Talk:North American A-36 Apache

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Aircraft Name[edit]

I came redirected from A-36 Apache, but this page names the plane "Invader" and says everybody called it a "Mustang" anyway. What about this name "Apache"? seems there should be a mention. [[]]

Apache was the initial semi-official US name for the XP-51 but it was quickly overtaken in use by the original RAF name of Mustang. Some sources confuse the Apache (Mustang) name with the A-36 and although the A-36 was allocated a name by the RAF, which was Invader, the British didn't subsequently order any. The A-36s used by the US in the Mediterranean were actually referred-to by the pilots themselves as 'Mustangs', although this would possibly have been technically incorrect.
At the time the US didn't give its aircraft offical names - they were just referred-to by the designation, e.g., B-17, P-39 etc. Names like Flying Fortress and Airacobra were actually manufacturer's publicity names and these were often looked upon with some derision within the services themselves. It was only later that the US adopted the practice of giving aircraft 'official' names. In many cases, these names were just carried over from the British ones, e.g., Lightning, (P-38), Liberator (B-24) etc.
This naming practice also applied to tanks and is the reason that so many US WW II tank types also have names originally applied by the British, e.g., Lee/Grant, Sherman, Stuart, etc.
Ian Dunster 12:08, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Our dive bombers were known as A-36 Invaders. Actually they were nothing more than the famous P-51 Mustang equipped with diving brakes. For a long time they didn't hae any name at all, and then one day in Sicily one of the pilots of the squadron said, "Why don't we call them Invaders, since we're invading?"
The name was carried home in newspaper dispatches, and soon even the company that made them called them Invaders. The pilot who originated the name was Lieutenant Robert B. Walsh, of Felt, Idaho. ~ Ernie Pyle Brave Men, 1944. Rklawton (talk) 16:07, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
The RAF use of the name Invader for the A-36 pre-dates their use in Italy by several years. The 'Invader' name was only officially used by the US for the A-26 (Later B-26).
Apache was the early US name for the two NA-73s (Mustang Mk I) supplied to the USAAC, and which remained unflown and unwanted at Wright Field for over a year after their delivery, such was the US enthusiasm for the 'little fighter'. Later the British name was adopted, and the Apache name dropped. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:22, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
There's a 1943 issue of Flight showing the "Invader" RAF name for the A-36 here: [1] .. and another 1944 one here: [2] ... and a 1944 news item - Allied Invaders - on the possible confusion that may arise due to the USAAF naming the A-26 "Invader" here: [3]— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:48, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

The P51 was always referred to as the Mustang by the US during WW2. At NO TIME was the name 'Invader' or 'Apache' used in official sources. (The reason is simple - the US government did not want the reveal to the Axis that in the A-36 they had essentially a 'new' aircraft type.) Certainly the Invader was a choice name by many of its squadrons; 'Apache'? never!!Loates Jr (talk) 12:32, 7 June 2016 (UTC) Andy L

"No Credits"?[edit]

The other reason is that the Mustang was still ill-considered by the USAAF and that no credits could be obtained for it. In the second paragraph of the article, the foregoing sentence appears. What does the statement " credits could be obtained for it" mean? Does this mean production allocation credit, priority or what? --TGC55 12:47, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

