Martlets in BoB

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by pinsog, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. pinsog

    pinsog Member

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    In an older thread, someone listed all of the British squadrons during the Battle of Britain. Among the squadrons listed was a single squadron of Martlets/Wildcats. Was this an RAF group or a RN group? Why weren't they ever commited to battle? I believe a group of Martlet/Wildcats, with their 4 50's, would have been a much better bomber interceptor than the Hurricane. Thoughts?
     
  2. claidemore

    claidemore Member

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    AFAIK Fleet Air Arm didn't get any Martlets until September of 1940, and the first squadron to recieve them, 804 Squadron flying out of Hatston (Orkney), wouldn't have been operational on the type until October at the earliest.
    First kill by a FAA Martlet was in December, a Ju88 over Skapa Flow.
     
  3. merlin

    merlin Member

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    Agrre with the last post.

    But the other point to consider is if the British Purchasing Commission, had ordered the aircraft themselves, rather as happened OTL take over the French order. That way, the RAF/FAA could have had their own Martlets earlier, and also had the Freench ones later.
    There's no way they could have been instead of the Hurricanes, but it would have made an interesting addition to the British fighter mix.
     
  4. pinsog

    pinsog Member

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    Well, that answers my question. I guess the information in the post I rtead was slightly off on the timeline. Did the British have any P40 squadrons at that time?
     
  5. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    RAF has no P-40 sqns at the time of BoB, not even P-36/Hawk 75 sqn.

    Juha
     
  6. Terry McGrady

    Terry McGrady New Member

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    The First P40 Ex French orders( Tomahawk MK1 ) didn't arrive in the UK until November 1940 The A/C didn't go to fighter Squadrons , but to Army Co-Operation Squadrons. These later became Tac/R Squadrons.
    The Tomahawk IIA deliveries commenced in December 1940 , again the bulk of these going to Army Co-OP Squadrons , some were sent to Russia , others to the Middle east .
    The Tomahawk IIB also started in December 1940 . Again many of these went to the Army Co-op Squadrons , but far more went to Middle East and More to Russia.
    Deliveries of the final batch of Tomahawk IIB began in July 1941 No Uk service for this batch - All went to Middle East , some being transferred to Turkey , others to Egypt and a batch to Russia and of course 100 to China
    The Different Marks can be identified by the serial range.
    The Tomahawk MKI serials ranged from AH741-880, although when they first arrived AH741, 742 , 743
    were coded AX900, BK852 853 respectively.
    The Tomahawk IIA were serialled AH881-999, though AH991-999 were built to MKIIB standards.
    The Tomahawk IIB were serialled AK100-570 , AM 370- 519 AN218- 485
    Cheers

    Terry McGrady
     
  7. Terry McGrady

    Terry McGrady New Member

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    In fact it struggled to reach 300 mph This info from " The Secret Years " Flight Testing at Boscombe Down
    1935-45 by Tim Mason
    The Wildcat MKVI only reached 322 ( From the same source )
    The only advantage the Wildcat ? Martlet had over say the Hurricane was range.

    Cheers
    Terry McGrady
     
  8. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    True but they did have approx (going from memory) 200 Hawk 75 held in reserve.
     
  9. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    The other advantage was firepower. 4 x 0.5 are a lot more effective than 8 x LMG once the target had been equipped with self sealing fuel tanks and armour.
     
  10. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Glider
    Yes, I knew, that's why I chose Hawk 75 as an example.

    Juha
     
  11. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Interesting. Anybody have any numbers on the early F4F and the Me109E? 109 has it all over the Wildcat in terms of speed but I've heard the F4 was an even better turner than the Spitfire.

    What about in the dive? F4 pass the Emil?
     
  12. claidemore

    claidemore Member

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    There was an american carrier in Halifax, (not sure of the date), and they set up a mock dogfight with their F4Fs against some Canadian Hurricanes doing anti-sub duty. Two Hurricanes met two Wildcats and the Hurricanes won easily. The next day the Wildcat pilots, who couldn't believe they had lost, asked for a rematch. There were two Hurricanes ready for takeoff, but both of them had depth charges attached. They took off anyways, and achieved the exact same results as on the previous day, the Hurricanes quickly got on the tail of the Wildcats.

    This story has been posted before, and there were a host of rationalizations about why this happened, or wouldn't have happened etc etc. But it happened.
     
