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View Full Version : Japanese Planes - A bit of a shock



GazzaMataz
09-09-2004, 05:00 AM
I had just finished reading an article in Aeroplane magazine about the restoration of a P-39 and I thought hey I'll give her a go in QMB against a Zero - this should be easy!

Well, I had a great shock thoose Jap planes are nasty little bar stewards, quick, manouverable and deadly. It didn't help will the P-39 going into spins all too often either (me trying to out turn them).

What I cannot understand in the article I read was that this particular plane was replaced by P-40s - surely an inferior aircraft. Anyway, I think I'll join the Japanese Imperial Navy until the Hellcats are aroundhttp://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Tickety boo...
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GazzaMataz
09-09-2004, 05:00 AM
I had just finished reading an article in Aeroplane magazine about the restoration of a P-39 and I thought hey I'll give her a go in QMB against a Zero - this should be easy!

Well, I had a great shock thoose Jap planes are nasty little bar stewards, quick, manouverable and deadly. It didn't help will the P-39 going into spins all too often either (me trying to out turn them).

What I cannot understand in the article I read was that this particular plane was replaced by P-40s - surely an inferior aircraft. Anyway, I think I'll join the Japanese Imperial Navy until the Hellcats are aroundhttp://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Tickety boo...
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Rab03
09-09-2004, 05:15 AM
P-39 didn't stand a chance in slow, turning fight against a Zero. In spiral climb, also (by Saburo Sakai's account). Fly fast and high, and aply BnZ.

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Jester_159th
09-09-2004, 05:21 AM
If I'm not mistaken the downside of all that manuverability the Zero's have is due to their light weight. IRL they had virtually no armour protecting either the pilot or the fuel tankes etc. So if one gets hit it should stay hit.

I was just watching a program on TV about the Pacific air war. The US pilots said that no matter what they were flying they didn't try to turn with the Japanese planes (Two pilots I specifiically heard mention this were an ex Tiger pilot who flew the P-40 and a 20 kill ace who flew the P-38....Sorry can't remember there names offhand). If they did the Japanese would usually have them cold. If they missed with their first burst and the Zero (etc) broke away, they extended and turned for another BnZ pass.

The gun camera footage they showed was very interesting. In all the examples they showed the Zero would end up in flames after a 1 or 2 second burst. Not a single one got hit without burning. I don't know if that is a proper reflection on the fragile nature of the Zero or if it was a case of selective editing. In any event I don't remember ever seeing gun camera footage of comparable vintage US or European aircraft suffering such catastrophic damage so quickly.

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PBNA-Boosher
09-09-2004, 05:35 AM
The P-39 can handle itself well enough. However, the P-40 is an excellent aircraft to take the Zero on with. You have the speed advantage, as well as the roll rate AND diving advantage. Get altitude, pummel it, and roll and extend away. They won't know what hit them. However, if you absolutely feel the need to dogfight with them, the P-38's your best bet. Energy fight all the way, you can't lose!

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Xnomad
09-09-2004, 05:41 AM
In "Forked Tailed Devil" the P-39 is not talked about too highly. It gave me the impression that it was a death trap flying that plane against Zeroes, and any pilot who did well in it was considered lucky or very good.

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Capt.LoneRanger
09-09-2004, 08:22 AM
P39 was designed as the mainstay for the USAAF. With the large gun it was very good against fighters and soft targets (It was even used against APCs).

In the pacific, the P39 suffered heavy losses, though. One reason was the gun, that tended to jam frequently. And then, pilots quickly learned, that they were easily outmaneuvered by Zeros and most other Jap planes.
These were the main reasons, why the P39 was practically abandoned by the USAAF and "sold" to the Sovjet Union. Only one squad remained in active service, which was mainly used against the Jap troops or as interceptor for bombers (the Japanese troops didn't have many tanks, as they were more difficult to maintain and deliver to the small islands.)
The P39 was then replaced by the P63, hence the pilots say "The P63 is a P39 faced with the Zero".

The P39 performed quite well on the eastern front, however, since there were more heavily armed and armored energy-fighters, the P39 could very well fight against.

greets
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pres_
09-09-2004, 09:10 AM
Not to mention no supercharger made the P-39 a bit altitude limited.

Kaesebrot.
09-09-2004, 09:13 AM
The FB-Zero is manouverable, and... thats it!
p39 has more speed, arnament, climb rate ect.

