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Nike Bases Ringing Capital in Depth Declared Effective Bar to Red Planes Military Construction in Spain—U. S. Completing Depots in France to Back Its Forces in Germany—U.S.S. F orrcstal—Navy ✓ Completes Its 2nd Big Rescue—Jets Take Off from Truck in New Zero Launching” Cruising Submarines Replenish Seaplanes
Gruenther on Air Defence—“Do We Need A Navy?”
Nike Bases Ringing Capital in Depth Declared Effective Bar to Red Planes
By John G. Norris
Washington Post and Times-Herald, January 23, 1955.—Nike bases now ring Washington in such depth that enemy bombers could not get through without running a gantlet of the deadly guided missiles.
Defense of the city and other key points would be so “hot,” with the new missiles, that Russia is working intensively on a counter weapon officials said. This is an“air- to-ground” guided missile that could be dropped from planes outside the Nike batteries’ range.
But defense officials feel that it will be “quite a while” before an enemy perfects such a weapon.
These views, expressed by the men most
familiar with developments in the guided missile field, were given in a discussion of the state of the missile art yesterday. Recalling the years and hundreds of millions-of dollars that have gone into guided missile research one expert declared:
“We have reached the pay-off stage.”
During the discussion, Defense Department answered some of the criticisms of the Army’s Nike that have come from the other services.
The Nike, it was said, has the ability to attack planes with “the altitude and the speed and the maneuvering qualities that we have any reason to expect to encounter.
“Of course, it is a local defense weapon,” the official added. “It isn’t a weapon to send out as an interceptor for several hundred miles to find something and track it down and destroy it.
“It is rather a weapon that must be deployed around an area to be defended and that has the range and the maneuverability and the ‘altitudability’ to destroy targets that attempt to attack that strategic area, and it does have those abilities.”
Both the United States and other nations, however, are known to be hard at work on “strategic” air-to-ground guided missiles that can be launched from planes outside the anti-aircraft range of strongly defended targets.
But the problems of developing such a missile and a bomber that can carry the means of controlling it are so great that this air-to-ground weapon is lagging behind the other guided missile fields in the United States. And, officials hope, also in Russia.
*  *
The Defense Department has officially disclosed that each of the three armed forces has surface-to-air missiles. Besides the Army’s Nike, the Navy has the “Terrier” which has been tested afloat. Two cruisers are being equipped with the weapon for better anti-aircraft protection of the Fleet. The Air Force has the longer range Bomarc under development.
In the air-to-air guided missile field, the Navy has the Sparrow in production and Navy and Marine planes will be equipped with it to fire at enemy warplanes. The Air Force is developing the Falcon for the same mission.
All three services have surface-to-surface guided missiles in test or service; the Army’s Corporal, the Navy’s Regulus, and the Air Force’s Matador. The Army also is developing a longer range guided missile, the Redstone. All are capable of carrying an atomic warhead. Each of the services has more advanced missiles coming along in all fields, but these still are in the “secret” category.
Some regard the intercontinental ballistic missile—or “IBM”—which is in this category, as the “ultimate weapon.” Pentagon missile experts say it might be fired at about a 45-degree angle from the ground and travel 1250 feet a second. That would mean that an “IBM” would be fired up beyond the earth’s atmosphere, from either the United
States or Russia, under control and then drop on the other within an hour.
Guidance is a major problem in developing such a weapon. The German V-2 was designed to land 200 miles away, with an accuracy of 2 per cent of the range. That meant that half of them should land within a four mile radius of the target. But missile designers believe they must have ten times better accuracy than that. Otherwise a 5000-mile- range “IBM” that functioned properly could only be expected to land within a 100 mile radius of the target. That isn’t good enough even for an H-bomb.
Perfection of such weapon is some years off, although the United States is reported to have some nearing readiness for test, and is negotiating for extension of the Banana River, Fla. Missile Test Range far down into the South Atlantic Ocean for the purpose.
Military Construction in Spain
By J. R. Perry*
The Military Engineer, January-February, 1955.—The military base construction program in Spain being undertaken by the Bureau of Yards and Docks of the Navy is one of the major overseas construction programs within the Defense Establishment today. This program calls for the development of four Air Force bases, one Naval base with an adjacent Naval Air base, a petroleum fuels transmission pipe line interconnecting these bases, three Navy petroleum storage tank farms, and ammunition storage facilities. The size of this construction program is indicated by the overall cost of the construction presently estimated at about $250,000,000 to $300,000,000.
The five major locations of the military construction are Torrejon, Zaragoza, Moron, San Pablo, and East Rota. Each site presents a different approach and development problem dependent upon the existing facilities and future mission to be assigned the completed base.
The military base construction program came into being on September 26, 1953, with the signing of the bilateral agreement between the Governments of the United States
1955] Professional Notes 473
and Spain, climaxing a year and a half of negotiations between the two nations. Under the terms of the agreement Spain became eligible for United States economic, technical, and military assistance, under the Military Security Program; the United States is authorized to build and use jointly with Spanish Military forces certain military airfield and naval facilities in Spain. This agreement will continue in force for a period of ten years with automatic renewal provisions for two successive five-year periods.
To implement the military construction phases of the agreement, the Secretary of Defense designated the Secretary of the Air Force as his Executive Agent for the administration of this program. The Executive Agent has as his direct representative in Spain the Chief, Joint United States Military Group (JUSMG) with responsibility for the overall co-ordination of the program. The Chief, JUSMG is the senior American military officer in negotiations between the United States and Spanish Governments required for the effective prosecution of the military aspects of the agreement.
