Secret Allied Weapons of WWII

I believe this is a new show to the History Channel (US.) They told the story
of Mountbatten proposing to Churchill carriers made of pycrete. Pycrete was a
slurry made of ice and sawdust and if used in colder climates would last
indefinitely especially with the coolant piping they envisioned. The first one
was to be named the HMS Habbicook (or maybe Hubbicuk; not real sure on the
spelling here.) These ice carriers were planned on being 300 feet wide, they
showed CG images of refueling B-29s. Anyone ever heard of this before?
tia,
The Keeper (of too much crap)
Reply to
Keeper
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Yes, it is not a secret weapon at all.. heard about it some twenty years ago :-) Nevertheless, they turned out to be not so long-lasting as they had hoped...
Reply to
epozar
The substance "pycrete" was the brainchild of a man called Pyke. He was the brother of a rather eccentric gentleman called Magnus Pyke who was quite well known on British TV for a while. One anecdote related by the brother was that at a meeting of his staff, Mountbatten wanted to demonstrate how strong Pycrete was. He fired his service revolver at it. At which point the Military Police rushed in . Pycrete was evaluated by the Miscelleneous Weapons Development Department (MWDD) Also known as "the wheezers and dodgers, they developed many well known devices and weapons. The "Hedgehog" anti submarine launcher, Multiple anti aircraft rocket launchers, plastic "applique" armour fitted to escort carriers and my personal favourite "The Great Panjandrum"
Reply to
Les Pickstock
They related that story as such: he fired the revolver at a regular chunk of ice which expectantly disinegrated. He then fired at the pycrete, the bullet richocheted and nicked the leg of an American General. No mention of the MP's although I can surely see that happening. Cheers,
The Keeper (of too much crap)
Reply to
Keeper
I'm glad they did this show. It has long bothered me that they'd show all these axis 'secret weapons', and compare them to operational Allied weapon systems. Unfair. Now, they have in part corrected it.
In part, I say, because they only covered a small part of the very large number of Allied R & D projects. They did not have time to cover a great deal of interesting stuff, even if you restrict it to aircraft specifically. The Ryan fireball was not the only jet prop combo we were working on (there was even a turbojet-turboprop combo), the pusher flying wing with contra-rotating props, the P-75, etc. I think they need to do a whole series of secret/R&D Allied aircraft of WW2.
There were Allied cruise missiles, glide bombs, turboprop bombers, and scads of other things.
I also was glad they gave credit to US turbojet developers, though they never did mention the effort underway at GE before the war. The copy of the Whittle engine was NOT the only gas turbine engine built at GE during war. I think they actually developed TWO indigenious engines, a turbojet and a turboprop, both with axial flow compressors. And they never mentioned Sandford Moss, the father of US GT technology.
Keeper wrote:
Reply to
Don Stauffer
Keeper wrote about the planned "ice" aircraft carriers:
Habakkuk. Some biblical thing or other.
Yes, there's a 1:6000 scale miniature of this produced by Hallmark/Figurehead. They produce naval miniatures for wargaming in various scales.
The Habakkuk is, er, a rather interesting model, especially when set side- by-side with models of conventional ships. The shape is normal looking, it's just really, really big.
DLF
Reply to
David Ferris
These defintitely were being worked on and were well along in the research stage. I have an article on these in a book. It was a two-volume set by Readers' Digest about Canada's experience in WWII published years ago.
I am unpacking (slowly) after a move and can provide further details when that box surfaces. IIRC, there was a photo of part of the coolant sustem and descriptions of how it was to work. Never got to prototype stage but there were research models of components and it was apparently a viable concept.
Will send more when it shows up.
Cheers, Doc H
Reply to
Doc Hopper
A quick Google for 'HMS Habbakuk' reveals these sites among others;
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artwork for a magazine with a story about the ship
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Nick
Reply to
Nick Pedley
Also found on the web:
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J.B.
Reply to
Jer038
Desperation leads to lots of people having "great" ideas to counter the fact that the ememy has just finished blowing the crap out of 95% of the industrial infrastructure and is in the process of killing big parts of the population.
These toys make cool shows but none of it really made as much of an effect as the stupid stuff we did, like having no OSS on the ground to do the ground pounding intel ops that might have warned us of the German breakout in Dec 1944.
I really loved some of the stuff the Brits came up with. There was this big pinwheel mine detonator/beach clearing device. Too bad no freshman Physics major wasn't their to tell them about the gyroscopic effect. It went in every direction except the direction intended. Thank God no one deployed it on June 6. I guess that is why James Bond and Q were British.
