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P-400 Fighter Trainer - 11/30/2016 12:52:22 PM   
MakeeLearn

 

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The P-400 flying above the skys of Port Moresby and Kirakira has been instrumental in pilots gaining experience and in producing the highest scoring Allied aces, so far in my campaign.

It is the best "Trainer".

< Message edited by MakeeLearn -- 11/30/2016 12:55:53 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 11/30/2016 12:55:25 PM   
Jorge_Stanbury


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P-400 is a P-39 with a 20mm gun instead of the 37mm

20mm is better, more accurate than 37mm for anti-air purposes, so yes, it is a good plane, one of the best early war models

(in reply to MakeeLearn)
Post #: 2
RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 11/30/2016 12:57:28 PM   
MakeeLearn

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jorge_Stanbury

P-400 is a P-39 with a 20mm gun instead of the 37mm

20mm is better, more accurate than 37mm for anti-air purposes, so yes, it is a good plane, one of the best early war models




Wrong P-400

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Post #: 3
RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 11/30/2016 1:00:47 PM   
MakeeLearn

 

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P-400

Slang for a P-40 with a Zero on its tail.

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RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 11/30/2016 1:27:21 PM   
Buckrock

 

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That subject of that WWII joke was the P-400 not the P-40. An actual P-40 with an A6M Zero on its tail was still a P-40, though probably not a happy one.

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RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 11/30/2016 2:01:26 PM   
crsutton


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In reality the P39 was probably just as good as the P40 if not better. The faults of both planes were about the same give or take. Neither was really very good at altitude. The P39s bad reputation comes more from the fact that pilots did not really like it-for various reasons some deserved some not. Generally speaking pilots loved an aircraft that they deemed safer and more reliable even if the other plane had better combat stats (B25 over the B26). The P39 was a harder plane to fly. Most important was that when it went into a flat spin, the plane became very deadly. It took a very good pilot to get one out of that type of spin vs the P40. Also, pilots tended to like the familiar and did not care for the try-cycle landing gear-preferring the familiar tail dragging set up instead. Nobody really cared for the unreliable 30 mm gun and pilots did not like the cramped cockpit or the fact that the engine was behind them. But in a fight both planes were probably equal. In DaBabes the designers have polished up the P39 so that statistically it is no worse than the P40k and I use them both the same way.

By the time they got it right (P63), the US had no use for a fighter that could not fly long range.

I don't waste the P400 in training. It is a front line fighter until something better comes along.

< Message edited by crsutton -- 11/30/2016 2:02:09 PM >


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RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 11/30/2016 2:23:29 PM   
Macclan5


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Most of the historical articles I have read describe the P39 (et al versions) as: "As proof that designing a plane in concept around the armament ~ gone wrong".

The front nose gun was described as a brilliant weapon; reliable with high rate of fire and oomph. The T9 Oldsmobile cannon 37MM could open up armored vehicles and tanks with its high kinetic energy transfer. Even later in the war.

The Soviets loved them.

Sadly the plane was designed around firing this weapon through the nose with accuracy and stability; which in turn gave the plane less than optimal flight characteristics.

I think a lot of P39 et al ended up in the ground attack role which suited the T9 brilliantly. Hence the Soviet love on the eastern front.

--

In game I use them as needed everywhere; when better airframe come along I train them up in low level attack and strafing (PDU Off)

I think this is historically characteristic and the game models this rather well. P39s in South Pacific Command can make a lot of damage around Rabul and Truk depending upon your locations of deployment.

_____________________________

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RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 11/30/2016 2:43:53 PM   
Panther Bait


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Another problem with the P39 was the slow speed of the cannon versus the .50 cal made it difficult to hit one target with both weapons (the 20mm Hispano cannons had a better ballistic profile match to a 50 cal or a 30 cal, at least at close ranges).

Mike

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Post #: 8
RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 11/30/2016 2:51:53 PM   
dave sindel

 

Posts: 299
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Macclan5

Most of the historical articles I have read describe the P39 (et al versions) as: "As proof that designing a plane in concept around the armament ~ gone wrong".

