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#61 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 1043 AM

Stuart, please read your sources again on condition of typical eastern front airfield (be it German or Soviet).
Conditions on average eastern front airfields were way worse including horrible amount if dust during summer and way lower temperatures then in west Europe during winter.
1st one killed filters and carburetor quickly, low temperatures played hell with rubber seals and even if aircraft survived winter it would start leaking as soon as temperatures raised again, or worse as soon as it warmed enough after starting engine...
There was also large lack of spare parts of any kind (both with Germans and Soviets) due the problem of regular delivery to frontal airfields due the distance involved (and partisans in German case). Sometimes units would be low on ammo and only some of aircraft guns would be loaded (Germans often did not load outer 20mms on 190), or short on bombs when local armorers would improvise from captured bombs or adopted captured mortar/arty shells. Both happened often in 1944. on Soviet side as amount of ammo used during Bagration was staggering. At one moment there was a prohibition of strafing ground target by fighter units, situation with ammo delivery being that bad...


Bojan, Im not as ignorant of conditions on the Eastern Front as you think. It got dusty, I know, but is there any reason why tropical filters couldnt have been improvised? They could have asked the RAF to have supplied them with that mod if it was such a problem. It got cold, well yeah Im perfectly aware of that too. The Me109 would have had identical problems to Merlin engined airframes, and whilst the solutions were dramatic (huts, lighting fires under the airframe etc) there is no evidence to my mind similar methods couldnt have been similarly improvised for Western supplied aircraft.

The spare parts also is a fair point, but why wouldnt it have affected any Western supplied aircraft? A p39 is hardly going to be immune to exactly the same supply problems. Indeed its hard to see why they wouldnt have had similar reliablity as the P40 which had exactly the same engine.

Ultimately we have to accept an Allison engined aircraft was superior in reliability and performance to Merlin powered airframes. And frankly thats the bit im struggling with. Its not patriotism or bloody mindedness speaking here, its just contary to everything ive read about the Hurricane in British service. I mean, it was used on carriers in the north sea, yet only seems to have a problem with the cold in Eastern Europe?

#62 lucklucky

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 1312 PM

The Soviets used Valentine as a scout vehicle, whereas they were designed as an infantry support tank.


An infantry support tank with that kind of gun? The whole concept was obviously wrong with that hardware.
The Soviets at least found a niche for a 40 mm gun tank.

#63 bojan

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 1459 PM

Soviet got some 57mm Vals and operated 2 x 2pdr and 1 x 6pdr in plt usually.
Don't forget T-26/T-50/T-70 were also infantry support vehicles with 45mm gun (at least it had decent HE)...

Edited by bojan, 07 August 2012 - 1500 PM.


#64 bojan

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 1524 PM

Bojan, Im not as ignorant of conditions on the Eastern Front as you think. It got dusty, I know, but is there any reason why tropical filters couldnt have been improvised? They could have asked the RAF to have supplied them with that mod if it was such a problem. It got cold, well yeah Im perfectly aware of that too. The Me109 would have had identical problems to Merlin engined airframes, and whilst the solutions were dramatic (huts, lighting fires under the airframe etc) there is no evidence to my mind similar methods couldnt have been similarly improvised for Western supplied aircraft.


Problem was that at one moment you would have aircraft sitting in cold (hangars were a luxury) and cold would fuck up them. 109 had it's share of issues as did other fighters it is just that Merlins had more issues then other engines.
BTW, tropical filters reduced performances considerably, something that was already lacking on Hurricane. As for Spits they used it for PVO which was not a glorious duty but they were pretty needed there and served well (as noted untl 1947), Soviets lacking decent high altitude fighters.

The spare parts also is a fair point, but why wouldnt it have affected any Western supplied aircraft? A p39 is hardly going to be immune to exactly the same supply problems. Indeed its hard to see why they wouldnt have had similar reliablity as the P40 which had exactly the same engine.

Cause US aircrafts were just more rugged and could soldier for more time with lack of spares- just one example I have from local AF is that P-47 landing gear could handle way more landings before needing maintenance then any other fighter's then in service (Spit V, Yak-9P, 109g) actually. And not 5-10%, difference was 3-4x... Then look on allowed regimes of engine power on P-39, P-40 and Hurricanes and see how Merlins compare with Allison on very low altitudes...

Ultimately we have to accept an Allison engined aircraft was superior in reliability and performance to Merlin powered airframes. And frankly thats the bit im struggling with.

