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charshep
03-12-2007, 12:11 AM
I have a couple of questions regarding comparisons between the p40 and p39.

First, why did US pilots prefer the p40 while Russian pilots prefer the p39?

In real life, how do these planes compare in actuality?

How do they compare in the game? Are they considered well modelled planes?

Capt.LoneRanger
03-12-2007, 03:06 AM
The P39 was basically designed around the large gun. The engine was therefore moved backwards, behind the pilot-seat.

The design was revolutionary, but real life didn't meet the USAAFs expectations. The main gun jammed frequently and gases and heat from the engine was common to spread into the cockpit. Additionally, the T9-gun was so heavy, the P39 could not turn with the fighters in the Pacific and in the ETO there were other fighters to keep up with the developements. The engine was not up to modern standards either.
The remaining squadrons were used in the Pacific and Northern Afrika against soft and lighty armored ground units. The HE-rounds were ineffective against armor, though.

Against StuKas and other low-flying bombers, the P39 could stand it's own. Besides that, it's a common statement, the P39 had such a success in the SovjetUnion, because those pilots were used to critical material failures and health-threatening design-problems. The Russian nickname for the plane "Britchik" = Little Shaver, a slang expression for strafing also says enough how it primarily was used.

The P-400 were the updated versions of the P39. Pilots said, the P400 was the P39 faced with real combat. It had a stronger engine with turbo-charger and a lighter gun.

The P40 was a good fighter, because it was very agile and had a good design for BnZ. It was also able to stand a turnfight, if well handled and easy to maintain and fly.
Honestly, though, the P40 became famous because of the AVG, which had an absolutely fantastic kill/death-ratio at the beginning of the war. But this K/D-ratio is rather statistical, as those planes fought against fighters from WW1 and largely unarmed transporters.

JG52Karaya-X
03-12-2007, 03:48 AM
Originally posted by Capt.LoneRanger:
The P-400 were the updated versions of the P39. Pilots said, the P400 was the P39 faced with real combat. It had a stronger engine with turbo-charger and a lighter gun.

Isnt the P400 the "castrated" P39 without a supercharger (export was prohibited) and the 20mm Hispano cannon that the Brits ordered at first but then it failed in performance trials and was sent back to the USAAF?

JG53Frankyboy
03-12-2007, 04:48 AM
Originally posted by JG52Karaya-X:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Capt.LoneRanger:
The P-400 were the updated versions of the P39. Pilots said, the P400 was the P39 faced with real combat. It had a stronger engine with turbo-charger and a lighter gun.

Isnt the P400 the "castrated" P39 without a supercharger (export was prohibited) and the 20mm Hispano cannon that the Brits ordered at first but then it failed in performance trials and was sent back to the USAAF? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

a P-400 is no more or less than a british ordered Airacobra Mk.I but not deliverd to the UK and put in US service - because of the urgent need of any avaliable combatarcraft from december 1941 on.

and its very similar to a P-39D-1.
20mm nose canon.
and the same single speed, single stage supercharger Allison engine than all other production P-39s .

both, P-40 and P-39s had no stelar performance at altitude (some single stage, single spped supercharger Merlins version, the P-40F and L were a little bit better - used first by the USAAF units at NorthAfrika and were the first Warhawks sent to Guadalcanal).

my personal understanding is that the P-40 was superior in the horizonzal turn over the P-39.
and that the P-39 had some tricky stall behaviour.

Aymar_Mauri
03-12-2007, 04:56 AM
Of course that in Olegland, the P-39 is an ber plane, well able to destroy Bf109s and FW190s in drovres, in total oposition to what really happened in WW2... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Aymar_Mauri
03-12-2007, 04:59 AM
The P-400 were the updated versions of the P39. Pilots said, the P400 was the P39 faced with real combat. It had a stronger engine with turbo-charger and a lighter gun.
Totally off the mark on this one. The super P-39 was the P-63 Kingcobra, not the P-400. Just like JG52Karaya-X and JG53Frankyboy said, the P-400 was just the "british ordered Airacobra Mk.I but not delivered to the UK and put in US service"...

JG53Frankyboy
03-12-2007, 05:26 AM
inGame:
used in historical scenarios, fighting agaisnt thier historical foes - the P-39s and P-40s are respected and usefull planes - alwasy able to give a good fight.

a bad point is the P-40 engine Damage modell - sometimes it stops after one bullet of .30cal size................

the P-39D-2 is a beast of its own !!
able to outrun Bf109G-2 at sealevel !
the best Airacobra version in game - for me even superior over the P-39Q-10 .

i personaly like more the P-39s, they fit more my flyingstyle - keep speed high and make fast passes.
sure , not the best at 6000m - but when you fight on the typical dogfightervers at that height http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

msalama
03-12-2007, 05:43 AM
Of course that in Olegland...

Boo-ho-hoo http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/bigtears.gif I suggest you check out a certain gentleman named Pokryshkin, and what he was able to achieve flying the Cobra amongst other types IRL...

Not that I believe that you ever will, though. Because why on Earth do that when the auld handbag is still battleworthy http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/crackwhip.gif

FPSOLKOR
03-12-2007, 05:44 AM
Originally posted by charshep:
I have a couple of questions regarding comparisons between the p40 and p39.

First, why did US pilots prefer the p40 while Russian pilots prefer the p39?

In real life, how do these planes compare in actuality?

How do they compare in the game? Are they considered well modelled planes?
Russian pilot flew what they had, not what they wanted. I spoke with pilots who were unable to fly P-39, while they had great success with P-40 and vise versa....

JG52Karaya-X
03-12-2007, 06:00 AM
Originally posted by JG53Frankyboy:
the P-39D-2 is a beast of its own !!
able to outrun Bf109G-2 at sealevel !
the best Airacobra version in game - for me even superior over the P-39Q-10.

True dat!

Thats because our P39D-2 is some oddball overboosted late '43 model with 1550hp instead of its historical 1250hp, still its labelled '41 ingame and many mission builders fall for that, if you want to put a D-2 in your mission then substitute it with an N-1... much closer to the "real thing".

Aymar_Mauri
03-12-2007, 06:09 AM
Originally posted by msalama:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Of course that in Olegland...

Boo-ho-hoo http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/bigtears.gif I suggest you check out a certain gentleman named Pokryshkin, and what he was able to achieve flying the Cobra amongst other types IRL...

Not that I believe that you ever will, though. Because why on Earth do that when the auld handbag is still battleworthy http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/crackwhip.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
That is because Pokryshkin and other P-39 russian aces were trully exceptional fighter pilots, not because the P-39 was up to par with it's oposition. The P-39 was an underpowered hog, not the great plane we have in game. Read some tech reports before you start a fanboy rant.

IL2 has it's planes matched to online dogfighting arenas, just that.

And btw, if you think I'm exagerating, go to QMB and do a 4xP39D1 vs 4xBf109F4 and a 4xP39Q10 vs 4xBf109G10 (using the AI autopilot for your plane) and see how many Bf109s are left in the end.

msalama
03-12-2007, 06:45 AM
Read some tech reports before you start a fanboy rant.

I'm not starting anything, _YOU_ are. So let's go through that BS of yours once again:

* First off, you presented a whine concerning the alleged "berness" of the Cobra, to which I then responded in a somewhat sarcastic way entirely suitable for garden-variety whines in general.

* You used, and I quote, expressions like "ber", "able to destroy Bf109s and FW190s in droves" and "not the great plane we have in game". Now the next thing for you to do is to quantify those expressions in such a way that they can be objectively taken as unambiguous evidence on which you base your claim. If you however fail to do so, then what I'm strongly suggesting here is you to STFU and p1ss off, because whining b1atches are, as we know, a dime in a dozen.

* Whether I've read any tech documents concerning the Cobra or not is irrelevant in this context - at least at this point - because it was YOU who claimed something here, and that naturally puts the burden of proof on YOU. And should you for some strange reason or another fail to understand the meaning of this, then please be so kind as to carefully re-read everything written above!

I hope this clarifies it a bit? So by all means get back to me directly after you've collected and processed your evidence. I'm waiting http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Oh, and http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/heart.gif to you as well http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif

Capt.LoneRanger
03-12-2007, 06:53 AM
Originally posted by Aymar_Mauri:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">The P-400 were the updated versions of the P39. Pilots said, the P400 was the P39 faced with real combat. It had a stronger engine with turbo-charger and a lighter gun.
Totally off the mark on this one. The super P-39 was the P-63 Kingcobra, not the P-400. Just like JG52Karaya-X and JG53Frankyboy said, the P-400 was just the "british ordered Airacobra Mk.I but not delivered to the UK and put in US service"... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Totally off? Yeah. Now, where did I say the P400 was a Super-P39? I said it was a different version with a lighter gun and better performance-characteristics. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/10.gif

Besides that, the P39 is ber. It was quite realistic in the original IL2, where the snap-stalls made this plane a real challenge to fly. It now is just a one-hit-wonder on rails. Also, without reliability modelled, the P39 will never be close to real.

