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Secret Projects of the Luftwaffe: Blohm & Voss BV 155 by Dan Sharp

overscan (PaulMM)

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Possibly you could put the notes and sources in a PDF download, so those interested can get it?
 

CJGibson

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I bollock people for writing '60 m', '60 ft' or '60"'

Interestingly, some publishers insert a half space between some figures and units to aid readability. e.g. '2,000 lb' where the 'l' could be confused with a '1'.

Must agree with Dan WRT content vs format. If you want to discuss formatting etc, I can recommend some publishers who might be interested.

Notes and references. I get somewhat peeved when I discover that 30% of a book is references. If you want to know my references, just ask and I'll send you a list. Otherwise I'd rather include bigger images and more content. That is until the chancellor whacks me on the head and whispers Latin in my ear (again).

By the time you include all the references, footnotes plus all those full points, the content will be rather thin.

Chris
 

newsdeskdan

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I agree. Writing '60 m' or '60 ft' means you're wasting a valuable character that could be put to better use elsewhere. Writing '60"' creates confusion in quotes (depending on what style of quotes you're using).
Some publishers would use '2000lb' to save a character, only introducing the comma for figures above 9999. Perhaps this comes down to a deeper question of popular English versus academic English. My background is in writing and editing newspapers and magazines where space is always tight and the readership is unlikely to tolerate overly elaborate textual structures. Having studied at university and read more than my fair share of academic texts, I am familiar with that style of writing and I have no desire to emulate it.
I have also found, lately, that some academics today are using it to cloak inadequate research and a poor understanding of the topic. In academia, apparently, as long as your writing looks the part you can get away with murder.

The original Luftwaffe: Secret Jets was circa 80,000w in 132 pages including four pages for the covers (outside front, inside front, inside back, outside back). Secret Projects of the Luftwaffe Volume 1: Jet Fighters will be circa 140,000w in 336 pages excluding the covers. Hopefully people will therefore indulge my desire to use a few pages for footnotes, bibliography etc.
 
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Hood

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I agree on the units, "60ft" seems to be acceptable by most these days. It saves space when you are writing a complicated line with multiple figures and metric conversions. But it must be stressed that every publisher and every editor has their own 'style' and guidelines. As Dan has pointed out, English is evolving all the time, for example we don't hyphenate to-day any more. For me, using DCAS instead of D.C.A.S. wouldn't make me doubt the reliability of the author.

Academic writing is indeed quite different, far more brief and at times it feels like you're not writing sentences but rather a succession of bullet points. But it does teach you to drop the superfluous words and flowery bits you don't need "therefore it can be seen that the..." can be reduced to "therefore, the". I think academic or non-academic writing styles can be used to hide a multitude of sins. So can footnotes! (many an academic war has been fought via footnotes.)

I like references. I prefer footnotes usually as endnotes, although better for the page layout, leads to flicking back and forth which breaks up the reading. If the endnotes are just a list of sources its less of an issue and I will usually leave them until I reach the end of a chapter. But if they are footnotes that include snippets of information or explanation then I feel obliged to read them as I go along. Norman Friedman is probably the worst offender of writing mini-essay footnotes I have come across. I was taught that you should not put anything into the references that you wouldn't put into the main text.
References are your bona fides, it shows the author has done their research, of course its no stamp of authority but at least others can cover the same tracks if they wish to to find out more or check the facts.
Listing all the sources of a big research project is hard though without taking up lots of space and there has to be a trade-off and maybe a shorter list of archives consulted is better for a book aimed at the general reader and if it really will eat into the space for content.
 

Pasoleati

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1. I seriously doubt space-saving is any issue with "60ft" (vs. 60 ft.) as at the same much more space is lost bu using ragged-right or in some cases of fully-justified by avoiding hyphenation.

Nevertheless, especially S.I. standards are mandatory and should be complied with.

2. Footnotes/endnotes and references listing are excellent features. The idea of a separate pdf for them is horrendous.
 

athpilot

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Keep them in place, please. If they are 1)books or 2)original sources, 1) helps me collect stuff and 2) shows places where more is to be learned.
I may not be your typical reader, mind.

