I found the video to be a pretty fair assessment. Was the P39 suited for the SE theatre? Nope. Nor was the P40, in fact the the P39 was the better performer except in the 12,000-18,000 environment which would take the P40 days to get to with its abysmal climb rate. So why did the P40 have the better rep? Simple. Chennault. He had devised better tactics for the P40 to use against the IJA. The P40 had a pretty good rep because of it. But the P39 got thrown into the fray at Port Moresby, replacing a completely eliminated AUS unit flying P40's (I believe my memory is accurate here) against a crack A6M2 unit. So average USAAF flyers with an average plane using WWI doctrine (USAAF wouldn't really listen to Chennault despite his success) against a crack unit at altitudes that were unfavorable ... Here's the real catch .. .if the units had been equipped with P40's, the result would have been the same BUT maybe someone would have started listening to Chennault 6 months earlier ... someone might have said: "how the heck are the P40's doing so well in China and sucking so bad in the DEI?"
The truth is the in early '42, the US and its allies didn't have a competitive plane against the A6M2 at 15,000. Worse, they were using WWI tactics. Updated ones could have gotten them from the Brits, but just like Chennault, they weren't going to ask were they?.
Anyway, the P39 was the best fighter that the US had in early 42 which isn't saying much. It's major issue was that the pilot height was limited ... 5'8" I believe. Other than that, better than the P40 in almost all aspects. Far better than the F4F which was more than 10% slower ... yeah, the cupboards were pretty bare until the F4U/P51/P47/P38 started to show up. The Spitfires were better than any of these except in range (brutally short, but fine for point defense), but production was not able to meet local UK defense needs yet, let alone be sent to the Pacific.
< Message edited by PaxMondo -- 5/25/2021 6:28:47 PM >