This is coolbert:
From the wiki entry for the American P-39 Airacobra we have this assertion:
"The P-39 was used with great success by the Soviet Air Force, who scored the highest number of individual kills attributed to any U.S. fighter type."
That means more "kills" than the:
* P-38 Lightning.
* P-40 Tomahawk.
* P-47 Thunderbolt.
* P-51 Mustang.
With regard to the P-51, about 8,000 "kills" total, half from aerial combat, half from enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground.
"The highest number of individual kills" surprises?
The P-39 used extensively during the war primarily by the Soviet Air Force, prodigious numbers of the aircraft [half of the U.S. manufacture total] send by Lend-Lease by a variety of routes.
"4,773 . . . were sent to the Soviet Union through the Lend-Lease program"
"Flying the Lend-Lease equipment, for which every bullet was imported from the United States. the Aircobras followed one of two long paths from upstate New York to the 9th GFD [9th Guards Fighter Division] in southern Russia. One, through Canada, along the Alcan Highway and then across Siberia. Or two, by ship to Iran, and over the Caucasus."
One route the Persian Corridor by ship, disassembled and then reassembled upon arriving at destination. The second route an aerial flight from the lower forty-eight states to Alaska, across the Bering Sea to the Soviet Union. [further shipment to the front after being dismantled and sent hence via the Trans-Siberian railway?]
The P-39 NOT favored by U.S. combat aviators. The P-39 not having superior performance ABOVE 8,000 feet altitude [2,500 meters]. More than adequate performance below that altitude and more than adequate for the type of aerial combat as encountered by Soviet fighter pilots on the Eastern Front of World War Two [WW2]!
"The tactical environment of the Eastern Front did not demand the extreme high-altitude operations RAF and Army Air Force did. The comparatively low-speed, low-altitude nature of most air combat on the Russian Front suited the P-39's strengths: sturdy construction, reliable radio gear, and adequate firepower."
In Russian the Airacobra is remembered with fondness? A recent movie from 2006 seems to suggest so? This is "Transit"!
"Transit is a story set on a secret military transit base in the remote Chukotka region, where planes from allied forces came in from Alaska" Those planes the P-39!
The Soviet combat fighter pilot during WW2 flying the P-39 know how to maximize the strengths of the Airacobra while minimizing the deficiencies! Do what you do best rather than what you cannot!