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
oldbutnotwise       3/26/2013 4:05:36 AM
how many were dead before the last generation of fighter saw service, how many got to try those other aircraft how many scored those victories against Spits and P51s rather than untrained pilots in badly made Migs,laggs and I16s and il2s ?
This is a very common misconception! IE, that the Ruskies were some how not as good as the Americans and British.
It is not a misconception its just you who do not understand what happened during the war, you look at stats for the whole war and think that it averages out it doesn't
The Russians were no less able than either the Brits Germans or Americans and thier aircraft were very good, unfortuneately those aircraft were often badly made in a hurry and pilots were thrown into battle with virtually no training, it was qualitly of stock it was the lack of training, pilots who survived tended to do well (just like the germans)
Statistics show that the exact oposite was the truth. The Ruskies had the top 20-30 Allied Aces, all with 41 or more Victories. The Top Americans had 40 and 38, or 39 Kills and the Top Brit had 38, or 39, again, I can not at this time remember who was in second place between the second best American and the top Brit. The Ruskies shot down more Germans than the RAF.
I am fed up of you not understanding the basics, more kills as more oppotunity for kills, whilst german and Russians were racking up kills the British and US pilots were operating in conditions where engagement with the enemy happed once a week if you were lucky and then often on the German's conditions, more British and American pilots were lost during to ground fire than were shot down, you cannot shoot down an enemy if you dont get to engage them regardless of how good your plane is
This is not in dispute by the RAF, or any other rational person in the UK. So, who were the weak nellies, the Russians or the RAF? One last bpoint, the Germansd had more than twenty Aces who shot down over 100 planes each in the west exclusively!
Never said they were weak what I said was that they fielded a lot of untrained pilots in badly made aircraft which they did, so did the Germans, were the aircraft bad - no, just the neccessaties of war meant they were rushed into service  with build quality that would not otherwise have been allowed, were the russians somehow worse as a race  as pilots, NO they just threw untrained pilots into the fight pilotswho either died or got lucky enough to survive long enough to actaully learn how to fly combat
again you are placing you own bias on the facts
go back and actaully READ Mike Spick after all he was your source and yet he contrdicts all your comments
Quote    Reply

oldbutnotwise       3/26/2013 4:18:14 AM
  But your problem is to think all of these planes are NOT Apples, Oranges and Pears! You think that the Ruskies were not as good as the Brits and Americans, name the top twenty Allied Aces of WW-II! Or is it Top Thirty Allied Aces of WW-II? I can't remember, but they were all Russians! Heck, they even had TWO WOMEN who beat out >90% of all American and British pilots with 12 and 11 Victories! So if it turns out that the Ruskies were not such slouches,
And on the other hand pilots were being sent to the front with 1 hour solo flying experiance and NONE on the aircraft they were expected to fly, that is the point LACK OF TRAINING not lack of ability in the Russian people
then any asertion that Pilots who ran up big scores against them are some how less qualified than anyone in the RAF who only ran up 38 or less Victories is flawed!
No its your understand  of the war that is flawed, its it not all understanble from the butchers bull at the end
 Then there is the bunch of >100 German Aces who did that ALL against the Americans and British! Do you then elevate their oppinions above those with less prolific scores? Right! The Germans had 107 Pilots who all shot down over 100 planes. The vast majority of them thought the Me-109 was the best! I'll take their word on that topic before yours, Or Col. Carson's!
so the oppinion of someone who only flew plane of type A is superior to someoen who flew types A,B,C,D etc
your talking your usual rubbish
There can be no other valid measure than the ability and accomplishment of shooting down enemy aircraft. All other ideas are rubbish,
fine if you are comparing like with like otherwise the figures are meaningless (which they are in reality)
  Since ALL of the Fighter planes of WW-II were much more alike than different, that must make my asertion completely valid!
No they dont, how can compairing a fighter that engaged an enemy fighter on 8 or 9 time in 10 sorties agaisnt one that engaged 1 in 100? how can you compare a fighter that engaged at odds of 10 to 1 o one that engaged at odds of 1 to 10? how can you compare fighters when one could pick an d chose the engagements and the other was forced to fight regardless?  all these effect the figures but you casually dismiss them as irrelavent, really poor work by yourself

You can not have it both ways! Either you t6ake the field as a whole, or you narrow it down, but you can not do both as you tried to do above and be taken serriously!
I dont try to take it as a whole, it is you that do that, I realise that the figures DO NOT give enough granuallity to make the stupid claims that you do, you can take period when aircraft were performing in similar enviroments but even then you have to take into account the differences and make allowances but you think that a bill at the end is somehow perfect for deciding what happened, it like looking at two bills from a resteraunt that have the same value and saying look these two groups of four people spent the same money so they MUST have eaten the exact same food.
Quote    Reply

