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Chevan
12-29-2006, 02:45 AM
I think the best US fighter in conditions of Eastern front was the P-39 AiraCobra.
This was the mass supplied fighter to the USSR via the lend lise.
http://www.airpages.ru/img/p39.jpg
Having the 37-mm gun(!!!) and two 12,7 mashingan this aircraft was good in the role of shturmovic agains german armoured veshicles.Soviet flyers recal this fighter as very reliabile.
Cheers.

Digger
12-29-2006, 07:00 AM
Is it true the P-39 was called Little Shaver by Soviet crews? Shaving being the slang term for ground strafing? I'm not sure if my source is correct with this information.

Regards Digger.

Panzerknacker
12-29-2006, 08:35 AM
I think the best US fighter in conditions of Eastern front was the P-39 AiraCobra


The Cobra was an special case...hated by the british and americands , but so loved for the russians. :neutral:

http://i10.tinypic.com/2lbym8w.jpg

Digger
12-29-2006, 08:53 AM
Yes the P-39 was not very popular with the RAAF as well.

Regards Digger

VonWeyer
12-29-2006, 08:55 AM
Why wasn't it popular?

Chevan
12-29-2006, 08:55 AM
The Cobra was an special case...hated by the british and americands , but so loved for the russians. :neutral:



Yes Panzerknacker it's true. First AiraCobra in 1941 were sended as lend lise to the Britain but british dislike it and re-sended to the USSR in late of 1941.
First AiraCobra were had a lot of lacks. But spesial soviet-american comission ( including the agent of Bell plant) during the all the war inproved the construction of P-39.
The resault was good. Some soviet pilots prefered P-39 for the other fighters.
Like famouse soviet ace A. Pokrishkin ( 59-voctories at all , 48 on the P-39).

Panzerknacker
12-29-2006, 09:23 AM
Why wasn't it popular?

They did not like some tricky fliying characteritics and the lack of more powerful supercharged witch limitated the ceiling.

Chevan this is the aircraft of that famous ace.

http://www.elknet.pl/acestory/foto/pokri1.jpg

George Eller
12-29-2006, 04:07 PM
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P-39 Airacobra and P-63 Kingcobra

4,773 P-39's (primarily D, N & Q models) and over
2,400 P-63's were supplied to the USSR during WWII.

The P-63 had superior performance to the earlier P-39.

P-39M: maximum speed: 386 mph (621 km/h) at 9,500 ft (2,895 m)
service ceiling: 36,000 ft (10,970 m)
maximum range: 650 miles (1,046 km)

P-63A: maximum speed: 410 mph (660 km/h) at 25,000 ft (7,620 m)
service ceiling: 43,000 ft (13,110 m)
maximum range: 2,200 miles (3,541 km) with external fuel tanks.

From: American Aircraft of World War II, David Mondey, Chancellor Press, 1999, pp 12-14, 17-19
http://img243.imageshack.us/img243/3879/p39airacobra01bi8.jpg

http://img50.imageshack.us/img50/9923/p39airacobra02bi8.jpg

http://img388.imageshack.us/img388/8851/p39airacobra03bs7.jpg

http://img243.imageshack.us/img243/65/p63kingcobra01qr2.jpg

(CONTINUED BELOW)

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George Eller
12-29-2006, 04:08 PM
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(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
02
From: American Aircraft of World War II, David Mondey, Chancellor Press, 1999, pp 12-14, 17-19
http://img388.imageshack.us/img388/4913/p63kingcobra02vp8.jpg

http://img243.imageshack.us/img243/8805/p63kingcobra03tq8.jpg

From: Fire in the Sky: The Air War in the South Pacific, Eric M. Bergerud, Westview Press, 2000, pp 247 - 250
http://img388.imageshack.us/img388/1343/p39airacobra04np7.jpg

http://img388.imageshack.us/img388/5880/p39airacobra05hz1.jpg

(CONTINUED BELOW)

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George Eller
12-29-2006, 04:09 PM
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(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
03
From: Fire in the Sky: The Air War in the South Pacific, Eric M. Bergerud, Westview Press, 2000, pp 247 - 250
http://img50.imageshack.us/img50/5327/p39airacobra06jz0.jpg

http://img388.imageshack.us/img388/9599/p39airacobra07ik9.jpg

http://www.military.cz/usa/air/war/fighter/p39/p39_p63.jpg
http://www.military.cz/usa/air/war/fighter/p39/p39_en.htm

http://lenta.ru/articles/2005/07/28/birds/p632.jpg
http://lenta.ru/articles/2005/07/28/birds/

SEE ALSO:
P-39
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P-39_Airacobra
http://www.warbirdalley.com/p39.htm

P-63
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P-63_Kingcobra
http://www.warbirdalley.com/p63.htm

Airacobra or Iron Dog?
The Obscure Career of Bell's P-39 in the Soviet Union
http://www.chuckhawks.com/airacobra_iron_dog.htm
"Five out of the ten highest scoring Soviets aces logged the majority of their kills in P-39s.
In fact, P-39 jockeys filled the number two, three, and four spots: Aleksandr Pokryshkin (59),
Aleksandr Gulaev (57), and Grigoriy Rechkalov (56)."

Airacobras in the Soviet Union
http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p39_19.html

History in Blue: P-63 Kingcobra served under Russia’s red star
http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292308-1683581.php

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Panzerknacker
12-29-2006, 08:10 PM
Very good, notable the performance of the P-39 in the pacific despite the bad attitude of some pilots against it. Another good book about it is "P-39 aces of WW2" from Ospreys.

The 37 mm odsmobile M4 cannon in the P-39Q.

http://www.warbirdregistry.org/p39-p63registry/images/p39gun.jpg


This was and long recoil operated gun it shoot at 150 rpm and was feeded by a 33 round endless belt. Now I am tempted to open another aircraft armamento topic.

George Eller
12-30-2006, 12:00 AM
Very good, notable the performance of the P-39 in the pacific despite the bad attitude of some pilots against it. Another good book about it is "P-39 aces of WW2" from Ospreys.

The 37 mm odsmobile M4 cannon in the P-39Q.

http://www.warbirdregistry.org/p39-p63registry/images/p39gun.jpg


This was and long recoil operated gun it shoot at 150 rpm and was feeded by a 33 round endless belt. Now I am tempted to open another aircraft armamento topic.
-

I like that pic Panzerknacker. It gives a clearer picture of how much off center the drive shaft was from the centerline of the propeller hub. And also the gun arrangement is interesting. Thanks.

I wonder how accurate the following quotes are?



http://www.chuckhawks.com/airacobra_iron_dog.htm
The last major misconception about the P-39 is that it was an effective tank buster. In early August of 1944, while flying over a tank battle in Poland, Alexsandr Pokryshkin told the T-34 unit commander, "Our cannons will not penetrate tank armor." The Colt M4 had a muzzle velocity of only 600 meters per second and a low rating of 1.41 kilograms 'steel on target' per second. Theoretically, it could penetrate the armor of early panzer tanks, but only the top of the hull and turret. By comparison, the NS-37 37mm cannon had a muzzle velocity of 900 m/s and a steel on target rating of 3.06kg, enough to get through all but the Tiger's side or front armor. Also, instead of the M80 AP rounds that were required, the U.S. shipped the Soviets M54 high explosive shells, which were ineffective against tanks. Therefore, the P-39 was not used as a tank destroyer on the Eastern Front.



http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p39_19.html
It is in Soviet service that the Airacobra was used to its best effect. Soviet Air Force military doctrine was that its primary mission was to support the ground operations of the Soviet Army, and the P-39 was a natural for this role since it had an excellent low altitude performance and was heavily armed. Contrary to many published reports, the Soviet Airacobra was not primarily used as a ground-attack aircraft and tank buster, although it is certainly true that it often strafed targets of opportunity. It was actually primarily used as a low-altitude escort fighter for ground attack aircraft such as the Il-2 and later the Il-10.

...The Soviets preferred the 20-mm Hispano cannon of the P-400 over the 37mm of other Airacobra variants because of its greater reliability. In addition, the trajectory of the shells from the 20-mm cannon more closely matched that of the 0.50-inch guns, making for a greater concentration of fire. In the P-39Q, the Soviets usually removed the underwing guns or had them removed at the factory, preferring a better performance over the enhanced firepower.




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P-39_Airacobra
It is mistakenly believed that the Airacobra was used as a ground-attack aircraft by the Soviet Union, the lack of a turbo-supercharger restricting it to low-altitude combat. In fact, the Soviets used it to provide top cover. The tactical environment of the Eastern Front did not demand the extreme high-altitude operations that the RAF and USAAF employed with their big bombers. In the relatively low-altitude operations in the East, the lack of a turbocharger was not as great a handicap. The low-speed, low-altitude turning nature of most air combat on the Russian Front suited the P-39's strengths rather than its inherent weaknesses. The second-highest scoring Allied ace, Pokryshkin, flew the P-39 from late 1942 until the end of the war; his unofficial score in the Airacobra stands at nearly 60 Luftwaffe aircraft.

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Panzerknacker
12-30-2006, 08:40 AM
The first quote is probably truu, the soviets have more efficient tank killers like the IL-2, the others need some analisis but unfortunately I have no time right now. :evil:

Chevan
12-30-2006, 09:00 AM
Thanks guys for the good detailed staff and pictures about AiraCobra.
I just have to add something touching the modernisation of P-39 according USSR demands.


P -39Q became the following modification Of "AiraCobra", which followed after P -39N. after the delivery of production aircraft P -39 in THE USSR, firm "Bell" from the Soviet AIR FORCE entered proposals on an improvement in the construction of aircraft. As it proved to be, in destroyers P -39 during the sharp maneuvering appeared the deformations of skin on the aft fuselage section and the tail assembly, which in the majority the cases could not be restored. Were observed also the breakdowns in spar of horizontal stabilizers, collapsing and catastrophes. To the modification Of "AiraCobra" were connected the designers of firm "Bell" and the largest center of Soviet aviation science at that time - the central aerohydrodynamic state institute of the name N.E. of Zhukovskiy (TSAGI - CENTRAL INSTITUTE OF AEROHYDRODYNAMICS IM. N YE ZHUKOVSKIY) and NII - SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE of Red Air force. As a result of the carried out tests it was established that the American stress standards proved to be noncorresponding of the requirement AF OF THE USSR. On the basis of the conducted in TSAGI - CENTRAL INSTITUTE OF AEROHYDRODYNAMICS IM. N YE ZHUKOVSKIY investigations the specialists of central scientific experimental base VVS developed measures for strengthening and changing the construction of the supplied aircraft P -39. as a result was developed the following modification Of "AiraCobra" - P -39Q (series P -39Q-1 and P -39Q-5). This modification was differed from previous in terms of the intensive fuselage and the armament, which now consisted of one 37- mm gun T9, two 12,7- mm of machine guns and two 12,7- mm of machine guns Browning, established in the wing. General fuel stock was 416 l. in all was released the order of 1100 aircraft of this modification.

Advantages:
One of the best series tactical fighters World War II, which possesses high technical flight characteristics. Improved aerodynamics. High maneuverability and strong armament. Increased vitality of machine. Simplicity, accessibility and convenience in control.

Deficiencies:
Although the decreased, still preservable tendency toward the dumping into the corkscrew with the high angles of attack.


Now about George Eller's quotes:


It is mistakenly believed that the Airacobra was used as a ground-attack aircraft by the Soviet Union, the lack of a turbo-supercharger restricting it to low-altitude combat. In fact, the Soviets used it to provide top cover. The tactical environment of the Eastern Front did not demand the extreme high-altitude operations that the RAF and USAAF employed with their big bombers. In the relatively low-altitude operations in the East, the lack of a turbocharger was not as great a handicap. The low-speed, low-altitude turning nature of most air combat on the Russian Front suited the P-39's strengths rather than its inherent weaknesses. The second-highest scoring Allied ace, Pokryshkin, flew the P-39 from late 1942 until the end of the war; his unofficial score in the Airacobra stands at nearly 60 Luftwaffe aircraft
That's true. The specific environment of Eastern front were very suited for P-39.


The last major misconception about the P-39 is that it was an effective tank buster. In early August of 1944, while flying over a tank battle in Poland, Alexsandr Pokryshkin told the T-34 unit commander, "Our cannons will not penetrate tank armor." .......... Therefore, the P-39 was not used as a tank destroyer on the Eastern Front.
Well nobody tryed to hit germans tanks like Panther or Tiger from the P-39 37-mm gun. But in most cases the firepower of T9 gun was more then enough to hit the ground aims.
This is was the very importain characteristic of P-39.
As you wrote Its primary role was as a low-altitude escort fighter for ground attack aircraft such as the Il-2. Thus the main task of AiraCobra was not the attacking of germans tanks. This was the matter of IL-2 which had two 23- or 37-mm guns(NSK-37 gun) , 8 Air-to-Ground 83-mm rockets or bombs.

Cheers.

Nickdfresh
12-30-2006, 11:42 AM
...First AiraCobra were had a lot of lacks. But spesial soviet-american comission ( including the agent of Bell plant) during the all the war inproved the construction of P-39.
The resault was good. Some soviet pilots prefered P-39 for the other fighters.
Like famouse soviet ace A. Pokrishkin ( 59-voctories at all , 48 on the P-39).

The P-39 was made, along with the P-40 Tomahawk, at a plant not far from where I was born in Buffalo, NY. They were relegated to secondary theaters such as the Alaskan peninsula and to the Pacific theater at the very beginning. Some US pilots also appreciated the planes ruggedness and ability to function well in cold weather. The 37mm cannon was also good for shooting up ground and sea targets...

http://freenet.buffalo.edu/bah/h/aero/bell/image/04p39q.jpg

George Eller
12-30-2006, 02:17 PM
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Panzerknacker, Chevan, Nick,

Thanks for the feedback guys - interesting information.

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Panzerknacker
12-31-2006, 09:50 AM
I open this topic for talk about this polemic Fighters in every teather of operations.


http://i13.tinypic.com/30rwgvp.jpg

George Eller
12-31-2006, 01:26 PM
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This is my page 1 - missing from this thread - apparently not copied from other thread when this thread was created.

Can you adjust this Panzerknacker? Thanks.

Panzerknacker
12-31-2006, 03:30 PM
Is done, check the page 1.


http://i16.tinypic.com/2yywmqs.jpg

George Eller
12-31-2006, 05:01 PM
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Thanks Panzerknacker,

Nice pic. Well, I'm heading out for the evening. Happy New Year.

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Tony Williams
12-31-2006, 09:13 PM
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I wonder how accurate the following quotes are?
I believe they are accurate. It always used to be assumed that the P-39 was used by the Soviets for ground attack, but in recent years more info coming out of Russia has corrected that. Without AP ammo, the 37mm gun would have had a negligible effect on tanks.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website (http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk) and discussion forum (http://forums.delphiforums.com/autogun/messages/)

Panzerknacker
01-01-2007, 10:58 AM
The big differences are in the cartrigde case.

Teorically the AP M4 round (37x145R) could penetrate 25 mm vertical plate at 300 meters. That makes an antitank ?

Maybe yes maybe not:

Just some examples of armor:

Pz II ausf f : 35 mm front 15 mm side.

Pz III ausf H/J 50 mm front 30 mm sides.

Pz IV ausf G 80 mm front, 30 mm sides.

Pz V panther 80/100 mm front, 40 mm sides.

Pz VI B Tiger 1, 100 mm front 80 mm sides.


That demonstrate that it have some posibilities against the thinner armor in the lighter vehicles but the the M-80 round was a very simple one, a solid piece of steel with tracer, no explosive charge or balistic cap. the initial speed was about 609 m/s....compare that with the larger NS-37 round, 900 m/s.

M4 ammo, note the M-80 AP.

http://i12.tinypic.com/2crvmt0.jpg


Now the longer bottlenecked russian round, 37x195 mm.

http://i18.tinypic.com/48f811f.jpg


The NS-37 was put in some single engines aircraft like the Yak-9, Lagg-3 and Yak-3 that made those double use aircraft (air-to-air and air-to-ground) but because the soviet aicraft were made mostly of wood they have not the strenght and durability of the cobra, also cannot carry as much armor protection and the radio equipmente was inferior, maybe that make the Airacobra so loved in the USSR.



http://i12.tinypic.com/2rrmclv.jpg]



And Happy new year BTW.

George Eller
01-01-2007, 12:32 PM
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Thanks for the feedback Tony.

I must say that you have a very impressive website.



http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/tankbusters.htm
The USA did fit one 37 mm gun to its aircraft - the M4. However, this fired low-powered 37x145R ammunition and was not very effective against tanks, being intended for air combat. Much more impressive was the M9, which was a belt-fed development of the Army's M1 long-recoil AA gun and fired powerful 37x223SR cartridges. Special AP loadings were developed for this gun but it was never used in action.

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Thanks for the charts, pics and information Panzerknacker. Very interesting.

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Nickdfresh
01-01-2007, 03:15 PM
Keep in mind, we're also talking about top shots on the thinner turrets and engine compartments. In any case, the P-39/63 would have been very effective against soft skinned vehicles and horse drawn carts...

Panzerknacker
01-01-2007, 08:28 PM
The top armor in the Panzer moves around 15 to 40 mm in the heaviest, so chances are increased.

http://img291.echo.cx/img291/3721/p39iv57ad.jpg

Panzerknacker
01-03-2007, 07:47 PM
P-39 of the USAAF in the Mediterranean TO. I wonder how was the killing ratio of this plane against the Bf-109 and /or the Vichy French Forces, if any.

http://i14.tinypic.com/30w57c7.jpg


http://i10.tinypic.com/42m5a8h.jpg

Panzerknacker
01-10-2007, 06:56 PM
P-39D escorting C-47 over New Guinea, 1943 (P-39 in action / Squadron Signal)

VonWeyer
01-11-2007, 10:17 AM
Great pic.

Tony Williams
01-13-2007, 08:46 AM
The top armor in the Panzer moves around 15 to 40 mm in the heaviest, so chances are increased.
True, but you have to remember that the striking angle is not favourable. Fighter-bombers didn't usually attack ground targets at more than about a 30 degree angle, which means that the penetration of AP rounds against horizontal armour would be substantially reduced to a small fraction of their optimum figure.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website (http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk) and discussion forum (http://forums.delphiforums.com/autogun/messages/)

Panzerknacker
01-13-2007, 09:57 AM
Indeed, other issue is that there is not sureness about the provition of the M80 round to Russia, some sources say did not.

Panzerknacker
01-30-2007, 07:55 PM
P-39Q and P-39F.

http://i13.tinypic.com/4iepyl3.jpg

http://i11.tinypic.com/4deh5at.jpg

I am not sure about this last one, it would be interesting to know the real performance of the airacobra against the german and Vichy French fighters.

Panzerknacker
04-12-2007, 08:45 PM
P-63D, this poweful plane incorporated several fine characteristics including a bubble canopy, a refined laminar wing and improved high velocity M9 37mm cannon.

http://img249.imageshack.us/img249/6813/p63dcq1.jpg


Just one prototipe was made.

Tony Williams
04-12-2007, 09:35 PM
The US 37mm M9 was an interesting gun. It was based on the army's M1 AA gun, firing the same 37x223SR ammo (far bigger and more powerful than the 37x145R of the M4 and M10), only with a slimmer and lighter barrel, and belt fed; the P-63D installation contained 48 rounds of ammo.

It was intended as an aircraft gun but, apart from a few trial installations like the P-63D, was never used as such. A few were fitted to PT boats, just as the M4 was. The pic below (from the Ammunition Photo Gallery on my website) shows ammo from automatic guns used in PT-type boats of various nations in WW2 (the big 57mm being for the British 6 pdr Molins gun).

http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/WW2navalPT.jpg

Panzerknacker
04-12-2007, 09:44 PM
It would made the P-63 an ideal tankbusting plataform .:)

Panzerknacker
05-29-2007, 09:57 PM
P-39s kills in the Mediterranean Teather of Operations:

http://img166.imageshack.us/img166/15/99722411wp7.jpg


http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/4012/86540689yr2.jpg



http://img166.imageshack.us/img166/9443/56358551lv6.jpg



http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/3218/84894695zz9.jpg



Form. "P-39 Airacobra unit of WW2" jerry Scuts/Osprey military publishing.

Panzerknacker
10-03-2007, 11:05 AM
Nice video about the general characteristics of P-39.

http://video.google.com/videohosted?docid=-4973497638554184738

Clave
01-10-2008, 05:20 PM
I like the Airacobra a lot, it was unconventional...

http://clave.warpstorm.com/gallery-b/P39Q_71TRS_Site.jpg

http://clave.warpstorm.com/gallery-b/P39Q_108GVIAP_Site.jpg

http://clave.warpstorm.com/gallery-b/P39Q_339FS_Site.jpg

http://clave.warpstorm.com/gallery-b/P39Q_CGI5_Site.jpg

http://clave.warpstorm.com/gallery-b/P400_601Sqn_Site.jpg

Panzerknacker
04-18-2008, 07:09 PM
P-63Q, the manned target aircraft.

