Montag, 30. September 2013

Vultee A-31 A Vengeance RAAF - Revell 1/72

The Vultee A-31 Vengeance was an American dive bomber of World War II, built by Vultee Aircraft. A modified version was designated A-35. The Vengeance was not used in combat by the United States; it did see combat, however, with the British Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the Indian Air Force in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific. The A-31 remained in service with U.S. units until 1945, primarily in a target-tug role.


 By the time Britain had received large numbers of Vengeances, its opinion on the usefulness of specialised dive bombers had changed; as the Battle of Britain and operations over North Africa had shown the dive bomber to be vulnerable to fighter attack, it rejected the Vengeance for use over Western Europe or the Mediterranean. It was decided to use the Vengeance in the Burma Theatre to carry out dive-bombing operations in close support of British and Indian troops in the jungles of Burma.
The first RAF squadrons (No. 82 and No. 110) received Vengeances in October 1942. The first dive bombing missions against Japanese forces were flown on 19 March 1943. A further two RAF squadrons in Burma received Vengeances, (No. 84 and No. 45), together with two squadrons of the Indian Air Force (IAF) (No. 7 and No. 8).
Vengeances were heavily deployed in support of the second Arakan campaign of 1943/44, and defending against the Japanese attacks on Imphal and Kohima of April–July 1944. Following the successful defeat of the Japanese attack, the RAF and IAF started to phase out the Vengeance in favour of more versatile fighter bombers and twin engined light bombers, with the last Vengeance operations over Burma being carried out on 16 July 1944.
After Burma service, a detachment from 110 Squadron RAF was sent to Takoradi in West Africa via the Middle East, a number of aircraft breaking down en route. Between September and December 1944, 11 Vultees took part in air-spraying trials against malarial mosquitoes, using underwing spray dispensers.
Although phased out of front line service with the RAF, it continued to receive large numbers of Vengeances, with bulk deliveries of Lend Lease aircraft (as opposed to those purchased directly by Britain) having only just started. Many of these surplus aircraft, including most Vengeance Mk IVs, were delivered to the UK and modified as Target tugs, being used in this role both by the RAF and the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm (FAA). In these roles, all armament was removed from the aircraft.
Australia placed an order for 400 Vengeances as an emergency measure following the outbreak of war in the Pacific, which was met by a mixture of Lend Lease and diversions from the original British orders. While the first Vengeance was delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in May 1942, the aircraft did not arrive in substantial numbers until April 1943. The RAAF's first Vengeance squadron, No. 12 Squadron flew its first operational mission against Selaru Island in the Dutch East Indies. Squadrons equipped with the Vengeance included Nos. 12, 21, 23, 24 and 25 Squadrons. Of these, all but 25 Squadron served briefly in the New Guinea campaign. Australian Vengeances flew their last operational sorties on 8 March 1944, as they were considered less efficient than fighter bombers, having a short range and requiring a long runway, and were withdrawn to allow more effective fighter bombers to move into the forward area.
The view of the Vengeance's limitations is disputed by Peter Smith in Jungle Dive Bombers at War:
The precision and skill of the dive-bombing method ..... and its clear superiority over most other means of air attack when it came to destroying small and well-hidden targets in difficult country, was proven over and over again in the Asian jungle campaigns. Yet the men who achieved these excellent results, for such economy of effort and comparatively small loss, were but a handful of pilots who have been forgotten in the overwhelming mass of the heavy-and medium bomber fleets that were pounding both Europe and Asia by 1945.
This capacity was exemplified in the raid by RAAF 21 and 23 Squadrons on Hansay Bay. Smith wrote in Jungle Dive Bombers at War, "...the jungle-clad hills and islands of forgotten or unknown lands would become the major stage for the ultimate expression of the dive-bombers' skill."
The Vengeance squadrons were re-equipped with Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bombers. While the RAAF still had 58 Vengeances on order in March 1944, this order was cancelled and the aircraft were never delivered. Small numbers of Vengeances remained in service with support and trials units until 1946.
Thirty-three V-72s and A-35s were supplied to Brazil from 1943, carrying out a few anti-submarine patrols. They were withdrawn by April 1948. The Free French Air Force received 67 A-35As and -Bs in 1943, being used to equip three bomb groups in North Africa. The French, however, keen to get the aircraft operational as soon as possible did not incorporate improvements found necessary by Britain and Australia, so their aircraft proved to be unreliable and had extremely high oil consumption. As such, they were restricted to training operations, being finally withdrawn in September 1944.

