WWII Aircraft Question...

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by HollowHead, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. HollowHead

    HollowHead Firm member

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    I recall only seeing US aircraft fielded in polished aluminum. Broke out my Jane's last night and couldn't find any Luftwaffe, IJN, USSR or RAF that weren't painted. Anyone know why? Thanks, HH

    Edited to add: I did see a shiny JU-87, but it was a pre-war Lufthansa civil.
     
  2. FLIPPER 348

    FLIPPER 348 Bigfoot enthusiast enthusiast

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    Our bombers & escort fighters did not benifit from camouflage as they were at altitude while the German aircraft did
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
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  3. GlocknSpiehl

    GlocknSpiehl NRA Life Member

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    Many US planes were painted, especially bombers and some fighters. I think the reason for not painting fighters like the Mustang and Lightening was to trade weight for speed. Paint does add weight so by leaving it off they could gain a couple of MPH advantage. The reason for painting was to tell friend from foe at a distance or in formations, if I had to guess.
     
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  4. RonS

    RonS Millennium Member

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  5. G29guy06

    G29guy06

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  6. BillKilgore

    BillKilgore

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    Later in the war, the bombers were left in polished aluminum to make them more visible to enemy fighters.

    Remember, we were in a war of attrition and gaining the upper hand. Our goal was to clear the sky of enemy aircraft. The bombers were used as bait to lure enemy fighters up. There was probably a degree of psychological warfare seeing a thousand bombers overhead and no way to stop them.
     
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  7. SC Tiger

    SC Tiger As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

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    IIRC most B-17s were painted, but the B29 was a higher altitude bomber that wasn't.
    Plus the P51 gave us a fighter with the legs to protect them all the way to Germany and back. Truly a "pick your poison" moment for the Luftwaffa.
     
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  8. maxmanta

    maxmanta

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    Lower cost/less weight/less drag.

    Later in the war it wasn't necessary.
     
  9. RonS

    RonS Millennium Member

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    Paint cost money. Bullets or butter. Paint or avgas.
     
  10. Hauptmann6

    Hauptmann6

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    Not painting saved alot of weight. Less weight in paint means more gas/bullets/bombs.
     
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  11. SJ 40

    SJ 40 Deplorable,Clinger

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    My favorite in all her polished glory P 51-D,Big Beautiful Doll,long may she live in our hearts. SJ 40

     
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  12. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie

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    Air Superiority means you own the air and don't need to worry about hiding or breaking up lines or if your wings are now silver (alum).

    Before air superiority was achieved however, added paint was wise...
     
  13. G23c

    G23c

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    wartime financial sacrifice ... cheaper than chrome!
     
  14. bipe215

    bipe215

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    It was aluminum. But it wasn't polished. No point in that.
     
  15. SmokeRoss

    SmokeRoss GTDS Member #49

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    B17's were left unpainted at the end of WW2.
     
  16. BobbyS

    BobbyS Truth always sounds like lies to a sinner

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    drag on painted planes. especially the way they painted them in the military.
     
  17. Al Czervik

    Al Czervik

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    WWII paint was heavy compared to today's paint.
    A C 180/185 full paint is in the 30 pound neighborhood. I would imagine a full paint P-51 would be in the 60-70 pound neighborhood. Bare, that's an extra 10+ gallons of get home.
     
  18. AK_Stick

    AK_Stick AAAMAD

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    I think it was more about extra finishing time than anything else.


    Given their HP outputs, I don't think a P51 was really going to notice a couple of pounds of paint. They were already flying with full tanks, so not painting didn't really give them any more fuel.

    And it's worth noting that when properly done (primed and sanded, paint and sanding) paint can actually increase airspeed. But that stuff takes time.
     
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  19. F14Scott

    F14Scott Luggage CLM

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    I don't know if it makes a difference at piston-engine velocities, but guys who flew glossy Tomcats said there was a marked performance difference vice when low-vis grey paint was ordered to be used in about 1992.

    I also know a pilot who would personally apply Vaseline to the bare-metal leading edges of the Tomcat before ACM hops, his experience being that the smoother edge led to higher AOA available before stall.
     
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  20. Glocks and Garands

    Glocks and Garands CLM

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    On a side note, I read somewhere that the German troops had respect for Jabos (fighter bombers). If it was silver it is American, if it is green and gray on top and light blue on the bottom it is British, if it is invisible it is German.
     
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