|This page is about the Chinese fighter P-43A-1 (China). For the American version, see P-43A-1.|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The ␗P-43A-1 is a rank II Chinese fighter with a battle rating of 3.0 (AB) and 2.7 (RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision".
The P-43 was started as a private venture by the Seversky Aircraft Company (later known as Republic) which sought to improve upon its earlier fighter design the P-35. Several design changes turned this fighter into a good platform of which made the leap to the younger sibling, the P-47. The P-43 in its own right during 1940 when introduced to the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) was the only fighter which excelled at high-altitude performance due to its belly-mounted turbo-supercharger and an effective oxygen system to sustain the pilot at those heights.
Much like its predecessor and successor, the P-43 is a heavy fighter with a large engine which fills the role of a fighter/interceptor. Japanese aircraft at this rank can still outturn the P-43, but if used properly as a Boom & Zoom fighter, there should not be any need to turn fight. Priorities are to gain altitude and then be selective of the targets. Use diving speeds to zip in, shoot the enemy aircraft and then pull up and climb away. Resist the temptation of immediately turning back and finishing off an aircraft which was missed or wounded as doing so will only cause the P-43 to bleed energy it needs to work at its optimum. As a last resort, if caught in a situation where you need to dogfight, do so, but look for a way out so that you don't become easy pickings for another enemy pilot.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 7,600 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear|
|Wings (km/h)||Gear (km/h)||Flaps (km/h)||Max Static G|
|Optimal velocities (km/h)|
|< 370||< 400||< 440||> 270|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|7,620 m||1,100 hp||1,199 hp|
Survivability and armour
- 9.5mm steel plate behind pilot seat
- 38mm bulletproof glass, armoured windscreen
Critical components such as the pilot, engine and aircraft controls are clustered fairly close from the mid-fuselage to the nose. The aircraft also has fuel tanks located in the wings close to the fuselage which if ignited are quite difficult to extinguish.
Play to the P-43's speed and manoeuvrability to Boom & Zoom and avoid enemy fighters to get the upper hand, as the P-43 cannot take too many shells before a critical component fails, the pilot is knocked out, fuel fire burns the plane or a wing snaps off.
Modifications and economy
The P-43A-1 (China) is armed with:
- 2 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, nose-mounted (200 rpg = 400 total)
- 2 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, wing-mounted (200 rpg = 400 total)
The P-43 features 4 x 12.7 mm Browning M2 machine guns all holding 200 rounds of ammunition, meaning that all guns fire at the same rate and will empty out at the same time. Although two of the machine guns are mounted in the nose cowl and are synced to fire through the propeller arch the other two guns are each mounted in the wings.
Having the wing-mounted machine guns will require the pilot to consider their convergence range with 200 – 350 m being the ideal distance, depending on what the pilot is comfortable with. If the pilot tends to fly right on the tail of the enemy aircraft, then a 200 m convergence can be devastating especially when catching the enemy in a banking climb. For those pilots who tend to be a little ways off when firing, then a convergence of about 300 – 350 should work best.
Usage in battles
P-43 pilots should climb at the beginning of a match. A climb angle of about 25 degrees should work fine. Aim to reach 4000 m before leveling out and gaining speed. Generally, the Lancer will be pitted against Japanese fighters.
As previously alluded to, the P-43 is a great fighter due to its turbo-supercharger in that with altitude, it can be devastating. The P-43 is a heavy hitter and can be used for both Boom & Zoom tactics or as a bomber hunter. While still a fairly manoeuvrable aircraft, it is suggested to avoid turn-fighting especially with Bf 109s and A6M Zeros which will dance around the P-43.
The four .50 calibre machine guns are the perfect platform for P-43 as a Boom & Zoom fighter. With diving speeds, the P-43 can race down and attack an enemy aircraft and then with full throttle can climb right back up to the perch where it was. Any enemy aircraft testing fate by climbing up after you, will most likely run out of energy and stall out, floating helplessly waiting for gravity to take over. At this point, the P-43 can rudder over with its large tail rudder and once again dive, but at this point will have a quite stationary target to eliminate. Once dispatched, the P-43 should climb right back up to its observation altitude and look for its next target.
