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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    Part two!   3/28/2013 7:29:28 PM

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:
Not sure how you get this, the main role of the P51 was bomber escort, an offensive task from day one and one forced upon the P51 due to the losses by the bombers, the P51 was a good fighter and with the long range the US decided they needed in a fighter, the European counties , however, didnt use long range day bombers and therefore had no real need for the long range, so assuming that the ability that was a pretty much US (ok and Japan) requirement makes it the best is lopsided. could the Spit have been made as long range as the P51? no, but it coulkd have had doubled it range by adopting the Rear tank and wing leading edge tanks (both of which were tried and tested by 1941) and then adding wing drop tanks, this would have been a big boost to range, why was it not done? the Raf (and Luthwaffe and Russians) all looked to fighters to either be interceptors or battlefield superiority aircraft, both of which need speed and manouverability adding fuel reduces these aspects, as I pointed out the RAF rarely used the rear tank of the Mustangs they flew - tactical requirements just didnt need it.
Yes, that is right, adding fuel reduces all other aspects of performance! Because of the aerodynamics of the planes in question, given any single mission criteria, their performance would be in this order; P-38, Mustang, Fw-190, Me-109 and Spitfi re.
The P-38 because it has twin engines and turbos that over come it's drag and weight. The Mustang because it has less drag and the same installed power as the Spit. The Fw and Me because they have more power and or less drag than the Spit. I know this type of argument will spark many jeers, but if the smaller and less powerful Me was faster, it was more aerodynamic. The Fw was a combination of more power and slightly less drag and the Spit was the worst of all things. It had more drag than the faster planes with similar, or more power and not enough power to make up for the extra drag IF FUELED for the same range and throttle conditions!
the problem here (other than that stated above, and I am not imune to that either) is that the Helcat and P51 didnt arrive till halfway though the war, a Helcat v a Spit or a P51 v a Spit, well if it was 1940 the who wins, the Spit easily as the other two are paperplanes, by the time you get to 43 will the P51 ot Helcat beat a spit in combat, well discarding pilot ability, the tests that were done would tend to indicate no
  But using this criteria, there are then only two planes to COMP! the Spit and -109! Since the 109 had a very much better V/L Ratio, it must have been more effective and it was both earlier and later, both in production and service than the Spitfire! Might have to define that last as in service in it's home country? Will look into that later.
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.

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45-Shooter    Part two!   3/28/2013 8:08:27 PM

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 point, the Germans had more than twenty Aces who shot down over 100 planes each in the west exclusively! I need to check this figure as Iam pretty sure its bogus I checked and sure enough this is bogus, There were only 6 pilots that scored more than 100 kills in the ETO, Shooter as usual either just made the number up or has taken all 100+ scoring pilots who had ANY ETO kills even if the vast majority were scored on the easten front
Rebuttal part one; I may be wrong! It was appearantly, if you are right, only six/ but I very much thought it was more! Now I will have to verify these numbers! Rebuttal part two; So there were at least six Germans who ran up fantastic scores on the Western Front against the best oposition, including one who got 152 Victories. So what was their advantage that made them so much more effective than their competiters? How many Allied ETO West Aces do we have to add up to equal their >700 Victory score!
Rebuttal part three; If it was not the pilots, then what was it? I mean if we have to add up ALL the aces from both sides of the Western Front and the Victory ratio is ten to one, or any other fantasmagorical number based on just their best six against our best six, or better yet their X who had twenty Victories Vs out Y who also had twenty, or what ever number you choose, THERE IS SOME FACTOR THAT MAKES THEM MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE THAN US!!!!!!!

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45-Shooter    Great arguments!   3/28/2013 8:19:29 PM

I'm with Skylark here, Hellcat then Mustang and after those it's hard to choose between Spitfires, FW-190's and 109's - as has already been pointed out it wasn't necessarily dogfighting agility that was of primary importance given that most kills came rapidly and unseen from behind, rather it was persistence (range), airspeed, ruggedness and rate of dive that enabled less-agile airframes to decimate their Japanese and German opponents. Being able to evade an opponent through diving was a reliable tactic that was more straightforward to achieve for an average pilot than the equivalent hard-turning maneuvers employed by the more agile platforms. The F6F and P-51 were, in the round, superior design choices and really the statistics and results demonstrate this better than any other arguments.

