Rozanoff kills Duncan Sandys, April 3, 1954

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
2,212
Reaction score
29
Well as said in the title. That day our beloved Rozanoff and his Mystere IVB crashed (frozen controls) Duncan Sandys and a bunch of french and british aviation officials were... uncomfortably close from the impact.
Now look at the date: 3 years and 1 day (!) before that infamous white paper April 4, 1957.
What do you think ?
 

Hood

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
1,192
Reaction score
71
Sandys had nothing to do with it. The real hatchet man is Harold Macmillan, he just employed Sandys because he needed a tough old stick like Sandys to make the cuts stick. Sandys had experience in the field and that was a bonus.
So Macmillan would simply find another ambitious MP to fill that role.
 

Nick Sumner

Yabba dabba DOOOOOM!
Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2006
Messages
422
Reaction score
14
The problem wasn't Sandys. He was just the messenger. The problem was Britain's economic circumstances and vast responsibilities combined with the fact that those required to predict the future weren't that good at it..
 

JFC Fuller

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
3,135
Reaction score
21
Sandy's was pretty good at predicting the future. The force structure, manpower levels, and basic capabilities outlined by the 1957 defence white paper for the Army and RAF were, with some minor reductions and reallocations over the years, essentially the same as how those two services ended the Cold War. Sure, the ballistic missiles were ultimately deployed on submarines rather than in concrete silos and many individual programmes were cancelled but the basics stayed the same.
 

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
2,212
Reaction score
29
Ah dang. Surely it is like Diefenbaker getting all the hatred for cancelling the Arrow - blame the wrong person, make it a scapegoat.
 

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
916
Reaction score
5
It's possible that a less prohibitive to aircraft development solution might have been forthcoming.
Sandys was deeply enamoured by rockets.
 

CJGibson

I didn't get where I am today by not using SPF.
Senior Member
Joined
May 26, 2011
Messages
1,182
Reaction score
33
Yup, Rosa Klebb to Macmillan's Blofeld.

Chris
 

kaiserd

I really should change my personal text
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2013
Messages
552
Reaction score
10
As others have already said the ill-will some have directed at Duncan Sandys is not really deserved. He became a convenient scape goat for many individual and collective failures and delusions that finally met reality.
His main blind spot appears to have been on the need for limited-war capacity and the greater flexibility of military aircraft versus the comparative missiles of this era.
However a lot of what he cancelled would indeed have been the wrong piece of kit for the real world 60s-80’s and would hav done less well than what ended up being bought in its stead.
The 1950’s “Golden Age” of British Aviation in the post war jet era was never remotely sustainable and a form of the 1957 mass-extinction event should have happened much sooner.
However I do remain a fan of reading about this era and many charismatic aircraft that emerged (or just failed to).
 

Hood

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
1,192
Reaction score
71
Much of the work was started was started by his predecessor, Aubrey Jones, but Macmillan didn't think he had to drive to force the R&D and force cuts through , in his diary he confided his thoughts on Jones, a decent chap but not suited to the rough and tumble world of politics. In Sandys he found the man he wanted.
And of course, Sandys had been involved in rocketry during the war so that probably influenced his thoughts too. Missile-myopia of course was evident in other nations too at the time.

Personally I feel that had it not been for the Korean War, the industry would have been trimmed sooner and some of the wasteful projects never begun.
I must admit I have always been impressed with France, they always seem to have been able to get the stuff they wanted by going it alone (carriers, SSNs, nukes, IRBMs, SLBMs, tanks, fighters, trainers etc.) without seemingly spending crippling amounts and without too much waste in abandoned sidelines. Had the British ministries and services had more focus and a dose of reality, things might have turned out rather different.
 

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
2,212
Reaction score
29
Much of the work was started was started by his predecessor, Aubrey Jones, but Macmillan didn't think he had to drive to force the R&D and force cuts through , in his diary he confided his thoughts on Jones, a decent chap but not suited to the rough and tumble world of politics. In Sandys he found the man he wanted.
And of course, Sandys had been involved in rocketry during the war so that probably influenced his thoughts too. Missile-myopia of course was evident in other nations too at the time.

Personally I feel that had it not been for the Korean War, the industry would have been trimmed sooner and some of the wasteful projects never begun.
I must admit I have always been impressed with France, they always seem to have been able to get the stuff they wanted by going it alone (carriers, SSNs, nukes, IRBMs, SLBMs, tanks, fighters, trainers etc.) without seemingly spending crippling amounts and without too much waste in abandoned sidelines. Had the British ministries and services had more focus and a dose of reality, things might have turned out rather different.
well in a nutshell France was extremely lucky Dassault barely survived Buchenwald and later swept the unefficient public companies from the combat jet area (minus Vautour and Jaguar, everything else has been 100% Dassault).

