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
earlm       5/23/2010 11:48:40 AM

Say what you want about the F-51 or the Spitfire.  They were NOT ground attack birds.-JFKY
 

We will leave the Spitfire out of this. The P-51/F-51 flew more ground attack missions in it's career than escort missions. I'd have to concede that the P-47 could carry a bigger bomb load under it's wing (1,000 lb each v. the Mustang's 500), but that does not mean the Mustang was not an effective strike/interdiction aircraft. In Korea the Mustang was the USAF's primary interdictor because it could carry a bigger more effective combat load than any of thier jets. It could loiter longer, and carry a powerful mix of rockets and bombs/nape for close air support.

 

Vs the P-47 the Stang lasted longer than the Jug in service, could outrange it, and could without a doubt take the fight to the ground.

 

Check Six

 

Rocky



51 lasted longer than the 47 because it was cheaper to operate.  How many 51's went down in Korea because the cooling lines were nicked while a 47 could lose a cylinder and still fly?
 
Quote    Reply

RockyMTNClimber    Japanese design philosophy   5/23/2010 12:16:03 PM

"Personally I love Japanese aircraft"

 

I love them too, they maneuvered like birds and a well trained pilot was a hard target.  I think their main weakness was the lack of power and climb rate, something that was easy to explore in most situations. If they had the performance of a FW-190 they wouldn't need much armor. The Oscar was quite better than the zero on  this point.

 



The Japanese made a terrible mistake with their design decisions. The Oscar and the Zeke/Zero couldn't contend with the F4F or the P-40 in terms of verticle dive speed, roll & turn rates at speeds above 250kts, structural integrity, and firepower. They were completely outclassed by the newer Corsair, Hellcats, Spitfires, and Lightenings. This was a decision they made probably because they never really thought they would fight a protracted war with US.
 
The net effect of those decisions was that a Japanese airman, no matter how skilled, could not take the initiative away from a US/Allied pilot unless they (the allied pilot) made a serious mistake (like going into a horizontal turning engagement with them). The Allied pilot could always choose to break contact if he lost the advantage and the Japanese airman never really had that option.
 
The combat record records these mistakes. The results are written in Japanese blood. .
 
Check Six
 
Rocky
 
Quote    Reply

RockyMTNClimber    Subjective-ism....   5/23/2010 12:33:30 PM
51 lasted longer than the 47 because it was cheaper to operate.  How many 51's went down in Korea because the cooling lines were nicked while a 47 could lose a cylinder and still fly?-earlm

What I objected to in JFKY's post was his statement that the Mustang was not a strike aircraft. Clearly the history on this topic clearly contradicts that. It would be certainly true to state that the P47 was a better optimal design for the interdictor role. That does not mean the Mustang couldn't perform that role well. In my subjective view the Mustang was a better all around aircraft than the P47. If the P47 program had been cut the war would have proceeded pretty much the way it did. 
 
IMV the air war would have suffered much greater effect if the Mustang program had been cut.
 
Check Six
 
Rocky


 
 
Quote    Reply

earlm       5/23/2010 2:33:42 PM

51 lasted longer than the 47 because it was cheaper to operate.  How many 51's went down in Korea because the cooling lines were nicked while a 47 could lose a cylinder and still fly?-earlm



What I objected to in JFKY's post was his statement that the Mustang was not a strike aircraft. Clearly the history on this topic clearly contradicts that. It would be certainly true to state that the P47 was a better optimal design for the interdictor role. That does not mean the Mustang couldn't perform that role well. In my subjective view the Mustang was a better all around aircraft than the P47. If the P47 program had been cut the war would have proceeded pretty much the way it did. 

 

IMV the air war would have suffered much greater effect if the Mustang program had been cut.

 

Check Six

 

Rocky






 


Mustang:  $50,000
P-47:  $80,000
 
That's why it's an interesting thread, no definitive answer.  P-47 is a better plane butyou're right the war effort probably needed the P-51 more.
 
Quote    Reply

JFKY    Two points   5/23/2010 2:37:06 PM
My point in re: the F-51 and the P-47 was that the P-47 could carry more AND as a radial engine design was more survivable than the F-51, in the ground attack role.  And since the P-47 could also serve as an escort, and a fighter AND as a more effective ground-attack fighter, it was OVERALL the better platform.  Sorry, but that makes the P-47 the better a/c, OVERALL.
 
As to the Japanese, they did not make "design mistakes."  The Japanese Sakae engine was the LIMIT of Japanese engine output.  From that flows much of the A6M.  Japan needed long-range AND maneuverability, all on about 600 HP.  The result had to be a lightweight airframe with a large amount of gas....and the light airframe meant no armour and no self-sealing gas tanks.
 
These were not design mistakes, they were design CHOICES.  To meet the operational requirements of the IJN on a limited amount of power, the result was the A6M.  This was not a mistake...it's a feature, not a bug.
 
