Flying Tigers (AVG) and no P-40

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by gjs238, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    What plane would the 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) have used had the P-40 not existed?

    How would the AVG have faired?
     
  2. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    #2 michaelmaltby, Feb 16, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
    Likely this Soviet 'Rata'. Or the Curtiss-Wright CW-21 Demon
     

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  3. Jerry W. Loper

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    #3 Jerry W. Loper, Feb 16, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
    Since the American Volunteer Group was sponsored by the American government, they would have flown an American fighter, not a foreign one. I'd say that if P-40s were not available, they would have had to use P-39s. (The Curtiss-Wright CW-21 Demon was designed for export, and IIRC was 50 m.p.h. slower than the P-40, had no armor plating, and was armed with just one .50-caliber and one .30-caliber gun.) At the time the AVG was equipped, the only American made single-engine fighter available that was better than the P-40B Tomahawk was a later model P-40. As for how the AVG would have fared, it still would have been led by Claire Chennault, who still would have trained his pilots to use good tactics, so it should still have fared well.
     
  4. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I suggest maybe the P36 and they probably would have fared no worse
     
  5. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "... Since the American Volunteer Group was sponsored by the American government, they would have flown an American fighter"

    Reasonable, I suppose, but the American Gov't was very late getting into the "volunteer" business in China, compared to the Soviets.

    Had the AVG not received the blessing of the US Administration, surely American pilots would have volunteered .... :) and they wouldn't have flown American fighters.

    Much as I love the P-39, it was technologically quite advanced (many electric controls) and would have been a handful in China, IMHO.

    MM
     
  6. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    Vultee P-44s, although slightly slower than the P-40 was still quite fast and, flown by the superb pilots of the AVG, would probably have been as effective. Although they would have to be delivered in one piece.
     
  7. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    My guess would be the Republic P-43 Lancer. The Chinese had a few lancers, but didn't use them in combat, preferring the P-40. The P-43s had a persistent problem with the gas tanks leaking which became worse with time. If it were not for this problem, or if it could have been rectified, the AVG probably would have used the P-43 as well as the P-40
     

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  8. varsity078740

    varsity078740 Member

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    The 23rd FIGHTER group used some P-43s in combat.

    Duane
     
  9. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    The AVG wasn't limited to USAAF fighters so why not F4F's?
     
  10. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    Oops, I meant to say the P-66.
     
  11. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    It is interesting that one of the pictures shows both the P-43 and the P-66. Both aircraft were quite capable and would have been effective in the boom and zoom attacks of the AVG. They were only 5-15 mph slower than the P-40B and much faster than Japanese fighters.
     
  12. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    Because the AVG pilots were so good, I think they would be effective. However, the AVG boom and zoom would not be as effective with the slower F4F, but the -3 was not bad, the -4 was quite slow.
     
  13. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    The P-43 went into production in the early spring of 1941 and deliveries began in the late summer. It was available and could have been the AVG’s principle aircraft if they had not used the P-40.
    The AVG did use this plane in combat (and perhaps the China Air Task Force too), although not in great numbers. I’ve read that some AVG pilots liked its high altitude performance but greatly disliked its “wet” wing. Some P-43s were still being used as “hacks” in China in late 1943.
    At least two Chinese squadrons flew Combat Operations in the Lancer but not with much effect.
    The Aussies also used some Lancers for Recon in 1942-43.
     
  14. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    The 100 P-40s the AVG got were origionally ordered by the British, they allowed their order to be taken when they were promised newer model P-40s.

    Everything useful coming off the lines was being snapped up by Americas rearming forces, or the British. Anything the AVG got would have probably had to be leftovers that the Americans or British didn't want.
     
  15. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    One of the big problems that Claire Chennalt and the China Air Task Force had was General Clayton Bissell.

