P40 in the BOB

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by bob44, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    What could of happened if the British had several P40's and maybe P40B's in use during the Battle of Britain?
     
  2. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    #2 CobberKane, Aug 13, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
    The British experience with the various P-40's indicated that they were ill suited to combat in Europe, due to lack of performance at altitude that resulted from their Allison engine being rated to operate best at low to intermediate levels. They would have had difficulty climbing to meet the incoming bombers, and even if they got there they would have been easy meat for the 109E.
    The Brits packed their P-40s off to North Africa where it was anticipated they would meet lesser opposition. There they came into their own, being tough and easy to maintain in front line conditions. They were still outclassed by the 109s and MC202s when those fighters appeared but the difference was not so pronounced as it would have been over Britain as combat in the MTO typically took place closer to the P-40s optimum altitude. And as Walter Boyne said, what they couldn't out-fly they could out-last.
     
  3. pattle

    pattle Member

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    Wasn't the P40 of 1940 a much inferior aircraft to the later Tomahawks and Kittyhawks that we all know of, being lightly armed, armoured and generally unrefined? I know the RAF replaced it's Hurricanes with Tomahawks as fighters in North Africa following summer 1941 but in 1940 wasn't the Hurricane Mk1 better than contemporary P40's?
     
  4. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    I believe the P-40s poor altitude performance was a constant across all marks, so I doubt that the P-40E would have been of much more use than the Tommahwk, had it been available for the BoB. Even when re-engined with the Merlin the P-40 was less than stellar at altitude, which suggests the issue went deeper than just the power plant.
    I have read that in the MTO, where combat was lower, the RAF considered the P40 better option than the Hurricane I, though this would have taken into account jabo duties, serviceability etc, rather than just performance. And it can't have hurt that the Kittyhawk was a product of US industry either.
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The early P-40 was faster than the Hurricane, especially the MK I Hurricane.

    However the early P-40s were heaver than the Hurricanes by about 600-750lbs or about 10-12% which really hurt altitude performance. And the Merlin III offered several thousand feet more altitude performance.

    The 109 was even lighter which was it's advantage, you could probably swap an early Allison for a 1940 DB 601 and the P-40 and 109 performance wouldn't change more than a few percent.
     
  6. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    How many P-40s were available before the BoB.

    We know the RAF were buying them in 1940 - but when did they actually get P-40s?
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    First P-40s show up in England at the end of Sept, 1940.

    By Sept 30 the USAAC has taken delivery of 200 P-40s, 114 in Sept.
     
  8. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    The Tomahawk I, the Hawk 81A-1, began production deliveries in late 1940 (September?), with the first for evaluation arriving at Boscombe Down in November 1940, although the Brits had already test flown French Hawk 75s in November 1939 and commented favourably, but came to the conclusion that the Spitfire could easily out perform it, although the first British one arrived for testing in August 1940. Tomahawk Is entered squadron service with 26 Sqn at Gatwick in February 1941 (the same Army Co-operation unit that received the Mustang I, incidentally).
     
  9. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    In other words, never going to be enough for the RAF in time for the BoB.
     
  10. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #10 oldcrowcv63, Aug 14, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
    Wasn't the armament upgrade to the P-40E Kittyhawk (6 guns vs the P-40D's 4 gun suite) and the aggravation of its overweight condition essentially in response to RAF request motivated by its desire for a medium altitude fighter bombe/Ground support aircraft? My understanding was that the P-40 excelled in that role, while, as said in prior posts, was a bit too sluggish to be an effective fighter/interceptor.

    The overweight problem with the P-40E and some subsequent models were exaggerated in the PTO when facing IJA IJN fighters and bombers. THat apparently lead to some field modifications which seem to have been ignored in the histories of the aircraft.

    As an interceptor, I believe the P-40B Tomahawk performed a bit bit better than the much heavier P-40E Kittyhawk.

    If you haven't seen this page, check it out:

    http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/P-40/P-40.html
     
  11. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    I think it depends on the mission. For ground support, I believe the P-40E with its six 0.50" guns and rack to carry and drop a 500# bomb was much superior to the earlier P-40B with its mixed heavy and rifle caliber armament suite. However, as an interceptor, I believe the lighter P-40B had a faster climb rate, higher ceiling and was a bit faster at optimum altitude.
     
