View Full Version : The Last Call: Early-War Fighters

10-25-2005, 10:29 AM

10-25-2005, 10:57 AM
Lets hear it for planes that fought when the wars outcome was still uncertain!

TgD Thunderbolt56
10-25-2005, 11:09 AM
The DXXI would be very cool, but we need a few Italian planes to fabricate some of those early engagements in the Med.

Malta anyone?

10-25-2005, 04:09 PM
I should have voted for the Ki-27. Despite its obsolescense in 1941, it was the most numerous Japanese Army fighter then and was the main fighter in the undeclared war in 1939, when they clashed with Soviet fighters. They'd be good opponents for the early Soviet fighters in the game.

I'd voted for the Saetta, which was important too but is too similar to the Fiat C.50, which is already in the game.

10-25-2005, 04:20 PM
Well, We will get this beauty!





10-25-2005, 04:36 PM
with the Ki-27 we could have realistic battles with the Flying Tigers and its successor the 23rd Fighter Group.

10-26-2005, 07:58 AM
Beautiful work on the Curtis, DIRTY-MAC.

Also, I hadn't thought about the Flying Tigers angle, CzechTexan. Another good reason for the Ki-27.

10-26-2005, 08:56 AM
You could actually use the CW_21B as a Chinese fighter although they had CW-21s wich are a slight different to the CW-21B, or even a AVG, as they had three CW-21s, unfortunately they all crashed, read below


The first CW-21 to reach the Orient was the original prototype sent to China as a demonstrator. This reached Rangoon by ship on January 24th, 1939, was barged up the Irrawaddy River and trucked to Loiwing, arriving February 28th [27]. By March it was being demonstrated at Chungking. It flew in mock combats against the Dewoitine 510 and Russian I-15 and I-16 fighters. In its final official demonstration on March 16th with Chennault and other officials present, the CW-21 engaged in a dogfight with an I-15 and was able to get on the tail of the maneuverable Russian fighter repeatedly by a steep climb followed by a wing-over. Curtiss pilot Robert Fausel wrote to the company stating, "the demonstration was very definite proof of the superiority of the Interceptor for dog fighting over any other airplane in the world. It impressed everyone, including myself."
There is a very interesting story in The St. Louis Lightweight written by Gerard Casius. According to Casius after the official demonstrations both Fausel with the CW-21 and pilot Arch McEwen and the Curtiss Hawk 75Q stood alert at Chungking with their aircraft fueled and armed. Casius relates that Fausel flew an uneventful patrol with I-15s on March 29th. Four days later, according to Casius, Chungking was bombed by the Japanese and Fausel took off to the sound of exploding bombs. Racing to 10,000 feet in two minutes he encountered a large formation of Japanese Fiat BR-20 bombers 75 miles east of Chungking. Fausel attacked and on his third burst his guns ran away exhausting his ammunition but not before he damaged a BR-20 that was later reported to have belly-landed and its crew captured in Chinese territory. This is a wonderful story that adds color to the history of the CW-21. The only problem is that no attack on or in the vicinity of Chungking took place during March or April 1939 [28]. If there is any substance to this report the incident probably occurred on May 3rd when Japanese navy bombers attacked Chungking. The demonstrator was turned over to the Chinese, reportedly suffered a crash in June 1939 and apparently was written off.


The tale of CW-21s bound for China is more complicated than the CW-21Bs that went to Java. At some point Pawley's contract was modified. The revised contract apparently called for shipment of three completed aircraft for assembly in China and thirty-two sets of components for production in China (completed engines and miscellaneous equipment plus sheet aluminum and other raw materials). In addition Pawley obtained a second contract for production of Vultee V-12 bombers. The exact sequence of events is not entirely clear. A memorandum from the U.S. Consulate in Rangoon states some components under the contracts arrived in Rangoon by February 1940 (suggesting they were shipped in late 1939). In any event it seems certain that the bulk of CW-21 components arrived in China by the summer of 1940.

The three crated CW-21s, produced in early 1940, had a different fate dictated by world events. In the summer of 1940 France had fallen to Germany and the Vichy Government ruled unoccupied France and its colonies. The British felt weak and exposed. War with Japan was the last thing they needed and under Japanese pressure, in mid-July 1940 they agreed to temporarily close the Burma Road. Shortly thereafter the Japanese induced the Vichy French colonial authorities in Indo-China to stop shipments to western China from the port of Hanoi via rail [17]. The only two important traffic routes to Nationalist China (discounting smugglers' mule trails and tenuous connections through the Soviet Union) were closed. The Curtiss fighters were caught in a logjam at Rangoon.

CW-21 in Chinese markings
The supply line through Hanoi was permanently closed but by mid-October 1940 the British felt confident enough to let the temporary closure of the Burma Road lapse [18]. In the meanwhile the backlog of supplies for China at the port of Rangoon had become huge (56,000 tons according to one source). Inefficiency and bureaucracy at Rangoon and along the supply line was rampant. During late 1940 and early 1941 the Burma Road was bringing 4,000 tons of supplies per month to China [19]. This was a small fraction of the previous amount brought in by rail from Hanoi and only slowly reduced the backlog at Rangoon.

