- Feb 13, 2010
- World traveler
The other thing that strongly colors opinions on aircraft is whether or not they were right for the mission. The P-39 is a perfect example...the USA pushed them to secondary roles in the Pacific as soon as possible, largely because of short range. The British pulled them almost immediately because they were intercepting bombers at medium to high altitudes where the Airacobra was a dog, even assigning Spitfires to American fighter squadrons waiting for their P-39s who kept them until re-equipping with Mustangs. The Soviets, on the other hand, were fighting a low to medium altitude war shooting down or defending tactical bombers and attack aircraft over the battlefield. In those circumstances, the Airacobra was absolutely fantastic and they loved it. If you haven't read Attack of the Airacobras: Soviet Aces, American P-39s, and the Air War Against Germany by Dmitriy Loza, it's eye-opening.