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

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  • asterix
    replied
    Originally posted by Andy H View Post

    Hi Belgrave

    Your not wrong that the powerplant was a major issue along with the other aspects already mentioned. I've just come across the issue of the compass as stated in the book. It mentions in the book that the French Aircobra orders had also specified the fitment of engines with a single stage mechanical superchargers, to provide spares and maintenance communality with engines ordered for French bombers purchased in the USA.

    Regards

    Andy H
    Three Free French fighter groups (GC-3/6, GC-1/4 and GC-1/5) were equipped with the P-39 Aircobra in 1943 and they were said to be very unpopular and disliked by their pilots. At the time, they were unused to the forward landing gear as well as flying with an external fuel tank which they often forgot to release when flying in combat or as they returned to their base when damaged. French ace Pierre le Gloan was killed attempting to belly land a P-39 when it developed engine trouble and was killed in the subsequent explosion when the external fuel tank exploded.

    Several of the Free French pilots so disliked the P-39, they actually petitioned to have their aircraft replaced with the older P-40 Warhawks they had trained in, though fortunately they received instead the P-47D the same year.

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  • EKB
    replied


    The odd handling qualities caused by a mid-mount engine is not the only reason why many pilots did not like the P-39.

    The P-39D was too heavy for the rated power and the British version was worse. At 7,850 lbs. the Airacobra Mk I was bloated and overweight, thanks to UK spec equipment and armor plating. This plane was a whopping 1,200 lbs. heavier than the original, fast-climbing P-39C.

    If one tried to hang an extra 1,200 lbs. on a Spitfire Mk I or Hurricane Mk I, rest assured that it's rate of climb and ceiling would sink like a stone.

    I'm not sure why some people think that the Allison engine was not supercharged. Every V-1710 had a single-stage internal supercharger and there were many versions, just like the Rolls Royce Merlin.

    The P-38, P-63 and P-40Q had two stages of supercharging. The Lightning used turbos for that purpose, while the other two planes had engines with a mechanical second stage blower.
    Last edited by EKB; 07 Sep 18, 01:54.

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  • T. A. Gardner
    replied


    They discuss stalls for several minutes in this

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  • Andy H
    replied
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

    I do know the RAF did complain the take off run of the plane was longer (750 yards) than for other aircraft meaning it couldn't use many RAF fields, the speed was found to be lower than the manufacturer had stated by about 30 mph, and dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and fumes from the guns firing accumulated in the cockpit. The 15,000 foot critical altitude was also a big issue.
    Hi Terry

    In regards to the speed it seems that Bell, stripped the plane basically down to its bare bones, even devoid of paint to achieve its much lauded speed from which many orders were initially placed.

    The bulk of the contracts in place when the RAF decided against the P39 were for the I & IA models. The contracted P39D planes were turned over to the US after they entered the war, who gave them the designation P400 and were used mainly for training intially-though some did see combat later on.

    Some 200 odd P39 served with the Italian AF after the armistice and saw action against the Axis mainly over Yugoslavia in 44/45

    Regards

    Andy H

    Leave a comment:


  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post

    Interesting. If, your sensitive to such things,of course, a degree of condescention can always be detected. But as against your examples, there are numerous examples where US weaponry: - aircraft,in particular,were adopted with enthusiam, modified, where necessary:-witness the P-51 Mustang, or the Sherman Firefly.
    Can the same be said in the opposite direction ?
    With the Firefly I can see the objections raised were kind of valid. The Firefly while a good tank on tank weapon, was a pretty big compromise the US Army wasn't willing to make. Add that the installation as done by the British was somewhat Rube Goldberg and improvised. That didn't help matters.

    The USAAF did operate a fighter group in the Med flying Spitfires. In fact, it had the highest air to air kill rate of any US fighter group. But, it got little press because of the "not invented here syndrome." The USAAF also operated several squadrons of Beaufighter night fighter planes due to the lack of one being developed in the US at the time.

    http://spitfiresite.com/2010/04/uncl...spitfires.html

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  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    Originally posted by Andy H View Post

    Hi Terry.

    It also states that the problem was probably due to the magnetisation of steel parts in the structure induced by firing.

    The not invented syndrome was prevalent in all militaries to some degree (and still is now for nationalistic or political reasons) but I've not come across anything in relation to your particular question, that the RAF 'dumped' it for any other reasons than technical/performance issues. In fact, the British contracts of considerable numbers would lay waste to that argument having any relevance.

    The RCAF also considered building the plane under licence but abandoned because of the non-availability of engines.

    Regards

    Andy H
    I do know the RAF did complain the take off run of the plane was longer (750 yards) than for other aircraft meaning it couldn't use many RAF fields, the speed was found to be lower than the manufacturer had stated by about 30 mph, and dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and fumes from the guns firing accumulated in the cockpit. The 15,000 foot critical altitude was also a big issue.

