium and heavy bomber specifications. On this basis, as a provider of purely backup designs for large aircraft, the Ministry began to lean towards Fairey as the preferred option to bring into the Ring.

kt4Xh0U.jpg

An engineering section drawing of the Fairey P24 Monarch engine, the distinctive twin coaxial contra-rotating propellers and H-block arrangement clearly shown. The chief engine designer at Fairey was Captain Archibald Forsyth, formerly of the Engine Division at the Air Ministry, and the engine showed a great many features that could generously be described as 'inspired' by other engine manufacturers details. In fairness the engine did have some actually new features, most notably was the fact it could be described as essentially two separate engines located incredibly close together. Looking from the rear of the engine (i.e. where the pilot would sit) the left side of the engine powered the front propeller and the right side powered the rear propeller. In addition the two sides of the engine shared no accessories or parts, having separate fuel pumps, superchargers, etc. This duplication made the engine heavy but exceptionally resilient, should any individual element fail (whether through mechanical failure or enemy action) then at worst that side of the engine failed but the other side would continue as normal.

This neatly brings us to the 3rd issue resulting from the Crisis, the challenge of co-ordinating the plans of the Air Ministry and the Admiralty. Because the many features of the Monarch were also attracting the attention of the Fleet Air Arm, for obvious reasons they prized reliability and durability to a greater degree than their land based counterparts and saw great potential in the concept. The Air Ministry had been aware of the FAA's desire for a new engine and so had pencilled in the Rolls Royce Exe for that role, but what they had neglected to do was order work on any backup engine. The official reason was that it was a Rolls Royce design, indeed it was under the legendary Arthur Rowledge (of Lion, 'R' and Merlin fame), so there was no need for a backup. Unofficially the FAA suspected the Ministry did not want to put more than the bare minimum of effort into a purely naval design. In the event the Ministry was correct and the Exe had a relatively trouble free development, but it was certainly an approach they would never have adopted for something the RAF cared about, like the engines for the heavy bomber programme. For the next generation the FAA intended to do things 'properly' and had identified the Monarch as part of that, like the Ministry they also though it would make a good backup engine so in theory there could be some co-operation there. The problem was the FAA's first choice was a development of the Exe, essentially doubling it's displacement so it could produce the desired power. Provisionally called the Tamar it would be less work, and risk, than a blank paper design but was not a trivial undertaking, particularly when the FAA had casually asked about the possibility of an enlarged Merlin as well. The Admiralty neglected to share these plans with the Air Ministry, so when a Rolls Royce development engineer made the mistake of mentioning these projects to his resident RTO things did not go well. As the report made it's way up the hierarchy it gathered intemperate views like moths to the flame, so by the time it reached the top a Whitehall row was inevitable.

Looking beyond the institutional annoyance having upstart 'fish heads' impinging on aero-industrial concerns and the bureaucratic indignation at having their carefully worked out development plans disrupted, the Air Ministry did have a few valid points to make. As a matter of simple engineering capacity the British government could not keep loading it's engine problems onto Rolls Royce, at this point the firm had three major aero-engine projects at various stages of development (Merlin, Exe and Peregrine/Vulture), had been committed to supporting Australia build her own Merlins, was fielding requests from Canada for the same and was getting involved with tank engines for the Army. Throwing in two new engine design projects was going to require delaying or cancelling some of that existing work and it was clear the FAA did not want to delay the Exe engine, meaning they either expected someone else to make a sacrifice or hadn't quite understood the limitations of industry. On a related point some pointed questions were asked about where, exactly, the Admiralty expected these engines to be built and the answers were heavy on bluster but light on facts, which correctly suggested it had been inexperience not arrogance behind the FAA's interventions. There was a brief ceasefire between the two parties as they united to head off an unwanted intervention from the Ministry of Defence Co-ordination, agreeing that the last things either department wanted was Macmillan trying to play Solomon and overseeing their decision making, but that was not the same as making a decision. It was agreed that the Air Ministry should retain overall oversight of the industry as it would be counter-productive for the Admiralty to duplicate the RTO system and this would be based on the Ring system, it was even agreed that there should be a joint plan, the stumbling block was who decided the priorities and then enforced them. After a degree of civil service wrangling, including the Cabinet Secretary refusing to allow such 'minor technical details' onto the cabinet agenda and an abortive effort to use the Chiefs of Staff Committee to decide so the Army could play tie-breaker (both the RAF and RN officers agreed this was a terrible idea), the problem was kicked over to the Committee of Imperial Defence. Given the increasingly Imperial nature of defence procurement this would, in theory, allow the wider implications to be considered and there were enough sub-committees and experts already involved it might even be an informed decision. There remained the option of escalating the matter further up to the cabinet, but it was not just the civil service who were wary of involving the politicians; it was not unknown for a politician asked to decide between option A and B to select Option C, so there was incentive for both sides to respect the decision of the Committee, or indeed to reach agreement to avoid the Committee even needing to be involved.