I just noticed that myself. I have no idea what it's supposed to mean, but I'll try to ask around. - BillCJ 18:09, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Attempted to add specs (dims only) based on the NMUSAF page for this a/c but I don't know how to make it look "right" and to cite NMUSAF as the source. Help would be much appreciated•Now done. Nigel Ish 18:00, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Hi TGC55 and BillCJ: There are two possible interpretations for the "credits" mentioned. In the prewar and lead up to war (1939-1941) period, North American Aviation was not considered a fighter manufacturer and had found it difficult to obtain USAAC support for their NA-73X project. The British Purchasing Authority pushed for the acceptance of the nascent Mustang and were able to fund the program through the use of Lend-Lease arrangements, which amounted to "credits." However, I believe that the original Wikipedia editor actually referred to the period in which the first US contract for a Mustang was obtained. NAA President, "Dutch" Kindelberger, had attempted to sell the project to no avail, mainly because all available funding for "new" fighter projects had run out in 1941. In a "nudge-nudge-wink-wink" deal, the USAAC did make him aware that there were still "credits" eligible for development and procurement of a dive bomber. With P-51 (Mustang I) preliminary trials using bomb shackles to carry long-range tanks already completed, it was a matter of turning the data from the "long range" ferry program into a new configuration- voila, the A-36 "Apache" (BTW the original name for the USAAC variant of the Mustang). Bzuk 02:00 14 January 2007 (UTC)- and Nigel Ish just go ahead and submit your work, other editors will go over it and make the necessary adjustments for proper citations.

Both the NA-73 Mustang design and initial orders, and the Packard Merlin order, were paid for by Britain via the British Purchasing Commission with cash under Cash and Carry before Lend Lease existed and the first subsequent US orders for the NA-73 were not for the use of the USAAC but were for 600 aircraft to be supplied to Britain under the terms of the Lend Lease scheme - under the terms of this scheme aircraft first had to be taken onto the books of the USAAC/USAAF which is also why the Mustang and Packard Merlin had to be given official US designations. Otherwise, both were the results of private contracts between the UK and the respective manufacturers. The only official US government involvement was to give the two manufacturers permission, which was required due to the Neutrality Acts, to accept the British orders.
"Apache" was NAA's 'in house' name for the NA-73 and "Invader" was the UK Air Ministry name allocated to the NA-97 just as "Mustang" was the UK name for the NA-73 and NA-83. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:24, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Nicely done[edit]

This is a very well done article. I was thrilled to see Robert W. Gruenhagen's book as one of the references (it's always been one of my favorites, especially his treatment of the development aspects of the Mustang design). The P-51 article, found elsewhere on this site, could certainly benefit from some of Mr. Gruenhagen's research, as well as the other excellent works listed as references! Good show! 23:57, 11 July 2007 (UTC)CBsHellcat

Straight Down[edit]

You might like to take a look at my book on the A-36, which was first published in 2000 by Crecy and is full of interview with A-36 pilots. It is the only full-length book about this airplane. Incidently, the RAF DID use a few despite your comments to the contrary. Peter C Smith —Preceding unsigned comment added by PETERCHARLESSMITH (talkcontribs) 15:07, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks - I stand corrected - most of my reference books are twenty or thirty years old so may somewhat be out of date. Be interested to know what the RAF pilots called them - Invaders or Mustangs. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:10, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

First use in combat[edit]

In the information box it names the first flight was in October 1942. So the first us in combat is NOT the 19 August 1942!!! Please correct it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:38, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

Please read the appropriate sections carefully as the dates in question are linked to two different marks. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 16:44, 13 January 2011 (UTC).

RAF and USAAF disappointed?[edit]

Were the RAF and USAAF disappointed in the high-altitude performance of the Mustang I and P-51 respectively? I doubt it: as Bert Kinzey says in his book on the P-51 "In numerous accounts about the development of the Allison powered Mustang it has been stated that the poor performance at high altitudes was a surprise and disappointment to the British and to the USAAF as well. This simply is not so. The aircraft designers of that day had more than sufficient knowledge of powerplants and they were capable of determining that the Allison engine and supercharger combination installed in the aircraft would have a drop in performance above 15,000 feet....two of the P-51s ordered even before the flight of the first XP-51 were reserved for testing with a Packard built Merlin." (Kinzey 1996, p.7.)