    Leave a comment:


  • Arnold J Rimmer
    replied
    The reason the Soviets liked it and the US didn't is three-fold:

    1) The US had better aircraft (as you showed, the P-40, and even better aircraft following hard on its heels)

    2) Range. The PTO was the main air-combat theater, followed by North Africa; both required longer-legged aircraft. By the time the Italian campaign got going there were much better aircraft entering service.

    3) The Soviets were desperate for anything that came to hand, and were willing to accept pilot losses. The US was concerned with survivability, whereas the Soviets were locked in a war to the death on their own soil, so there are completely different values.

    Leave a comment:


  • BELGRAVE
    replied
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

    The SB2U Chesapeake was claimed to be "underpowered" and relegated to training at a time when the FAA was still using the mediocre Skua.
    The RAF said the F2B Buffalo had numerous failings but issued them in Malaysia and the Med (Crete) anyway.
    Then there's the Curtiss Hawk 75. It was tested against early Spitfire I's with fixed props and beat them. The RAF acquired a bunch of ex-French ones and sent them to India (among other odd corners of the empire) declaring them "obsolete" for frontline service. In India they gave excellent service right through 1944 even though it was officially "obsolete."

    Then you have Lt. Gen. Sir Giffard Martel in his book Outspoken Soldier saying this about the Sherman:

    "The Sherman tank was a dual purpose tank and was a very sound and reliable machine, but it was not as good as either the Cromwell or Churchill for their respective roles. We were most grateful for the use of these tanks to cover this period (when neither British tank was available in quantity, or at all) and continued to use some Shermans right up to the end of the war."

    That is so condescending it isn't funny. The Sherman wasn't some stop-gap. It was easily the most important and widely used tank in British service form 1943 to the end of the war.

    There's a few.
    Interesting. If, your sensitive to such things,of course, a degree of condescention can always be detected. But as against your examples, there are numerous examples where US weaponry: - aircraft,in particular,were adopted with enthusiam, modified, where necessary:-witness the P-51 Mustang, or the Sherman Firefly.
    Can the same be said in the opposite direction ?

    Leave a comment:


  • Andy H
    replied
    Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post

    As I understand it,a major reason for its rejection was the lack of a fitted supercharger, as supplied.
    The Bell Aircraft Corporation did not lack innovative thinking at the time, there was the FM-1 Airacuda.
    Hi Belgrave

    Your not wrong that the powerplant was a major issue along with the other aspects already mentioned. I've just come across the issue of the compass as stated in the book. It mentions in the book that the French Aircobra orders had also specified the fitment of engines with a single stage mechanical superchargers, to provide spares and maintenance communality with engines ordered for French bombers purchased in the USA.

    Regards

    Andy H

    Leave a comment:


  • Andy H
    replied
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

    I would think that the British military procurement system had one of the worst cases of "Not invented here" syndrome in history during the 20th Century. Seems to me that any piece of kit or equipment not specifically invented in Britain to an official request was somehow deficient giving grounds for rejection. I read a report on the British Army testing the Czech TNHP-S (aka Pz 38t). The report noted that the tank jittered and the vibration when in motion made it hard to aim the gun. Overall, it stated that the Czech tank was markedly inferior to the Light Tank Mk VI. Nothing was noted about the armor being better, it having an actual cannon versus a .303 machinegun (or later .50 machinegun) or that the Mk VI would have had a hard time dealing with a TNHP on the battlefield because of that. But, somehow the Czech tank was found "inferior."

    That's one example of many I've come across.

    In the US, the Army's ordinance department had / has much the same problem. The USAF for several decades was loathe to use USN developed planes and missiles even as their own proved poor by comparison. So, this isn't limited to Britain.

    It's interesting to note I've never read about this problem anywhere else.
    Hi Terry.

    It also states that the problem was probably due to the magnetisation of steel parts in the structure induced by firing.

    The not invented syndrome was prevalent in all militaries to some degree (and still is now for nationalistic or political reasons) but I've not come across anything in relation to your particular question, that the RAF 'dumped' it for any other reasons than technical/performance issues. In fact, the British contracts of considerable numbers would lay waste to that argument having any relevance.

    The RCAF also considered building the plane under licence but abandoned because of the non-availability of engines.

    Regards

    Andy H

    Leave a comment:


  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post

    That flys in the face of my impression. The situation was so dire in the early years of the war that any product from any source was received with appreciation.
    What other examples had you in mind ?
    The SB2U Chesapeake was claimed to be "underpowered" and relegated to training at a time when the FAA was still using the mediocre Skua.
    The RAF said the F2B Buffalo had numerous failings but issued them in Malaysia and the Med (Crete) anyway.
    Then there's the Curtiss Hawk 75. It was tested against early Spitfire I's with fixed props and beat them. The RAF acquired a bunch of ex-French ones and sent them to India (among other odd corners of the empire) declaring them "obsolete" for frontline service. In India they gave excellent service right through 1944 even though it was officially "obsolete."