  13. Terry McGrady

    Terry McGrady New Member

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    Mohawks were delivered between August 1940 and March 1941, So the BoB ( First phase ) was all but over before many arrived here.
    As for the Martlets firepower , yes 4x.50 doesn't seem bad , but it needed to be able to catch its targets . Remember the Brewster Buffalo with siimilar performance and armament was rejected for European Service by the RAF .
    The Martlet was the best performing A/C that the FAA had at the time . but it performance was certainly lacking when compared to Hurricanes , Spitfires and Me109's.

    Cheers
    Terry McGrady
     
  14. Nikademus

    Nikademus Member

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    IIRC, many of the Mohawks were later transferred to India for operations over Burma in 42.
     
  15. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    It wasn't a 'host of rationalizations'. Rather it was pointed out that the story had clear inaccuracies (when names it was the wrong carrier) and was told from only one side.

    And also not a 'rationalization' is the fact that the Hurricane had a vastly worse combat record v Japanese fighters than the F4F. That's a real combat sample of many dozens of kills through the end of 1943 (RAF Hurricanes in *1943* had a 1:4 kill ratio v Japanese Type 1 fighters, see "Air War Over Burma", count up the outcomes of each combat from both sides). But that routinely truly *does* meet with what really is 'a host of rationalizations'. It's hardly overturned by one unsourced anecdote about mock combats. Pointing out the insignificance of that one shaky story relative to that body of combat evidence is not a 'rationalization', it's a rational weighting of evidence.

    Joe
     
  16. Nikademus

    Nikademus Member

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    All told, I calculated the Oscars enjoyed approxamately a 5:1 ratio of success over the Hurricane. However one can't really compare it to the F4F experience.....circumstances were too different. A variety of reasons have been given for the Hurricane's poor preformance in Burma despite it 's statistical competetiveness with other 1st gen Allied fighter designs. Tactics and pilot experience played a key roll.

    This reminds me of the AVG sponsored dogfight test between a Buffalo and a P40. :)
     
  17. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Terry
    According to Bowyer’s Aircraft for the Few by 31 July 40 UK had received 32 Hawk 75 Mohawks and by 4 Sept 40 83. But even at the end of 40 only 44 out of some 200 Mohawks delivered were flying.

    Hello Nikademus
    You are right, Mohawk IVs (Hawk 75A-4s) served in No 5 and 155 Sqns from Nov 41 to the end of 43 operating over India and Burma, 5th got them first, later also 155th got them, so max 2 sqns used them in combat ops simultaneously.

    Juha
     
  18. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    At least I remembered the right number!! Seriously thanks to all for putting the record straight.

    Regarding the success rate the RAF Mohawks over Burma held their own in the fighting over the Ki43 more or less one for one. I did a detailed posting once but damned if I can find it now. The interesting thing was that the Mohawk didn't have the advantage that every other allied fighter had over the Ki43 namely speed.
     
  19. Terry McGrady

    Terry McGrady New Member

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    Hi Juha I took my info from Air-Britain serials.
    I have the book you mentioned as well as Aircraft for the Many
    The information I have on the Mohawks in Burma states that 5 Squadron received its first Mohawk at Dum Dum iCalcutta in December 1941, having Mohawks on strength from Dec 29th 1941 to 12th June 1943 530 days
    155 Sq had Mohawks on strength from 24th August 1942 until 6thJanuary 1944 501 days
    146 had Mohawks on strength from 21st March 1942 until 8th Apil 1942 - 19 days !!!
    Extract from 5 Squadron History :-
    "Dum Dum 29th December1941 First Mohawk A/C to be allocated was collected by Sergeant Campbell
    Another Mohawk A/C from Drigh Road was flown in by Sergeant Currin "
     
  20. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Terry
    thanks for the correction, I only took a rapid look on a very old Air International article on Mohawks in India/Burma. It mentioned also the short stay of 5 Mohawks in 146 Sqn, but the sqn clearly didn't use them in combat sorties, so I left that sqn out.

    Hello Glider
    yes the Mohawks didn't do badly over Burma. IIRC I have also seen one positive comment on them by an ex-Ki 43 pilot. And Hawk 75 was the most effective fighter of French AF during 39-40 and also Finns liked it and were positively surprised by it when they got the first ones. They were first given to a recon sqn but recon pilots were stupid enough to give opportunities for test flights to the fighter pilots operating from the same base and after a couple weeks an order came which ordered the sqns switch the planes and so the recon sqn got the Fokker D.XXIs instead and Hawks went to the fighter unit, LLv 32 which used them to the end of the war, that means to Sept 44.

    Juha
     
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