By agreement between the Secretaries of the Air Force and the Navy, the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks was designated Construction Agent for the design, construction, and supervision of the required military facilities. The Chief of the Bureau as Contracting Officer is also directly responsible for all phases of contract operations required for the execution of construction. He has provided two key officers in Madrid, the Director of Construction and the Officer in Charge
of Construction (OICC).
The Director of Construction is assigned on the staff of the Chief, JUSMG and serves as principal advisor on all engineering matters. He also heads any required negotiations with Spanish authorities for the execution of the construction such as the determination of tax payments, the wages paid to Spanish employees, land negotiations, and import provisions.
The OICC is directly responsible to the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks for the execution of military construction contracts in Spain. In addition to his staff, he has a number of Resident Officers in Charge of Construction who are directly responsible to him for the execution of contract work within their particular areas.
The governmental agreements provide that the United States may select American prime contractors to supervise and coordinate the work but that actual performance of the work shall be allotted to qualified Spanish firms.
Accordingly, a joint Air Force-Navy Board was convened shortly after the agreements were signed to consider the qualifications of United States architectural-engineering firms interested in the design of the bases. Approximately 129 firms had applied for the work and filed detailed brochures indicating their experience and qualifications. The board selected a joint venture composed of four outstanding architectural-engineering firms operating under the name of Architects- Engineers, Spanish Bases, (AESB) to undertake this phase of the work. This was approved by the Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and the Director of Installations, Air Force.
All of the engineering and design work undertaken by AESB is being done in Madrid under the supervision of the OICC. The AESB uses a very limited number of American technical personnel. They are required for master planning and for guiding and instructing Spanish engineers and architects 
who are used for the preparation of detailed plans and specifications. The services of such Spanish personnel are obtained by AESB by either subcontract or direct hire.
The United States prime contractors for the construction of the bases were selected in much the same way as the architectural- engineering contractors, except that the selection board was composed entirely of Navy personnel. As a result of the wide publicity given this project by the Bureau in newspapers and trade journals, approximately 250 United States construction firms submitted brochures and applied for the work. Practically all of these firms appeared in joint ventures with others. Nine of these joint ventures were invited for interview. Each joint venture was then required to answer a detailed questionnaire.
After analysis of the replies to the questionnaire, the nine joint ventures were interviewed with particular reference to their experience in major construction jobs in foreign countries; their ability to train Spanish personnel; their understanding of the possibilities for the use of local materials; and their performance record for economy and austerity on government projects. On the basis of these interviews, the joint venture of Brown- Raymond-Walsh was selected.2 As in the case of the AESB, this joint venture operates with a limited number of key supervisory personnel required to maintain control of construction work undertaken by Spanish subcontractors.
The architectural-engineering and the construction contracts, are on a cost-plus-a- fixed-fee basis because this type offers the most advantageous and economical execution of the construction. Although the program is not being undertaken on an emergency basis, expeditious accomplishment is mandatory. The prime reason for undertaking this construction program on a cost-plus-a-fixed-fee basis was because of the many unknown factors regarding construction in Spain and the meager information available on construction techniques and costs in the Spanish 1 area. The second important reason was to achieve maximum use of Spanish labor and materials by subcontracting to Spanish construction agencies. This form of contract further permitted the Bureau to undertake work on an incremental basis equivalent to the incremental financing. It further assured the Bureau that only one contract will be required for all of the construction in Spain; the Government need consider mobilization costs for only one contract.
Subcontracts.—The International agreement specifies that Spanish contractors will be utilized provided such contractors are, as determined by the United States in consultation with the competent Spanish authorities in a position to execute the subcontract work with the speed, economy, and perfection desired. Any work not allocated to Spanish contractors may be done by American contractors or by military construction forces. The choice of the subcontracting firms will be on a competitive bid basis wherever and whenever possible.
* * *
The Spanish have considerable experience in types of construction peculiar to their country and the labor and materials available. With proper design adaptation to this experience, it is believed that the Spanish firms will be capable of performing the major portion of the projects presently authorized or contemplated.
Specifications, Bidding, and Awards
In order to make fullest use of Spanish contracting capabilities on a competitive bid basis and to furnish sufficient protection to the United States Government, contracting procedures used in this construction program are a compromise between those normally adopted for work in the United States and those used by Spanish contractors. This first becomes evident in the drawings and specifications which have been developed for the work. The dimensions on the drawings are in the metric system and all notations on the drawings are given in both English and Spanish. The specifications are also bi-lingual. Among the more unusual features of the specifications are the bid and contract guarantees required with the submission of a bid.
Inasmuch as bonding companies are nonexistent in Spain, a bond surety could not be required of Spanish contractors. In place of the bid bond normally required in American contracting procedures, a bid guarantee in the form of a bank draft or certified check for not less than 2 per cent of the total amount of the bid was required to guarantee the acceptance of the bid by the successful low bidder. To replace the 100 per cent performance bond normally required in Government contracts, a bank guarantee of 30,000,000 pesetas (approximately $750,000) was required with the submission of the bids for each of the first two major subcontracts. This bank guarantee, together with the normal withholding of a certain percentage of the partial payments during the execution of the subcontract, gives the Government sufficient financial protection in case of default by the contractor without subjecting the Spanish subcontractor to foreign bond practices.
* * * *
‘ The bids for the first phase of the Torrejon project were opened on September 8, and for the first phase of the Zaragoza project, on September 22. In each case, approximately fourteen Spanish subcontractors submitted good clear unqualified bids. The bidding range was typical of that among United States contracting organizations where sharp competitive bidding is encountered. This was especially so in the Zaragoza project where the three low bids were within 1 per cent of each other. The award for the Torrejon project was made on September 9, and for the Zaragoza project on September 23, on the basis of the low bid as submitted.