The front nose gun was described as a brilliant weapon; reliable with high rate of fire and oomph. The T9 Oldsmobile cannon 37MM could open up armored vehicles and tanks with its high kinetic energy transfer. Even later in the war.

The Soviets loved them.

Sadly the plane was designed around firing this weapon through the nose with accuracy and stability; which in turn gave the plane less than optimal flight characteristics.

I think a lot of P39 et al ended up in the ground attack role which suited the T9 brilliantly. Hence the Soviet love on the eastern front.

--

In game I use them as needed everywhere; when better airframe come along I train them up in low level attack and strafing (PDU Off)

I think this is historically characteristic and the game models this rather well. P39s in South Pacific Command can make a lot of damage around Rabul and Truk depending upon your locations of deployment.


I have tried using P-39's mainly in Burma in a ground attack / strafing role. As you said, this was their historical role with the Soviets. My results have been disappointing at best. Many, many missions resulted in damaged planes and no IJA casualties shown. I'm curious what you are doing differently than I am, since you seem happy with the results?

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Post #: 9
RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 11/30/2016 3:09:45 PM   
Jorge_Stanbury


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I have read actually the opposite regarding Soviet's usage:

They already had an abundance of IL-2 Sturmoviks, and hence they used their P-39s as a fighter, without the wing guns to make it more maneuverable. And since East front's combat happened at low altitudes and short ranges, it was more than adequate to fulfill this against the BF-109s they encounter


< Message edited by Jorge_Stanbury -- 11/30/2016 3:11:04 PM >

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RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 11/30/2016 3:36:20 PM   
AcePylut


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That’s the key – the East Front air war was mainly fought at much lower altitudes than the Pac War, such that their problems at high altitude weren’t much of a factor. Also, the “problem” with the P39/40/400 was that they were far outclassed by the Japanese planes maneuverability, whereas they weren’t so relatively deficient in this area against the German planes.

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RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 11/30/2016 4:09:01 PM   
dave sindel

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jorge_Stanbury

I have read actually the opposite regarding Soviet's usage:

They already had an abundance of IL-2 Sturmoviks, and hence they used their P-39s as a fighter, without the wing guns to make it more maneuverable. And since East front's combat happened at low altitudes and short ranges, it was more than adequate to fulfill this against the BF-109s they encounter


Interesting. I will have to look into this. In any case, I quit using them in a strafing role because the losses in planes wasnt worth the few IJA losses I was causing.

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Post #: 12
RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 11/30/2016 4:26:31 PM   
Macclan5


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quote:

ORIGINAL: dave sindel


quote:

ORIGINAL: Jorge_Stanbury

I have read actually the opposite regarding Soviet's usage:

They already had an abundance of IL-2 Sturmoviks, and hence they used their P-39s as a fighter, without the wing guns to make it more maneuverable. And since East front's combat happened at low altitudes and short ranges, it was more than adequate to fulfill this against the BF-109s they encounter


Interesting. I will have to look into this. In any case, I quit using them in a strafing role because the losses in planes wasnt worth the few IJA losses I was causing.


Indeed. In fact I may be equally mis-informed.

Actually Wikipedia suggest the exact same and it is attributed to the 'western translation' of Soviet close air support (generically).

I just happen to look it up.

Clearly the books articles I have read fall victim to the same.

--

To answer the other question.. my 'somewhat successful P39 deployment" was Naval Attack low level (alt = 1000) strafing based out of Munda/ Shortlands et al near Rabul. My P39s seemed to have success against xAKs on route ..or at least enough success that I diverted some of the Marine dive bomber squadrons into Airfield attack to suppress the CAP / Japanese air frames.

I would not classify it as outstanding success; but useful.

Equally I did not try nor have much success as Ground attack in New Guinea et al, but like Burma I presume the jungle helps LCUnits shrug it off...

..and perhaps you / I / we did not try 'long enough' till the skills were very high ?





