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Crashed British Aircraft - The Great Escape (II)

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michaeldr

The photo in Gallipoli Then and Now would have been taken from the Nibrunesi Point side looking back towards Lala Baba

This is not the exact angle of the '1915' or 'now' shots, however, it is from the general direction of Nibrunesi Point.

Lala Baba (the hill) is just left of centre and the the cemetery of the same name is over to the right (seen as white in front of the group of trees) The aircraft most probably came down in what is shown above as a green field between the two, which slopes gently towards the bay

P1000338.jpg

Edited by michaeldr

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centurion

it's all a very confusing farrago.

Agree 100%.

When Martin started discussing this on the Gallipoli sub-forum I thought that we were talking about a unique situation which would therefore be strait forward to sort out with a little effort. Now it seems that allied planes were coming down all over the place at Suvla. I am no longer sure how useful the info from the Turkish side is regarding their claims for downed craft, as clearly some of these planes landed after technical difficulties rather than after being hit by gun/ground fire.

Rule one of WW1 AA fire - you see an aircraft and fire at it - if it dives away and vanishes then you claim a hit

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michaeldr

Rule one of WW1 AA fire - you see an aircraft and fire at it - if it dives away and vanishes then you claim a hit

I enjoyed that :lol:

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centurion

I was considering the issue of the report of the salvaged engine of which I am a wee bit sceptical. Of the candidate aircraft for the crash in the Salt Lake

Henri Farman F27

Maurice Farman S11 Shorthorn

Voisin

Short Seaplane (either 166 or 184)

BE2C

All had watercooled engines (radial or inline) and none of these weighed under about 600lbs (some substantially more). Unlike a rotary (which was aircooled, had no oil sump and was much lighter) all would take time to disconnect and dismount from an aircraft.

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nils d

Which makes the salvaging of the engine problematic?

Not for certain as the engine is in the back.

even a damaged engine is worth salving for a few odd spares when you are so far away from

your supplier.lt dosent mean the mechanics were going to get the same motor running within a week

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centurion

Not for certain as the engine is in the back.

even a damaged engine is worth salving for a few odd spares when you are so far away from

your supplier.lt dosent mean the mechanics were going to get the same motor running within a week

The two airmen had trouble getting themselves out of the salt marsh. Moving a 500lb plus engine across it would not be at all easy. Just getting it out of the fuselage would take some doing (as I said much easier if it had been a rotary) Taking a few bits off the engine and bringing those back would make more sense (the prop and the magneto for example were items difficult to replace)

BTW the Short Seaplanes and the BE2Cs were tractors (engine in front).

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Guest

The two airmen had trouble getting themselves out of the salt marsh. Moving a 500lb plus engine across it would not be at all easy. Just getting it out of the fuselage would take some doing (as I said much easier if it had been a rotary) Taking a few bits off the engine and bringing those back would make more sense (the prop and the magneto for example were items difficult to replace)

BTW the Short Seaplanes and the BE2Cs were tractors (engine in front).

Centurion - I empathise with your skepticism about the removal of the engine.... However, this was a campaign where artillery was dragged up 45 degree slopes in ANZAC and I recall a very famous picture of Maori (?) troops pushing a massive water bowser up a very steep hill. My point is that there was the manpower and technology to do this. It is a relatively simple task to set up a gin and shears (5 long logs, rope, steel hawser and a block and tackle) and lift something of that weight. It would take less than an hour, and even less if it was partly assembled offsite and carried in. Cutting it free of the airframe would be relatively simple too, especially if there was no desire to save the airframe.This is technology that the Romans were familiar with. It is not difficult. The greatest difficulty would have been putting it on a cart and hauling it out. There were certainly enough draft animals and carts available and mud or not, it would have been possible. They would have had the whole night, so at least 5-6 hours of darkness without being shelled as the Turks very rarely shelled for fear of being located an getting some incoming with counter-battery fire. MG

P.S. trust me on the engineering. Two lifetimes ago I was a subaltern in the Queen's Gurkha Engineers and we used to do this sort of sticks-and-string engineering all the time, lifting weights up to that of a landrover and moving them aerial (steel) ropeways between the gin and shears. It is not difficult.

