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Thoughts on the P39...


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Well, in the real thing the VVS did OK with it.

 

In the condensed world of a video game, ummm, it's a total POS.

 

The Yak 7b is a far better aircraft in the pixel world.

 

The P40 might even be better.

 

Such a disappointment.

 

Ah well.

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Not trolling at all sir.

And not saying I have not gotten kills in it, but it's a very difficult aircraft to properly fight.  Any energy you build up with altitude is lost very quickly indeed, and getting it back is nigh onto impossible if any enemy aircraft are in the area.

 

It's very challenging to do well in, and at this point in my life, I need an easy button.  I can't hit the broad side of a barn with the 37, unlike the one in the original IL2.

 

I wish the convergence setting could be set separately from the machine guns.

 

*sigh*

 

Edited by BlitzPig_EL
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I'm not sure what you were expecting, it's actually much better than I thought it would be. Aside from being a little slow, climb rate is superb as well as turn rate, even at low speed. It gets squirly the slower you are, but it's nothing a bit of rudder can't compensate for. At full throttle it has more than enough power to hang with a 109 at least through the first few turns.

 

Practice firing the 37mm only, yeah it's not easy, but with time it's certainly possible to hit at a consistent rate. Yes, it would be nice to change the convergence of different weapon groups, but unfortunately that's not in the game yet.

 

If you really want an easy button, the La5FN is where it's at.

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I find it hard to hang with 109's that are playing to their strengths (vertical maneuvers) when the playing field starts with a similar energy level. I felt I kept energy better in the P40 like Blitz stated. But I've already allocated my flying time in the P39 to bomber/attacker hunting because hitting a fighter with that 37 is very difficult and only gets exponentially worse the further you are away. I'll have to see about actually getting my MCG Pro to work with my Gladiator so I can get my firing groups separated again.

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The P-39 relies in how much you can get out of it's emergency modes (5 min or 2 min), in these settings at low altitudes it has good speed.


I tested the P-39's speed and compared it with the Bf 109 G-2 and Yak-1B

 

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Do not take it above 5000 meters though xD

Edited by -=PHX=-SuperEtendard
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First mission bagged a 109 in campaign with the 39..coup de grace delivered by the cannon...awesome...as you'd expect..you dont go into the vertical with a 109..down low, turning..yes, can hold my own...now off to spend my bonus rubles on wine, women and song..yes!!

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my biggest trouble with it is how twitchy it seems to be in pitch, and feeling comfortable with engine management. Flown two campaign flights with it so far, shot down two 109s with all MG fire, and one with a lucky cannon hit. Jury is still out all in all. 

 

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One thing I like about it in VR is the extra deflection you can get due to nose shape. nothing is blocking your view.  I caught my arch nemesis Sapsan with it today while we were screaming to the hard deck close to 500 mph and at 700 m I fired a small burst and  boom went the dynamite, his wing on the 109 broke off and big fireball as he hit the hard deck. You can get kills in Its just takes some getting used to how the flight model feels

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My thoughts:-

 

I am doing a P-39 career purely to learn how to get the best out of it but I suspect it will get little use in MP.  It is quite capable of killing AI 109s and avoiding their attacks but I don't think it would last long against a human.   

 

The guns are very powerful but the 37mm is next to useless in air-to-air apart from the odd lucky deflection. I wish I could replace it with something with a better rate and muzzle velocity like the Laggs 23mm.  Both sets of guns are very good at killing ground targets.     

 

Hating the engine as it seems to die more often than the P40. I know it is the same engine but I am finding it harder to control the temp even when I stick with combat mode. A setting that is right for Continuous mode will overheat very quickly in Combat mode in a dogfight when you lose speed then overcool when you speed up. The P40 is harder to overheat or overcool.    It also seems susceptible to breaking if you chop the throttle then throttle up fast.  I have only ever done that once before, in a mig,   but done it twice in the P-39 already.  I also broke the engine chopping the the throttle to get out of a spin because I was too slow reducing the rpm as well.   

 

OK I can learn to get round these issues but I have to wonder why I should bother.  In real life a pilot was given the plane and had no choice but to learn to deal with its weaknesses but in the game there is often a better plane sitting there.   I will persist a bit longer as I am making progress but at this point I am not convinced it will ever become a favourite unless I am purely hunting unescorted bombers or undefended ground targets or have yaks watching my back or I am flying offline where the 'improved' AI is still laughable.

