Vote: Favorite liaison/army co-op aircraft of WWII?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by ShVAK, Sep 8, 2012.

?

What was your favorite liaison aircraft of WWII?

  1. Piper L-4 Grasshopper (J-3 Cub)

    3.6%
  2. Stinson L-5 Sentinel

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Beech UC-43 Traveler (Beech Model 17 Staggerwing)

    3.6%
  4. Westland Lysander

    14.3%
  5. Fieseler Fi 156 Storch

    64.3%
  6. Polikarpov Po-2 "Mule"

    3.6%
  7. Kokusai Ki-76 "Stella"

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. Other

    10.7%
  1. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    #1 ShVAK, Sep 8, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012
    They don't really get the publicity of the fighters and bombers, but liaison aircraft filled their share of important roles and missions.

    A Fieseler Storch was the aircraft that participated in the successful rescue of Mussolini in the Gran Sasso raid.

    The last recorded dogfight on the Western Front involved another Storch, an L-4 Grasshopper and two determined American airmen with .45's.

    The Polikarpov Po-2 was (in)famous as the plane of the Soviet 588th Night Bomber Regiment along with the North Korean "Bedcheck Charlie" harassment raids later on.

    Westland Lysanders served many missions supplying the Free French. No. 138 and 161 Squadrons recovered over 100 agents from occupied Europe from the start of operations until French liberation.

    The Stinson L-5 pioneered the Brodie landing system, used in the Battle of Okinawa.

    etc. etc. etc.

    What's your pick for favorite?
     
  2. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Tough call, but for me, I would have to go with the Storch. It's STOL capabilities were amazing. That made it quite capable of getting in and out of darn near anywhere.
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The two aircraft compliment each other.


    Fi-156 is short range.
    ms7502.jpg


    Fw-189 is long range and has some light attack capability.
    04294_FockeWulf_Fw_189_A-1.jpg
     
  4. johnbr

    johnbr Well-Known Member

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    For me it is the Fw 58.
     
  5. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    I like the Fw 189 a lot and was thinking of including it but it was used by the LW as a forward air control/recon aircraft rather than a liaison aircraft much of the time (which includes supply drops, air ambulance etc). More like the WWII equivalent of a OV-10 Bronco. So I wasn't sure if it really belonged in this poll.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Pre-WWI Germany introduced the concept of 105mm light howitzers complimented by 150mm heavy howitzers. 110 years later it's still the system employed by most armies.

    Army liason aircraft work the same way. Two complimentary aircraft (i.e. light and heavy) do the job better then a single aircraft type.

    Germany also had a few leaders who believed in the Zerstorer "one aircraft type can perform every mission" concept. The less said about these fools the better. :)
     
  7. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Gotta go with the Fiesler Storch. Amazing airplane, and can literally hover with a good head wind. It was amazing watching it pretty much creep down the runway at a few airshows I have seen.

    Something about the way it looks as well.
     
  8. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Member

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    The Storch gets all the headlines (and due to its incredible STOL abilities I - just - give it the nod myself, but in terms of effective work I really am torn between it the Westland Lysander.
    Regularly flying over to drop people supplies off in occupied territory is a feat the Westland Lysander performed many times but no Storch flights ever did similar in the UK.
     
  9. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I voted for the Lizzie but I almost voted other and my other would have been the Henschel Hs 126. One of my favourite German aircraft almost identical in figures to the Lizzie and I hate to say it better looking.
    hs126.jpg
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    How do you know that?

    Enemy agents in Britain aren't going to give themselves up after the German surrender. One of them could work alongside you at the local factory for 40 years and you would never know it.
     
  11. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    And how do you know that? A statement as far out there as that needs to be backed up with a few facts.

    we're all waiting dave.
     
  12. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Gotta agree here - Sorry Dave, a pretty silly statement considering the effectiveness of the allied anti-espionage effort.

    As far as a Storch landing on British soil - I never heard of it, wouldn't doubt it, but had it happened, I'm sure there would have been numerous stories about it!
     
  13. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    #13 ShVAK, Sep 9, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
    I'm surprised the Po/U-2 isn't getting more love.

    That said I'm torn between the Lysander for its durability and interesting design, L-4 for its all around versatility and Cub charm, and Storch for its outstanding STOL abilities and advances in tech. Almost want to pick the Staggerwing for its looks and speed alone but its main importance was as an air attaché craft--which is not to say that the diplomats who rode in it weren't responsible for bringing crucial intel back to the Allied front.

