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Author Topic: "General Motors XP-74"  (Read 4758 times)

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: "General Motors XP-74"
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2018, 02:13:07 pm »
XP-73 was reserved for the Hughes type, then cancelled.
XP-74 (presumably considered at the same time) should have been for the Fisher "Eagle", but someone, somewhere, insisted that it should be "75" instead because the aircraft supposed to lead the U.S. to victory ought to have a number reminiscent of the venerable .75 cannon of the First World War.
You may think it's a "children's story", hesham, but it is a fact that has been well-established by many historians for the past 60 years or so, and at a time when authors used only the most reliable of sources. I think I first read it in the Harleyford book on U.S. Army Air Corps and Air Force Fighters, which came out circa 1960.
So until someone comes up with documents that prove different (and I've never seen any this far) I think it's safe to stick to that story...

Offline hesham

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Re: "General Motors XP-74"
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2018, 08:19:30 am »
XP-73 was reserved for the Hughes type, then cancelled.
XP-74 (presumably considered at the same time) should have been for the Fisher "Eagle", but someone, somewhere, insisted that it should be "75" instead because the aircraft supposed to lead the U.S. to victory ought to have a number reminiscent of the venerable .75 cannon of the First World War.
You may think it's a "children's story", hesham, but it is a fact that has been well-established by many historians for the past 60 years or so, and at a time when authors used only the most reliable of sources. I think I first read it in the Harleyford book on U.S. Army Air Corps and Air Force Fighters, which came out circa 1960.
So until someone comes up with documents that prove different (and I've never seen any this far) I think it's safe to stick to that story...

With all respect to my dear Skyblazer,the authors was just speculative this,no confirm,or that was
what they heard.

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: "General Motors XP-74"
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2018, 10:19:09 am »
My apologies for giving the wrong bibliographical reference.
The quote is from 1960 indeed, but actually from Ray Wagner's American Combat Planes, published by MacDonald.

Quote
The XP-75 was supposed to win the war, so historian James Fahey says they skipped P-73 and P-74 to give it "a good symbolic number. French 75 in World War I, P-75 in World War II."

Fahey being the foremost historian on U.S. military aircraft for many decades (his small booklets on Army, Navy and USAF designations are still authoritative many decades later) I certainly would not dispute his conclusions.

Offline hesham

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Re: "General Motors XP-74"
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2018, 06:36:31 am »
Believe me my dear Sktyblazer,

there was no real confirmation about this.

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: "General Motors XP-74"
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2018, 12:42:04 pm »
there was no real confirmation about this.

If it's something that an Army official told him on the side while he was compiling his books, there is no chance to ever see it written anywhere. It's not like they would issue a memo saying: "Because it wants a really striking designation for its new fighter, the Army Air Force has decided to skip two numbers". I don't think that would have seemed very serious to put this in an official document!

Offline hesham

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Re: "General Motors XP-74"
« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2018, 05:49:54 am »
If it's something that an Army official told him on the side while he was compiling his books, there is no chance to ever see it written anywhere. It's not like they would issue a memo saying: "Because it wants a really striking designation for its new fighter, the Army Air Force has decided to skip two numbers". I don't think that would have seemed very serious to put this in an official document!

Yes my dear,or as I think it was some kind of opacity on those two fighter designations.

Offline ACResearcher

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Re: "General Motors XP-74"
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2018, 12:52:58 pm »
Cautionary note on Fahey and others...

While I cannot find my copy of Fahey (I probably have two...) I feel it is important to issue a very LARGE cautionary note about using books that old as any kind of paragon of fact or virtue.

When Fahey wrote his book  the overwhelming amount of documents and information were still in the SECRET, CLASSIFIED or CONFIDENTIAL categories and would not have been available to Fahey or pretty much any other researcher until at least the 1950's. Thus a great deal of critically important information about discussions, command decisions, directives, flight tests, armament tests, wind tunnel tests, etc. would have been unavailable to any civilian and many military researchers.

Fact is, this situation still exists today! I read in a document about wind tunnel tests of three different main wing configurations for the B-32. I had the name and all the identifiers so I contacted a government organization that would most likely have it. The tests dated from approximately 1942-43. Not only did they have it but I received a copy via email the very next day.  Not more than five hours later I received a frantic email from said organization that this document was still secret and available only to government employees of said organization. Further, I must not share it with any other person, should delete it from my computer, gouge my eyes out and have the portion of my brain holding B-32 information surgically removed.  Well..maybe not quite, but you get the picture. Mind you, this occurred in 2017. So why was this document still so highly classified after 75 years?  Terrorist organizations planning to build a B-32?  Information vital to the maintenance of our secret B-32 stash of operation bombers used for clandestine missions?  Wing shapes completely unknown except for this one series of tests? No...the answer was "It just is."

