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View Full Version : Snow Removal During WWII?



fightwithflight
01-27-2004, 04:11 PM
I live in Duluth, and we just got over 24 inches of snow. This got me wondering what they used in WWII to remove snow from airfield, or did they do it by hand?

fightwithflight
01-27-2004, 04:11 PM
I live in Duluth, and we just got over 24 inches of snow. This got me wondering what they used in WWII to remove snow from airfield, or did they do it by hand?

Chuck_Older
01-27-2004, 04:15 PM
Snowplows existed in the 19th century. Horse drawn snowplows were in use in the US by the 1890s.

For a runway I bet the Army was more sophisticated than using shovels exclusively, but with such a large free workforce, I bet our soldiers shovelled an awful lot of snow on base.

*****************************
do I hear the echoes of the days of '39? ~Clash

BfHeFwMe
01-27-2004, 04:23 PM
We need ski equipped early Yaks, I-16's, and Sturmos.

horseback
01-27-2004, 04:23 PM
Somehow, I just can't envision the LW or the VVS using snowblowers or snowplows; on grass fields, this might have had a less than ideal effect on the landing surface.

I'm guessing lots of enlisted men or hired/impressed civilians with shovels.

Cheers

horseback

"Here's your new Mustangs, boys. You can learn to fly'em on the way to the target. Cheers!" -LTCOL Don Blakeslee, 4th FG CO, February 27th, 1944

JR_Greenhorn
01-27-2004, 11:17 PM
Surely they had plain old buldozers on hand, especially on the grass strips. At least they had plenty of room to pile the snow; the pile outside my window has nearly reached 3rd floor.

Similarly, do you suppose they had heated hangars? I kind of doubt it.

What weight oils were used? It was -30F here today. Tommorrow its supposed to warm up to the -20s.
I cringe at the thought of trying to spin my little 327 over tommorrow morning--its full of 15W-40!

-HH-Dubbo
01-28-2004, 02:17 AM
Hangars? Hangars!!?? Pure Luxury. We used to dream of having a hangar. All they would give us was a tent...and we had to supply out own poles. We'd have to get up, half an hour before we went to bed........

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It only funny 'til someone loses an eye.......oops

woofiedog
01-28-2004, 02:20 AM
We have had just about the same wonderful weather in the Northeast, temp right around a Oil Corp's Stock Holders dream,-10 without the wind chill. We even set a couple records, but I believe it was Oil & Gas Profits.
I have read that they packed the snow on some landing fields, using large rollers. They used these same rollers pulled by Ox and Horse around in the Northeast for roads until more powerful trucks could handel the plowing of snow.
They also used the old stand by the shovel, but most used snow plows powered by either tractor,truck or animal power and in modern time snow blowers.

SpremeCommander
01-28-2004, 02:21 AM
One word:

SALT.

Pretty ******* easy to melt snow with salt. How did this not occur to you?

pettera
01-28-2004, 02:32 AM
The germans probably used forced labour and horses with plows to get rid of the snow. Remember that they used more horses than trucks on the Eastern front. The Wehrmacht had quite a lot of Panzer but a lot of their soldiers had to walk on foot.

Petter ***

RdTimeTheCharm
01-28-2004, 02:53 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SpremeCommander:
One word:

SALT.

Pretty ******* easy to melt snow with salt. How did this not occur to you?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Can u provide document ? Intresting, but sounds a bit too expensive. I would have thought that snow removal was mostly done by shovel+pow s

Kampfmeister
01-28-2004, 05:18 AM
Found this in one of my books on the eastern front. Explained to the German occupants of Severskaya by a Russian deserter. They did not have a paved runway, so to operate their airfield year round he told them this.

After the first snow had fallen, half the field's area had to be rolled or stamped flat to provide a firm, compressed surface for take-off and landing during the winter months. Meanwhile the other half of the field was strictly off-limits. In spring, the untrodden snow of the off-limits field quickly thawed, and the grassy surface beneath was sufficiently dried out to permit operations from that part of the field http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

salthill
01-28-2004, 05:32 AM
hi,
i was on line last weekend and was W/man for a bleinheim which landed with skis wow!
what other planes are equipped with ski's? in FB

FI.Red.Lichtie
01-28-2004, 05:42 AM
Yup Salthill

I was flying last weekend and flew a blenheim which had skis! I didnt know that was in the game http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I had a wingman! may have been you http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
I totally missed the target from 5000 tho!

S!

BlitzPig_Ritter
01-28-2004, 09:21 AM
I've seen footage from the Battle of the Bulge showing a ground crewman using a shovel to clear off the top of a P-38.

______________________________
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h009291
01-28-2004, 09:28 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SpremeCommander:
One word:

SALT.

