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Most Underappreciated Aircraft of WWII...

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by polishshooter, Sep 9, 2006.

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Most Underappreciated Aircraft of WWII...

  1. Douglas A-20 (Boston)

    2 vote(s)
    20.0%
  2. The OTHER Lockheeds (Hudson, Ventura, Neptune...)

    2 vote(s)
    20.0%
  3. The B-18 Bolero

    1 vote(s)
    10.0%
  4. The USN "Blimps"

    5 vote(s)
    50.0%
  1. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Which plane(s) do you think did the most work so out of proportion to the "press" that they received?

    My vote is for the A-20, served in all theaters, with the B-25 Gunships (that got ALL the credit) suppressed Rabaul at wavetop height, sunk as many Jap ships, close support, night fighter and night interdiction in ALL theaters, lots of the most suicidal crappy missions that they didn't want to give to "better" bomers....AND in the fight from 1939 to the end, with the Brits and Frence too, plus lend leased to the Russians...


    But the others fit the bill too...or there could be more?
  2. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    CRAP, I screwed up my own POLL...:p

    When I first considered it, I was GOING to include the P-39/P-400 Number 2, and was prepared to ARGUE it too;) ,then remembered the Blimps and the Bolero, and plumb FORGOT...


    Maybe I'lll have to do another, like "Most Undeserved reputation....";)
  3. I voted for the blimps, Polish, the most unsung of all military aircraft of the war, I think. These aircraft did a tremendous job hunting for German subs of the Atlantic coast, both in terms of spotting for other aircraft and attacking subs themselves on occasion. Maintenance of the sea route to Britain was arguably the most crucial of all WWII battles, but it is one often overlooked in favor of more dramatic incidents like battleship v. battleship gun battles. I can't logically argue much against your own choice of the A-20, however, since these aircraft served admirably is so very many combat roles.

    My first choice for underappreciated aircraft, however, would have to be the British Hurricane fighter (which unfairly lost out to the more famous Spitfire in the history books) or the British plywood-constructed Mosquito fighter/bomber. I read recently that the Mosquito could actually carry a bomb load equal to that of a B-17, and it was so fast that it was one of the few aircraft that could attack the V-1s successfully.
  4. Alakar

    Alakar New Member

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    I would have to give my vote to the PBY Catalina.

    Patrol, anti-sub, recon, nighttime search and attack missions with radar, and search and rescue. Over 4000 were built and were in service from 1936 to the 1970's.

    [​IMG]
  5. Actually, Polish, you should have included the German FW-190 in the list, since it was even better than the Spit or any of the early American fighter aircraft. :D :p :D :p :rolleyes:
  6. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Actuyally, Alakar, I'm not sure ANYONE "Under Appreciates" the PBY! I think just about anyone could name it, and would know what it did in the war. Maybe the Martin Mariner would fit the bill though....

    I guess I was going for the ones that got little press, people with "General Knowledge" of WWII might not know much about or even recognize...

    MOST people would recognize the Hurry, the 190, right? And MOST people also can name the Mosquito, I think....but then again, maybe not.....and then again most people might not know the Hurricane soldiered on as a Ground attack plane long after it was obsolete as a fighter, which was not bad for a plane with fabic covered wings! SO you may have a point there...



    But, for example, I didn't know how MUCH the B-18 was used for A/sub patrol off our east coast and in the Caribbean, and actually attacked quite a few Uboats until recently, I always thought it was just another pre-war "transition" bomber that MAY have been used for training...until then I thought it's ONLY claim to fame was the first flexible nose turret on a bomber....

    And the Hudsons and Venturas did yeoman service, mainly in monotonous unglamorous patrols that got little press, but were actually the backbone of the reconaissance forces of just about all the allies, day in and day out for most of the war! The RNZF and the RAAF even used them in the light bomber role, close support, and other combat roles, besides air dropping supplies qnd agents deep behind the lines, for which they were WHOLLY unsuited, being mostly converted airliners, not as rugged as purpose built warbirds, but the main duty was long range, usually, alone, over LONG ranges with a couple of light bombs and/or Depth Charges, and a couple of .30s for defense... MANY flew off and were never heard from again, so many probably tangled with Zeros or Me 109s..it took a LOT of ba!!s to fly those missions, it's a shame we don't know more about them!