Ugh, it is a problem that P-39 and P-40 performed better then Hurricane? What do you think it was a reason? Simply being more suitable aircrafts for conditions of e.f. or some Massive Soviet conspiracy to hide how Hurricane was actually world beater?

Its not patriotism or bloody mindedness speaking here, its just contary to everything ive read about the Hurricane in British service. I mean, it was used on carriers in the north sea, yet only seems to have a problem with the cold in Eastern Europe?


Carriers had hangars including heated ones. Good luck finding heated one (or even one with doors) on either Soviet or German typical front airfield... It was not a problem when plane was started, problem was storing them at cold. Try to find piece of natural rubber, leave it in freezer for few days then thaw it. Small cracks will appear in more then few places. US rubber was for some reason way better at cold then one UK used for aircrafts...

#65 DougRichards

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 1617 PM

Either original or adopted 37mm HE like they did for 2pdrs on tanks. They also made own 57mm HE for 6pdr due the lack of UK delivered HE.


I would have thought that it would have been better to use AP for anti-shipping attacks anyway. In the same way that the British originally intended to use 3" HE rockets against naval targets, and AP against tanks: they found that the HE heads exploded on contact with the sea surface, whereas AP just kept going and caused sufficient damage to a hull even if if hit the water first. Also British 40mm HE has been described as having zero penetrative capacity, so a hit against a light steel hull would have caused minimal damage, where an AP 40mm would hole, and bounce around inside.

#66 Meyer

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 1952 PM



They even bragged that German fighters were too scared to come near them. Probably hyperbole, but they did remove a lot of weight that improved performance so who knows.


Probably?


I dont know, I wasnt there.


Well, they weren't there also (in the minds of the German pilots), so they could only speculate. German pilots had already faced cannon-armed fighters, even cannon-armed Hurricanes, and it's not like their fighters (or nobody's) were immune to MG fire, so I can't see what's so special about a Hurri armed with soviet 20mm cannons.
As for actual war examples, you could check the record of the Hurricanes (with the "mods") of VVS-SF in 1942, which were dealt heavy losses by the 109s of II and III./JG5 (with E and F versions) and also by the 110s of the Zerstörerstaffel.
Those losses were something that they could actually see for themselves, and is hardly consistent with the notion of that the German pilots were afraid to fight them, in case that they did actually say something like that.

#67 Meyer

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 2153 PM

... Look at Germans, why do you see unpoportionally more 109s then 190s on eastern front? Why did most of East Fronta aces flew 109? Cause 190 was less then ideal for Eastern front conditions, just like Spit was.

Not a good example, and not true. Once the 190 was "cleared" for the Eastern Front, with the A-4 version, the Fw saw extensive service there.
In fact, for example, taking the numbers from May of 1943 and 1944, there were more Fw than 109s in the East. In the fighter units, for 1943, there were slightly more Mtt than Fw, but starting that year, the 190 begun to replace the 109 in the Schlacht units, and then many Stuka units were converted in SG and equipped with the Fw.
Naturally, since the production was not that big, and the 109 was inferior to the Fw in the ground attack role, most fighter units in Russia kept their, or in some cases (JG 51), reverted back to the 109s.
But the 190 was very successful as a fighter in the East, and many aces flew it (Kittel, Rudorffer, Lang, Nowotny, etc), the fact that there were 109 aces is just the result of more units equipped with it.

#68 Tony Williams

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0239 AM

But the 190 was very successful as a fighter in the East, and many aces flew it (Kittel, Rudorffer, Lang, Nowotny, etc), the fact that there were 109 aces is just the result of more units equipped with it.


Both the Fw 190 and Bf 109 went through lots of development during the war, to engines, armament, armour and other matters. Each of these affected the strengths and weaknesses of the aircraft in different ways. By and large, the higher wing loadings which resulted from the steady weight growths made them harder to fly, with the rewinged, cleaned up Bf 109F being regarded as the best 109 to fly (although the late-war Fw 190D was the best of that series to see significant action).

The later G models of the Bf 109 became much more difficult and dangerous to fly, and entirely unsuitable for tyros. However, they remained highly effective in the hands of the surviving Experten, who knew all their quirks and capabilities and were able to get the very best out of them.

#69 Tony Williams

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0248 AM

40mm HE? There is still debate about HE being widely available in 40mm. None or very little went to British armoured units, so would be interesting to know where the Soviets got their 40mm HE.


