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Thread: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

  1. #136
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.A.W. View Post
    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the the best aircraft available to the western allies & rejected by the western airforces for combat on that basis...as outdated..like-wise the USAAF & RAF would`ve had little difficulty in smashing Soviet airpower if it had come to that, being markedly superior in every aspect including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...

  2. #137
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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..
    Last edited by J.A.W.; 03-23-2013 at 01:54 AM.

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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.A.W. View Post
    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...

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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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..

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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.A.W. View Post
    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...

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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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..

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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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.

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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Quote Originally Posted by hgilley View Post
    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...

  9. #144
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.A.W. View Post
    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...

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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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..
    Last edited by J.A.W.; 03-25-2013 at 07:03 PM.

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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.A.W. View Post
    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.

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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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...

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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.A.W. View Post
    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.

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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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?

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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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...
    Last edited by J.A.W.; 03-29-2013 at 11:00 PM.

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