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Post #: 13
RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 11/30/2016 4:42:36 PM   
dave sindel

 

Posts: 299
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From: Millersburg, OH
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Macclan5


quote:

ORIGINAL: dave sindel


quote:

ORIGINAL: Jorge_Stanbury

I have read actually the opposite regarding Soviet's usage:

They already had an abundance of IL-2 Sturmoviks, and hence they used their P-39s as a fighter, without the wing guns to make it more maneuverable. And since East front's combat happened at low altitudes and short ranges, it was more than adequate to fulfill this against the BF-109s they encounter


Interesting. I will have to look into this. In any case, I quit using them in a strafing role because the losses in planes wasnt worth the few IJA losses I was causing.


Indeed. In fact I may be equally mis-informed.

Actually Wikipedia suggest the exact same and it is attributed to the 'western translation' of Soviet close air support (generically).

I just happen to look it up.

Clearly the books articles I have read fall victim to the same.

--

To answer the other question.. my 'somewhat successful P39 deployment" was Naval Attack low level (alt = 1000) strafing based out of Munda/ Shortlands et al near Rabul. My P39s seemed to have success against xAKs on route ..or at least enough success that I diverted some of the Marine dive bomber squadrons into Airfield attack to suppress the CAP / Japanese air frames.

I would not classify it as outstanding success; but useful.

Equally I did not try nor have much success as Ground attack in New Guinea et al, but like Burma I presume the jungle helps LCUnits shrug it off...

..and perhaps you / I / we did not try 'long enough' till the skills were very high ?






I like the idea of using them on Naval Attack. Havent tried that yet, and that 37MM cannon would definitely do some damage vs merchant ships.

I was using them vs LCU's in jungles, true. But they were also ineffective vs AFV's that ventured into open terrain.

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RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 11/30/2016 6:05:28 PM   
JohnDillworth


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I believe like a lot of planes it started out as a pretty good design with adequate power. Once they got done adding guns, armor, radios and whatever else was not consider on the drawing board it was too heavy. The small airframe prevented a larger engine so you had to make do. As mentioned above. It's a fighter when you don't have any fighters so you can either use it or preserve your pilots until you can put them in 2nd generation aircraft. Lots of AA is your friend when this is the best fighter you have.

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RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 11/30/2016 9:13:21 PM   
bomccarthy


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A lot of veteran pilots liked the P-39, including Chuck Yeager, who said he would have willingly gone to battle in one. More inexperienced pilots feared the light touch of its controls (a feature that veteran pilots really liked). In addition to its adverse spin characteristics, one handling problem was tied to the cannon - as its ammo was used up, the plane's c.g. shifted to the rear, until it eventually went past 1/4 MAC (mean aerodynamic chord), which seriously affected stability in most maneuvers. Some aviation historians attribute this as one source of the legends that the P-39 could flip end-over-end if pushed too far. This points to one advantage of locating guns and ammunition in the wings - the c.g. remains within 1/4 MAC as the ammunition is expended.

The P-51 had a similar problem when the 85-gallon fuel tank was added behind the cockpit early in the production of the P-51B. Until at least half that fuel was burned, the c.g. was behind 1/4 MAC. This made the plane difficult to fly early in a mission and a number of green pilots found out the hard way that the plane needed to be treated with extra respect. However, these losses were considered a necessary price for the ability to reach Berlin from English bases.

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RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 12/1/2016 12:36:59 AM   
wdolson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Macclan5

Most of the historical articles I have read describe the P39 (et al versions) as: "As proof that designing a plane in concept around the armament ~ gone wrong".

The front nose gun was described as a brilliant weapon; reliable with high rate of fire and oomph. The T9 Oldsmobile cannon 37MM could open up armored vehicles and tanks with its high kinetic energy transfer. Even later in the war.

The Soviets loved them.

Sadly the plane was designed around firing this weapon through the nose with accuracy and stability; which in turn gave the plane less than optimal flight characteristics.

I think a lot of P39 et al ended up in the ground attack role which suited the T9 brilliantly. Hence the Soviet love on the eastern front.

