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What are you looking forward to the most in Battle of Normandy?


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10 hours ago, Aurora_Stealth said:

Yeah, generally the comments from the Luftwaffe pilots come as no major surprise - its mainly designed to achieve an improvement in speed and a stronger overall performance than a Bf 110. It's otherwise going to be lackluster in terms of dogfighting ability as its not really designed for it - it weighs too much and isn't going to be anywhere near as responsive as a single engined fighter. Personally, I largely see the Me 410 in the context of a light bomber rather than a heavy fighter, with the ability to take on the heavies and some ground attack/recon ability mixed in.

 

 

This - I am also astonished it is little mentioned. They seem to have gone to quite far lengths to improve this aspect compared to the Bf 110. I suspect they either didn't catch them easily when operating in recon or at night and otherwise when it was operating in anti-bomber interception the overwhelming Allied air cover just clobbered them. Perhaps the API/I rounds caught them on fire on the wing root tanks... not sure... its an interesting one.

 

The interesting thing about the early versions of the Me 210, was that it was much lighter (lacked the excessive armor, for one thing) and lacked the ~100 cm tail extension. You have to wonder why Messerschmitt himself demanded the shorter tail (until he was later forced to revise it). Given the lessons of extremely short fuselages causing instability--that should have been learned from the I-16--it makes no sense at face value. Unless, maybe, Messerschmitt originally envisioned the 210 as an agile heavy fighter?

 

Going by one Luftwaffe pilot's account (admittedly, it's not a lot to go on), he actually liked the early 210 and thought it a very promising design. He specifically mentioned the acceleration and maneuverability compared to the 110. He then went on to say it was too much a handful for inexperienced pilots, and you can further assume the 210's maneuverability was ruined by revisions made to both cater to novices and to fulfill a broader range of operations (chiefly ground attack and bombing).

 

So, while it's easy to assume Messerschmitt just royally screwed up in designing the 210, it's possible the 210 in its pure heavy fighter form would've been one of those planes that was very capable--in the right hands. It almost certainly would've needed the leading edge slats added, regardless. Supposedly they were put in the design early, then removed for cost savings; then added back in the 410 because it was already a boondoggle by then.

 

About armor and the 410's survivability:

 

The British technical description of the 410 is quite flattering in its description of the wing tank designs. The overall technical and workmanship quality of the 410 is praised by both Russian and British accounts. So yes, it's strange that it seems quite advanced and well-designed in many respects, yet has such a poor operational history. Even taking Germany's deteriorating position and poor pilot training into account... you'd think the 410 would've been respected for at least being able to take a punch or two. I'll never understand how so much armor wouldn't give it at least a P-47's reputation for ruggedness (engine type aside).

Edited by oc2209
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On 1/16/2021 at 11:05 AM, CountZero said:

For me more maps are missing in game, i would rather have new 2-3 maps per DLC cycle in game then more new airplanes, we have good amount of them but areas over witch to DF are geting boring after few years of same few maps.

 

Alas however, I suspect that flyable aircraft attract a lot more sales than maps and they need to keep in business.

 

I'd purchase an expansion that was just AI aircraft to fill in the gaps... or an expansion that was just recon aircraft and better camera simulation (e.g. clarity of a shot and importance of what is photographed being measured like 'kills' are)... but we may not be the most typical purchasers of this product.

 

3 hours ago, VBF-12_KW said:

The reason for the Ju88C-6 is that the Luftwaffe actually attempted to use them as daylight attackers on D-Day and a few days following.  This was predictably disastrous for the poor pilots of KG40/ZG1.  But if you’re looking for German aircraft to put into a Normandy battle, it’s tough to find 5 that played any significant daytime role.

 

Very interesting - I didn't know that! They're also suitable for use on some of the Eastern Maps and as Intruders during the Ardennes offensive... so they'll get a lot of use. It'd be nice if there was a Wellington, Il-4, or Beaufighter though - something slow enough for them to catch (other than the C-47 and U-2VS - which might be their only flying targets).

 

 

15 minutes ago, oc2209 said:

Unless, maybe, Messerschmitt originally envisioned the 210 as an agile heavy fighter?

 

A shorter tail would also have saved structural weight.

 

As for agility - on paper a Bf-110 can turn inside a Bf-109... so I could see someone thinking it was a possibility (without understanding the impact of inertia, roll-rates, and it being a much larger target).

