A Super Lightning?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by pampa14, Nov 29, 2015.

  1. pampa14

    pampa14 Active Member

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    During World War II, the Lockheed developed a long-range version of its famous fighter P-38 Lightning, however, due to technical problems the project was canceled. The link below provides a collection of interesting photos of the plane and a question: If the plane had entered service, have reached the success of the P-38? What do you think? Visit the link, see the photos and answer this question through a poll at the end of the post.


    Aviação em Floripa: Lockheed XP-58 Chain Lightning


    Best Regards.
     
  2. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Good stuff!
     
  3. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    It was somewhat of a turkey from what I have read. Good riddance.
     
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  4. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    It was proposed to attack fleets of bombers? Where were these bombers coming from? Did the USA also undertake fantasy projects for the Luftwaffe?
     
  5. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The XP-58 concept was born in a time when many air forces still believed in the "heavy fighter" school of thought.

    Unfortunately, the sheer size ofthe XP-58 (wingspan bigger than a P-61 or even a Ju88) negates it's role as a "fighter" in spite of it's speed and range.
     
  6. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    I cannot see how it would be better than a mosquito, the rear firing armament leads me to think they were proposing solutions to what the LW had rather than the USA
     
  7. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Notice hat the XP-58 was laid out alot like the P-61?

    In 1940, it was still anyone's guess how the face of aerial warfare would be within 2 - 3 years, but seeing how bombers played a major role in the opening stages of the ETO and Battle of Britain as well as the Imperial Japanese conquest of southeast Asia, the USAAC was looking for a solution within the old school thinking of both heavy fighters and turret fighters. As it turns out, neither the P-61 or the XP-58 would have ever intercepted waves of enemy bombers, because they simply weren't there by the time the P-61 entered service.

    The YFM-1 was another proposed "bomber killer" from that era, as was the XP-71.
     
  8. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #8 GregP, Nov 29, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2015
    They went into WWII still thinking that the Battleship was king of the seas. The Price of Wales and the Repulse proved a torpedo bomber was a match for the battlewagons. Both strategic and tactical thinking was considerably different in 1944 than it was in 1940, and was even more changed in aviation than in the world's navies.

    Relatively quickly the air forces went from almost a support role to primary attack.

    I'm not too surprised there were some holdover aircraft from the "old school" of aerial thought hanging around. I would be surprised if we pursued one in quantity, though. The leaders of the USAAC may have started out the war a bit behind the times, but they didn't stay that way. If nothing else, they were "quick studies" and embraced positive change.

    It is perhaps difficult for some to recall that was no such thing as "global thinking" at the time. The manufacture of the Merlin by Packard was one of the first international cooperation efforts for a military product that was successful ... and it ended with the war. I believe the first foreign aircraft adopted by the USA after WWII was the Canberra, and that had to be "Americanized" with a tandem cockpit and American engines and gauges.

    As an interesting aside, we just recently returned an RB-57F to service with NASA after 41 years in the boneyard! Surely that must be a record. It is currently undertaking research flights at 65 - 70,000 feet.
     
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  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    We had another thread about this aircraft going. Years ago I worked with two people who were on the XP-58 program, they said the aircraft was a mechanical nightmare but was very fast when everything was working.
     
  10. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    I agree greg but by 1940 both the LW and the RAF had gone over to night bombing, I was amazed the project wasnt cancelled until 1944.
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    There were many programs like this that had funding available long after the need for such an aircraft went away. Many times money was allocated in block years and all the program money had to be spent before a program was cancelled.
     
  12. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    I suppose just figuring out what doesnt work is as valid as what does. I am sure some things learned were used on other planes that did make it into production.
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Exactly
     
  14. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The LW was very much in day bombing, even after the BoB. Same for the Japanese.

    The (X)P-58 was supposed to be an answer to the threat that never materialised, with thousands of HP and the biggest anti-air cannon to help out. Wrong as it was, it was a much better situation than to have not the answer once enemy is flying above one's country, like Poland 1939, Western Europe in 1940 (bar the UK), Soviet Union 1941/42, Germany 1944-45, Japan 1945.
     
