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Chuck's Cardboard Model Aircraft

WW2 Paper Drop Tanks
A little known use of paper during WW2  was in the manufacture of paper drop tanks used by the 8th Air Force.  The British devised a system using laminated and glued paper that would hold 108 gallons of fuel - for one mission!  Plastic model kit makers are well aware of the paper drop tanks as some of them offer both the "paper" and standard metal tank options. 
 A good example can be seen at the Air Force Museum virtual tour where a P-51 Mustang is shown fitted with paper drop tanks.  At the link below,  find the map at the right hand of the screen and click on the blue dots #31, 32 and 34 in the box labeled World War II.

My thanks to  Lt Gen John L. Hudson USAF (Retd) who is the Director of the USAF Museum in Dayton OH and John Lane for supplying the above link. 

Now read the following article to see how the paper drop tanks were manufactured.


 The following 3 page article about the design and construction of these paper drop tanks was written by John Lane, whose father Bill Lane was on the team involved in their successful design.  The article appeared in the March 2014 edition of the magazine "Britain At War" ( Key Publishing ltd, PO Box 300, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9. 1NA. England    Website:  http://www.britainatwar.com/view_issue.asp?ID=5881 )

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3



Some additional photos.






German Drop Tank Leaflets

Apparently many civilians mistook drop tanks for bombs when they were jettisoned from allied aircraft.  So the Germans circulated a leaflet to clear up this confusion.  The leaflet is shown at left and has the following words in both German and Polish:

Uwaga:  Attention (Polish)

Keine Bombe:  Not a bomb  or This is never used for bombing.  (German)

To Nie Bomba:  This is not a bomb.  (Polish)

Fine print reads:   Immediately contact the nearest police station or military airfield.  (In both German & Polish)

Achtung!  Kraftstoffbehalter:   Attention!   Fuel container  (German)

Uwaga!  Material Pedny:  Attention!  Propellant  (Polish)

Bardzo Wasne:
  Very important  (Polish)