While the U.S. received 243 V-72s and A31s diverted from the RAF orders together with large numbers of A-35s specifically built for it, these saw no combat, being used as initial equipment for light bomber squadrons that re-equipped with twin-engined aircraft before deploying overseas, and as trainers or target tugs.
From April 1944, a number of Vengeance Mk IV series Is were made available to the 8th Air Force and assigned to target-towing flights and Combat Crew Replacement Centers (CCRC) stations. All armament was removed and a light cable winch fitted in the rear fuselage for sleeve towing. Some of these aircraft continued to be flown with British national markings and serial numbers. By late June 1944, there were seven A-35Bs at RAF Cluntoe, seven at Greencastle, 10 at RAF Sutton Bridge and six at RAF East Wretham. When the CCRCs were dissolved in the autumn, the A-35Bs were transferred to combat groups, most fighter and several bomber groups having one on charge at some time during 1945. A-35Bs did not show a high state of serviceability and were generally considered troublesome to maintain. They were also designated RA-35B (R for Restricted) by this time.

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Westland-Hill Pterodactyl - vacu 1/72

The Westland-Hill Pterodactyl series of experimental tailless aircraft designs were developed starting in the 1920s. They are named after the genus Pterodactylus, a well-known type of Pterosaur commonly known as the pterodactyl.
They were designed by Geoffrey T. R. Hill and built by Westland Aircraft, having their first flights from RAF Andover. The first (Pterodactyl I, IA and IB) were high wing tailess monoplanes with fully moving wingtips for control built to overcome the issue of stalling and spinning. In some designs the main upper wing was supported by struts from a stubby lower wing to form a sesquiplane (unequal-span biplane). Later designs included fighter and transport aircraft.
The designs were credited as being inspired by observation of seagulls and used fully moving outer wingtips for control. If both tips were moved in the same way they functioned as elevators, in opposite ways then as ailerons.
The pioneer tailless aircraft designer John William Dunne assisted Hill with the early designs.


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Antonov KT A-40 Flying Tank - papermodel 1:72

The Antonov A-40 Krylya Tanka (Russian: крылья танка, meaning "tank wings") was a Soviet attempt to allow a tank to glide onto a battlefield after being towed aloft by an airplane, to support airborne forces or partisans. A prototype was built and tested in 1942, but was found to be unworkable. This vehicle is sometimes called the A-40T or KT.



Instead of loading light tanks onto gliders, as other nations had done, Soviet airborne forces had strapped T-27 tankettes underneath heavy bombers and landed them on airfields. In the 1930s there were experimental efforts to parachute tanks or simply drop them into water. During the 1940 occupation of Bessarabia, light tanks may have been dropped from a few meters up by TB-3 bombers, which as long as the gearbox was in neutral, would allow them to roll to a stop.
The biggest problem with air-dropping vehicles is that their crews drop separately, and may be delayed or prevented from bringing them into action. Gliders allow crews to arrive at the drop zone along with their vehicles. They also minimize exposure of the valuable towing aircraft, which need not appear over the battlefield. So the Soviet Air Force ordered Oleg Antonov to design a glider for landing tanks.
Antonov was more ambitious and instead of building a glider, he added a detachable cradle to a T-60 light tank bearing large wood and fabric biplane wings and a twin tail. Such a tank could glide into the battlefield, drop its wings, and be ready to fight within minutes.
One T-60 was converted into a glider in 1942, intended to be towed by a Petlyakov Pe-8 or a Tupolev TB-3. The tank was lightened for air use by removing its armament, ammunition and headlights, and leaving a very limited amount of fuel. Even with the modifications, the TB-3 bomber had to ditch the glider during its only flight, on September 2, 1942, to avoid crashing, due to the T-60's extreme drag (although the tank reportedly glided smoothly). The A-40 was piloted by the famous Soviet experimental glider pilot Sergei Anokhin. The T-60 landed in a field near the airdrome, and after dropping the glider wings and tail, the driver returned it to its base. Due to the lack of a sufficiently-powerful aircraft to tow it at the required 160 km/h (99 mph), the project was abandoned.
The Soviet Union continued to develop methods to efficiently deploy airborne vehicles. By the mid-1970s they were able to para-drop BMD-1 fighting vehicles with their crew aboard.

