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National Resources Are Not Yet Exhausted—Story of a Submarine that Penetrated Arctic Ice Released—Amphibious Warfare and Its Possible Application in Korean War Discussed
British Report Reveals Soviet Navy Second Only to That of United States—Damage to Warships in England Believed To Be Sabotage
Russian Weakness in Agricultural Development Discussed—French Announce Tests of Novel Mach 1.5 Jet and Rocket Powered Interceptor—Russian Satellite Aviation Described
Atomic Energy Commission Announces New Power Plant—Scientists Find Depths of Sea a New Source of Food—Atomic Secrecy Called Foe of Security—New Diving Device Leads to Spectacular Undersea Discoveries
Air Force Floating Ice Island Drifts Toward Russian Side of North Pole—Naval Aviation Hitting Stride with New Aircraft
National Resources Are Not Yet Exhausted
New York Times, March 15, 1953.—For many years, and with increasing tempo of late, we have heard that the United States is running out of great natural resources, exhausting its gas and oil and forests. We have become a have-not nation.
As National Conservation Week opens today, let us see if we cannot justifiably take a more optimistic view. After all, the problem of resources is mostly one of brains. All of today’s resources actually existed in 5000 B.C. No doubt in the Stone Age the old ones spent much time lamenting a shortage of Hints—right up to the time bronze was discovered. Pessimists seem to have overlooked the fact that there are four distinct approaches to the question—exploration, substitution, conservation and technological advance. Each has an important place in our future resources picture.
The worriers say: “But haven’t we almost completely explored the world?” Yes, in some respects we have. But I remember when I went to school being taught that Siberia was a worthless wasteland. Now Siberia forms the basis of a large part of Russia’s industrial economy. Geographically, Canada has been pretty well explored, but it is only lately that many hidden resources have been found there. The recently discovered Canadian Athabasca oil fields have prospects of 100 to 300 billion barrels of oil, compared to the presently proved United States reserves of less than thirty billion barrels. As soon as shipping and other facilities are built blast furnaces of this country are going to start receiving iron ore from Labrador, where several hundred million tons of high- grade open-pit ore are known to exist.
Do not these discoveries suggest that there may be still hidden resources in this country? Isn’t it likely that even greater riches may be found in Latin America when those lands are further opened and developed?
■ In the past two decades we have seen many replacements of one material by
another—such as plastics for metals. As just one example of the growth of plastics, consider the household refrigerator. A specific refrigerator part that in 1949 was made of four pounds of aluminum, one-fifth pound of stainless steel and one-fifth pound of rubber (at a cost of $1.20) was made a year later of two and three-quarters pounds of plastic polystyrene and three-tenths of a pound of aluminum (at a cost of $1). Added to the savings in materials costs is a saving in electric power. It takes thirty-four times as much electric power to make a cubic foot of aluminum as to make a cubic foot of polystyrene.
Or consider fibers. In the ten years from 1939 to 1949 rayon jumped from 10 per cent of our total fiber consumption to more than 19 per cent. Nylon now accounts for 2 per cent. More important even than these may be the newer, wool-like fibers that have been introduced in the last two years. These manmade fibers can help free us from dependence on foreign sources for the vast amounts of wool we need. If that were the sole object, it might be asked, “Why not raise more sheep in this country?” The answer is a matter of economics. The cost of building a plant to make 50,000,000 pounds of an acrylic-type wool fiber, together with the first year’s operating costs, would be about $150 million. But the cost of the sheep, the grazing land and the labor for one year to produce an equal amount of wool fiber would be about $1 billion.
Substitution is also increasingly important in the field of metals. It was recently predicted that by 1960 this nation will consume about 4,200 million pounds of aluminum annually—about three times the present output and twelve times that of 1929.
What about those products for which we must depend on annual crops, such as food, lumber, cotton and others? We can meet this challenge, too. Conservation is largely a matter of figuring out what can be done to make the land more productive and to prevent waste of materials.
We have learned that we cannot just cut down forests without doing something more. Fertilizers, insecticides and fungicides enable us to increase farm yields. The Paley report to the President on “Resources for Freedom” states that by 1975 the nation will require an increase in farm products, both food and non-food, of 40 per cent, most of which will have to come from increased production per acre. It can be done. Corn, for instance, could be increased from an average of forty bushels per acre to eighty bushels by better fertilizers, use of hybrids, and pest controls. Pasture land can be made to support two or three times as many animals by liming, fertilizing and better re-seeding. Soil conditions would enable us to use land that in the past has not been very productive.
There seems to be no end to the products of technology. Let us look first at that intriguing metal, titanium. Stout as steel, but only half as heavy, the fourth most plentiful metal in the earth’s crust, titanium’s production has been very small because of its hard-to-handle traits. The molten metal tends to devour every substance it touches. If allowed to absorb air, it becomes impure and brittle. It quickly dissolves refractory brick, normally used to line smelting furnaces. With these complex problems, it might seem that titanium is doomed to be an exotic material, sparingly used. But, although only about seventy tons were made in 1950, it now appears that several thousand tons will be made this year. Because technology is always improving we may expect great things from this “miracle metal.”
In another field, many technicians now feel that the commercial production of electric power from atomic reactors may be no more than four or five years away.
A third promising technological possibility is the development of a vast new industry to make gasoline from oil shale and coal. The future also may bring important developments in synthetic rubber, which fills many uses for which natural rubber is unsuited.
The long-range future of this or any other nation will depend with increasing emphasis on how alive and virile the nation keeps its science, its engineering, its technology. As natural materials grow more scarce, continuing stress must be placed on applied and pure research. Man has the choice. He can use up all his easily available resources and let his civilization dwindle with them. Or, if he has the heart to dare, the mind to think and the hands to do, he can meet and overcome this great challenge. I believe that man will apply his brains to substitution, exploration and conservation of resources and that his civilization will continue to grow.
It is earlier than you think.
