Fighter Cover during WWII - Page 3




 
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May 21st, 2006  
Lord Londonderry
 
August, 1942 was the first time modest raids were made by the US 8th Air Force into France. The following is an extract from "Mustang Summer" by Jim Thorn.

"The first raid was on railway marshalling yards near Rouen and was led by Major Paul Tibbets in a B-17E, one of a dozen on that successful mission which managed to deliver 39.000lbs of bombs on target.......".

"Ironically, the raids actually concentrated on an area defended by crack Luftwaffe units but at least the American bombers had RAF Spitfire IXs offering fighter support. Unfortunately due to the latter's limited endurance it was a case of the bombers having to be on target with barely seconds to spare if they were to be assured of friendly fighter cover during the most perilous part of the mission."

"It was obvious from the beginning that fighters with significantly greater endurance than the Spitfire would be necessary if the bombers were to enjoy the luxury of fighter protection to and from targets inside Germany".

ENTER THE MUSTANG, the greatest fighter of the war, "not so much for what it was but more importantly for what it could do" - Jim Thorn, "Mustang Summer", a fantastic book about Mustangs and their pilots in operation over Europe in WW2.
May 25th, 2006  
LeEnfield
 
 
Now if it had not been for Britain laying down the specification for the P51 and and ordering it unseen, untested and not even flown then America would not have had that fighter that they all rave about. America was not keen on inline engines for the fighters as they were susceptible to ground fire than the radial engines like the Thunderbolt.
May 28th, 2006  
Young Winston
 
 
Well there is a little more to it than that Le Enfield. The following is an extract from my own copy of Mustang Summer by Jim Thorn. You should try and get a copy. It's a great read as Lord Londonderry says.

"The story dated back to the dark old days towards the end of 1939, well before the Battle of Britain.

England desperately needed fighter planes and needed them quickly. Consequently the British Government had contracted with the US Government for the supply of Curtiss P-40's. The P-40 had been chosen not so much on its technical merits but simply because it was already proven in operation.

However Curtiss was unable to supply the numbers required and would have to seek outside assistance. The British had been impressed with the performance and strength of the North American built Harvard trainer, which was called the Texan and the Navy called the SNJ, and so North American was requested by the British to build the P-40 under licence for the RAF and France's Armee de l'Air.

Though flattered by the the obvious endorsement of the RAF for his young company's capability, NAA president James 'Dutch" Kindel-berger felt that they could do better than merely be a subcontractor and that the P-40 was already an outdated design.

He asked that the British, with the US Government consent, give his company 120 days from contract signing to produce an all new fighter. The British agreed and the first airframe was rolled out in 102 days. This was an amazing technical achievement by any standard and one that was to result in the birth of an aircraft that would truly alter the course of events in the final stages of the war."

You're correct that many pilots liked the more secure feeling of air cooled engines (radial) as opposed to the fluid cooled type (in-line) engines.
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May 28th, 2006  
Reiben
 
 
You can argue about which fighter plane made the difference. The real star is the drop tank. The drop tank gave the fighters the range.

I am not being dismissive about the quality of the planes, just pointing out a important and often forgotten contribution.
May 30th, 2006  
Young Winston
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reiben
You can argue about which fighter plane made the difference. The real star is the drop tank. The drop tank gave the fighters the range.

I am not being dismissive about the quality of the planes, just pointing out a important and often forgotten contribution.
Certainly, but you couldn't stick a drop tank on any fighter and expect it to perform like the P51!
May 30th, 2006  
Reiben
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Young Winston
Certainly, but you couldn't stick a drop tank on any fighter and expect it to perform like the P51!
would any fighter include an F16?

Take your point, but the drop tank enabled the P51 to do what it did best over Germany. Lets not forget equipment like drop tanks.
June 10th, 2006  
Strongbow
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reiben
would any fighter include an F16?

Take your point, but the drop tank enabled the P51 to do what it did best over Germany. Lets not forget equipment like drop tanks.
Let's stick to WW2.
June 10th, 2006  
Reiben
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Strongbow
Let's stick to WW2.




I know its a WW2 thread.
June 10th, 2006  
redcoat
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Londonderry
August, 1942 was the first time modest raids were made by the US 8th Air Force into France. The following is an extract from "Mustang Summer" by Jim Thorn.

"The first raid was on railway marshalling yards near Rouen and was led by Major Paul Tibbets in a B-17E, one of a dozen on that successful mission which managed to deliver 39.000lbs of bombs on target.......".

"Ironically, the raids actually concentrated on an area defended by crack Luftwaffe units but at least the American bombers had RAF Spitfire IXs offering fighter support. Unfortunately due to the latter's limited endurance it was a case of the bombers having to be on target with barely seconds to spare if they were to be assured of friendly fighter cover during the most perilous part of the mission."
THey might not have been RAF Spitfires, because from late 42 until mid 43 the main fighter of the 8th USAAF fighter arm was a mixture of reverse lend-lease Mk V and Mk IX Spitfires.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg USAAF Spitfire6.jpg (25.6 KB, 5 views)
June 14th, 2006  
Young Winston
 
 
It would be interesting if there were any old RAF records about that Rouen Raid in August, 1942.

Good point though Redcoat.