A Better Rifle at Halloween

Initially an improved RAF.1 but who knows where it will go.
The RAF.1 (an air cooled V-8 based on a Renault design) first ran in 1913, so you may have missed the boat on that one. Though it did get an experimental supercharged version (RAF.1a) in 1915. By this point the RAF.2 air cooled radial has already been running for almost a year. The RAF.3 V.12 liquid cooled development of the RAF.1 has just had its first test run, or is about to. It will then be developed into the RAF.4 and RAF.5 (a pusher version of the RAF.4) in December. The RAF.3 would later get a high compression version in the RAF.7 and the RAF.8 would be developed in 1916-1917 based on experience with the RAF.2.

So at this point Heron’s work would likely be used to improve the RAF.4 and .5. Possibly in refining the RAF.3 if the findings can be verified quickly enough.
 
The RAF.1 (an air cooled V-8 based on a Renault design) first ran in 1913, so you may have missed the boat on that one. Though it did get an experimental supercharged version (RAF.1a) in 1915. By this point the RAF.2 air cooled radial has already been running for almost a year. The RAF.3 V.12 liquid cooled development of the RAF.1 has just had its first test run, or is about to. It will then be developed into the RAF.4 and RAF.5 (a pusher version of the RAF.4) in December. The RAF.3 would later get a high compression version in the RAF.7 and the RAF.8 would be developed in 1916-1917 based on experience with the RAF.2.

So at this point Heron’s work would likely be used to improve the RAF.4 and .5. Possibly in refining the RAF.3 if the findings can be verified quickly enough.
The RAF.1 evolves into the RAF.4 as far as I can tell neither it or the RAF.1A both of which used a form of forced air went to service. This may change, certainly Heron was an expert in heat transfer studies, I think mercury cooled valves were already in service but I don't want to have to pay to read herons 1924 paper on the sodium filled design. The interest I have is in improving heat exchange for both engines and turbo/superchargers.
 
I'd be really really careful about introducing much (any) computer modeling. I don't know what kind of code is needed for the thermal modeling of engines, but your analytical engine is really, really really limited in power. Both in terms of speed and memory.

I/O is a problem, two. I guess they probably have some sort of attached printer, but everything is mechanical at this point, and a purely mechanical computer printer sounds like a real pain.
 
I'd be really really careful about introducing much (any) computer modeling. I don't know what kind of code is needed for the thermal modeling of engines, but your analytical engine is really, really really limited in power. Both in terms of speed and memory.

I/O is a problem, two. I guess they probably have some sort of attached printer, but everything is mechanical at this point, and a purely mechanical computer printer sounds like a real pain.
The computer here can probably no more than generate artillery, astronomical and mathematical tables. Or perhaps solve a simple equation if programming is invented. It won't be able to do modelling of airflows or similar. Up to the 1940s computers were people (often women) who did calculations. Ludgate's engine might be able to do the same as these computers but not much faster any benefit would be it would be less error prone.

As for printer that can be done Babbage had the designs for it - his difference engine was for creating tables of logs and similar. The first produce difference engine was in 1857
 
The RAF.1 evolves into the RAF.4 as far as I can tell neither it or the RAF.1A both of which used a form of forced air went to service
I checked again. As I understand it the RAF.3 was developed by the Royal Aircraft factory out of the RAF.1 but the RAF.4 was actually designed by Napier out of the RAF designed .3.

The .1 did not see service, but the .4 did, with several thousand units built by Siddeley-Deasy and Daimler. However, it was a liquid cooled V-12 and the designer was actually Napiers Arthur Rowledge (whose portfolio would later include the Napier Lion, RR Condor, Kestral, R, Merlin, Exe and Pennine). At this time I think that Heron (heat diffusion expert), James Ellor (super and turbocharger pioneer) and and Arnold Gibson (airflow expert) were mostly trying to lay down the scientific rules of how to make engines better. They would have had a hand in determining what engines to produce but that was not their main focus.
 
I checked again. As I understand it the RAF.3 was developed by the Royal Aircraft factory out of the RAF.1 but the RAF.4 was actually designed by Napier out of the RAF designed .3.

The .1 did not see service, but the .4 did, with several thousand units built by Siddeley-Deasy and Daimler. However, it was a liquid cooled V-12 and the designer was actually Napiers Arthur Rowledge (whose portfolio would later include the Napier Lion, RR Condor, Kestral, R, Merlin, Exe and Pennine). At this time I think that Heron (heat diffusion expert), James Ellor (super and turbocharger pioneer) and and Arnold Gibson (airflow expert) were mostly trying to lay down the scientific rules of how to make engines better. They would have had a hand in determining what engines to produce but that was not their main focus.
On the subject of Heron and Gibson, they did design this at the end of the war.
1664364903142.png
This is taken from https://www.enginehistory.org/Piston/ACEvolution/air-cooled_cylinders_1.shtml I would like to see it in earlier service. Thanks for the name ofJames Ellor, I will need to read up on him.
 