Although considerable study and analysis were undertaken in the preparation of the contract procedures to be adopted for the execution of this construction program, the success of the bidding and award of the first two major subcontracts indicates the soundness of the procedures. As stated in the September 11 edition of the Spanish newspaper Madrid, “This method of awarding contracts is a guarantee of impartiality for all bidders and at the same time gives an equal opportunity to all Spanish contractors without suspicion of favoritism.”
With the award of the subcontracts for the first phases of the work at Torrejon and Zaragoza, emphasis is now being placed on the development of detailed contract plans and specifications for the remainder of the construction program. It is anticipated that the airfield runway at East Rota will be the next major subcontract advertised, and that this will be followed by the airfield runway at Moron and the waterfront construction at East Rota in the early spring of 1955. Although materials for the liquid petroleum pipe line will be placed for procurement prior to January 1, 1955, the actual installation of the pipe line will not be undertaken until late spring. This will then complete the major portion of the first phase of the program.
The second phase of the construction program in Spain as developed by the master plans undergoing approval at this time and. as financed in the 1955 fiscal year appropriations will then be undertaken on the same Spanish subcontract basis.
Although the presently anticipated construction program will be financed in four fiscal periods, the construction schedule is designed for completion of all major construction projects in five years. This constitutes a tremendous construction effort but with the close co-operation between the Air Force and the Bureau of Yards and Docks and the combined American and Spanish construction knowledge and capability, successful accomplishment of the program is assured.
U. S. Completing Depots in France to Back Its Forces in Germany
By Arthur O. Sulzberger
New York Times, February 12, 1955.— The United States Army is completing a supply network across France that at a moment’s notice could support American forces in Germany.
The network, called a communications zone, was started four years ago when United States planners realized that the North Sea supply line to the occupation forces would be at the mercy of even a short Soviet thrust.
The network consists of a series of supply depots, understood to be stocked with every item, from atomic weapons to machine gun triggers, that the Army might call for in an emergency, and the transportation to deliver it.
While the establishment of a communications zone is standard procedure in war, this is the first time that the United States Army has undertaken such a step in peacetime.
Following the Berlin blockade and the outbreak of the Korean war, a new look was taken at the supply route that supports
United States forces in Germany. Two major weaknesses were noted:
First, the most economical port of entry, Bremerhaven, is situated on the North Sea and is vulnerable to both air and submarine attack.
Second, the supply line ran almost parallel with the East German border. One of the basic rules of warfare is that a supply line should run perpendicular to the front so that an army can defend it or retreat along its route.
In November, 1950, the United States and France signed a line-of-communications agreement whereby the United States Army was to set up a secondary line of supply running across France.
As it stands today, the Communications Zone, or Com Z as it is referred to (some soldiers call it Con Z and translate that back to Cognac Zone) is a skeleton organization, and until such time as it is needed will remain so for reasons of economy. At present almost 50,000 persons, including United States soldiers and civilians and French nationals, work in the zone.
Upon signing the agreement, the French turned over to the United States Army certain areas to be used as depots of supply. These depots are concentrated in two general areas, around the port of La Rochelle on the Atlantic Ocean, and at Metz in northeast France.
While the depots are not as well placed from a strategic point of view as the Army would like, Maj. Gen. Philip E. Gallagher, commanding general of the Communications Zone, does not blame the French. He says:
“Imagine, if the French came to us and asked for twenty bases situated along the East Coast of the United States from Washington to Boston. Where would we put them?”
For purposes of control the Communications Zone has been broken down into four areas. These are Base Section, Advanced Section, the Seine Area Command and the Orleans Command.
Various Sectional Uses
Base Section comprises all of western and southern France. In this area are situated the ports and major supply dumps of the zone. The principal task of the command is to store and care for equipment.
The Advance Section of Com Z is situated along the border of Germany. This section is charged with keeping available items that might be called for at a moment’s notice.
The Seine Command, which comprises Paris and its suburbs, was formed because of the large number of United States servicemen and civilians in the area. Its problems are those of every day supply, and are therefore outside the regular scope of the Communications Zone.
The Orleans Area Command comprises the
Orleans headquarters of Com Z and its various detachments, including the Red Ball Express of World War II fame.
During World War II the Red Ball Express, a truck outfit, carried most of the supplies for the United States Army. Today, with rail communications throughout all of France, it is utilized as a training exercise. Since 1952, however, its trucks have traveled the equivalent of 257 times around the world at the equator.
The storage problem in Com Z is a vast and complicated one. It began in 1950 when United States planners feared that the vast quantities of military goods stored in Germany might fall into Soviet hands. Immediately after the signing of the communications agreement the majority of goods in storage were rapidly shipped to the new French depots.
There, thousands upon thousands of sections of pipe, vehicles and other supplies were dumped, aften at random, in fields to await the construction of storage sheds.
Repair Work Important
Today much of the time and energy of depot personnel is spent in putting back into working order equipment rusted by the elements and in storing under proper conditions where it will be available at short notice.
The depots are only one-third completed to date, and some items are still awaiting their processing until storage facilities have been constructed.
The job is a tremendous one. An ordnance depot stocks as many as 150,000 types of items. A signal depot will have some 50,000 types of goods on hand, and an engineer depot some 17,000 line items and 160,000 types of spare parts.