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Montag, 23. September 2013

Bell P-39 Airacobra Russia - AIRFIX 1/72

The Bell P-39 Airacobra was one of the principal American fighter aircraft in service when the United States entered World War II. The P-39 was used with great success by the Soviet Air Force, which scored the highest number of kills per pilot attributed to any U.S. fighter type. Other major users of the type include the Free French, the Royal Air Force, the United States Army Air Forces, and the Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force.
Designed by Bell Aircraft, it had an innovative layout, with the engine installed in the center fuselage, behind the pilot, and driving a tractor propeller via a long shaft. It was also the first fighter fitted with a tricycle undercarriage. Although its mid-engine placement was innovative, the P-39 design was handicapped by the absence of an efficient turbo-supercharger, limiting it to low-altitude work. Together with the derivative P-63 Kingcobra, the P-39 was one of the most successful fixed-wing aircraft manufactured by Bell.

In September 1940, Britain ordered 386 P-39Ds (Model 14), with a 20 mm (.79 in) Hispano-Suiza HS.404 and six .303 in (7.7 mm), instead of a 37 mm (1.46 in) cannon and six 0.30 in (7.62 mm) guns. The RAF eventually ordered a total of 675 P-39s. However, after the first Airacobras arrived at 601 Squadron RAF in September 1941, they were promptly recognized as having an inadequate rate of climb and performance at altitude for Western European conditions. Only 80 were adopted, all of them with 601 Squadron. Britain transferred about 200 P-39s to the Soviet Union.
Another 200 examples intended for the RAF were taken up by the USAAF after the attack on Pearl Harbor as the P-400, and were sent to the Fifth Air Force in Australia, for service in the South West Pacific Theatre.
By the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, nearly 600 P-39s had been built. When P-39 production ended in August 1944, Bell had built 9,558 Airacobras, of which 4,773 (mostly −39N and −39Q) were sent to the Soviet Union through the Lend-Lease program. There were numerous minor variations in engine, propeller, and armament, but no major structural changes in production types, excepting a few two-seat TP-39F and RP-39Q trainers. In addition, seven went to the U.S. Navy as radio-controlled drones.
Trials of a laminar flow wing (in the XP-39E) and Continental IV-1430 engine (the P-76) were unsuccessful. The mid-engine, gun-through-hub concept was developed further in the Bell P-63 Kingcobra.
A naval version with tail-dragger landing gear, the XFL-1 Airabonita, was ordered as a competitor to the Vought F4U Corsair and Grumman XF5F Skyrocket. It first flew 13 May 1940, but after a troublesome and protracted development and testing period, it was rejected.

Operational history

The Airacobra saw combat throughout the world, particularly in the Southwest Pacific, Mediterranean and Russian theaters. Because its engine was only equipped with a single-stage, single-speed supercharger, the P-39 performed poorly above 17,000 feet (5,200 m) altitude. In both western Europe and the Pacific, the Airacobra found itself outclassed as an interceptor, its earliest proposed role, and the type was gradually relegated to other duties. It often was used at lower altitudes for such missions as ground strafing.

