Robert S. Johnson, 56th Fighter Group.

Discussion in 'Old Threads' started by GT, Mar 11, 2005.

  1. GT

    GT Member

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    Cancelled.
     
  2. DAVIDICUS

    DAVIDICUS Member

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    A truly impressive story. I fell in love with the P-47 as a young child in large part due to this and other stories regarding its ability to absorb damage and bring its pilot home.
     
  3. GT

    GT Member

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    Update
     
  4. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    There were stories of P-47s brought home with multiple cylinders shot off completely! I muse that the P-47 was not a plane that could be shot down, just filled with so much lead, it was too heavy to fly. ;)
     
  5. KraziKanuK

    KraziKanuK Banned

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    Or made lighter with all that weight shot off that a damaged engine did not need all its power to keep it in the air. ;)
     
  6. Udet

    Udet Banned

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    Sorry guys it is not my intention to botch the party, but twenty one 2cm hits sounds a bit like a taste of hollywood there.

    While a full load of 7.92mm bullets might certainly not be enough to bring down a sturdy P-47, the alleged amount of 2cm shells absorbed by this gentleman´s Thunderbolt is far beyond the realms of reality.

    The photos posted here, even while showing important damage, are clearly not the product of taking 21 of the 2 cm shells. I have seen Bf 109s with that sort of damage that made it back to base.

    Some of the hits shown on the photos certainly come from 2cm shells but never to be 21, and he was lucky they did not hit the engine: a sole well placed 2cm shell on the engine of even the P-47 is a sure kill.

    The Fw190As and the P-47s are surely the sturdiest and greatest damage absorbers of the war. Both had radial engines, while P-51, Bf109, Spitfires and Lightnings had liquid cooled engines and could not take very great damage.

    German interceptos in many cases used 1/10 of the rounds Johnson´s P-47 allegedly took that day to shoot down a four engined heavy bomber such as the B-17 and B-24, which of course are heavier and far harder to destroy.

    The P-47 if indeed capable of taking important damage did not demand, being generous, even 1/4 of the rounds you are saying he took that particular day.
     
  7. DAVIDICUS

    DAVIDICUS Member

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    I believe him. (Of course, I am a biased P-47 enthusiast)

    It generally took a lot more than 1/10th of twenty one 20mm rounds to take out a large bomber. From "The WWII Fighter Gun Debate: Defensive Armament":

    The Germans concluded that in a head-on attack, four or five 20mm hits would destroy a bomber, while it usually required more than 20 hits when attacking from another angle.
    ----------------------------------


    Not long before he passed away in December, 1998, Robert S. Johnson was interviewed by Colin D. Heaton, of Military History magazine. Excerpts of that interview follow:

    Military History magazine: Pilots generally swear by their aircraft. Günther Rall and Erich Hartmann praised the Messerschmitt Bf-109, Erich Rudorffer and Johannes Steinhoff the Me-262, and Buddy Haydon the P-51 Mustang. I have to say after seeing all of the old photos of the various Thunderbolts and others that were shot up, I can't imagine any other plane absorbing that much damage and still flying. What is your opinion of your aircraft?

    Johnson: This is very similar to the German debate. As far as the 109, all of the German pilots loved that plane, but the FW-190 was harder to shoot down. Just like the controversy over the P-51 and P-47. The P-47 was faster; it just did not have the climb and range the Mustang did. But it had speed, roll, dive and the necessary ruggedness that allowed it to do such a great job in the Ninth Air Force. As far as aerial kills go, we met and beat the best the Luftwaffe had when we first got there. It was the P-47 groups that pushed them back, as I said before. The P-51s had the advantage of longer range, and they were able to hit even the training schools, hitting boys just learning to fly. As the war dragged on, many of the old German veterans had been killed--so much of the experience was gone. As far as the 109 versus 190 argument, the 109 had the liquid-cooled engine whereas the 190 had an air-cooled radial engine, much like ours. One hit in the cooling system of a Messerschmitt and he was going down. Also, none of the German fighters were as rugged as a P-47. When I was badly shot up on June 26, 1943, I had twenty-one 20mm cannon shells in that airplane, and more than 200 7.92mm machine-gun bullets. One nicked my nose and another entered my right leg, where the bullet split in half. I still have those two little pieces, by the way; they went in just under the skin. I had been hurt worse playing football and boxing. However, I had never been that scared, I'll tell you that. I was always scared--that was what made me move quick. "Hub" Zemke liked the P-51 because it had great range, but he put one in a dive and when he pulled out he ripped the wings off that airplane--that was how he became a POW. Adolf Galland, who was a very good friend of mine and who I had known since 1949, flew the Me-262 and loved it, but he still swore by the 109, although it was still easier to shoot down.

