1930s British Sanity Options (Economy, Navy, Airforce and Army)

So with a PoD starting from the Wall Street Crash, you need to make the British economy stronger and provide better sanity options for the British Air Ministry, Admiralty and the Army.
 
Not to mention a National Investment Board.

"Mr Whittle, I believed you have requested funding to renew your patent."
 
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A few ideas

Navy: Kill the 5.25" gun on the drawing board and stick with the 4.5.

Army: Anything but the Liberty engine.

Air Force: Don't bother with X arrangement engines like the Exe or the Vulture, invest the time, money etc into jets or sleeve valve radials or the next generation of inline V type engines.
 
A few ideas

Navy: Kill the 5.25" gun on the drawing board and stick with the 4.5.

Army: Anything but the Liberty engine.

Air Force: Don't bother with X arrangement engines like the Exe or the Vulture, invest the time, money etc into jets or sleeve valve radials or the next generation of inline V type engines.
well i was going with:
LNT does not mess up with the Navy so a different LNT for the navy
Air force, i agree with you.
Army: Maybe bring back the EMF?
 
So with a PoD starting from the Wall Street Crash, you need to make the British economy stronger and provide better sanity options for the British Air Ministry, Admiralty and the Army.
Britain started in such a good position and messed things up so bad in OTL that the mind boggles. There is a veritable smorgasbord of sanity options. Even small changes, like giving the Navy responsibility for the Fleet Air Arm or giving the army enough money to pursue a more freedom to prototype different sorts of mechanized weapons system (including tanks, but better trucks for military use or a bigger radio industry would be less sexy but far more significant in actual combat power) would result in a significantly more formidable Britain in 1939. More radical sanity options, like a buy-back scheme where the government buys old ships from owners if they buy new ships from British shipyards (keeping a big part of the economy running through the doldrums of the naval treaty era as well as improving the productivity of British sea transport) or a similar scheme for industrial plant, where the government buys old production tools from factory owners who buy modern machine tools to encourage the UK to transition to the Fordist industrial era (there were still factories in the UK at this time using 200 year-old machines for pete's sake) could have done much to ensure a better industrial base for war and peace.

While it was inevitable that the UK would decline in relative terms, there was much the UK could do to ensure that it remains a super-power for at least the next century or so, even with a relatively late PoD like this.

fasquardon
 
Britain started in such a good position and messed things up so bad in OTL that the mind boggles. There is a veritable smorgasbord of sanity options. Even small changes, like giving the Navy responsibility for the Fleet Air Arm or giving the army enough money to pursue a more freedom to prototype different sorts of mechanized weapons system (including tanks, but better trucks for military use or a bigger radio industry would be less sexy but far more significant in actual combat power) would result in a significantly more formidable Britain in 1939. More radical sanity options, like a buy-back scheme where the government buys old ships from owners if they buy new ships from British shipyards (keeping a big part of the economy running through the doldrums of the naval treaty era as well as improving the productivity of British sea transport) or a similar scheme for industrial plant, where the government buys old production tools from factory owners who buy modern machine tools to encourage the UK to transition to the Fordist industrial era (there were still factories in the UK at this time using 200 year-old machines for pete's sake) could have done much to ensure a better industrial base for war and peace.

While it was inevitable that the UK would decline in relative terms, there was much the UK could do to ensure that it remains a super-power for at least the next century or so, even with a relatively late PoD like this.

fasquardon
Yeah, from what i read in books, the machine tools were obsolete and the shipyard management was.........lacking, very lacking. Also trucks and radio from what i can discern could have made the North African front go very differently than OTL.
 
Could longer assembly lines also helped British industries?
My understanding is that Britain hardly had any assembly lines in this period.

Yeah, from what i read in books, the machine tools were obsolete and the shipyard management was.........lacking, very lacking. Also trucks and radio from what i can discern could have made the North African front go very differently than OTL.
To be fair, Britain was still one of the most productive industrial economies in the world. The only major industrial economy that was more productive overall was the US, so far as I know (though the Germans certainly had big leads over the British in certain areas). Though of course, given that the US had overtaken the UK in per capita productivity sometime between the 1880s and the 1910s (I am afraid I don't remember which), by 1930 the British really had time to realize that a big push implementing better tools and practices could bear fruit.

I have wondered what Britain might have looked like if they'd been imbued with Soviet levels of technophilia (Britain was and is notable for especially low levels of R&D investment compared to other first rate economies, the Soviets by comparison fetishized science and technology).

