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Thread: Paper fuel tanks??

  1. #1
    Member ralphwiggum's Avatar
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    Paper fuel tanks??

    I'm reading the book "To Command The Sky" & I was surprised to read that the U.S. fighters escorting the 8the Airforce bombers used auxiliary fuel tanks made of ----paper! Can anyone provide me w/more info on this?
    It's kinda hard for me to believe!
    Thanks everybody

    (img)(/img)

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    "Shooter" evangilder's Avatar
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    Google is your friend...

    WW2 Paper Drop Tanks


    > I Support Doug Gilliss <

    For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return. Leonardo Da Vinci

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    "Shooter" evangilder's Avatar
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    One more use for them:
    One morning Sgt. Sing, our Squadron cook, asked me if I would help him with a project to which I agreed of course. He sawed a panel from the top of a paper gas tank in which we carried extra fuel - one that had not been used. He took the baffles out of the inside and hinged the panel he'd cut out so that it could be opened and closed. Into the tank he poured 50 gallons of powdered milk mix, ten gal*lons of mixed, canned fruit, ten pounds of sugar, some vanilla extract and a few other ingredients that I don't remember. All this was mixed thoroughly and the tank was hung under the wing of my plane. Sgt. Sing told me to fly up to 30,000 feet where the temperature would be about 30 degrees below zero F. I was to slip and skid the airplane around for half an hour to keep the contents mixed up until it froze, then dive down and land as quickly as possible. When I parked the airplane Sgt. Sing dropped the tank off the wing and opened it up to reveal ICE CREAM. Everyone had a feast.
    WWII OBSERVATIONS by Charles D. Mohrle - 510th Fighter Squadron


    > I Support Doug Gilliss <

    For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return. Leonardo Da Vinci

  4. #4
    Senior Member fly boy's Avatar
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    they used a thick paper with some form of drop system

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    Senior Member kool kitty89's Avatar
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    I beleive the British were the major (only?) useres of such tanks. They were constructed of layers of paper laminated with plastic. They could not hold fuel for extended peroids of time, but worked quite well for the time spent on a mission. (they had to be filled just before the airfraft left for the mission)

    Such paper tanks would be discarded if retained on landing. (if a plane had to abort the mission) In the case of the P-47's 200 gal paper belly tank (early model P-47's only) it had to be dropped before landing due to the danger of rupturing. (according to the previously posted article, similar procedures were necessary for the Mustang's 108 gal paper tanks)

    The most common used were the cylindrical 108 US gallon tanks somtimes used by the Mustangs (opposed to the smaller 75 gal teardrop steel tanks). These were also used as ferry tanks on the Hurricane and in combat with the Tempest and Typhoon.

    In combat, the Hurricane II used 44 imp gal tanks. (I think these may also have been paper)

    There were also several countries using wooden drop tanks. (Japan, I beleive Russia had some, and Australia had a plywood belly tank in use)


    Here's a pic from the P-47 loadout thread:
    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/tec...uts-14154.html
    Last edited by kool kitty89; 12-17-2008 at 09:51 PM.

  6. #6
    Benevolens Magister Airframes's Avatar
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    Hi KoolKitty. You are right about the construction of the 'paper' drop tanks. They were made from laminations of paper card, with a plastic resin impregnation, and moulded rather like a papier mache 'model'. They were even sometimes referred to as 'papier mache' tanks, and were, to an extent, an early form of what we noe know as fibre glass, with paper rather than extruded glass fibres.
    However, their use was mainly by the 8th USAAF, and rarely by British forces (RAF or FAA), as the requirement was for use by the longer range escort fighters of that Force.
    The original cigar-shaped 108 US Gallon tanks were delivered from British sources, and had a 'smooth' exterior, being constructed from mild steel. But, due to the need for this 'precious' metal for more important uses, a paper version was designed, the thinking being that, why waste valuable steel on a 'use once then throw away' product.
    Tanks of 108 US Gal capacity in steel were still used by the USAAF, but these became more common from American production sources. These could be identified by their finish in Neutral Gray paint. The British - produced paper tanks, distinguishable by their 'ribbed' appearance and silver doped finish, were used on the P47 and P51, as well as the 'tear drop' steel under-wing tanks on the latter, and the early steel belly tank, and later, flatter belly tank on the former.
    The British 'cigar' shaped belly tank, of a slimmer design, was used on the Spitfire IX on, and was generally of steel construction. Plywood laminate tanks were used also, by the RAF (some Mosquito wing tanksfor instance) and the Luftwaffe. The most common of the latter was the belly tank, used on both the FW190 and Bf109, very similar in shape and appearance to its steel counterpart. By the end of WW2, experiments with glass-fibre tanks had already begun, although protracted use was overtaken by events.
    Please note that the above refers to those tanks in use in the ETO, by units of the 8th and 9th Air Forces; the use of tanks in other theatres may have, and probably did, differ.
    Hope this has been of use.
    Terry.

