Effectiveness of World War II aircraft against tanks

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by 17thfabn, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Yeah, FP, the first P-51s were actually classified as Attack, as dive bombers.

    Don't misunderstand me, the P-39 will never be considered a great "fighter" plane, and before radar and the coastwatchers gave adequate warnings in Port Moresby or Cactus, they were scrambled and told to fly AWAY from the fight as soon as possible just to save them, in fact therre were special names for them in Moresby, that I forget, something like "Air Raid Alert Warnings," when they saw them taking off and hightailing it to the south everybody on the ground KNEW the Japs were about to appear overhead.

    And altitude and speed are the two most important things in air to air combat, you can trade one for the other, but the 39s were already one short, plus their rate of climb was so slow it was tough even to get up to 10000, so interceptors they were not, and they were forever vulnerable to getting jumped from above which could mean death at any time, and not much altitude under them to dive away. Plus the P-400s didn't even have oxygen, so over 10000 was out for them even if they could reach it...

    It's just that they weren't THAT bad if you kept them low and kept their speed up, and any Jap Zero down low and slow after a turning fight trying to climb back up into the fight with the P-40s or Wildcats was just as vulnerable to the P-39 or P-400 screaming in with the 4-.30s, 2-.50s and either the 37mm or 20mm, they weren't TOTALLY helpless like a lot of people think, they did a decent job when they had to....plus they were ALL the "artillery" available at Buna, so the US and Aussie soldier came to LOVE them in that hellhole, and many others later.

    As far as The "Tank Busting" by aircraft goes though, Patton (and other WWII Allied armored Generals less famous too) used the 47s and 38s and Typhoons on his flanks to be as much "scouts" to warn him of any threats from there, as much as to kill or at least neutralize or delay any threats they found, so even if they DIDN'T kill as many tanks as thought, it allowed them to use the superior road mobility of the US Tanks, SPGs, Trucks and Half-Tracks to cover HUGE chunks of ground with whole ARMIES that caught the Germans by surprise many times...so they were actually the forerunner of the modern US AirLand Battle Doctrine, rather than simply the "Combined Arms" spearhead followed by conventional foot or horse drawn Infantry which was the essence of the German Blitzkrieg...
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