Luftwaffe opinion of Bell P-39

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Hardrada55
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Luftwaffe opinion of Bell P-39

Post by Hardrada55 » 12 Apr 2016 01:28

Are there any sources or quotes which shed light on the opinion Luftwaffe fighter pilots had of the Bell P-39 as operated by the Soviets?

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Alejandro_
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Re: Luftwaffe opinion of Bell P-39

Post by Alejandro_ » 12 Apr 2016 14:45

There are not that many opinion on the P-39 by German pilots, but they were not very impressed about it's configuration (door, engine in the back...). OTOH there are reports about the type having good performance. In he first book referenced below the test pilot flew a captured P-39.

- Luftwaffe test pilot: Flying captured allied aircraft of World War, by Hans-Werner Lerche
- Attack of the Airacobras: Soviet Aces, American P-39s, and the Air War Against Germany, by Dmitriy Loza and James F. Gebhardt

Hardrada55
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Re: Luftwaffe opinion of Bell P-39

Post by Hardrada55 » 12 Apr 2016 14:53

I know that Erich Hartmann shot down 80 Airacobras out of his 352 total victories. Nicolay Gulaev shot down 41 German aircraft with a P-39 between August 1943 and August 1944.

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Cantankerous
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Re: Luftwaffe opinion of Bell P-39

Post by Cantankerous » 12 Sep 2023 16:05

Hardrada55 wrote:
12 Apr 2016 01:28
Are there any sources or quotes which shed light on the opinion Luftwaffe fighter pilots had of the Bell P-39 as operated by the Soviets?
Erich Hartmann considered the P-39 Airacobra to be inferior to the Fw 190 and Bf 109. I'm curious as to how he judged the P-39 to be inferior in terms of performance because even though the P-39's air-to-air capability that high-altitude was impaired by the fact that its V-1710 engine lacked a turbosupercharger, the P-39 was popular with VVS ground attack units.

Source:
Kaplan, P., 2007. Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe in World War II. Auldgirth, Dumfriesshire, UK: Pen & Sword Aviation. ISBN 978-1-84415-460-9.

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: Luftwaffe opinion of Bell P-39

Post by T. A. Gardner » 12 Sep 2023 23:22

Cantankerous wrote:
12 Sep 2023 16:05
Hardrada55 wrote:
12 Apr 2016 01:28
Are there any sources or quotes which shed light on the opinion Luftwaffe fighter pilots had of the Bell P-39 as operated by the Soviets?
Erich Hartmann considered the P-39 Airacobra to be inferior to the Fw 190 and Bf 109. I'm curious as to how he judged the P-39 to be inferior in terms of performance because even though the P-39's air-to-air capability that high-altitude was impaired by the fact that its V-1710 engine lacked a turbosupercharger, the P-39 was popular with VVS ground attack units.

Source:
Kaplan, P., 2007. Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe in World War II. Auldgirth, Dumfriesshire, UK: Pen & Sword Aviation. ISBN 978-1-84415-460-9.
Below 15,000 feet, I'd assess the P-39 to be superior or equal to most Me 109 models prior to 1944 and only a bit inferior to the FW 190 for the same time period. The plane wasn't that bad as a fighter in those circumstances. Above 15,000 feet, it was a dog and target practice with increasing altitude.

I'd say on the whole, it was more a matter of pilot ability than the plane below 15,000 feet.

Oh, the V-1710 engine did have a supercharger, only it was one-stage and useful only below 15,000 feet. That was a USAAC pre-war mistake in specifications.

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Re: Luftwaffe opinion of Bell P-39

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 13 Sep 2023 14:47

Oh, the V-1710 engine did have a supercharger, only it was one-stage and useful only below 15,000 feet. That was a USAAC pre-war mistake in specifications.

Seems that error in thinking had knock on effects through the war. Have read arguments the P38 would have been much more effective had it been better supercharged. The P35 & its decedents could have been better as well.

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