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Monday, 11 June 2018

Stalin himself couldn’t believe it


Source

While following up this story about our shiny new F-35 fighter jets, a meandering browse ended up with this story from the dim and distant.

The Korean conflict was less than six months old on the morning of November 30, 1950, when a U.S. Air Force B-29 Superfortress, attacking an air base in North Korea, was lightly damaged by a fighter that overtook the bomber too fast for the attacker to be identified, much less for the Superfort’s gunner to fix it in the sights of his gun’s tracking system. Straight-wing Lockheed F-80 jets escorting the bomber made a token pursuit, but the accelerating fighter rapidly shrank to a dot, then disappeared...

The first jet to fly from the Mikoyan-Gurevich (MiG) Design Bureau in Moscow was a straight-wing fighter, the MiG-9. The -9’s rudimentary engines—twin BMW jet engines captured in Germany—fell short of the design bureau’s specs for the MiG-15, yet Moscow hardly possessed the expertise to build better ones. The first operational MiG-15s would instead be powered by Rolls-Royce Nene engines—marvelously innovated and cluelessly supplied by the British.

Keen to thaw Anglo-Soviet relations, British Prime Minister Clement Attlee invited Soviet scientists and engineers to the Rolls-Royce jet facility to learn how the superior British engines were made. Attlee further offered to license production to the USSR—after exacting a solemn promise that the engines would be utilized only for non-military purposes. The offer stunned the Americans, who protested loudly. And the Soviets? Russian aviation historian and Ukrainian native Ilya Grinberg says, “Stalin himself couldn’t believe it. He said, ‘Who in their right mind would sell anything like this to us?’ ”



If you are not familiar with it, the whole piece is worth reading.

Perhaps it is a reminder of how important it is to identify enemies and how reluctant our political classes are when it comes to this particular crunch point. As if they find it gauche and contrary to their cosmopolitan credentials. Defence of the realm indeed - it even sounds old fashioned. 

6 comments:

James Higham said...

‘Who in their right mind would sell anything like this to us?’

And the answer is - no one in his right mind.

Bill Sticker said...

James, you beat me to it....

Edward Spalton said...

Mr Attlee also suppressed reporting of the knowledge, acquired by British intelligence, that France and Germany secretly intended to subsidise each other's heavy industries when in competition with ours. In the long term they wanted to weaken our defences so they would dominate. These arrangements were in secret clauses, connected with the European Coal and Steel Community.For recorded interview with Lord Walsingham, who was in the FO at the time, Google " Edward Spalton Witness to History"
I am the scribe, not the witness. The witness is Lord W. There are also links to translations of German papers, entitled " European Economic Community", published in Berlin in 1942.

Demetrius said...

The Gloster E.28/39 jet aircraft was built a few miles down the road from where we lived. When the first came screaming over it had us all scared out of our wits. I once played rugby across the fields from the factory. Noisy, we could not hear the ref's whistle.

DCBain said...

The good old Liebour Party: putting Britain first as much as they always do . . .

A K Haart said...

James and Bill - I agree.

Edward - very interesting - I'll bookmark that.

DCB - makes me wonder about democracy.