One challenge of flying a fighter aircraft is the ability to climb higher altitudes to get to bombers. Many fighters simply do not have any superchargers or turbo-superchargers which allow it to continue to climb in the thinner air. The P-43 was outfitted with one such turbo-supercharger and therefore can easily get up to bomber altitude and pick off any pesky bombers orbiting ground targets. While the P-43 does not have any armour and can easily be disabled with a few machine gun rounds, it is advised to come at most bombers from the front, from above or from the side where many bombers tend to be the weakest in armament. It is important to attack critical components on the bomber such as the engines or the pilot as many bomber bodies and wings can easily soak up a large number of 12.7 mm rounds before systems begin to fail. As a bomber interceptor, it is important that you are attacking a bomber for the shortest amount of time possible because of their ability to shoot back.
For those aircraft which find themselves facing a P-43 in combat, head-on encounters can work to take out an engine or the pilot, but beware of the 4 x .50 calibre machine guns pointing at you, typically fire off some rounds at range and then take evasive manoeuvres setting up for an Immelmann or a Split-S right before or right after passing so to get your guns on target before the P-43 has a chance to manoeuvre or zoom away. If you are lucky to catch a P-43 pilot in a turn fight, maximize your turns with flaps and throttle control and it should not be long before you are in a situation where you have a firing solution and dispatch the aircraft. If you can bleed the P-43's energy, then there will not be many options left for that pilot and leave you holding all the important cards in the deck.
- The most dangerous enemies will be Ki-43s, A6Ms, Spitfires, P-40's, Bf-109's and Ki-61s.
The limited ammo means trigger discipline is important - something made a bit easier by the poor armour of those enemies. Use stealth belts. 400 m convergence is recommended, and you will want to wait until you are 0.5 km away to start firing. In a good pilot's hands, a P-43 can easily take out 5 enemy aircraft. However, if not played with a boom and zoom tactic, it is a sitting duck. The P-43 is a good plane for pilots the offers a great learning step towards the P-47.
- In simulator, the P-43 is overall good to fly. It is quite fast and climbs good, and can easily dive to >500 kph while still having responsive controls. It has sufficient visibility over the nose, but its cockpit is like a cage with thick frames at the sides and front, significantly limiting your visibility. When you circle above an area hoping to find a target, the horizontal piece of frame will always get into your way which forces you to roll the entire plane just to look out to the side. Its razorback design also means poor backwards visibility which can be fatal. You might hear the plane behind you, but you can barely see it.
- During takeoff, its propeller starts off really slowly so patiently wait until it is spinning, then add throttle. It is easy to land as well, thanks to its strong gears it can withstand some heavy touch downs from beginners. You can also brake all the way until it stops and not worry about striking the propeller into the ground.
- The P-43 performs adequately as an interceptor but not so well as a dogfighter, due to the fact that low-tier battles are always turnfights which is something the P-43 lacks. Its rather low one-second burst mass means that in the common short firing windows in a dogfight, the P-43 usually cannot effectively damage the enemy fighter as it passes in front of your guns. Therefore your priority should be destroying AI surveillance aircraft, intercepting AI / human bombers and attackers, and wiping out ground pounders.