Undoubtly one of the most weirdest task ever impoosed to an aircraft:




Although the P-63 never served with the USAAF in any combat role, it was, however, to serve with the USAAF in an another completely different capacity. This was, in fact, one of the most strange and bizarre roles ever fulfilled by any military aircraft, namely that of manned flying target!
The first flying target Kingcobras were created by taking five P-63A-9s off the production line, redesignating them RP-63A-11, and subjecting them to extensive modifications. First, they were stripped of all armament. Next, all internal armor was removed. The wings, tail, fuselage, and rear canopy were then reskinned with over a ton of heavy sheet metal. A special frangible bullet for firing by gunnery students was designed. The bullet was manufactured of lead and graphite compound, so chosen that the bullet would easily shatter upon impact. Pressure-sensitive plates were fitted to the skin so that hits by the frangible ammunition on the airplane could be recorded. A light in the propeller hub (situated where the cannon used to be) would flash whenever a hit was registered, causing crews to give the aircraft the nickname "Pinball". The name stuck.
It was thought that the dorsal air scoop of the "Pinball" would be its most vulnerable spot, so various styles of air scoop were tested. The first RP-63A-11, 42-69647, had a much smaller "clamshell" scoop in place of the regular intake. The second RP-63A-11, 42-69654, had a flush intake with no scoop at all. The third and fifth (42-69769 and 42-69801) also had "clamshell" intakes,whereas the fourth (42-69771) had a normal intake. Eventually, the "clamshell" type of intake was adopted as standard.
After these five modifications were completed, 95 production versions of the "Pinball" were produced under the designation RP-63A-12. It was similar to the P-63A-10.
In 1948, surviving RP-63A aircraft were redesignated QF-63A, although they were never used as pilotless drones.
Two hundred examples of the P-63C-1 were modified on the production line as armored target aircraft ("Pinballs"). Serials were 43-10933/11132. These were redesignated RP-63C-2 (Model 33C-2), and were more or less similar to their RP-63A predecessors, except that it had the V-1710-117 (E-21) engine and had several minor refinements. Like the RP-63A, the RP-63C-2 had all combat equipment removed and was fitted with a 1488-pound armor skin against which frangible bullets fired by gunnery students shattered. However, the RP-63C-2 differed from the RP-63A in reverting to the normal dorsal air intake of the standard P-63C.
Many RP-63Cs were used as target tugs rather than as targets. In 1948, surviving RP-63Cs were redesignated QF-63C, although they were never used as pilotless drones.
Serials of the P-63As converted as flying targets were as follows: 42-69647 Bell RP-63A-11 Kingcobra 42-69654 Bell RP-63A-11 Kingcobra 42-69769 Bell RP-63A-11 Kingcobra 42-69771 Bell RP-63A-11 Kingcobra 42-69801 Bell RP-63A-11 Kingcobra 42-69880/69974 Bell RP-63A-12 Kingcobra

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p63_9.html

http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i222/invader666/800px-Bell_P-63E_Kingcobra_USAF.jpg

Clave
04-30-2008, 06:50 PM
Final set:

Bell P-39D - 36th Fighter Squadron 1943

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P39D_36FS.png

Bell P-39L - 100 GIAP USSR 1943

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P39L_100GIAP.png

Bell P-39Q - 9 GvIAP USSR 1944

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P39Q_9GVIAP.png

Bell P-39Q - 19 GvIAP USSR 1945

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P39Q_19GVIAP.png

Bell P-39Q - 71st Tactical Reconnaiasance Squadron 1944

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P39Q_71TRS.png

Bell P-39Q - 72nd Fighter Squadron 1944

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P39Q_72FS.png

Bell P-39Q - 108 GvIAP USSR 1945

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P39Q_108GVIAP.png

Bell P-39Q - 129 GvIAP USSR 1944

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P39Q_129GVIAP.png

Bell P-39Q - 339th Fighter Squadron 1943

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P39Q_339FS.png

Bell P-39Q - 362nd Fighter Squadron 1943

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P39Q_362FS.png

Bell P-39Q - GC I/5 French Air Force 1943

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P39Q_CGI5.png

Bell P-39Q - GC II/6 French Air Force 1943

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P39Q_CGII6.png

Bell P-39Q - GC II/9 French Air Force 1944

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P39Q_CGII9.png

Bell P-39Q - GC III/6 French Air Force 1944

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P39Q_CGIII6.png

Bell P-39Q - 2nd Combined Special Air Regiment Polish Air Force 1944

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P39Q_Poland.png

Bell P-400 - 601 Squadron RAF 1943

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P400_601Sqn.png

Bell P-400 - OK Squadron Portuguese Air Force 1943

http://www.clavework-graphics.co.uk/aircraft/bell_p39/P400_Portugal.png

Panzerknacker
04-30-2008, 06:55 PM
Very nice work Clave !!, first time I saw the polish skin.

ww2admin
04-30-2008, 09:26 PM
Very nice, Clave! You are good at what you do. Keep us posted.

Clave
05-01-2008, 08:15 AM
Thanks :)

I have some links to get organised, then I will post some more.

Panzerknacker
09-01-2008, 07:53 PM
A nice document, P-39 tested by the british, extracted from www.ww2aircraft.net

LinkAFI
09-24-2008, 03:48 PM
Hello,

Clave your profiles are fantastic. I make skins for a WWII game I play called Aces High and would like to skin the French P-39Q of GC III/6 tail no. 438961. I was wondering if you have a higher resolution picture of the shield on the door and if it's alright with you I would like to use your profile as a reference when I submit the skin for ingame use.

To show you what I'm talking about this is one of the P39s I have recently skined. I do not make the 3D model I just make the exterior paint scheme.



http://www.fileden.com/files/2008/9/20/2106650/35thFSP39D.jpg

mountainpilot
12-02-2008, 12:37 AM
My uncle (now 86 and in great shape) flew a P-400 in the 81st Fighter Group in N. Africa, Tunisia and Italy. P-39's operated extensivly in the MTO, but little is writen about them. Check out this link:
http://www.geocities.com/raf_112_sqdn1/81stfghonor_roll.html

He has personal stories, including the '39s' that had "engine trouble" and had to land in Portugal. I've got image files of him in in Tunisia in '43', back in the states in '44' and one of the 81st FG taken in Bizerti in '43'. E-mail me at mountainpilot@excite.com and I'll send them to anyone with genuine interest.

Wish one of you could make a propfile of his P-400 "Vonnie"

Later, Al:cool:

mountainpilot
12-02-2008, 01:04 AM
My uncle now 86 and in great shape, flew a P-400 in N. Africa, Sicily and Italy in the 81st Fighter Group. E-mail me at mountainpilot@excite.com, I've got a colorized image of him with his P-400 in Tunisia. Also, check out these links:

http://www.geocities.com/raf_112_sqdn1/81stfghonor_roll.html
http://www.geocities.com/raf_112_sqdn1/81st_fg.html

Panzerknacker
02-08-2009, 09:19 PM
Rare footage of the P-39 in its short RAF service.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4ppL1hsNuI


Worth to mention: The Raf was anything but "pleased" with the Cobra.

Uyraell
02-09-2009, 08:26 PM
**Reads post #46 several times, and shudders**
P400??? Hell's teeth, he's a lucky man to have survived flying one of those monstrosities.
They were condemned as near-fatally useless by the testpilots that flew them before they were issued for combat. The basic objection was that the lack of a supercharger rendered the aircraft all but powerless at low altitude and that lack of power was a fatal impedance to manoeuverability.

(Technical aside: Had the P39 been manufactured with the Allison V1710 F or Fr series engines, it would have made a fine fighter. Equipped with lowly C12 or C15 series, it was effectively doomed to near fatal mediocrity, and P400 was a C12 or C15 absent the supercharger. Memory suggests the "highest series" of Allison 1710 to see service in a P39 was the E2 or E5, and even those would be comparatively rare, once the P63 begins to be produced instead of the P39.)

It is bound to be remarked that the Russians seem to have found few faults with either the P39 (their models had the supercharger) or the P63. This is so, but since the Russians were flying the aircraft low-enough to have taxied into combat, manoeuverability was correspondingly less of an issue, regardless of altitude (ie: whatever handling error the pilot makes will kill him 98% of the time). How low is "low"? Put it like this, the RAF and USAF worried if the odd small treetop from 50 foot up got caught in the radiator intakes: Russian pilots (those that survived) would often return from missions with pieces of enemy uniform, and/or attendant blood in and around the wing undersides of their aircraft, because they were flying as low as 4 meters/13 foot above local ground, at full throttle. (Note, the propellor was 11ft 6 inches in diameter, if memory serves me rightly.)

Incidentally, when I was a young child of about 6, there was a P39 mounted axle-deep in a concrete pad at a playground. I sat in the beast and looked it over, bemused by the universal joint knuckle of the propshaft which in flight would have been whirling around just in front of the pilot's family jewels. There was a thin sheetmetal arch over the universal joint, but it would only have added to the shrapnel value had the joint ever disintegrated. The aircraft was later "removed for restoration", but I am unaware of it's subsequent fate.

Regards, Uyraell.

Uyraell
02-10-2009, 06:45 AM
Rare footage of the P-39 in its short RAF service.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4ppL1hsNuI


Worth to mention: The Raf was anything but "pleased" with the Cobra.

The RAF was heartily displeased with both the P39's and P38's it did receive: due entirely to the US State Department which, being heavily under the influence of the severely Anglophobic Joseph Kennedy, did not allow the US to export the turbosuperchargers so vitally necessary for the successful operation of each aircraft type the Allison 1710 powered.

The P38 was flown twice by Brits and refused outright in it's "castrated" guise with unsupercharged right-hand-only twin C15 Allison 1710's. Those already built remained in the US as trainers and experimental planes.

The P39's were a far less happy outcome for the Brits. Having "gotten out from under" what had been the falling P38 anvil, the poor Brits were stuck with the P39 in its' P400 form to the extent of at least 100 machines, if memory serves (it may have been 150 - I'd have to check).
Wisely, the Brits chose to not growl overmuch (it being they were pressing for tanks, rifles, tommyguns, aircraft, transport ships, and anything else they could lay hands on, from US production) and passed the "gutless wonder" P400's to the Free French Airforce (which was getting it's aircraft for free).

What P400's weren't foisted off on the French were passed to Commonwealth Air Forces, each of which in turn scrambled rapidly to avoid that particular P400 falling anvil. Thus it was, the US, (itself now desperate to avoid the P400 anvil), tried to pass the things to China ("NO thanks!", saith China), even while preventing the Brits from passing them to Russia. However, the US ended up issuing its' unwanted and unloved P400's to a few of it's own forces.

Which is where the fairly high accident rate enters the picture.
The damned P400's were allegedly hard to operate in a hot and sandy climate, which would have taxed the properly supercharged P39's. Nor, it would seem, were US personnel too devoted to keeping the things operational.

At this point, enters my earlier post, #48 in this thread.

Hope this hasn't been too much of a ramble, and has been helpful to some members.

Regards, Uyraell.

mountainpilot
02-11-2009, 08:59 AM
After one initial disasterous raid due to poor command, their losses were quite low. The 81st FG really were nomads. My uncle talks of trading cigs' for eggs with the arabs. Living and flying from forward bases in Tunesia, Sicily and Near Anzio, Italy. He spoke of them flying wing inside wing, in pairs, flying under powerlines. "Just to keep our edge". Also, when the Thompson Cup Air Races resumed in 1946, it was a P-39 that took the cup. History is writen after the fact. Opinions on the '39' are varied. I've been a pilot since I was 18, I know how subjective they are. My opinions are based on my uncle's, who's experience is first-hand.

Uyraell
02-11-2009, 06:01 PM
After one initial disasterous raid due to poor command, their losses were quite low. The 81st FG really were nomads. My uncle talks of trading cigs' for eggs with the arabs. Living and flying from forward bases in Tunesia, Sicily and Near Anzio, Italy. He spoke of them flying wing inside wing, in pairs, flying under powerlines. "Just to keep our edge". Also, when the Thompson Cup Air Races resumed in 1946, it was a P-39 that took the cup. History is writen after the fact. Opinions on the '39' are varied. I've been a pilot since I was 18, I know how subjective they are. My opinions are based on my uncle's, who's experience is first-hand.

Forgive if I'm wrong, but My understanding of the '46 Thompson cup P39 is that it had been fitted with both a 3 stage three speed supercharger and an Fr9 or Fr16 series V1710 engine, which would make of it a very far from typical P39.

Regarding your uncle's experiences, I in no way wished to discount them, nor would I have sought to do so.
My interest was in the P400, which, like a few aircraft of that era, evoke a sense of horror in me, for a raft of reasons.
In similar vein for example, the castrated Lightnings referred to, or the Exe-engined Spitfire project (mercifully stillborn) or the early Mig3, or Ms405. Each of those aircraft make me shudder, so to speak, while in some cases I'd have gladly flown others from the same stable.
Yes, opinion and hindsight are both subjective.
However, history lives through those of us who remain.

Regards, Uyraell.

freyir_33
03-14-2009, 09:43 AM
Truly a remarkably bird, very modernistic innovative design for it's time.

Nickdfresh
03-14-2009, 10:22 AM
Forgive if I'm wrong, but My understanding of the '46 Thompson cup P39 is that it had been fitted with both a 3 stage three speed supercharger and an Fr9 or Fr16 series V1710 engine, which would make of it a very far from typical P39.

Regarding your uncle's experiences, I in no way wished to discount them, nor would I have sought to do so.
My interest was in the P400, which, like a few aircraft of that era, evoke a sense of horror in me, for a raft of reasons.
In similar vein for example, the castrated Lightnings referred to, or the Exe-engined Spitfire project (mercifully stillborn) or the early Mig3, or Ms405. Each of those aircraft make me shudder, so to speak, while in some cases I'd have gladly flown others from the same stable.
Yes, opinion and hindsight are both subjective.
However, history lives through those of us who remain.

Regards, Uyraell.

You are correct that the P-39s used for racing, successfully into the 1970s actually, were highly "modded" with superchargers. Something the original P-400/39s never had.

The P-39 series was hated by the Western Allies because of its poor high level performance and low ceiling, however, it could be very effective at low level as the Soviets and luckier Americans found. But the Japanese and Germans generally chose not to fight down there in their theaters of operations and the Aerocobra was useless in high level bomber escort. The P-39 was found to be invaluable as a ground attack aircraft in campaigns like Guadalcanal however...

mountainpilot
03-15-2009, 01:58 PM
Check out this link. A man how flew with my uncle kept a diary. Which was verboten, however now it's a wonderful source:
http://www.geocities.com/raf_112_sqdn1/81stfghonor_roll.html

I should be stated the most of the WWII Fighter missions in the various theaters of operation were tactical, air to ground, sans escort missions. So odds were if you flew fighters in WWII, you were staffing, bombing, and other fighter sweep ops'. A role the P-39/400 was entirely suited for. I understand this from speaking to WWII veteran Fighter pilots.

Uyraell
03-16-2009, 05:38 AM
Check out this link. A man how flew with my uncle kept a diary. Which was verboten, however now it's a wonderful source:
http://www.geocities.com/raf_112_sqdn1/81stfghonor_roll.html

I should be stated the most of the WWII Fighter missions in the various theaters of operation were tactical, air to ground, sans escort missions. So odds were if you flew fighters in WWII, you were staffing, bombing, and other fighter sweep ops'. A role the P-39/400 was entirely suited for. I understand this from speaking to WWII veteran Fighter pilots.

Suited for: yes. Designed for, No.

The P39 had been designed as a medium to (then) high altitude fighter, capable of dogfighting at between 12000 and 26000 feet.
It was not a success for a number of reasons, not least of which the supercharger issues and the geometry and airflow issues the cylinder intake ports of the Allison engines suffered from; which engines, even supercharged, failed to make the P39 perform adequately at even 15000 feet, effectively half the intended ceiling.
The P400, which is a P39 without the supercharger, was basically incapable above 12000 feet.

This resulted in the P39 being employed in the ground-attack role, (then still referred-to as "strafing"), and the P400 being employed in a similar manner. (Having produced the beast, it had to be employed somehow.)
The aircraft, though, never quite outgrew the criticism that had been levelled at it, regarding it's intended role.
Subsequently, it was (as the P39 at least) flown by the Russians very effectively at low altitudes where it was fortuitously well suited.

The later P63 development, with the laminar flow wing, was similarly successfully employed, and was equipped with re-designed and re-developed Allison V1710 engines which had solved most of the intake geometry/airflow issues.

Again, I had (and have) NO wish to downplay any pilot's experiences with the P39/P400.

However, the technical issues the series had are of (admittedly somewhat esoteric) interest.

Regards, Uyraell.

Deaf Smith
03-26-2009, 10:42 PM
My understanding is the P-39 had no supercharger. It was taken out in the development period by the ordnance board.

And the P-400 had British O2 system that was not compatible to our Oxygen systems (and a 20mm instead of a 37mm and other minor differences.)

Deaf

Nickdfresh
03-27-2009, 08:53 AM
The P-63 Kingcobra did receive the fantastic British Merlin engine, manufactured under license by Packard. This dramatically improved it's ceiling, but there was no point of bringing it into US service because so many other fighters were available such as the P-47 and P-51...

But both variants were still very effective combat aircraft, with limitations on ceiling notwithstanding, that shot down numerous German types in mostly Soviet hands. They also killed a lot of ground forces...

mountainpilot
03-27-2009, 09:50 AM
That's correct. My uncle Bud tells me, (he's 88 now and still plays Golf). That the O2 was a problem and also the harness was the British type. I've got two pix of him, one in Tuninsia in '43' beside his P-400 'Vonnie', a pix of the entire 81st FG taken in Bizerti, Tunisis, and one when was instructing at a Fighter training base in Hebron Nebraska in '44'. (our family is from Nebraska). The files are too large for attachments here. E-mail me at mountainpilot@excite.com and I'll send them. Perhaps you could get them posted here?

Uyraell
03-27-2009, 01:26 PM
My understanding is the P-39 had no supercharger. It was taken out in the development period by the ordnance board.

And the P-400 had British O2 system that was not compatible to our Oxygen systems (and a 20mm instead of a 37mm and other minor differences.)

Deaf
You are correct in that the Ordinance Board suggested to supercharger be removed form the early Allison V1710 C12 and C15 Series engines.
In the later F, Fr, and Fxx r series engines the matter changes again.
As Nick says, the Merlin ended up being fitted also, though the P63 was not employed to any great operational degree beyond Soviet service.

Regards, Uyraell.

Deaf Smith
03-27-2009, 07:57 PM
Can you guys imagine what it was like on Guadalcanal in the 67 FS, with a P-39 that could, if it tried hard, make 20,000 ft. And in the P-400 you would pass out at 15K if you could even reach it?

And the Japanese A6Ms could very easly go way above that.

You know what the P-400 is? They said it was a P-40 with a Zero on it's tail.

It took very gutsy men to fly a plane they knew was no good against the enemy. Amazing thing is, I think one made Ace in New Guinea.

Here is some good info on it.

http://yarchive.net/mil/p39.html

Deaf

hgilley
10-25-2010, 03:37 PM
Please allow me to correct some historical assumptions on the P-39;

1. EVERY P-39 had a supercharger. Models C thru L had an 8.8:1 internal supercharger, M thru Q had 9.6:1. The Allison V-1710 was an excellent engine, very competitive power/weight and power/frontal area, was produced in hundreds of variants including single speed single stage superchargers (P-39, P-40, P-51A), two stage mechanical superchargers (P-63), and exhaust driven turbochargers (P-38). The Allison was required to pass a 150 hour endurance test when the Merlin would not pass a 100 hour test under the same conditions.

2. The turbocharger was deleted from the P-39 and P-40 because the Army needed fighter planes in 1941 and the turbo was not sufficiently reliable at that time. The turbocharged P-38 did not enter combat until December 1942, a full year later.

3. The British rejected the P-400 (same plane as the P-39D) for three reasons:
A: In mid 1941 the Battle of Britain was over, there was no more threat of invasion, and the British were broke.
B: Their internal Spitfire and Typhoon production was sufficient for their needs.
C: Lend-Lease was enacted in March 1941. Why would Britain pay for P-39s ordered in 1940 when they were about to be
GIVEN free of charge all the planes and other equipment they needed.
So, Britain specified equipment on the P-400 to make it weigh 7,850 pounds and be too heavy to meet the performance
guarantees under the production contract. For comparison purposes a 1941 Spitfire V weighed 6,300 pounds.

4. The Japanese Zero was NOT superior to a P-39. The Zero was more maneuverable and climbed faster but the P-39 was faster at all altitudes, dove much faster, and was equipped with armor and self sealing fuel tanks. The Zero was an unarmored fire trap. Zero pilots WERE superior in mid 1942 (Japanese Navy carrier pilots vs. brand new Army pilots) and the Japanese vastly outnumbered American forces in New Guinea with bases at Lae, Salamalua, Wewak, Hollandia, Finchaven etc. vs. one group (three squadrons) of P-39s split between Port Moresby and Milne Bay. The P-39s held Moresby and Milne Bay despite all the Japanese could throw at them.

5. The Soviets used the P-39 as an air superiority fighter, not a ground attack fighter. Four of the top five Soviet aces (indeed the top Allied aces of WWII) flew P-39s as did over 40 aces with 20+ victories. They flew the P-39 up as high as the German pilots wanted to go. Their P-39s differed only in that they deleted the wing guns and seldom used drop tanks. Soviets viewed the four .30 caliber wing guns as useless, only good for "damaging German paint". The remaining P-39 armament of twin .50 caliber machine guns and a 20mm or 37mm cannon was considered devastating by Soviet pilots. The P-39 at around 7,200 pounds (vs. 7,700 pounds as we flew them) was faster and climbed better than the German Me109 and Fw190. This is completely documented by information released after the fall of the Soviet Union. Clearly the P-39 was one of the best planes of WWII.

Deaf Smith
11-02-2010, 09:21 PM
Whoa… I don’t know about that hgilley.

Air combat is more than just a list of max speeds.

The way one looks at fighter performance, especially before the missile age, is a combination of many factors.

Take speed. The maximum speed of a particular fighter is not just a number. For any altitude the speed is different! One plane may be faster than most at 5000 ft. but slower than others at 20,000 ft.! So one needs to know what their speeds are at several altitude markers. And then, part of speed, is acceleration. A fighter that accelerates faster at 5000 ft. may be slower at 30,000.

Then take turning rates. It’s the same thing. Each fighter as different rates at different altitudes. PLUS, each plane as a different cornering rate (that is, the best speed at THAT altitude to turn in the smallest radius.) And part of turning rate is the roll rate. You will find much differences in roll rate between aircraft as well as between different altitudes.

This also works for dive rates, climb rates (what kind of climb? Vertical? Shallow high speed? Corkscrewing?)

And then there are factors like the ‘legs’, that is how far they can go on what fuel they have. The longer the legs, the better you are.

Plus factors like armor and firepower.

I strongly suggest you take this site in for reading and understand just what factors are needed to evaluate fighters.

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/

In particular look at:

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/mustang//p-51-37320-chart.jpg

and

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/japan/p5016.pdf

Deaf

Nickdfresh
11-03-2010, 07:58 AM
Please allow me to correct some historical assumptions on the P-39;

1. EVERY P-39 had a supercharger. Models C thru L had an 8.8:1 internal supercharger, M thru Q had 9.6:1. The Allison V-1710 was an excellent engine, very competitive power/weight and power/frontal area, was produced in hundreds of variants including single speed single stage superchargers...

Which were very inadequate superchargers and barely counted the aircraft as being 'supercharged.' The Allison was an excellent engine in the right circumstances, but it wasn't well suited to high level combat and the problem couldn't be easily technically solved as there were problems with enhancing the supercharger IIRC. By the time the P-39 series was modernized, there were already P-51Ds and P-47s in full production. So why bother?...


....
4. The Japanese Zero was NOT superior to a P-39. The Zero was more maneuverable and climbed faster but the P-39 was faster at all altitudes, dove much faster, and was equipped with armor and self sealing fuel tanks. The Zero was an unarmored fire trap. Zero pilots WERE superior in mid 1942 (Japanese Navy carrier pilots vs. brand new Army pilots) and the Japanese vastly outnumbered American forces in New Guinea with bases at Lae, Salamalua, Wewak, Hollandia, Finchaven etc. vs. one group (three squadrons) of P-39s split between Port Moresby and Milne Bay. The P-39s held Moresby and Milne Bay despite all the Japanese could throw at them.

If you're trying to say the P-39/63/400 series was an effective, underrated and much maligned aircraft by snobby U.S. and British pilots: you're preaching to the choir. But it was certainly not as effective as the Zero and was nearly useless at high level as an interceptor as the USAAF found out in Australia IIRC. On Guadalcanal, they struggled to keep up with the F4 Wildcats and could only hang back in a support and ground attack role...

With some improvements, and there was an excellent final prototype version that was on par with the P-51, it certainly could have been one of the marquee fighters in Asia and the Western Front...


5. The Soviets used the P-39 as an air superiority fighter, not a ground attack fighter. Four of the top five Soviet aces (indeed the top Allied aces of WWII) flew P-39s as did over 40 aces with 20+ victories. They flew the P-39 up as high as the German pilots wanted to go. Their P-39s differed only in that they deleted the wing guns and seldom used drop tanks. Soviets viewed the four .30 caliber wing guns as useless, only good for "damaging German paint". The remaining P-39 armament of twin .50 caliber machine guns and a 20mm or 37mm cannon was considered devastating by Soviet pilots. The P-39 at around 7,200 pounds (vs. 7,700 pounds as we flew them) was faster and climbed better than the German Me109 and Fw190. This is completely documented by information released after the fall of the Soviet Union. Clearly the P-39 was one of the best planes of WWII.

