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Discussion: What was the best all round fighter of ww2?


LColony_Red_Comet

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ZachariasX
37 minutes ago, Bremspropeller said:

Unless you want carriers.

You‘d just want a loooooong carrier then.

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LColony_Red_Comet
Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

The Spit outclims and outturns the Mustang. The XIV is about as fast and still climbs away at ease.

 

I didnt say it didnt outclimb or out turn it. Of course it does. You will notice that in each item I basically listed what the Mustang did better, omissions implying it did worse. But speed is what matters. The Mustang is is significantly faster than your typical Spit of the same period and is therefore the better fighter. If your faster enough, the other performance characteristics mean little. The spit 14 was built in too small of numbers to matter.

 

10 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

The 109 will always outclimb a Mustang. The late 109s are just about as fast.

No the 150 octane mustangs will climb right with a K4. And I specifically stated the K4 was about as fast. But again that plane was largely irrelevant because it barely saw service during the war starting in mid-October of 1944. Meaning it was too little too late. For the same reasons I wouldnt list a P-47M, -4 Corsair, or anything similar as a contender in this discussion.

 

10 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

A D-9 will outclimb a Mustang

No, the 150 octane Mustang climbs just as well, which is the only one that matters for comparison to the D-9. Also the D9 is immaterial because it didnt show up till Sept44, and didnt show up in its 2100bhp version (the one that has its famous performance) until november 44. By 1945 there were only 60 MW50 D9s available. The D9 is slower than a Mustang with 150 grade fuel. And its about even with a 67inch Mustang until you get to 25,000 feet and the Mustang soundly beats it.

 

10 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

he 47's range is variant-dependant

The N models with biggly range came to late to matter. The fighter bomber can be debated, but its a close race either way in terms of bombing. They carry the same payload more or less, with thunderbolt being a tad better. But the Jug is just that, a Jug.

 

10 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

The Navy birds can operate from carriers.

Yes I noted this. Like alot of other things you have mentioned actually. I think you missed some things in my original post

 

10 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

Unless the Mustang uses 150octane and is boosted into oblivion (80 inches), the Tempest and Typhoon are better down low.

I also said this...

 

10 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

I'll give you the Mustang is probably the best deal overall.

Thats the only point I was trying to make.

10 hours ago, Cybermat47 said:

Given that the P-40 was the mount of the top Allied ace in North Africa, the P-39 was the mount of the highest-scoring pilot of American-built aircraft, and Soviet fighters were the mount of the top Allied ace of WWII full stop, they don’t seem like objective second-rate trash to me.

There are many factors that contribute to the statistical history of a plane. You will note that I did not say you could not be successful in a P-40 etc. People succeed in war all the time despite that fact that they have relatively poor equipment. Pointing this out is meaningless.

 

Ill note however that you left out that the lack of high altitude supercharger was the bane of the P-40 and P-39 on every front they served on. That includes the Russian front. It made them completely noncompetitive in fighting over 15,000ft, generally caused them to cede the high ground to the enemy, and made it extremely difficult to intercept enemy bombers. IIRC during the solomons campaign it was difficult to even get P-40s into position to intercept Japanese strikes because their poor altitude performance meant their time to climb was too slow. Every single country (except USSR) during ww2 moved towards higher performance at higher altitudes as the war went on. The only reason the Russian didnt do this as well was because the strains under which they were engaged things like 2 stage 2 speed superchargers an costly complexity. The P-40s continued production throughout the war was a scandal that wasted industrial resources.

 

Bottom line, low altitude fighters without a decent supercharger were a waste of time.

Edited by LColony_Red_Comet
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Bremspropeller
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

But speed is what matters.

 

Nope. Unless you're flying at top speed all the time, which you don't.

 

1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

No the 150 octane mustangs will climb right with a K4.

 

Nope.

 

1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

But again that plane was largely irrelevant because it barely saw service during the war starting in mid-October of 1944.

 

So that's more than half a year during which it was the main production variant. Hardly "irrelevant" - unless you like to make it fit your narrative.

 

1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

No, the 150 octane Mustang climbs just as well, which is the only one that matters for comparison to the D-9.

 

Nope.

 

P-51D-climb-rate-72-inches_Fw190D9.thumb.jpg.b5a0dfa43a37178dbee5a01080d9e012.jpg

 

If we extrapolate that 72''Hg line to 75''Hg, we'll see a roughly 12000ft deep altitude-band where the D-9 climbs better.

 

1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Also the D9 is immaterial because it didnt show up till Sept44, and didnt show up in its 2100bhp version (the one that has its famous performance) until november 44. By 1945 there were only 60 MW50 D9s available.

 

Another arbitrary argument. The D-9 was just an evolutionary step, putting a 1943 engine into the airplane one year late. Not too different to fitting a Merlin into a Mustang.

 

1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

The D9 is slower than a Mustang with 150 grade fuel. And its about even with a 67inch Mustang until you get to 25,000 feet and the Mustang soundly beats it.

 

The 150 octane Mustang is faster at a larger set of altitudes, but there is a 7000ft deep altitude-band, where the D-9 is faster. Extrapolate for 75''Hg and we're still at around 6000ft deep.

 

P-51D-level-speed-72-inches_Fw190D9.thumb.jpg.42999e533face0e270768c641b0e2675.jpg

 

That's not the fastest D-9 data out there. That is with an aircraft Mike Williams deems an "operational" D-9. Seal up that engine-gap and generally polish the airplane and you'll gain at least 10mph right there.

 

1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

The N models with biggly range came to late to matter.

 

They flew some pretty interesting missions to Japan, so I guess they mattered very much.

 

1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

The fighter bomber can be debated, but its a close race either way in terms of bombing. They carry the same payload more or less, with thunderbolt being a tad better. But the Jug is just that, a Jug.

 

No. The Jug brings at least 500lbs more bombload (plus rockets if you're really into it) and has two more guns for strafing. That's a winner right there.

 

1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Ill note however that you left out that the lack of high altitude supercharger was the bane of the P-40 and P-39 on every front they served on. That includes the Russian front. It made them completely noncompetitive in fighting over 15,000ft, generally caused them to cede the high ground to the enemy, and made it extremely difficult to intercept enemy bombers.

 

But that's mostly an issue with their engine and the lack of foresight in military procurement. The Mustang started with a similar problem and spent 1.5 years at low to mid altitudes, before it came to the front with a proper engine for the airframe.

 

1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Every single country (except USSR) during ww2 moved towards higher performance at higher altitudes as the war went on. The only reason the Russian didnt do this as well was because the strains under which they were engaged things like 2 stage 2 speed superchargers an costly complexity. The P-40s continued production throughout the war was a scandal that wasted industrial resources.

 

The Soviets didn't produce more high altitude engines, because they were doctrinally tied to combined and tactical warfare directly over the front.

The soviets managed to copy the Tu-4 after the war and those had engines with turbo-superchargers with intercoolers. Hardly technology outside their grasp.

Edited by Bremspropeller
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LColony_Red_Comet
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

. Hardly technology outside their grasp.

Please read my posts more carefully and understand what I said. I never said it was beyond their grasp. The soviets had brilliant engineers just like anyone else. They didnt do so because of the exigencies of war. Even as late as the La-7 the Soviets were still having issues with planes heating the cockpit to 140 degreeF due to the way the were running cooling lines and the La-5s had issues due to both design and problems with manufacture that caused fumes from the engine to enter the cockpit. The main concern was how to replace losses and improve current designs with a few changes as possible to keep production up.

 

3 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

Nope. Unless you're flying at top speed all the time, which you don't.

Yes. You dont have to fly at top speed all the time. The fighter with the high top speed will generally operate faster because it will accelerate faster once the speed gets above a certain range. This means you will generally be going faster so long as you keep your speed up and dont get slow enough that you get into a region where a fighter with better low speed acceleration catches up. Speed and high altitude performance, closely followed by climb rate, were the main performance parameters during ww2. This is why Hellcats stomped Zeros, why the early 190A was such a problem when it first came out, etc. Faster fighters engage and disengage at will so long as they have altitude conformance good enough to keep them from having a huge height disadvantage.

 

3 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

Nope.

Yes it will. They are more or less equal.

 

mustang-climb.jpg.8b09fe4ff1924f557ec7c415475ec3ab.jpgspit14v109k-climb.jpg.f72a2bce17c515beac3d89a8465ae683.jpg

 

 

3 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

So that's more than half a year during which it was the main production variant. Hardly "irrelevant" - unless you like to make it fit your narrative.