    http://home.att.net/~historyzone/Johnson1.JPG

    http://home.att.net/~historyzone/Johnson2.JPG
    -------------------------------------------------------

    From his autobiography, "Thunderbolt!":

    There are twenty-one gaping holes and jagged tears in the metal from exploding 20mm cannon shells. I'm still standing in one place when my count of bullet holes reaches past a hundred; there's no use even trying to add them all. The Thunderbolt is literally a sieve, holes through the wings, fuselage and tail. Every square foot, it seems is covered with holes. There are five holes in the propeller. Three 20mm cannon shells burst against the armor plate, a scant inch away from my head. Five cannon shell holes in the right wing; four in the left wing. Two cannnon shells blasted away the lower half of my rudder. One shell exploded in the cockpit, next to my left hand; this is the blast that ripped away the flap handle. More holes appeared along the fuselage and in the tail. Behind the cockpit, the metal is twisted and curled; this had jammed the canopy, trapping me inside. The airplane had done her best. Needless to say, she would never fly again.
     
  8. GT

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  9. DJ_Dalton

    DJ_Dalton Member

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    Agreed,

    Its a nice story. The Han's Philip part is a bit of a stretch also. I had always read he had been damaged by bombers and what became of him after that was debateable. The photos certainly dont show 21 explosive shell hits....lol

    The accurate part of the story is the "bouncing" bomber attackers part. Thats how the U.S. won the Air War. They bounced the bouncers and the bombers did their share to faciliate it. Johnson was right, a Jug had an advantage bouncing a gondola winged 109 from above in numbers. The escorts outnumbered the bomber attackers. Thats the way it went. You got to give them credit though, the U.S. are the ones that wore Germany down, not the RAF.
     
  10. GT

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  11. mosquitoman

    mosquitoman Active Member

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    The RAF held the Luftwaffe while destroying it's cities, the USAAF made the strikes with the bombers going for factories. This would bring up the Luftwaffe up into the waiting bullets of the P-51s and P-47s waiting for them
     
  12. Udet

    Udet Banned

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    GT:

    "Besserwissers"...uuuuuhhh, how strong.

    The fact of the matter might be clear within your mind mister, but i find all the info and evidence on this particular case wanting. Do not fret, if you are convinced a P-47 could take twenty one 2 cm shells and keep flying then rest your case and let the besserwissers continue to have their very reasonable doubts.

    There will be the day when allied sided guys will come up affirming Thunderbolts took 88 Flak hits in the engine and still made it back to base.
     
  13. DJ_Dalton

    DJ_Dalton Member

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    I'm not gonna bad mouth the P-47. That was an exceptional airplane. It did the brunt of the fighting and had a very good kill to loss ratio. It was just purely an all around airplane. You wouldn't want to get caught 1 on 1 vs. a GE plane in it without scads of altitude and they didn't. They knew how to fly it. High and in huge numbers and it would go high.

    The Johnson story is more proof of fabrication in telling war stories. That P-47 was hit by 2 maybe 3 high explosive shell. One directly in the tail end of the fuselage and one near the canopy. If there were other unbelievable damaged areas you'd have seen them portrayed in the pictures. I wish Johnson was still alive and I could talk with him I'd ask him: "Who the hell told the whoppers and said you said so"

    An interesting anecdote regarding the P-47 and Johnson is that he had a mock dogfight with a RAF ace in a IX. I can't remember the precise details but it started even and then Johnson got in trouble and put his Jug into that Mass Energy dive they did. He extended on the Spit and then zoomed above him and got guns on before the Spit could acquire enough control to alter direction. The P-47 was a better plane than the Spitfire.
     
  14. GT

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  15. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

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    Thats pretty amazing. :shock:
     
  16. DAVIDICUS

    DAVIDICUS Member

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    I believe the holes in the propeller were from 7.92mm rounds.

    On another note, let's keep in mind the following. This isn't a situation where a pilot was in a situation where he was the only witness and has made a claim that sounds incredible. For instance, this isn't a situation where a pilot claims that he hit the speed of sound in a dive.