Manual Engine Control
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
|Separate|| Not controllable
Pros and cons
- Efficient armament of 4 x .50 calibre Browning M2 machine guns
- Late Browning belts packs heavy firepower
- High red-line speed; 725 kph, does not compress too badly after 650 kph
- Decent energy retention for Boom & Zoom operations
- Excellent turn time, can turn with anything but biplanes and Japanese fighters
- Good performance at altitude thanks to a turbocharger
- Engine runs reliably during leaks
- Very durable
- Long take off due to heavy aircraft
- Somewhat underwhelming climb rate
- Slow acceleration overall
- Extremely low ammunition count
- Overheats quickly, back off of WEP and don't run at 100% as needed
- Somewhat low roll rate
The Seversky Aircraft Company (later known as Republic), was trying to break into the fighter aircraft manufacture scene. In the early to mid-1930s, Seversky designed, developed and built the P-35 fighter aircraft. This aircraft was featured in competition with the Curtiss Hawk 75 (P-36), whereas compared to the Hawk, the P-35 was heavier, underperformed and more expensive, but resulted in being the overall winner and the USAAC contracted with Seversky to build fighters. Unfortunately, Seversky ran into production issues and was not able to produce the P-35 in a timely manner resulting Curtiss being awarded a contract also for the P-36.
Undeterred, Seversky believed they were developing a fighter which could find a way as a main fighter with the USAAC. In 1939, Seversky changed its name to Republic and began to privately modify their design of the P-35, working through known issues and enhancing those qualities which worked well for the fighter. After five iterations, the AP-4 came about; its improvements and differences came from a new Pratt & Whitney R-1830-SC2G engine which featured a belly-mounted turbo-supercharger. Interesting note was that the turbo-supercharger was a product of Boeing which they developed for the B-17 and when other aircraft companies became aware of this device, they sought to implement it with their aircraft to enable fighters the ability to perform at high altitude (future fighters such as the P-38 and P-47). The AP-4 also featured flush rivets (added aerodynamics), fully retractable landing gear.
Unfortunately, the AP-4 prototype also had a tight cowl fitted to the aircraft which lead to overheating and engine catching on fire resulting in the pilot bailing out and the loss of the aircraft. Undeterred, the USAAC was impressed with the demonstration fighter and put in an order for 13 more. At this time, the AP-4's designation was changed to YP-43. By 1941, the initial 13 aircraft were delivered and has exceeded all expectations of the USAAC, the fighter was considered obsolete compared to other aircraft of the time due to lack of armour, limited manoeuvrability and no self-sealing fuel tanks. Further USAAC interest in the P-43 fizzled out as they began a hard look at Republic's new venture, the P-47.
Production issues with the P-47 resulted in the USAAC ordering upgraded P-43J fighters which featured an upgraded engine and .50 calibre guns in the wings (as opposed to the .30 calibre used on earlier versions). Unfortunately the USAAC started receiving reports from Europe that the new P-43 would be obsolete by the time it was delivered and therefore the order was cancelled. At this point, Republic's production line was rolling with P-47, however Pratt & Whitney was behind with their engine production causing production of the P-47s to halt. To keep the work moving, a lend-lease agreement with China was made to produce 125 P-43A-1 fighters. Very little difference was between the Chinese fighters and the others built by Republic except that the Chinese versions had added armour plates in the cockpit. During combat between China and Japan, the Chinese P-43s did not perform well and it was determined that the additional armour in the cockpit did not make a difference.
Usage in China
As early as May 1939, the interest in the P-43A-1 was showing when DR H.H. Kung, the president of China's Executive Yuan (A "Head of Cabinet" position usually held by Chiang Kai-Shek), inquired to John H. Jouett, the former head of the Unofficial U.S. Air Mission in China, as to the validity of whether "Seversky's guarantee of 320 mph is correct" in relating to the P-35 ordered by China. Some weeks later, Kung brought up a new issue with Seversky's fighter with U.S. diplomats after the subsequent cancellation of the "Patterson Contract" (A contract which would introduce Fifty-Four Seversky P-35 Fighters to China) and the arising difficulties resulting from it. In that meeting, Kung received a letter from Willys R. Peck providing addition information, initially containing diplomatic "niceties" but went on further to seemingly "tweak" the Chinese for cancelling their order of P-35 fighters, with later denying the obtaining of the P-43 in any prospect. The letter read as:
"On what seems to be the best authority I learn that in 1936 the American War Department purchased a number of Seversky planes of the type P-35A – EP1, that they are still in service, and that they have been entirely satisfactory. Just recently, the War Department has contracted with the Seversky Company for some pursuit planes of the type YP-43 – AP-4A, similar to the ones mentioned but with later developments that make them unavailable for export, because these developments are regarded as military secrets"
With this letter, it seemingly ended any possibility of the P-43 going to China, but even as U.S. diplomats and export control officials were critical on China's handling of the "Patterson Contract", U.S. foreign policy, as well as export control policy was changing. In 1938, the State Department approved more export sales for Japan than for China, and in 1939 the licenses valued at around $5 million were approved for China whole, for Japan, the approvals were valued at under $800,000, a tenth of the previous year's approvals. In December of 1940, Brig. General Mow Pang-Tsu, as well as other representatives of the Chinese Purchasing Mission met with Joseph Green, a part of the State Department's Division of Controls, presenting a list of fighter aircraft that China was interested in acquiring, the now Republic P-43 being included.