This isn't anything ground breaking as it was said here years ago that the Soviets loved the fighter because, like the P-40, it was more than a match for the Me109 at the lower level and the altitudes typical of the heavy tactical air support nature of the Eastern Front air war. It was certainly one of the best planes of the Great Patriotic War!

hgilley
11-08-2010, 05:29 PM
Please keep in mind what I said in the last paragraph. At 7,200 pounds the P-39s as the Soviets used them were a match for any German planes in 1942-43. As for wwiiaircraftperformance.org, love that site, have it practiclly memorized. The chart you mentioned shows the P-39D-1 at 7,700#. The Soviets deleted the worthless .30 caliber machine guns and a few other unneeded items and used that same plane at 7,200#. Huge difference in performance and altitude. The japan paper you referenced compares the Zero with a P-40K weighing 8,400#. The P-40K had the same engine and propeller as the P-39 but the P-39 only weighed 7,700# and equipped properly would have weighed only 7,200#. Huge difference in performance. The Zero was a 330mph plane. The P-39 and P-40 were faster. Don't turn with a Zero and you had no problems.

hgilley
11-08-2010, 05:58 PM
Allison internal supercharger produced the same horsepower at the same altitudes as the German engines RELATIVE TO THE DISPLACEMENT OF THE ENGINES. German engines were substantially larger thus more powerful. German engines were single stage engines just like the Allison. Allison's problem was the planes that it powered were substantially heavier RELATIVE TO THE DISPLACEMENT OF THE ENGINES. At the lower weights used by the Soviets the P-39 was comparable to the German fighters at all altitudes.

Regarding Guadalcanal, the few P-400's had British oxygen systems not compatible with Navy/Marine systems so those P-400's had NO oxygen. They could not climb over 15,000' or the pilots would pass out. And they weighed 7,700#. Still at that weight the P-400 would certainly climb to 18-22,000' where the Japanese Bettys flew and would climb to that altitude faster than any F4F. But not without oxygen.

And please don't compare the P-39 to a Merlin P-51. P-39 performance peaked from November 1942 when the "N" began production and lasted through 1943. The P-51B didn't get into combat until 1944 (a few in Dec. '43). P-51B was superior but was not available in 1943. Can't fight with a plane you don't have.

muscogeemike
02-01-2011, 09:16 PM
I love the P-39/400 and P-63, I currently have 10 models of them completed and will surely do more.
But maybe we should give Lend Lease and their use by the Russians some perspective.
Around 7,000 P-39 and P-63’s (at least 10% were lost in transit or in accidents) were provided to Russia, by far the largest number of any type of West. aircraft; Russian aircraft industry produced close to 160,000 of its own aircraft from 1942-45, a ratio of nearly 23 to 1. It would appear that US and British aid was very important, especially in 1942/43, but far from what W. propaganda made it out to be.
Nor, as we were led to believe, were the Russian aircraft inferior. I’ve read that late model La and Yak series fighters tested at the end of the War by US and Brit pilots were judged equal or superior to anything flown by the West.; Pe-2 and Tu-2 were outstanding and we had nothing to compare with the Il-2.
I’ve read that Russian’s were not always truthful when dealing with the West, they needed all the help they could get and weren’t likely to speak poorly of the equipment they received (doing so may have resulted in repercussions from their own people). So I have to wonder about comments and evaluations by their pilots.
I’ve also read that in the heat and humidity of the Pacific the ammunition of the early model 37mm cannons often failed.
All its failings aside I still love the Airacobra and Kingcobra and would love to have flown one, although maybe not in combat.

Deaf Smith
02-02-2011, 07:16 PM
Gen. Chuck Yegar wrote that he liked the P-39. He trained in it before going to the P-51 (and of course Yeager knew a thing about airplanes!)

Deaf

hgilley
03-17-2011, 12:01 PM
Whoa… I don’t know about that hgilley.

Air combat is more than just a list of max speeds.

The way one looks at fighter performance, especially before the missile age, is a combination of many factors.

Take speed. The maximum speed of a particular fighter is not just a number. For any altitude the speed is different! One plane may be faster than most at 5000 ft. but slower than others at 20,000 ft.! So one needs to know what their speeds are at several altitude markers. And then, part of speed, is acceleration. A fighter that accelerates faster at 5000 ft. may be slower at 30,000.

**True, but space is limited. Rate single stage planes at 20k', two stage at 25k'

Then take turning rates. It’s the same thing. Each fighter as different rates at different altitudes. PLUS, each plane as a different cornering rate (that is, the best speed at THAT altitude to turn in the smallest radius.) And part of turning rate is the roll rate. You will find much differences in roll rate between aircraft as well as between different altitudes.

**So, what is your point? Main tactic in WWII was dive on your enemy or dive away.

This also works for dive rates, climb rates (what kind of climb? Vertical? Shallow high speed? Corkscrewing?)

And then there are factors like the ‘legs’, that is how far they can go on what fuel they have. The longer the legs, the better you are.

Plus factors like armor and firepower.

I strongly suggest you take this site in for reading and understand just what factors are needed to evaluate fighters.

**Terrific site, been on there for years. There's a "Fighter Performance Chart" or something like that on one of the pull-down menus at the top. Compare the P-39N with the FW190 and Zero. All the other planes on that chart came later in the war so they're not comparable. It all boiils down to speed at a specific altitude, rate of climb, ceiling and range. Enjoy the debate, come back for more.:)*****



In particular look at:



and



Deaf

Enjoy the debate, P-39 was way undervalued by AAF, properly used by Russians.

Deaf Smith
03-18-2011, 08:52 PM
The P-39 had it's uses hgilley. It was not a good one for 1 .vs. 1 with the Zero, but that was mainly cause it could not reach the normal fighting altitude in the Pacific and still function well (20,000) and thus very often at a disadvantage to the A6M and Ki-43.

Now on the Russian front, with BF-109s and FW-190s at below 15000, where most of the fighting was, it was a fine and dandy plane.

And it could not do much of an escourt job in the ETO due to it's short legs and no way to do much at 30,000 ft!

Still it did it's job. They even asked for more of then in the Pacfic in 44 as it was a good light ground attack machine.

Deaf

hgilley
03-21-2011, 01:06 PM
I enjoy this debate. You have certainly read your history on the P-39. Trouble is, most of it doesn't consider Soviet records which became available after the fall of the Soviet Union. Soviet pilots maintain their P-39s would compete with the German fighters up as high as they wanted to go, usually not over 25,000'. Otherwise, if the P-39 was no good over 15,000' then the Germans would have simply stayed at 20,000' and bounced the Russians all day long. Russians held a 4-1 victory ratio over the Germans with their P-39s and could not have maintained that if the Germans had an altitude advantage. I agree most of the air fighting was tactical below 15,000' but the Russians used a "flying bookshelf" formation with four planes at 15,000', four more at 20,000', and the last four at up to 25,000' to fill out a squadron of 12.

Too bad the AAF was so far behind the learning curve when they began using the P-39 in combat in New Guinea in April 1942. Their P-39s were just too heavy at 7600-7800# plus the ever present 110 gal drop tank adding another 700#. The Russians discarded the useless .30 caliber wing guns (.50 cal in the Q model) and fought their P-39s at about 7100# and seldom required a drop tank. The P-39Ds and P-400s in New Guinea in the last 8 months of 1942 could have easily weighed 7000# including proper armor plate and self sealing fuel tanks and even with a drop tank would have maintained a healthy performance advantage over the Zero at any altitude (after dropping the tank for combat of course). But at 8400# with drop tank they struggled to get above 18,000' and the Japanese Bettys operated at 18,000-22,000'. The P-39 shot down plenty of Bettys when they had adequate radar warning to take off and climb above them (or happened to be on patrol) but radar was very new then and notoriously unreliable. No plane on earth could intercept bombers at 20,000'+ without early warning via radar or forward observers. But the AAF slogged along with their overweight P-39s and their green pilots fighting experienced Japanese carrier pilots stationed on land bases in northern New Guinea. Those brave kids still managed a 1:1 victory ratio against the numerically superior Japanese.

Now the later P-39N and Q could have escorted bombers over Europe with minor midifications but I've bored you enough already. If you would like to read some of the Soviet information I'll be happy to furnish it to you.

Deaf Smith
03-21-2011, 07:04 PM
hgilley,

The Russian front was a tactical war front with very few strategic bombers on either side. And as a result most of the efforts of the Soviets and Germans were in tactical support. And that is why aerial combat was usually well below 20,000 ft.

And since German fighters were similar to the American, British, and Russians (that is they were not stunt planes, which in reality the Japanese planes were) they all had similar performance envelops. The P-39 did to up to its practical ceiling. That practical ceiling was around 15,000 ft and that was great for the Russian Front but not so good for the ETO or PTO.

And that is why we tended to use it as a light attack plane and not as a fighter.

Deaf

hgilley
03-22-2011, 04:07 PM
Agree with you on combat on the Russian front being well below 20,000' and the Japanese planes were basically stunt planes, but disagree on P-39's practical ceiling being 15,000'. I know that is what has been printed for decades, but fairly recent Russian accounts say the plane was competitive with German fighters at all altitudes. Otherwise the Germans would have come in at 20,000' and bounced the P-39s with virtual impunity. If you are interested I'll furnish numerous sources.

muscogeemike
03-22-2011, 04:42 PM
Reading this thread about how pilots from different countries have different opinions about the P-39 brings to mind something I read about Finland’s views re the B-239 (export version of the infamous Buffalo).
They loved this airplane so much they produced it themselves, yet American, Dutch and British pilots were easy meat for the Jap’s. I once read a claim by a Fin pilot that the “Sky Pearl” (as they named it) had the highest kill to loss ratio of any fighter they used.

Nickdfresh
03-22-2011, 06:09 PM
....

And please don't compare the P-39 to a Merlin P-51. P-39 performance peaked from November 1942 when the "N" began production and lasted through 1943. The P-51B didn't get into combat until 1944 (a few in Dec. '43). P-51B was superior but was not available in 1943. Can't fight with a plane you don't have.

I haven't a copy of Frank's seminal Guadalcanal so I cannot readily dispute your first part of this post. But I believe there were more problems relitive to high level permorance than oxygen systems on the P-400's.

But you're wrong on the P-51. The Merlin powered XP-51B first flew in November of 1942, not 1943 if Wiki is to be trusted, and production was started in early 1943...

Nickdfresh
03-22-2011, 06:12 PM
I enjoy this debate. You have certainly read your history on the P-39. Trouble is, most of it doesn't consider Soviet records which became available after the fall of the Soviet Union. Soviet pilots maintain their P-39s would compete with the German fighters up as high as they wanted to go, usually not over 25,000'. Otherwise, if the P-39 was no good over 15,000' then the Germans would have simply stayed at 20,000' and bounced the Russians all day long. Russians held a 4-1 victory ratio over the Germans with their P-39s and could not have maintained that if the Germans had an altitude advantage. I agree most of the air fighting was tactical below 15,000' but the Russians used a "flying bookshelf" formation with four planes at 15,000', four more at 20,000', and the last four at up to 25,000' to fill out a squadron of 12.

Too bad the AAF was so far behind the learning curve when they began using the P-39 in combat in New Guinea in April 1942. Their P-39s were just too heavy at 7600-7800# plus the ever present 110 gal drop tank adding another 700#. The Russians discarded the useless .30 caliber wing guns (.50 cal in the Q model) and fought their P-39s at about 7100# and seldom required a drop tank. The P-39Ds and P-400s in New Guinea in the last 8 months of 1942 could have easily weighed 7000# including proper armor plate and self sealing fuel tanks and even with a drop tank would have maintained a healthy performance advantage over the Zero at any altitude (after dropping the tank for combat of course). But at 8400# with drop tank they struggled to get above 18,000' and the Japanese Bettys operated at 18,000-22,000'. The P-39 shot down plenty of Bettys when they had adequate radar warning to take off and climb above them (or happened to be on patrol) but radar was very new then and notoriously unreliable. No plane on earth could intercept bombers at 20,000'+ without early warning via radar or forward observers. But the AAF slogged along with their overweight P-39s and their green pilots fighting experienced Japanese carrier pilots stationed on land bases in northern New Guinea. Those brave kids still managed a 1:1 victory ratio against the numerically superior Japanese.

Now the later P-39N and Q could have escorted bombers over Europe with minor midifications but I've bored you enough already. If you would like to read some of the Soviet information I'll be happy to furnish it to you.

It should be noted that many of the Soviet P-39's victories came over tactical bombers. So, yes, the Germans could have attempted to jump the Red Aircobras from above. But their tactical support aircraft would have been left unattended and been mincemeat...

Deaf Smith
03-22-2011, 08:13 PM
Maybe this will helps guys.

http://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.asp?aircraft_id=140

http://www.aviation-history.com/bell/p39.html

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/mustang//p-51-37320-chart.jpg

(notice the climb rates of the XP-51/P-40/P-39D)

http://www.acepilots.com/planes/specs.html

This is Specs of Fighter Planes by model and type (WW2). Quite a few here!

If I was to really want to research this I'd use:

Report of Joint Fighter Conf.

NAS Patuxent River, MD 16-23 Oct. 1944.

And I'd read carefully:

http://yarchive.net/mil/p39.html


Deaf

hgilley
03-23-2011, 04:05 PM
Maybe this will helps guys.

http://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.asp?aircraft_id=140

http://www.aviation-history.com/bell/p39.html

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/mustang//p-51-37320-chart.jpg

(notice the climb rates of the XP-51/P-40/P-39D)

http://www.acepilots.com/planes/specs.html

This is Specs of Fighter Planes by model and type (WW2). Quite a few here!

If I was to really want to research this I'd use:

Report of Joint Fighter Conf.

NAS Patuxent River, MD 16-23 Oct. 1944.

And I'd read carefully:

http://yarchive.net/mil/p39.html


Deaf

I've found that if you read five articles you'll get five sets of numbers. I prefer to use figures from the official WWII pilot manuals for each plane. P-39N manual says it will climb to 25,000' in 8.7 minutes, faster than comtemporary P-38, P-47 and P-51. Compare that with 109, 190 and Zero. P-39 was much better plane than American history says.

hgilley
03-23-2011, 04:08 PM
Reading this thread about how pilots from different countries have different opinions about the P-39 brings to mind something I read about Finland’s views re the B-239 (export version of the infamous Buffalo).
They loved this airplane so much they produced it themselves, yet American, Dutch and British pilots were easy meat for the Jap’s. I once read a claim by a Fin pilot that the “Sky Pearl” (as they named it) had the highest kill to loss ratio of any fighter they used.

Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Fins must have had better pilots or tactics, or maybe the Buffalo was the best plane the Fins had at the time.

hgilley
03-23-2011, 04:12 PM
I haven't a copy of Frank's seminal Guadalcanal so I cannot readily dispute your first part of this post. But I believe there were more problems relitive to high level permorance than oxygen systems on the P-400's.

But you're wrong on the P-51. The Merlin powered XP-51B first flew in November of 1942, not 1943 if Wiki is to be trusted, and production was started in early 1943...

P-51B first appeared in combat in December 1943. First flight and production must occur prior to combat.

hgilley
03-23-2011, 04:25 PM
It should be noted that many of the Soviet P-39's victories came over tactical bombers. So, yes, the Germans could have attempted to jump the Red Aircobras from above. But their tactical support aircraft would have been left unattended and been mincemeat...

Yes, many P-39 victories came over Stukas and other tactical bombers. And yes, the German escorts could not abandon their bombers, but they could (and did) station a portion of their fighters at higher altitudes. If German escorts had a performance advantage at altitude they would have exploited that advantage. Soviet pilots maintain their P-39s were competitive with German fighters at any altitude. I'm not making this up, proof is available.

Deaf Smith
03-23-2011, 09:03 PM
I've found that if you read five articles you'll get five sets of numbers. I prefer to use figures from the official WWII pilot manuals for each plane. P-39N manual says it will climb to 25,000' in 8.7 minutes, faster than comtemporary P-38, P-47 and P-51. Compare that with 109, 190 and Zero. P-39 was much better plane than American history says.

Well that is kind of strange as they did NOT use, or actually they tried to use, the P-39 to intercept Japanese bombers at 20,000 and they could not but F4Fs could, and did.

And considering it was there at the first of the war then why would the USAAF not use them (it was all they had?)

Now the basic specifications for the P-39D were as follows (taken from The Fighter Aircraft Pocketbook by Roy Cross): Max speed 360 mph at 15,000 ft; Best climb 2,040 ft/min. at 10,300 ft.; Climb to 20,000 ft. 11.7 min.; Range 600 miles at economical cruise; Armament 1-37mm nose cannon, 2-.50 nose m.g., 4-.30 wing m.g.; Span 34 ft. 2 in.; Length 30 ft. 2 in.; Height 11 ft. 10 in.; Wing area 213 sq. ft.; Empty weight 6,300 lbs.; Max weight 9,200 lbs.

Now was the N that much better than the D version? Did the N have the 1,325 hp. Allison V-1710-63 engine? The D version (D-2) did.

Deaf

hgilley
03-24-2011, 12:08 PM
Well that is kind of strange as they did NOT use, or actually they tried to use, the P-39 to intercept Japanese bombers at 20,000 and they could not but F4Fs could, and did.

And considering it was there at the first of the war then why would the USAAF not use them (it was all they had?)

Now the basic specifications for the P-39D were as follows (taken from The Fighter Aircraft Pocketbook by Roy Cross): Max speed 360 mph at 15,000 ft; Best climb 2,040 ft/min. at 10,300 ft.; Climb to 20,000 ft. 11.7 min.; Range 600 miles at economical cruise; Armament 1-37mm nose cannon, 2-.50 nose m.g., 4-.30 wing m.g.; Span 34 ft. 2 in.; Length 30 ft. 2 in.; Height 11 ft. 10 in.; Wing area 213 sq. ft.; Empty weight 6,300 lbs.; Max weight 9,200 lbs.

Now was the N that much better than the D version? Did the N have the 1,325 hp. Allison V-1710-63 engine? The D version (D-2) did.

Deaf

A couple of things about the P-39/P-400 at Guadalcanal: The initial P-400s sent to Guadalcanal had British oxygen systems not compatible to the American equipment there. They had no oxygen, therefore could not operate above 15,000' or the pilots would become disoriented or pass out. The P-400 was an early export version of the P-39 for Britain/France that were taken over by the AAF and sent to the Pacific. Second point, Guadalcanal was initially a Navy/Marine operation in the Navy's geographical area of command. This was early in the war and the Navy wanted desperately to atone for the Pearl Harbor disaster. They viewed the few P-400s sent by the Army (AAF) as an attempt to grab some of the publicity (which it probably was) and did everything they could to discredit their participation. Typical Army/Navy political crap. P-400 had no oxygen and was overweight at 7,850# so it was relegated to ground support which it performed admirably against Japanese ground troops in the Battle of Bloody Ridge. The Navy later admitted privately that the P-400s may have actually turned the tide in that crucial battle.

P-39s WERE used to intercept high flying Jap Betty bombers at Port Moresby in New Guinea from April 1942. They had a tough time because: 1. No radar for early warning (until August), 2. Japanese superiority in pilot quality (Jap Navy carrier pilots stationed in N. New Guinea vs green 200 hour American pilots fresh out of flight school) and 3. Japanese numerical superiority (bases all along north NG coast vs 2 squadrons of P-39s at Port Moresby and one at Milne Bay). Despite those odds those boys held the Japanese out of Moresby along with the Navy victory at Coral Sea.

The Navy had much more success intercepting the Bettys at Guadalcanal for a variety of reasons. First, they had radar and an extensive net of coast watchers for early warning and were able to climb to altitude above the bombers for ideal interception conditions. The P-39 pilots had no radar (until August) and few coast watchers so they were continuously being attacked with no warning. With only two squadrons they could only fly two-man patrols and even then not all the time. Interception of high flying bombers is virtually impossible without early warning. Second, the Japanese had a much longer trip from Rabaul to Guadalcanal (over 500mi one way) vs Lae to Port Moresby (180mi one way). Their Zero escort had to use drop tanks and pilot/crew fatigue and mechanical/combat damage had a greater effect. Third, those Navy F4F carrier pilots were better than their AAF counterparts, the Navy boys had an average of more than 1,000 hours and more extensive training. Carrier pilots on both sides were much better trained than their Army counterparts for obvious reasons. 4. Japanese pilot quality had already declined because of losses at Coral Sea, Midway and New Guinea which all happened prior to Guadalcanal which began in August 1942.

Regarding P-39 vs F4F, every P-39 was faster and would climb to any altitude faster than any F4F. F4Fs had much better early warning and better pilots early in the war. Pilot manuals for both planes show time to 20,000' as 9.1 min for P-39D and 10.0 min for F4F. P-39N climbed to 20,000' in 6 minutes, fastest of any US plane.

N model was a big improvement over D model P-39s. There were two basic models of P-39. D through M had the V1710-35 or -63 engines with 8.8:1 supercharger gears. N and Q (same plane except for wing guns) had -85 engine with 9.6:1 gears which gave about 100 extra horsepower at medium altitudes. Doesn't sound like much, but at 20,000' speed increased from 348mph to 375mph, at 25,000' increased from 324 to 370mph. N and Q represented over 75% of all P-39 production and began in November 1942. N and Q engines had 1200hp for takeoff and 1150@15,000'. D through M had 1150 or 1325hp for takeoff and 1150@12,000', hence the better medium/high altitude performance of N/Q.

leccy
03-24-2011, 05:40 PM
If you like some technical number crunching heres a little report to keep you busy

FLIGHT INVESTIGATION OF THE VARIATION OF DRAG COEFFICIENT
WITH MACH NUMBER FOR THE BELL P-39N-1 AIRPLANE (http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930092637_1993092637.pdf)

A few manuals listed for download
ww2aircraft.net p-39-airacobra-pilots-flight-operating-instructions (http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/other-mechanical-systems-tech/p-39-airacobra-pilots-flight-operating-instructions-20503.html)

Vids
P39/400 RAF
RAF P39/400 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4ppL1hsNuI&feature=related)
Intro to the P39
[IntroductionToTheP-39 (http://www.archive.org/details/Introduction To The P-39)

hgilley
03-25-2011, 11:16 AM
If you like some technical number crunching heres a little report to keep you busy

FLIGHT INVESTIGATION OF THE VARIATION OF DRAG COEFFICIENT
WITH MACH NUMBER FOR THE BELL P-39N-1 AIRPLANE (http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930092637_1993092637.pdf)

A few manuals listed for download
ww2aircraft.net p-39-airacobra-pilots-flight-operating-instructions (http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/other-mechanical-systems-tech/p-39-airacobra-pilots-flight-operating-instructions-20503.html)

Vids
P39/400 RAF
RAF P39/400 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4ppL1hsNuI&feature=related)
Intro to the P39
[IntroductionToTheP-39 (http://www.archive.org/details/Introduction To The P-39)

The report on the variation of drag coefficient with mach number was very interesting. I didn't understand a word of it :). I think it had something to do with drag increasing as mach number increases. Duh.

