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1998 Closed threads from 1998 (read only)

 
 
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Old 23 December 1998, 02:02 AM   #1
rammjaeger
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In pre-war times the civil and military flyers of the USA achieved a lot of "firsts" (e.g. first start from a ship) but the USA was in no way prepared for air war in WWI. E.g. the USA had no own serviceable combat aircraft. Why?
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Old 23 December 1998, 02:07 AM   #2
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None had in 1914 (perhaps with the exception of the Russian Ilya Mourometz) and in the US the need for rapid development was simply not existing.
 
Old 23 December 1998, 02:17 AM   #3
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The US-gov and the military had 3 years time between 1914 and 1917 to learn from experiences
of the airwar in Europe. Vounteers were fighting for France too. And since 1915 the possibility of a future war against Germany was given. No need for preparation??
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Old 23 December 1998, 02:35 AM   #4
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Perhaps the U.S. knew war was coming but no one was willing to allocate the amount of money necessary to keep up with the aviation technology of the nations currently fighting. It could have made common sense tactically to do so but it may have been political suicide to raise taxes or increase government defense expenditures while the nation was not yet at war.

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Old 23 December 1998, 03:06 AM   #5
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Hey, the Jenny was an awesome plane. For a trainer. The U.S. was great for getting other folks ready for war. Look at all the merchant ships made for England. By late 1917 the US was building them faster than the Germans could possibly sink them. The U.S. made a mint off the war. And a mint off WW2 as well. After each of the wars the U.S. came out alot stronger. And Britain was financially ruined. So was France. Germany was too but they proved a bit more resiliant after both wars.
 
Old 23 December 1998, 03:09 AM   #6
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Sorry, my boss was coming. Had to end that one. So the US was more of a preparatory force. They didn't have the means to see what the enemy had and counter that technologically. They weren't there. They weren't in the arms race. All they could do was make stuff from afar. That's my guess.
 
Old 23 December 1998, 03:13 AM   #7
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Plus I think, like McLellan in the civil war, Pershing was way too slow at getting his act together and this translated to the US's involvement in the air war. And Pershing just love to give excuses too. Foch, Haig, and the rest were always picking on poor little Pershing about his results.
 
Old 23 December 1998, 05:44 AM   #8
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Generals use peace to prepare for the previous war. In Europe, military aviation developed "on the fly" (no pun intended), and no one envisioned arial combat in August, 1914. Since America intent on avoiding any participation in a "European" conflict (at least officially), there was no incentive to develop new technology until it became apparent that we couldn't avoid getting involved. Then we had another problem....no forceful proponents of air power in an army ruled by old-line cavalry types. (Mitchell was unknown until we actually got into the fray.)
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Old 23 December 1998, 06:47 AM   #9
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As we are prone to do for many "what ifs?" and "why dids..?" we compare the USA in modern terms and abilities to past times when America just wasn't the military-techno leader that it is today. America in 1917 was certainly not in the strategic mindset that evolved after WWII where it has already fought and won the next war with its currently available weapons on a realistic computer aided war game scenario. I have no way of knowing this for certain, but I'd be willing to guess the US had several war plan scenarios available in 1964 that would've sucessfully "won" the Vietman conflict had any one of them been utilized. Bottom line is.. comparing the modern US with the historical US in a military context is an exercise in sophistry.
 
Old 23 December 1998, 08:24 AM   #10
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A major contributing factor was the time honored American tradition of litigation. In Sept. 1909, the Wright brothers filed lawsuits for patent infringements against Glen Curtiss and several other fledgling aircraft manufacturers. The lawsuits stemmed from the Wright brothers' wing warping patent, which they interpreted to cover ALL means of lateral control, including ailerons (which Curtiss used in his planes). These lawsuits drug on for years and considerably slowed development of aviation technology in the US, discouraging new research by fledgling companies. European designers were not hampered by these lawsuits. Thus the US lost its initial edge in aviation technology.

We've since gained it back quite thoroughly, I'd say.

Regards,
Hans F.
 
 

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