Of course, to make room for modern industrial facilities you'd need to dynamite quite a few old buildings. Can't fit a modern assembly line in an 19th Century locomotive factory.

fasquardon
 
Of course, to make room for modern industrial facilities you'd need to dynamite quite a few old buildings. Can't fit a modern assembly line in an 19th Century locomotive factory.
maybe have the Doggerbank earthquake response by the British authorities be much weaker (ironic that strong response by the British saved the old obsolete industries)
 
My understanding is that Britain hardly had any assembly lines in this period.



To be fair, Britain was still one of the most productive industrial economies in the world. The only major industrial economy that was more productive overall was the US, so far as I know (though the Germans certainly had big leads over the British in certain areas). Though of course, given that the US had overtaken the UK in per capita productivity sometime between the 1880s and the 1910s (I am afraid I don't remember which), by 1930 the British really had time to realize that a big push implementing better tools and practices could bear fruit.

fasquardon
Completely untrue.
Look at the car industry, just for a single example.
 
Ah you meant assembly lines.
I do know that McKeena advocates longer assembly lines for further higher production, could that have been implemented
Longer assembly lines really need more production/a bigger market.
There's a lot of confusion about British mass production in the 30's. Yes, they had it, but with some exceptions it was subtly different to the US model - more skilled workers and shorter production runs, with more changes in the product. Which fitted in with smaller factories and a smaller target market.

As a point to note, while the US production of warplanes in WW2 using production lines is often feted, in fact the British achieved the same effective rate - but they did it differently. making a lot of planes to the same spec (the US model) ,meant having to modify them before use to add in newly required features and capability. So a lot of planes were sitting in the shops waiting for these mods. The British model was shorter production runs (often around 500 aircraft), then modifying production for the better model. End result is a very similar effective production rate.
 
My go to scheme for 'one thing the HMG could do' is loosely based on the 'buy back' scheme that the British government had in the early 2010s for cars

But focused on ship building

It has several aspects to it

Firstly the ship fleets

Due to WW1 a large number of ships having been sunk and effectively replaced with the then 'tramp steamers' of the day meant that the fleet 'estates' were relatively young in 1930.

This means that those ships had a decade or 2 of life left in them even though they were of what we might consider to be an obsolete and slow design

So there was little incentive for the shipping companies to purchase newer, modern larger and faster ships - what they had was not the best but it was good enough

This means that there is also little incentive for ship builders to modernise their infrastructure when sales are slow and no one is interested in buying 'newer, modern larger and faster ships'

The other issue is 'infrastructure' being early to the game of building Iron Boats meant that the ship yards had grown up and subsequently been surrounded, some would say hemmed in, by the rail transport and housing estates.

This had 2 issues.

New larger modern buildings had no space to be built (necessary for more advanced machinery etc to be used as well as more efficient working practices)

Longer slipways for 'newer, modern larger and faster ships' could not be constructed - again due to lack of space.

And then more modern practices such as wielding etc - why bother and with the industry in decline etc there would be little appetite and for various reasons I can see the unions seeing any such initiatives as a threat to their members.

So....

The Government introduces their buy back 'scrappage scheme' and incentives for ship yards to modernise.

Shipyards are provided with - tax breaks, grants etc in order to modernise their ship yards.

This generally involves reducing the number of slipways by turning them 45 degrees - allowing fewer but longer slipways and freeing up land for larger buildings etc

The ship designs they would build would be for the 'newer, modern larger and faster ships' which would use more modern construction (including wielding) and more modern better machinary.

In addition the government would incentivise/fund training/retraining for modern skills such as wielding at those yards that modernise (this would be part of the agreement)

The buy back scheme would initially be for any ship over a certain age - if the owning shipping company agrees to purchase a 'newer, modern larger and faster ship' from one of the modernised ship yards then the government agrees to buy the older ship with the important provision - 'they will not sell it on' - as why would the shipping company agree to sell their ship if a competitor simply buys the older ship and can potentially under cut them on certain shipping lines?

The Government either sell it to a scrap merchant to be broken up or for those ships in better condition kept as a reserve merchant fleet (remembering the losses of WW1) only to be used in time of War or crisis.

This scheme would through incentive achieve several goals
  • Modernise the Merchant fleet
  • Modernise the Ship Yards
  • Modernise the ship building skills
  • Increase the number of ships being built
  • Decrease the number of ship yards having to close
  • Decrease the number of workers on the dole (and through extra taxes/less out of work men being supported by teh government and society)
  • Create a reserve Merchant fleet for times of woe
This scheme to be started in the late 20's should start to bear dividends in the early 30s and as an unexpected bonus help the industry over the slump of the Great depression.
 
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