Aymar_Mauri
03-12-2007, 07:01 AM
Originally posted by msalama:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Read some tech reports before you start a fanboy rant.

I'm not starting anything, _YOU_ are. So let's go through that BS of yours once again:

* First off, you presented a whine concerning the alleged "berness" of the Cobra, to which I then responded in a somewhat sarcastic way entirely suitable for garden-variety whines in general.

* You used, and I quote, expressions like "ber", "able to destroy Bf109s and FW190s in droves" and "not the great plane we have in game". Now the next thing for you to do is to quantify those expressions in such a way that they can be objectively taken as unambiguous evidence on which you base your claim. If you however fail to do so, then what I'm strongly suggesting here is you to STFU and p1ss off, because whining b1atches are, as we know, a dime in a dozen.

* Whether I've read any tech documents concerning the Cobra or not is irrelevant in this context - at least at this point - because it was YOU who claimed something here, and that naturally puts the burden of proof on YOU. And should you for some strange reason or another fail to understand the meaning of this, then please be so kind as to carefully re-read everything written above!

I hope this clarifies it a bit? So by all means get back to me directly after you've collected and processed your evidence. I'm waiting http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Oh, and http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/heart.gif to you as well http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
LOL. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/34.gif

I and others have grown too tired of posting info for people in regard to the ahistoricity of airplane flight characteristics in IL2. It does not matter what one posts as evidence, even if it is the flight tests performed by the airplane builder.

I'll just quote another person on this:

"Never discuss with stupid (and/or ignorant) people. They'll drag you down to their level and beat you up with experience (and/or sheer stuborness)."

And I don't have to prove anything. It's plain to see for anyone that has read enough about it. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Capt.LoneRanger
03-12-2007, 07:31 AM
Aymar_Mauri, it's not what you say, but how.

google and books help you on information, no doubt, but you should work on your social skills. With no reason, you're taking this to a personal level and that's plain wrong, no matter what you say.

Aymar_Mauri
03-12-2007, 07:37 AM
Originally posted by Capt.LoneRanger:
Aymar_Mauri, it's not what you say, but how.

google and books help you on information, no doubt, but you should work on your social skills. With no reason, you're taking this to a personal level and that's plain wrong, no matter what you say.
Yeah, sure. He can also fish somewhere else...

msalama
03-12-2007, 07:42 AM
And I don't have to prove anything. It's plain to see for anyone that has read enough about it.

OK, so you prefer to continue as a whining b1atch tiredly swinging that ol' handbag of yours then? Fine, fine. Your choice and loss of credibility, not mine!

And oh yeah, this claim of yours is actually so stupid that it isn't even funny. Consider this:

Let's say that you've a complaint against an authority. So what you naturally do next is that you take your case to an ombudsman or some such instance dealing with those matters. Now what the h3ll do you think is the first question they ask? Yep, bingo, you guessed it, it has to do with your evidence!

OK, glad we got that sorted out. Now please go and use your deductive powers and replace those said subjects above with "Oleg" and / or "1C" or something like that. Now what, again, do you think is the first question you get asked?

But OK, your case is so "obvious" that no evidence whatsoever is needed. Fine. So what you have to do next is to convince Oleg et. al. WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that this plane in question is, as you so cleverly put it, "ber". Now what kind of response do you think you'll get, or any kind at all?


I and others have grown too tired of...

And yet you have no problems with whining, b1tching and moaning? But then again old and bitter hags usually don't, and you seem to make no exceptions to that rule http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Aymar_Mauri
03-12-2007, 07:49 AM
Originally posted by msalama:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">And I don't have to prove anything. It's plain to see for anyone that has read enough about it.

OK, so you prefer to continue as a whining b1atch tiredly swinging that ol' handbag of yours then? Fine, fine. Your choice and loss of credibility, not mine!

And oh yeah, this claim of yours is actually so stupid that it isn't even funny. Consider this:

Let's say that you've a complaint against an authority. So what you naturally do next is that you take your case to an ombudsman or some such instance dealing with those matters. Now what the h3ll do you think is the first question they ask? Yep, bingo, you guessed it, it has to do with your evidence!

OK, glad we got that sorted out. Now please go and use your deductive powers and replace those said subjects above with "Oleg" and / or "1C" or something like that. Now what, again, do you think is the first question you get asked?

But OK, your case is so "obvious" that no evidence whatsoever is needed. Fine. So what you have to do next is to convince Oleg et. al. WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that this plane in question is, as you so cleverly put it, "ber". Now what kind of response do you think you'll get, or any kind at all? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Seems you really have trouble understanding things.

Reality check:
Oleg does not want to be convinced. He has his own concepts of how planes should fly. It really doesn't matter that they are far from reality. And what me, you or anyone else says about it, blunt sheer evidence or not, is of no consequence in changing the sim.


Originally posted by msalama:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I and others have grown too tired of...

And yet you have no problems with whining, b1tching and moaning? But then again old and bitter hags usually don't, and you seem to make no exceptions to that rule http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Yeah, sure. Whatever. Have you lollypop... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

msalama
03-12-2007, 08:21 AM
Seems you really have trouble understanding things.

...and this from a guy who feels entirely content with presenting mere claims without any evidence whatsoever as truths http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif


Oleg does not want to be convinced. He has his own concepts of how planes should fly. It really doesn't matter that they are far from reality. And what me, you or anyone else says about it, blunt sheer evidence or not, is of no consequence in changing the sim.

...which subsequently makes it all a bit hopeless to you, doesn't it? So WTF exactly are you actually _doing_ here complaining then, if you already know nothing's going to be changed according to your undoubtedly ooh-so-meticulously-researched evidence anyway - evidence you for some reason fail to share with us?

But OK, let's say I'm thick as 2 x 2x4s nailed together - and h3ll yeah, I surely _am_ in the sense of not believing anything around these boards unless it's proven to me. But what if Oleg's one of us bozos as well, and he doesn't believe what's claimed to him EITHER, unless he sees at least some credible evidence backing up those claims? In that case what would you do - keep on b1atching and moaning and swinging that handbag, or would you maybe try to collect something together so you'd have a real leg to stand on?

But nevermind. You already said your case is so good that no evidence whatsoever is needed, so there's hardly anything left to do but to return back to square 1, where you whine and I deal out retorts...

Right?

JG53Frankyboy
03-12-2007, 09:43 AM
for me it looks like the Airacobra got its bad reputation under us "westeners" from its combat duty 1942 in New Guinea and Guadalcanal.
the japanese attackers came in normaly at high alttidute, not the best area for a P-39 to fly (lack of power) and that the US had at that time not the best warningsystem - so the P-39s had no time to climb high enough.........
and as P-39 could most propably outturn a german Fighter till 5000m , it most propably could not do the same with a Zero.

i find the following report from the UK interesting - it shows where this plane was well suited for - and the area it had succes with the VVS and the USAAF in NorthAfrica in early 1943.

"The Airacobra I was powered by an Allison V-1710-E4 twelve-cylinder V in-line engine rated at 1150 hp for takeoff. Weights were 5462 pounds empty and 7845 pounds normal gross. Maximum speeds were 326 mph at 6000 feet, 343 mph at 10,000 feet, 355 mph at 13, 000 feet, 341 mph at 20,000 feet. Initial climb rate was 2040 feet per minute. With an internal fuel capacity of 100 Imp gal the Airacobra had an endurance of 1 hour 20 minutes at maximum continuous cruising speed at 6000 feet, 1 hour 5 minutes at 12,000 feet, and 1 hour 35 minutes at 20,000 feet. The true airspeeds at these altitudes were 287 mph, 327 mph, and 308 mph, respectively. Under most economical cruise conditions, the endurance increased to 3 hours 20 minutes, the relevant speeds being 183 mph at 6000 feet, 217 mph at 12,000 feet, and 215 mph at 20,000 feet. Under maximum continuous climb conditions, it took 15 minutes to reach 20,000 feet. The operational ceiling was considered to be about 24,000 feet, although there was a marked decrease in performance above 20,000 feet. At the Airacobra's rated altitude of 13,000 feet, it was 18 mph faster than the Spitfire VB. However, the speed fell off rapidly above that height, and the two planes were almost exactly matched at 15,000 feet. At 20,000 feet, the Spitfire VB was 35 mph faster and at 24,000 feet it was 55 mph faster. The ground run of the Airacobra during takeoff was 2250 feet, as compared with 1470 feet for the Hurricane II and 1590 feet for the Spitfire V.