Jim Klein
Reply to
West Coast Engineering
the grand pajandrum was a false flag ops for the germans. the brits were aware it couldn't work. they had 7-8? projects to drive herr wehrmacht nuts. considering the abilities of german intelligence, it's no wonder they succeeded. according to ian hogg, anyway.
Reply to
e
That said, I've read several books on D-day recently, and they've consistently agreed that Hobart's "funnies" did make a significant contribution on the British beaches, and it was a mistake for the US Army not to take them more seriously. The Sherman DDs were marginal at best (not through any lack of courage and tenacity on the parts of the crews, I hasten to add, but the vulnerability of the skirts. Driving off the ramp into deep water when you KNOW that you have a big hole in the canvas and you will sink in short order shows considerable bravery, but it doesn't get the tank to the beach or make it effective...)
Best regards, Matt
Reply to
Matt Bacon
[I'm not a regular hanger-on in this group, but I thought I'd drop in for a few nit-picks... (:-)]
The usual spelling is "Pykrete", for obvious reasons... It was named after Geoffrey Pyke, though he didn't actually invent the stuff -- he just wanted to build an aircraft carrier out of ice. The wood pulp addition was apparently by a couple of anonymous US researchers.
The tale of the ricocheting bullet is apparently true, though the details vary with the teller. The meeting was actually of high-level Allied staff at the Chateau Frontenac hotel in Quebec. The most believable version has the bullet narrowly missing a US General, though some variants say he was actually injured. First time I've heard about MPs rushing in...
I would think that the eccentricity of Magnus was well outdone by that of Geoffrey! (A google will give details, I'm sure.) But have you any evidence that the two were brothers -- or even related at all? They were not at all the same generation; Geoffrey died in 1948, Magnus in 1986.
"DMWD", actually ('Dept. of Misc. Weapons Development' in the Admiralty).
Looks like you might have a copy of Gerald Pawle's "The Secret War" (:-) There are a lot of wonderful stories from that period, well retold in that book. [And, yeah, I have a personal interest -- my dad ran DMWD... (:-)]
-- Pete Goodeve --
Reply to
Pete
Depends what you mean by "prototype". They actually build a small test ship on Lake Patricia, near Jasper. This didn't involve 'Pykrete', which came later, but was intended to investigate refrigeration and insulation problems. -- Pete --
Reply to
Pete
That was the 'Panjandrum'. And the problem wasn't gyroscopy -- it was pretty much intended to travel in a straight line anyway. The hitch was the rockets, which just weren't reliable enough. They all had to ignite and burn very precisely or the thing would get kicked onto a random course. The propellant technology of the time just wasn't up to that. [Please don't denigrate the people involved. There were some top-notch scientists on the job.] But yes, the results were sometimes very funny (in retrospect (:-)): the film of the Panjandrum veering around and chasing a dog that had been chasing *it*, is hilarious!
And not all such projects were failures. The "Swiss Roll" floating roadway was important to D-Day, and the "Hedgehog" anti-submarine mortar still has variants in use today.
-- Pete --
Reply to
Pete
Not so. It was just one of many ideas that sounded good initially, but didn't work out in practice. Others did. 'Oo's Ian Hogg, anyway?
-- Pete --
Reply to
Pete
google up his name. he is the god of many armaments.
Reply to
e
This particular kid is patiently waiting for that show. If past Fathers' Days are any indication it will no doubt be the high point of my day. ;)
Bill Banaszak, MFE
Reply to
Bill Banaszak
want me to come over and smack you around to cheer you up? (father's day blows big old heapin chunks.)
Reply to
e
"Matt Bacon" wrote
This is the standard line, but does in really make sense? Was the Bobbin launcher really needed at Normandy or just a reaction to Dieppe? A petard mortar might have helped at Omaha, but so would practically any tank with a decent HE round. A Crab flail? Maybe, but the problem seems to have been obstacles under heavy covering fire as much as mines per se. Where there any ditches at Omaha that would have been easily bypassed "if only" we had fascine carriers? Finally, if the DDs were so dumb, why did the British invent them - and use them at D-Day? Look at it another way: if we couldn't get enough of our regular tanks ashore to make a difference, how were we supposed to land the funnies?
If you look at it, seems like the whole "funnies" issue was just somebody saying "if only. . ." after the fact. I have seen no real evidence or analysis indicating that using the British special tanks would have provided a marked improvement given everything else that went on at D-Day. In other words, given that only X-number of US tanks made ashore, the fact that these were 75mm Shermans vs. funnies is pretty much irrelevant. As a corollary, if N more tanks could have landed, N more 75mm Shermans would have had about as much effect as N funnies.
KL
Reply to
Kurt Laughlin

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