Hardly a narrative. It simply doesnt make sense to consider a plane that only showed up during the last few months of the war as a major player. It may have been the major production variant, but it only made up a quarter of 109s by Jan45. The luftwaffe was pretty kaput by october 44, and after bodenplatte it was on its swan song. The major air fight was over by that point. So really it was around for about 2 and half months before the 1945 twilight hours by which point the war was basically over. I dont consider the K4 for this any more than I would consider a P-47N, M, or F4U-4. Etc.

 

3 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

The 150 octane Mustang is faster at a larger set of altitudes, but there is a 7000ft deep altitude-band, where the D-9 is faster. Extrapolate for 75''Hg and we're still at around 6000ft deep.

Right so over 80 percent of the envelope the Mustang is faster.

 

3 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

Nope.

At 75inches the Mustang climbs better down low, which is what I was referring to. Id be willing to grant the planes climb about the same as a general statement, as I dont see either as having a big advantage at any height under any power settings. But your also forgetting that until november 1944 no 190D-9 was operating at these settings. They showed up in September (agaisnt 150 octane mustangs) with only 1700hp. Later upped to 1900, and then finally to 2100 in november of 44. By 1945 only 60 planes were operational, out of 180, with he MW50.

 

3 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

Another arbitrary argument. The D-9 was just an evolutionary step, putting a 1943 engine into the airplane one year late. Not too different to fitting a Merlin into a Mustang.

Hardly arbitrary. The Mustang got into the war with the Merlin in late 43, early enough to play a critical role in the bombing campaigns which were THE major air campaigns of ww2 that largely destroyed the Luftwaffe. Also the upgrade to the A series 190 was was more than a year overdue. The A models from A-3 to A-9 basically perform the same. By 1944 the performance of the 190 was fairly long in the tooth. The D9 didnt even show at AT ALL until Sept, after the Normandy campaign and Bagration, and the 2100 horsepower version showed up in minuscule numbers at basically neigh the end of the war. The 190A is the representative 190, the D9 is the definition of too little too late.

 

3 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

They flew some pretty interesting missions to Japan, so I guess they mattered very much.

Yes they mattered so much against an enemy whose air defense was judged to be so poor that the Americans started going in low and dropped leaflets to warn the civilians because they knew the Japanese cou

 

3 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

That's a winner right there.

Oh yes, 1 whole extra bomb. In in exchange you get a fat plane that cant fly as far and probably almost never carried that extra bomb due to practicality reasons.

 

3 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

But that's mostly an issue with their engine and the lack of foresight in military procurement. The Mustang started with a similar problem and spent 1.5 years at low to mid altitudes, before it came to the front with a proper engine for the airframe.

Yes. So what? Were not debating if the P-40 or P-39 could have been good if the Americans hadnt had an irrational fixation with turbos. Were talking about what actually fought during the war.

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Bremspropeller
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

They didnt do so because of the exigencies of war.

 

They had no concept of air power beyond frontal and tactical aviation. Few air forces did - including the Luftwaffe.

 

Strategical bombers only became a thing after the war was over. Mostly because of the B-29 and the need to deliver nukes.

 

2 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

You dont have to fly at top speed all the time. The fighter with the high top speed will generally operate faster because it will accelerate faster once the speed gets above a certain range. This means you will generally be going faster so long as you keep your speed up and dont get slow enough that you get into a region where a fighter with better low speed acceleration catches up. Speed and high altitude performance, closely followed by climb rate, were the main performance parameters during ww2. This is why Hellcats stomped Zeros, why the early 190A was such a problem when it first came out, etc. Faster fighters engage and disengage at will so long as they have altitude conformance good enough to keep them from having a huge height disadvantage.

 

That's an oversimplification. Fighters will fly at cruise-speeds, which is below MCP. Any engagement typically starts there and typically happens in conjuncture with vertical maneuvering. Acceleration in level flight and top-speed are only of importance in prolonged pursuit, which isn't a typical engagement.

 

2 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Yes it will. They are more or less equal.

 

They are very close around 2000ft and around 16000ft - at all other heights, the 109 is climbing slightly better.

 

You are focussing way too much on aircraft-performance. All major fighters of the time were virtually congruent in their performance figures - mainly for two reasons:

 

a) Pilot ability

b) Individual aircraft quality/ engine setup

 

2 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Hardly a narrative. It simply doesnt make sense to consider a plane that only showed up during the last few months of the war as a major player. It may have been the major production variant, but it only made up a quarter of 109s by Jan45. The luftwaffe was pretty kaput by october 44, and after bodenplatte it was on its swan song. The major air fight was over by that point. So really it was around for about 2 and half months before the 1945 twilight hours by which point the war was basically over. I dont consider the K4 for this any more than I would consider a P-47N, M, or F4U-4. Etc.

 

Narrative. The war was over in 1941.

The Luftwaffe existed right until the last day of the war and remained a dangerous opponent, which presented itself when the chances were stacked in their favour every once in a while.

 

The F4U-4 was in part a an answer to a distictive threat (improved japanese fighters and Kamikazes). So was the P-47M (buzz bombs and the 262). The P-47N was designed to be a better escort-fighter. The K-4 was an evolutionary re-design of the 109.

 

All of those aircraft did their job well. No matter how late they came to the game.

 

2 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Right so over 80 percent of the envelope the Mustang is faster.

 

It's closer to 60%, considering the altitudes that were fought at during those late stages were generally lower. Also, the top-speed differences are less than 20mph apart.

The actual combat performance of both airplanes is virtually similar.

 

2 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

But your also forgetting that until november 1944 no 190D-9 was operating at these settings. They showed up in September (agaisnt 150 octane mustangs) with only 1700hp. Later upped to 1900, and then finally to 2100 in november of 44. By 1945 only 60 planes were operational, out of 180, with he MW50.

 

Again, narrative. Most of that is due to policies and RLM's incapability of procurement-planning.

The 1900PS and 2100PS engines are virtually the same engines as they were a year before. Minus the mods. They could have been made a year before.

Nothing technical or aircraft-chargeable there.

 

The Dora is a virtual 1943 airplane, had the right decisions been made in time. It wouldn't have made any difference anyways.

 

2 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Hardly arbitrary. The Mustang got into the war with the Merlin in late 43, early enough to play a critical role in the bombing campaigns which were THE major air campaigns of ww2 that largely destroyed the Luftwaffe. Also the upgrade to the A series 190 was was more than a year overdue. The A models from A-3 to A-9 basically perform the same. By 1944 the performance of the 190 was fairly long in the tooth. The D9 didnt even show at AT ALL until Sept, after the Normandy campaign and Bagration, and the 2100 horsepower version showed up in minuscule numbers at basically neigh the end of the war. The 190A is the representative 190, the D9 is the definition of too little too late.

 

More narrative.

 

The Mustang got into the war with an Allison on a dare to build a better P-40. Had it not for the RAF, who kept on ordering more airplanes and for NAA to propose the A-36 to keep the production-lines running (carefully and specifically NOT suggesting the USAAF buy their Mustang fighters), the P-51 would have died an early death. It was almost cancelled and had it not been for people like Tommy Hitchcock, the P-51B would have never been a thing.

 

The story was very similar with the D-9. Only without a Tommy Hitchcock around, pushing for a better engine.

Duh.

 

2 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Yes they mattered so much against an enemy whose air defense was judged to be so poor that the Americans started going in low and dropped leaflets to warn the civilians because they knew the Japanese cou

 

Well, the escorts were freed over Japan. Just as they were over Germany. Plenty of targets to strafe there.

That's where two additional guns may come handy. And a lower likelyhood of being POW'd by that golden BB-gun shot - especially when your home-base is over 600 miles away. That's 600 miles over ocean.

 

You know, ocean, as in "nearest solid ground is three miles down".

 

2 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Oh yes, 1 whole extra bomb. In in exchange you get a fat plane that cant fly as far and probably almost never carried that extra bomb due to practicality reasons.

 

Now if that ain't narrative, what is? You forgot about those bazookas...

 

https://www.worldwarphotos.info/wp-content/gallery/usa/aircrafts/p-47/P-47_Thunderbolt_42-26357_of_the_353rd_Fighter_Group.jpg

 

 

That third pylon does come in handy for carrying extra fuel or possibly nape.

