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Comment: Re:Last straw? (Score 1) 524

We weren't exactly on good terms with the Soviets at the start of the second world war - remember that the continental royal families still had fresh memories of their Russian relations being massacred despite offers to secure their exile? When we did ally with them during WW2, it was more a case of a deal with the devil than a friendship, and it was acknowledged as such - Churchill even wanted WW2 to continue on against the soviet forces after Germany surrendered but was (thankfully) talked out of that stance.

Comment: Re:Insurance (Score 1) 211

Sounds good in theory, but get an insurer to underwrite such a scheme - you won't, and for good reason. Kickstarter is a deliberately risky investment (the website promises nothing, the projects promise nothing), and you are voluntarily making the decision to invest in something that guarantees nothing, so no insurer will cover that.

Comment: Re:Last straw? (Score 1) 524

The BBC doesn't say that, Professor Harrison says that.

The BBC does say that this year we will have paid off the last outstanding WW1 debt when we refinance the outstanding £1.9Billion balance of the 1932 war bond.

The author of the article you point to, Finlo Rohrer, has also been heavily criticised in the past of biased and misleading articles, so I would take whatever he writes with a pinch of salt...

Comment: Re:Last straw? (Score 1) 524

No, thats a common misconception - the Bf109 had time enough for between 30 minutes and 45 minutes over target, while also escorting their bombers to and from the target. While carrying out bomber escort duties you do not want to loiter, so there was no requirement for a longer loiter time for the Bf109s - as such, it was a very effective aircraft during the Battle of Britain. BTW there was no such thing as the ME 109 - the aircraft didn't carry that designation, its been a long running post war media misconception.

And once again, you are wrong - Germany was still attacking mainland Britain and the convoys in the English Channel right up until Germany was overrun, so there was plenty of defensive roles to be filled by the Spitfire. And of course you ignore that by 1943 the bulk of Spitfire sorties were over occupied France, Belgium and northern Germany in roving attacks and enemy air force suppression. So it wasn't as if we had a pointless load of Spitfires sat around waiting for the Luftwaffe to attack while the USAAF took the fight to the continent...

British bombing policy was, after fairly disastrous attempts early on in the conflict, limited to the night stream approach - a steady stream of bombers attacking a single area target from night fall to dawn. As such, the British had no requirement for a bomber escort aircraft, unlike the USAAF which conducted "precision" daylight bombing and as such needed long range escort fighters to protect the bombers.

Both the Tempest and the Fury were decent aircraft, and the fact that over 1,700 Tempests were built shows that - however it was hampered by low availability of the Napier engines after its introduction in 1944. The Fury didn't even make it into service during WW2, so while it was a nice aircraft, its beyond the scope of discussion.

I'm also not sure that your comparison between "favoured aircraft" and "aircraft left to rot" is valid - the Spitfire performed exceedingly well throughout the war, and was even being produced after the war in certain versions. It is the only aircraft that was in continuous production throughout the war on all sides - even the Bf109 production ended before the war did.

The Meteor was a fair aircraft for its time, and it was in turn fairly quickly replaced in its role by the Hawker Hunter in 1954, so the RAF hardly had an obsession with it. The Nimrod was a damn fine airframe for the duties it was given to - it was the only fully British airframe which could carry out the post war roles it was put in, hence why it was chosen. Neither the Victor nor the Vulcan could fulfil the same role, so no comparison there.

As for those two, well, we used their conventional bombing capabilities once - the Black Buck raids over the Falkland Islands. They weren't used in anger before or after that - and right at that time the Tornado was being delivered, along with the capability of laser guided bombs, so we no longer had the need for a heavy bomber, and both the Victor and Vulcan were expensive to operate as tankers, so they were simply removed from service altogether when the time came (the Victor struggled on until we had enough L1011s and VC-10s converted, but once they were delivered the Victor was dropped like the proverbial hot potato).

Comment: Re:Last straw? (Score 1) 524

Actually France and the UK both had a better Army and Air Force than Germany in 1938. They were in even better position than in 1936 when the allowed Germany to re occupy the Rhineland.

I disagree with both of those assertions - the Luftwaffe already had 2,100 Bf109 aircraft delivered pre-1939, while the RAF had a grand total of 500 Hurricanes (which were already outclassed by the Bf109) and no Supermarine Spitfires until mid-1938.

The Luftwaffe were also combat experienced through their involvement in the Spanish Civil War etc, while RAF pilots were not.

