A Lend-Lease Bird Returns Home

Discussion in 'Modern' started by michaelmaltby, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,915
    Likes Received:
    621
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    #1 michaelmaltby, Mar 27, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012

    Attached Files:

  2. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,923
    Likes Received:
    96
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Tired and Retired
    Location:
    Northeast North Carolina
    cool! who'd a thunk this a/c type could be thought of as a 109 killer! :shock:

    Russian Ground attack role is a myth??? IIRC, in US hands it was not a myth.
     
  3. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,915
    Likes Received:
    621
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
  4. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,923
    Likes Received:
    96
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Tired and Retired
    Location:
    Northeast North Carolina
    VERY Interesting MM! Thanks for the link!. In some ways it seems to me a very different description of air combat than say one perhaps gets from listening to accounts or desciptions by a John Thach for example. It's got me thinking....
     
  5. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    7,909
    Likes Received:
    189
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    IT Nerd
    Location:
    Dallas, Tx Jubail, Saudi Arabia
    That would be really cool to see.
     
  6. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    24,072
    Likes Received:
    655
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Korporate Kontrolleur
    Location:
    South Carolina
    That's so cool.
     
  7. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,915
    Likes Received:
    621
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
  8. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,915
    Likes Received:
    621
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
  9. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,636
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    niagara falls
    Saw the thing last summer , trying to help out as a professional floor sweeper or whatever but can't seem to contact them, its good to have a Niagara Falls born bird where it belongs , need a P40 locally as well to complete the Niagara fighters
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    41,760
    Likes Received:
    518
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Doctor
    Location:
    Portsmouth / Royal Deeside, UK
    Home Page:
  11. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,915
    Likes Received:
    621
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    Another day at the Front ....
     

    Attached Files:

  12. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,915
    Likes Received:
    621
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    P-39 in Soviet Use
    by James Gebhardt

    Over half of the Airacobras produced, almost 5000 planes, went to the Soviet Union. The first P-39s to reach Soviet hands were delivered from Britain, who had rejected the aircraft after it failed RAF flight testing in late 1941. After accelerated ground and flight testing the Soviet government agreed to delivery of large numbers of Airacobras through the Lend-Lease program. Between 1942 and 1944, Soviet ferry pilots flew approximately 2,600 P-39s into the USSR from Fairbanks, Alaska. Another 2,000 were shipped (crated) to Iran, assembled, inspected, and flown to Soviet bases east of the Caucasus Mountains. The majority of the 4,600 P-39s shipped to the Soviet Union were the highly developed Q-models. Many of these, at Soviet request, lacked the two wing-mounted .50-caliber machine gun pods.

    Slowly at first in the summer and fall of 1942, and then rapidly as more aircraft became available in the ensuing months, the Red Air Force transitioned both new and experienced fighter pilots to the P-39, forming or refitting fighter regiments of three squadrons, twelve aircraft per squadron. The mission of the Red Air Force was to support the Red Army, and in order to perform this mission air units at division level and above were subordinated to ground formation commanders. The Red Air Force employed the P-39 Airacobra in several roles: the most common role was to cover or protect ground forces. This entailed patrolling in a zone above a specific Red Army formation and preventing the penetration into that zone of German bombers and their accompanying fighters. A second mission for the P-39 was to escort Il-2 Shturmoviks or Pe-2 dive bombers to attack German troops and installations. In this role the P-39s were used to fend off German fighters or to suppress German AAA defenses.

    A third mission for the P-39 was reconnaissance, both air and ground. A fourth mission was "free hunt", wherein pairs of experienced Soviet fighter pilots were permitted to conduct deep penetrations of German airspace over land or sea to search for air or ground targets. A fifth mission for the P-39 was ground attack, primarily of soft targets such as troop concentrations, road convoys or trains, and airfields. Contrary to popular myth, the P-39 was not employed as a "tank-buster" for two very good reasons: the M4 37mm cannon was slow-firing and only had 30 rounds of ammunition, and the Soviets never received M80 Armor Piercing Shot ammunition for this cannon through Lend-Lease. (Even had they received AP ammo, it was only capable of penetrating 1.0 inches of armor at 500 yards. After 1943 there weren't many German tanks that vulnerable, especially from the top quadrant.) Our government did deliver approximately 1.2 million M54 High Explosive shells, however, and Soviet P-39 aces put them to good use against both air and soft ground targets.

    Several of the Red Air Force's ranking aces flew the P-39 for a major portion of their combat sorties. The top ace in the P-39 and number four overall was Guards Major Gregoriy Rechkalov, who shot down 50 of his total 56 kills while flying a P-39. Guards Colonel Aleksandr Pokryshkin, who finished the war as the number two Soviet ace with 59 individual and 6 shared kills, reportedly flew the P-39 for 48 of his kills. Another high scorer in the P-39 was Guards Major Dmitriy Glinka, who destroyed 20 German aircraft in 40 aerial engagements in the summer of 1943, and finished the war with an even 50 kills, 41 of them while flying the P-39. Third-ranked Soviet ace Guards Major Nikolay Gulaev transitioned to the P-39 in early August 1943 with 16 individual and 2 shared kills. He flew his last combat sortie on 14 August 1944 (ordered to attend higher military schooling), leaving the battlefield with an additional 41 individual victories and 1 shared kill after just over one year in his P-39.

    Why was the P-39, which achieved so little air combat success in other theaters, so effective on the Eastern Front? The answer to this question lies in the nature of the air war itself on that front. Neither the Germans nor the Soviets engaged in high-altitude, long-range, strategic bombing. The bulk of Soviet war industry had been moved east of the Ural mountains, beyond the range of the Luftwaffe. German medium level and dive bombers went out every day, escorted by Bf-109s and FW-190s, to find and attack Soviet Army ground units. These bombers, and by necessity their escorting fighters, flew at altitudes well within the high performance envelope of the P-39-under 15,000 feet. The P-39, with its nose armament alone, had devastating air-to-air firepower. A hit on a German bomber with a single 37mm round was frequently sufficient to disable or destroy it. The Red Air Force compensated for the P-39's short range by locating their tactical airfields extremely close to the front line-often within artillery range. And during surge periods, when German air activity was intense, Soviet P-39 pilots were known to fly five and even six or more sorties in a single day.

    How do we know all this? Many Soviet P-39 combat pilots wrote memoirs in the 1970s and 1980s in which they described their wartime experiences, hundreds of pages of descriptions of life in fighter units and of air combat. Other publications released since the collapse of the Soviet Union offer new information on what units were equipped with the P-39 and when, lists of pilots and their total sorties, aerial engagements, and scores. When fully exploited, these sources will reveal an enlarged and much improved picture of the P-39 Airacobra. It will be shown to be an outstanding combat aircraft, as worthy of respect as the P-38 Lightning, P-47 Thunderbolt, and P-51 Mustang.
     
  13. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,923
    Likes Received:
    96
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Tired and Retired
    Location:
    Northeast North Carolina
    Thanks for posting that great summary Mike. I have to wonder how likely is a pilot to fly as bemedaled as we see in the above photo. Medals are like little hooks for webbing to be ensnared upon. Even wearing of wedding rings is discouraged today. At least it used to be. Medal -wearing seems more like what one would see at a propoganda photo op. On the other hand, I've read that US army and navy WW2 pilots wore ties early in the war until flight coveralls came into vogue.
     
  14. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,915
    Likes Received:
    621
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    Pure photo-op I'm sure, oldcrowcv63, ;)

    MM
     
Loading...

Share This Page