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During the early part of the war in the Pacific the P-39 was being used defensively in an interceptor role.  The Japanese bombers would frequently fly at 23,000 ft and even with 30 minute warning the P-39s and P-40s were rarely capable of taking off, forming up, climbing to altitude and then positioning for an intercept.  The RAF found the same issue and rejected the P-39 (and P-40) for the ETO.  The P-39 had short range and was designed as an interceptor but failed miserably in that role.  This was the main reason the P-39 (and to a lesser extent, the P-40) were both seen as dogs by the USAAF.  The P-39 was never able to fully recover from this frankly deserved label of being a failure or disaster.

 

I have a soft spot for the P-39, for me it is right up there as one of my favourite warbirds.  But having a soft spot for it does not negate the fact it was inferior against most of it's opponents.  According to AHT, (America's Hundred Thousand) it had very poor stall characteristics that gave zero warning and had overly sensitive controls.

 

When the allies turned the tide and the P-39 was used in a more tactical low altitude air-war, it actually became quite useful for not just the VSS but the USAAF in the pacific as well.

 

If we keep within the confines of MP in BOX, one v one against a reasonably well flown 109 or 190 it has very little chance.

Edited by ICDP
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I will admit I prefer 'interesting' aircraft over easy mode buttons, but really - the P39 has fantastic armament, flexible loadouts, is a surprisingly competent ground attacker, and a middling dogfighter. Agreed, it will be outperformed, but it's hardly alone in that regard - Not many VVS aircraft can claim much versus a 109 'flown to its strength', but most 109's online are flown terribly. I've had a lot of luck with the P39 online, and if it's available it's the only craft I'll take out, handily dethroning the P40.

 

The cannon is too slow to be truly useful in a dogfight, but the ballistics are very pleasant, and it makes a fantastic tool for taking out AA and soft targets. I hit a AAA installation from 4.8km away last night. It's a pleasure to fly, a pleasure to look at, can't say I'm disappointed.

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Atm its biggest flaw is that its unclear what your engine endurance is on various settings, making it hard to push it. At least without constantly looking at your manifold pressure indicator.

 

Even with that though it seems like an effective fighter, not 'easier' than a Yak but it has some qualities in dive/manoeuvrability that no other red plane shares.

 

Its armament is very effective and deflection shots are easy, I expected to remove the wing guns every time but they seem  very much worth it adding volume to your fire/

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Only had a few berloga rounds with it for testing 3.01. But so far, I'm very happy with the way it turned out. Much better than I expected.

 

Can't seem to aim with the 37, will take time to get a feel for it. But the 50's are usually enough. Think I want a dual stage trigger.

 

I find performance adequate to exploit any mistake a co-E 109 driver makes. But you need him to make one and you can't afford one yourself, or he will quickly be on your six.  And it's in that situation the p-39 really surprised me. 

 

Scissors, not so much as it will bleed it's E quickly. But once a 109 is behind you, a barrel roll (full aileron, not much elevator) makes the  109 look sluggish. Even at low speeds. Rear vis is good enough to do this while keeping eyes on pursuer and this way I find it surprisingly easy to deny your tail a shot and force an overshoot without loosing much E. 

 

The generous dive limit is amazing to have. All in all the 39 for me was a nice surprise and it oozes character.

Edited by a_radek
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1 hour ago, Windmills said:

Atm its biggest flaw is that its unclear what your engine endurance is on various settings, making it hard to push it. At least without constantly looking at your manifold pressure indicator.

 

Even with that though it seems like an effective fighter, not 'easier' than a Yak but it has some qualities in dive/manoeuvrability that no other red plane shares.

 

Its armament is very effective and deflection shots are easy, I expected to remove the wing guns every time but they seem  very much worth it adding volume to your fire/

The aircraft's specifications are quite clear on that.

Quote

Engine modes:

Nominal (unlimited time): 2600 RPM, 37.2 inch Hg

Military power (up to 15 minutes): 3000 RPM, 42 inch Hg

Take-off power (up to 5 minutes): 3000 RPM, 51 inch Hg

Maximum Possible power (up to 2 minutes): 3000 RPM, 60 inch Hg

Unlike the P-40, the P-39 has MP regulator making life easier.

Edited by 6./ZG26_5tuka
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I very much like the way the P-39 handles, and in a dogfight with plenty of energy it is very capable. On emergency power it is a strong fighter overall with excellent dive characteristics, great handling and maneuverability - for 2-5 minutes.

 

However, on the tactical level it is a nightmare. So far I have flown five career missions in it, and they have been quite frustrating. The plane is very seriously underpowered at nominal engine mode, to the point where on a 100km leg of an escort mission our flight failed to catch up to the bomb-ladden A-20s, we were supposed to be protecting, leaving them to be decimated by 3-cannon armed 109s.

 

Dogfighting on combat power is equally frustrating, and I constantly find opponents slipping away in situations where I would certainly have caught them in a Yak or MiG.