The AFDU also did some comparative dog-fighting tests with the Airacobra against a Spitfire VB and a captured Messerschmitt BF 109E. The Airacobra and the Bf 109E carried out mock dog-fighting at 6000 feet and 15,000 feet. The Bf 109E had a height advantage of 1000 feet in each case. The Bf 109, using the normal German fighter tactics of diving and zooming, could usually only get in a fleeting shot. The Bf 109 could not compete with the Airacobra in a turn, and if the Bf 109 were behind the Airacobra at the start, the latter could usually shake him off and get in a burst before two complete turns were completed. If the Bf 109 were to dive on the Airacobra from above and continue the dive down to ground level after a short burst of fire, it was found that the Airacobra could follow and catch up to the Bf 109 after a dive of over 4000 feet. When fighting the Bf 109E below 20,000 feet, the Airacobra was superior on the same level and in a dive.

A similar trial was carried out against a Spitfire V. Although the Airacobra was faster than the Spitfire up to 15,000 feet, it was outclimbed and out-turned by the Spitfire. Unless it had a height advantage, the Airacobra could not compete with the Spitfire. If on the same level or below, at heights up to about 15,000 feet, the Airacobra would have to rely on its superior level and diving speeds and its ability to take negative "G" without the engine cutting out. Above 15,000 feet, the Airacobra lost its advantage in level speed.

The Airacobra was considered to be very suitable for low altitude operations because of the excellent view and controllability, and it was fully maneuverable at speeds above 160 mph. It was not difficult to fly at night, but the exhaust flames could be seen by another aircraft flying three miles to the rear. The flash from the nose guns was blinding, and could cause the pilot to lose not only his target but also his night vision. Firing of the nose guns caused the buildup of carbon monoxide contamination in the cockpit, and this could reach a lethal level very quickly. The guns were fairly inaccessible, and maintenance was troublesome. "

http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p39_5.html (http://home.att.net/%7Ejbaugher1/p39_5.html)

XyZspineZyX
03-12-2007, 09:51 AM
Originally posted by Aymar_Mauri:
Of course that in Olegland, the P-39 is an ber plane, well able to destroy Bf109s and FW190s in drovres, in total oposition to what really happened in WW2... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Hi

Until all planes, flown by both human and AI pilots, behave in the ways that they really did in WWII, arguments such as this are not conclusive. In this sim, the DogFight is King, regardless of how the planes were really used.

When the planes are used in a non-historical manner, why should the results mimic history?

XyZspineZyX
03-12-2007, 09:56 AM
In regards to the original question:

The Russian weren't of the opinion that the P-39 was the best thing on wings http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif They liked it for what it was, however, instead of hating it for what it was not. On the subject of the P-40, VVS pilots routinely operated the engines at power settings that wore out engines quickly (under 20 hours by some accounts), but which offered enhanced performance, especially when you consider the wing guns were often removed. They did this with the P-39 as well

US pilots disliked the P-39 because of fear of the prop extension shaft (which went right between the pilot's legs) breaking or failing, which was unfounded, fear of the engine sliding forward and crushing the pilot on crash-landings which was also unfounded, and from a rumor that the engine location caused CG problems

R_Target
03-12-2007, 11:06 AM
I just took a look at the P-39 engine table in America's 100,000. If I'm reading it correctly, the P-39D-2, P-39K, and P-39L have a V1710-63 developing 1325HP at 51" MAP for T.O. rating, 1590HP at 61" MAP for W.E.P.

BillyTheKid_22
03-12-2007, 11:12 AM
Originally posted by R_Target:
I just took a look at the P-39 engine table in America's 100,000. If I'm reading it correctly, the P-39D-2, P-39K, and P-39L have a V1710-63 developing 1325HP at 51" MAP for T.O. rating, 1590HP at 61" MAP for W.E.P.



Thank you! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

DIRTY-MAC
03-12-2007, 11:23 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by JG53Frankyboy:
for me it looks like the Airacobra got its bad reputation under us "westeners" from its combat duty 1942 in New Guinea and Guadalcanal.
the japanese attackers came in normaly at high alttidute, not the best area for a P-39 to fly (lack of power) and that the US had at that time not the best warningsystem - so the P-39s had no time to climb high enough.........
and as P-39 could most propably outturn a german Fighter till 5000m , it most propably could not do the same with a Zero.

i find the following report from the UK interesting - it shows where this plane was well suited for - and the area it had succes with the VVS and the USAAF in NorthAfrica in early 1943.

"The Airacobra I was powered by an Allison V-1710-E4 twelve-cylinder V in-line engine rated at 1150 hp for takeoff. Weights were 5462 pounds empty and 7845 pounds normal gross. Maximum speeds were 326 mph at 6000 feet, 343 mph at 10,000 feet, 355 mph at 13, 000 feet, 341 mph at 20,000 feet. Initial climb rate was 2040 feet per minute. With an internal fuel capacity of 100 Imp gal the Airacobra had an endurance of 1 hour 20 minutes at maximum continuous cruising speed at 6000 feet, 1 hour 5 minutes at 12,000 feet, and 1 hour 35 minutes at 20,000 feet. The true airspeeds at these altitudes were 287 mph, 327 mph, and 308 mph, respectively. Under most economical cruise conditions, the endurance increased to 3 hours 20 minutes, the relevant speeds being 183 mph at 6000 feet, 217 mph at 12,000 feet, and 215 mph at 20,000 feet. Under maximum continuous climb conditions, it took 15 minutes to reach 20,000 feet. The operational ceiling was considered to be about 24,000 feet, although there was a marked decrease in performance above 20,000 feet. At the Airacobra's rated altitude of 13,000 feet, it was 18 mph faster than the Spitfire VB. However, the speed fell off rapidly above that height, and the two planes were almost exactly matched at 15,000 feet. At 20,000 feet, the Spitfire VB was 35 mph faster and at 24,000 feet it was 55 mph faster. The ground run of the Airacobra during takeoff was 2250 feet, as compared with 1470 feet for the Hurricane II and 1590 feet for the Spitfire V.

The AFDU also did some comparative dog-fighting tests with the Airacobra against a Spitfire VB and a captured Messerschmitt BF 109E. The Airacobra and the Bf 109E carried out mock dog-fighting at 6000 feet and 15,000 feet. The Bf 109E had a height advantage of 1000 feet in each case. The Bf 109, using the normal German fighter tactics of diving and zooming, could usually only get in a fleeting shot. The Bf 109 could not compete with the Airacobra in a turn, and if the Bf 109 were behind the Airacobra at the start, the latter could usually shake him off and get in a burst before two complete turns were completed. If the Bf 109 were to dive on the Airacobra from above and continue the dive down to ground level after a short burst of fire, it was found that the Airacobra could follow and catch up to the Bf 109 after a dive of over 4000 feet. When fighting the Bf 109E below 20,000 feet, the Airacobra was superior on the same level and in a dive.

A similar trial was carried out against a Spitfire V. Although the Airacobra was faster than the Spitfire up to 15,000 feet, it was outclimbed and out-turned by the Spitfire. Unless it had a height advantage, the Airacobra could not compete with the Spitfire. If on the same level or below, at heights up to about 15,000 feet, the Airacobra would have to rely on its superior level and diving speeds and its ability to take negative "G" without the engine cutting out. Above 15,000 feet, the Airacobra lost its advantage in level speed.

The Airacobra was considered to be very suitable for low altitude operations because of the excellent view and controllability, and it was fully maneuverable at speeds above 160 mph. It was not difficult to fly at night, but the exhaust flames could be seen by another aircraft flying three miles to the rear. The flash from the nose guns was blinding, and could cause the pilot to lose not only his target but also his night vision. Firing of the nose guns caused the buildup of carbon monoxide contamination in the cockpit, and this could reach a lethal level very quickly. The guns were fairly inaccessible, and maintenance was troublesome. "

This is more like it.
Good post.