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centurion

It is not difficult.

If you have solid ground to stand on

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Guest

If you have solid ground to stand on

We can debate depths of mud etc forever. None of us know....... but we do know that the airmen ploughed out, which means other men could 'plough' back in with stores. Implicity the airmen found the hard bottom of the muddly lake or they would have still been there. One of the more reliable witnesses, Capt Wedgwood Benn, recorded "....but by night our men came and took out the engine and bore it away uninjured". Benn was an MP and later a member of the House of Lords (In an era when both meant something different than today) and was by all accounts a man of integrity. I am sure the GWF RNAS specialists can and will compare his RNAS accounts with Samson et al and check to see if he was prone to memory lapses or exaggeration. As a committed diarist and letter writer I imagine his accounts are pretty accurate - they certainly are accurate for Gallipoli, Scimitar Hill etc. If a man could get out, men could get back and cut it free, haul it onto a sledge or cart and haul it out.

There are seven recorded accounts of the crash and one of the closest (if not the closest) records the engine recovery. If the airframe was stuck fast it could be used as an anchor to haul the recovery equipment in on a sledge or cart.... the engine cut out and then hauled out back out from an anchor on dry land. Again, simple engineering. As long as a man can wade back in holding the end of a rope. There is nothing to suggest this could not happen. As long as the weight distribution/pressure did not exceed that of a man on one leg, they would be OK. I am thinking flat sledge.MG

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michaeldr

The RNAS had some experience at Gallipoli of this sort of thing. Their first aircraft arrived via ship packed into cases 47 feet long. The improvised harbour was not by any stretch of the imagination a 'dock'; there was no crane to lift the planes in their cases from the ship to the land. Nevertheless eventually they got the things off the ship and then proceeded to use the cases as accommodation.

(per Brad King – "A pinnace and launch… … were planked over and the makeshift raft used to move the cases to the shore. From there they were manhandled to the airfield some three miles away along a rough road.")

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Guest

The RNAS had some experience at Gallipoli of this sort of thing. Their first aircraft arrived via ship packed into cases 47 feet long. The improvised harbour was not by any stretch of the imagination a 'dock'; there was no crane to lift the planes in their cases from the ship to the land. Nevertheless eventually they got the things off the ship and then proceeded to use the cases as accommodation.

(per Brad King – "A pinnace and launch… … were planked over and the makeshift raft used to move the cases to the shore. From there they were manhandled to the airfield some three miles away along a rough road.")

Even in my day the RE handbook in its many tables recorded the pressure in lb/sq in of an "Ox standing on one leg" such was the esoteric nature of the job.. For the "married, methodist or mad" RE officers (and no doubt the RNDE) this would be normal routine and certainly within their abilities to move an engine of known size and weight. In more modern times the Bailey Bridge panel weighed 570lb and was designed as an optimal 6-man lift (95lb per man) will give an idea of how many men it would take to lift an 800lb engine on spars to haul it on a sledge or cart - my guess is at least 8 and no more than 10 i.e not difficult assuming the hard bottom of the mud was established. MG

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centurion

Firstly My Father was a civil engineer and I come from a family of civil engineers on that side. I spent a good part of my youth visiting construction sites where cables, pipe lines etc etc were laid across country. This included such places as Chat and Carrington Mosses and I've seen what happens when you try and shift heavy objects in boggy wet ground [including one time when a heavy construction vehicle got bogged in and they decided to remove the engine] These were people who worked professionally in such conditions and believe me it wasn't easy and I think the difficulties are being very underestimated (even without the problems of Turkish shelling and/or having to work at night).

