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  #31  
Old 28th January 2005, 01:42
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Juha Juha is offline
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Hello again
while brushing my teeth I remembered again that I has one comment on US made carrier fighters. The FAA Hellcats had at least one brush with LW fighters. IIRC in early May 44 some Hellcats were escorting some Barracudas when they were jumped by Bf 109s and FW 190s, end results were 2 Hellcats loss but Hellcat jockeys got 3 confirmed. Now, I haven't check the real LW losses but at least some Hellcats operated within the range of LW fighters, and IIRC FAA Hellcats also flew some missions in Med, even during the Dragoon.

OK that's all
Juha
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  #32  
Old 28th January 2005, 19:11
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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IIRC P-47N was considered a long range fighter bomber for invasion of Japan, therefore I would rather consider Skyraider next in line of development, hardly a fighter aircraft.
OTOH we should distinguish heavy fighters like Mosquito or Tigercat, tey are not in the same category as T-bolt. Purpose of heavy fighters was usually to carry heavy navigation and radar equipment as well as increase range and time of operations, hence most of them was flown at night and on maritime patrols.
P-39Q was still low level fighter comparing to other types in AAF inventory, though it had better altitude performance than average Soviet types.
FAA comment was based on Ethell IIRC. I think it was found by Americans that Seafire III was a best dog fighter of all available naval fighters. Will check it further if you like.
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  #33  
Old 28th January 2005, 19:37
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Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
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There you have your proof, perhaps the Seafire III scored high on paper and in certain areas of its performance envelope, no one would consider it a better allround naval combat plane compared to the Hellcat and Corsair.

What made the difference between Zeroes and Wildcats?

Its certainly wasn't performance.

It was tactics and...

...RUGGEDNESS.

The Hellcat and Corsair combined good performance with ruggedness, the best of two worlds. Eric Brown knew what he was talking about.

As has been pointed out before in this thread, the Thunderbolt might have looked like a groundpounder, but generally speaking these a/c didn't differ radically in performance. Different a/c probably dictated slightly different tactics, but I'll repeat it again if you like, the USAAF could have done the same job with the Thunderbolt as it did with the Mustang (the other way around...well that's is a different matter).

The USN/MC would have been hard pressed in their campaign if they had flown the inline narrow geared Seafire instead of the Wildcat, Hellcat and Corsair, to the extend that they'd probably lost more battles then they did.

Sure tactics would have been a factor, but unfortunately the Seafire simply wasn't as rugged...not in the tradition of the Grumman Ironworks, or Vought's Hawg.

Doesn't matter what a performance list tells you.
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  #34  
Old 28th January 2005, 22:48
Six Nifty .50s Six Nifty .50s is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
Burma was a secondary front for RAF, most modern and potent fighters going on ETO
The RAF used Spitfires and Mosquitos in the Far East but their record vs. Japan was not very impressive, especially after we discount inflated pilot claims.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
how it happenned Mustang was retained in Britain and T-bolt send far and away to replace Hurricanes?
Because the Mustang and Spitfire were too flimsy for ground attack, and the Typhoon was a flop in its intended role as an escort fighter.

On the other hand, the Thunderbolt was excellent at both missions, and was immediately popular with the RAF pilots in the Far East. Not surprisingly, "versatility" was cited by them as the Thunderbolt's best asset. By that time, the USAAF had plenty of long range fighters in the skies over Burma and the RAF did not need their own.

The other alternative for the RAF was to replace every Hurricane with a combination of Mustangs, Spitfires, Typhoons -- and Tempests if available. That would be expensive, impractical, and probably impossible. When given a choice, it does not make sense to use four different aircraft when one type can meet the requirements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
P-51D was optimised for low altitudes, having similar settings as LF Spitfires
8th Air Force pilots viewed that as a mistake. Maybe the Tac Recons, Jabos and Buzz Bomb chasers preferred more power at low level, but the escort pilots did not want a loss of power at high altitude.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
Simply there was no demand for performance at higher altitudes
If that were true, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 would not have stayed in production.

