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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       3/22/2013 12:00:31 AM
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.)
Counter-rotating propellers, found on twin- and multi-enginepropeller-drivenaircraft, spin in directions opposite one another. The propellers on both engines of most conventional twin-engined aircraft spin clockwise (as viewed from the pilot seat). Counter-rotating propellers generally spin clockwise on the left engine and counter-clockwise on the right. The advantage of such designs is that counter-rotating propellers balance the effects of torque and p-factor, eliminating the problem of the critical engine.

In designing the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, the decision was made to reverse the counter-rotation such that the "tops" of the propeller arcs move outwards, away from each other. Tests on the initial XP-38 prototype demonstrated greater accuracy in gunnery with the unusual configuration. The counter-rotating powerplants of the German World War II Henschel Hs 129 ground attack aircraft, Heinkel He 177 heavy bomber and Messerschmitt Me 323 transport used the same rotational "sense" as the production P-38 did.

Drawbacks of counter-rotating propellers come from the fact that, in order to reverse sense of rotation of one propeller, a gearbox needs to be used or the engine or engine installation must be different. This may increase weight (gearbox), or maintenance and spare parts costs for the engines and propellers, as different spare parts need to be produced in lower numbers, compared to a conventional installation.

Counter-rotating propellers should not be confused with contra-rotating propellers (propellers that share a common axis).

 
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oldbutnotwise       3/22/2013 5:09:12 AM
I do not know?
one more thing to add to the list of things you do not know
But My ideas are;  
1. The Me-109 shot down more enemy AC in combat that the next three types combined. That makes it the most effective,
as pointed out many time by many people as you are not comparing like with like then this is a false statement, as you could replace the Me 109 with just about any front line fighter of the period and got the same result 
but then it comes down how do you define "Best"? 
 
 
2. Pointability is the single most important factor in any planes ability to shoot other planes down.  
important yes but not overriding, to be a good fighter you need a range of abilities and being good in just one certainly doesn't make it the best
3. Counter, or Contra rotating props are the single largest positive factor in pointability!
Are you aware that the first attempts to fit contra rotating props to a single engines fighter resulted in aircraft that were far worse in roll and turn than the single prop version? whilst the reduction in torque steer was attractive as was the power conversion the loss of turn and roll meant that it was another 44 before they got a version working sufficiently well for combat use, the use of counter rotating props is limited to twins and twins when put against top front line single engine fighter always came out second best

4. CL guns are the single largest factor in determining the effectivness of a planes weapons during the guns combat time line! 
then why did a large proportion of expertern say that wing guns were preferable? If you have Mike Spick's books and had actually read them (particularly "The Ace Factor" and "German Fighter Aces") As well as numerous other reports that rate the spread of a wing gun to be preferable in a fighter unless the pilot was an expert shot
5. Given all of the above, I nominate the P-38 as the best fighter plane of WW-II!  
given the German pilots opinion of fighting the P38 I certainly wouldn't
 
if we look at WW2 in total and not just half of it then the best has to be either the Spit or the 109 was these were the only two to run the full course of the war, if we only look at part of the war then the best has to be one of those that entered service at the last moment the Late mark Spits, the Sea fury, the Bearcat the Hornet,  the do353, the FW190D
the Me262 or meteor, the p80 or the DH Vampire
 
in fact the best fighters of ww2 are those that entered service so late that they missed combat
 
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Maratabc       3/22/2013 9:56:53 AM
The best fighters were the ones statistically that an average  pilot could easily master and use competitively against an enemy in air to air and air to ground combat combined.
 
Spitfire (despite some rather complex flight controls [engines], and mainly air to air work still capable of ground attack)
FW 190 
La 7
Hellcat
Zero
Tempest 
Machi 205
Reggiane 2005
Wildcat
 
Of that list, the most general purpose were the FW-190, Hellcat and Wildcat, La 7, and the Tempest.  
 
 
Note that planes that were difficult to fly and master such as the P-38 (twin engines), P-47 (turbo-charger),  P-51 (flight stability-fuel management) and the BF-109 (landings, takeoffs, and engine controls) are not on this list. 
 
If a pilot lived long enough or received enough training hours the omitted planes were formidable, but my criterion for success is an average pilot under wartime conditions with not enough time to properly learn. The plane must be easy to learn the flight basics, be easy to maintain, be easy for an imbecile to use and fly, be competitive against contemporaries.   
 