  12. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    h81comp.jpg

    red - Hurricane I
    green - Spitfire I
    purple - 109E
    blue - H81

    Speed appears to be right there. From what I understand the problem with the initial Tomahawks was that they weren't up to code with regards to all the general extras; protection, instruments, etc.

    By the time they had been fixed with all of the amenities they performance had gone down, while the Spitfire and Hurricane only improved (in the Mk.II).
     
  13. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Think the Spitfire I graph is wrong.

    Would appear to have too low an altitude for maximum speed.

    Spitfire Mk I Performance Testing has maximum speeds between 354 and 367mph for Spitfire Is at altitudes between 18,000ft and 19,000ft.
     
  14. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    +12 boost, 3000 rpm for the British aircraft
     
  15. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    The French and the Finnish did well with the Hawk 75 and both seemed to like it a lot could a Hawk have been useful to the RAF performance looks similar to the Hurricane Mk I.
     
  16. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Active Member

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    Nice work Greyman! You write in a language I understand and appreciate. :)
     
  17. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    Hey, half of my vocabulary is from your dictionary so thanks to you. :)
     
  18. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    The British used a couple of squadrons as the 'Mohawk' in the east against the Japanese. These were machines meant for France and Norway that the RAF took on strength.

    Mohawk II and IV performance at low level was similar to the Hurricane, but once you had any sort of altitude the British fighter was markedly better.
     
  19. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #19 oldcrowcv63, Aug 14, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
    Curtiss Tomahawk

    for the H81-A2:

    "Tomahawk II was the designation given to a new and improved export Tomahawk, one which was better equipped for combat. It was functionally equivalent to the P-40B and P-40C then being issued to USAAC units. Unfortunately, some discrepancies exist in Curtiss records matching Tomahawk designations to RAF serial numbers and correlations to P-40s.

    The Tomahawk IIA (Model H81-A2) was generally equivalent to the US P-40B. It had protective armor and externally-covered self-sealing tanks. 110 were built for the RAF under a direct-purchase contract. . RAF serials were AH881/990, with Curtiss construction numbers being 14131/14220 and 14582/14601. It carried two 0.30-inch machine guns in the wings in addition to the two 0.50-in guns in the fuselage. A British radio was fitted. Tomahawk IIA AH938 was transferred to Canada as an instructional airframe. AH936, 952, 965/971, 974/895, 987, 989, and 990 were delivered to the Soviet Union.

    The Tomahawk IIB (Model H81-A2) was generally equivalent to the US P-40C. It had four 0.303-inch Browning machine guns in the wings in addition to the two nose-mounted 0.50-in guns. Whereas the Tomahawk IIA had a British radio, the Tomahawk IIB had US equipment. The British did not like the externally sealed tanks of the Tomahawk IIA, so these were replaced by internally-sealed tanks on the Tomahawk IIB. A total of 930 of these planes were produced in four lots. RAF serials were AH991/999 (c/n 14658/14666), AK100/570 (c/n 14582/14951, 15243,/15522), AM370/519 (c/n 15823/15972), and AN218/517 (c/n 17817/18116). AK210/224 and AK226/241 were lost at sea in transit.
    "

    I believe Joe (Baugher) is in error here as AHT states that the P-40B and C models carried the same mixed caliber armament. The increase in .30" (or 0.303") guns occurred between the original P-40 and P-40B.

    According to AHT:

    Basic Weight

    P-40/(Tomahawk I): 5,625 #

    P-40B/(Tomahawk IIA): 5,991# with the difference due mainly the two additional wing guns and armor (~150#) and misc a/c (Including SST) modifications (~250#)

    P-40C/(Tomahawk IIB): 6,143# mainly due to accumulated minor a/c modifications (~150#) with apparently a significant jump in SST protection.

    Not sure how the external vs internal SST weights compared for the export variants.
     
  20. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    A&AEE tests:
    Tomahawk II (AK176) 7,270 lb (84 gal fuel)
    Tomahawk II (AK176) 7,646 lb (132 gal fuel)

    Another trial gives a 'normal' weight of 7,372 lb in the CG diagram

    Going by the serials you posted, this would appear to be a Tomahawk IIB
     
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