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Old December 12th, 2012, 08:08 PM   #81

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What utter drivel!
Canada's delay in declaring war was purely based on McKenzie King's belief in Canadian Autonomy and his desire to have Parliament debate and vote on the measure. King's whole political platform was to establish Canada as an equal and independent power from the UK in fact as well as in legal status.
I find that a bit simplistic. Canada had plenty of other opportunities to prove it's self an adult, independent from the mother, prior to the outbreak of the greatest conflict in world history.

"For the second time within 25 years, Canada went to war in 1939 while the United States remained neutral. Mackenzie King, despite warm feelings for U.S. President F.D. Roosevelt, was distressed, as were many Canadians who felt that the United States was once more shirking its international responsibilities. Unlike Woodrow Wilson, however, Roosevelt did not ask Americans to be neutral in their hearts, and he leaned toward the Allied side as far as he dared. Indeed, in early September 1939, while Canada debated its declaration of war, Roosevelt's administration exploited a loophole in U.S. neutrality legislation in order to export vital military aircraft to Canada for the Allied forces."

Canada and the World: A History

"..But Canadian Prime minister MacKenzie King had skillfully mobilized a pro-war vote seven days after London's declaration. The delay permitted Canada to obtain much-needed military supplies from it's southern Neighbor before U.S. neutrality laws took effect."

America and the Americas: The United States in the Western Hemisphere, 2nd Ed. - Lester D. Langley - Google Books
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Old December 13th, 2012, 05:03 AM   #82

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I find that a bit simplistic. Canada had plenty of other opportunities to prove it's self an adult, independent from the mother, prior to the outbreak of the greatest conflict in world history.

"For the second time within 25 years, Canada went to war in 1939 while the United States remained neutral. Mackenzie King, despite warm feelings for U.S. President F.D. Roosevelt, was distressed, as were many Canadians who felt that the United States was once more shirking its international responsibilities. Unlike Woodrow Wilson, however, Roosevelt did not ask Americans to be neutral in their hearts, and he leaned toward the Allied side as far as he dared. Indeed, in early September 1939, while Canada debated its declaration of war, Roosevelt's administration exploited a loophole in U.S. neutrality legislation in order to export vital military aircraft to Canada for the Allied forces."

Canada and the World: A History

"..But Canadian Prime minister MacKenzie King had skillfully mobilized a pro-war vote seven days after London's declaration. The delay permitted Canada to obtain much-needed military supplies from it's southern Neighbor before U.S. neutrality laws took effect."

America and the Americas: The United States in the Western Hemisphere, 2nd Ed. - Lester D. Langley - Google Books
History, as they say, repeats itself, bullshitters seem also to repeat other bullshitters.
Here is a marvelous example of taking an incident and blowing it out of proportion and inventing a consequence.
In 1939 the RCAF only used two American airframes, the Northdrop Delta and the Fairchild FL71. Both non-combatant communication aircraft, both built in Canada and both obsolete. The RAF had only one American front-line aircraft on strength, the Lockheed Hudson, of which 200 had been ordered in 1938 and 78 delivered before 3 September 1939.
The incident referred to is the case of dozen Hudsons that left the factory the day after Britain declared war on Germany. To keep to the Neutrality Act rules, the planes were flown from Pasadena to Pembina, North Dakota, where the airfield stretched across the border. The aircraft were then towed from the US side of the border to the Canadian side--a matter of a few yards. The aircraft were then flown to Nova Scotia where they were disassembled, crated and loaded on ships.
This ruse was no longer necessary after 21 September 1939 when the Neutrality Act was amended to allow "cash and Carry" and Canadian ( or pretend Canadian) pilots delivered direct to Canadian airfields. To suggest that Canada would delay a declaration of war for 14 aircraft that would not even arrive at a front line squadron for two to three months or that the aircraft were "vital" is really being creative with history.

As a footnote, the RAF did acquire a few US made aircraft after the fall of France, but only after the losses of the Battle of Britain did the US receive massive orders, the British Purchasing Commission basically buying anything that could fly, despite obsolescence or inferior performance.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 04:39 PM   #83

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France had ordered the new Grumman F4F "Wildcat", but fell before they were delivered. The planes instead went to the Royal Navy, which needed a decent single-seat naval fighter. The type scored it's first combat victory over Scapa Flow in Dec., 1940.

The foreign orders both helped and hurt US plane manufacturers. It helped by giving them much needed revenue, but it hurt in that designs with potential idled while production concentrated on foreign orders. The Hudson is an example. Lockheed built them instead of the P-38, delaying the latter's deployment.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 04:46 PM   #84

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Not much of a loss, the P-38 might have been useful in the Pacific but in europe it didnt do much to scare the Germans.

On the other hand the British combat tested many vehicles, found their flaws and changed orders and designs with the US factories.