The Germans continued to upgrade it because the Focke Wulf 190 had poor performance above 20,000 feet -- the engine lost so much power that it was a sitting duck at 28,000 or more. I suppose the Dora 9 was somewhat improved -- and helped by the intentionally lowered performance of Merlin engines at high altitude. Besides, the P-51A was faster than P-51D at low altitude. The Allison engine was more durable and burned about 30% less fuel on cruise settings.

If the P-47N (or just the wings) project was started a year earlier, there was no need for Mustangs with Merlin engines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
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
The FAA considered the Seafire as "unsuitable for carrier operations".

The Seafire had very little successful contact with enemy fighters. The accident rate was disturbing, and range was poor. That is why the British wanted more Hellcats and Corsairs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
Weight is always an enemy of performance and some facts should be reconsidered by T-bolt fans.
If weight is that important, then British and German fighters would have been easy meat for Japanese pilots.
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  #35  
Old 29th January 2005, 12:58
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Hello Franek
My recollection is that P-47N was needed as very long range fighter for Pacific, and also used as that, at least partly. Flying fighter sweeps over Japan and also over Korea. It had clearly longer range than P-51D. But of course it had also great load carrying capacity and so fighter-bomber potential.
Boeing XF8B-1 was single engined (R-4360 Wasp Manor) fighter/fighter bomber, maybe more later. It suffered the USAAF/USN deal in which USN cancelled/delayed it's contracts with Boeing and got patrol bombers from USAAF contracts. And USAAF got more resourses to its top-priority B-29 program. Plane was good but delayed and then USN prefered F7F Tigercat and jets were coming, so it was cancelled.
No need to check the Seafire III. I know it was excellent defensive fighter but IIRC it lacked range, and the capacity to be able work as escort fighter for strike a/c was very important to a carrier fighter. And it also lacked some ruggerness.
On F8F, I checked and yes it was designed as a Hellcat replacement. So it was designed as a main carrier fighter not as a FM-2 replacement for CVEs as I thought as an other possibility.

And now to skiing
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  #36  
Old 31st January 2005, 01:37
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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I think I will discuss all the Seafire related matters in a separate thread, just give me a few days. Nonetheless I feel obliged to note that I never claimed it was the best carrier aircraft, just only it was considered the only one able to fight German fighter aircraft on it's own terms, that Seafire remained in use on carriers well into 1950s and that it happenned a Spitfire(!) landed on a carrier without an arrester hook.
Corsairs and Hellcats never saw any significant use within range of German fighters and were never fully employed in ETO or MTO. Their successes in SWPA must be viewed in perspective of their opposition and also actual Japanese losses.
You also tend to show the aircraft were of similar performance, therefore it did not matter. But tell me when it matters? If Polish pilots scored against Germans in PZL P.11 does it mean those were aircraft comparable in performance? I suppose USAAF could have done what they did even with P-36 or P-40 but is this an argument P-51 was generally better than P-47? Sorry, performance figures are clear, it is just only most authors have no slightest idea what thery are telling about.

Six Nifty .50s

Quote:
The RAF used Spitfires and Mosquitos in the Far East but their record vs. Japan was not very impressive, especially after we discount inflated pilot claims.
Inflated claims apply to other combatants as well. Having in mind there is no detailed log of what Japanese lost and a fact that I was unable to get an answer from the people supposed to be experts on how Japanese loss record system worked, I would put that question still open.
It is a fact however, that Spitifres and Mosquitoes experienced some problems due to overheating and this was a serious limiting factor.

Quote:
Because the Mustang and Spitfire were too flimsy for ground attack, and the Typhoon was a flop in its intended role as an escort fighter.

That happens Spitfires were widely used in ground attack duties in Europe and I did not hear too many complaints. I may call a friendly pilot within few days and ask for his opinion.

