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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       2/11/2013 7:18:11 PM

To judge the best fighter plane of WWII, you have to balance out the good and the bad aspects of each type and look at each design in total.  Speed, climb, maneuverability, firepower, range, ceiling and just how well the aircraft deals out and handles punishment are all factors that have to be put into a final tally that determines which design is the best.  So, based on this formula, IMO, the best fighter of WWII is the F6F Hellcat... why, you may ask?  *The Helllcat could climb faster than the Mustang, Corsair, F190 (Radial or inline) the P47, the ME 109 and the P40.  The only plane it could not out climb was the Russian Yak 3. The F6F had better range than the FW 190 (both versions, by a lot) the Spitfire, (by a lot) the P47, the P40, the YAK 3, the ME 109 (Both by a lot) and the Corsair.  The only planes with longer legs were the Mustang and the Zero The F6F could fly higher than the Corsair, the radial FW 190, the Zero, the Spitfire, the P40 and the YAK 3.  The Mustang, Inline FW 190, the P 47 and the ME 109 could fly higher. However, the best opposing plane. (the ME 109) had an altitude advantage of 2000 ft., gaining it only one diving pass to take out the Hellcat, and, considering the durability of the F6f, not a good one.  The only area lacking is top speed, being faster than Spitfire and the P 40, but no other plane I listed. Where the Hellcat excels is firepower and the ability to take damage.  Water-cooled inline engines are vulnerable to minor hits... This puts an automatic negative to the Mustang, The inline FW 190, the ME 109, the Spitfire, the P 40 and the YAK 3.  When comparing planes as the best, the ability to bring a trained pilot home to fight another day has to be taken into consideration.  You also have to look at fatal flaws in the designs... The Zero was a deathtrap... if it got hit, it tended to blow up.  Amazingly, the P47 had this problem too, but only when used in ground attack.  The fuel tank under the pilot's seat was vulnerable and tended to explode if hit by Triple-A  (Against light ground fire, it was all but invulnerable, of course.)  The ME 109 had poor take off and landing characteristics, and a horrible, rearward blind spot, The YAK 3 had a poor war load capability and the P 40 was useless at altitude.  When judging each of these designs, you have to put in the negatives, and the F6F had no real vices of fatal flaws...It really was a well designed, well built, honest fighter... AND it could land on a carrier flight deck, something that only the Corsair and the Zero could match. ****** So let's review... The F6F is easily the best radial engine fighter of WWII, but it is also not lacking in performance when compared to in-line, water-cooled fighters that could not take the same amount of damage the Hellcat could take and survive.  Even when you consider the areas that the F6F is lacking (Speed and service ceiling), neither number is so low that it represents a fatal flaw.  In other words, when taken in total, the Hellcat gets the best overall score. 



Well thought out and argued, but flawed? You made no mention of the quality of the planes as gun platforms, although some you mention were very much better than others in this regard, but most still lagged behind the best. Secondly, you did not address cruising speed. Since very few dogfights were fought at top speed and most attacks were started with either a quick dash from similar altitudes or a dive from above, but in either case at speeds LESS than top plackard speed at WEP! You also failed to mention rate of roll, both instantanious and sustained.
Lastly, you failed to address the P-38 which scored much better than the Hellcat F-6 in most if not all catagories.

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45-Shooter       2/11/2013 7:22:29 PM

Very close indeed but I'd personally suggest the Hellcat was probably the better platform - it was more versatile, inherently carrier-capable, more durable, easier to manufacture, easier to maintain and destroyed more enemy aircraft than any other allied platform.
Not quite! on page 124 of Wagner's American Combat aircraft, it states B-17s claimed 6,659 enemy AC in 291,508 sorties. Or about 20% more than the Hellcat!

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45-Shooter       2/11/2013 7:30:20 PM

Discounting the 30 something Specials, the late production Lancaster could carry 18 X 1,000 pound bombs inside the bomb bay! That is more than any B-17 could cary, iether inside, externally, or combined. But now the rub! Given that the maximum bomb load was ~18,000 pounds, Why was the Lancaster's AVERAGE BOMB LOAD for the entire war just under 8,000 pounds?

may be the 4000lbs mine laying missions or the food missions to europe or the fact that this figure doesnt include incendaries?
  The Food drops under the "Mana" missions were not counted as combat sorties!

    no it hasnt, to hit berlin it needed the bombbay tanks or the tokyo tanks, to go further required both
    but the point is that it couldnt carry it could it? the biggest load was 9600 and that was special missions with disney bombs, the land did 22000lbs special missions.
  The Disney bomb mission only carried two times 4,500 pounds for 9,000 pounds up. There are lots of ways that a B-17 could get more than 9,600 pound into the internal bomb bay!

you equate the fact that the b17 had ONE advantage that being celing and then claim that this is the most important aspect, I say BOMB LOAD is the most important aspect of a heavy bomber and that the B17 could only carry a load

      to berlin a medium bomber could!
So witch Medium could carry 6,000 pounds to Berlin?

I would counter ALL of this with what was the death rate per ton of bombs drop ped and how long in days did it take those 7,377 Lancas ters to drop their 608,000 tones of bombs?             

