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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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Maratabc       3/25/2013 10:14:24 AM" style="text-decoration:underline" id="_GPLITA_1" title="Click to Continue > by Vid-Saver">Performance Evaluation:
The Fw 190's handling qualities were generally excellent. The most impressive feature was the aileron control at high speeds. Stick force per "g" was about 9 pounds up-to 300 mph rising to 12 pounds at 400 mph as compared to over 20 pounds for the Me-109.
High speed stalls under "g" load were a little vicious and could be a fatal handicap in combat. If the airplane was pulled in tight and stalled at high speed at 2 "gs" or more with the power on, turning right or left, the left wing would drop violently without warning and the airplane would flick onto its back from a left turn. I scored against a 190 under such circumstances. The message was clear, don't stall it. Our own Bell P-39 Aircobra would do the same thing.
Fighting Qualities:
Excellent high speed, with exceptional maneuverability at those speeds. Range and endurance were markedly improved over the 109. The Focke-Wulf would go 3 hours plus. Visibility with the full view canopy was superb, as it was in the Mustang.
Bad points:
(1) Oil cooling tubes at the front of the engines was a poor choice of location. A puncture due to combat damage, or to simple failure covered the engine section with an oil spray.
(2) Lack of aileron and rudder trim controls in the cockpit.
(3) Vicious high speed snap rolls if stalled under significant "g" load.
(4) Poor turning radius due to high wing loading.
Good points:
Everything else was good. In the hands of a competent pilot the 190 was a formidable opponent. The landing approach speed was high and this shakes some pilots up a bit, but I don't think it's anything it's anything to complain about.
Marat speaks:
The FW-190 addressed the worst defects seen in the BF-109. Engine was automatically managed, the propeller pitch was also auto-set. Endurance in the air was tripled over the BF-109.  For some strange reason Kurt Tank did not supply powered rudder assist, which always was a question in side-skid and crabbing. The rudder was as important in yaw as the elevators in pitch, yet the Germans never caught on to the necessity?    
Nothing could help the wing drop except a late 1943 NACA airfoil, but the Germans by then would not get the Sabre wing. With what they knew, the FW-190 was easily the design equal of the later Hawkers and the Mustang in generation and they got there first.
The FW-190 would have been a year too late. In the BoB German pilots could have exploited it famously to cover southern England. 
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45-Shooter       3/25/2013 1:10:40 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!    

so what your saying is that only your opinion is valid and that someone has an alternative then its silly ?,
No. I say it is silly to make that particular suppossition because the entire war is the best possible population of examples to determine the statistical truth of any statement regarding the War.

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
Note that I never said it was exclusive, but if one were to take all of the various criteria for a fighter plane, speed is easily the single most important of them, in that it alone determines wether the plane is sucessful or a failure. All other criteria are insignificant when comp'd to speed. By-planes can out turn any mono-plane, but they can not compete. The Zero can easily out turn the Spitfire, or it's historical nemisis the F-4, but is a looser comp's to either of them, IF they are used corectly!
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
Thank you for this. I'll have to read it. Can you refer me to a page number, I have many other projects in the pot and would sincerely like a hint. Again thanks. 
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)
The main requirement was to eliminate torque  during take off of carrier planes. That was the original spec that was written.

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45-Shooter       3/25/2013 1:40:05 PM

 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" 
Their original opposition was because it would cause a 50% reduction in cannon fire power.
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
Yes, the guns were installed in two tight groups giving concentrated firepower in two "Beams" not one spot at one range. Note that later Spits fixed this by installing the cannon and HMG, if fitted close together and as close to the CL as possible to clear the prop. 
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
See this quote from Wiki to find other historians who dispute your assertion above;  Chronology

The start of the war is generally held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland; Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. Other dates for the beginning of war include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937.[4][5]

Others follow British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred simultaneously and the two wars merged in 1941. This article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935.[6] British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of the Second World War as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the Soviet Union from May to September 1939.[7]

The exact date of the war's end is also not universally agreed upon. It has been suggested that the war ended at the armistice of 14 August 1945 (V-J Day), rather than the formal surrender of Japan (2 September 1945); in some European histories, it ended on V-E Day (8 May 1945). However, the Treaty of Peace with Japan was not signed until 1951,[8] and that with Germany not until 1990.[9]

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
Yes, score is the ultimate measure of sucess! There can be no other valid measure than the ability and accomplishment of shooting down enemy aircraft. All other ideas are rubbish, para-phrasing a famous WW-I Ace. 
Lets see, only the Me-262 ever shot down a single enemy aircraft! That makes the rest non-starters, don't you think?
no, it means you need to define your question better It was not a question, but a reply to your statement that the jets, colectively, or one of many, must have been the best. I simply narrowed the field.
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
I guess it comes down to wether you want it all, or are willing to settle for less. IE, the Ta-152H has it all. It is the worlds best single engined fighter plane above 33,000'! It is competitive with the rest between 20-33K' and slightly less capable than some other taylored to lower altitudes like the Clipped, Clapped and Cropped Spits and low altitude Fw-190s.

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45-Shooter    True and great points made!   3/25/2013 1:49:31 PM

"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.  However, few German pilots survived the attrition, and thus the Luftwaffe became, in fact, two distinct forces: the few great aces--the Hartmans, Galands, and Waldmans, much less surviving combat. Only 8 of Germany's 107 aces to score more than 100 victories joined their squadrons after mid-1942."

True, but the idea that average pilots ever shot down anything, ever is a myth. Average pilots were targets in every air force, not just the Axis powers. The important point above that most fail to note is the last line! Germany had 107 pilots who shot down over 100 planes each and by and large they preffered the Me-109 by an unpresidented ratio! I would thus argue that their choice is the best fighter plane of WW-II?