Story of a Submarine That Penetrated Arctic Ice Released
Christian Science Monitor, February 21, 1953.—The time is approaching when it probably will be possible for a submarine to cruise under the Arctic ice across the top of the world from Alaska to Russia. This suggests an adventure worthy of Jules Verne. It is. For such a submarine would have to have an atomic engine, enabling it to remain submerged for many days. It would be a weird, fascinating, romantic journey.
Unfortunately there seems to be no reason to make such a trip except for war. The United States is now building an atomic submarine, and a report has just reached Washington on the U.S.S. Redfish, which has cruised farther under the Arctic ice than man ever has before.
The Redfish steamed north from Alaska into the Arctic ice pack, submerged, and kept on a zero zero course. Its skipper, J. P. Bienia, took the ship down 150 feet. Bienia raised his periscope, found his ship in a forest of ice, and moved cautiously forward.
The Redfish was underneath a huge ice canopy. Daylight filtered through dimly. Pinnacles of the hard blue ice, some 25 feet long hung down from the vaulted ceiling above or into the water. Rams of ice extended horizontally from these pinnacles or columns. The Redfish cruised ahead, deeper and deeper into a world of which even Captain Nemo in his fabulous submarine, the Nautilus, never dreamed.
It was as rough a journey as it was eerie. The Redfish groped its way through the ice jungle, but it was able to move at a steady rate. For eight hours there was no sign of open water above. Finally sonar signals indicated a break in the ice field and the Redfish surfaced. It had been under the icecap
for eight hours and had cruised 22 miles.
This was the first of a series of explorations that took the Redfish thousands of miles under the ice. Much of the log of the Redfish remains secret, but enough is revealed to suggest to naval officers that the time is approaching when submarines will be able to cruise from Alaska under the Pole to waters off the Arctic coast of Russian territory.
The Arctic icecap covers some 5,500,000 square miles. Hydrographic studies show its thickness varies from four to about 35 feet, while the sea beneath is about 12,000 feet deep. No submarine exists today that could stay under water long enough, even by surfacing in the great ice caverns, to make the 6,000 mile journey across to Eurasia and return. But a submarine is now being built at Groton, Connecticut, and at Arco, Idaho, that can make such a journey. It may be ready for trials late in 1954, and another of a different type soon will follow.
This will be the U.S.S. Nautilus. There have been three other submarines of that illustrious name: Robert Fulton’s experimental undersea craft was named the Nautilus, which originates in Greek mythology. Sir Hubert Wilkins gave his Arctic submarine that name. And a U.S.S. Nautilus in World War II sank almost 100,000 tons of Japanese shipping. But only the vessel now on the ways at Groton will equal in its mysterious powers that of Captain Nemo of which Jules Verne wrote in his novels, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island.
Captain Nemo’s Nautilus was electric- powered through some remarkable process of extracting and adapting sodium from sea water. It’s quite as clear to the average reader as a description of today’s Nautilus and its STR engine. The initials stand for “submarine thermal reactor.” And the first Nautilus was equipped as no other submarine ever will be again. When Cyrus Harding and his party said good-by to Captain Nemo at Lincoln Island, Captain Nemo took forever to the bottom of the sea his extraordinary vessel with its illuminated ceilings, its tapestried walls, its Italian, French, Flemish, and Spanish masters, its aquarium, and its organ, not to mention its precious jewels.
The Nautilus of today will be quite as
marvelous in its unlimited source of power. But it will be stripped for action and have no luxuries but good food, which is not a luxury when you stay beneath the surface for days on end, and have no place to move except from your bunk to your duty station. The new vessel will have sufficient supply of air; that seems to be no problem. It will be the fastest underwater ship ever built. It will be able to remain submerged and to cruise as long as the endurance of the crew holds up. The Navy is conducting tests in this connection at the present time.
A trip under the Arctic ice is merely the spectacular accomplishment foreseen for the two atomic submarines. These new vessels will be an experiment. Already there is some criticism as to whether or not they have been worth the cost. In a sense this is academic because the Navy and Congress long ago determined to find out. The Nautilus and a second atomic sub, the Sea Wolf, will answer many questions. It is hard to believe Americans will not be interested in this Jules Verne aspect of the atomic era for years to come.
Amphibious Warfare and Its Possible Application in Korean War Discussed
Christian Science Monitor, March 3, 1953. —Should the decision be made to drive the Communists from Korea, landings by United Nations forces far behind the present battle line unquestionably will play a decisive role in the campaign.
At present the Communists occupy line after line of skillfully constructed bunkers and emplacements tied together with miles of deep connecting trenches. Their artillery has been zeroed on all salient features of the terrain, permitting effective fire to be delivered regardless of targets being obscured by darkness or low visibility.
Since the armistice in the summer of 1951, the Communists have expended a prodigious amount of effort in constructing lines of defense which are reported to be 20 or more miles in depth. The rugged landscape involved adds a considerable measure of strength to defensive works which in themselves are formidable obstacles to attack.
Any defense can be overcome if the attack
has the necessary strength and is willing to pay the price. The supposedly impenetrable defenses of the Russians at Port Arthur were overrun by the Japanese in 1905, who paid a terrific toll for their victory. And at similar cost the United States Marines took strongly defended Iwo Jima, digging the Japanese out almost man by man.
Consequently it can be assumed that the defenses on which the Communists have expended so much effort can be forced if necessary. But why pay a huge price for a victory which might be more easily attained otherwise?
A similar, but less strongly held Communist line across Korea was abandoned in a hurry when it was outflanked by the successful landing made at Inchon by United States Marines early in the war. The present Communist line will be untenable once its lines of communications are cut or seriously threatened by hostile forces ranging its rear.
Landing on and seizing a beachhead on a foreign coast defended by enemy troops always has been considered to be one of the most difficult operations in warfare. Until United States forces proved otherwise in World War II, many authorities were convinced that the advantages in favor of the defenders so outweighed the difficulties inherent to the attack, that taking a hostile beach was not feasible. The British fiasco at Gallipoli in 1915 was cited as prima facie confirmation of this conviction.