 
 
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45-Shooter       3/22/2013 8:18:28 PM

1. The Me-109 shot down more enemy AC in combat that the next three types combined.
as pointed out many time by many people as you are not comparing like with like then this is a false statement, as you could replace the Me 109 with just about any front line fighter of the period and got the same result 
How do you say that? This is silly!

2. Pointability is the single most important factor in any planes ability to shoot other planes down.   
important yes but not overriding, to be a good fighter you need a range of abilities Yes, this is true, BUT, there can only be one most important atribute! And pointability is it! Or maybe speed?
 
3. Counter, or Contra rotating props are the single largest positive factor in pointability!
 
Are you aware that the first attempts to fit contra rotating props to a single engines fighter resulted in aircraft that were far worse in roll and turn than the single prop version? No, I am not. Can you list the source for this? As far as I know, the Spitfire was one of the first in to production, even if only a few dozen, and it seemed to go very well! whilst the reduction No, it is elimination, not reduction! as was the power conversion the loss of turn and roll against top front line single engine fighter always came out second best
Where on earth did you get the idea that turn and roll had anything to do with what kind of prop is on the plane?
   
4. CL guns are the single largest factor in determining the effectivness of a planes weapons during the guns combat time line! 
then why did a large proportion of expertern say that wing guns were preferable? One more falshood! The vast majority of "Experten" preferred the engine mounted/CL guns! If you have Mike Spick's books and had actually read them (particularly "The Ace Factor" and "German Fighter Aces") I have, and what's more I have talked to some of those "Experten" and the Fork Tailed Devil and Me-109 by Martin Caidin that quotes Generalleutnant Adolf Galland that dispute your claims above! As well as numerous other reports that rate the spread of a wing gun to be preferable in a fighter unless the pilot was an expert shot
-This last is pure BS! No-one of note ever claimed that wing guns were better than CL guns. In fact, most in the RAF thought that the Hurricane was the better gun platform when comp'd to the Spitfire!
 
5. Given all of the above, I nominate the P-38 as the best fighter plane of WW-II!  
 
given the German pilots opinion of fighting the P38 I certainly wouldn't
Read Martin Caidin's Fork Tailed Devil: The P-38 to find a different point of view!
if we look at WW2 in total and not just half of it then the best has to be either the Spit or the 109, Only if you count September 1939 as the start of the War. But many historians count either the Spanish Civil war, Sino Japanese or Russian Japanese conflicts as the start of the Second World War! if we only look at part of the war then the best has to be one of those that entered service at the last moment the Late mark Spits, the Sea fury, the Bearcat the Hornet,  the do353, the FW190D
But if that is your criteria, then only the Me-109 can be considered! As to the rest, late mark Spits accounted for only a tiny bit of the total Spit score! They did not score as many kills as Fw-190D even if you combine them all! So mid-war, the P-38/47/51s EACH scored more planes down than the Fw-190D and all the late model Spits combined!
the Me262 or meteor, the p80 or the DH Vampire
Lets see, only the Me-262 ever shot down a single enemy aircraft1 That makes the rest non-starters, don't you think?
in fact the best fighters of ww2 are those that entered service so late that they missed combat
But then the best of the Bunch would have to be the TA-152H?


 
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45-Shooter       3/22/2013 8:32:52 PM

The best fighters were the ones statistically that an average  pilot could easily master and use competitively against an enemy in air to air and air to ground combat combined.
This idea is a non-starter as the Average pilot never shot down a single enemy aircraft! Not one! Statistics show that if you make a kill, you have to be in the top 50%! 
Spitfire (despite some rather complex flight controls [engines], and mainly air to air work still capable of ground attack)
Except for the late models with two or four 20s, the rest are WO Merrit!
Note that planes that were difficult to fly and master such as the P-38 (twin engines), P-47 (turbo-charger),  P-51 (flight stability-fuel management) and the BF-109 (landings, takeoffs, and engine controls) are not on this list. 
But all of those planes were the ones that turned out to be the MOST effective!
If a pilot lived long enough or received enough training hours the omitted planes were formidable, but my criterion for success is an average pilot under wartime conditions with not enough time to properly learn. The plane must be easy to learn the flight basics, be easy to maintain, be easy for an imbecile to use and fly, be competitive against contemporaries.   
This is the single most silly argument ever posted! The "Average" Pilot has no place on the list at all! In all Air Forces, in every Nation, NO-ONE in the bottom 50%tile ever shot down a single Enemy Air Craft! Never Ever! Typical stats show the top 1% of all fighter pilots account for about 40% of all kills! The next 4% get about 25% of kills, while the next 10% get about 15% and the next 35% get the last 20% spread around thinly!
 