Because the line of supply through Germany is less expensive to operate, the main peacetime task of Com Z is storage and care of goods. Only occasionally, when Com Z officials fear that an item will deteriorate if it is held any longer in storage, does the Advance Section ship out goods. Then the Zone goes into action, replenishing the forward depots from those in the rear and getting in new supplies from abroad.
Marine News, February, 1955.—Capable with one launching of her planes of delivering the destructiveness of a hundred Hiroshima’s —multiplied by the awesome power of the Hydrogen Bomb—the United States Navy’s U.S.S. Forrestal was christened December 11 at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. yards, her sponsor being Mrs. James V. Forrestal, widow of the first Secretary of Defense, for whom the world’s largest warship -is named.
Launched by flotation, the U.S.S. Forrestal is the first of ten similar craft the Navy plans to build for the defense of the Nation and the Free World. Of the ten vessels desired, four, including the Forrestal, have been ordered, one additional to be built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., and two by the New York Naval Shipyard. Funds for the fifth of the group—known as the CVA class—are being sought by the Navy.
Measuring 1,036 feet in overall length, with an extreme width across her flight deck of 252 feet, the 59,900-ton U.S.S. Forrestal's keel was laid July 14, 1952. She is expected to be delivered in the fall of 1955, to become the first of the giant “Floating Island Fortresses,” capable of mounting so devastating an attack upon an enemy as to dwarf the imagination.
The first carrier to be designed for airborne Atomic Naval Power, the Forrestal is probably the greatest single engineering project ever undertaken. The enormity of the task of constructing the vessel can be appreciated perhaps with the realization that some 52,000 tons of steel went into her hull, and that some 2,000,000 pounds of weld metal were used to fuse her plates together. Her huge propellers stand 22 feet high. In all, some 1,700 freight cars of materials went into her building, while the several million blueprints necessary for the task would form a 30-inch path across the Nation from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Nearly five city blocks long and more than a city block wide, from the air the Forrestal is deceptive in appearance, for her length is little more than four times her extreme width; while her island, which is the height of a ten-story building, is all but lost against her enormous freight deck.
A comparison with the tall Empire State Building may provide some idea of her size, for if the stem of the Forrestal were placed at street level the 22-foot propellers would brush the building’s spire atop the tower.
The Forrestal has a number of structural innovations which make her different from other large carriers. One of these is that her flight deck is the strength deck. Normally, the flight deck is built with expansion joints so that it is not a part of the ship’s over-all strength girder. By contrast, the flight deck on the Forrestal is a continuous fore and aft strength deck. The deck is lf-inch steel plate which will have no difficulty in withstanding the heat of jet blasts.
While the Forrestal was being built the Navy was experimenting with a canted or angled flight deck, a new idea for aircraft carrier deck arrangement. These tests proved so successful that the principle was adopted for the Forrestal. Instead of landing straight in, Forrestal plane will fly in at a 10.5° angle from the starboard quarter of the ship’s cruiser type stern. In the event the pilot is not in proper position for landing, he can be waved off and continue over the ship at the canted portion of the deck without interfering with operations on other portions of the deck. This cant or angle on the flight deck is one of the reasons for the Forrestal’s extreme width. The other advantage, on the starboard side of the ship outboard of the island, is that planes can be brought up from below without interfering with operations on the centerline of the deck.
The Forrestal has four of the latest type steam catapults that will enable her to launch planes faster than any other carrier afloat. Her heavy-duty hydraulic arresters will stop one of today’s 70,000-pound jet planes 150 feet after it hits the deck at better than 100 miles per hour.
The Forrestal can lay claim to being com- partmented as no other ship ever built has been compartmented, with the vital machinery spaces distributed in such manner as to minimize disablement due to enemy attack. Giving her unprecedented protection against torpedo attack, from her bottom up are lengthwise torpedo defense bulkheads in the form of inner hulls. In all, the Forrestal has 1,240 watertight compartments to protect against fire and help contain the effect should internal explosion occur.
Among other noteworthy features are the following: The Forrestal’s air conditioning plant is capable of supplying two buildings the size of the Empire State; her capacity for generating electricity is sufficient to handle the electrical requirements of a city of 1,500,000 population; her distilling plant alone has a capacity of 200,000 gallons; her high-pressure turbines, of Westinghouse manufacture, will propel the vessel in excess of 30 knots; while her steam requirements for propulsion, auxiliary and catapult equipment will be developed by eight Babcock & Wilcox boilers.
Navy Completes Its 2d Big Rescue
By William J. Jorden
New York Times. February 14, 1955.— The United States Navy, in the rescue business on a large scale, completed its second such assignment in six months. In both cases Amphibious Group I did the job of moving masses of people away from the dangers of Communist “liberation.”
Transports of the group arrived in Formosa with the last Chinese Nationalist troops evacuated from the Tachen Islands, 210 miles to the north. Until a few weeks ago most of the same ships and men were transporting antiCommunist Vietnamese from Northern Indochina to the south of that divided country.
The assignment of the amphibious group in both cases was to transfer large numbers of civilians, troops and military stocks.
Rear Admiral Lorenzo S. Sabin Jr., commander of the Phibgroup, as the Navy calls it, and the man who was most responsible for planning and executing the two evacuations, said there were as many differences as similarities in the two jobs. He outlined some of the differences in an interview aboard his flagship, the Estes.
“Indochina A Big Operation”
“In the first place,” he said, “Indochina was a big operation. At the beginning it was estimated we might have to move as many as 700,000 people. Here (in the Tachens) we had only about 15,000 civilians and 10,000 troops.”
The original estimates on those to be evacuated in Indochina proved excessive, partly because the Communists apparently exerted heavy pressure on men from 15 to 40 to remain behind. Even so, Phibgroup 1 moved almost 200,000 civilians and 15,000 troops plus 7,112 vehicles and 61,456 tons of equipment.