Introduced by Congress in January of the next year, the "Lend-Lease Act" was enacted in March of the same year. By that time, Britain's supply of Hard Currency was depleted, and the act ensured that continuous provisions of War Materials would continue with an absent of immediate payment. In April of 1941, President Roosevelt finally authorized China for the Lend-Lease Act, administering $125 million in aid the following June. In this aid was finally the Republic P-43A, so sought after by China from the fall of the "Patterson Contract". That same June in 1941, a contract for 125 Republic P-43A-1s funded by the Lend-Lease Act was enacted, although Republic Aviation was still filling the USAAF's contracts on their Lancers, which pushed production of the Chinese P-43s to late-1941, with the last one being delivered in March of 1942. These aircraft were shipped to China via Karachi, India in Early-1942, with Thirty aircraft arriving on March 20th, but by April 1st many other airframes were in various stages of shipment, with 57 P-43A-1s at sea in the Atlantic, and a further Twenty-One awaiting shipment at ports.
Once the aircraft arrived in Karachi, it wasn't quick to get them in the air. At the airfield, Malir, the aircraft were taken out of their crates and test flown, a process seemingly taking ages as Karachi was littered with activity, the Japanese having invaded Burma in March of 1942 and was close to its eventual capture. It wasn't until April 1942 that the aircraft were finally ready to be handed over to ferrying Chinese pilots for their final leg to China. Most, if not all, ferrying pilots were from the 4th Group of the Chinese Air Force (CAF), the group selected to first received the new plane. Additionally, they received help from the American Volunteer Group (AVG) in ferrying the planes. Although details are obscured, there are indications that the ferrying didn't go well. During the ferrying process, on April 24th, Deputy Commander Wu Zhenhua of the 4th Group's 24th Squadron was killed during a flight between Karachi and Kunming. Unfortunately, the Americans didn't keep records on the flights by the CAF, and it is unknown if the CAF kept detailed records, but one source estimates as much as 50% of ferried P-43s failed to reach China.
According to Col. Robert L. Scott, P-43's en route to China developed fuel leaks, and combined with the large turbo-charger underneath the aircraft combined to create a large fire hazard. Having been ditched by China, the Americans took the aircraft and made temporary repairs on the fuel tanks, Scott himself taking the aircraft up for familiarization flights as well as scouting missions, escorting transport planes over Burma between April and May, and even found time to fly over the Himalayas, capturing motion picture footage of Mt. Everest. However, the leaks persisted and were subsequently grounded, most if not all the aircraft still most likely retaining American National markings on prior to arrival in China. Despite the many setbacks and the death of Wu, as well as the abandonment of many fighters, the aircraft arrived in Kunming by Early-May. This is evident by the unfortunate death of Flight Commander Chen Lokun of the 24th Squadron, when on May 12th, he crashed during a landing attempt after a training flight at Kunming. Around the same time, Three A.V.G pilots arrived with seven Chinese pilots on a delivery flight of Sixteen P-43s, only Ten having made it to Kunming. By June 4th, 1942, the U.S. Status Reports showed that Eighty-Seven P-43s had been delivered, Fifty-Eight having been assembled, Fifty-Four tested, and the same number having been delivered to Karachi, with two having been lost during test flights. In July of that same year, the Lancer flown by renowned fighter pilot, and 4th Group Commander Cheng Hsiao-Yu had caught fire, resulting in his death.
These accidents during their delivery flights to Kunming resulted in General Mow, then serving as the Commander of the CAF, asserting that the aircraft we "Unsuitable for Combat Usage", and on July 2nd, the Senior U.S. Aviation Officer in the China, Burma, and India Theater Brig. General Cayton Bissell wrote to Cheng Kai-Shek regarding the P-43, including General Mow's opinion on the aircraft, as well the willingness of China to relinquish the airframes in favour of more suitable aircraft. However, Bissell was adamant on not knowing the movements of the aircraft, as they were under the command of the CAF, and asserted that sending these "unsuitable aircraft" to China would not move the war effort along. Bissell went on to point out that the engine in the P-43, the Wright R-1830, could be repurposed in transport aircraft like the C-47 and C-53 to help move supplies to China to help with the war effort on those fronts, and went to recommend that the U.S. reclaim the P-43s, as well as any spares, from India and their engines be used in transports.
In the end, all P-43s were grounded, although not all of the aircraft were removed. In a letter from the U.S. Ambassador to China Clarence E Gauss, the situation at Kunming was brought up to the State Department in July 1942:
"Summary of the P-43 situation on July 5th: Col. Wang Commander of the 5th Air Force reports 35 arrived Kunming of which 4 crashed with total loss, 17 damaged in landings, need repairs, 14 in flying condition. Drummond Republic Aviation Corporation representative has just completed repairs to gas tank leaks on the 14 now serviceable planes using Fairprene cement of which supply wasting and reordered from the United States. Damages ascribed to rough landings, jarring rivets and seams of tanks and by reflection on wings, also over filled tanks in sun. I saw 12 P-43s flying in formation and practicing ground strafing at the field on the 6th."
Not all serviceable P-43s remained in India, however, after the order of salvaging their engines. Ten having ben turned over to Chennault for usage in China with two more, possibly the ones Scott used during April-May 1942, being destroyed in a ground attack by the Japanese in October of 1942. After its initial setback, the P-43 finally entered combat on August 17th, 1942. While there is little activity of combat usage between July and early August, during a flight to the 75th Fighter Squadron's new home Kweilin, two P-40s and two P-43s intercepted a Japanese intruder reported by the warning net. While the P-40s were to reach their target, the P-43's made contact with the aircraft. Lt. Phillip B. O'Connell was able to get within range of what he called an "I-45", only for his radio to malfunction and his guns to jam. What ensued was a high-speed chase with what is believed to be a Type 100 Reconnaissance aircraft, including dives, climbs, and straight runs with the aircraft. Lt. Burrell Barnum was able to finally get in close after the chase, but never close enough to inflict any damage on the aircraft. Reported by Barnum, the aircraft was equal to the P-43 in speed at 20,000 ft.
During their service with the CAF, the P-43 was credited, with P-40s, for taking part in multiple missions, some resulting in kills for the pilots at hand. By New Years of 1943, though, the aircraft's time was coming and would prove to be the final year of combat usage for the aircraft in China. Due to the limited supply in China, the P-43 was usually used as a single-plane flight during "mundane" missions such as weather reconnaissance and communications. The former seemed to be a 'specialty' for the P-43 with flights between Kunming and Hanoi. By May 1944, the Chinese had a total of twenty P-43 aircraft, but a year later had grown to twenty-eight. By August of 1945, however, the aircraft were no longer included as a major strength in the Chinese Air Force's arsenal.
Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:
- reference to the series of the aircraft;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
- Dunn, Richard L. Republic P-43 Lancer and China's Air War. Warbird Forum. 2004, Website
|Republic Aviation Corporation|
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