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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       12/22/2012 12:20:55 PM
Who won the Second World War?  The Blonde Knight or someone else?  And IF, and that's a big IF, you think the F-104 is the Epitome of "fighter" you have a big another "Think" coming...it was fairly poor aircraft, good for only one thing, fast, high altitude interception at visual ranges.  Again, please note which a/c F-4 or F-104 served longest, did more, and oddly enough, downed more enemy a/c, F-4 or F-104?  Fighter or Fighter-BOMBER?  I believe the answer is clear, the multi-role F-4 dominated its era....in the West, at least.
I never said any of those things above. I said the greater the mismach, the better. See the Sarchastic grin...
Given the match up as originaly stated, which plane would you rather be in? The F-104S armed with Sparrow/Aspide and a 20 MM gatling gun with Radar, or the Gunbus? Right!
Charicteristics do matter and some planes ARE better killers than others! ( P-38, Fw-190 and Me-109 come to mind!)
Some planes ARE more survivible than others! P-47 and P-38 also come to mind!)
Given ALL of the various charicteristics, which plane would you rather be in; Mano-a mano Vs EBH?
Tell the truth. If you had to fly a serries of gladiatoral combats Vs Hartmann in his Me-109K4, what plane would you want under your seat?
Every other argument is rubbish as they say!

 
 
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Ispose       12/23/2012 12:35:10 PM
Given ALL of the various charicteristics, which plane would you rather be in; Mano-a mano Vs EBH?
Tell the truth. If you had to fly a serries of gladiatoral combats Vs Hartmann in his Me-109K4, what plane would you want under your seat?
Every other argument is rubbish as they say!
Actually a best arguement would be you have several missions to perform choose on airplane to perform these missions:
 
Day 1 - Escort Bomber to target and keep enemy fighters away from Bombers
Day 2 - Support Allied infantry in their assault on enemy lines
Day 3 - Interdict Enemy railroad Traffic
Day 4 - Perform Fighter Sweep over enemy airspace
Day 5 - Interdict enemy armor
Day 6 - Attack enemy airfield defended by heavy AAA
Day 7 - Stand down, go to church and thank God that your crate brought you back alive all week
Repeat above week until war ends
 
Now realistically what aircraft would you want to strap yourself into to have the best chances of surviving?...IMO not the Spitfire...too fragile, Not the Bf-109   In my mind it comes down to a few aircraft...P-47, F4U, F6F, Tempest, maybe FW-190
 
 
 
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45-Shooter    All good choices, but not great ones, except for the P-47?   12/29/2012 2:41:28 PM

You forgot the one plane that can do all of those things better than any you listed and interdict shipping too!

The P-38 out of all war planes of the Second World War had the ability to do all of those things in spades and to a higher standard than the rest.

It was unrivaled as a gun platform, smooth, steady and had superior pointing characteristics to all other Prop planes of the war. ( This is probably the single most important aspect of a fighter plane that is expected to perform multiple tasks!) It had the best weapon installation of all allied fighters. ( Discounting the Mossy because it is not really a fighter, but an attack plane!) Early on, it's aerodynamic performance was unique, later on, other planes had some traits that were superior in one or two areas, but fell far short in others.

 
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Ispose    Re: 45   12/29/2012 4:13:24 PM
I agree...the P-38 was a hell of an airplane and I should have added it to my list...I have a personal preference of the P-47 but both were fine aircraft
 
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JFKY    45-shooter   12/29/2012 6:27:31 PM
1. Price's Fighter Aircraft, has the Klimov M-107 as Super-Charged, powering the YAK-9U.
2. Fighter pilots cannot be judged by their A2A skills alone...and the "Average" Luftwaffe pilot circa 1944, was not very good, certainly not as good as his Western counter-part, because of fuel shortages.  I would suggest again that his Soviet counterpart was at least as good, if not better.   It's irrelevant if  pilots do or do not shoot down other a/c, they do far more than that to win wars.  Arguably by 1943-44 that was the least of their useful skills.
 
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45-Shooter       12/30/2012 12:05:29 PM
I agree...the P-38 was a hell of an airplane and I should have added it to my list...I have a personal preference of the P-47 but both were fine aircraft
I agree, the P-47 was a fine plane and certainly one of the top three single engined fighters of the war!
I give a range because there are so many ways to judge such things and depending on what criteria you use the top dog changes. But no mater what you use to decide it has to be one of the top three.
My vote on the others in order of my personal ranking and why is;
1. P-47N Turbo-charger and the flight envelope it confers!
2. Ta-152H-2 CL guns and the aerodynamics of the long span wings.
3. Me-109G/K CL guns, history and small size.
I know that list is going to get me burned alive because of the planes I left off, or why I chose them. The most egregious trade to me is the choise between air cooled radial engine with or WO turbo-charger, Vs Wing mounted guns. How much more desirable is the engine, particularly with the turbo, Vs wing mounted guns?

