Underappreciated Aircraft of WWII

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by kration, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. kration

    kration Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    #1 kration, Apr 1, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2010
    Not the catchiest title, I know. But I have been pondering which is the most underappreciated aircraft of WWII. The reason for this is from this link:


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-2UAXblTUE

    The latter link shows just how useful the Walrus was. But it's not the most glamorous or remembered airplane.

    I also listened recently to a great documentary on Radio 4 (in the UK) about the Night Witches who flew the Polikarpov PO-2 on the eastern front, and had a big impact on German morale. Not the most glamorous aircraft, but it was massively produced and effective. On the Axis side I'd include the FW 189.

    Before posting this, I searched 'underappreciated' on this forum and the most common plane that cropped up was the P40 Warhawk.

    So, to cut a long story short, what is the most underappreciated aircraft of WW2?

    My vote goes for the 'Shagbat'!
     
  2. kration

    kration Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
  3. Maximowitz

    Maximowitz Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,971
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Railwayman
    Location:
    London, England.
    Interesting thought. If you go to the modellers forum here you'll see tons of Fw 190's, Bf 109's, Spitfires, P51's...




    Not much in the way of DC 3's or Fiesler Storch though. Very little in the way of nightfighters either.



    I assume they are not glamorous enough. :D
     
  4. zoomar

    zoomar Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Sort of by definition we are not looking for a combat aircraft (which always get "appreciated" even if in a bad way), or any plane generally considered at the head of its class (like the C-47, Fi156, etc). Having given this less than a minutes thought, how about the Stearman trainer or Miles Magister?
     
  5. Maximowitz

    Maximowitz Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,971
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Railwayman
    Location:
    London, England.
    Tiger Moth? A pre-war design I admit, but much used as a trainer.
     
  6. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Messages:
    8,857
    Likes Received:
    376
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Workin' for the man....
    Location:
    South East Queensland
    Vengeance, Hudson, Baltimore all come to mind, and then there's the trainers - Anson's, oxfords etc.
     
  7. kration

    kration Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    I agree with the Hudson as well. It was put to great service in the early war years, but never seems recognised. It was also the subject of one of my favourite aviation books 'Norwegain Patrol'. Great aircraft, but the 'wet wings' were a hazard.

    I understand people's comments re. the training planes. The Tiger Moth and Harvard may be underappreciated by the modellers, but in real life thare are still a lot flying around. Not many Magisters though.

    Can't say the same for Shagbats, Hudsons or Skuas.
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    The USN alone operated 977 of these aircraft. The U.K. operated about 3,500 B-24s, many of which were used in the maritime patrol role.

    One could argue that these 2,000 or so navalized B-24s were the most effective weapon for defeating the Axis submarine force.
     
  9. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,930
    Likes Received:
    643
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    "... One could argue that these 2,000 or so navalized B-24s were the most effective weapon for defeating the Axis submarine force.".

    Great point and worthy candidate - plugged the North Atlantic air cover gap. And to the 1,000's in service add the unarmed transport versions that were the backbone of "communications" squadrons under Ferry Command.

    Personally, I'd throw the Short Sunderland into the race for its role in war on U boats in the Bay of Biscayne etc. The Catalina deserves a role - great long range maritime patrol - and I'd add the P-39 Iron Dog Airacobra :) - for its role on the Eastern Front.

    MM
     
  10. hawkeye2an

    hawkeye2an Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,047
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Salesman
    Location:
    St Joseph, Missouri
    #10 hawkeye2an, Apr 2, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
    I believe the most underappreciated aircraft are the L-4s and L-5s. Although not a 'combat' aircraft they were very much on the front line in the thick of things with nothing to protect them but the pilot's .45 or maybe an M-1 carbine. Nothing between them and their enemies but a very thin sheet of fabric and a few metal tubes. There are a few books out there on the subject, I recommend:

    "THE FIGHTING GRASSHOPPERS" by KEN WAKEFIELD
    "JANEY - A LITTLE PLANE IN A BIG WAR" by ALFRED"DUTCH" SCHULTZ
    "LOW AND SLOW" - by DON MOORE
    "GRASSHOPPER PILOT - A MEMOIR" by JULIAN WILLIAM CUMMINGS
    "BOX SEAT OVER HELL" - by HARDY D CANNON

    General Patton was quoted as saying that Artillery won the war. It was these brave pilots that helped make our artillery so effective.
     
