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Beer For the Troops...


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Magick #1 Posted Apr 25 2014 - 22:02

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In the lighter moments of World War II, the Spitfire was used in an unorthodox role: bringing beer kegs to the men in Normandy.

 

During the war, the Heneger and Constable brewery donated free beer to the troops. After D-Day, supplying the invasion troops in Normandy with vital supplies was already a challenge. Obviously, there was no room in the logistics chain for such luxuries as beer or other types of refreshments. Some men, often called “sourcers”, were able to get wine or other niceties “from the land” or rather from the locals. RAF Spitfire pilots came up with an even better idea.

 

The Spitfire Mk IX was an evolved version of the Spitfire, with pylons under the wings for bombs or tanks. It was discovered that the bomb pylons could also be modified to carry beer kegs. According to pictures that can be found, various sizes of kegs were used. Whether the kegs could be jettisoned in case of emergency is unknown. If the Spitfire flew high enough, the cold air at altitude would even refresh the beer, making it ready for consumption upon arrival.

 

A variation of this was a long range fuel tank modified to carry beer instead of fuel. The modification even received the official designation Mod. XXX. Propaganda services were quick to pick up on this, which probably explains the “official” designation. As a result, Spitfires equipped with Mod XXX or keg-carrying pylons were often sent back to Great-Britain for “maintenance” or “liaison” duties. They would then return to Normandy with full beer kegs fitted under the wings.

 

http://spitfiresite.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Spitfire_beer1.jpg

http://spitfiresite.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Spitfire_beer3-640x544.jpg

http://spitfiresite.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Spitfire_beer2.jpg

 

Typically, the British Revenue of Ministry and Excise stepped in, notifying the brewery that they were in violation of the law by exporting beer without paying the relevant taxes. It seems that Mod. XXX was terminated then, but various squadrons found different ways to refurbish their stocks. Most often, this was done with the unofficial approval of higher echelons.

 

In his book “Dancing in the Skies”, Tony Jonsson, the only Icelancer pilot in the RAF, recalled beer runs while he was flying with 65 Squadron. Every week a pilot was sent back to the UK to fill some cleaned-up drop tanks with beer and return to the squadron.

 

Jonsson hated the beer runs as every man on the squadron would be watching you upon arrival. Anyone who made a rough landing and dropped the tanks would be the most hated man on the squadron for an entire week.

 

In his book “Typhoon Pilot”, Desmond Scott also recalls Typhoon drop tanks filled with beer but regretted that it acquired a metallic taste.

 

Less imaginative techniques involved stashing bottles wherever space could be found on the aircraft, which included the ammunition boxes, luggage compartment or even in parts of the wing, with varying results. Champagne bottles in particular did not react well to the vibrations they were submitted to during such bootlegging trips.



Cutthroatlemur #2 Posted Apr 25 2014 - 22:05

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Wow the aerodynamic drag caused by those kegs must have been terrible...worth it I'm sure...but terrible for the flight characteristics.

Magick #3 Posted Apr 25 2014 - 22:09

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Yeah, that flat face coming into the wind must have played havoc on the flight characteristics of the plane. I wonder how badly it would have affected things, at best, just made the plane harder to handle. At worst, acted like a speed brake and made the stall speed higher than normal.

madogthefirst #4 Posted Apr 25 2014 - 22:14

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Brings a whole new meaning to "I'm making a Beer Run."

ChumCreature #5 Posted Apr 25 2014 - 22:17

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I would suggest this plane for WoWP but I'm afraid of what the beer might do to my pilot...

Comrade_Catastrophe #6 Posted Apr 25 2014 - 23:43

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Plot twist: there was long bendy straw stuck in the side of the keg that ran up into the wing, through the fuselage, and into the cockpit.

okjoek #7 Posted Apr 26 2014 - 00:51

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My Dziadzia told stories about carrying Beer in his B-25 in the pacific in a way that kept it cold too. I wish he were still alive to go through all those stories again.

madogthefirst #8 Posted Apr 26 2014 - 01:28

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View Postokjoek, on Apr 25 2014 - 16:51, said:

My Dziadzia told stories about carrying Beer in his B-25 in the pacific in a way that kept it cold too. I wish he were still alive to go through all those stories again.

You come with a translator?



okjoek #9 Posted Apr 26 2014 - 02:53

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View Postmadogthefirst, on Apr 25 2014 - 20:28, said:

You come with a translator?

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Google+translate



Magick #10 Posted Apr 26 2014 - 06:16

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View Postmadogthefirst, on Apr 25 2014 - 20:28, said:

You come with a translator?

Polish for Grandpa.



madogthefirst #11 Posted Apr 26 2014 - 06:23

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View PostMagick, on Apr 25 2014 - 22:16, said:

Polish for Grandpa.

Thank you. For all I knew it was Polish for, we're being invaded again.






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