P-51 and P-47 in USSR: pilot opinions

Discussions on all aspects of the USSR, from the Russian Civil War till the end of the Great Patriotic War and the war against Japan. Hosted by Art.
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Alejandro_
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P-51 and P-47 in USSR: pilot opinions

Post by Alejandro_ » 22 Nov 2009 21:57

During World War 2, a few P-51 and around 200 P-47 were sent to the Soviet Union. They never served in great numbers and were never as popular as P-39. P-47 were used in VMF aviation where its great range was useful. P-51 was found too heavy and its performance at high altitude was not that suited to Eastern Front conditions.

I have a couple of pages on a Russian P-51B test. I am trying to compare to other test in UK/USA, but is in Russian. Can anyone provide a brief summary of the test? any more information would be more than welcome.
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Re: P-51 and P-47 in USSR: pilot opinions

Post by phylo_roadking » 23 Nov 2009 00:19

This will be interesting; the Soviets apparently DIDN'T like the later-mark Spitfires they were sent in the last couple of years of the war....though as we know they DID like the Hurricane (and the Airacobra, so no accounting for taste I suppose!) they were sent in late 1941!

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Re: P-51 and P-47 in USSR: pilot opinions

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 23 Nov 2009 04:39

Alejandro... try postig your question here:

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forums/f ... .php?f=135

There are several Russian, Urkrainian, and Western historians, amature and professional who read and post there.

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Re: P-51 and P-47 in USSR: pilot opinions

Post by Paul_Atreides » 23 Nov 2009 07:04

phylo_roadking wrote:This will be interesting; the Soviets apparently DIDN'T like the later-mark Spitfires they were sent in the last couple of years of the war....
Spitfires IX of different variants have been thoroughly studied in NII VVS (scientific research institute of the Air Forces). The first of them, type LF IX, was tested there in September 1944. Test have shown that "Nine" with the powerful and high-rise motor has considerably bigger practical roof than all serial domestic fighters. Even LF is assured gained height of 12500 m, and HF rose on 13100 m that was on 2450 m more than Yak-9U and on 2350 m more than La-7. Spitfire IX surpassed the specified planes both on rate of climb and in arms. The equipment available on the English plane also allocated it to the best.

But at small and average heights "Nine" seriously conceded to domestic fighters. For example, in speed at the earth it lost to La-7 the whole 100 km/h. Therefore use of Spitfires at the front recognised as inexpedient. Their most part have directed to air defence regiments.

http://vif2ne.ru/nvi/forum/0/archive/24/24445.htm
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Re: P-51 and P-47 in USSR: pilot opinions

Post by Alejandro_ » 23 Nov 2009 15:02

This will be interesting; the Soviets apparently DIDN'T like the later-mark Spitfires they were sent in the last couple of years of the war....though as we know they DID like the Hurricane (and the Airacobra, so no accounting for taste I suppose!) they were sent in late 1941!
Most popular was Airacobra, but was heavily modified by the Russians. Lots of stuff were removed to save weight and increase performance. Engine rating was also increased, which reduced usful life. Airacobras were brand new, which was not the case with Hurricanes and Spitfires.
Spitfires IX of different variants have been thoroughly studied in NII VVS (scientific research institute of the Air Forces).
Other problems with Spitfire were lower diving/roll capabilities, unusual gun setup, and a cockpit which was different to Soviet types. MkV were received later and had been heavily used, thus performance was lower. No surprise that there were mixed reactions to the type.

Can anyone provide a brief summary of the Russian P-51 test?

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Re: P-51 and P-47 in USSR: pilot opinions

Post by Art » 23 Nov 2009 16:18

Alejandro_ wrote: I have a couple of pages on a Russian P-51B test. I am trying to compare to other test in UK/USA, but is in Russian. Can anyone provide a brief summary of the test? any more information would be more than welcome.
They write something like this.
Test results:
Date: June 1942
Engine: Allison V-1710-39
Take-off power: 1150 hp
Take-off weight: nornal 3880 kg
Wing area, squre meters: 21,98
Maximal velocity: at zero altitude - 459 km/h (483 km/h with boost), 557 km/h at 4400 meters (587 km/h with boost at 4600 meters)
Climb time to 5 km: 10,5 minutes (9,0 with boost)
Bank time at 1 km: 23 sec
Practical maximal alititude: 8 400 meters
Maximal range: 1 620 km in nornmal variant
Armament: 4 7,62 MGs, 4 12,7 MGs
The text says that after the trials which ended in July 1942 Soviet specialists noted that in such essential characteristics as maximal speed (in nominal regime), and especially climb speed and maneuvrability P-51 was inferior to Soviet and new German fighters. In particlular P-51 climbed to 5-km alititide in 9 minutes (using boost), while Yak-7B with M-105PF engine did it in 5,8-6,0 minutes and Bf-109F - in 4,8-5,4 minutes. In a combat turn (no idea what is the correct translation, it's a turn with simultaneous climb) P-51 climbed to 550 meters, two times less than Yak-1, Yak-7B and Bf-109-F/G. However, it's mentioned that perfomance of the new model P-51A with a more powerful engine was better, but it was still not a match for modern German fighters. I't's also siad that Soviet Air Forces didn't realy need fighter-bomber airplanes,and that partly explains the their lack of interest in P-51