 

 

So, I counter your "Average" pilots with; I would rather have the top 1% of shooter pilots than the entire bottom 50% of the average! In fact, I would rather have the top 5% than the MIDDLE 50%, who at least got to win some fights!

 
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oldbutnotwise       3/23/2013 7:24:00 AM
1. The Me-109 shot down more enemy AC in combat that the next three types combined.
as pointed out many time by many people as you are not comparing like with like then this is a false statement, as you could replace the Me 109 with just about any front line fighter of the period and got the same result       
How do you say that? This is silly!    

 

so what your saying is that only your opinion is valid and that someone has an alternative then its silly ?,

2. Pointability is the single most important factor in any planes ability to shoot other planes down.   
important yes but not overriding, to be a good fighter you need a range of abilities Yes, this is true, BUT, there can only be one most important atribute! And pointability is it! Or maybe speed?
No speed and pointability may be important but NOT to the exclusion of other criteria, the faster combat fighter of ww2 was the me262 yet was it the best fighter, no it suffered in to many areas to be handed this monica
 
3. Counter, or Contra rotating props are the single largest positive factor in pointability!
 
Are you aware that the first attempts to fit contra rotating props to a single engines fighter resulted in aircraft that were far worse in roll and turn than the single prop version? No, I am not. Can you list the source for this?
Yes I can and for once I will, why? I don't know because you will not believe me or claim I am wrong despite never reading the book in question try The Spitfire by Ken Delve for one source just because its sat on the arm of my chair
 
As far as I know, the Spitfire was one of the first in to production, even if only a few dozen, and it seemed to go very well! 
actually no, the first few (and the first attempt was in 42) almost stopped the research into contraprops which at the time looked promising for the conversions of power to thrust - not as you claim for torque reaction reduction (which was a by product and not an aim)
whilst the reduction No, it is elimination, not reduction! as was the power conversion the loss of turn and roll against top front line single engine fighter always came out second best
Where on earth did you get the idea that turn and roll had anything to do with what kind of prop is on the plane?
 
and just where do you think that a it didn't, I have read the test reports that state this was the case yet you with your all encompassing knowledge did not, wow didn't your experience in MacDonald's help? or doesn't burger flipping include propellers? 
 
  
 
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oldbutnotwise       3/23/2013 7:58:08 AM
 
4. CL guns are the single largest factor in determining the effectivness of a planes weapons during the guns combat time line! 
then why did a large proportion of expertern say that wing guns were preferable? One more falshood! The vast majority of "Experten" preferred the engine mounted/CL guns! If you have Mike Spick's books and had actually read them (particularly "The Ace Factor" and "German Fighter Aces") I have, and what's more I have talked to some of those "Experten"
lies, in Mike Spick "the ace factor" on Page 107 and I Quote (In referring to the removal of wing guns from the 109)
"Adolph Galland and others of the 'stick your nose in the enemy cockpit' club, opposed the measure and with hindsight we can see they were right" 
and as for talking to experten, well you claimed that one had told you things that we have proved were untrue, now this means that the person lied or you did and my money is on you
 
and the Fork Tailed Devil and Me-109 by Martin Caidin
I have read this and its a work of fiction, it isn't worth the paper its written on as a factual look at the p38, its bubblegum history
 
that quotes Generalleutnant Adolf Galland that dispute your claims above!
Mike spick doesn't agree and he actually met Galland
 As well as numerous other reports that rate the spread of a wing gun to be preferable in a fighter unless the pilot was an expert shot
-This last is pure BS! No-one of note ever claimed that wing guns were better than CL guns. In fact, most in the RAF thought that the Hurricane was the better gun platform when comp'd to the Spitfire!
GUN PLATFORM noticed these words? do you understand what they were referring to? no of course not
 
5. Given all of the above, I nominate the P-38 as the best fighter plane of WW-II!  
 
given the German pilots opinion of fighting the P38 I certainly wouldn't
Read Martin Caidin's Fork Tailed Devil: The P-38 to find a different point of view!
I have and its "woohoo us is best and the rest is rubbish" US rewriting of history at its worst, have you read professional reviews of this work?
if we look at WW2 in total and not just half of it then the best has to be either the Spit or the 109, Only if you count September 1939 as the start of the War. But many historians count either the Spanish Civil war, Sino Japanese or Russian Japanese conflicts as the start of the Second World War!
No they don't I don't know of ANY historian that claim this (at best they say that it had its roots in these conflicts but only rarely and in specific instances ) all histories have WW2 starting in 1939 (ok 1942 if your an American)
especially as both the Spanish civil war and other were all over prior to the German invasion of Poland that is universally accepted as the start
 