USSR



The most successful and numerous use of the P-39 was by the Red Air Force (Военно-воздушные силы, Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily, VVS). They received the considerably improved N and Q models via the Alaska-Siberia ferry route. The tactical environment of the Eastern Front did not demand the high-altitude performance RAF and AAF did. The comparatively low-speed, low-altitude nature of most air combat on the Russian Front suited the P-39's strengths: sturdy construction, reliable radio gear, and adequate firepower.
Soviet pilots appreciated the cannon-armed P-39 primarily for its air-to-air capability. A common Western misconception is that the Bell fighters were used as ground attack aircraft.
"One of the enduring myths regarding the P-39/P-63 in Soviet use is that because of its armament, in particular the 37mm nose cannon, it excelled as a ground-attack aircraft, even a 'tank buster.' In translating and preparing this manuscript for publication, I have had the opportunity to peruse several Russian-language sources. Mentions of the employment of this aircraft in the ground-attack role are so rare in these sources as to be exceptional ... The 'tank buster' myth has its roots in the misunderstanding of the general wartime role of the Red Air Force and in the imprecise translation of specific Russian-language terms that describe this role. The specific Russian-Language term most often used to describe the mission and role of the Airacobra-equipped Red Air Force fighter units, in this manuscript and other Russian-language sources , as prikrytiye sukhoputnykh voysk [coverage of ground forces]... Frequent misunderstanding in this country as to the combat role of the P-39 in Soviet use is based in part on imprecise translation of the term prikrytiye sukhoputnykh voysk to 'ground support'. The latter term as it is understood by many Western military historians and readers, suggests the attacking of ground targets in support of ground troops, also called "close air support." Soviet Airacobra pilot ever strafe a German tank? Undoubtedly. But this was never a primary mission or strong suit for this aircraft."
—Soviet Army Colonel Dmitriy Loza, Loza and Gebhardt 2002, pp. 15–16.
The Soviets developed successful group aerial fighting tactics for the Bell fighters and scored a surprising number of aerial victories over a variety of German aircraft. Soviet P-39s had no trouble dispatching Junkers Ju 87 Stukas or German twin-engine bombers and matched, and in some areas surpassed, early and mid-war Messerschmitt Bf 109s. The usual nickname for the Airacobra in the VVS was Kobrushka ("little cobra") or Kobrastochka, a portmanteau of Kobra and Lastochka (swallow), "dear little cobra".
"I liked the Cobra, especially the Q-5 version. It was the lightest version of all Cobras and was the best fighter I ever flew. The cockpit was very comfortable, and visibility was outstanding. The instrument panel was very ergonomic, with the entire complement of instruments right up to an artificial horizon and radio compass. It even had a relief tube in the shape of a funnel. The armored glass was very strong, extremely thick. The armor on the back was also thick. The oxygen equipment was reliable, although the mask was quite small, only covering the nose and mouth. We wore that mask only at high altitude. The HF radio set was powerful, reliable and clear."
Soviet pilot Nikolai G. Golodnikov, recalling his experiences of the P-39
The first Soviet Cobras had a 20 mm Hispano-Suiza cannon and two heavy Browning machine guns, synchronized and mounted in the nose. Later, Cobras arrived with the M-4 37 mm cannon and four machine guns, two synchronized and two wing-mounted. "We immediately removed the wing machine guns, leaving one cannon and two machine guns," Golodnikov recalled later. That modification improved roll rate by reducing rotational inertia. Soviet airmen appreciated the M-4 cannon with its powerful rounds and the reliable action but complained about the low rate of fire (three rounds per second) and inadequate ammunition storage (only 30 rounds).
The Soviets used the Airacobra primarily for air-to-air combat against a variety of German aircraft, including Bf 109s, Focke-Wulf Fw 190s, Ju 87s, and Ju 88s. During the battle of Kuban River, VVS relied on P-39s much more than Spitfires and P-40s. Aleksandr Pokryshkin, from 16.Gv.IAP, (16th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment) claimed 20 air victories in that campaign. Pokryshkin, the second-highest scoring Allied ace (59 air victories plus six shared) flew the P-39 from late 1942 until the end of the war (though rumors exist that he changed in late 1944 to a P-63 Kingcobra).


Five out of the 10 highest scoring Soviets aces logged the majority of their kills in P-39s. Grigoriy Rechkalov, the third-highest scoring Soviet ace (56 individual air victories plus five shared), occasionally Pokryshkin's wingman in 16.Gv.IAP, scored 44 victories flying Airacobras. The majority of his kills were achieved in P-39N-0 number 42-8747 and P-39Q-15 number 44-2547. During the war, he was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner (four times), the Order of Alexandr Nievskii, the Order of Patriotic War 1st Class and the Order of the Red Star (twice). This is the highest score ever attained by any pilot with any American-made aircraft.
The United States did not supply M80 armor-piercing rounds for the autocannons of Soviet P-39s—instead, the Soviets received 1,232,991 M54 high-explosive rounds which the Soviets used primarily for air-to-air combat and also against soft ground targets. The VVS did not use the P-39 for tank-busting duties.
A total of 4,719 P-39s were sent to the Soviet Union, accounting for more than one-third of all U.S. and UK-supplied fighter aircraft in the VVS, and nearly half of all P-39 production. Soviet Airacobra losses in 1941–45 were 1,030 aircraft (49 in 1942, 305 in 1943, 486 in 1944 and 190 in 1945).
Airacobras served with the Soviet Air Forces as late as 1949, when two regiments were operating as part of the 16th Guards Fighter Aviation Division in the Belomorsky Military District.

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