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Some interesting claims of the best W.W.2 fighter


Rick
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3 hours ago, shep854 said:

Have you watched the previous 7 P-47 episodes?  Tons of charts and numbers.

Bits of several at various times. Don't have time to watch them all, but i.m.o., the author is superb in his knowledge and presentation. 

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I'm sure that the P-47 would have won WW2 in 1940, if it had been available. it wasn't, and WW2 was won by the simple expedient of not losing whilst using the means that were available at the time.

Yes, I'm being a bit snarky, but comparisons of "best" and "better" or "worst" are sufficiently situational that they're exercises in mental masturbation rather than serving any useful purpose.

I do like the chap's videos, honestly, but people should leave out the clickbait.

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Well... from the video it appears the role of the U.S.A.A.F. when, IIRC, Dolittle took over was the killing of German pilots and planes. And that the P47 did this when said pilots were, overall, better than when the P51 became the more famous plane. The author did mention the number of German pilots lost in the Battle of Britain. Not sure about the Russian Front. 

I don't have the time and honestly don't think it is worth my effort to figure out which countries pilots shot down the most planes in a time when opposing pilots and planes were more-or-less equal. From the video it appears the U.S. idea of having high altitude daylight bombing forced the German Air Force to play to the strength of the P47. My two cents of course.

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I'm perfectly fine with presentations of performance figures of aircraft, and their cool technical features and such - a recent video on the absurdity of the UK persisting with carburettors in aviation applications is very interesting to me, puts Miss Shilling into a somewhat different (better!) light and paints a very unflattering picture of a certain senior figure at the RAE responsible for misrepresenting the benefits of fuel injection. The Merlin could have done with 10-20% more power in 1940!

The thing is that most if not all "best this" discussions are a game of Top Trumps that allows for no proper critical evaluation. For instance, compared to the size of battles over Germany in 1942-43, the Battle of Britain involved far fewer aircraft. This would inevitably mean fewer aircraft shot down. Does that make those aircraft shot down more or less valuable to the war effort? Does someone scoring a hatful of kills in the PTO compare with similar numbers in the ETO? I think that realistically you can't compare them because there are simply too many variables in play, and so I find them worthless.

In the BoB, one could argue that the Germans were forced to play to the strengths of the RAF, simply because they were using comparable aircraft at ranges which limited their endurance at combat power. Also, if you look simply at aircraft type versus aircraft type, you're neglecting the massive contribution offered by the way fighter control worked and the advantages that gave the home side, plus doctrinal division of responsibilities like the division of labour of Hurricanes and Spitfires to bomber and fighter engagements where possible, and so on.

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"The Best" is pointless anyway. If you want to find the best WW2 fighter it should be a plane that was a valid fighter for the longest time in the war and that leaves just the Spitfire and the Me109 as contenders.

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1 hour ago, DB said:

I'm perfectly fine with presentations of performance figures of aircraft, and their cool technical features and such - a recent video on the absurdity of the UK persisting with carburettors in aviation applications is very interesting to me, puts Miss Shilling into a somewhat different (better!) light and paints a very unflattering picture of a certain senior figure at the RAE responsible for misrepresenting the benefits of fuel injection. The Merlin could have done with 10-20% more power in 1940!

The thing is that most if not all "best this" discussions are a game of Top Trumps that allows for no proper critical evaluation. For instance, compared to the size of battles over Germany in 1942-43, the Battle of Britain involved far fewer aircraft. This would inevitably mean fewer aircraft shot down. Does that make those aircraft shot down more or less valuable to the war effort? Does someone scoring a hatful of kills in the PTO compare with similar numbers in the ETO? I think that realistically you can't compare them because there are simply too many variables in play, and so I find them worthless.

In the BoB, one could argue that the Germans were forced to play to the strengths of the RAF, simply because they were using comparable aircraft at ranges which limited their endurance at combat power. Also, if you look simply at aircraft type versus aircraft type, you're neglecting the massive contribution offered by the way fighter control worked and the advantages that gave the home side, plus doctrinal division of responsibilities like the division of labour of Hurricanes and Spitfires to bomber and fighter engagements where possible, and so on.