Pretty ******* easy to melt snow with salt. How did this not occur to you?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

LOL ... you must live in Florida ... right? Salt don't do diddly to snow if the temp is -10degrees C or less. How did this NOT occur to you http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

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oFZo
01-28-2004, 09:28 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dubbo2:
Hangars? Hangars!!?? Pure Luxury. We used to dream of having a hangar. All they would give us was a tent...and we had to supply out own poles. We'd have to get up, half an hour before we went to bed........

http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-happy.gif
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

And if you try to tell that to the kids of today.... They just won't believe ya! http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

-oFZo
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lbhskier37
01-28-2004, 09:30 AM
Don't think they used salt. If it gets below 0 F, salt has no effect.

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roachclip
01-28-2004, 09:43 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SpremeCommander:
One word:

SALT.

Pretty ******* easy to melt snow with salt. How did this not occur to you?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Mixing salt and aluminium are a big NO.

That is why you are told, or should be told, to remove your aluminium car wheels in the winter.

Salt looses it ability to melt ice at ~ -15C or somewhere near to that.

Jippo01
01-28-2004, 09:47 AM
As said before snowploughs & rollers mounted on trucks and tractors. Also lakes were used frequently as airstrips when they'd frozen over.


-jippo

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effte
01-28-2004, 10:07 AM
Heh, won't do squat to pour salt on snow anyway. Salt is for ice...

They concocted something amusing here once upon a time. A big diffuser angled 90 deg down on an old J32 jet, truck cab on top with the engine controls in. Then they towed that up and down the runway to melt the ice... http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Cheers,
Fred

porcupine1
01-28-2004, 12:38 PM
he he Ive dumped a 20# bag of salt on my front steps in the last week and it hasnt done a darn thing. 2 days ago it was -17 with a -42 wind chill here in wisconsin. it has to be a lot colder than that in russia right now. I dont think salts gunna cut it. and I sure as heck dont want to shovel in that. it must have sucked a bloated munkey butt to clear off a ruway!!

SKULLS Virga
01-28-2004, 12:52 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SpremeCommander:
One word:

SALT.

Pretty ******* easy to melt snow with salt. How did this not occur to you?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


*Note to self: Think before you post... Especially if you are arrogant.*

SKULLS Virga
01-28-2004, 12:55 PM
I would guess given the extreme spread of resources that they used several methods for snow removal: trucks, dozers, by hand and probably some we would never have even thought of. Whatever they could come up with based on their surroundings.

DONB3397
01-28-2004, 02:09 PM
I lived in Minnesota for a long time, and learned that serious cold can give packed snow the consistency of concrete. At -10 F and below, I recall that hard packed snow actually offered the same adherence as, say, asphalt. Perhaps that affected winter operations in Russia.

I also remember that even on clear days, crystals hung in the air and affected VFR ratings. The good news, was air density. Much greater.

The first poster and others in the north may have more experience and a better understanding of these phenomena.

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It's the only thing!
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JR_Greenhorn
01-28-2004, 02:30 PM
I've been thinking a lot about this subject lately; the high today was -16F, lows are around -30F again.

Most landing gear struts were hydraulically damped in those days, correct? Didn't the cold temperatures cause harsh landings and rupture seals?

Were engine oil weights reduced? Perhaps temperatures at high altitudes were that low anyway, but at that point the engine would be at OT.

I don't suppose many of the ground support vehicles had Diesel engines yet, so fuel gelling wasn't a problem. Does kerosene gell at low temperatures?

Taylortony
01-28-2004, 03:55 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JR_Greenhorn:
I've been thinking a lot about this subject lately; the high today was -16F, lows are around -30F again.

Most landing gear struts were hydraulically damped in those days, correct? Didn't the cold temperatures cause harsh landings and rupture seals?

Were engine oil weights reduced? Perhaps temperatures at high altitudes were that low anyway, but at that point the engine would be at OT.

I don't suppose many of the ground support vehicles had Diesel engines yet, so fuel gelling wasn't a problem. Does kerosene gell at low temperatures?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

They Shovelled it off, the station would turn out to do it as indeed, we still did in the RAF in the Eighties http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif They even lashed out on a snowblower but due to the new all singing all dancing snowblower they bought running over a coiled barbed wire fence on its first run out we reverted to the mk 1 shovel again http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif.

Were engine oil weights reduced? Perhaps temperatures at high altitudes were that low anyway, but at that point the engine would be at OT.
ok they used a system called oil dilution where fuel was injected into the oil to thin it sufficently, this would burn/ boil off as it got up to temp, also the oil tanks had what was called a hot pot.... this was a cylinder drilled with holes in it, returning oil to the tank would enter the top of it and oil going to the engine would be drawn from the bottom therefore forming a core of warm oil in the tank which as the engine warmed up would permentate through the rest of the tanks supply till it was all up to temp and flowing through the holes freely. You also had a venatherm which is basically a bimetallic valve and whilst the oil was cold would prevent the oil going through the cooler, as it warms up it will open and allow the cooler to come into play.

