Know Your War Planes (Jan, 1942)

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Know Your War Planes

The engines push instead of pull—
Three wheels for short alighting;
Two cannon and machine guns too,
Keep Airacuda fighting!

A thousand horses and some more—
A long and slender nose,
A prop-shaft cannon flies for war
Where Airacobra goes!

It’s flying in England, it’s flying right here—
Its nose is a bit of a shorty.
With guns and a cannon it’s something to fear,
Formidable Curtiss P-40.

Twelve hundred horses ‘neath the cowl
Short wings that quickly answer
When pilots climb this stubby owl,
So rightly called the Lancer.

Twenty tons of flying boat—
“Has more than twenty gun”

She flies the “out to sea patrol”
This Martin PBM-1.

A giant wing with slots and flaps,
A landing gear that’s high;

A takeoff run that’s nearly none,
The Ryan Dragonfly.

Four engines hurl the tapered wings
Across the topmost skies,
Its turrets guard the bombs it brings
When Flying Fortress flies!

A clockwise prop and counter prop,
A speed that’s almost frightening—
Lockheed calls it P-38
But Britain calls it Lightning!

6 comments
  1. Stephen says: March 22, 20137:31 am

    The P-39 Airacobra had an engine mounted in the middle of the aircraft, in an attempt to get better weight distribution, driving the propellor in the nose through a long shaft. This layout caused a lot of problems, and pilots had a much less complimentary verse about the aircraft than the one given above:
    Don’t give me a P-39
    With an engine that’s mounted behind,
    It’ll tumble and roll,
    And dig a big hole,
    Don’t give me a P-39.

  2. Hirudinea says: March 22, 20138:27 am

    @ Stephen – The Russians loved the P-39.

  3. JMyint says: March 22, 201311:10 am

    The P-39 had a 37mm auto cannon that fired through the propeller hub. That was the reason for the mid-mounted engine. It also had tricycle landing gear that made landings easier. Though designed as an interceptor the poor high altitude performance of its Allison v-12 kept it out of this role, but the massive fire power of the 37mm, 2-.50 cal, and 4-.30 cal machine guns made it an excellent ground attack and close support aircraft.

  4. Toronto says: March 22, 201312:53 pm

    My father used to be involved in the Ground Observer Corp and had flash cards, models, etc, to train the various farmers and such who made up the Corps. He never mentioned any mnemonic verses, however.

  5. mcubstead says: March 23, 20135:45 am

    I didn’t know the P-38 was in the inventory in 1942, learn something every day

  6. JMyint says: March 24, 20134:57 pm

    I wonder why they included the Airacuda in this, only thirteen were ever built. By early 1942 they were stricken from the rolls as active aircraft and scrapped in March of that year.

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