I have to agree - I doubt if the RAF, who were already familiar with Allison engines with their P-40 Tomahawks, would have known all about the high-altitude capabilities of the Allison engines, as would the USAAF with their P-40s and P-39s. It is an arguable POV to use the word "disappointed" when describing the RAF's opinion of the Mustang I. Minorhistorian (talk) 09:47, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Huh. It appears I've been victim of the bad sources. :( What I've read always called it disappointing. If that's wrong, absoultely, take it out. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 10:17, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't think the RAF were expecting much of a high-altitude performance from the Mustang I anyway, as they already had the contemporary Mark of Spitfire for any high-altitude work. The Mustang was basically ordered (the RAF originally asked NA to make Tomahawks) to make up the numbers of fighters available greater, so a limited altitude performance would have been expected, the RAF being well acquainted with the Allison's limited supercharging - referred-to by some pilots as being 'gutless' above ~12,000-15,000ft - from their use of the Tomahawk. So from the RAF's point of view, they were just getting a slightly-more modern Tomahawk.
The Allison-Mustangs were like the Tomahawk/Kittyhawk, in that they were capable enough for use in the Desert War, where most of the air operations were in support of ground forces, i.e., below 10,000ft. If they had been tried against the Lufwaffe during the Battle of Britain they would not have been much use simply because they couldn't fight at the altitudes the German bombers came over at, c. 15,000-25,000ft. The attacker dictates the tactics, and if he chooses to come over and bomb you from 20,000ft, it's not much use asking him to fly a bit lower so you can shoot him down. This is why the Hurricane, slower than both the Tomahawk and Airacobra, was usable during the Battle, whereas the latter two were not. And if the Allison-Mustang had been available then, the same would apply. As it was, the RAF used all of their Allison-Mustangs for Army Co-operation, which in effect, meant low-level tactical photo reconnaissance, at-which it was very good.
As for the USAAC, well they weren't really interested in the Mustang anyway, and it wasn't until the need for a long-range escort fighter became urgent that they started to take notice of the aircraft. By then it had been re-engined with the Merlin so for them it came along at the right time and in the right place. And it was only because Jimmy Doolittle specifically asked for the Merlin-Mustang to replace the Lightnings and Thunderbolts for all bomber escort duties that the Mustang became popular in US circles.
Oh, and BTW, the reason that the British Purchasing Commission (BPC) asked North American to build Tomahawks was because the P-40 was the only US-designed fighter aeroplane that had any sort of successful combat record against a first-rate opponent. Of the aircraft designs ordered by the BPC, such as the Lightning and Airacobra, all the others had proved of little use, which is why further orders for these aircraft were cancelled. At that time (1940) no other US-designed aircraft had any combat record against a competent opponent - all US aircraft used in WW I had been either French or British designs, which meant the contemporary 1940 US designs had no 'track record'. So the British asked NA to build Tomahawks, as they knew they were at least usable, albeit low-down.
- I nearly forgot - that's also why the BPC made it a requirement of NA getting the contact for a new fighter (the Mustang) that they purchase aerodynamic data for the P-40 from Curtiss. North American had just produced an excellent little trainer aircraft called the Harvard, but a trainer is not the same as a high-speed fighter, and the British wanted to make sure that NA had the necessary aerodynamic knowledge for designing something around twice as fast as their trainer. NA had never built a fighter before, and being in a hurry, the British wanted to makes sure NA didn't make any avoidable mistakes. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:04, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
A careful look at the chronology of orders etc will show that the USAAC/USAAF were interested in the Mustang from the start, hence the requirement in the order for the British NA-73 Mustang Is that two of these be allocated to the USAAC for testing - because the priority was to build the British Mustangs the first XP-51 41-038 arrived in August 1941; the first order for P-51s with 4 20mm cannon was placed in July '41. The problem was that the expansion from a small, peacetime air-force to wartime requirements meant that there was a set of conflicting requirements for funding and production suddenly being imposed. There were already other fighters - P-38, P-39 and P-40 - available and the priority was to build as many of these and get them into service asap, as well as getting pilots, ground crew etc trained and a proper supply/servicing echelon sorted out; it wasn't as simple as snapping the fingers and BANG here's a new fighter in service, complete with everything needed to maintain and fly it. To keep the Mustang in production, as noted in this article, money allocated for dive bombers was used to produce the A-36 pending more funding being made available for fighters, noting that this also included the new P-47.
"A careful look at the chronology of orders etc will show that the USAAC/USAAF were interested in the Mustang from the start": Not strictly true. The US Army Air Corps ordered two for evaluation purposes as that was SOP. No military equipment could be sold overseas unless it had been evaluated first by the appropriate arm of the US military. The USAAC didn't think they needed yet another type of fighter, as they didn't fully appreciate the fact that as a brand new design it offered far more growth potential than the P39 or P40, and indeed in its earlier marques the P51 only greately outclassed the P40 in range. Its other advantages were not great enough to warrant the replacement of the P40, which was already 'combat-proven' and a known factor.Loates Jr (talk) 12:28, 7 June 2016 (UTC) Andy L
It also needs to be noted that the order for P-51s for the USAAF stipulated that two of them be fitted and tested with R-R Merlins before the first P-51 flew - if it wasn't for this provision the P-51B would not have got into production and service when it did - the USAAC/USAAF were not nearly as tardy in recognising the Mustang as some like to make out. Minorhistorian (talk) 23:38, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