The Tachens operation was small by comparison—8,630 tons of cargo were taken out, more than nine-tenths of it ammunition, and 128 vehicles. But whereas the Tachens job was finished in less than a week, the United States Navy was operating in Indochina since last August.
By comparison with Indochina, the Tachens evacuation was a smooth and fast operation. One reason was that on these islands the Navy was able to send its own efficient beachmasters and Marine parties ashore to organize the entire movement. In Indochina, the Geneva truce prohibited the landing of a large American force, and shore duties were handled by the French and Vietnamese untrained for the complicated task.
“The Indochina job was done after a ceasefire had been reached by the French and the Vietminh,” Admiral Sabin said. “We were helping carry out the terms of that agreement. But here we didn’t know what the Communists would do. This job while relatively small was done under battle conditions of readiness.”
Red Reaction Unknown
When Phibgroup 1 steamed north from Formosa to the Tachens no one knew whether the Communists would stand aside and permit the Chinese Nationalists to give up the islands peacefully. Powerful ships, including two cruisers, stood by to reply to any enemy fire, and aircraft carriers seventy miles away provided constant air cover. Coordination with this protective screen and avoidance of heavy concentrations of shipping in small areas complicated the group’s action to a certain extent.
Uncertainty as to the Communists’ reaction also affected the loading operations. Because he and his men did not know whether or when the Communists might strike, Admiral Sabin’s lorce had planned the loading operations so that equipment needed in case of attack would be readily available.
In the Tachens, the group knew where all those who were leaving were and about how many would have be to transported. In Indochina, those to be evacuated came to the beaches in odd groups, at every hour of the day and night and by every conceivable means of transport. Hundreds floated down rivers behind Communist lines and out to the open sea, where they had to be picked up.
Jets Take Off from Truck in New “Zero Launching”
By Ansel E. Talbert, Military and, Aviation Editor
New York Herald Tribune, February 2, 1955.—-A new technique for taking off piloted jet fighters and fighter-bombers directly from an air transportable platform mounted on a truck without preliminary ground runs, was announced yesterday by the Air Force.
The new “zero launching system,” which is applicable to United States aircraft types capable of delivering tactical atomic bombs may revolutionize fighter dispersal for nuclear warfare in forward areas. The system employs droppable rocket booster units. After one of these has been attached to the tail of the plane an arm of the truck platform raises it to the proper take-off angle.
With jet engine power on at full throttle, the rocket booster unit is fired and a combination of jet-and-rocket thrust kicks the aircraft into the air as if from a powerful catapult.
Development of “zero launching” is part of Department of Defense plans for increasing global mobility of the United States armed services. Entire Air Force jet fighter- bomber wings already have been flown through aerial refueling across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to overseas bases where they are ready for instant combat.
But a single well placed enemy atom bomb theoretically might destroy the airport on which the wing landed, along with all its planes. The highly mobile launching platform, which can be flown in a giant transport and moved quickly on the ground from one place to another, makes it possible to fan out each fighter or fighter-bomber immediately to places where they can be camouflaged.
Previously F-84 Thunderjets required runways at least 8,000 feet long for normal take-off runs. This stirred up considerable criticism among European air strategists, who felt that the Soviet Air Force could knock out most of the F-84 airports in a surprise attack—and the tactical atomic capabilities of NATO along with them.
Tackle Landing, Too
Some sort of runways are needed for landing jet fighters and fighter-bombers after takeoffs from the new mobile launching platforms. The Air Force is known to be developing a new technique similar to that used by the Navy on aircraft carriers to shorten the landing run.
This technique was tried out secretly in Korea, where cables stretched out so as to be hooked by a landing plane, halted jets in a fraction of the normal landing distance. The British government also has developed a new “flexible landing platform” which can be set up on land in a few hours and resembles a giant spring mattress.
Cruising Submarines Replenish Seaplanes
By John G. Norris
Washington Post and Times-Herald, February 17, 1955.—Two recent naval developments give new promise that the ugly duckling of aviation—the once slow and ungainly flying boat—may become a key strategic offensive weapon of the future.
Some highly significant tests have been concluded successfully in the Caribbean in which a Martin P5M seaplane was refueled under way for the first time by a submarine. While results have not been fully evaluated, naval sources report the test proves the feasibility of such operations and opens new vistas in military aviation.
At the same time, The Washington Post and Times Herald also learned there has been some very encouraging progress made in the development of an atomic powered seaplane.
Details are highly secret, but one factor in the optimistic report is understood to deal with the fact that a flying boat hull immersed in the water helps solve the problem of shielding the nuclear power plant. The weight involved in protecting a plane crew from radiation has been the chief stumbling block in building a successful atomic plane.
The technique developed for refueling a towed seaplane from a moving submarine tanker combines those of refueling surface ships under way and planes in flight. By taking on fuel under way, seaplanes might be resupplied in remote waters close to the enemy for possible atomic bombing missions.
The P5M employed in the Caribbean tests is a piston-engined patrol craft. But the P5M’s successor, the new Martin XP6M Seamaster, completed last month, is a streamline, 600-mph jet bomber and minelayer. The promising craft is expected to make its first flight early this spring.
Proponents of the new “water-borne concept” of warfare—they include many top Navy officials—point to the fact that high performance jet seaplane bombers could operate independently from either land bases or aircraft carriers, both costly and often vulnerable.
Gruenther on Air Defence
By William Courtenay, O.B.E., M.M.
