Technical handicap of Finnish Air Force?

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Re: Technical handicap of Finnish Air Force?

Post by Juha » 15 Aug 2014 08:21

Gamle Lode wrote:Curtiss Hawk was totally unrealistic request for FAF in late '39. Even Seversky P-35 had been too expensive. Neither had skis either...
Hello GL
I forgot to mention that P-36A 38-180 was tested with streamlined metal skis in USA. There is a photo of the plane in this configuration in old Curtiss Hawk 75 Profile.

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Re: Technical handicap of Finnish Air Force?

Post by durb » 20 Aug 2014 11:24

Going to some aircraft acquisitions of Continuation War. There are couple of controversial ones:

1) The acquisitions of ex-Soviet bombers captured by Germans. These were often in scrap conditions and proved to be technically problematic for Finns. Although the initial price might have been low, the price of these planes was expensive taking in account the delays, work amount of mechanics and other costs to put them in operational service. But probably there were not better options?

2) The acquistions of Morane and Curtiss fighters in 1942-1943. These planes were clearly outdated by the time when they were bought from Germans and French. Germans considered MS 406 and Hawk 75 suitable only for training purposes (and it is easy to guess what USAAF and RAF would have thought of Curtiss Hawk 75 and Morane by late 1942). Why the decision to buy these planes - again no better options available? Why not modernizing the FAF equipment earlier instead of buying more outdated Moranes and Curtisses? Why not to invest the same money by buying more Bf 109 and try to equip ALL fighter units with Messerschmitt? Was it a lack of alternatives which obliged Finnish Air Force to equip its pilots with outdated stuff?

The Finnish pilots were not of course the only ones to go in combat with outdated equipment. Soviets used I-16 and I-153 in front line service as late as in 1943, and Japanese used Ki-27 (with armament of two 7,7 mm guns and fixed undercarriage) against B-29 bombers as late as in 1944-1945.

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Re: Technical handicap of Finnish Air Force?

Post by Mangrove » 20 Aug 2014 13:53

durb wrote: 1) The acquisitions of ex-Soviet bombers captured by Germans. [...] But probably there were not better options?
Finland had ordered five Fokker T.VIII to replace the worn Blackburn Ripons. However, due to the German invasion of Netherlands, the planes were never delivered and Lentolaivue 6 was equipped with Polikarpov I-153s and Tupolev SBs.
durb wrote: 2) The acquistions of Morane and Curtiss fighters in 1942-1943. [...] Why not modernizing the FAF equipment earlier instead of buying more outdated Moranes and Curtisses? Why not to invest the same money by buying more Bf 109 and try to equip ALL fighter units with Messerschmitt?
The Germans were willing to sell only a squadron's worth of Messerschmitts in late 1942. For the same reason, all spare parts had to be ordered and delivered through Luftwaffe's depot at Pori, instead of a direct route from the Germany.

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Re: Technical handicap of Finnish Air Force?

Post by Juha » 22 Aug 2014 11:23

As mangrove wrote, there were no other options and you seem to be unware that RAF used Mohawk IVs (Hawk 75A-4s) to Jan 44 as front line fighters in Burma, they did better than Hurricanes against Japanese Ki-43s there achieving appr. a tie with the Japanese fighters.

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Re: Technical handicap of Finnish Air Force?

Post by Mangrove » 24 Aug 2014 17:53

Mangrove wrote: The MiGs were ordered on 22 December 1942 as a part of the credit agreement 1189 for a total price of 660 000 RM (13 million Finnish marks).
The official document both signed by Mannerheim and General Lundqvist.

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Re: Technical handicap of Finnish Air Force?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 30 Aug 2014 21:50

Mangrove wrote:The MiG-3s from Germany were almost new, they had been flown only between 50 and 55 hours per plane.
Being stored how? Outdoors or indoors?
Mangrove wrote:According to the German tests, MiG-3 would reach 5000 meters in c. 300 seconds, 2 minutes faster than the LaGG-3.8
AFAIK not comparative with the tests made By Finns.
Mangrove wrote:MiG-3 also had a better armament than the LaGG-3.
Hmmm... I think not when comparing the main models, and certainly not when compariring the LaGGs captured By Finns and the MiGs being offered.
Mangrove wrote:If all of the 22 planes would have been received in early 1943, they would have released a flight worth of Messerschmitts from Malmi aerodrome for fighting in Kotka and the Karelian Isthmus.
In what year (and after how many Finnish pilots killed) ?

Regards, Juha

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Re: Technical handicap of Finnish Air Force?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 30 Aug 2014 21:54

Juha wrote:As mangrove wrote, there were no other options and you seem to be unware that RAF used Mohawk IVs (Hawk 75A-4s) to Jan 44 as front line fighters in Burma, they did better than Hurricanes against Japanese Ki-43s
Juha wrote:there achieving appr. a tie with the Japanese fighters.
AFAIK a bit questionable claim.