With a tentative agreement with the Admiralty about co-ordination, a new system of technical oversight and information sharing agreed and a decision made to replace Napier with Fairey in the engine side of the Ring, all seemed to be going well for the Ministry. So when trouble came it was especially disturbing, particularly when it came from such an unexpected source - Napier. The company's board had got wind of the plan to kick them out of the Ring, the Air Ministry choosing not to tell them until the decision was final, and had decided they would not be going quietly into that good night.

---
Notes:
Aero-engines, civil service wranglings and industrial design policy. Do topics get more thrilling that this? Best not to answer that one, because it is what you are getting. Once again an update has got away from me, it's another few thousand words and I've not quite reached the final point, though we are getting perilously close and some actual decisions have been made so progress has happened. Part III will see things escalate further into the political realm, because no such decision could ever be free of politics.

I decided to save the world a discussion on the full details of Air Ministry RTOs and I was perilously close to bringing in Coaseian transaction costs as an argument for not letting Napier go bankrupt ("The Nature of the Firm" and all that). But then I decided that subject was better left saved for future update, something for us all to look forward to I am sure.

Lindemann and Tizard did have quite the fight through much of WW2 and overall you would have to say Tizard had the better of the arguments (save in a couple of key areas) and Lindemann only survived because Churchill was quite incredibly loyal to those who had stuck with him in the backbench days (and in fairness Lindemann was right on some things and did do very valuable work in producing statistics and encouraging/forcing others to do the same). So here he gets booted upstairs and is shaking things up, with at best mixed results, but he was always going to get some big job from Churchill so here we are.

High Duty Alloys are entirely OTL and we shall find out more about them later, because there is an amazing photo I have to use from their works. It just hadn't been built at this point and I am nothing if not over-invested in the details. More relevantly special alloys was one of those not very sexy but really important things that Britain did (and does) really well, but no-one shouts about because we are British and don't shout. Also because they are only of interest to specialists.

The consequences of the Spanish Venom continue, Wolseley are sniffing around the Air Ministry and will not rest until they get a contract. The Twin Wasp licence is OTL, Lord Nuffield really did not understand how the Air Ministry worked and why they were never going to say yes to that plan. His experience was with the British Army who would accept US licence built stuff of questionable suitability, because the Army was desperate and had so few suppliers it couldn't be that picky. The Air Ministry, at least before the real crunch hit, could be more discerning.

Alvis and their marvellously ambitious plans are true, they did indeed built a massive factory and facility then only a bit late realise the Air Ministry would never buy a foreign design unless forced. So OTL they ended up doing 'Shadow Factory' work on parts and repairs, before finally managing to get their own engine out post-war. The G&R 14K was very widely licensed but also not very good, at least in original form. We will be going into that in a bit more detail when we look at French fighters and the Spanish Civil War, because part of it was some very French design obsessions which came from the very to. The cooling issue however is OTL, the 'fixed' version G&R produced for French service (the 14N) had 40% more cooling fins so it was not a minor problem and all the licensees made similar changes to get their versions to work properly.

Fairey had been trying for years to get into aero-engines, since at least the 1920s, and spent a lot while failing to do so. OTL the Monarch was (very slowly) developed, passed around a few people, including the US, but never got anywhere as there was always a better or more developed engine available. The Monarch was pitched at the FAA who were interested but never had the money or control to chase it, in Butterfly they are at least making receptive noises. The Exe was OTL (got cancelled in the BoB panic), the extended version is mostly OTL (was called the Pennine because RR changed their naming convention mid-war) and the 'large Merlin' the FAA are asking about is an OTL request from early 1938 that would become the mighty RR Griffon. Here they are making those request a bit earlier, Rolls Royce are a lot busier, so the OTL arguments about who gets priority over what happen earlier. I can absolutely see the Cabinet Secretary refusing to touch it, because Cabinet should not be arguing about that sort of detail, so rather than invent a whole new body (which wouldn't solve matters if it is half RAF/RN) I have continued the policy of boosting the various Imperial Defence bodies. They had the systems and staff to do a lot more, so the capacity is there, and they always seem under-used. With a more defence/re-armament/Imperial minded faction of the Conservatives in power I think this seems reasonable they become more than just mostly empty talking shops.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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If we all stop commenting right now, Pip can reply to comments and then immediately post an update at the top of the page before Wraith/TBC can ruin everything again.
'Ruin' is a strong word.
You started well, all excellent works. Though I remain surprised it is Butterfly that is the most likely to finish first, if only because it is the only one that at least has a chance to finish.
Rex is lost to the sweep and against all odds is, officially at least, dead.