Meanwhile Pawley's CAMCO factory at Loiwing suffered an air raid. Japanese army bombers hit the factory apparently causing some damage to buildings and aircraft components but doing little damage to machine tools and other production equipment [20]. This raid occurred on 26th October 1940 when supplies from Burma were just beginning to roll past the plant located very close to the China-Burma border. Despite relatively light damage production activities at the factory came to a virtual standstill. Most production equipment was stored in dispersed lots in the local area to protect it from air attacks.

Even if the three crated CW-21s had been moved over the Burma Road their destination and assembly point were out of action. In autumn 1940 the British were not allowing warplanes for China to be assembled and tested in Burma. Permission for this type activity was not granted until the late spring of 1941 when the A.V.G.'s P-40s were assembled at Rangoon [21]. The CW-21s remained in their crates in a warehouse in Rangoon.

According to Ford in Flying Tigers many partially assembled CW-21s as well as Vultee bombers and trainers were destroyed in the bombing. Ford also says that Pawley equipped his new enterprise, the Hindustan Aircraft, Ltd. factory at Bangalore, India, with machinery and aircraft assemblies from Loiwing. The latter point is partially confirmed by a conversation Pawley had with State Department official Alger Hiss in March 1941. Pawley stated he had acquired most of the machine tools needed for the Bangalore plant "in the Orient" and had export licenses for the remainder amounting to 15-20% of the total. A memorandum from the U.S. Consul in Rangoon the following month indicated that the Chinese had agreed to the diversion of plant equipment not yet unpacked. Pawley wanted all the plant equipment to go to India and apparently had packed up some of it but the Chinese had not, at that point at least, agreed to completely dismantle the plant.

Regarding the CW-21s Pawley stated, the "33 Curtiss interceptor fighters are still to be manufactured. The raw materials for these planes are now in the Orient and negotiations are being carried on as to where manufacture will take place" [22]. This suggests the CW-21s had not been destroyed and is confirmed in the Consul's memorandum that makes reference to material for "about 30 Curtiss-Wright interceptors" that was to be retained by the Chinese government. The manufacturing sites being considered in addition to Loiwing were Kunming and Chungking. Pawley said that the Chinese were primarily interested in the Loiwing plant so that it would be available after the war and that it would be kept in operation at least as a repair facility.
Pawley informed Hiss that he intended to return to Bangalore in about May 1941. It is clear that Pawley's interests thereafter were primarily absorbed by his work in India [23]. He may have had little interest in pursuing completion of the CW-21 production contract. Pawley's final connection with the CW-21 was his sale of the three crated CW-21s at Rangoon to the Chinese for use by the A.V.G. in the autumn of 1941 [24].

From Chinese sources comes word that two CW-21s were built by the Chinese. This is partially confirmed by a photograph taken at Kunming in the summer of 1942 showing a P-40 of the U.S. 16th Fighter Squadron under maintenance. In the background can be seen P-66s of the Chinese Air Force and two aircraft identifiable as CW-21s [25].

A report of the U.S. Consul in Kunming concerning his visit to First Aircraft Factory of the Commission on Aeronautical Affairs in May of 1942 reveals something about work there on an otherwise unidentified "plane" [26]. The factory itself was originally a project of the government of Canton but was moved to Kunming in 1938. Though well equipped it had been little utilized and its skilled Cantonese work force had gradually been reduced.

Early in 1942 its chief work was "making the frame, fuselage, and wing and fin sections of the plane, although other smaller appendages are also manufactured. Engines (Wright Cyclone, 9-cylinder, 840-h.p.), propellers (Hamilton), instruments, landing wheels and tires, as well as other parts of intricacy or precision have been imported from the United States." Principal materials for production also came from the United States. "Tubing, sheet metal, and armor-plate are principal materials by bulk, and these have been imported."

The report indicated materials were available for the production of a few dozen aircraft. Aircraft engines were the limiting factor in production. Managers of the plant feared that engines already in China might not be made available to the First Factory in quantities the factory's production capability would require. Production at the plant was "limited by the issuance to it of engines." There seems little doubt that the report described work on the CW-21s.

What use the Chinese made of the two CW-21s photographed on the airfield at Kunming has not been discovered by the author.

There is no known source that knows what happened to ALL Chinas CW-21s

Claire Chennault, aviation advisor to Chaing Kai-Shek, was in Chungking at the time the CW-21 was demonstrated and was undoubtedly aware of its capabilities. In the autumn of 1941 Pawley proposed to erect the three CW-21s at Rangoon and provide them to the A.V.G. at 1939 prices if someone would pay for them. Chennault, in his new role as commander of the A.V.G., had the perfect use for them [30]. High-flying reconnaissance planes were snooping over the A.V.G. training base at Kyedaw, Burma. The A.V.G.'s slow climbing P-40s could not catch them. Eventually Lend-lease funds were made available to pay for the interceptors and they were assembled and made available to the A.V.G.

