P-39/ P-40 PTO Claim/ Loss Challenge

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by FLYBOYJ, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #1 FLYBOYJ, Apr 6, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
    GrauGeist recently posted some interesting numbers he attained from various sources showing claims for various US aircraft operated in the PTO. On his list were PTO victories for the P-39 (288 ) and P-40 (660). I am hoping that we could find out how many of these aircraft were lost in air to air combat in the PTO. Any volunteers?

    ~Joe
     
  2. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Joe - the Group/Squadron Histories were poor - ditto early war Encounter Reports and MACR's from PTO/CBI
     
  3. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Flyboyj
    JoeB would be your man if he accepts the challenge.

    Maybe from the quote from one of his messages gives some indication on the claim accuracy.

    - Aviation (Aviation)
    - - How good was Japanese aviation? (http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/how-good-japanese-aviation-730.html)

    JoeB 01-13-2007 04:43 AM
    No, it only covers to the end of the first set of Japanese offensives in that area around the beginning of March. For New Guinea I'm comparing the Japanese losses given in Sakaida "Winged Samurai" w/ the US claims and losses given in Hess "Pacific Sweep".

    The 8th FG (P-39) claimed 45 enemy aircraft April 30-June 1 1942, 37 of them Zeroes, losing 26 P-39's in air combat almost all to Zeroes. They were the only Allied fighter unit at Port Moresby having relieved 75sdn RAAF (P-40) when they arrived. The unit opposing them was the Tainan Air Group, A6M's, with suffered 11 pilots KIA in the same period. So actually I misrecalled 1:3 before looking back at notes, sorry, it's more like perhaps 1:2 considering in this case some of the combats were over the Japanese airfields and they could have lost some planes w/ surviving pilots, though it's not mentioned in any specific accounts I know of.

    Going on to P-40 in defence of Darwin from March22 -August 23 1942, for completeness, the sources are Kagero series book "3rd/202nd Air Group" v. again Hess. The 49th FG claimed 33 Zeroes for the loss of 18 P-40's in air combat, all or almost all to Zeroes though also trying to shoot down bombers. The 3rd Air Group was escorting the raids and recorded 8 actual losses.
     
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  4. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    From Francis Dean’s America’s Hundred Thousand, I have P-39 and P-40 sorties flown, kills, and losses, but these are supposed to exclude numbers from the PTO.

    1) P-39: 30,547 combat sorties flown, 107 combat losses, 14 air kills, and 18 ground kills. ETO.
    2)P-40: 67,059 combat sorties flown, 553 combat losses, 481 air kills, and 40 ground kills. ETO.

    3) From Bill Mitchell (Drgondog) online here in another thread.
    He lists aerial victories only (no ground kills) in the PTO only as:

    a) P-39, 288 kills, PTO.
    b) P-40, 660.5 mills, PTO.

    4) From Warbirds and Airshows- WWII US Aircraft Victories, I have the same numbers as above by Bill.

    5) From the Army Air Forces Statistical Digest I have PTO sorties flown and victories, but not broken out by aircraft.

    6) So I don’t seem to have PTO losses for these specific types. I’ll look some more.
     
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  5. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Agree Bill - we could try to "guesstimate" and "interpolate" rough numbers by the little resources we know are out there.
     
  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Hope Joe may see this and pop in - thanks for your input, I think it's a start.
     
  7. varsity07840

    varsity07840 Member

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    Claims by both sides during the first year of the war were dubious at best.On the American side, it's no secret that many claims from as early as the fighting in the Philippines were not confirmed in many cases fabricated by others than the pilot in question
    for propaganda purposes. I've read numerous accounts of pilots from the 24th Pursuit Group which never refer to the victory claims attributed to them. I've never read any corroborating accounts for any of the claims attributed to Wagner, either in the Philippines or New Guinea, and I've spoken to survivors of the 17th Pursuit Group who say that he's the only one that truly knew what happened during the time that his first five claims were made.

    Duane
     
  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Agree 100% but at the same time that although there were exaggerated and fabricated claims, there were casualties inflicted by members of the 17th and 24th. I think there is enough information out there where we could get a rough idea how well (or bad) the P-39 and P-40 REALLY did durig this period of their air war in the PTO.
     
  9. varsity07840

    varsity07840 Member

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    My bad. I meant to write 17th Pursuit Squadron, not Group. The 17th was part of the 24th Pursuit Group and Wagner was the 17th's C.O.
     
  10. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #10 FLYBOYJ, Apr 7, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
    No worries....

    I didn't have that much time to really commnet on this but even Wiki question Wagner's first 5 claims stating that they might have been Ki-27s in lieu of Zeros (I believe the Ki-27 was used as a bomber escort over the PI at the start of the war). Here's some interesting talk about Wagner flying the P-39..

    Camouflage Markings: Bell P-39 Airacobra in USAAF Service

    I'm going to crack open my copies of "Bloody Shambles" and start doing some re-reading. Maybe we could at least put some dates of P-39 and P-40 aerial losses.
     
  11. varsity07840

    varsity07840 Member

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    Wagner's five claims in the Philippines were indeed Ki-27s which were initially based at captured airfields in Norther Luzon. The
    "Zero" myth can probably be attributed to MacArthur's press releases. It's interesting to note that at the time of the April 30th mission from Port Moresby to Lae, a number of the 8th Pursuit Group's pilots were skeptical of Wagner and thought he may have been a creation of MacAarthur's PR when Wagner was not very forthcoming with answers to their questions about the performance of the Zero. Not surprising considering he had little first hand information. His after mission evaluation of the P-39D/F
    vs the P-40E in which he favored the P-39 certainly doesn't jibe with conventional opinion. It could be that a pilot of his caliber
    was able to get more out of the P-39 that one of average ability.

    Duane
     
  12. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Possibly - remember Chuck Yeager loved the P-39 although never flew it in combat.
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Based on some old posts from JoeB, Feb, 1942, 20 P-40 air-to-air losses
     
  14. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    could the "zero" thing with wagner simply be the same misrepresentation of ac as with the AVG....basically in the early days every fighter the japanese put in the air was called a zero at that time regardless of what they really were...
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    absolutely
     
  16. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Correction:

    I said above the number were from Francis Dean. I had that in the spreadsheet and decided to check, the Dean entry was one row off .... the numbers come from Ray Wagner's American Combat Planes, not from Dean.

    But the numbers are correct as posted ... if you have the correct reference.
     
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  17. varsity07840

    varsity07840 Member

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    The "Zero thing" with the AVG was a confusion between the A6M-2, known to them but never encountered, and the
    Ki-43. If it had retractable gear it was assumed to be a Zero. They were well aware of the designation of the fixed gear Ki-27 and referred to it as the '97 (Type 97).The same thing happened when the Ki-43 was first encouintered in New Guinea. The Far East Air Force in the Philippines was also aware of the Ki-27, again referred to as the '97, and as well as the
    A5M, and expected to be up against these "obsolete fixed gear" a/c. They were quite dubious of the "rumored" performance reports of a "Type O" that made their way to them in the fall of 1941.

    Duane
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Agree and discussed on this forum in great detail.

    Even though, for the talking heads of that era, it was a lot easier to refer to Japanese fighters as "Jap Zeros" regardless of characteristics. (no disrespect to our Japanese members).
     
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