Quote:
On the other hand, the Thunderbolt was excellent at both missions, and was immediately popular with the RAF pilots in the Far East. Not surprisingly, "versatility" was cited by them as the Thunderbolt's best asset. By that time, the USAAF had plenty of long range fighters in the skies over Burma and the RAF did not need their own.
Well, anyone would be happy when changing Mohawks or Hurricanes for a factory fresh Thunderbolts. This is not a fair argument.

Quote:
The other alternative for the RAF was to replace every Hurricane with a combination of Mustangs, Spitfires, Typhoons -- and Tempests if available. That would be expensive, impractical, and probably impossible. When given a choice, it does not make sense to use four different aircraft when one type can meet the requirements.
RAF would have send Mustangs to Burma because they were destined for. They already send Buffaloes to SWPA although they found they were unsuitable for hot weather. But they found them unsuitable to ETO as well and they had to send something there. No composition was necessary, Japanese never had as strong anti aircraft artillery as Germans did.

Quote:
8th Air Force pilots viewed that as a mistake. Maybe the Tac Recons, Jabos and Buzz Bomb chasers preferred more power at low level, but the escort pilots did not want a loss of power at high altitude.
Well, this is another question but in effect 8 AF was anyway chasing most Germans on low level - most of Normandy combats were.

Quote:
If that were true, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 would not have stayed in production.

The Germans continued to upgrade it because the Focke Wulf 190 had poor performance above 20,000 feet -- the engine lost so much power that it was a sitting duck at 28,000 or more. I suppose the Dora 9 was somewhat improved -- and helped by the intentionally lowered performance of Merlin engines at high altitude.
I was discussing Allied approach!

Quote:
Besides, the P-51A was faster than P-51D at low altitude. The Allison engine was more durable and burned about 30% less fuel on cruise settings.
Airmen of 309 Sqn had a different opinion about Allison Mustang, nonetheless I agree, it was a stunning low level aircraft. But by 1944 there were no jigs available and no production run was possible.

Quote:
If the P-47N (or just the wings) project was started a year earlier, there was no need for Mustangs with Merlin engines.
This aircraft was designed specifically for SWP and having increased weight had little chance with lighter German types.

Code:
If weight is that important, then British and German fighters would have been easy meat for Japanese pilots.
Japanese had no powerful engines and this was their main problem. Anyway, by building extremally light designs, they were able to compensate this weakness. And weight is always an enemy of a good plane - it is basic engineering rule. Such aircraft like P-47 or B-17 were simply overdimensioned, thus overweighted, thus stronger than comparable designs - performance suffered.

Juha
P-47N had no clearly longer range than Mustang, it was almost the same. There was another important thing - engine. Merlin was optimised for European conditions and overheated, this caused a lot of problems. P-47 had enough performance to have a safety edge against Japanese fighters.
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  #37  
Old 31st January 2005, 11:28
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Hello Franek
my opinion that P-47N had clearly longer range than P-51D is based on a typical USAAF graph which shows ranges of various a/c with various loads on a certain mission. The mission in question consisted t/o, climb to operation altitude, flight to target area, higher powersetting cruising in target area, air combat using full power and return flight. Of course there is variables which might favour one a/c type over an other but in general these graphs give more realistic appraisment of the range characterists of a certain a/c than max still air range. And in that graph P-47N had clearly longer range than P-51D. I can give exact figures in the evening if You want.

Juha
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  #38  
Old 31st January 2005, 20:29
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Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
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Franek,

On the subject of comparing Naval types and AAF types I highly recommend you take a (second?) look at:

America's Hundred Thousand

Report of Joint Fighter Conference, NAS Patuxent River, MD 16-23 Ocdt. 1944

Duel in the Sky, World war II Naval Aircraft in Combat (edit: this book is mainly an example of "subjective reasoning when comparing a/c", but a such still an interesting contribution)

The second generation USN fighters were either close, equal or superior to their AAF equivalent, a good example is the Corsair in its various guises. The latter even managed to claim MiG(s) in the Korean war.

As for Japanese technology, your assessment is very conservative, to the point of being erroneous. Sure the early generation of Japanese fighters were built to a different standard due to their principle philosophy, but the second and third generation certainly was comparable. Also Japanese radials were good, not lagging far behind the rest, perhaps even superior to german radials. It doesn't help if your 87 Octane fuel is mixed with palm oil...

