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CRSutton
04-19-2010, 09:22 AM
I know that the Russian made good use of this plane and that they commonly stripped out the wing guns to save weight.

Did they do other modifications to the plane to save weight and improve performance?

Thanks

JtD
04-19-2010, 09:30 AM
Armour plates were sometimes removed.

For the in game version, you'd also need to install the anti-grav devices, indicated by a red star on each wing.

CRSutton
04-19-2010, 09:32 AM
Originally posted by JtD:
Armour plates were sometimes removed.

For the in game version, you'd also need to install the anti-grav devices, indicated by a red star on each wing.

Do you have a source for that? I am discussing it in another forum and want to be able to back it up.

thanks

JtD
04-19-2010, 09:41 AM
No, I don't. I just read it in several places, most recently in an old magazine which I threw away after reading. The P-39 isn't my main interest. Sorry. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

BillSwagger
04-19-2010, 10:51 AM
http://lend-lease.airforce.ru/...golodnikov/index.htm (http://lend-lease.airforce.ru/english/articles/golodnikov/index.htm)

http://lend-lease.airforce.ru/...es/kulakov/index.htm (http://lend-lease.airforce.ru/english/articles/kulakov/index.htm)

here are interviews with Russian pilots that cover their experiences with several aircraft.

The first link covers a few of the equipment details. The P-39 starts on part 3.

The second link is more about the Kittyhawk, but he also goes into the P-39 about halfway through the article.

There are more articles here, http://lend-lease.airforce.ru/english/articles/ that i have yet to read.

Bill

CRSutton
04-19-2010, 12:48 PM
Thanks for the excellent sources. What a great read. One can better understand how the 39 was employed by the Russians.

Most interesting tidbit was when he compared the FW190 to the P39 in combat over Russia vs Europe the critical issue was acceleration and radar coverage. In Europe the FW 190 had an advantage because it was usally being vectored by radar and could enter a fight at top speed but in Russia where radar coverage was sparse visual contact was the key and the superior acceleration of the P39 gave it an edges as both planes would enter combat at lower speeds. Lot to digest in that one interview. I will read some the other later.

Thanks.

horseback
04-19-2010, 12:59 PM
Check out this thread for more info:

more cobra info (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/23110283/m/1151055148/p/2)

cheers

horseback

Waldo.Pepper
04-19-2010, 02:26 PM
It is difficult to be certain, as it is an opinion, but likely the best English source of Soviet uses of the P-39 is Dmitriy Loza's Attack of the Airacobras. If you want a Pdf copy of this book pm myself. Loza makes no mention of the removal of armor. Quite the contrary, the presence of the armor is praised, as is the radio and navigation equipment.

CRSutton
04-19-2010, 03:47 PM
Originally posted by CRSutton:
Thanks for the excellent sources. What a great read. One can better understand how the 39 was employed by the Russians.

Most interesting tidbit was when he compared the FW190 to the P39 in combat over Russia vs Europe the critical issue was acceleration and radar coverage. In Europe the FW 190 had an advantage because it was usally being vectored by radar and could enter a fight at top speed but in Russia where radar coverage was sparse visual contact was the key and the superior acceleration of the P39 gave it an edges as both planes would enter combat at lower speeds. Lot to digest in that one interview. I will read some the other later.

Thanks.

Thanks, that article suggest that at least some aircobras had armor and other weight removed.

K_Freddie
04-19-2010, 04:52 PM
The P39 can move with a Me109 and compared to a FW190 that cannon is a killer, if you get it right.
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

general_kalle
04-19-2010, 05:45 PM
I like the P39. I seem to do pretty well in it. It guess it suits my fighting style.

kimosabi79
04-20-2010, 06:11 AM
Good read!

yuuppers
04-20-2010, 06:27 AM
How extensive was the P-39 used in the ground attack role late war when the Soviets had much better fighters of their own?

joeap
04-20-2010, 07:04 AM
Originally posted by yuuppers:
How extensive was the P-39 used in the ground attack role late war when the Soviets had much better fighters of their own?

It never was used much in ground attack if you check the threads and links posted.

