classic warbirds attacking trains

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classic warbirds attacking trains
Posted by SD70Dude on Thursday, August 08, 2019 2:00 PM

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Thursday, August 08, 2019 2:14 PM

;)

Here's some more good color footage of trains being strafed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7D4jMbLfRA

I wonder what made for the best train strafer in the European theater? I imagine it's a race between the USAAF P-47 and the RAF's Hawker Typhoon and Tempest.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, August 08, 2019 2:20 PM

Were the German locomotive engineers getting hazardous duty pay?

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, August 08, 2019 3:41 PM

deleted 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, August 08, 2019 3:44 PM

Leo_Ames

;)

Here's some more good color footage of trains being strafed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7D4jMbLfRA

I wonder what made for the best train strafer in the European theater? I imagine it's a race between the USAAF P-47 and the RAF's Hawker Typhoon and Tempest.

 

I'd give slightly higher points to the Hawker Tempest and Typhoons since they had 20mm cannons.  The USAAF never went into 20mm's in a big way, the .50 cal Brownings were considered more than adequate.

The American P-38's, P-47's, and P-51 were all pressed into service for train strafing.  all got the job done.

By the way, did you know the late, great, railroad artist Howard Fogg was a fighter pilot?  It's true, he flew P-51's in the European Theater.

I can't help but wonder if he did any train strafing, and what went through his mind if and when he did?   

Oh, if those German engineers didn't get hazardous duty pay they sure should have!  

Too bad the train strafers never caught up with the Fuehrer Sonderzug,  Hitler's personal train.  But then, that train probably never went anywhere without a cloud of Messerschmitts or Focke-Wulfs hovering over it.

'Dude, this thread of yours is just diabolical!   Smile, Wink & Grin

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Thursday, August 08, 2019 6:16 PM

Leo_Ames

;)

Here's some more good color footage of trains being strafed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7D4jMbLfRA

I wonder what made for the best train strafer in the European theater? I imagine it's a race between the USAAF P-47 and the RAF's Hawker Typhoon and Tempest.

 

I've always read that the Thunderbolt was the preferred weapon used against German trains as they could spit out a lot of 50 cal. bullets fast out of their 8 guns, increasing the odds of getting a lucky shot it. The Tiffys were more useful against harder targets.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Thursday, August 08, 2019 6:37 PM

The Thunderbolt could also absorb 20mm cannon fire into its radial engine and have a chance of getting home, an obviously attractive attribute when attacking a well defended target like an important freight yard.

The Mustang and Lightning were much more fragile with their easily damaged liquid cooled piston engines. Charactestics that sadly would lose more than a few UN pilots a few years later in Korea when the widely retained P-51, which was selected for deployment over the Thunderbolt that had largely already been phased out and scrapped, and had to go train busting and such.

A great plane, but I bet the American, Australian, South African, and South Korea pilots that flew Mustangs in the skies over Korea wished they were in a Corsair or Skyraider instead when encountering heavy ground fire.  

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, August 08, 2019 7:28 PM

As the old saying goes, "Practice makes perfect!"   Wink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhmwCmjkYFs  

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Thursday, August 08, 2019 9:28 PM

Flintlock76

As the old saying goes, "Practice makes perfect!"   Wink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhmwCmjkYFs  

 

The "trains" aren't moving. That seems rather unsporting on the part of the attacking airplanes. And why does the steam engine and later a coal tender burst into flames after being hit? Gosh, it almost looks like a gasoline fire.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, August 08, 2019 9:56 PM

Murph, I suspect your tongue is well-planted in your cheek on your first statement.

Why does the target burst into flames?  Probably to give those student pilots a sense of acomplishment, they sure know if they hit the target, and no doubts about it!  

A lot more gratifying than counting bullet holes in paper.  

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, August 08, 2019 10:22 PM

Murphy Siding
 
Flintlock76

As the old saying goes, "Practice makes perfect!"   Wink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhmwCmjkYFs   

The "trains" aren't moving. That seems rather unsporting on the part of the attacking airplanes. And why does the steam engine and later a coal tender burst into flames after being hit? Gosh, it almost looks like a gasoline fire.

Look like a movie set false front!

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Thursday, August 08, 2019 11:16 PM

BaltACD

 

 
Murphy Siding
 
Flintlock76

As the old saying goes, "Practice makes perfect!"   Wink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhmwCmjkYFs   

The "trains" aren't moving. That seems rather unsporting on the part of the attacking airplanes. And why does the steam engine and later a coal tender burst into flames after being hit? Gosh, it almost looks like a gasoline fire.

 

Look like a movie set false front!