The P-39K and L flight manual was interesting, I had not seen that one before. Can you locate the P-39D or N flight manuals?

leccy
03-25-2011, 04:52 PM
The drag co-efficient one I posted as if you read through it (and get rather lost in the heiroglyphics) it seems to say that a P39N-1 could reach 600+ mph in a vertical dive.

The more interesting point though was that I have seen people claiming the top speed of a P39 was around 460mph in level flight. In the tests though the top speed in a 'dive' from 28000 ft was 471mph with part throttle at 10300 ft @ 2800 rpm.
Odd to me was that a full throttle dive at 3050 rpm from 30000 ft the max speed was 464 mph @ 12500 ft.

Engine fitted

Type . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A l l i s o n 'J-1710-85
R a t i n g s ( b h p / r p m / a l t i t u d e )
Take-off . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1200 / 3000 / sea level
Military . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1125/3000/15,500
Normal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1000/2600/14,00

hgilley
03-25-2011, 05:09 PM
The drag co-efficient one I posted as if you read through it (and get rather lost in the heiroglyphics) it seems to say that a P39N-1 could reach 600+ mph in a vertical dive.

The more interesting point though was that I have seen people claiming the top speed of a P39 was around 460mph in level flight. In the tests though the top speed in a 'dive' from 28000 ft was 471mph with part throttle at 10300 ft @ 2800 rpm.
Odd to me was that a full throttle dive at 3050 rpm from 30000 ft the max speed was 464 mph @ 12500 ft.

Engine fitted

Type . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A l l i s o n 'J-1710-85
R a t i n g s ( b h p / r p m / a l t i t u d e )
Take-off . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1200 / 3000 / sea level
Military . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1125/3000/15,500
Normal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1000/2600/14,00

No way the P-39 ever hit 460mph in level flight. If it had, it would have been the best fighter of WWII. The N model performance was a little over 375mph at 20,000', about like the Hellcat only it climbed a lot better. Pretty good for early 1943. Your V-1710-85 numbers look exactly right from what I've read.

hgilley
05-12-2011, 12:34 PM
If you like some technical number crunching heres a little report to keep you busy

FLIGHT INVESTIGATION OF THE VARIATION OF DRAG COEFFICIENT
WITH MACH NUMBER FOR THE BELL P-39N-1 AIRPLANE (http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930092637_1993092637.pdf)

A few manuals listed for download
ww2aircraft.net p-39-airacobra-pilots-flight-operating-instructions (http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/other-mechanical-systems-tech/p-39-airacobra-pilots-flight-operating-instructions-20503.html)

Vids
P39/400 RAF
RAF P39/400 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4ppL1hsNuI&feature=related)
Intro to the P39
[IntroductionToTheP-39 (http://www.archive.org/details/Introduction To The P-39)

Had not seen the P-39K and L manuals. Any idea on how to get P-39D or N manuals? Thanks in advance.

mountainpilot
05-16-2011, 11:33 AM
Portuguese P-400s':
My uncle, now 90, flew a P-400 in the 81st Fighter Group. He once told me about the flight of ~five A/C that, they believed "claimed engine trouble" so the pilots would be to be interned and sit out the War. The Portuguese A/F turned them over to the American Embassy in Lisbon, and they were in turn sent to Morocco, then Telepte airbase. To quote my uncle "Those guys had to fly Tail-end Charlie the whole tour". "Not a great spot when doing strafing...they really know you're coming". My uncle's getting old, and forgetful, but even years ago you couldn't get five stories out of him. We have long forgot that many of the guys who REALLY won that war don't want to talk about it. Comment: As a former USAF-aux SAR pilot myself, who's logged >450 hours PIC, low level in the Rockies, in all kinds to weather, with instrument and engine problems...and instances where I had to find "a flat place to stick it". I know what he means. He and I have shared stories we don't tell anyone else. People would think we were bullshitting them, or trying to be a hero. It's a place that only those of us that have had repeated trauma, blood replaced by adrenaline...can go to.

hgilley
05-16-2011, 11:54 AM
Portuguese P-400s':
My uncle, now 90, flew a P-400 in the 81st Fighter Group. He once told me about the flight of ~five A/C that, they believed "claimed engine trouble" so the pilots would be to be interned and sit out the War. The Portuguese A/F turned them over to the American Embassy in Lisbon, and they were in turn sent to Morocco, then Telepte airbase. To quote my uncle "Those guys had to fly Tail-end Charlie the whole tour". "Not a great spot when doing strafing...they really know you're coming". My uncle's getting old, and forgetful, but even years ago you couldn't get five stories out of him. We have long forgot that many of the guys who REALLY won that war don't want to talk about it. Comment: As a former USAF-aux SAR pilot myself, who's logged >450 hours PIC, low level in the Rockies, in all kinds to weather, with instrument and engine problems...and instances where I had to find "a flat place to stick it". I know what he means. He and I have shared stories we don't tell anyone else. People would think we were bullshitting them, or trying to be a hero. It's a place that only those of us that have had repeated trauma, blood replaced by adrenaline...can go to.

Your uncle is a true American hero. Sounds like he was flying the P-400 early in the war before most of the really good German and Japanese pilots had been shot down or captured. Those guys had real courage, always outnumbered facing the absolute best the enemy had to offer in North Africa, New Guinea and Guadalcanal. That was a far cry from 1944 when American industry was producing wave after wave of new planes and the Germans and Japanese had been worn out by those old P-400s, P-39s and P-40s. The guys that came after your uncle had it much easier, newer planes, more planes, better training, and a depleted enemy. I salute your uncle, he fought the hard fight.

hgilley
05-23-2011, 04:19 PM
C'mon boys, doesn't anyone want to dispute my claim that the P-39 was the best fighter of WWII (in 1943)?

Deaf Smith
05-24-2011, 07:36 PM
hgilley,

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/mustang//p-51-37320-chart.jpg

And the go to the website
http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/

and look at the blue bar and "Japan'

Go down to "Intelligence Summary 85." The A6M is compared to the P39-D as well as others (it's in PDF form)

And then TAIC Report No. 38 Comparative performance between Zeke 52 and P-38, P-51, P-47

and then http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/sl-wade.html

and then the roll rate chart

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/naca868-rollchart.jpg

Then come back and we will talk.

Deaf

hgilley
05-25-2011, 11:59 AM
hgilley,

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/mustang//p-51-37320-chart.jpg

And the go to the website
http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/

and look at the blue bar and "Japan'

Go down to "Intelligence Summary 85." The A6M is compared to the P39-D as well as others (it's in PDF form)

And then TAIC Report No. 38 Comparative performance between Zeke 52 and P-38, P-51, P-47

and then http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/sl-wade.html

and then the roll rate chart

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/naca868-rollchart.jpg

Then come back and we will talk.

Deaf

The wwiiaircraftperformance site is fantastic, I have studied it for years and it never ceases to amaze me, except for the almost total lack of information about the P-39. The performance chart of P-39, P-40 and P-51 is interesting in that I have never been able to determine which plane is represented by the fastest line on the max speed chart. It is a dashed line which eliminates the P-51, and the P-40F lines are dashed and broken by the shift points of the two speed Merlin. That only leaves the P-39D and I don't think it ever did 390mph like that chart seems to say. What is your opinion? At any rate that chart seems to say that the performance of those three planes is very similar. Keep in mind that the P-39D weight is shown as 7,700#. The Soviets flew that plane at 7,000# by eliminating the 4 useless 30 caliber wing guns, some of the non-essential armor plate (still left essential armor) and some radio equipment (essential radio eq. retained). At 7,000# the P-39 would do 382mph at 13,000' and 370mph at 20,000' and climb to 20,000' in 7 minutes.

The Intelligence Summary 85 showed the P-39D-1 (at 7,850#) to be faster at all altitudes up to 25,000' where they were equal and climb was equal up to 15,000'. Again, the Soviet modifications (which could be performed at front line bases) would have increased speed to almost 50mph faster than the Zero at 20,000' and the Zero could no longer outclimb the P-39.

The roll rate chart was interesting in that the P-39 would out roll the Zero. Don't try to turn with a Zero and you were fine. Stick with diving passes or dive away if the Zero was above and your life expectancy was long.

One last thing. Intelligence Summary 85 was dated December 1942. By that time the P-39N was in full production to the tune of 400/month. Why not use the N in this comparison instead of the D? The N (at 7,600#) would do 375mph at 20,000' and climb to that altitude in 6 minutes. Compared to the Zero the N was much faster, would outclimb, outdive and outroll the Zero at all altitudes and possessed a comparable ceiling. And the N had armor plate and self sealing tanks. Oh well.

It is important to compare planes that were in combat at the same time. The P-51B was vastly superior to the P-39 but the P-51B first saw combat in 1944 (Dec '43). The P-39 was combat ready in mid 1941, two and one half years before the P-51B. Might as well say the F-22 is better than a Sopwith Camel.

These planes were in combat at the same time:

1941/1942: Spitfire V, Me109F, P-39D, P-40E, F4F Wildcat, A6M2
1943: Spitfire IX, Me109G6, P-39N (Dec 42), P-40N, P-38F (Dec 42), F4U (Feb), P-47 (May), F6F (Aug), A6M3 (Nov 42)
1944: P-51B (Dec 43)

Those are fair comparisons, especially if the P-39D is at 7,000#. Same performance as the Spit V and Me109F-1, better performance than the P-40E, F4F and A6M2.

Deaf Smith
05-25-2011, 07:07 PM
Did you take into account the acceleration rates? Or cornering speeds and altitudes? Or range?

Now you were saying best fighter in '43. Well that depends on what you consider the best attributes.

In '43 the P-39 could never escort one bomber to any target and thus could not be an escort fighter.

It could not take the fight to the enemy as it lacked range. That is it could not be an air superiority fighter.

It never could carry the bomb load of a P-47 or P-38 (and I doubt a P-51, which was not all that good a ground attack fighter.) So it could not be a top fighter-bomber.

Yes it could be a short range interceptor but we, the U.S., was more in the business of taking the fight to the enemy by mid '42 and not waiting for them to attack us.

Deaf

hgilley
05-27-2011, 05:36 PM
Did you take into account the acceleration rates? Or cornering speeds and altitudes? Or range?

Now you were saying best fighter in '43. Well that depends on what you consider the best attributes.

In '43 the P-39 could never escort one bomber to any target and thus could not be an escort fighter.

It could not take the fight to the enemy as it lacked range. That is it could not be an air superiority fighter.

It never could carry the bomb load of a P-47 or P-38 (and I doubt a P-51, which was not all that good a ground attack fighter.) So it could not be a top fighter-bomber.

Yes it could be a short range interceptor but we, the U.S., was more in the business of taking the fight to the enemy by mid '42 and not waiting for them to attack us.

Deaf

Bomber Escort: According to the P-39Q Pilots Manual, max cruise at 25,000' burned 62 gallons per hour. With a 75 gallon drop tank and 120 gallons internal after deducting 20 gallons for takeoff and initial climb (120+75-20=175gal) divided by 62gph=2.8hours. A B-17 cruising at 220mph traveled 616 miles or 308 miles out and 308 miles back. Based on the east coast of England 300 miles east would cover the Ruhr valley industrial complex. Remove the wing guns and put 25 gallon self sealing internal tanks in each wing where the ammo was (170+75-20=225) divided by 62gph gives you 3.6hours. That's Berlin and back. In 1943 the P-38s had all been sent to North Africa for Operation Torch leaving only early P-47s with (unbelievably) no provision for drop tanks that could only provide escort as far as France and the Low Countries, not even to the German border. Later model P-38's showed up in October and had much better radius. That should cover the range argument.

Bomb load was one 500 pounder. P-39 was an excellent dive bomber with no formal pilot training, just guys learning to do it on their first dive bombing mission. With the 37mm cannon it was a fearsome ground attacker providing much more destructive power than .50 caliber machine guns.

In mid-42 we were hardly taking the fight to the enemy. We had only two squadrons of P-39s in New Guinea that would have been wiped out had the Navy not won the Battle of the Coral Sea (Japs were attempting to invade Port Moresby New Guinea).

P-39 was much better plane than U.S. history gives credit. Soviets used it much better at all altitudes.

hgilley
07-18-2012, 04:19 PM
Hey Deaf,

Haven't posted in a while, tried a while back and this site was down or something, couldn't get on. You might want to check your favorite site wwiiaircraftperformance. There is some updated P-39 information added in February 2012 about the P-39N and Q. I had not seen this before, explains why the Russians did so well with it against the Luftwaffe. Most historians would consider these docs as "primary" sources. Shows N climbing to 20,000' in 5.8 min and 25,000' in 8 min which would put it as the fastest climbing American plane and on a par with the 109 and Spitfire. Top speed of the Q without wing guns, which is how the Russians used it, was 393mph at 20,000', very competitive with the 109 and 190 in early 1943. Most all the books show the N and Q at 375mph at 20,000', 393mph would be quite an improvement. Coupled with 2630fpm climb at 20,000' and this was a very high performance airplane for late '42 and early '43.

J.A.W.
03-14-2013, 07:50 PM
Russian [Soviet] sources are usually fairly suspect,since the Stalinist program was never to let the facts get in the way of the ''correct " story.
The Luftwaffe basically rated the Eastern front as a rest-cure - compared to fighting the RAF/USAAF - this was shown in the loss ratios & merit award values, where victories in the west counted for more points. The Gemans kept their ''top-gun" jagd units, such as JG 26, in the west - for reasons of need..
As for fighters in service in `43, the RAF found the only plane capable - of besting the FW190 low-level strike fighters attacking Britain`s south-east - was the mighty 2000+hp, 4 20mm cannon Typhoon -much more potent than a dinky little P39...
& for a quick climbing, dog fighting, high altitude interceptor, - the Spitfire IX had the wee Airacobra whipped..

J.A.W.
03-15-2013, 03:10 AM
From 486 [NZ] Sqd Typhoon combat report: "The E/A [2 FW 190s] then turned port due south & turned out to sea, where they split up, one flying south-east at sea-level & the other continuing south at about 20-30ft followed by Yellow section flying at 345/350 at sea level. Yellow 1 opened fire at long range with several short bursts of cannon fire & noticed splashes in the sea short of the E/A which immediately started to weave...Yellow 2 fired three short bursts at 200-250 yards striking the fuselage & engine. A jet of flames burst from the starboard side of the engine, the hood was jettisoned & parts of the aircraft fell away & it turned over & fell into the sea, disappearing immediately."
The Germans initially mistook the Typhoons for P 40s, but likely wondered how they`d got them going so fast on the deck...

Nickdfresh
03-15-2013, 09:52 AM
The basic Western complaint about the P-39/63 Aircobra was its miserable high altitude climb and performance due to the limitations Allison engine. However, the airframe was very sound and like the P-40, the aircraft was very agile at low level and could out turn a Me109. Several Soviet aces flew and loved the P-39. There's no reason to dispute this as while the initial Red Air Force was incompetently led while flying obsolete planes, they did come back and improve significantly after 1943 with better planes and pilots equal to those of the Luftwaffe, a service now buckling under the attrition of multiple theaters. There may be some exaggeration as far as numbers, but certainly the Soviet pilots loved the Aircobras while they denounced nearly every other Western Lend Lease fighter - even the Spitfire! There was in fact a final version of the P-39 that was fitted with a Merlin engine and its performance was a shade under that of the P-51 IIRC. It was just the tactical nature and low level of the air war over the East. There indeed are American and Commonwealth pilots that will attest to the skill of the elite Soviet aces - as they met them over the skies of Korea...

J.A.W.
03-15-2013, 05:22 PM
There is no question that the toughest, & most technically advanced WW2 air combat occurred over NWE, where the US 8th AF & the 2nd TAF wrested control of the skies from the Luftwaffe in the last year of the war. The 8th AF Fighter Command required the best possible performance from its US built machines, & in fact, replaced their P38 & P47 inventory [all but one, the 56th, re-equipped with hi-po P47 Ms] with P51s. The 2nd TAF had the hottest performers from Britain, the Spitfire XIV & Tempest V, also in the air superiority role, vs the latest Nazi-tech 109K,190D & jets..
The P63, let alone the P39, could find no place here..
Indeed, the memoirs of the western fliers who had contact with Soviet airforces at this time usually describe them as a rabble, & there are also recorded episodes of 'friendly fire' where gung-ho USAAF units ripped into Russian formations with savagely one-sided outcomes..

J.A.W.
03-16-2013, 01:26 AM
Stalin received no P51Ds or Tempests [well, directly from the Allies, at least - he may have taken possession of Adolf's captured examples at Rechlin] but he was gifted quite a few P47Ds, which were capable of moving a whole lot more mud than a Airacobra or Kingcobra...

hgilley
03-19-2013, 12:29 PM
The basic Western complaint about the P-39/63 Aircobra was its miserable high altitude climb and performance due to the limitations Allison engine. However, the airframe was very sound and like the P-40, the aircraft was very agile at low level and could out turn a Me109. Several Soviet aces flew and loved the P-39. There's no reason to dispute this as while the initial Red Air Force was incompetently led while flying obsolete planes, they did come back and improve significantly after 1943 with better planes and pilots equal to those of the Luftwaffe, a service now buckling under the attrition of multiple theaters. There may be some exaggeration as far as numbers, but certainly the Soviet pilots loved the Aircobras while they denounced nearly every other Western Lend Lease fighter - even the Spitfire! There was in fact a final version of the P-39 that was fitted with a Merlin engine and its performance was a shade under that of the P-51 IIRC. It was just the tactical nature and low level of the air war over the East. There indeed are American and Commonwealth pilots that will attest to the skill of the elite Soviet aces - as they met them over the skies of Korea...

Agree with everything you said, except there was never a Merlin P-39 in production.

Nickdfresh
03-19-2013, 12:59 PM
Agree with everything you said, except there was never a Merlin P-39 in production.

Correct, my bad. The P-63 Kingcobra did use a small number of Merlins as test "mules". It's performance was impressive and was just shy of the P-51D Mustang I believe. But since the performance was slightly inferior and the cost of production was higher, there was no point of adoption by the Western Air Forces...

hgilley
03-19-2013, 01:14 PM
Russian [Soviet] sources are usually fairly suspect,since the Stalinist program was never to let the facts get in the way of the ''correct " story.
The Luftwaffe basically rated the Eastern front as a rest-cure - compared to fighting the RAF/USAAF - this was shown in the loss ratios & merit award values, where victories in the west counted for more points. The Gemans kept their ''top-gun" jagd units, such as JG 26, in the west - for reasons of need..
As for fighters in service in `43, the RAF found the only plane capable - of besting the FW190 low-level strike fighters attacking Britain`s south-east - was the mighty 2000+hp, 4 20mm cannon Typhoon -much more potent than a dinky little P39...
& for a quick climbing, dog fighting, high altitude interceptor, - the Spitfire IX had the wee Airacobra whipped..

The facts are: 3 of the top 4 Soviet aces flew the P-39. These were the top scoring Allied aces of WWII with almost 60 victories, more victories than any American or British fliers. There were many 40, 20 and 10 victory P-39 aces also. All this with only about 5,000 P-39s delivered to the Soviets, in comparison with over 30,000 Yaks and thousands of Laggs and Migs. The P-39 was the Soviets preferred lend-lease fighter, rating it ahead of the Spitfire and Thunderbolt. The P-39 was probably the Soviets favorite fighter of all, even over their domestically produced fighters. The record speaks for itself.

hgilley
03-19-2013, 01:38 PM
Correct, my bad. The P-63 Kingcobra did use a small number of Merlins as test "mules". It's performance was impressive and was just shy of the P-51D Mustang I believe. But since the performance was slightly inferior and the cost of production was higher, there was no point of adoption by the Western Air Forces...

The standard P-63 performance was just shy of the P-51D, especially without the underwing .50 caliber machine guns. The Kingcobra would outclimb a P51D with ease at all altitudes.

Just a word about the Allison: it was required by the Army to pass a rigorous 150 hour test for each model. The vaunted Merlin couldn't pass the same test at only 100 hours. The Merlin 61 was a two stage engine, meaning it had a second internal supercharger. The Allison produced their two stage engine with the second stage being a mechanical add-on to their regular engine that produced about the same power at all altitudes as the Merlin and was ready about the same time. The reason the Merlin was chosen for the P-51BCD was the government built Packard a huge manufacturing plant to produce Merlins in the US for use in Canadian-built British aircraft. Those engines had to be used somehow so they were put in the P-51. Merlin was a good engine, just not quite as tough as an Allison.

hgilley
03-19-2013, 01:46 PM
Russian [Soviet] sources are usually fairly suspect,since the Stalinist program was never to let the facts get in the way of the ''correct " story.
The Luftwaffe basically rated the Eastern front as a rest-cure - compared to fighting the RAF/USAAF - this was shown in the loss ratios & merit award values, where victories in the west counted for more points. The Gemans kept their ''top-gun" jagd units, such as JG 26, in the west - for reasons of need..
As for fighters in service in `43, the RAF found the only plane capable - of besting the FW190 low-level strike fighters attacking Britain`s south-east - was the mighty 2000+hp, 4 20mm cannon Typhoon -much more potent than a dinky little P39...
& for a quick climbing, dog fighting, high altitude interceptor, - the Spitfire IX had the wee Airacobra whipped..

Nothing outperformed a P-39N or Q under 20,000'. Nothing. And Russian pilots say that the N and Q that they flew (lighter than US P-39s from deleting the wing guns and some radio equipment) would match the 109G6 and 190A at all altitudes. And apparently you haven't seen film of the P-39s 37mm cannon. This was an anti-tank weapon modified for aircraft use. One hit and anything twin-engined or smaller went down. Especially potent for ground attack.

J.A.W.
03-19-2013, 06:43 PM
Actually, if you check, I think you`ll find that the Napier Sabre engined Hawker fighters, Typhoon & [later] Tempest were the best performing WW2 [piston mill] fighters below 20,000ft, with a considerable margin over the humble little P-39, & sure, they used twice the power to do it, but was the P-39 authorised to permit a dive speed of 540mph IAS @ 10,000ft? Could the P-39 do 390mph at sea-level? Tempest was/could.

Tempest cruising speed was also 390mph, & how long could the anaemic Allison mill provide sufficient power to make 390mph for the P-39,- before it cooked, that is..5 min?

The Napier Sabre was type-tested at over 3000hp, by the way, even though cubic inch displacement-wise, @ 36ltr, - it was `bout 1/2 way between the V-1710 & the P&W R-2800..
...but then neither U.S. mill could turn such a massive prop - with an engine revving at 4,000rpm..

J.A.W.
03-19-2013, 07:36 PM
The Oldsmobile 37mm cannon toted by the P-39 was, in fact, a low velocity anti-bomber weapon, unsuitable both for tight turning, high angle deflection shooting in the fighter vs fighter dog-fight role, &/or against tanks, in ground attack, since it did not have much armour penetration capability [& the US did not supply the Soviets with AP ammunition].

The Typhoon/Tempest gun armament of 4 20mm Hispano cannon was far more potent, let alone their ability to deliver X 2 1000lb bombs or X 8 60lb/3in rocket projectiles as wing stores.

Nickdfresh
03-20-2013, 08:44 AM
Actually, if you check, I think you`ll find that the Napier Sabre engined Hawker fighters, Typhoon & [later] Tempest were the best performing WW2 [piston mill] fighters below 20,000ft, with a considerable margin over the humble little P-39, & sure, they used twice the power to do it, but was the P-39 authorised to permit a dive speed of 540mph IAS @ 10,000ft? Could the P-39 do 390mph at sea-level? Tempest was/could.