So yes, I suppose. Funny old world.
As a matter of simple engineering capacity the British government could not keep loading it's engine problems onto Rolls Royce
You need to tell Paradox and most HOI writers...

Hmm...maybe they should just Nationalise them...
had been committed to supporting Australia build her own Merlins, was fielding requests from Canada for the same and was getting involved with tank engines for the Army.
ah yes, the super powered tanks. Not sure if the super speeders will end up being made but they could always sell what they cook up to the French (they seem to love fast tanks).
the Army could play tie-breaker (both the RAF and RN officers agreed this was a terrible idea
Funnily enough, post war the RN and RAF ganged up on the Army permenantly since the latter usurped everything in priority...
Napier. The company's board had got wind of the plan to kick them out of the Ring, the Air Ministry choosing not to tell them until the decision was final, and had decided they would not be going quietly into that good night.
Maybe we should nationalise them. That should make them go away.
More relevantly special alloys was one of those not very sexy but really important things that Britain did (and does) really well, but no-one shouts about because we are British and don't shout. Also because they are only of interest to specialists.
Only specialists and hooligans are loud in Britian. And it is often difficult to tell the difference.
 
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Kurt_Steiner

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LOvlWYT.jpg

The core team working on the Supermarine Spitfire photographed on the day of the successful first flight of the prototype. The central seated figure is the Chief Designer R J Mitchell, to his left is his deputy Harold Payn and to his right the RTO for Supermarine, the Air Ministry scientist Stuart Scott-Hall, the final two figures are the Vickers Chief Test Pilot Joe Summers and his deputy Jeffrey Quill. Having been involved with the project from the start Scott-Hall had established a strong and close relationship with the Supermarine design team, indeed often being considered a part of the team by those he worked with. While this was the ideal, a strong team producing a world class aircraft, it must be said that not all RTOs had such a pleasant or collaborative relationship as those assigned to Supermarine or Rolls Royce.




The first man from the left reminds me of Benny Hill.

(Great, Kurty... El Pip does a magnificient job on the topic and you burst out about Benny Hill...)
 
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Now that was a nice update! And a possible future update featuring French fighters used in Spain too? It looks like the Air Ministry boys are jealous of the Royal Navy's carrier updates and have been lobbying Pip hard for more kite based updates!
 
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it was not unknown for a politician asked to decide between option A and B to select Option C, so there was incentive for both sides to respect the decision of the Committee, or indeed to reach agreement to avoid the Committee even needing to be involved.​
Side eye from Utsunimiya....
fb4e07ea3c37c426dd0a2b3344b1ff85.jpg


but no-one shouts about because we are British and don't shout.
Unless you've got a plan to spend the afternoon... marching UP AND DOWN THE SQUARE!?!
 

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I had totally forgotten amongst all this that there was still stuff going on in Spain. The promise of a future update that looks towards whatever the goings on may be is, along with the promised treatment of Coaseian transaction costs, tantalising.
 
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We will begin with the second point as it was mostly self contained so can be relatively briefly covered.
These are the trap words..."relatively briefly". I expect this chapter to end up being at least four parts, therefore.

Significantly it was also decided to end the pretence that all firms in the Ring were equal
I'll take "things you can't do anymore" for $300, Alex.

Prior to the Crisis research had sat with the Air Member for Research and Development (Air Member meant a serving RAF officer, as opposed to the Civil Members which covered everyone else) but it was 'recognised' that bringing in more civilian scientific expertise could be helpful, it being deliberately obscure quite who had 'recognised' this problem.
Them. Someone. People who are saying. Many people.

Take your pick.

The expanded RTO scheme would achieve it's aim and while technical problems would still occur, indeed were accepted as an inevitable side effect of an ambitious development programme, there would at least be no more mistakes caused by designers being unaware of the latest research.
I look forward to hearing about the mistakes caused by designers being blatantly dismissive of the latest research on account that they are better than everyone else and should do things their own way regardless of what the engineers at Rolls Royce say.