 

The dead give-a-way may have been that the engineer looks like Otto, the blow-up automatic pilot from Airplane! Laugh

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Posted by 54light15 on Friday, August 09, 2019 7:57 AM

That sure looks like something Gomez Addams could use! But, AT-6s as combat planes? 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, August 09, 2019 8:29 AM

54light15

That sure looks like something Gomez Addams could use! But, AT-6s as combat planes? 

 

The AT-6's, or in this case since it looks like an RCAF facility, "Harvards," are strictly for training purposes.  Those air cadets had to learn on something, and it goes without saying all the combat-capable planes were reserved for advanced training or at the various fronts.  

By the way, some of those guys were getting so close to one another it was making me nervous!

Anyone besides me notice those target trains had an American/Canadian profile to them?

That North American Aviation ad Mike sent us?  Wow!  That B-25 jockey means business!  Either that or he's got the mother of all cases of target fixation!  

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Posted by 54light15 on Friday, August 09, 2019 2:11 PM

My uncle Frank was a P-47 jockey and he said how he loved shooting up trains. He'd make a pass over them first to give the crew a chance to jump-(unless he was over Germany) and then blast the helll out of the locomotive. In the new mag, Trains at War, there is a blown up locomotive that looks like almost like a flower with the tubes formatted into a nice bouquet. 

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Posted by zardoz on Friday, August 09, 2019 9:20 PM

Flintlock76
'Dude, this thread of yours is just diabolical! 

Absolutely!

   23 17 46 11

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Posted by zardoz on Friday, August 09, 2019 9:24 PM

Flintlock76
I'd give slightly higher points to the Hawker Tempest and Typhoons since they had 20mm cannons.  The USAAF never went into 20mm's in a big way, the .50 cal Brownings were considered more than adequate.

Were those rounds sufficient to penetrate a locomotive boiler, and if so, would said penetration cause a catastrophic failure?

   23 17 46 11

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, August 09, 2019 9:34 PM

zardoz

 

 
Flintlock76
I'd give slightly higher points to the Hawker Tempest and Typhoons since they had 20mm cannons.  The USAAF never went into 20mm's in a big way, the .50 cal Brownings were considered more than adequate.

 

Were those rounds sufficient to penetrate a locomotive boiler, and if so, would said penetration cause a catastrophic failure?

 

 

Oh, absolutely, both the 20mm and the .50 cals, especially since the .50's were typically loaded with armor-piercing ammunintion, and some times armor-piercing incendiarys, the incendiarys would start fires.

These are the various types of .50 cal ammunition.  The variants M1 through M8 are essentially the types available during WW2.  All those after the M8 are post-war or recent developments.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.50_BMG#Military_cartridge_types

Would penetrating a boiler cause it to explode?  Possibly, but in all the train strafing films I've seen typically when the boiler's hit you can see steam venting out from the punctures.  I've never seen film of a boiler blowing but of course that doesn't mean it never happened.

It sure happened in this  case!  Here's a British engine that took Winston's advice of "Take one with you!"  Also a good lesson in avoiding target fixation!

https://ryesown.co.uk/german-bomber/  

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Posted by ORNHOO on Saturday, August 10, 2019 12:35 PM

Leo_Ames
I wonder what made for the best train strafer in the European theater? I imagine it's a race between the USAAF P-47 and the RAF's Hawker Typhoon and Tempest.

For a combination of speed, firepower, and low altitude maneuverability, I would nominate the P-39 Airacobra (and P-400 and P-63). Of course, for ground attack you could use the airplane designed and built  for the job, the IL-2. BTW, in Italy, where many of the main lines were electrified, the favored USAAF tactic was to destroy the substations forcing the Axis to use less efficient steam locomotion.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, August 10, 2019 12:42 PM

Nothing wrong with the P-39's as ground-attack aircraft, the Russians made very good use of Lend-Lease P-39's and P-63's in that role and were very pleased with them.

General Chuck Yeager flew P-39's for a while and said they were good airplanes and very underrated.  He liked them just fine until the P-51's came along.  He liked the Mustangs even better!  

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Posted by Steve Sweeney on Saturday, August 10, 2019 12:52 PM

Curious. I don't see mention of the B-26 Marauders. (Did I miss it?) I thought they were involved in fighter-bomber operations including strafing runs and close air support?

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, August 10, 2019 1:02 PM

Possibly Steve, but not so much.  The B-26 was classified as a medium bomber so ground attack and strafing would have been a little out of their mission profile.