    Bissell was the commander of the tenth Air Force which was in charge of the China Air Task Force. Bissell and Chennalt knew each other from the early 1930's and for various reasons disliked each other intensely. It seems that Chennalt's success with the A.V.G irked Bissell to no end, and when put in charge of the Tenth with the China Air Task Force under his command, Bissell did every thing he could to try destroy him. It was Bissell himself who drove off most of the Flying Tigers when there contract with the Chinese ended by telling them that if they didn't sign up with the Tenth AF he would personally arrange for a member of the draft board to meet there ship when it arrived back in the states. The A.V.G pilots were so p!ssed off they stormed out of the meeting and left China. Only 6 remained out of respect for Chennalt, 2 of which later died in combat.

    In his "Book The Day I Owned The Sky" Robert L. Scott, Chennalt's CO of the 23rd Fighter Group stated that Bissell kept supplies and aircraft intended for the China Air Task Force in India "To defend New Delhi" At the time the 23rd FG was struggling to keep 6 or 7 fighters airworthy per squadron, and still managed to fight off a vastly superior number of enemy aircraft. If only they had been allowed to receive a fraction of the aircraft and supplies that were 'Defending New Delhi" it might have been a very different war in China.
     
  16. Ivan1GFP

    Ivan1GFP Member

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    I would guess the AVG would have ended up with Hawk 75s with probably a fixed gear and Wright Cyclone engines because they were cleared for export. Keep in mind that although there were special arrangements made to get US military pilots to "Volunteer" and become mercenaries for the Chinese government, the aircraft required a lot of haggling and maneuvering to deliver and were very inconsistent regarding actual equipment installed.

    - Ivan.
     
  17. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    The P-66 and P-43 were the most likely. One outsider could have been ex-RAF Buffalos from Far East Command, but it's highly unlikely enough would have been made available to equip the entire AVG contingent.
     
  18. P-40K-5

    P-40K-5 Banned

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    P-400 (P-39). they wouldn't have used any Navy planes cause although
    not publicly, the AVG were under USAAF control.
     
  19. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    #19 JoeB, Feb 17, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011
    See link, detailed article on the P-43 in China in US and Chinese service, with some mention of the P-66. This author is very knowledgeable and reliable AFAIK. P-43's served as combat a/c in small numbers into 1943, but had little in the way of air combat results either way; from the relatively few combats known from both sides it appears more P-43's were lost to Japanese fighters than vice versa but few, v. Type 1 (Oscar) and Type 2 (Tojo).

    But the AVG, 1st AVG or the original Flying Tigers, P-40 volunteer group in action Dec '41-June 42 fought mostly over Burma, Thailand and Indochina. The air war in China proper after the early Japanese advances in South East Asia in 1942, was pretty slow going as far as air combat most of the time. Both sides had pretty limited air forces* in a big theater of operations; the two sides just didn't come across one another that often most of the time, rather there were bursts of air combat activity.

    In the AVG's actual campaigns air combat was more frequent, but the bulk of the opposition was Type 97 (Nate) fighters. Most retractable monoplanes including the P-36 or Buffalo would have had a significant speed advantage over the Type 97, although RAF Buffalo's had an unfavorable kill ratio v Type 97 in actual operations. The F4F OTOH generally did better than the P-40 against top line Japanese fighter opposition in 1942, Navy Zeroes, which were never encountered by the AVG. AVG P-40's did pretty well against the limited number of Type 1's they met during early-mid '42, though. As usual it's hard to predict what difference a substitute of equipment alone would have made, if at all comparable a/c.

    *see the orders of battle in that article, even in early China Air TF days post AVG, summer of '42, when P-43's arrived, the Japanese fighter force in China wasn't a lot bigger than the Chinese/American force; later on the 14th AF plus Chinese was more and more numerically predominant. In AVG's time in Burma the Japanese fighter force *became* a lot bigger than Allied, started out not a lot bigger Dec 8 1941, but the Allies suffered heavy losses all over (not only in Burma but Malaya, DEI and Philippines) and the JAAF was able to reinforce Burma v shrinking remaining force of Allied fighters there.

    http://www.warbirdforum.com/richdunn.htm

    Joe
     
  20. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Do you have proof of that prior to the US entry into WW2???
     
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