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Re: P-51 and P-47 in USSR: pilot opinions

Post by Alejandro_ » 24 Nov 2009 11:19

Thanks Art. I am not surprised P-51 performance did not convince Soviets, its an early example and its advantages are not useful in the tactical kind of strategy used by VVS.

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Re: P-51 and P-47 in USSR: pilot opinions

Post by Tim Smith » 25 Nov 2009 14:27

Allison-engined P-51As should be more useful to Russia than Merlin-engined P-51B's, C's and D's. Allison engine was best at low altitude, Merlin at high altitude.

The P-47 is a fuel hog of monumental proportions, and is also best at high altitude.

Later British and US aero engines also were designed to require high-octane fuel (96 or 100 octane). Russians (like the Germans) used less powerful 87 low-octane fuel.

So weight-saving in aircraft was much more important for the Russians than for the British and Americans.

Hurricane and P-39 Airacobra were better suited to tough Russian conditions than the Spitfire, P-47 and P-51.

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Re: P-51 and P-47 in USSR: pilot opinions

Post by Alejandro_ » 25 Nov 2009 18:08

Allison-engined P-51As should be more useful to Russia than Merlin-engined P-51B's, C's and D's. Allison engine was best at low altitude, Merlin at high altitude.

The P-47 is a fuel hog of monumental proportions, and is also best at high altitude.
I wonder if choices had to do with cost of the aircraft, P-47 was twice as expensive when compared to P-39.

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Re: P-51 and P-47 in USSR: pilot opinions

Post by Dunserving » 25 Nov 2009 18:37

Alejandro_ wrote:
Allison-engined P-51As should be more useful to Russia than Merlin-engined P-51B's, C's and D's. Allison engine was best at low altitude, Merlin at high altitude.

The P-47 is a fuel hog of monumental proportions, and is also best at high altitude.
I wonder if choices had to do with cost of the aircraft, P-47 was twice as expensive when compared to P-39.
Err.... Did the Russians actually pay for them then?

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Re: P-51 and P-47 in USSR: pilot opinions

Post by AVV » 25 Nov 2009 21:16

Tim Smith wrote:The P-47 is a fuel hog of monumental proportions, and is also best at high altitude.
Good evening!

I've read memoirs of Soviet test pilot who flew P-47. From his point of view, Thunderbolt was a good plane - durable, reliable, with strong armament, but it was not a fighter...

Best regards, Aleks

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Re: P-51 and P-47 in USSR: pilot opinions

Post by Alejandro_ » 26 Nov 2009 13:47

I've read memoirs of Soviet test pilot who flew P-47. From his point of view, Thunderbolt was a good plane - durable, reliable, with strong armament, but it was not a fighter...
Do you know the name of the pilot?

Prices of US aircraft under Lend & lease:

P-40 Kittyhawk - 44.900 dollars
P-39 Airacobra - 50.700 dollars
P-47 Thunderbolt - 83.000 dollars.

http://lend-lease.airforce.ru/english/a ... veries.htm

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Re: P-51 and P-47 in USSR: pilot opinions

Post by AVV » 26 Nov 2009 21:38

Good evening, Alejandro!

As far as I remember, this pilot was Mark Gallai or Ilya Kachorovskiy.

Best regards, Aleks

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Re: P-51 and P-47 in USSR: pilot opinions

Post by Alejandro_ » 02 Dec 2009 17:08

As far as I remember, this pilot was Mark Gallai or Ilya Kachorovskiy.
It seems to be the first. In this thread at ww2aircraft.net there is quite a bit of information via ubi forum:

"I have heard that some were used as inteceptors over Moscow-
A total of 203 were said to have been delivered to the USSR.
They were "ferried to Abaden, Iran, where they were turned over to Soviet pilots"

"Other online sources state that 195 "D" models went to Russia, who (the Russians) apparently did not like them that much."