--

In game I use them as needed everywhere; when better airframe come along I train them up in low level attack and strafing (PDU Off)

I think this is historically characteristic and the game models this rather well. P39s in South Pacific Command can make a lot of damage around Rabul and Truk depending upon your locations of deployment.


The P-39 was originally conceived as a bomber interceptor with the 37mm cannon being used to bring down bombers at long range with only a couple of hits. It was basically designed to counter a potential enemy developing their own B-17. The prototype had a supercharger, but it was heavy and cumbersome. The Army ordered the supercharger removed which left it a fighter without a real role.

The P-39 was the shortest range modern fighter in the US inventory when the war started and it became apparent that most US fighters lacked range, the P-39 looked worse and worse. Additionally the 37mm cannon had a lower rate of fire which isn't such a bad problem when shooting at bombers that aren't maneuvering around, but in a dog fight where quick snap shots are the norm and an enemy plane might only be in your sights for less than a second, a gun with only 2 1/2 rounds a second rate of fire is not as preferable as the 0.50 caliber which had 10 rounds a second for the early models and faster for later models.

On top of that, the P-39 got a reputation as a widow maker among US pilots because of it's poor spin characteristics. With so much weight right in the middle of the plane if the plane got into a flat spin, it was pretty much impossible to get out of (some highly skilled pilots could do it, but it was a rare talent). Bailing out was pretty much the only option at that point. All other US fighters had much better spin characteristics. Getting out of a spin was doable most of the time.

Bill

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Post #: 17
RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 12/1/2016 2:55:53 AM   
crsutton


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From: Maryland
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quote:

ORIGINAL: dave sindel


quote:

ORIGINAL: Macclan5

Most of the historical articles I have read describe the P39 (et al versions) as: "As proof that designing a plane in concept around the armament ~ gone wrong".

The front nose gun was described as a brilliant weapon; reliable with high rate of fire and oomph. The T9 Oldsmobile cannon 37MM could open up armored vehicles and tanks with its high kinetic energy transfer. Even later in the war.

The Soviets loved them.

Sadly the plane was designed around firing this weapon through the nose with accuracy and stability; which in turn gave the plane less than optimal flight characteristics.

I think a lot of P39 et al ended up in the ground attack role which suited the T9 brilliantly. Hence the Soviet love on the eastern front.

--

In game I use them as needed everywhere; when better airframe come along I train them up in low level attack and strafing (PDU Off)

I think this is historically characteristic and the game models this rather well. P39s in South Pacific Command can make a lot of damage around Rabul and Truk depending upon your locations of deployment.


I have tried using P-39's mainly in Burma in a ground attack / strafing role. As you said, this was their historical role with the Soviets. My results have been disappointing at best. Many, many missions resulted in damaged planes and no IJA casualties shown. I'm curious what you are doing differently than I am, since you seem happy with the results?


Strafing is a very weak aspect of the game. More important is the bomb load. Train your fighters in low bombing instead. I would not worry too much about strafing. Plus, AA and fighters eat up fighters in strafing missions.

_____________________________

I am the Holy Roman Emperor and am above grammar.

Sigismund of Luxemburg

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Post #: 18
RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 12/1/2016 3:00:00 AM   
crsutton


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JohnDillworth

I believe like a lot of planes it started out as a pretty good design with adequate power. Once they got done adding guns, armor, radios and whatever else was not consider on the drawing board it was too heavy. The small airframe prevented a larger engine so you had to make do. As mentioned above. It's a fighter when you don't have any fighters so you can either use it or preserve your pilots until you can put them in 2nd generation aircraft. Lots of AA is your friend when this is the best fighter you have.


I think the intent was to have superchargers on the P39, but for various reasons they did not. The Kingcobra with superchargers was a pretty good plane. But the aircraft always had terrible range. That is a defect in any fighter.

_____________________________

I am the Holy Roman Emperor and am above grammar.