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    Senior Member Crimea_River's Avatar
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    Question re Paper Drop Tanks

    Hi

    Does anyone know if the 108 gallon tanks were used by the USAAF in Italy in summer 1944? I'm doing a model project of a P51 and have only seen photos with the 75 gal tanks.

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    Paper fuel tanks

    During WW2 my father was a supervisor of an assembly line manufacturing paper fuel tanks for P-51's.
    The factory was a paper mill located in the town of Bury ,county of Lancashire,England.
    The tanks were made of Kraft paper laminated with resorcinol glue.There were three main components.The nose cone,tail cone ,the middle body.These were shaped over wood forms.
    The paper was wound around the main body because it was a simple cylinder.The cones were more complex and were hand laminated.The paper that covered the cones was cut like flower petals.As each layer was aplied with glue it was squeegeed with a specially shaped squeegee.After forming wood baffles were riveted in place.Other pipes and fitting were added.The interiors of the three sub assemblies were coated with glue and then sprayed with fuel resistant shellac laquer.The three assemblies were bonded together in a horizontal hand cranked press.Once the tank was cured it was pressure tested to 6 psi.
    Acceptable tanks were then given two coats of cellulose dope.They were then given two coats of aluminum paint applied by spray.Stenciling was then applied.13,166 tanks were made.

    dcniner

  9. #9
    Senior Member seesul's Avatar
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    thx for the info!


    ...in memory of my friend Joe Owsianik, a former right waist gunner from B-17G, 42-97159 from 2ndBG 20th Sqdn, who was forced to bail out on Aug. 29th, 1944 over my country. Joe passed away on November 1, 2010.

  10. #10
    Senior Member seesul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcniner View Post
    During WW2 my father was a supervisor of an assembly line manufacturing paper fuel tanks for P-51's.
    The factory was a paper mill located in the town of Bury ,county of Lancashire,England.
    The tanks were made of Kraft paper laminated with resorcinol glue.There were three main components.The nose cone,tail cone ,the middle body.These were shaped over wood forms.
    The paper was wound around the main body because it was a simple cylinder.The cones were more complex and were hand laminated.The paper that covered the cones was cut like flower petals.As each layer was aplied with glue it was squeegeed with a specially shaped squeegee.After forming wood baffles were riveted in place.Other pipes and fitting were added.The interiors of the three sub assemblies were coated with glue and then sprayed with fuel resistant shellac laquer.The three assemblies were bonded together in a horizontal hand cranked press.Once the tank was cured it was pressure tested to 6 psi.
    Acceptable tanks were then given two coats of cellulose dope.They were then given two coats of aluminum paint applied by spray.Stenciling was then applied.13,166 tanks were made.

    dcniner
    Donīt you know please how many times the tank could be theoreticaly reused? What was its life (if not dropped or damaged)?


    ...in memory of my friend Joe Owsianik, a former right waist gunner from B-17G, 42-97159 from 2ndBG 20th Sqdn, who was forced to bail out on Aug. 29th, 1944 over my country. Joe passed away on November 1, 2010.

  11. #11
    Senior Member vikingBerserker's Avatar
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    Thanks for the detail cdniner. It sounds like they were single use.



  12. #12
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    I remember reading somewhere that the tanks would start leaking after about two days, so they could not be used to store fuel. They were filled up on the morning of the flight and dropped several hours later, so this storage "problem" really wasn't a problem.

    - Ivan.

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    A photograph of interest to this thread, I am with Mssr. Roger Hugenin in Remy, France in 1998 with one of three known surviving paper mache' USAAF drop tanks. One is in the Smithsonian, another at the USAF Museum in Dayton and this example was retrieved from Mssr. Hugenin's field the day after the attack on a German train at Remy on 02 august 1944 by the 364th Fighter Group, he saw one of the "top cover" P-51s drop this during the attack, so it belonged to a ship from either the 385th or 383rd Fighter Squadron of the 364th. This third surviving example was retrieved from Hugenin's barn and presently resides in my cellar inHolly Springs, Mississippi. Chelius H. Carter

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/ass...0&d=1302586233
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -remy-france-.-huguenin-..-carter-364fg-drop-tank-.jpg  

  14. #14
    Senior Member Crimea_River's Avatar
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    Interesting!





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    Senior Member mikewint's Avatar
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    Very impressive, learn something new every day

    Motivated, Dedicated, Lethal


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