The successes of the United States Navy and Marines in marching across the Pacific, and the Army landings in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and Normandy did not stem from plans evolved overnight.
For many years the United States Navy and Marine Corps had been confident that enemy beaches could be overrun and held. These services made a comprehensive study of the needs and tactics of amphibious warfare. Phases of these studies were tested and retested in exercises designed to approximate wartime landings as closely as possible, with the happy result that by 1940 a sound doctrine had been developed which provided a tested technique and brought into being many newly devised factors required to insure successful ship-to-shore movement of troops.
The underlying principles of amphibious strategy are simple enough, and have been a matter of comment for many years. In brief they are: Maintain control of the sea; keep the enemy in ignorance of the locale selected for the debarkation; select a beach with terrain favorable for the landing; provide naval gun power sufficient to prepare the way for troops going ashore; have air power adequate to provide a control of the air that will protect the landing and the ships off shore and insure the necessary bombing of selected objectives; provide means to effect a quick landing of troops, artillery, tanks, vehicles, and adequate supplies.
Tactical application of these principles, however, is far from being a simple procedure. The personnel must be properly trained in its duties, preferably by one or more unopposed landings on beaches where physical aspects are similar to those which will be encountered in the actual landing. Transports and cargo vessels must be combat-loaded so personnel, equipment, and supplies will be unloaded in the exact order they are required to reach shore.
Prior to a landing the beach or beaches and their approaches must be thoroughly scouted by submarines and underwater demolition teams to locate and remove obstacles, and provide tide, current, and soundings data. Airplanes should make photographic reconnaissances to secure essential information of various kinds.
An operation order is drawn up which prescribes in detail the command relations and how communications will be maintained, the exact procedure of the ship-to-shore movement, the limits of the beach or beaches which are to be taken and occupied, how the landing will proceed to avoid congestion on the beach, assignment of targets for naval gunfire and aerial bombing, and how supplies and equipment will be sent ashore and distributed.
Timetable of Battle
The entire operation is reduced to a tactical schedule which is a precise timetable of events. When it goes into effect, naval gunfire and airplane bombing destroy assigned targets and neutralize enemy positions. Troops are disembarked from transports into assault craft according to plan and proceed to shore in assigned combat waves preceded by parachute and helicopter-borne assault units assigned shock duties against specified strong points. Artillery units and tanks closely follow the troop-carrying craft.
Once a landing is effected, fire-control parties ashore direct the gunfire of supporting ships and call for airplane bombing of enemy positions.
Every effort is made to expand the beachhead quickly to provide room for a build-up of necessary supplies and equipment.
British Report Reveals Soviet Navy Second Only to That of the United States
New York Times, March 17, 1953.—An increasing Soviet challenge to the naval supremacy of the Western powers was described in the House of Commons today by J. P. L. Thomas, First Lord of the Admiralty, the civilian chief of the Royal Navy.
Mr. Thomas said that there had lately been a “very remarkable” increase in the speed of Soviet naval construction and that the Soviet Union now had the second largest navy in commission in the world. The largest is the United States Navy. Britain undoubtedly has more ships than the Soviet Union, but fewer in active service.
“It is therefore no use blinding ourselves to the fact that there is a very strongly armed and efficient Soviet Navy with which to reckon,” Mr. Thomas told the House.
The Soviet building program, he said, “includes many destroyers and submarines, while more cruisers are now being built annually than by all of the NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] forces combined.”
The Soviet Navy has about twenty very powerful cruisers, more than 100 destroyers and more than 350 submarines, he reported.
“By far the greatest part of their strength —and this is of particular import to Britain —is concentrated in the Baltic and in the northern area,” Mr. Thomas said.
There is every indication, he continued, that the Soviet ships are well built and well armed. The Soviet Union learned much from Allied ships lent to it during the war and from German experts after the war so that the latest vessels have the most up-to- date technical equipment, he added.
Mr. Thomas reported that the Soviet Union also had a powerful naval air force, including an increasing proportion of jet planes that could be used for bombing, torpedo attacks or minelaying.
Soviet Can Defend or Attack
Mr. Thomas declared that in war the Soviet Navy not only could meet its defensive commitments but also could lend powerful support to land and amphibious operations and wage an offensive campaign against Allied sea communications and ports with surface craft, aircraft, the latest mines and torpedoes, atomic bombs and in due course guided missiles.
His estimate of Soviet capabilities at sea was the most impressive yet given by an official source in Britain.
Damage to Warships in England Believed to Be Sabotage
Manchester Guardian, January 31, 1953. —Damage to an electrical cable disclosed yesterday in H.M.S. Warrior, which is refitting at Devonport dockyard, was the third case of suspected sabotage in the six light fleet carriers of the Glory class.
At the Admiralty last night, a serious view was taken of the Warrior incident, although it was still not known whether it was an act of sabotage and Devonport naval headquarters had described the damage as minor. In 1950, damage occurred in the Theseus (at Portsmouth) and the Vengeance (at Devonport), both sister-ships in the Glory class, of which the Warrior is the most modern. Her normal displacement is 13,350 tons.
Soon after the defect was discovered, dockyard detective officers questioned workmen, of whom hundreds have been aboard since the refit started last spring. It is believed that the detectives were inclined to rule out the idea that the damage might be the work of a disgruntled member of the ship’s company.
Defects in Second Carrier
Another naval incident necessitating Admiralty inquiries was reported at Devonport late last night. Admiralty detective officers boarded the light fleet carrier Triumph, a sister ship of the Warrior, at Bangor, Ulster, three days ago to investigate an incident on board the carrier, which yesterday arrived in Plymouth Sound accompanied by the destroyer Obedient after training operations in Western waters.