 

The "Jug" P-47 Thunderbolt - Workhorse of WWII in 30+ Photos

 

And GP bombs

 

https://g4.img-dpreview.com/A0414AD0B16747819CC8842EE3C87E62.jpg

 

Three bombs and four HVARs...

 

War and Conflict, World War Two, Aviation, pic: August 1944, An American Republic P-47 "Thunderbolt" pictured on an airfield in France, shows it's weaponry, 4 rockets, 3 x 500 lb bombs and light machine guns, being loaded for it's next mission : Nachrichtenfoto

 

Or frags

 

wbKPRMdh.jpg

 

2 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Yes. So what? Were not debating if the P-40 or P-39 could have been good if the Americans hadnt had an irrational fixation with turbos. Were talking about what actually fought during the war.

 

Things don't happen isolated from politics or supposedly good ideas that turn out to be lousy after the first shots were fired.

The P-40 was a great airplane for keeping the enemy at bay when more sophisticated or better performing fighters aren't necessary. Like clearing up the Solomons, when the whole war-effort is preparing to jump over to the Phillipppines.

 

With all it's industrial might, the US just couldn't build all that many P-51 factories over night. A production-line needs tools, jigs, and skilled labour.

Then there's Packard, head over heels in production with their commitments. Even if the US tried to build more P-51s - they probably couldn't have.

 

 

The P-51 is "the best", because it could do any job pretty well. Unless talking about mission-radius, there's no job where it really was top-dog, though.

A great airplane, but not a divine object.

 

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Mitthrawnuruodo

If speed is what matters, why not the 262? You can exclude it for some arbitrary limitation, but it was faster than any Allied fighter at almost any altitude.

 

If we care more about material impact, there is a strong case for the 109. It is credited with more aerial victories than any other aircraft.

 

Let's actually define the question before trying to answer it.

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LColony_Red_Comet
37 minutes ago, Bremspropeller said:

They had no concept of air power beyond frontal and tactical aviation. Few air forces did - including the Luftwaffe.

 

Strategical bombers only became a thing after the war was over. Mostly because of the B-29 and the need to deliver nukes.

This has nothing to do with strategic bombers. High altitude performance was a requirement on all fronts, including Russian. P-40s and P-39s in the MTO and PTO were doing the same sort of tactical air war that was occurring in the east. Were not talking about needed to fly at 30,000ft. P-40s didnt get their bad reputation because they couldnt be used to escort B-17s to Berlin. Their lack of performance at altitude was a problem in the MTO and PTO. It was also a problem for Russian fighters, as German planes were notorious for doing exactly what they did to P40s. In other words, coming in from altitudes inadequately supercharged planes couldnt handle so as to gain the initiative and attack from above. Having high altitude performance is not just about escorting bombers at 30k.

 

42 minutes ago, Bremspropeller said:

That's an oversimplification. Fighters will fly at cruise-speeds, which is below MCP. Any engagement typically starts there and typically happens in conjuncture with vertical maneuvering. Acceleration in level flight and top-speed are only of importance in prolonged pursuit, which isn't a typical engagement.

No it isnt. Cruise speeds of these fighters are generally above the speed bands where low speed acceleration is the main factor, or close enough anyhow. Moreover, fighters with higher top speeds tend to have higher cruising speeds. The typical engagement was to hit and run, and speed allows you to escape if you dont have the advantage or to catch a fleeing enemy. If fighters saw bandits above them, generally you would run away. There are tons of accounts of people doing just that, as well as accounts of chases between planes lasting 10-15min. Its isnt usually brought up, but are large reason that the wingman tactics of the day emphasized things that are variations of the thatch weave is because those kinds of maneuvers allow and element to remain at speed while defending or offending. The drag and bag was very real. Not to mention that it was very common to instruct pilots to not fall below certain airspeed so as to retain a speed advantage for precisely the purpose of avoiding dogfights.

 

Moreover you can do all of this in every flight sim that has ever existed.

53 minutes ago, Bremspropeller said:

Narrative.

Nice substance-less buzzword. All your saying is that this amounts to my opinion. No..really? I mean why dont you just say, "but...thats just your opinion maaaaaaannn"

 

55 minutes ago, Bremspropeller said:

The war was over in 1941.

And this is what is called a straw-man.

 

1 hour ago, Bremspropeller said:

Most of that is due to policies and RLM's incapability of procurement-planning.

The 1900PS and 2100PS engines are virtually the same engines as they were a year before. Minus the mods. They could have been made a year before.

Nothing technical or aircraft-chargeable there.

Completely immaterial. What happened happened. By that logic you could argue some paper design was the best fighter. When, and how many matter. You are just postulating what ifs. I mean what if the Mustang had gotten water injection sooner? etc.

 

1 hour ago, Bremspropeller said:

The Mustang got into the war with an Allison on a dare to build a better P-40. Had it not for the RAF, who kept on ordering more airplanes and for NAA to propose the A-36 to keep the production-lines running (carefully and specifically NOT suggesting the USAAF buy their Mustang fighters), the P-51 would have died an early death. It was almost cancelled and had it not been for people like Tommy Hitchcock, the P-51B would have never been a thing.

 

The story was very similar with the D-9. Only without a Tommy Hitchcock around, pushing for a better engine.

Duh.

More picking and choosing what ifs that have nothing to do with actually discussing the best all round fighters that actually existed. I mean who exactly is arguing about the Mustang development? Last I checked this is about the best all round fighter, not about the development histories of what might not have been.

 

1 hour ago, Bremspropeller said:

Well, the escorts were freed over Japan. Just as they were over Germany. Plenty of targets to strafe there.

Kind of missing the point, which is that the P-47N came way too late to matter much. The raids would have happened without it, and there would have been fighters able to strafe without it.

 

1 hour ago, Bremspropeller said:

You forgot about those bazookas...

No I just figured I could take it for granted that you wouldnt bother posting a bunch of immaterial loadouts the Mustang can also carry. And the Mustang doesnt need a draggy ass drop tank. Like I said before, they are about equal in ground pounding, its just that the Mustang outperforms the bolt at everything else.

 

North American P-51 Mustang With 1000 Pound Bomb And Bazooka Rocket Tubes |  World War Photos

1 hour ago, Bremspropeller said:

The P-40 was a great airplane for keeping the enemy at bay when more sophisticated or better performing fighters aren't necessary.

Yes lets send our shitty fighter thats still being made because Curtiss had connections over to some place where some plane is better than no plane. Lets also send it to our allies because we know its second rate and they happen to be available. Faint praise indeed.

 

1 hour ago, Bremspropeller said:

With all it's industrial might, the US just couldn't build all that many P-51 factories over night. A production-line needs tools, jigs, and skilled labour.

Then there's Packard, head over heels in production with their commitments. Even if the US tried to build more P-51s - they probably couldn't have.

I am not even sure what brought this into the conversation. This is a complex topic that we could speculate about almost infinately, but you seem to be ignoring that Mustang production density outstripped the other major types as it moved to replace them in 1944. Also this isnt exclusive to the Mustang. P-38 production was also hamstrung because of the overly prolonged production of the P-40, which wasted alot of Allison engine capacity. This is why the L model was the most produced version, they finally got another factory.

 

1 hour ago, Bremspropeller said:

The P-51 is "the best", because it could do any job pretty well. Unless talking about mission-radius, there's no job where it really was top-dog, though.

A great airplane, but not a divine object.

No it did every job pretty well while doing most jobs exceptionally well by the contemporary standards. And range/endurance enhances a fighters usefulness in just about any mission.

 

1 hour ago, Bremspropeller said:

but not a divine object.

Never said it was a divine object. But it was the most exceptional fighter that saw significant service during the war. It has become the meme these days to mock the casual statements that exist in many aviation books that the "Mustang was the best fighter of ww2." There were good reasons for this statement, but it has generally not been well explained in pop-history. The aviation enthusiast community views airplanes like they are its children, every one precious in their eyes. But just like people children, some of them suck, and some were much better than average.

1 hour ago, Mitthrawnuruodo said:

Let's actually define the question before trying to answer it.

Yes the conversations of this type do tend to revolve around what this question actually means. The best all round fighter is the fighter you would pick if you had to pick ONE plane to fill out your fighter inventory from among the ww2 fighter types that actually played a significant part in the war. This means not being made in minuscule numbers, showing up so late to the party its relative impact was tiny, etc.