Quote    Reply

RockyMTNClimber    "Choices"   5/23/2010 4:29:23 PM

My point in re: the F-51 and the P-47 was that the P-47 could carry more AND as a radial engine design was more survivable than the F-51, in the ground attack role.  And since the P-47 could also serve as an escort, and a fighter AND as a more effective ground-attack fighter, it was OVERALL the better platform.  Sorry, but that makes the P-47 the better a/c, OVERALL.

 

As to the Japanese, they did not make "design mistakes."  The Japanese Sakae engine was the LIMIT of Japanese engine output.  From that flows much of the A6M.  Japan needed long-range AND maneuverability, all on about 600 HP.  The result had to be a lightweight airframe with a large amount of gas....and the light airframe meant no armour and no self-sealing gas tanks.

 

These were not design mistakes, they were design CHOICES.  To meet the operational requirements of the IJN on a limited amount of power, the result was the A6M.  This was not a mistake...it's a feature, not a bug.


JFKY, you then are placing more importance upon the ground attack role in WWII than the air superiority role. I would say that it was the Mustang's sweeping the sky of the Luftwaffe (at long range and at high altitude) that made it possible for the P-47 to be so successful down on the deck. In respect to Japan's design mistakes or "choices" if you prefer, to build light poorly armed combat aircraft bit them solidly in the fanny. They had access to technology that would have made them more competitive. Their engines were raidal and of about 1000 bhp wich was very similar to the Wildcat's. If they had gone to war with a clone of the Wildcat they would have been much better served.
 
 
Check Six
 
Rocky

 
 
 
Quote    Reply

RockyMTNClimber    Nakajima NKIC Sakae 12 engine.....   5/23/2010 4:35:55 PM
Powerplant A6M2:
Powerplant A6M5:
One Nakajima NK1C Sakae 12,
fourteen cyl., air-cooled, radial engine
rated at 940 hp for takeoff and 950 hp @ 13,780 ft (4,200 m), driving a three-blade metal propeller.
One Nakajima NK1F Sakae 21,
fourteen cyl., air-cooled, radial engine
rated at 1,130 hp for takeoff and 980 hp @ 19,685 ft (6,000 m), driving a three-blade metal propeller.
Armament:
Two forward-firing 7.7 mm Type 97 machine-guns in the upper fuselage and
two wing-mounted 20 mm Type 99 cannon with two external 132 lb (60 kg) bombs

Although not the most powerful engine, they had a respectable 950hp. That is enough to power a competitive fighter in 1940-1943. Wildcat's was about 1,200 hp and so was the P40's Allison.
 
Check Six
 
Rocky
 
Quote    Reply

earlm       5/23/2010 4:57:11 PM
950 HP is not enough.  With 950HP you get one thing only.  They chose range.  The maneuverability is largely a fallout of the range.  Big wing and light build gives good LOW SPEED maneverability.  The Zero was actually not very maneuverable above 250MPH.  It couldn't roll or dive and couldn't turn above 250MPH.  They had no chance with those engines.  The Wildcat had 1200HP.  The Spit had 1030HP.  They chose climb and speed and got maneuverability as a fallout.
 
Quote    Reply

JFKY    No, I don't...   5/23/2010 6:27:19 PM
JFKY, you then are placing more importance upon the ground attack role in WWII than the air superiority role.
 
No, I'm talking overall....the P-47 could perform a2a and a2g, well.  The question was the best OVERALL fighter, and that's why I vote for the P-47.  IT COULD do many things well.  So yes I choose the P-47, just think, NOT THAT I AM ADVOCATING THIS, but if only the P-47 existed the USAAF could have fought in Europe and prospered.  Better than if they only had the F-51.  I don't dispute the beauty and capacity of the F-51, this isn't the "Rafale is a replacement for the F-15E, the F-16, the F-35, and the F-22."  Only that on a host of axises that it performed well.  And that makes the best OVERALL, IMO.
 
Quote    Reply

oldtrouter    F4U Corsair, the forgotten fighter   5/24/2010 3:29:37 AM
Many of the comments and points pertain to A/C such as the P-51, P-47 and a variety of other axis fighters,  but not much has been posted on the Vought Chance Corsair.  While it was primarily used in the PTO and many nations used it long after the war, some as long as the 60's.  The US Marines deployed several wings; but,  I believe the majority of the F4U were flown from carriers.  How many P-51's or P-47s were flown of carriers?  It's performance was considered excellent in both the ground attack role and in the air superiority role.  I believe the Japanese gave the name of "Whispering Death" to the F4U.  Definitely, this A/C because of it's longevity, versatility, performance  strength and capabilities should be considered for the top spot and the "Best all-round fighter of WWII.

Performance:
Max speed: 425 mph
Range: 1,015 mi (882 nmi 
Service ceiling: 36,900 ft 
Rate of climb: 3,180 ft/min 

Armament:

Guns: 4 × 0.50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning 50 Cal, 400 rpg and 2 × 0.50 in Browning M2 machine guns, 375rpg Rockets: 4 × 5 in (12.7 cm) High Velocity aircraft rockets and/or
Bombs: 2,000 pounds (910 kg)
 
Quote    Reply



 Latest
 News
 
 Most
 Read
 
 Most
 Commented
 Hot
 Topics