Regards, Juha T

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Re: Technical handicap of Finnish Air Force?

Post by Juha » 31 Aug 2014 01:53

Juha Tompuri wrote:
Juha wrote:As mangrove wrote, there were no other options and you seem to be unware that RAF used Mohawk IVs (Hawk 75A-4s) to Jan 44 as front line fighters in Burma, they did better than Hurricanes against Japanese Ki-43s
Juha wrote:there achieving appr. a tie with the Japanese fighters.
AFAIK a bit questionable claim.

Regards, Juha T
How? The Mohawks shot down (or caused crashlandings) of 7 Ki-43s ('Oscar') for 7 Mohawks shot down or crashlanded. They shot down 5 non-fighters without further loss. That is calculated from books, especially from Shores et all Bloody Shambles, so not claims but actual losses. Hurris were soundly beated by Oscars in 1943, 12:55

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Re: Technical handicap of Finnish Air Force?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 31 Aug 2014 20:47

Juha wrote:
Juha Tompuri wrote:
Juha wrote:As mangrove wrote, there were no other options and you seem to be unware that RAF used Mohawk IVs (Hawk 75A-4s) to Jan 44 as front line fighters in Burma, they did better than Hurricanes against Japanese Ki-43s
Juha wrote:there achieving appr. a tie with the Japanese fighters.
AFAIK a bit questionable claim.

Regards, Juha T
How?
Mainly because of how the kills were calculated.

Also the limited number of the engagement between the types IMO does not provide enough info for comparing the types.
Also comparing two outdated types is not that relevant comparing to the Finnish situation (in 1944).

Regards, Juha T
Last edited by Juha Tompuri on 31 Aug 2014 21:24, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: adding info

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Re: Technical handicap of Finnish Air Force?

Post by Juha » 01 Sep 2014 09:29

Juha Tompuri wrote:
Juha wrote:
Juha Tompuri wrote:
Juha wrote:As mangrove wrote, there were no other options and you seem to be unware that RAF used Mohawk IVs (Hawk 75A-4s) to Jan 44 as front line fighters in Burma, they did better than Hurricanes against Japanese Ki-43s
Juha wrote:there achieving appr. a tie with the Japanese fighters.
AFAIK a bit questionable claim.

Regards, Juha T
How?
Mainly because of how the kills were calculated.
And what is wrong with the way the kills were calculated?

[/quote]Also the limited number of the engagement between the types IMO does not provide enough info for comparing the types.[/quote]

With only two Hawk sqns in the CBI there were not a massive number of combats between Hawks and Oscars, that's true but anyway the difference between the results of the fighter engagements between Hawk and Hurri sqns was striking.

[/quote]Also comparing two outdated types is not that relevant comparing to the Finnish situation (in 1944).[/quote]

IMHO we are mostly talking on FiAF during the Winter War nad early part of the Continuation War and besides Ki-43s gave sometimes hard times even to Spitfire VIIIs, not speaking on P-51As and B-24s. In 44 Hawk 75 was a clear underdog, useful mostly only as a recon fighter but still had positive exchange rate against LaGG-3s and La-5s, only against P-39s the exchange rate was negative, but numbers were small and FiAF Hawk pilots acknowledged that La-5 was clearly superior plane.

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Re: Technical handicap of Finnish Air Force?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 01 Sep 2014 19:17

Juha wrote:
JT wrote: Mainly because of how the kills were calculated.
And what is wrong with the way the kills were calculated?
Actually not having the chance to know the way, but judging by the number(s) it seems that also (unintentional?) mid-air collisions are counted in.
Juha wrote:
JT wrote:Also the limited number of the engagement between the types IMO does not provide enough info for comparing the types.
With only two Hawk sqns in the CBI there were not a massive number of combats between Hawks and Oscars, that's true
Yes, not massive number of combats - very, very far from it.
That makes the making of conclusions out of the few days engagements quite uncertain.
Juha wrote: but anyway the difference between the results of the fighter engagements between Hawk and Hurri sqns was striking.
Yes.
Also the difference of the number of engagements was, if not striking, quite noticeable.
Juha wrote:
JT wrote:Also comparing two outdated types is not that relevant comparing to the Finnish situation (in 1944).
IMHO we are mostly talking on FiAF during the Winter War nad early part of the Continuation War
IMHO FiAF during the WWII from the start.
Juha wrote: In 44 Hawk 75 was a clear underdog
Agree.

Regards, Juha

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Re: Technical handicap of Finnish Air Force?