Secondly you don't just "chop the engine out of the fuselage". At least two of the types under consideration had steel frames and all had steel engine bearers that would have to be cut through first if you couldn't unbolt every thing properly (and it would have to be properly supported while you did this). Unlike later aircraft these aircraft were not built with quick engine replacement in mind (didn't really come into play until the Rolls Royce Merlin Power Egg concept was introduced) and on a water cooled engine there are metal fuel pipes lubrication pipes and water pipes to be disconnected or cut through. To do the job properly and with any chance of doing it quickly any salvage team would have to have the right tools to hand. These would be back at Imbros. The account suggests that a salvage party went in and returned the same day/night bringing the engine with them. When aircraft came down in other theatres he fuselage was usually recovered with the engine and any removal was done in a properly equipped workshop (rotaries were an exception as they were simple to remove if you had the right tool set)

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Guest

Firstly My Father was a civil engineer and I come from a family of civil engineers on that side. I spent a good part of my youth visiting construction sites where cables, pipe lines etc etc were laid across country. This included such places as Chat and Carrington Mosses and I've seen what happens when you try and shift heavy objects in boggy wet ground [including one time when a heavy construction vehicle got bogged in and they decided to remove the engine] These were people who worked professionally in such conditions and believe me it wasn't easy and I think the difficulties are being very underestimated (even without the problems of Turkish shelling and/or having to work at night).

Secondly you don't just "chop the engine out of the fuselage". At least two of the types under consideration had steel frames and all had steel engine bearers that would have to be cut through first if you couldn't unbolt every thing properly (and it would have to be properly supported while you did this). Unlike later aircraft these aircraft were not built with quick engine replacement in mind (didn't really come into play until the Rolls Royce Merlin Power Egg concept was introduced) and on a water cooled engine there are metal fuel pipes lubrication pipes and water pipes to be disconnected or cut through. To do the job properly and with any chance of doing it quickly any salvage team would have to have the right tools to hand. These would be back at Imbros. The account suggests that a salvage party went in and returned the same day/night bringing the engine with them. When aircraft came down in other theatres he fuselage was usually recovered with the engine and any removal was done in a properly equipped workshop (rotaries were an exception as they were simple to remove if you had the right tool set)

Centurion - are you saying it was impossible or just very unlikely? None of us know for sure how difficult it was, we don't know how deep the mud, how far in etc. All we have is a written record that it was taken out. If you think the reporter is mistaken, or fabricating the account and it was impossible, then this part of this healthy debate is pointless.

If you think it is possible no matter how difficult, it is worth discussing. All my military engineering experience was in the tropics - mostly in the Brunei jungle where it rains just about every day in the rainy season, so I think I have some (5 years) relevant experience of shifting heavy kit, building suspension bridges (same technology as lifting etc) in areas where there are literally just mud tracks, torrents of rain and in pretty miserable conditions. As well as 7 months at the RSME for what it is worth. I have seen a whole landrover picked up with a gin and shears and winched over 150 feet - a la the Gun Race - . A Landrover engine alone weighs about 450 lbs, so we are in the same ball park. These exercises were frequently done as Troop tasks in training as races and done in less than a few hours with highly trained highly motivated men. Lifting the engine would not be an issue at all in my view.

Cutting. I disagree that it would be difficult to cut an engine out. It would be relatively easy to cut metal with a small amount of explosives used as cutting charges, sandbagging etc. Explosives have unusual qualities and can have very localised effects if in skilled hands. It is possible to cut metal with explosives and leave adjacent areas virtually untouched. I would suggest this is not too difficult. This isn't rocket science it is very, very simple military engineering. The army was well versed in improvised techniques and the technology of explosives was well understood in 1915. I have also seen landrover chassis cut in half with improvised explosives. I imagine the size and strength of a landrover chassis is comparable to an airframe, and probably stronger.

These are only my views . Any mistakes are mine. MG

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centurion

Centurion - are you saying it was impossible or just very unlikely? None of us know for sure how difficult it was, we don't know how deep the mud, how far in etc. All we have is a written record that it was taken out. If you think the reporter is mistaken, or fabricating the account and it was impossible, then this part of this healthy debate is pointless.