 

15 minutes ago, oc2209 said:

Even taking Germany's deteriorating position and poor pilot training into account... you'd think the 410 would've been respected for at least being able to take a punch or two. I'll never understand how so much armor wouldn't give it at least a P-47's reputation for ruggedness (engine type aside).

 

I think it is a matter that very few Me-410 crews survived, by the time they appeared most attention was on keeping operational (rather than assessing the merits of aircraft), and the Luftwaffe was so out-numbered that most people who shot down an Me-410 had almost no experience with dog-fighting or shooting down other aircraft... it'd be interesting to see what pilot and squadron accounts survive though.

Edited by Avimimus
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9 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

Sometimes, pilots just don't like a particular aircraft, while others do like it.

Taking personal taste and subjectivity out of an assessment is hard.

 

I think Eric Brown in particular was a perfectionist. Anything that didn't fit with the British way of doing things was seen as odd or defective. Consequently I think it took a great deal to impress him.

 

As someone with a perpetually drunk, insane Russian pilot's mentality, I hear Brown's frequent mentions of 'control harmonisation' and I think... wait, controls can be harmonized?

 

7 hours ago, BlitzPig_EL said:

I guess I'm perplexed that the "heavy fighter" concept/type was still a thing for the Luftwaffe after the thrashing the Bf110 took at the hands of single seater pilots during the Battle of Britain.

 

You know what I'd like to see? In like an alt-history scenario, of course. Japanese airplane design mated with German engines and armament. Imagine the Ki-46's clean, light design, but with German engines in lieu of the always-underpowered Japanese ones.

 

If any twin-engined planes in WWII could handle like single-engined ones, it'd be those of Japanese design. Sure they'd be built of tissue paper, but it'd totally be worth it if they had enough engine power behind them.

 

The great irony of the perceived failure of the heavy fighter design ethos, is that the P-47 was essentially a twin-engined plane (in terms of size, weight, disposable armament load, and turn radius) jammed into a single-engine airframe. The P-47 is proof that heavy fighters can be competitive with dedicated fighters--so long as they have enough engine power and speed to compensate for their weight.

 

Any post-1940 twin-engined fighter concept needed to aim for a top speed of at least 450 MPH. Failing that, don't bother. Even the P-38 wasn't quite fast enough to be truly competitive with single engine planes, except in the Pacific where the Japanese had a worse speed disadvantage than the Germans.

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On 1/25/2021 at 8:36 AM, Aurora_Stealth said:

3. It is heavier compared to the Bf 110 G, but because of its much greater power output (and higher power-to-weight ratio) plus superior wing area - it should retain energy much better including in maneuvers. This will compensate somewhat for its weight increase and should not be miles off what you might expect from the Bf 110 G-4 in terms of overall maneuverability. It will probably have a somewhat larger turning circle and perhaps slightly slower roll rate but who cares if you do everything else much better.

 


The Me 410 has less wing area than the Bf 110 (~36 m^2 vs ~38 m^2) and looks like even with the higher power of the DB 603 engines it doesn't manage to have higher power to weight ratio than the Bf 110G (taking 9600 Kg as standard weight, with full fuel and regular armament, don't know if that weight applies for this configuration).

For the Me 410 to have higher power to weight ratio than the Bf 110G at full internal fuel and standard armament, it would have to weight less than 8800Kg with the same configuration. It still gets the higher wing loading though.

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12 hours ago, oc2209 said:

About armor and the 410's survivability:

 

The British technical description of the 410 is quite flattering in its description of the wing tank designs. The overall technical and workmanship quality of the 410 is praised by both Russian and British accounts. So yes, it's strange that it seems quite advanced and well-designed in many respects, yet has such a poor operational history. Even taking Germany's deteriorating position and poor pilot training into account... you'd think the 410 would've been respected for at least being able to take a punch or two. I'll never understand how so much armor wouldn't give it at least a P-47's reputation for ruggedness (engine type aside).