DIRTY-MAC
03-12-2007, 11:28 AM
Conversations with N. G. Golodnikov

Part Two. P-40 Kittyhawk and Tomahawk

by Andrey Sokhorukov
translation by James F. Gebhardt



Senior Lt. N. G. Golodnikov - August 1943.
Photo from Golodnikov's personal file.



A. S. In which types of P-40 were you trained? Which ones did you fight?

N. G. I fought in both the P-40 Kittyhawk [E and above] and P-40 Tomahawk [B and C]. The Tomahawks arrived first. We were trained in them by the usual method, a squadron at a time. I talked a while, I sat in the cockpit, I taxied a couple of times, and then I took off. "You want to live"take a seat." It took all of three or four days. We were combat pilots, not green cadets.

Our regiment flew with a mixture of aircraft for quite some time, one squadron in P-40s, another in Hurricanes. The first 10 P-40s came to us and the VVS higher ups gave the eleventh P-40 personally to Safonov [the regiment commander]. Subsequently the regiment transitioned completely to the P-40 after his death [which occurred on 30 May 1942].

A. S. Was there a difference between these two variants of the P-40?

N. G. There was one primary difference. We began to fight in the Tomahawks, and while it became clear that it had a forward center of gravity, it was not starkly obvious. If during flight maneuvers the pilot sharply pulled the control stick first toward himself and then pushed it abruptly away, the Tomahawk began a "porpoise" movement. It seemed like it wanted to somersault. Judging by everything, this somersaulting was as unwelcome a surprise to the Americans as it was to us. An American test pilot arrived from Moscow to help us deal with the phenomenon. He inspected and then flew the airplane to confirm the tendency to porpoise. Later, when the Kittyhawks arrived, we discovered that their tail assemblies had been made 40 cm longer, the forward center of gravity was more pronounced, and the porpoise tendency had abated. The Kittyhawk had a different fuselage shape but the cockpit remained the same.

A portion of the aircraft came to us in yellow camouflage, as if they had been intended for shipment to North Africa.

A. S. Describe the cockpit, visibility, instruments, bullet-proof glass and armored seat. Was there a palpable difference after the I-16 and the Hurricane? Better or worse?

N. G. Of course, the P-40s were better than the I-16 and the Hurricane. After the first flight, I said to myself, "Well, Kolya, finally they have given you a modern fighter."

The cockpit was roomy and elevated. At first, it was discomforting, waist-high in glass. The edge of the fuselage came almost to the level of my waist. The bullet-proof glass and armored seat were well-built.

Visibility was good, especially in the Kittyhawk, which had a bubble-shaped canopy. The canopy moved in an interesting way"by the rotation of a special handle. It did have an emergency jettison capability.

The control stick was almost like those in our fighters, with machine gun switches, and close by (as the brake lever is now) was a switch that was used to lower and raise the main gear and flaps. One simply placed the selector on "UP" and pressed the button; to raise the gear, place the selector on "DOWN" and press the button.

A. S. What about the radio?

N. G. It had a good radio set. Powerful, reliable, but on HF [high frequency]. When he began flying in a Tomahawk, Safonov had a Hurricane radio installed because half of his regiment was still flying Hurricanes, which had UHF radios. So he flew with two radios.

The American radios did not have hand microphones, rather throat microphones. These were good throat mikes, small, light, and comfortable.

A. S. With two radios mounted in it, wasn't Safonov's P-40 too heavy?

N. G. No, these foreign radio sets were light. The receiver and transmitter together weighed perhaps 15"20 kilos.

A. S. Nikolay Gerasimovich, what kind of armaments did the P-40 have?

N. G. Our Tomahawks and Kittyhawks had machine gun armaments only, the same on both models. Only large-caliber machine guns. Two synchronized [in the nose] and two in the wings. Browning 12.7mm. Powerful, reliable, good machine guns. In time, relatively soon after we received these aircraft, we began to remove the wing-mounted weapons in order to lighten the aircraft, leaving only the two synchronized guns.

A. S. Were two machine guns enough?

N. G. Yes, more than enough. I already told you how powerful they were.

Later they began to employ many P-40s as mast-top and light bombers. Our regiment had an air cover mission and our neighboring 78th Fighter Regiment was assigned mast-top bombing and ground support missions. When we began to be re-equipped with Cobras, we gave them our P-40s. The maintenance personnel installed Soviet-made bomb hangers on their P-40s to fit our bombs. To be more precise, the technicians replaced the American bomb hangers because Soviet bombs could not be hung on them. I recall that the fuselage bomb hanger was dual-purpose, to hang a bomb or an auxiliary fuel tank. The bomb hangers were easily changed; it took all of several hours. The American activation device was retained.

The P-40 carried a good bomb load"450 kg. This worked out to an FAB-100 under each wing and an FAB-250 under the fuselage. So now our comrades from the 78th Regiment flew out with bombs and at the moment of bomb drop we covered them to keep them from being attacked. After they dropped their bombs they were capable of defending themselves.

Our sight was American. Collimator. It was a normal sight.

No Soviet-made equipment was mounted on the P-40s except the bomb hangers.

A. S. Your P-40s did not have standard-caliber machine guns?

N. G. Not on ours.

A. S. So your P-40s did not have wing-mounted machine guns?

N. G. No. Ours had only the [nose-mounted] synchronized machine guns.

A. S. The engine"powerful, reliable, good altitude capability?

N. G. The Tomahawks had the Allison engine, not very good, but in itself powerful. As one pushed it to full RPMs, toward maximum output, it would begin to "make metal" [tiny metal particles in the oil]. But apparently it was our fault because, we were told, we had insufficient "oil culture". Later the Americans modified the engines and in the Kittyhawks the engines were more powerful and reliable.

Our "oil culture" also was improved as oil heaters, filtration devices, and special filler devices appeared. Our oil heater was cleaner than the equipment at the aid station. The regiment engineer was vigilant! Everyone wore white smocks, they used rubber mats, [paving] stone ramps, they constantly struggled with sand and dust and wouldn't let them close. They filtered the oil two and three times in the oil heater and two more times during the oil filling process. Even the "pistol" [dispenser] at the end of the oil filler hose had two covers, a thin white one and a thick canvas cover over the top of it. In principle we did need to improve our handling of oil, even while flying the Hurricanes. Its engine also was sensitive to oil, and when the Allisons arrived we had to raise our "oil culture" even higher.

In horsepower, of course, it would have been nice to have more power in the P-40 air frame. But the genuinely noticeable deficiency of thrust-to-weight ratio became palpable only toward the end of 1943.

A. S. Was there a special high-output regime?

N. G. There was no supercharger per se, but it had a special regime called "full rich""which delivered an enriched fuel mixture. This capability was employed to achieve especially high output, and this system was not abused. The mixture selector had three positions. MIN [minimum] was for economical flight. AUTO RICH was for normal flight. FULL RICH was for maximum power. The majority of flights were executed on AUTO. Over the ocean or during routine patrols we normally placed the selector at a position midway between AUTO and MIN. This was both economical and enabled us to maintain sufficiently high speed.

A. S. Could these regimes be used at all altitudes?

N. G. Yes, all altitudes. The engine smoked a bit on FULL RICH, but the power was there.

A. S. Was this engine capable of higher altitudes than the Hurricane's engine?

N. G. Somewhat; we could freely climb up to 8,000 meters. It was particularly good at 4,000"5,000.

A. S. What about the propeller?

N. G. The P-40 had two types of propeller. With the electric propeller, the pitch was regulated by an electric motor, and with the mechanical propeller, conventionally with levers and rods. The electric propeller was automatic, with combined control by the throttle and pitch. The throttle quadrant had a rheostat and the movement of the lever automatically regulated the pitch. The Tomahawk had the electric propeller, while the latest Kittyhawks had mechanical propellers. Both types of propeller were reliable.

I did not fly with the mechanical propeller because by this time I had transitioned to the Cobra. Regarding the linked control I can say the following: sometimes this linked control was a hindrance.

A. S. Strange. German fighters had a system of linked control of throttle and pitch. In fact, this system was considered a great advantage of German fighters. The pilot was less distracted in combat.

N. G. So they say. Normally, pitch and throttle are coordinated in the following manner: more RPMs"reduce pitch. This is how the linked system worked. However, when we were trying to overtake the enemy in a dive or conversely to break away, for maximum acceleration we needed to increase RPMs sharply. Initially the propeller was loaded up and only later was pitch reduced. If in a dive, with the increase of RPMs the propeller pitch was reduced immediately, the propeller would begin to function as a brake. German aircraft were good in the dive. In a fighter with a linked throttle-pitch system in a dive we either fell back or he caught up to us. Therefore we always preferred a separated or de-linked system.

