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Avia S-199, Independence Insurance


Solarmod
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34 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you like to see this plane in the game?

    • Yes
      31
    • No (Please state why)
      3
  2. 2. What Br should it be placed at?

    • 3.7, poor performance matched with less armament means that this plane would not perform as well as even the earliest of G-Models
      17
    • 4.0
      8
    • 4.3
      3
    • 4.7
      2
    • 5.0 (Why?)
      0
    • I don't want this in game.
      2
    • I'm unsure.
      2


For reference, this is not a suggestion for Czech S-199s in the Israeli tree, this suggestion is for the Avia S-199's, as used by the IAF during the 1948-1949 war. If you want to check out the original suggestion for the S-199, you can see it here:

dssvv.jpg.eb0e0641f53a9ccfbfb1b7f359ad22

 

Before we talk about the career of the S-199, known as the Messer and the Sakeen to the Israelis, we need to talk about the circumstances for the S-199's procurement by the IAF.

 

It's December, 1947, Otto Felix, a agent for Haganah, Israel's original armed force, had learned that Avia, a company that had been released from the Germans in 1945, was still manufacturing Bf-109G series aircraft, under the name of S-199. They had produced 25 aircraft for export, but had not been able to procure any buyers for the "unique" S-199, with the known handling issues. The Haganah, optimistic it could obtain American aircraft, instead of these.. Difficult, aircraft, opted to decline the offer at first. They reconsidered as once the international Arms Embargo started to crack down on the Israelis, previous potential options, such as 50 South-African P-40s, which were for sale for a mere $1200 each, facing scrapping otherwise.

 

Unfortunately, the South Africans refused export permits, and smuggling those 50 airframes out of the country was nearly impossible. On April 23, 1947, Otto Felix would purchase 10 Avia S-199s, for the sum of 1.8 million dollars, almost 22.5 million in today's money. This cost for each airframe was $44,600, with equipment coming at $6,890, and ordinance for each airframe being $120,229. This was the cost of setting up, arming, and being able to maintain just one airframe. $1.7 million per airframe. The excess of those funds bought the services of Czech fairy pilots. This may sound normal, for an aircraft to cost this much, even back then, but one must consider the fact that a surplus P-51 mustang could be bought in flying and fighting condition for $4000 from the US. Despite the absurd price of the S-199, Felix took an option on the remaining 15 built for export. Shortly after this agreement was made, Al Schwimmer - likely the most productive of all the purchasing agents of Haganah, found 25 war-surplus P-47s for sale in Mexico for $1 million. The Haganah turned Schwimmer down, holding the agreement with the Czechoslovakians. It is unclear as to why this was held, but most historians believe it is either because it was to uphold honor, or because the Czech included training. 

 

Subsequently, arrests in Greece of Israeli pilots ferrying Avro Ansons for the effort, forced a wrench into the ferry portion of the original plan, which was to fly the S-199s from Czechoslovakia, to Italy, Greece, and then to the future nation of Israel, refueling stops on the way. Transport via boat or train was deemed far too slow, so the Israelis formed a route and transportation arrangement, using their newly acquired C-46 Commandoes from Zatec (Codenamed Etzion, but also called Zebra by Americans) to Ajaccio, Corsica, and Ekron, in a planned series of flights known as Balak missions. For more information on the acquisition, training and issues with the S-199 learned through training, please check the 101 Squadron website. 

 

Serivce:

 

 

On to the operation of the S-199 in Israeli service. On May 18, the pilots in training in Czechoslovakia were notified that two Egyptian C-47s, equipped as bombers, had bombed Tel Aviv's central bus terminal, killing 42 people, the pilots demanded that they return to Israel, their instructors attempting their hardest to convince the foreigners to stay and finish a few more days of training, as they had not gone over air-to air, or air-to-ground gunnery, among other lessons. The Israeli pilots persisted, saying they would practice gunnery on real targets. The former combat pilots who passed training had moved from Ceske Budejovice to Zatec airfield, the headquarters of the Israeli airlift operations. The morning of May 20, the pilots, and a handful of Czechoslovak mechanics piled into a C-54 Skymaster, beside the majority of an assembled S-199 and ordinance. The remainder of the airframe was shipped aboard another aircraft, being the Wings, propeller, and possibly the horizontal stabilizer. Well over 11 hours later, they landed in Ekron. The next night (May 21), another S-199 arrived aboard a C-46, and on the 22nd, a third airframe arrived inside the original C-54.