 

I couldn't find a complete armor breakdown for the 410, but it apparently had plates varying from 5mm to 13mm.  While it's certainly a lot more then what is present in many contemporaries, .50 AP or API (largely the only threat faced by these aircraft in the daylight role) could defeat that kind of armor at practical combat ranges.  Likewise, Incendiary or API could ignite German fuel tanks.  Looking at German records from January through May of 1944, ZG26's 410s claimed 8 escort fighters (and 4 of those seem pretty dubious looking at 8th AF records) vs 62 losses described as "from enemy action".

 

Some examples of American AAR's describing engagements with 410s (yes they list a lot of 210s, but there were none present):

 

1st Lt. Robert C. Cherry, 4 May 1944, 56th FG

Capt Walter V. Cook, 10 October 1944, 56th FG

Lt.Col. Francis S. Gabreski, 30 January 1944, 56th FG

Capt. Gerald W. Johnson, 10 October 1943, 56th FG

1st Lt. Robert S. Johnson, 30 January 1944, 56th FG

Capt. Leroy A. Schreiber, 29 November 1943, 56th FG

1st Lt. James N. Poindexter, 3 November 1943, 353nd FG

Capt. Norman E. Olson, 7 November 1943, 355nd FG

Capt. Leslie D. Minchew, 7 July 1944, 355th FG

1st Lt. Leonard K. Carson, 30 May 1944, 357th FG

 

The takeaway I see from all this is that the protective features weren't a match for the US gun packages, and the defensive weaponry was fairly ineffective.

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12 hours ago, oc2209 said:

If any twin-engined planes in WWII could handle like single-engined ones, it'd be those of Japanese design.

And, of course...

 

 

Whirlwindfighterproject_FA_18181s.jpg

 

I realise the chances of it happening are vanishingly small, but how much fun would a Whirlwind be on the BoN map??

Edited by Diggun
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7 hours ago, -=PHX=-SuperEtendard said:


The Me 410 has less wing area than the Bf 110 (~36 m^2 vs ~38 m^2) and looks like even with the higher power of the DB 603 engines it doesn't manage to have higher power to weight ratio than the Bf 110G (taking 9600 Kg as standard weight, with full fuel and regular armament, don't know if that weight applies for this configuration).

For the Me 410 to have higher power to weight ratio than the Bf 110G at full internal fuel and standard armament, it would have to weight less than 8800Kg with the same configuration. It still gets the higher wing loading though.

 

You know what - having looked through the data you're absolutely right! it's a bit of an optical illusion - the Me 410 is almost identical in wingspan however it looks like a much broader wing from the images and seeing it in real life... yet it still has less wing area (probably due to the tapering). That's a great catch - fair play 🙂

 

The weight is a bit more tricky isn't it, because reliable data seems to be extremely hard to pin down in this respect. I have a book here called Aircraft Anatomy of WW2 which is a nice reference book but like so much of the literature that has come out in previous years... they tend to use recycled figures and data.

 

In it they state: 9,650kg to be max allowable weight for the A-1/U2 (x4 20mm's), whereas online I've read that figure to be:

 

the loaded weight for the Me 410 A-1

the loaded weight for the Me 410 A-1/U4 (carrying 50mm cannon)

then... the loaded weight for the Me210 being 8,100 kg but weight increasing by 650 kg with the re-design to make the Me 410... so around 8,750 kg

 

Either way, I suspect it will affect maneuverability much more than I originally thought.

 

That being said, I still think the additional power and performance will make a welcome improvement compared to the Bf 110, Ju88 and others in terms of ground attacking... but probably a trade-off in being very limited indeed in its its air-to-air ability. Frankly, the idea of trying to use the Bf 110 as some kind of dogfighting aircraft doesn't appeal to me in the first place; but it seems like the Me 410 would be far, far less suited.

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The 110 is a beast in the right hands, especially since - being always encountered in the strike role, it is consistently underestimated by fighter pilots who expect it to lie down and die. Their attack patterns get sloppy and then they get shredded. I'm sure we'll see people using the 410 to good effect as well, especially once the payload is delivered.

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3 hours ago, VBF-12_KW said:

 

I couldn't find a complete armor breakdown for the 410, but it apparently had plates varying from 5mm to 13mm.  While it's certainly a lot more then what is present in many contemporaries, .50 AP or API (largely the only threat faced by these aircraft in the daylight role) could defeat that kind of armor at practical combat ranges.  Likewise, Incendiary or API could ignite German fuel tanks.  Looking at German records from January through May of 1944, ZG26's 410s claimed 8 escort fighters (and 4 of those seem pretty dubious looking at 8th AF records) vs 62 losses described as "from enemy action".

