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LarryH57

Allied Inflatable Tanks and Trucks in WW2

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Regarding Allied Inflatable Tanks and Trucks in WW2, there is a myth that some of these were made by Airfix, that had been making inflateble toys and beds and other goods in 1939, so had the relevant experience.

Does anyone know if this is true as I cannot find and references on the web. Has their role been 'inflated'?

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Dunlop claim credit in their war history.  Quote: Some of Dunlop's most ingenious and valuable work was in the production of inflatable dummy guns, vehicles and landing craft used Decoys to mislead the enemy...

No mention of Airfix (but then it's unlikely that a company history would recognise external assistance).

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Posted (edited)

That begs the question what did Airfix do in WW2 after it was started in the UK in 1939.

Would MoS allow a factory to stay idle?

 Its known Airfix were seriously affected by the lack of rubber supplies when Malaya fell to the Japanese, so they were making something well before the firms first model kit of a Ferguson Tractor circa 1948

Edited by LarryH57

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Not wartime but before the Ferguson Tractor, in 1947, Airfix introduced injection moulding, initially producing pocket combs.

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Were they actually all rubber as rubber was in short supply in WW2?

I thought that inflatable rubber tubes were used to support a canvas type structure but I may be totally wrong

Cheers

Richard

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Posted (edited)

64EK26,

Yes they were as you say on DD amphibious tanks but the subject here is the inflatable decoy tanks, trucks and also aircraft that were used to pretend that the invasion force was other than where it actually was. There were also decoys made of canvas over very light frames, that could be erected quite quickly and flat packed (sort of) to allow easy transport.

David

Edited by David Herbert

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I've contacted Airfix and hopefully someone there will know about WW2 production. 

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Take a look here: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1727&context=tsaconf

Dunlop. Neoprene rubber substitute. 'Camouflarge cloth' ....secret. Air Ministry Ballon Section built them, so did Shepperton Studios. Search Google widely and deeply and ye shall reap 'facts'.

My interest is Force R, who whilst they were the masters of deception in WW2, were at some point brought back into play for the Cold War ...... certainly in Tripolitania in 1955 and as an overtly Royal Engineer unit were based in at least one regiment's base at one time (Homs, 3RHA) to utilise a new unusualy large purpose built aircraft-type hanger ....on the edge of the parade square to house what is anyone's guess as I can't track much in the archives remotely from the lands unfit for human habitation. I was alerted to Force R by a Veteran of 3RHA who was there and he told me that the unit was based in their camp and that personnel of Force R were not allowed to mix with the troops stationed in Homs as 'their work was secret'. They dressed in quasi-military uniforms and were 'scruffy'! What I have found out officially is that Force R were indeed in Libya to build dummy V Force bomber diversionary airfields in the desert .... as the real RAF Idris was a known diversionary real airfield for when the 'balloon went up'. The thinking is the large hanger was for constructing/inflating dummy aircraft ... the hanger, even I can remember as a child there in 1959-61 was huge and most certainly was big enough to house a blow-up Vulcan or two! Whether there ever were inflatable British jet aircraft at that time, or after I know not. The hanger was not used for anything after 1957 when 3RHA departed, seemingly 'empty' during 6 and 2RTR's time in situ though no other Veteran could tell me what the hanger was used for even if they could remember it being there. So if you know anything about dummy airfields, inflatable aircraft and Cold War deception in Libya, do please sing out.

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Today's reply from Airfix:-
 
Thank you for your email, I'm really sorry we do not have any records of this range of products.
 
 

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