    Gonna stay neutral for now. More interested in what other folks have to say.
     
  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The Lysander and Storch are a hard choice, I'd say the Storch by a hair.

    At the same time the Cub isn't far behind if you're looking at a one person operation or no requirement to carry equipment. Out of all of them I would say hand's down the Cub would be the easiest to maintain and operate in the field.
     
  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The Americans also had the Stinson Vigilant

    .Stinson L-1 Vigilant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The fact that they shifted to the Stinson L-5 Sentinel and the Grasshoppers may tell us something.

    The Beech 17 was in a whole different class. It may have been a biplane but it topped 200mph and had retracting landing gear.
     
  16. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    On that note it's worth mentioning that the Stinson shares most of these advantages and had better overall performance than the L-4, as a more modern purpose-built craft with a bigger engine. Also had side by side seating compared to the Cub's tandem seating which has its own set of pluses and minuses.

    The Po-2 was up there for ruggedness too, also surprisingly survivable for a flying sewing machine (being so slow the faster piston-engine fighters and later jets had a really hard time shooting it down) and was used for pretty much any second-line role the VVS could conceive of. It was ancient even by WWII standards but it still served in a valuable capacity, there's a reason why it was the world's second most produced aircraft.
     
  17. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    #17 ShVAK, Sep 9, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
    The Beech's performance was actually not far off the Lysander's numbers, and with only about 50% of its horsepower (450 HP R-985-AN-1 vs 870 HP Bristol Mercury XX). It also had a lower max takeoff weight than the Lizzie even though it was a four place aircraft. I'd say they're roughly comparable.
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #18 FLYBOYJ, Sep 9, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
    Better performance where? In this type of aircraft performance is measured in range, payload, landing and take off distance . A Cub is easily maintained and an engine swap can be made by one man, minimal tools within a half day.
    Agree, some traits like the Cub
    Again, speed and HP are not necessarily the big factors here, range, payload, landing and take off distance, with the latter of the two probably being the most important.
     
  19. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #19 nuuumannn, Sep 10, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
    Hmm, there are some real standouts in this list. for me its between the Storch, Lysander and Po-2/U-2.

    The latter is, of course the second most mass produced aeroplane in history next to the Sturmovik and carried out a vast amount of roles throughout its pre- and post-war career, probably more than any other type listed above. It probably went through greater physical transformation than any other type in the list, too; a testimony to the practicability of the basic design. I remember reading an article in a magazine titled "Kukuruznik; The plane that could" (Kukuruznik - cockroach; so unflattering) which described the exploits of this rather ordinary looking aeroplane. It left an impression on me, so that when I saw one for the first time I couldn't help but linger and marvel at the achievements of what looks like just about any old biplane of a certain age.

    Conceived by the individual who later brought us the Canberra bomber, the Folland Gnat and the Lightning interceptor, the Lysander is a peculiar looking beast and you don't really appreciate just how big it is until you stand next to one. In flight its Mercury engine growls and clatters like an old British motorcycle; in appearance it's a bit awkward looking with its slightly swept forward wings, hump back and big triangular tail. It takes a special kind of airman to regularly fly a big, slow, noisy, unarmed aeroplane deep into enemy territory, then land it in order to drop off and retrieve agents before returning, with darkness as his only defence. I also like how only the rungs of the ladder bolted onto the side of the fuselage were painted in luminous paint.

    Lastly the Good ole Fieseler Fi 156, an aeroplane whose designer's name is probably the most miss-spelt and miss-pronounced of all and whose reputation is so well known. It is also the most visually striking, being quite like a stick insect, sitting nose up with its long, widely splayed undercarriage legs and its multi faceted cockpit glazing. I had the opportunity to sit in the cockpit of one once; you sit quite high up, feeling a little exposed with all that clear panelling surrounding you. Apparently it was quite a tricky bird to fly, too. They were so well liked however, that once Europe was retaken by the Allies, a number of high ranking officials chose to scoot about in captured Storchs rather than their usual L-4s or Austers. And that short field performance; a helicopter would have a hard time using less ground to get airborne off.

    Now, if only I could decide which one to vote for...
     
  20. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    There were actually more Po-2/U2 built than Il-2 and Il-10 counted together. They were built prewar and postwar.
     
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