It then comes down to two arguments; 1. Size makes sneaking up un-seen a distinct advantage, IE why the Me-109 was such a great killer in spite of all the things that other planes could do better, or... 2. We must judge the plane on it's performance in spite of it's size, and thus the P-38 has better all around scores for it's aerodynamic performance than the rest and it must therefore be the best all around fighter plane?
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Skylark       3/28/2013 8:22:56 PM
The Mustang couldn't have fought the Battle of Britain?  Okay, now I know your attachment to the Spitfire is emotional, unless you are using the argument that the Mustang simply wasn't there, in which case your conclusion is based on a false choice.  Using your logic, the Hurricane did not play a part in the BoB either, because it didn't top the Spitfire in performance, but the history says different... Hurricane did just fine.  This is not meant to belittle the Spitfire, which was superior, but the BoB was not decided by which side could build the tightest turning aircraft.  If Britain didn't have the Spitfire,they still would have won the Battle of Britain because Germany was unprepared and grossly ill-equipped for the task of taking on a nation separated by water with a first class navy.  The Me 109 did not have the range... the Me 110 was a complete flop... the He 111 was entirely inadequate... Goering was an idiot... The formula for Lighting warfare didn't apply..  I could go on and on, but you know the story.  Once again, it's a matter of range eating performance.  The Me 109 had poor range and extremely short flight time over Britain.  This tended to limit what the pilot could and could not do if he is being distracted by his fuel warning light and thinking about how much fuel he needed to get home.  If you add that factor, the relative speed, dive, maneuverability, etc.that made the109 great was severely hampered, if not completely nullified.  The British pilots had a huge home field advantage in that they had more fuel, and even if a plane was shot down and the pilot didn't die, he was usually in a cockpit the next day.  (This was also true in Germany... Gunther Rall was shot down more than once.) Why do you think the Germans were so keen to lure British Spitfires over the channel and over France?  It certainly wasn't because they were afraid of Spitfire. *** Adding wing-tip tanks to the Spitfire?  Maybe for recon, but the Spitfire would have suffered from the same problem Germany encountered with the Me 109.  (Wing-tip tanks also had a fatal flaw that was not recognized and corrected until the1950s BTW)  The light airframe had no upgrade potential and wing-tip tanks, regardless of shape, would have added weight and drag.  Keep in mind that, as the Germans upgraded the 109, performance went down.  (The E model was probably the best variant.)  Spitfire with extra tanks would have had the same problem because its brilliance hinged on its light weight and clean lines.  Spitfire had a long career and many uprated variants, but none of them had the range to escort bombers to Germany, engage in air-to-air combat with defensive fighters and fly home again... not one.  Adding extra tanks would have created the same problem Germany encountered with their later 109 variants.  As weight goes up, performance goes down.  In short, the feature that made Spitfire and 109 work was also their achilles heel.  This is why Spitfire does not qualify as the best fighter of WWII.  It could defend Britain, but it could not defeat Germany.  The Battle over Berlin (The other BoB), if it had been fought using the same 109 to Spitfire formula (reversed) would have played out the same way for the same reason because neither plane could operate effectively in the others backyard.  Mustang broke that cycle because it didn't have fuel issues and could go flat out against the enemy who did; even over their home territory.  If you compare the 109 with the Spitfire in isolation and under equal conditions, the relative performance is very close to the point that it really came down to the quality of the pilot and the luck of who got the first bounce.  Mustang went into the 109s backyard and swept it out of the sky with ease.  Spitfire could not have replaced Mustang on offense over Germany, and Spitfire would not have done any better than the Me 109 in the defense of Germany if Spitfires were sent up as a substitute for the Me 109.
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l2e4LiZtic       3/29/2013 9:48:41 AM
Rudy Augarten, a United States Air Force pilot who flew the P-47D during World War II, later went on to volunteer for the young Israeli Air Force in the Israeli Independence War of 1948.  Prior to and during the conflict, Israel was very hard-pressed to acquire any one type of fighter in substantial numbers.  They consequently fielded a very diverse fleet, encompassing the P-51D, many marks of the Spitfire, and the Avia S-199 - of all things, a wartime Messerschmitt Bf-109G airframe (still under assembly in Czech factories at the cessation of hostilities) mated to a postwar Czech engine.
This Czech 'Messerschmitt' was ironically the most abundant fighter in the Israeli Air Force during its early years of operation, although its powerplant compromise did present a number of issues - the bulkier Czech engine made for a dirtier airframe, was underpowered compared to the intended Daimler Benz, and did not allow for the 30mm cannon through the propeller hub.  The aircraft consequently had to carry wing-mounted cannons as standard equipment, only exasperating problems of the Czech engine's reduction in power and aerodynamics.  It did not hence represent a 'true' wartime, Daimler Benz-powered Bf-109G in performance regards, but was still one of the most ironic fighters ever to fly in a given nation's service - what had been, for all practical purposes, the backbone of Hitler's air force, suddenly adorned the Star of David and defending the state of Israel.
In spite of of the Czech Messerschmitt's performance short-comings, however, the Israelis were quite successful with it - and Augarten himself scored a number of kills behind its controls.  Where the P-51D and Spitfire in Israeli service were concerned, Augarten stated that the U.S. pilot volunteers unanimously preferred the Spitfire where raw dogfighting characteristics were concerned.  He stated that the one area where the P-51D had any significant advantage over the Spitfire, range, had little practical utility in that Spitfire-ranged conflict (consider that Israel's most formidable enemy, Egypt, was also flying primarily Spitfires).
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Maratabc       3/29/2013 10:55:38 AM
Gordon Levett:

"The (Avia) was not popular with the pilots. It was, suprisingly, much smaller than the Spitfire or Mustang. With its splayed feet, upside-down engine, paddle-bladed propeller and ugly, bulbous spinner, it looked waspish and business-like.... Like the Spitfire, its undercarriage retracted outwards and the landing wheels were narrowly close together. It was a tricky aeroplane to handle on the ground, particularly with a cross-wind, and had a tendency with inexperienced pilots to ground-loop on landing and sometimes finish up on its back. Worse, the cockpit hood was hinged on the starboard side and was pulled over the pilot's head to lock on the port side, instead of sliding backwards and forwards like most other fighters. This meant that pilots had to take-off or land with the hood shut, trapping the pilot inside if the aircraft should finish up on its back. The entire squadron spent most of one afternoon releasing an unhurt pilot who was trapped in his upside down Messerschmitt after somersaulting on landing, with the ground soaked in petrol and the petrol tanks dripping relentlessly. I can still hear today his screams begging us to be careful and not cause a spark."
"In mock dog-fights, we concluded that the Messerschmitt could out-climb, out-dive and out-zoom the Spitfire and Mustang. The Spitfire could out-turn the Messerschmitt, the most important manoeuvre in air combat, and both could out-turn the Mustang. The Mustang was the fastest, the Messerschmitt the slowest, though there was not much in it. The Mustang had the best visibility, important for a fighter aircraft, the Messerschmitt the worst. The Spitfire cockpit fitted like a glove, the Messerschmitt like a strait-jacket, the Mustang like a too comfortable armchair. The Spitfire had two 20-mm cannon and four .303 machine guns (sic, actually, the Spits had two .50s, not four .303s), the Mustang six 12.7-mm machine guns (a.k.a. .50 caliber), and the Messerschmitt two 20-mm cannon and two 7.92-mm machine guns synchronised to fire through the arc of the propeller.... Despite the pros and cons the Spitfire was everyone's first choice. (Levett 1994)
Marat speaks:
Many of the Avia aircraft (S199s; "Mules") were equipped with the German Jumo-211F series engines (war surplus). This was a German bomber engine that gave the aircraft marginal performance above 8000 meters. The aircraft, Israel used, was armed with two wing gondola mounted 20 mm MG 151s, and  two cowl mounted 13 mm MG 131s, that pair which was not fitted with the proper synchronizer to shoot through the propeller. At least one Israeli fighter shot its propeller off, and several Czech planes in service may have failed in this way as well. The only good things I can say about the plane was that it was excellently armed, and that it was available.  
When you have nothing at the start, something is better than nothing. The Israelis made the most use of the "mule" they could.
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oldbutnotwise       3/29/2013 1:11:34 PM
What about the German who spent his entire career on the Western Front and racked up 152 Victories against the French, British and Americans?
 have you seen how many Eastern front expertern wher lost after transfering back to the west? he Hartman failed to score ANY kills during his time in the West, go back and read your Spick books
     Note how he failes to answer the question! Then he sidetracks the argument with a lie, that "Hartmann never scored in the west".
really? just how many kills did Hartman get in the west then because  his history says all his kills were in the east
 Finnally he dodges with re-read Spick's books, ALL with out addressing the initial question! "How did at least one German Ace rack up 152 kills against the Americans, British and French on the Western Front exclusively?"   
You claim to have Spicks books and he clearly states the reasons why, as you disagree then either you haven't read his books or you disagree, I think the former but if its the later then you need to provide evidence for your claim.
If you have Spicks books then what does he refer to when he states strike rate? 
You dodge the issue in that you state facts that are disproved in Spicks books yet use spick as a source and now dodge the fact that you haven't read Spick

