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  #21  
Old 26th January 2005, 18:25
Smudger Smith Smudger Smith is offline
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Figures.?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens
Wether type vs. type comparsions are childish nor useless. On the other side, of course the they tell only one point of the whole story.

If you read the german veterans especially Galland, the picture of Luftwaffes defeat is drawn by P-51. Only due the range and perfomance of P-51 the Luftwaffe get no break to revcover the suffered losses.

Just take a look on claims, losses and bombs dropped.

http://members.aol.com/forcountry/ww2/eak.htm

It can be seen, that P-51 had a much greater impact on air superiority.
Come on, these figures are not for real, more American propaganda.

Just look at the stat’s for the enemy aircraft claimed over Europe by the gunners of the B17, a staggering 6,659 and the B24 a further 2,617. Overall the gunners of the US bomber forces in Europe claimed a staggering 9,889 enemy fighters from 1942-1944. !!!!!!

You don’t need the P51 or P47, unbelievable.
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  #22  
Old 26th January 2005, 20:35
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Well, the thread developed nicely but went into few directions - I think a tree was a better sollution.

German training collapse - this was caused by several errors that were committed before the war and continued after the beginning. In effect Luftwaffe had no constant influx of pilots which led to the catastrophe. Another thing to blame is German training system which was simply bad and did not produce competent fighter pilots.

Big Week - indeed those were T-bolts which formed the bulk of USAAF fighter forces but those were still Mustangs overflying Berlin. Extraordinary range of the type caused no German aircraft was safe and able to attack from height advantage position. It also allowed to attack every strategic target in Germany - Schweinfurt disaster was simply not to repeat again, as Mustangs were able to extend fighter escort for whole duration of attack.
Of course we may say Big Week could not change events of the war but it must be remembered the air war was not a decisive factor here. German economy was simply unable to cope with demands and German planists did much too many errors to win the war. It was the Big Week where annihilation of Luftwaffe started, however. Look at a significant increase of claims since March 1944! And I would hardly call the pilots downed at the time - rookies!

1943 air superiority - it must be not forgotten that Germany already lost the air war in MTO. Plethora of types at the time but no T-bolts. Certainly appearance of USAAF on ETO changed ballance of forces but still it was not decisive factor in Germany's collapse. Luftwaffe was still able to control the situation and US pilots had no fun with Germans.

T-bolts with RAF - it was planned to have P-47 the main RAF escort fighter in ETO. Mustangs were considered some kind of stop gap deployed overseas. Burma was a secondary front for RAF, most modern and potent fighters going on ETO. So the rhetoric question - how it happenned Mustang was retained in Britain and T-bolt send far and away to replace Hurricanes?

Attacking ground targets - it was considered already during the war that tactical attack were much more demanding and dangerous for pilots rather than air combat (well, this could have been found during WWI). Mustang was not perfect at this due to exposed radiator which also caused forced landings extremally dangerous. Also clean aerodynamic lines caused Mustang to accelerate pretty fast, this being not an advantage during dive bombing!
T-bolt was much better suited for the task having a radial engine, by nature being much more damage resistant.
A problem itself is effectiveness of aircraft against ground targets, some researchers like Zetterling claim it was close to nil in Normandy.

RAF vs USAAF - for some reason a role of RAF remains forgotten and in shadow of spectacular USAAF actions. Nonetheless it seems those were RAF actions that were decisive during Normandy Campaign.

Eastern Front as a meat grinder - simply not true as prooven by statistics, I think on Don Caldwell site. Reason of German collapse on the East was not air war.

P-47 vs P-51 in dog fight - that happens that one of fighter pilots I have met had a dog fight with a T-bolt. He was flying a Mustang III at the time. When I asked him if it was a combat with live ammo, who would win it - he replied: me, with ease. I have to add that the pilot had to serve some punishment at 84 GSU for this action. Of course we cannot draw any conclusions from such a single incident but I would take some stories saying the opposite with some grain of salt.

56FG - not an ordinary unit, with considerable experience and some extraordinary airmen. Also it must be forgotten that somewhere in 1944 the unit was double sized. I am not sure if it was done with any other Fighter Group but definetelly must be taken into account when doing some stats.
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  #23  
Old 26th January 2005, 22:06
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Just short comments before sauna.
According to graphs in Dean's book P-47 D-25 (with paddle blades) at 14500lb was clearly better climber than P-51D at 10200lb from SL upwards.

The RAF opinion may be biased. T'Bolt wasn't like Spitfire, which many of the FC brass saw as the epitem of fighter design of the day. IIRC even in 4thFG, which had flown Spitfires up that time, there were many who first thought that P-47 was too big to be a good fighter.

IIRC Eastern Front was the main meat grinder for Jagdwaffe from 22.6.41 to very early 1943 but after that West and for a ½ year also MTO were the main area(s) of Jagdwaffe losses. But I don't have time to check this from my sources. Ruy, You can check this from Williamson Murray's Strategy of Defeat, there are some good graps on this.

56th has experience and some extraordinary airmen but so has 4thFG. But IIRC even the long time CO of 56th, Zemke said after war, that P-51 was better fighter than P-47 for 8th AAF. But I think that the main point of this discussion is not which was the better fighter but was the impact made by P-47 units underestimated and that made by P-51 units overestimated. IMHO the P-47 accomplishments are underestimated and to the other point, I think that P-51D was better fighter.