A naval official at Plymouth said: “Minor defects of an unexplained nature involving machinery in H.M.S. Triumph have been discovered. No damage has, in fact, occurred, and the ship remains fully operational. The matter is being investigated.” Inquiries will be continued during the weekend. In spite of the screening of the crew, shore-leave was permitted last night.
Russian Weakness in Agricultural Development Discussed
Marine Corps Gazette, March 1953.—The status of agriculture in the Soviet Union, as in any other great nation, is of major importance. As Prof. Karl Haushofer used to put it bluntly to his students in the Institute of Geopolitics, “People must live; they must have their grub.” It’s agriculture that gives the Soviet people their “grub,” and it’s the Soviet agriculture that will, in large measure, decide how well or how poorly the nation is fed in the future. From the strategic standpoint this is important, for a nation’s staying power in war is in large measure determined by the degree to which that country’s agriculture can support a war effort.
In the Soviet Union, as in any other great nation, landform and soil fertility, coupled with rainfall, sets the basic pattern for agriculture. Just to add to the examples of how fundamentally the Soviet Union differs from the United States, it should be pointed out that, while North American soil zones run generally north and south, Russia’s soil zones, due to climatic conditions, run generally east and west. By far the best soils are in southwest Russia. There in the Ukraine are found the rich black chernozems, most productive soil type in the world. It is these highly productive soils, developed under the grasses of the Russian steppes, which are the foundation of Soviet agricultural production. The critically important chernozem soil zone is formed much like a giant wedge, with its broadest area in the southwestern Ukraine and tapering toward a poorly defined point to the eastward, where the zone disappears in the more arid wastelands of central Soviet Asia. In the Soviet Union, the rich chernozem soil area totals about one million square miles, or about four times the total for the similar soil area in the United States.
Strategically, the chernozem zone of the Ukraine is of major importance to Russia in peace or in war, for it provides twenty-five per cent of the cultivated area of the Soviet Union. Its importance is even greater, for in this soil zone is produced, for example, ninety per cent of Russia’s sugar beets and seventy-five per cent of her wheat. From the standpoint of food alone, loss of effective Soviet control over the Ukraine, with its rich soils, would be catastrophic to prolonged all-out war effort by Russia.
Any nation planning military operations in the Soviet Union would have to pay particular attention to the problems created by the extensive permafrost that extends under forty-four per cent of all Russia. This permanently frozen subsoil area, which, depending on the season, may extend from the surface to hundreds of feet deep, would present real problems in practically every form of military engineering from airfield construction to field sanitation, and from road building to digging foxholes. Even in the hot summer weather of central Soviet Asia, rock-hard frozen earth can be found a few feet beneath the surface. The military implications of the Russian permafrost are important and numerous, calling for special engineer techniques.
Here are some basic facts on the scope of agricultural activities in the Soviet Union: Due to climatic and landform limitations,
the arable land amounts to about 432 million acres, which is close to eight per cent of the total Soviet area. Meadow and grassland totals 268 million acres, or about five per cent of the total area. By combining these figures, we have a grand total of close to 700 million acres, or about thirteen per cent of the Soviet area devoted to agriculture in some form.
In agriculture, as in population, the important area is that west of the Urals. Not only is the bulk of the Soviet population in this area, but it also possesses eighty per cent of the agricultural land of the Soviet Union. Of this region west of the Urals (excluding northern wasteland), sixty-five per cent is devoted to agriculture. By contrast, only two per cent of Soviet Asia is agricultural area.
On the eve of World War II, the land area actually sown for crop production totaled 373 million acres. This takes on more meaning when it is broken down into sown acres per person, compared with similar per capita figures for other nations. The per capita figure runs about 2.2 acres for Russia, 2.8 for the United States, and .45 for China. However, the available agricultural produce is not in direct proportion to the amount of sown area per person, as agricultural efficiency is an important contributing factor. Comparison of farm efficiency of the Soviet Union and the United States discloses that it takes about two Soviet farm families to produce the food for themselves and one non-farm family. In the United States, one farm family feeds itself and five to six nonfarm families. This explains why the population of Russia is sixty-five per cent rural (agricultural) and thirty-five per cent urban (industrial). Reasonably acceptable figures show that there has actually been a considerable overall increase in the production of grain in the Soviet Union under the Communist regime. However, the real criterion of agricultural progress is production measured on a per capita basis. Consequently, the following table is significant:
Total Russian Production in Grain Crops (per 100 persons)
1913 1938 1949
63 tons 55 tons 39 tons
The conclusion is evident: Soviet grain production is, in terms of the number of persons to be fed, far below that of the Tsars. It would be less than realistic to contend that such a per-capita decrease has not had its effect on standards of diet. In addition to the decrease in grain production, there has also been a decrease in the production of potatoes and vegetables when measured on a per capita basis.
As in the case of grain crops, livestock totals are more meaningful when considered on a per capita basis. Following are livestock totals translated in terms of population:
Farm Animals in the Soviet Union (per 100 persons)
Sheep and goats
As can be readily seen, there is, on a population basis, less livestock under the Soviets than under the Tsars. What is more important is that the decrease is large enough to be of major significance in evaluating the food reserve the Soviet Union would have to depend upon in event of war. In short, there is considerably less meat per person today in the Soviet Union than there was when Imperial Russia moved into World War I.
One of the principal reasons given by students of Soviet economy for the compara tively low grain and livestock production in the Soviet Union is the emphasis of the Communist rulers on industrialization. This constant striving for greater industrialization has been characterized by a planned shift of population from rural to urban areas, which in turn means more hands for industry but less on the farm. There can be little question but what Soviet agricultural efficiency is superior to that of the time of the Tsars, but such technological improvement has not been able to compensate for the stepped-up movement of peoples from farm to city. Unquestionably, the agricultural economy of the country is being knowingly stretched thin. It apparently is a calculated risk by the Soviet government. It is also a risk that could prove a serious miscalculation in event of war, because it does not provide the kind of agricultural foundation required to support a na-
tion’s war-time economy. While more a matter of speculation than geography, the question might be asked as to whether the Soviet rulers would deliberately so weaken their national agricultural base if they considered a major war imminent.