The Aeroplane, January 28, 1955.—-General Alfred M. Gruenther, U.S.A., the Supreme Commander of the Allied^Powers in Europe (S.H.A.P.E.) received me for an hour’s exclusive talk at his headquarters near Versailles on January 18, after I had given an address to his staff on an “Intelligence Report from the Far East, 1941-54.” He gave me an up-to-date account of the problems of air defense in the West and of his hopes.
First, he stressed that the Russian Armies could still march through Western Europe to the English Channel, despite all that N.A.T.O. had achieved since General of the Army Dwight Eisenhower first left America on January 6, 1951, to assume command of the new forces in Western Europe. They still possessed facing the West the 30 divisions massed there in the first post-war years. But whereas then this army could have marched to the English Channel, today it could only do so if reinforced by its reserves from Russia. And such reinforcement would be an indication of intention to march. It would enable Allied Air Power to swing into action.
The General stated that in the Boeing B-47 Stratojet bomber the N.A.T.O. Powers possessed a weapon to which Russia had no reply, despite the fact that she possessed two new types of MiG Interceptors and that her early warning system was probably better at this stage than that in the West. N.A.T.O. Forces would thus rely very largely today— if war came in 1955 or 1956—on the B-47, which in range, speed, and ability to deliver the atom bomb, had no match yet.
No other jet bomber was likely to be available for N.A.T.O. in 1955 or 1956. The Boeing B-52 heavy jet bomber, though now in production, would not reach the U.S. Strategic Air Force in any large numbers through 1955 or perhaps 1956.
The General’s chief anxiety revolves round the need for an early warning system for defence of the West. He explained that the various members of N.A.T.O. kept their radar systems operational for varying periods of the 24-hour day. Some manned them for only eight hours and others for 12. This was bound up with the problem of manning and of provision of finance to enable crews to be provided for round-the-clock warning systems.
This was the big gap in air defence yet to be filled. To cope with it there had lately been set up at The Hague an “Air Defence Technical Centre,” which is to attract to its staff scientists from all member nations of N.A.T.O. It will be given the task of finding the answers to the problems which supersonic aircraft flying at high altitude present to the defenders. Holland has since agreed to provide 2,500,000 dollars as her contribution towards the new Centre, and America is providing such balance as will be required. A Dutch Director-General has been appointed.
From the work of this S.H.A.P.E. Technical Centre would, he hoped, emerge a plan which could be adapted to the long defence line from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. This must provide a 24-hours-per- day early warning system, enabling all countries to be alerted in sufficient time to permit their Air Forces to intercept hostile aircraft approaching N.A.T.O. territory.
General Gruenther is optimistic about it and expects both to hold the airfields east of the Rhine—which the R.A.F. has lately evacuated to trade “space for time” in air defence—and increase early warning time sufficiently for squadrons of Interceptors to operate effectively. In fact, he is confident that, given this early warning system along his whole front and on a 24-hour basis, he can deflect attacks which in the first onslaught would aim at neutralizing his many airfields in the Infrastructure plan.
General Gruenther regards the success of the completion of much of the Infrastructure programme as the greatest triumph for N.A.T.O. in the past two years. When he and General Eisenhower arrived in Paris in January, 1951, there were but 15 airfields in Western Europe.
Many members of N.A.T.O. found it difficult to understand and even more difficult to persuade their taxpayers that the construction of an airfield perhaps 1,000 to 1,500 miles from their own frontiers was their special concern or aided their protection. It was difficult in 18 months of argument to find, for assessing on any rational system, the basis of financial contributions towards the cost of these airfields. But common sense and a growing sense of unity found the answer in a system of percentages of cost allotted to each member regardless of where the airfields between would be located.
As a result, the great Infrastructure airfield construction programme has gone ahead so that today there are 125 to 130 airfields available for instant use, though all buildings have not been completed at all of them. Another 50 are in the programme, and all the 175 should be completed within the next two years.
The General stressed that since an enemy’s first move must undoubtedly concern itself with neutralization of all these airfields, or as many as possible, he favoured the aircraft- carrier construction programme and welcomed their use in the Mediterranean. While he was not concerned with questions of how limited funds should be applied as between construction of land bases and carriers, he felt we should welcome all the platforms afloat and ashore we could be given. They would all be needed and the side which survived the first phase of an atomic attack with the most airfields—afloat or ashore—in an operational condition, would clearly hold the advantage for further phases of the war.
“Do We Need a Navy?”
The Economist, December 25, 1954.—It is surely a shocking thing that a country whose whole history is based on sea power should be so confused today about the job which its Navy has to do in peace and in war. Yet that is the present position, and it is reflected in naval recruiting, in disquieting rumours about naval morale, and in technical wrangles with emotional overtones about air versus sea power conducted in the press by experts on the retired list. The confusion is inevitably increased when Field Marshal Lord Montgomery, in the course of a visit to America, declares the aircraft carrier obsolete—only a week or so before the U. S. Navy launchesjLe largest carrier in the world to a fanfare of boasts about its decisive strategic importance; and when the Field Marshal is shortly afterwards repudiated by the First Lord of the Admiralty at a luncheon of business men. Nor was the confusion in any way clarified by distinguished admirals in a recent House of Lords debate, whose sum total of demands added up to a navy of a size, variety and cost far beyond the country’s ability to produce or pay for.