Diesel does gell, in the Airforce we used to put Avtur Jet fuel into the tanks of the bowsers to keep it from gelling, Aviation jet fuel also has an additive to prevent icing, modern aircraft pressurise the fuel tanks to prevent this to an extent as well as fuel boiling, the fuel also passes through a Fuel Cooled Oil Cooler on the engine, which is basically a radiator using fuel as the coolant for the oil,and imparts heat into the fuel. During the russian front, they used to set fires under the vehicle engines to warm them up so they could get them running. The likes of norway etc and russia they left the snow where it was and compacted it down to from the runway, as you never got an ice problem due to the temperatures, The russians even ran a train track directly over the frozen ice on a major river near Stalingrad i think and ran supply trains over it during the winter months, it was said it bowed in midstream about 3 feet when a train went over http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Seals could be a problem as well, I did an Engine change on an Airliner outside at about 20 below in Newfoundland and we didnt tighten things up until we got the engine running then went round unions and the like with it running retorquing the connections, Also in Norway we used to hand turn all the Rotors on our helicopters etc before starting to stir the oil into life http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

[This message was edited by Taylortony on Wed January 28 2004 at 03:03 PM.]

Woof603
01-28-2004, 04:07 PM
I don't know about WW2, but in 53/54 winter at some long forgotten RAF base in Scotland all of us visiting RCAF pilots were called on to help shovel the active runway.

http://www.spaads.org/denmark/spsabre.JPG

Taylortony
01-28-2004, 04:12 PM
Woof all RAF Bases in Scotland SHOULD BE FORGOTTEN was it either Kinloss, Lossiemouth, Leuchars or Mccrahannish ?

SKULLS Virga
01-28-2004, 04:14 PM
"mk 1 shovel" http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif - This needs to be modelled in FB complete with different skins.

The cold plays havok with aircraft even today. Business jets are designed to fly at altitude in -30+ deg. temps but leave them parked outside overnight in that stuff and they do all sorts of odd stuff. Avionics systems develop glitches, struts leak and the landing gear sometimes will not retract. Bring 'em back in, heat them up, look them over and go fly them - all the problems go away. Bush plane operators have lots of pre heat equipment (external to the aircraft) to get things warm enough to start them.

BfHeFwMe
01-28-2004, 04:24 PM
Salt is a no go with airfields, doesn't mix with airplanes well. Special grade sand, almost as fine as dust will sometimes be used on runways, but normally they lay down alcohol or urea to deal with ice. Those are fairly expensive and doubt they had them back in WWII. They too have certain temp limits that work, gets too cold sand it, thats the last option. Even the fine airfield sand isn't good for jet engines, but beats sliding with no there options and you have to land.

Places like Anchorage AK use these extreme and expensive measures, after all, where are you going to divert too?

Taylortony
01-28-2004, 04:33 PM
Brize Norton originally had under runway heating the USAF put in, when they left they offered to sell it to the RAF, but the RAF thinking why buy it cause its under the runway so we will get it anyway :0 The USAF took a catterpillar out dropped a hook on the back and drove down the side of the runway tearing all the heating element connections off http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gifhttp://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gifhttp://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gifhttp://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gifhttp://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gifhttp://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif we used to use a 1000 gallon bowser with a cab mounted infront of the cab and on either side of that was 2 derwents jet engines blowing through 2 nozzles controlled by the person in the cab, u had to be careful wrong angle and the packed ice and snow you were lifting turned black and looked awfully like slabs off tarmac............... I only did it once, http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif got the hang of it after that, but hated it, not my idea of fun 4 hours of that in the middle of the night http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Woof603
01-28-2004, 05:30 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Taylortony:
Woof all RAF Bases in Scotland SHOULD BE FORGOTTEN was it either Kinloss, Lossiemouth, Leuchars or Mccrahannish ?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I flew into Kinloss, but that wasn't it. Leuchars sounds about right. Is that fairly close to the border on the east coast? I've forgotten the name but I well remember the shower and toilet facilities...outdoors, walled and roofed with corrugated iron, with two foot gaps top and bottom all the way around. Perfectly swell in a winter wonderland. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

http://www.spaads.org/denmark/spsabre.JPG

JR_Greenhorn
01-28-2004, 11:07 PM
Thanks Taylortony for your responses to my post. Very interesting stuff. Its funny how one usually doesn't consider how the extreme cold affects so many things until you experience it.

I live in Fargo right now, and we're in the middle of one of the coldest spells I can remember. The past three days have all been as cold as -30F, and they are predicting a high of 0F for Saturday. I can hardly wait!

Tonight a friend and I removed and replaced a starter on a car in an unheated garage with no electricity (read: dark). What fun! There's nothing like fumbling things with frozen hands through bulky gloves. At one point, without thinking, my friend put a small nut between his lips to keep track of it. It froze to him in short order.

Also, I cracked the insulation on the jumper cables my grandmother gave me for Christmas. It was the first time I've used them!

In my car, I run a '62 327 with '63-dated heads. Combined with an old school Holley with a large accelerator pump (for a 327), the engine starts with ease--it seems unfazed by the cold. Why is it that engines of that vintage seem to be better cold weather runners than those since? I suppose "just don't make 'em like they used to," as it were.

Last weekend, I took my studded XS650 ice riding. Wow, they really don't design motorcycles for conditions like that, do they.

Ok, I'll stop rambling now. Its just been an odd week, and its fun to share.