PRODUCTION: Secret Weapon

When the U.S. Air Force began burrowing into the wreckage of German planes in 1942, it got a shock. Engine mounts, wing spars and other parts for the planes had not been made by slow machining or welding, as were those in U.S. planes. They had been quickly forged in one big piece, apparently by enormous hydraulic presses that dwarfed any in the world. The big press was a secret production weapon that had enabled the Germans to mass-produce planes in such big quantities.

After V-E day, a U.S. technical mission raced the Russians to grab the presses. The U.S....

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