On the other hand, there was the Douglas A-26, an attack aircraft and light bomber.  They were very  much used for ground attack, as a matter of fact the twin-engine aircraft you see preparing to attack the train in that Burt Lancaster film "The Train" are A-26's, still in service with the French Air Force in the mid-sixties.  As a matter of fact the US Air Force was still using them in the 60's, they were that good!  The Vietnam War was was their "last hurrah." 

There were a few in attendance at the most recent Oshkosh Fly-In.

Wayne 

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Posted by Steve Sweeney on Saturday, August 10, 2019 1:49 PM

Flintlock76

Possibly Steve, but not so much.  The B-26 was classified as a medium bomber so ground attack and strafing would have been a little out of their mission profile.

On the other hand, there was the Douglas A-26, an attack aircraft and light bomber.  They were very  much used for ground attack, as a matter of fact the twin-engine aircraft you see preparing to attack the train in that Burt Lancaster film "The Train" are A-26's, still in service with the French Air Force in the mid-sixties.  As a matter of fact the US Air Force was still using them in the 60's, they were that good!  The Vietnam War was was their "last hurrah." 

There were a few in attendance at the most recent Oshkosh Fly-In.

Wayne 

 

 

OK, now I know.

BTW, did the Wermacht (or Luftwaffe for that matter) deploy armored defensive trains? I know of the armored trains from the Eastern front (WWI, Russian Revolution, early WWII, etc.) But did they send out AA batteries on flatcars in rail yards? It would seem to make sense, but don't recall if they did.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, August 10, 2019 2:00 PM

Steve Sweeney
OK, now I know.

BTW, did the Wermacht (or Luftwaffe for that matter) deploy armored defensive trains? I know of the armored trains from the Eastern front (WWI, Russian Revolution, early WWII, etc.) But did they send out AA batteries on flatcars in rail yards? It would seem to make sense, but don't recall if they did.

Just remember that in WW II the Germans had a leader that 'knew it all' better than any of his Generals or staff that had been tasked with doing those kinds of jobs.  At least to his own mind.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, August 10, 2019 2:10 PM

The German's use of armored trains would have depended on the purpose of the train itself.  For example Hitler's Fuehrer  Sonderzug, or "Special Train", certainly was armored, with car-mounted flak batteries.  I'd suppose any train with a Nazi big-wig on board had the same set-up. It would have been impractical to set every train up with armor. 

Certainly any kind of a tasty target the Germans might have had like railyards would have been well-supplied with anti-aircraft.  The usual doctrine would have been to install them in semi-permanent fashion.  They might  have set them up on flatcars to move around in an as-needed, it's certainly possible.  Goes without saying in some areas the flak would have been murderous, those German gunners were well-trained and knew their business.

I did some further research on B-26's in a ground attack capacity.  It was tried in North Africa with poor results and heavy losses, then again in Europe with the same results.  The B-26's performed best in the 10,000 foot (plus or minus) altitude range.  Medium bomber, medium altitude. 

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Saturday, August 10, 2019 3:21 PM

Here is an interesting compilation of footage featuring the Ju-87g Kannonenvogel "cannonbird" such as ace Rudel (over 500 tank kills, though a pretty unrepentant  Nazi) flew. It could still divebomb,  but had evolved as a sturdy platform for mounting various mm anti-tank cannon. It's  in German,  but the footage is rare, along with some cgi.

https://youtu.be/YF85LiDyVTY

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, August 10, 2019 4:50 PM

I'll "light it up" for you Charlie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YF85LiDyVTY  

My corroded beyond belief high-school German's gonna get a work-out...

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, August 10, 2019 7:34 PM

Miningman

Now the site of Glenn L. Martin State Airport.  Home of the Maryland Air National Guard and the Maryland State Police helicopters in the Baltimore/Central Maryland area.

Back in the early 1980's a sports car club I belonged to obtained permission to conduct an 'autocross' (single car parking lot speed contest around a traffic pylon marked course).  All cars participating were stock or slightly modified vehicles that were all street licensed and all without open exhausts.  The event was 'delayed' several times as the State Police operated helicopters into and out of their facility.  Additionally the MANG was training with their four C-130's -  all morning sitting at the end of a runway that was a couple of hundred yards from the area we had permission to use - running take off check list practices - idling and then running the engines up to take off power - over and over and over again.  In the afternoon they then put their morning practices into action and practiced take offs and landings - taxiing after landing back to the end of the runway where they had been doing their morning practices (wind direction).

We completed our event without getting complaints from anyone, neighbors, State Police or ANG.  When we requested to use the property again, later in the year, we were denied.....We made too much noise!  Go Figure - the silent helicopters and the silent C130's.......and all those noisy street cars.

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