The Admiralty neglected to share these plans with the Air Ministry, so when a Rolls Royce development engineer made the mistake of mentioning these projects to his resident RTO things did not go well. As the report made it's way up the hierarchy it gathered intemperate views like moths to the flame, so by the time it reached the top a Whitehall row was inevitable.
I do appreciate seeing the political bickering of the military leadership in other people's universes as it makes me feel much more a home.

I do however lament the lack of fisticuffs.

and an abortive effort to use the Chiefs of Staff Committee to decide so the Army could play tie-breaker (both the RAF and RN officers agreed this was a terrible idea),
Toxic inter-service rivalries and HOI AARs, name a more iconic duo.

Once again an update has got away from me, it's another few thousand words and I've not quite reached the final point, though we are getting perilously close and some actual decisions have been made so progress has happened. Part III will see things escalate further into the political realm, because no such decision could ever be free of politics.
Called it, let us know when you give up on conciseness and what Part IV will be.

High Duty Alloys are entirely OTL and we shall find out more about them later,
Excellent.

because there is an amazing photo I have to use from their works.
EXCELLENT.

'Ruin' is a strong word.
I am a man of strong words, not least due to having an appalling lack of strong muscle to make up for.

Side eye from Utsunimiya....
I kept thinking of this throughout the whole inter-service bickering bit.

I had totally forgotten amongst all this that there was still stuff going on in Spain.
I believe this is part of the plan. So long as we forget that things are going on, El Pip can convince us that this AAR is about carbides and cooling rather than anything so blasé as, I dunno, a world war or something.

So as to upset the plan, I would here like to remind the readership that Italy recently lost a war in fairly embarrassing fashion and we should be paying close attention to the domestic ramifications of this in the form of periodic updates on the subject.
 
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'Ruin' is a strong word.
And yet often the only one that is appropriate.
You need to tell Paradox and most HOI writers...
I do on occasion miss the HOI2 Tech Team approach, sure it had issues but it did add a great deal of flavour. And it solved that particular problem
Hmm...maybe they should just Nationalise them...
This is not going to be a story of constant sadness and misery. If you want that sort of thing then DB is doing an amazing job of describing the utter hellscape of Britain that results from taking such madness to it's horrific conclusion. It's like Threads but with less nukes while somehow being even more awful.
DYAEiOu.gif

Funnily enough, post war the RN and RAF ganged up on the Army permenantly since the latter usurped everything in priority...
Plenty of ever-shifting alliances inside the MoD. But as a matter of grand strategic logic a priority list that puts the Army at the bottom will always be the correct answer, for Britain anyway.
Maybe we should nationalise them. That should make them go away
A pattern is emerging in your answers.
Only specialists and hooligans are loud in Britian. And it is often difficult to tell the difference.
You are hanging around with the wrong sort of specialists

The first man from the left reminds me of Benny Hill.

(Great, Kurty... El Pip does a magnificient job on the topic and you burst out about Benny Hill...)
Never change Kurty, never change. :D

Now that was a nice update! And a possible future update featuring French fighters used in Spain too? It looks like the Air Ministry boys are jealous of the Royal Navy's carrier updates and have been lobbying Pip hard for more kite based updates!
French inter-war fighter design is too mad not to look into at some point, plus we need to know exactly what it is that those Spanish Venoms will be shooting down next campaigning season (or not). ;)

There is quite a lot of air stuff to come. My schedule did say after the engine update (it was just supposed to be one) I would do some on the aircraft themselves, but I worry that might be over doing things.

Side eye from Utsunimiya....
fb4e07ea3c37c426dd0a2b3344b1ff85.jpg
This would not be a problem for Utsunimiya, he would just ignore whatever the committee said and plough on with some terrible Army ideas. Probably while sending another dozen spies to their deaths for no obvious reason.
Unless you've got a plan to spend the afternoon... marching UP AND DOWN THE SQUARE!?!
It is this sort of uncouthness that means the Army isn't allowed 'Royal' in the title like the RAF and RN.
I had totally forgotten amongst all this that there was still stuff going on in Spain. The promise of a future update that looks towards whatever the goings on may be is, along with the promised treatment of Coaseian transaction costs, tantalising.
I am looking forward to writing the next Spain update immensely, I am genuinely delighted with the angle I've found on it. And who could not be tantalised by Coaseian transaction costs?
These are the trap words..."relatively briefly". I expect this chapter to end up being at least four parts, therefore.
If I go straight onto more aircrafty-stuff then it might hit 5. But the Chapter title will change so technically it will be completely different.
Them. Someone. People who are saying. Many people.