But if that is your criteria, then only the Me-109 can be considered! As to the rest, late mark Spits accounted for only a tiny bit of the total Spit score
that's because you have such a small understanding of the war that you cannot grasp that it isn't the be all and end all of assessing the ability of a fighter, A F22 is a better fighter than a F16 yet the F16 has shot down more aircraft opportunity is a big issue as the late model spits had little opportunity to engage does not make them inferior
 
 So mid-war, the P-38/47/51s EACH scored more planes down than the Fw-190D and all the late model Spits combined!
yet either would see off the P38/47/51 so score is not the idea measurement is it
 
Lets see, only the Me-262 ever shot down a single enemy aircraft1 That makes the rest non-starters, don't you think?
no, it means you need to define your question better
But then the best of the Bunch would have to be the TA-152H?
No the TA was/is hyped but post war assessment has it as a excellent high altitude fighter but not so hot in medium/low level, but certainly it was much better than a 109E
 
 
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Maratabc       3/23/2013 2:25:02 PM


The best fighters were the ones statistically that an average  pilot could easily master and use competitively against an enemy in air to air and air to ground combat combined.

This idea is a non-starter as the Average pilot never shot down a single enemy aircraft! Not one! Statistics show that if you make a kill, you have to be in the top 50%!


The point is that you don't know who is the top 50% or 1% until they fly. But of course this escapes the perfect ideal Shooter. Also the assertion that the bottom 50% do not score kills is so like the LIES that this man writes. Statistically the effectiveness in combat is based on training hours, tactics, attitude, and opportunity. Graphed as a function it is a bell curve. In other words, you have never flown, Shooter. Besides, I do NOT restrict to mere dogfighting the criteria which is the least work an average pilot did. More often he bombed and strafed.

Spitfire (despite some rather complex flight controls [engines], and mainly air to air work still capable of ground attack)


Except for the late models with two or four 20s, the rest are WO Merrit!


You do know that for most of the war the Spitfires carried 20 mm cannon?

Note that planes that were difficult to fly and master such as the P-38 (twin engines), P-47 (turbo-charger),  P-51 (flight stability-fuel management) and the BF-109 (landings, takeoffs, and engine controls) are not on this list. 


But all of those planes were the ones that turned out to be the MOST effective!

Not so. The P-40 Tomahawk contributed far more overall to the war tactically than the P-38. But I did not list it as it was an inferior plane to the ones I listed as effective by MY criteria.

If a pilot lived long enough or received enough training hours the omitted planes were formidable, but my criterion for success is an average pilot under wartime conditions with not enough time to properly learn. The plane must be easy to learn the flight basics, be easy to maintain, be easy for an imbecile to use and fly, be competitive against contemporaries.  

This is the single most silly argument ever posted! The "Average" Pilot has no place on the list at all! In all Air Forces, in every Nation, NO-ONE in the bottom 50%tile ever shot down a single Enemy Air Craft! Never Ever! Typical stats show the top 1% of all fighter pilots account for about 40% of all kills! The next 4% get about 25% of kills, while the next 10% get about 15% and the next 35% get the last 20% spread around thinly!

Again a LIE. Many mediocre pilots have one or two ACE kills to their credits from opportunity attacks. These same mediocre pilots did most of the air to ground work which most WW II fighter pilots DID most of the time.

So, I counter your "Average" pilots with; I would rather have the top 1% of shooter pilots than the entire bottom 50% of the average! In fact, I would rather have the top 5% than the MIDDLE 50%, who at least got to win some fights!

And that would prove you do not know how Human beings and actual war works.

You write as a child understands, not a an adult. Reality, where the rest of us live, tells us you must deal with consistent data results from what every air force has learned about Human beings and air combat.

Numbers MATTER. The more planes you have, the more training time you have, the better average pilots you have, the sooner you kill all the enemy aces and win control of the air and can bomb the ground under it, than a smaller force of elite pilots can defend.