The real problem is to decide what sort of a navy Britain should aim to have for a given cost. This in turn is determined by the purpose of the Navy in an age of thermo-nuclear power politics. Once that purpose has been decided, the Navy’s shape will emerge from the technical facts of the case; once given a clear and urgent purpose calling for brains and devotion the Navy’s morale problems will be half-way solved. It is quite obvious that Britain cannot afford a navy equal to every foreseeable emergency at a time when the form which war might take is so fantastically hard to foresee in detail; at best, all-round security can only be hoped for from the combined active and reserve fleets of the whole western world. The problem of the British Navy therefore comes down to priorities dictated by the major probabilities of the strategic situation.
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What are the possible wars that might have to be fought? They are, crudely put, three: a full-scale thermo-nuclear “hot” war of short duration; a long period of broken- backed warfare with conventional weapons if the first blows are not decisive; and short “warm” wars of the Korean pattern within a continuing cold war. Each of these eventualities demands rather different dispositions and differently balanced types of fleet. But the real incompatability lies between the “hot” war in which offensive power would be all-important at the outset, and the prolonged warfare fought with conventional weapons in which the guarding of sea communications against surface, underwater and air raiders would be a decisive operation. The sort of fleet capable of guarding sea communications—the sort of fleet which, sketchily, we now possess —is not the sort of fleet which can deliver maximum atomic strikes at the outset of a hot war; and not therefore the sort of fleet which acts as a deterrent to that sort of attack, in the sense that the U.S. strategic air force and the RAF long-range bomber force do.
The probabilities in terms of these three types of war can be assessed in different ways. But the Navy seems to be thinking more and more in terms of a hot war so immensely destructive in its opening phase that the course of any subsequent hostilities cannot be planned in advance. For a war fought tomorrow, the Navy must fight with the ships afloat today. All planning, all reshaping, relates to a period five to ten years hence; and, as the atomic stockpiles grow, so do both the likelihood that any major war would be atomic from the start and the difficulty of imagining its aftermath. Britain’s primary interest in such a war is—not to have one. The logical deduction is that the first priority is the deterrent against any such war—-the power of the West to give rather more terribly than it gets, however terrible. If the deterrent is successful, the remaining risk is not—or so the Navy increasingly feels —-a long war with conventional weapons fought over the seven oceans, but the limited “Korean” war fought within a political convention. These then are the two wars to spend your money on, if you cannot afford to be prepared for every risk.
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Since the deterrent is priority number one it follows that with limited resources the first defence priority goes to the long-range atomic bomber with adequate bases. This is the weapon which, held at the ready, is to deter attack (which increasingly means catastrophe); but if the other side is undeterred, it is the weapon that must at least equalise the account. It should follow that the Navy’s claim to any significantly large slice of defence resources for the future must be based largely on its capacity to lend weight to that offensive capacity, both as deterrent and as equaliser; secondarily, its claim must be based on its power to deal with the “warm” “conventional” wars that might be waged under the mushroom-shaped umbrella of the atomic deadlock between the power blocs. The protection of the sea lanes, so beloved of retired admirals, is becoming an
increasingly problematical contingency.
Can the Navy make any such claims? The younger, radical school of naval thought takes the consequences of logic and agrees that if the Navy cannot contribute to the deterrent, in effect it becomes little more than an auxiliary service like Civil Defense, of possible post-catastrophe use, but not in the running for large resources; that it should be ruthlessly cut back and the money put into bombers and land bases. The question does therefore largely turn, technically, on the uses of the aircraft carrier. In the cold war, the aircraft carrier, protected by other ships, is the only naval weapon capable of backing policy here and now; for it is the only one capable of delivering A-weapons. But it also happens to be the most useful type of ship for most of the warm wars that are likely to break out—the sort of wars in which the maritime powers will need to move men, aircraft and bases to one or other part of the periphery of the Sino-Soviet land mass.
The carrier is so expensive that, if it is useless, investment in it represents a grave detraction from the possible strength of strategic bomber command. If, too, the Navy is to have carriers, it must necessarily skimp on the frigates and mine-clearers which insure against the conventional-type long war risk. It is a crucial point, because Britain’s defence budget is so limited, and carriers take up so much of any naval building estimates. It is at this point in the argument that most air strategists consider that the case for the carrier has been lost; for they assume that it is hopelessly vulnerable, a gift to Neptune of money, men, aircraft and scarce atomic warheads.
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But this point has not been proved either way; and the matter should not be prejudged. It is a highly technical issue, not susceptible of determination by laymen’s “hunches.” Some of the vital considerations can, however, be set out as part of the background of the technical decision. Expensive as it is, the carrier is a mobile airbase. Existing atomic airbases (they are not cheap) are limited both in Britain and elsewhere; they are natural targets for A-bombs. Their position is known; they are the obvious first targets for a sudden atomic attack (the ports would probably be “taken out” thereafter). But the position of carriers is not known; retaliation from them would come from an unpredictable direction; if things went ill, they might be among the few bases from which NATO could retaliate. In that event, however “short” their “life” (if, indeed, it proved to be short), they would have been decisive; and therefore as deterrents they are important. This line of argument has decided the United States for the insurance premium which the Forrestal class represents. Just as it has been decided that Britain cannot leave strategic bombing entirely to the USAF, so there is a prima facie argument that Britain cannot leave the naval offensive entirely to the American fleet.
For the future there are two other points. Should it become possible to intercept high- level bombing attacks, the West’s only power to strike might be by tactical aircraft and from carriers. The position will again change when the ballistic rocket becomes practicable. Its range will at first be shortish, and those who command the seas and have naval launching platforms will have a big advantage—but only if they prepare for it by a navy meanwhile trained to the offensive with current weapons. (Some naval men think the ballistic rocket will make the bomber air force obsolete and re-emphasize naval importance.)