While a bit off the track, perhaps, the fact remains that no one writing in the mid-to-late 1940's would have ANYTHING like the complete story on any projects from immediately pre- or during the war. That is not to say that some of the information in Fahey's or others of the time's writings are not correct, but I will virtually guarantee it is far from complete and undoubtedly has gigantic holes in it.  I have found major gaps in Maurer Maurer and official USAAF Histories as well.

Respectfully submitted,

AlanG

Offline Sherman Tank

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Re: "General Motors XP-74"
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2018, 02:07:23 pm »
Cautionary note on Fahey and others...

While I cannot find my copy of Fahey (I probably have two...) I feel it is important to issue a very LARGE cautionary note about using books that old as any kind of paragon of fact or virtue.

When Fahey wrote his book  the overwhelming amount of documents and information were still in the SECRET, CLASSIFIED or CONFIDENTIAL categories and would not have been available to Fahey or pretty much any other researcher until at least the 1950's. Thus a great deal of critically important information about discussions, command decisions, directives, flight tests, armament tests, wind tunnel tests, etc. would have been unavailable to any civilian and many military researchers.

Fact is, this situation still exists today! I read in a document about wind tunnel tests of three different main wing configurations for the B-32. I had the name and all the identifiers so I contacted a government organization that would most likely have it. The tests dated from approximately 1942-43. Not only did they have it but I received a copy via email the very next day.  Not more than five hours later I received a frantic email from said organization that this document was still secret and available only to government employees of said organization. Further, I must not share it with any other person, should delete it from my computer, gouge my eyes out and have the portion of my brain holding B-32 information surgically removed.  Well..maybe not quite, but you get the picture. Mind you, this occurred in 2017. So why was this document still so highly classified after 75 years?  Terrorist organizations planning to build a B-32?  Information vital to the maintenance of our secret B-32 stash of operation bombers used for clandestine missions?  Wing shapes completely unknown except for this one series of tests? No...the answer was "It just is."

While a bit off the track, perhaps, the fact remains that no one writing in the mid-to-late 1940's would have ANYTHING like the complete story on any projects from immediately pre- or during the war. That is not to say that some of the information in Fahey's or others of the time's writings are not correct, but I will virtually guarantee it is far from complete and undoubtedly has gigantic holes in it.  I have found major gaps in Maurer Maurer and official USAAF Histories as well.

Respectfully submitted,

AlanG

Well said. I suspect it's a case of "Solvitur ambulando", or whatever the equivalent for us researchers is ("solvitur investigationis"?).

I wonder if the relevant archives of Fisher Body still exist. If it really was a GM request to skip P-74, there might be internal paperwork there.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2018, 02:10:36 pm by Sherman Tank »

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: "General Motors XP-74"
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2018, 05:27:04 am »
Cautionary note on Fahey and others...

While I cannot find my copy of Fahey (I probably have two...) I feel it is important to issue a very LARGE cautionary note about using books that old as any kind of paragon of fact or virtue.

Although I entirely agree with what you've written, my point was that Fahey was probably at that time the closest there was to the most accurate data freely available. And of course, even if a lot of data was still unknown or classified at the time, no doubt, there was no reason Fahey would have made up that particular anecdote if he hadn't heard it from someone during his investigations.

Offline iverson

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Re: "General Motors XP-74"
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2018, 11:26:49 am »
Cautionary note on Fahey and others...

While I cannot find my copy of Fahey (I probably have two...) I feel it is important to issue a very LARGE cautionary note about using books that old as any kind of paragon of fact or virtue.

Although I entirely agree with what you've written, my point was that Fahey was probably at that time the closest there was to the most accurate data freely available. And of course, even if a lot of data was still unknown or classified at the time, no doubt, there was no reason Fahey would have made up that particular anecdote if he hadn't heard it from someone during his investigations.

Indeed. Historical sources--even primary ones--are never "reliable" in any absolute sense. But they are what we have.

To me, the "French 75" theory rings true, given the hype surrounding the project--mobilizing the auto industry along the lines of the similarly hyped, patriotically named Liberty engine program of WW1. Also, consider more recent, similarly political names for aircraft programs: Lightening II and Thunderbolt II, both of which were meant to appeal to patriotic nostalgia in much the same way.

The above argument does not prove that sources for the French 75 story are 100% accurate, of course. But it does show that the best available evidence to date is at least plausible and consistent with the long-established behavior of the American military/industrial complex.