A-36 Apache

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by NightHawk, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. NightHawk

    NightHawk Member

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    Did anybody hear about this plane ?
    A-36 Apache, from what i have heard its the ground attack version of the P-51, all info will be welcomed,
     

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  2. Lightning Guy

    Lightning Guy Active Member

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  3. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    It's a P-51A variant. The USAAF had no more budget for fighters, but they did have budget for dive bombers. But the Generals wanted more fighters (and fighter-bombers) and didn't care what Congress had allotted the money for, so they ordered the A-36 which was just a P-51A with dive brakes.

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  4. KraziKanuK

    KraziKanuK Banned

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    The A-36 came 9 months after the P-51(no designation letter)/Mustang I. The first order for P-51s was in July 1941 when the USAAF ordered 150. The A-36 was not ordered until April 16, 1942.
     
  5. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    Used in Burma and Italy. I heard they had to wire the dive brakes shut because they caused stability problems.
     
  6. Lightning Guy

    Lightning Guy Active Member

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    I've read that wiring the dive brakes was a rumor but that their use was restricted because of staibility issues.
     
  7. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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  8. DaveB.inVa

    DaveB.inVa Member

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    I've got two books about the P-51 and both pretty much agree that the whole dive brake thing is a myth. Both books and the Baugher site mention that the dive brakes were beneficial and very effective resulting in better stability and accuracy. The dive brakes were used frequently in all theatres of operation. From what I have read the wired shut story comes from some officers in training believing the dive brakes would be useless and that they should be wired shut.. then the story ran rampant from there!
     
  9. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    That is incorrect. Sometimes later in their lives the dive brakes were wired shut because they didn't want to maintain them and just closed off that part of the hydrolic system. If they were working properly, and were in the closed position, they had no effect on stability. They also worked pretty well as dive brakes.

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  10. HealzDevo

    HealzDevo Active Member

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    The whole story was that the A-36 Apache was originally developed as an escort fighter by the USAF. However, when the plane proved to be unworkable in its intended role it was turned into a dive-bomber, until the lend-lease agreement saw some A-36 Apaches go overseas to Britain where they were modified by the addition of a better engine to become the P-51 Mustang. It wasn't so much the airframe that was wrong but just that the plane was underpowered. Once the British put in a more powerful engine it worked and the plans for that engine were bought by the US to enable production of one of the most potent escort fighters the world has ever seen.
     
  11. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    That is incorrect. The P-51A (and A-36) were fine at low altitudes. The P-51A was not specifically developed as an "escort fighter", the British wanted to buy P-40's but Curtis's production capacity was fully untilized. Therefore they went to North American and wanted them to manufacture P-40's for them under license to Curtis. NA wanted to build its own fighter design, and got the go-ahead assuming they could demonstrate a prototype in 120 days, which lead to the Mustang I which filled the same operational requirements as the early P-40, but had much better range and speed.

    As I said before, the USAAF budget did not include any more allocations for fighter purchases. The USAAF got around this by ordering the A-36 as a dive-bomber, which they did have funding for, rather than as a fighter. But it was just a P-51A (Mustang II) with dive brakes.

    The P-51A was a screemer below 13,000 feet, one of the fastest low-altitude planes of the war. It was faster than the P-51B or D, and it was faster than the Spitfire, at such altitudes.

    See http://www.vectorsite.net/avp511.html#m5 for details.

    =S=

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  12. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

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    Does anyone have some info on combat records of the A-36? How successful it was etc?
     
  13. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Well, I could write something up, or lift it from Joe Baugher, so here goes:

    Only after Pearl Harbor did the US Army finally agree to order the Mustang for its own use. General H. H. "Hap" Arnold, Chief of Staff of the USAAF, was instrumental in breaking up the bureaucratic log-jam and getting the Army to relent and order the Mustang for its own use. On April 16, 1942, the Army finally ordered 500 NA-97s. The NA-97 was a ground attack version and was designated A-36A (in the attack series rather than the fighter series). Serial numbers were 42-83663/84162.

    The A-36 seems to have been known by several different names--it was initially called *Apache*, which was the name that the Army initially assigned to the P-51, but there was an effort to change the name to Invader following the invasion of Sicily. However, the name Mustang was generally applied by most people to the A-36.

    The A-36A differed from previous Mustang versions in having a set of hydraulically-operated perforated door-type dive brakes mounted at approximately mid-chord on both the upper and lower wing surfaces outboard of the wing guns. The brakes were normally recessed into the wings, but were opened to 90 degrees by a hydraulic jack to hold diving speeds down to 250 mph. A rack was fitted under each wing for a 500-pound bombs, a 75 US gallon drop tank, or smoke-curtain equipment. A built-in armament of six 0.50-inch machine guns (two in lower fuselage nose, four in the wings) was fitted, however the two nose guns were often omitted in service. The wing guns were moved closer to the main landing gear strut in order to minimize stress under taxi and takeoff conditions. The engine was the Allison V-1710-87 (F21R), rated at 1325 hp at 3000 feet. Normal and maximum loaded weights rose to 8370 pounds and 10,700 pounds, and the maximum speed in clean condition fell to 356 mph at 5000 feet and 310 mph with the two 500-lb bombs fitted. With the bombs, range and service ceiling were 550 miles and 25,100 feet respectively.

    The first A-36A flew on September 21, 1942. Deliveries of the A-36A were completed by the following March. The A-36A equipped the 27th and 86th Fighter Bomber Groups based in Sicily and in Italy. They initially were painted in olive-drab and light-gray finish and were painted with yellow wing bands and yellow circles around the national insignia. Both of these Groups arrived in North Africa in April of 1943 just after the end of the Tunisian campaign. They saw their first action during aerial attacks on the island of Pantelleria, with the first sortie being flown on June 6, 1943. The A-36A was involved in the taking of Monte Cassino, and participated in the sinking of the Italian liner Conte di Savoia.