The first CW-21 was flown up to Kyedaw by A.V.G. pilot Kenneth Merritt just about the time the Flying Tigers learned that the United States and Japan were at war. The CW-21s did not have the opportunity to intercept any reconnaissance planes at Kyedaw. On or shortly after December 12th they were attached as a three-plane flight to the A.V.G.'s 3rd Squadron and based at Mingaladon Airfield north of Rangoon. Erik Shilling (from Washington, D.C.) led the flight that also included Merritt (Arlington, Texas) and Lacey Mangleberg (Athens, Georgia) [31].

The CW-21s saw no combat while at Rangoon and on December 22nd, just before a series of heavy Japanese raids, Chennault ordered the CW-21s to join the main body of the A.V.G. then at Kunming, China. The three planes flew to Kyedaw that day and stayed overnight, proceeding to Lashio on the 23rd. Ford in Flying Tigers records what occurred basing his account on primary sources and Shilling's taped memoir. The Cyclone engine of Shilling's CW-21 had problems with misfires during the flight to Lashio. At Lashio the trio met an A.V.G. ground crew chief (Glen Blaylock) who was en route to Kunming by truck. He recommended a change from the 100-octane fuel supplied at Kyedaw to 87-octane fuel, stating this would keep the engine from running too hot.

Mangleberg's CW-21 was fueled first and he took off for a brief test flight. His CW-21 encountered no problems but apparently caused a false raid alarm. In any event the flight made a hasty departure from Lashio without a standard weather or route briefing. Late in the afternoon just inside China Shilling's fighter again encountered difficulties and the engine failed completely. Shilling made a successful belly landing despite the mountainous terrain. The other two pilots had no radios and only a vague idea where they were. They continued to fly in the general area where Shilling landed until their fuel supply was low. Merritt walked away slightly injured from his crash landing but Mangleberg's landing attempt ended in a fiery crash [32]. This ended Lacey Mangleberg's life and the brief career of the CW-21 with the Flying Tigers.

Russell Whelan in The Flying Tigers, a book written in 1942, dealt briefly with the incident and ascribed the crashes to "faulty fuel" taken on at Lashio. Casius in The St.Louis Lightweight repeats this version saying all three fighters had engine trouble "the cause of which was undoubtedly dirty fuel taken on at Lashio." Perhaps this was a version of the events circulated at the time. It is interesting to note that Shell Oil used the CW-21's "vertical mile in a minute" claims in its own advertising for its 100-octane gasoline suggesting that operating with 100-octane fuel should not have been a problem.

10-26-2005, 10:39 AM
p-38 H

10-26-2005, 10:41 AM
Totally biased: Fokker D.XXI. I am great fan of that airplane so I voted for D.XXI.

10-26-2005, 01:30 PM
Although the Macchi C. 200 "Saetta" looks like the FIAT G.50, they didn't fly the same. Over 1,100 Saetta were produced and used in various campaigns. They flew in Russia, Greece, Malta, North Africa and the defense of Italy. Allied pilots who flew captured ones loved the ease of flying it. It was considered a pilot's aircraft, easy to handle, very maneuverable.



10-26-2005, 03:03 PM

I'm a fan of the Nomohan incident (USSR vs. Japan) and the AVG battles.

Both of which the KI-27 served in large numbers.

10-26-2005, 04:41 PM
I voted Ki 27, but I'm greedy, I want all of them.

Be sure!

10-27-2005, 09:28 AM
ok... I can be totally non-biased. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif


I vote for Fokker just because it has funny name and pretty colors in the pit http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif

10-27-2005, 10:09 AM
Meet the Fokkers.

10-27-2005, 07:46 PM

10-28-2005, 02:21 AM
It was a close toss-up between the Ki-27 (Sally isn't it?) and the D XXI-in the end I had to choose the Ki-27 because it gives me targets for my Aussie Kittyhawks http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif But Then again I need a Fokker to fullfill my Finnish side http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

10-28-2005, 03:36 AM
Ki-27 for me http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/heart.gif

Runner up would definitely be the Curtiss though. Its such a wrench, because all four are in my most-wanted list.

10-28-2005, 10:18 AM
I voted the Fokker D-XXI. Let the us (the Dutch) have our early (European front) war fighter to.
http://img446.imageshack.us/img446/5265/dxxi3bk.th.png (http://img446.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dxxi3bk.png)

10-28-2005, 11:42 AM
Dont forget that the CW-21B was used by the Dutch in the east indies!

So you will get two new planes!

10-28-2005, 01:55 PM
I don't get it? Were getting all those planes. Why choose between shouldn't we be doing this polls on planes that haven't been added yet?

10-28-2005, 08:58 PM
If we're truly getting all those fighter planes too, in addition to the bombers, that news to me. It would be great news, though.

10-28-2005, 10:06 PM
ki27, i didnt vote cos i want them all http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

10-29-2005, 03:36 AM
I don't get it? Were getting all those planes. Why choose between shouldn't we be doing this polls on planes that haven't been added yet?

Just a matter of priorities. Hoping to sway the devs to get the most wanted released ahead of the next Wesrern Uber-plane.