A. S. Nikolay Gerasimovich, how would you evaluate the speed, rate of climb, acceleration, and maneuverability of the P-40? Did it suit you?

N. G. I say again, the P-40 significantly outclassed the Hurricane, and it was far and away above the I-16.

Personally speaking, the P-40 could contend on an equal footing with all the types of Messerschmitts, almost to the end of 1943. If you take into consideration all the tactical and technical characteristics of the P-40, then the Tomahawk was equal to the Bf-109F and the Kittyhawk was slightly better.

Its speed and vertical and horizontal maneuver were good. It was fully competitive with enemy aircraft.

As for acceleration, the P-40 was a bit heavy, but when one had adjusted to the engine, it was normal.

When the later types Bf-109G and FW-190 appeared, the P-40 Kittyhawk became somewhat dated, but not by much. An experienced pilot could fight an equal fight with it.

I flew somewhere around 50 combat sorties and participated in 10"12 aerial engagements in the P-40. Then the regiment became the next in line to replace its equipment"for the P-39 Airacobra.

Text AndreySukhorukov
Translation James F. Gebhardt

DIRTY-MAC
03-12-2007, 11:39 AM
Conversations with N. G. Golodnikov

Part Three. P-39 Airacobra and Yaks

by Andrey Sokhorukov
translation by James F. Gebhardt



N. G. Golodnikov in front of his Cobra. Severomorsk airfield. 1943.



A. S. When did you begin with the Cobra? On what types of Cobras were you trained? Did you have two-seaters?

N. G. You and the two-seater! No, we did not have a two-seater! Our airplanes arrived in large crates.

I started on the Cobra in November 1942. We received the first Cobras from Moscow, in containers. We assembled them and then were trained on them. These were P-39Qs, perhaps types-1 and -2, from the British order. [Apparently that should be Aircobra I ed.]. They had yellow camouflage paint on them for North Africa. We trained hard. We had instructors and various types of written materials. Transition was conducted quickly, in five or six days.

Later they ferried Cobras to us or we picked them up in Krasnoyarsk. These were types Q-5, -10, -25, -30, and Q-35. These aircraft were made especially for the USSR. We fought the remaining period of the war only in Q models.

A. S. Did you like the Cobra?

N. G. We liked them. Especially the Q-5. This was the best fighter of all three in which I fought. Of the Cobras, this was the lightest.

A. S. Nikolay Gerasimovich, how did you like the cockpit?

N. G. After the P-40 it seemed kind of tight, but it was very comfortable.

Visibility from the cabin was outstanding. The instrument panel was very ergonomic, with the entire complement of instruments right up to an artificial horizon and radio compass. 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.

It even had holders for pen and pencil.

The armored seat was sturdy and thick. The armored glass was also thick. The first models had armored glass in front and rear, but the armored seat lacked a head protector (the rear armored glass fulfilled this role). In the later models, somewhere beginning with the Q-25, the rear glass was not armored but the armored seat was equipped with a head protector.

The oxygen equipment was reliable, although the mask was quite small, only covering the nose and mouth. We wore this mask only at high altitude, above 20,000 feet. Normally it lay on one of the machine guns.

The radio set was powerful and reliable, HF. All American radio sets were HF. It received and transmitted very clearly.

A. S. Nikilay Gerasimovich, is it true that compared to the import cockpits, Soviet cockpits were uncomfortable?

N. G. That's true to some degree. But a fighter airplane is not the lap of luxury. If the cockpits of our fighter planes were less plush, it wasn't by much. At that time the difference wasn't particularly obvious to me.

A. S. Describe the machine guns, cannon, and sights.

N. G. The first Cobras that we received from Moscow had a 20mm Hispano-Suiza cannon and two heavy Browning machine guns, synchronized and mounted in the nose.

Later the Cobras arrived with the M-6 [should be M-4 ed.] 37mm cannon and with four machine guns, two synchronized and two wing-mounted. We quickly removed the wing-mounted machine guns, leaving one cannon and two machine guns.

The Cobras had interesting charging and trigger mechanisms for the cannon"hydraulic. At first, in the English variant of the Cobra, we had a lot of trouble with them. The hydraulics froze up. It seems that the Cobras had been intended for North Africa, because the hydraulic fluid was thick and clogged up the passages in the hydraulic cylinders. Our technicians replaced the hydraulic fluid with Soviet fluid and enlarged the diameter of the passages. The charging mechanism began to work normally. By the way, on these Cobras all the hydraulics froze, not just the charging mechanism.

The machine guns were charged mechanically, by hand, with a special handle. The receiver portion of the machine guns extended back into the cockpit. The triggers for the machine guns were electric.

The sight was American. A very simple sight"a reflector and crosshairs.

A. S. Nikolay Gerasimovich, if you compare the Hispano-Suiza 20mm cannon and the ShVAK, which was better in your opinion?

N. G. Ours, without a doubt. The ShVAK was twice as reliable. The Hispano simply required an unbelievable amount of maintenance. The smallest exposure to dust, congealed lubricant, or any other kind of little thing, and the gun would not fire. Very unreliable.

The ballistics of our cannon were better. Our cannon had a flatter trajectory, which is significant for applying lead. When you talk about the Yaks, then one didn't even need a sight. The tracers were almost straight, take aim and fire, and where the nose is pointing is where the rounds struck.

Our ShVAK had a higher rate of fire.

Regarding the target effect, these two cannons were about equal. In either case, there was no difference that I could see with the human eye.

A. S. Was a 37mm cannon necessary? Wasn't this too large a caliber for a fighter? You had so few rounds of ammunition. And wasn't its rate of fire slow?

N. G. One cannot say that the 37mm cannon was a disadvantage or an advantage. Look at it from this perspective. The M-6 cannon had its strong and weak points. One had to take advantage of the strong points and compensate, as much as possible, for its weaknesses.

These were the weaknesses: 1. Low rate of fire. 8 rounds/second [this is incorrect"the correct rate is slightly over 2 rounds/second (130 rounds/minute) J.G.] This is indeed a low rate of fire.

2. The ballistics of the projectile were abysmal. The flight trajectory of the projectile was arching, which required large lead angles. But again this was at long ranges, especially when firing at ground targets. When firing at ground targets we had to apply two rings of the sight for lead.

3. Minimal ammunition supply. Thirty rounds.

All these deficiencies could be compensated for by proper selection of firing range. If one fired from 70"50 meters, there was sufficient rate of fire, the ballistics at this range were acceptable, and the lead required was minimal. Thus, all the weaknesses of the 37mm cannon listed above revealed themselves only at long ranges.

Now regarding the strengths: 1. The projectile was very powerful. Normally, one strike on an enemy fighter and he was finished! In addition, we fired this cannon at other types of targets. Bombers, vessels at sea. The 37mm cannon was very effective against these targets.

Here is an example. Our patrol torpedo boats had torn apart a German convoy. The majority of them had in some way or other been damaged, but they were withdrawing. One patrol boat was heavily damaged and lagging behind a bit. German "hunter" boats were closing in on it. One of them moved in either to kill or capture it. There were eight of us; my squadron commander Vitya Maksimovich, had flown out in pair slightly ahead of us to reconnoiter the convoy and I was leading the other six. We were listening to the conversations of the PT boat crews (the PT boats, by the way, were American Higgins craft). The commander of the heavily damaged boat said, "They are on top of us!" My squadron commander said to him, "Don't worry! I ll get him now!" He dropped down and fired a burst of 37mm cannon. It was a pleasure to watch the German "hunter" go up in flames. Six Bf-109Fs were covering the convoy and supporting the attack on our PT boats. I engaged them with my group of six Cobras. We circled round and round. I shot down two Messerschmitts and damaged one (intelligence subsequently confirmed the damaged 109). Before we had even landed, the crew of the damaged PT boat reported by radio that one of the Cobras had shot down two Messers and another had set the German "hunter" on fire. This had all happened right in front of their eyes. Later Admiral A. V. Kuzmin, commander of the patrol torpedo boat brigade, personally expressed his appreciation to us. All our damaged PT boats made it back to their base.

Thus, a single burst of several 37mm projectiles was sufficient to set fire to or damage a "hunter-type" patrol vessel.