 

Some examples of American AAR's describing engagements with 410s (yes they list a lot of 210s, but there were none present):

 

1st Lt. Robert C. Cherry, 4 May 1944, 56th FG

Capt Walter V. Cook, 10 October 1944, 56th FG

Lt.Col. Francis S. Gabreski, 30 January 1944, 56th FG

Capt. Gerald W. Johnson, 10 October 1943, 56th FG

1st Lt. Robert S. Johnson, 30 January 1944, 56th FG

Capt. Leroy A. Schreiber, 29 November 1943, 56th FG

1st Lt. James N. Poindexter, 3 November 1943, 353nd FG

Capt. Norman E. Olson, 7 November 1943, 355nd FG

Capt. Leslie D. Minchew, 7 July 1944, 355th FG

1st Lt. Leonard K. Carson, 30 May 1944, 357th FG

 

The takeaway I see from all this is that the protective features weren't a match for the US gun packages, and the defensive weaponry was fairly ineffective.

 

Read through several.  I find it interesting that the reports don't have much to say about return fire from the rear gunner.

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4 hours ago, unreasonable said:

I love the look of that aircraft, with those adorable big protruding ... engines. Such a shame it never got fully developed.

 

(Think what it might look like then).

 

  Reveal hidden contents

loren_mansfield_better.thumb.jpg.85d4b5eee06a835ee8c994b13e0d97ab.jpg

  

TFW you fly by a Beaufighter and you're in a Mosquito
/both gorgeous TBH

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10 minutes ago, Blitzen said:

Like others I am looking forward to the Tiffy ( and new targets for it) but found that pilot reviews since the war have not all been flattering:

Interesting read by one who flew ( and disliked the Tiffy:)

https://legionmagazine.com/en/2019/01/douglas-gordon-part-2-the-troubles-with-typhoons/

d5e9accb40e4339e8eb5cea45e1621d07f10e2da.png


It’s a pity (perhaps) that none of this will be reflected in the game, because it can’t be simulated properly or in a ‘user friendly way’: carbonmonoxide poisoning, engines failing all the time, tails breaking off etc. Just as we never see the result of poor materials/workmanship, cold- or hot cockpits, no radio, cramped seats etc. in other planes. They all contributed to why a plane was liked/disliked by pilots

Edited by SYN_Vander
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I'm looking forward to the new map and some earlier period missions that make a wider plane set relevant on the western front. I fly a lot of mid war and earlier aircraft, so I like getting a wider plane set involved than just the late war. Hopefully Flying Circus II and BoN will make a great pair of games to pick up in 2021. Here's to hoping.

Edited by NO.20_Krispy_Duck
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11 minutes ago, NO.20_Krispy_Duck said:

I'm looking forward to the new map and some earlier period missions that make a wider plane set relevant on the western front. I fly a lot of mid war and earlier aircraft, so I like getting a wider plane set involved than just the late war. Hopefully Flying Circus II and BoN will make a great pair of games to pick up in 2021. Here's to hoping.

This! 

 

I'm hoping the Normandy map will be the best map to date we get for the BoX series and will inspire campaign builders to bring us some western ETO 1942-43 mission content using Spit VB, Hurricane II, A-20, 190A3 etc

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10 hours ago, VBF-12_KW said:

I couldn't find a complete armor breakdown for the 410, but it apparently had plates varying from 5mm to 13mm.  While it's certainly a lot more then what is present in many contemporaries, .50 AP or API (largely the only threat faced by these aircraft in the daylight role) could defeat that kind of armor at practical combat ranges.

 

The takeaway I see from all this is that the protective features weren't a match for the US gun packages, and the defensive weaponry was fairly ineffective.

 

True enough, but in that case, why burden the plane with such heavy armor if said armor is known (at the time) to be useless against the most commonly encountered enemy munitions?

 

And, indeed, how do some planes gain reputations for being able to absorb damage (many American planes, but also a few German ones, like the regular old Fw-190) while carrying less armor? If nothing else, the armor should reduce the damage potential of bullets that do penetrate, by reducing their energy/velocity.

 

It just defies common sense that the armor would have zero positive effect on survivability. Yet, based on combat records and overall performance, that seems to be the case.

