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

  1. #91
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    hgilley,

    http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.o...7320-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.o...-rollchart.jpg

    Then come back and we will talk.

    Deaf
    “We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality” Ayn Rand

  2. #92
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deaf Smith View Post
    hgilley,

    http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.o...7320-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.o...-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.

  3. #93
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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
    “We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality” Ayn Rand

  4. #94
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deaf Smith View Post
    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.

  5. #95
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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.

  6. #96
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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..

  7. #97
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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...

  8. #98
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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...

  9. #99
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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..

  10. #100
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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...

  11. #101
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

  12. #102
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Quote Originally Posted by hgilley View Post
    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...

  13. #103
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

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

  14. #104
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

  15. #105
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

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

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