Here is another example. We were flying on a "free hunt" mission, four of us. I was the leader. We came upon a German tanker that we estimated at 3000"3500 tons. Most importantly, it was proceeding without escort! I gave the command, "Prepare to attack!" I dropped down and made my pass, firing a good burst. I pulled out at an altitude of 25 meters. He also fired back at me. OK, fine. My wingman made his pass on the target, then the leader of the second pair, and the fourth pilot reported, "It's burning. I can't see anything!" I responded, "OK, pull out, don't engage." We got a look at it, moving toward shore totally engulfed in flames. We flew back to our airfield and reported, "We set a tanker on fire, 3,500 tons." And he replied, "Right. You set a tanker on fire with all of 38 rounds expended!" He didn't believe what I was telling them. 38 rounds for 3,500 tons! I said to him, "Isn't that enough? We put 38 rounds into that box!" At first everyone laughed at us, but later our agent intelligence gave us confirmation of that number. A German tanker of 3,500 tons displacement had been burned out. Everything fit. There you have it"38 rounds of 37mm cannon destroyed a 3,500-ton vessel!

2. The M-6 cannon was very reliable. If it was properly maintained it worked very reliably. We could charge the cannon only one time from the cockpit, but this one re-charging was completely sufficient. If this cannon malfunctioned, it was due entirely to unqualified maintenance.

I was involved in another incident. A young, inexperienced armorer installed the belts upside down, so that the teeth of the links of the belt were on top, for both machine guns and the cannon. We were flying in pair. This was my wingman's second combat sortie. We spotted a pair of Fokkers[Fw-190 ed.]. I attacked the lead Fokker, who went into a vertical climb. I fired a shot from my cannon, the glowing ball of the projectile's tracer crossing the path of the enemy aircraft. The German, naturally, abruptly dove; the range closed rapidly and I had him in my sights. I got off one round from each machine gun and experienced a complete stoppage! I re-charged both guns"to no avail! None of my weapons worked! It was a good thing that I had hit him with these two rounds. The German was smoking heavily and had lost a great deal of speed. I had nothing to kill him with! I called to my wingman, "Get the Fritz!" But he was circling in a merry-go-round with the German's wingman and continued to circle until the German shot him up. Except for "his own German," my wingman did not see anything, and the damaged Fokker got away. On the ground it was discovered that my wingman had not fastened his earphones to his helmet, and during the high-G maneuvers his earphones had come off. He had not heard my commands. A month later someone shot down a German pilot in a Fokker, and during his interrogation by the division commander he asked, "Why, a month ago, did a pilot from this regiment not finish me off? Two of my cylinders were shot up." (The German well knew that only the pilots of 2d GSAP VVS SF flew "red-nosed" Cobras. A. S.) Our division commander replied to him, "Yes, he was something of a screw up, kind of like you, but he didn't get shot down."

They badly wanted to send the armorer to a tribunal [courts martial], but he got off with a reprimand. I was categorically opposed to a tribunal. He was a young kid, still a "newbie". The fault really lay with the armaments mechanic. It was his direct duty to check the correctness of the loading of the rounds. He knew that his armorer was inexperienced, but he did not stop to check and simply took the armorer's word. "Is it ready?" "Yes, it's ready."

A. S. Did you have small-caliber machine guns on your P-39s?

N. G. No, only large-caliber.

A. S. It is well known that the American sights had two types of cross-hair. The first was the so-called "Christmas tree", where the crosshairs have countless supplementary marks that show the convergence point, and a second with a "clean" crosshair, totally without markings. What kind did you have?

N. G. I saw both.

A. S. What about the engine in the P-39. Was it weak? They say that it was unreliable, it was never good for the recommended 120 hours, and it "threw" connecting rods.

N. G. We had Allison engines. They were powerful, but . . . the engines in the Cobras were unreliable, especially early on. These were on the English variants, the Q-1 and Q-2. Their engines were weaker. After the first three or four air combats, all ten Cobras were laid up for engine repairs.

These first Allisons did not deliver even one-half of the recommended engine hours. 50 hours was its limit, and frequently less. Normally 10"15 sorties if they were in combat. They seized, the bearings melted; this happened to me once. I sat out for a while with no engine. They monitored these engines closely. As soon as any metal showed up in the oil, they changed out the engine. The supply of replacement engines was plentiful, but it was not always possible to get delivery of them. Sometimes they brought them in on an Li-2 [Soviet-built C-47], four in a load, such was the demand for new power plants. But just the same, despite our best efforts, there were seizures. True, this engine did not "throw" connecting rods, at least this never happened to us. On type-5 and later models the engines were more powerful and reliable.

Now regarding power settings. In principle the RPMs were regulated by a conventional throttle. In the Cobras there were two regimes of throttle operation, "normal" and "war emergency", which was characterized by increased manifold pressure. The throttle quadrant was mounted in the [left side of the] cockpit and the pilot controlled it. The "war emergency" regime had a lever position that we called "51 inches and 57 inches of boost". If we were flying on Soviet B-95 fuel, then "war emergency power" was set at 51 inches. If we were using American B-100 fuel, then "war emergency power" was set at 57inches. Although it was mounted in the cockpit, on the throttle quadrant, the pilot did not adjust this setting. The position of the "war emergency power" selector was controlled by a piece of wire that could be broken easily with greater forward pressure on the throttle quadrant.

One time I sensed a lack of power (I needed to get ahead of a German) and I thought, "The hell with it"! I broke the wire and selected "57". Then I experienced what "57" meant! My airplane leapt forward! The Germans spotted me from above and dove immediately, which was what we wanted.

American gasoline was better than ours. Not more powerful, but better. The anti-detonation qualities of our gasoline came from the addition of tetraethyl lead. After every two or three flights the engine mechanic had to clean the lead from our spark plugs. If he waited too long, a lead droplet would form between the electrodes. But this was not a special problem. Normally our spark plugs were quickly cleaned after every sortie. But with the American gasoline, this did not happen. Either they used higher octane to begin with and added less lead or they raised the octane rating with benzol [another additive]. Perhaps it was just the benzol. Because our gasoline was pink in color and the American gasoline was dark blue.

Incidentally, the Allison "made metal" on any gasoline. Realistically the Allison engine began to live up to its full 100 hours of use only in 1944. These engines came in the Q-25-30. But by this time the intensity of air combat had already fallen somewhat, and the primary distinction of these types was the perceptible decrease in power output. Therefore we removed the wing machine guns. They were heavy [one Browning .50 caliber under each wing], slowed the airplane down, and their recoil was felt in combat.

A. S. Wasn't this somewhat of a surprise, a deficiency in power output when one would think power should be increasing as the war progressed?

N. G. The crux of the matter was that from modification to modification the Cobra was somehow improved in construction, but this came at the price of constant increases in weight, which was not compensated for even by the growing power output of the engine. The P-63 KingCobra was a "leap". I had a chance to fly it after the war (thank God!). The strongest [P-39] in power output were the types from Q-2 to the early Q-10s, and then the power output began to fall. Again, beginning with the -10, the propellers came with a unified system of throttle/pitch, and this also did not increase survivability in combat. I've already addressed that.

A. S. Nikolay Gerasimovich, did you have the impression that they initially delivered the Cobra with an overstressed engine, that is under normal circumstances that Allison engine would have developed 100"150 less horsepower?

N. G. That's entirely possible. But in the course of the war, the Allison lived up to its specifications. You have to give the Americans their due.

A. S. You said that various propellers were mounted?

N. G. Yes. At first they had three-bladed props, later four blades. I did not detect any appreciable difference between them. These propellers were mechanical, they were controlled by hand, with a system of levers and rods. On later Cobras they installed combined throttle/pitch control. This was the case on some Q-10s, on all of the Q-25s and Q-30s. We preferred the de-linked control, where the throttle and the pitch were separate. This was on the Q-5 up to the Q-10.

A. S. How much fuel did you carry?

N. G. If we hung the 175-gallon fuselage auxiliary tank, we had enough for six hours of flight.

A. S. In the literature the Cobra is said to have the following deficiencies: 1. Unreliable engine. 2. Weak tail. 3. A pilot bailing out of a Cobra would be struck by the vertical stabilizer. 4. Because of the rearward center of gravity, it was easy to enter an inverted spin and difficult to recover. The engine problems you have already mentioned, and what else can you say?

N. G. I can't say anything about the weak tail. We never experienced that problem.

As for the pilot being struck by the vertical stabilizer, one had to observe specific instructions. In the first place, never open both doors, but only one. If you opened one door, then you had only to stick your head out and the air stream would pull you out. If you opened both doors, you could only crawl out of the cockpit like an old man. Secondly, pull up your legs.

