ACCESS: Top Secret
- 16 January 2008
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The XP-79 wasn't, and certainly not the P-78 either!!!saturncanuck said:The XP-78 was NEVER intended to shoot down enemy planes by ramming them!
Stargazer2006 said:The XP-79 wasn't, and certainly not the P-78 either!!!saturncanuck said:The XP-78 was NEVER intended to shoot down enemy planes by ramming them!
On a serious note, the very notion that an aircraft with such a prominent glazed cockpit could be used for "ramming" enemy aircraft is so ludicrous I'm even surprise anyone could have come up with it!!! I could be wrong but I would be inclined to believe that the names "Ram Wing" and "Flying Ram" used to describe the MX-334/-324 and XP-79B aircraft refered more to their shape than an actual projected mission...
VictorXL188 said:I have to admit that my previous employers, Aerospace Publishing, probably did something to perpetuate the ramming myth of the XP-79, when in a publication in the 1980s, ie pre-internet days, they published an artwork showing a production P-79 (or should that be F-79) ramming the tail of a Tu-16 Badger!
Continuous delays in the development of a suitable rocket motor ultimately led to a decision to abandon that particular phase of the project and proceed with a turbojet-powered modification. In March 1943, plans were made to add two Westinghouse 19-B (J30) axial flow turbojets to the craft and its designation became XP-79B.
At this juncture the XP-79B acquired a new mission and a new nickname, the Flying Ram or the Ram Wing. There were persistent reports of angry Soviet and Japanese pilots deliberately ramming their opponents—often when they were out of ammunition, and this appears to have led to the Ram Wing concept designed to be capable of neatly chopping off an enemy’s tail ten times a day.
Original specifications for the XP-79 do not appear to mention ramming enemy aircraft as a mission requirement, but pilots associated with the MX-324 programme recall that ramming was indeed the primary mission of the XP-79B. In Jack Northrop’s words, ‘It was designed as a projectile, with the thought that it could be used to intercept and knock wings or tails off other airplanes. Rather than shooting at them, this airplane was going to slice sections off the other airplanes to destroy them."
It is possible that the unusually high impact strength resulting from the magnesium construction might have provided Air Force planners with a rare opportunity to explore a concept of aerial warfare seldom practiced except in extremis. In retrospect, a tactic of such a desperate nature would seem unwarranted in view of the fact that in 1945 the US Army Air Forces had total command of the skies in every theatre of war and mid-air collisions as a tactic would seem highly unrealistic. It is doubtful that many American pilots had the skill or motivation to manoeuvre their aircraft in such a precise manner to collide with their opponents and return home intact.