P-39 D Aircobra vs. Me-109

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Been reading alot about the Russian Pilots... Alot of interesting history there...

Anyways, I'm seeing alot of info that states that alot of 109's were shot down by this kinda lame duck aircraft...

"Fadieyev recorded 394 battle missions, 51 combats, 17 alone kills and other 3 group victories. While flying in a P-39 D-2 (from 9 April 1943, till 5 May 1943), he downed 14 Bf 109 and 1 Ju 87. He was KIA on 5 May 1943 on a lone fight against group of 12 Bf 109's."
1 vs 12 ??? Insane odds....

"But Klubov kept the machine in control and landed successfully without his landing gear down. Aviators, standing on the runway, rapidly ran to help him, but Klubov climbed as calm as ever out of his cockpit. He walked around his plane, wondering over all the many bullet holes and said to his aircraft, "You fought very well, my friend!"

Klubov said nothing about his duel with six Messerschmitts, nor that he had shot down two of them.

1-6 ??? And he got 2 of em???
(He flew 457 sorties and took part in 95 air combats. He scored 31 personal victories and another 19 were claimed as 'group' kills)

"The 16 GvIAP entered battle 9 April 1943 and by the end of that month, had been in 28 air battles, in which Soviet pilots downed 79 aircraft of the following types: 14 Bf 109E, 12 Bf 109F, 45 Bf 109G, 2 FW 190, 4 Ju 88, 1 Do 217, and 1 Ju 87. The most successful pilots of this period were: Cpt. A. I. Pokryshkin - 10 Bf 109, Sen. Lt. V. I. Fadieyev - 12 Bf 109 and Sen. Lt. G.A. Rechkalov - 7 Bf 109 + 1 Ju 88"

Note: P-39 was a favourite weapon of Pokryshkin, he still flew on that type, when his all 9th Fighter Division was already all reequiped by La-7 fighters. In 1943 Pokryshkin made useful P-39 modifications, bound all armament fire into one stick button, so a wave of 37 mm cannon and 12.7 mm heavy gun shells can devestate any enemy plane in one moment.

During the war Pokryshkin was 3 times awarded by Soviet Hero Title (Gold Star). He flew total of 550 sorties, participated in 139 air combats he scored officially 59 enemy planes. But in opinion of some historicans his killboard list should be enlarged by next 13 victories, scored in battles over Kuban. During free hunt over German territory he downed a row of enemy planes, but in that period Soviet Command confirmed only planes destroyed over own area.

Were the pilots that good??? Were the Germans that bad???

Was the Aircobra that superior to the Me-109 G???


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I don't really think the Airacobra was. The Americans who flew it called in the Iron Dog. In the Pacific, American P-39 pilots wished to be given trucks since "they were faster and had a higher ceiling!" But then I'm really not sure how to explain the Russians success. They were very addept and using what they have to full advantage.
But comparing a P-39 to a A6M is a bit different from a P-39 against a Bf-109
Well, the P-39 had some performance advantages against the A6M. It would have had no advantages (except perhaps diving speed) over the 109.
I think the referance to the P-39 would be the handling, as the Zero would make almost anything look like its handling like a truck.
Im still trying to understand how a single Russian pilot flying a POS Aircobra, can not only hold off 6 109's, but shoot down 2 in the process....

Either an unbelievably skilled pilot, or the Luftwaffe had a bunch of rookies in the sky (doubtful)...

Guess it kinda proves the point that the pilots skill is more important than the aircraft...
Probably. At at low-altitude the P-39 wasn't that bad. It was only above 15,000ft that it became a death trap.
Luftwaffe Ace Helmut Lipfert [203 victories] apparently wrote 'the Airacobra was the best Russian fighter at the time...a close match for our Bf 109's'. - As LG states, they were a successful low-altitude fighter. - However, the P-63 Kingcobra was more formidable with it's two-stage Allison, equalling the Merlin Mustang, and Russian pilots reported it was a match for the Fw-190's and more than a match for 109's. If you're into reading about them, apparently the last word on them is a book called 'Cobra' by Birch Matthews, a former Bell engineer. It's a 416 page hard-cover [Schiffer, 1996]...


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By all accounts the P-63 was a very good aircraft. I imagine it could have been put to good use with the 9th AF over France had the Americans decided to employ it.
That would be a very rare shot, being an aircraft with tricycle undercarriage....perhaps if there was a failure of the front wheel to come down. They were nick-named 'The Flying Battery' due to their having virtually all functions performed electrically, quite revolutionary at the time. - P.40 pilots used to tease Airacobra pilots during the early days of the Pacific conflict, when Airacobras were then called P-400's, as being ' P-40's with a Zero on their tail'...Within 20 weeks of the Pearl Harbour attack, USAAC P-39's were in service in Hawaii, Panama, the Aleutians and PNG - by late 1942, they were also operational in Europe and N.Africa. Of the 9,588 Airacobras built, in 1973 there were 7 surviving, but recently, with recoveries from their theatres of operations,restored survivors are passing 50 in number... The closest I can find to your 'tail-up' photo, Lanc, is a P.39N that's pole-mounted [diving-pose] at Goroka, Papua New Guinea, which was recovered in Tadji in 1967....


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The P-400 was the official designation of the P-39s that had been initially accepted by Britain and then returned to the US. They were notable for having a more useful 20mm gun in place of the P-39s 37mm weapon.
That was the wartime joke. But the returned versions of the P-39 were actually known as P-400s and nicknamed "Klunkers."
when i said pictures of a P-39 or P-63 tailed over on landing, i meant that because of the high nose well and mid mounted engine, there was a chance that the tail would hit the ground like a plane with tail weel landing gear, i've read of a coup,e of accounts ofthat happening................

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