Tempest cruising speed was also 390mph, & how long could the anaemic Allison mill provide sufficient power to make 390mph for the P-39,- before it cooked, that is..5 min?

The Napier Sabre was type-tested at over 3000hp, by the way, even though cubic inch displacement-wise, @ 36ltr, - it was `bout 1/2 way between the V-1710 & the P&W R-2800..
...but then neither U.S. mill could turn such a massive prop - with an engine revving at 4,000rpm..

So? The Tempest first flew in 1942 and didn't see real service until at least 1944. Why not just compare the P-39 to an F-86 Sabre? :mrgreen:

Nickdfresh
03-20-2013, 08:46 AM
The Oldsmobile 37mm cannon toted by the P-39 was, in fact, a low velocity anti-bomber weapon, unsuitable both for tight turning, high angle deflection shooting in the fighter vs fighter dog-fight role, &/or against tanks, in ground attack, since it did not have much armour penetration capability [& the US did not supply the Soviets with AP ammunition].

The Typhoon/Tempest gun armament of 4 20mm Hispano cannon was far more potent, let alone their ability to deliver X 2 1000lb bombs or X 8 60lb/3in rocket projectiles as wing stores.

The Soviets didn't often use the P-39 for ground attack, that what the Sturmovik was for. As for the Typhoon/Tempest, who cares? And F-4 Phantom is more powerful than a Tempest. So what? It should be..

hgilley
03-20-2013, 11:45 AM
Actually, if you check, I think you`ll find that the Napier Sabre engined Hawker fighters, Typhoon & [later] Tempest were the best performing WW2 [piston mill] fighters below 20,000ft, with a considerable margin over the humble little P-39, & sure, they used twice the power to do it, but was the P-39 authorised to permit a dive speed of 540mph IAS @ 10,000ft? Could the P-39 do 390mph at sea-level? Tempest was/could.

Tempest cruising speed was also 390mph, & how long could the anaemic Allison mill provide sufficient power to make 390mph for the P-39,- before it cooked, that is..5 min?

The Napier Sabre was type-tested at over 3000hp, by the way, even though cubic inch displacement-wise, @ 36ltr, - it was `bout 1/2 way between the V-1710 & the P&W R-2800..
...but then neither U.S. mill could turn such a massive prop - with an engine revving at 4,000rpm..

Per WWIIAircraftPerformance.com the Typhoon was good for 376mph at 8,599'. P-39Q would do 405 at 10,000' and would outclimb the Typhoon substantially at all altitudes.

hgilley
03-20-2013, 11:48 AM
So? The Tempest first flew in 1942 and didn't see real service until at least 1944. Why not just compare the P-39 to an F-86 Sabre? :mrgreen:

Like your view on the P-39, very unjustly maligned by the Army and British, loved by the Soviets. Send me an email at hgilley51@gmail.com if you are interested in future discussion.

J.A.W.
03-20-2013, 05:53 PM
Well, 1stly, Hgilley asserted that the P-39 was the best performing in service fighter in `43, & it wasn`t...

2ndly, he asserted that the Bell fighers were the best performing WW2 fighter below 20,000ft-PERIOD- but they weren't.... [note- WW2 - so spurious swept wing jet comparisons are invalid & - plain silly].

3rdly, he asserted that the Abracadabra could use its 37mm cannon to defeat the panzers, it couldn't & didn't... whereas, the Typhoon had the Panzerwaffen angst-ridden on appearance with its R.P./bomb attacks.

4thly, since the USAAAF 8th AF dropped the P-38 & all but one P-47 [56th FG] units in favour of the P-51 - [ but, only after having dumped the Allison] - while the P-63s didn't even get to 1st base...

... it seems reasonable to conclude that the P-51 was the better 8th AF choice, while the USAAF 9th [tactical] AF, used the P-47...& so, NWE-wise the USAAF could find no combat use for the Bell-birds even below 20,000ft...they were simply not good enough to make the cut...

J.A.W.
03-20-2013, 06:21 PM
An August `43 service test [note- service test, not manufacturers claim, which Hgilley seems to be quoting fot the P-39..] gives the Typhoon figures as 398mph @ 8,800ft & 417mph @ 20,000ft..

The Typhoon/Tempest & Airacobra/Kingcobra are directly comparable in fact, being contemporary WW2 combat aircraft,& as the Typhoon was succeeded by the Tempest, so, like-wise P-39 was replaced by P-63..

However, the two Hawker aircraft were up to the rigours of late war NWE western front combat whereas the the Bell fighters were deemed unsuitable/inadequate, by both US & British AFs who gladly passed them off as unwanted hand-me-downs to Stalin, accordingly.

The 2nd highest scoring eastern front ace G. Barkhorn rated the Yaks as the best Soviet operated fighter, not the Bells..

J.A.W.
03-20-2013, 09:36 PM
Airfighting west vs east..
According to research by Sundin & Bergstrom;

Luftwaffe fighter arm scores, shot down: in the west ~14,000 - & in doing so lost ~13,000..

Luftwaffe fighter arm scores, shot down: in the east ~ 31,000 - & in doing so lost ~4,000...

J.A.W.
03-20-2013, 11:07 PM
From : Air Enthusist /48, Article, ' Air Superiority, A Case Study' P.18; Re NWE `44/`45.

"The British contribution to the tactical air power used in the invasion was the 2nd TAF.
As part of the build up it was planned to provide a wing of what were seen as the most effective fighter aircraft available to the British at that time, the Hawker Tempest V."

"Most combat associated with tactical air superiority was expected to take place at low to medium altitude & the Tempest was thought to be the ideal aircraft."

"The Napier Sabre engine used for the Tempest was a large, powerful unit that made the Tempest the fastest aircraft in the Allied inventory at medium altitude..."

The RAF would have been pleased to use the Bell aircraft - if they had offered an advantage -, but of course, as we know, they didn't..

J.A.W.
03-21-2013, 12:34 AM
Odd coincidence, that both the Typhoon & the P-39 used a 'car-door'-type cockpit access,- but by `43 the Typhoon had introduced the clear view frameless blown perspex bubble-top-type canopy, later copied by the razorback P-47, P-51, & Spitfire - after they`d been ah, - razed back- of course...

Nickdfresh
03-21-2013, 10:36 AM
J.A.W. You seem to be engaging in some basic strawman and red herring arguments. No one compared the Aircobras to the Typhoons until you inexplicably did! It's not even a fair comparison, my point is that any later developed aircraft - mid-war by British standards - SHOULD be better than a one off U.S. Army Air Corp project from the 1930's. So I don't get what your point is. You could even argue that the Typhoon series was in itself a disappointment much the same way the P-47 series was as it was a bit of a disappointment as it was envisioned as a successor to the Spitfire and a counter to the FW190, which it never became and was relegated to mainly being a ground attack aircraft, although one of the best ones. The P-39/63 series shot down FAR more aircraft than the Tempest/Typhoons did!

Nickdfresh
03-21-2013, 11:04 AM
Well, 1stly, Hgilley asserted that the P-39 was the best performing in service fighter in `43, & it wasn`t...

2ndly, he asserted that the Bell fighers were the best performing WW2 fighter below 20,000ft-PERIOD- but they weren't.... [note- WW2 - so spurious swept wing jet comparisons are invalid & - plain silly].

Who cares? The Russians have a saying that "perfection is the enemy of good-enough!" The P-39 was more than "good enough", and certainly had as much impact as any singular weapon system had on one facet of the war.


3rdly, he asserted that the Abracadabra could use its 37mm cannon to defeat the panzers, it couldn't & didn't... whereas, the Typhoon had the Panzerwaffen angst-ridden on appearance with its R.P./bomb attacks.

I don't know that he stated that, but Soviet pilots certainly never said this. The Sturmovik presented certainly as much fear in the Panzerwaffe as did the Typhoon, or Thunderbolt, did. And you should probably note that tactical aircraft were not all that DIRECTLY effective against armor as the ordinance delivery was woefully inaccurate at the time and it was actually uncommon that panzers were lost to air power. Anthony Beevor cites and an example where Typhoons were used in support of the U.S. Army under severe assault by panzers in a desperate counterattack around the time of The Breakout in Normandy. I think the pilots counted nearly 100 AFV's destroyed, but later analysis showed about SIX panzers that could be confirmed destroyed from Typhoon rocket or cannon fire. Of course, they still helped break up the attack and inflicted heavy casualties on the follow logistical support vehicles like Opel Blitzes and the like..


4thly, since the USAAAF 8th AF dropped the P-38 & all but one P-47 [56th FG] units in favour of the P-51 - [ but, only after having dumped the Allison] - while the P-63s didn't even get to 1st base...

... it seems reasonable to conclude that the P-51 was the better 8th AF choice, while the USAAF 9th [tactical] AF, used the P-47...& so, NWE-wise the USAAF could find no combat use for the Bell-birds even below 20,000ft...they were simply not good enough to make the cut...

Like the Tempest/Typhoon, the P-47 Thunderbolt was switched over to a tactical air support role, in which it performed superbly. Also, the final versions of the P-47 series were very much on par with anything as they had newer Allison turbocharged engines making them extremely rugged and powerful at the same time and they would have served as fighter-bombers in any invasion of Japan. The P-38 was upgraded, and used extensively over the ocean in the Pacific and was the largest killer of Japanese aircraft and noted Admirals. Again, its final versions were on par with anything in the air. The P-51 was brought in because it was probably the best overall fighter of WWII and could go to downtown Berlin and back along with the bombers.

The P-63 Kingcobra "never got to first base" because it was never intended too nor was it ever in consideration against the P-51D because there was no point. To served as a support plane (training aerial gunnery vehicle and test mule) for the USAAF. It was designed primarily as an improved aircraft for the Soviet Air Forces for use "only" against Japan (of course it took part in the final advances into Germany), and that's exactly what it was...

Nickdfresh
03-21-2013, 11:57 AM
It's been awhile since I've read about the P-39 or P-63, I had a "homer" interest in the aircraft since many of them were produced near where I live in Niagara Fall, NY. But the real debate on the performance of the P-39 Aircobra had nothing to do with the Hawker series, but rather the aircraft it was set against. In the East, (according to Wiki) the P-39's were rated by the Soviets to be either the equal, and perhaps superior in some respects, of the earlier versions of the Me109 at lower level, which is where I stated the vast majority of fighter combat took place on the Eastern Front. Also, Soviet pilots thought very highly of the 37mm cannon and its destructive power against Stukas, twin engined Luftwaffe bombers, and Me109s. This of course made Airbobras vastly superior to the obsolete fighter planes that initially comprised most of the squadrons of the Red Air Forces during the opening days of Barbarossa (many of which were destroyed anyways).

In addition, USAAF pilots in the Pacific Theater rated the P-39 agile enough at low level and was as good as the Japanese A6 Zero at low level. The problems arose when it was used as a high level interceptor. But I think it had an equal or better kill ratio with Japanese fighters, which isn't bad considering the "numerical and training superiority" of Japanese pilots and the Aircobra's inability to perform at high level...

hgilley
03-21-2013, 02:48 PM
Well, 1stly, Hgilley asserted that the P-39 was the best performing in service fighter in `43, & it wasn`t...

2ndly, he asserted that the Bell fighers were the best performing WW2 fighter below 20,000ft-PERIOD- but they weren't.... [note- WW2 - so spurious swept wing jet comparisons are invalid & - plain silly].

3rdly, he asserted that the Abracadabra could use its 37mm cannon to defeat the panzers, it couldn't & didn't... whereas, the Typhoon had the Panzerwaffen angst-ridden on appearance with its R.P./bomb attacks.

4thly, since the USAAAF 8th AF dropped the P-38 & all but one P-47 [56th FG] units in favour of the P-51 - [ but, only after having dumped the Allison] - while the P-63s didn't even get to 1st base...

... it seems reasonable to conclude that the P-51 was the better 8th AF choice, while the USAAF 9th [tactical] AF, used the P-47...& so, NWE-wise the USAAF could find no combat use for the Bell-birds even below 20,000ft...they were simply not good enough to make the cut...

Never said the P39 was best fighter in '43. Did say they were the best below 20,000' and they were when rate of climb is taken into account along with speed. Nothing climbed with a P39N or Q (without wing guns) up to 20,000'. Never said the 37mm would open a panzer, said it was developed from an Army anti-tank gun.

Yes the P51B,C,D was superior, but those models weren't available for combat until 1944 (actually Dec. 43). The P39 was available from the beginning of the war.

You have certainly done your reading, but a lot of what is available on the P39 is from the Allied point of view. Much more information has recently come from the Russians.

Whole problem with the P39 was weight. The AAF loaded them up with the worthless .30 caliber wing guns or the underwing .50's. The Russians deleted those along with some of the radio equipment that did not operate on their frequency range. This reduced the weight from 7700# to 7200# and made a huge difference, especially in rate of climb. The weight reduction also allowed the P39 to compete successfully with German fighters at all altitudes. Why didn't the AAF do the same thing? Who knows. Most likely they thought the P47 Thunderbolt that was in production but not yet in combat (May 1943) would make the P39s obsolete, and the Russians were begging for the P39 so the decision was made to use the P39 for combat trainers or give them to the Russians. Unfortunately the P47, while an excellent plane, didn't have the range to escort bombers from England which was their initial combat mission. Plus, the P47 climb rate was abysmal. A P39N would climb to 25,000' in literally half the time it took a P47B. But it sure did shoot up the European countryside and it was one tough customer.

J.A.W.
03-21-2013, 07:55 PM
HG, you listed the inservice fighters for `43, suggesting that the P-39 was up to scratch with the best of them,["clearly the P-39 was one of the best planes of WW2"] it was n`t..

..viz, compare another aircraft in USAAF service in `43, the Spitfire Mk 8, it climbed to 25,000ft in 6.6 min, much quicker than the best P-39...

Weight was a problem for the P-39, as an under-powered plane, - but cutting armament made them less effective, & made them lethally tumble/flat spin, as the Soviets found out...

The Typhoon's initial climb rate was 3,840 ft/min , & it could whip the P-39 on dive & zoom-climb easily..& the Tempest.. did even better..by `bout a thousand ft/min climb & +20mph in speed..

& Nickdf, "basic strawman" ah, now that`d be spurious P-86/F-4 Phantom references wouldn`t it?

In fact, the P-38,P-39,F4U,Fw190 & Typhoon were all contemporary [late `30s] designs competing for '1st 400mph fighter' kudos..

What evidence do you have that shows P-39/63s shot down more enemy aircraft than Typhoon/Tempests? Only Stalinist propaganda? P-63s werent even put up against the Luftwaffe..& How many Me 262s did the Bell-birds catch? Zero...[oops, - don`t mention the Zero, ..they hacked down many a P-39/400...P-40 with a Zero on its tail...]

As for Typhoon performance vs FW 190, they were specifically tasked with that job, as per an example I posted earlier...& Typhoon anti-tank effectiveness? ,Well, a quick search of 'friendly-fire' incidents will show what the Allies did know..but suppressed..

Bell was very keen to score USAAF contracts for its designs, they just weren't good enough...

J.A.W.
03-22-2013, 12:08 AM
P-38s did ok against obsolecent Nippon Oscars, & poorly trained/organised late war replacement Japanese pilots, but the USAAF didn`t use them or P-47s to escort the B-29s, P-51s got that gig, just as in NWE..
P-38s couldn`t cut it against top-line NWE opposition, & wasn't it actually USN fighters that busted Nip airpower?..

P-39s were hacked down relentlessly by later developed German fighters, such as the longnose FW 190D [ the Soviets were so impressed by them, that they put those they captured into service!] & its probable that the 10 top eastern front aces alone shot down more Airacobras than all Soviet P-39/63s shot down German fighters combined...whereas, over on the other front, Tempests hunted those FWs just as relentlessly in turn..

As for impact, the Tempest units shot down 800+ Nazi V1 cruise missiles - that were speeding at low level - on course for London , so directly saving thousands of lives [& Tempests shot down more V1s than any other fighter] -if they`d been equipped with the Bell products, no chance...too slow, [& with lame armament to boot]...

hgilley
03-22-2013, 10:50 AM
HG, you listed the inservice fighters for `43, suggesting that the P-39 was up to scratch with the best of them,["clearly the P-39 was one of the best planes of WW2"] it was n`t..

..viz, compare another aircraft in USAAF service in `43, the Spitfire Mk 8, it climbed to 25,000ft in 6.6 min, much quicker than the best P-39...

Weight was a problem for the P-39, as an under-powered plane, - but cutting armament made them less effective, & made them lethally tumble/flat spin, as the Soviets found out...

The Typhoon's initial climb rate was 3,840 ft/min , & it could whip the P-39 on dive & zoom-climb easily..& the Tempest.. did even better..by `bout a thousand ft/min climb & +20mph in speed..

& Nickdf, "basic strawman" ah, now that`d be spurious P-86/F-4 Phantom references wouldn`t it?

In fact, the P-38,P-39,F4U,Fw190 & Typhoon were all contemporary [late `30s] designs competing for '1st 400mph fighter' kudos..

What evidence do you have that shows P-39/63s shot down more enemy aircraft than Typhoon/Tempests? Only Stalinist propaganda? P-63s werent even put up against the Luftwaffe..& How many Me 262s did the Bell-birds catch? Zero...[oops, - don`t mention the Zero, ..they hacked down many a P-39/400...P-40 with a Zero on its tail...]

As for Typhoon performance vs FW 190, they were specifically tasked with that job, as per an example I posted earlier...& Typhoon anti-tank effectiveness? ,Well, a quick search of 'friendly-fire' incidents will show what the Allies did know..but suppressed..

Bell was very keen to score USAAF contracts for its designs, they just weren't good enough...

Update your reading list. The P39N started coming off the production line in Dec 42 and by the next month Bell was producing 400/month. All the P39 models were the same except for different models of the Allison, different propellers and more/less radio gear. The best were the N and Q which had the V-1710-85 engine, same plane just different wing armament which the Russians wisely removed. The P39N would climb to 15k' in 4 minutes, 20k' in 6 minutes and 25k' in 8 minutes. That was faster then any other contemporary mass produced plane in service except the Spitfire MkIX which would climb to 20k' in 5.6 minutes in October 1942. The N outclimbed every Lightning, Warhawk, Thunderbolt, Mustang, Hellcat, Corsair, Wildcat, Typhoon, 109, 190, Zero, Oscar etc. And the Thunderbolt, Mustang, Corsair and Hellcat weren't even in combat yet. Top speed of the N was a little over 390mph at 20k', about the same as those other planes but its climb was what made it the terror of the skies in the Kuban against the Luftwaffe in 1943 and produced all those Russian P39 aces. And removing the 4x.30 caliber wing guns did little to reduce combat effectiveness. The .30 caliber gun was not used on any other contemporary American fighter, and the Russians referred to them as good for damaging German paint. That left the 37mm cannon and two .50 caliber guns which the Russians referred to as devastating armament.

Nickdfresh
03-22-2013, 01:02 PM
HG, you listed the inservice fighters for `43, suggesting that the P-39 was up to scratch with the best of them,["clearly the P-39 was one of the best planes of WW2"] it was n`t..

..viz, compare another aircraft in USAAF service in `43, the Spitfire Mk 8, it climbed to 25,000ft in 6.6 min, much quicker than the best P-39...

Weight was a problem for the P-39, as an under-powered plane, - but cutting armament made them less effective, & made them lethally tumble/flat spin, as the Soviets found out...

The P-39 was one of the best planes of WWII, by virtue that it improved the Soviet Red Air Force and gave her pilots a chance against the Luftwaffe and some breathing room to improve their indigenous fighter force. The fact is that most Soviet pilots loved the plane and it was thought of highly enough that the Russians had a big part in developing the improved P-63 along Soviet spec's. No plane was perfect, and even the mighty Spitfire suffered some flaws initially with armament that was ineffectual. And you keep contradicting yourself here. At first you said the .30 machine-guns mounted in the wings were essentially useless, now you say that ditching them made the aircraft punchless. Please cite any sources you like showing this to be a common complaint with Soviet pilots?

And again with the useless, unfair, and silly comparisons. Why would anyone compare an early war fighter that had minimal upgrades to the more advanced generations of the Spit? The Russians never liked the Spit or Hurricane, though I think perhaps they didn't really give them much of a chance...


The Typhoon's initial climb rate was 3,840 ft/min , & it could whip the P-39 on dive & zoom-climb easily..& the Tempest.. did even better..by `bout a thousand ft/min climb & +20mph in speed..

& Nickdf, "basic strawman" ah, now that`d be spurious P-86/F-4 Phantom references wouldn`t it?

No. My "reference" was referencing your silly comparisons between the P-39 and completely unrelated Allied aircraft it would never see in combat. Again, please explain how an underfunded prewar aircraft first flown in 1938 should compare to an aircraft developed during the war with all the experience entailed and first flown in 1942. Of course the Typhoon is going to have some more impressive statistics. So what!? How many German fighters did the Typhoon shoot down over Stalingrad? Or anywhere?


In fact, the P-38,P-39,F4U,Fw190 & Typhoon were all contemporary [late `30s] designs competing for '1st 400mph fighter' kudos..

The Typhoon first flew in 1942, a full four years after the P-39. It was also developed with experiences gained with the benefit of combat.

The Typhoon also "failed" in its primary mission as an air superiority fighter designed to meet the Fw190 - still an excellent ground attack beast nonetheless...


What evidence do you have that shows P-39/63s shot down more enemy aircraft than Typhoon/Tempests? Only Stalinist propaganda? P-63s werent even put up against the Luftwaffe..& How many Me 262s did the Bell-birds catch? Zero...[oops, - don`t mention the Zero, ..they hacked down many a P-39/400...P-40 with a Zero on its tail...]

I asked you first! Um, so everything is 'Stalinist propaganda?' What about when the Red Air Force was almost effectively destroyed by the end of 1941 and flying obsolete I-153's? Are all the Luftwaffe pilot claims to large numbers of kills Hitlerian Propaganda then? The Soviets were actually judicious when handing out individual honors, propaganda aside. Their best pilots flew the P-39. Why would they aggrandize and aircraft produced in capitalist America? And the GI-humor anecdote you provide (from Wiki, while ignoring many of the kudos for the P-39) is still mixed, as the P-39/400 gave as good as it got.

The P-63 was indeed used against the Luftwaffe, even though it wasn't supposed to be per contract. As far as how many Me262's they took down, it would be hard to know because their missions were officially omitted and credited to Aircobras...

