Iron Dog:Bell P-39 Aircobra

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by CL1, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    A statement summing up the P-39 from Profile Publication number 165

    "With its tough hide and the spirit of its defiant pilots in the face of overwhelming odds ,it bought enough time for the full might of the United States to be geared for war"

    Bell P-39 Airacobra - Wikipedia
  2. Kash Seal

    Kash Seal Member

    What a bizarre quote. Surely the Curtiss P-40 did more for the allies before "the US geared up for war" Imo.
  3. Dave55

    Dave55 Very Senior Member

    "Don't forget the Russians." from the movie after Patton considered the allies to be UK and USA. :)
  4. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    The Airacobra, like the much-reviled Buffalo, was an attempt to squeeze too much into too small an airframe. As ever, the attempt produced a combat aircraft with degraded performance. The P39 was not much good in air-to-air combat--too heavy, no turbo-supercharger, but the Soviets found that it was pretty good for strafing, especially against vehicles because of the 37mm nose gun. It was also pretty tough, able to take a fair amount of punishment and bring the pilot home. The enlarged Kingcobra had much better performance and the Soviets took most of them.
    canuck likes this.
  5. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    In fact Russian used P-39 mostly as an air superiority fighter. Three of the five top Soviet aces (Grigori Rechkalov, Nikolai Gulaev and Dmitri Glinka) got most of their kills while flying P-39s and Rechkalov and D. Glinka ended the war in May 1945 still flying P-39s with Guards units operating inside Germany. Gulaev was badly wounded in Aug 44 while flying P-39 with 129 GIAP. Stalin asked more P-39s and Spitfires, not P-40s and Hurricanes. And Valentine tanks not Churchills
  6. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member


    Due in June and on the list to buy as the authors know their stuff.

    And I recently read this:

    Claringbould also knows his stuff and is writing one of the best series on the air war in the SWPA now available through Avonmore books. In addition he also co-authored a great history of the Tainan Air Group who flew Zeroes in New Guinea (Eagles of the Southern Sky). Lots of use of Japanese sources and checking of kill claims with records on both sides. What I found interesting in his works is that the combat was a lot closer than one would expect and the Airacobra held its own better than one would think given its popular reputation. This can partially be attributed to the weather conditions in New Guinea which restricted much of the combat to lower altitudes, the P-39's preferred operating area.
    TTH likes this.
  7. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Interesting, thanks. I'd like to know what tactics the Red Air Force used for the P39 in that role.
  8. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Very interesting indeed, it certainly goes counter to the general perception of the aircraft. That's what I like about this site, you learn new things here.

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