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  15. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    If there was any country that learned the lesson of not being prepared in the WWII timeframe, it was Poland. Then again, had they prepared, I'm not too sure it would have been enough to stop Germany and the Soviet Union together. It is nice to have Poland prepared today.

    Now if only I could find a good Polish restaurant in southern California ...
     
  16. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Poland was as prepared as it's politics allowed and they put up one hell of a fight, considering they were caught between the hammer and the anvil.

    France was far better equipped and far better prepared, but look how quickly they fell.
     
  17. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I never said they did badly and would hasten to point that out here. I said they were unprepared. That means to me they were not equipped to fight the armed forces of the two most hostile neighbors on anything near equal footing.

    Matching Blitzkrieg armor with horse cavalry and old weapons is certainly brave and gallant, but not very effective. Likewise, the PZL's (and others) equitted themselves well, but were overwhelmed by sheer numbers and a better aircraft set. Also, I was trying to say that had they managed to prevailed against Germany, they would have faced another attack from the Soviet Union soon thereafter. Even prepared, beating those two was a tall order. It took a combination of Allied nations including the Soviet Union 5 years to beat the Nazis alone ... with the Soviet Union helping, so Poland found out how it was to be in the middle to two land-grabbing countries.

    Something like that tends to fuel the fire of national memory for generations.

    I still want to find some good Polish food here ...
     
  18. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Because of political posturing, appesing and back-stabbing, Poland was led to the slaughter. When Edward Rydz-Śmigły (Marshal of Poland) issued an order for the Polish military to mobilize on 30 August, France told him to rescind the order.

    As you know, operation Fall Weiss commenced the next day at 4:45 a.m. Catching the Polish military at roughly 70% mobilized and in a bad position to defend against the invading Axis and Soviet armies.

    The Poles had less than 39 divisions, 800+ tanks and 400 aircraft against Germany's 60 divisions, 2,750 tanks and 2,300+ aircraft. Add to that, the 3 Slovakian divisions plus 33 divisions, 4,700+ tanks and 3,300 aircraft of the Soviets.

    As far as Polish cavalry charging tanks, this is not the case. The cavalry did mount saber attacks against infantry and at one point, charged in an effort to break out of an encirclement, passing between German tanks during their effort.

    The problem with the Polish airforce, was it's communication system was destroyed, rendering the effectiveness of the Polish air force crippled, but they still managed to down over 135 enemy aircraft using types like the PZL P.7 and PZL P.11

    And yep, this has been a little bit of a drift from the topic... :lol:
     
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  19. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #19 GregP, Dec 3, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015
    I think it is axiomatic that any nation may be unprepared for an attack by someone with an order of magnitude or more more military force. The real question is whether or not the world would tolerate the act.

    At least in 1939, the world wouldn't.

    Not too sure today what the reaction would be to, say, France invading Turkey. Not say they would, want to, or even contemplate it ... just an example of a it. It would probably be the same if we (USA) invaded anyone. In our semi-modern history, say, since 1900 .. .we haven't done so, and we have no aims toward doing it as far as I know. The point is, world reaction might be a different thing today than in 1939 - we (the world, not just the USA) don't think the same anymore.

    People and nations are much more aware via internet, are much more vocal, and many nations have a much more powerful military than was available in 1939 to even the bigger powers. A world war today might even do permanent damage to the planet.

    One single Apache attack helicopter could probably change the outcome of a land battle in WWII. And the Apache is an old attack chopper. How would Germany react to a missile attack from a Reaper drone in 1939? They'd have no way to know where it came from and might actually cease and desist from not knowing. It would look like magic destruction and could give pause even to an idiot like Joseph Stalin. He was nothing if not cautious against enemies. He survived that way.

    Then again, Hitler might not have been conventionally sane ... I certainly can't say from the point of being qualified to say it. But a sane man, to me, would NEVER do what he did ... IMHO.
     
  20. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Looks like a P-38, that's been stuffing its face with far too many hamburgers!

    Fat!
     
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