 

For this reason the King Tiger, Pershing, Sherman Jumbo, etc are complete non-starters for a best tank of ww2 debate as an analogy.

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ZachariasX
Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Moreover, fighters with higher top speeds tend to have higher cruising speeds.

Actually, that is a bit of an oversimplification in the light of the Merlin engine. „Small block“ engines are run at proportionally less power output than the „big block“ engines like a DB603 (or Griffon). If you are cruising, you want lean mixture or there would be much less cruising. Same as high boosted „economical“ small displacement engines get terribly thirsty on the Autobahn or when buring rubber on mountain passes. And for that reason, the Spitfire has a relatively slow cruise speed as well.

 

10 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

Strategical bombers only became a thing after the war was over.

You are talking about WW1? After that one indeed the British sacrifieced much of what could have been a useful airforce on that fetish. The Americans weren‘t as consistent, because there was one infidel nation after the other ordering attack aircraft on the free market. What can you do?

 

But the discussion is difficult as the premise about what is „best“ is vague (as opposed to „what is best in life“ that is known quantity now).

 

10 hours ago, Mitthrawnuruodo said:

Let's actually define the question before trying to answer it.

Exactly.

 

If it came to just performance, nobody has to look further than the Me-262 and the B-29. You have these, anyone without jets can just fold it. Or get burned and nuked and then fold it. The Lancaster may be the aircraft that the pilot loves more for several reasons, but if one bomber can do at 10‘000 meters what the other does at 5‘000 meters, then comparison is over.

 

But I‘d actually put a different metric on the aircraft, namely how long it was retained in service despite an existing alternative. Also, one could think about „Would I want to use this aircraft for the intended role in adverse conditions?“. It is clear that American aircraft have a natural headstart in this, even to the detriment of their nominal performance. Not posing problems when flying around in them in a militaristic way in New Mexico, Alaska, New Jersey etc. and travelling between those locations were part of the acceptance criteria. It served them well. The P-40 that was a tractor that worked well in any mudhole while still possessing some performance.

 

In environments, where aircraft are scarce (not pilots or fuel) thus paid dividends, while the Japanese aircraft were mostly rotting on the ground for several reasons. (Yes they put up a lot of aircraft, but they could have put up many more.) You can have aircraft with a lot of temperament, but then you better have three of them per pilot. Tempests come to mind here.

 

As prop fighters got ditched immediately after the war and jets took over, these last minute designs are hardly remarkable. Nobody remembers the P-51H, but it flew when the 190D9 flew. It just did so in the USA and not in Europe, but in comparable numbers.

 

WW2 gave us three generations of aircraft, one that materialized some military fetish prevalent before the war fitted with 1000 hp engines best case.

 

After about all of that went up in smoke with the exception of the Bf109, Bf110, the P40, Spitfire and the Swordfish, a new generation of fighters emerged. They all again shared about a similar power envelope, this time 1500 hp. For practical purposes, they all shared the same creep in armament as they did in range and power. They are all very close in performance. It is just remarkable that the 109 and the Spitfire scaled into the second generation, simply because they were much better performing designs than the rest. But they only extended their lease of life into the second generation at the cost of endurance. The 109 had the advantage being on the losing side which masked the iadequate endurance that was painfully felt even early on.

 

The third generation were the jets. And that was the end of the prop in all but special cases.

 

In context of second generation fighters, I see absolutely nothing special in terms of plain performance in the Mustang. It has a lot of internal fuel, but the extreme ranges are usually a contest of how large you’d be willing to make the papercans for extra fuel under the wings.

 

But having an idea of the different battlefields, one can ask oneself, given a muddy airfield, scarcity of parts, bad weather and overworked mechanics, in which aircraft would I prefer to perform the assigned duty?

 

Thus, the Wildcat is a great aircraft. Chances of getting shot down are small if I am in the Atlantic, but I have to hit that heaving 100 meter piece of metal every time I return home. And I‘d be as dangerous to a Fw200 Condor as in a Corsair. Hm. Corsair or Wildcat?

 

None of this would be complete with my favorite, the Swordfish. Charles Lamb (after his own account) made an attacking Fiat (not the car) plunge into the sea by good maneuveing. Makes for one aerial victory in a dogfight. Hence, fighter. I must admit that he forgot to pop at least one round from his gun to qualify for the victory. The only bullet he had from that fight was an Italian one stuck in the parachute pack he sat on! And one should also add that the maneuver he used to dispose the Fiat, he practised on a Skua to similar effect. So even if the net score is zero, it still made for an Axis casualty.

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Bremspropeller
5 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

This has nothing to do with strategic bombers. High altitude performance was a requirement on all fronts, including Russian. P-40s and P-39s in the MTO and PTO were doing the same sort of tactical air war that was occurring in the east. Were not talking about needed to fly at 30,000ft. P-40s didnt get their bad reputation because they couldnt be used to escort B-17s to Berlin. Their lack of performance at altitude was a problem in the MTO and PTO. It was also a problem for Russian fighters, as German planes were notorious for doing exactly what they did to P40s. In other words, coming in from altitudes inadequately supercharged planes couldnt handle so as to gain the initiative and attack from above. Having high altitude performance is not just about escorting bombers at 30k.

 

It is, as it's linked to the soviet aerial warfare doctrine. There were airplanes with adequate high altitude-power (for their days):

The PVO and VVS flew MiG-3s. The VVS (and PVO IIRC) recieved lend-lease Spitfires and the Soviets also recieved P-47s.

They were all primarily used in mission-roles that didn't require high altitude profiles. Not for the lack of capable airplanes, but for the lack of will and for the lack of seeing neccessity.

 

The whole air-force was built for a war that excludes the need to operate much higher then 4000m.

 

5 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

The typical engagement was to hit and run, and speed allows you to escape if you dont have the advantage or to catch a fleeing enemy. If fighters saw bandits above them, generally you would run away. There are tons of accounts of people doing just that, as well as accounts of chases between planes lasting 10-15min. Its isnt usually brought up, but are large reason that the wingman tactics of the day emphasized things that are variations of the thatch weave is because those kinds of maneuvers allow and element to remain at speed while defending or offending. The drag and bag was very real. Not to mention that it was very common to instruct pilots to not fall below certain airspeed so as to retain a speed advantage for precisely the purpose of avoiding dogfights.

 

The usual attack results in a bounce by the side that sees the enemy first. No prolonged pursuing or climbing after the enemy.

 

As all late war fighters are within a speed-band of about +/-25mph*, that isn't an advantage that will manifest itself in a superior position in a quick time.

The same goes for the climb. The aircraft are just too closely performing for that - especially when engaging over a significant range of altitudes, where their relative performances are bound to differ and actually reverse.

 

No, drag and bag wasn't all that real. Stacked formations and trap-set-ups (the Soviets liked that) were a thing, but generally there wasn't a deeper battle-plan going on.

Cooperation also wasn't all that big either. Mostly because the skill-level of those fighter pilots wasn't all that high, compared to pilots of today. Dragging and bagging is mostly a thing that happens at home, in front of your computer. The same is true for broader concepts like "Boom & Zoom" or "Turn & Burn". Engagements were usually best described as "Hit and Run". Prolongued dogfights were usually decided by individual pilot skill and the tactical situation, rather than by aircraft performance.

 

*Taking individual aircraft-performance into account, the differences may or may not be even closer.

 

5 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Nice substance-less buzzword. All your saying is that this amounts to my opinion. No..really? I mean why dont you just say, "but...thats just your opinion maaaaaaannn"

 

Because:

 

That goes without saying.

Your opinion is skewed, as you're artificially constraining the argument.

"Narative" is shorter.

 

5 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

And this is what is called a straw-man.

 

Not really. Your narrative is based around the misconception that the Mustang somehow made a difference in the outcome.

It didn't. The Allies would have won the war with or without it. It saved a ton of lives among the bomber-crews and may have shortened the war by the Allies not stopping their strategical bombing effort in late 1943 (followed by who knows what would have come next).

 

The notion of "aircraft X is not a reference, because it arrived too late" is trying to skew the argument. And you know it.

 

5 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Completely immaterial. What happened happened. By that logic you could argue some paper design was the best fighter. When, and how many matter. You are just postulating what ifs. I mean what if the Mustang had gotten water injection sooner? etc.

