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Macchi Mc.200 Vs Curtiss P-36


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#61 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).

#62 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.


#63 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.

#64 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...

#65 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.

#66 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.


#67 shep854

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0746 AM

"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."--Stuart Galbraith
While primitive, those inertial starters had the advantage of simplicity, plus there were usually plenty of ground crew to wind it up! I'm not sure when they were discontinued, but inertial starters were also in common use for USN carrier planes.
The shotgun shell starters of the larger piston engines seemed wierd to me, not to mention black-powder starters for early jets.
----
Back somewhat OT, could the relative effectiveness of the P-39 in Soviet service be that they used it in the role it was designed for? A low-medium altitude attack/pursuit? Its bad reputation in US hands could be laid to the fact that they were forced to use it as a med/high altitude fighter, where it suffered against opposition that fought in its optimum envelope. When relegated to ground attack, the Airacobra did well.

#68 Tony Williams

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0841 AM

Yes, the P-39 became popular in the USSR for aerial combat, not ground attack. They had plenty of Il-2 planes for that.

AP ammo for the P-39's M4 cannon was made but seems to have been little used (it was not terribly effective) and I gather that none of it was supplied to the USSR - they got HE only.

#69 alejandro_

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0905 AM

Its bad reputation in US hands could be laid to the fact that they were forced to use it as a med/high altitude fighter, where it suffered against opposition that fought in its optimum envelope. When relegated to ground attack, the Airacobra did well.


Yes, these are the reasons usually given. However, there were also other aspects appreciated by Soviet pilots. The finishing of the P-39 was very good compared to Soviet types in 1942 and early 1943. Plexiglass and radio were fine, visibility was excellent. Instrumentation was very good. It even carried a notebook, pen and urinal! Bell also made many improvements on the aircraft based on Soviet recommendations, which even involved Soviet test pilots.

Also, P-39 operated by VVS were ligther than RAF/USAAF versions. The .30 guns were removed as they were considered ineffective.

#70 Sardaukar

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 0927 AM

I was once wondering if it would be possible to put 20mm and 4x .50 cal into nose of P-39, even though .50 cals would have to be synchronised (2 on top of nose, 2 under). Would be close to what P-38 had as firepower.

Edited by Sardaukar, 08 August 2012 - 0927 AM.


#71 RETAC21

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 1009 AM

Where would you put the ammo?

#72 Sardaukar

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 1434 PM

Where would you put the ammo?


Nose? Since engine is behind pilot.

And swapping 37mm to 20mm would leave LOT of space. As you can see from picture below, it could be dedicated all to weapons and ammunition, apart from propeller shaft and synchronization mechanism:

Posted Image

Edited by Sardaukar, 08 August 2012 - 1437 PM.


#73 alejandro_

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 1536 PM

Thats one negative against the Hurricane. A lot of the surplus examples that arrived after 151 wing left had the radio removed. I guess the thought the Soviets were up to fitting their own, but it must have been rather tiresome.


Soviet radio production in the early years of WW2 was not enough. Some aircraft got R/T while others only had transmitters, or nothing.

#74 Meyer

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 1604 PM

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.


That's a myth. And there was not a big increase in the flying weight of late G versions compared with the F-4: about 400kg, or 12% (or 200kg/6% against the G-2). I have not read pilot's testimonies stating that was a dangerous plane to fly. Taking off/landing could be tricky (as with most warbirds) but there were also some modifications that helped that in late versions (bigger rudder, longer tail wheel).

#75 Yama

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 1709 PM

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.


Finnish pilots thought that the A2A rockets sometimes employed by Russians were a joke. They had essentially no chance hitting a fighter and I know of no Finnish bomber hit by them. Granted, Finnish bombers flying in rigid formations were pretty rare sight.

#76 shep854

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 1753 PM

I was once wondering if it would be possible to put 20mm and 4x .50 cal into nose of P-39, even though .50 cals would have to be synchronised (2 on top of nose, 2 under). Would be close to what P-38 had as firepower.

The ex-RAF 'P-400' version had a 20mm and 2 .50s in the nose, with the MGs fixed above the cannon. Space and weight (with attendant C/G problems) likely precluded additional nose .50s.
Interestingly, testing against captured Zeros showed that the P-39 was, in some ways, more maneuverable than the Japanese plane. Corky Meyer, the former Grumman test pilot wrote about the tests in an old issue of Flight Journal.

#77 Marek Tucan

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 0442 AM

Yes that was rather unfortunate. I gather thats one reason why Soviet pilots claimed to like the P40 (and presumably the P39 also). The Radio fit was superb.


running from memory of Pokryshkin's memoirs, but radio, modern gunsight, comfortable seat, good visibility, maneuvrable, powerful armament...

#78 mnm

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 0721 AM

It even carried a notebook, pen and urinal!


Do you happen to have the TM- number for the latter item?

#79 shep854

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 0741 AM



I was once wondering if it would be possible to put 20mm and 4x .50 cal into nose of P-39, even though .50 cals would have to be synchronised (2 on top of nose, 2 under). Would be close to what P-38 had as firepower.

The ex-RAF 'P-400' version had a 20mm and 2 .50s in the nose, with the MGs fixed above the cannon. Space and weight (with attendant C/G problems) likely precluded additional nose .50s.
Interestingly, testing against captured Zeros showed that the P-39 was, in some ways, more maneuverable than the Japanese plane. Corky Meyer, the former Grumman test pilot wrote about the tests in an old issue of Flight Journal.


It probably was, but how many Zero pilots would be unwise enough to tangle with one in the weeds? Even a Wildcat could be a challenge if it was flown intelligently.

Got that right--it goes back to the primary rule of not fighting your opponent's strengths.
That plus the Japanese pilots of the day were highly combat experienced, vs green Allied pilots. The F4F also was much better equipped for the higher altitude fight. At Guadalcanal, the Airacobras were frequently sent on 'recon' flights when raids came in, while the Wildcats went up and fought the raiders. It was the Wildcat that broke the back of Japanese naval airpower; the Corsairs and Hellcats finished the job.

#80 alejandro_

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 0821 AM

Do you happen to have the TM- number for the latter item?



I got lost in translation. It should be called a "relief tube":

It even had a relief tube, in the shape of a funnel. If you wanted to piss, pull the tube out from under the seat and go for it.

http://lend-lease.ai...nikov/part3.htm




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