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Most adaptable pane of WWII


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#1 GregP

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 02:39 AM

For the aircraft with the best ability to be adapted into new roles, I'd nominate the Junkers Ju-88 even above the Mosquito.

The Ju-52 comes close, but the Ju-88 did EVERYTHING expected of it as well as a few unexpected things.

As I recall (and I'm NOT infront of references right now), the Ju-88 served as a day bomber, night bomber, day heavy fighter, night fighter, night interceptor when equipped with radar, reconaissance plane, squadron hack, unguided bomb when used in the Mistel combination, maritime patrol, antishipping aircraft, mail plane, and courrier. Probably had a few other uses, too.

Wish some of the "remanufacturers" would build a few new Ju-88's, ay least for the airshow circuit.

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#2 simon

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 06:08 AM

So far as I'm aware it didn't actually serve as a day fighter as such, just nightfighters were impressed into the role as day Zerstorer became scarce. Night-fighter and night interceptor, well pretty much indistinguishable I'd say although I stand ready to be contradicted. Not aware particularly that it was used as a squadron hack, mailplane or courier, but I could be wrong. Atlantic patrol, don't think so, again could well be wrong but I thought that the relatively limited range kind of resticted them to being called in when the Fw-200s had found something worthwhile.

So you have day & Night bomber, anti ship, nightfighter, reccon, and you could easily add anti-tank as one version (Ju88P I think) mounted a 75mm PaK 40.

I'd personally say that I think the Mosquito has greater claim, as it did recce, day and night-bombing, anti-ship, night-fighter and fighter bomber, and for the most part did so better than the Ju88.

My top four in order would be:

Mosquito
Ju88
Petlyakov Pe2
Douglas A20, Boston or Havoc.

#3 Corsarius

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 12:28 PM

While not in the same league as the Ju88, I'd give an honourable mention to the Bf110.

Day fighter
Long-range destroyer fighter
Light bomber
Ground attack
patrol
reconnaisance
bomber interception
night-bomber interception with radar guidance (onboard and otherwise)

For some really odd reason I really like the look of the bf110 nightfighter. Something predatory and insect-like about it.

#4 GregP

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 01:50 PM

The Mosquito is my all-time favorite twin engined WWI aircraft, but I like the Bf 110 too, probably because I, too, think it "looks right" for the intended role.

Then again, so did the Dornier Do-17 in the "slim fuselage" varant.

The Soviet Pe-2 and Tu-2 were awesome to see. The Tu-2 has cannon firing right outside the opilot's cockpit position! Must have been terrifying to shoot the guns at night!

Wish there were more Mosquitos around for us to see flying, but 60-year old plywood probably doesn't have the same strength as when it was made, huh?

Great planes. I wish the McDonnell XP-67 had gotten some better engines and I also wish the Beech A-38 Grizzly had been able to use the P&W R-3350's. They were both very capable planes, one hampered by experimental engines and the other by LACK of engines needed for the B-29 program.

Nice posts, guys.

I'd throw in the Ki-46 Dinah for good measure. Fast and good at its intended role, but not used in as many roles as the other picks.

#5 Corsarius

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 04:27 PM

In "Flightpath", and Australian magazine, they are following the reconstruction of a newbuild mosquito from the molds up. I'm not sure if it will be to flying standard or static display, but ahh, wouldn't it be nice?

#6 simon

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 08:37 PM

I've always liked the Bf110, since I first really started getting interested in aviation.

Well there are a couple of others that deserve at least a passing mention: Beaufighter, another one of my all time favourites, ground attack, anti-shipping, patrol, torpedo bomber, nightfighter and intruder.

The humble Blenheim, whilst ostensibly obsolete by the war's outbreak soldiered on almost to the end. Light bomber, night bomber, and most unlikely, nightfighter.

Messerscmitt Me410, similar to the Bf110 although a better performer, just didn't cut it looks wise.

#7 Corsarius

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 09:53 PM

Just to be facetious, I note that the topic of this thread is "most adaptable pane of WWII". As I'm not a glazier, I'm not entirely sure, but wouldn't it have been the windscreens from a kubelwagen?

OK, It's late and I'm being silly.
Sorry everyone.

#8 GregP

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Posted 13 November 2003 - 03:07 PM

Not to worry Corsairius ... I liked the comment.

Who knows, that's where they might have gotten them ... or maybe from an American Motors Gremlin, possibly the ugliest car that ver took to the roads excepting, of course, the Yugo, the Messerschmitt 3-wheeler, and possibly the Morris Minor ... though the Morris was, in fact, homely, not ugly.

There IS a difference, right?

Sort of like the question, "What's the difference between a good old big one and a big old good one?" huh?

#9 simon

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Posted 13 November 2003 - 03:27 PM

The Trabant was uglier than the Yugo, I used to live in Germany and when the wall came down various places in the west were flooded with these oil smoke spewing monsters...

As for a British car, the Robin Reliant, a three wheeled car is easily one of the worst, although even that has a fan base!

Still greatly OT, but fun...