 

No. What happened is a subset of possibile outcomes that were available at the time and got to be because some decision was made or came to be - internally or by external factors. If you want to rate the aircraft, you need to have a look at those factors to get the complete picture. Unless you just want to compare wieners.

 

The question isn't "what if the Mustang had gotten water injection sooner", but whether there was a concievable way this could have happened. You can ask the same thing about putting a Merlin into the Mustang in the first place or why there were any Merlin-Spitfires built at all post Q2 '44.

 

6 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

More picking and choosing what ifs that have nothing to do with actually discussing the best all round fighters that actually existed. I mean who exactly is arguing about the Mustang development? Last I checked this is about the best all round fighter, not about the development histories of what might not have been.

 

You've decided to cherrypick aircraft you deemed the Mustang superior over, based on factoids like "came too late, had little effect".

The Spitfire XIV is actually a contemporary of the Merlin Mustang - at that time, the Spit XIV was flying rings around the P-51B.

Yet it somehow doesn't matter to rate contemporary aircraft, because you say so, because they were "too few". I'd say there were about as many Spit XIVs around in late 43 as there were P-51Bs.

 

The question to ask is why there weren't more Spit XIVs produced in early 1944? But then again, that doesn't follow your narrative, because what happened happened, so why bother?

 

6 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Kind of missing the point, which is that the P-47N came way too late to matter much. The raids would have happened without it, and there would have been fighters able to strafe without it.

 

The same is true for the P-51B and onwards.

Had the USAAF doctrine not thought the bomber always came through, there would have been an earlier effort to build proper escort-fighters. Both the P-38 and P-47 could have been made to fly to Berlin sooner. It was a political decision to not pursue that option earlier, not a technical constraint.

 

6 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

No I just figured I could take it for granted that you wouldnt bother posting a bunch of immaterial loadouts the Mustang can also carry. And the Mustang doesnt need a draggy ass drop tank. Like I said before, they are about equal in ground pounding, its just that the Mustang outperforms the bolt at everything else.

 

Show me a picture of a Mustang carrying three 500 pounders, plus the rocket-pack or plus some HVARs. No, wait, it can't.

Of course, those two additional guns aren't mentioned either - and that's four additional guns over that P-51B/C loadout you're showing there to prove me right.

 

The pilots (including the 354th FG that flew Mustangs-Jugs-Mustangs) agreed on the Jug being the better ground-pounder.

The P-51 could do the job (so could a Bf109), but the Jug was a more optimal platform. If you're stacked up against deadly flak and having a higher loss-ratio than those escort-dudes that would sometimes fly 50 missions without ever seeing an enemy fighter at all, flying a more rugged aircraft will make a difference.

 

6 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Yes lets send our shitty fighter thats still being made because Curtiss had connections over to some place where some plane is better than no plane. Lets also send it to our allies because we know its second rate and they happen to be available. Faint praise indeed.

 

Well, the same happend in other countries, where a sub-rate fighter was continued, instead of switching over to the better airframe and freeing engineering and production for better types. A great example is the 109.

 

But, again, there are neccessities beyond doing what seems best on paper and it's all tied to actually building anything at all.

You're not helping the war effort by taking a factory out of production for half a year to re-tool and re-train.

 

6 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

I am not even sure what brought this into the conversation. This is a complex topic that we could speculate about almost infinately, but you seem to be ignoring that Mustang production density outstripped the other major types as it moved to replace them in 1944. Also this isnt exclusive to the Mustang. P-38 production was also hamstrung because of the overly prolonged production of the P-40, which wasted alot of Allison engine capacity. This is why the L model was the most produced version, they finally got another factory.

 

The Mustang production managed to outstrip the others because they started from scratch. They even managed to shuffle B-25 production to Kansas to make room for more P-51 production-capability. Allison had been a sh1tty contractor for quite some time - they delivered their engine for the Mustang prototype almost half a year late.

 

That still doesn't change the neccessity of better producing the contracted amount of fighters than bringing factory-output to a halt, to build a better aircraft in 6 months.

One could - of course - ask, why both Allison and Packard weren't able to scale up their production-rates.

 

The Aussies and RNZAF did quite well with their P-40s. Even in 1944. Mostly because there japanese air-threat had disappeared.

Why waste a perfectly good P-51 on a theater where it's capabilities don't make an impact? Unless you could make that switch without losing production-output. Which you can't, unfortunately.

 

6 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

No it did every job pretty well while doing most jobs exceptionally well by the contemporary standards. And range/endurance enhances a fighters usefulness in just about any mission.

 

I don't see where it performs exceptionally well other than in missions requiring a high internal fuel fraction.

It's performance-figures aren't that exceptional. You'll always find an aircraft that flies faster or climbs quicker.

 

6 hours ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Never said it was a divine object. But it was the most exceptional fighter that saw significant service during the war. It has become the meme these days to mock the casual statements that exist in many aviation books that the "Mustang was the best fighter of ww2." There were good reasons for this statement, but it has generally not been well explained in pop-history. The aviation enthusiast community views airplanes like they are its children, every one precious in their eyes. But just like people children, some of them suck, and some were much better than average.

 

It wasn't the most exceptional fighter. What is "exceptional" in the first place?

 

It was the fighter that could do reasonably well (or better) in the most sets of missions, that's where it was exceptional.

It wasn't exceptional in any single mission.

 

Even concerning max range, the late P-38s were very close. And so were the P-47Ns.

The P-47N came too late you say. Well, Republic was busy building P-47Ds for the 9th AF and providing additional range wasn't that far up on their tally-list, as the 8th AF was transitioning to Mustangs for that job.

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LColony_Red_Comet
On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

t is, as it's linked to the soviet aerial warfare doctrine.

Cart before horse.

 

On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

The PVO and VVS flew MiG-3s.

Correct, because the Russians knew the value of high altitude aircraft. But the Mig-3 was not a good airplane in a more general sense and it was therefore supplanted by other things. A replacement was never put in production because of the exigencies of war.

 

On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

The VVS (and PVO IIRC) recieved lend-lease Spitfires and the Soviets also recieved P-47s.

In small numbers, especially for the latter. Also, so?

 

On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

They were all primarily used in mission-roles that didn't require high altitude profiles. Not for the lack of capable airplanes, but for the lack of will and for the lack of seeing neccessity.

 

The whole air-force was built for a war that excludes the need to operate much higher then 4000m.

And yet, the Germans used to great effect the ability to exploit the lack of altitude performance in soviet fighters. Same happened in every other th

 

On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

No prolonged pursuing or climbing after the enemy.

 

This is just false. Happened all the time.

 

On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

As all late war fighters are within a speed-band of about +/-25mph*, that isn't an advantage that will manifest itself in a superior position in a quick time.

Wrong. The Merlin engine Mustang are about 20-50mph faster than their adversary. The D model is still about 20-15mph faster than a G-14 at low alt and obviously much faster above 16,000 where the MW50 doesnt add anything. Only the K4 is equal in speed. Also 20mph+ is a significant advantage. It entirely depends on how a chase starts and at what range. If the chase starts at over 600-800m at moderately high speed, that is more than enough to get away. If the chase starts well before the merge, its obviously enough. Also very common is a chase that begins after a dive, in which case the slower fighter is never going to catch up.

 

On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

especially when engaging over a significant range of altitudes, where their relative performances are bound to differ and actually reverse.

This is part of my point with the Mustang. Its range of speed performance, especially in the first six months of Merlin models, is significantly greater than its contemporaries over the ENTIRE altitude band. As you point out, this is not the case for many other planes.

 

On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

No, drag and bag wasn't all that real. Stacked formations and trap-set-ups (the Soviets liked that) were a thing, but generally there wasn't a deeper battle-plan going on.

Cooperation also wasn't all that big either. Mostly because the skill-level of those fighter pilots wasn't all that high, compared to pilots of today. Dragging and bagging is mostly a thing that happens at home, in front of your computer. The same is true for broader concepts like "Boom & Zoom" or "Turn & Burn". Engagements were usually best described as "Hit and Run". Prolongued dogfights were usually decided by individual pilot skill and the tactical situation, rather than by aircraft performance.

This is just complete nonsense. The entire USAAF and Navy training regimens were revolved around this, especially teamwork/cooperation. The historical record is replete with overwhelming anecdotal as well as documented evidence to the contrary. Prolonged dogfights DID happen but they were avoided at all costs in favor of hit and run tactics using coordinated attacks etc.