The Ruskies shot down more Germans than the RAF.
I dont think you get the fact that the combat enviroments were different, I am not supprised you have repeated shown an inability to grasp anything complex      
Once again, he ignores embarassing facts, like the Reds shot down more Germans than the RAF and tries to deflect the truth of it all by niggeling the "Conditions"! Right!    
As those niggling conditions are relavent and important its the disregarding them that IS DEFLECTING   
Me-109 and Fw-190 had traits that made them great killers, but not necessarily great "Dog Fighters"! This is just one more nail in the "Dog Fighter" argument's coffin!
and look what happen when you make a fighter that only ones one thing well against one that is good enough in all areas
So, the Me-109 was great because it did nothing well and still scored more Victories than any other type? 
Nope it was great because it was ONE of the best fighters from 39 right though to 45 it didn't arrive half way though, whilst it was outclassed in different theatres at different times it was also superior especially during the 39 air war in France and in the early Russian campaign
You use his quotes from German Aces who did not like giving up half of their 20 MM firepower as if they were his ideas.
what that they prefered 2x 20mm wing cannons to the 1x20mm nose gun? is that the commet you object to?
Yepper! Like you never posting the quotes that state some of the pilots liked the results such as quicker rate of roll and less weight over all! 
 Yes some of the more experience pilots did, the problem was that they were pandering to the experten at the expense of the novice and the problem was that they were losing the experten faster than they were being replace
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oldbutnotwise       3/29/2013 1:13:17 PM
How many killed and captured that did not return to the fight?
most of them
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Maratabc       3/29/2013 1:59:09 PM
Should that not be, ALL of them? If they are captured or killed, then they did not return, did they?

How many killed and captured that did not return to the fight?

most of them

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oldbutnotwise       3/29/2013 2:02:02 PM
The RAF did have need of more range from the Spitfire and each new model had more than the last         ."        
The first part of that sentence is true, the second part is patently false.     
yet the sources that you have been shown over the years say otherwise but then again we do not expect honesty from your when spitfires are mentioned
 The Germans desperately needed more range and 
they lost the BoB because of it! The Spit desperately needed more range 
and they lost the cross channel battle of france because of it."
No, and if you think so then you do not understand that period of the war, but why do I find that not supprising

 Then how do you account for esentually similar planes on both sides to have such a huge disparity in success flying essentually identical missions over the Channel?
  because they were not identical it is only your lack of knowledge that makes you think they were
  There were several variants of each plane and by and large, model for model in wide spead service at the time, IE number made and in service, the Mustang was substantially faster than the Spitfire.
Not even close, the ONLY Mustang faster than the MkXIV was the P51H and that didn't see service and would be a peer of a Mk22 not a MkXIV
The first, Allison engined Mustang was a 390 MPH flier comp'd to all of the slower Early Spits until the Mk-IX witch was good for 408 MPH,
But the MkIX was in service BEFORE the Mustang I
by then the Merlin Mustangs were out and they were 440 MPH planes,
no the First merlin mustang was well after the MKIX entered service
 It was a 448 MPH plane as long as only two 20s were installed in the wings.
You do realise that whilst the MKIX COULD have 4x20mm none were produced the Standard fit was 2x20mm and 4x303
Furthermore, the speed I was using was the cruising speed as it is the factor that most reflects combat effectiveness.
  No you were using what you think is the worse aspect
 At 35,000 ft, the case is similar. The Spitfire has a speed range of 432 to 440 mph, based of five tests, while the P-51 has a speed range of 410 to 435 mph, again, giving a minor advantage to the Spitfire XIV.
Why not comp the Mk-XIV with four 20s
 why as the standard fit was the 2x20mm, why go with a fit that I can find no source to say was actually fitted
against the similar restricted vission Mustang B/C which were 440 MPH planes with ranges twice to three times that of the Mk-XIV Spit?
A Mk XIV with a 90 gallon belly tank had a range of 610 miles and a P51B with two 75gallon drop tanks had a range of 750 miles now I know your math is bad but that does not look like 2-3 times to me
 What about all of the 18,000 other Merlin engined Spitfires that were much slower than the roughly 1,050 Mk-XIVs?
what about them, they all performed their jobs well, and a lot of them were in service when the P51 was only lines on paper the P51 would have been no use in the BoB as I don't think the Germans would have postponed until it got built
Or Comp the Mk-XIV to the P-51H, 555 made?
all post war and all scrapped early because they were overstressed airframes and too weak for combat, and as the H was a peer of Mk22s
 The Mk-XIV was a terrible plane when it first came out. It was directionally unstable, exibiting "Snaking" and "poor lateral stability" that took a long time to work out.
No, they cured it with the second prototype - maybe your thinking F21 here that had such problems
 Over one year between first flight and first Victory, IIRC.
depends what you class as victory, the first "kill" by a MXIV was in Feb 44 against a V1, as the MKXIV was used exclusively in diver patrols until after D Day it was very difficult for it to score, even after D Day their was virtually no opposition for the MKXIV to engage with
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