RegRag1977
04-20-2010, 07:12 AM
IMO the Cobra alone was an average fighter (inferior to what Germans had), even at low altitude, nothing special.

Now the cobra as part of a well organized defense system is a totally different question:

P39 fighter,

+ new tactics and flight discipline (invented by A. Pokryshkin),

+ improved communication procedures with ground forces and vectoring stations (thanks to the P39 excellent radio potential),

+ the use of the brand new RUS2 radar system that allowed to anticipate the enemy movements, etc...

And you get impressive results...Not to my surprise.

Alone the P39 was nothing special, although it had some good qualities, these could only be exploited in a particular system, as an element of this system.

I think this is more or less true for the majority of WW2 fighters which were very similar in the end. The way you use a fighter is as important or even more important than its general performances.

SheerLuckHolmes
04-20-2010, 07:21 AM
A finnish point of wiev: many finn aces told that it was an easy plane to shoot down. Once you got a few bullets in its motor, it started to smoke and went down. Propably because armorplates were remowed.
But surely this was not one sided only. Second highest scorin finnish ace Hasse Wind (+72 kills) was wounded by a 37mm projectile of a P-39. One big shot was hit in his Me109G-6 and it destroyed instrument panel quite totally (no instrument was functioning), leaving stick and pedals undamaget. Pilot himself was severely wounded, but he managet to fly the plane back to base and land it. So plane was not destroyed.
And russians managed to destroy severan finn Blenheims, Dorniers and Ju88's with P-39. It was very effective against bombers.
Last but not least my own opinion: one of the best looking piston engined plane of WW2

Erkki_M
04-20-2010, 08:14 AM
Originally posted by SheerLuckHolmes:
A finnish point of wiev: many finn aces told that it was an easy plane to shoot down. Once you got a few bullets in its motor, it started to smoke and went down. Propably because armorplates were remowed.
But surely this was not one sided only. Second highest scorin finnish ace Hasse Wind (+72 kills) was wounded by a 37mm projectile of a P-39. One big shot was hit in his Me109G-6 and it destroyed instrument panel quite totally (no instrument was functioning), leaving stick and pedals undamaget. Pilot himself was severely wounded, but he managet to fly the plane back to base and land it. So plane was not destroyed.
And russians managed to destroy severan finn Blenheims, Dorniers and Ju88's with P-39. It was very effective against bombers.
Last but not least my own opinion: one of the best looking piston engined plane of WW2

Blenheims and Dorniers definately not, but I think reading somewhere that not a single Ju-88 was lost due to fighters... The few that went down(of the, in superstate's view relatively few even operated) were landing accidents and AAA fire.

One note the bomber crew made of the P-39 was that every time it fired its cannon, it would generate a small cloud of smoke about the size of the plane's hull cross section and then fly through that cloud. One guy also mentioned his MG81's tracer rounds bouncing off ones spinner. Fighter pilots werent impressed, though, they considered it the easiest enemy to down, in 44 when Hurricanes etc. were already pulled out of service.

yuuppers
04-20-2010, 11:04 AM
Originally posted by joeap:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by yuuppers:
How extensive was the P-39 used in the ground attack role late war when the Soviets had much better fighters of their own?

It never was used much in ground attack if you check the threads and links posted. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

1. Protect ground units from enemy aircraft
2. Escort bombers
3. Suppress AAA in the area of bombers
4. Reconnaissance
5. Free hunt
6. Attack soft targets (i.e. troops, convoys, supply dumps, railroads, airfields, barges or other small naval craft)
7. Protect high-value friendly targets (i.e. bridges, amphibious landing forces, reserves, command and control, major cities, etc).

Sillius_Sodus
04-20-2010, 11:32 AM
Originally posted by Waldo.Pepper:
It is difficult to be certain, as it is an opinion, but likely the best English source of Soviet uses of the P-39 is Dmitriy Loza's Attack of the Airacobras. If you want a Pdf copy of this book pm myself. Loza makes no mention of the removal of armor. Quite the contrary, the presence of the armor is praised, as is the radio and navigation equipment.

I wish I had of known that before paying $$$ for the book http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

Still, it's a good addition to my library.

M_Gunz
04-20-2010, 11:33 AM
How much is much? They used the 37mm enough to be able to hit ground targets even with poor trajectory.