 

 

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11 hours ago, BlitzPig_EL said:

Well, in the real thing the VVS did OK with it.

 

In the condensed world of a video game, ummm, it's a total POS.

 

The Yak 7b is a far better aircraft in the pixel world.

 

The P40 might even be better.

 

Such a disappointment.

 

Ah well.

 

 

Not sure what you were expecting from the P-39 but I'd argue against it being considered a POS.

 

Climb is a bit of a weakness but otherwise its a really good fighter with a top speed in contention with the other fighters, much better handling than I had expected, and excellent firepower. Just the twin .50cals is enough and the M4 37mm can deliver massive damage when you need it.

 

It's not a plane you just pick up and win dogfights with. It needs some time to be proficient and really know it inside and out. Four days isn't enough time to really do that.

Edited by ShamrockOneFive
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I'm finding it a bit of an enigma. In sim flight behavior contradicts almost everything I have read about the P-39 handling according to the reports in America's Hundred Thousand.

  • Very sensitive controls
    • Matches quite well in game
  • No stall warning
    • I get plenty of buffet warning in sim
  • Will readily enter a spin
    • Has to be forced into a spin in sim
  • Spin recovery was very difficult
    • In sim it will recover on it's own if you simply release the controls.
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15 minutes ago, 19//Rekt said:

 

And for peasants like me that works out to nominal being 75% / 75% on the autochat, then up to ~95% RPM and throttle to stay just out of emergency mode in combat.

 

Both military and emergency power uses 3000 rpm which is 100%

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95% pitch is what I've been using too. It will very easily over rev with throttle increases and rapid changes in airspeed. That little 5% drop in target RPM largely fixes the issues without any real impact on performance. I started doing that after I blew the engine a few times on takeoff and in zoom climbs when leaving it at 100%.

Edited by BeastyBaiter
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The cannon is useful for slow bombers and ground targets. I find I do more damage with just the two .50s in the nose of the 39 than the six 50s in the wings of the 40. Me and convergence just don't get along I guess. It isn't a game changer at all but it is another interesting character added to our story. 

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1 hour ago, 6./ZG26_5tuka said:

The aircraft's specifications are quite clear on that.

 

But unlike all other planes it does not say this in tech chat, meaning you have to look explicitly at indicators or stick to a fixed RPM and remember the throttle settings that match the power setting you want.

 

This is clearly a big drawback in a system that applies very strict limitations on engine lifetime. It makes it notably harder to confidently operate your engine at high performance (but within the limits) on an airframe like the 39.

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If you managed in the P40, then the Aircobra is like... easy mode. The nominal power is little under-performing, indeed, but combat and emergency seem to have their own timers! You can also push the combat mode to something like 46" @ 2750, which allows for 510km/h on the deck for 10m, and you will still have fresh emergency after that.

 

The P39 gains much more speed in shallow dives than the Kittyhawk and retains it for longer, too. It's way easier to extend/escape in the Aircobra. Even prospects after ending on the deck are significantly better than in the P40.

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1 hour ago, 19//Rekt said:

I've been using about 95% now because I blew my engine twice yesterday

 

I have blown it twice while on Combat power and once when on zero throttle.  The reason is that it does not like sudden changes in throttle.  The two on combat power were because I chopped throttle to avoid ramming my target then shoved it forward to 40 inches again but did it too fast.  The one on zero power was when I went into a spin and closed the throttle to recover.  It recovered within seconds and I did open it again more slowly but it still failed.   The manual says to reduce both throttle *and* rpm when entering a spin so maybe it was me leaving the rpm at 100% that killed it.

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1 hour ago, Windmills said:

 

But unlike all other planes it does not say this in tech chat, meaning you have to look explicitly at indicators or stick to a fixed RPM and remember the throttle settings that match the power setting you want.

 

This is clearly a big drawback in a system that applies very strict limitations on engine lifetime. It makes it notably harder to confidently operate your engine at high performance (but within the limits) on an airframe like the 39.

First, the manual for the P-39 gives 8 different powersettings for the engine. That obviously can not be implemented reasonably into the technochat system nor would it serve well in helping newcomers getting familiar with the power usage. That's why the indicators for combat and emergency power may appear earlier than the manual stated settings to prevent you from eventually damaging your engine unoticed. If you only go by the techno chat messages you will always run the engine in less than ideal settings providing you with respective performence.

 

Second, the power mode system (continous, combat, emergency) is not based on a step function but is transitional. This means that the for example 30min time limit for combat power only applies to the manual stated manifold pressure and RPM setting. If you go below that the time limit will increase respectively even though the technochat still shows the combat power warning. The same applies for the emergency power time limit.