Indeed. None of my Luftwaffe: Secret volumes offered explicit notes on the source of the documents used but those titles really were designed to sell in supermarkets and I doubt casual readers were especially interested in learning exactly where the information included came from. However, the books are different, as you say. I'm currently working on Secret Projects of the Luftwaffe Volume 1: Jet Fighters - which is an overview of jet, rocket, pulsejet and ramjet fighter development in Germany during WW2. As mentioned elsewhere, rather than simply reprinting Luftwaffe: Secret Jets of the Third Reich, this is a ground-up rewrite and it's incredible how many more primary sources I have to draw on now than I had back in 2014/15. It's also interesting, having revisited every single source used for Luftwaffe: Secret Jets, how certain nuances within those documents make much more sense in the context of the more recently discovered material and allow me to paint a far clearer picture of what happened and when.
As with this new BV 155 book, showing the sources should allow anyone who is unsure whether to trust my version of events, compared with potentially contradictory material in other works, to seek out the original material and judge for themselves.
But as you say, perhaps this is overkill and people are simply willing to take what I write on trust. I'm sure many readers would much rather have slightly larger drawings throughout and lose the footnotes altogether.
I´m still (eagerly) waiting for my copy to arrive. This time I ordered it via amazon.de. I did my other orders directly from mortons, but this time (Brexit you know...) I thought it would be smart, to order it via amazon. This seems to be a failure, because amazon can´t deliver it until april. But I want to say here, that I´m a great fan of Dan´s work: it is always great researched, well written and nice illustrated. So please keep the refenrences and keep transparent with the sources. Otherwise for historians (like I´am) it would be a bad thing.
Cheers!
Athpilot
 

CJGibson

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Well, for abbreviations (why is that such a long word?) I use the same style as the RAF Historical Society and they don't use full points.

Anyway, back to what this thread should be about - the BV 155. My copy is in a pile of Christmas books at home, so forgive me if this is answered in the book.
I've always been intrigued by how much information the Germans had about the B-29. Just what they gleaned from the US press or did they have sources in the programme?

Chris
 

newsdeskdan

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Well, for abbreviations (why is that such a long word?) I use the same style as the RAF Historical Society and they don't use full points.

Anyway, back to what this thread should be about - the BV 155. My copy is in a pile of Christmas books at home, so forgive me if this is answered in the book.
I've always been intrigued by how much information the Germans had about the B-29. Just what they gleaned from the US press or did they have sources in the programme?

Chris

The Chef TLR war diary for January 1945 includes details of supposed production numbers for the B-29 and B-32 which are stated to be based on newspaper reports.
There are plenty of surviving reports on captured tech but very little appears to have survived on what the Germans actually knew about the Allies' secret development programmes or how they came to know about it.
From what I have seen, I would infer that they knew very little for certain - only what they could glean from POW interviews. Time and again throughout the war you see the German aircraft manufacturers working on the principle that whatever they do, the British will have it very soon thereafter. So when Messerschmitt is in the early stages of working on the Me 328 (before the drawbacks of the As 014 had become clear), fears are voiced that the British will soon discover, or may well have already discovered, the almost unbelievable benefits of the pulsejet (particularly light weight and low production cost) for themselves - making the Me 328's development a matter of urgency.
For months before the end of the war, the Germans seem to believe that the appearance of British jets over Europe is imminent - and that they will be equal to or superior in performance to the Me 262. This is one of the chief arguments Willy Messerschmitt uses to denounce the He 162 programme: why put all that effort into building such an inferior fighter when the British are probably about to introduce something superior to the Me 262?
In short, I don't think the Germans had any hard data on the B-29 (prove me wrong someone!) and simply feared the worst based on press reports.

Having said that, the same war diary for Jan 45 also mentions the P-72 as an improved P-47 Thunderbolt. I don't know how secret the development of the XP-72 was at Republic, but if nothing was ever said about it in the press then that might be evidence of espionage.
 

JC Carbonel

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Finally bought my copy at La Maison du Livre.
Great book with a lot of (new) information. Again the big "plus" of this book compared to others is that the author also deals with the politics behind those projects and the bickering between BV / Messerschmitt and occasionnally the RLM.
Yes some drawings could have been larger .... but they may not have been that much bigger in the source material. Finding drawings in an "appropriate" size is often difficult : either they are too big, difficult to copy and unreadable afterward (called "bedsheet" drawings for size, over there) or they are tiny things in compendium reports ( à la "New and Projected Types)...
 

newsdeskdan

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Well, for abbreviations (why is that such a long word?) I use the same style as the RAF Historical Society and they don't use full points.

Anyway, back to what this thread should be about - the BV 155. My copy is in a pile of Christmas books at home, so forgive me if this is answered in the book.
I've always been intrigued by how much information the Germans had about the B-29. Just what they gleaned from the US press or did they have sources in the programme?