Straight for one of the links Bill S. provided and sure I could find more by actually just looking:


A. S. Was a 37mm cannon necessary? Wasn’t this too large a caliber for a fighter? You had so few rounds of ammunition. And wasn’t its rate of fire slow?

N. G. One cannot say that the 37mm cannon was a disadvantage or an advantage. Look at it from this perspective. The M-6 cannon had its strong and weak points. One had to take advantage of the strong points and compensate, as much as possible, for its weaknesses.

These were the weaknesses: 1. Low rate of fire. 8 rounds/second [this is incorrect—the correct rate is slightly over 2 rounds/second (130 rounds/minute) – J.G.] This is indeed a low rate of fire.

2. The ballistics of the projectile were abysmal. The flight trajectory of the projectile was arching, which required large lead angles. But again this was at long ranges, especially when firing at ground targets. When firing at ground targets we had to apply two rings of the sight for lead.

3. Minimal ammunition supply. Thirty rounds.

All these deficiencies could be compensated for by proper selection of firing range. If one fired from 70—50 meters, there was sufficient rate of fire, the ballistics at this range were acceptable, and the lead required was minimal. Thus, all the weaknesses of the 37mm cannon listed above revealed themselves only at long ranges.

Now regarding the strengths: 1. The projectile was very powerful. Normally, one strike on an enemy fighter and he was finished! In addition, we fired this cannon at other types of targets. Bombers, vessels at sea. The 37mm cannon was very effective against these targets.

Here is an example. Our patrol torpedo boats had torn apart a German convoy. The majority of them had in some way or other been damaged, but they were withdrawing. One patrol boat was heavily damaged and lagging behind a bit. German “hunter” boats were closing in on it. One of them moved in either to kill or capture it. There were eight of us; my squadron commander Vitya Maksimovich, had flown out in pair slightly ahead of us to reconnoiter the convoy and I was leading the other six. We were listening to the conversations of the PT boat crews (the PT boats, by the way, were American Higgins craft). The commander of the heavily damaged boat said, “They are on top of us!” My squadron commander said to him, “Don’t worry! I ‘ll get him now!” He dropped down and fired a burst of 37mm cannon. It was a pleasure to watch the German “hunter” go up in flames. Six Bf-109Fs were covering the convoy and supporting the attack on our PT boats. I engaged them with my group of six Cobras. We circled round and round. I shot down two Messerschmitts and damaged one (intelligence subsequently confirmed the damaged 109). Before we had even landed, the crew of the damaged PT boat reported by radio that one of the Cobras had shot down two Messers and another had set the German “hunter” on fire. This had all happened right in front of their eyes. Later Admiral A. V. Kuzmin, commander of the patrol torpedo boat brigade, personally expressed his appreciation to us. All our damaged PT boats made it back to their base.

Thus, a single burst of several 37mm projectiles was sufficient to set fire to or damage a “hunter-type” patrol vessel.

Here is another example. We were flying on a “free hunt” mission, four of us. I was the leader. We came upon a German tanker that we estimated at 3000—3500 tons. Most importantly, it was proceeding without escort! I gave the command, “Prepare to attack!” I dropped down and made my pass, firing a good burst. I pulled out at an altitude of 25 meters. He also fired back at me. OK, fine. My wingman made his pass on the target, then the leader of the second pair, and the fourth pilot reported, “It’s burning. I can’t see anything!” I responded, “OK, pull out, don’t engage.” We got a look at it, moving toward shore totally engulfed in flames. We flew back to our airfield and reported, “We set a tanker on fire, 3,500 tons.” And he replied, “Right. You set a tanker on fire with all of 38 rounds expended!” He didn’t believe what I was telling them. 38 rounds for 3,500 tons! I said to him, “Isn’t that enough? We put 38 rounds into that box!” At first everyone laughed at us, but later our agent intelligence gave us confirmation of that number. A German tanker of 3,500 tons displacement had been burned out. Everything fit. There you have it—38 rounds of 37mm cannon destroyed a 3,500-ton vessel!