I suspect that if anything was taken out it would be parts of the engine. It was at night so they would be working in the dark. Unless the aircraft was one of the seaplanes the engines would all be French (Renault or Canon Unne) and require metric tools to remove. We are told that there was "thick deep mud". You'd have to assemble the rescue party along with the necessary kit, find the aircraft in the dark, remove the engine (which ever way you do it difficult enough in day light even if you were an engineer with the right tools and familiar with the type, extremely difficult to do at night if you don't want to invite Turkish fire. If you decide to cut it out you have to cut through metal without making noise or showing a light). Then you have to get it onto a sled or something that won't sink in the mud (and which you just happen to have had to hand when the aircraft went down - there wouldn't have been time to make one)and get it to the lake shore and then back to base before first light. Max time 12 hours. Given the treatment the engine had had most of it would be unusable, even as spares, without first returning it to the manufacturer for a complete check to ensure that none of the parts had been distorted or had hairline cracks. The bits that might be reusable would be the magneto (or bits of it), fuel pump, oil pump, water pump, gauges and possibly the prop. With presumably the airmen still around to provide guidance I would think that probably what got brought back. Without knowing either the experience of the reporter with aircraft or his distance from the events (or even if he was reporting the salvage first hand) its difficult to say if he was mistaken or otherwise.

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Guest

Without knowing either the experience of the reporter with aircraft or his distance from the events (or even if he was reporting the salvage first hand) its difficult to say if he was mistaken or otherwise.

The Derbyshire Yeomanry was at the time in the vicinity of the Reserve Trenches shown in the red circled area - from the war diaries and regimental histories I am pretty sure that they were the nearest unit as the 4th london Mtd Bde (Benn) was in the front line some half a mile further East. The accounts say it crashed half a mile NW of the DY position. The attached map shows the Sevki Pasha maps overlaid - the most detailed trench maps we have of Gallipoli (surveyed in 1916 after the evacuation) with the Reserve trenches shown circled in red. We have a very high degree of certainty of that this location is correct from diaries and photos. A line half a mile NW of the extreme edge of the trenches would barely reach the Salt Lake. Clearly the eyewitness accounts are highly subjective and estimating distance and bearings was extremely rough. I have no idea the margin of error but I would guess that the aircraft could have landed within a few hundred yards (??) of the edge of the Salt Lake - remember the lake was not inundated despite the mud. I think this is too still subjective to extract anything approaching an accurate estimate of the location. Whatever the location, the aircraft would be at least a mile from the nearest point of the Turkish Front line at Hetman Chair ( and probably further) Not sure how far sound would travel.

MG

post-55873-0-80983600-1303155505.jpg

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Robert Dunlop

Nice to see the photo and map overlay, MG. From the accounts, the crew had to cross the mud of the 'lake' to escape the shelling. It is highly unlikely that this was a signficant distance. A 'few hundred yards' would make sense. Much more and the crew would have been too exhausted.

Great to have your insights from a military engineering perspective. Thank you.

Robert

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Guest

Nice to see the photo and map overlay, MG. From the accounts, the crew had to cross the mud of the 'lake' to escape the shelling. It is highly unlikely that this was a signficant distance. A 'few hundred yards' would make sense. Much more and the crew would have been too exhausted.

Great to have your insights from a military engineering perspective. Thank you.

Robert

The original post was to explore the event of the 13th Oct and the reported forced landing of an aircraft. Due to the fantastic depth and breadth of knowledge on the forum we (quite rightly) can get drawn into more interesting and rewarding debates. None of us will ever know exactly what happened, but as long as we strive to debate these issues and question our own assumptions we will be better informed.

