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  1. Here at Sturgeon's House, it is our raison d'etre to bust the myth of Teutonic superiority surrounding German military equipment, industry, structure and strategy in World War 2 and beyond. As such, it surprised me that we didn't already have a thread devoted specifically to Nazi aviation. Until now. For the time being, I intend to keep this introduction very short with only a short editorial on how it has always amazed me that Nazi Germany, with such a head start in terms of military spending prior to the start of hostilities, and with the entire resources of Europe at its disposal, lagged not only behind the United States in aircraft production and quality but also the island nation of Great Britain which spent the first third of the war under a U-boat blockade as well as the Soviet Union which either outright lost or had to move the preponderance of its factories, workers and manufacturing equipment. That is until one actually looks at how German industry worked. This silent film shows the production of the Messerschmidt Bf 108 "Taifun", built in Bavaria, in the 1930s. And while Germany had not ratcheted up to wartime production and presumably more efficient manufacturing shortcuts were eventually adopted, there is little reason to doubt that the basic manufacturing techniques portrayed in this film were still used throughout the war. In the film you'll see the lack of a modern production line. Airplanes and their parts were built in place, often from the ground up. You'll see workers lazily wandering back and forth between parts bins as they lovingly, handcrafted these machines, fitting each part into place. Presumably skilled workers will finish installing a part and then stop what they are doing in order to physically pick up a part of the airplane in order to move it to another work station. At the 1:20 mark, a worker uses a standard bandsaw to cut a part, using his Mark 1 eyeball as the only calibration instead of having a jig in place to make the cut. At the 2:00 mark, superior Teutonic craftsman use sledgehammers of the like wielded by Thor himself to pound sheet metal body panels into shape. Workers stoop and fetch pieces of sheet metal and push them on handcarts around the factory. Elsewhere, you'll see the same worker stop one project at a work station to jump to the next in order to accomplish a different task. Everywhere you see waste, inefficiency and sloth. The Bavarian Aircraft Factory more resembles a community college metal shop class than a plant meant to supply war machinery to the most powerful military on the planet at that time. All in all, it is a wonder that the Germans were able to build as many planes as they did if this news footage is any indication of their manufacturing prowess.
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