The World War II Photo of the Week
for 16 July 2001
|Paper is Mightier Than Steel (Sometimes) ...
Pressed-paper droptanks like the ones pictured above were light and easy to handle compared to conventional metal tanks, and were cheaper and easier to produce in large numbers (topping 24,000 tanks per month in 1945). Invented by the British Thermostat Co., with a capacity of 108 gallons (409 liters), the paper type (actually, plastic-impregnated paper) held more fuel than the metal versions (the tear-drop metal ones held only 75 gallons), and since they weighed less, the range of aircraft using them (like the P-51 Mustang below) was increased. Using paper also denied the Germans scrap metal when they were dropped by Allied fighters. The only catch was that fuel could only be stored in them for eight hours or so; after that, the fuel would begin to dissolve the paper. Photo above reprinted courtesy the C. E. "Bud" Anderson Web Site; picture below from the Webmaster's collection.