 

On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

rtificially constraining the argument.

Not is a completely reasonable constraint. The relative impactful service of a fighter is completely relevant to whether it should be considered her. Which is why were not discussing the P-51H.

 

On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

Your narrative is based around the misconception that the Mustang somehow made a difference in the outcome.

No you invented this yourself. I never said that. The Mustang made a big difference in operation pointblank/argument, which is what ultimately defeated the Luftwaffe for all intensive purposes. I never said the Mustang "won the war" or that the WW2 would have been lost without it. This is about the dozenth time that you have failed to accurately read the things I post, ranging from not understanding things I have clearly stated, inventing things I didnt, and just straight up pointing out facts I already pointed out in a post you are quoting. If you cannot be bothered to read, dont waste my time.

 

On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

Well, the same happend in other countries, where a sub-rate fighter was continued, instead of switching over to the better airframe and freeing engineering and production for better types. A great example is the 109.

 

Yes the entire point was trying to make about Russian fighters. BUT, this is actually a great example of the point I was making flying right over your head. The POINT was that sending the shitting fighter to secondary theaters tacitly admits its a shitty fighter.

 

On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

You're not helping the war effort by taking a factory out of production for half a year to re-tool and re-train.

You are when that fighter is using up engines needed for your only actually competitive modern fighter at the beginning of the war.

 

On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

The Mustang production managed to outstrip the others because they started from scratch. They even managed to shuffle B-25 production to Kansas to make room for more P-51 production-capability.

Has nothing to do with scratch. It has to do with the fact that the Mustang was recognized as "the fighter" and efforts were made to prioritize it. Case in point, the B-25 production you pointed out. So much so in fact that the AAF replaced other types just as fast as it could get the mustangs out of the factory.

 

On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

The Aussies and RNZAF did quite well with their P-40s. Even in 1944. Mostly because there japanese air-threat had disappeared.

Yes.....

 

On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

I don't see where it performs exceptionally well other than in missions requiring a high internal fuel fraction.

It's performance-figures aren't that exceptional. You'll always find an aircraft that flies faster or climbs quicker.

Speed. In climb it is average. It climbs better than a 190 but worse than a 109. Turns better than a 190s but slightly worse than a 109. But it is MUCH faster than either. The Low drag of the Mustang didnt just give it range, it also meant that it gets alot more out the Merlin speed wise. Unlike contemporary fighters, the Mustang is fast across the entire altitude band. Same is true with Spit 9s. Mustangs are not only exceptionally quick up high, but they are every bit as fast as late war Russian fighters intended to fight low.

 

You are also missing my point if you think I am saying the Mustangs performance is outright superior in terms of non-range performance characteristics. Rather it is that it is a very fast airplane at all altitudes, unlike many other fighters which as you yourself pointed out, tend to trade blows depending on critical altitudes. The Mustangs performance is such that it is basically  bad at nothing while generally having several major advantages over contemporaries.

 

Then to boot, it massively out ranges all of them.

On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

It wasn't exceptional in any single mission.

Long range escort? There isnt a single other major production ww2 fighter that could fly the same distance and still have fighter performance equal or superior to the opposing interceptors. P-47s didnt have the range until much later and they were kind of bad fighters. The altitude band over which thunderbolts did ok was simply too narrow. P-38s had their own set of issues. And thats the end of the list of fighters that could do that at all. Basically every other ww2 fighter had a range of about 500miles, and if it went farther than that it suffered from major compromises that made it ineffective as an escort (usually size).

On 6/6/2021 at 6:54 AM, Bremspropeller said:

Well, Republic was busy building P-47Ds for the 9th AF and providing additional range wasn't that far up on their tally-list, as the 8th AF was transitioning to Mustangs for that job.

Yes...because the Thunderbolt models that played the most role in the war lacked the range and performance for the job and had to be replaced by the....P-51. Such that the the air campaign that was responsible for the overwhelming majority of Luftwaffe fighter losses was only possible because of the Mustang.

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Bremspropeller
37 minutes ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

In small numbers, especially for the latter. Also, so?

 

The Soviets accepted 188 P-47s - abou half of which were D-22, the other half being D-27s. They had no use for them. They found them clumsy, sluggish and of little effectiveness for their fighter doctrine. Being able to carry more armament than their standard attack-aircraft was conveniently not noticed.

 

They had no use for high altitude fighters (see MiG-3), as they were not in line with their aireal warfare doctrine. The MiG-3 would eat into their engine-production for the almighty IL-2. So they dropped it. By suggestion of Uncle Joe.

 

41 minutes ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

And yet, the Germans used to great effect the ability to exploit the lack of altitude performance in soviet fighters. Same happened in every other th

 

And the soviets didn't counter that. Just like they didn't fly fighter-sweeps into german-held territory.

Why? It didn't fit their doctrine that dictated frontal aviation and little beyond that. Hence the fixiation on the IL-2 and less on smarter ways of using airpower.

 

 

43 minutes ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Wrong. The Merlin engine Mustang are about 20-50mph faster than their adversary. The D model is still about 20-15mph faster than a G-14 at low alt and obviously much faster above 16,000 where the MW50 doesnt add anything. Only the K4 is equal in speed. Also 20mph+ is a significant advantage. It entirely depends on how a chase starts and at what range. If the chase starts at over 600-800m at moderately high speed, that is more than enough to get away. If the chase starts well before the merge, its obviously enough. Also very common is a chase that begins after a dive, in which case the slower fighter is never going to catch up.

 

You initiated your comments with the broad statement that the Mustang was so much better than either the "109" or "190" or any other highly competitive fighter of the time. If you don't like your hypothesis shot down, don't make it easy.

 

The Mustang enjoyed some performance-advantage over some time over some contemporary models, but it wasn't all encompassing.

 

If the signifigance of a 20mph speed-differential depends on how a chase is set-up, it's not decisive at all. Especially, when airframe-specific variations might eat into that margin, which was nothing unheard of. A 10mph variation in attainable airspeed between fighters in a squadron was the norm.

 

 

 

49 minutes ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

This is part of my point with the Mustang. Its range of speed performance, especially in the first six months of Merlin models, is significantly greater than its contemporaries over the ENTIRE altitude band. As you point out, this is not the case for many other planes.

 

And a Jumo engine 262 is still a couple of dozen mph faster than any Mustang. At any altitude.

I doubt a Mustang is significantly faster than a Tempest using contemporary fuel/ boost-limits. Or a Spitfire XIV.

 

The Luftwaffe didn't have anything to show for from late '43 to late '44, but that was a political thing. The airframes and engines existed for the most part.

But we have already discussed that part.

 

56 minutes ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

No you invented this yourself. I never said that. The Mustang made a big difference in operation pointblank/argument, which is what ultimately defeated the Luftwaffe for all intensive purposes. I never said the Mustang "won the war" or that the WW2 would have been lost without it. This is about the dozenth time that you have failed to accurately read the things I post, ranging from not understanding things I have clearly stated, inventing things I didnt, and just straight up pointing out facts I already pointed out in a post you are quoting. If you cannot be bothered to read, dont waste my time.

 

The Luftwaffe wasn't "ultimately" defeated by the Mustang or Operation Pointblank. It was bleeding to death under an unsustainable attrition-rate, which had begun already before the Battle of Britain and which started reaching a critical tempo at a time that coincided with the appearance of the Mustang. The Mustang may have accelerated that development a bit, but it did nothing to initiate this process nor did it have any decisive impact that would not have happened during 1944 anyway.

 

People tend to put too much weight into the P-51's historical signifigance.

 

1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Yes the entire point was trying to make about Russian fighters. BUT, this is actually a great example of the point I was making flying right over your head. The POINT was that sending the shitting fighter to secondary theaters tacitly admits its a shitty fighter.

 

Why? There's no digital "0 or "1" or black and white "good" and "shitty" fighters. A fighter that can get the job done while not cutting into the budget of better performing fighters, needed more urgently elsewhere, is a great asset.

 

1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

You are when that fighter is using up engines needed for your only actually competitive modern fighter at the beginning of the war.

 

Let's keep the horses in the stable. The P-38 may have been the most promising fighter closest to serial production. But it was nowhere near ready for prime-time.

While the P-38 was getting ready and slowly fixed, the P-40 did well enough to keep the Japanese at bay. It's not the P-40's fault that other designers weren't building higher quality fighters sooner.