When the US entered the war it had a head start on upgrading its military because of those factories already producing designs for europe such as the P-51 Mustang.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 05:09 PM   #85

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The P-38 was very useful in the Pacific. Range and firepower. The Southwest Pacific Theater was clamoring for P-38's.
As stated, the foreign orders were both good and bad. By the time the US entered the war (Dec 1941) the military was well on it's way to being "upgraded".
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Old December 13th, 2012, 05:26 PM   #86

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Not much of a loss, the P-38 might have been useful in the Pacific but in europe it didnt do much to scare the Germans.

On the other hand the British combat tested many vehicles, found their flaws and changed orders and designs with the US factories.

When the US entered the war it had a head start on upgrading its military because of those factories already producing designs for europe such as the P-51 Mustang.
While the P-51 and the P-47 gained somewhat legendary status in the European Theater, the P-38 Lightning didn't do a bad job and fullfilled many roles. And given that the Germans nicknamed it the Fork Tailed Devil, I would imagine that they were afraid of the plane to some extent.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 05:42 PM   #87

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France had ordered the new Grumman F4F "Wildcat", but fell before they were delivered. The planes instead went to the Royal Navy, which needed a decent single-seat naval fighter. The type scored it's first combat victory over Scapa Flow in Dec., 1940.

The foreign orders both helped and hurt US plane manufacturers. It helped by giving them much needed revenue, but it hurt in that designs with potential idled while production concentrated on foreign orders. The Hudson is an example. Lockheed built them instead of the P-38, delaying the latter's deployment.
France had ordered a lot of different fighters from the US. Much of it was set up by deficiencies and problems within the French military aviation industry. By the time WW2, France had only one airplane in service that could stand up to the German Bf 109, the Dewoitine D 520, but to my knowledge, few of these aircraft were manufactured in time to be distrubuted. By the time of the Battle of France, France had a second fighter design that could potentially improve the capabilities of the French Air Force in the Arsenal VG-33, but this plane was still in development and couldn't be fully tested.

This left France with a lot of aircraft that in the Battle of France would prove to be both underpowered and underarmed. To get around this, they made a lot of foreign orders from US companies. These included the Curtis P-36 (of which France ordered 1,000 and would only be able to get 291 into service) which would win France's first air to air victories of the war, and the Curtis P-40 (though France would surrender before these could be delivered, and Britain took them), and the Grumman F4F, as you mentioned, which was also taken by the British when France surrendered.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 06:33 PM   #88

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While the P-51 and the P-47 gained somewhat legendary status in the European Theater, the P-38 Lightning didn't do a bad job and fullfilled many roles. And given that the Germans nicknamed it the Fork Tailed Devil, I would imagine that they were afraid of the plane to some extent.
Not particularly, they reckoned it was a good training target for novice pilots. It climbed well and had good armamanet but much like the Me 110 it couldn't turn so you'd have to be fairly stupid to get in front of one.

They had a brief technical edge in nroth Africa and they made sure the average Africa korps soldier hated them from ground attack which is where the name may come from but as a bomber escort or air to air fighter, theres a reason the B17s got shot to pieces until the P51 came along.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 06:54 PM   #89

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Another point is that the Japanese had poor AA defences, so P-38 pilots could work at low altitude.

At high altitude it suffered from its unusual design, the intercooler interfered with the wing airflow so it couldnt make high speed dives above 20,000 feet so it couldnt chase enemy fighters, its engines had an annoying tendency to burn out if run at more than 45 degrees and werent suitable anyway which is why the plan was to remove them and replace them with Merlins and the cockpit was way too cramped to fit much of the cold weather gear needed for european warfare.
It also suffered a string of as yet unexplained engine failures through early and mid 44 probably due to factory faults or poor design that damaged it reputation with the pilots and the bombers it was supposed to be defending.
It flew well with two engines, limping home on one because of a manufacturing fault when the Luftwaffe find you is not going to be your best day.

Its reputation mostly comes from the pacifice theatre where its range, ability to outpace most Japanese fighters and that little fact of killing Yamamoto boosted peoples opinion.
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With a large proportion of Pacific and Med P-38 operations flown at medium to low altitudes, Lockheed and Allison had little operational experience with the aircraft at high altitude and low ambients and this was quickly revealed. The Allisons misbehaved quite consistently, 'throwing rods, swallowing valves and fouling plugs' while the intercoolers often ruptured under sustained high boost, and turbocharger regulators froze at 10 in. or 80 in. of boost, the latter often resulting in catastrophic failures. Even with the arrival of the P-38J, engines and turbochargers continued to fail. The new intercooler/oil cooler design was actually too efficient and the enlarged radiators became a new problem. Fuel too, was a source of trouble, it is believed by many knowledgeable people that the majority of fuel used in Britain was improperly blended, the anti-knock lead compounds coming out of solution (separating) in the Allison's induction system at extreme low temperatures. This could lead to detonation and rapid engine failure, especially at the higher power settings demanded for combat.
Many of the P-38's assigned to escort missions were forced to abort and return to base. Most of the aborts were related to engines coming apart in flight. The intercoolers that chilled the fuel/air mixture too much. Radiators that could lower engine temps below normal operating minimums. Oil coolers that could congeal the oil to sludge. These problems could have been fixed at the squadron level. Yet, they were not. It took the P-38J-25-LO and L model to eliminate these headaches. Add sub-standard fuel, green pilots, poor tactics and the 8th had a serious problem in the making. Having had their numbers seriously reduced by aborts, the remaining fighters were all the more hard pressed by vastly superior numbers of Luftwaffe fighters. The single inexperienced 55th FG often fought the JGs outnumbered 5:1, and the operational debut of the 20th FG in late December 1943, equipped with a mixed inventory of P-38H and P-38J-5/10-LO did not dramatically improve the situation.
There is little wonder that loss rates were relatively high and the kill to loss ratio was below that of the P-47's which could be massed by the hundreds (700 P-47's flying escort was not uncommon). The Luftwaffe quickly learned to position the bulk of their fighters just beyond the range of the Thunderbolts and repeatedly flew aggressive small unit ambushes against the handful of P-38s tied to close escort and thus denied the freedom to engage at will.

