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Subject: Best All-Around Fighter of World War II
sentinel28a    10/13/2009 3:38:03 PM
Let's try a non-controversial topic, shall we? (Heh heh.) I'll submit the P-51 for consideration. BW and FS, if you come on here and say that the Rafale was the best fighter of WWII, I am going to fly over to France and personally beat you senseless with Obama's ego. (However, feel free to talk about the D.520.)
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45-Shooter       5/17/2011 8:27:36 PM

45:  Read the stuff at Spitfire Performance to learn about Spit vs 109


For cannons vs mg's note that the Germans produced the MG151 in 15mm and 20mm versions.  IIRC the case was the same and the gun was the same save for the barrel diameter.  They had a choice between an mg type projectile and a cannon projectile and they chose the latter.

No, they did not! The Mg-151 was a choice between two cannon. One a 15 MM that shot a blunt, IIRC, 57 gram shell Vs a 20 MM that shot a blunt 109 gram shell. The fact that the 20 MM came with a new type of high explosive capacity drawn shell was the main factor in the choise. ( 17 grams of HE in the 20 MM, Vs 2.8 in the 15 MM.)
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earlm       5/17/2011 9:13:11 PM
15mm muzzle velocity:  950m/s
20mm muzzle velocity:  800m/s
The point is that the more cannon like cannon won out over the more mg like "cannon."  The trend was towards cannon and the US M-2 was not weight efficient.
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JFKY    Uh No...   5/17/2011 9:31:40 PM

You are sadly mistaken about this! The Americans DID shoot down many large AC with the .50 and it worked perfectly! Think BV-222/238, Me-232, and numerous Jap four engined sea planes that were as large or larger than a B-17! Ignoring these facts shoots holes in your argument. A famous American Ace and Test Pilot claimed in a Wings TV Channel interview that the .50 caliber was superior to the 20 MM used by others because it would penetrate deep into enemy aircraft instead of exploding on the surface doing little actual damage! I think Chuck Yeager knew as much or more about these things as any of us. Don't you?

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No, the Mavis and other "large" A/c  were not armoured and tough like the B-17/ no, downing large UNARMOURED a/c is not proof of anything.

As to penetration that was my point, for equal penetration the 2/3 cm round was better.  The explosion INSIDE the a/c disrupted airframe, controls and the like...2-3 2/3 cm hits were sufficient to damage most a/c beyond recovery.  So no 1.27 cm is not better, unless it penetrates deeper than the 2 cm it's in comparison with.

And actually, NO Chuck Yeager woud NOT, necessarily, know more aobut it than others.  He's a PILOT, not an armourer...I'd take any mumber of other folks opinion over his.
45-Shooter       5/17/2011 7:42:58 PM
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earlm       5/17/2011 9:36:06 PM
The Soviets favored the 20mm ShVAK over the 12.7mm Berezin and they were shooting at fighters.
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Aussiegunneragain    Shooter   5/18/2011 4:03:40 AM
If you are going to compare 12.7mm rounds to 20mm ones you have to compare apples with apples. The 20mm x 110RB HE rounds of that family may have had a flat nose, but the AP rounds certainly didn't. They were just as pointy as any 12.7mm round and therefore would be expected to transfer the entire effect of their greater kinetic energy through the target. Here are the pictures if you don't believe me.
As for the time of the round travelling to target, the British version of the HS 404 had a muzzle velocity of about 840m/s versus 887m/s for the M2. Over 500 metres that means that the 20mm round would have arrived at the target about 0.02seconds later than the 12.7mm round, an insigificant difference in terms of lead required if firing at a deflection ... especially against a bomber sized target. I actually doubt whether the flatter trajectory of the 12.7mm round would have made much of a difference at those ranges either, especially with the benefit of tracer. The 20mm would have undoubtedly provided the opportunity to hit earlier and for a longer burst. In any case the ME-262's used to start their firing runs from 500 metres with 30mm guns out of necessity because of their speed and they managed to hit the bombers so I doubt that it would have been beyond any other half decent cannon armed fighter jock.
Another thought for you, the Germans liked to conduct head on attacks against bombers to avoid the rear guns. Lots of important stuff is in the front of an aircraft, like the aircrew, so under that mode of operation don't you think that HE shells with their fragmentation effects might be more effective than AP penetration?
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Aussiegunneragain    Shooter   5/18/2011 4:09:13 AM

Something to consider is that under most conditions, the P-40 was much closer to the other two in performance because it had much larger fuel tanks which meant that it could use more throttle for longer. As a case in point, if the Spit or 109 had to cover some distance between base and the mission AO, the it would have to do that at 25-55% throttle, or between 185-210 MPH! The 109 is just about the same. But if the P-40 has to cover the same distance, it's larger fuel tanks permit it to use 75% throttle to go about 310 MPH! I'd like to have 100 MPH in hand when the fight started, wouldn't you?