 

And yes, the remote-controlled guns were never mentioned positively in my particular book. Probably the tech involved wasn't refined enough to accurately aim them during maneuvers. Had the 410 been faster, it would have made the closing speed of a pursuing plane lower, and given the gunner more opportunities to actually hit a pursuer. Given the huge ammo load for the rear guns (450-500 per gun?), there should have been no reservations about spraying and praying.

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10 hours ago, Aurora_Stealth said:

 

In it they state: 9,650kg to be max allowable weight for the A-1/U2 (x4 20mm's), whereas online I've read that figure to be:

 

the loaded weight for the Me 410 A-1

the loaded weight for the Me 410 A-1/U4 (carrying 50mm cannon)

then... the loaded weight for the Me210 being 8,100 kg but weight increasing by 650 kg with the re-design to make the Me 410... so around 8,750 kg

 

 

My main source for data is The Messerschmitt 210/410 Story, by Jan Forsgren.

 

He lists the 410A-1 as having an empty weight 6,700 kg, maximum 11,300. In the same book, he lists the 210A-1 as being 7,270 kg empty, 9690 max. Take that as you will. It doesn't make sense to me that the 410 would be lighter, empty. Unless one measurement is taken without guns, the other with.

 

A different book I have, not specific to the 410 but just a general German plane book, lists the 410A-1/U2 as being 7518 kg empty, with a normal takeoff weight of 9651.

 

My Janes book lists an empty 410A-1 as being ~6100 kg empty, ~10,500 loaded (I don't have it in front of me, hence the rough figures).

 

11 hours ago, Diggun said:

And, of course...

 

I realise the chances of it happening are vanishingly small, but how much fun would a Whirlwind be on the BoN map??

 

I'd try the Whirlwind out, sure.

 

But I still want this, more:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_Ki-83

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22 minutes ago, oc2209 said:

 

True enough, but in that case, why burden the plane with such heavy armor if said armor is known (at the time) to be useless against the most commonly encountered enemy munitions?


I think this may be a case where looking at things with hindsight can confuse the issue a bit.  The Me210 was already being developed in 1939, and the 410 was in service in 1943.  The design choices for these aircraft were largely being made before the Luftwaffe had any significant contact with the later war Allied fighters with heavier armaments.  In a similar vein, the Luftwaffe tried a variety of different approaches to tackle US heavy bomber formations.  Looking back now some of them seem totally absurd (aerial bombing?), but at the time they just didn’t know what would or wouldn’t work.  The 210 and 410 are probably one of those cases where development seemed justified by the early returns of the 110 in favorable circumstances, but ultimately lead to a dead end.  Maybe the 410 had a lot of untapped potential in other roles that was never realized due to the war situation.

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41 minutes ago, VBF-12_KW said:

I think this may be a case where looking at things with hindsight can confuse the issue a bit.  The Me210 was already being developed in 1939, and the 410 was in service in 1943.  The design choices for these aircraft were largely being made before the Luftwaffe had any significant contact with the later war Allied fighters with heavier armaments.

 

While I agree the 410 was totally out of place with German needs circa 1943, I see its durability (or lack of) as a matter of simple physics more than design intent.

 

Let's look at the Sturmovik. Legendary for its toughness, despite Germans always having cannon-armed planes to attack it with. Taken from Wikipedia:

 

"The armored tub, ranging from 5 to 12 mm (0.20 to 0.47 in) thickness and enveloping the engine and the cockpit, could deflect all small arms fire and glancing blows from larger-caliber ammunition."

 

"TsKB-55 was a two-seat aircraft with an armoured shell weighing 700 kg (1,500 lb), protecting crew, engine, radiators, and the fuel tank. Standing loaded, the Ilyushin weighed more than 4,700 kg (10,400 lb), making the armoured shell about 15% of the aircraft's gross weight."

 

By contrast, the Me 410 carried about 1050 pounds of armor. Also up to a thickness of 13mm.

 

So yes, an extra 450 pounds of armor would make the Sturmovik tankier than the 410. But should it be the difference between legendary toughness and the worthless tissue paper that the 410 seemed to be made of? I think not.