 

The fourth S-199 was lost on May 23rd, before the Israeli Messers had even flown under their own power, when Two C-46s (one on the Balak 10 mission, carrying bombs; with another on the Balak 11 mission carrying the fourth S-199) flew from Zatec to Israel. Unfortunately, a thick fog enveloped Ekron, and fires were lit by people on the ground, to guide the planes. Balak 10 was completed, but unfortunately, Balak 11, flown by Norman Moonitz, headed instead for the airfield at Sde Dov. The gunners at the airfield were not expecting an inbound flight, and fired upon the C-46, damaging the aircraft. As it flew through the countryside, Moonitz crashed the C-46 on a gentle slope, south of Latrun. The S-199 fuselage broke free, and slid into the cockpit, killing the Polish-American navigator, Moshe Rosenbaum, while hospitalizing Moonitz for two weeks.

 

As the Czech mechanics got to work, assembling the fighters, the crews at Ekron hid the aircraft under camouflage nets, but IDF General Staff pushed for the use of the aircraft. The Cherl Ha'Avir resisted, though, with the commander, Aharon Remez, reporting to Prime Minister Ben-Gurion on the 28th, "...The Knives (S-199s) were not ready at 01:00. The bombs were not ready and we do not have an armorer. There was something missing in the bombs. The Czech technicians could not load the guns.". The aircraft were still not ready on the 29th, with the bombs, fuel, and brakes not ready, or tested. By the end of the day, however, four S-199s (Later known as D-101 through D-104) were prepared to fly. 

 

These aircraft had not even taken off for test flights, but for the Israelis, they were to fly their first test flights as their first combat missions, with the original plan to attack Al Arish, but this was abandoned after learning of a worrying problem, an Egyptian column located south of Tel Aviv, barely 20 km south of Ekron itself. The Egyptian army's Second Brigade would be stalled by a blown bridge, and the remnants of the Givati Brigade, and in this column, it was estimated that the Egyptians had up to 500 vehicles, including 10 tanks. The Givati commander asked for support, and after a bit of pressing, the IDF committed to helping the Brigade, and the commander was rushed to brief the pilots. The IDF would reject a request for air support from the Seventh Brigade, who were fighting Jordanians at Latrun. The four Avias, loaded with 2 of the 4 equippable 70 kg bombs, took off to attack the Egyptions, sans radios and oxygen. The official report of the operation is quoted below the spoiler.

 

Spoiler

"At 1945 local, a four-aircraft formation took off to attack a large column of Egyptian vehicles, between Ashdod and Gas'ser Ishdod, which had just stopped on the southern side of a destroyed bridge:

(1) - The leader, Lou Lenart, approached Ishdod from the north and dropped his bombs in the center of the village. He observed the largest vehicle concentration at the road curve about 300 meters south of Ashdod. His second pass was from southeast to northwest. His third pass was from north to south and in both he strafed with his machine guns since the cannon ceased firing after the first ten rounds. The AA fire was very intense and most of it came from 40mm guns. He landed at 2025.

(2) - Modi Alon approached from the northeast. South of the bridge, he observed a lot of vehicles and also many more vehicles were observed east of Ishdod. He dropped his bombs on the vehicles on the road. On his second pass, he attacked from east to west and on his third from north to south. In his passes, he exhausted his ammunition and returned home flying over the sea. The AA fire was heavy. He estimates the number of vehicles in hundreds. Upon landing at Ekron, his left brake did not function and he could not maintain a straight line as a result. Finally, he performed a ground loop, the left tire exploded, and the wing tip struck the ground and was damaged. He landed at 2005.

(3) - Ezer Weizman attacked from south to north. At first, he witnessed about 20 vehicles south of Ashdod and dropped his first bomb. In his second pass, he attacked from west to east and dropped his second bomb about one kilometer north of Ashdod. His third pass was from south to north. His cannons fired one round each and jammed. His machine guns worked fine. He landed at 2015.

Eddie Cohen was in radio contact with base. On his way back he reported that all was OK, that he saw the base and that he was about to land. From Ekron, he was not observed and he did not land there. Our men near Chatzor air base saw an aircraft engulfed in flames trying to crash-land two and a half kilometers distant. Two infantry platoons were sent immediately but the Egyptian forces were the first to reach the location. It is thought that Eddie Cohen mistook Chatzor for Ekron and tried to land there with his damaged airplane."

 

After this first mission undertaken by the Sakeens, the first S-199s to arrive in the newly formed nation of Israel arrived. They were assembled on the 101st's only airfield, but two aircraft were damaged mid-assembly by an Egyptian Spitfire, during a raid on June 1. The efficacy of this raid, and the realization that the IDF's air force was no longer safe, convinced them to pull back from the front lines, and move the aircraft north. Alon and Weizman, pilots of the IDF, would choose the new base's location, Herzliya. They had a 2,000 meter, unpaved runway, that was bulldozed amid orange groves. Weizman claimed that one of the reasons they chose this field was that they believed the unpaved strip would handle the Avias better. The move took place within the first week of June. By mid-June, the Israelis had lost three of their aircraft, D-101, D-102, and D-103/D-104 (sources vary). D-105 had been crippled on ground and was in repair during the Egyptian attack, as well as the mid-assembly airframes. During the time of the first truce, from June 11 to July 9, five more airframes had been added to the roster, and by the end of July, all but the final purchase had been accounted for. 