oldbutnotwise       3/26/2013 4:31:57 AM
it was about 25mph faster than a Spit MkXIV at 28k Which model?
which model of the MkXIV?
 and 40mph faster at 33k Again, which model? but was 40mph SLOWER at 10k Again, which model? and those speeds required MW 50 Wrong at least half the time! The Ta-152H used MW-50 at lower altitudes and NO2 at altitudes above 10Km.
so it needed additionaL boost to hit the figures at pretty much ALL altitudes, not only that it needed TWO systems to do it, wow what a good fighter (ad all that to be marginally better than allied fighters that ran without these additives)
which is regarded as adding about 50mph  throughout the range, it also turned and rolled a lot slower than a mkXIV and was slower in the dive and climb and that's against a MkXIV Given the Spitfires notoriously slow rate of roll,
maybe you should read a bit more before making such silly comments, the Spit was slightly inferior to to many aircraft it is true but it was no slouch, and the later models rolled quite well, certainly better than the long wing of the High altitude Ta1152h
not completely fixed with the metal covered control surfaces, I doubt this very much!
You may doubt it but that does not make it wrong, and making comment about something that was fixed 3 years before the arrival of the Ta show your lack of awareness of timelines
You see, the problem was not with the material the surfaces were covered with, but the flexibility of the wing which let the aileron at the back twist the wing to change the angle of attack on the leading edge to counter the effect of the aileron's force!
you mean the twist that was built in and was adopted by Tank as it cured the issue of the stall being so vicious and uncontrolable?
 The Spitfires as a group were never as quick as their comp's at high speed. Never, none of them ever! Fw's on the other hand were famous for their rates of roll.
Yet they were surpassed by the MkIX and later MKs which although having a slightly lower roll rate more than made up for it in other aspects 
       the MKIX entered service they didn't have the cropped impeller blades in the supercharger and it was found that the clipped wings gave virtually no advantages on the MkIX a plane that was superior to the fw190 at low level and superior to the 109 at altitude, let alone the later marks
1. Why did they make Mk-IXs with clipped wings at all then?
very few did, it was an option on every MkIX but was pretty much down to what they aircraft was expected to to, if the major role was CAP the nthey kept the normal tips, if it was pure A2G then some swopped to clipped, all those inbetween kept the tips
2. We were talking about rate of roll. Which of the two, the FW-190 and MK-XIV had the best rate of roll?
Quote    Reply

oldbutnotwise       3/26/2013 4:44:08 AM
as the majority of those 107 never flew anything but 109s This makes my point all by it self! 
Sorry I thought your point was that these people would choose the 109 not that they had no choice in the matter
the P38 was designed without them As were ALL other planes of the time!
yet it was pretty much only the P38 thet needed it to be flyable

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!
but all you need to regain the Spits advantage is one of the know injections methods like mw50 and you are close to 470 mph obtained by the ta152
Yes, this might be true, but The Germans did it, the Americans experimanted with it and the British ignored it.
The british new all about it but chosed not to fit a system that gave a boost for a very limited period, had they had it in the BoB they might have adpoted it but by the time it was availible then the war for the RAF had moved away from needing it, look at the P51 it too had it bust it wasnt used on the vast majority of aircraft why?

then why did they go to so much trouble fitting power controls to the P38? as adding weight wouldn't help increase the speed would it? you seem to be arguing against yourself here
  Not at all. Speed is related to weight by the square root of the weight differance. But rate of roll which became one of the very best at high speed goes to pointability and maneuverability which no other plane in WW-II can match at speeds over 360 MPH! NONE!
yet you have never provided evidence of this, the P38 was outclassed in the ETO and that is a fact of life, so to use your expression  - get over it
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!    
ahem speed AND control not speed on its own
  OK, but if you had to choose one of the two to have at the expence of the other, Which would you take? The ability to escape from or run down the enemy, or the ability to roll the plane quicker, but not have the speed to escape or chase the enemy down? RIGHT!
wow aircombat is so simple, not sure why the US needs such a major resource as Topgun when aircombat is such an easy topic
so you are happy to limit your pilots to one manoeuver, one that if they dont succeed you right them off?

Quote    Reply

Skylark       3/26/2013 5:32:26 AM
The Spitfire, the ME-109 and the FW-190 got their performance by being light, but all of them suffered from the same fatal flaw... no range. To be considered the greatest fighter of WWII, it has to be a plane that is as great on offense as it is on defense.  The P-51 could beat any one of the three top short range planes AND function as an offensive weapon, escorting bombers... taking the fight to the enemy and winning the war.  All the Spitfire, the 109 and the 190 could do was delay the inevitable.  The Spitfire beat back the German assault because the 109 was useless on offense, and the ME 110, less than useless.  If the Germans had a plane like the Mustang during the Battle of Britain, (And something better than the HE 111) Hitler would have been dancing a jig in Piccadilly by the Fall of 1941, so don't give the Spitfire more credit than it deserves.  Adolph Galland loved the 109, but he admitted in interviews that when he was closing in on squadrons of P-51s over Germany, his fuel warning light was already on, while (as he put it) "the enemy was just getting ready to fight".  When fuel is an issue, you can't fly "balls-out", so the performance advantages of the 109 and 190 can't be taken as much into consideration during actual combat.  Add fuel and range into the formula and the fight becomes a lot more even between the short-range 109 and 190 and the long-range Mustang that can afford to be prodigal with the throttle, even after flying all the way from Britain.  The 109 and 190 may have performed better in certain circumstances, and under ideal conditions, but they weren't that much better than the Mustang, and neither German plane was better than the P-51 in all situations.  Best defensive fighter...?  Maybe.  But the Spitfire, the 109 or 190 were not the best fighters of WWII. 
Quote    Reply