The center of gravity of the Cobra was exceptionally rearward. We even had 10 kilos of lead weight mounted in the forward portion to unload the tail. Sometimes this center of gravity created problems with the wing and in inverted flight. Once again, during non-combat flights, don't place any load in the empty rear portion of the fuselage. Somebody didn't do it and couldn't make it back. The airplane flew as if balanced on a tip of an awl. Later we gained experience and loaded everything in the forward compartment.

The Cobra had other deficiencies. The rear armored glass would fall out. It was heavy, perhaps 12 kilos, and was secured with a special pin. During abrupt maneuvers this pin sometimes did not hold and the glass fell out. It was easy to re-install, though.

There was another deficiency; at high speed a vent window mounted within the left door window (there was no vent window in the right door) was dislodged, and this piece of glass struck the pilot with enormous force. This happened twice in our unit and the pilots died.

One more. The tube for the oxygen mask was thin and not corrugated, but smooth. This was not very good because when we constantly put on and took off the mask, it could twist around and pinch at the most inconvenient time for proper breathing. We had an instance of this where the pilot lost consciousness, thank God not for long. He managed to regain consciousness while still aloft.

On English Cobras there was a lousy heater. Our cockpit was heated by a small heater like in the Zaporozets [a Russian-manufactured car J.G.], with a small igniter and a fuel nozzle. This igniter created terrible feedback noise in the earphones, interfering with radio. When we turned it on, we got rushing noise. When we turned it off, we froze. My hands froze in this cockpit.

We had excellent heaters in the Q-5 and subsequent models, based on engine heat. We had no problems with them.

A. S. Did you have gun cameras?

N. G. Near the end of the war, only on the Cobras.

A. S. Was the engine capable of high altitude?

N. G. Fully. 8,000 meters without problem, and neither we nor the Germans flew higher than that.

A. S. Nikilay Gerasimovich, could the Cobra really contend with the Bf-109G and FW-190 in aerial combat?

N. G. Yes. The Cobra, especially the Q-5, took second place to no one, and even surpassed all the German fighters.

I flew more than 100 combat sorties in the Cobra, of these 30 in reconnaissance, and fought 17 air combats. The Cobra was not inferior in speed, in acceleration, nor in vertical or horizontal maneuverability. It was a very balanced fighter.

A. S. This is strange. In the words of one American pilot, the Cobra was an airplane "suitable for large, low, and slow circles". To go further, if we judge by references, then the maximum speed of the Cobra fell below that of the Bf-109F, not to mention the later German fighters. The Allies removed it from their inventories because it could not fight with the "Messer" and the "Fokker". Neither the British nor the Americans kept it as a fighter airplane.

N. G. Well, I don't know. It certainly did well for us. Pokryshkin fought in it; doesn't that say something? [Aleksandr Pokryshkin was the number 2 Soviet ace at the end of the war and flew a P-39 from late 1942 to the war's end J.G.]

It seems that everything depends on what you wanted out of it. Either you flew it in such a manner as to shoot down Messers and Fokkers, or you flew it in a way that guaranteed 120 hours of engine life.

Let's take the speed of the Cobra and the Messer. I had a Q-25 Cobra, with cameras for reconnaissance. Behind the engine were a vertical AFA-3s and two oblique AFA-21s. I simply flew away from a group of Bf-109Gs in this airplane, admittedly in a dive. Perhaps a single Messer could have caught me, but I flew away from a group.

A. S. Nikolay Gerasimovich, being completely honest, was the Cobra better than our fighters? And in general, Soviet-produced aircraft, were they fully capable fighters?

N. G. If you want to talk about Soviet-made fighters, then you have to specify which ones and when.

I have already addressed the I-16.

Of the remaining aircraft, I flew in the LaGG-3 and the MiG-1 in the first half of the war. I began to fly the LaGG in 1941, while still at aviation school. It was heavy, even the lightened version. They took an immediate dislike to it when it was introduced to the forces. The engine was weak for the air frame. I never fought an aerial engagement in it.

I began to fly the MiG-1 in the regiment, as we had three of them. They sat on the apron a lot because of their unreliable engines. As a former instructor, I was permitted to fly in one of them.

A. S. Did this MiG-1 have wing slats?

N. G. Yes, with three machine guns. It was somewhat flimsy. But it had its strong points. It had an outstanding air frame, little effort was required on the stick. It was comfortable. Visibility from the cockpit was very good. It reacted quickly to inputs. It was supercharged. "Above 4,000 meters, this airplane is God," Pokryshkin correctly stated about the MiG.

The M-35 engine drove it. It was horribly unreliable, very shoddy. There was a rule: if a pilot ran the engine to maximum RPM in flight, the engine would fail in the next flight or the one after that.

I myself was chasing after a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft, just about ready to commence firing. At that moment my engine died. I landed with a dead engine. My instructor habits came in handy. It turned out that the timing gear mechanism had broken. Flights in our MiGs were forbidden after this incident. I had made three or four flights in the MiG but had fought no aerial engagements.

A. S. Pokryshkin, in his memoirs, wrote that a pilot who could fly the I-16 and the MiG could easily transition to any fighter.

N. G. This is normal. I did not experience any complexes regarding Soviet fighters. We had very good machines. I flew on them and can make comparisons. No, our fighters were not worse than the Cobra.

I flew most of the Yaks immediately after the war, along with the Cobra. Thus I am able to make comparisons. I flew in the Yak-1B (we had one, for the division commander), Yak-7B, and Yak-9.

The Yak-1B was very light and accelerated very rapidly. Only the Yak-3 was quicker. That was its strong suit.

The Yak-7B was heavier but I liked it a lot.

The Yak-9 was heavy.

In aerodynamics and power output, the Yak aircraft were on the highest level while remaining simple, but on the limit of stress.

I regret that I was not able to fly the La-5 or the La-7, but I flew the La-9 and La-11 and can thus judge the Lavochkin. High class. I particularly liked the La-9.

A. S. The Yak-9. With 37mm cannon?

N. G. Why 37mm? Ours had a 57mm cannon.

A. S. This was a Yak-9K?

N. G. I don't remember the model designation. We had two or three of them. They were designed especially for combating ships, patrol vessels, and so on. It seems to me that there were 12 rounds for the cannon, no eight. Yes, it was eight. But if you were flying along at 600 kph and fired the cannon, your speed dropped to 400! It stopped you in mid-air! Then you had to regain the speed.

We flew very little on them because they were not built for air-to-air combat.

A. S. Did anyone compare the Cobra with our own aircraft?

N. G. Yes, even I did that. I flew a training engagement in the Cobra against a Yak-1. Three flew against me and in all three cases I got behind the Yak.

A. S. So the Yak was not as good an airplane?

N. G. I was a better pilot. I had great experience and a feeling for my fighter. My opponents were young. Had I been flying the Yak and they been in the Cobra, I would have done the same. Later the division commander said to me, "What are you doing? Give the guys a chance to believe that their airplane is also good! They won't understand why you beat them!"

A. S. Tell us, our later aircraft"the Yaks and Lavochkins"did they fall far behind the Germans?

N. G. They were not inferior. I have already said that in speed, acceleration capability, and maneuverability the Cobra was at a minimum on a par with the German aircraft. And the Yaks and Lavochkins were not less capable than the Cobra. What superiority are you talking about?

A. S. Nikolay Gerasimovich, if you look at any reference book, the superiority in speed of German aircraft"the Bf-109G and FW-190"is indisputable. Minimum 20"25 kilometers at low altitudes and up to 80"100 kilometers at high altitudes. And you say ours did not lag behind?

N. G. No, some difference in speed always exists. At low altitudes we were a bit faster, at high altitudes they were. The difference was on the order of 10"20 km. But this difference was not so great that it ensured overwhelming superiority. In combat it was practically not discernible.

A. S. Nikolay Gerasimovich, sometime relatively long ago I was speaking with a pilot"a frontline veteran. Right after the war they flew in captured aircraft. And no matter how hard they tried, they were unable to attain the speeds the Germans had written in their specifications. The shortfall in speed was significant. In the end, they prevailed upon a German, a high-level specialist, and asked him, "Why this shortfall in speed? Are we using the engine's capability incorrectly?" His response was that they would never achieve the target speed, because the German specifications showed the theoretical speed, and they were attempting to attain that speed on their instruments.

Nikolay Gerasimovich, in your view, is this possible?

N. G. Of course. We had a group of specialists with us from NII VVS. They were examining specifications and were looking at speed. "What speed is indicated at 7,000 meters? 780? Take away 100. And what about 3,000 meters? 700? Reduce it 70 km." This is how they calculated the instrumented speed and, characteristically, almost always hit their target. Perhaps they knew something about our focus on speed.