I never thought of comparing a carburetor to a toilet. To argue "the best" can be, using a sports analogy, be team A winning most of the time by a single point to Team A winning all the time by several points. I think the P47 falls into the former, especially in regards to high altitude daylight bombing. This forced the German Air Force to play to the strength of the P47 leading to the results of the killing of more German pilots than U.S. pilots. The author of the P47 video makes good arguments to the level of German and U.S. pilot training from the effects of this. 

I can't remember the exact timeline in the P47 video, put there is a time when, using broad terms, the quality of German and U.S. pilots were about even. Forcing ME109's and FW190's to play to the strengths of the P47 resulted in losses to German pilots their air force could not afford. The German Air Force had to attack the American planes at altitude and once the P47 was freed from bomber formations the killing of German pilots was accelerated and led to the spiraling downfall of pilot quality. Yes, the P47, nor the U.S.A.A.F.,  did this all by itself, but the P47 did the best job of this in the time frame of the Second World War. 

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20 minutes ago, seahawk said:

"The Best" is pointless anyway. If you want to find the best WW2 fighter it should be a plane that was a valid fighter for the longest time in the war and that leaves just the Spitfire and the Me109 as contenders.

Define "valid fighter." In W.W.2 you would have to go to the later years that include the Meteor and the ME262.  One can always argue the true maxim the best plane is the one with the best pilot, but imo, the P47, P51, and the F4U give a pilot more tools in his toolbox than he would have in the Me109 or Spitfire in the time frame said fighters fought. 

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I meant best in "the best design" - so which designer/manufacturer made the fighter that was competitive for the longest time. Considering the giant leaps in technology, it is not hard to design a fighter with an EiS in 1944/45 to be better than a fighter with an EiS in 1935/1936.

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36 minutes ago, seahawk said:

I meant best in "the best design" - so which designer/manufacturer made the fighter that was competitive for the longest time. Considering the giant leaps in technology, it is not hard to design a fighter with an EiS in 1944/45 to be better than a fighter with an EiS in 1935/1936.

Hhmm... may have to include the P38 in that criteria.

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1 hour ago, Rick said:

Define "valid fighter." In W.W.2 you would have to go to the later years that include the Meteor and the ME262.  One can always argue the true maxim the best plane is the one with the best pilot, but imo, the P47, P51, and the F4U give a pilot more tools in his toolbox than he would have in the Me109 or Spitfire in the time frame said fighters fought. 

But which one? There is something like 27 different marks of Spitfires (There is at least 2 or 3 different navalized versions on top of that. Thats not including something like 3 or 4 different types of wings with different armament options) There is something like 9 basic marks of Me109, not including subvariants with all different kinds of options like rocket pods, gun trays, water injection etc etc etc.

And you know what, none of them were as well developed aerodynamically as the Mosquito, which had its own bewildering set of fighter, bomber and fighterbomber variants. If the P38 must be counted, then so does the Mosquito, and so does the Beaufighter.

Its kind of telling that nobody has even brought up the Tempest or Soviet types like the LA5 or LA7, which even Eric Winkle Brown could find little to fault, other than the fairly agricultural instrument panel. Or the Yak1 and 3 which had little to disgrace them. Or the TA152 low altitude variants. Or even types that didnt enter service but probably should have done, like the Martin Baker MB-5. Or ground attack specialised aircraft like late variant Hurricanes, Typhoons FW190A5's.

I think personally honours lie with the Tempest, it was the fastest warplane of the war, but I dont think any of the late war prop aircraft have that much between them. Its all kind of irrelevant anyway because most of what they were doing post winter of 1944, if Clostermans book is any guide, is largely ground attack missions.

 

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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If you want to debate the best fighter, you would first have to determine the time period, the precise task and the height and range at which this was to be accomplished.

For example, say you were Germany in 1943 or 1944 and you needed fighters to intercept heavy bombers. Would your desired fighter be similar to a P-47? No, as you do not need the range and the associated bulk of the airframe. Furthermore, you would require much more powerful armament, that is autocannons, preferably of large caliber. In addition, the early razorback versions had a poor old-fashioned canopy design with a vertical strut in the middle of the windshield (!) and no rearward vision. I find it rather glaring that even on its bomber escort missions the P-47 was gradually replaced by the P-51 by the USAAF. Design-wise it was dead end, reflective of "chubby" prewar US fighter designs, as postwar every airforce wanted fast jets with thin, swept-back wings and autocannons. 