Inside the trap
22nd September 1914, Tournai.

Major General Hermann von Kuhl had taken temporary command of the First Army with the suicide of Colonel General von Kluck, his first action had been to tear up the order written by von Kluck whilst cursing the man for his failure of nerve.

His next action was to order every unit to abandon any vehicles or guns that could not move and deploy a Verlorene Haufen as rearguard, these units were to hold to that last man.

The remainder of the Army was to undertake a forced march towards Flobecq, reports had indicated that British Cavalry were defending Brakel to Lessines and this was likely to be the most weakly held area for an attack.

He sought contact with the surviving corps commanders to determine who should take command of the remainder of First Army, General von Linsingen was the senior corps commander surviving, his own corps had fought at Sottegem where one division had been virtually destroyed. The remainder of the corps was skirmishing with the Highlanders holding Sottegem, they had been reinforced by additional british units who had pushed south towards Brakel.

General von Linsingen when he was contacted, confirmed the orders issued by von Kuhl and ordered him to move the army headquarters to Flobecq as well. The next step was to issue orders to consolidate the Corps and Division accounting for casualties. The Army had been reduced to approximately 60% effectiveness by the recent fighting and with no resupply and the ongoing attacks by Entente forces it was definitely a wasting asset.

The only option was to resume the attack as quickly as possible, the casualties would be heavy but it was fight or surrender and whilst von Kluck may have wanted surrender his death had robbed his orders of any validity.

General von Linsingen could give his men no respite, every day he delayed the attack was another day that the possibility of escape slipped closer zero.
 
On the subject of Heron and Gibson, they did design this at the end of the war.
View attachment 777688This is taken from https://www.enginehistory.org/Piston/ACEvolution/air-cooled_cylinders_1.shtml I would like to see it in earlier service. Thanks for the name ofJames Ellor, I will need to read up on him.
Nice find. Though considering that the Bristol Jupiter design would have been pretty much finalized at the time that the cylinder was completed (if not already running) it is perhaps unfair to criticize Fedden for not using the new design.

Regardless, a very interesting development. AIUI when this cylinder would have been designed I think Heron had already left the Aircraft Factory for Napiers. At the least, F.M Green (head of engine design at the RAF) had left already and taken the RAF.8 design that he and Heron had made to Siddeley-Deasy by then. There was a spec put out by the RNAS in January 1917 for a light (630 lb), small (42” diameter) and powerful (300 hp) air cooled radial engine, with responses to be in by April. Green took the RAF.8 to S-D and it was developed into the AS Jaguar. Roy Fedden from Straeker developed what became the Bristol Jupiter to the same spec.

If you are looking for information on early pioneers of the RAF I suggest this :

The thread author is (or possibly was, given his lack of presence in the last few years) a former Rolls Royce engineer who went through their mentorship program when the big names from WW2 would have been his mentors.
 
Nice find. Though considering that the Bristol Jupiter design would have been pretty much finalized at the time that the cylinder was completed (if not already running) it is perhaps unfair to criticize Fedden for not using the new design.

Regardless, a very interesting development. AIUI when this cylinder would have been designed I think Heron had already left the Aircraft Factory for Napiers. At the least, F.M Green (head of engine design at the RAF) had left already and taken the RAF.8 design that he and Heron had made to Siddeley-Deasy by then. There was a spec put out by the RNAS in January 1917 for a light (630 lb), small (42” diameter) and powerful (300 hp) air cooled radial engine, with responses to be in by April. Green took the RAF.8 to S-D and it was developed into the AS Jaguar. Roy Fedden from Straeker developed what became the Bristol Jupiter to the same spec.

If you are looking for information on early pioneers of the RAF I suggest this :

The thread author is (or possibly was, given his lack of presence in the last few years) a former Rolls Royce engineer who went through their mentorship program when the big names from WW2 would have been his mentors.
Thanks I will do, it is highly interesting.
 
Strengthening the sinews
22nd September 1914, London.