 

avia_s-199.jpg.b4d968d9d87674df6ab3b5838

 

It had become well known by July 9, that the IDF's Messer would be very unreliable at best, with the number of serviceable aircraft at any given day being at most four. Only 4 airframes would be airworthy at any given time. The evening of July 8, the Sakeens were to be deployed to attack Egyptian airfields, but the aircraft were only prepared by the next morning. Of the four aircraft that were set for the attack, only two aircraft would return, with one aircraft damaged in a take-off accident, and another, flown by Bob Vickman, was lost. The next day a third aircraft would be lost along with Lionel Bloch.

 

The biggest fatal flaw of the S-199 would soon be discovered, on top of the underpowered engine, far too large propeller, and the performance of the aircraft being inferior to its contemporaries; The desynchronization of the cowl machine guns, the Vz. 131/13N, a Czech manufactured MG 131. In case you don't know, the reason why machine guns don't shoot out their props, was because of the addition of a synchronization gear, to time the guns to fire between the props. Unfortunately, at least 3 of the losses reported of the S-199, the first two of which, were fatal accidents. The third accident occurred on July 11, in which Syd Cohen, on his first operational flight, decided to test-fire his guns, potentially saving his own and future pilots of the Sakeen's lives, finding out the hard way, that the synchronization gear skipped, shooting out his own propeller. Despite this, he was able to safely land back at Herzliya.

 

The exact reason for this issue is debated, ranging from the Czech mechanics deliberately misfitting the gear, to the gear not being suited to the Jumo 211F's propeller. This revelation would be what the 101st's pilots would blame killed Bob Vickman, and Lionel Bloch on the two prior days. Red Finkel said the following about the cowl guns in a report: "One time Rudy and I were out shooting a train. I'd used up all my 20-mm and stopped. I didn't want to take the chance of shooting my prop off and being captured. When we got back, Rudy called me on it. I had to find some reason to tell him, because I didn't want anybody to think I was yellow. I told him that I had to keep my machine gun ammo in case an enemy plane intercepted me on the way home.

 

peakewreck.jpg.3684cafbc6d7855d769d5e483

 

By the 29th, Israel had eight or nine S-199s either in service, or in repair. Over 10 airframes had already been written off within two months, with the last airframes entering 101st service by September 17. By this time, however, D-109, D-111, D-112, D-115, and D-122, had already been struck off duty. By the mid-October offensive, only 1/3 of the 23 aircraft that had been delivered, (one lost in the aforementioned crash, and another, impounded in Greece), could fight. By December, 101 Squadron had only D-108, D-118, D-120, D-121, D-123, and D-124 left. Due to the issues with the Avia, from May 29 to December 15, only 3 aircraft had been airworthy at any given time, losing another aircraft on December 15, leaving 5 aircraft left in service. The closest they had ever gotten to having more than three aircraft on any given sortie was on July 9th, but due to a mishap on takeoff (also aforementioned), this would never occur. 

 

 

 

The Avia S-199 was therefore, a bit of a dud, as a fighter plane, replaced by the 26th of December, with Spitfires and other aircraft scrounged from other places, with the remaining Messers remaining as last resort aircraft. The Sakeen was bought not out of being a good deal, or being a proper aircraft to bolster the ranks of the IDF, but as a necessity to arm the Israelis, and it is considered likely by some historians that without the S-199, the state of Israel may not even exist in it's current form. After 1950, all aircraft were retired, with only D-121, later known as 1904, being the sole survivor of the Israeli's first fighter plane, on display at the IAF museum, shown below.

12a_sep2019_2bs-199iafmuseum_live_copy.j

messer.jpg.fab0ff80efc1a0fb55579969bd947

 

 

 

Photodump:

Spoiler

12b_sep2019_slickgoodlinwithczechknife_l

Chalmers "Slick" Goodlin, the Corporate test pilot for the Bell X-1, volunteered to fly for Israel during the 1948 war.

12f_sep2019_5israelsfirstacerudyaugarten

American fighter pilot Rudy Augarten, earned ace status while flying for 101 Squadron. 

vdsdfv.jpg.5e084a177e65395fe0671b79404c4

Examples of potential skins the S-199 could wear in the Israeli tree.

