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. You allude to one very salient point Polish, which is that one of the greatest mistakes the Germans made in WWII was their failure to develop a reliable, well armed, heavy bomber along the lines of the American B-17 and B-24 or the British Lancaster. The belief of Hitler and the Luftwaffe was that they would never need it; the war would be over before it could be deployed. How wrong they were! I've often wondered how the Battle of Britain might have turned out if the Germans had been flying such bombers against the RAF instead of the lightly-armed medium aircraft they actually did use.

    True, the FW200 did have its design problems, but it nonetheless served its purpose well during the first year-and-a-half of the war or so. The aircraft sunk a lot of merchant ships, but more importantly, it served--as it turned out and unknown to the Germans at the time--as a means of counteracting the Allied practice of routing convoys around known U-boat concentrations, information the Allies had gained through their decipherment of the Enigma code. My only real point was that the FW200 is almost unknown outside of historians and students of the Battle of the North Atlantic.
  2. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    What's even MORE obscure is the (was it a Junkers?) LR bomber they DID make to bomb New York!

    While they didn't get more than a couple operational, it IS pretty amazing that one actually made a NON STOP flight to recon New York City, and MADE IT BACK with the photos, without us even knowing until post-war!

    Although I believe the Germans would ONLY have been able to mount ONE "surprise" raid if that....we had SO many fighter planes and pilots at that stage we were turning them AWAY, it would have been simple to stage a few squadrons of 38s, 47s, and 51s not ONLY on the coast, but along the way off in Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland to have made it suicidal to repeat....
  3. As I alluded to in an earlier post, I still think the British De Havilland Mosquito bomber should be included in the list of most underappreciated aircraft of WWII. In fact, I would strongly argue that the Brits would have been much more successful in their strategic bombing campaign over Germany if they had concentrated on the Mosquito as their primary strategic bomb delivery aircraft instead of the highly inaccurate Lancasters. My reasoning for this conclusion is based on the following points:

    Mosquito carried to Berlin half the bomb load carried by a Lancaster, but...
    Mosquito loss rate is just 1/10 of Lancasters' loss rate
    Mosquito costs a third of the cost of a Lancaster
    Mosquito had a crew of two, compared to a Lancaster's crew of seven
    Mosquito was a proven precision day bomber and the Lancaster was not.

    Postwar analysis of the strategic bombing campaign over Germany revealed that the use of the nighttime, carpet bombing techniques by the British, while often pyrotechnically spectacular, produced relatively little concrete results beyond merely killing civilians. In essence, Bomber Harris was wrong, and the Americans were right. After the Mosquitos began to be used as pathfinders, the accuracy improved somewhat, but the million-and-a-half tons of bombs the Brits dropped on Germany during WWII were simply not effective in destroying Germany's warmaking capability. Germany's cities were pounded into rubble, that is true, but burning apartment buildings to the ground did not knock Germany out of the war.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2008
  4. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    Not necessarily.....the same survey (the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946-47), showed that during the "U.S. Daylight Precision Bombing Campaign", only 1 of 4 (U.S.) bombs dropped hit within 1/2 mile of it's intended target.

    25% hits within a 1/2 mile of the target doesn't sound very "Precision" to me. Sounds like the safest place to be might've been in the middle of the target.

    Meanwhile, back at the original subject.....my vote goes to the C-47 "Gooney Bird".
  5. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

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    I like that choice, Racer !!!!!!

    Just begging to list exactly what WOULD NOT have been done without the Gooney Bird and ..........
  6. You make a valid point on the inaccuracy of American "precision" bombing, X. It was far, far from precise, at least in most cases (there were a few exceptions from time to time, but very few). It was even more inaccurate over Japan because of the high winds aloft. That is why Dolittle switched to low altitude carpet bombing with incendiaries which, while horrible in its effect on civilian populations, was indeed most effective. In one raid, over Tokyo, in July 1945, 16 square miles of the city were destroyed and an estimated 100,000 people were killed. Indeed, the same thing tactic could have been used over Germany, but by and large was not. When it was used however--over Hamburg and Dresden, for example--those cities, along with their industries and most of their civilian populations, were utterly destroyed.

    And yes, I agree completely on the old C-47 "Gooney Bird." Its most notable achievement was perhaps flying the "hump" between India and China. There's quite a number of those old birds still flying, as a matter of fact.
  7. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    However, X, again, the premise of this was UNDERAPPRECIATED aircraft, or aircraft that "didn't get the press..." I figured EVERYBODY understood the importance of the C-47, heck the JAPS even flew a COPY of it...

    I was GOING to include the C-46 Commando though, it too did a GREAT job but always took the "back seat" to the C-47 when it came to "recognition..."

    And I believe it was the CURTISS that flew the Hump, NOT the C-47...I read the Gooney Bird didn't have enough operational ceiling....

    (Plus my Mom worked on them in the Curtiss Plant in Buffalo during the war....:cool: )

  8. Better check your facts more carefully, Polish. The C-47 most assuredly did fly the hump during WWII, and was the primary aircraft used for that purpose. It was also highly instrumental in the Berlin Air Lift of 1948 as well.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-47_Skytrain
  9. Marlin

    Marlin *TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*

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    My closest cousin was a Squadron Commander who flew the Hump in Gooney Birds.

