Ineffective & deficent Allied equipment

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Mark V
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Post by Mark V » 19 Jan 2004 18:03

Caldric wrote:And I suppose you are going to say it was not due to bad pilot skill of the enemy? I mean skill will get you a great deal but it is not going to overcome a skilled enemy in a much more advanced fighter. Germany being a great example. The 109 was a good airplane and deadly, but against an average US or British pilot in a superior aircraft and they fell from the sky.
If we would wan't to boast with the skills of our fighter pilots would it be done much better if we would agree on common opinion here that Brewster was an hog ?? :)


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Juha Tompuri
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Post by Juha Tompuri » 19 Jan 2004 18:51

alf wrote:The Buffalo? I still consider a bad aircraft, the last word on it, I will leave to the US author, J Maas's book "Buffalo in Action" Squadron/Signal Publications, Carrolton Texas, 1987

quoting from a the Battle of Midway a US Naval Commander wrote of the Buffalo F2A-3
"It is my belief that any commander that orders pilots out for combat in an F2A-3 should consider the pilot lost before leaving the ground".
The ability to judge quality and performance of aircrafts, this Captain you quoted, is shown at his other comment (too): "I estimated the top speed of a Zero Fighter, from what I saw at better 450 mile per hour " (the emphasis is mine)
Compared to its contempory the Wildcat, it was so markedly inferior in both pratice and perception. Pilots believed in the Wildcat and would fight with it, they didnt believe in the Buffalo.
-Brewster was more maneuverable than Wildcat
-Some report(s) after Midway would have sent both of them to training role
-Success seldom follows one, who don´t believe at what he is doing
For Malaya, it should have been replaced with Hurricanes but that is a "what if" and not for here.
Hurricanes?
Hurricane vs. Buffalo at http://www.danford.net/eagle2.htm
I will add another Allied aircraft totally unsuited for war, and that was the Australian CAC (Commonwealth Aircraft Factory) Wirraway, it was a modifed Harvard Trainer, armed with two forward fring .0303 machine guns in the nose and a single Lewis or Vickers K gun for an observer, it carried a small bomb load.

It was shot out of the skies, at the Fall of Rabual in Feb 1942, nine Wirraways took of to defenfd the island against a Japanese air raid, the last words of the Squadron Comander radioed back was "we who are about to die, salute ye", they were shot down and achieved absolutley nothing.

One did shoot a Zero down once in New Guinea, it is perserved in the Australian War Memorial, the only Wirraway ever to make a kill. (the pilot admitted it was pure luck)
I think it´s not the plane´s fault if it´s used to the "wrong" duties. What if Catalinas would have sent to the same mission, would they, after that, have declared as bad planes too?
It is the age old story, money is never spent on weaponary in peacetime and in wartime, young men pay with their lives for the money "saved"
Very sad, but true

Regards, Juha

P.S. What lies were there at the Squadron Leader Harpers report?

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Post by Mark V » 19 Jan 2004 19:15

Juha Tompuri wrote:
For Malaya, it should have been replaced with Hurricanes but that is a "what if" and not for here.
Hurricanes?
Hurricane vs. Buffalo at http://www.danford.net/eagle2.htm
Yeah, i noticed the same.

At altitudes below 20.000 feet Hurricane was absolutely pathetic compared to B-239, stiff and unmanouverable. Brewster pilot behind the tail was in danger of falling to sleep waiting the Hurricane to finish the turn - eventually, some day in near future...

Fighter Squadron 24 used enemy Hurricane IIs kinda like substitude of towed targets for green pilots (we were poor.... :lol: ) so easy they were to shoot down.

At very high altitudes (that were never needed here) Hurricane would had held advantage though.

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 19 Jan 2004 20:14

Caldric wrote:I do not think you can compare Soviet Fighter Pilots to frontline Japanese on any grounds.
I think our Russian friends in this forum don't share your view.
Caldric wrote:The Japanese had years of experience and an excellent fighter. Also the tide started to change when the allies got better aircraft.
Also Soviets had years of experience (Finns didn't have any experience in 1939). I said already earlier that not a single improvement could do anything. Americas received both better planes and more fighter units. Old survived pilots were also more experienced and had learned from their earlier misfortune.