    The only other A-36 user was the 311th Fighter Bomber Group, based in India. It saw extensive use in the China-Burma-India theatre.

    Several sources list the Invader as not being particularly effective during combat. It seems that this is not strictly correct. Although losses during low-level attacks were rather high, the A-36 was actually a good dive bomber and it was a stable and effective ground strafer. The engine was very quiet, and it was often possible for an A-36 to get nearly on top of an enemy before he realized that an attack was imminent. Dive bombing was usually initiated from an altitude of 10,000 feet to 12,000 feet, with bombing speed held to around 300 mph by the dive brakes. The bombs were dropped at an altitude of 3000 feet, and pullout was at approximately 1500 feet. The Invader was fairly rugged and easy to maintain in the field. The A-36 could consistently stay within 20 feet of the deck and could easily maneuver around trees, buildings, and other obstacles while strafing. The A-36A was able to take a considerable amount of battle damage and still return to base. Nevertheless, a total of 177 A-36As were lost in action.

    The A-36s did not see very much air-to-air combat, since it was optimized for low-altitude operations and lost its effectiveness above 10,000 feet altitude. It was generally believed that the A-36 Invader was no match for the Messerschmitt Bf 109 at high altitudes, and that it was therefore best for A-36 pilots to avoid such encounters if at all possible. If air-to-air combat was unavoidable, it was thought best to force the battle down to altitudes below 8000 feet, where maximum advantage could be taken of the A-36A's excellent low-altitude performance. Although it was not a fighter, the Invader claimed 101 enemy aircraft destroyed in air-to-air combat. One of the pilots of the 27th Fighter Bomber Group, Lt Michael T. Russo, became the only ace in the Allison-engined Mustang, although several other of his colleagues did score victories as well.

    A sort of urban legend has sprung up about the A-36A's dive brakes. According to some stories, the dive brakes of the A-36A were next to useless and were deliberately wired shut at the manufacturers so that they could not be used. This story is totally incorrect. On the contrary, the dive brakes proved to be quite effective in combat, and the aircraft was so stable with the dive brakes extended that bombing while in a dive was particularly accurate. The origin of this legend seems to have been in the United States, at a time before the Invaders first went overseas. It seems that A-36A pilots were told by their officers in the USA that their dive brakes would be all but useless in combat and it would be best if they simply wired them shut. This turned out to be incorrect, and the dive brakes were used to great effect throughout the Sicilian campaign and the Italian invasion.

    One A-36A was supplied to the RAF in March of 1943 for experimental purposes. Its RAF serial number was EW998.

    There are very few A-36As still surviving today. A-36A Ser No 42-83665 is on display at the WPAFB Museum in Dayton, Ohio. 42-83731 is with the Lone Star Flight Museum in Texas. 43-83738 is currently undergoing restoration as a P-51B at the Warhawk Air Museum in Boise, ID. Another A-36A is with the Collings Foundation, where it is undergoing restoration.

    Serial numbers of the A-36 were 42-83663/84162.


    Source: http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p51_6.html

    It is always a good idea to get second sources on all facts, however, Joe is usually pretty accurate and does have soem well-researched articles.
     
  14. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

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    Ah nice, thanks 8) Been wondering about this pln for a while now...
     
  15. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Me too, after seeing another pic of it, I figured I would look and see what Joe B. had written up. Now we both know! 8)
     
  16. KraziKanuK

    KraziKanuK Banned

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    The P-51A/Mustang II was an A-36 with the dive brakes removed and a different engine(Allison V1710-81 instead of a -87). The P-51A/Mustang II did not have the lower cowl mgs which the P-51/Mustang I and A-36 all had.
     
  17. wmaxt

    wmaxt Active Member

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    The original P-51/A-36 was initiated by the British as a P-40 replacement/helper because North American was unwilling to build P-40s. That's also why the A-36 had a low blown Allison engine in the begining it was designed for low altitude attack missions.
     
  18. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

  19. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I wouldn't say he ignored the info, he just might not have had a source for the info. But I get the feeling that you are a P-51 fan. ;)
     
  20. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Well, it depends on who's info you listen too. The USAAF does not present things from a point of view that would make higher up's look bad. You have to look at info from the engineers and exec's of the manufacturing company to see the how's and whys of many of the decisions that were made to satisfy often stupid rules and requirements. A good example is the P-39 - some high mucky muck in the USAAF or Congressional purchasing dept. wanted a highly streamlined design - thus the turbo supercharge (or 2nd stage supercharger) was removed to remove the required scoop.

    I'm a fan of a lot of WWII planes. The P-38, Corsair, P-51, FW190A6, Bf109F, Spitfire IX, La7, Yak3, Ki-84-Ib, are all "favorites" 8)

    I've just studied the P-51 a bit more than the others, I used to have a web-page about it. When I was in college, I was at Cal-Tech doing some research (on an unrelated topic) and there happened to be a section of the library doing a presentation on the P-51 and other NA accomplishments achieved with Cal-Tech support. I was able to read all kinds of interesting info about the plane and its development in documents laid out under glass display cases, and spent about a third of my 2 day research visit "wasting time" in that section of the library.

    But to say I'm a fan of it.. no not really. I like a lot of planes, I just think the P-51 tends not to get a fair shake because of how its numbers match up in the traditional comparisons such as wing-loading and climb rate. Judged by those figures it was rather weak, but that does not do justice to the P-51 at all.

    =S=

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