I attach a 3D view which I hope will enhance the understanding of the context. The surrounding hills were all occupied by the Turks with the exception of a tiny part just in view of the ridge on the extreme left. The Brits were (generally) on the flat ground and never succeeded in breaking out. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. I recently read in the book 'Six Weeks' that when it came to losses and slaughter, nothing outside the western front compared. This is utterly wrong and ill-informed. In the first 14 days at Suvla an Army Corps was destroyed mainly due to atrocious leadership on a Crimean level. I am third generation Army and had always been an ardent defender of the 'idiot general' theory, but the more I research Gallipoli and especially Suvla, the more I am convinced of the utter incompetence of the Generals. Hamilton and others should have been charged with War crimes such was the wastage of life. If Liman von Sanders had been in charge of the British they would have won in my humble opinion. Clarke nailed it in the "Donkeys". Gallipoli just illustrates it more vividly. I am trying to understand the heroic lung-bursting struggle through the mud by two lonely RNAS aviators being shelled every leaden step of their way. It is almost a metaphor for the campaign; failure and futility despite superhuman effort. By Oct 13th the Generals had already known they were defeated some 3 weeks. They just conveniently forgot to tell the men. It would take another 11 weeks to act. I think the men at Gallipoli deserved better leadership.

I have marked to location of the other aircraft shown in michaledr's post...or at least where I think it was taken....some 2 miles from the Yeomanry reserve trenches and 2.5 miles from the nearest Turks at Hetman Chair.

Also please note that the underlying Google Earth image was made in April when the waters were high. An Aug-Oct view would not (generally) have an inundated Salt Lake, especially in 1915, a particularly hot summer. Contrast my photo of the area in July last year when the ground was dry and dun coloured with michaeldr's much more verdant landscape. MG

post-55873-0-41614900-1303161728.jpg

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centurion

The Derbyshire Yeomanry was at the time in the vicinity of the Reserve Trenches shown in the red circled area - from the war diaries and regimental histories I am pretty sure that they were the nearest unit as the 4th london Mtd Bde (Benn) was in the front line some half a mile further East. The accounts say it crashed half a mile NW of the DY position. The attached map shows the Sevki Pasha maps overlaid - the most detailed trench maps we have of Gallipoli (surveyed in 1916 after the evacuation) with the Reserve trenches shown circled in red. We have a very high degree of certainty of that this location is correct from diaries and photos. A line half a mile NW of the extreme edge of the trenches would barely reach the Salt Lake. Clearly the eyewitness accounts are highly subjective and estimating distance and bearings was extremely rough. I have no idea the margin of error but I would guess that the aircraft could have landed within a few hundred yards (??) of the edge of the Salt Lake - remember the lake was not inundated despite the mud. I think this is too still subjective to extract anything approaching an accurate estimate of the location. Whatever the location, the aircraft would be at least a mile from the nearest point of the Turkish Front line at Hetman Chair ( and probably further) Not sure how far sound would travel.

MG

Fine in terms of witnessing the crash but pants as far as the salvage effort which took place at night and of which he would perforce not be an eyewitness

Edit with regard to sound it can go a long way on a still night and doubtless the Turks would be listening for any attempt to recover stuff from the wreck.

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Guest

I found Cdr Samson's "Extracts from Standing Orders - 3 Wing RNAS" dates 4th Dec 1915 at Gallipoli today at TNA. They are handwritten with a typewritten copy. Sadly the flight reports for 3 Wing were not available today as someone had them out all afternoon. I will try tomorrow and see if there is anything relating to this thread. The Standing Orders contained some gems.. There are 32 Standing Orders. I will transcribe them if anyone is interested - here are a few which are relevant to our discussion (all underlining are Samson's)...

6. At all times the pilot should carry out independent observations and note down what he sees (noting times) . Nail a pad of paper to the instrument board for this purpose. Particular attention being paid to shipping in the straits.

15. If an enemy plane is sighted, attack it, reporting you are doing so if spotting.

16. Remember in a "pusher biplane" with a machine gun you should be a winner*every time, if he stops to fight. Observer must keep cool, and remember to take careful aim and always open fire with a
few
shots at long range (adjusting his sight). Then reserve your fire until within 400 or 500 yards.