Although Zero was excellent fighter in 1941/42 it was also unarmoured and lightly constructed which later became its Achilles' heel.
Caldric wrote:Even the F4F was much better at surviving then the Brewster. Also the Brwester had other problems like weight and landing on the CV.
Sounds strange that the landing gear of Brewster would have been worse than that of Wildcats'? Brewster was well armoured and for sure the best fighter in Finnish use what comes to surviveability (awful word :x ).
Caldric wrote:Finnish patriots love to rub it in about thier pilots being far superior, but in fact they were good, but the fact is more rest on the horrible conditions of the Red Airforce then anything else.
Finnish Flying Squadron 24 which had Brewsters was for sure an outstanding fighter unit but if we look closer we can notice that it (like other Finnish front squadrons) trained also novice pilots. The best flight of the squadron, so called "Knight Flight", had all the time a few young and green Sergeants and 2nd Lieutenants. They were never let fly without the protection of the most experienced Finnish pilots. That is why they learned very quickly. Most of them managed to get kills soon and became aces later. Those who didn't succeed were sent to other duties.
Caldric wrote:Also what kind of numbers are we talking about in the Finnish Air Force? Few dozen or maybe a hundred or so?
In 1941 Finnish Air Force (FAF) had five fighter squadron of which one had Brewsters, one Curtiss Hawks, one FIATs, one Morane-Saulniers and one Fokkers. Also two reconnaissance squadrons had Fokker and Gladiator flights.

Strength of FAF (combat planes only) were:
- 20.6.1941: 243 planes (-55 under overhaul/repairs in units) = 188 flyable planes
- 2.7.1941: 235 planes (-20 under overhaul/repairs in units) = 215 flyable planes
- 29.12.1941: 172 planes (-62 under overhaul/repairs in units) = 110 flyable planes
- 29.1.43: 186 planes (-47 under overhaul/repairs in units) = 239 flyable planes
- 31.12.43: 244 planes (-55 under overhaul/repairs in units) = 189 flyable planes
- 9.6.44: 212 planes (-54 under overhaul/repairs in units) = 158 flyable planes

The number of fighters was about the half of all or a bit more. Total number of FAF planes was about two times more. The full total number of planes (including damaged planes under repairs in aircraft factories) and the number of trained pilots was of course more than mentioned above.
Caldric wrote:Flying mostly in known territory and under favorable conditions.
8O . There were no pawed airfields in Finland (well, Malmi at Helsinki was partly pawed). Finnish airfields were sand ones with short runways.

Finnish territory is not especially easy. There are lots of similar looking lakes and vast forests. Finding a minimum sized airfield was a rathed demanding job. Situation was worse in East Karelia where distances are long and airfields are far away from eachothers. Most front airfields were temporary strips or lake shores. During winters temporary ice (lake) airfields were also used. So conditions were not really favourable. Especially difficult was the situation of mechanics who really did amazing job.
Caldric wrote:Do not get me wrong the pilots were good some of the best, but do not try to tell us it was simply some super pilots in Finland. When you had an enemy that considered you combat ready if you could land in one piece.
You really don't have a very favourable view on Soviet pilots... :roll:

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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 19 Jan 2004 20:53

Any airforce fighting over Friendly territory is going to do phenomenally better than flying over enemy territory, As Any operational loss(breakdown accident) over enemy territory is (destroyed) i.e.a loss of pilot and plane , and even the shootdown ratio increases as combat damaged planes which might be able to land in friendly territory get crashed in enemy territory. Also the decrease in flying time works wonders too, besides the serious tactical advantages of being able to use "interior lines" to often have local superiority against a numerically larger enemy.

To effectively/accurately compare the Finns to anyone without getting racial , I would suggest looking into the Kill/loss rate for similar tactical situations, like the Brits in the BoB or the Germans during the Allied bomber offensive, or even maybe the Russians defending against the Finns/Nazis.

I seriously doubt the Finns look so spectacular if you do. There is also the point that tiny airforces, like many small military groups/armies might have a higher % of the "best and brightest" for several reasons, and perhaps they have a little more "espirit de corps".

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Post by Caldric » 19 Jan 2004 21:47

Harri wrote:
Caldric wrote:Do not get me wrong the pilots were good some of the best, but do not try to tell us it was simply some super pilots in Finland. When you had an enemy that considered you combat ready if you could land in one piece.
You really don't have a very favourable view on Soviet pilots... :roll:
No I do not. After the first year or so the Soviets were very good, but during the early stages they were poor fight pilots. Not all of them of course, but when you build up an airforce as quickly as they did when numbers were the important thing not quality then yes I do not have a favorable view of them compared to say the Japanese. The same goes for the USAAF and USN pilots, they were better than many but they were not prepared to fight the Japanese. Look what a small well trained Air Force can do in inferior aircraft, Flying Tigers come to mind. Flying over friendly air and well rested. The P40 was a good aircraft in the right hands but it was a death trap if you were not skilled. But even with a moderately good fighter they were able to defeat the less skilled Japanese in China. When you have such a small force as Finland had it is not difficult to have very skilled pilots, or at least more skilled then the enemy.