Chris

Further to this point, I've dug out a couple of reports from January 1945 which show what the Germans thought the Allies were up to. The actual source for the information is not stated but the data isn't way off the mark. The B-29's capabilities were certainly over-estimated somewhat though (see chart).
Also interesting to see a scale comparison of the Airacomet versus the Me 262. Other parts of the report show what the Germans thought the Allies would do next. Griffon-powered Mustang and Mosquito, for example (both of which, I gather, had been worked on to some degree)Enemy aircraft.jpgMe 262 Airacomet.jpg.
 

sienar

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Is the TLR report you're talking about the one on cdvandt.org?

That report also mentions a Vought jet fighter. I wonder if that was some disinfo fed to a German spy.
 

Grey Havoc

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Or possibly the proposed Vought Jet Skimmer (jet powered derivative of the Vought XF5U), though it is unclear just how far it progressed.
 

CJGibson

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Surely the Pirate?

Altitude chart - Was it normal for German documents to give altitudes in kilometres rather than metres? Or was km used for dramatic effect in this specific document?

Chris
 

newsdeskdan

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The Germans thought Vought's jet was called the 'Swish' (I added the black line to indicate the relevant paragraph). Not many other details given to narrow it down. Incidentally, the 'Squirt' was the Gloster E.28/29.


Vought Swish.jpg
 

newsdeskdan

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Surely the Pirate?

Altitude chart - Was it normal for German documents to give altitudes in kilometres rather than metres? Or was km used for dramatic effect in this specific document?

Chris


Yes, completely normal to give altitudes in kilometres.


Bf 109 H.jpg
 

sienar

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One thing to consider is what was publicly known about the pirate/XF5U at the time. The P-59 was publicly unveiled, at the latest, in October of '44. At the very least that could have been the German source of information on the Airacomet. But what could they have known about studies underway at Vought?

EDIT: well here is something....
content.jpg
 

CJGibson

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So the Germans didn't use 'SI' units then?

Chris

PS Yeah, yeah, didn't become SI until 1960.
 

Wurger

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Just received my copy of the B&V 155 booklet. Congrats, Dan, another fine job! My History matrix leads me to ask you to please keep the source references.
 

sienar

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I received my copy last week and finally got around to reading it. I'm only a few chapters in but so far much better than anything else written about the program, and having full citations is a big plus!

However, you mention that there is a photo of the 109 with a DB605/628 labeled as 'Me409', but as far as I can tell this photo isn't printed anywhere in the book. Is it just that boring/low quality or are there rights issues?

Additionally the drawings of the 209, especially the 'sketchy' one show something odd going on with the exhaust. It looks like the exhaust is in a duct that opens up right at the end of the cowling and "fills in" the discontinuity between the 109 fuselage and the larger engine cowl - somewhat similar to the radial 190 exhaust stacks. That is a pretty neat solution to the problem and something I haven't seen depicted in any redraws.

EDIT: I suppose its actually for flame dampening like was done on the early v-series for the 152
 
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newsdeskdan

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I received my copy last week and finally got around to reading it. I'm only a few chapters in but so far much better than anything else written about the program, and having full citations is a big plus!

However, you mention that there is a photo of the 109 with a DB605/628 labeled as 'Me409', but as far as I can tell this photo isn't printed anywhere in the book. Is it just that boring/low quality or are there rights issues?

Additionally the drawings of the 209, especially the 'sketchy' one show something odd going on with the exhaust. It looks like the exhaust is in a duct that opens up right at the end of the cowling and "fills in" the discontinuity between the 109 fuselage and the larger engine cowl - somewhat similar to the radial 190 exhaust stacks. That is a pretty neat solution to the problem and something I haven't seen depicted in any redraws.

EDIT: I suppose its actually for flame dampening like was done on the early v-series for the 152

The 'Me 409' photo was discovered in the Daimler-Benz archive by Calum Douglas. It's not somewhere I'd considered making the effort to visit and by all accounts there's very little there that would interest me but... the most unexpected things sometimes crop up in the unlikeliest of places. The photo will appear in all its glory in Calum's forthcoming book - The Secret Horsepower Race.
I hadn't really noticed the Me 209 exhaust stacks (or flame dampeners?) but now you mention it they do seem rather unusual. Here is that section of the original drawing.
The original was rather small - about the size of a coaster - with punch holes through it and an illegible smudged red stamp on it, which I had to get removed prior to publication.

Me 209.jpg
 
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