B-29 Escort: P-38, P-47N or P-51H ?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by gjs238, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Which would have been best for escorting B-29's; a late model P-38, the P-47N, or the P-51H?
     
  2. Lighthunmust

    Lighthunmust Banned

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    With the missions being so many hours long and considering the fact that the fighting capability of each plane being sufficient for the adversaries encountered; I think the pilot comfort provided by the P-47N Thunderbolt would be the best choice.
     
  3. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Was the P51 or the P47 the 'flying Cadiallac' as it was very comfortable?
    I agree with Steve, on a long flight comfort ( and reliability) would feature highly on my list.
    Cheers
    John
     
  4. TheMustangRider

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    As far as I know, the P-51s escorting B-29s out of Iwo Jima did a good job in their escort duties.
    When it comes to pilot comfort however, the roomy cockpit of the P-47 seems as one of the best options.
    Wonder how the Twin-Mustang would have performed in the role.
     
  5. Lighthunmust

    Lighthunmust Banned

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    I have read somewhere that P-51 pilots were sometimes so exhausted after these missions they had to be lifted out of the cockpit by ground crew. I have never read anything indicating the pilots did not do a good job.

    Everything I have read indicates the P-47 was the most comfortable of the three specified escorts. I think of the engines used in the three specified escorts, the R-2800 would be the most reliable and most capable of graceful degradation from combat damage.

    The P-82 may have been a better choice than the P-47. Two engines does not mean twice the reliability, but two pilots certainly could reduce fatigue problems, and two sets of eyes are better than one.
     
  6. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Readie, the P-51 was called "The Flying Cadillac", but I believe it was because it was so smooth to fly and didn't have much to do with comfort.

    I agree that I would take the P-47N when it comes to room and comfort for extra long flights.
     
  7. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The P38 had two engines compared to the other two, which is nice to have when your base is hundreds of miles away over water. Considering the poor quality of the Japanese air defenses, even this type of fighter could hold its own.
     
  8. jim

    jim Banned

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    Two engines are always better than one if the result performance is similar. Also the contre rotating propellers result, in theory ,in a easier to fly aircraft.
     
  9. Lighthunmust

    Lighthunmust Banned

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    The P-38 could certainly do the job, but just like the P-82 you have twice as many engines that can have engine problems. I might add twice as many more vulnerable to minor damage or malfunction liquid cooled engines. Certainly limping back home on one engine is a possibility but not a certainty for many reasons. Granted if you only have one engine and it fails limping back home is not a possibility. Any moment now Shortround6 will probably jump in to provide a wonderfully detailed explanation of why the reliability of liquid cooled engines in not a problem followed with a wonderfully detailed explanation of why the reliability of liquid cooled engines is a problem. I think there is a good reason why the USN preferred aircooled engines even on twin-engine designs.
     
  10. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Didn't this have something to do with the flammability of the coolants used back then?
    Not so much in the context of the aircraft (although that is important as well) but in the context of storing the material on the ship.
     
  11. Lighthunmust

    Lighthunmust Banned

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    I don't think flammability was an issue, since there was thousands of gallons of gasoline being stored, but need for storage could have been a minor factor. I think the major factors were maintenance, reliability, and survivability. Where is SR6 or Parsifal when we need them? They can tell you if I am completely daft, and do it with style!
     
  12. TheMustangRider

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    Given the amount of hours sitting in a tight compartment, flying over endless ocean and the stressful expectation of fighter resistance after a long flight, I have no reason to doubt the extreme level of exhaustion both fighter pilots and bomber crew members developed after this trans-oceanic flights.
    In this context the P-82 must have been most welcomed by fighter pilots if the war would have continued into 1946 and Okinawa would have stayed out of reach for US land forces.
    Welcome back to the forums by the way, Lighthunmust :D
     
  13. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    At, 30-35k ft, the P-47N has superior performance over the P-51H. At lower altitudes, the P-51H was quite formidable. P-47N did perform successfully over Japan at the end of the war. I guess I would vote P-47N.
     
  14. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    #14 MikeGazdik, Sep 27, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
    Over all that water, P-38 for sure! Yes, a twin engine has 2x more of a chance to have an engine hit, or damaged, but....... A single engine has at least 2x more of a chance of not making it home if 1 quits !!
     
  15. Lighthunmust

    Lighthunmust Banned

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    #15 Lighthunmust, Sep 27, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
    On the other hand. Charles Lindbergh chose a single engine aircraft specifically because he thought he was more likely to have problems with a multi-engine aircraft. I think even after the USN switched to jet fighters many of them had one engine. Sure the F4, F14, and F18 all have two engines but many others that saw use on carriers did not. The F35 they want only has one engine if I recall correctly.
     
  16. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    All true, but I'd take the 'flying jug'. Big, comfortable and strong as an ox and with AC radial reliability.
    That'll nice nicely Tommy.
    Cheers
    John
     
  17. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "... All true, but I'd take the 'flying jug'. Big, comfortable and strong as an ox and with AC radial reliability."

    Me too. :). Start off with the roominess and air conditioning. The P47N had the range for Japan operations.

    MM
     
  18. post76

    post76 Member

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    Cockpit roominess might be somewhat exaggerated when it comes to one over the other.
    The P-47N was the more roomy one, but from a strategic point of view, I'd use the P-51H for escort and use the range and tonnage capability of the P-47N to run medium to low level attack runs.
    Out of the three the P-47N was better suited for that than an escort.
    I read they ran 24 hour raids with the N, still requiring a 10 hour flight, still requiring the range.

    Why does the P-38 always get the back seat on these types of comparisons?
    It was an effective escort and proved to be a handful for Japanese aircraft.
    The Japanese airmen, when surveyed, said it was their most competitive adversary at high altitude.
    If it wasn't the H but instead the D model P-51, I might instead choose the P-38 for escort.
     
  19. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Good point. It does seem next to the Corsair, the 38 was one that won the war in the Pacific.
     
  20. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of the Corsair, couldn't they do the job? Launch from carriers and rendezvous with the B-29s en route, and then return to the carriers?
     
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