Post by Juha » 02 Sep 2014 10:12

Juha Tompuri wrote:
Juha wrote:
JT wrote: Mainly because of how the kills were calculated.
And what is wrong with the way the kills were calculated?
Actually not having the chance to know the way, but judging by the number(s) it seems that also (unintentional?) mid-air collisions are counted in.
There are two mid-air collisions included, in both cases Mohawk pilot had maneuvered behind Ki-43 with which he collied.
According to Andrew Thomas in Osprey’s P-36 Hawk Aces of World War 2 p. 80 10 Nov 1942 collision: P/O Tovey attacked Ito’s Ki-43 which began to trail white vapour and then collided with his intended victim. The Ki-43 crashing, Ito KIA, and Tovey disengaged and returned to his base. Similar cases are usually counted as combat kills. What else it would be, aircraft accident?

According to Shores on Jan 19 1943 F/O Boyes got on the tail of a Ki-43 which was itself pursuing a Mohawk, the tail of this Ki-43 suddenly swung up and hit hit the wing of B’s a/c, cutting off a piece of the left wing about 4 ft from the wingtip. Ki-43 crashed, B returned with a piece of Ki-43 still embedded in the damaged wing.

Including those two mid-air collisions results were 6 or 7 Mohawks losses, 29 Mar 1943 case is open to various interpretations because it is difficult to say the reason of the engine seizure vs 6 Ki-43s losses.

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Re: Technical handicap of Finnish Air Force?

Post by durb » 02 Sep 2014 14:43

It has gotten little off the topic - the British Mohawk vs. Japanese Ki-43 has not much to do with Finnish Air Force but is more part of the Pacific War. Anyway I believe that Hawk 75 A would have been clearly better bargain in 1938/1939 than Fokker D XXI or Fiat G 50, but the choice was made for Fokker D XXI already by 1937 and in autumn 1939 Fiat G 50 was the only somewhat competitive fighter in offer with the promise of fast deliveries.

Although Fokker D XXI was not as nimble as Polikarpov fighters and little slower than SB 2 bomber, it made quite well in Winter War and Fokker pilots shot down most of the Soviet planes claimed during the war. The one thing was also the easiness of maintenance and low rate of accidents - to my knowledgde there were only 2 accidents with Fokker before Winter War. The plane was also sturdy, simple to maintain for mechanics and able to use rough airbases like frozen lakes. I think that Fokker D XXI was a better plane than some other choices like Gloster Gladiator or Polish PZL P 24.

Morane and Fiat were more advanced than Fokker, but much more difficult planes to maintain. Both were a challenge for Finnish mechanics. My guess is that in the easiness of maintenance Hawk 75 would have been somewhere between Fokker and Morane. But if I think which country helped most Finns with aircraft, I think that it was France. The difficult but valuable Moranes were donated by French government. Compared to British I think that French were really more willing to support Finnish cause during the Winter War.

During the Continuation war Finnish position was such that obsolete planes were better than no planes at all. Thus the purchases of outdated Hawk 75 / MS 406 were probably justified. Germans were unwilling to sell their premium fighters like Bf 109 G and FW 190 A. Only "drops" of Bf 109 G were sold after some Finnish persuasion. Mörkö-Morane would have been fairly good project to update MS 406, but it started too late. The very few Mörkö Moranes had not practically no effect in the course of airwar and even as a Mörkö the Morane was inferior to La-5FN, Airacobra or Yak fighters. The other ambitious projects like Humu and Myrsky failed due to too limited resources of Finnish aircraft industry.

When it comes to bombers, Blenheim Mk I and IV were modern and good during Winter War, but by 1942/1943 already outdated with their slow speed and limited bombload - however Finnish aircraft industry manufactured Blenheims up to 1944. Dornier 17 was also outdated by 1942, but it was a donation plane and welcome addition to limited Finnish arsenal. The ex-Soviet bombers were a mixed blessing, best were probably few Pe 2´s. The most modern equipment were Ju 88, although it was not easy work for the Finnish mechanics.

Light bomber and recce planes: the Fokker C X was outdated already by 1939 and can not be considered as a good bargain for Finnish Air Force.

As a summary Finnish Air Force was a victim of the unfavourable circumstances (limitations of defense budget during peacetime and difficulty to buy modern equipment during wartime). However one can say safely that some purchase decisions were mediocre and Finnish Air Command was not farsighted.

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Re: Technical handicap of Finnish Air Force?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 02 Sep 2014 20:08

Juha wrote:
Juha Tompuri wrote: Actually not having the chance to know the way, but judging by the number(s) it seems that also (unintentional?) mid-air collisions are counted in.
What else it would be, aircraft accident?
If something is not intentional, it might also be accidental.

Regards, Juha

P.S. thanks for the additional info.

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Re: Technical handicap of Finnish Air Force?

Post by Juha Tompuri » 02 Sep 2014 20:37

durb wrote: I think that Fokker D XXI was a better plane than some other choices like Gloster Gladiator or Polish PZL P 24.
My opinion is that Gnome&Rhone 14 Kfs engined PZL P 24 might have been a better choise.
The only advantages of DXXI I know were the higher maximum ceilining, slightly better top speed and mixed construction that suited better to Finnish production.

Regards, Juha

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