• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

The Secret Horsepower Race - book by Calum Douglas

edwest

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
737
Reaction score
100
The author is going to publish a comprehensive book about European aircraft engines used during World War II. I just discovered his site. His background and sources listed indicates this book would answer some questions. Any word about a publication date?

 

steelpillow

So many projects, so little time...
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2014
Messages
767
Reaction score
213
Website
www.steelpillow.com
Definitely on my wishlist!
The more I study aero engines, the more I realise that at its heart, the history of the aeroplane is the history of its engines. Power =speed = aerodynamic form.
Wonder if there will be anything about the project to put a Bf 109 engine in a Spitfire, which they then flew in comparative trials, or the reverse project to put a Napier Sabre in a Bf 109, which never left the drawing board.
 

steelpillow

So many projects, so little time...
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2014
Messages
767
Reaction score
213
Website
www.steelpillow.com
Yes, very interested. Any idea on how/where to buy?
I am now following it on Facebook.
Appears not to be published yet, he is still reseraching final details.
I wonder if he has an agent or publisher lined up. That can be harder than writing the thing.
 

edwest

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
737
Reaction score
100
I have sent the author a message. Hopefully he'll reply soon. Based on a review of his site, he seems to know how to get a book to print.
 

edwest

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
737
Reaction score
100
Ah, so part of the mystery is solved :)
 

2cobras

CLEARANCE: Restricted
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
Messages
9
Reaction score
3
WW2 Fighter Aircraft Piston Engines - How British Management Excellence Succeeded

This gentleman is giving the above titled talk on 2nd December at Hamilton Place. Perhaps that would be of interest to those considering his book. Of course you need to be in striking distance of London - but any title that includes "British management" and "excellence" in it is surely intriguing at least!
 

CJGibson

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
May 26, 2011
Messages
1,259
Reaction score
228
The word you are after is 'oxymoronic'.

Chris
 

steelpillow

So many projects, so little time...
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2014
Messages
767
Reaction score
213
Website
www.steelpillow.com
Knowing so many people who live and work abroad and moan about their management, I have come to the conclusion that gross variability of management skills is nothing special to the UK. But good managers make bad headlines, we never get to hear about them...

...except on occasions such as 1940 when Lord Beaverbrook took the Ministry of Aircraft Production* to legendary heights and gave people like Rolls-Royce the head they needed, while effectively sidelining poor performers like Vickers-Supermarine.

*How times change, to a younger and untutored generation the "Ministry of Aircraft Production" must sound like the next one along from the Ministry of Funny Walks.
 
Last edited:

newsdeskdan

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2014
Messages
858
Reaction score
241
The Secret Horsepower Race by Calum Douglas is due out next year from Mortons Books' Tempest imprint and is shaping up to be the most authoritative account of British and German aero engine development during the Second World War ever written. Calum is an engine designer and engineer himself - so he knows and understands what he's writing about better than most. He has travelled to archives all over the UK, Europe and the US and drawn on thousands of different period sources in the course of researching his book to establish a clear picture of exactly what happened and why. And when I say thousands, I mean literally thousands - not just a few dozen or even a few hundred.
In the process, he's uncovered many previously unknown details about both nations' engine designs (there will be details of Japanese, American, Soviet and Italian engine development too - but the focus is on Britain and Germany). I was stunned, for example, when he showed me photos of the DB 628-powered Messerschmitt Me 409, clearly labelled as such, from the Daimler-Benz archive. Some of his other images have, I believe, appeared elsewhere on this forum.
For my part, I am editing The Secret Horsepower Race and it really is a very exciting project to be part of.
 
Last edited:

edwest

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
737
Reaction score
100
Off topic, but where did you find your material for the Luftwaffe Secret Projects series? Mostly overlooked or mostly recently declassified?
 

Calum Douglas

Piston engine designer
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
16
Reaction score
21
Website
www.calum-douglas.com
The word you are after is 'oxymoronic'.

Chris
In engine design and manufacture, Britain was, and still is - very seldom surpassed in the field of high performance piston engines.

In many cases today - there are still essentially two types of world-class high performance piston engines,, those which everyone knows we build, and those which
we are paid to build and then given extra money to keep quiet about whilst others put their badge on. Mercedes knows a bit about that topic.

Very little is oxymoronic about management excellence, Britain and piston engines.

Feel free to come to London on 2nd Dec and argue your case.

 

CJGibson

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
May 26, 2011
Messages
1,259
Reaction score
228
Please excuse my flippancy. My experience of British management and their excellence evidently differs from yours.

Unfortunately I can't make your lecture as I have an appointment with a pair of CT7-8As.

Chris
 

Wurger

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2007
Messages
872
Reaction score
21
I'm afraid this will be another British minded book. I hope to be wrong.
 

Calum Douglas

Piston engine designer
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
16
Reaction score
21
Website
www.calum-douglas.com
I'm afraid this will be another British minded book. I hope to be wrong.
If you wish to have a full answer for that you will have to define VERY SPECIFICALLY what the phrase "british minded" means to you.

For example, if I were German and I critisised the British Air Ministry, would that be regarded as a "german minded" book,
even if I were correct in my point ?

Given that I speak German, used to live and work there (as a piston engine designer) and am on good personal terms with the son of the chief designer of Daimler-Benz, places
me in a difficult position, any compliments I make towards Germany can be regarded as trying to please Germans, and being British, any comments
I make lauding the achievements of Britain can be regarded as jingoism; and any critisism I make of Americans could be regarded as
trans-atlantic sour-grapes.

I can promise that the book exposes scullduggery, fraud, deception and incompetence in fairly equal measure between all nations,
but the key to who won, was how this was dealt with and at which positions of influence these problems manifested. That was the
deciding factor. (a rather horribly paraphrased answer, but the proper explanation is 220,000words long :) )

FYI, I am currently also preparing the technical memoirs of Professor Dr-Ing Karl Kollmann, dated 1947 for publication, this was given
to me personally by his son to translate to English. No other person in the world has this document in their posession, so I consider
myself, unapologetically, to be in a suitable position to point out errors in German policy and to explain why they occured.

The book contains scathing critisism for British pre-war technical policy, and delivers astonishingly candid views on American failings, written
by a very famous engineer in 1942 (again, never previously pubished). Never for the purpose of creating controversy gratuitously, but
because it is impossible to explain what happened and why, without understanding the errors made.
 
Last edited:

edwest

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
737
Reaction score
100
I look forward to your book. Although jealousies and rivalries have existed and will continue to exist, a sober, factual accounting is required. It matters little that feathers are ruffled here or there. I will add that I have been put off by a few books where the author adds too much editorial slant of his own. Where he attempts to make unsupported statements to appear to be factual. The author is at the service of the facts/documents and should have some skill in presenting them in a readable way. I have read complex works where the author seamlessly blends his material together.
 

Wurger

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2007
Messages
872
Reaction score
21
I'm afraid this will be another British minded book. I hope to be wrong.
If you wish to have a full answer for that you will have to define VERY SPECIFICALLY what the phrase "british minded" means to you.

For example, if I were German and I critisised the British Air Ministry, would that be regarded as a "german minded" book,
even if I were correct in my point ?

Given that I speak German, used to live and work there and am on good personal terms with the son of the chief designer of Daimler-Benz, places
me in a difficult position, any compliments I make towards Germany can be regarded as trying to please Germans, and being British, any comments
I make lauding the achievements of Britain can be regarded as jingoism; and any critisism I make of Americans could be regarded as
trans-atlantic sour-grapes.

I can promise that the book exposes scullduggery, fraud, deception and incompetence in fairly equal measure between all nations,
but the key to who won, was how this was dealt with and at which positions of influence these problems manifested. That was the
deciding factor.
I'm afraid this will be another British minded book. I hope to be wrong.
If you wish to have a full answer for that you will have to define VERY SPECIFICALLY what the phrase "british minded" means to you.

For example, if I were German and I critisised the British Air Ministry, would that be regarded as a "german minded" book,
even if I were correct in my point ?

Given that I speak German, used to live and work there (as a piston engine designer) and am on good personal terms with the son of the chief designer of Daimler-Benz, places
me in a difficult position, any compliments I make towards Germany can be regarded as trying to please Germans, and being British, any comments
I make lauding the achievements of Britain can be regarded as jingoism; and any critisism I make of Americans could be regarded as
trans-atlantic sour-grapes.