Sigismund of Luxemburg

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Post #: 19
RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 12/1/2016 3:02:10 AM   
crsutton


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From: Maryland
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Macclan5

Most of the historical articles I have read describe the P39 (et al versions) as: "As proof that designing a plane in concept around the armament ~ gone wrong".

The front nose gun was described as a brilliant weapon; reliable with high rate of fire and oomph. The T9 Oldsmobile cannon 37MM could open up armored vehicles and tanks with its high kinetic energy transfer. Even later in the war.

The Soviets loved them.

Sadly the plane was designed around firing this weapon through the nose with accuracy and stability; which in turn gave the plane less than optimal flight characteristics.

I think a lot of P39 et al ended up in the ground attack role which suited the T9 brilliantly. Hence the Soviet love on the eastern front.

--

In game I use them as needed everywhere; when better airframe come along I train them up in low level attack and strafing (PDU Off)

I think this is historically characteristic and the game models this rather well. P39s in South Pacific Command can make a lot of damage around Rabul and Truk depending upon your locations of deployment.


I think it is a myth about the tank killing ability of the gun. The Soviets were never issued AP ammo for them-only HE was shipped via lend lease. It was useful vs soft targets but would not have caused much damaged to a medium tank.

_____________________________

I am the Holy Roman Emperor and am above grammar.

Sigismund of Luxemburg

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Post #: 20
RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 12/1/2016 3:57:10 AM   
BBfanboy


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From: Winnipeg, MB
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quote:

ORIGINAL: crsutton


quote:

ORIGINAL: dave sindel


quote:

ORIGINAL: Macclan5

Most of the historical articles I have read describe the P39 (et al versions) as: "As proof that designing a plane in concept around the armament ~ gone wrong".

The front nose gun was described as a brilliant weapon; reliable with high rate of fire and oomph. The T9 Oldsmobile cannon 37MM could open up armored vehicles and tanks with its high kinetic energy transfer. Even later in the war.

The Soviets loved them.

Sadly the plane was designed around firing this weapon through the nose with accuracy and stability; which in turn gave the plane less than optimal flight characteristics.

I think a lot of P39 et al ended up in the ground attack role which suited the T9 brilliantly. Hence the Soviet love on the eastern front.

--

In game I use them as needed everywhere; when better airframe come along I train them up in low level attack and strafing (PDU Off)

I think this is historically characteristic and the game models this rather well. P39s in South Pacific Command can make a lot of damage around Rabul and Truk depending upon your locations of deployment.


I have tried using P-39's mainly in Burma in a ground attack / strafing role. As you said, this was their historical role with the Soviets. My results have been disappointing at best. Many, many missions resulted in damaged planes and no IJA casualties shown. I'm curious what you are doing differently than I am, since you seem happy with the results?


Strafing is a very weak aspect of the game. More important is the bomb load. Train your fighters in low bombing instead. I would not worry too much about strafing. Plus, AA and fighters eat up fighters in strafing missions.

I train my fighters in LowG at 1000 feet first, but when they get into the 60s I train up some strafe too - usually into the 50s. The bonus is the defensive skill you pick up during training at 100 feet.

After getting them trained to a usable level I pick my time to use them carefully - never sending them against combat ready enemy in forts.

I watch for enemy units on the move in open terrain. Bombing and strafing doesn't do a lot to infantry units (the combat squads seem quick to take cover) but they can devastate guns - both artillery and AA. At least that is how it looks from my experience

As for naval attack - ships smaller than a DD or transport/cargo/tanker types are good targets. Again, I don't attack if I know the enemy has CAP in the area, unless I have my own escort fighters to go along on the mission.

_____________________________

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Post #: 21
RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 12/1/2016 6:31:52 AM   
Reg


Posts: 2667
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From: Victoria, Australia
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quote:

ORIGINAL: crsutton


quote:

ORIGINAL: Macclan5

Most of the historical articles I have read describe the P39 (et al versions) as: "As proof that designing a plane in concept around the armament ~ gone wrong".

The front nose gun was described as a brilliant weapon; reliable with high rate of fire and oomph. The T9 Oldsmobile cannon 37MM could open up armored vehicles and tanks with its high kinetic energy transfer. Even later in the war.

