Revealed: RAF fighter planes 'used super-fast fuel from the U.S. to win the Battle of Britain'
A 'miracle fuel' imported from the U.S. helped Spitfire and Hurricane fighter pilots win the Battle of Britain, it has been claimed.
American science writer Tim Palucka said the high-octane fuel was made using a process invented by a Frenchman and supplied to the RAF by the U.S. just in time for battle.
He said the 100-octane fuel helped the aeroplanes gain superior altitude, manoeuvrability and rate of climb.
The superior fuel replaced the 87-octane gasoline which was previously used in the planes, with the imported gas allowing British planes to achieve crucial dominance over German Air Force, the Luftwaffe.
Mr Palucka said the super-fast fuel increased the Spitfire's speed by 25 mph at sea level and by 34 mph at 10,000 feet.
In mid-1940 this extra speed may have given the British fighters the edge over the Luftwaffe above the English Channel and in the skies of London and south east England.
Mr Palucka said: 'Luftwaffe pilots couldn't believe they were facing the same planes they had fought successfully over France a few months before.
'The planes were the same, but the fuel wasn't.'
The fuel was made using a process invented by Eugene Houdry, who was born in France but settled in America where he developed one of the earliest catalysts to convert useless crude oil into high octane fuel.
He revealed the 'cracking' process at a Chicago chemicals conference in 1938.
The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) said it was the first time it had heard the claim.
It is inviting experts to challenge the revelation made by Mr Palucka in the journal Invention And Technology.
RSC spokesman Brian Emsley said: 'If it's refutable we want it to be refuted. All we've got to go on is the one report.
'The Spitfire is a wonderful bit of British design, it's an icon, so we approach this with trepidation, but the possibility should be aired.
'It could mean that science and chemistry played its part.'
If the claim stands firm, the RSC will send the report to aviation and military historians.
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Tags: wwII, spitfire, france, UK, britain, USA, roosevelt, hitler, nazi, germany, austria, fuel, war, battle, french, british, american, victory, world war
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