Also, the UK did repay our WW1 loans - they were paid back by the proceeds of a War Bond issued by Neville Chamberlain in 1932 (which the current government is refinancing this month).

Comment: Re:Last straw? (Score 1) 524

Complete bollocks Im afraid - the Hurricane was a good, stable gun platform but it lacked the speed, rate of climb and agility of either the Spitfire MkI or MkII or the Bf109 during the Battle of Britain - the reason the Hurricane achieved higher kill numbers than the Spitfires was because Hurricane squadrons were tasked with bomber interception, while the Spitfire squadrons were tasked with ensuring the accompanying Bf109 fighter escort was kept off the Hurricanes.

The Hurricane had no developmental capacity in the airframe, by the time of the Battle of Britain it was pretty much done as an airframe - once the later marks of Bf109 and the Fw190 were introduced by the Luftwaffe, the Hurricane was horrifically outclassed and relegated to other duties (most either shipped out to Africa or the far east, where they were still a match for early Japanese fighters or could carry out convoy escort duties - you also saw Hurricanes used as catapult launched convoy protection aircraft, because they were considered disposable).

The Spitfire, on the other hand, was developed into the MkV as a stop gap measure, and then into the MkIX as a full Fw190 competitor which more than held its own. The Spitfire was then further developed into later marks, including a full engine change with the switch from the Merlin to the Griffon engine.

The Spitfire didn't have the legs of later aircraft because it was designed as a home country defence fighter - in its later guises it certainly spent time over occupied France and Germany from home bases in the UK (hence the camo cahnge from green and brown to green and grey - that was purely for aircraft intended to fly over occupied europe), but it was never designed as a long range bomber escort, which is why the RAF asked for the North American P-51 Mustang to be developed (yup, would never have been built if the RAF hadn't asked for it - the USAAF wasn't interested until it received several demonstrator examples from the RAF production line).

Comment: Re:Last straw? (Score 5, Insightful) 524

People always bring up Neville Chamberlain and his "peace in our time" speech - let me ask you this: what would you have done in his stead?

Go to war? Kick Germany's butt? Yeah, lets put Nazi aggression in its place, teach them a lesson.

Ok. Go to war with what? in 1938 we didn't have an effective army or airforce, our only real might was in the Royal Navy. Which works wonders for stopping land based aggression. Our airforce was still largely made up of older designs, especially the Hawker Hurricane which was a design based on a biplane... It would be a few years yet until we had an airforce of any real capability.

So he tried a different approach - it was well recognised even back then that Germany had been royally screwed over by the agreements at the end of the first world war, so perhaps some appeasement was in order to try and placate that issue - was Germany just taking back what should never have been taken from it in the first place?

Of course we went to war anyway, and under Chamberlains watch - and guess what happened on our first outing? We got our butts kicked and sand kicked in our face. We lost 40,000 troops to German prison camps and got thrown off the continent at Dunkirk.

And that was after we had stepped up our war footing. Imagine what it would have been like if we didn't have have Neville Chamberlains two years to get to a point where we were able to just about ensure that Nazi Germany didn't take the British Isles as well as the continent...

Comment: Re:Nothing important. (Score 2) 203

by Richard_at_work (#49125795) Attached to: What Happens When Betelgeuse Explodes?

And second, total collapse isn't going to impact the developed world like it will the worst off parts of the world. Places like Africa or Asia would be hit far harder than places like North America or Europe.

Thats an odd thing to say, considering there are millions of people in Africa that still live as if the developed world doesn't exist - subsistence farming using manual labour, hoes and oxen (just like we did a few hundred years ago), little to no access to modern medical practices (just like us a few hundred years ago), little access to education (just like us a few hundred years ago), little access to electricity (just like us a few hundred years ago) etc etc.

These people go about their daily lives tending the fields, trading small amounts of produce with each other and the surrounding villages, living in mud huts, boiling water over wood burning fires and treating broken bones with wooden splints. If someone can afford a token amount of modern medical help, they walk (or get carried) for dozens of miles to attend a clinic, otherwise they make do without.

In the event of a global collapse, these people will simply carry on as before.

Comment: Re:Yes. Yes they are (Score 1) 318

We also don't currently have any deployed minefields anywhere in the world. So, it's certainly not a case of "continual use".

I take it that you are ascribing the Korean DMZ mine fields to the South Koreans then, even though they are supplied, placed and maintained by US forces?

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A firefly is not a fly, but a beetle.