Text AndreySukhorukov
Translation James F. Gebhardt

DIRTY-MAC
03-12-2007, 11:42 AM
Oh here is the whole interview:
http://lend-lease.airforce.ru/english/articles/golodnikov/index.htm

The Russian regarded the P39 as one of their absolutely best fighers.
Many many aces flew especially the P-39.

msalama
03-12-2007, 12:22 PM
Thanks for all the info guys. S!

faustnik
03-12-2007, 01:11 PM
Look for this little book:

http://www.mmpbooks.biz/books/8391632792/8391632792p.htm

It has a list of improvements made by the Soviets to their Cobras. It also has Soviet data illustrating the superiority of the Cobra over the P-40, Hurricane and Spit Vb.

In the hands of a capable pilot, the Cobra was competitive with any fighter at low altitude. The VVS record proves it.

AVGWarhawk
03-12-2007, 02:11 PM
a bad point is the P-40 engine Damage modell - sometimes it stops after one bullet of .30cal size................


Uhm, send a .30 cal into the block of the family truckster and see how long it runs. Come on, a cracked block, large chunks of metal flying around hitting the crank/rod arm/piston/valves while the engine is at high RPM is a mix for instant dead engine. I don't find this to be over-modeled at all.

JG53Frankyboy
03-12-2007, 03:03 PM
Originally posted by AVGWarhawk:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">a bad point is the P-40 engine Damage modell - sometimes it stops after one bullet of .30cal size................


Uhm, send a .30 cal into the block of the family truckster and see how long it runs. Come on, a cracked block, large chunks of metal flying around hitting the crank/rod arm/piston/valves while the engine is at high RPM is a mix for instant dead engine. I don't find this to be over-modeled at all. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

sorry that i was not so precise as needed - i ment in comparison to other engine DMs in game.

XyZspineZyX
03-12-2007, 03:09 PM
Originally posted by R_Target:
I just took a look at the P-39 engine table in America's 100,000. If I'm reading it correctly, the P-39D-2, P-39K, and P-39L have a V1710-63 developing 1325HP at 51" MAP for T.O. rating, 1590HP at 61" MAP for W.E.P.

That's not out of line with anecdotal evidence provided by Erik Shilling, about similar engines in P-40s, who claimed to have once accidentally used a setting making 1700 horsepower for a few minutes

VW-IceFire
03-12-2007, 03:26 PM
Originally posted by Capt.LoneRanger:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Aymar_Mauri:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">The P-400 were the updated versions of the P39. Pilots said, the P400 was the P39 faced with real combat. It had a stronger engine with turbo-charger and a lighter gun.
Totally off the mark on this one. The super P-39 was the P-63 Kingcobra, not the P-400. Just like JG52Karaya-X and JG53Frankyboy said, the P-400 was just the "british ordered Airacobra Mk.I but not delivered to the UK and put in US service"... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Totally off? Yeah. Now, where did I say the P400 was a Super-P39? I said it was a different version with a lighter gun and better performance-characteristics. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/10.gif

Besides that, the P39 is ber. It was quite realistic in the original IL2, where the snap-stalls made this plane a real challenge to fly. It now is just a one-hit-wonder on rails. Also, without reliability modelled, the P39 will never be close to real. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
But the P-400 is a P-39D with a smaller gun and worse performance....

The P-400 is a RAF Aircobra Mark I. It was by far the worst of the P-39 batch from what I've read with all sorts of problems that the RAF ran into. Performance was actually quite acceptable against the 109E but the problems were insurmountable including poor altitude performance, the compasses were apparently in terrible shape and never worked properly, there was some sort of gas leaking into the cockpit from the firing of the guns (cordite?) and so forth.

No P-39 in service had a turbocharger and none of them had any good altitude supercharging so altitude performance and ultimately top speed suffered.

Let us also keep in mind that most of the Russian fleet of P-39s were not the P-39D that the USAAF had so much trouble with but an improved P-39N and P-39Q series of models which were generally improved by Bell aviation in all respects. Occasionally based on Soviet requirements too.

Also worth noting that the Soviets were interested mostly in flying at very low altitudes and supporting ground troops. Altitude wasn't a problem, they didn't fly all that far, and the turn rate was extremely good in the P-39 and better than the 109 so that was all they needed. Given that they were short on everything and needed as much as possible...the P-39 was actually pretty good. You'll also find that they always talk about how the landing gear was great with the terrible runways they often had and how the radio was lightweight and worked very well which was the opposite of what they had in other fighter types.

You can see that the Russians had a lot to like and in some cases lower expectations but in other cases it was just operationally the plane made more sense.

charshep
03-13-2007, 01:01 AM
Thanks for the posts so far.

I think I've got a pretty good feel for the service differences between the p39/40s in Russian service versus those in US service (for Russia, theatre better suited to the qualities of both aircraft, shorter supply lines and more plentiful engines allowing engine overstressing).

However, I'd still like information as to why US/Commenwealth pilots preferred the p40 while the Russians preferred the p39. I'd also like info as to which was in actuality the better aircraft.

Badsight-
03-13-2007, 01:25 AM
Originally posted by msalama:
* Whether I've read any tech documents concerning the Cobra or not is irrelevant in this context - at least at this point you dont actually play this game do you

msalama
03-13-2007, 01:55 AM
you dont actually play this game do you

You don't actually have f**king clue, do you, about what exactly were we having a row over back there?

FYI: the man presented an opinion without any evidence whatsoever as an unequivocal truth, and I kind of didn't like that approach. You have a problem with this?

TheBandit_76
03-13-2007, 02:00 AM
A. S. Nikolay Gerasimovich, what kind of armaments did the P-40 have?

N. G. Our Tomahawks and Kittyhawks had machine gun armaments only, the same on both models. Only large-caliber machine guns. Two synchronized [in the nose] and two in the wings. Browning 12.7mm. Powerful, reliable, good machine guns. In time, relatively soon after we received these aircraft, we began to remove the wing-mounted weapons in order to lighten the aircraft, leaving only the two synchronized guns.

A. S. Were two machine guns enough?

N. G. Yes, more than enough. I already told you how powerful they were.


http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Draughluin1
03-13-2007, 02:48 AM
Depending on where you stand, people are always going to have a difference of opinion on the relative merrits of each aircraft. Personally, I favour the Airacobra in combat, though not for anything that has been mentioned in the above posts. I'll just say that our American friends have a tendency of building execelent aircraft and then go and spoil it by adding too much extra weight.Anyway, please read attachment for the Russian perspective on both American craft in VVS Service.
http://lend-lease.airforce.ru/english/articles/romanenko/p-40/index.htm

Badsight-
03-13-2007, 03:55 AM
Originally posted by msalama:
You don't actually have f**king clue, do you, about what exactly were we having a row over back there?

FYI: the man presented an opinion without any evidence whatsoever as an unequivocal truth, and I kind of didn't like that approach. You have a problem with this? dork

go & play the game , see how good the P-39 is , compare it to RL accounts & stats & see if he's all BS . your jumping up & down is pathetic . since when has FB ever been considered perfect .

what im saying is , do you even play the game ? because experience shows the flaws of FB as well as the gold

so tell me , when was it that you started getting paid as the resident MG apologist

msalama
03-13-2007, 06:17 AM
so tell me, when was it that you started getting paid as the resident MG apologist

You just don't get it, do you? Well never fear, I'll spell it out to you loud and clear once more: someone makes a claim - whatever claim - and it's THEIR responsibility to prove that claim true. And that's the way it works the world over, not just in this stupid little game of ours... got it now?

Ain't nothing more or less this thing. S**t, you guys whining 'bout the Cobra might even be _right_ for all I know. You just have to prove it, that's all!

And _I'm_ the dork here sez him http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif

AVGWarhawk
03-13-2007, 07:35 AM
Originally posted by JG53Frankyboy:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by AVGWarhawk:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">a bad point is the P-40 engine Damage modell - sometimes it stops after one bullet of .30cal size................


Uhm, send a .30 cal into the block of the family truckster and see how long it runs. Come on, a cracked block, large chunks of metal flying around hitting the crank/rod arm/piston/valves while the engine is at high RPM is a mix for instant dead engine. I don't find this to be over-modeled at all. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

sorry that i was not so precise as needed - i ment in comparison to other engine DMs in game. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Gott'cha. The radials seem to take more punishment.