Take your pick.
As long as people remain polite enough not to suggest the answer is "Churchill" the all will be well.
I look forward to hearing about the mistakes caused by designers being blatantly dismissive of the latest research on account that they are better than everyone else and should do things their own way regardless of what the engineers at Rolls Royce say.
You have missed the other great source of mistakes - the latest research being wrong. To take the classic example the Air Ministry completely cocked up their research into fuel injection in the early 1930s and told everyone not to bother as there was no great advantage to it. This was completely misleading and led to such delights as Miss Shilling's Orifice as various bodges were applied to carburettors. This will still be happening in Butterfly because mistakes will happen, sometimes new ones but sometimes old ones as well.

I do appreciate seeing the political bickering of the military leadership in other people's universes as it makes me feel much more a home.

I do however lament the lack of fisticuffs.
This is a British bicker, so it will be sharply worded insults and raised eyebrows. Perhaps accusing the other side of being 'unsound' should things get heated.
Toxic inter-service rivalries and HOI AARs, name a more iconic duo.
It is one of the classics.
Called it, let us know when you give up on conciseness and what Part IV will be.
I have a dream of being concise at some point. I feel it is important to always strive for that, because imagine just how long and self-indulgent some of these chapters would be if I wasn't trying to be concise?
EXCELLENT.
This is absolutely the correct response to the promise of more metallurgical updates.
Z3wSg01.gif

I am a man of strong words, not least due to having an appalling lack of strong muscle to make up for.
The pen is mightier than the sword. If you have a particularly weak sword and a pen made from the correct high strength alloys.
I believe this is part of the plan. So long as we forget that things are going on, El Pip can convince us that this AAR is about carbides and cooling rather than anything so blasé as, I dunno, a world war or something.
There are loads of AAR full of wars and battles, it is a saturated market and most permutations have been written about. You have to do something a bit special to stand out these days or you do indeed risk being a bit gauche just writing about another war.

In contrast Butterfly is almost certainly unique in covering Carbides, tractors, Jute, Irish constitutional reform and the Chinese cigarette market with reference to the ideal form of a currency control board. Thus I will at least have novelty on my side, along with my traditional weapons of excessive levels of baroque detail and slower-than-real-time speed. They have served me well so far.
So as to upset the plan, I would here like to remind the readership that Italy recently lost a war in fairly embarrassing fashion and we should be paying close attention to the domestic ramifications of this in the form of periodic updates on the subject.
This has not been forgotten and Italy will indeed feature in the first of the Autumn 1937 updates. It just might take a while to get to Autumn that's all.
 
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Pie Labour Domine
*slap*
Dona eis nationalisieum
*slap*
o_O

...si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses.

Did you mean a pious labour party gives nationalism, or that labour should be devoted to nationalism, or labour can be devoted to nationalism, or labour is devoted to nationalism.

Or that they should study nationalism?

In any case, I think it's clear Labour needs to take notes from civil servants on how to speak the Queen's Latin.
 

Wraith11B

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Clearly, I have caused so many responses here to become Monty Python gags keeping the jovial nature of our discourse....
 
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Clearly, I have caused so many responses here to become Monty Python gags keeping the jovial nature of our discourse....
Monty python mixed with yes minister. A potent concoction.
 
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o_O

...si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses.

Did you mean a pious labour party gives nationalism, or that labour should be devoted to nationalism, or labour can be devoted to nationalism, or labour is devoted to nationalism.

Or that they should study nationalism?

In any case, I think it's clear Labour needs to take notes from civil servants on how to speak the Queen's Latin.
I, with my poor grasp of Latin, meant to imply Nationalisation, the official political position of the Labour party according to everything El Pip has told me in this thread, there being of course no better source of information on British politics than a clearly biased mining engineer who writes a baroquely-detailed "AAR" about carbides and jute for fun.

And of course to improve the milieu with a Monty Python reference. In any case, if nationalisieum is actually the Latin for "nationalism", a word I'm fairly sure hadn't even been invented back then, I shall metaphorically eat my hat.
 
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I, with my poor grasp of Latin, meant to imply Nationalisation, the official political position of the Labour party according to everything El Pip has told me in this thread
Oh, I'm sure some in the chat would wish that were so. However...