But this thread is indeed getting out of focus with these different branches.

The main argument still revolves around the basic fact if the Thunderbolt could have continued the job the Mustang took over with more or less the same level of success. Personally I think it could have, and to an extend (spring 1944) it certainly did.

And yes, although performance between types various in certain areas, most of these types were fairly close in combat conditions, close enough to let the tactical situation (incl. quality of pilots and quantity of a/c engaged) decide the issue.

The only CRITICAL issue in the discussion would be the Mustang's range, here the Thunderbolt was lagging in development. Yet, it did catch up, and if the situation had called for it, would have caught up sooner.

But lets agree to keep the Thunderbolt vs Mustang discussion here and continue any branch discussion in a new thread.
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  #39  
Old 1st February 2005, 02:29
ArtieBob ArtieBob is offline
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P-47 vs P-51

Dear Franek,

I would like to address some of the points in your post

1. Allison P-51s: “But by 1944 there were no jigs available and no production run was possible”. I cannot comment on the tooling being destroyed, but the engineering of V-1710 engines in Mustangs continued through the war. IIRC, the final development of the Mustang lineage, the P-82, did have V-1710 engines. Certainly, It was within the capability of WWII US aircraft industry to tool up quite rapidly for production changes. It should also be noted that the P-82 was also a heavier a/c than either the P-51 or P-47 in any version (BTW, a squadron was based near my home in the late 1940s and IMHO they were the most exciting piston fighter ever to see and hear make a low pass).

2. P-47N: “ This aircraft was specifically designed for the SWP and having increased weight had little chance with lighter German types.” IIRC, by the beginning of 1945, the Eighth Air Force had made the decision to standardize on the P-47N as it’s long range escort fighter and some had been delivered to England in early 1945, but did not make it to squadron service prior to V-E day. I really do not believe the USAAF would have made that decision if the P-47 was of inferior performance, either in range or fighter to fighter combat. Not when P-51s were in great supply as well as flight and ground crews. Slightly off topic-one the main reasons I would have selected a P-47 would have been the R-2800 engine. By 1944, the same basic engine that was in the late P-47s had run a 100 hour test at 2800 HP and flash readings to 3800 HP. This was a stock engine, except for the size of the supercharger and the ADI system. What this meant in actual service was that although not “bulletproof”, the engine could absorb the stress of extended overboost and WEP with little effect on reliability.

3. Weight: “Such aircraft like P-47 or B-17 were simply overdimensioned, thus overweighted, thus stronger than comparable designs - performance suffered.” I really believe your opinion on that issue also needs to be questioned. EVERYTHING ELSE BEING EQUAL, it is true that lighter is better! But in the real world of aircraft design almost nothing is equal between two designs (unless they share some major components, like the engines, then they diverge). One must look at the design of the P-47, it was a lineal development of the P-35, XP-41, P-43 and XP-44. The growth in size was a result of the use of a turbo-supercharged R-2800 and specifications set by the Air Corps. This meant tradeoffs in some areas, but from everything I have been able to learn, the P-47 was really a pretty good handling machine and aerodynamically clean for a WWII piston fighter. If just being smaller and lighter were the only criteria, then the Caudron 714 should have been the best fighter of WWII, hands down. IMHO, neither the B-17 or P-47 were overweight, but had very sturdy, easy to maintain airframes that could accept severe combat damage and make it home with crew survival (In a war of attrition, not a performance parameter to be ignored). It would seem to me, the real criteria for evaluating if an aircraft is overweight is to compare the ratio of empty to loaded weight. I suspect the P-47 does not come off too bad in that parameter, otherwise it could not have the fuel carrying capacity for long range operation.
4. Other participants in this discussion: “Sorry, performance figures are clear, it is just only most authors have no slightest idea what thery are telling about.” My question is; does this statement refer to others who have contributed to this thread? If that was your intent, then I would like to ask, what is your background? Why would you be qualified to state that they (including me) might “have no slightest idea what they (sic) are talking about”? If you were not referring to the other TOCH participants, then my last question is moot.