Unless you happen to be forced into a turnfight the zeros shouldnt bother you http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Lunix
09-09-2004, 11:30 AM
If you keep your wits about you you can compete with a Zero in a P39. However there is very little room for error so even a simple stall can ruin your energy advantage pretty quick. Since you will be using energy fighting tactics you should not ever get close to stalling anyway. Try to make sure that Zero is the one bleeding E not you. Online the story is much different. The P39 becomes a pack fighter vs the Zeros, think FW. Take turns on a Zero you have broken from the pack and be vigilant for your teamates holding Zeros still for you. i.e. taking turns dragging and bagging.

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p1ngu666
09-09-2004, 11:36 AM
ive found p39 will stall quickly in turn, if u pull stick too quick

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CRSutton
09-09-2004, 11:43 AM
I would think the American Pacific theater version of the P39 would be a completely different animal than the Russian version. Don't expect the same results. On line now you are flying the Russian version. Expect the Pacific version to be a dog.

JG53Frankyboy
09-09-2004, 12:04 PM
well , the with PF comming Airacobras are the P-400/AiracobraMkI , P-39D-1 , P-39D-2 .

all these variants were used from the USAAF around PortMorseby and Guadalcanal.
AND all these 3 variants were also used by the VVS ! the british AiracobraI was actually the first variant in VVS service , be used end of 1942 in the Murmansk area . the P-39Ds came in sevice over the Kuban march 43 !

and btw, the P-39 had a Supercharger , just no turbosupercharger like the prototype , its was just not rated for high altitude.
"........The most serious change, however, was the elimination of the turbosupercharger, and its replacement by a single-stage geared supercharger. This change was a result of a shift in philosophy on the part of the USAAC. The USAAC believed that the widths of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans made the USA virtually immune from high-altitude attack by enemy bombers. Therefore, the development of high-altitude interceptors was curtailed in favor of strike fighters optimized for low-level close support. The 1150 hp V-1710-17 (E2) of the XP-39 was replaced by a V-1710-37 (E5) engine rated at an altitude of 13,300 feet........"
bad decission from the Staff http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

bird_brain
09-09-2004, 12:07 PM
Against the Zero, altitude is the key. The P-39 and P-40 never had an easy time because the Zero always had the high ground. No superchargers meant they had to stay below 10,000 feet or so. When the P-40 pilots found out the Zero could not roll at high speed, (small ailerons & low wing loading) they learned to keep the E up and roll away from them into a dive. The Zero could not do anything to keep up.

When the P-38 came on the scene, it had the altitude advantage and the USAAF could pick it's fight. With the added range, they could also go farther afield and look for the Zeros closer to their home fields meaning they got more action while the short range fighters had to stay behind. They would dive & climb back above the zero's altitude limit, just like the Zero did to the P-39s & P-40s at the beginning of the war.

High ground, armor & self sealing fuel tanks won the battle against the zero. It was like using a Sabre against a Foil. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/59.gif

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Tooz_69GIAP
09-09-2004, 12:45 PM
I've been having a shot at Extreme One's pacific campaign which features P-39Q-1s (the one with the .50cal gunpacks) on Zeros. I found that the P-39, so long as you retain your energy, eats up zeros for breakfast, lunch and dinner, ESPECIALLY with the 4x.50cals. More often than not, a burst of maybe 2secs from the .50's within gun convergence and the zero will break apart or flame easily. And if you get onto the low six of a zero, and you are gaining, from about 100m, a 37mm round into the belly of the zero, and KABOOOOM!!! Lovely explosion!! http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/784.gif

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pakfront
09-09-2004, 01:00 PM
Being a frequent Zero flyer, I can tell you this... can out turn just about anything, but is made out of paper. If you can hit me, you've got me.

As much as I like the Zero and the Ki.84, they don't hold up to a furball on a dogfight server. Just too many people taking potshots at you. Maybe I should try the Yak-3?

Resident_Jock
09-09-2004, 03:27 PM
To my knowledge the Russian P39's were often lightened of armor in the field, making them faster, more maneuverable, and better climbing. Like the F2A, the P39 was only effective after alot of it's armor had been removed.

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DIRTY-MAC
09-09-2004, 04:43 PM
the P-39s in the pasific could absolutely
hold their own against the Zeros.
the americans just used really bad fighting tactics in the beginning of the war.

they just blamed it on the P-40 and P-39 http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

clint-ruin
09-09-2004, 05:03 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by DIRTY-MAC:
the P-39s in the pasific could absolutely
hold their own against the Zeros.
the americans just used really bad fighting tactics in the beginning of the war.

they just blamed it on the P-40 and P-39 http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Here's the best site on the P-39 - well, just a usenet archive really. But the best useful service summery I've found:

Re the P-39: It was put into production before all the bugs were worked
out. And, yes, it certainly should have retained the turbo-supercharger it
was originally equipped with (which gave it a top speed of 390 mph at
20,000 ft when it was first flown in 1939, making it much faster than any
European fighter of that era). The P-63 was the aircraft the P-39 should
have been. The early versions of the P-39 were underpowered. The Q
version was actually quite good, performance-wise, but still suffered from
over-sensitive controls and the rearward movement of the center of gravity
once the nose ammo was expended. This made the plane susceptible to flat
spins. Experienced pilots could handle it. But most service pilots first
got their hands on a P-39 with less than 300 hours in their logbooks.
It was an easy plane to bail out of: merely jetison the door and roll
out. It was actually easier to bail out of that most other fighters.
That's not really saying very much. The chances of a successful bailout
averaged between one in four and one in two, regardless of aircraft type.
The chances of successful bailout varied based on the reason you had to
bail out, the attitude of the aircraft and its motion, and what the
altitude was. P-39s were notorious for killing their pilots because they
used an unreliable electric propeller that often ran wild. At altitude, no
problem. The pilot merely exited and floated to safety. But if it
happened at low altitude--and it seemed to happen most often when pilots
were practicing touch-and-goes in the landing pattern--the pilot usually
died. This was because the pilot tried to do something to bring the prop
under control, all the while losing altitude and airspeed. He often stayed
with the plane until it stalled and then it was too late. Veteran P-39
pilots got the hell out at the first sign of a runaway prop.

More - lots more here : http://yarchive.net/mil/p39.html

Click around the site for similarly excellent writeups of other WW2 service planes. The Zero does come in for a bit of a bashing there, compared to contemporaries though.

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WTE_Galway
09-09-2004, 07:12 PM
most of the problems with the P39, including dumping th eturbo-supercharger and armament and aerodynamic changes) where apparently the result of a USAAC comittee requesting design changes that went against the original designers recommendations

read this article it explains how the AAC comittee really misunderstood what the P39 was meant to be about and forced changes the manufacturer did not endorse

http://home.att.net/~C.C.Jordan/XP-39.html

the article concludes:

"Taken as a whole, the P-39 was a dismal failure of the AAF's engineering and procurement establishment to identify and develop the better attributes of an advanced and promising fighter aircraft. This was the same establishment that prevented Lockheed from installing Merlin engines in the P-38 as early as 1941. Had the USAAC (Air Corps) not stripped the turbosupercharger from the XP-39, the United States may have entered the war with a competitive single engine fighter plane already in service. Indeed, it was not until the advent of the Bell P-63 that the level of performance finally matched that of the Bell XP-39 of 1939. Of course, by that time, the P-63 was already outclassed by the P-38, P-47 and P-51. "

[This message was edited by WTE_Galway on Thu September 09 2004 at 06:21 PM.]

VW-IceFire
09-09-2004, 10:07 PM
USAAF P-39's were the "beta test" versions. But, hey, they were desperate and in some ways caught with their pants down. They had alot of aircraft on the block and they didn't know which ones would work the best...

The P-39 was not well suited to the ETO (not good at altitude) and not well suited to the PTO because again of altitude and other problems. Agility, although not bad on the P-39 (in relation to 109's for instance), was not effective against the supremely agile Zero or Oscar.

Worked well enough on the Eastern Front however...plus the N and Q models were improvements.

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LuftWulf190
09-10-2004, 01:23 AM
The Zero could make mince meat out for a P-40 or P-39 if the P-40 or P-40 pilot didn't know what to do. Then agian pretty much any American fighter would be dead meat if they tried turning with a Zero, even a Spitfire.

While it is recognized that by 1943 the Zero was a not obsilecent design and the US had found ways to fight it it was still drilled in to Allied pilots heads to NEVER turn with a Zero.

Now going back to a Zero versus P-39. The Zero I bet will win. True the P-39 hasz heavier weapons, but the cannon had a low muzzel velocity and a relitly bad dropping trajectory. Also it didn't have the best manuverability, though it did have a better flat line speed at lower altitudes and could dive away. I am not to sure if it could take alot of pushiment though, posibly with hte self sealing tanks, and pilot armour tyhe Zero did not have, but the liquid cooled engine was a liability with hte radiator was hit, while if the Zero's engine was hit, the Zero could still fly. Also as stated the P-39 was also beaten at altitude.

IIIJG53_Crinius
09-10-2004, 02:11 AM
Will Oleg rework the P39 for PF? As far as I know the russian P39 was a kind of a "beefed up" Cobra. Or will it be the same P39 as in FB? This would not be correct then.

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WUAF_Badsight
09-10-2004, 02:33 AM
no , the PF P-39 will be the P-400 & will have a deadly 20mm Hispano in the nose instead of the awefull 37mm cannon it has now

much better for A2A DogFighting

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