Not in my lifetime though (attempts don't count), so far as I am aware.
there being of course no better source of information on British politics than a clearly biased mining engineer who writes a baroquely-detailed "AAR" about carbides and jute for fun.
Quite.

He could always be more biased. The Liberal Party has not yet risen from the grave and neither has Bismarck. Both are vital ingredients for a gay nineties reboot.

There's still time, I guess.
And of course to improve the milieu with a Monty Python reference. In any case, if nationalisieum is actually the Latin for "nationalism", a word I'm fairly sure hadn't even been invented back then, I shall metaphorically eat my hat.
It's too specific an English adverb. Even modern languages don't always update or update very slowly with new concepts (most still haven't really bothered with TV and email and Internet beyond the English version).

Given that Latin is a very alive type of dead language, it may be that it will get a version at some point...but probably not (unless the papacy does it at some point?). In Italian, the word is literally a translation: nazionalizzare. So, presumably, something similar would occur with Latin (only without the filthy modern z).
 
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Clearly, I have caused so many responses here to become Monty Python gags keeping the jovial nature of our discourse....
You can indeed claim credit for all this. Whether you would wish to is a different matter.

Omnes nationalize. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eiu!
I see you are familiar with the manifesto Labour will take into the next general election.
DYAEiOu.gif


Pie Labour Domine
*slap*
Dona eis nationalisieum
*slap*
While I believe this to be the process used to produce that document.

I, with my poor grasp of Latin, meant to imply Nationalisation, the official political position of the Labour party according to everything El Pip has told me in this thread, there being of course no better source of information on British politics than a clearly biased mining engineer who writes a baroquely-detailed "AAR" about carbides and jute for fun.
There is indeed absolutely no source more precise. Though precise is not actually the same as accurate.

And of course to improve the milieu with a Monty Python reference.
It does often improve things.

Oh, I'm sure some in the chat would wish that were so. However...
... that is a completely correct description of their actual policy for the first 95 years of the party's existence. That is obviously what you were going to say surely? And certainly all that is relevant given it is the 1930s Labour Party we are talking about.

Not in my lifetime though (attempts don't count), so far as I am aware.
Given the Labour Party's abhorrence of the idea of anything as populist and treasonous as "winning elections" you have to include attempts, because that is pretty much all they've got.

He could always be more biased. The Liberal Party has not yet risen from the grave and neither has Bismarck. Both are vital ingredients for a gay nineties reboot.

There's still time, I guess.
I am fairly certain you are reading a different work much of the time and many of your comments end up in this thread by mistake.
 
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I am fairly certain you are reading a different work much of the time and many of your comments end up in this thread by mistake.
Here we return to the subject of strong words...
 
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I see you are familiar with the manifesto Labour will take into the next general election.
DYAEiOu.gif
... that is a completely correct description of their actual policy for the first 95 years of the party's existence. That is obviously what you were going to say surely? And certainly all that is relevant given it is the 1930s Labour Party we are talking about.
As to the latter, indeed that was so. As to the former...it would seem Labour don't really want much do to with the Left anymore so nationalism seems right out.
Given the Labour Party's abhorrence of the idea of anything as populist and treasonous as "winning elections" you have to include attempts, because that is pretty much all they've got.
Well, grandiose and ridiculous promises, blatant lying, stupid decisions and occasionally outright illegal behaviour seems to work pretty well for the Conservative Party.

As indeed it seemed to do for Labour, when they did/do the same thing.

Election history is fun. Watching 'which insane thing that changed the result this time' should be a book or miniseries, if it isn't already.
I am fairly certain you are reading a different work much of the time and many of your comments end up in this thread by mistake.
I'm speculating on potential future events years in the future based on stuff written a decade ago. If it sounds mad, it's only because it is.
Here we return to the subject of strong words...
I wouldn't discount this all ending up with Queen Victoria waking up from a horrible nightmare and the thread ending in 1895.

It was always 1895.
 
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I wouldn't discount this all ending up with Queen Victoria waking up from a horrible nightmare and the thread ending in 1895.

It was always 1895.
If this AAR does not culminate in a 54-part series on the first Sino-Japanese War I shall lead the thread in revolt.
 
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I wouldn't discount this all ending up with Queen Victoria waking up from a horrible nightmare and the thread ending in 1895.

I for one eagerly await the announcement of Butterfly 2: Snow Got the Chloroform Dose Right This Time, coming 2055.
 
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