To aggravate these problems, inadequate cockpit heating resulted in severe pilot frostbite, while the Luftwaffe quickly learned about the compressibility problems in dives, with German pilots evading the P-38s by executing a split-S at high speed. The initial roll rate was not spectacular and the easily recognized planform provided the Luftwaffe with yet another advantage to play.
Poor serviceability and engine problems meant that initially 50 or less aircraft were available for such missions, including the first escorts over Berlin, and therefore the 55th and later also 20th FG usually fought the JGs outnumbered between three to one and five to one, as noted previously. The large number of engine failures deep inside enemy airspace exacerbated the problem, and the aggregate exchange rate, accidents inclusive, dropped to about 1:1.5 in favour of the Lightning by 1944. Aircrew morale dropped, moreso due to the large number of single engine landing accidents, thus further damaging the aircraft's reputation. The technical problems were not resolved until the introduction of the P-38J-25-LO, by which time the 8th had decided that the new Merlin powered P-51B/C was a better choice for the mission.
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20th Fighter Group Headquarters
APO 637 U.S. Army
(E-2)
3 June 1944
Subject: P-38 Airplane in Combat.
To: Commanding General, VIII Fighter Command, APO 637, U.S. Army.
1. The following observations are being put in writing by the undersigned at the request of the Commanding General, VII FC. They are intended purely as constructive criticism and are intended in any way to "low rate" our present equipment.
2. After flying the P-38 for a little over one hundred hours on combat missions it is my belief that the airplane, as it stands now, is too complicated for the 'average' pilot. I want to put strong emphasis on the word 'average, taking full consideration just how little combat training our pilots have before going on as operational status.
3. As a typical case to demonstrate my point, let us assume that we have a pilot fresh out of flying school with about a total of twenty-five hours in a P-38, starting out on a combat mission. He is on a deep ramrod, penetration and target support to maximum endurance. He is cruising along with his power set at maximum economy. He is pulling 31" Hg and 2100 RPM. He is auto lean and running on external tanks. His gun heater is off to relieve the load on his generator, which frequently gives out (under sustained heavy load). His sight is off to save burning out the bulb. His combat switch may or may not be on. Flying along in this condition, he suddenly gets "bounced", what to do flashes through his mind. He must turn, he must increase power and get rid of those external tanks and get on his main. So, he reaches down and turns two stiff, difficult gas switches {valves} to main - turns on his drop tank switches, presses his release button, puts the mixture to auto rich (two separate and clumsy operations), increases his RPM, increases his manifold pressure, turns on his gun heater switch (which he must feel for and cannot possibly see), turns on his combat switch and he is ready to fight. At this point, he has probably been shot down or he has done one of several things wrong. Most common error is to push the throttles wide open before increasing RPM. This causes detonation and subsequent engine failure. Or, he forgets to switch back to auto rich, and gets excessive cylinder head temperature with subsequent engine failure.
4. In my limited experience with a P-38 group, we have lost as least four (4) pilots, who when bounced, took no immediate evasive action. The logical assumption is that they were so busy in the cockpit, trying to get organized that they were shot down before they could get going.

Last edited by Nemowork; December 13th, 2012 at 07:24 PM.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 08:50 PM   #90

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The P-38 was very useful in the Pacific. Range and firepower. The Southwest Pacific Theater was clamoring for P-38's.
As stated, the foreign orders were both good and bad. By the time the US entered the war (Dec 1941) the military was well on it's way to being "upgraded".
Had it not been for foreign orders in the late 1930s there may have been no Lockheed in 1940. Their lead products the Electra 12 and Electra 14 did not sell well in the US and more than 80% were exported. In 1939 the two customers paying the bills were the RAF and the Japanese Army. The last Electra 14s in knock-down form were shipped to Japan in May 1939!
Trivia--it was an Electra 14 that took Chamberlain to Munich and gave Howard Hughes his round-the-world-record.
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