Here's some Stalinist Propaganda by way of Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_P-39_Airacobra#USSR) for you, since you're selectively quoting it anyways. While no one should solely rely on Wiki, everything here is well cited:


The Soviets used the Airacobra primarily for air-to-air combat[55] against a variety of German aircraft, including Bf 109s, Focke-Wulf Fw 190s, Ju 87s, and Ju 88s. During the battle of Kuban River, VVS relied on P-39s much more than Spitfires and P-40s. Aleksandr Pokryshkin, from 16.Gv.IAP, (16th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment) claimed 20 air victories in that campaign.[56] Pokryshkin, the third-highest scoring Allied ace (53 air victories plus six shared)[57] flew the P-39 from late 1942 until the end of the war (though rumors exist that he changed in late 1944 to a P-63 Kingcobra).
Former USAAF 42-19597 flown post-war by the Commemorative Air Force in Soviet markings, c. 1990s

Five out of the 10 highest scoring Soviets aces logged the majority of their kills in P-39s. Grigoriy Rechkalov, the second-highest scoring Soviet ace (56 individual air victories plus five shared), occasionally Pokryshkin's wingman in 16.Gv.IAP,[58] scored 44 victories flying Airacobras. The majority of his kills were achieved on P-39N-0 number 42-8747 and P-39Q-15 number 44-2547. During the war, he was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner (four times), the Order of Alexandr Nievskii, the Order of Patriotic War 1st Class and the Order of the Red Star (twice).[59] This is the highest score ever attained by any pilot with any American-made aircraft.


As for Typhoon performance vs FW 190, they were specifically tasked with that job, as per an example I posted earlier...& Typhoon anti-tank effectiveness? ,Well, a quick search of 'friendly-fire' incidents will show what the Allies did know..but suppressed..

Bell was very keen to score USAAF contracts for its designs, they just weren't good enough...

Um, they did actually score contracts and served as an early war fighter both with the USAAF and as a Lend Lease aircraft!

I'd actually would like to start a separate thread on the "Typhoons (and any other marquee ground attack aircraft's) antitank effectiveness." I have a couple pages of Anthony Beevor from D-Day that cites studies by both the RAF and USAAF/USAF on the ground attack effectiveness of tactical aircraft...

Nickdfresh
03-22-2013, 03:08 PM
P-38s did ok against obsolecent Nippon Oscars, & poorly trained/organised late war replacement Japanese pilots, but the USAAF didn`t use them or P-47s to escort the B-29s, P-51s got that gig, just as in NWE..
P-38s couldn`t cut it against top-line NWE opposition, & wasn't it actually USN fighters that busted Nip airpower?..

Firstly, "Nip" is a racist, outdated term. Please do not use it here.

"Couldn't cut it?" The P-38 shot down more Japanese aircraft than any other Allied fighter. It was prized because of its ability to get the pilot back to base even in the even of engine failure as there were two. America's top scoring ace, Richard Bong (40 confirmed, more probable), flew the P-38 and he certainly didn't just shoot down "Oscars". His first kills were A6M Zeros, and the Ki-43 Oscar was not "outdated" as it was highly agile and maneuverable. While the Lightening was not as maneuverable as the Zero or Oscar, it didn't matter as it was more powerful (like it's Navy counterparts in the Wildcat and Hellcat) and armored, so they simply avoided dogfights and used diving and "Thatch Weave" tactics.

And you're misinformed, basing all of your critique on earlier models whereas the P-38J & L models (the most produced) were vastly improved in cooling, power ratings, and fuel economy with modifications made by "Lucky" Lindbergh among others. The P-38L's were extensively used prior too and after Overlord as both ground attack and air superiority fighters and flew from Italy into Germany until the end of the war.


P-39s were hacked down relentlessly by later developed German fighters, such as the longnose FW 190D [ the Soviets were so impressed by them, that they put those they captured into service!] & its probable that the 10 top eastern front aces alone shot down more Airacobras than all Soviet P-39/63s shot down German fighters combined...whereas, over on the other front, Tempests hunted those FWs just as relentlessly in turn..

What are you talking about? The P-39 losses were hardly tantamount to being "hacked down." And again, so what? By that time the Luftwaffe was buckling under a multiple-front air war and again, you're disingenuously comparing apples and oranges as of course a late-war FW190 is going to outclass a P-39 with virtually no significant improvements. It should! That certainly didn't make the P-39 a bad fighter aircraft. By then the Soviets had developed their own fighters such as the Yak-3 and the La-7 that matched the latest German fighters. That doesn't mean the Aircobra was a bad aircraft or that it didn't have quite a significant impact in 1942-44. It did!


As for impact, the Tempest units shot down 800+ Nazi V1 cruise missiles - that were speeding at low level - on course for London , so directly saving thousands of lives [& Tempests shot down more V1s than any other fighter] -if they`d been equipped with the Bell products, no chance...too slow, [& with lame armament to boot]...

"Bell products?" So what? What does that have to do with the P-39 on the Eastern Front?

hgilley
03-22-2013, 03:17 PM
Firstly, "Nip" is a racist, outdated term. Please do not use it here.

"Couldn't cut it?" The P-38 shot down more Japanese aircraft than any other Allied fighter. It was prized because of its ability to get the pilot back to base even in the even of engine failure as there were two. America's top scoring ace, Richard Bong (40 confirmed, more probable), flew the P-38 and he certainly didn't just shoot down "Oscars". His first kills were A6M Zeros, and the Ki-43 Oscar was not "outdated" as it was highly agile and maneuverable. While the Lightening was not as maneuverable as the Zero or Oscar, it didn't matter as it was more powerful (like it's Navy counterparts in the Wildcat and Hellcat) and armored, so they simply avoided dogfights and used diving and "Thatch Weave" tactics.

And you're misinformed, basing all of your critique on earlier models whereas the P-38J & L models (the most produced) were vastly improved in cooling, power ratings, and fuel economy with modifications made by "Lucky" Lindbergh among others. The P-38L's were extensively used prior too and after Overlord as both ground attack and air superiority fighters and flew from Italy into Germany until the end of the war.



What are you talking about? The P-39 losses were hardly tantamount to being "hacked down." And again, so what? By that time the Luftwaffe was buckling under a multiple-front air war and again, you're disingenuously comparing apples and oranges as of course a late-war FW190 is going to outclass a P-39 with virtually no significant improvements. It should! That certainly didn't make the P-39 a bad fighter aircraft. By then the Soviets had developed their own fighters such as the Yak-3 and the La-7 that matched the latest German fighters. That doesn't mean the Aircobra was a bad aircraft or that it didn't have quite a significant impact in 1942-44. It did!



"Bell products?" So what? What does that have to do with the P-39 on the Eastern Front?

Stay after JAW, he desperately needs educating. Regarding the P38 Lightning, it shot down more Japanese aircraft than any other ARMY fighter. Hellcat shot down the most Japanese Planes. Keep up the good work :)

Nickdfresh
03-22-2013, 03:55 PM
Stay after JAW, he desperately needs educating. Regarding the P38 Lightning, it shot down more Japanese aircraft than any other ARMY fighter. Hellcat shot down the most Japanese Planes. Keep up the good work :)

I thought in the past I had heard it was top scoring, oh well...

hgilley
03-22-2013, 05:00 PM
I thought in the past I had heard it was top scoring, oh well...

I had always heard that too, but then I saw the actual numbers. Still a huge achievement.

J.A.W.
03-22-2013, 06:25 PM
Well, HG & Nickdf, looks as if you both need to keep after the learning, a word of caution may be of use,though..

Referencing wiki - do go a bit further & check out the primary sources, same with Beevor, he writes well, but accuracy-wise his views need checking too.

As for 'Nip' being racist... in fact, Allied P.o.W.s in Nip camps were severely punished for calling the guards 'Japs' - but 'NIP' was acceptable... being equivalent to Brit, Yank, Aussie, Kiwi, as a diminutive for Nippon, the ancient & respected name reverered by the Japanese for their island nation...

J.A.W.
03-22-2013, 06:42 PM
The Typhoon 1st flew in 1940, but since the British makers Hawker were fairly busy with their Hurricanes just then, [what with the Battle of Britain & all], development was delayed, some..

The point of comparison is valid in as much as the eastern front was a primitive slogging match compared to the technical sophistications & pace of scientific developments shown by both sides in the west..

& true the Soviets did dig the wee Bell-birds, for their own reasons [it helped that Bell/GM-Allison poured resources in to keeping them going-allowing them to burn through over-boosted V-1710s in 40hr TBOs..].

But the Soviets themselves tested all available aircraft, & their tests showed that both their own Yakovlev 9 -series & Lavochkin 5 -series fighters as well as foreign Spitfire 9 & Bf 109 aircraft had superior climb/dive performance characteristics to the P-39...& some of their tests proved to Bell that their mid-engined planes would indeed show dangerous/fatal tumble/flat spin dynamics...

Soviet fighter aircraft being small, had trouble carrying a decent armament fit, the '42 in service Typhoon standard fit of 4 20mm cannon was never matched by WW2 Soviet fighters [or USAAF/USN either]..
So

J.A.W.
03-22-2013, 07:31 PM
'Apples & oranges'..? That the Soviets continued to pit outdated & outclassed P-39/63s against the likes of longnose Fw 190s [something the USAAF would not do..] clearly shows the cruel disregard the Stalin regime had for its own people..
Oddly.. too - they kept back their P-47s from the front & rejected P-38s [as did the British], but wanted & [were denied-unlike the British] Merlin P-51s...

Nickdfresh
03-22-2013, 08:14 PM
Well, HG & Nickdf, looks as if you both need to keep after the learning, a word of caution may be of use,though..

Referencing wiki -

"Referencing Wiki?" Sir, you done nothing but "reference" Wiki by pulling off negative information whilst ignoring the generally favorable info in regards to both planes. Almost verbatim in fact I would say. I'm not here to defend Wiki nor are they always reliable, but pages that are well sourced and cited can be a valuable overview and starting point. I would say you're a bit guilty in engaging in internet sophistry in order to "win an argument" rather than seek the truth...


...do go a bit further & check out the primary sources, same with Beevor, he writes well, but accuracy-wise his views need checking too.

Thank you for the lecture, but nobody's perfect. He does cite the actual sources and the RAF study. Maybe you can contest the validity of that? But I feel confident in saying that most historians now believe that tactical aircraft versus panzers was a bit over-hyped and the majority of destroyed tanks was the result of Allied tanks, TD's, antitank guns, mines, and infantry employing weapons...


As for 'Nip' being racist... in fact, Allied P.o.W.s in Nip camps were severely punished for calling the guards 'Japs' - but 'NIP' was acceptable... being equivalent to Brit, Yank, Aussie, Kiwi, as a diminutive for Nippon, the ancient & respected name reverered by the Japanese for their island nation...

There's an infamous WB Bugs Bunny cartoon that is called "Bug Bunny Nips the Nips" here that is considered racist and is no longer shown as a result due to protests of Japanese rights groups. And even if it were acceptable in the 1940s, which I'm not so sure about, it is considered racist here today...

Nickdfresh
03-22-2013, 08:27 PM
The Typhoon 1st flew in 1940, but since the British makers Hawker were fairly busy with their Hurricanes just then, [what with the Battle of Britain & all], development was delayed, some..

I was thinking of the Tempest.


The point of comparison is valid in as much as the eastern front was a primitive slogging match compared to the technical sophistications & pace of scientific developments shown by both sides in the west..

What? But one of the sides in the West was fighting in the East. You mentioned the advanced versions of the FW190 being used there. And no one can deny that the later Soviet fighters were as formidable as their Western counterparts...


& true the Soviets did dig the wee Bell-birds, for their own reasons [it helped that Bell/GM-Allison poured resources in to keeping them going-allowing them to burn through over-boosted V-1710s in 40hr TBOs..].

But the Soviets themselves tested all available aircraft, & their tests showed that both their own Yakovlev 9 -series & Lavochkin 5 -series fighters as well as foreign Spitfire 9 & Bf 109 aircraft had superior climb/dive performance characteristics to the P-39...& some of their tests proved to Bell that their mid-engined planes would indeed show dangerous/fatal tumble/flat spin dynamics...

SO WHAT?! Soviet tests also showed the P-39 was either the equal, and perhaps "superior" in some respects to the Me109 up until the last versions of it. The Yak 9 and La5 were later war fighters. Again, a Mig-15 was superior to a Spitfire V. Does that make the Spitfire a bad aircraft? That seems to be your reasoning here.

You're comparing improved versions of those aircraft at altitudes the P-39 was not suited. And you should perhaps know that the Soviets found the "dangerous/fatal tumble/flat spin dynamics" a big improvement over the early war machines they were flying, and it was never really a serious issue...


Soviet fighter aircraft being small, had trouble carrying a decent armament fit, the '42 in service Typhoon standard fit of 4 20mm cannon was never matched by WW2 Soviet fighters [or USAAF/USN either]..


Who cares? They didn't need them. Again, what does this have to do with whether the Aircobra was an effective aircraft or not? What's the price of tea in China?

Nickdfresh
03-22-2013, 08:36 PM
'Apples & oranges'..? That the Soviets continued to pit outdated & outclassed P-39/63s against the likes of longnose Fw 190s [something the USAAF would not do..] clearly shows the cruel disregard the Stalin regime had for its own people..
Oddly.. too - they kept back their P-47s from the front & rejected P-38s [as did the British], but wanted & [were denied-unlike the British] Merlin P-51s...

But they didn't "just fly" the P-39, they had several other fighters after 1944 that were more than adequate. You know. the ones you just mentioned as better than the P-39? Stalin's disregard for his own people had little to do with the air war. They really didn't need the above fighters after a while. And while you're nitpicking here, then can you explain why Soviet pilots didn't like the Hurricanes and Spits, but loved the Aircobra? Here's a hint, it had little to do with the mighty Stalin meddling in air ministry planning. Stalin committed many evils, but he also pushed his aerospace people to develop newer, better aircraft and to increase production quotas of existing ones such as the IL-2...

Technically, the P-51's were powered by Packard versions of the Merlin engine. The USAAF needed them as the primary fighter to escort bombers and had already given the Soviets significant assistance. And the P-63 wasn't "outdated."

J.A.W.
03-22-2013, 09:08 PM
OK, some corrections here..
P-63s were outperformed by the the best aircraft available to the western allies & rejected by the western airforces for combat on that basis...as outdated..like-wise the USAAF & RAF would`ve had little difficulty in smashing Soviet airpower if it had come to that, being markedly superior in every aspect including aircraft performance...Stalin's disregard for his own people certainly extended to the Red Army /VVS..

Soviets had P-47s..which did out-perform their own fighters & were the USAAF tactical strike fighter of choice, but didn't use them...too costly perhaps..who knows?

The Soviets & US flyers would haved loved to use a 4 20mm cannon aramament fit, since it was so superor to what they did have, but couldn't , & so didn't..why not?

Yak 9 , La 5, & Bf 109G fighters, all with performance dynamics superior to the P-39 WERE in service in `43...

& I retiterate, if you check the F/F -Blue on Blue incidents involving the Typhoon, you`ll see that they were just as effective in destroying Allied armour & etc..As the Germans themselves stated..

Nickdfresh
03-22-2013, 09:36 PM
OK, some corrections here..
P-63s were outperformed by the the best aircraft available to the western allies & rejected by the western airforces for combat on that basis...as outdated..like-wise the USAAF & RAF would`ve had little difficulty in smashing Soviet airpower if it had come to that, being markedly superior in every aspect including aircraft performance...Stalin's disregard for his own people certainly extended to the Red Army /VVS..

The P-63 wasn't "rejected" because it was never considered. It was created largely at behest of the Soviets. Stalin's "disregard" for the people was shared by his able, ruthless combat commanders such as Marshal Zhukov. It was something more or less ingrained in Russo-Soviet military thinking due to the immense population available...


Soviets had P-47s..which did out-perform their own fighters & were the USAAF tactical strike fighter of choice, but didn't use them...too costly perhaps..who knows?

But they didn't "outperform" anything at low level, being ungainly and heavy. I think we've discussed the air war over Russia was primarily low level and tac support. The Soviets had the Sturmovik for gound attack. They didn't need the Thunderbolt and that was only another logistical stream they could live without.


The Soviets & US flyers would haved loved to use a 4 20mm cannon aramament fit, since it was so superor to what they did have, but couldn't , & so didn't..why not?

They didn't need them? The 37mm and twin .50's would splatter any Luftwaffe aircraft in range? Wouldn't all Spitfire pilots also love to have four 20mm's instead of just two?


Yak 9 , La 5, & Bf 109G fighters, all with performance dynamics superior to the P-39 WERE in service in `43...

So? The Spitfire Mk VII was available and in service in 43'. Why didn't all British fighter pilots fly those? They were superior to the previous versions and the Typhoon at altitudes. The newer fighters were coming online as the Yak had only first flown in the summer of 42', and wasn't available in sufficient numbers to take the Aircobras out of service. It was only available in large numbers after teething problems were overcome in 1944. But aren't you now contradicting your earlier point regarding the evil, blood thirsty Stalin who didn't care about his pilots he loved to toss into meat-grinders (even though they were very expensive to train and develop)?

In any case, the P-39 continued to be effective until the end of the war and were still useful against a withering Luftwaffe pinned down by 1943...

J.A.W.
03-22-2013, 09:55 PM
No contemporary Spitfire had a low level speed or zoom/dive performance superior to the Typhoon/Tempest series...& yes Spitfire pilots were envious of that, & the 4 cannon...

... the USN evaluated the 20mm Hispano as being equivalent to 3 .50 Brownings, & while the US planes could carry them [the 1st British Mustangs did..] but the US could not get them to work as well as the British did..the Whirlwind/Mosquito/Beaufighter/[& even P-61] twins all had 4 20mm, so why not the P-38? The British prefered the 20mm in the P-39, too..

The P-47, being turbocharged, naturally had a fine high altitude performance, but with a high diving speed boom & zoom, 8 .50s & generous lift capacity for external pylon stores [rockets,bombs napalm] they made a superior ground attack plane to the Sturmovik...not used for political, or $ grounds? ... & the P-39/63 was more expensive than the P-51.

The aircraft loss statistics show that application of brutal force in numbers by the Soviets was - while grossly effective - also a crudely inefficient & needlessly wasteful callously disregarding of lives[Not even the USAAF was so awful, even they had to stop the massacre of the heavy bombers after 2 unbearably costly Schweinfurt/Ploesti raids] & continued use of the P-39/63 was a clear illustration of this flawed policy..Maybe it was 'cause they didn't have 1st amendment casualty public opinion to consider..

Nickdfresh
03-23-2013, 12:01 PM
No contemporary Spitfire had a low level speed or zoom/dive performance superior to the Typhoon/Tempest series...& yes Spitfire pilots were envious of that, & the 4 cannon...

I think a few Spits had four 20mm's, and the war in the West was at high level. The cannons were nice, but overkill unless targeting the bombers the Luftwaffe no longer had or ground targets..


... the USN evaluated the 20mm Hispano as being equivalent to 3 .50 Brownings, & while the US planes could carry them [the 1st British Mustangs did..] but the US could not get them to work as well as the British did..the Whirlwind/Mosquito/Beaufighter/[& even P-61] twins all had 4 20mm, so why not the P-38? The British prefered the 20mm in the P-39, too..

The U.S. decided the .50 was enough, it had its drawbacks in destructive power and some advantages as far as firepower...


The P-47, being turbocharged, naturally had a fine high altitude performance, but with a high diving speed boom & zoom, 8 .50s & generous lift capacity for external pylon stores [rockets,bombs napalm] they made a superior ground attack plane to the Sturmovik...not used for political, or $ grounds? ... & the P-39/63 was more expensive than the P-51.

Um, how would the Soviets bother adopting small numbers of an aircraft they had to rely on another country to provide spares and production? That makes no sense. And who says the Thunderbolt was necessarily any "better" than the Sturmovik? Both were highly thought of "jabos" by their enemy. And you just mentioned that the U.S. didn't want the Soviets to have Mustangs, so what choices did they have?


The aircraft loss statistics show that application of brutal force in numbers by the Soviets was - while grossly effective - also a crudely inefficient & needlessly wasteful callously disregarding of lives[Not even the USAAF was so awful, even they had to stop the massacre of the heavy bombers after 2 unbearably costly Schweinfurt/Ploesti raids] & continued use of the P-39/63 was a clear illustration of this flawed policy..Maybe it was 'cause they didn't have 1st amendment casualty public opinion to consider..

What statistics? The Red Air Force was largely destroyed then rose from the ashes and many of its initial losses were obsolete biplanes. The Soviets didn't have a choice as they lacked the training, equipment, and organization of the Luftwaffe initially; but yet they became a rather effective air force that helped bludgeon down the Luftwaffe. The continued use of the P-39/63 was because the planes were reliable with good radios and they worked and were still effective against the majority of aircraft they flew against. An experienced, veteran Soviet pilot probably was more effective in a P-39 than a Luftwaffe greenhorn flying an FW190 - a pilot whose flight training hours were severally restricted due to fuel shortages by 1944. They also flew in conjunction with newer fighters designed to counter the later gen Me109's and FW190. You act as if the P-39 was the only fighter the Soviets had, but it was a fraction of their fighter force yet was flown by half of the Soviet aces. Just about any historian I can think of would think your points insane.

The first raids by the USAAF Eighth Air Forces were actually unmitigated successes because the Germans were completely caught off guard by daytime raids; this helped foster as sense of naive optimism and grandiose coup de main-style air war planning that Operation Tidal Wave represented. The Luftwaffe got a lot better, integrated their air defenses and casualties increased but these were learning experiences and tempered the unrealistic aspirations by early USAAF generals who were equally delusional as their RAF counterparts. I'm not a fan of the way strategic bombing was conducted, but the main problems were solved by simply having a fighter to escort the bombers all the way to the target and by aggressively suppressing the Luftwaffe later in the war. It's also worth noting that the RAF Bomber Command suffered far greater casualties and loss rates overall than the American bombers did...

J.A.W.
03-23-2013, 08:00 PM
No unescorted daylight raids on German targets were 'unmitigated successes' - from the `39 decimation of [the fantasy that 'self-defending'] British Wellington bombers could destroy the German navy..through to Schweinfurt..true the radar directed French-based Jagdwaffe units would react only on a percieved threat basis, & might well ignore fighter sweeps or token bombing raids, but any kind of deep penetration was dealt with harshly..As for night raiding, well, just like every other type, unless the defense is inadequate [ 1940/41 London Blitz] or suppressed [ late 1944/45 Germany] bombing is untenable attrition-wise.

As for usage of such terms as 'delusional' & 'insane' in posting discussion points, are such emotionally loaded terms in any way helpful to presenting a cogent point - or are they indicative of [a judgemental & subjective] ' losing the plot', - something that historians seem to avoid...

Anyhow, here in a nutshell, is a summary...

If the Soviets found continued use of P-39/63 aircraft militarily viable when the western allies had discarded them as obsolescent, then it is clearly due to 2 things...

1, Soviet VVS was callously heedless of losses that the west would not accept..

2, The actual fighting in the east was of a much lower level of intensity/difficulty - as born out by both the testimony of the Germans themselves & the fact that the victory/loss ratios reflect this, no 300 victory German aces or 60 victory USAAF/RAF aces in the west..

Nickdfresh
03-24-2013, 10:31 AM
No unescorted daylight raids on German targets were 'unmitigated successes' - from the `39 decimation of [the fantasy that 'self-defending'] British Wellington bombers could destroy the German navy..through to Schweinfurt..true the radar directed French-based Jagdwaffe units would react only on a percieved threat basis, & might well ignore fighter sweeps or token bombing raids, but any kind of deep penetration was dealt with harshly..As for night raiding, well, just like every other type, unless the defense is inadequate [ 1940/41 London Blitz] or suppressed [ late 1944/45 Germany] bombing is untenable attrition-wise.