 
 
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45-Shooter       12/30/2012 12:13:56 PM
1. Price's Fighter Aircraft, has the Klimov M-107 as Super-Charged, powering the YAK-9U. How does this apply to anything I have posted? Just currious because I do not know the realivance, or how to reply. 
2. Fighter pilots cannot be judged by their A2A skills alone...and the "Average" Luftwaffe pilot circa 1944, was not very good, certainly not as good as his Western counter-part, because of fuel shortages.  I would suggest again that his Soviet counterpart was at least as good, if not better.   It's irrelevant if  pilots do or do not shoot down other a/c, they do far more than that to win wars.  Arguably by 1943-44 that was the least of their useful skills. I believe that they can and must be judged on their skills. You are also correct that "Average" Fighter pilots are not very good! I would stipulate that those so called average pilots have very little to NOTHING to do with A2A combat! Depending on the who, and when, the so called "AVERAGE" pilot in every single air force on the planet never shot down anything! Ever!
They are there to dilute the target spectrom, spot the enemy, and scare off the less stout attackers.
 
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JFKY    45-Shooter (Hamilcar/Herald)   12/31/2012 8:47:52 PM
2) Soviet Aircraft used turbo/super-charging and fuel injection, IIRC.Wrong! On both counts.
 
See, I have a source that disputes your claim, that's how it relates to what you claimed. 
 
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JFKY    45-Shooter (Hamilcar/Herald)   12/31/2012 8:50:00 PM
Yeah Herald, the "Average" pilot delivers the A2G ordnance and the like, too.  You keep making combat about A2A, when by late '43, early '44 it wasn't about that for the Western Allies.
 
And it's one of the reasons I like the P-47, because it does so much more than just shoot down other planes. 
 
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Aussiegunneragain       1/2/2013 9:53:47 AM
Based on strategic merit alone I'm going for the P-51 from the B model onwards as the best all-round fighter. It was the only type produced that gave any significant length of service, that  you can say that you could have used as a single fighter type for your entire air force in all theatres. The only fighter mission was the sorts of extremely high altitude interception missions that the later model Spitfires could perform against reconnaissance aircraft, but then there were experimental and post-War versions of the Mustang which could do that, which proves it could have done that as well if the need was there. It was also successfully tested as a carrier aircraft, but again there was not a need. Finally it was significantly cheaper than any of the competition, which matters a lot in the context of getting the most out of wartime resources.

However, the B model Mustang only arrived in late 1943 so it is only fair to consider a couple of contenders for their total length of service as top tier types. In the ETO the Bf-109 served for the longest period if you include pre-war service, from mid-1937, and with upgrades could mix it up with later types right until the end, so considering it served for more than three times as long as the B+ Mustangs it could also be considered for the title of the best if length of service. The Spitfire came into service a year later and the Mk-I and Mk-II weren't quite as good as the Bf-109, in overall performance with the two bladed prop and then in armament and diving ability, but the Mk-V and the 109F were on a par and many consider that the Spit was better after those models, so overall the Spit was pretty even with the 109 in the ETO for the title of "The Best", if length of service is considered.

Neither Spitfire nor the 109 was/would have been comprehensively useful in the Pacific so that needs to be considered separately. On that count I rate the P-38 as the best, as its because it served from just before Pearl Harbour until the end of the Pacific War. In the Pacific it's range and twin-engine reliability outweighed the performance imperative and cost considerations of the ETO and with upgrades it could do the same or better job as any of the later types in that theatre right until VJ Day.

So in summary "The Best All-Round Fighter" might be considered to be:

1. P-51B on overall strategic usefulness.
2. Bf-109 and Spitfire for the ETO if length of service is considered.
3. The P-38 in the PTO if length of service is considered.

I know I'm going to get arguments about the P-47 being the best for it's survivability, but the fact is that it couldn't do all the required missions to be considered an all rounder until the N model in 1945, which I reckon is too late to count. It was also no interceptor whereas the Mustang could concievably do that job adequately with the right modifications.
 
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