#10 Victor

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Posted 14 November 2003 - 04:08 AM

Dive-bomber should be added to the Ju-88 list.

#11 Corsarius

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Posted 14 November 2003 - 04:39 PM

Please excuse me, as I must truly be going mad!

I have forgotten what is TRULY the most adaptable plane of WWII!!

The Commonwealth Wirraway.

THAT rust-bucket? I hear you cry? Well, let's have a look at what this humble aircraft was used for, with little variation between marques:

Basic trainer
Advanced trainer
Reconnaisance
Artillery spotting
Forward Air Control
Squadron hack
General purpose
liason
Fast personnel transport
Bomber
Dive Bomber
Fighter
Interceptor

All these roles were seen in squadron service, and not just 'experimentally' in any way or form. For example, bomber crews heard that 'stuka' and 'val' pilots used a siren during a dive, so they constructed their own out of soup tins and rope, and the rear-gunner's job was to chuck it out the window at the top of the dive.

The reconnaisance squadrons discovered that mud covered the windows of the cameras being carried in PNG, so cardboard and string worked miracles as lens caps, pulled from inside the cockpit.

It was as an interceptor in Rabaul that the wirraway found fame.. Only one, and a Lockheed hudson, was ordered to defend Rabaul on 20 January, 1942, five days before the invasion and most of the squadron (no 24) had been lost the day before. Wing Cmdr J. Lerew ordered by Air Force HQ in Melbourne to attack Japanese invaders. With only one Hudson and one damaged Wirraway at his disposal, Lerew replies with signal "nos morituri te salutamus", the Roman gladiators' cry to spectators at the Colosseum, "we who are about to die salute you".

But the best is left to last, the Wirraway's most glorious moment came on 26 December 1942, when Flying Officer J.S. Archer and Sergeant J.L. Coulson flying A20-103 of No 4 Squadron based at Dobodura, Papua and New Guinea, shot down a Japanese Zero near Buna on the coast of New Britain. The signal to Melbourne was "Archer has shot down one zeke rpt one zeke. Send six bottle beer"

That's one Zero down with an armament of only two forward-firing .303 machine guns. So take that you armament specialists!

a great plane? Maybe. An adaptable one, and successful in those adaptions? Definitely!



#12 CAPILATUS

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Posted 15 November 2003 - 08:17 AM

Hi, everyone!
Just came in the web. It's first time visit of mine.
In this nomination i would prefer F190 though I'm Russian :):)

#13 GregP

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Posted 15 November 2003 - 01:30 PM

Finally a Russian! Welcome Capilatus! We have been fighting over the armament of the IL-2. Some of us think the forward firing armament (noone cars about the tail gunner armament!) was only two machine guns. Others think it was two machgine guns plus one cannon, and yet other say it was two machine gun plus two cannons.

I can find evidence, or at least claims, of two 7.62 mm MG only as well as two 7.62 mm MG plus two 20 mm or 23 mm cannons. I slso can find a cource that say the cannon was single and fired through the propeller hub, making two MG + 1 cannon.

Can you clarify the real situation?



For most adapatble, how about a Russian nomination? Surely the Tu-2 or Pe-2 has been used for everything, so join in here and help out. perhaps another nomination from you?

In any case, welcome.

#14 CAPILATUS

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Posted 16 November 2003 - 02:24 AM

Hi, GregP!
I'm surprised, really about how "much" you know about the roul of come particular Russian aircrafts serving in Soviets while the WWII, it directly reflects how much I "know" about western aircrafts involved to the WWII Ha-ha! :D
So, from my point of veiw :

first
About IL-2, it was produced in a dozen of modifications. To know that exactly 100% what weapon were used in the last climes I've got to check a book written by Ilushin it's all about IL-2, IL-10 and IL-20 as well. I'm at the Island now, can't do that stright away, in 2 weeks - I'll do. It seems, GregP, you are close to.

Concerning Pe-2, Tu-2. As far as know they mainly were used as diving bombers like German Shtuka and they were used mainly for targets were difficult to destroy, like bridges. Almost all the job did IL-2! Pe-2 and Tu-2 were too expensive for that!
So I can't nominate, non of them!

Good suggetion to make a choice among Russian aircrafts.

Let me introduce... the most spread universal aircraft at the beginning of the WAR...
..... I-16!!! It was a plane really for any perpose! All I-16 were destroied mainly on the ground and when the WAR just began. But they really worked, they really did. Most of Russian ACes started the WAR with I-16. Amasing manoeuvrability, 2 SKASes, 2 SHVAK canons on the nose. The first plane that was carrying rockets weapon, using it against bombers! It's a history fact that with one plane rockets volley were destroied 3 bombers! Here we are!

And what about... Po-2!?
Yes. It wasn't an interseptor or as a fighter. But it was used also as a night bomber. "Rus faner" as it was called by German pilots, but why
were the pilots promised to be confered a decoration just for shooting down one only?
Here we are!

For your consideration, gentlemen!
I'd be happy to hear couple word of it.

#15 CAPILATUS

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Posted 16 November 2003 - 02:33 AM

By the way, where are you from, GregP?

