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View Full Version : Gunther Rall on the P-39.



Waldo.Pepper
01-09-2008, 01:57 AM
I don't think 'ol Gunther thought much of these. Page 152 from his memoirs.

"On 27 March 1943 over Slavianskaya in the western Crimea I shoot down my first American aircraft bearing Soviet markings: a Bell P-39 Airacobra. At this time the Americans are not supplying the Russians with exactly cutting edge technology. Entry into the Airacobra is via a side door which, for a fighter pilot, takes a little getting used to. It also begs the question, how does he get out again in a hurry should the need arise. Many don't manage to, for the aircraft's engine is behind the pilot, between whose legs runs a sleeveshaft that drives the propeller. If hit in either of the wing roots the machine becomes unstable and the aft centre of gravity immediately induces a vicious spin that usually makes the door impossible to open or jettison. The aircrafts' tanks and fuel pipes are also so arranged that it doesn't really matter where you hit it once you are on its tail and ready to open fire: it will invariably burst into flames.

It is the P-39's tendency to combust that will lead to the most hair-raising of all my kills number 254, claimed on 26 February 1944 during a transfer flight from Uman to the forward landing ground at Novokrasnoye: an Airacobra. My adjutant Oberleutnant Eberhard Graf Treuberg and I are able to close in unnoticed on the Soviet machine to within ramming distance before I let fly with all barrels. The P-39 instantaneously turns into a fiery blowtorch and I don't stand the slightest chance of escaping out of the enormous, incandescent tail of fire in time. After landing we discover that the paint on my fabric covered rudder has melted into huge blisters. But by then the Americans will be delivering in quantities what the increasingly bomb-shattered German armaments industry can only dream of. And piloting the Airacobras are truly brave men."

Schwarz.13
01-09-2008, 03:18 AM
http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/VAS/0000-4114-4~WWII-Army-Air-Corps-Airacobra-P40-Posters.jpg

Capt.LoneRanger
01-09-2008, 03:25 AM
The P39 was my favourite ride in the original IL2, when it was as difficult to fly successfully as it should be. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-indifferent.gif

R_Target
01-09-2008, 08:13 AM
Sounds like Kit Carson's Bf109 appraisal.

HayateAce
01-09-2008, 08:36 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/partyhat.gif

Skunk_438RCAF
01-09-2008, 08:52 AM
And piloting the Airacobras are truly brave men."

Indeed. Not often do I fly blue, but when I do and I encounter a P-39 I have much respect for those pilots that chose this aircraft to fight in.

mortoma
01-09-2008, 01:52 PM
In game I think the P-39, if piloted by AI is capable of stupendous feats!! Remember, the AI have fewer limitations than the same plane piloted by a human. They can dive and climb better and out-accelerate human piloted ones.

And I noticed that in my favorite offline eastern front sub-campaign ( Berlin ) the P-39s give me the worse time when I fly German. Not that they are hard to deal with but simply harder to deal with than the Yaks, LAs and Migs are. I feel that AI controlled Yak-3s and LA-5/7s are much easier to deal with.

crucislancer
01-09-2008, 03:15 PM
In Bud Anderson's memoirs, he mentions the P-39 quite a bit, as his Group flew it before getting the P-51B, though they never flew it in combat. He also makes a quick mention about Gunther Rall, who had said to Anderson that you could hit the P-39 in any old place and it would go in. Some funny stories about what they used to do with their P-39s while in Nevada as well.

I highly recommend his memoirs, "To Fly and Fight".

K_Freddie
01-09-2008, 03:33 PM
The P-39 was praised by the Russians at that time for being a great ground attack weapon, until the Sturmoviks arrived in numbers. As a DF plane it was up to pilot skill, as in all aircraft.
There were a few Russian pilots who got many kills in the P-39.

http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

joeap
01-09-2008, 03:40 PM
Originally posted by K_Freddie:
The P-39 was praised by the Russians at that time for being a great ground attack weapon, until the Sturmoviks arrived in numbers. As a DF plane it was up to pilot skill, as in all aircraft.
There were a few Russian pilots who got many kills in the P-39.

http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

I do believe that's a myth....the P-39 was never used in ground attack in a big way. Il-2s were being used before the P-39 got to the USSR in large numbers AFAIK.

BillyTheKid_22
01-09-2008, 03:43 PM
I love P-39!! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

VW-IceFire
01-09-2008, 04:46 PM
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 K_Freddie:
The P-39 was praised by the Russians at that time for being a great ground attack weapon, until the Sturmoviks arrived in numbers. As a DF plane it was up to pilot skill, as in all aircraft.
There were a few Russian pilots who got many kills in the P-39.

http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

I do believe that's a myth....the P-39 was never used in ground attack in a big way. Il-2s were being used before the P-39 got to the USSR in large numbers AFAIK. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
On the other hand I've read a bit about how P-39s were apparently put to good use as escorts for the IL-2s. The Russians still liked the P-39 for reasons that have little to do with its qualities as a fighter in the air...its abilities in the air were good enough and competitive *enough* for them. The real thing was that the landing gear made landing on rough strips relatively easy, the glass canopy was clear, visibility was decent and the radio worked almost perfectly. Build quality was also good.

When the Russian plane your flying may or may not be the best of the bunch (they had severe quality problems so that some planes were very tough and lived to expectations while some others came apart on test flights), has poor quality glass with many imperfections, with no radio or a radio that only partially works or can only send and not receive...the P-39 looks pretty darn good. Not as much of an issue by 1945 but in 1942 when they really needed planes of any type...pretty good.

Great quote. Again a piece of historical value!

MEGILE
01-10-2008, 11:32 AM
Naturally nobody disagrees with his opinion on the P-39 http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Spitfire or bust when it comes to controversy.

crucislancer
01-10-2008, 11:42 AM
Originally posted by Megile:Spitfire or bust when it comes to controversy.

I always thought the Mustang held that distinction. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif