Fun military stories

Fun military stories

Postby Lighthawk » Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:10 am

Pair of interesting tales I ran across on Tv Tropes. Can't really vouch for their accuracy beyond the fact that no one has edited them off the site, but they are amusing. If anyone has some of their own to share, post em up.

The P-47 Thunderbolt was the largest single-engine fighter of World War II, known as the "Jug" on account of its shape. Gained 3,752 air-to-air kills (3,499 were lost to all causes). Seriously, seriously rugged. One pilot, Robert S. Johnson, sustained serious damage to his aircraft over France on 26 June 1943-including a fire. Unable to open his canopy, he managed to regain control. He heads for the channel, then gets a German FW-190 fighter (probably ace Egon Mayer, who was killed by another Thunderbolt after reaching 102 kills) arrive and empty his entire machine-gun capacity at the American pilot, who tries to move around a bit, but doesn't really succeed. The aircraft still stays going and the German leaves, saluting him by rocking his wings. Johnson gets back to the UK, lands safely and counts the bullet holes. After getting to 200 without even moving around the aircraft-he gave up.


In a nonfiction book of his (Armored Cav), Tom Clancy recounted a story of an Abrams tank in the Gulf War. Having been immobilized by an enemy shot while deep in hostile territory, the crew of the tank found themselves in what military experts would call "a crappy situation". In the space of thirty seconds or so the immobilized tank destroyed four enemy tanks, two of which got shots off, hitting the tank but completely bouncing off of its proprietary DU-laced armor. When reinforcements arrived they decided it was too much trouble to lug the tank back, and decided to destroy it on site. The American tanks took turns shooting another 8 or 9 times before the turret was penetrated, detonating the ammo stocks-which had little effect due to the blowout hatches installed. The tank's turret was taken back to the US for analysis while the chassis was refit with another turret and returned to action in a week. This tank's a God-damned "Battlemech".
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Re: Fun military stories

Postby Tyyr » Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:21 am

As far as I'm aware of both stories are true.
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Re: Fun military stories

Postby USSEnterprise » Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:36 am

Hey, America really CAN build decent stuff
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Re: Fun military stories

Postby stitch626 » Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:38 am

I heard of the P-47 one when in my history of flight class.

Amazed me at the time. Then again, not every plane was built as bad as a Zero.
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Re: Fun military stories

Postby Mikey » Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:45 pm

The Flying Milk Jug was an amazingly resilient aircraft.

@ Stitch - the Mitsubishi Zero-Sen was not badly-built. It's main problem was that it wasn't upgraded. Remember that the Zero was a pre-war design; when it was designed lack of armor, lack of self-sealing tanks, lack of armored glass, lack of a bubble canopy, etc., etc., weren't failings - those things didn't exist in aircraft. Part of the reason not to up-armor and up-gun the Zero-Sen was a philosophical one - Japanese thinking of the time was to discount lengthy survivability and firepower in favor of evasiveness. Remember that the maneuverability of the Zero was the yardstick used for a plane's agility throughout the PTO. There were two things which later, into the war, made the Zero look worse for wear: 1) the Americans, with some British engine tech here and there, started making heavier-hitting and better armored aircraft which could passably fight in the air with the Zero; and, 2) American pilot ingenuity in using the advantages of heavier American aircraft against the weaknesses of the Zero - ceiling and dive rate, most notably.

Of course, much later in the war the Japanese were too pressed economically to start altering production lines or design new aircraft.
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Re: Fun military stories

Postby stitch626 » Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:55 pm

Ah, thanks for clearing that up. Textbook never covered Japanese planes much (figures :roll: ).
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Re: Fun military stories

Postby Tyyr » Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:05 pm

The Zero represented a conscious trade off giving up survivability for maneuverability. It's not entirely incorrect to think that a more maneuverable plane would be able to avoid a lot of fire and not need the survivability options.

The problem is that the state of the art for the US Navy when the Zero was designed was this:
Image

But by the time the war got about 2/3rds through it was this:
Image

They never upgraded the thing significantly and it was essentially a pre-war aircraft. About 30 years of aircraft advancement was squeezed into half a decade.
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Re: Fun military stories

Postby Tsukiyumi » Sat Nov 20, 2010 3:09 pm

IIRC, the Zero also had more range than pretty much any other fighter throughout the war.
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Re: Fun military stories

Postby Tyyr » Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:53 am

Yeah, it had fantastic range because it didn't weigh anything.
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Re: Fun military stories

Postby Mikey » Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:12 am

Didn't it also have a naturally-aspirated engine? Superchargers of the time bled a lot of hp, so that would give it increased range in comparison.
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Re: Fun military stories

Postby Tsukiyumi » Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:40 am

It had a range of almost 2,000 miles, IIRC. I don't think any of our stuff came close.

Of course, the Japanese relied more heavily on fixed airbases, so I'm not sure if the range was an intended aspect of design, or a byproduct of the weight/engine type.
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Re: Fun military stories

Postby Reliant121 » Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:16 am

The range made it an excellent early combatant and escort for the slower craft from carriers but it was hopelessly outclassed later by anything launched by a US carrier. It was fast, true, but it was as thin as paper IIRC.
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Re: Fun military stories

Postby Mikey » Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:05 pm

Except it wasn't that fast, especially in the climb - higher altitudes made it gasp. It's key factor was agility, not speed.
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Re: Fun military stories

Postby Reliant121 » Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:07 pm

Really? I was always under the impression she was fairly fast. Go figure, I guess.
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Re: Fun military stories

Postby Mikey » Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:51 pm

Reliant121 wrote:Really? I was always under the impression she was fairly fast. Go figure, I guess.


IIRC, about 315 - 320 mph... at only 16,000 ft.
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