Lloyd George was feeling sanguine, the recent reverses suffered by German arms had acted to calm the markets. He recalled a meeting he had had with an economist from the Bank of England, he had taken those attending through a history of the methods used to finance the Napoleonic Wars. One of the key factors was that market confidence correlated very closely to perceptions of British and allied success or reverses on the field of battle. The apparent envelopement of an entire German Army would doubtless help with that, along with other setbacks recently suffered.
Walter Cunliffe, the Governor of the Bank of England was keen to return to the gold standard as swiftly as possible, this would only be possible if there was view that the Bank and the Treasury could keep a tight hold on the economy. The battlefield picture would be key to this. The advantage of a return to redemptions for gold were considerable, the increase in market confidence would enable lower costs for government debt whilst also facilitating the continuation of the financial markets in Britain. Lloyd George was keen to do all that he could to minimise the tax burden imposed by the war, whilst using Britains manufacturing strength to assist its allies. If British gold could buy victory with Russian and French blood so much the better, Lloyd George would do all he could to grow the army slowly but equip it lavishly so that it could use technology like the new rifles to minimise the numbers needed. Better to have those men in a factory, rather than in the field.
 
Smith Dorrien plans
22nd September 1914, Ghislenhein.

General Smith Dorrien had moved his forward headquarters to Ghislengein a few miles out of Ath, this was to enable him to maintain effective communications within the BEF. The forces holding the bag closed on the German First Army were stretched tight. The fighting on the previous 2 days had resulted in heavy German losses and then had been followed up with the advance by the Cavalry in to the Lessines to Brakel gap pinching closed the salient and surrounding much of the German First Army.

There was no evidence that the German Army Command intended to surrender, they were still resisting the advance of the French 6th army, which had finally managed to get across the River Scheldt, they were advancing slowly but pushing back the German rear guard, the French were making good use of their 75mm guns. Any position which was stubbornly held was subjected to heavy shelling before the infantry put in an attack. General Manoury was keeping the pressure on the enemy but he was also clearly willing to use steel rather than flesh to convince the remnant of First Army that surrender was in its interests.

Likewise the British forces on the Northern flank of the German First Army were continuing to harry it. The Royal Marines were advancing from Nieuwpoort, their advance was slowed not by the Germans but by the severely limited support structure attached to the Royal Marine Brigade. Lacking anything like the Army Service Corps they were making do with extemporised support and it was limiting their mobility.

The Yeomanry Divisions who had been holding the shoulder of the German penetration towards Nieuwpoort were better supported logistically and they were using their mobility to maintain heavy pressure on the German flank. Both the Yeomanry and the Royal Marines were making maximum use of the RNAS armoured cars, these vehicles conducted a number of bold sallies cutting through or bypassing the German rear guards to strike at the support units straggling wearily back towards Flobecq.

Both the French and the British forces reported that stragglers and deserters were becoming more common, one French unit had accepted the surrender of an entire platoon of Landwehr after a pair of 75mm guns had been wheeled into position, to shell the butter factory they were holding. The older men had simply hung a white sheet out from an upper window and started throwing their rifles out as well. The French soldiers men of a territorial unit of similar vintage had gladly accepted their surrender being just as keen to avoid dying for the Glory of France as the Germans were for the Kaiser.

Smith Dorrien was concerned that the Germans would mass sufficient men and guns to push through his forces and escape the trap. Aerial reconnaissance was indicating that the Germans were moving their forces towards the town of Flobecq, clearly intending to conduct an attack on the Cavalry holding the line there.

Smith Dorrien was continuing to move his divisions and corps around; 2nd Cavalry Division would remain in place whilst other British units worked to build defensive positions. Smith Dorrien was adamant that strong defensive entrenchments be established to face the anticipated German attack.

The line from Sottiegem to Ath was approximately 20 miles long, it was being held by a total of 4 British Corps. V Corps under General Sir Iain Hamilton held the line from the III Corps Boundary near Audenarde to Sottegem. The Cavalry Corps, was defending a line from Brakel to the west of Lessines, 2nd Cavalry Division had been joined by 3rd Mounted Division in holding the line. 1st Cavalry Division was screening against an unlikely counterattack by the German forces in Brussels.

I Corps had advanced into the gap between Gramont and Sottegem opened by the Cavalry and was rapidly strengthening its position. II Corps was likewise covering line between Lessines and Gramont. IV Corps was anchored on Ath in the south and had pivoted to hold the line from Ath to Lessines. It was a strongly held line and with continuous pressure being applied on the German rear it should prove difficult to breach.

The eastern side of the line was much more open with limited British forces, 1st Cavalry Division and IV corps were holding off the German X Corps and Brussels Garrison. Whilst the 6th division of V Corps reinforced with a British mounted infantry brigade and a recently formed Belgian cyclist brigade was doing the same with the German IIIr Corps.