French Announce Tests of Novel Mach 1.5 Jet and Rocket Powered Interceptor
Aviation Week, March 16, 1953.—Paris.— A French supersonic interceptor of novel design made its first test flight from the Melun- Villaroche airfield near Paris Mar. 2.
The S.O. 9000 Trident, built by the nationalized company SNCASO, is the first French plane designed to exceed the speed of sound in horizontal flight. Marcel Dassault Mystere II’s have crashed the sonic barrier in dives.
The Trident officially is super-secret. The announcement of its first flight merely said that the plane had performed satisfactorily and that tests would continue for several months before supersonic speeds would be attempted.
Well-informed aviation circles, however, describe the Trident as a response to the French air ministry’s search for a speedy interceptor with a very fast rate of climb and a relatively slow landing speed so that less elaborate and costly base facilities would be required.
The Trident is a very small light-plane with unusually short, straight wings. It is powered by two Turbomeca Marbore II jet engines of 880 lb. thrust placed in nacelles at each wingtip. In addition, it carries a rocket in the tail with fuel for only a few minutes’ operation.
The rocket was built by the Societe d’Etudes de Propulsion par Reaction and is reported to develop about 9,000 lb. thrust. With the rocket in operation, the plane is expected to reach speeds of about Mach 1.5. When the rocket fuel has been exhausted, reducing weight considerably, the plane can land at a speed substantially lower than any other modern fighter.
The Trident is the result of studies begun by SNCASO in 1948. Construction of the first prototype began in October 1951, and a second prototype now is being built.
The rocket propulsion was developed after extensive flight tests of similar but less- powerful rockets on the four prototypes of the S.O. 6021 Espadon. Details of the construction of the new interceptor are secret, but it is reported that the Trident is relatively simple and inexpensive and can be built rapidly in large quantities.
Russian Satellite Aviation Described
Forces Aeriennes Franqaises, February, 1953.
After the Communist coup of 1948 and following a number of spectacular escapes by Czech pilots who had served in the R.A.F. during the war, a strict purge was effected which must have weakened the Czech aviation potential. Since that time, with material aid from the Russians, Czech aviation has been considerably reinforced, and certain units (particularly the fighters) are now equipped with the most modern jet materiel.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Czech air arm is subject to the army Chief of General Staff, who is in turn under the orders of the Minister of National Defense. The air arm comprises a number of air corps made up of divisions which are in turn split up into regiments.
There are fighter, light bomber, and reconnaissance regiments, destined for the most part as support units for ground forces. The re-equipment of the air force in modern materials began in July, 1951. According to a German source, the Czechs had in the beginning of 1951 some few hundred planes, half of them conventional fighters.
Under the terms of the peace treaty, Hungary had the right to maintain not more than 90 planes, of which 70 should be first line; personnel was not to exceed 5,000 men. (Moreover, this country as well as Bulgaria was not to build a bomber force nor undertake construction or experimentation in the field of piloted or pilotless aircraft.) It seems that the permitted figures have been exceeded today, and, according to German sources of information, Hungary is now receiving jet planes from Russia. Up to now, Hungarian air units were equipped with a variety of old Russian and German types.
During the war, an aviation industry was developed by and for the Germans. The factories concerned were destroyed before the Russian advance. Today they have been rebuilt, but limit their production to light training and tourist planes and gliders.
Under the terms of the peace treaties, Bulgaria was subject to the same restrictions as Hungary. However, these treaties have been disregarded, and the Bulgarian air arm (under the Ministry of War) is considerably stronger than the Hungarian air force. Today the attack and fighter groups are equipped with jet Yak.15 and IL.10, an improved version of the IL.2.
There are no aircraft production plants in Bulgaria.
The Rumanian air arm is under the minister of National Defense. Two years ago it was still using outmoded German planes. On 13 March of last year, five members of the Rumanian air force (chief of operations of a bombing regiment, political commissar of the regiment, a medical officer, two petty-officer mechanics) “escaped” from Rumania in a Ileinkel 111 and landed at Belgrade air field. Their revelations on the present state of organization of the Rumanian air forces, reported by a correspondent of the journal Inleraia, are not without interest. When the peace treaty went into effect, bombers were disarmed and converted into transports. They have not been re-equipped as bombers, although their crews have been getting regular bombing practice since 1951. On the other hand, the Rumanians have received Soviet bombers and jet fighters. The last were supposedly sold to Hungary, then “seized” and re-sold to Rumania. It is rumored, if one can believe escapees, that the Mig.15's have since been “re-seized” and “re-sold” to Bulgaria.
Before the v/ar, the Autonomous Administration of the Rumanian aircraft industry, an establishment under the control of the Ministries of War and Navy, constituted the principal plane and motor construction company. This company then put out a number of pursuit and reconnaissance planes for the Rumanian air force, some of which are still in use. This company was also building Gnome and Rhone motors and Morane- Saulnier and Potez planes under license. After the war, the factories of the administration were demilitarized at the order of the Russian occupation authorities. More recently, following a Rumano-Soviet agreement, the factories were reconverted to the production of tractors and agricultural machinery.
The Polish air command is placed under the direct orders of the Minister of National Defense, Soviet Marshal Rokossovski. Moreover, Polish aviation has taken its organization from Russian aviation. Regiments are equipped with Russian-made planes Mig.15 (about 50 at the beginning of 1952), Stormo- vik IL.10 (120 units, beginning 1952), Pe.2. Yak.9, L.I.2 (Russian version of the Dakota). Territorial organization follows that of the infantry on which it depends: 6 air regions correspond to the 6 military regions. The training program gives a big place to airborne troops and parachutist units.
The aeronautical industry is nationalized and placed under the control of the Central Committee of Armament Industries, subject in turn to the Ministry of Industry. Since the war, numerous types of training and touring planes, as well as helicopters and gliders, have been planned and built in Poland.