And then Dassault was lucky to have De Gaulle in 1958, who endorsed his "efficiency" and enshrined it in the 60's when public companies protested. He basically hammered them with a straight advice - "stay out of combat aircraft and you will get everything else - choppers, rockets, airliners and second line military aircraft - trainers patrol transport whatever." It was kind of deal so they stop competing with Dassault.

Note that the two clashed on trainers and airliners and both were trounced (Alphajet and Falcon were Dassault victories but Mercure vs Airbus ended in disaster for Dassault and triumph for Aerospatiale SNIAS)

And it worked well, post 1970 Aerospatiale excelled at choppers while Airbus and Ariane brought Europe into airliners and rockets.
 
Last edited:

Grey Havoc

The path not taken.
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
8,635
Reaction score
72
I'm not sure that Sandys actually deserves the various attempts over the years to rehabilitate his reputation or otherwise make allowances for him. He was a pretty shady character indeed (probably a major reason why Macmillan got on so well with him!). He knew exactly what his 'reforms' would do to Britain's aerospace industry (not to mention the Defence of the Realm), and the fact that he thought that missile development & deployment would offset (some of) the damage he was doing doesn't really excuse his (and Macmillan's) actions.

Separately it should be noted that a fair few of the 'wasteful' projects were only seen so as such in the baleful light of the afore mentioned 'Missile-myopia', for example those relating to high performance manned interceptors and attack/bomber aircraft.
 
Last edited:

zen

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
916
Reaction score
5
Piling the next generation of combat aircraft technology onto one product. ....TSR.2 was certainly the way to exponentially raise the cost of that aircraft.

Shooting the developers Fox in terms of fighters, ensured failure of missiles and radar for a decade.

All in all a less extreme and earlier review would have been better.
 

Archibald

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
2,212
Reaction score
29
Also Dassault never dared to venture into the area of choppers - the public companies would have crushed them instantly.

Funnily enough in 1972 Dassault was trying to screw the public companies with their Falcon 30 (think Embraer / Bombardier twenty years too early) and Mercure airliners. Meanwhile the public companies tried to regain a combat aircraft foothold, two ways - jet trainers (they lost to the Alphajet) and licence-build U.S design - Aerospatiale wanted the F-5 Tiger and A-7 Corsair, Pompidou (De Gaulle heir) told them to go screw themselves and build something else.

What is really interesting is that early French jets got a very bad year (1948) followed by a very good year (1952). 1952 is the year the Ouragan entered service en masse while Mystere designs took flight, hence Dassault gained the upper hand.
Well, it is neither insulting the British nor licking Dassault... feet to note that, by 1948, the French aircraft industry was bound to a British like decline / major screw ups fate. Things like the Swift insane fiasco, or the Sea Vixen flying in 1950 and entering service in 1959. Things like "it started with an overambitious RFP and ended 10 years later in a complete fiasco".

France surely got their share of disasters. The SO-4000, which was to be our Canberra and proved so bad, it flew only once, after what it was grounded and used as a ground target.
Cormoran (our very own Blackburn Beverley, except it crashed in first flight, all dead).
VG-90 / NC-1080 / Nord 2200 : swept wing jets and naval fighters before there was any carrier - four prototypes, three crashes, three pilots dead. fuck.
The SO-6020 Espadon which was to be our Hunter and flew well, but it was heavy as a brick led, poor Nene, and the Mystères ate him for dinner.
Every single jet program started before the Ouragan was a miserable failure. Dang, the only non Dassault, early jet that worked well enough was the Vautour.
 
Last edited:

kaiserd

I really should change my personal text
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2013
Messages
552
Reaction score
10
I'm not sure that Sandys actually deserves the various attempts over the years to rehabilitate his reputation or otherwise make allowances for him. He was a pretty shady character indeed (probably a major reason why Macmillan got on so well with him!). He knew exactly what his 'reforms' would do to Britain's aerospace industry (not to mention the Defence of the Realm), and the fact that he thought that missile development & deployment would offset (some of) the damage he was doing doesn't really excuse his (and Macmillan's) actions.

Separately it should be noted that a fair few of the 'wasteful' projects were only seen so as such in the baleful light of the afore mentioned 'Missile-myopia', for example those relating to high performance manned interceptors and attack/bomber aircraft.
Sandys has been character-assassinated and ridiculed for over 40 years for being the man who was finally responsible for trying to bring reality to what had become a fantasy land for the RAF, Royal Navy fleet air arm and (especially) aviation industry.
The UK couldn’t remotely afford or sustain the multiple projects and firms, rather like with the almost concurrent Suez crisis a harsh lesson for the UK on its sharply reduced place in the world was probably required.
 
Top