 

And in fact, it was quite competitive. It only really sucked in climb.

 

1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Has nothing to do with scratch. It has to do with the fact that the Mustang was recognized as "the fighter" and efforts were made to prioritize it. Case in point, the B-25 production you pointed out. So much so in fact that the AAF replaced other types just as fast as it could get the mustangs out of the factory.

 

In 1944, when P-40-production was nearing it's end - many of which were lend-lease aircraft...

The P-51 was priorized in Europe (for the 8th), while the P-47 was priorized for the 9th AF.

 

Well shucks, the 5th and 13th AF were pretty much taking anything they could get their hands on. They preferred P-38s at this time anyway.

 

1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Speed. In climb it is average. It climbs better than a 190 but worse than a 109. Turns better than a 190s but slightly worse than a 109. But it is MUCH faster than either. The Low drag of the Mustang didnt just give it range, it also meant that it gets alot more out the Merlin speed wise. Unlike contemporary fighters, the Mustang is fast across the entire altitude band. Same is true with Spit 9s. Mustangs are not only exceptionally quick up high, but they are every bit as fast as late war Russian fighters intended to fight low.

 

As we've seen, the Mustang doesn't climb better than a D-9 and isn't practically faster either. Same is true for the late war 109s. It also doesn't turn better than either in any practical sense. They are so close, it's down to pilot performance.

Mustangs aren't exceptionally quick over all altitudes. They have altitudes where they are, but there are altitudes where they aren't in comparison to other fighters.

 

Late war russian fighters will pull down the Mustang's pants in a turn, though. They all have their strengths and weaknesses.

 

1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

You are also missing my point if you think I am saying the Mustangs performance is outright superior in terms of non-range performance characteristics. Rather it is that it is a very fast airplane at all altitudes, unlike many other fighters which as you yourself pointed out, tend to trade blows depending on critical altitudes. The Mustangs performance is such that it is basically  bad at nothing while generally having several major advantages over contemporaries.

 

I'm not missing the point at all. I'm pointing out that there are lots of factors that will negate any theoretical advantage of any aircraft.

 

The only *real* advantage the Mustang had over it's contemporarys was bringing a competitive performance over a very large distance on internal fuel.

A 1945 K-4 could give a contemporary P-51 a run for it's money. That K-4 by then was a 10 year old airframe.

 

1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Long range escort? There isnt a single other major production ww2 fighter that could fly the same distance and still have fighter performance equal or superior to the opposing interceptors. P-47s didnt have the range until much later and they were kind of bad fighters. The altitude band over which thunderbolts did ok was simply too narrow. P-38s had their own set of issues. And thats the end of the list of fighters that could do that at all. Basically every other ww2 fighter had a range of about 500miles, and if it went farther than that it suffered from major compromises that made it ineffective as an escort (usually size).

 

The P-51 wasn't exceptional in long-range escort. I think you might want to look up the meaning of "exceptional".

Both the P-47 and the P-38 could have done the job. Their supposed "sub-standard" performance had several reasons but they were all solvable. Much of those reasons were linked in the inability of USAAF to figure out that the bomber will most definately not come through.

 

If you think the P-47 was a bad fighter, you might ask the pilots of the 56th FG.

By the time the numerical superiority that was stocking up in Britain was stacked against the Luftwaffe, the airplane (P-38/47/51) was secondary.

P-38s did well in the MTO and could have been fixed to fit the bill in the ETO. The fact that the P-51 was arriving made that unneccessary and the P-38s were used elsewhere.

 

1 hour ago, LColony_Red_Comet said:

Yes...because the Thunderbolt models that played the most role in the war lacked the range and performance for the job and had to be replaced by the....P-51. Such that the the air campaign that was responsible for the overwhelming majority of Luftwaffe fighter losses was only possible because of the Mustang.

 

The overwhelming majority of Luftwaffe losses were more closely related to detatching the fighters from directly escorting the bombers. A job that would have easily been done by either the P-47 or the P-38. Yes, the Mustang added a bit of fighter-performance across the board and was a bit better, but it didn't change anything in the outcome and it most certainly wasn't "exceptional".

 

Several Fighter Groups came so late to the fight, they were equipped with P-51s right away:

The 339th, 357th an 359th FGs started flying P-51s right away.

The logic of P-51s "clearing the skies" is pure fantasy.

 

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I've got to disagree with you on a number of levels there. 

 

The first 8th AF P-47 missions were flown in April 1943 (and there were only 3 fighter groups to start with).  The first P-38 missions were flown in October 1943 (now up to 8 total groups, 7 on 47's and 1 on 38's).  The first P-51 missions were flown in December of 1943 (a second P-38 group was working up, bringing the 8th AF total to 9 plus the 1 P-51 group from the 9th).  Between April and the end of November, 8th FC had claimed 285 kills in exchange for at least 74 fighters lost to the Luftwaffe (there may have been more, but at least those 74 were attributed to enemy fighters in the MACRs).  Actual LW aircraft losses opposing 8th AF raids during that time period were around 770 - the bomber gunners were scoring more kills than the fighter were during that time frame.  Likewise the number of sorties the Luftwaffe was able to mount against 8th AF raids continued to rise throughout the period. 

 

Similarly 8th AF bomber and fighter sorties increased as the campaign escalated.  8th AF bomber losses and LW fighter losses rose with the increasing intensity of the campaign - until bomber losses peaked in April 1944.  In May, sorties continued to rise for all parties, and LW fighter losses continued to rise, but bomber losses fell.  May also happened to be the month where P-51s became the majority of the escort force.  At the beginning of March 1944, 8th AF FC had  P-47 - 8 groups, P-38 - 3 groups, P-51 - 2 groups.  By May, this had become P-51 - 7 groups, P-38 - 3 groups, P-47 - 4 groups.  During that critical March-May period the Luftwaffe lost nearly 1400 fighters opposing 8th AF raids (with the totals continuing to increase every month).  P-47 escorts claimed 357 vs 139 losses.  P-38's claimed 73 vs 109 losses.  P-51's claimed 855 vs 213 losses (its been a while since I parsed these numbers - I don't recall if the losses were just in air combat, or total including flak and whatnot).

 

The often stated myth that the P-47 largely knocked out the Luftwaffe in 1943 is clearly incorrect.  Likewise, it's clear that the P-51 significantly outperformed both the 47 and 38, both in killing German fighters and protecting US bombers.  And while various folks on youtube have made some wild claims about the P-47's range, its rather telling that 47's didn't claim a kill over Berlin until Feb 1945 (when the 38 and 51 had been there in March of the previous year).

 

Given the poor performance of the P-38, and the fact that the P-47 didn't have the range to escort strikes on German oil targets (the oil campaign began in May and really crushed the LWs training, there was no possibility of recovery once the training pipeline was essentially cut off) I think it's pretty clear that the success of the campaign hinged on the arrival and effectiveness of the P-51.

 

My sources for all that were The Mighty Eighth War Diary by Roger Freeman, Fighter Units and Pilots of the 8th AF by Kent Miller and Day Fighters in Defence of the Reich by Donald Caldwell.

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Bremspropeller

You're just looking at the numbers, instead of looking behind them.

 

The P-38s came to England to give a deeper escort-range, as it showed that P-47 range wasn't going to work out in the short turn. The P-38 in fact had been introduced to England a year before (summer of '42) and got sent to the MTO right away, as it was deemed that it's capabilities were better used there. Hence the issues that were coming up with P-38s flying escort in the ETO came up, when an aircraft that didn't need a lot of fixing (P-51) was becoming available. Thus the P-38 quickly got shot-down as an escort. Had they had more time fixing the issues, they'd have fixed them a year earlier. Let's not forget the RAF wasn't exaclt helping here, shooting down the aircraft with 200 conversion-kits for dive-flaps.

 

The P-47 flying shorter range missions during summer '43 were most against Luftwaffe fighter wings 1, 2 and 26, who had taken the brunt of RAF fighting for the last 2 years and thus were battle-hardened and experienced. The fighter-wings met over Germany to a large part consisted of pilots coming from the eastern front or from the MTO and most from the flying schools. Those units did not have a great amount of experience fighting large formations of aggressive western allied fighters.

 

It took a long time coming up with a fix for the P-47's range-issues. A lot of that was due to the early USAAF brass policy of not putting external fuel tanks onto their fighters.