Atomic Energy Commission Announces New Power Plant
Christian Science Monitor, March 9, 1953. —The Atomic Energy Commission discloses it has switched on a brand new kind of atomic-power plant and tapped it for enough electricity to supply 50 five-room homes.
The trick was turned an hour after midnight on Feb. 24. The AEC hailed it as “an important milestone” on the way to economic atomic power for industries and cities.
The new plant is a “homogeneous reactor” fueled by spitting uranium atoms in a sort of hot soup. It was built at the Oak Ridge, Tenn., National Laboratory at a cost of $1,100,000. In addition to producing power, it also can manufacture atomic fuel.
Man has turned the atom’s energy into electricity once before. That was in December, 1951, when a different kind of experimental reactor at Arco, Idaho, briefly generated 100 kilowatts of electricity.
The Oak Ridge demonstration was not only more productive—it generated 150 kilowatts—but also more significant for the future of atomic power.
Scientists Find Depths of Sea a New Source of Food
Boston Transcript, March 6, 1953.—Research scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have been tackling some very practical problems on recent Atlantic cruises, and they say they are convinced that the sea is far more productive than mankind has yet discovered.
Their finds are important to a world increasing in population and constantly seeking new sources of food.
“It has been the fashion of writers on this subject to ignore the world’s largest producer, the ocean, or dismiss it with a few gloomy references to the excessive hunting of whales or the decline of some fishery due to man-made causes,” says Jan Hahn, editor of the institution’s publication, Oceanus.
Three new, potentially important fishing grounds have been located within range of New England boats. William C. Schroeder, leader of the institution’s fishing program and associate curator of fishes at Harvard University, says an exploratory program to determine if commercially valuable fish could be found along the edge of the continental shelf has paid good dividends.
Chartering an 83-foot dragger, Cap'n Bill II, the researchers went fishing at depths between 150 and 550 fathoms, beyond the usual range of commercial fishermen.
Southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, they found a prolific ground of redfish (rosefish), sold in the market as ocean perch. From the standpoint of volume, redfish is the largest catch in New England and the major source of income for the Gloucester fishery. The large size of the redfish caught, said Mr. Schroeder, indicated that virgin territory had been found.
The fish ran 30 to 35 a bushel and measured about 14 to 19 inches in length. Most of those brought into port by fishing vessels and filleted for sale as ocean perch run about 10 to 12 inches long. The most exciting hauls by the researchers came from depths greater than 300 fathoms.
About 90 miles southeast of Martha’s Vineyard at about 90 fathoms they found lobsters in abundance, mostly of marketable size, weighing from lj to 6 pounds. The biologists concluded that with a commercial trawl, important catches might be made in this region. They were able to make good catches out to a depth of about 150 fathoms and took smaller quantities as deep as 235 fathoms.
Mr. Schroeder speculates that lobsters instead of crawling off-shore as they get larger may very well occupy deeper water at all times and that the inshore populations may originate in part from these deeper grounds. He estimates that about 5,000 pounds of lobsters might be taken by a commercial trawl during several days of fishing, but cautions that this remains to be determined by actual trials.
Altogether, 117 hauls were made by the ocean biologists during three cruises, covering the area between New York and Nova Scotia.
A surprise to everyone was the abundance of a new food product, a large red crab belonging to the genus Geryon, unknown to the fisheries. It was taken along the entire range of the exploratory cruises and was found to have an excellent sweet taste. When canned, it is expected to equal any crab meat now marketed.
Hauled in from depths of 185 to 530 fathoms, the larger crabs weighed 1^ to 2 pounds, had a leg spread of about 20 to 24 inches. Each one gave about a quarter of a pound of meat, mostly from the legs.
Atomic Secrecy Called Foe of Security
New York Times, March 1, 1953.—There was no extraordinary exodus from New York last week; there was no weeping in the streets in Washington, no mass manifestations of public prayer in Detroit.
In short, the threat of Armageddon, forecast in the annual report of the Civil Defense Administration, caused no hair to rise, no flesh to creep, no chills of presentiment.
The official estimate of a Federal agency that the Soviet Union now had the capability of causing more than 11,000,000 casualties in the United States by an atomic attack upon our cities, attracted little attention and probably would help recruiting for either the armed services or civilian defense not at all.
This apathy to the ever increasing dangers of the atomic arms race, the greatest threat mankind ever has faced, can be explained, in part, by the age-old capacity of human beings to shrug off crises and to live, even on the lip of a volcano, with danger.
Life and its immediate personal problems, rather than the immeasurably greater maw of the abyss, concern most men. There are few who have the imagination or the social responsibility or the historical sense to care about tremendous problems in the abstract, or to shudder at dangers merely posed.
Hut secrecy, the super-secrecy of the atomic age, self-defeating, stultifying and as •dangerous psychologically as the atomic bomb is physically, has catered to this natural human tendency. •
Our unfortunate hush-hush atomic policy has not aided security; it has hampered it. For the fundamental basis of successful democratic processes is an informed and literate public, and leaders unshackled by fear, free to discuss and debate and differ.
Leaders Are Shackled
Today, as far as atomic matters are concerned, the United States has no such public and it has chained its leaders; the rule of secrecy, of fear and of caution has encouraged the public’s natural tendency to push the prospects of atomic horrors farther and farther into their political subconscious and has prevented even our leaders, who have access to top-secret information, from the free discussion that alone can offer any hope of fresh ideas.
Our most responsible scientists and politicians have warned repeatedly that secrecy does not mean security, but against the roaring voices of the Joe McCarthys they have made but little headway. Secrecy has meant not more security, but less.
Even last week’s report of the Civil Defense Administration is living evidence of this. Here is a responsible Federal agency, concerned with the lives and safety of all Americans, actually working in the dark.
