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The P-39 why a failure for the West and a winner in Russia?

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  • MarkV
    replied
    The P-39 was vulnerable to attack from above as strikes to the fuselage tended to damage the cooling system. This was an issue in the Pacific theatre where the opposition had better altitude performance
    It was generally considered as temperamental and took more effort to maintain that the P-40.
    Weight distribution could make it prone to go into a dangerous flat spin, the Soviets complained about this and it may have been part of the reason for them removing the wing mgs

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  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
    What America built as a marginal fighter was used as a ground attack anti-armor aircraft by the Soviets. A 37 mm AP firing cannon is a great weapon in that role.
    That's a myth. The P-39 was used as an air superiority fighter in Russia and Soviet pilots considered it a good plane in that respect. They liked the 37mm because their tactics were to close to short range before firing on an enemy plane and usually the first one or two 37mm hits were sufficient to destroy the target. It took a different mindset on how to make the armament effective than that used by USAAF pilots who preferred a high volume of fire at longer range tearing the target apart.

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  • Mountain Man
    replied
    What America built as a marginal fighter was used as a ground attack anti-armor aircraft by the Soviets. A 37 mm AP firing cannon is a great weapon in that role.

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