WWII air war myths

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Oreo, Jul 25, 2012.

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  1. Oreo

    Oreo Member

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    Let's talk about the myths. Let's just list them. Let's just put them all right out there and toss them on the bonfire.

    1. The AVG (Flying Tigers) were in combat before Pearl Harbor was attacked. "Ha!" :shock: Thanks for nothing, John Wayne.

    2. A P-38 shot down an Fw 200C near Iceland within hours (or minutes) of the U.S. declaration of war. Not.

    3. An A6M2 Zero was markedly faster than a P-40. :rolleyes:

    4. Colin Kelly died in a suicide attack on a Japanese ship. Nope.

    Somebody else take over.
     
  2. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    1 During the Battle of Britain Hurricanes attacked bombers whilst Spitfires engaged the escorting fighters.

    2 The "Big Wing" worked

    3 Kenneth Moore (along with Trevor Howard,Michael Caine et alter) saved our bacon (from Hardy Kruger et alter) on land sea and in the air.

    4 Douglas Bader was forced to abandon his aircraft after a mid air collision. Von Werra tried that one as well.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  3. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    1/. The Spitfire I could easily turn inside the 109E; there wasn't, in fact, much to choose, but RAF pilots felt safer, due to the Spitfire's benign stall warning.
    2/. The first "casualty" of German raids was a Scottish rabbit (origin of the Flanagan Allen song "Run, rabbit, run.") Propaganda ruled, even then.
    3/. "Who do you think, you are kidding, Mr. Hitler?" was a wartime song; it was written specially for the series "Dad's Army."
    4/. Fighter Command was only saved by the Luftwaffe turning on London; Germany never came close to winning, in fact they only forced the closure of one airfield, for 24 hours.
     
  4. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    1. The sacrifice of the TBDs at Midway cleared the air of the A6M CAP permitting the SBD's to sink 4 carriers (or at least 3 of the 4 if some aspect of the historical record is preserved in its telling).
    2. AVG P-40Bs typically fought IJN A6Ms.
    3. B-17s were good for antishipping. (debunked long ago but perhaps persistent)
    4. P-39 was only useful in a ground attack role.
    5. The Spitfire won the battle of Britain.
     
  5. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    1) For a time Malta was defended solely by three Gloster Gladiators; Hope, Faith and Charity
    2) The Grumman Hellcat was specifically designed to be a 'Zero Killer'
    3) The USAAF bombing campaign destroyed German industry
    4) The P-38 Lightning was a decent fighter (just kidding, everyone...)
     
  6. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    ...One other thing - for an ignorant Kiwi/Aussie could we have some explanation?
    1) Oldcrow63, how come the B17 was no good in the anti shipping role when the Condor was the scourge of the Atlantic? And didn't the TBD's draw the Zeros down low and Give the SBDs a free shot at Midway, or did you mean the myth was that their 'sacrifice' was a deliberate ploy rather than happenstance?
    2) Stona, why was the BoB less strategically important than is commonly stated?
    3) Oreo, what really happened with the P-38 and the Condor - although I have no problem believing a P-38 failed to shoot down even such a large, slow moving target. All right, I'll stop now...
     
  7. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #7 oldcrowcv63, Jul 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
    Ahhhh! glad you asked!

    B-17? Good question. I supose an unwarranted reliance on the Norden in a role for which it wasn't designed may have contributed. Don't know otherwise.

    TBD's at Midway:

    1. Mainly one VT squadron should get the lions share of any credit due and that one is VT-3. Of the other two, one arrived almost 45 minutes ahead of the SBDs and the other about 20 minutes or so ahead, and so neither could have prevented the A6M's from regaining altitude to contest the approach of the SBDs. VT-3 did have escorts and the epic furr ball that developed around Thach and company was probably far more effective in diverting the CAP.
    2. the very legitimate sacrifice, for which the TBDs rarely receive credit, was keeping the IJN carriers manuevering to avoid them. Without being able to consistently point into the wind, the carriers launch and recovery ops were limited.
    3. Whether they got a free pass or not, the SBDs virtually always got through to hit their targets. A6M's were just not very effective on high altitude CAP without RADAR direction which as I understand it, never really evolved to a great extent during the war.