#16 Corsarius

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Posted 16 November 2003 - 07:09 PM

Perhaps Capitalus can shed some light on a certain Russian tactic, although I don't know how widespread it was, or how effective.

I understand that Russian pilots of 'the old school' were of the belief that the plane was as much a weapon as it's guns. When war broke out there was insufficient ammunition for the fighters, and I-16s were sent into battle with armoured propellers and no ammunition. The pilots were told to ram the tail of the attacking German bombers, then bail out. The idea being that the I-16 was cheap to produce (and, given Stalin's opinions, so were pilots), but a Do-17 or He111 was not, and therefore the net gain was to the Russians.

Did this take place, and if so, how often and what was the success ratio?

#17 CAPILATUS

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Posted 16 November 2003 - 10:25 PM

Ha-ha! Interesting to listen other opinions!... :D

#18 Romantic Technofreak

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 04:21 AM

Just to add something to the Ju 88, its day fighter role was the one of armed Atlantic patrol and in early 1940 over Norway, when it was used as "Fernkampfzerstörer" = "far distance fighting destroyer".
The results were unsatisfying, because it only had one 2cm-machine cannon mounted, so the kill results were too few for the encounters happened with allied airplanes. One "success", however, was the killing of actor Leslie Howard, travelling in a civil DC-3 airliner from Britain to Spain.

I wonder again why nobody mentioned the Beaufighter, which was nearly used in as much roles as the Ju 88.

Hello Capilatus, can you explain the expression "being on the island" to our anglo-saxon comrades? I think i know what it means but they should hear it from you!

#19 CAPILATUS

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 05:35 AM

Romantic Technofreak!
It's really pleasure to speak with you all! I wish I found this web much earlier!
Well... I do the job as an Air Traffic Controller normally, but now I'm on the island on the Caspian Sea, working as radio operator (much better paid ;)), that's why I can't get the information I want streight away as can't take my library.
By the way the company I'm now working for german one, dear Romantic Technofreak! :D

#20 GregP

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Posted 17 November 2003 - 10:36 AM

Hi Capilatus,

Actually, What I know about Soviet WWII planes is mostly from books about them. The "early" Russian fighters sufferd tremendous casulaties against the Germans, due to poor pilot trainng, insufficient performance and armament, and ... pasticularly ... lack of Soviet leadership telling the fighters to take off and fight. Apparently, many were destroyed on the ground awaiting orders to take off and fight ... even though the Germans were attacking at the time!

Unbelievable to me.

Of course, people who took "independent action" at the time were often shot, according to the history I read, so perhaps it is understandable. Later the Yak-1,3,7,9 seriers of fighters was very good (particularly the Yak-3/9)and the MiG-3, while OK, was useful even if its characteristics were less than perfect.

The Pe-2, Tu-2, and IL-2/10 were made in large numbers and served well. In my books, the Russian people regard the IL-2/10 with great fondness and remember it as a weapon that helped turn the Great Patriotic War.

In any case, I have been making the point that, while the Western Allies were performing attacks at sea and strategic bombing on Germany (which served the purpose of reducing the amount of equipment sent to the fronts), the Russians, or more properly the Soviets ... were fighting anywhere from 50% to 75% of the German ground divisions and 40% to 65% of the German aircraft.

My continuing point is that, without Soviet/Russian help, those ground troops and planes would have been available to attack us. Without the Western Allies, the German war machine would have been free to operate at full strength and with full equipment against the Soviets/Russians.

So it is my claim that the Russians would have lost without the Western Allies and the Western Allies would have lost without the fact that Germany attacked the Russian and started a two-front war, thus tying up large amount of men and material.

In others words, we saved each other.

Despite that, 60 years of mistrust followed WWII, when the USSR stood against the same people who help it survive, and we distrusted the UUSR that had helped us in the war effort. Of course, the USSR HAD to fight since the german invaded the USSR. Though the bombed Great Britain, they never invaded Great Britain, the U.S.A. or Canada.

I know quite a bit more about the Korean war-era Soviet fighters since I helped assemble a MiG-15 UTI to flying status in Phoenix, AZ and also worked on MiG-17's, Polish Ts-11's, and some Yak-18 / Nanchang CJ-6 aircraft, too. (We put a Vedeneyev M-14P into a CJ-6 with a 3-bladed prop and it is a GREAT airplane). In fact, I have a couple of flight hours in the MiG-15 UTI.

At present, I am not sure of the status of the Russian Government, but have met enough Russians (more than 100) to know that the governments were the main reason we were "enemies" for all those years, not the people.

End of story.

Again, welcome. Nice to have a Russian point of view. It has never ceased to amaze me that that the same event can be seen to a Russian and a US citizen, and they pervieve two completely different events, despite that they both watched the same thing!

For instance, many people in the U.S.A. do NOT want the U.S.A. in Iraq right now. But we stand about as much chance of getting the U.S.A. to change its policies as a Russian citizen stands of changing official policy in Moscow.

I wish politicans the world over were composed of reasonable, honorable, people. The world would be a MUCH nicer place, huh?




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