The Brussels garrison drawn from IXr corps was threatened by the breakout of the Antwerp Garrison which was continuing to demonstrate to the north and east of Brussels. It had sent a column of cavalry to destroy the railway line connecting Leuven with Brussels. Having taken a hint from the success of the British, the cavalry brigade commander had several improvise armoured cars with the column, they had helped hold of the Leuven Garrison whilst some sappers destroyed bridge carrying the railway line over the Leuven Mechelen Canal.

This attack would greatly impede the resupply of the three German Corps being supplied via this railway line, namely the Brussels Garrison IXr, IIIr now menaced by the BEF and the Belgians between Dendermonde and Aalst and the remnant of IVr corps which was screening Brussels from the Antwerp Garrison.

Smith Dorrien was happy with the position of his Army and he was due to meet with the French High command and his Belgian Liaison officers to begin planning for the next operation to push the Germans out of central Belgium and recapture Brussels. That attack would need to take place quickly before the Germans could move additional forces into place. But he needed the German First Army to lie down in order to continue his offensive, they didn’t seem that keen too yet.
 
C Squadron 12th Lancers
23rd September 1914, Ogy.



The piquet was formed by C Squadron of the 12th (Royal) Lancers, their action at Ghoy was already being celebrated and the Regimental commander had commended them for their steadiness in the charge. He took the view that they would be well suited to operating forward of the cavalry screen. With the Squadron was a Lieutenant of the Royal Garrison artillery acting as a forward observer, he had arrived in a Motor Car with a truck following carrying his signals team, they had set up an observation post in the spire of the Saint Martins Church, this impressive structure, built in the 1750’s was constructed of red brick and topped with a tower that gave a clear field of view of the local area. The officer and one of the junior NCO’s attached to the artillery party climbed to the top of the spire the additional 45’ of elevation gave them a view almost to Flobecq.

The sun was just starting to rise when the observers in the tower saw the first flashes of artillery from the German lines. C Squadron had been clashing all night with German infiltrators who had clearly pinpointed the squadrons position in and around Ogy, but it was hoped that they and the other forward squadrons had kept them from identifying the main screening position. It was highly unlikely that the Germans had managed to get observers as far forward as the main infantry positions. The infantry were patrolling forward of their own lines as an additional security measure.

Every 4th man in the squadron was told off as a horse holder and they were positioned several hundred yards back from the village in a large farmyard, they were vulnerable to artillery but the stout brickwork would shelter the horses and men from any nearby observers. The squadron commanders plan was to hold the village for as long as was practicable, he had put his men to work loop holing the local buildings and getting the men to dig entrenchments, more than one man remarking “if I had wanted to dig bleeding holes in the ground I would have joined the bleeding wooden tops”. The Squadron Sergeant Major overheard the remark the saying “you will be glad for that hole when the Hun start shoot at you, that will stop your damn fool mouth and if that doesn’t, I will see you up on defaulters parade”

With that the Sergeant Major continued his rounds of the Squadrons positions, satisfied he was able to report to the Squadron Commander that the men were well positioned and ready to both fight and when the recall was issued, move back to the rally point to retire.
 
Royal Garrison Artillery
23rd September 1914, Lessines.

The 3rd Brigade Royal Garrison Artillery consisted of the two batteries of 60 pounders previously attached to 3rd and 5thDivisions, they had been put under Corps command by the order of the GOC 2nd Army, Sir Bruce Meade Hamilton. General Grierson had been visiting the front over the last several days at the behest of Winston Churchill and he had suggested it to General Smith Dorrien who concurred. This order was to be implemented throughout the BEF, with Divisions both regular and territorial to lose their 60 pounder and 4.7 guns to Corps command, the goal being to give the Corps Commander a heavier punch he could allocate as needed across the whole sector. The divisional commanders had railed against the order but had been mollified by the promise of a share of any German guns captured particularly the German howitzers.

The guns had been positioned 2000 yards behind the line held by II Corps, the front-line positions had been connected via field telegraph to the two battery firing points. Additional telegraph lines went forward to the positions held by the cavalry, a single squadron from the Lancers occupied the village of Ogy this was almost 2 miles forward of the main British positions. A warning order was received, infantry in the open followed by the firing co-ordinates, there had been no time to register the fire so the first ranging shots were fired by the first gun of each battery with a suitable time to allow of the observation of the fall of shot.