  11. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,160
    Likes Received:
    128
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Consellor
    Location:
    Lincolnshire
    Germany - Fi156 Storch, British senior officers used these whenever they could which must count as a vote in favour.
    British - Oxford, unloved and unmentioned but was even pushed into front line service.
    America - Hudson served all over the world and was produced by the Japanese as a transport, again a vote in favour.
    Russia - Polikarpov U-2 maid of all work in Russia
    Italy - Macchi C200 often overlooked between the Cr42 and the Macchi 202.
    Japan - Ki44, Everyone knows about the Ki43 and the Ki84 but in a similar manner to the Macchi 200 the plane in the middle isn't nearly as well known.
     
  12. renrich

    renrich Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    4,542
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    real estate
    Location:
    Montrose, Colorado
    PBY-Catalina- Served all over the world during the whole war for many countries. Recon, bomber, torpedo plane, anti-sub, air sea rescue, transport cargo. Ugly, slow and plenty useful.
     
  13. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,930
    Likes Received:
    643
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    "... Ugly, slow and plenty useful."

    Gorgeous - I've often wondered why newer flying boats didn't continue with the retractable floats. The clean parasol wing is a beautiful thing to behold. :)

    MM
     
  14. zoomar

    zoomar Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Good list, especially if we are also considering combat aircraft. My original thought was to automatically exclude any plane used extensively as fighter or bombe, but I can sea the reason to take a more inclusive route. So, following this format, here's another list that features bonafide front-line combat planes:

    Britain - Armstrong Whitworth Whitley. Ugly as sin, relegated to second line duties as soon as more modern heavies appeared on the scene, yet was the first bomber to bomb Berlin.

    USA - Bell P-63. Not a bad plane at all, but often given short shrift in general histories of WW2 aviation because they were a descendant of the supposedly lousy P-39 and only used by the USSR. It is also probably under appreciated in Russia because it was not a Soviet product.

    Italy - Honestly, just about every Italian warplane with the possible exception of the SM-79 is probably underappreciated outside of Italy. But to choose, since the Macchis and Fiats occasionally get their due, I'd go with the Regianne series of fighters Re-2000 to 2005.

    Japan - Ki-44 is a good choice. Another is Kawanishi H6K. Great plane but overshadowed by its more modern successor.

    Germany - there really aren't any under appreciated German planes, because all seem to have legions of fans. But I'd go with the He-115 or Bv-138. Very important and useful floatplane/flying boats often ignored because one doesn't normally think "water" when thinking about German aviation.
     
  15. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,160
    Likes Received:
    128
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Consellor
    Location:
    Lincolnshire
    I like your choices for Britain and Germany over the ones I thought of. I think a passing mention to the Hampden with the Whitley would be in order.
     
  16. renrich

    renrich Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    4,542
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    real estate
    Location:
    Montrose, Colorado
    mm, beauty is as beauty does, right? Looking at her that way, the PBY was beautiful!
     
  17. Markus

    Markus Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Brewster Buffalo: The Dutch liked her, her perfomance in Finish hands was amazing but her reputation was ruined by a bunch of green Marines who lost one(!) air battle they should not have entred in the first place. Talk about bad press.
     
  18. kration

    kration Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    #18 kration, Apr 2, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
    Great list! I'm intrigued by your reference to the Airspeed Oxford in front line service - what did that consist of?

    I like that because I've read some great accounts of 'dogfights' between Hudsons and Bv-138's (and JU88's), which lasted for about 30 minutes and consisted of each circling trying to get on each others tails. With no end result.

    And that's a good suggestion too. I've always ignored the artillary spotters because they looked too much like private aircraft and weren't exciting enough for me. But they did extremely valuable work, and the pilots must have been extremely brave.

    The idea of doing a list on a national basis is good though.
     
  19. hawkeye2an

    hawkeye2an Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,047
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Salesman
    Location:
    St Joseph, Missouri
    In the case of the L-4 it WAS just like the civilian Piper Cub. The only difference was the extra glass behind the crew areas. No electrical system, the radios were battery operated. They ran on regular gas and they could and DID land just about anywhere.
     
  20. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,636
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    niagara falls
    #20 pbfoot, Apr 2, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
    Just to toss a totally unknown bird out there how about the Fleet 16 how many pilots in the Commonwealth and US air forces were trained on this virtually unknown trainer over 400 were made and was responsible for much intial training in the BCATP .Please note me beating off the crowds
     

    Attached Files:

Loading...

Share This Page