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45-Shooter       2/11/2013 7:37:46 PM

Or wait, do you dispute that range and load are inversely linked?
One more time, If the Lancaster could cary 18,000 pounds of bombs, or even 14,000 pounds to berlin AS AN EVERY DAY THING, then why was the lancaster's total average for the entire war just under 8,000 pounds?
because like the B17 not all mission were the same, however I can find reports that say the two raf bomber command groups one flew berlin missions with 14000lbs the other 12000lbs its your dime you find a report of < 12000lbs to berlin
 Ancidotal accounts do not count! How do you explain that lancasters only dropped 608,000 tons of bombs in 156,000 sories? Or that they took 3-1/2 years to drop less bomb tonnage than B-17s did in two years?
When you consider that Americans flew by far the most long range missions with longer ranged planes like the B-17 and B-24,
er, which targets did the usaaf bomb that the RAF didnt? Schweinfurt was one of the ussaf longest missions and what do you know the raf bombed it too with significantly heavier bomb loads (usaaf 3 x 1000lbs and 5 x100lbs, raf 1 x4000lbs + 8000lbs of incedaries)
 Poland, Czhechoslovachia, Russian shuttle bombing runs, etc...
 it is easy to see why the Average bomb load in B-17s was less than 4,400 pounds. When you trade off bomb load for range and altitude you reduce bomb load and that is all there is to it.
and as the b17 didnt carry much bomb load to start with But the last 12,000 or so did!          

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45-Shooter       2/11/2013 7:49:44 PM

given the lower cieling and the shorter ranges
no, the Lanc didnt operate at shorter range it bombed all the targets the B17 did (so did both the halifax and the Stirling), this is just a shooter fabrication
  Post a link to ANY Lancaster mission to Poland, Czechoslovachia, or Russia shuttle mission! Those simple facts put the lie to this claim.                                                                                                                                                                                                             the fact that the B17 flew the majority of its missions later in the war with heavy fighter cover and reducing opposition doesnt make a difference? and the fact that the Luftwaffe night fighter force was actualy larger in 45 than it was in 43, fitting facts to your beliefs again i see
Exactly how many Lancasters were shot down by Night fighters? There is a list on Wiki naming the Aces and listing their kills. So what porportion of those >3,000 Lancaster losses were to Night fighters, regardless of how many there were when and how many to flack or "Unknown" causes? 
Given the 3,249 lost in action out of 7,377 total made compaired to the B-17 which lost 4,688 out of 12,731!

given the fact that the majority of these b17 were operated with 2:1 or greater fighter cover against a weak and poorly trained a/f whilst the nightfigher force was staffed with expertern almost to the end but that doesnt make a difference does it?
Not at all, since the vast majority of Lancasters were lost to Flack!

 Or 44.1% to 36.82% losses, Lanc to -17! The B-17s shot down more than twenty times as many enemy AC as the Lanc,

fiction, the B17 never got anywhere near the amount of kills you are crediting it with
The Germans kept score and desided that fighter planes with bullet holes in the nose were shot down by Bomber's guns and those with holes from behind were downed by fighters. The Germans clain to have lost over 12,000 fighters to bomber guns.

Work out the numbers all you like. The Lancaster killed more crewmen than the B-17 and B-24 combined. Dropped fewer bombs, over more months and hit fewer strategic targets.

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Skylark       2/11/2013 8:57:25 PM
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Belisarius1234    And the BS continues.   2/11/2013 11:45:28 PM
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oldbutnotwise       2/12/2013 3:08:50 AM
 its easy to fowl a shackle, a single 250lbs bomb will cover 3 shackle mounting points, it rather dificult to mount a bomb when thier is already one in the way
  Where on earth did you get this crazy idea?
a little thing called physics, two object cannot occuply the same space

Mex airframe overload by the way is UNFLYABLE condition. Boeing Aircraft Co certainly disputes this claim!

where? I do not see such a claim

Since I have already posted this plackard from Boeing so many times before, I'll only post the link to same;
and the point is that is DOESNT say a word about the 17600lbs or how flyable a B17 loaded as such would be! posting a irrealvent link is not cleaver to continue posting it claiming it sayssomething it doesnt is either dishonest  or shows a huge lack of of analtical skills
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oldbutnotwise       2/12/2013 3:14:39 AM
   what? you making these figures up as you go along? the only WW2 US bomb of 20lbs was a fragmentation bomb dropped in 120lbs clusters
  No, just ignorant of the exACT DETAILS.
then why do we bother if you cannot be bothered about little things like FACTS!
and what does 3x7 @ 20lbs mean? 
It means 3 times 7 at 20 pounds each, or (3 X 7 = 21) at 20 pounds each = 420 pounds, plus the container.
But I was mistaken, that was the pay load, not the "All Up Weight" which was about 490 pounds for the entire cluster.
so we are talking the 500lbs container then, but wait that was 4lbs incendaries not 20lbs,
  Yes, this is corect! AND I was wrong above! As I have told you all before my memory is shot all to heck and back too!
then why rely on it? stop living in a fantasy world and making things up as you go along

and they are VERY distinctive
Yes they are! That is why they are so easy to Identify in the picture! Now all I have to do is find that link again and all will be well in the world tonight!

difficult to do when you have NEVER provided alink to said picture (reminds me of your B17 with two tallboy picture you refered to) 
 Which is I believe either the Mk-46, or Mk-47 cluster incendiary bomb. Note that the early versions of same had a substantial fuse that protruded from the other wise flat nose.
I was wrong about the exact nominclature, but at least had one didget right!
what the M? about average for your posts then
basically the above shows that your post is wrong the basic fact is that there is no way of fitting 34 500lbs bombs into a B17 bomb bay and to think otherwise shows a lack of understanding of a/ a b17 bombbay and b/ physics
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oldbutnotwise       2/12/2013 3:19:49 AM
thats fair, but how does this make the F6F the better plane, it matches the spit for a few years, prior to 42 the f6f didnt exist but the spit did and was doing the job it was designed for, after 43 the spit had moved on past the MkIX and yet the F6F 5 was the pinicle of the F6F development.
as I say compairing a snapshot of the spits lifecycle against another aircraft is slightly unfair, we can do the same for the F6F and compair the f6f 5 against a F8f as both were in service together, the F6F does not come off well
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