"The Red Army Air Force gets 196 Thunderbolts P-47D-22-RE & P-47D-27-RE. The Russian pilots did not like it. They said that under 6.000 meters Thunderbolt was more like a flying heavy target rather than a fighter. It was probably intended to be a high altitude escort fighter but Russians did not have many heavy bombers to escort. So most Thunderbolts did not reach the front and served in the air defense units in Roumania, Hungary and 50 of them in the North fleet. In such way P-47 was not used in combat by Soviets."

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Translated from airwar.ru. I`m not the best translator in the world, but this will give you an idea.

"Year 1944 and 1945. The press-service of firm Republic very much frequently published a symbolical picture of four fighters Ð-47 "Thunderbolt" in colors of the Air Forces of USA, the Great Britain, Brazil and Soviet Union. But " group portrait " does not suffice only "Thunderbolt" with a cocarde of the French Air Forces. Within the second world war fighters Ð-47 consist in arcenal of the Air Forces of five states.

By quantity(amount) received "Thunderbolt" Soviet Union takes the fourth place. William Green in the fundamental work " Warplanes of the Second World War " speaks about 203 sent of USA in USSR "Thunderbolt" of variants P-47D-22-RE and P-47D-27-RE, 196 planes, according to Green, has reached the addressee. The information from archive of the general Staff of the Air Forces of the Soviet Army differs not strongly - 190 fighters Ð-47 is received in 1944 and five - in 1945. Probably, in the Soviet archive one more is not taken into account(discounted) plane - P-47D-10-RE factory number 42-75202 bought on collected American senators of means, this plane has received an own name " Knight of Pythias ". It(him) tested in middle of 1944 in scientific research institute of the Air Forces and ËÈÈ.

"Thunderbolt" has disappointed soviet pilots - verifiers. One of best engineers - test pilots Mark Lazarevich Gallaj said about flight on Ð-47:

" First minutes of flight I knew this is not a fighter! Steady, with comfortable spacious cockpit, convenient, but - not a fighter. "Thunderbolt" had not acceptable maneuverability in horizontal and it is especial in vertical . The plane slowly was dispersed - inertia of heavy aircraft had an effect. But "Thunderbolt" is wonderful for simple flight on a route without sharp maneuvers. It is not enough for a fighter ."


Not really different opinion about "Thunderbolt" from pilots had Soviet aviation ingineers. Not looking at the licked forms of a fuselage and apparent perfection of aerodynamics, factor CX at "Thunderbolt" appeared less than at main German fighters Bf. 109G and Fw-190A. Interest has caused not the plane, but turbocharger , the engine, the aviation equipment. The plane have disassembled "by bones" and have carefully studied in the Bureau of new engineering comission (ÁÍÒ ÍÊÀÏ). Experts ÁÍÒ have let out in Russian the full description on fighter Ð-47. Engineers have made conclusions also concerning quality and methods of manufacturing of units and units that flew American fighter, having noted, that on a technological level Soviet aviation industry lags behind from American.

Front pilots of Air Force have not estimated highly a transatlantic miracle. The escort of heavy bombers in 1944 at Soviet Union was not the slightest need - all weight of war was born(carried) on itself with front aircraft. Air fights on the soviet-German front were conducted at heights below 6000 m, just at those heights where "TBOLT" more all resembled a flying target. On small heights Ð-47 lost on all aspects to any Soviet or german fighter of a sample of 1944. The interesting fact - it is possible, that americans tried to improve manuevering qualities of "Soviet" "Thunderbolt", delivering them with already removed(taken off) external machine guns. Actually "Thunderbolt" repeated a history of soviet fighter MIG- 3 - outstanding at high alt and clumsy at the ground. This type of plane in Air Force during the war appeared dead.

Certainly, it is necessary to take into account, that the opinion of the Soviet pilots and engineers was generated on base of fighter P-47D-10-RE. On landlease planes P-47D-22-RE and Ð-47D-27-RE were delivered equiped with more powerful engines R-2800-59. In the West the opinion is distributed, that Russian is simple not that machine tested, a P-47D-22 and Ð-47D-27 arrived too late. All course of air war on East front speaks that heavy high-altitude fighters here did not get accustomed. Heavy appeared even Fw-190 - fighter, which at the front Western was famous for its maneuverability. In Red Army all high-altitude fighters were deployed in regiments of air defence. Ñíà÷à¨ëà such ó÷àñòü has comprehended(overtaken) an MIG - 3, then "Spitfire" and finally "Thunderbolt". A unique place where appear they year earlier, "Thunderbolt" still could show itself, there was an aircraft of navy fleet.