The Soviets loved them.

Sadly the plane was designed around firing this weapon through the nose with accuracy and stability; which in turn gave the plane less than optimal flight characteristics.

I think a lot of P39 et al ended up in the ground attack role which suited the T9 brilliantly. Hence the Soviet love on the eastern front.

--

In game I use them as needed everywhere; when better airframe come along I train them up in low level attack and strafing (PDU Off)

I think this is historically characteristic and the game models this rather well. P39s in South Pacific Command can make a lot of damage around Rabul and Truk depending upon your locations of deployment.


I think it is a myth about the tank killing ability of the gun. The Soviets were never issued AP ammo for them-only HE was shipped via lend lease. It was useful vs soft targets but would not have caused much damaged to a medium tank.


To be an effective AT gun, a high muzzle velocity is required.

The P-39's 37mm gun was equivalent to light tank armament in calibre but it was designed for use against aircraft and had a much lower muzzle velocity. It also had much less recoil which could only be an advantage for a small airplane....



_____________________________

Cheers,
Reg.

(One day I will learn to spell - or check before posting....)
Uh oh, Firefox has a spell checker!! What excuse can I use now!!!

(in reply to crsutton)
Post #: 22
RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 12/1/2016 7:02:04 AM   
Denniss

 

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Some of you are mixing-up superchargers with turbochargers - both P-39 and P-40 had superchargers but not the Turbo they were planned with at some stage of development.
The P-39 was put to good use by the soviets although they remnoved wing guns and soem armor to improver maneuverability. Plus they preferred low-alt use where the Allison engine had very good performance. In soem cases it was used in the original intended role of bomber destroyer - using the 37mm gun to kill bombers from longer range.
If caught by Bf 109 or Fw 190 they were in trouble though.

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Post #: 23
RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 12/1/2016 7:32:40 AM   
wdolson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Reg

To be an effective AT gun, a high muzzle velocity is required.

The P-39's 37mm gun was equivalent to light tank armament in calibre but it was designed for use against aircraft and had a much lower muzzle velocity. It also had much less recoil which could only be an advantage for a small airplane....



As a terrestrial based AT gun 37mm were hopelessly obsolete by 1943 in most theaters. However, as an airborne AT weapon, the speed of the aircraft is added to the muzzle velocity and from the air the gun is attacking the most vulnerable part of a tank. The German 37mm carried by the Ju-87G was very successful, even against the most heavily armored Russian tanks. It had a higher muzzle velocity than the Oldsmobile 37mm (2600ft/s vs 2000 ft/s), and the rate of fire was about the same, but the ammo magazine was only 12 rounds, and the P-39 carried 30 rounds. The Ju-87 had two guns, but they were out on the wings and the P-39 was center line.

The 20mm cannon for the P-400 really was a better choice for a fighter. It had a better rate of fire, still had a good punch, and a larger ammunition load.

Where the Oldsmobile T9 really came into its own was when PT boats started mounting them. They were extremely effective when hunting barges, which became a major role for the PT boats in the Solomons.

And Denniss, my bad about the difference between the supercharger and turbocharger. The P-39 like all Allison powered planes would have benefited from fitting a Packard Merlin. Lockheed drew up plans to replace the engines on the P-38 and it would have saved a lot of weight, but there was a limited supply of the Packard engines and most were allocated for Mustangs. The P-39 would have been a more effective fighter at altitude with a Merlin. However, it still would have suffered from short range.

Short range isn't a critical problem when on defense, the short ranges of the Spitfires and Hurricanes were only minor problems in the Battle of Britain, but short legs when on offense is a bad problem, which the Germans learned in the same battle. The P-39 was not deemed fit for the Mediterranean or Western Europe and it had very short legs for the Pacific. The most favored USAAF fighter in the Pacific for most of the war was the P-38 both because of the twin engines and it's long range.

