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The jet race and the Second World War / Sterling Michael Pavelec.

By: Pavelec, Sterling Michael.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Annapolis, Md. : Naval Institute Press, [2010]Description: x, 227 pages, [10] pages of plates : illustrations ; 23 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781591146667(pbk).Subject(s): Jet engines -- Design and construction -- History -- 20th century | Jet planes, Military -- Design and construction -- History -- 20th century | World War, 1939-1945 -- Aerial operationsDDC classification:
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

This book outlines the competing jet programs during World War II that took place in Britain, Germany, and the US. The British program was hampered by inconsistent government interest, and little real need, the US program to develop a jet also lagged because of strategic concern. In Germany, the need for the technology existed, the innovative spirit of several designers, and official funding combined to produce a combat-operational jet aircraft despite wartime limitations. Analyzing a variety of primary and secondary materials, this book provides a comprehensive comparison of the three (ultimately) successful jet programs of the war. However, only the Germans, even in defeat, committed jet aircraft to combat operations.

Between 1935 and 1945, the Germans, British, and Americans all raced to see who could develop jet engines first and best, in order to gain the technological edge in the air war and beyond. In the 1930s, as nations braced for war, the German military build up caught Britain and the United States off-guard, particularly in aviation technology. The unending quest for speed resulted in the need for radical alternatives to piston engines. In Germany, Dr. Hans von Ohain was the first to complete a flight-worthy turbojet engine for aircraft. It was installed in a Heinkel-designed aircraft, and the Germans began the jet age on August 27, 1939. The Germans led the jet race throughout the war and were the first to produce jet aircraft for combat operations. In England, the doggedly determined Frank Whittle also developed a turbojet engine, but without the support enjoyed by his German counterpart. The British came second in the jet race when Whittle's engine powered the Gloster Pioneer on May 15, 1941. The Whittle-Gloster relationship continued and produced the only Allied combat jet aircraft during the war, the Meteor, which was relegated to Home Defense in Britain.

In America, General Electric copied the Whittle designs, and Bell Aircraft contracted to build the first American jet plane. On October 1, 1942, a lackluster performance from the Bell Airacomet, ushered in the American jet age. The Yanks forged ahead, and had numerous engine and airframe programs in development by the end of the war. But, the Germans did it right and did it first, while the Allies lagged throughout the war, only rising to technological prominence on the ashes of the German defeat. Pavelec's analysis of the jet race uncovers all the excitement in the high-stakes race to develop effective jet engines for warfare and transport.

Originally published: Westport, Conn. : Praeger Security International, 2007.

Includes bibliographical references (p. [215]-223) and index.


Reviews provided by Syndetics


This book, apparently a little-altered version of a dissertation by Pavelec (history, Hawaii Pacific Univ.), complements the definitive history of the technology, The Origins of the Turbojet Revolution, by Edward Constant II (CH, Jun'81). Pavelec adds the history of the German, British, and American efforts to implement the technology just before and during WW II. This reviewer notes that the seeming backwardness of the US might be attributed to the influence of a 1923 NACA Technical Report that correctly noted that jet propulsion of aircraft would not be efficient before velocities greater than 400 mph were achieved. This velocity was not achieved, except for a few specially designed racing planes, until the 1940s. From that point, the race was on when the German technological advantages were negated by the inability of the German economy to have access to the raw materials required to make durable jet engines. Again, this book complements but does not supersede Constant's definitive volume. Libraries that aspire to, and can afford the cost, of a complete aviation collection should acquire Pavelec's contribution. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. M. Levinson formerly, University of Washington