    Then you have Lt. Gen. Sir Giffard Martel in his book Outspoken Soldier saying this about the Sherman:

    "The Sherman tank was a dual purpose tank and was a very sound and reliable machine, but it was not as good as either the Cromwell or Churchill for their respective roles. We were most grateful for the use of these tanks to cover this period (when neither British tank was available in quantity, or at all) and continued to use some Shermans right up to the end of the war."

    That is so condescending it isn't funny. The Sherman wasn't some stop-gap. It was easily the most important and widely used tank in British service form 1943 to the end of the war.

    There's a few.

    Leave a comment:


  • BELGRAVE
    replied
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

    I would think that the British military procurement system had one of the worst cases of "Not invented here" syndrome in history during the 20th Century. Seems to me that any piece of kit or equipment not specifically invented in Britain to an official request was somehow deficient giving grounds for rejection. I read a report on the British Army testing the Czech TNHP-S (aka Pz 38t). The report noted that the tank jittered and the vibration when in motion made it hard to aim the gun. Overall, it stated that the Czech tank was markedly inferior to the Light Tank Mk VI. Nothing was noted about the armor being better, it having an actual cannon versus a .303 machinegun (or later .50 machinegun) or that the Mk VI would have had a hard time dealing with a TNHP on the battlefield because of that. But, somehow the Czech tank was found "inferior."

    That's one example of many I've come across.

    In the US, the Army's ordinance department had / has much the same problem. The USAF for several decades was loathe to use USN developed planes and missiles even as their own proved poor by comparison. So, this isn't limited to Britain.

    It's interesting to note I've never read about this problem anywhere else.
    That flys in the face of my impression. The situation was so dire in the early years of the war that any product from any source was received with appreciation.
    What other examples had you in mind ?

    Leave a comment:


  • BELGRAVE
    replied
    Originally posted by Andy H View Post
    Hi Terry

    In Phillip Butler's and Dan Hagedon book 'Air Arsenal North America-Aircraft for the Allies 1938-1945 Purchases and Lend-Lease' they state on Pg150 that one of the main reasons the RAF shunned the plane was that "the biggest operational problem turned out to be the fitment of the navigational compass, which was such as to render it useless after the aircrafts guns had been fired. Although this problem could have been overcome in time, it proved to be an embarrassment at a crucial time during the types introduction into RAF service"

    Regards

    Andy H
    As I understand it,a major reason for its rejection was the lack of a fitted supercharger, as supplied.
    The Bell Aircraft Corporation did not lack innovative thinking at the time, there was the FM-1 Airacuda.

    Leave a comment:


  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    Originally posted by Andy H View Post
    Hi Terry

    In Phillip Butler's and Dan Hagedon book 'Air Arsenal North America-Aircraft for the Allies 1938-1945 Purchases and Lend-Lease' they state on Pg150 that one of the main reasons the RAF shunned the plane was that "the biggest operational problem turned out to be the fitment of the navigational compass, which was such as to render it useless after the aircrafts guns had been fired. Although this problem could have been overcome in time, it proved to be an embarrassment at a crucial time during the types introduction into RAF service"

    Regards

    Andy H
    I would think that the British military procurement system had one of the worst cases of "Not invented here" syndrome in history during the 20th Century. Seems to me that any piece of kit or equipment not specifically invented in Britain to an official request was somehow deficient giving grounds for rejection. I read a report on the British Army testing the Czech TNHP-S (aka Pz 38t). The report noted that the tank jittered and the vibration when in motion made it hard to aim the gun. Overall, it stated that the Czech tank was markedly inferior to the Light Tank Mk VI. Nothing was noted about the armor being better, it having an actual cannon versus a .303 machinegun (or later .50 machinegun) or that the Mk VI would have had a hard time dealing with a TNHP on the battlefield because of that. But, somehow the Czech tank was found "inferior."

    That's one example of many I've come across.

    In the US, the Army's ordinance department had / has much the same problem. The USAF for several decades was loathe to use USN developed planes and missiles even as their own proved poor by comparison. So, this isn't limited to Britain.

    It's interesting to note I've never read about this problem anywhere else.

    Leave a comment:


  • Andy H
    replied
    Hi Terry

    In Phillip Butler's and Dan Hagedon book 'Air Arsenal North America-Aircraft for the Allies 1938-1945 Purchases and Lend-Lease' they state on Pg150 that one of the main reasons the RAF shunned the plane was that "the biggest operational problem turned out to be the fitment of the navigational compass, which was such as to render it useless after the aircrafts guns had been fired. Although this problem could have been overcome in time, it proved to be an embarrassment at a crucial time during the types introduction into RAF service"

    Regards

    Andy H

    Leave a comment:

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