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Author Topic: Reminiscences III: 57th FG pilot George Mobbs  (Read 6972 times)
Mark Joyce
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« on: December 29, 2011, 11:40:50 AM »

George Mobbs was assigned to the 64th Fighter Squadron of the 57th Fighter Group and was one of the pilots who flew off the aircraft carrier, USS Ranger, on 19 July '42 and landed in Accra, along the Gold Coast of Africa.  Mr. Mobbs was initially attached to 5 Squadron of the South African Air Force (SAAF) for orientation flights, and flew his first combat mission in a SAAF P-40 Tomahawk.  During this mission, which was bomber escort, he had to throttle back in order to fly alongside the slower bombers and was jumped by ME-109s.  In turning into the attacking fighters, he went into a spin due to the slow speed he was flying...fortunately recovering from this spin and surviving the mission.  This was a powerful learning experience for him, and he relates his philosophy of flying the P-40 when he was later reunited with the 57th:

"Since the 109 could outperform the P-40 I resolved if possible to weave to keep up my airspeed and to coax as much power out of the Merlin engine as possible.  When I learned that by tinkering with the carburetor you could remove a restriction that limited the power (inches of mercury) available my crew chief fixed it.  Take off power was limited to 54 inches of mercury.  After the crew chief removed the restriction the engine would develop about 70 inches of mercury.  When I got in a dog fight I would immediately go to full throttle and leave it there unless the engine started to detonate.  That beautiful Merlin in my airplane rarely detonated.  Later when we got the P-40K and the Allison engine it was a different story.  The Allison rated at 48 inches for take off would rev up to just over 65 inches of mercury with the restriction removed and would have to be throttled back from that as it would start to detonate."

When asked if removing the restriction on the carburetor would increase the P-40's speed enough to match the 109, George said it didn't provide enough performance improvement.  He related that once over Tunisia he chased a 109 in a slight dive for what seemed like a long time, perhaps five minutes, but couldn't close on it.  He said the main benefit of the adjustment was when attacked from above in a dog fight, at which time he was able to make a climbing turn into the attacker and maybe get off a short burst, quickly turn, and perhaps get another shot as the 109 was pulling away.

Whatever the case Mr. Mobbs was an exceptional pilot and ultimately credited with four confirmed victories flying the P-40, the details of which can be read in Carl Molesworth's book "P-40 Warhawk Aces of the MTO.

Ignorance is bliss
P-40 Admin
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2011, 06:25:58 AM »

Great story! Thanks for sharing  Smiley
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