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OT: P-40/P-39 and ground bombing in RL

 
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OT: P-40/P-39 and ground bombing in RL - 5/14/2017 8:04:13 AM   
Yaab


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Found very little information about P-40/P-39 use in ground bombing missions in PTO.

For example:

http://ww2timelines.com/1944/january/01171944.htm

The Central Pacific Theater

USAAF P-39 Airacobras, using night intruder tactics, downed Japanese land attack planes (the same planes that carried out the nuisance raid on Tarawa the night before dawn over Mille, Marshall Islands. Later that day USAAF A-24 Banshees, P-39 Airacobras, and P-40 Warhawks bombed and strafed installations at Mile.

--------------------

Did they actually ever use those 500lb GP bombs for bombing anything on the ground? Most info about P-40/P-39s is about them either escorting bombers or strafing.
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RE: OT: P-40/P-39 and ground bombing in RL - 5/14/2017 8:15:09 AM   
Yaab


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Wow, P-40 dive-bombing in ETO. Italy, 1944. Who knew?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTsOdf3IyCc


(in reply to Yaab)
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RE: OT: P-40/P-39 and ground bombing in RL - 5/15/2017 6:44:20 AM   
Barb


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Eventually most of the P-39s and P-40s were relegated to ground support roles as fighters with more range/altitude/speed went into combat and the air superiority was achieved.

Actually P-39s were used on Guadalcanal for ground strafing and bombing in 1942! Australian Kittyhawks took strafing at Milne Bay at that time too. New Zealand Kittyhawks and Corsairs serving in Solomons after the 5th/13th AF moved forward were relegated mostly to ground support sorties - as almost no enemy aircraft were around. Also most of the RAAF was in late 1944 occupied by "suppression" of enemy air activities as the combat moved to the Philippines - this included regular bombing and strafing by all available planes - Beaufighters, Kittyhawks, Spitfires - eventualy leading to so called "Morotai mutiny" - as the pilots thought they were not used properly.

In the ETO the first effective "Tactical Air Force" developed from the Desert Air Force - Hurricanes become Hurribombers, and Kitthawks turned to Kittybombers - strafing and bombing anything that moved. As more P-38s, P-47s and P-51s flowed in to take over air superiority role and bomber escort, the short legged planes were used over the battlefield or in the rear. Spitfires, A-36 (first P-51s with Alison engines), Hurricanes, Kittyhawks, P-39s, P-40s, even the P-47s were more and more used to attack ground targets.

You can actually notice this trend within the game too - first versions of fighters are gun only (P-40B/P-38E), later a 500lb bomb or two (P-40E), yet later model even carry a 500lb+2x250lb bombs (P-40N), or even 2x1000lb (P-38J/L/M), etc.

Are you flying a tactical escort mission for light/medium bombers to some nearby target? Oh, then you surely can hang up a couple of 500lbs under the wings, ney? Wanna flak suppression around some supply dump 20 miles behind the frontline? Just carry these two babies and loose them over there. Wanna isolate the battlefield? Well there is a bridge/tunnel over there... Why putting up a mission for a Medium/Heavy bomber group if a squadron of P-40s can lob the bombs over there?

"Dive bombing" was actually more like glide bombing - true Dive bombers needed dive flaps to slow them down (SBD Dauntless, Vengeance, A-36, A-24) and could dive up to 90deg angle. Regular planes without them eased on throttle, and put themselves in around 40-50deg glide - unless carrying a time-dealyed fuzes in which case, they would skimm the ground and skip the bombs all over the place.

_____________________________

[img]https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzOZPXg_qJ22TG43UmJ5UjRsb3c[/img]

(in reply to Yaab)
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RE: OT: P-40/P-39 and ground bombing in RL - 5/15/2017 6:57:42 AM   
Yaab


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Thanks. In the game, the bomb load for P-39/P-40 is just one 500lb GP bomb. This arrangement means the pilots would have to be trained to dive/glide bomb a specific target. A 4 x 100lb GP bomb loadout would make mores sense for horizontal bombing against dispersed targets i.e. infantry.

(in reply to Barb)
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RE: OT: P-40/P-39 and ground bombing in RL - 5/16/2017 7:08:30 PM   
Revthought


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What I want to know is why strafing sucks. It shouldn't. Especially if I am strafing small airfields or over stacked (a little less really) larger ones.

In any case, in the absence of Japanese air power in some parts of the Pacific, I have found myself often training fighter pilots of all types in ground bombing and then using them in a ground support role. Some of them, particularly Russian air craft (playing a game of Focus Pacific) are very good at it.

_____________________________

Playing at war is a far better vocation than making people fight in them.

(in reply to Yaab)
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RE: OT: P-40/P-39 and ground bombing in RL - 5/17/2017 5:57:03 AM   
Barb


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Strafing unfortunately is subject to a "Hex" limitation. Within hex - every unit can contribute to whatever is happening given the proper equipment - thus an infantry 20 miles from the airfield dug in in the jungle, will actually contribute its defensive fire to any air-ground mission happening. Flying at 10,000ft usually only the AA/DP guns could fire. But at the deck level 100-2000ft most of the squads has some AA value. Thus an infantry division will eventually contribute more AA fire than a regular Machine Cannon Company with 18x25mm AA!

So if you do want to strafe an hex where 100,000 men are encircled, better make sure they have no ammo left in them, or you are for a nasty surprise (in terms of planes lost).

It is good to train fighter pilots in 3 basic skills - Air, Strafe, Ground - Def is coming along, so you have a guy who can fight, bomb and strafe at your wish.

IRL, Airfield, Port, Industrial and Ground positions were usually separated by space - thus when you were hitting the airfield in a hex, it could have been 10 miles from the port - thus only units located on the airfield and near vicinity would contribute (units with some aviation support, maybe an engineering unit, Flak unit), when hitting the port, only naval base forces, engineers and flak should contribute... and over the frontline? Maybe only the units internal AA...

_____________________________

[img]https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzOZPXg_qJ22TG43UmJ5UjRsb3c[/img]

(in reply to Revthought)
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