So pernicious is the pall of secrecy about atomic matters that very few employes of the agency are privy to the basic facts upon which the efficiency of their agency depends, the numbers and types of atomic weapons in our stockpile; the estimated atomic strength of Russia; the effectiveness of delivery and the effectiveness of defensive measures.
The report of last week was not based on factual and realistic material; it was based, as all Civil Defense Administration reports are, on arbitrary assumptions.
This is the direct result of the fetish of secrecy. The Civil Defense Administration cannot support or justify its horrendous calculations of millions killed and maimed since the facts on which these assumptions are based are in part concealed from it and in part considered too “top secret” for the public to know.
The statement by James J. Wadsworth, former acting Federal Civil Defense Administrator, that “we are making progress in our civil defense, but are losing ground in the face of the growing threat to our national security” would have far more force if it were buttressed by precise facts.
This the Civil Defense Administration fully understands. Its plea against secrecy is now added to the voices of scores of scientists and statesmen.
“The release of information essential to public safety and real national security must take precedence over other considerations,” it says. “Civilian self-reliance can be aroused only by full knowledge of the facts and the dangers we face. . . . The safety of the Republic is everybody’s business, not merely that of a few. . . . Only when the people are told the full truth about the dangers they face will they be able to act to keep us free.”
And to this damning comment of present atomic security policies must be added the remarks of Dr. Ralph E. Lapp, atomic physicist, in his new book, The New Force:
. . secrecy prevents criticism of atomic work and . . . the latter is the most sorely needed missing ingredient of our atomic program today.”
The February issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists puts the issue bluntly in an article by Dr. Robert R. Wilson:
“It is abundantly clear that if atomic energy is to be mastered by our democratic society, then we must find some method of intelligently and publicly discussing these technical problems. . . . This . . . means much more openness on the part of the A. E. C. (Atomic Energy Commission), and of the Defense Department.”
New Diving Device Leads to Spectacular Undersea Discoveries
Christian Science Monitor, March 6, 1953.
■—The “prize of unusual value” which Capt. Jacques-Yves Cousteau, leader of the joint National Geographic Society-French Academy of Sciences oceanographic expedition found shortly after sailing from Toulon, France, is a sunken Greco-Roman vessel of the third century B.C.
In Washington recently to report the unusual development in the fortunes of the expedition and to gain permission to postpone the regularly scheduled research work so the vessel can be raised, Captain Cousteau briefly disclosed his aims in a lecture in Constitution Hall.
He called his find “the oldest known cargo ship in the world” and said that already Aqualung-equipped divers have brought to the surface evidence indicating it is one of the rarest discoveries of archaeological treasures in recent years.
The expedition has already brought up some 1,400 pieces of fine dinnerware, probably from the Greek province of Latium, now Campania, Italy. Almost 1,000 large amphoras, pottery vessels used to carry oil and other liquid cargoes, have been recovered. Some, still intact and sealed, were found to contain wine.
From code letters on the amphoras, Prof. Fernand Benoit and archaeologists (assigned to the undersea explorers by the French Ministry of Education) were able to date the sinking at around 230 B.C., and to establish the name of the owner. It was a 600-ton ship of 110-foot length belonging to Marcus Sestius.
Records still extant show this merchant to have been a Roman who was naturalized a Greek citizen. He made his headquarters on the Greek island of Delos. Pitus Livus wrote of him as a “powerful politician” sent to prepare Greece for Roman conquest.
Present plans call for the vessel to be cleared of mud and cargo by late spring. “Then we will raise her,” Captain Cousteau said.
“We plan to duplicate her exactly and actually sail her on her last course—Delos to Latium to the scene of her foundering -using exact copies of her original fittings, rigging, and navigational instruments.”
Captain Cousteau is the French Navy’s foremost authority on free diving and underwater exploration. The expedition ship is a 350-ton, 142-foot former American minesweeper, renamed the Calypso and completely converted to oceanographic purposes.
Air Force Floating Ice Island Drifts Toward Russian Side of North Pole
San Francisco Chronicle, March 1, 1953. The Air Force’s floating ice island is making a slow-motion trip around the top of the world and in time may be on the Russian side of the North Pole.
Already, the Air Force said today, Fletcher’s Ice Island has moved out of the area of the Alaskan Air Command into the area of the Northeast Air Command, which includes Greenland. The natural aircraft carrier, four miles wide and nine miles long, has a crew of eight Air Force technicians who gather weather and communications data. They are supplied by air from Thule, Greenland.
Since 1952, when the research began, the island has drifted at a rate of two and a half miles a day in a gentle arc around the Pole from north of Alaska to north of Greenland, nudged by tides and generally counter-clockwise winds.
The men now on the island from the Alaskan Command will be replaced tomorrow by a crew from the Northeast Command.
Naval Aviation Hitting Stride with New Aircraft
Aviation Week, March 2, 1953.—Naval aviation is beginning to emerge from the doldrums in which it has been becalmed while the jet era whizzed toward sonic speeds. During the past year, developments in new Naval aircraft that reached the flight test stage forecast new vitality for Naval aviation and the creation of a significant role for both water-based and carrier-based aircraft in the sonic era of military aviation.
The postwar difficulties of Naval aviation have been partly technical and partly political. Generally they stemmed from the continued dominance of the Navy (except for the late Adm. Forrest Sherman’s regime) by the “black shoe” admirals of the surface fleet; the ill-advised strategy of the Navy’s “tan shoe” aviator admirals in stressing competition with the Air Force’s assigned mission of strategic bombing; and an ultraconservative technical approach to the new problems of jet propulsion and sonic speeds.
Korea brought the postwar starvation diet of Naval aviation funds to an end and substituted a healthy financial subsistence that two years later is beginning to show results. Brightest side of the Naval aviation outlook for 1953 is the promise of water-based fighters, bombers and transports to provide a badly needed and non-duplicated type of military aviation. Gloomiest outlook is still in the powerplant field where efforts of the Navy’s airframe contractors are still limited and retarded by the slow pace of jet engine development and production.
