death traps for the crews. Given the known exponential advances in fighter technology in Europe at the time I am always slightly amazed that the respective governments, the US included, could go ahead issuing requirements for such easy targets. By 1937 when the Shrike appears both the Hurricane and Spitfire have been ordered and the Hurricane is already being run through its paces. Both fast aircraft; maneuverable and equipped with 8 mgs. The Me109 is not far behind and even with the Jumo engine it would have easily dispatched the A18.
If the already poorly performing test A18 (maximum possible speed 247 MPH) had been brought up to some acceptable standard of crew protection like armour plate, heavier defensive armament etc. its performance would have dropped so low that it would never have even been accepted in 1937. One need only look at the P39 which in its prototype form was rated as one of the best but once loaded with necessary equipment became pretty much useless as an interceptor fighter.
One must accept that the time the USAAC was encouraging small batches of production test aircraft - they didn't have the money to spend big so aircraft like the A18 gave the US factories opportunities to experiment with modern all metal aircraft but at that stage none of the products were even suitable for combat in 1939 when it started. A squadron of A18s would have lasted as long as a squadron of Fairey Battles in the Battle of France which give or take a minute was about the time it took them to encounter the first German fighters.
But one might add that in 1937 the US was not envisaging a war in Europe they were still thinking in terms of intercepting a fleet of invaders either in the Atlantic or the Pacific and there would have been fairly minimal fighter opposition to contend with.
This message has been edited by MalcolmMcKay from IP address 220.127.116.11 on Aug 12, 2017 6:05 AM
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