Simultaneously with the deterrent, the Navy’s role is to cope with the limited wars, for which, it has been said, the carrier is a vital weapon. The growth of atomic weapons could make such wars more likely—particularly if the West has no effective tools with which to fight them. A “defensive” fleet for protecting sea lanes is not, in the Navy’s view, such a tool. The carrier is.
The other point, somewhat grimmer, is this. A small industrial country subjected to very heavy thermo-nuclear attack might well find that a not inconsiderable part of its surviving technical know-how survived in its ships at sea. Indeed (as was indicated in the Lords debate) if the worst befell, nations with ships might be the only belligerent nations left with communications on any scale.
The case for the Navy is thus the brief for the naval programme. It is however the brief for the navy of 1965 or so. That should be remembered by those who are tempted to denounce the failure to build convoy warships in face of the Russian submarine fleet. For a war today, fought over sea routes, the reserve fleet—including battleships elderly but capable of dealing with Sverdlovs—are the insurance policy (though it should surely be scattered over the naval bases of the Commonwealth?). The Russian fleet itself was designed years ago for conditions which would change as much for them as for us if full scale thermo-nuclear war were unleashed; and which are progressively changing. The case for the Navy, if it can be made at all, is the case for a vital part of the deterrent. Insofar as the existing British carrier fleet is the present basis of the offensive navy of the future, it is not fulfilling its prime purpose unless it is atomically armed.
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The experts alone can decide whether in these probabilities, the Navy has a vital role of this order. The allocation of resources between carriers and other vessels, between the gun ship now and the missile ship tomorrow, is their pigeon—a swift one. But the basic logic of the choice ought to be understood by all thoughtful people; and it is the duty of the Navy and the other services to settle it and to explain it to the public, and their respective roles which flow from it, frankly and fairly and without inter-service axe-grinding. The public will then be able to feel a new confidence in the Navy’s power to defend it or—if the decision goes on purely technical grounds the other way—will be able to accept the reasons for a grave and irrevocable step; for naval traditions cannot be recreated in a day (if the day demands them) or maintained in obsolete ships. The nation must know in what it is putting its trust.
New York Herald-Tribune, December 5, 1954.—-The Army dedicated what it believes is the “world’s first military airport designed and equipped for helicopters.” The heliport is located at Ft. Eustis, Va. The port (below) is in the shape of a huge wheel, with 600-foot
runways forming the spokes and a circular taxiway composing the rim. In addition to runways, for use by ’copters with heavy loads requiring some takeoff and landing run, eight disc-shaped landing pads are spotted around the outer edge of the taxiway for normal helicopter use. There is a large hangar capable of housing the biggest cargocarrying helicopter and equipped with five maintenance shops. Other structures include an administration building and control tower and a warehouse for equipment.
Portable Army Unit Can Take X-RayLike Pictures Without Power
Wall Street Journal, January 31, 1955.— A portable, battlefield X-ray machine that will work without electricity, water, or a dark room, has been developed by the Army.
It’s built around a nugget of thulium no bigger than a pencil eraser. Made radioactive by atomic bombardment, the thulium supplies the hard radiation necessary to produce an X-ray photograph. A quarter-inch lead plate protects the operator from accidental radiation exposure, the Army says. Thulium is a rare-earth metal found in certain minerals.
Instead of film, the new X-ray device uses radiosensitive paper and pads for recording the picture. The film holder contains the necessary developing solutions in a leak-proof compartment. When the picture is complete, the dividers in the holder are removed and the paper is developed.
“The X-ray unit can be set up, a picture taken, and developed for reading within five to 10 minutes,” the Army reports. “Timing of the exposure is done with a wrist watch.”
The Army concedes radiografs produced by the 48-pound contraption don’t have the sharp detail of standard X-ray films, but emphasizes they are “suitable” for field and emergency use. The Army, which developed the machine itself, estimates each of the portable units will cost about §200, but notes further tests must be made before the item will be put into production.
Streamlined Deck Log Will Be Time- Saver
Navy Times, February 12, 1955.—A new streamlined ship’s deck log is now being readied to replace the one in use since the start of World War II. It is expected to be in fleet-wide use by July 1.
The revised version is expected to reduce typing by 50 per cent, stowage space by 40 per cent, paper by 40 per cent and overall cost by 20 per cent.
Instead of the well-known black log cover, the leading bridge gang quartermaster will soon get a single light blue, loose-leaf binder in which everything is arranged for handy use—even on a dark night. Thus, the need for separate odd-day and even-day logs has been eliminated.
Opening the new log, the quartermaster will find on the left-hand side complete instructions on how to use it, and on the opposite side the Weather Observation Sheet (where numerous changes have been made).
Overleaf he will find the Remarks page. Here the OOD can write on both sides of the sheet since the Weather Observations are no longer printed on the reverse side. And in an inside pocket in the log’s back cover is additional space for stowing forms.
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The yeoman will also be happy with the new format. He will have to type up but one copy of the Remarks sheet, which is sent to BuPers as before. No carbon will be required as previously—officials decided that keeping the original Rough Log aboard ship was sufficient record.
Too, no retyping of the Weather Observations Sheet is required. The original will be sent to BuPers and the carbon retained aboard just as it comes off the bridge.
 Rear Admiral, Civil Engineer Corps, United States Navy Chief, Bureau of Yards and Docks.
 Brown and Root, Inc., Raymond Concrete Pile Company, and Walsh Construction Company.
 Metcalf and Eddy, Frederic R. Harris, Inc., Shaw Metz and Dolio, and Pereira and Luckman.
 See Page 277, Proceedings, February, 1955.
 (Editor’s Note. See page 348, Proceedings, March 1955.)