Present Naval air strength is geared to operating 16 carrier air groups plus additional anti-submarine warfare squadrons, transports, etc. Marine air strength has been fixed at three wings, one for each of the three Marine divisions. Naval aircraft production has risen from a pre-Korean rate of about 70 per month to about 200 a month by the end of 1952. It is expected to increase gradually to 300 per month by mid-1954 and hold at that level until the end of 1954—as far as the Navy’s current fiscal planning goes.
At the end of 1954 the present Naval aircraft procurement program will leave the Navy about 700 planes short of full modernization of its air groups. Pilot strength is scheduled to rise from a total of 18,497 in 1952 to 23,709 by mid-1954, with training of new pilots expected to accelerate to an annual rate of 2,200 by the spring of 1953.
In the water-based field the salt spray kicked up by the Convair delta XF2Y-1 in San Diego bay provided the focal point for current Navy enthusiasm for this field. For the first time since early days of the Schneider Trophy races, a U. S. water-based fighter has appeared built to the same speed scale as its land-based contemporaries.
The device which has made this possible is the hydro-ski, whose development in this country, ironically, was first stimulated by the Air Force with later but heavy assistance from NACA and Navy. Although the hydroski has many other applications, its most significant is expected to be in the F2Y type of water-based fighters that will be able to operate equally well from snow, ice, muskeg or sod fields.
The Glenn L. Martin Co. of Baltimore is already working on another design of this type for the Navy, and more than one veteran Navy contractor is privately voicing regrets that he did not take seriously Navy’s original appeal for a water-based fighter design competition.
The Marines have a strong interest in the success of the F2Y, and for the first time in many years, they have a strong priority to get a new Navy aircraft early in its production phase.
The Marines’ primary interest in water' based fighters stems from their tactical air cover for amphibious or airborne assault on hostile shores where water, ice or snow are usually the only friendly air bases available during the initial assault phase. Special modifications are planned to “jeep” carriers to enable them to act as mother ships for water-based fighters. ,
While the hydro-ski has put water-based fighters into the sonic speed picture, new developments in seaplane hull configurations have sparked increased interest in the large flying boat as a tactical aircraft and as a transport. Convair, with its turboprop- powered R3Y, is breaking ground for the water-based, long-range transport, while the Martin Company is building the XP6M, a high-speed jet mine-layer seaplane.
In the field of carrier-based aviation, the Navy is still suffering with equipment ranging from obsolete to rapidly obsolescing in its operational squadrons. But new developments during last year offer signs that this technical inferiority will soon disappear.
The best Navy fighters currently in operation are the straightwing McDonnell Banshee and Grumman Panther jets whose designs subject them to relatively low Mach limitations and effectively bar them from the fastest pace of the Korean air war. The World War II Corsair is still prominent both in Navy carrier squadrons and with the Marines, particularly in Korea, although early in 1953 Vought ended the 12-year production run that built more than 12,000 Corsairs.
The best Navy attack bomber in substantial service is still the Douglas AD Skyraider, the “Able Dog” of the Korean air war that has been toting 6,400 lb. of bombs off pitching carrier decks and regularly distributing them over the North Korean transport system in as many as 12 attacks with a single load. The Skyraider has done valiant service in Korea but has suffered heavily from flak and could not survive long against any serious jet opposition. Its successor has been long overdue on the Navy carrier decks.
However, specialized versions of the Skyraider equipped for weather reconnaissance, anti-submarine work and night operations will remain a fixture aboard the carriers for some years to come.
The Navy’s current deficiency in jet fighters—which has rankled some admirals into intemperate statements on the Korean air war—shows signs of coming to an end during the coming year.
It is true that Navy jet fighters and even the venerable Corsair have knocked down Russian-built MiG-15 sweptwing fighters on a few occasions. But it is also true that none of these planes is technically equipped to carry on sustained air-to-air combat at the accelerated pace of the MiG Alley fighting during the past year. This is simply because of the superior speed of sweptwing aircraft over any of the earlier straightwing jet designs of relatively low Mach limitations.
The Navy’s tacit recognition of this MiG Alley maxim is apparent in its swift procurement switch to buy a blue-painted, carrier- based version of the North American F-86 Sabre that has been fighting so successfully against terrific odds against the MiG-15. The FJ-2, Navy version of the F-86, passed its carrier qualification trials during 1952 and first production models were delivered from North American’s Columbus plant late in the year. During 1953 squadrons of FJ-2s may become the first Navy carrier-based fighter squadrons capable of battling the MiG-15s on equal terms.
An indication that the Navy regards the switch to North American’s design as more than a temporary stop-gap is found in its production plans for the FJ-3, with a 7,200- lb.-thrust Wright J65 Sapphire engine substituted for the present General Electric 5,800-lb.-plus J-47.
Another sweptwing fighter that may appear in combat during 1953 is the Grumman F9F-6 Cougar, a revised version of the straightwing F9F-5 Panther. There appears to be a variety of opinion within the Navy on the performance capability of the Cougar and only the test of combat will really render the verdict. Grumman’s variable-sweep design, the XF10F, has reached the ffighttest stage but its development has been slow.
In the field of anti-submarine warfare, Navy is continuing on a variety of airborne attacks on the problem. Newest is the use of helicopters based on carriers as a primary method of detection. The Bell XHSL and the Sikorsky XHSS-1 are the first Navy attempts to use helicopters for anti-submarine warfare. Both will be equipped with avionic detection gear including a new type of sono- buoy that can be lowered into the water for submarine detection.
Since the minute radar target offered by schnorkel submarines diminishes the value of standard airborne search radar, the helicopter and sonobuoy combination offers considerable promise.
A new Grumman ASW plane, the twin- engine XS2F-1, made its appearance during the year in prototype form. It is a carrier- based plane powered by two Wright R1820 Cyclones and combines the search and attack functions now split between the two versions of the Grumman AF series.