Best regards,

Artie Bob
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  #40  
Old 2nd February 2005, 08:03
Six Nifty .50s Six Nifty .50s is offline
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Greetings from the Zone of the Interior, U.S. of A.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
I suppose USAAF could have done what they did even with P-36 or P-40 but is this an argument P-51 was generally better than P-47? Sorry, performance figures are clear.
Which performance figures?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
most authors have no slightest idea what thery are telling about.
Unless the authors personally engaged P-47s in combat, their opinions are unnecessary. Based on their practical experience, several German fighter pilots suggested the Thunderbolt was a more dangerous and troublesome opponent than the Mustang.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
P-47N was designed specifically for SWP and having increased weight had little chance with lighter German types
Some enemy pilots assumed that was true of the older Thunderbolt, because of its immense size, but they paid for that mistake with their lives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
Having in mind there is no detailed log of what Japanese lost
I will not forget that many people once used the same excuse about German records. Certain Japanese loss reports have survived, and probably these are no less honest than their opponents. Like every other air force, RAAF Spitfire units inflated shootdowns substantially. One figure quoted amounted to about 7:1 overclaiming. I'll look into it more on next trip to the library.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
Spitfires were widely used in ground attack duties in Europe and I did not hear too many complaints
One cannot escape common knowledge that liquid-cooling systems were easily knocked out with one bullet or shell splinter.

Another factor is that Spitfires and Merlin Mustangs had persistent structural problems, especially when put into high speed dives. Both planes showed an alarming tendency to shed their wings or tail on pullout. It was an adventure to plug all of the coolant leaks on the P-51B. In 1942, 36 Spitfires were under investigation for structural failures and in 24 cases the tail unit broke off in flight. By 1944, the Spitfire was often used as a fighter-bomber and another hazard was found in that the engine mounting U-frames would buckle in dive pullouts.

The A-36 at least had dive brakes to control descent, so these were safer to fly while vertical bombing. But otherwise, I cannot imagine why anyone would want to pilot a Mustang or Spitfire with a ground attack unit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
I was discussing Allied approach!
Well the main interest of Jagdwaffe (B-17s and B-24s) did not dive down to drop bombs from low altitude, so the German response is a relevant point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
Airmen of 309 Sqn had a different opinion about Allison Mustang, nonetheless I agree, it was a stunning low level aircraft. But by 1944 there were no jigs available and no production run was possible.
The best part of the Merlin was the 2-stage supercharger attached to it; not the engine itself which was fragile. Main bearings were weak, and the carburettor was worthless until replaced with the American type.

On average the Allison lasted three times longer before rebuild, even though manifold pressure was often overboosted to about 20 lbs. -- not recommended by the manufacturer, but the engine held together reliably. Note that air racing teams flying P-51Ds installed Allison connecting rods to prevent their Merlins from blowing up. Without this modification, the Mustangs could not compete with the speedy Bearcats at Reno.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
in effect 8 AF was anyway chasing most Germans on low level - most of Normandy combats were
Not many air combats took place over towns inside Normandy. The Luftwaffe did not often penetrate the fighter cover surrounding that part of France -- at least not when the sun was shining.

Besides, the Luftwaffe was short of petrol by the autumn of 1943, so the Focke Wulfs and Messerschmitts usually did not bother with Allied fighter-bombers, medium bombers and their escorts, or other fighter patrols that were not tied to B-17s and B-24s. What little avgas remained on tap was needed for training.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
You also tend to show the aircraft were of similar performance, therefore it did not matter. But tell me when it matters?
It is widely believed by fighter pilots that in tens of thousands of engagements, the overwhelming majority of pilots shot down were hit by gunfire from another pilot who was not seen by the victim. Thus, I would challenge you to identify the number of combats in which a difference in 'maneuverability' made a difference in the outcome.
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