Agreed, except for your first sentence. I can't find anything on it now, but the 8th conducted some very early, preliminary raids in which they caught the Germans napping and imbued them with a sense of inflated optimism that would soon be crushed against better coordinated defenses during the Schweinfurt raids.


As for usage of such terms as 'delusional' & 'insane' in posting discussion points, are such emotionally loaded terms in any way helpful to presenting a cogent point - or are they indicative of [a judgemental & subjective] ' losing the plot', - something that historians seem to avoid...

I'm not a historian, if I was I would be more measured. But it is hard to say anything other than the thought of one or two raids at an oil refinery would essentially cripple Germany's war effort as delusional...


Anyhow, here in a nutshell, is a summary...

If the Soviets found continued use of P-39/63 aircraft militarily viable when the western allies had discarded them as obsolescent, then it is clearly due to 2 things...

That's a silly overweening judgement that is very simplistic and fails to take into account many, many factors and contravenes all evidence and the historical record. I'm not even sure you believe this anymore...


1, Soviet VVS was callously heedless of losses that the west would not accept..

That's been discussed, that was typical Russo-Soviet mode of attritional warfare. Certainly not my first choice, but understandable given the circumstances of fighting a vastly more organized and operationally effective enemy...


2, The actual fighting in the east was of a much lower level of intensity/difficulty - as born out by both the testimony of the Germans themselves & the fact that the victory/loss ratios reflect this, no 300 victory German aces or 60 victory USAAF/RAF aces in the west..

There was a German ace that impressively scored a tally of nearly 150 planes against mostly the RAF along with some Free French and American air forces in the Mediterranean. His name escapes me, but he actually a Franco-German last name. I doubt very much that Luftwaffe pilots on the Ost Front would in anyway characterize their very target rich environment as a "lower level of intensity." The war was just different and perhaps a bit less technically sophisticated and more tactical. But the German pilots were eventually heavily outnumbered and flying against vastly inferior machines and pilots initially. Of course they were going to have ever greater kill tallies. Later Soviet aircraft were every bit as sophisticated as their Luftwaffe counterparts and the pilots probably become better as a whole as Germany's aces were increasingly shot from the air and replaced by ill-trained aircrews...

J.A.W.
03-24-2013, 06:35 PM
Silly, overweeningly judgemental, hmmmm..

Best sticking to facts, eh?

1, The Mustang was not created to an AAF contract, but they sure jumped on it, & kept backing developments that made it America's best...Bell tried to get the AAF to buy their planes, & pushed hard for the P-63D to be accepted, [as Curtiss did with the P-40Q]...but they just didn't cut it...& while the US pilots who swapped their Spitfires for P-47s were initially disappointed, they soon learned how to get the best out of them, keeping those big jugs wound up, - with their 2000 hp mills..

2, "One or two raids on an oil refinery would cripple..." My point was - those raids 'crippled' the USAAF self-defending bomber ideal....it was the inability to maintain destructive attacks on those war machine choke point - bottle necks that let the Speer directed Nazi war effort off the hook for a year...

3, The German pilots themselves agree that NWE air-combat against the western Allies was tougher, the LW awards values [points earned towards iron cross]/kill-loss ratios/ace score totals all clearly show this.

4, J.Marseille was the exceptional 150 kill ace against the RAF, but he was killing Hurricanes, P-40s & lower performance Spitfires in Africa, not hi-po P-51s or Tempests in Europe...

5, The LW, from `43, had most of its fighter units engaged against the west, - but to the end of the war - the Jagdwaffe units on the ost-front kept taking a disproportionately heavy toll of Soviet VVS aircraft..

hgilley
03-25-2013, 11:01 AM
Don't understand your statements about the eastern front being less intense and less difficult. Full scale land war conducted from June of 1941 to May 1945. Pretty difficult/intense. The Soviets had a different philosophy, used the P-39 better than the US and Britain. Plain facts. P-39 was a much better plane than western history gives credit for.

Nickdfresh
03-25-2013, 11:19 AM
Don't understand your statements about the eastern front being less intense and less difficult. Full scale land war conducted from June of 1941 to May 1945. Pretty difficult/intense. The Soviets had a different philosophy, used the P-39 better than the US and Britain. Plain facts. P-39 was a much better plane than western history gives credit for.

To be fair, the lower level of the tactical air war in the East allowed the Soviets to get the best out of the fighter. It was excellent at low level, and that's where the vast majority of the fighting was. It was not a very good high altitude interceptor limiting it's usefulness in the West and Pacific as the opposition could simply climb to higher altitudes (which is what the Japanese bombers did, unfortunately for the P-39, so did American bombers :) ). I believe the Luftwaffe didn't have this luxury on the Eastern Front as that meant abandoning the Heer and SS on the ground to Soviet tactical strikes, which was simply not an option.

I think the point being missed here in the current round of "my-aircraft-is-better-than-your-aircraft" is that there were reasons why all sides had multiple fighter designs - even prewar. No one fighter was ideal for every mission, and they needed to be either superseded with newer fighters, their range of missions limited, or they had to be upgraded. In the Pacific the Imperial Navy simply didn't always provide proper, direct air support for the Imperial Japanese Army over the vast expanses of Pacific islands whereas the Luftwaffe was far more mission focused on combined arms and air support. The Japanese Army also had vast expanses to cover in China meaning and concurrent U.S. and Australian victories increasingly isolated garrisons and pushed their aerodromes back further...

Nickdfresh
03-25-2013, 06:04 PM
Silly, overweeningly judgemental, hmmmm..

Best sticking to facts, eh?

1, The Mustang was not created to an AAF contract, but they sure jumped on it, & kept backing developments that made it America's best...Bell tried to get the AAF to buy their planes, & pushed hard for the P-63D to be accepted, [as Curtiss did with the P-40Q]...but they just didn't cut it...& while the US pilots who swapped their Spitfires for P-47s were initially disappointed, they soon learned how to get the best out of them, keeping those big jugs wound up, - with their 2000 hp mills..

Where have you seen that Bell "pushed hard" for the P-63 to be accepted? And the P-47's were gradually improved and tweaked through their teething pains making her a more effective aircraft. Yes pilots began to exploit the planes attributes, but most of the larger flaws were worked out as well...


2, "One or two raids on an oil refinery would cripple..." My point was - those raids 'crippled' the USAAF self-defending bomber ideal....it was the inability to maintain destructive attacks on those war machine choke point - bottle necks that let the Speer directed Nazi war effort off the hook for a year...

The "bomber ideal" was shared by the RAF as well. Speer was overrated as much of what he gets credit for was already in the pipeline.


3, The German pilots themselves agree that NWE air-combat against the western Allies was tougher, the LW awards values [points earned towards iron cross]/kill-loss ratios/ace score totals all clearly show this.

I'm sure that Luftwaffe pilots overall thought that their British and American adversaries were better trained overall. But they were fighting a largely defensive war strategically without initially having to support ground forces tactically, it was apples and oranges...


4, J.Marseille was the exceptional 150 kill ace against the RAF, but he was killing Hurricanes, P-40s & lower performance Spitfires in Africa, not hi-po P-51s or Tempests in Europe...

Yes, that's him. Of course, he was killed by a Me109 ultimately. So his aircraft might not have been that spectacularly superior either...


5, The LW, from `43, had most of its fighter units engaged against the west, - but to the end of the war - the Jagdwaffe units on the ost-front kept taking a disproportionately heavy toll of Soviet VVS aircraft..

Assuming you're correct, the Luftwaffe was fighting a concurrent strategic air campaign from both the RAF and USAAF hitting their cities, it's pretty understandable since they could no longer achieve air superiority on the Eastern Front and were now settling into a two front, defensive war as they were used to doing at that point. By 1944, their fighter forces were almost completely absent from France, yet they still deployed a large number of tactical aircraft in the East...

J.A.W.
03-25-2013, 07:00 PM
A couple more points...

The Soviet fighters [& the P-39] were small, [ the P-39 in particular due to its unusual engine location] & had limited utility for carrying fuel & armaments , forcing the use of Sturmovik which then had to be given a fighter escort , like all slow bombers. P-47s/Typhoons/Fw 190s all had much higher performance, & while all ground attack was dangerous work, did not suffer to the extent of slower types.

The LW got away with using Ju-87 Stukas during daylight , in the east, long after they were gone from the west, but eventually transitioned to Fw 190 jabos & the USAAF/RAF did like-wise, using bigger,faster & more powerful fighters in the strike role..

In the east, the German use of mobile panzer/LW 'fire-brigades' allowed concentration of force factors to neutralise particular Soviet threats using combined operations, but the Germans were never able to do this in the west after the invasion in `44...they tried, but the overwhelming USAAF/RAF tactical airpower was crushing - the Soviets could not emulate this..

hgilley
03-28-2013, 05:20 PM
A couple more points...

The Soviet fighters [& the P-39] were small, [ the P-39 in particular due to its unusual engine location] & had limited utility for carrying fuel & armaments , forcing the use of Sturmovik which then had to be given a fighter escort , like all slow bombers. P-47s/Typhoons/Fw 190s all had much higher performance, & while all ground attack was dangerous work, did not suffer to the extent of slower types.

P39 outperformed those three planes when rate of climb is considered. P39N would climb to 25,000' in 8 minutes, 6 full minutes faster than a P47B and much faster than Typhoon and 190.



The LW got away with using Ju-87 Stukas during daylight , in the east, long after they were gone from the west, but eventually transitioned to Fw 190 jabos & the USAAF/RAF did like-wise, using bigger,faster & more powerful fighters in the strike role..

In the east, the German use of mobile panzer/LW 'fire-brigades' allowed concentration of force factors to neutralise particular Soviet threats using combined operations, but the Germans were never able to do this in the west after the invasion in `44...they tried, but the overwhelming USAAF/RAF tactical airpower was crushing - the Soviets could not emulate this..

P39N had better performance than all three when climb is considered, would climb to 25,000' in 8 minutes, a full 6 minutes faster than P47B. Much faster climb than Typhoon and FW190 also. Top speed of P39N was 393mph at 20,000', comparable to those three planes. Removing wing guns (reduced weight) made the P39 a great dogfighter on the Eastern front.

J.A.W.
03-28-2013, 07:32 PM
A stripped out/hot-rodded/short-fused P-39 may well have outclimbed [not in dive-zoom though]those 3 heavyweight fighters to 25,000ft, yet it was slower at most altitudes.. & it didn't outclimb opposition Bf 109s or contemporary Spitfires...So it remains an historical oddity, overlooked as a cast off/back-water/also-ran, & was in truth, hardly a contender for 1943 top-gun status..

The stripped P-39 armament was inadequate for fighter vs fighter, hard turning, high-angle deflection shot combat [only 2 slow firing synchronised .5s & a single low velocity cannon], & in a forced landing you'd likely get a V-1710 for a coffin lid..

True, the Soviets had a thing for dinky little planes, & they seemed to like their P-39s, just as the Luftwaffe aces liked adding strings of them to their tally of kills..

When the USAAF introduced P-47s to replace Spitfires in their British-based squadrons there was some concern initially expressed, -but if they`d tried to introduce P-39s, there would 've likely been a riot...

hgilley
03-29-2013, 10:45 AM
A stripped out/hot-rodded/short-fused P-39 may well have outclimbed [not in dive-zoom though]those 3 heavyweight fighters to 25,000ft, yet it was slower at most altitudes.. & it didn't outclimb opposition Bf 109s or contemporary Spitfires...So it remains an historical oddity, overlooked as a cast off/back-water/also-ran, & was in truth, hardly a contender for 1943 top-gun status..

The stripped P-39 armament was inadequate for fighter vs fighter, hard turning, high-angle deflection shot combat [only 2 slow firing synchronised .5s & a single low velocity cannon], & in a forced landing you'd likely get a V-1710 for a coffin lid..

True, the Soviets had a thing for dinky little planes, & they seemed to like their P-39s, just as the Luftwaffe aces liked adding strings of them to their tally of kills..

When the USAAF introduced P-47s to replace Spitfires in their British-based squadrons there was some concern initially expressed, -but if they`d tried to introduce P-39s, there would 've likely been a riot...

Hardly stripped, had self sealing fuel tanks and armor protection. Did outclimb the 109G6. Spit IX was the ONLY production plane that would outclimb a P39N in 1943. Hardly a historical oddity, mount of three of the top four highest scoring Allied aces of WWII.

The "stripped" P39 armament was considered devastating by Russian pilots. One shell would normally down anything with two engines or less. Regarding a forced landing, see YouTube video "Flying the P39" training video for Army pilots, P39 lands on it's belly on a concrete strip, later the same plane is shown being towed back to it's hardstand on it's own landing gear.

Nickdfresh
03-29-2013, 01:30 PM
LOL How was a 37mm cannon a "dinky" armament? Does anyone recall Korea where Sabre pilots would complain about the deadly tandem of Russian guns, with the killer being the 37mm autocannon on the Mig-15?

J.A.W.
03-29-2013, 05:59 PM
Not many concrete strips for belly landings in Russia, Africa or New Guinea...

Although, the Russian 37mm cannon in the MiG 15 [fitted to kill B-29s] was a generation ahead of the Oldmobile fitted to the P-39, for fighter vs fighter, high G turning/high angle deflection shooting it was inadequate..

Low rate of fire, few rounds available, low velocity/poor trajectory, prone to jamming,[esp' when under G], were the P-39 37mm issues, which is why they were replaced by by the 20mm in the P-38..

Bf 109G climb/dive combat performance was superior to P-39, so - do check the Kurfurst site for the relevant Luftwaffe technical centre test documentation...

Nickdfresh
03-30-2013, 11:52 AM
Not many concrete strips for belly landings in Russia, Africa or New Guinea...

Although, the Russian 37mm cannon in the MiG 15 [fitted to kill B-29s] was a generation ahead of the Oldmobile fitted to the P-39, for fighter vs fighter, high G turning/high angle deflection shooting it was inadequate..

Of course it was a generation ahead. But a single 37mm shot from either could destroy an aircraft. With the twin .50's what more did they need?


Low rate of fire, few rounds available, low velocity/poor trajectory, prone to jamming,[esp' when under G], were the P-39 37mm issues, which is why they were replaced by by the 20mm in the P-38..

Bf 109G climb/dive combat performance was superior to P-39, so - do check the Kurfurst site for the relevant Luftwaffe technical centre test documentation...

Few rounds available? There weren't even all that many produced and the problem with the P-38 was the small ammo capacity and feed mechanism didn't work as well. There were several versions of the Me109G, and the later war versions should have had superior performance characteristics...

J.A.W.
03-30-2013, 06:18 PM
What more did they need? Well, the USAAF regarded 4 free-firing .50s as a minimum for its fighters, & preferred 6 or even 8...but they'd already rejected the P-39, [& the 37mm] as inadequate..

Nickdfresh
03-31-2013, 09:40 AM
What more did they need? Well, the USAAF regarded 4 free-firing .50s as a minimum for its fighters, & preferred 6 or even 8...but they'd already rejected the P-39, [& the 37mm] as inadequate..

We're not talking about the USAAF, it was the Soviet (Red) Air Forces. They developed tweaks in which all three guns would fire simultaneously and the 37mm was more than enough to hunt Stukas, twin engined bombers, and Ju52's. As for the USAAF they had a love affair with .50 caliber machine-guns. Not that that was a bad thing, but few planes used anything else including the successful 20mm Hispano aside from your beloved Lightening. It was also clear that the USAAF would face less of a bomber threat since the Luftwaffe tactical bomber force was already waning and they were probably more worried about achieving multiple hits on the more nimble Jadgwaffe...

J.A.W.
03-31-2013, 07:10 PM
Well, the USAAF did specify the 4 20mm fit for the P-61.., & putting them in the P-38 would 've doubled its firepower too.

The Soviets didn't really put a heavy armament into their fighters til post-war, when the need for punching big holes in the likes of B-36s was seen as a factor..

Nickdfresh
04-02-2013, 06:07 AM
Well, the USAAF did specify the 4 20mm fit for the P-61..,

Correct, forgot about the nightfighters...


...putting them in the P-38 would 've doubled its firepower too.

The P-38 never lacked for firepower and the fire concentration out of the nose mounted combo was enough to saw anything in half...


The Soviets didn't really put a heavy armament into their fighters til post-war, when the need for punching big holes in the likes of B-36s was seen as a factor..

Most of their aircraft had 20mm cannons...

J.A.W.
04-02-2013, 05:56 PM
Soviet wartime fighters generally only had a one or two cannon plus a m.g. or two, none had a 4 cannon fit [standard in `42 on Typhoon] 'til post war..

P-38 armament might have 'sawed' lightly built Nippon airframes...but had only 1/2 the punch of the Typhoon/Tempest 4 cannon set-up.

P-39 was also too small/underpowered to carry such a potent armament..

Nickdfresh
04-03-2013, 02:10 AM
Soviet wartime fighters generally only had a one or two cannon plus a m.g. or two, none had a 4 cannon fit [standard in `42 on Typhoon] 'til post war..

Correct. "Perfection is the enemy of good enough." --Soviet/Russian adage...


P-38 armament might have 'sawed' lightly built Nippon airframes...but had only 1/2 the punch of the Typhoon/Tempest 4 cannon set-up.

Who cares? They weren't going up against British tactical ground attack fighters nor were they in a ****-contest with them over who had bigger cannons or more machine-guns. The configuration was more than enough to saw open anything Germany had as well...


P-39 was also too small/underpowered to carry such a potent armament..

The P-39 wasn't underpowered, it's engine didn't work as well at medium or high level --there's a difference. The armament was enough for the Soviets and comparable to their other fighters and by 1942 (if not earlier) .30/.303 machine-guns were pretty much useless on fighters anyways. You just keep making the same points over and over...

J.A.W.
04-03-2013, 03:19 AM
Funny, I wonder why it was that the USN [who rated the 20mm Hispano cannon to be worth 3 .50 Brownings] - went to the 4 20mm set-up postwar..

& obviously the the P-61 specification required more than twice the P-38s hitting power...maybe they figured 'sawing' an He177 in 1/2 would take too long?

The P-39 was one of the late `30s 2nd generation monoplane fighters [ P-38, F4U,MiG 3, Fw 190,He 100,Tornado/Typhoon] that were designed to beat 400mph in level flight.

The He 100 & Airacobra were the only ones with power in the 1,100hp range, the others had closer to 2,000hp...& the Soviets were given He 100s by Hitler as tech support..

Nickdfresh
04-03-2013, 08:37 AM
Funny, I wonder why it was that the USN [who rated the 20mm Hispano cannon to be worth 3 .50 Brownings] - went to the 4 20mm set-up postwar..

I have no idea what that has to do with anything, but probably they were going to jets with completely new designs. The USAF kept the .50's in the Sabres, although I think this was a mistake and even a single 20mm or 37mm cannon would have saved lives over Korea...


& obviously the the P-61 specification required more than twice the P-38s hitting power...maybe they figured 'sawing' an He177 in 1/2 would take too long?

The P-61 was a larger aircraft with little need for turning-and-burning performance with enemy fighters. Just like the Typhoons weren't all that effective at high level and were used mainly for ground attack...


The P-39 was one of the late `30s 2nd generation monoplane fighters [ P-38, F4U,MiG 3, Fw 190,He 100,Tornado/Typhoon] that were designed to beat 400mph in level flight.

The He 100 & Airacobra were the only ones with power in the 1,100hp range, the others had closer to 2,000hp...& the Soviets were given He 100s by Hitler as tech support..

Apples and oranges. You have a very interesting interpretation of "second gen" fighters. The Typhoon didn't fly until 1942, after advances in aviation and wartime funding. None of the other fighters save for the P-38 even flew in the 1930's! None were ready for the beginning of the war, the Aircobra was! The engine was rated closer to 1200-hp. Again, you're just recycling false equivalency comparisons...

J.A.W.
04-03-2013, 06:02 PM
Typhoon first flew in Feb `40... & this is what US historian D. Caldwell wrote about their effectiveness vs Fw 190..

"Spitfires were unable to catch the Focke-Wulf at low altitude...The new Hawker Typhoon which began entering service in late 1942, proved to have excellent speed & acceleration at ground level, & was assigned the anti-Jabo role. By mid-1943, the Typhoons had made low-level daylight operations over England unprofitable for the Germans, & the Jabos were transfered to other, less well defended theatres."[Russia & MTO].

But the Soviet P-39s & Italy based P-38s did not have the ability to do like-wise...

All the other late `30s 2nd gen monoplane fighters listed flew in `39-40 too..& ~1200-hp is a long way from ~2000-hp...

The USAF was still using a 4-20mm cannon armed, piston engined, ground attack plane in Vietnam, the Skyraider...

"False equivalency"- I dont think so... proven - efficacy - actually..

Nickdfresh
04-03-2013, 08:34 PM
Typhoon first flew in Feb `40... & this is what US historian D. Caldwell wrote about their effectiveness vs Fw 190..

"Spitfires were unable to catch the Focke-Wulf at low altitude...The new Hawker Typhoon which began entering service in late 1942, proved to have excellent speed & acceleration at ground level, & was assigned the anti-Jabo role. By mid-1943, the Typhoons had made low-level daylight operations over England unprofitable for the Germans, & the Jabos were transfered to other, less well defended theatres."[Russia & MTO].

How "profitable" were FW190 missions into England in 1943 anyways?


But the Soviet P-39s & Italy based P-38s did not have the ability to do like-wise...

The P-39 shot down numbers of FW190 at low level. Who had to "catch" whom?


All the other late `30s 2nd gen monoplane fighters listed flew in `39-40 too..& ~1200-hp is a long way from ~2000-hp...

The P-39 first flew in April of 1938, actually...


The USAF was still using a 4-20mm cannon armed, piston engined, ground attack plane in Vietnam, the Skyraider...

Again, so what?


"False equivalency"- I dont think so... proven - efficacy - actually..

Not really...

J.A.W.
04-03-2013, 09:57 PM
Well, if the P-39 1st flew in `38, likely it was flying in `39-40 too..just like the others, but it never made 400mph huh?- due to being underpowered..

If the USAF deemed the Skyraider as effective in the`60s with 4 X 20mm cannon, guess they would've been effective in`42 - but the P-39 could only carry one..[P-51 could tote 4-but only @ RAF call].

The P-39 LACKED the performance/armament to dictate terms to the Fw 190 on the deck, unlike the Typhoon, eh?

The point being : H.G. made the big claim that the P-39 was the best performing fighter in `43 & best performing WW2 low level fighter period..

Well it wasn't, it was another also run...& just like the P-38, unacceptable to the top-guns of the 8th AF & RAF for air-superiority combat in NW Europe in the last year of the war..

J.A.W.
04-05-2013, 03:47 AM
H.G. claimed in post #90 that the P-39 was "the best fighter of WW2 [in 1943]."

& in post #105 that "Nothing out performed the P-39N or P-39Q under 20,000ft. Nothing"

Now we have the facts laid out, & it just aint so, is it now ? ..H.G..come back..

Nickdfresh
04-05-2013, 06:45 AM
H.G. claimed in post #90 that the P-39 was "the best fighter of WW2 [in 1943]."

& in post #105 that "Nothing out performed the P-39N or P-39Q under 20,000ft. Nothing"

Now we have the facts laid out, & it just aint so, is it now ? ..H.G..come back..

