A fun WWII what if...

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Clay_Allison, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    What if the P-40 Warhawk had been equipped from day one with a 2-stage supercharger?

    I believe its overall performance would have made it an even match for the prevailing universal fighters (109, Spitfire, Hurricane, Zero, Yak 1) of the early war if it were as competitive at high altitudes as it was at low. Perhaps history would be mentioning this tough forgiving misunderstood airframe with the respect the overall design deserved.
     
  2. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    Well, there was no 2-stage engine available at the time, at least not an inline one.

    There is a similar possibility though along the same lines. Go back to the radial engine like the P-36, use a streamlined, tight-fitting, fan cooled, cowling with a large spinner (like the late version used on the XP-42, or with the BMW 801 initially on the Fw 190, and many others) and then use the 2-stage supercharged, intercooled Pratt Whitney R-1830 Twin wasp similar to that used on the F4F-3 (available in 1940, this may be the first widely produced 2-stage millitary aircraft engine)

    That would have been avialable "from the begining" more or less and would have provided combat power over 20,000 ft. (at which altitude I'd expect a top speed somewhere around 370-380 mph, maybe a bit more)

    It would probably be a bit lighter than the contemporary P-40 (everthing but the engine being equal) and visibility over the shorter nose would be better.
     
  3. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    Since we are dreaming, my dream is the Army Air Corps, Allison, Curtiss, all pushed for making the 2 stage supercharger for the Allison V-1710. Then yes, the P-40 would be in the same realm as the "premier" early war fighters in the calibre of the Spitfire and Messerschmitt! The technology was obviously available, the Air Corps didn't support it though.

    I think the P-40 would have been just like the Spit and Bf 109, great performers with limited range. Actually, in my twisted mind, the P-40 is just as great as those two already, you just have lure them guys down to your best fighting altitude and give them a whoop'in !
     
  4. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    In that line of thought, had Allison's 2-stage supercharger development paralleled that of Pratt Whitney's they'd have had one in production by 1940. Such an engine would out perform the European contemporaries. (the 2-stage Merlin not available until much later, similar with the DB 605 -particularly the high-alt version)

    Such an engine would of course benefit the P-38 (reduced weight and maintenance/reliability problems), P-39 (altitude performance), and P-51 as well.
     
  5. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    How did the P-40 compare to the Spit, Hurricane, and 109 as far as manuverability?
     
  6. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Thorlifter,

    >How did the P-40 compare to the Spit, Hurricane, and 109 as far as manuverability?

    Poorly.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  7. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Koolkitty,

    >There is a similar possibility though along the same lines. Go back to the radial engine like the P-36, use a streamlined, tight-fitting, fan cooled, cowling with a large spinner (like the late version used on the XP-42, or with the BMW 801 initially on the Fw 190, and many others) and then use the 2-stage supercharged, intercooled Pratt Whitney R-1830 Twin wasp similar to that used on the F4F-3 (available in 1940, this may be the first widely produced 2-stage millitary aircraft engine)

    Here is a comparison including the "Super Hawk" with R-1830-86 I prepared a while back ...

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     

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  8. Eurofighter

    Eurofighter New Member

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    The Warhawk may be considered a mediocre fighter by the masses but undeniably it has its share of glory serving with the Flying Tigers in China.
     
  9. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    It was not the best in that regard but it was a faster diver and tougher I think, I believe that had its altitude performance been on par with the 109, SF and Hurricane it would have still been the heavyweight brawler of the 4.
     
  10. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Clay,

    >It was not the best in that regard but it was a faster diver and tougher I think, I believe that had its altitude performance been on par with the 109, SF and Hurricane it would have still been the heavyweight brawler of the 4.

    Good point about the dive - it was not trouble-free in a dive, but it had good aileron control at high speeds, superior to the Spitfire or the Me 109.

    Here is a comparison I prepared a while back ...

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     

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  11. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    I'm not smart enough to put that into real world terms, fair to say that the better pilots making the most of their aircraft would have the advantage in that case regardless of which of the 4 early war planes they were flying?
     
  12. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Clay,

    >I'm not smart enough to put that into real world terms

    Have a look at the P-40F graph ... it did not have a two-stage engine, but at least a two-speed engine, quite similar to that of the Hurricane II.

    In the speed diagram, you can see that the P-40F is a lot faster than the Hurricane II ... but in the climb rate diagram, the Hurricane shows up with a much superior climb rate.

    Conclusion: The Hurricane had too much drag to go fast, and the P-40F was overweight so that it couldn't climb worth a damn.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  13. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    They had a few P-40s re-engined with the Merlin, did they perform any better?
     
  14. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Clay,

    >They had a few P-40s re-engined with the Merlin, did they perform any better?

    That's the P-40F in the above diagram. It was a bit better at high altitudes, but not really good.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  15. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    The P40 was very heavy for the power available. It's power loading at most useful altitudes was quite high. It's best defensive maneuver was the split s as it rolled well.
     
  16. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    It was tough though and well armed, so most of that weight was useful. In low altitude battles the pilots who made the most of its admittedly modest handling characteristics were rewarded.
     
  17. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    In Europe it flew 67059 sorties and had 553 losses for 121 sorties per loss which was good but not as good as the P39 or P47. I don't know if that included the Med but I suspect it did. It had 592 kills in the Med but none in the ETO. I believe that on Marseille's best day when he supposedly had 17 kills, most of the kills were P40s. It's best altitude was 10000 feet which was somewhat limiting.
     
  18. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    If you read the first post on the what if, it's about whether the P-40 would have been a more competitive platform with better supercharging. I know it wasn't very competitive with 109s and A6Ms as it actually happened.
     
  19. slaterat

    slaterat Member

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    Obviously any fighter with a better engine would be more competitive . In the case of the P 40,its airframe is just too heavy when compared to its rivals. The P40, in Europe, just seemed to be a half step behind.

    Slaterat
     
  20. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Apparently the P40 was not a high enough priority to be allowed to use the limited supply of Packard built Merlin engines with two stage two speed engines. The XP40Q did have a two stage Allison which got 1800 HP at SL in WE power.
     
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