CRSutton
04-20-2010, 02:10 PM
Well, one thing is obvious from reading the accounts of these soviet pilots. That the one thing the universally praise about American (and British) aircraft is the quality of the radios vs russian radios.

One thing that made the P39 and P40 superior to at least early Russian planes was the greater ability to stay in contact with fellow pilots and ground control.

It is really not mentioned enough in this forum but effective radio communication was just as key to effective air combat as any sort of aircraft performance. These interviews really drive that fact home for me.

BillSwagger
04-20-2010, 03:14 PM
There are lots of details in these interviews which tell a bit more about how the Russians used the Cobra both in the ground attack and air to air engagements.
They also pushed the planes beyond what operational guidelines set by the Americans and perhaps thats why they were able to utilize the lend lease aircraft with much more effectiveness.

Both interviews mention the planes use up to 8000m, and Golodnikov mentions his opinions of the German fighters.

"The Messer engine had a supercharger. It had exceptional acceleration; if the pilot “firewalled it,” as they say. But I couldn’t describe its speed as outstanding. It was fast, but our aircraft had just as much speed."

He also mentions how his aircraft compared to the 190.
"For example, who ever gave them the notion that the Airacobra was inferior to the Fokker in speed? They believed it. At first the Germans were very confident in its superiority in speed, and it happened frequently that, after an attack, a Fokker would attempt to break away from us at full throttle. We caught up to him and “poured it to him” from above."

"The Fokker also was not equal to the Airacobra in the vertical, although they initially attempted to fight with us in the vertical plane. We also quickly broke them of this habit. I still don’t understand why they decided that the Fokker could outperform the Airacobra in the vertical.
The acceleration dynamic of the Fokker was a weakness, perhaps its weakest characteristic."


Bill

Waldo.Pepper
04-23-2010, 11:47 PM
Re armor removal here is some more 'data' FWIW.

From Military Aircraft Monthly Vol 9 Issue 4 April 2010 page 13 --

"In order to improve the P-39's flight performance, some ancillary equipment and excessive weaponry and armoured protection would often be removed (especially from the P-39Q version). For example, the engine rear armour plates and the reduction gear armour protection were dismounted on an almost regular basis."

M_Gunz
04-24-2010, 01:59 AM
Fokker is not Focke Wulf.

WTE_Galway
04-24-2010, 02:07 AM
Originally posted by M_Gunz:
Fokker is not Focke Wulf.

Given that the quote is from an interview in Russian its probably a translation error. Fokker = Focke .

Or maybe the Russains just called FW planes Fokkers. They seem to have referred to 109's as Messers.

Either way its pretty clear from the context the Russain P39 pilot was not actually talking about a Fokker aircraft.

M_Gunz
04-24-2010, 04:29 AM
The Russians faced Fokkers flown by the Finns, IIRC. Fokker DXX.
Fokker was making warplanes since WWI.
I don't see a mixup as obvious without assuming ignorance on the part of the Russian pilot.

csThor
04-24-2010, 04:37 AM
And even if he means a Fw 190 then he probably met a ground-attakc version - which were far more numerous than the fighters. That and the tiny fact that the P-39s seemed to have been concentrated in the Far North and in the South, both areas with few and/or just ground-attack Focke Wulfs present.

But even then a pilot's impression doesn't make the whole picture. For example Günter Rall had nothing positive to say about the P-39. According to him all it took was a stern glance and the Aircobra was afire.

BillSwagger
04-24-2010, 04:38 AM
Who knows, Gunz, these things translate differently to English. One things for certain, he was referring to a Folke Wulf. Its possible the term "Fokker" was derived out of engagements with such Finnish aircraft.


Bill

yuuppers
04-24-2010, 06:15 AM
Originally posted by BillSwagger:
Who knows, Gunz, these things translate differently to English. One things for certain, he was referring to a Folke Wulf. Its possible the term "Fokker" was derived out of engagements with such Finnish aircraft.
Bill

Would that not be a FoCke-Wulf, Bill? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

As WTE_Galway wrote, the Russians called the Fw-190 'Fokkers'. The Germans called the La-5, LaGGs.

Wildnoob
04-24-2010, 08:15 AM
Originally posted by csThor:
But even then a pilot's impression doesn't make the whole picture. For example Günter Rall had nothing positive to say about the P-39. According to him all it took was a stern glance and the Aircobra was afire.