Different ammo series entirely, firing different projectiles. The 40mm tank/anti-tank guns used 40x304R ammo, the Vickers Class S aircraft gun in the Hurricane IID and IV used the same 40x158R ammo as the naval 2 pounder pom-pom (although special heavy AP shot was developed for it). So there was no problem obtaining HE ammo for the Hurricane, and it was used by IID squadrons based in the Far east for junk-bashing and the like. The HE was also quite effective against light armour, as proven by tests against captured Japanese tanks (I have more details if you're interested).

See: http://www.quarry.ni....uk/37-40mm.htm from which the picture below comes:

Posted Image
Bofors 37mm anti-tank gun case (37x257R), American 37mm tank gun APC (37x223R), Vickers 2 PR No.1 HV (40x158R), 40mm Class S gun AP (40x158R), 2 PR No.2 tank/anti-tank AP Mk 1 (40x304R), 2 PDRHV ("Pipsqueak") case (40x438R), 40mm Bofors L/60 (40x311R), 40mm Bofors L/70 (40x364R).

#70 Yama

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0323 AM

Bojan, Im not as ignorant of conditions on the Eastern Front as you think. It got dusty, I know, but is there any reason why tropical filters couldnt have been improvised? They could have asked the RAF to have supplied them with that mod if it was such a problem. It got cold, well yeah Im perfectly aware of that too. The Me109 would have had identical problems to Merlin engined airframes..


Yet the fact is that it didn't. Bf-109's operated without too many problems, though dust filters had to be often fitted. FAF acquired Hurricanes and Buffaloes at the same time, spare supply was cut off at the same time (summer 1941), Hurricanes were almost completely out of service by 1942, Brewsters soldiered on until 1948. Admittably part of the issue was bigger effort put to keep numerically more important Brewsters online, but nevertheless. And the issue was not the fuel, Finns had 100 octane fuel as some other planes required it (Blenheims, most notably).

#71 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0325 AM

Not entirely accurate Bojan. Most of the early Hurricanes that went to sea were ex RAF Mk1s, identical I would suspect to the Finnish ones. That meant non folding wings, which would undoubtedly limit the number you could get below decks. You often see pictures of RN Carriers of this period (particularly the escort carriers) with a chunk of their airwing parked above deck. King loved banging on about how having armoured decks reduced Hangar space and lord bless him, he had a point. :D

I was looking up last night the Hurricanes supplied to the Eastern Front included the aircraft taken there by No81 Squadron RAF, which DID incidentally have tropical filters fitted. I dont doubt it affected performance, but in the low alititude environment these aircraft were supposedly utilised in I cant see it mattering much. After all, an aircraft with a knackered engine through dust ingestion is going to have significantly worse peformance than one with a dust filter on.
http://www.ram-home....d/hurrican.html

They even flew their aircraft off HMS Argus, which didnt even have a hangar, and the North Cape in September cant have been exactly balmy.

The key sentence is at the end there 'The engines wore down and could not be replaced'. Fair comment, but why did they wear down? Well they were using poor quality fuel is at least one reason ive related before. Note that Safonov (whom had a number of successes in Hurricane) actually died in a P40 which suffered an engine failure over the sea, which suggests to me the problem may not have been just specific to Hurricane.
http://www.elknet.pl...nob/safonob.htm
(The picture on the bottom right is interesting in that it seems to show one of the Northern Fleet modded hurricanes with 20mm Cannon)

I think there is more than enough evidence from outside Eastern Europe that the aircraft wasnt a dog, and its not like the Soviets were incapable of getting any success with the type in any case, as we can see here. That they didnt celebrate that point has perhaps less to do with its actual combat capablity and rather more to do with Soviet irriation with Britains lack of support for the second front. That they lauded the P39 to the high heavens in the same period (which must have sufferered identical problems) perhap has more to do with US support on that issue.

As I say just my opinion.

#72 Yama

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0335 AM

Both the Fw 190 and Bf 109 went through lots of development during the war, to engines, armament, armour and other matters. Each of these affected the strengths and weaknesses of the aircraft in different ways. By and large, the higher wing loadings which resulted from the steady weight growths made them harder to fly, with the rewinged, cleaned up Bf 109F being regarded as the best 109 to fly (although the late-war Fw 190D was the best of that series to see significant action).

The later G models of the Bf 109 became much more difficult and dangerous to fly, and entirely unsuitable for tyros. However, they remained highly effective in the hands of the surviving Experten, who knew all their quirks and capabilities and were able to get the very best out of them.


Had to look up 'tyro' from Wiktionary.

