Out of Retirement

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by GrauGeist, May 12, 2014.

  1. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Over the years, I've read about several aircraft that were outdated and retired from front line duty by a more modern type, only to be realized that it wasn't so outdated after all.

    The two types that come to mind right away, are the Luftwaffe's Hs123 and the USN's SOC.

    The Henschel Hs123 was developed to be a successor to the He50 and was produced in limited numbers because it's immediate replacement, the Ju87 was nearing production. Entering service in 1936, it proved it's worth in the Spanish Civil war and served in front line service until the fall of France. Because of it's short range and the popular sentiment that it was "outdated", it was not involved in the Battle of Britain, but was instead relegated to training duties.

    At the onset of Operation Barbarossa, the Hs123 was brought out of "retirement" and reassigned to it's old unit, II.(Schl)/LG 2 and used with notable success. So much so, that Generaloberst Von Richthofen requested that they be brought back into production. Unfortunately, Henschel had dismantled it's tooling and jigs in 1940 and was no longer able to produce them. By 1945, the few that remained, were in secondary service.

    The Curtiss SOC "Seagull" was brought into service with the U.S. Navy in 1935, as a scouting and observation platform. It was a familiar fixture on Battleships and Cruisers, as well as fixed-gear models service aboard aircraft carriers. They were in service at the start of WWII and when their replacements, the OS2U "Kingfisher" and SO3C "Seamew" were intoduced, the "Seagull" was relegated to secondary and training duties.

    However, with the dismal performance of the SOC3, the Navy decided to bring the SOC back into frontline service, where it served through the end of the war.

    Like I said, these are the two that come to mind first, and they both are fascinating stories where the "old timers" are showing the newcomers how it's done!

    I'm sure there's a few other types with similar stories, if you know of any, share them here!
     
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  2. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Fairey Swordfish - outlasted its replacement, the Fairey Albacore.

    Though, I suppose, the Swordfish wasn't retired when the Albacore started,
     
  3. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    The Japanese Mitsubishi B1M biplane torpedo bomber - designed by Herbert Smith, former Sopwith draughtsman. First flying in 1923, it was an excellent aeroplane and, similar to the Swordfish, remained in service alongside its intended replacement, the Mitsubishi Type 89 or B2M on Japanese carriers. It was finally replaced by the Nakajima B5N all metal monoplane, many remaining in service until 1938. In saying that, like the Swordfish, it wasn't retired and brought back.
     
  4. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    I had asked a similar question:
    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/obsolete-planes-still-dishing-out-35140.html
     
  5. airminded88

    airminded88 Member

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    The P-40 was not strictly a retiree before the end of hostilities but became outdated fairly early by several Axis types yet soldiered on on some of the roughest theaters of the war.
    Does is deserve a special mention?
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Only because WWII Germany had a desperate shortage of CAS aircraft. If Ju-87 and Hs.129 had been available in adequate numbers those Hs.123s would not have been used for anything besides flight training.
     
  7. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I have to disagree...the Hs123 was brought back by request. It proved it worth with it's ruggedness and accuracy and had a surprisingly low loss-ratio.

    It was able to operate from forward areas on the Eastern front in conditions that virtually grounded other types. It was a simple machine to maintain although spare parts were nearly non-existant by 1944.
     
  8. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Wasnt the Skyraider well on the way to being replaced by the A6 and A4 in front line service when it was returned as the Navies close support a/c
     
  9. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird was reactivated for a short stretch.
     
  10. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    B-26 Invaders where taken from the bone yard and sent to On-Mark to be made into Counter Invaders B-26K IIRC
     
  11. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    The SR-71 was supposed to replace the U-2, but even after a long and distinguished service life, with the SR-71 having been retired, reactivated, and then retired again, the U-2, in the form of the TR-2, is still in service. So although it never retired, it DID outlast it's replacement and is still going strong!
     
  12. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Marine F4U were called back when they were having issues with the F9F during the Korean War.
     
  13. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    You could argue that it shouldn't have been retired at all, since it left such a shortfall in intel gathering capability. The principal reason behind its reactivation was its ASARS-1 synthetic aperture radar. I don't know if the TR-1 carries similar equipment, but when the Black bird was retired, a big hole was left in terms of flexibility that the U-2/TR-1 can only partially fulfil.
     
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  14. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Since your title didn't specify only airplanes, I think the biggest one is the U.S.S. Missouri. Brought back after being decommissioned for 31 years.
     
  15. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe..................:rolleyes:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-37
     
  16. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    wasnt the A-10 warthog either slated for or retired years ago?
     
  17. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Slated a couple of times, but it keeps getting delayed.
     
  18. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    The USS Missouri is probably the US king of "out of retirement" equipment ... you are certainly correct.

    The old WWII destroyers that were reactivated for convoy escort, some on lend-lease, probably run a close second.
     
  19. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Are you talking about the WW1 destroyers used for convoy escort in WW2, Greg? The Brits received 50 four stackers from the USA in 1940 for convoy escort duties, but these weren't Lend Lease, they were traded as part of the Destroyers for Bases agreement, where the Brits got ships and the US Navy got the use of British naval facilities in the Caribbean and elsewhere.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destroyers_for_Bases_Agreement
     
  20. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Yah, was talking about them. They were in mothballs until needed and probably represent somewhere near the top of "retired and returned to service" equipment as far as age goes ... second behind the Missouri and perhaps something else we might have forgotten about.

    I supposed they wouldn't exactly TELL us if an old WWII radar could pick up a stealth plane and was returned to service ... with some improvements.
     
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