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Old 7th July 2019, 10:19
marcus marcus is offline
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Syrian T-6 Texan armament question

Hello.
In 1948 a Syrian Texan shot down an Israeli Avia S.199.
Can anyone tell me what armaments the Texan carried? Illustrations I have seen show a rear gun - possibly a .30 or.50 cal, but would it have also had wing guns? Rockets? Rocket pods? Bombs?
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Old 29th September 2019, 20:05
Alex Smart Alex Smart is offline
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Re: Syrian T-6 Texan armament question

See "Spitfire's over Israel", has picture of a/c said to be the actual Harvard numbered "44" that did the shoot down.
Mann shot one Harvard down but Bloch was lost , believed ( in "D-107" ) to the rear gunner of another Harvard..
Pages 184/6 & 344.

Additional from what I have, which may or may not be 100% accurate..
9th July,48.
Stan Andrews ground looped a bombed up S199..
Bob Vickman was killed in combat with an Egyptian Lysander, flown by Mikaati.
10th July,48
Mann & Bloch in combat with Syrian Harvard's, near Mishmar Ha'Yarden(?), Harvard crew killed. D107 Bloch, a/c crashed near Quinagtra(?)
Leo Shagan (D108) scrambled to intercept two Egyptian Spitfires and two Egyptian Dakota's, over Tel Aviv but could not make contact with them

Last edited by Alex Smart; 29th September 2019 at 21:00.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 17:24
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Syrian T-6 Texan armament question

The photo of 44 in "Spitfires over Israel" cannot be the one that shot down any aircraft by a rear gunner, because it has the fixed rear canopy of the Canadian-built aircraft, which were dedicated pilot trainers.

The production T-6 variants could theoretically be equipped with up to five machine guns, although this is exceedingly unlikely ever to have happened. A normal fit would be none for a pilot trainer, and up to two for a weapons trainer. The rear gunner, if carried, required the Texan canopy with the opening rear, and there would/could be another gun in one of the wings. I think normally the port but I notice that there isn't one of those in aircraft 44.

It seems very unlikely that the Israeli fighter was shot down by a front gun, so the open question (to me) is whether the Syrians had any Texans or US-built Harvards to which they could have affixed rear guns and mountings from whatever source. It may theoretically have been possible to remove the fixed rear section of the canopy and fit a gun, but was this within the Syrians' capability at this stage? Or did the Israelis simply assume that they would be so armed? Especially if flying over or near the front lines.

I notice that "Spitfires Over Israel" does raise the possibility that Bloch shot his own prop off, a known (or at least believed) possibility of this type.

I'd be surprised to see rockets on Harvards at this stage, and certainly not pods which would not have existed then. Light bombs may be a possibility (as on RAF aircraft used against the Mau-Mau in Kenya), but would require the existence of racks and the modification of the aircraft to carry them. Not too difficult perhaps, certainly less so than fitting a rear gun to a pilot trainer.
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Old 5th October 2019, 14:03
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Syrian T-6 Texan armament question

There is more text and another picture in Spitfires over Israel. The Syrians received a batch of Harvards from the French, and formed one unarmed squadron and one armed. The armed aircraft were fitted with bomb racks and machine guns (but no detail given as to just how, nor how many per aircraft). The photo shows a camouflaged aircraft with no rear canopy and a slightly modified rear fuselage immediately aft of the canopy. The shape of the remaining fuselage/canopy interface shows that this is a US-built aircraft not one of the Canadian-built ones with a fixed rear canopy section (as 44). It has light bomb racks under the wings but no nose or port wing guns. The caption describes it as a Harvard Mk.II, which is in itself ambiguous. The Mk.IIA were US-built as Texans, the Mk.IIB Canadian-built Harvards. The French at this time probably operated both, and possibly even "pure" Texans as they did later.
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Old 5th October 2019, 22:52
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Syrian T-6 Texan armament question

A couple more pieces. The book also includes a list of 16 non-combat losses of the S.199, only one of which was due to shooting the prop off. So there's no reason to suspect it in this case.

The follow-up book Wings Over Suez had an account of the incident, and the successful "Harvard" was coded 206.
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