I think you are misunderstanding what I am saying, I take nothing away from the FAF at all. The Brewster was not a good aircraft for the US and allies.

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Post by Mark V » 19 Jan 2004 22:34

ChristopherPerrien wrote:Any airforce fighting over Friendly territory is going to do phenomenally better than flying over enemy territory
ChristopherPerrien wrote:I would suggest looking into the Kill/loss rate for similar tactical situations, like the Brits in the BoB or the Germans during the Allied bomber offensive, or even maybe the Russians defending against the Finns/Nazis.
Brewsters flew predominantly over friendly territory ?? - what is the base for this claim ??

Large percentage of combat missions was flown over enemy held territory, or over sea, and anyway - over terrain that is during most of the months of year generally inhospitable.

During the period of 25th of June 1941 - 21st of May 1944, when the Squadron 24 finally traded in it's Brewsters to Squadron 26 and started using Messerschmitt 109G-2's and G-6's, the Squadron shoot down 459 Soviet planes, while losing 15 planes in aerial combat, 4 planes in crashes, 2 in bombings.

According to the numbers, reality was a bit different than the common legend of BoB: "first combat at dawn, shot down and parachuting near the airfield - and back at the base for lunchtime to be ready for combat in new Spitfire by afternoon".

Wish situation would had been different, as combat aircraft were rare as gold teeth - in every mission the first priority was to bring the plane back intact.

Regards, Mark V
Last edited by Mark V on 19 Jan 2004 22:43, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Juha Tompuri » 19 Jan 2004 22:42

Caldric wrote:
After the first year or so the Soviets were very good, but during the early stages they were poor fight pilots.
As earlier mentioned:
1939-40 we were inexperienced, facing veterans of war from Khalkin-Gol , Spain, etc. The best Soviets had. We were outnumbered and the best fighter we had was a moderate Fokker D21. Enemy planes were faster and more maneuverable, we could only outdive them (as at the Brewster case), but we used the same tactic as the Flying Tigers at China and avoided dogfights with their fighters. Result was 119 kills compared to the 9 Fokkers being shot down. 1941 we had average Soviet pilots against us, their quality then became lower in 1942-1943 at some our sectors. At 1944 the enemy threw it´s Guards units against us. The best they had. Results: Sq 26 (with Brewsters) 17 kills agaist four our planes down.
Summer 1944.
Look what a small well trained Air Force can do in inferior aircraft, Flying Tigers come to mind. Flying over friendly air and well rested. The P40 was a good aircraft in the right hands but it was a death trap if you were not skilled.
...like Brewsters?
When you have such a small force as Finland had it is not difficult to have very skilled pilots, or at least more skilled then the enemy.
8O ...I´ve always thought that it´s easier to pick up talents from a larger lot...
I think you are misunderstanding what I am saying, I take nothing away from the FAF at all. The Brewster was not a good aircraft for the US and allies.
Bad tactics, not the plane

Regards, Juha

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Post by Mark V » 19 Jan 2004 22:54

Juha Tompuri wrote:Results: Sq 26 (with Brewsters) 17 kills agaist four our planes down.
Summer 1944.
One thing is for sure.

Those who designed and built those Cyclones at Curtiss-Wright were first class - it is miracle that Brewsters could get into the air at all in mid-1944.

You know, FAF supply of spare parts was, ehh... kinda cut-off 3 years earlier. :)

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Post by Harri » 19 Jan 2004 23:51

I agree with Mark V and Juha T. Perhaps most people in this forum can't even imagine those problems FAF and its personnel (including pilots) faced during the war. Our resources were really minimal and even the most obsolete planes were so valuable that they were brought back at any cost.

At least on every other sectors Soviet resources seemed unlimited so why not in their air force too? USSR had additionally the largest airforce in the world already in the 1930's. Against Finland Soviet air superiority was always 3 to 15 against one and could be locally even more. I think US pilots never fought against that kind of quantitative superiority?
Squadron [24] shoot down 459 Soviet planes, while losing 15 planes in aerial combat, 4 planes in crashes, 2 in bombings
It is worth mentioning that most of the Finnish Brewsters were shot down after 1941 because in 1941 not a single of them were lost in combat.

In 1944 both Curtiss Hawks and Brewsters were so worn out that their performance, for example maximum speed, had dropped several percentages. Since spring 1944 Finns started using formations with a combination of Bf 109Gs and other fighters.

----

I already mentioned American volunteers in China (Flying Tigers). Their performance against Japanese never dropped significantly. Why Americans didn't take their experiences into account seriously?