The German infantry wavered then continued to advance when the first shots were fired, the observer high in the church steeple was impressed by their bravery and or discipline. He had expected to be under fire himself, but thus far the German guns where silent, he supposed that they may be short on ammunition and preserving it for more heavily defended positions. The two batteries were registered now, the firing became steady, the guns were putting 2-3 rounds per minute onto the target, a mixture of high explosive and shrapnel shells. The effect of the eight medium guns firing was devastating, the shrapnel shells detonated above and in front of the infantry most of whom had no cover and who were scythed by hundreds of steel balls travelling at a significant fraction of the speed of sound.
The gunnery observer issued the cease fire order after 2 minutes of firing, he was conscious of the number of rounds available to the guns and the brigade commander had ordered every gunnery observer to husband the fire. Astonishingly when the fire ceased, the writhing mass of downed infantry gradually began to draw itself back into formation, many men lay dead or badly wounded on the ground and great shell holes had been blasted into the road and the farmland nearby. But after a few minutes’ military order had been restored and the advance by the infantry column resumed. In the distance a second larger formation was advancing.

The observer looked at the advancing German Regiment, it had changed from column of march to advancing in line abreast, the line was much to closely spaced for this age of magazine fed rifles, but it was more open than the marching order. Even though the closer regiment was a threat to his own skin he had his orders and relayed a new set of firing co-ordinates back to regiment. Once again, the ranging round were fired and the steady crump of shrapnel shells bursting over this second larger formation began. Soon the crump was mixed with the whine of shrapnel balls, the screams of wounded men and the shrieks of maimed horses.

Back at the regiment the Lt Colonel commanding was pleased with his command, he had previously been the deputy to the Commander Royal Artillery for his divison and now he was in command of a regiment of 60 pounders. The men had pulled together well, the royal garrison artillery were the technical specialists even amongst the gunners, half their challenge was getting the guns into the fight. This time they had been able to position the guns in time to do some valuable work and the field telephone was relaying the observers’ orders. There was a steady flow of shells forward to the guns, the ammunition column bringing shells and charges forward without disruption, the regiment was doing good work this day.
 
A King Rides Out
23rd September 1914, London.

General Grierson was back in London and he was a changed man, many of those who had known him for years commented on his significant weight loss and were amazed at the way that he had barely picked at the meals being served at various messes. He had reiterated his comments about being under doctors’ orders, King George had also taken a keen interest, ordering Grierson to lose at least 5 stone instructing his own physician to weigh him once a week and report the results. The General seemed surprisingly content with the Kings intervention, the King having extended a standing order to him to join him riding which resulted in him spending several hours a week riding one of the Kings heavy hunters around the Royal Parks. They discussed the progress of the war on these occasions and soon an invitation to ride out with them was a signal honour.
Admiral Scott had joined them on more than one occasion, even bringing Percy Ludgate once, the man had been almost totally mute in the presence of the King Emperor but had answered the penetrating questions asked by General Grierson once he had got over his nerves. The King had a great interest in Ludgate’s invention and recognised the importance of the device. The King also spoke of his sons’ roles in the war on the rides, he had served in the Royal Navy commanding a protected cruiser and did not want them to be protected against the risks he was asking of his subjects. The Prince of Wales was already deployed with the 2nd Battalion the Grenadier Guards, his brother Prince Albert was serving in the Royal Navy, but he had just requested a transfer to the Royal Naval Air Service which the King was inclined to grant. The King was of the view that aviation would only grow in importance as the future advanced and the Royal Naval Air Service had already provided valuable service in scouting and reconnaissance. Prince Albert suffered dreadfully with sea sickness and service aboard anything smaller than a dreadnaught would prove an ordeal, whereas a dashing knight of the sky was just the thing to burnish the young man’s image.
 
his brother Prince Albert was serving in the Royal Navy, but he had just requested a transfer to the Royal Naval Air Service which the King was inclined to grant. The King was of the view that aviation would only grow in importance as the future advanced and the Royal Naval Air Service had already provided valuable service in scouting and reconnaissance. Prince Albert suffered dreadfully with sea sickness and service aboard anything smaller than a dreadnaught would prove an ordeal, whereas a dashing knight of the sky was just the thing to burnish the young man’s image.


That should stop the ban on aircrew wearing parachutes.
 
Fuzed by firing table calculated by a new devised instrument?
Not yet the ludgate device is still in early development. It’s going to get there but I suspect it’s first military role will be in some type of high altitude predictor system.
 
I'm sure the Ludgate engine would be good for anti-aircraft fire prediction, but the need has only just become apparent. The novelty does create a case for expediting a set of basic tables but checking and refining existing gunnery tables (both land and especially naval) is a good way to build confidence in the engines and will yield real results for everday use very quickly.
 
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