    4. Consider the PM assault on the Hiryu as the test case. Hiryu was well defended by two dozen A6M's at altitude and the unescorted 24 SBDs got through to plant 4 hits on the flight deck and some damaging near misses I believe although Shatteered Sword and First team gives the best accounts. Wally Short's tactics (arcing around (BVR) unseen to attack from up-sun) evidently overcame the defender's efforts
     
  8. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    That WAS the general order given by Dowding although it wasn't always adhered to.

    This needs a much deeper response than can be given here but...
    1) The week before the switch to London on 7 Sept was known as "The Bad Weekend" where Goering concentrated his forces on the airfields. While it may be true that airfields were never really out of commission for more than 24, they were extremely hard pressed to continue operation. Biggin Hill was so badly bombed that weekend, that if it wasn't for the switch to London and the LW attacking non-essential sector airfields, they would have been kaput. Several other airfields were also in the same predicament. The switch to London did give the RAF a breather to recover and continue the fight.
     
  9. timmy

    timmy Member

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    The P40 was a terrible fighter
     
  10. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    1. The P-38 was called "The Fork Tailed Devil" by the Germans
    2. The F4U was called "Whistling Death" by the Japanese
    3. The P-51 was better at anything than the F4U. Ok, this one is just my opinion! hahahaha
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    30% of what Martin Cadin wrote......
     
  12. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    We've had other threads on this myth, and it's one of the biggest.....

    The Tuskegee Airmen, 332nd Fighter Group never lost a bomber on any mission that they flew as escorts.

    Steve
     
  13. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    #13 renrich, Jul 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
    The biggest myth of all!
    The "winning" of the BOB by the RAF prevented Germany fron executing Sea Lion and invading England.
    Another myth-The RN "taught" the USN how to operate Corsairs from carriers.
    The IJN flight decks were full of strike planes when the SBDs struck at Midway.
     
  14. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Old ones that persist in various books and opinions:

    1. Britain was doomed until the US entered the war.
    2. Pearl Harbour was a complete surprise attack.
    3. The Mustang was nothing till fitted with a Merlin engine.
    4. The A-bomb won the war
    5. 'German' means 'Nazi'
     
  15. Timppa

    Timppa Active Member

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    From Wikipedia (Yak-3):
    Luftwaffe issued an order to "avoid combat with Yak fighters without an oil cooler under the nose and with an inclined aerial mast below 5000 m".
     
  16. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I never meant to imply that. I was being facetious about the same actors in post war movies winning the war,over and over again,against the same stock adversaries :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Yes,but it's a myth since Fighter Command simply did not operate that way.
    Squadrons were tasked to intercept raids depending on their state of readiness and geographical position. Whether they flew Spitfires or Hurricanes was not a consideration,nor was the make up of the raid.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  18. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #18 stona, Jul 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
    Edgar I'm surprised at you :)

    The "Me. 109 [sic] Handling and Manoeuvrability Tests" carried out by the RAE in September 1940 first calculated.

    "The minimum radius of turn without height loss at 12,000 ft., full throttle, is calculated as 885 ft. on the Me. 109 compared with 696 ft. on the Spitfire."

    Later in the report the results of mock dogfights are reported with this conclusion.

    "When the Me.109 was following the Hurricane or Spitfire, it was found that our aircraft turned inside the Me.109 without difficulty when flown by determined pilots who were not afraid to pull their aircraft round hard in a tight turn. In a surprisingly large number of cases, however, the Me. 109 succeeded in keeping on the tail of the Spitfire or Hurricane during these turning tests, merely because our Pilots would not tighten up the turn suficiently from fear of stalling and spinning."

    Italics in original.

    The Spitfire Mk I could easily out turn the Bf 109 E as long as the pilot was confident and capable of pushing the Spitfire close to its limits.
    I suspect a few cannon shells whizzing by would encourage even the meekest pilot to tighten his turn.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  19. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I can agree somewhat but when both types had prepared and were ready, for the most part Dowding did want the Hurris after the bombers and the Spits after the escorts. But you are correct that state of readiness and deployment did not always afford them that luxury.
     
  20. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    Good point. One doesn't think of it until one gets one's head out of the clouds and right down there on the water on those carriers.
     
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