Thus, most of '43 was spent figuring out tank-configurations (the early tanks weren't pressurized) and picking up correct tanks and configurations. P-47s could carry a duckton of different tanks that were not ideal, while others would and did work. Those included the 108gal impregnated paper tanks (came to the show around january '44) and the Lockheed-designed 165gal tank (was available earlier but for some reason wasn't aggressively investigated early). Then there's the issue that underwing-shackles came late - mostly for not seeing the neccessity early enough.

 

The Mustang came to the show with external tank shackles and had the 85gal aux tank installed in the field until around march '44. A lot of solutions and realisations of their necessity were already in place and were aggressively followed when it reached the front units. That is not least thanks to the pioneering work of the P-47 groups.

 

27 minutes ago, VBF-12_KW said:

Similarly 8th AF bomber and fighter sorties increased as the campaign escalated.  8th AF bomber losses and LW fighter losses rose with the increasing intensity of the campaign - until bomber losses peaked in April 1944.  In May, sorties continued to rise for all parties, and LW fighter losses continued to rise, but bomber losses fell.  May also happened to be the month where P-51s became the majority of the escort force.  At the beginning of March 1944, 8th AF FC had  P-47 - 8 groups, P-38 - 3 groups, P-51 - 2 groups.  By May, this had become P-51 - 7 groups, P-38 - 3 groups, P-47 - 4 groups.  During that critical March-May period the Luftwaffe lost nearly 1400 fighters opposing 8th AF raids (with the totals continuing to increase every month).  P-47 escorts claimed 357 vs 139 losses.  P-38's claimed 73 vs 109 losses.  P-51's claimed 855 vs 213 losses (its been a while since I parsed these numbers - I don't recall if the losses were just in air combat, or total including flak and whatnot).

 

The Mustang did this and the Mustang did that. We're all agreeing that the Mustang was the better tool for the job. So let's just grab that, put it in a bag, zip it up and throw it away, as that's not what we're discussing here:

 

WHY does the P-51 have more kills?

 

The P-47 groups halved (8 => 4) with the P-51s getting those four groups, plus getting another fresh group, while the P-38 groupss stayed with their type.

With those four groups transitioning to P-51s, all the escort experience previously made on P-47s (which had not been available during 1943) transitioned over to the P-51 with virtually no trial-and-error time. Hence a significantly higher combat-effectiveness right from the get-go.

 

Combine that with the change towards freeing the escort-fighters and allowing them to after Luftwaffe fighters, instead of just staying close to the bombers. That's a significant tactical turn towards more kills rather than a fuzzy feeling for the bomber-crews, who needed to learn that when they can't see their escorts, they're busy doing their job.

 

Combine that with a deeper penetration into bandit-country with an increased exposure and opportunities for encountering enemy fighters. More opportunities results in more kills.

 

38 minutes ago, VBF-12_KW said:

The often stated myth that the P-47 largely knocked out the Luftwaffe in 1943 is clearly incorrect.  Likewise, it's clear that the P-51 significantly outperformed both the 47 and 38, both in killing German fighters and protecting US bombers.  And while various folks on youtube have made some wild claims about the P-47's range, its rather telling that 47's didn't claim a kill over Berlin until Feb 1945 (when the 38 and 51 had been there in March of the previous year).

 

It's true that the P-47 didn't knock out the Luftwaffe in 1943, but it faced a stiffer competition. The P-51 managed to attain more favourable numbers largely because of the factors previously explained. it was a better tool for the job, granted. It wasn't that much better as the blank numbers suggest, though.

 

How telling is that fact really?

Both the P-38 and P-51 had the advantage of coming from places where tactical considerations required hardpoints udner the wing, rated 1000lbs each (the Lightning could carry 2000lbs). The P-51 came to the show, thanks to the Brits placing emphasis on tactical capability (and thanks to NAA in their desire to keep the floor running, sold the USAAF a dive-bomber), with external fuel tank capabilities right from the start.

The P-47 suffered from the fact that it didn't have that requirement and hence didn't come with enough external stores to make it work. The belly-fuel tank shackle didn't offer enough ground-clearance to fit the 165gal tank, which was available at the time*. So they couldn't fit the airplane with the right drop tank. That option only became available with underwing-pylons. Hence they were stuck with a single 75gal tank or with the cumbersome "flat" 150 gal tank.

 

Better options only became available with

- the appearance of the more streamlined 108 impregnated paper tank

- wing-mounts (allowing for up to three 108gals or two 165gal and one 108gal tanks)

- increased internal fuel-capacity in the bubble-top models (305gal to 370gal)

 

Note for a fun-fact, that neither the P-51, nor the P-38 were near their max possible escort-radius:

The P-51 could have gone farther by using the Lockheed 165gal tank.

The P-38 could have gone farther by using the 310gal tanks that were an option - they'd be rather unpractical against the Luftwaffe, though.

____

* The 165gal tanks could be jury-rigged under each wing, but that wasn't a loadout that was combat-rated.

 

1 hour ago, VBF-12_KW said:

Given the poor performance of the P-38, and the fact that the P-47 didn't have the range to escort strikes on German oil targets (the oil campaign began in May and really crushed the LWs training, there was no possibility of recovery once the training pipeline was essentially cut off) I think it's pretty clear that the success of the campaign hinged on the arrival and effectiveness of the P-51.

 

The P-38 played a major role in the escorts to Ploiesti.

The LW training was already falling way short of expectations by the time the oil-raids were performed. The lack of fuel merely accelerated the inevitable.

 

The P-51 did not play a decisive role there. Other than participating, like the other two types.

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RAAF492SQNOz_Steve

Not sure why are talking about American fighters in a topic about "best WWII fighter".

 

That honor clearly goes to the the mighty Aussie made Boomerang.

 

Reputedly, when one flight had to take on Japanese fighters, in the Pacific, reported to HO that "Those who are about to die, Salute you" you know that they were flying a truly superior beast. :(

  

 

image.png.0c2a3465287bc1cd513018d7ed6c4bed.png

https://aviationmuseum.com.au/ca-13-boomerang/

 

The writeup in the above link misses out the somewhat key factor, for Aussie pilots, that the survival rate against Japanese Zero's was indeed close to Zero.

While clearly closer to the bottom of the WWII aircraft performance heap the pilots must have been among the bravest to take to the sky.

 

Yeah I know :poster_offtopic:  but lets not forget the pilots that had to fly the clearly inferior stuff from all sides.

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[LeLv34]Lykurgos88

I will toss my 2 cents here briefly. Won't go into much details, but here are my picks for absolute best fighters for each country (that actually saw service and had production numbers greater than 100 units!). I won't consider the overall impact of these planes in the war; only the combat capabilities and performance will count.

 

Germany: FW-190 D-9 "Dora"--> Has no real downsides, especially when equipped with MW-50. Good armament with good placements and has all around good performance (but maybe not the absolute best performance). Ta-152H is also a contender, but with so low production numbers I will have to disqualify it.

 

Italy: M.C.205V "Veltro" --> A really balanced and underappreciated plane that came bit too late to have any real impact. By far the best Italian plane IMHO.

 

Japan: N1K2-Ja "Shiden-Kai" --> Highly maneuverable and well armed (4x20mm) japanese plane that remained competitive even against overwhelming odds. The Shiden-Kai was considerably improved from its previous versions.

 

Soviet Union: La-7 B-20 --> With the B-20 modification, the La-7 went to become the absolute best fighter that Soviet Union produced during WW2. Ridiculously agile and flexible, it could dance around the enemy and pour explosive lead on the enemy.

 

United Kingdom: Spitfire XIVe --> Was there ever any doubt? Ok, maybe the Tempest V is a bit faster and more heavily armed, but I would still pick the Spitfire for its ability to dominate any dogfights.

 

United States: F4U-4B or F4U-1C Corsair --> I could not find any information about F4U-4B use in WW2, so I also picked the F4U-1C to be sure. At least those saw some service in Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Reason for choosing this version of Corsair? It's all about the 20 mm. Being the only US late war fighter with this armament, I have no other choice. It's not like the Corsair lacks any engine performance either. Truth be told, I would be scared ****less to fight a F4U-4B in a Mustang (knowing that even one 20 mm hit can destroy my plane).

 

-----------------------------------------------------

 

BONUS ROUND: If the kill-ratio is all that matters, then the Brewster Buffalo might be the absolute king (32:1 in FAF service).

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