Bf-109's reputation as 'dangerous to fly' was highly exaggarated. There is (or used to be) culture of veteran pilots telling scare stories to youngsters about how planes they were flying were 'widow-makers' with all sort of dangerous qualities, how they went to unrecoverable spins and what their life expectancy was when they stepped into cockpit etc. When Bristol Bulldog arrived, only most experienced pilots were allowed to fly it because it's awesome engine power made it so difficult and dangerous to takeoff and land. Ten years later, same planes were given to novice pilots with minimal preparation. RAF evaluation of Bf-109 regarded that takeoffs and landings were "easy to learn".

Edited by Yama, 08 August 2012 - 0336 AM.


#73 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0338 AM


Bojan, Im not as ignorant of conditions on the Eastern Front as you think. It got dusty, I know, but is there any reason why tropical filters couldnt have been improvised? They could have asked the RAF to have supplied them with that mod if it was such a problem. It got cold, well yeah Im perfectly aware of that too. The Me109 would have had identical problems to Merlin engined airframes..


Yet the fact is that it didn't. Bf-109's operated without too many problems, though dust filters had to be often fitted. FAF acquired Hurricanes and Buffaloes at the same time, spare supply was cut off at the same time (summer 1941), Hurricanes were almost completely out of service by 1942, Brewsters soldiered on until 1948. Admittably part of the issue was bigger effort put to keep numerically more important Brewsters online, but nevertheless. And the issue was not the fuel, Finns had 100 octane fuel as some other planes required it (Blenheims, most notably).


All fair points, but you were still operating Hurricane Mk1s (of early 1940s vintage, so Im not even sure they had all metal wings) up against latterly more modern Soviet Fighters and even Hurricane II. How can the Finnish experience be the only reliable guide, when identical machines were scoring kills hand over fist in 1940? Fighter Command control methods are at least one possible reason, but its hard to conceive they are the only factor involved.

The Brewsters incidentally were not the same as the USN version, they had a lighter engine that made them rather more manoeuvreable. And radial engines tend to be less prone to problems due to poor maintainance and bad fuel. You say there wasnt a problem and are probably right, but Id expect the Blenheim and the Brewster to be the last to show effects of it were it an issue.

Anyway, Ill bow out gracefully from this argument with the suggestion that if Hurricane was obsolete so early, its a bit odd that they build 14000 of them and were still scoring kills against the Japanese in Burma with the Indian airforce as late as 1943. That strongly suggests to me the problems were less with the aircraft, and rather more the way it was operated.

#74 Yama

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0344 AM

Cause US aircrafts were just more rugged and could soldier for more time with lack of spares- just one example I have from local AF is that P-47 landing gear could handle way more landings before needing maintenance then any other fighter's then in service (Spit V, Yak-9P, 109g) actually. And not 5-10%, difference was 3-4x...


True. One reason for Curtiss Hawk's and Brewsters success in Finland was that they were pretty easy to maintain and engines were durable (except 1200hp Cyclones which went bust almost immediately, too much power I guess). British planes were much less maintenance-friendly than German or US planes (a trend which seemed to have continued post-war based on comments by FAF personnel from several sources). Brits were not alone in this though, Morane-Saulnier was just as bad. Worst of all was Fiat G.50, during wintertime they were almost impossible to keep in service and sometimes the Fiat squadron struggled to sortie any planes.

#75 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0347 AM

Both the Fw 190 and Bf 109 went through lots of development during the war, to engines, armament, armour and other matters. Each of these affected the strengths and weaknesses of the aircraft in different ways. By and large, the higher wing loadings which resulted from the steady weight growths made them harder to fly, with the rewinged, cleaned up Bf 109F being regarded as the best 109 to fly (although the late-war Fw 190D was the best of that series to see significant action). The later G models of the Bf 109 became much more difficult and dangerous to fly, and entirely unsuitable for tyros. However, they remained highly effective in the hands of the surviving Experten, who knew all their quirks and capabilities and were able to get the very best out of them.

Had to look up 'tyro' from Wiktionary. Bf-109's reputation as 'dangerous to fly' was highly exaggarated. There is (or used to be) culture of veteran pilots telling scare stories to youngsters about how planes they were flying were 'widow-makers' with all sort of dangerous qualities, how they went to unrecoverable spins and what their life expectancy was when they stepped into cockpit etc. When Bristol Bulldog arrived, only most experienced pilots were allowed to fly it because it's awesome engine power made it so difficult and dangerous to takeoff and land. Ten years later, same planes were given to novice pilots with minimal preparation. RAF evaluation of Bf-109 regarded that takeoffs and landings were "easy to learn".


