Military History | How To Make War | Wars Around the World Rules of Use How to Behave on an Internet Forum
Fighters, Bombers and Recon Discussion Board
   Return to Topic Page
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.)
Quote    Reply

Show Only Poster Name and Title     Newest to Oldest
JFKY    45-Shooter   5/27/2011 10:00:53 PM
WOW Boelcke figured that out in WWI, it's how it's's platform irrelevant....but thanks for revealing those "secrets".
Quote    Reply

Aussiegunneragain       5/28/2011 10:44:08 PM
Earl, I was talking about the ground attack types being armed with a 30mm cannon, not armoured against it.
As for the assessment that fighter bombers make better attack aircraft than actual attackers, I think that is very wrong. Battles like the Falaise Pocket do nothing to prove that fighter bombers, and in particular the P-47, were better for ground attack. The Allies had the Germans caught like rats in a trap without air cover and just poored vast amounts of ordinance into the area. Do that for long enough and you've gotta hit something. Also, the P-47's weren't even the only fighter bombers operating during that battle, the Typhoons and the Spitfires did a lot of the work too.
WW2 attack aircraft like the IL-2, the JU-87G and the Hurricane MkIId were far more capable at destroying tanks than any fighter bomber was. The British tested the Hurricane with the Vickers S guns versus rockets and found that with the Vickers S, 25% of rounds fired hit the target. If you consider that the Hurricane carried 30 rounds, at the odds the Hurri would have have the potential for 7 or 8 tanks to be hit in a mission. The 60lb rockets only managed a hit rate of 5% per rocket fired, so a fighter firing 8 of them would have less than a 50% chance of hitting a tank during a mission - and these results were subsequently bourne out during the Typhoon attacks on German armour in Western Europe. Of course the rocket firing fighter could then use it's 20mm cannon, but it would be a tough call for it to catch up with the effectiveness of the Vickers S.
The IL-2 and the JU-87G were similarily effective in destroying tanks with their big cannon (up to 37mm) and were far less vulnerable to ground fire than the than the IID due to their heavy armour. The IL-2 could soak up hits from anything up to 20mm fire, so all the rifle calibre rubbish fire from infantry and tank AA machineguns basically meant nothing against it. Being able to come in low and slow in a stable gun platform, with the confidence that most of what the enemy was throwing at you was harmless, must have been a great confidence boost to it's pilots and must have greatly improved their aim. Compare this to a fighter bomber coming in fast with smaller calibre guns, which had a lower chance of achieving penetration as they relied on hitting a soft spot and with the armour at not too much of an angle, and would do less damage even if penetration was achieved. 
Of course yes, these types were vulnerable to enemy fighters, which is why it was important to have thier own fighters available in numbers to win the air superiority battle. On this count it would have been better to have 3 Mustangs or Fw-190's over head keeping the skys clear than the 2 Thunderbolts that an airforce could afford to buy for the same money.
Quote    Reply

Aussiegunneragain    PS   5/28/2011 10:47:32 PM
The assertion that after the War there was a shift to fighter bombers compared to specialised attackers is also incorrect. The A-1, A-10 and SU-25 followed the IL-2 model and there was a broad range of other specialised attackers such as the A-4, A-7, Jaguar, SU-7/17/20, Harrier and the F-105. Attack had some unique requirements and fighters don't do it as well.
Quote    Reply

45-Shooter       5/30/2011 7:51:41 PM

WOW Boelcke figured that out in WWI, it's how it's's platform irrelevant....but thanks for revealing those "secrets".

You are right about Boelcke too! But you are wrong about it not being platform specific! The platform has a huge effect on tactics and strategy.
Quote    Reply

Hamilcar21       7/10/2011 8:14:11 PM

Why did anyone waste 20 pages with this clueless Ruben, Shooter?


Quote    Reply

earlm       7/10/2011 9:25:10 PM
I enjoyed the interaction with Aussiegunner.  We haven't seen much of the shooter lately.  Maybe he ran out of ammo.
Quote    Reply

Aussiegunneragain    Earl   7/10/2011 11:25:12 PM
Thanks Mate, I enjoyed myself too, which as an armchair aces is what it's all about :-).
Quote    Reply

Hamilcar21       7/11/2011 12:41:16 AM

Might pick up the discussion. We never did give the Russians their just due you know. 


Quote    Reply

JFKY    Soviets   7/11/2011 9:38:57 AM
1) For its era the I-16 carried the heaviest firepower of any fighter, period.
2) Soviet Aircraft used turbo/super-charging and fuel injection, IIRC.
3) The Soviets had the best 12.7mm HMG.
The problem is that:
1) We interviewed more Germans than Soviets post-WWII and so Soviet victories and achievements were over-looked.  The Germans tended to down-play Soviet success and attribute it to "Hitler" and "Vast numbers".
2) The Soviets were more secretive and so didn't play up their successes.
3) The "average" Soviet pilot may not have been that good, but they had very decent aircraft and some very decent pilots.
Overall the Soviet Frontal Aviation and the like is probably under-rated.  People think "Bubi" Hartmann, but Hartmann was an outlier.  The average 1944 Luftwaffe pilot was probably no great shakes and his Soviet counter-part had an airplane and skills set equal, at least to this putative average Luftwaffe pilot.
Quote    Reply

earlm       7/11/2011 12:54:02 PM
The Soviets concentrated the best pilots in special units with Lavochkin aircraft and let the rest fly Yaks.  They had the advantage that there was little high altitude combat so they could optimize the planes for low and medium altitudes.
Quote    Reply