Then post to him! I didn't say that. Performance is relative to the pilot flying it. The P-39 was an effective fighter that was reported by the Soviets to "exceed early and mid-war models of the Me109 in some respects." The Soviets used group tactics and mutual support and the fighter gave them some breathing space and an improvement over what was generally available....

J.A.W.
04-05-2013, 05:56 PM
True, & the Russians did seem to like them, & got the best possible performance from them too..

hgilley
05-06-2013, 05:20 PM
H.G. claimed in post #90 that the P-39 was "the best fighter of WW2 [in 1943]."

& in post #105 that "Nothing out performed the P-39N or P-39Q under 20,000ft. Nothing"

Now we have the facts laid out, & it just aint so, is it now ? ..H.G..come back..

The information you are quoting is the information that was published after WWII. There is more recent information that reflects the Russian viewpoint. The P-39 used by the Army in early WWII was much heavier than the P-39 used by the Russians who deleted the worthless but heavy (400#) .30 caliber wing machine guns and some radio equipment that did not use their wavelengths. The Russians say that the P-39 was the equal to comtemporary FW190s and Me109s AT ALL ALTITUDES and was superior to the German planes under 20,000'. Three of their top four aces and scores of other Russian aces flew the P39. Russian P-39s were approximately 500 pounds lighter, and this resulted in much better performance AT ALL ALTITUDES. Their words not mine. And the Russian front was no picnic for the Germans after 1942. In 1943 the Russian front was a meatgrinder that pushed the Germans al the way back into Germany. Part of the reason that the Allies were so successful in the air in 1944 was due to the attrition inflicted on them by the Russians in 1943.

J.A.W.
05-06-2013, 08:04 PM
Got any independent evidence to corroborate the Soviet line, H.G.?

Any USAAF evaluation of a stateside Bell similarly modified?

Any German evaluation/comparison between USAAF MTO P-39 & Soviet P-39 combat performance attributes?

"Part of the reason that the Allies were so successful in the air in 1944 was due to the attrition inflicted on them by the Russians in 1943."

Whaaa..? Do you mean large scale supply of their obsolescent stuff [inc' P-39s] to Stalin forced the Western Allies to produce Merlin P-51s?

Soviet actions such as the Poltava debacle & the refusal to provide/allow local ground support for air supply to the Warsaw uprising are disgraceful..

hgilley
05-07-2013, 12:26 PM
Go to wwiiaircraftperformance.org, look under P-39, you will find numerous "original source" documents to review regarding P-39 performance.

J.A.W.
05-08-2013, 12:48 AM
Yeah, thanks H.G., that's an excellent site.. Have some caution with manufacturers figures though..

Here's an American pilots view, & he a fair bit of time up on the ol' 39..

http://www.cebudanderson.com/obeeinterview.htm

hgilley
05-08-2013, 12:36 PM
Most of those are not manufacturer's figures, they are tests at the manufacturer's plant by Army personnel.

Fascinating account by O'Brien. I have read a million of these. The recurring theme is that flying a single seat fighter in combat was not very romantic, but mostly lots of hard boring work. Regarding his comments about the P-39, it was a challenging aircraft to fly considering the pilots were still in flight training and had just come out of the AT-6 Texan. Again, it was too heavy and handling benefited greatly from reducing the weight as the Russians flew it. On the other hand, Chuck Yeager maintained that the P-39 was the best airplane he ever flew up until he was assigned the later model Mustang with the two-stage Merlin engine in 1944. Yeager also maintained that he didn't know anyone who didn't like flying the P-39 and that he would have gladly flown it in combat. Oh, well.

O'Brien mentions a book titled "Nanette" by Edwards Park. I read that book and also the companion book "Angels Twenty" by the same author. The former was fiction and the latter sequel was factual, both covering the same subject. In both books Park details his tour of duty as a P-39 pilot from December 1942 in Port Moresby, New Guinea defending that area from numerically superior Japanese forces based in the northern side of New Guinea. Park details bomber interception missions where the P-39 LOADED WITH A 110 GALLON (700 pound) DROP TANK climbed to 24,000' to intercept Betty bombers. Why they attempted a pure bomber intercept mission with a drop tank is a mystery to me, but the P-39 was always equipped with these tanks according to the author. After they climbed above the bombers and began their attack dive the drop tanks were jettisoned and his plane felt "light as a feather" and he remarked that he wished he could fly it around for a while to experience the greatly increased performance. Of course he continued his attack instead. He detailed numerous intercept missions where his squadron climbed well above 20,000', although mostly these missions resulted in no contact with the enemy due to the faulty nature of their early warning ground radar mistaking bombers for a flock of birds or a cloud formation. Remember these P-39s weighed 8,300 pounds including the 700 pound drop tanks when the Russian P-39s weighed 7,100 pounds and almost never carried drop tanks, so it is no wonder that their performance was substantially better. This should dispel the myths that P-39s could not intercept Japanese bombers or fly at high altitudes, even at their normal American weights.

I'll admit that I am a P-39 "homer" but If you read enough about the P-39 you will see that the Russian combat weight reduction was very beneficial. Why didn't the Army do the same thing, especially since it could have been accomplished at forward air bases? During the early war of 1942 the Americans did not have the experience of the Russians who had been fighting the Luftwaffe since June 1941. We viewed heavy firepower and heavy armor as more beneficial than better performance. The Russians saw that the firepower and armor protection were still more than adequate even after removing some of those items that they deemed excessive. and the resulting performance gains put the Airacobra on a par with the German fighters, and certainly substantially better than contemporary Japanese fighters.

J.A.W.
05-09-2013, 05:41 AM
Different philosophies I guess H.G., Americans tend to like roomy, fully loaded transport perhaps..
There is an interesting P-39 thread going on the Aircraft of WW2 forum, by the way..

Tom Nelson
04-03-2014, 01:01 AM
[QUOTE=Nickdfresh;187837]I have no idea what that has to do with anything, but probably they were going to jets with completely new designs. The USAF kept the .50's in the Sabres, although I think this was a mistake and even a single 20mm or 37mm cannon would have saved lives over Korea...

Actually during the Korean war they saw the need for 20mm cannon on the F86 and fitted approx 20 F86F's with 4 cannon armament 10 with orlikon cannon and 10 with colt M39 cannon and used them in combat but foundation using more than 2 at a time caused compressor stall and 2 cannon offered no advantage over 6 .50 cal brownings. They finally went to the 4 M39 armament on the F86H. which had s significantly more powerful engine

Tom Nelson
04-03-2014, 01:17 AM
actually the air force saw the need for cannon armament during Korea and 20 F86F's were fit with 4 20mm cannon 10 with orlikon and 10 with colt M39 cannon they were tried in combat and it was found that firing more than 2 at a time caused compressor stall and 2 cannon was no more effective than 6 .50 Browning M3's. they finally made 4 M39's standard armament on the F86H which had a significantly more powerful engine the GE J73.

Tom Nelson
04-03-2014, 04:42 AM
The information you are quoting is the information that was published after WWII. There is more recent information that reflects the Russian viewpoint. The P-39 used by the Army in early WWII was much heavier than the P-39 used by the Russians who deleted the worthless but heavy (400#) .30 caliber wing machine guns and some radio equipment that did not use their wavelengths. The Russians say that the P-39 was the equal to comtemporary FW190s and Me109s AT ALL ALTITUDES and was superior to the German planes under 20,000'. Three of their top four aces and scores of other Russian aces flew the P39. Russian P-39s were approximately 500 pounds lighter, and this resulted in much better performance AT ALL ALTITUDES. Their words not mine. And the Russian front was no picnic for the Germans after 1942. In 1943 the Russian front was a meatgrinder that pushed the Germans al the way back into Germany. Part of the reason that the Allies were so successful in the air in 1944 was due to the attrition inflicted on them by the Russians in 1943.)
this definitely qualifys as an apples to oranges comparison. the Russian air force's primary mission was ground attack covering the sturmaviks fell to the fighters and as a secondary mission to strafe the Germans. the Russians loved the P39/P63 because the 37mm cannon was awesome against tanks. whereas USAAF. obviously needed the mustang because of the high altitudes and long ranges. when the P 39 was designed it was designed to the interceptor mission. I grant you it was not suited to that task since for whatever reason they couldn't supercharge it without it grenading . but comparing the the P39 to the P51 can't really be done because they were created for different missions.

Nickdfresh
04-03-2014, 08:35 AM
)
this definitely qualifys as an apples to oranges comparison. the Russian air force's primary mission was ground attack covering the sturmaviks fell to the fighters and as a secondary mission to strafe the Germans. the Russians loved the P39/P63 because the 37mm cannon was awesome against tanks. whereas USAAF. obviously needed the mustang because of the high altitudes and long ranges. when the P 39 was designed it was designed to the interceptor mission. I grant you it was not suited to that task since for whatever reason they couldn't supercharge it without it grenading . but comparing the the P39 to the P51 can't really be done because they were created for different missions.

A bit of a myth actually --if memory serves correct, there were few if any armor piercing rounds available to the Red Air Force for the 37mm. The P-39 was was equivalent to the Me109 at lower and mid level altitudes but certainly not at high level. You are correct that the air war over the Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War was largely tactical and low level in nature. As the Stukas and Sturmoviks were down on the deck hunting armor and support vehicles, so were the fighters covering them or trying to kill them...

leccy
04-03-2014, 10:12 AM
A nice article translated from a Russian book on the P39

http://lend-lease.airforce.ru/english/articles/romanenko/p-39/

muscogeemike
04-03-2014, 10:54 AM
Not the first time I've heard about the lack of armor piercing 37mm rounds for the Reds. Also, I believe, the A.P. rounds for the cannon were designed both in the Pre War era, when tank armor was much thinner, and for use against aircraft armor; the cannon was not very effective against newer Tank's - even the relatively thinner top armor.

hgilley
04-03-2014, 11:13 AM
Not wanting to argue, but Russian P-39s primary mission was battlefield air superiority (intercepting German bombers, escorting Russian bombers/ground attack planes). Sure, targets were strafed, but not their primary mission. Go to wwiiaircraftperformance.org for updated original source documents and graphs. P-39N and Q (75% of Airacobra production) were the equal of the 109 and 190 at all altitudes. Russian transcripts and online performance information will verify this.

P-39 compares favorably with the P-51A (Allison engine). Compare the P-51BCD with the P-63 with a two-stage Allison engine.

Nickdfresh
04-03-2014, 11:17 AM
A quote from the article leccy was kind enough to link:


The reasons for this will be examined below, but one of them can be noted right here and now: The Airacobra almost ideally corresponded to the nature of combat activities on the Soviet-German front. Here the struggle was not for absolute air superiority, but for superiority over specific areas of active combat activities. Dive bombers and close support aircraft, that is, aircraft directly supporting ground forces, operating at low altitude over the battlefield or at medium altitudes in the operational-tactical airspace, were the basis of both the Luftwaffe and the VVS Red Army. Correspondingly, the fighters had either to counter the enemy's fighters, or accompany one's own bombers at those same altitudes. Air battles rarely occurred at altitudes above 5,000 meters. In these working environments the Airacobra just had the best flight characteristics. If one adds to this good maneuverability, easy handling, powerful armaments, and excellent vision, then its success on the Soviet-German front becomes obvious.

hgilley
04-03-2014, 11:40 AM
Agree somewhat, but if the Airacobra did not have high altitude capability (over 20,000') then the German fighters would have stayed above and bounced the Airacobras all day long with nothing the Cobra could do about it. The Russian tactic was to fight in the "flying bookshelves" or "Kuban Stairs" formation with some of the squadron (12 planes in Russian AF) at around 15,000' and the rest of the squadron up at 8,000 meters (26,400'). If the low squadron was attacked, the high squadron dove on the Germans. The Germans didn't care to get any higher than 8,000 meters.

The German fighters had single stage engines just like the Airacobra. The two stage P-47s and P-51BCDs had much better performance than the 109 and 190 above 20,000'. That is what a two stage engine is for, high altitude operation. A two stage engine is just more dead weight under 20,000'.

burp
04-04-2014, 12:12 PM
Sorry, but perhaps I didn't understand the point of your comment, Hgilley. You are asking why German fighters simply don't stay at high altitude?
If this is the question, I suppose that without radar, searching for low-speed Il-2 with a good camouflage uge and low-level flying pattern (as someone has already remarked, russian Jabo pilots flow at hazardous low level) it's not so easy for Germans flying at 10000 meters to see soviet airplanes before they attack nazi units.
That, at least for me, makes the statement from Valeriy Romanenko reasonable.

JR*
04-04-2014, 12:37 PM
Not that I am any sort of aviation expert but, when it came to fighter planes, the ability to fly at low altitudes and relatively slowly may, in some circumstances, be an advantage. Diving or not, the Germans had, in the end of the day, to engage the Aircobras and Il-2s at their altitude of choice. This could cause them problems. In many instances, it would have been necessary for the German fighters to fly at such speeds that they would either overshoot their targets or stall. "Quality" fighters such as the MeBf109 and the FW190 are known to have had problems of this sort even against the rickety old PO-2 "crop duster" light bombers. There is an outstanding point - Soviet pilots who flew them tended to be very loyal to the Aircobra and Kingcobra. Best regards, JR.

Nickdfresh
04-04-2014, 05:20 PM
I would add that the Soviet Red Air Force was a flying hodgepodge of different designs both indigenous and foreign sourced. Some of the later generation of Soviet fighters were excellent and quiet comparable to the Luftwaffe (or Western Allied) fighters at all levels. The Air/Supercobras were just one cog in the machine that was the increasingly effective Red Air Force...

muscogeemike
04-04-2014, 06:28 PM
I would add that the Soviet Red Air Force was a flying hodgepodge of different designs both indigenous and foreign sourced. Some of the later generation of Soviet fighters were excellent and quiet comparable to the Luftwaffe (or Western Allied) fighters at all levels. The Air/Supercobras were just one cog in the machine that was the increasingly effective Red Air Force...

I’ve read of evaluations by the W. Powers of late model Soviet Aircraft conducted at the end or shortly after the War.
These eval’s found that the later Red fighters “…were at least the equal of, and in many cases superior to, their Western counterparts.”

hgilley
04-05-2014, 09:04 AM
Not just stay at high altitude, but "bounce" (make a diving firing pass and then convert the diving speed back to altitude). This was the basic combat tactic in WWII. If the P-39s couldn't match the Germans at the higher altitudes then they were doomed to playing defense (getting bounced) with no chance to return fire. And the Germans seldom flew at 10,000 meters (33,000') since that was the ceiling of the FW190 and very near the ceiling of the 109.

This was the biggest complaint of P-39 pilots in the Pacific in 1942, with a drop tank and the extra weight of the American P-39s (as compared to their lighter Russian versions) they had trouble climbing over 18,000'. The lighter Japanese planes could cruise higher and bounce the P-39s. A lighter Russian P-39 (even with a drop tank, which they seldom used) had no trouble climbing to 23,000'. Then when they sighted the Japanese they could drop the tank and climb on up to 30,000' if needed. A (lighter) Russian P-39 was on par with the best fighters in the world in '42-'43.

Nickdfresh
04-05-2014, 09:58 AM
Not just stay at high altitude, but "bounce" (make a diving firing pass and then convert the diving speed back to altitude). This was the basic combat tactic in WWII. If the P-39s couldn't match the Germans at the higher altitudes then they were doomed to playing defense (getting bounced) with no chance to return fire. And the Germans seldom flew at 10,000 meters (33,000') since that was the ceiling of the FW190 and very near the ceiling of the 109.

This was the biggest complaint of P-39 pilots in the Pacific in 1942, with a drop tank and the extra weight of the American P-39s (as compared to their lighter Russian versions) they had trouble climbing over 18,000'. The lighter Japanese planes could cruise higher and bounce the P-39s. A lighter Russian P-39 (even with a drop tank, which they seldom used) had no trouble climbing to 23,000'. Then when they sighted the Japanese they could drop the tank and climb on up to 30,000' if needed. A (lighter) Russian P-39 was on par with the best fighters in the world in '42-'43.

The service ceiling of the FW190 is over 11,000m according to Wiki. And Russian sources state that combat rarely took place above 5,000m as stated. I'm no expert on the Eastern air war, nor any air war, but from what I have read the Luftwaffe was heavily outnumbered and struggled to protect their tactical aircraft that were twin engined (at best) and carried limited bomb loads and were also desperately trying to prevent strikes on their own ground forces...

hgilley
04-07-2014, 10:28 AM
Let's not argue, Wm. Greens's book "Warplanes of the Luftwaffe" lists the FW190 as having a service ceiling of 33,000', almost exactly 10,000 meters. Very few planes eve reached their service ceiling anyway. Their practical ceiling is that altitude at which their rate of climb is 1,000 feet per minute (fpm). A WWII fighter's rate of climb declined steadily as altitude increased. In other words, the higher you climbed, the harder it got. Climbing at less than 1000fpm, with that rate declining with every foot that you climbed, meant that your plane began to handle sluggishly. Couple that with full power for an extended period to climb slower and slower was not conducive to a long life in combat. Your plane would reach it's service ceiling under controlled test conditions, but was to risky in combat and too hard on your engine.

hgilley
04-07-2014, 10:35 AM
True, but 4 of the top 5 Russian aces (actually allied aces, since their scores approached 60 victories and no American or British ace had near that many) flew the P-39 for the majority of their victories. The Russians demanded this plane over all other lend lease fighters (including the Spitfire). Considering that they received a little less than 5,000 Airacobras vs. 30,000 Yaks and many many other Laggs and Migs would lead one to believe the Cobra was their favorite plane.

Tom Nelson
04-07-2014, 04:03 PM
an interesting fact the prototype P39 was the fastest and best performing of all the P39's. it didn't have any armour or guns which saved atleast 1000 lbs this is the only aircraft I have come across that performed best in prototype form

Tom Nelson
04-07-2014, 04:16 PM
another interesting fact the M61 was based on the M39 cannon which had the Gatling feed mechanism but firing through one barrel which presented heating problems. so they added 5 more barrels which took care of the cooling problem and allowed more rapid fire 3000 to 4500 rpm. the F 104 was the first production fighter to use the Vulcan. in one of the prototypes they fired the Vulcan at supersonic speed. the first test fire went great but the second blew up the gun almost destroying the plane. they tried again after repairs were made the first shot again. went fine the second destroyed the gun again and the engine with it. this time the plane was destroyed

hgilley
04-07-2014, 04:34 PM
The prototype P-39 had a turbo. Bad installation, would never have been practical. Deleting the turbo allowed Bell to get the P-39 in production and in the field in time for the start of WWII. Reducing the weight (Russians) restored most of the performance lost from deleting the turbo. Full performance and more was available from a mechanical second stage supercharger put in the P-63, but too late for all but the end of WWII. That mechanical second stage could have easily been installed in the P-39 beginning in April 1943, but sadly the Army chose not to. With the weight reduction that P-39 would have rivaled the Merlin Mustangs and been available nine months before.

tomo pauk
05-11-2014, 04:07 AM
)
this definitely qualifys as an apples to oranges comparison. the Russian air force's primary mission was ground attack covering the sturmaviks fell to the fighters and as a secondary mission to strafe the Germans. the Russians loved the P39/P63 because the 37mm cannon was awesome against tanks. whereas USAAF. obviously needed the mustang because of the high altitudes and long ranges. when the P 39 was designed it was designed to the interceptor mission. I grant you it was not suited to that task since for whatever reason they couldn't supercharge it without it grenading . but comparing the the P39 to the P51 can't really be done because they were created for different missions.

The P-39 have had a supercharged engine, as every other ww2 combat aircraft. The M4 cannon was a lousy anti-tank weapon, because of it's low muzzle velocity. But it was a good tool to kill a sturdy German bomber due to it's heavy shell. The P-39s were, in VVS, an outfit of fighter units, not bomber or attack units: Soviet pilots would be ill advised to go tank hunting with P-39.
Both the P-51 and P-39 were designed for same mission - fighter/interceptor. The XP-39 never came close to 390, let alone 400 mph mark, due to the apalling drag, a result of draggy collers and turbo installation, too high a canopy and a big wing. The intercooler installation was inviting to the boundary layer, and could not be adjusted for different power levels. Agreed with H.G. - deletion of the turbo enabled to the USAF to actually have Bell producing useful fighters when it mattered.


The prototype P-39 had a turbo. Bad installation, would never have been practical. Deleting the turbo allowed Bell to get the P-39 in production and in the field in time for the start of WWII. Reducing the weight (Russians) restored most of the performance lost from deleting the turbo. Full performance and more was available from a mechanical second stage supercharger put in the P-63, but too late for all but the end of WWII. That mechanical second stage could have easily been installed in the P-39 beginning in April 1943, but sadly the Army chose not to. With the weight reduction that P-39 would have rivaled the Merlin Mustangs and been available nine months before.

The 1st Merlin Mustags were produced in early summer of 1943, so that is not a 9 month difference. The installation of two-stage V-1710 would increased CoG issues of the regular P-39s.
In case we really want the two-stage V-1710 early, the Mustang and P-40 should be far less compicated platforms, while offering a better fuel tankage?

added, re. single stage German engines: the Allison have had 1710 cu in, the Db-605 was at 2176 cu in, the BMW-801 was at ~2600 cu in. No wonder that a single stage V-1710 was in disadvantage here.

muscogeemike
04-29-2017, 06:10 PM
The P-39 was the most successful U.S. fighter of the war, Army or Navy. It shot down well over 4,000 axis enemies during the war. The Soviets used the P-63 until after the Korean war (a number of Kingcobra''s were destroyed by 2 F-80's on a Russian airfield near Vladivostok in 1951).
P-63's were still in French service until at least 1962.

muscogeemike
04-29-2017, 06:44 PM
Furthermore the US refused to send any Armor Penetrating ammo to the Russians.

R Leonard
05-02-2017, 10:47 PM
The P-39 was the most successful U.S. fighter of the war, Army or Navy. It shot down well over 4,000 axis enemies during the war. The Soviets used the P-63 until after the Korean war (a number of Kingcobra''s were destroyed by 2 F-80's on a Russian airfield near Vladivostok in 1951).
P-63's were still in French service until at least 1962.

Even looking at just when piloted by US pilots, Army, Navy, & Marine Corps, when you count credits in all theaters, the P-51 types and F6F dash whatevers exceeded your P-39 total. With USAAF drivers only, the P-39 came in 9th when you start counting credits. And, yes, I am aware you're counting credits in Soviet or other's service . . . still comes in lower than the P-51 and F6F

. . . besides the P-39 was not carrier capable :)

Type = in air-to-air credits = place
P-51/A-36/F-6 = 5,944 = 1st Place
F6F = 5,229 = 2nd Place
P-38 = 3,785 = 3rd Place
P-47 = 3,662 = 4th Place
F4U = 2,155 = 5th Place
P-40 = 1,994 = 6th Place
F4F/FM-2 = 1,436 = 7th Place
Spitfire = 379 = 8th Place
P-39/P-400 = 321 = 9th Place
P-61 = 128 = 10th Place
Beaufighter = 31 = 11th Place
PV = 20 = 12th Place
F2A = 10 = 13th Place
P-43 = 6 = 14th Place
P-36 = 3 = 15th Place
P-26 = 2 = 16th Place tied
P-70 = 2 = 16th Place tied
P-35 = 1 = 17th Place tied
Mosquito = 1 = 17th Place tied