    The Lockheed Neptune, however, was a much better built Patrol Bomber, with 4 fixed .50s in the nose the pilot controlled, besides a flexible waiste .50 and the twin .50s in the turret it was a "Cheap" anti shipping "Gunship," and was a lot faster and carried a better bomb load, besides retaining the long range, and great recon ability, it could be and was used more aggressively, and sunk a lot of Jap shipping, along with the B-25s, A/20s and PB4Ys...My son and I toured a restored one that flies in several airshows about 10 years ago and I didn't know much about it! I was impressed....

    Yeah, PS, while a blimp never actually sunk a Uboat, they attacked several, and one blimp was actually shot down by a Uboat, BUT no ship was EVER lost to a Uboat from a convoy that was escorted by a blimp in daylight at least, it actually made a GREAT escort, keeping them under, or spotting them way out and vectoring the DDs, (Blimps DID get several "assists" in some sinkings by the escorts!)and could loiter over convoys for DAYS, and even sometimes refuel from the ships they were escorting....

    I just think the A-20 logged a LOT of hours in hot combat zones, doing a LOT of damage, in ALL theaters, for so LITTLE publicity....



    Another one that COULD be on the list is maybe the Beaufighter....or just about ANY of the British heavy bombers besides the Lancaster....on the Axis side, maybe the Ju-88? While many might recognize it, many moight not know all the varied roles it served, from light bomber to dive bomber, to torpedo bomber to escort fighter to night fighter.....and on and on....also the effective Hienkel armored attack plane the Germans used on the Russian Front, heck, I cant even remember it's NAME!



    I also think I may post a poll on "OVER appreciated" aircraft...ones with undeserved POSITIVE praise....I can think of a couple, can you? Like maybe the Swordfish, the HE-111, the Stuka, any others?
  7. Another you might add to your list of underappreciated aircraft, Polish, would be the B-24 bomber. The B-17 got all the headlines, but the B-24 was faster, could carry a heavier bomb load, and it was easier to produce than the -17.
  8. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

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    I was thinking the Liberator, also, folks. We can sum up the fact that it did a marvelous job for us.

    I agree with two other suggested candidates, too, being the Navy Blimps and the PBY. Although the PBY was very slow, much like the Brit's Swordfish, making it an almost defenseless target in many circumstances, it did a very superb job in many ways AFTER it's potential was discovered and a lot of "Yankee Ingenuity" applied.

    I was familiar with the blimp program in that we had a home in Seaside Heights, PDRNJ, during the war, to which Dad retired in the early 70s, and witnessed their patrols and resulting attacks on German U-Boats that coast!

    There are many other candidates but I feel these deserve our respectful gratitude.
  9. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    You know, I ALMOST included the Liberator, and the Navy version, the PB4Y....it did a GREAT job in ALL theaters, in a lot of OTHER missions than "strategic bombing," from suppressing Uboats on LONG patrols in the Bay of Biscay, to patrol and anti-shipping in the Pacific...

    And yeah, it got the back seat to the Fortress, which was undeserved....all the Fortress had on it was MAYBE it took more damage, and it flew higher....plus it looked "sexier" and had a cooler NAME....
  10. SKYDIVER386

    SKYDIVER386 New Member

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    I think the P-47 was by far the most underated fighter and ground support aircraft of WWII.
    [​IMG]
    To the guys with their faces in the mud, this must have been the most beautiful aircraft in the world.
  11. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Skydiver, GREAT pic, but I'm not sure the 47 was "underrated," in fact it gave the P51 a run for it's money as perhaps the BEST fighter of the war, the only thing the 51 REALLY had over it was range, and maybe turning, BUT the 47 had a better roll rate so in reality it could OUTTURN any fighter in the air..190 turns right, 47 flick rolls LEFT and pulls through and is INSIDE the turn for the kill just like that! Even the Spit drivers marveled at the way it could do that in mock dogfights, and get inside THEM.