    Here, Johnson's plane made it back. His claim of the number of 20mm cannon round hits was readily observable and verifiable by many others. I have never heard anything regarding an assault on his claim by anyone who was a witness, and thus in a position to do so, or anyone who spoke to a witness.

    How could such a claim persist without evidence to the contrary
    by any of the many witnesses if it was indeed just a wild fantasy completely out of the bounds of reality? Perhaps anything these many people said that contradicted Johnson's claim was never recorded in print. Perhaps no one who ever spoke to an observing witness whose account contradicted Johnson's version ever had their story recorded in print. Perhaps those who observed his aircraft were part of a large conspiracy or mass hallucination.

    Perhaps Johnson's story is true.
     
  17. DJ_Dalton

    DJ_Dalton Member

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    You only need look at those pictures above to realize theres something rotten in Denmark. Not only do the pictures fail to depict 21 20 mm shell hits, they fail miserably to depict 200 7.92 round hits. The poster tried to pawn off 5 20 mm PROPELLOR hits and 9 unobservable wing hits for an unobservable total of 14 of the 21 ....please. Wherever a 20 strikes the propellor it shears it off at that location.

    I think it far more likely that the plane was hit by a total of 21 rounds. TOTAL. Why would the U.S. fabricate or grow the story bigger than it was? In wartime, they are always concerned with Morale and Johnson a leading ace was undoubtedly missing and concern arose. What better way to assauge that concern than proclaim "Here he is and his plane brought him home despite being shot to shit". Morale. Those pictures and DT's breakdown of the damage defy credibility. I guess they'd have you believe 180 machine gun hits are in the wings despite the fact the FW190 has them housed in the fuselage. So something is wrong. The question is why? You'll find siimilar in almost all the accounts of the victors. The facts don't jive with the rhetoric.

    Lies and the Lying Liars who tell them.
     
  18. DAVIDICUS

    DAVIDICUS Member

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    DJ_Dalton said: "Why would the U.S. fabricate or grow the story bigger than it was? In wartime, they are always concerned with Morale and Johnson a leading ace was undoubtedly missing and concern arose. What better way to assauge that concern than proclaim "Here he is and his plane brought him home despite being shot to s**t". Morale."

    So I assume that you are going with large conspiracy by the government. Have you ever noticed those black helicopters that follow you around?

    You are saying that he was "undoubtedly missing" and that in order to "assuage" concern over this "leading ace's" absence, they "produced" some P-47, apparently damaged it themselves and then said, "Here is his plane that brought him back" even though he was still missing? Huh? Wouldn't his return "assuage" any concern over his being "undoubtedly missing" irrespective of the condition of his plane upon return?

    Why stop there. Let's continue with your government conspiracy reasoning per your logic. When Robert Johnson did come back, it wasn't Robert Johnson at all. Obviously the U.S. government, being interested in "assuaging" concern over a missing leading ace produced another pilot and proclaimed, "Here he is" and no one who knew differently ever said anything just like how no one who knew differently ever said anything about his plane not having taken 21 hits from a 20mm.

    It's fair to say that neither of us is going to change the other's mind so we'll just have to agree to disagree. (If you are the real DJ_Dalton and not part of a neo-Nazi conspiracy to disparage Robert S. Johnson) :rolleyes:
     
  19. DJ_Dalton

    DJ_Dalton Member

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    I'll rest my case on the photos shown and the photos not shown. I don't know what Robert Johnson said for sure or what he was stated to have said, but this P-47 is in a lot better shape than scores of others I've seen photos of. It may be the story broke well after the war.

    Case Dismissed.
     
  20. Udet

    Udet Banned

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    Davidicus:

    With all due respect I do not think the very particular topic on this thread is a case of learning to disagree.

    It is rather a case where the evidence flatly fails to prove what has been told by the allied boys.

    The parts of the P-47 shown on the photos here not only show only two or three 2 cm shell hits at the most, they also fail to show the two hundred 7.92 mm hits.

    You might dislike Dalton here, but a good point was made when saying that if unbeliavable damage had been endured in parts other than the ones posted here, we will be seeing them, but there are none.

    Guys I praise the P-47. It is my favorite USAAF fighter (by far). Being repetitive is somewhat necessary in on-line forums: it was fast, excellent roller and diver, and (again) it could take a good deal of punishment.

    Still, no matter how sound and sturdy it was: there is not enough surface on the P-47 to take twenty one 2cm shells, keep flying and getting back in time to base for dinner.
     
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