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Old 20-10-20, 00:22
David Dunlop David Dunlop is offline
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Default World War Two Ball Bearing Production

A very interesting topic popped up related to this in the Carrier Section recently.

Prior to, and during WW2, Sweden pretty much owned the world ball bearing market. SKF alone, between control of raw material, patents, manufacturing machinery and intellectual knowledge controlled close to 60% of German supplies and close to 30% of Englands.

I recall reading once that at one point during the Battle of Britain, between new production on the lines and aircraft in for repairs, work on around 1,500 aircraft could not be completed in England due to lack of bearings. They are present in nearly everything when you think about it.

As a recognized neutral country, if Sweden wanted to sell bearings to Germany, it could not do so without getting permission from England, and vis versa. Under this surface, however, postwar information has revealed an interesting extent that Sweden went to favouring supplies of ball bearings to England. Both aircraft and ships were used.

The aircraft i believe were all marked BOAC but flown by RAF crews dressed as civilians. There was at least one dedicated airfield in Sweden they operated out of. I do not know what ships were used, but they did not have civilian crews either and also operated out of a dedicated port somewhere in Sweden, and at least one article I have seen implies they were fast and well armed.

Interesting that Carrier wheels designed to work around that ball bearing shortage 80 years ago are still turning up.

David
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Old 20-10-20, 01:56
Mike Kelly's Avatar
Mike Kelly Mike Kelly is offline
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Default Echuca

Was a bearing factory here at Echuca set up during WW2

https://www.ozatwar.com/civilian/ech...ncefactory.htm

More info

https://foodmach.com/factory-history
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Old 20-10-20, 03:26
maple_leaf_eh maple_leaf_eh is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Dunlop View Post

...


The aircraft i believe were all marked BOAC but flown by RAF crews dressed as civilians. There was at least one dedicated airfield in Sweden they operated out of. I do not know what ships were used, but they did not have civilian crews either and also operated out of a dedicated port somewhere in Sweden, and at least one article I have seen implies they were fast and well armed.

....
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Old 20-10-20, 12:22
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Lynn Eades Lynn Eades is offline
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Default

I guess it was the early war that saw Timken's rise. Many of the carrier wheel bearings I have seen are USA made.
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  #5  
Old 20-10-20, 22:50
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charlie fitton charlie fitton is offline
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Oddly enough, I just read a few lines on smuggling (by boat) from Sweden...Fairmiles.....must have been mostly bearings.. Full link incl pics of a "fairmile Freighter" below..

Quote:
"While MGB 502 and 503 went to the covert ops 15th MGB Flotilla upon completion in mid-1943 (and the last of class MGB 509 underwent a redesign to take more powerful petrol engines instead of the diesels), the other five boats had been identified as the most suitable hulls for conversion to fast blockade runners. They would be operating on the dangerous run across the North Sea to Sweden, where they would pick up consignments of vital ball bearings (from a moored British ship) and then run the gauntlet of German patrols to get the high-value cargo back to the UK.

The converted blockade runners were renamed Hopewell, Nonsuch, Gay Viking, Gay Corsair and Master Standfast. They had been modified to look as much like merchantmen as possible:


Almost convincing. And, if the disguise didn’t work, they could always leg it:


And they had a few Oerlikons and machine-guns, just so they could try and shoot their way out of trouble if they had to. Over the course of two winter seasons (maximum darkness) the boats were sent on journeys involving two-day trips each way, many of which were scrubbed due to bad weather or issues with the troublesome Paxman diesel engines. One boat was lost to enemy action and two were rendered non-operational in course of these hazardous operations."
https://www.quora.com/During-WW2-wha...edFbOx8QpIMXWU
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