mardi 22 avril 2014

The French defeat of June 1940 explained (partly) by the "bureaucratic viscosity" (revised 11 / 08 / 2014)

Viscosity is a physical property which is defined by two simultaneous trends: One being a withstanding to any movement, the other being to invade all surfaces. 
For example, the engine oil displays a strong viscosity.  

The "bureaucratic viscosity" is the property of any kind of administration to stop any positive evolution.

The problem of the Armée de l'Air aircraft fuel

In 1937-1938, the French Armée de l'Air standardized the Hispano-Suiza 12 Y 31 engine, at the very moment of the same company proposed the clearly better engine HS 12 Y 29 for fighters, yielding 60 hp more until a 350 m higher altitude

For a Morane 406, the new engine allowed 480 kph at 4.800 m instead of 455 kph.
For a Nieuport 161, it would allow up to 520 kph...

The reason was the refusing to use the 100° octane fuel (with TEL) needed by the HS 12 Y 29, a bit more expensive than the 85° fuel used by the land forces.

Another idea was the standardizing of the military aircrafts, to obtain only one fighter, only one bomber and only one recce aircraft.

Germany used the same way with the Messerschmitt 109, a very good fighter.
It was successful until Barbarossa. It was irrelevant in Russia since September 1941, because she was to lightly built to withstand both the general environmental conditions and the strong AA fire. For USSR front, the FW 190 was clearly more suited.

Considering the French Air Force, if the Morane 405 was as good as the CEMA reports told us, a true order (at least 50 aircrafts) given quickly in March 1936 would provide a first and useful experiment of modern aircrafts to French pilots as also to all French military components. 

The actual price was less than FF 1,000,000. Such an order did not necessarily freeze any following orders for other more efficient fighters.

If another competitor - e.g. the Nieuport 161 - displayed clearly better performances, it was absolutely normal and necessary to order it in larger amount. 

For a fighter, the performances are the key of efficiency.

For any Air ministry administration, it would have been only a capability of quick adaptability when facing a given situation...

Knowing the two clever orders for both the Hurricane and the Spitfire at the end of 1936, Yes, I'm jealous, even being not a fan of the slow (but reliable) Hawker fighter. 

Nevertheless, the British policy is not so clear that it appeared in historical textbooks, because the Spitfire entered very late in production (may you explain me why 1000 machines of the all metallic monocoque Fairey Battle bomber were built against only 200 Spitfire?)

The only one successful fighter of the Morane-Saulnier company was the former MS 225 radial engined (1932). 
This success resulted from two major breakthroughs: The supercharger and the NACA cowling, which together allowed this fighter to achieve 330 kph (in it initial variant, she could fly at most at 260 kph. 

Never confronted with high speed air planes, the Morane-Saulnier engineers had never experienced powerful engines, nor their huge cooling difficulties. 

They were no more aware of the constant need to discover all the little aerodynamics gains which made the difference between the outstanding aircrafts and the common ones.

Then, they abandoned their own power of decision to the members of so-called "technical" committees

Indeed, the persons involved in these committees did not detect the multiple aerodynamic faults affecting that plane.

They imposed - to establish their 'credentials' with the Army - the drum-fed MAC 1934 machine guns with only 300 rounds each, instead of the cheaper, lighter belt-fed Darne 1933 machine gun.

The new MG was not adapted to be embedded in the thin wings of a fighter where it induced a bulbous excrescence on the leading edge of both wings costing the loss of several precious kph... 

The same persons accepted the aberrant, totally inefficient, heavy 
and retractable radiator which also costed, at least, 20 kph.

The sad story of the Dewoitine D.520 

At the end of 1934, Emile Dewoitine, deceived by the German Propaganda, had conceived his D 513 fighter from the Heinkel 70 seen at the Paris Air Show 1934.
He did not know the part of the exceptional finish in the performances of this aircraft.

The tests had quickly demonstrated that it was a bad idea, the stability being problematic, the top speed of the D 513 limited to 425 kph for months, and she never exceed 445 kph (but the climb speed was good). 

However, Emile Dewoitine, an exceptional aircraft maker, understanding his error, tried to stop the developing of the D 513 and started, since the end of 1936, the design of a completely new fighter which became the successful D 520. 

It was the moment of a new "bureaucratic viscosity" manifestation stopped the new fighter.

The so-called "experts" were convinced the D 513 may be perfected, becoming stable... 

The complete 1937 year was spent to a lot of secondary works. 

May be awaken by the high performances of the Bf 109 during the Zurich meeting in 1937, the Ministère de l'Air ordered 2 prototypes of the D.520 (April 8, 1938).

The drawings being ready, the work proceeded quickly and the D.520 took off the October 2, 1938, showing excellent flying qualities. 

After some minor refinements, the fighter demonstrate her excellent maneuverability, a very good top speed and a very good climbing ability.

 An order was given for 200 Dewoitine D.520.

Ordered in the Spring of 1937, the new Dewoitine fighter will be in the Armée de l'Air in significant amount since the Summer of 1938.

That could have given a completely new situation.

About tanks and fighter-bombers

In the review GBM, Mr. Stéphane Ferrard wrote that Louis Renault proposed, in December 1936, his G1R tank, a revolutionary one, with a 75 mm L/29 in a rather flat quasi-turret. 

A speed of 40 kph was expected on the road and 20 kph on the field. The range was 200 km and the armor was 60 mm thick. 

Renault G1r (or ACK 1) - An impressive tank of very advanced design

As usual, the Infantry Commission was stunned! 

Please, compare this 1936 tank with the M4 Sherman of 1944 !

So, it needed (?) new theoretic studies. 

The first prototype was ordered in May 1940, three full years too late. Ordered in 1937, the mass production could have be initiated in 1939, giving a clear advantage to the French Army.

I'm going back to the aircraft.

In 1939, the diminutive Roussel R 30 single seat fighter prototype flew for the first time

Her performances were interesting, with an impressive climb speed (19 m/s) and a top speed of the same order of magnitude than the last variant of the Bloch 152, with a power plant yielding only 700 hp.

She carried two 20 mm canons (likely the rather weak Oerlikon MG FF) and also one 250 kg bomb which appeared a bit heavy for a fighter with a wing area of only 10 square meters and a take off weight of 1750 kg.

About at the same moment, General Vuillemin rejected the LN 411 ground strike fighter-bombers he had previously ordered.

Such fighter bomber using a so heavy bomb suggests to today observers that the Bloch 151 were most appropriate for such a task. 

These fighters were toughest than most of the other ground support Allied aircraft, and their wings totaled 17 m². They were able to fly at 460 kph, a speed easy to boost by 15 kph with exhaust pipes.  

The French Air Force had more than 100 of these fighters. 

It did not used these fighters to strike the armored German divisions.

Much more robust and fast than the MS 406 of the GC I/6, they would had more success and less casualties.

May be, there was no communication between his different offices? 

It's another form of the "bureaucratic viscosity".

The Tyranny of the commissions

The "bureaucratic viscosity" is issued mainly from the stacking of many commissions, each of them wanting to examine every decision.

Each examination follow a complicated formal procedure taking a lot of time. 
These procedures do not follow any scientific law. 

This stacking result always in standstill.

If a man like Charles De Gaulle arise, he is seen as sacrilegious, before to be excluded and, even, sentenced to death.

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