Hartmann said something about Lend-Lease fighters that impressed me


In the first year of service, Hartmann felt a distinct lack of respect towards Russian pilots. He recalled that most Soviet fighters did not have proper gunsights, and their pilots resorted to drawing them on the windshield by hand.

In the early days, incredible as it may seem, there was no reason for you to feel fear if the Russian fighter was behind you. With their hand-painted "gunsights" they couldn't pull the lead properly or hit you

While Hartmann considered the P-39, P-40, and Hurricane inferior to the Fw 190 and Bf 109, they did provide the Soviets with valuable gunsight technology.

Erkki_M
04-24-2010, 10:55 AM
Originally posted by BillSwagger:
Who knows, Gunz, these things translate differently to English. One things for certain, he was referring to a Folke Wulf. Its possible the term "Fokker" was derived out of engagements with such Finnish aircraft.


I dont think so. The Fokker D.XXI was used only in the Winter War. Only 42 of them served in the FAF and not all of them even saw the war, even less action. Fokker's, from WW1, similarity with Focke was probably the reason, together with that its easier to pronounce. Many Russian IL2 players still call Fockes Fokkers or Fockers in voice comms.

LLv34_Flanker
04-24-2010, 12:23 PM
S!

Russian pilots refer often Focke-Wulf as Fokker and Bf109 as Messer. This is mentioned many times in literature. Finnish ground control mentioned this also when monitoring Russian radio comms.

As of the P39, some Finns called it the "rocking chair" as when it fired the gun it shook. They weren't regarded tough opponents at higher altitudes. And as mentioned, caught fire very easily as did the Hurricane when faced by the Brewster pilots in early part of the war.

Surprisingly Yak-9 was considered most dangerous and it got a nickname "Mörkö" aka "Boogeyman". La-5F and FN were said to be quite tough, but Bf109G could fight them in more or less equal terms.

Kettenhunde
04-24-2010, 03:55 PM
All pilots love the airplane that got home alive. They got home alive because their plane at least appeared "superior" in the situation presented.

That does not mean a thing about any airplanes absolute performance.

You guys seem to think that all airplanes or the same make go the speed published in a book or that real airplanes are close to your game.

That is not true. A high time engine, propeller, and poor finish from serving at primitive combat airfields can vary performance as much as 100 mph. Consider STC and approved modifications for field conditions such as removing the entire gear door assemblies for muddy airstrips and performance can vary wildly.

That is not even considering the fact you have no way of knowing the opponents mindset or situation.

M_Gunz
04-24-2010, 05:19 PM
Originally posted by Wildnoob:

Hartmann said something about Lend-Lease fighters that impressed me

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">In the first year of service, Hartmann felt a distinct lack of respect towards Russian pilots. He recalled that most Soviet fighters did not have proper gunsights, and their pilots resorted to drawing them on the windshield by hand.

In the early days, incredible as it may seem, there was no reason for you to feel fear if the Russian fighter was behind you. With their hand-painted "gunsights" they couldn't pull the lead properly or hit you

While Hartmann considered the P-39, P-40, and Hurricane inferior to the Fw 190 and Bf 109, they did provide the Soviets with valuable gunsight technology. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hartmann started when? Frontline: October 42. His early days, his 1st year lasted through most of 1943.
So when you compare the planes, find out which models since some old LL's were flying then too.

TinyTim
04-25-2010, 10:43 AM
In Russian pilot slang:

Fw 190 = "fokker"
Bf 109 = "messer"

Only as a pure coincidence there is also a plane which actually bears official name Fokker, but Russian use of the term "fokker" for Fw190 is not a mixup, it's simply the most pronouncible nickname. They didn't mix Bf 109 with knife either.

WTE_Galway
04-26-2010, 03:15 AM
according to some sources among the biggest bonus of US aircraft was:
- canopies you can see through (cellulose ones went yellow quickly)
- fuel gauges that actually reported something related to the actual amount of gas in the tanks (some squadron commanders ordered the "in wing" Russian ones painted over on the basis that no gauge at all was better than an inaccurate one)