 

There must be some variables at play here. Some kind of explanation. Maybe the rear guns of the 410 were completely useless, and offered no deterrent effect? One pilot account mentions cutting the throttle to force a pursuer to overshoot; he didn't even mention the gunner firing at the pursuer. He said his gunner would tell him when to cut the throttle, just before he guessed the enemy was about to fire.

 

Another factor might be the shotgun effect of American .50 cals, simply hosing a target. And yet another possibility is that the 410 was an even more sluggish target than the Sturmovik. Easier to hit, plus worthless defensive armament = dead plane. I think that's the deciding factor here; the 410 had no evasive ability at all. If its rear guns had worked better, it might've marginally offset its total lack of maneuverability.

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1 hour ago, oc2209 said:

So yes, an extra 450 pounds of armor would make the Sturmovik tankier than the 410. But should it be the difference between legendary toughness and the worthless tissue paper that the 410 seemed to be made of? I think not.

 

You have to be careful when evaluating the "legendary" status of certain designs. It's often acquired through widespread service and high visibility rather than technical superiority. Memories are shaped by the overall strategic and tactical situation, not just the characteristics of the aircraft.

 

The Il-2 is arguably the most produced combat aircraft in history. From the first days of the Axis invasion to the end in Berlin, Il-2s carried out risky missions and suffered heavy losses. However, their presence could always be felt on the battlefield.

 

Even if the design of the Me 410 had been flawless, it never had a chance to gain this "legendary" status. The thousand or so units produced quickly found themselves in a hopeless environment where even the radically innovative Me 262 couldn't really make a difference.

 

Besides, the Me 410 and Il-2 had very different roles and characteristics. Being much smaller, the Il-2 would likely be better protected by an equal weight of armour. As an attacker, the Il-2 was expected to be shot at from all directions by a variety of weapons, including rifle-calibre machine guns. Consequently, its thin armour was more likely to be useful.

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Just to look at some more numbers, here's a comparison of aircraft lost vs. aircraft damaged and lost, pulled from Donald Caldwell's "Day Fighters in Defence of the Reich".

 

For the first two quarters of 1944, his numbers put the Me410 at about 70% (losses, divided by damaged + lost - aka, if it was hit, how likely was it to go down).  The overall numbers for Luftflotte Reich & 3 over the same period were 72%.  That would indicate that the 410's were a little above average in terms of survivability.  By comparison the 110 Zerstorer units flying the same missions over the same period had about a 75% loss rate.  So the various upgrades of the 410 do appear to have helped it a bit, just not enough to offset the overall circumstances.

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7 hours ago, Mitthrawnuruodo said:

 

You have to be careful when evaluating the "legendary" status of certain designs. It's often acquired through widespread service and high visibility rather than technical superiority. Memories are shaped by the overall strategic and tactical situation, not just the characteristics of the aircraft.

 

 

Reputations can be overblown, yes. But the Sturmovik had a reputation for durability according to contemporary German accounts--not a legend made up after the fact by historians.

 

Assuming Wikipedia's sources are correct (I lack my own Sturmovik books), of the 36k produced, 10.7k were lost.

 

Looking at Thunderbolt production, it's about 15k built. One book of mine says 2/3 of Thunderbolts were sent overseas, and of those, 54% were lost. Doing the math, that comes out to around 5k lost in action.

 

At face value, it would appear the Sturmovik had a higher survival rate than the TB. I wager the majority of TB losses were during ground attack missions; so the comparison is a valid one. A further credit to the Sturmovik is that it operated extensively on a front where the enemy air force wasn't nearly as suppressed as it was on the Western Front. Had the Germans not been double-teamed by British and Americans, and not been split between strategic bomber intercepts and all the other incursions over their airspace, they could have devoted a lot more effort to shooting down P-47 ground attack planes. In which case the P-47's weaknesses would've been much more apparent.

 

Considering the Russians didn't establish solid air superiority until '44, and their almost round-the-clock use of the Sturmovik, I'd say their losses are pretty light.

 

My point to all of this: the P-47 is (deservedly) legendary for its ruggedness and value as a ground attack plane. So, I'd say the numbers indicate the Sturmovik deserves its legend as well. That's why I'm using it as a gold-standard for durability.

 

8 hours ago, Mitthrawnuruodo said:

Besides, the Me 410 and Il-2 had very different roles and characteristics. Being much smaller, the Il-2 would likely be better protected by an equal weight of armour.

