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Engines of War: what steam locos changed WW2?

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by S.A.C. Martin, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    Just following on from a comment in a thread recently, I got to wondering about what locomotives you'd put in the category of "changed WW2", both in a positive and negative sense.

    On my LNER list I put Gresley's V2 - the loco class that saved the LNER's bacon and then some - what would others put on the overall list and why?

    E.g.

    LNER V2
    GWR Hall
    LMS Black Five
    Southern Railway Q1
    USA S100
    USA S160
    The Kreigslok

    All of the above affected WW2 in some way - what are your thoughts?
     
  2. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    I've always thought the "engine that won the war" thing was pretty nonsensical. Either they all did or none of them did. If the LNER hadn't had the V2s and had built loads of Stanier 8Fs instead would very much have changed?
     
  3. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    German grammar Polizei here. It's Kriegslok not Kreigslok. :)
     
  4. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    That's why I didn't say "won the war". I said changed the war, and included the german loco as a comparison (thank you for spelling - will edit!)

    The 8Fs couldn't have done what the V2s did, that's the point - the V2s did some incredible work on troop trains.
     
  5. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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    The WDs?
     
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  6. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Well-Known Member

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    I don't remember any pictures of V2s in the Middle East, Greece, Italy or Turkey, though. And whatever they did on troop trains, that was but one aspect. For that matter so did many other classes, on the Southern in particular.
     
  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I tend to agree with @Jimc - it's the system, not the specific components (engines etc.) If the V2s hadn't been available, but an equivalent number of broadly similarly-sized locos had, the LNER would still have moved its traffic, readjusting locos to duties as required.

    Two war winning contributions in this country: Early in the war, I'd put the SR's train planning expertise in keeping the network running. It was certainly immensely fortunate that when there was a need to organise hundreds of trains at short notice for the Dunkirk evacuation, the job fell on a generation of train planners who were well used to dealing with heavy traffic originating from ports, often at irregular times dependent on time and tide. It was a unique circumstance that the SR was uniquely well adapted to meet. Later the SR bore the brunt of German bombing raids but were able to keep the network operational.

    Secondly, the role played by many railway works around the country in adapting themselves to armaments production.

    Tom
     
  8. class8mikado

    class8mikado Part of the furniture

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    Putting this subject on its head... what engines did the war change... I would imagine that the amount of work developing internal combustion engines during the war put alternatives to steam in a much stronger position afterwards.
     
  9. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Bulleid's first batch of MN's did some right heavy work beyond the capacity of any previous single Southern loco, but what about an honourable mention for all those knackered wrecks either given a stay of execution or dragged back to work from condemned lines around the country?

    If it's about 'winning the war', we shouldn't forget the legions of railway staff who endured six long years of blackout conditions, with troop and other wartime services (often run at short notice) and frequently at risk from air raids. None of our favourite locos would've turned a wheel without those folk.

    This photo courtesy of www.brightontoymuseum.co.uk is of a Marsh atlantic tank on London Road Viaduct Brighton, working under conditions we could scarcely imagine.

    London_Road_Viaduct.jpg
     
  10. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Ruined my dad's walk to school that did ...

    It's emblematic that picture of just how remarkable some of the reconstruction efforts were around war damage. The bombing took place one lunchtime in 1943; within 24 hours, trains were able to cross using temporary repair; within a month full service was available with a 15mph restriction; within 4 months the arches had been rebuilt. That was far from unique.

    The viaduct immediately after the raid:

    london-road-brighton-2.png

    Testing the repair with two Atlantics.

    london-road-brighton-1.png

    More testing

    london-road-brighton-3.png

    Tom
     
  11. Cartman

    Cartman Active Member

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    I actually think the Southern did a brilliant job in WW2. It was mainly passenger carrying, had a lot of old stuff, and wasn’t really equipped to cope with a lot of heavy freight traffic which the war generated, but it rose to the challenge.
     
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  12. Cartman

    Cartman Active Member

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    What was needed in WW 2 were simple 2 cylinder, easy to maintain, locos, like 8Fs, S160s and WDs
     
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  13. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    You've started something now. The replies tend to reflect the parochial nature of this hobby.
     
  14. Allegheny

    Allegheny Member

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    It's certainly true that the lorry benfitted from a lot of development in WW1.
     
  15. GWR4707

    GWR4707 Resident of Nat Pres

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    But to be fair the original poster who posted the question confirmed that their position was reflecting the parochial nature of this hobby in post #4.

    Ultimately if one is to discuss the contribution to the war from the railways, its potentially rather the railwaymen (and women) rather than any one class of locomotive?
     
  16. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Its probably fair to say that just about all of Britain's railway assets went from under-utilised during the 1930s recession to heavily used in the 1940s, but singling out any particular part(s) to have changed the course of the war?
     
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  17. Richard Roper

    Richard Roper Member

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    Absolutely!

    Richard.
     
  18. S.A.C. Martin

    S.A.C. Martin Part of the furniture

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    What I love about this forum is the debate and the way we can challenge the presumed thinking of history.

    I had not considered my own position parochial: I see within a few posts a different way of thinking I was not initially aware of. I see that to single one out may be in itself trite: however without the Kreigsloks, do we have the same mass movement of german troops (and, sadly, of Jews to the death camps?) - without, as we say, the high mileage and older locos pressed back into service (Dean Goods perhaps) would we have been able to maintain all the trains required?

    That's why I posed the original question - I see it it is far more complex than I initially assumed. That in itself is a win for debate!
     
  19. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    But I reckon the actual design of the Kreigsloks really made ******* all difference. If they'd had a less capable design they'd have had to build a few more, if they'd have a more capable design they'd have built a few less. But once you figure in "need railway system for mass transportation" the individual components is perhaps less crucial.

    I think James^2 et al are correct, it was the planning and organisation to make best use of the tools that really counted, not so much the tools themselves.
     
  20. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    the archetypal war loco must be the Dean Goods which served both WW1 and 2 in France, Italy and the Middle East to say nothing of China and other places. It's amazing there were any left at home to survive into BR days.
     
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