Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Your Sunday Morning Historical Prop Noise

A Douglas SBD:

I recently took a trip to visit my mother on her birthday. The return trip had me changing planes at Midway Airport. When I change flights there, if I don't have to rush to my next one, I like to go to the Battle of Midway exhibit and look at the SBD on display.

Those guys were all peacetime volunteers. It's probably a good bet that a fair number of the Americans at the battle, both junior officers and enlisted, had joined the Navy for a steady job and "three hots and a cot" during the Great Depression. War came calling, they stepped up and did their jobs.

The Battle of Midway was a turning point in the war, the high-water mark of Japanese expansion. Thing is about turning points, they're just of interest to historians. Most of the time, they're not apparent to those doing the fighting. It's just another day in the trenches/cockpit/engineering plant.

While I was sitting there for a bit, some dude told his girlfriend that the metal pipes under the airplane were used for launching it from a carrier:

They weren't. That's a bomb-trapeze. Its function is to swing the bomb out clear of the propeller's arc before releasing the bomb. SBDs dove at an angle of up to 80 degrees, their speed limited by perforated dive brakes. The bomb, of course, would free-fall upon release and, if not swung out clear of the propellor, would smash it.

And no, I didn't correct the dude at the airport. Though every fiber of me wanted to.


Dark Avenger said...

The draft was reinstated Sept. 1940, so I would imagine between then and Pearl Harbor you had some guys go Navy rather than being put into the Army.

Murphy's Law said...

Always happy to see your posts on the classics!

Deadstick said...

That little piece of pipe, take a cat shot...riigghht .

Comrade Misfit said...

Murph, check out the previous post. Another classic, in its own way.

Comrade Misfit said...

Deadstick, and steam catapults came into use long after the SBD and the TBM were retired.

Deadstick said...

eb--Steam cats yes, but there were hydraulic and even gunpowder cats in WW2. Here's a hydraulic shot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fx7Gto1zrrg

Mark Rossmore said...

My favorite airplane of all times. As the saying goes: "Fighter pilots make movies. Bomber pilots make history." Just ask the sailors aboard the IJN Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu.

0_0 said...

I finally read Shattered Sword. It's the best book on Midway I've read since that Scholastic paperback in 4th grade.

The rest of the story for Lt. Best is tragic.