This is part of the point I keep trying to make that range is equally important to performance as other factors, may be more!

Range was undoubtely an advantage that the P-40 had over both types, but the effect for a WW2 fighter would have been more a matter of how far from base it could safely operate rather than how long it could fight for. Flying a piston engined aircraft on full power doesn't use fuel at anywhere near the rate that operating a jet on afterburner does and the fights were usually short enough in those days that fuel starvation wouldn't have been the big issue that it is now. I think you would find that once the Spits or the '109 got below a safe reserve for a fight, they would have just flown home rather than engaging at a lower power.
I'd also make the point that the advantage was only enjoyed by the P-40 if the enemy only deployed aircraft which it could safely fight. Keep in mind that the P-40C and D was roughly contemporous to the Fw-190A-1 and only got by because the best the German's deployed to NA till 1942 or so was the out of date Bf-109E.

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Aussiegunneragain    JFKY   5/18/2011 4:09:58 AM

Good points, except we have been talking about the Fw-190 - not the Bf-109.

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JFKY    Well,   5/18/2011 10:28:24 AM
I'd STILL choose the P-47 over ANY of its German is a better A2A and A2G is capable of doing many things, and that makes it the best all-around....
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Ispose    2 cents   5/18/2011 11:37:44 AM
I remember reading somewhere...can't remember where...that in mockdogfights the F4U was all over P-51's below 20,000 ft...they were faster, more manueverable, and had better acceleration and were certainly much tougher. I still prefer the P-47 because it had better high altitude performance than either of them. I would also say that making a belly landing in a P-47 would be much safer than either the F4U or P-51 due to the Gull wings and belly scoop.
As to why the AF scrapped the P-47's after the's were cheaper to operate and filled the ranks until the jets came into full service...this penny pinching got a lot of pilots killed in korea though when USAF and ROK AF pilots were forced to use P-51's in ground attack roles. USMC and USN using F4U's and A1's were much better off.
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45-Shooter    Aussygunner   5/18/2011 5:30:41 PM
I can't view the link you sent for some reason. The examples of WW-II 20 MM ammo I have and have seen are no where near as pointed as the .50 Cal! The ones in my collection all have 1.5 caliber or shorter ogive radiuses! The ogive on the fifty cal is 9-10 calibers radius! If you doubt this, go to Tony William's site Cannon Machine guns and ammo to see his pics of 20 MM ammo! See this web site for trajectory info on these rounds.
Two points on that page;
1. The list of projectiles and guns have many defects such as choosing the wrong .50 Cal projectile or 20 MM Hisso MV.
The .50 Cal bullet is the 660 grain, 42.77Gm aircraft ammo at 915 M/S, not the 710 grain, 46 gram infantry round at 887 M/S.
The Hisso round is a 130 Gram, flat or blunt nosed projectile at 840 M/S.
You are right that the TOF difference between the two rounds is short, about 0.05 seconds! Certainly not that significant at 250 M range. But at 600 or 1,000 M? You tell me. How about 1500-1600M? Widely acknowledged as the longest recorded on film P-38 kill. How much difference do you think that would make. I only bring that up because the vast majority of kills are made by a very tiny minority of ACES who CAN make those kinds of shots! Read Mike Spick's book of air combat. The average range of Korean war kills by Saber pilots is/was 750 M! Now if the .50 works at that range with the exact same gun sight and ammo on a target widely regarded as much tougher than any WW-II plane, I would think it could do the job on a WW-II four engined bomber, or sea plane and six engined transports! But wait it did do those things!
Again you are right about the head on pass being the safest and most effective from the defender's point of view! Like I said several posts back, it only took 2-3 rounds in the cock pit to down any bomber and that 2-3 rounds of HE is more effective than 6-9 rounds of .50 Cal. ( Unless 2 of those rounds kill the pilot and co-pilot.) I also note that these kinds of results are only possible if the shooter has nose mounted guns! Wing mounted guns would miss with 100% of rounds fired by at least 7-11 feet when perfectly zeroed and centered in the sight reticule!
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