Standardized munition naming[edit]

I note with some puzzlement the strange use of ".30 in (7.62 mm) caliber" and ".50 in (12.7 mm) caliber" in place of the traditional "30 caliber (7.62)" and "50 caliber (12.7 mm)". This is not used by any system of munitions known and looks odd as it is now. Can this be corrected to bring the entire descriptive name together instead of the current article misuse of embedding the specific mm size within the name and adding a superfluous "in" within the standard measures of "50 caliber", "30 caliber", etc since these aircraft did not use this method of describing weapons and ammunition sizes in this way it throws the flavor of the article off. The written term ".50 in" is spoken "point five inch", such a mouth full would never have been used at the time to describe munitions and weapons. The standard would be to say "fifty caliber". The term .50 in would only have been used to describe bolts and other hardware not munitions during world war two.

Specifications: Armament[edit]

Can anyone supply the rounds per gun (RPG) number for the standard 50 calibre gun use on this aircraft? I figure the ammo tanks were all a Mil-STD design and it should be easy to identify and supply for this section of the article.

As an aside. I agree with the writer of the immediately prior comment, servicemen commonly called them 50 calibre weapons, almost everywhere in the world. But that was a slang term commonly used in the USA and USAAF. The international standard terminology is ".50 in" with the metric equivalent following as required by Wikipedia. As an editor of military articles, herein, I suggest that it will do no harm to use the colloquial terms after the initial correct designation except again in the specifications section. But please don't suggest that every article is to be amended! The workload would be impossible. Just remember, also, that non-US readers are not always up with current US military colloquial terms, even very long-standing ones. Remember, too, that translators of these articles, from English, need the correct terminology to be able to translate accurately or to check facts. Lin (talk) 03:14, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

Screaming helldivers? Not bloody likely.[edit]

While it may be sourced to an (English-language) book, the prospect that any German ever knew this aircraft as a "screaming helldiver" is extremely remote. While one could laboriously construct such a phrase in German, it sounds utterly bizarre. (e.g. "Höllentaucher" would literally mean "hell diver", but this phrase has no real meaning in German.) As a more general matter, insofar as soldiers came up with nicknames for enemy units or equipment, they tended to make light of the enemy (e.g. "flying sewing machine", "Stalin's organ" (for the Katyusha rocket launcher), "Tommy cooker" (for the rather flammable Sherman tank), "flying pencil" (the British nickname for the slender Dornier 17 bomber) etc.), and not to imply fear of enemy prowess. This smacks of postwar bravado by some gung-ho American aviation writer. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:40, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