12d_sep2019_6101squadronpilotswithczechk

A photo of a group of Mechanics and Pilots, posing with a Sakeen

 

 

 

 

Specifications hidden:

Spoiler

 

Performance:

 

Empty Weight: 2650 kg (approx)

Maximum Take-off weight: 3736 kg (actual)

Maximum straight-line speed: 528 kph/590 kph (Debated)

Top Speed: 592 kph

Range: 850 km

Service Ceiling: 8650 m (approx)

 

Dimensions:

Wingspan: 9.92 m

Height: 2.59 m

Length: 8.94 m

 

Engine Specifications:

1 x Jumo 211F, mounted to VS 11 propeller,

Power output @ Sea Level: 1322 hp @ 2600 RPM

(The following are from a handbook about the engine, but I am not sure if this handbook is for the 211F or not.)

Bore: 150 mm

Stroke: 165mm

Displacement: 34.97 l

Length: 1,745

Width: 804mm

Height: 1,059mm

Dry weight: 650 kg dry, unequipped (Approx)

 

Primary Armament:

In the cowling: 2 x 13 mm vz. 131/13N (300 RPG) (Czech-Produced MG 131)

Slung under the wings, using the Rüstsatz VI kit: 2 x 20 mm vz. 151/20N (135 RPG) (Czech-Produced MG 151) (These guns are-not, or were never removable/removed on the Sakeen)

 

Secondary Armament:

ETC 50/VIId Bomb Rack allows for either 2 or 4 70kg bombs, (Most aircraft were given 2, due to handling)

1 x 250 kg bomb

 

Total Purchased: 25, Total Operated: 24, Total Survivors, 1, D-121/1904, airframe # 20/24 used.

 

 

Conclusion: I believe the Avia S.199 is not an optional vehicle for the Israeli tree, it is a needed vehicle, the first fighter plane of the fledgeling Israeli nation, the plane the Israelis used to fend off their attackers, and perhaps the aircraft that saved the Israeli peoples.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.airspacemag.com/airspacemag/czech-knife-180972958/

https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2018/04/22/israeli-avia-s-199/

https://101squadron.com/101/s-199s.html

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/avia-s-199

http://www.aviastar.org/air/czech/avia_s-199.php

https://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.php?aircraft_id=1792

Kay, pp. 271–272

Flugzeug-Typenbuch. Handbuch der deutschen Luftfahrt- und Zubehör-Industrie 1944

https://ww2aircraft.net/forum/threads/captured-aircraft-odd-photos.999/page-19 (Post #368, #369)

https://wiki.warthunder.com/Bf_109_G-14/AS_(Italy)#Suspended_armament (This applies for only suspended armament of Bf-109G series aircraft, the 20mms. I wasn't sure if the Sakeen is based off of a G-14, or G-14AS as some sources conflict.)

D.(Luft) T.2109 Bf 109 G-6/U4 Flugzeug handbuch, Tei 0: Allgemeine Angaben. 1944. Luftfahrt Archiv Hafner, Ludwigsburg, pp. 9–10.

 

Edited by Solarmod
Finished post.
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  • Senior Suggestion Moderator

Open for discussion. :salute:

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  • Suggestion Moderator

Obviously a +1 frome me. I don't see how the tree could possibly release without this aircraft.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Knowing this is going to be in the next patch makes me both happy that it's here, and worried that the devs are going to overtier it...

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  • Suggestion Moderator
1 hour ago, Solarmod said:

Knowing this is going to be in the next patch makes me both happy that it's here, and worried that the devs are going to overtier it...

Well... it would be historically accurate though ;)

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As already written in the DevServer section of this forum, the modeled version (so far) is only the "type II" with heat exchanger.

It would be welcomed also the "type I" with traditional oil cooler.

Both types could be placed in the same box of the tech tree, to not change the designed "grind path" for the tree.

I propose to model "type I" as the D-108 just to have the long tail wheel as additional element of difference from the plane already on the dev server.

D-108.jpg.d3b9cf2091d2b7c5c9670c2837a1c3 Avia-S-199-IDF-101Sqn-D-108-Israel-1948-

 

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On 04/12/2021 at 12:41, cfracas said:

As already written in the DevServer section of this forum, the modeled version (so far) is only the "type II" with heat exchanger.

It would be welcomed also the "type I" with traditional oil cooler.

Both types could be placed in the same box of the tech tree, to not change the designed "grind path" for the tree.

I propose to model "type I" as the D-108 just to have the long tail wheel as additional element of difference from the plane already on the dev server.

D-108.jpg.d3b9cf2091d2b7c5c9670c2837a1c3 Avia-S-199-IDF-101Sqn-D-108-Israel-1948-

 

I found this.

 

Spoiler

vdsdfv.jpg

So it looks like D-107,08 & 123 are all slightly different from each other this could help rank 4 greatly. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Senior Suggestion Moderator

As the S-199 Saking has been implemented with update 2.13 Winged Lions,

 

Moved to Implemented Suggestions. :salute:

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