 

Actually, they're remarkably similar in size:

 

Specifications (Il-2M3)

 

Crew: 2

Length: 11.65 m (38 ft 3 in)

Wingspan: 14.60 m (47 ft 11 in)

Height: 4.17 m (13 ft 8 in) (tail up)

Wing area: 38.50 m2 (414.4 sq ft)

 

Specifications (Me 410 A-1/U-2)

 

Crew: 2

Length: 12.484 m (40 ft 11.5 in)

Wingspan: 16.3513 m (53 ft 7.75 in)

Height: 4.280 m (14 ft 0.5 in)

Wing area: 36.2031 m2 (389.687 sq ft)

 

Not trying to play 'gotcha' here. I think it's worth studying in detail why one heavily armored plane was clearly tougher to shoot down than another heavily armored plane.

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Perhaps also, comparing those two, the Me 410 had to distribute some of it's already lesser weight of armour onto two wing mounted engines and radiators. You effectively have three volumes needing protection rather than one.  

 

It would be interesting to know what the actual area of the armour was in each case, and where it was. Possibly either the 410 had on average considerably thinner armour than the IL-2, or there were important systems that were very poorly protected.  

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I personally think its the situation in 1944 that is really problematic. In a 1943 environment the Me 410 was having some moderate successes although in a increasingly hostile environment, even if only on a tactical level. By 1944, the Allied fighters often made it right through the back door so to speak, operating with flexibility under Doolittle's aggressive strategy; and could attack at will and usually with significant advantages in height. I imagine a formation of US fighters would have all just clobbered them with .50 calibre to suppress any return fire.

 

Agree with the sentiment regarding the Me262, if that aircraft could only have limited success in the same environment; then an Me 410 wasn't going to get very far... which indicates the level of superiority the Allies had.

 

With regards to the Me410's gunner arrangement - its a quite strange topic really... because on one side... some prominent pilots were killed by the MG131 barbettes and it is often highlighted as being a technological advantage. Yet on the other hand, it seems to be little mentioned across the overall statistics and majority of accounts.

 

I'm wondering now - was it as practical (sighting, control responsiveness etc) and as mechanically reliable as we might think? there are some question marks on the serviceability and maintenance demands I've read about it.

 

Or perhaps the closing speed of the fighters that bounced it was so high there was little time to react?

 

Regarding the IL-2, it entered service in 1941 - so its capability would be more pronounced... and even more so as the German fighters were typically only fitted with either the 15mm or 20mm cannon rather than the later 30mm, gunpods etc.

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I do not have access to enough pilot accounts to make any sort of verifiable claims here, so take it with a grain of salt, but my impression has always been that pilots, especially in the second half very rarely mention/remember defensive gunner fire unless it's under exceptional circumstances like a B17 bomber formation. For one, I expect the usual circumstances hold true and that most of these Me 410's were fatally struck before they realised the enemy was coming, which would preclude gunner fire - But could it not also be a matter of how pilots recall or write down these events? 

 

First of all there's a modicum of survivor bias here, the pilots whose accounts were brought up are the ones who succeeded, not ones driven off or shot down by defensive gunners. Secondly, despite holding a great fear in my heart for the lazer gunners of the Pe-2, on the occasions I make successful attacks on them I do not notice, nor remember what the gunners did. And were I to write my accounts down in an official capacity I doubt I'd give them the time of day. 

 

At any rate, I don't think a lack of mention in pilot accounts is enough to suggest the guns are mechanically flawed.

Edited by Luftschiff
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One of the big early takeaways from WW1 was that a fixed forward armament was much more effective than a flexible gun.  It’s hardly surprising that 2 gunner operated HMGs were no match for 4-8 fixed HMGs mounted on much faster aircraft.  This is supported by German and US records, as well as by pilot accounts from both sides.

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14 hours ago, oc2209 said:

Not trying to play 'gotcha' here. I think it's worth studying in detail why one heavily armored plane was clearly tougher to shoot down than another heavily armored plane.

 

13 hours ago, unreasonable said:

It would be interesting to know what the actual area of the armour was in each case, and where it was. Possibly either the 410 had on average considerably thinner armour than the IL-2, or there were important systems that were very poorly protected.  