Skylark       3/26/2013 5:44:16 AM
Slight correction on my previous comment... I meant to say Gunther Rall in my comment about ME 109 range-issues as quoted from the Discovery series, "Wings of the Luftwaffe", not Adolf Galland.  My bad...
Quote    Reply

oldbutnotwise       3/26/2013 7:25:10 AM
I am sorry but why does the requirement of ONE country make its fighters the best?
The RAF never had need of he range of the P51, those in service with the RAF rarely used the rear tank.
The Spit was designed as a short ranged inteceptor and it was excelent i that role, the Spit was superior to the P51, the only advatge the P51 had was range, yet the the Spit was the FIRST single engine fighter over berlin so a long range Spit could have een produced had thier been a will.
You cannot write an aircraft off because it didnt do what YOU think is the important role, had the USAAF changed to night bombing in 43 would the P51 ever had gained that range? its unlikely.
The P51 was excelent at what it was did, it was good enough at aircombat that it could fight the by then obsolite 109s and was escorting the heavies high enough to be out of the fw190's prefered combat envelope.
If you read Rall and Galland and a few others that survived the air war in the west the thing that stand out are they never feared combat with P51, P47 and especially P38s  but always had the utmost respect for the Spit, if anything it was the shear numbers that allowed the P51 to become so succesfull, when you can counter every 109/190 with a full flight of P51s then you are always going to have the upper hand (even more so when those 109/190s are not trying to fight you but get at the bombers)
In one of Mike Spicks books he has an account of one of the top german aces being in an encounter with a single spit whilst comanding a full squadron of 109s include 3 "experten" in which no one got a single hit on the Spit!
Quote    Reply

oldbutnotwise       3/26/2013 7:26:14 AM
I need a new keyboard
Quote    Reply

Maratabc       3/26/2013 9:41:16 AM
Although incomplete, I would like to point out something...
The ace lists for the US and UK features a MORE consistent average kill score distribution than the other nations. (6-8 toward the middle of the bell curve rather than the 20-30 for the Germans for example.).
Their national aces appear to have been pulled from combat IN TIME and the experience passed on. 
Also significantly, I was surprised to note there were MORE of them (US) than Germans with over 300 American naval aces alone! 
I was surprised by how few Russians and how many Finns made the list.
I was surprised by how many New Zealanders there were.
The UK list includes Commonwealth pilots, but I was shocked by how FEW native English aces there were for all the fighting the RAF did. I expected American or German-like numbers.
I attribute distribution errors due to different reporting methods. Apparently it was HARD to be a Russian, Japanese, or British ace, easy to be a German or American.
Too bad there can be no consistent international criteria. 
Quote    Reply

Skylark       3/26/2013 3:22:34 PM
If you want to limit the discussion to how well a plane does within a narrow performance window, that's fine, but that doesn't make it the best overall, which is the point of this discussion.  I don't even consider the Mustang as my best choice because it was vulnerable to minor damage; something that impacted the Spitfire and the Bf 109 as well. (P-51 is the second best, BTW... Hellcat is still best.)  I can understand your sentimental attachment to the Spitfire and the 109 because they transcended the brutish nature of war and rekindled that romantic image of the dashing fighter-ace, more reminiscent of WWI, as portrayed on every Red Baron pizza box in your local grocery store frozen food section.  However, the Mustang (Like the Hellcat) wasn't just a great fighter because of how well it turned, it was the best because it changed the complexion of the entire war, and ultimately won it by turning the Axis powers from offense to defense: something that the Spitfire and the Bf 109 were entirely incapable of doing.  If you want to cherry-pick a plane based on a narrow performance standard, we could come up with any number of specialty aircraft divided into the categories of short range interceptor, long range escort and fighter-bomber.  Then, once you have divided each specialty plane into its specific mission category, you could then deal with the minutia of speed, climb, turn, dive, range, damage resistance, firepower and then subtract any bad habits and fatal flaws baked into the design.  If Mustang never progressed beyond the underpowered A-36, or if the F6F didn't arrive in time, like the Bearcat, this formula would be valid as no other plane really functioned well outside of its comfort zone.  But if we take all of those categories into consideration and try to find one plane that fits, the Mustang would come out best or near best in every category except damage resistance, which is why Hellcat is still best overall.  Could the Spitfire operate as an effective escort or long range fighter?  No.  Could the Mustang have operated as a effective short range defensive fighter? Yes.  Case closed.
Quote    Reply