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33 minutes ago, Daan said:

If you want to debate the best fighter, you would first have to determine the time period, the precise task and the height and range at which this was to be accomplished.

For example, say you were Germany in 1943 or 1944 and you needed fighters to intercept heavy bombers. Would your desired fighter be similar to a P-47? No, as you do not need the range and the associated bulk of the airframe. Furthermore, you would require much more powerful armament, that is autocannons, preferably of large caliber. In addition, the early razorback versions had a poor old-fashioned canopy design with a vertical strut in the middle of the windshield (!) and no rearward vision. I find it rather glaring that even on its bomber escort missions the P-47 was gradually replaced by the P-51 by the USAAF. Design-wise it was dead end, reflective of "chubby" prewar US fighter designs, as postwar every airforce wanted fast jets with thin, swept-back wings and autocannons. 

From my understanding the P47 was replaced by the P51 due to cost per plane and the amount of gas required by each plane with the P51 requiring less in both columns. 

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36 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

But which one? There is something like 27 different marks of Spitfires (There is at least 2 or 3 different navalized versions on top of that. Thats not including something like 3 or 4 different types of wings with different armament options) There is something like 9 basic marks of Me109, not including subvariants with all different kinds of options like rocket pods, gun trays, water injection etc etc etc. In the time frame the P47, Me109, and FW190 were involved in.

And you know what, none of them were as well developed aerodynamically as the Mosquito, which had its own bewildering set of fighter, bomber and fighterbomber variants. If the P38 must be counted, then so does the Mosquito, and so does the Beaufighter. Then your getting into the "best design" vs "most effective." I don't know the answer to this question, but I believe the P47 shot down more German fighters in the 1944 time frame, which -- and correct me if  I am wrong -- the time frame the German Air Force lost the "Air War" over France and Germany. 

Its kind of telling that nobody has even brought up the Tempest or Soviet types like the LA5 or LA7, which even Eric Winkle Brown could find little to fault, other than the fairly agricultural instrument panel. Or the Yak1 and 3 which had little to disgrace them. From my limited understanding, Soviet fighter planes of this era were low-altitude fighters, short range fighters. 

Or the TA152 low altitude variants. Or even types that didnt enter service but probably should have done, like the Martin Baker MB-5. Or ground attack specialised aircraft like late variant Hurricanes, Typhoons FW190A5's.

I think personally honours lie with the Tempest, it was the fastest warplane of the war, but I dont think any of the late war prop aircraft have that much between them. Its all kind of irrelevant anyway because most of what they were doing post winter of 1944, if Clostermans book is any guide, is largely ground attack missions. That is probably due to the number of German pilots killed by the P47. That and lowered pilot training along with lower amounts of gasoline to fly said planes and the, possibly, lower quality built planes that the Germans had at this time. 

 

 

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29 minutes ago, Rick said:

From my understanding the P47 was replaced by the P51 due to cost per plane and the amount of gas required by each plane with the P51 requiring less in both columns. 

Well, there you have another disadvantage, in a major war cost and logistics are important factors. While certainly more vulnerable, the P-51 is also the nimbler plane of the two.

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1 hour ago, Daan said:

If you want to debate the best fighter, you would first have to determine the time period, the precise task and the height and range at which this was to be accomplished.

That's the thing.

What is your performance criteria? Single combat? A2A in the dogpile? Ground attack?

We all saw this argument unravel in the F-16 vs F-15 perpetuarguments.

 

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9 minutes ago, Daan said:

Well, there you have another disadvantage, in a major war cost and logistics are important factors. While certainly more vulnerable, the P-51 is also the nimbler plane of the two.

Don't disagree on "nimbleness" but this was not a factor in the P47 shooting down, as a general rule, more experienced German Air Force pilots than the P51 in 1944, which is I think, the year the U.S.A.A.F. defeated their enemy over France and Germany. 