Juha

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  #24  
Old 26th January 2005, 22:06
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Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
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So very conventional Franek, a bit disappointing...can find most of these statements on my bookshelves.
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  #25  
Old 27th January 2005, 04:30
ArtieBob ArtieBob is offline
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P-47 vs P-51

When I was growing up during WW II, all I wanted to be was a fighter pilot and fly either a p-38 or P-51. In my old age, having survived 50 years of flying off and on, I would now make the choice of flying P-47s rather than P-51s. This would be based on the chances of surviving the war and IIRC, there are statistics around that indicates the survival rate of P-47 aces is appreciably higher than that of P-51 aces.

IMHO, this is significant not only from a personal survival desire, but also real military considerations. An aircraft (and pilot) that survives combat longer is more valuable and in the final analysis, the mission and life cyle (no pun intended) cost can be less that a lower first cost aircraft. The other side of the coin is that by 1944, a number of fighters were effective flying machines, German, GB, USSR and USA. These designs all had areas of the performance envelope that they were better in and embodied trade offs to enhance certain combat characteristics over others. The probability of success in any specific encounter was as much the result of level of pilot training , proficiency, tactics, situational awareness, local conditions and relative energy state than the nationality or aircraft type.

Of the WWII fighter pilots, I have talked to, most seemed to believe the type he flew was the best. I believe to a certain degree, this is true, as follows. For a fighter pilot with a total flight time of 400-800 hours, the majority of combat being in a particular type, the plane he has flown is the best, for he understands the limitations and particular vices of that machine and how to deal with them. Be aware, no WWII fighter was viceless and could kill it’s pilot in an instant of low attention or poor airmanship. Pilots with more and varied experience might be able to step from one type to another and be instantly effective, but those are the exception.

Because of tradeoffs, a particular aircraft type might be best for a specific mission, all things being equal. But, in the real world this is almost never the case. A mission best suited to the characteristics of the P-51 might have those advantages nullified by poor tactics and crews of lesser experience or abilities and a well flown P-47 might have produced better results. But in the end, these two aircraft (along with several other types on both sides) were really close in capabilities and which one was better would depend on the mission, the pilot and the day. So, even with the very best technical data, there are no easy black and white answers, the devil is as usual, in the details.

Best regards,

Artie Bob
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  #26  
Old 27th January 2005, 09:32
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Excellent contribution, ArtieBob
I agreed with your main points. The most important thing is to use right tactics. Play the strong points of own mount and exploit the weaknesses of the enemy's a/c. One good example of that was the experiences of two experienced Spit sqns transferred to Far East after successful service against LW, one at Darwin against Zeros and the other in Burma against Ki-43s. In both cases the pilots didn't heed to the advices of the "locals" because they thought that if they were able to handle "Jerries in Bf 109s" they could take "Japs anytime" and as a result were roughly handed by the Japanese. Only after that they understood that the advice "Don't dogfight with Japanese" was true also with Spitfire pilots.

Juha
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  #27  
Old 27th January 2005, 18:30
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Well Ruy, it was conventional war with mostly conventional aircraft. Most of the recent myth breakers are coming from lack of knowledge. Just recently, on MustangsMustangs there was a discussion on obvious - Mustang dorsal fin fillet.
Concerning P-47 vs P-51 - tactics and pilots point is valid but it is simply easier with a better aircraft.
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  #28  
Old 27th January 2005, 22:32
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Hello Franek
P-47 vs P-51 of course You are right that better a/c made life easier. BTW, in the Dean's book there are results of a gallup taken from a small group of company test pilots and few military pilots. At least some P-38 fans deny the validity of this gallup in which P-38J/L done it poorly. I have no oppinion of its validy but among the results are
best fighter above 25 000ft: P-47D, P-51D, F4U-1...
best fighter below 25 000ft: P-51D, F4U-1D, F6F-5...

and one bit of info for You, according those graphs P-39N/Q was at 7 700lb a little bit better climber than P-47D-25 at 14 500lb up to appr. 24 000ft. This when they both used 100% normal power (1000hp at 14 000ft for N/Q and 1625hp at 6 500 - 25 000 ft for D-25), not military power.

Juha
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  #29  
Old 27th January 2005, 23:30
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Juha
And now note that P-51D was optimised for low altitudes, having similar settings as LF Spitfires. Simply there was no demand for performance at higher altitudes, hence the modification.
Weight is always an enemy of performance and some facts should be reconsidered by T-bolt fans. Next in line of piston army fighters was lightweight Mustang with reduced mass. Navy developed Bearcat, this being a significant mass reduction comparing to Hellcat. There was no line of development of heavy piston single engined fighter.
Additionally I think FAA considered Seafire an only naval fighter able to fight on equal terms with German fighters and no Hellcats nor Corsairs were emplyed in range of German fighters.
PS I always state Cobra is underestimated!
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  #30  
Old 28th January 2005, 01:08
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Hello Franek
Yes the speed graphs show that P-51B was faster high up than D.
On lightweight versus heavy fighters. Yes, P-51H was in production at the end of WWII but so was P-47N, which was the equipment of four frontline FGs in Pacific when the war ended. And it was a real heavy weight. F8F was lightweight, cannot remember if the idea was to replace all F6Fs with it or not. Boeing was testflying at the end of the war a heavyweight carrier fighter (XF8B?), but I cannot remember what were the plans of the USN for it. Ah, my memory isn't working too well now. Clearly time to go to bed for me.

On P-39N/Q, yes the last P-39s (appr 2/3 of the production run) were not purely low level fighters.

Good Night
Juha
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