Why did the British not like the American planes

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Haztoys, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. Haztoys

    Haztoys Member

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    Its my understanding that at the start of WW11..The British got American Aircraft.... And did not like a one of them ..And would not take the rest of the planes they ordered......Right??

    And the Americans used the same plane with good results..

    What gives?? .. What was it the Brit's found so bad ... ??

    Have a good day

    David

    Hazardous Toys inc
     
  2. carpenoctem1689

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    What you might like to know is that many of the aircraft the british ordered from the americans, mainly the P-40 and and the P-39 were somewhat outdated, or not suited for high altitude fighting. The P-39 airacobra had its turbo or super charger, whichever one, removed before the british recieved it, so that when they were used against the german bombers, and the messerschmitt 109's, which operated near 20,000 feet in a dogfight, they were horribly outclassed. Both the P-40 and the P-39 just couldnt match the messerschmitt at higher altitudes. The P-40 and P-39 proved themselves at lower altitudes with the soviets and americans, and in north africa, but mainly in low level escort and ground support missions. The aircraft couldnt match modern german fighters at altitude, that was really the main problem.
     
  3. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    And the P38's were sent to them without turbo chargers....... and the B17's they tried out were the obsolete D models.
     
  4. KraziKanuK

    KraziKanuK Banned

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    carpenoctem1689

    You are thinking of the P-38. The P-39 only had a tubocharger in the early prototype.

    All Allison engines had a supercharger.
     
  5. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    First of all, you have to put yourself back 60 years and think British.

    The British and the French, until the middle of the 1930's, were the two leading aviation nations in the world. Between them they held the majority of the civilian and military aviation records set between the wars. they regarded their own aviation technology as second to none, and rightly so.

    "Buy British" was taken as a given. It was generally the exception to the norm if a British national company or institution used something that was made in another industrialised nation. It was a fact of life that lthe British made and operated their own aircraft to their own requirements and sepcifications.

    In the mid to late 1930s, with a war approaching, the British government realised that the Depression, war debt repayments and various self-created financial crises, had weakened the British economy and aviation production industry to the extent that it would be necessary to look to foreign producers to answer their requirements. So they began to llok elsewhere to supplement their own production.

    The obvious choices were to supply airframes were France and the USA and Canada. France was likely to be immediately involved in a European conflict, and had its own aircraft production problems. Canada was viewed by the British as a profitable but lightly populated colony, vacluable for its natural resources, but not really a powerhouse of advanced aircraft production. So, the British naturally turned to the United States as a supplier of aircraft.

    The first US built aircraft to be used by the British operationally was the Lockheed A-28/A-29 Hudson, which stemmed from an urgent British need for a navigational trainer and maratime partol aircraft. Despite the furore that it caused in the British establishment, the Hudson was an immediate and long-term sucess, well like by its crews and well fitted to the roles it operated in. The British Aircraft Purchasing Commission initially ordered 200 in 1938, and by the end of 1939 ordered an additional 150. In 1940 they ordered 20 improved Hudson IIs and then 414 Hudson IIIs with more powerful engines. Before the beginning of Lend-Lease the British purchased close to 1,500 Hudsons of various marks.

    The sucess of the Hudson in RAF service led to the British ordering a larger and more powerful version, the B-34 Ventura. The British ordered 674 straight off the bat, the first flying with the RAF in mid 1942. Later there were orders for another 550, supplied through Lend-Lease.

    Similarly, the Martin Baltimore was designed to specific British requirements and built exclusively in the USA, but never saw service in it country of origin. All 1575 built were ordered and used by the British or Commonwealth airforces. Again, the British were very pleased with the design, except for some initial problems with the rear defensive armament.. In the course of the war, the Baltimore went through 6 major upgrades, most of them at the suggestions of RAF representatives liasing with the Martin company. It saw frontline service in the Med and Italy and southern Germany, all the way up to 1945.

    There is a VERY long list of US aircraft either designed or built, or both, for the RAF that the USAAF then went on to purchase and operate for itself. There is an almost equally long list of planes which were adopted by the British.

    The RAF used or adopted many US fighter types to its own requirements and then put them into action.

    P-40; Adopeted by the RAF as the Kittyhawk. First flew with the RAF in August 1941. Various marks were then fitted with British Merlins to improve altitude performance. Saw service with the RAF until 1945. Over 1750 Kittyhawks were procured by the RAF (or about 15% of total production). Generally regarded as inferior to the Spitfire, it served well as a low altitude fighter bomber.

    Brewster F2A Buffalo; The British accepted 438 B-339Bs destined for Holland and then ordered 170 B-339Es. Both types were refitted with British armament and radio equipement and then sent to the Far East where the served in 7 RAF, RAAF and NZAF squadrons.

    P-39. Here the RAF did have problems with the aircraft. They considered it to be overweight and a poor performer at altitude. Like the Buffalo, it was deemed unsuitable for ETO combat operations and was sent to the Far East as a ground attack aircraft. It was rearmed with a 20mm Hispano (probably a wise decision) instead of the slow firing 37mm cannon.