Perhaps, to those pilots who were experience with the narrow track undercart of the Spitfire. Note that a display pilot who presumably was au fait with that type still wrote off the worlds last airworthy ME109F a few years back (thankfully not beyond repair, but it will never fly again due to the knackered engine).

For a new pilot who was familiar with wide track undercart and operating off a frontline airstrip, it would have been distinctly interesting to say the least.

When it was in the air, it was a cracking warbird Id be the first to admit. But I think winding up the elastic band at the beginning is a bit alarming. ^_^


#76 Yama

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0350 AM

All fair points, but you were still operating Hurricane Mk1s (of early 1940s vintage, so Im not even sure they had all metal wings) up against latterly more modern Soviet Fighters and even Hurricane II.


They had fabric wings, which was part of the problem. Of course they were 1939 vintage, but so were the Brewsters,

Anyway, Ill bow out gracefully from this argument with the suggestion that if Hurricane was obsolete so early, its a bit odd that they build 14000 of them and were still scoring kills against the Japanese in Burma with the Indian airforce as late as 1943. That strongly suggests to me the problems were less with the aircraft, and rather more the way it was operated.


As I understand, RAF used Hurricanes mostly for ground attack after 1941 to which they were still suitable. Sometimes you had to keep producing obsolete stuff to get _something_ at the front, an obsolete weapon being better than no weapon. Same reason Americans kept building P-40's, and why everyone kept producing bolt-action rifles when there were submachine guns and semi-automatic rifles already available...

#77 Yama

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0352 AM

The Soviets used Valentine as a scout vehicle, whereas they were designed as an infantry support tank.


An infantry support tank with that kind of gun? The whole concept was obviously wrong with that hardware.
The Soviets at least found a niche for a 40 mm gun tank.


I think British idea was that machine guns were for infantry support, the gun was just in case they met other tanks.

#78 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0456 AM


All fair points, but you were still operating Hurricane Mk1s (of early 1940s vintage, so Im not even sure they had all metal wings) up against latterly more modern Soviet Fighters and even Hurricane II.


They had fabric wings, which was part of the problem. Of course they were 1939 vintage, but so were the Brewsters,

Anyway, Ill bow out gracefully from this argument with the suggestion that if Hurricane was obsolete so early, its a bit odd that they build 14000 of them and were still scoring kills against the Japanese in Burma with the Indian airforce as late as 1943. That strongly suggests to me the problems were less with the aircraft, and rather more the way it was operated.


As I understand, RAF used Hurricanes mostly for ground attack after 1941 to which they were still suitable. Sometimes you had to keep producing obsolete stuff to get _something_ at the front, an obsolete weapon being better than no weapon. Same reason Americans kept building P-40's, and why everyone kept producing bolt-action rifles when there were submachine guns and semi-automatic rifles already available...


Thats interesting, Id have thought by early 1940 they would have had metal wings. I think most if not all the Hurricanes in the BoB would have had them. I did read online they had constant speed props, which supposedly the ones the Germans evaluated (and thought was basically crud) did not have. Both those mod gave them a shot in the arm compared to prewar examples.

That is a fair point, that Hurricane whilst obsolecent was still being used as a ground attack aircraft, wheras the Soviets were still primarily using it as a fighter (though I note that one Naval Aviation Hurriance recovered from a lake was equipped to fire, and still was carrying, rockets). No argument there. Indeed I would say even in 1941 it was quickly becoming obsolecent as a fighter.

Thats a rather different argument to suggesting it was never any use at all of course. And even after that point, as proven over Burma, it still couldnt be entirely ruled out as an effective fighter. If nothing else, compared to Spitfire, it was always highly rated as a good gun platform.

#79 bojan

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0639 AM

Soviets equiped most of fighters (including Yak-3) to carry rockets, and these were often used air-to-air to disrupt German formations. RS-82 were light (6.3-6.8kg depending on version) and 6 of those did not add much drag to planes and were first thing to be fired anyway. Those were also nice to have vs bombers with some comments I read that if 3-4 planes fired on same bomber it was doomed, saving gun ammo for fighters.

Edited by bojan, 08 August 2012 - 0643 AM.


#80 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0648 AM

Here is the ex 151 wing Hurricane after it was recovered. Shame the tail came off but at least they saved the control surfaces which is the important thing.
http://lend-lease.ai...Z5252/index.htm

There is also some shots of the rockets on there.




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