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By early 1944 most of the more experienced German fighter pilots on the western front were long dead. According to Galland's April 1944 report the Luftwaffe fighters were outnumbered 6:1 to 8:1 and he noted Allied fighter pilot training was 'astonishingly high'.(Book quote on the Wiki) Those P-47s were mostly picking off rookies they vastly outnumbered. I do not think you can draw any conclusions about the relative overall aptitude of the P-47 or P-51 as a fighter from that.

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On 12/5/2021 at 3:42 PM, Rick said:

From my understanding the P47 was replaced by the P51 due to cost per plane and the amount of gas required by each plane with the P51 requiring less in both columns. 

P-47 and P-38 costed about twice what P-51 costed, which itself costed over twice what for example Bf-109.

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On 12/5/2021 at 2:30 PM, Rick said:

Don't disagree on "nimbleness" but this was not a factor in the P47 shooting down, as a general rule, more experienced German Air Force pilots than the P51 in 1944, which is I think, the year the U.S.A.A.F. defeated their enemy over France and Germany. 

The P47s heyday was arguably a year earlier. By the time of the Berlin raids, it was already seemingly taking a back seat to the P51B. 

I'll say this about the P47, there was a convincing account I read about a mock gunfight between a P47 and a Spitfire Mkix. The P47 won by using the vertical time and again, presumably using God's G ( or Gravity) to turn inside the Spitfire. That could be used to suggest the Spitfire was Inferior to the P47. But it's clear the American pilot was just superior at getting the best out of his aircraft over the RAF pilot. Would a British ace allow himself to fight with a Thunderbolt like that? Arguably not.

There is a good book called Red Eagles by Steve Davies. In the header, it describes a mock dogfight over Nevada, where the Tomcat was largely defeated by an early model Mig21. The Mig wasn't superior to the F14, it was just that the USAF pilot flew the mig for thousands of hours, and the Tomcat crew had buck fever, never having seen a Mig before. 

It's the man, not the machine.

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P-47D was only piston fighter* operated locally that could reliably intercept Mosquitos, which were for a long time a benchmark for a "difficult to intercept" aircraft.

*Yak-3, Yak-9P, Spitfire V and IX, Bf 109g2/6/10, local S-49A/C and P-47 were operated at the same time for a while.

 

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2 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

The P47s heyday was arguably a year earlier. By the time of the Berlin raids, it was already seemingly taking a back seat to the P51B. 

I'll say this about the P47, there was a convincing account I read about a mock gunfight between a P47 and a Spitfire Mkix. The P47 won by using the vertical time and again, presumably using God's G ( or Gravity) to turn inside the Spitfire. That could be used to suggest the Spitfire was Inferior to the P47. But it's clear the American pilot was just superior at getting the best out of his aircraft over the RAF pilot. Would a British ace allow himself to fight with a Thunderbolt like that? Arguably not.

There is a good book called Red Eagles by Steve Davies. In the header, it describes a mock dogfight over Nevada, where the Tomcat was largely defeated by an early model Mig21. The Mig wasn't superior to the F14, it was just that the USAF pilot flew the mig for thousands of hours, and the Tomcat crew had buck fever, never having seen a Mig before. 

It's the man, not the machine.

I'm pretty sure the Jug pilot was Robert S. Johnson, one of the top American aces of the ETO, with 26 kills, all fighters, during the critical 1943-'44 period.

In his memoir, THUNDERBOLT!* , Johnson described two encounters with Spitfires, Mk IXs, I believe,  In the first, he was flying a P-47 with an original 'skinny' prop.  He told of running away from the Spit in a zoom, but then he slowed and the British pilot just climbed past him.  In the second, with the paddle blades, he walked away from the other Mk IX in a sustained climb.

Like you said, he was a true pro, who fought with the Thunderbolt's strengths.  In the Spitfire hassle, he knew he couldn't turn with the Brit, so Johnson got him with barrel rolls.

*A great read!

Edited by shep854
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5 hours ago, Yama said:

P-47 and P-38 costed about twice what P-51 costed, which itself costed over twice what for example Bf-109.

If the Bf-109 was made in the USA, it would likely cost close to the cost of a Mustang.

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