25. Don't try and do what is termed by some people as "stunt flying". This is not wanted for War and in not conduct required of an Officer.

27. H Farman 130 HP Canton Unne: Engine to be throttled to 1250 as soon as you have left the ground and climbed to 300ft; Machine not to be climbed at more than this speed unless very urgent. Engine to be kept well throttled down at all times after the requisite height is obtained. pilots are to look at their oil gauges frequently.

28. M Farman 110 HP Renault. To be climbed well throttled down after first 300ft. These engines suddenly drop revolutions, appearing to be about to stop. Juggling with the throttle will make them pick up again. About every 15 minutes let the engine run at full power for one minute.

29. If you alight at Suvla or Helles (alight if possible on places marked on chart in Wing Commander's Office**) Remember fire will be opened on the Aeroplane immediately. Leave the neighbourhood of the aeroplane at once, and wait until fire ceases. Then remove the instruments and wireless gear. Immediately after landing, the observer is to telephone or signal to Wing HQ stating the damage if known and the safety or otherwise of the crew.

31. M Farman Aeroplanes: If the engine stops, the observer is to at once look at the main petrol tap. As this sometimes shuts due to vibration.

* Sounds like he was a Backgammon player. This term is often used in the game. It's all about risk assessment.

** Looks like they had designated areas at Helles and Suvla. When Samson says "alight" he means forced landing (context from other orders)

MG

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michaeldr

All fascinating, but particularly 29! You need to that chart

good hunting

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nils d

The RNAS had some experience at Gallipoli of this sort of thing. Their first aircraft arrived via ship packed into cases 47 feet long. The improvised harbour was not by any stretch of the imagination a 'dock'; there was no crane to lift the planes in their cases from the ship to the land. Nevertheless eventually they got the things off the ship and then proceeded to use the cases as accommodation.

(per Brad King – "A pinnace and launch… … were planked over and the makeshift raft used to move the cases to the shore. From there they were manhandled to the airfield some three miles away along a rough road.")

yes the crates were hauled using wooden rollers under the crates the same way the Egyptans built the pyramids so things were simpler than some folk make out.

Centurion

l thought wed agreed given the date that the lake wasnt a real swamp ?The edges would be firmer and we cant say the plane landed in the wettest deepest part anyhow . As there was a salvage operation it mustve looked do-able to the men there.

l also thought there was agreement this was a pusher type that landed?

Pointng out that it might have been a seaplane is a bit of a non starter as a Short would pick a better place to alight and show up in the records easier.

The idea of only using metric tools to dis- connect the engine is a new one on me.What mechanic ever said this? Either you have an adjustable spanner or a ring set thats got metric one end. You assume this party is doing things "nicely" whereas they might justve MADE their tools fit before it got light. Even l can make a slotted screwdriverer fit a pozidrive screw if it doest matter about the head getting chewed.

lf it WAS muddy ldve expected the party to use a wooden sled as Martin Suggests.

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michaeldr

things were simpler than some folk make out

Nils, I suppose that depends on whether or not you were one of the Greek labourers doing the pushing and pulling, or one of the British sailors doing the exhorting. :glare:

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Guest

yes the crates were hauled using wooden rollers under the crates the same way the Egyptans built the pyramids so things were simpler than some folk make out.

Centurion
l thought wed agreed given the date that the lake wasnt a real swamp ?The edges would be firmer and we cant say the plane landed in the wettest deepest part anyhow . As there was a salvage operation it mustve looked do-able to the men there.
l also thought there was agreement this was a pusher type that landed?
Pointng out that it might have been a seaplane is a bit of a non starter as a Short would pick a better place to alight and show up in the records easier.
The idea of only using metric tools to dis- connect the engine is a new one on me.What mechanic ever said this? Either you have an adjustable spanner or a ring set thats got metric one end. You assume this party is doing things "nicely" whereas they might justve MADE their tools fit before it got light. Even l can make a slotted screwdriverer fit a pozidrive screw if it doest matter about the head getting chewed.
lf it WAS muddy ldve expected the party to use a wooden sled as Martin Suggests.