I can promise that the book exposes scullduggery, fraud, deception and incompetence in fairly equal measure between all nations,
but the key to who won, was how this was dealt with and at which positions of influence these problems manifested. That was the
deciding factor. (a rather horribly paraphrased answer, but the proper explanation is 220,000words long :) )

FYI, I am currently also preparing the technical memoirs of Professor Dr-Ing Karl Kollmann, dated 1947 for publication, this was given
to me personally by his son to translate to English. No other person in the world has this document in their posession, so I consider
myself, unapologetically, to be in a suitable position to point out errors in German policy and to explain why they occured.

The book contains scathing critisism for British pre-war technical policy, and delivers astonishingly candid views on American failings, written
by a very famous engineer in 1942 (again, never previously pubished). Never for the purpose of creating controversy gratuitously, but
because it is impossible to explain what happened and why, without understanding the errors made.
Fair enough to me, I trust to see all these exposed when I buy your two books on the run. Do you have a timeline to the second one?
 

Calum Douglas

Piston engine designer
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
16
Reaction score
21
Website
www.calum-douglas.com
Fair enough to me, I trust to see all these exposed when I buy your two books on the run. Do you have a timeline to the second one?
I am working with a compressor expert in America to turn it into something which is publishable, sadly Dan at Mortons cant really do it, because its a very technical scientific text, not a history book so it will likely be published by a University Press or an Engineering Journal. It will be a few months before this is determined, as most traditional publishers
are rather more tardy than Dan, who`s used to magazine time-schedules ! The target market will be university engineering students.

Having said that if Mortons looks into diversifying..... I could maybe turn it into a sort of "Not Much of an Engineer" but with all the maths included... lets see.

This is me interviewing Kollmanns son in Germany, you can watch the hour long interview on my website, you just have to register. (he was also an
engine designer at Daimler like his father - but in automotive engines in the 60`s 70 `s and 80`s.).

I have also interviewed Elly Hanitsch in Dessau, who is to my understanding the last surviving member of the WW2 Jumo engine drawing office,
she is now 92 and joined Jumo in 1942.

KOLLMANN.png

Kollmanns father was made chief engineer of Daimler-Benz Unterturkheim aero engine plant about September 1944. You can see here that the secretary made
a mistake here and the title "Prok" has been put in by hand afterwards. He is below he three directors, but above the "oberingenieurs" (O.I) Stump & Rothe.

KOllmann_2.png
 

Attachments

Last edited by a moderator:

Nick Sumner

Live! From the Belly of the Beast!
Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2006
Messages
461
Reaction score
47
The book contains scathing critisism for British pre-war technical policy, and delivers astonishingly candid views on American failings, written
by a very famous engineer in 1942 (again, never previously pubished). Never for the purpose of creating controversy gratuitously, but
because it is impossible to explain what happened and why, without understanding the errors made.
His name wouldn't start with an 'F' would it? ;)

Really looking forward to the book Calum Douglas!
 

Foo Fighter

I came, I saw, I drank some tea (and had a bun).
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
1,075
Reaction score
156
Is that first book available? Sorry if I have missed a reference somewhere.
 

edwest

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
737
Reaction score
100
I would like to make mention of IG Farben, which produced synthetic fuel and lubricants. Not long ago, there were two visitors from Germany where I work. One spoke English well, the other did not. When I found out the non-English speaker was studying Chemistry at University, I brought up IG Farben. He shrugged his shoulders and said he'd never heard of it - translated by his friend. This was a bit of a shock to me as IG Farben [Interessengemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG] was the world's largest chemical cartel in the 1930s. When I was at University and looked into taking Chemistry, I was informed that I would have to take a German language class since the best Chemistry books were written in German. Based on a contemporary illustration, the process for making Leuna-Benzin involved coal [braunkohle], hydrogen, a temperature of 450 C. and a pressure of 200 Atm. With some 'Leuna propan' during the distillation phase.
 
Last edited:

Nick Sumner

Live! From the Belly of the Beast!
Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2006
Messages
461
Reaction score
47
Please excuse my flippancy. My experience of British management and their excellence evidently differs from yours.
My inexpert impression is that looked at in the context of aircraft engines and WW2, both British management and government direction look a lot better than either German or American. That's ignoring obvious government missteps like giving Merlin and Derwent blueprints away royalty free.
 

Nick Sumner

Live! From the Belly of the Beast!
Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2006
Messages
461
Reaction score
47
Is Secret Horsepower Race still on for April 2020?
 
Top