 
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Reactive       3/24/2013 11:16:19 AM
It was the Germans who fully-embraced (and glorified) the concept of the 'ace' as a distinct entity - this fed through to incorrect allocation of pilots and training priorities. As an example they didn't (until it was too late) use the most-skilled pilots where they would have been most useful (training) or even identify fighter training as a top-priority so as wartime attrition reduced their best fighter pilots those who came to replace them were not nearly as capable - this explains why the Luftwaffe suffered increasingly heavy losses in the air even as their technology improved and (arguably) outpaced opposing platforms - it was a lack of skilled pilots which came down to its initial failure to prioritise, and an unrealistic appraisal of the duration and scope of the conflict. 
 
So when you take the statement:
 
So, I counter your "Average" pilots with; I would rather have the top 1% of shooter pilots than the entire bottom 50% of the average! In fact, I would rather have the top 5% than the MIDDLE 50%, who at least got to win some fights!
 
That is more or less what the Luftwaffe did - they assumed their air war would be a short-duration event where their top-pilots would decisively overwhelm the enemy -  "First we've got to beat Russia, then we can start training!". So they threw their best into battle repeatedly until they were KIA/MIA/POW status.
 
Post to follow..
 
 
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Reactive    rom the conclusion of Strategy for Defeat, The Luftwaffe 1933-1945 by Williamson Murray Available to read online: >> ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/AAF-L   3/24/2013 11:18:55 AM
"The attrition of pilots and skilled aircrews was perhaps the most important factor in the destruction of the Luftwaffe as an effective fighting force. The rise in the attrition rate for pilots resulted in a steady reduction in the skills and experience of those flying German aircraft. While the losses among the fighter pilots may have been somewhat heavier than for other categories, they undoubtedly reflected what was happening throughout the force structure. The increasing attrition of pilots forced the Germans to curtail training programs to fill empty combat cockpits. As a result, new pilots with less skill than their predecessors were lost at a faster rate. The increasing losses, in turn, forced the training establishments to produce pilots even more rapidly. Once they had begun this vicious cycle, the Germans found no escape. One of the surest indicators of the declining skill of German pilots after the 1940 air battles was the rising level of noncombat losses. By the first half of 1943, they had reached the point where the fighter force suffered as many losses due to noncombat causes as it did to the efforts of its opponents. Thereafter, the percentage of noncombat losses began to drop. The probable cause of this was due less to an awakening on the part of the Luftwaffe to the need for better flying safety than to the probability that Allied flyers, in their overwhelming numbers, were shooting down German pilots before they could crash their aircraft.

By the beginning of 1942, the Germans had lost the equivalent of two entire air forces. The result was that the Germans had to curtail their training programs to meet the demands of the front for new pilots. By January 1942, of the pilots available for duty in the fighter force, only 60 percent were fully operational, while the number in the bomber force was down to 47 percent. For the remainder of the war, the percentage of fully operational fighter and bomber pilots available, with few exceptions, remained below, and at many times substantially below, the 70 percent level. Further exacerbating this situation was the fact that the Germans were forced to lower their standards for a fully operational pilot as the war continued. There was, one must note, no decisive moment in this decline in expertise. Rather as Winston Churchill has suggested in another context, the Luftwaffe had entered the descent from 1940 "incontinently, fecklessly . . . . It is a fine broad stairway at the beginning but after a bit the carpet ends. A little further on, there are only flagstones; and a little further on, these break beneath your feet."The graph for the number of training hours for new pilots clearly reflected such a course. In the period through the late summer of 1942, German pilots were receiving at least as many training hours as their opponents in the RAF. By 1943, that statistic had begun a gradual shift against the Germans until the last half of the year when Luftwaffe pilots were receiving barely one-half of the training hours given to enemy pilots. In terms of flying training in operational aircraft, the disparity had become even more pronounced: one-third of the RAF total and one-fifth of the American total. But those Luftwaffe pilots who had survived the attrition of the first air battles of the war had little difficulty defeating new Allied pilots no matter how many training hours the latter had flown. In fact, the ratio of kills-to-sorties climbed as those Luftwaffe pilots who survived built up experience. However, few German pilots survived the attrition of the first war years, and thus the Luftwaffe became, in fact, two distinct forces: the few great aces--the Hartmans, Galands, and Waldmans--and the great mass of pilots who faced great difficulty in landing their aircraft, much less surviving combat. Only 8 of Germany's 107 aces to score more than 100 victories joined their squadrons after mid-1942."

 
 
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