Bill

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RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 12/1/2016 11:14:21 AM   
Denniss

 

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The 37mm of the Ju 87G was a modified AA Gun, it's penetrative power was likely less than the AT gun due to smaller or shorter cartridge.
Both guns had 12 rounds.
The P-40 had a short production run with Merlins as P-40F and L albeit not with two-stage supercharged engines.

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RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 12/1/2016 12:00:35 PM   
HansBolter


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P39s are excellent non-armored ship killers.

It isn't so much the cannon as the 500lb bombs they deliver.
Once trained up properly they really start getting hits with the bombs.

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RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 12/1/2016 1:05:17 PM   
wdolson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Denniss

The 37mm of the Ju 87G was a modified AA Gun, it's penetrative power was likely less than the AT gun due to smaller or shorter cartridge.
Both guns had 12 rounds.
The P-40 had a short production run with Merlins as P-40F and L albeit not with two-stage supercharged engines.


The weight of the projectiles between the German BK 37 and the US M4 were in the same range. Different round type had different weights, but they were between 380g and 685g for the German BK 37 with the AT round being the heaviest and the APCR round the lightest. The HE round for the P-39 was 608g and the AP round was 750g. The M4 auto cannon was also developed from an AA gun. The ammo clip for the M4 was 30 rounds.

The Packard Merlins were initially built to supply Hurricanes built in Canada (the Mk X-XII). Some were allocated for the P-40F in an attempt to give it better performance, but the P-40 was really not in the same league as German fighters. A skilled pilot could win an air battle in an inferior aircraft against a less skilled pilot, but with equal pilots an ME-109 or Fw-190 would usually beat a P-40.

Packard Merlins also made it into the Lancaster BIII and Mosquitoes built in Canada and Australia as well as the Spitfire Mk XVI. The Spitfire XVI was a Mk IX with the Packard engine. It got a different designation because the tool kit needed to work on the engine was different from the Rolls engine.

Once the British showed that performance of the Mustang could be greatly improved with the Merlin, the bulk of Packard output went to Mustangs Once the Mustang was sucking up engines, Curtiss was low on the priority list to get them.

Packard built about 55,000 Merlins during the war. Rolls built close to 150,000. Total Allison V-1710 production was around 70,000. At low altitudes the Allison and Merlin were pretty much equal, but the Merlin had much better high altitude performance. Allison worked on a two stage supercharged V-1710 for most of the war, but it wasn't introduced until 1946 where it replaced the Merlin on the P-82. The Allison supercharged V-1710 pretty much matched Merlin performance, but it was too little too late. Few were built because by the time it was introduced the jet age was making piston engines obsolete.

Packard started making Merlins in 1940. The War Planning board was working on plans to fully mobilize US production then. Instead of taking the attitude that American engines were superior in the face of contradictory evidence they should have sucked it up and realized that the British built a better liquid cooled engine and switched Allison's production line over. They could still be proud of American radials. US radials were definitely world class, some of the best fighters of the war were powered by P&W 2800s and the radials in bombers were clearly excellent too. Not only were the power to weight ratios very good, but US made radials were extremely reliable, even in harsh conditions.

If the switch to the Packard Merlin had been made early enough, it would have had a minimal disturbance on production and the P-38 would have definitely been a better fighter. The P-39 may still have ended up in the lend-lease bargain bin because of its range, but it would have been a better fighter. The P-40 was only marginally better with the Merlin, it was an antiquated airframe that was essentially a generation behind the curve. It was a contemporary of the Hurricane (it was the same core plane as the P-36 with an inline engine). Because of it's "old school" design, it did lend itself well to the harsh conditions on poor front line airstrips. I have argued for quite some time that the service rating of the P-40 should be 1 in the game. It was unusually reliable for an inline engine plane in part because of the relatively simple radiator system right under the engine. The rest was due to it's heavier than normal construction that was more typical of late 30s designs.