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Maratabc       3/25/2013 1:53:20 PM
We have seen your assertions. These are unfounded fantasy not even worthy of opinion.

Where are your facts?
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45-Shooter    Equally interesting.   3/25/2013 2:07:56 PM

but if 45-Shooter is trying to say that only the top 5% of pilots achieve anything useful or that he'd rather just have that top 5% I'd refer him to the fate the Imperial Japanese Air Forces.... 
They were ground down by more numerous American forces.  In the end the AVERAGE American pilot was superior...because most of the truly GREAT Japanese pilots were dead by 1944.  Whereas most of the US superior pilots had rotated home and instructed the next wave of US pilots.
My point is well documented in all AFs over history. But our rotation system left many 5%ers in theater untill the 10%ers had matured enough to become useful. Most pilots in that time fraim went through their entire careers WO ever scoring anything! At any venue. It was the aces who dropped their bombs on targets and the average pilots who missed and did little damage. It was the aces who shot down enemy planes, straffed the trains and trucks, not the average pilots who expended their munitions WO hitting much in return.
I'm sorry I believe this is a repeat of earlier postings, but I really couldn't pass it up. 


Finally, as others point out, the measure of a fighter pilot is NOT how many planes s/he shot down, but how they influenced the Air-Land Battle.  A pilot, in 1945, who never shoots down one Japanese/German aircraft, but who destroys enemy ground forces is just as valuable as one who downs 5 enemy aircraft.... true, but the piulot most likely to do that, was in reality already an Ace. The point of an air force is NOT downing enemy aircraft, but to influence the ground battle, either via reconnaissance or ground attack.  The only reason that air forces had "pursuit" aircraft was to destroy enemy reconnaissance/attack aircraft....the A2A portion of the mission is just an outgrowth of air forces struggling to influence the ground battle.  My pursuit a/c attempt to disrupt your activities, and along the way they tangle with your pursuit a/c and vice versa.
All very true, but it is results that matter and good pilots do well at what ever they are told to do. The average pilots miss much more than they hit.
I think Shooter focuses on the A2A portion of the's one of the reasons I like the P-47, because it was also a very useful A2G's one of the reasons I like the F4U or the F6F, because they became excellent Fighter-BOMBERS.
I also like the P-47 for those same reasons, but also because it was a most formidible A2A platform too!
By 1943 the "fighter" had supplanted the Light Bomber & to measure any platform or pilot SOLELY on the basis of A2A ability is a mistake. 
This is certainly true! That is why I think the P-38 and P-47 were such great planes. Unlike the Spit, 109 and 190, they could do the fighter bomber mission with great power. Operating off of concreet run ways, they could lift the bomb load equal to the weight of the early 109 or Spit, none of the rest were close. The F-6 and Corsair were also good, but the ability to land on carriers made them heavy and less capible than the rest in all other venues.

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Maratabc       3/25/2013 2:45:28 PM
More nonsense.
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45-Shooter    Equally interesting.   3/25/2013 2:59:22 PM">This source
This link is most interesting, particularly the responces and rebuttals that are contained far down in the replies section!
So on one hand we have an American Pilot with many victories, Vs the vast majority of the 107 who dispute his claims about the Me-109. Also note that in some of the replies late in the article/thread, some of the quotes from some of the German Aces which go against what the good Colonel has to say. But all in all, it is well written and most concise. A real peek into the details of WW-II fighter planes! Well worth the time to read it all!
So what do we take as the best oppinion to use in our judgement of what was the best fighter plane in WW-II? 
In my opinion, the one point he returns to again and again is the high stick forces required to roll those planes! He even makes a point of siting the pounds of force per G returned and the degrees per second of roll.
That brings me back to my contention that the P-38 was the best of the crop in WW-II. In his own words "any plane WO Hydralic controls can not keep up with one that has them". The P-38 was the only plane in the world to have hydrolic controlls in or before 1943-47? Early 1947 that is in service, not flight test, just to be accurate!
So Hydraulic controls( Ailerons), CL guns with high rates of fire and best MV/BC giving the longest effective range, CR props, great power at all altitudes, good, note good not great turning, great usable speed, great range and persistance, unbeatable bomb load and the very best pointability/gun platform, all combine to make the P-38 the best fighter plane of WW-II!

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Maratabc       3/25/2013 3:02:39 PM
Kit Carson who fought them or a bunch of internet fools?

Seems OBVIOUS which to choose. 
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45-Shooter       3/25/2013 3:15:52 PM

We have seen your assertions. These are unfounded fantasy not even worthy of opinion.

Where are your facts?

I quoted them from the link you posted! Did you read the entire thread? The rebuttals are most interesting. In spite of all of the 109's defects, it was a great plane. The vast majority of the 107 thought so! I decline to their judgement! After all, they are the 107 who did do it in spades and I am only an amature WSA! Again, I site his remarks; "Hydraulic powered controls are a must". The late model P-38 was the only plane in WW-II to have them. (Ailerons!) Speed crops up over and over again in his article and the rebuttals. He even goes through what he would do to make the 109 an easy 400+ MPH plane! Read Kelly Johnson's Bio and the developement of the F-104. Then there are his comments about controlability at speed! Note that all of the planes mentioned had great handling at lower, to mid speeds. It was only when they were going much faster that controlability became a problem. If speed was not so important, why did he make such a big deal out of it? Even to stating what he would do to make the 109 much faster!
If I were to sort and filter his comments into one or two big ideas, they would be the importance of speed and the ability to control the plane at those higher speeds, IE: POINTABILITY!
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