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

  1. #181
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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.
    Pauci sed semper immites!

  2. #182
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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.

  3. #183
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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...

  4. #184
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.”

  5. #185
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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.

  6. #186
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Quote Originally Posted by hgilley View Post
    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...
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 04-05-2014 at 09:06 AM.

  7. #187
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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.

  8. #188
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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.

  9. #189
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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

  10. #190
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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

  11. #191
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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.

  12. #192
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Nelson View Post
    )
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by hgilley View Post
    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.
    Last edited by tomo pauk; 05-11-2014 at 03:18 AM.

  13. #193
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    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.
    Last edited by muscogeemike; 04-29-2017 at 07:29 PM.

  14. #194
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Furthermore the US refused to send any Armor Penetrating ammo to the Russians.

  15. #195
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    Default Re: Bell P-39 Airacobra & P-63 Kingcobra.

    Quote Originally Posted by muscogeemike View Post
    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

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