I was a bit surprised when I last summer red about Japanese fighter aces (Osprey). It was told that Japanese had problems with tropic deseases and most of their pilots were very sick. Americans in turn had medicines (Penicillin). It is a know fact that pilots in good mental or physical health were in danger during aerial combat. That is why sick pilots were not allowed to fly in most countries. Was that the reason why Japanese lost their superiority so easily?

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 20 Jan 2004 00:10

ChristopherPerrien wrote:I would suggest looking into the Kill/loss rate for similar tactical situations
I don't have such records with me now but I can say thet Finnish squadrons in different areas and with different aircraft types performed very differently.
ChristopherPerrien wrote:I seriously doubt the Finns look so spectacular if you do. There is also the point that tiny airforces, like many small military groups/armies might have a higher % of the "best and brightest" for several reasons, and perhaps they have a little more "espirit de corps".
Well, I would call this "the mother of all explanations". :D

In that case Finns should be experts in that kind of warfare because we have never seen anything else. Tiny forces are also easier to wipe out if their tactics and/or equipment they have chosen is wrong... :roll:

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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 20 Jan 2004 00:37

Harri wrote:
ChristopherPerrien wrote:I would suggest looking into the Kill/loss rate for similar tactical situations
I don't have such records with me now but I can say thet Finnish squadrons in different areas and with different aircraft types performed very differently.
ChristopherPerrien wrote:I seriously doubt the Finns look so spectacular if you do. There is also the point that tiny airforces, like many small military groups/armies might have a higher % of the "best and brightest" for several reasons, and perhaps they have a little more "espirit de corps".
Well, I would call this "the mother of all explanations". :D

In that case Finns should be experts in that kind of warfare because we have never seen anything else. Tiny forces are also easier to wipe out if their tactics and/or equipment they have chosen is wrong... :roll:


Well I am not going to argue anymore with Finns, about the FAF. Anyway my statements were about elementary tactical concepts and the inherent advantages that Finland and its FAF had, as reasonable explanations for its success other than, "because they were Finns" or the counter idea "it was because they were fighting them "human wave" Russians.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Funny how a discussion of deficent Allied weapons has become a topic on a Modified AXIS power warplane and the airforce that used them.

Here are some links, The first is beyond detailed.
http://www.sci.fi/~ambush/faf/color.html

http://www.sci.fi/~fta/fintac-3.htm

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Post by Juha Tompuri » 20 Jan 2004 09:48

ChristopherPerrien wrote: Well I am not going to argue anymore with Finns, about the FAF.
I haven´t found you arguing.
Anyway my statements were about elementary tactical concepts and the inherent advantages that Finland and its FAF had, as reasonable explanations for its success other than, "because they were Finns" or the counter idea "it was because they were fighting them "human wave" Russians.
We had skillful pilots, good enough planes and :oops: (I hope I don´t sound too proud) the best tactics in to the situations we were.
Funny how a discussion of deficent Allied weapons has become a topic on a Modified AXIS power warplane and the airforce that used them.
Funny (and unique) too is, that Finns here defend the name of US origin equipment "against" the manufacturers and their allies :)
Here are some links, The first is beyond detailed.
http://www.sci.fi/~ambush/faf/color.html

http://www.sci.fi/~fta/fintac-3.htm
Good ones.
Here few more:
http://www.virtualpilots.fi/en/
and specially one their article: http://www.virtualpilots.fi/en/hist/WW2 ... cture.html

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Post by alf » 20 Jan 2004 10:53

The Buffalo has been done to death :D I will get round to posting the OOB and all the losses/kills from Malaya if anyone wants but it is a moot point, it wont change the arguement :)

I would like to put up another category of equipment, that is British Aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm, its all embracing topic as it seems to be that the Fleet air Arm was saddled with obsolete and ineffective aircraft throughout the war. A perputal line of lemons.

In trying to have aircraft that could do everything, they ended up with aircraf that could do nothing. Fairy and Blackburn produced a long line of medicore to poor aircraft.

It wasnt really until the Royal Navy Aircraft Carriers started being equipped with US aircraft that they reached their potential

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Post by varjag » 20 Jan 2004 12:30

What an exciting dogfight! Could one thought be spared for the small and poor Finnish nation that fought for it's life with the back against the wall. With what they had - and made the best of it. None of the largesse of the'wasteful Anglosachsian art of war' but one on the paupers budget.Where every quality of whatever they had - was maximised, by ingenuity,tactics and sheer bloody sisu. (I can't translate it to English, because it's something u feel in your veins when the chips are down). The USAAF, USN, RAF and RAAF could afford to blame their failures on their aircraft and demand something better. No such luxuaries were granted the Finns. They perhaps proved - that the critics - should have blamed themselves - more than their aircraft.

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