I actually share your doubts, and remarked on that line as well. But on Wikipedia, anything that was printed in a book is considered "fact" (in spite of the fact that I have a book right here that I could use as a reference that claims that the M1 Carbine was "the carbine version of the M1 Garand"), and unless you can find a referenced source stating that they DIDN'T ever call it that, it stays. One of the many problems with Wikipedia that has just seemed to get worse and worse lately. I used to think pretty positively about Wikipedia, but I'm beginning to have recurring doubts. As for the enemy always "making light" of the enemy, that is not true. The F4U Corsair was (supposedly) "Whistling Death" to the Japanese, the P-38 was "The Fork-tailed Devil" to the Germans. The Short Sunderland is often claimed to be called "The Flying Porcupine" due to its "heavy armament", although I personally suspect that it had more to do with the numerous aircraft liberally festooned with large radar antennae arrayed all over their fuselages, since the actual number of guns for a typical early-model Sunderland was not particularly great, and all of small-caliber. And others that I can't think of off the top of my head...although the most nasty nicknames tended to be towards their OWN equipment when they felt it was inferior). But yes, most tended to have an intentionally mocking title, and my first question is "how does an A-36 pilot know what the enemy troops he bombed and strafed nicknamed his aircraft". How many of them knew German, or interrogated POW's? How many POW's did he talk to that verified this claim? If one HAD said it, it could have been a single guy sucking up to his captors. More likely, it's a pilot in a neglected arm of the service making things up, or at best, repeating something his commanders told him during the war in order to improve morale. But again, as it's referenced, therefore it is "fact" on Wikipedia. Unless you can find a book where someone went out of their way to refute the claims made by a single pilot in his memoirs. Good luck!.45Colt 09:17, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

Much of the problem with what 'the enemy' called an aircraft or tank or whatever is often an issue of public morale. I have no doubt that the Ministry of Information told the public in WW2 the Japanese referred to the Beaufighter as 'the whispering death' (allegedly, in one otherwise trustworthy source, due to the quiet running of its sleeve-valve engines), the P-38 by the 'krauts' as the fork-tailed devil, and so on. Grist for the mill, if you like. There are other oddities as well; I was reading about an interview by Liddel Hart with IIRC Guderian, the latter claimed to the best of his knowledge the term Blitzkrieg was not German in origin, the implication being that it was two German words spliced together by an English speaker in the belief that if the Germans carried out a lightning war, then they must obviously themselves call it 'Blitzkrieg'. Be very careful of using alleged 'enemy' epithets for allied equipment, or alleged enemy terms or phrases; for example the Russian name 'grave for seven brothers' to describe the medium tank M3 was a spurious post-war invention to belittle the British and American supply efforts to the Soviets during WW2. The appellations "Whispering Death" or "Whistling Death" or "Fork-tail Devil", or "Flying Porcupine" are hardly likely to given to any propeller-driven combat aircraft, by ANY enemy . . . most likely something more appropriate; what's Japanese for "multiple f*@k*&g round-eyed ba*&^rds"? THAT I could believe!!~~ — Preceding unsigned comment added by Loates Jr (talkcontribs) 13:47, 16 August 2016 (UTC)

"Heaviest armament"[edit]

British Mustang I's were Allison-engined, and armed with 4 x 20mm cannon. I'm pretty sure under most standards of armament power, 4 x Hispano cannons is considered more powerful than 6 x .50cals, due to much higher explosive power, weight of fire, etc. I'd say that 6 x .50cals is the heaviest armament of the US service Allison engined Mustangs, not the heaviest altogether. If 6 x .50cals was more powerful than 4 x 20mm, the US wouldn't have been trying to replace the "6 x .50cal" armament with a standard "4 x 20mm" armament throughout the war. This decision was made before the war was even started, IIRC, but was foiled due to the US-made Hispanos poor reliability and the exigencies of war...they needed aircraft armed with SOMETHING, and 6 x .50cals was good enough, if not as ideal as 4 x 20mm cannon..45Colt 09:00, 6 September 2015 (UTC)