Personally I would have 'blown the doors off' with cutting charges and lifted the engine with the frame less the wings and tail and worried about the detail when I had the engine under cover. It was at least a mile from the Turks and the Turks would not fire artillery at night for reasons already explained.

With regards to location we only have 3 references:
1. DY War Diary - 1/2 a mile NW of their position which barely puts it at the edge of the lake boundary.
2. DY History says it skimmed the trenches which means it was already close to ground level 1/2 mile from the lake. This raises the question why the pilot would want to fly into the middle of the lake if he was almost down with 1/2 a mile to go. Logically he would put the aircraft down at the first opportunity i.e. on the edge of the lake.
3. Turkish/German account saying it came down East of the lake.

I think this means in all probability it would be in the SE corner of the 'lake', in the mud and given the time constraints I think they would not have mucked about and just dragged the thing out.

I believe the RAF 1 engine weighed 450 lb - almost the same as a landrover engine. ...Have look at this
[NB Make sure you fast fwd to 5:10] 2 horses allegedly pulling 9,000 lbs on a sledge. So a team of eight using spreaders would be able to pull 36,000 lbs.... i.e more than enough pulling power from a couple of gun teams....if they had made a wheeled trestle it is easy to see how they could have pulled the whole thing out in my humble opinion as long as the axles cleared the mud. Given the airmen ploughed out, I would suggest that the axle of a limber or cart would clear the mud in this case. Looking at some of the old photos of the Beaches there were some pretty substantial engineering projects and a lot of resources building bridges and pontoons etc so they had the ability to build whatever was necessary to get the thing out. MG

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Tunesmith

I agree with Nils that the Salt Lake was probably not uniformly muddy. Even when it was crossed on August 21st, when most accounts indicate its surface was baked hard, at least one report I read said that the going was boggy in places.

I don’t believe the condition of the lake would have changed that much by October 13th. According to the weather records kept by one CCS, in the second half September it rained only on one morning, Sept 15th, with showers in the afternoons of the 16th and 17th. In October, rain was only recorded on the 9th.

I haven’t found any weather records before September 15th but I can’t imagine there would have been much rain between August 21st and September 14th (perhaps someone will correct me).

So if these records are accurate, isn’t it conceivable that the Salt Lake’s surface was much the same as in August? Possibly the airmen were unlucky in the place their aircraft came down and in the route they took off the Salt Lake. A salvage party would surely have found and taken the driest and most solid way to and from the wreck.

Tunesmith

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Guest

I agree with Nils that the Salt Lake was probably not uniformly muddy. Even when it was crossed on August 21st, when most accounts indicate its surface was baked hard, at least one report I read said that the going was boggy in places.

I don't believe the condition of the lake would have changed that much by October 13th. According to the weather records kept by one CCS, in the second half September it rained only on one morning, Sept 15th, with showers in the afternoons of the 16th and 17th. In October, rain was only recorded on the 9th.

I haven't found any weather records before September 15th but I can't imagine there would have been much rain between August 21st and September 14th (perhaps someone will correct me).

So if these records are accurate, isn't it conceivable that the Salt Lake's surface was much the same as in August? Possibly the airmen were unlucky in the place their aircraft came down and in the route they took off the Salt Lake. A salvage party would surely have found and taken the driest and most solid way to and from the wreck.

Tunesmith

Across dozens of war diaries I have no rain between 21st Aug and 15th Sep when it rained hard, followed by sunny days. The next record is the night of the 8th October and again on 11th October - heavy again. So three rainstorms in 52 days after the hottest summer on record. The earliest evidence of the water table appearing in the trenches is in the last week of September near Tint's Corner as trenches were being improved. Azmak Dere - the main drainage channel running through Suvla plain east was used as a communication track and fully manned by the Scottish Yeomanry until the November storms. MG

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