Bill


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RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 12/1/2016 6:00:47 PM   
crsutton


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Denniss

Some of you are mixing-up superchargers with turbochargers - both P-39 and P-40 had superchargers but not the Turbo they were planned with at some stage of development.
The P-39 was put to good use by the soviets although they remnoved wing guns and soem armor to improver maneuverability. Plus they preferred low-alt use where the Allison engine had very good performance. In soem cases it was used in the original intended role of bomber destroyer - using the 37mm gun to kill bombers from longer range.
If caught by Bf 109 or Fw 190 they were in trouble though.


Yes, you are correct in that the removal of the turbocharges hurt the P39s but it was the addition of a second remotely mounted supercharger supplementing the normal single-stage supercharger. That gave the P 63 it's superior speed and raised its max height about 10,000 feet over the 39. Sorry about the confusion I created.. I was also unaware that the P63 was delivered to the Soviets with the condition that they not be used in Europe but be reserved for combat in the far East. There are accounts of the Russians fudging the rules a bit and a few units in the West saw action over the Germans but in the end the P63s saw little actual combat. Only real combat after the Soviets entered the war with Japan.

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RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 12/1/2016 9:53:53 PM   
bomccarthy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wdolson

The P-39 like all Allison powered planes would have benefited from fitting a Packard Merlin. Lockheed drew up plans to replace the engines on the P-38 and it would have saved a lot of weight, but there was a limited supply of the Packard engines and most were allocated for Mustangs. The P-39 would have been a more effective fighter at altitude with a Merlin. However, it still would have suffered from short range.

Short range isn't a critical problem when on defense, the short ranges of the Spitfires and Hurricanes were only minor problems in the Battle of Britain, but short legs when on offense is a bad problem, which the Germans learned in the same battle. The P-39 was not deemed fit for the Mediterranean or Western Europe and it had very short legs for the Pacific. The most favored USAAF fighter in the Pacific for most of the war was the P-38 both because of the twin engines and it's long range.

Bill


I'm not sure they could have fit an auxiliary stage supercharger in the P-39, Allison or Merlin-powered. Bell designers extended the fuselage for the P-63 to fit its auxiliary-stage blower; the XP-39 prototype's turbosupercharger was placed directly under the engine. The U.S. Army placed its hopes on turbosupercharging beginning in the early 1920s and pretty much demanded it for any aircraft intended for high-altitude operations. Consequently, Allison designed the V-1710 with only a single-stage, single-speed supercharger, intending this to be supplemented by a turbosupercharger (P-38 and XP-39).

The real monster was to be the V-1710-E27 turbocompound engine. Developed for the stillborn P-63H, this had an exhaust-driven turbine which fed power directly back to the crankshaft. The single example built by Allison developed 2,800 hp on the test stand. Turbocompounding was later used by Wright in the R-3350 radial, which developed 3,700 hp in most applications. GM offered an Allison turbocompound diesel in some of its long-haul truck applications until about 3-4 years ago.

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Post #: 29
RE: P-400 Fighter Trainer - 12/2/2016 12:00:26 AM   
Commander Cody


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quote:

ORIGINAL: bomccarthy

A lot of veteran pilots liked the P-39, including Chuck Yeager, who said he would have willingly gone to battle in one. More inexperienced pilots feared the light touch of its controls (a feature that veteran pilots really liked). In addition to its adverse spin characteristics, one handling problem was tied to the cannon - as its ammo was used up, the plane's c.g. shifted to the rear, until it eventually went past 1/4 MAC (mean aerodynamic chord), which seriously affected stability in most maneuvers. Some aviation historians attribute this as one source of the legends that the P-39 could flip end-over-end if pushed too far. This points to one advantage of locating guns and ammunition in the wings - the c.g. remains within 1/4 MAC as the ammunition is expended.

The P-51 had a similar problem when the 85-gallon fuel tank was added behind the cockpit early in the production of the P-51B. Until at least half that fuel was burned, the c.g. was behind 1/4 MAC. This made the plane difficult to fly early in a mission and a number of green pilots found out the hard way that the plane needed to be treated with extra respect. However, these losses were considered a necessary price for the ability to reach Berlin from English bases.

Do you have any books you can recommend that discuss these issues? I love that stuff.

Cheers,
CC

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