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

  1. #106
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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..
    Last edited by J.A.W.; 03-20-2013 at 04:59 AM.

  2. #107
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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.

  3. #108
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

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

  4. #109
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

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

  5. #110
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

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

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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?
    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.

  7. #112
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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...
    Last edited by J.A.W.; 03-21-2013 at 02:12 AM.

  8. #113
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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..
    Last edited by J.A.W.; 03-21-2013 at 02:19 AM.

  9. #114
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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...
    Last edited by J.A.W.; 03-20-2013 at 10:13 PM.

  10. #115
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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..
    Last edited by J.A.W.; 03-21-2013 at 02:21 AM.

  11. #116
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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...

  12. #117
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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!

  13. #118
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

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

  14. #119
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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...
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 03-21-2013 at 11:09 AM.

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

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

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