Edited by 6./ZG26_5tuka
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23 hours ago, ICDP said:

I'm finding it a bit of an enigma. In sim flight behavior contradicts almost everything I have read about the P-39 handling according to the reports in America's Hundred Thousand.

  • Very sensitive controls
    • Matches quite well in game
  • No stall warning
    • I get plenty of buffet warning in sim
  • Will readily enter a spin
    • Has to be forced into a spin in sim
  • Spin recovery was very difficult
    • In sim it will recover on it's own if you simply release the controls.

 

The Americans also thought the 109 was a [Edited] plane. I wouldn't trust American opinions on aviation design of this era. 

Edited by Bearcat
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Well, it was a very dated design, had a far too cramped cockpit, very limited radius of action, horrid landing gear arrangement, and a dangerous canopy opening arrangement as well.

Not to say it was not successful in expert hands, and it had competitive performance, at least on paper.   But still it was always a point interceptor at heart, and the ways that wars were fought as time progressed simply left it's design philosophy behind.  If the 190s high altitude performance could have been improved early on there would have been no reason to continue with the 109 series.  Given Germany's dire raw materials and manufacturing situation it would have made a lot of sense to completely standardize on one type.

 

A DB605 powered 190 would have been a far better aircraft than the 109.

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48 minutes ago, 6./ZG26_5tuka said:

First, the manual for the P-39 gives 8 different powersettings for the engine.

 

Engine modes:

Nominal (unlimited time): 2600 RPM, 37.2 inch Hg

Military power (up to 15 minutes): 3000 RPM, 42 inch Hg

Take-off power (up to 5 minutes): 3000 RPM, 51 inch Hg

Maximum Possible power (up to 2 minutes): 3000 RPM, 60 inch Hg

 

Where do you get 8 powersettings from? There's 4 according to the specifications.

 

I'm not sure if we're understanding each other here. The techno chat gives different modes than the manual suggest. This seems like an inconcistency compared to other planes, as there's fewer modes in technochat and they don't even have the same names.

 

This is at the very least unintuitive and probably confusing as well for a lot of people. It somewhat beats the point technochat, which ought to be giving you clear indications of what you can expect your engine endurance to be.

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I like it. Not a PoS in my opinion but is a steep learning curve. Fits very nicely into a mid-'43 scenario in terms of strengths / weaknesses and emphasizes that the improvements in the VVS was as much pilots and tactics as aircraft.

 

Shame we could not get an epic 23mm as a mod for the nose, but looks like the VVS kept the original 37mm

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Just now, BlitzPig_EL said:

Not to say it was not successful in expert hands, and it had competitive performance, at least on paper.   But still it was always a point interceptor at heart, and the ways that wars were fought as time progressed simply left it's design philosophy behind.

 

The 109 already showed significant limitations at The Battle of Britain, as LW was not able to provide sufficient air cover for bombers.

 

Just now, EAF19_Marsh said:

Shame we could not get an epic 23mm as a mod for the nose, but looks like the VVS kept the original 37mm

 

I was, even if foolishly, expecting the variant with 20mm Hispano as a mod - I think Soviets had a hundred or two of them. We got the 37mm M80 AP and 4000 rounds load for 30 cals instead, which was kind of surprising...

 

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The Hispano armed models were "D" versions (P400 in US service after the RAF cancelled the rest of their order) that were originally sent to the RAF.  I would rather have that gun myself. 

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1 hour ago, GridiroN said:

 

The Americans also thought the 109 was a shit plane. I wouldn't trust American opinions on aviation design of this era. 

 

I'm not sure if you are trolling or not?

18 minutes ago, Ehret said:

 

The 109 already showed significant limitations at The Battle of Britain, as LW was not able to provide sufficient air cover for bombers.

 

 

I was, even if foolishly, expecting the variant with 20mm Hispano as a mod - I think Soviets had a hundred or two of them. We got the 37mm M80 AP and 4000 rounds load for 30 cals instead, which was kind of surprising...

 

 

The 109E range was the only significant problem during the BoB.  Had a drop tank been available earlier it would have given the 109E a more significant range and endurance.

 

The P400 was the P-39 with a Hispano, and it had a significantly lower power output than the L variant we got.

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Me109 was better then anything american all the way until 1944 really. At least in its role of frontline fighter.

 

Regarding p39, its pretty good but only for 5 minutes. It isnt better or worse when compared to a yak7b on average imo. Perhaps yak1b is slightly better but it loses in weapons by a large margin.

Edited by Max_Damage
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5 hours ago, 6./ZG26_5tuka said:

The aircraft's specifications are quite clear on that.

Unlike the P-40, the P-39 has MP regulator making life easier.

You mean automatic manifold pressure regulator? AFAIK it has been installed only from P-39M model onwards.

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