    P-38. The RAF P-38s (Model 322-61s in British parlance, 627 initailly ordered) were hamstrung because the export versions had the turbosuperchargers deleted (hence affecting altitude performance) and had props rotating both ways (fine for bombers and transoprts, not so good for a fighter). The USAAF concurred with the RAF assesment of the Modell 322, and after testing designated them as trainers and experimental airframes. The second order of 524 P-38s were absorbed into USAAF production as either P-38F or P-38G Lightnings.

    P-51; One of the greatest sucess stories of a foreign fighter in RAF service. The RAf operated some 15 squadrons of Mustang I/IIs and 20 squadrons of Mustang III/IVs during the war. Initially designed to British specifications for am advanced low level tactical fighter, the P-51 went on the become the USAAFs primary fighter in the ETO, when mated to a British Merlin.

    P-47. Used as the primary fighter type by the RAF in the CBI theatre, mostly because of its excellent rough field performance and long range, some 825 P-47Ds (both bubbletops and razorbacks) were supplied to the RAF as either Thunderbolt I or Thunderbolt IIs. Some 16 RAF squadrons operated the P-47 out of airfields in Burma, China and India.

    The FAA also equipped Helcats, Corsairs, Wildcats (martlets), Avengers, B-24s, B-17s and other US types in its operations through the war. At one stage the FAA had 15 squadrons equipped with Wildcats and 12 squadrons of Hellcats. The FAA recieved over 1900 Corsairs during the war.


    I think that the British not liking US aircraft is about as far from the truth as you can get. There were problems with US types, yes. But most of those weren't catastrophic. The RAF and FAA used almost every US fighter and bomber type in some role or another, many quite extensively. Remember that the British built some of the greatest aircraft of the war; Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster, Mosquito, Typhoon, Tempest, Wellington ect. Despite all this, there were still close to 20,000 US aircraft operated by the RAF or Commonwealth airforces during the war, not something that happens if they "did not like one of them".
     
  6. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Good post Jabberwocky. I agree with what you have said.
     
  7. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    OMG! What about the Hudson!!! Because of the Hudson order Lockheed grew from a company with a few hundred employees to almost 100,000 by wars end and that was before the USAAF bought the P-38!!!!
     
  8. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Well put, Jabberwocky. In some cases, aircraft built in the USA went to Britain first and were further developed from lessons learned in British service. So in some ways, Britain were our "beta testers". ;)
     
  9. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    although we did still prefer our own planes..........
     
  10. cheddar cheese

    cheddar cheese Active Member

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    I agree...Never knew how much of an impact it had though!
     
  11. Aggie08

    Aggie08 Active Member

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    I always think of the kittyhawks we sent them, as well as the first p-38's. I wouldn't like them either.
     
  12. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Played a major part in the early U-boat war.

    "The Hudson achieved some significant feats during the war. On 8 October 1939, over Jutland, a Hudson became the first RAF aircraft to shoot down a German aircraft. (The accolade of the first British aircraft to shoot down a German plane went to the Blackburn Skua of the Fleet Air Arm on 26 September 1939.) They operated as fighters during the Battle of Dunkirk. A PBO-1 Hudson of USN squadron VP-82 became the first US aircraft to destroy a German submarine when it sank U-656 southwest of Newfoundland on 1 March 1942. Hudsons were operated by RAF Special Duties squadrons for clandestine operations; No. 161 Squadron in Europe and No. 357 Squadron in Burma. They were used as patrol bombers in the Pacific war by the USN and also the RNZAF and RAAF."

    A total of 2,584 Hudsons were built.
     
  13. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    One small point of Interest is that when France collapsed there was a major financial risk to some of the American aircraft manufacturers. They had spent huge amounts of investment in production facilities but the planes were just coming off the production lines. With the failure of France and no money, the companies were saddled with large debts which would have been difficult to service. The USA government refused to help these companies as they had taken a financial gamble in a foreign war and had to take the consequences.
    To stop this happening the British despite our dire financial situation accepted all French contracts even if the equipment wasn't designed for or planned to be used by British Forces. This resulted in other aircraft types entering service such as the Maryland and the P36 which were both ordered exclusively for the French.
     
  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    And later the Baltimore, and from what I understand was well liked by the RAF....
     
  15. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    True it was a good plane but it was designed for the RAF. The Maryland was originally for the French but it gave good service as a long range Recce plane in the Med. It wasn't designed for it but we used it in that role and it did well.
    According to things that I read on Matla they were able to get an extra 20 mph out of it by cleaning things up and leaving things out. The 109 had a tough time catching them helped I agree by the sort distance back to Malta.
     
  16. V-1710

    V-1710 Member

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    Certainly the RAF and other Commonwealth air forces used the P-40 with great success in North Africa. They were not happy with either the P-39 or the non-turbocharged L-322 Lightning, but you can't blame them, both of those aircraft had serious shortcomings. There was also those Brewster Buffalo's that the RAF was flying in China alongside the Flying Tigers. Not very successful, to say the least.
     
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