    PLUS that big radial could take a hit and bring 'em back, there are MORE than one photos of Jugs with a cilinder head shot off by an explosive shell, with the piston flapping up and down in the AIR, that came home..the 51 takes a hit in the radiator and it's done....

    Not EVEN considering it dove like a BRICK, NOthing could stay with it except MAYBE a 38 if it stayed together....

    PLUS throw in the ground attack capability (even though it lost a lot of performance at low levels, unlike MOST other US radial fighters) that the 51 REALLY didn't have (8 guns vs. 4 or later 6 made a difference TOO) and you have a heckuva plane...

    I don't think it was really "Underappreciated" though...if anything, the P38, especially in Europe, would be a lot more underappreciated than the 47 IMHO....
  12. I think Sky does have a point though, Polish, especially if we look only at the ground attack role played by the P-47. Not too many people realize that it was mostly used in that capacity during the latter part of the war, and it proved to be fiendishly effective at it. The P-47 could indeed dance with any of the German fighters, particularly in a dive, but its greatest limitation was its lack of sufficient range for bomber escort to deep targets within the Reich.
  13. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Yeah, but at the RISK of beating the old Mare to DEATH:p There REALLY was no reason we had "unescorted" bombers EVER, much LESS that the "P-47 didn't have the range..." That is ANOTHER myth and TRAVESTY of World War Two that cost a LOT of good men their lives, unnecessarily...

    As early as 1942, in the PACIFIC, where ranges were UNGODLY, and either over water or over uncharted Jungle, either choice meant death if you ran out of fuel, PLUS nowhere NEAR the radio beams or Navigational aids or even CHARTS of known territory that they had in Europe, the USA and Marine land based pilots were carrying on PLENTY of experiments and jury rigging of "drop" and extra fuel tanks, some made locally of PAPER, and flying with one engine with a 38, or leaning out the mixture to gain another 50 or 100 miles range...and NONE of that work made it to Europe, or if it DID, it was IGNORED, where instead they "reinvented the wheel!" At the SAME time the 8th was sending UNESCORTED Missions to Germany, USA and USMC fighters were DAILY flying and ESCORTING bombers that far in the SWPAC!

    They were complaining that the P38 Couldn't make it to Berlin and back in early '44, AFTER P-38s were ROUTINELY flying farther than that WITH loiter time over Rabaul and Bouganville, as Yamamoto found out in 1943! Likewise, the first P47s in the PACIFIC were flying and fighting FARTHER in late 43 than ANY of them EVER flew in Europe!


    It was one MORE example of the arrogance of the US Army (and others!) in Europe (Germany first? Then WE are the "First Team," right? SO the Pacific has the SCRUBS and worse, MARINES? What can we learn from THEM????)

    Just like by 1943 we had learned it took 12 hours MINIMUM of Naval Gunfire to soften up a beachhead, even with merely dirt and coconut log bunkers, but the "Brains" in SHAEF and the USN Europe decided "2 hours was PLENTY against reinforce concrete at Normandy! (AND they wouldn't even TALK to the "expert" USMC liason officer Nimitz sent to "advise" SHAEF on amphibious assaults!)

    WHERE are the "Congressional Investigations" when you NEED one????)
  14. SKYDIVER386

    SKYDIVER386 New Member

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    The reason I think the P-47 was underrated is because most folks love the P-51, the P-38, the Hurricane and others. The P-47 is seldom mentioned, but to my mind, was worth far more to the war effort than any other.
  15. Well, that is certainly true, Polish, and ol' Yammy kinda found out the hard and permanant way too! :eek: :D Yet, it should be pointed out that to make that flight the P-38s were stripped down to the bare minimum weight to save fuel, flew with the leanest possible fuel mixture, chose their best altitude for fuel savings, and even then it was very, very risky.

    It does seem odd, though, that both the P-38s and the P-47s could not have been modified to carry any needed extra fuel. Both had far more than ample engine power to tote the extra fuel weight using drop tanks or some other device. Lack of fighter escort to and from German targets was the primary reason the bomber loss ratio was so much higher than it should have been during the early part of the strategic bombing campaign over Germany.
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