    I would suggest trying to advise him they couldn't and wouldn't do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  10. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    OK, OK, I'll have to go dig up WHERE I read it, but I DID...:cool:

    But until I find the ORIGINAL source, this may "Tide you over..." http://www.warbirdalley.com/c46.htm


    What I read that the C-47 could only fly through the PASSES when the weather was JUST RIGHT...it REALLY was a crapshoot going over LOADED. Plus it couldn't carry ENOUGH cargo that high, especially FUEL when they were flying every drop for the B-29s in CHina over the Hump...

    But SEE? The C-47 was NOT "Underappreciated," it has MANY "Defenders.....";)
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2006
  11. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Gosh, this internet thing is COOL isn't it? I didn't even have to leave my CHAIR to dig through bookshelves and boxes to find the reference to where the C-47 didn't cut it flying the Hump, so they replaced it with the Commando...:cool: And it wasn't that hard either....

    http://www.ruudleeuw.com/c46_tech.htm


    If you need MORE I will go dig out the REAL sources....;) :D :D :D
  12. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Now HERE is an underappreciated one...

    Attached Files:

  13. Nope, it wasn't hard at all to verify that the C-47 DID fly the Hump, Polish.

    http://www.kilroywashere.org/003-Pages/Hump/Hump.html

    http://www.warbirdalley.com/c47.htm

    http://www.flightsim.com/cgi/kds?$=main/feature/hump/hump.htm
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2006
  14. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Oh, I'm NOT arguing that it DID fly the Hump, just that it was REPLACED by the C-46 when it was found to be "unsutable" by 1943, and it was the C-46, and not the C-47 that delivered the most cargo....and your FIRST source pretty much says it too, in the VERY last paragraph...

    *We received the C-54 in early 1945. In fact, the aircraft we ferried over was a C-54. Her ID number was 999, the last numbers of her registration. It (999) was a headache for a radio operator using CW (code.) The original Hump operation was with the old DC3 (C47), then the C46 (Dumbo) which we trained in at Reno. I didn't make any Hump trips in C-47's although I made a few trips around India in them. I did make a few Hump trips in C-46's. It had more range and had a higher ceiling than the C-47's. The early 46's were prone to fuel leaks though. I lost a buddy when one blew up over the Rockies. I'll always remember that we made a bet on the Army Navy football game that year. He won. I was never able to pay him.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2006
  15. OK, then we are on the same frequency after all it seems, the same page of the hymnal, so to speak. :D My only point was that the C-47 was used to fly the Hump, and indeed was the first aircraft utilized for that purpose and it served admirably. It is unquestionably true that the C-46 was utilized as well, and all the sources so indicate. Whatever the aircraft, it is the pilots who should be most honored for that dangerous duty. I read somewhere that the route over the Himalayas almost could be navigated without benefit of compasses or calculation simply by following the shiny aluminum carcuses of the aircraft that had crashed on the route.
  16. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Yeah, And I guess that's why I probably should have included the Commando!

    I TOO was surprised when I first read the Gooney Bird was not that effective over the Hump (Sorry, I 'mis-remembered' the source, which was a LONG time ago, and remembered it as 'C-46 NOT C-47, instead of C-47 and THEN C-46...;) ) but that stuck with me when I first read it, which honestly MUST have been in my teens...

    I do NOT in any way mean to denigrate the C-47. I truly feel WITHOUT it we MAY not have won the WAR, or at least, it would have been TOUGHER by a long shot. It WAS the "workhorse" of the air, hands down. WE ALL know that, or SHOULD.

    BUT it had IMPORTANT help, that we MAY not appreciate as much as we SHOULD....

    I was interested because my Mom worked for about a year in 1943 before she married my Dad in '44, in the Curtiss Plant in Buffalo, the MAIN CUrtiss plant that turned out over a thousand Commandos (the other's wer in Louisville, KY, and a little one in St, Louis...)...I remember being disappointed that she DIDN'T work on the P-40, but the C-46. She remembered it distinctly, "I worked on the WINGS of a BIG plane, the C-46!" as well as her FIRST airplane flight, which was when Curtiss offered each of their employees a short flight IN a C-46 that was being tested...but when I asked her about the P-40 all I got is..."Our BIG planes were along the wall, and there was an assembly line running pretty quick through the middle of the plant with "little" planes on it...."


    About a year ago I saw in a book a picture taken in 1943 of the inside of the Curtiss Plant in Buffalo, and there it was...C-46s wingtip to wingtip along the walls in various stages of finish, with workmen (women?) all over them, including the WINGS, with P-40s on the line going right up the middle...

    I STRAINED but I couldn't tell if any of the "specs" on the wings of any of the Commandoos was Mom...but in my heart I KNOW she's there...


    Which incidentally MAY have been the birth and incubation of (1) my appreciation of and "defending" of the P-40, (2) my appreciation and defending of the C-46, AND (3) my appreciation for ANYBODY'S service in WWII, civilian or military, no matter HOW "inconsequential."

    Heck, she may have FLOWN on one she worked on, and then the same plane MAY have then flown the Hump!
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2006
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