 

From the limited information I can find, it seems that the range of armour thicknesses was similar, but fewer systems were covered on the 410. The 410 had extensive armour for the crew to the front and rear. There was also some protection for the cooling systems. However, the engines and fuel were otherwise largely unarmoured.

 

This seems quite different from the Il-2's layout where the crew, fuel, and engine were all in the fuselage 'egg' that had some degree of armor on just about every side.

 

I don't think that an aircraft with the 410's layout (two engine nacelles plus fuel and radiators distributed in the wings) would get off the ground if it had the same level of protection as the Il-2. Although the overall dimensions are similar, the volume requiring protection is comparatively large.

Edited by Mitthrawnuruodo
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12 hours ago, oc2209 said:

A further credit to the Sturmovik is that it operated extensively on a front where the enemy air force wasn't nearly as suppressed as it was on the Western Front.

 

The Luftwaffe fighter force wasn't exactly present in large numbers across the Eastern Front, especially after mid-1943. No more than about the equivalent of 9 Gruppen were ever present there in the last 24 months or so of the war, from the North Sea to the Crimea. That is a whole lot of territory to cover with so few forces. 

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10 hours ago, Luftschiff said:

For one, I expect the usual circumstances hold true and that most of these Me 410's were fatally struck before they realised the enemy was coming, which would preclude gunner fire - But could it not also be a matter of how pilots recall or write down these events?

 

If a 410's rear gunner was so blind or unobservant that they didn't spot an attacker until seconds before or after they were hit... no, I just don't believe that would've happened in more than a handful of times. The gunner's only job was to watch behind the plane. Much like the 110's history, the problem wasn't spotting the enemy--the problem was that there was no evasive maneuver that could be used to escape the enemy. Maybe diving--but not against a P-47; and once you are on the deck, you won't outrun anything in a 410. And you won't outclimb anything. So if diving doesn't work, you're once again, dead.

 

33 minutes ago, LukeFF said:

The Luftwaffe fighter force wasn't exactly present in large numbers across the Eastern Front, especially after mid-1943. No more than about the equivalent of 9 Gruppen were ever present there in the last 24 months or so of the war, from the North Sea to the Crimea. That is a whole lot of territory to cover with so few forces. 

 

I'd argue the Russian air strategy was less aggressive than the Western Allies'. The Russians weren't constantly prodding the Germans to draw up and destroy their fighter force. I think the reason the Germans could amass such large scores in the East is that they could more often choose when they engaged. Even if they were frequently outnumbered as the war progressed, they could still have some control over how they entered the fight. Not so in the West. The Western strategy was about neutralizing the German fighter force. The Russian strategy was more about using the air force to support the army, and attempting to get local air superiority to achieve short term goals; it was not the long game of baiting and attrition played by the UK and US.

 

Anyone correct that summary if it's wrong, but that's how I see it.

 

So anyway, my point is that even after '43, the Germans had a little bit more freedom to attack Sturmoviks in the East than they had to attack ground pounders in the West. Chiefly because they didn't have to worry about being bounced by Spitfires, Tempests, P-47s, and P-51s, from high altitudes.

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51 minutes ago, oc2209 said:

The Russians weren't constantly prodding the Germans

I'd say constant CAS and combined arms operations counts as prodding. 

 

The only reason the USA and UK could choose to 'prod' so selectively is because they didn't have an active ground front open at the time. And by the time the front was open, numerical superiority was such that they had enough aircraft available to fight both tactical and strategic wars at the same time. 

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I concede that they were unlikely to be completely surprised, but the rear position's job was not only to watch behind the plane, they were also the navigator, radio operator and, when applicable, radar operator. Plenty going on to miss a P-47 diving out of the sun until it was too late to get the gun operational. I agree with you in principle, but maintain that it's still reasonable to assume that in many occasions the gunner was simply not able to man the guns before it was too late.

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On 1/27/2021 at 9:54 AM, Diggun said:

And, of course...

 

 

Whirlwindfighterproject_FA_18181s.jpg

 

I realise the chances of it happening are vanishingly small, but how much fun would a Whirlwind be on the BoN map??

 

The Wirliebird is great, at least there's a chance it could be made though, however, there's absolutely no chance I'll ever get to sim fly the best ever twin designed in history....

 

De_Havilland_Hornet_F1.jpg

Edited by DD_fruitbat
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