Majority of "Thunderbolt" came to Soviet Union southern way in the extent of 26 000 kms (the way borrowed(occupied) 42 day) from NY in the Persian port Abadan. In Abadan planes collected under supervision of military representatives of Air Forces, then tested then pilots of 6-th regiment would fly "Thunderbolt" on a route Abadan - Tegeran-Kirovobad. In Kirovabad planes accepted 11-th spare bomber regiment. On rout in the extent of 1450 kms pilots it was necessary to overcome two mountain ridges. With intermediate landing(planting) in Teheran extent without landing flight up to Kirovobad over Iran was reduced up to 754 kms.

Pair fighters P-47D-30 from 397-th squadron of 368-th group in flight above Germany in the summer 1945. It red - yellow-red strips around of fuselages were are put after the termination(ending) of war with Germany for fast identification of "friendly" planes, it is obvious - "unfriendly" planes bore(carried) red stars. A strip on vertical plumage, antiglare a strip before a lantern of a cabin and a triangular strip onboard a fuselage - .yellow.

First fighters "Thunderbolt" of the profit on air station 11-ãî ÇBAP August, 24, 1944. The order was given to this day on a 30th regiment, which stated that fighters P-47D-22-RE were accepted in service equipped with engines R-2800-59 with factory numbers 42-25611 and 42-26633. Large deliveries have begun hardly later. According to orders ¹¹ 36, 38 and 39 from December, 22, 1944 on arms of a part planes P-47D-22-RE with factory numbers 42-25541, 543-7, 552, 553, 555, 557, 559, 560-564, 566-568, 570, 574, 576-580, 582, 583, 586, 591, 594, 595, 600-610, 612, 614-617, 619-628, 631, 634, 636-638 - only 62 planes have acted(arrived). Then were accepted 47 fighters P-47D-27-RE with factory numbers 42-27015, 018, 019, 021, 0222, 025-029, 031-033, 037, 038, 042-044, 050, 052-055, 058, 061, 116, 117, 123, 129, 130-132, 134, 140, 141, 144, 149, 150, 154, 156, 157, 159, 160,162 and 163. Thus, 11-th ZBAP has received 111 "Thunderbolts".

In 1945 "Thunderbolts" arrived to an arrangement of 11-th ZBAP two parties(sets), April, 21 - two P-47D-27 release of a factory in Fermigdale (factory numbers 42-27136 and 42-27146) and April, 27 - four more similar fighters (factory numbers 42-25551, 587, 590 and 593).

All histories about delivery "Thunderbolt" to Soviet Union northern escorts through Murmansk or on route Alaska - Siberia are pure tale. Fighters Ð-347 arrived to the USSR only southern way through Iran. Technical specialists of the Air Force finished (or in general changed) radio stations " Thunderbolt" under frequencies, used in the Soviet aircraft; respondents of the radar-tracking systems of recognition" the - another's " were removed. Recognition symbols on P-47D-22-RE were recoloured - red stars with white - red border were rendered. On intended for delivery in USSR P-47D-27-RE red stars were painted direct at a factory firm Republic. As a rule they were painted in the same locations and the same sizes, as recognition symbols of the Air Forces of USA, frequently a red star was painted in a white circle.

Into structure of 11-th 3BAP entered 4 squadrons on the basis of 1-st and 2-nd preparation bombing crews was conducted, on the basis of 3-rd and 4-th - preparation of pilots, mainly for planes P-39N/Q. In official documentation of 11-th 3BAP Ð-47 is called "Thunderbolt". The quantity(amount) of pilots in regiments that were trained on "Thunderbolt" is insignificant: 12 pilots in 1944 and in 1945

Before the termination(ending) of war in Europe Ð-47 and have not appeared on arms of front parts of Air Force. Almost all "Thunderbolt" were going in fighter regiments of Southwest district of air defence. This significant aviation group was generated December, 24, 1944 for covering means of communication of 1-st, 2-nd, 3-rd and 4-th Ukrainian fronts in Romania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.


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Re: P-51 and P-47 in USSR: pilot opinions

Post by Evgeny Velichko » 02 Dec 2009 22:35

phylo_roadking wrote:This will be interesting; the Soviets apparently DIDN'T like the later-mark Spitfires they were sent in the last couple of years of the war....though as we know they DID like the Hurricane (and the Airacobra, so no accounting for taste I suppose!) they were sent in late 1941!
Almost all pilots DIDNOT like Hurricane :)

P-40 is thought to be not so good as Yak-1/7.

P-39 - all pilots who flew in it - sayd it is very good. But many pilots who flew in other types - Yaks, La's - said that Soviet a/c were much better.

Thunderbolts - in VVS there were no good roles for this heavy longa range fighter... And opinion on it was low.

About VVS pilot recalls:

Highly recommended:

http://www.iremember.ru/content/categor ... 8/lang,ru/

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