Fighter Bombers in Europe. Why not a P-40 instead of a P-47?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Rufus123, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    #1 Rufus123, Sep 2, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
    I think the P-47 is better at the ground attack role then the P-40 but I have a question.

    Was the P-47 no longer needed in the role as a high altitude fighter? I guess if it is no longer needed in that role then make it a fighter bomber.

    I just wondered if the P-40's since they were unable to do the high altitude role they could have been used in ground attack so that more P-47's could be left flying high.

    If the P-47 was no longer needed in number at high altitude could the P-40's have been used to increase the number of ground attack planes or were they being utilized for other jobs still?

    Maybe the P-40 was obsolete as a fighter but I have long wondered why it was not used as a fighter bomber so that other planes could keep doing their jobs.
     
  2. alejandro_

    alejandro_ Member

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    P-47s deployed in Europe never had a range comparable to P-51. When the latter was deployed, more P-47s were available for fighter bomber roles. P-40 was obsolete as a fighter and it was equipped with liquid cooled engine, more prone to damage.
     
  3. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    I thought the P-47's were being used on the first leg of escorts even after the P-51 was available. Maybe they had more than enough.
     
  4. alejandro_

    alejandro_ Member

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    Yes, but P-51 saw most of the action from mid 1944. Luftwaffe was being depleted and could not oppose resistance at every stage. If you read Osprey's volume on 56 FG, you can see how frustrated they got about lack of targets and P-51s scoring most kills.
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The P-40 was obsolete and recognized as such in 1943. It 1943 the Army had decided that the P-40 would be used as an advanced trainer and an aircraft to be supplied to allied countries. US Combat use would be limited to replacement aircraft to units already in service ( and none were in Britain or the European theater as opposed to the Mediterranean theater) until such time as the P-40 units could be re-equipped with newer aircraft.
     
  6. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    Just curious, at this time was the USA producing more planes than pilots or more pilots than planes?
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    #7 Shortround6, Sep 2, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
    By 1944 there was no shortage of aircraft.

    And to have effective squadrons you not only need pilots you need ground personnel, air-frame and engine mechanics, electricians, radio repairmen, armorers and so on.
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    P-40s were used extensively for ground attack well into 1943.

    By 1944 there were plenty of P-47s available. The newer aircraft had a larger airframe and more powerful engine which allowed a greater payload to be carried.

    The P-40 was good in it's day but that day was over by 1944.
     
  9. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    I get it. My thought was you when a plane becomes useless as a fighter it could have some life left in it as a ground attack tool but if there were plenty of more capable planes around I can see it no longer being used. My concern was taking the P-47 away from the fighter role. With plenty of planes to go around it is no longer needed.

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  10. spicmart

    spicmart Member

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    #10 spicmart, Sep 2, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
    Wouldn't have the use of RR Griffon made the P-40 a competitive (non-obsolete) fighter?
    At least the Griffon was powerful enough.
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Not enough Griffons to waste them on P-40 air-frames. Only 8108 Griffons built and that includes the post war ones. Most of the war time production went into Spitfires and Firefly's.
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree.

    If more Griffon engines were available P-51 would have priority over the older P-40 airframe.
     
  13. spicmart

    spicmart Member

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    Just imagine that a Griffon or Jumo213 would have been installed in a P-40, its performance should have been about that of a Spit 14 or a Dora-9.
    It is of similar build, dimensions and weight.
    I also suppose it does not have significantly more drag than the others mentioned. Power to weight ratio should be comparable to the others as well as is wing loading.
    Range is also adequate, more than a Spitfire's.

    As you all know about the P-51, it was almost on par with the Spit and the Dora as a fighter whilst having a much weaker engine.
    That's why I am asking about the possibility of putting a Griffon in a P-40 as a potential alternative to the Spitfire XIV.
    I know it's a moot point, but still...
     
  14. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Putting a larger engine in an obsolete airplane is not going to make it equal to other aircraft. A Griffon in a P-40 would not put it in the same class or capability as the Mk.XIV Spitfire, nor the Dora-9.
     
  15. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    If a Griffon was going into anything from the US, it would have been into a P-51. That would have been fun....
     
  16. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    That was discussed by Rolls-Royce and North American Aviation. RR were keen, but NAA thought that there would be too many changes required to the airframe.
     
  17. spicmart

    spicmart Member

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    I am no specialist but I can`t see any design features that cannot be rectified to make the P-40 competitive . And what makes an airplane obsolete?
    The P-40 was never able to show its true potential having engines that are weaker than those of its counterparts.
    Of course its design was not up to par with the laminar flow wing equipped P-51 which had an engine which could not compete with Spits and Doras performance wise yet made it almost equal as a fighter to them. So a Griffon powered P-51 would be on top and took the place the P-40 might occupied if one does not count the superior range and speed in.
    That makes the Spitfire the prime contestant.
    The P-40 had bad luck that the niche it could have fulfilled was already taken by other designs that were given the best (better) engines possible.
    Maybe it is that over the years the reputation of the P-40 being obsolete grew to common believe.
    I am convinced that if given the right engine and more chance of development it would have been equal to the others.
     
  18. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    P-40s remained the dominant fighter bomber in the pacific and med TOs for the bigger part of the war. They were very good at it, but were obsolete by the end. For Northwest Europe it was a case of sending the best where it was most needed, and the best was the p-47. P-47s could complete two roles, p-40s by late 1943 were definately not competitive in air to air roles
     
  19. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The P-40 was a re-engined P-36. By 1943 you are beating a dead horse. Curtiss was trying to design a replacement for the P-36/P-40 that would go for years rather than stretch the P-40's life by months.

    The P-40 in 1940-42 did NOT have engines weaker than it's counterparts. What it had was too much weight and/or drag for the engine. From the "E" model on it went over 8000lbs at take-off clean. Depending on exact model it was almost ONE TON heavier than a MK V Spitfire and 109. In 1944 a P-40 with a 1400lb engine weighed as much (or within 200lbs) of a Spitfire MK XIV with a 2100lb Griffon engine, stick the Griffon in the P-40, add the bigger prop, bigger radiators, the inter cooler, the coolant and see where you wind up.
     
  20. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Also, the P-47 could carry a tremendous amount of ordnance used in Ground Attack and still slug it out with enemy aircraft when pressed.
     
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