|Arctic Cat Snowmobile|
|P-38 Turbocharger Installation|
First of all, almost all WW2 aircraft engines were supercharged, which gave them enough boost that they were able to reach altitudes of 25,000 feet (five miles high). When engines were equipped with turbochargers, the turbochargers were added to the existing supercharger arrangement so the engine now had two stage supercharging. The turbo provided the first stage. This moderately compressed air was fed to the supercharger, which compressed it to the point that is was as dense as the air you find at sea level, and fed it to the engine. This two stage compression gave the aircraft enough power to reach 40,000 feet (eight miles high), more or less.
|Shane Christopherson and his General Electric turbocharger|
|P-47 engine, turbocharger and associated duct work|
The De Havilland Mosquito
Now I'm watching a YouTube video about the De Haviland Mosquito which seems to have been quite an aircraft. It is a British aircraft, so it was not equipped with a General Electric turbocharger, but it still managed to get to high altitudes. How did it do that without a turbocharger? It had a two-stage supercharger, that's how.
|Merlin Two-Stage Supercharger|
|Bombing of the Gestapo headquarters in the Shellhus, Copenhagen, Denmark in March 1945. A Mosquito pulling away from its bombing run is visible on the extreme left, centre.|
Twelve O'Clock High
I suppose it was 12 O'Clock High, and my dad's role as a gunner in a B-24, that locked the heavy bomber into the leading role (in my mind) in our war against the Axis. I remember quite vividly how the Japan's Mitsubishi Zero was a light weight, high-performance aircraft whose Achilles' heel was its lack of armor. What all this illustrates is the 'design by committee' syndrome. When the enemy builds a high performance aircraft without any armor, it's because they are not concerned about their pilot's well being, but when we do it and the aircraft is hugely successful, we shove it under the rug because it doesn't fit the narrative that the military industrial complex is trying to sell us.
There are advantages to this approach. The story is vital in order to garner popular support, which you really need in order to win. And building big, heavy airplanes means you need a big, heavy, industrial machine to produce them. And if push comes to shove, you can drop a lot of weight by getting rid of the armor, which is going to make your aircraft perform better, which is what you really need in combat. It's kind of like sandbagging. You carry a bunch of extra weight around with you which makes you look slow and cumbersome, but it makes you stronger, and when it comes to crunch time, you can drop those sandbags and really drop the hammer on your enemies.