1. #1
    VW-IceFire's Avatar Senior Member
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    The following planes seem to have their tails fall of when hit by enemy fire with alarming frequency:

    1) P-38
    2) P-47
    3) Bf-109 (most or all models)
    4) B-25 (yes, its true)
    5) A-20G
    6) Ki-100-I-Ko
    7) Ki-61 (all models)

    Anyone think of any other that you've noticed you loose tails alot in?

    I'm sure that planes lost their tails...but is there something else at work here? I mean, you'd expect that if you got hit by a heavy flak battery that yes your tail would fall off and the plane would break up...but on the other hand, although powerful the 20mm and 30mm cannons are, you wouldn't expect the tails to fall off larger aircraft...would you?

    Its the frequency of the event rather than the event itself that I'm noting here.
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  2. #2
    Stigler_9_JG52's Avatar Banned
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    Far as I remember, only one plane, in its early version, had a proclivity for tails falling off, and that was the Tempest.

    As for getting shot off, none really come to mind more than any other. Although, you might think, the tail/fuse joint is usually the thinnest area of the entire plane; who knows if a direct hit right on or near that joint with a 30mm strike or a good stitch of 20mm might take it clean off.
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  3. #3
    Viper2005_'s Avatar Senior Member
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    MK108 fire should knock the tail off pretty much anything if it hits in the right place.

    If you go searching you'll find some very scary pictures taken post war when the MK108 was fired at various Allied aircraft deemed "surplus to requirements" for testing purposes.

    http://marinergraphics.com:16080/ww2.../108vsbrit.GIF

    You really don't want to argue with 30 mm rounds!

    20 mm fire is a different matter. Single 20 mm rounds are unlikely to cause massive structural failure.

    There's all manner of pictures and information on this rather useful website:

    http://prodocs.netfirms.com/
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  4. #4
    Originally posted by Stigler_9_JG52:
    Far as I remember, only one plane, in its early version, had a proclivity for tails falling off, and that was the Tempest.

    As for getting shot off, none really come to mind more than any other. Although, you might think, the tail/fuse joint is usually the thinnest area of the entire plane; who knows if a direct hit right on or near that joint with a 30mm strike or a good stitch of 20mm might take it clean off.
    It was the Typhoon that was notorious for shedding is tails, not the Tempest. Both the early P-51s and the Bf-109F had losses to tail shedding as well, which were rectified in later production.

    Initially the problem with the Typhoon was thought to be buckling at the fuselage joint from massive G forces from pulling out of 500 mph dives, but structural testing showed that the tail section was more than strong enough. There was buckling, but it was unlikely to causes any trouble. The did beef up the transition joints as a result of the investigations though, intially with two steel bands. Later Hawker got rid of the bands and added "fishplates" to the fuselage and reinforced the internal stringers, eventually incorportating the modifications into the production line by around the end of 1942. Another theory about the cause of tail seperations was massive yaw and airflow imbalances caused by the elevators during hard manouvers. The elevator seating and elevator mass balance was reset as a result.

    Later investigations came to the conclusion that it was sympathetic harmonic vibrations transferred through the airframe from the engine to the tail section that were the cause of the tail shedding. Harmonic vibrations were little understood at the time. The initial installations of the Sabre were notorious for heavy vibrations at certain rpm levels. There was a nasty story about a pilot coming in to land a Typhoon and suddenly going temporarily blind beacuse the vibrations of the engine overwhelmed the natural vibrations of the cones and rods in his eyes Most authorities seem to think that the virbations were the cause of the tail shedding, not any structural flaws. The Sabre II got a new engine mounting brace in 1943, which alleviated the problem in new built Typhoons, but there were some aircraft that flew without the fishplates or new engine mounts, well into 1944.

    There were 16 Typhoons lost to tail sheeding, 4-8 lost to undercarriage deployments during dives (some may of been the result of flak hits though) and 2 lost to C02 leakage into the cockpit, which forced all Typhoon pilots to fly with oxygen masks on from takeoff.
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  5. #5
    Viper2005_'s Avatar Senior Member
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    CO, not CO2 AFAIK.
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  6. #6
    WOLFMondo's Avatar Senior Member
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    Originally posted by ImpStarDuece:
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Stigler_9_JG52:
    Far as I remember, only one plane, in its early version, had a proclivity for tails falling off, and that was the Tempest.

    As for getting shot off, none really come to mind more than any other. Although, you might think, the tail/fuse joint is usually the thinnest area of the entire plane; who knows if a direct hit right on or near that joint with a 30mm strike or a good stitch of 20mm might take it clean off.
    It was the Typhoon that was notorious for shedding is tails, not the Tempest. Both the early P-51s and the Bf-109F had losses to tail shedding as well, which were rectified in later production. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I've read 25 lost there tails, the last being on 1945. Either way, out of 3000+ machines not as bad as people make out.
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  7. #7
    JtD's Avatar Senior Member
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    I don't lose tails often. IIrc my last few deaths were:

    - killed in emergency landing after hit by AAA in H8K
    - crashed after AAA severed controls in Ju 87
    - killed by spin shooting at low level in Bf 109
    - pilot killed in P-38
    - chrashed after hit by AAA in Ju 87
    - chrashed after hit by AAA in FW 190
    - killed during landing collision in Tu-2

    Tails come off planes?
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  8. #8
    I've repeatedly seen Hellcats come apart at the bulkhead behind the cockpit much like the one on film that made it back to the carrier with extensive AAA damage and the fuselage ripped apart there when the tailhook caught. I don't believe this type of seperation would typically occur to a Hellcat in flight. That's my belief so you may have to find your own religion. Having said that, aluminum alloys, to a lesser extent 2024 and much more so 7075, will tear rather well once a crack in a critical spot starts and there isn't a place in the design to stop it. Thankfully we've moved on from 7075 today, though it's still puttin food on my table in the way of crack repairs. The Hellcat was 2024 (24S) and was very well designed to stop cracks.

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  9. #9
    Dunkelgrun's Avatar Senior Member
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    You can knock the tail off a CR.42 with the laser-green pop guns of the I-16 Type 18, so I'm sure that almost everything else will as well.

    Cheers!
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  10. #10
    Couldn`t really say. Only early 109s seem to do it alot if you pound the rear end constantly.
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