Another factor in favour of the Mustang was that it was available in huge numbers and although that might not have any bearing in such a poll, it certainly made a difference during the war.The P-51 was good to great in every category and could take the fight to the Germans.
This is what Max Hastings wrote about the P-51 (although the latter part is less specific about Allied aircraft types) in his book Overlord, about, well, "Overlord";
"by one of the most extraordinary paradoxes of the war, the bombing of the factories achieved only limited impact upon German aircraft production; but the coming of the marvellous P-51 Mustang long range fighter over the skies of Germany inflicted an irreverseable defeat upon the Luftwaffe, unquestionably decisive for Overlord. In January 1944 the Germans lost 1,311 aircraft from all causes. This figure rose to 2,121 in February and 2,115 in March. Even more disastrous than lost fighters, the Luftwaffe's trained pilots were being killed far more quickly than they could be replaced, with the direction of the air force in the enfeebled hands of Goering. By March the Americans were conciously attacking targets with the purpose of forcing the Germans to defend them. By June, the Germans no longer possessed sufficient pilots and aircraft to mount more than token resistance to the Allied invasion of France."
Have to agree about the Swordfish and although it was most certainly obsolete, as a weapon it did bloody well in the hands of some rather courageous individuals. Perhaps that's why there is so much respect for it in certain circles.
Last edited by nuuumannn; 05-23-2012 at 11:13 PM.
It was a great airplane and I didn't quibble with Brown's position of the Spit, had some problems ranking the Fw 190 above the Mustang (or the 109) and had a problem with ranking the Hellcat over either the Mustang or the Me 109.
I think the main problem with Brown is he disagrees with ME and he doesnt put MY favourite aircraft at number 1. When I say me and my I mean every armchair expert who is currently on this site. We werent there, we didnt fly the aircraft mores the pity but for some reason a man who flew more aircraft than most us have air miles is wrong with his personal opinion. It is a book of personal recollections taken from his contemporaneous notes, he never tried to say it was anything other than that but for some reason he gets more hate than any other figure in aviation history. Till the invention of the time machine when some flight sim experts can go back and refight history we have to respect the opinion of the people who were there. Get 10 veterans in a room get them talking and within minutes you will have 20 different opinions on the best plane of WWII.
So for all those who seem to take great pleasure in attacking Brown and denigrating his experiences and personal opinions, I say come back when you have flown every single plane he did and then I might give you the time of day.
Till then you aint fit to polish his shoes.
Interesting take Fastmongrel and hard to argue your point because of Brown's experience, but that's the fun of this forum, isn't it? What's a little debate between strangers in front of computer screens at opposite ends of the world to one another? We get to pass judgement over things we have no real world knowledge of and, as you rightly pointed out, the poll is based on his opinion, and that's what we are voicing, our own opinions. So? Spitfire, P-51, Fw 190 or F6F?
Problem is nuuumannn the Brown debate always descends into Brown was a Limey As****e who didnt realise everything with a star on the side was the best or Brown was an untermensch who didnt realise everything with a cross on the side was the best. Debate away he didnt rate the aircraft the way I would but it always ends up with idiots getting personal and nationalistic.
Petty nationalism pisses me off I love old motorbikes and I personally think BSA produced the best motorbikes in the world even though they leaked fuel, oil and electrons in equal measure but no way would I get into a pissing contest with someone from the US who holds the opinion that Milwaukee produced the best bikes in the world even though I personally think the best thing to do with a new Harley is wheel it to a scrap metal merchants and get a few bucks per ton.
I work in a Mercedes garage working on air-con, electrics and bodywork and I think they are the best cars in the world so that should keep the "Jerman stuff is oresome" brigade happy and I am currently helping a friend rebuild his beautiful AMC Javelin muscle car engine so that should keep the USA USA USA brigade happy. When I find the time I will open the boxes of oily rusty metal in my shed and get round to my latest BSA build its a A65 Firebird scrambler and its going to be the best bike in the world apart that is from my BSA A65 Thunderbolt of course
Last edited by fastmongrel; 05-24-2012 at 07:12 AM.
Oh and best plane in the world is spelt DeHavilland Mosquito no P Fw or Bf anywhere near it
Nuthin wrong in that, my man!Oh and best plane in the world is spelt DeHavilland Mosquito no P Fw or Bf anywhere near it
Regarding Brown I have to say I'm a bit of a fan, not because he's British or Navy or anything, but because he's a good writer. His test flight reports are interesting and engaging. For me as a youngster into aircraft, in Wings of the Luftwaffe he brought to life German aeroplanes and technology in a way that no other book or author had done so before. His descriptions added a whole new dimension to these warplanes that we are so familiar with. That's why I like him.
As for bias, I fail to see where it lies, he speaks very highly of German aircraft, with the notable exception of the He 177. He describes the Ju 88 with "profound admiration"; one of his favourites, along with the Fw 190. As for comments about being navy, why would that have an impact on a flight test report? That one puzzles me.
Birmingham Small Arms? Don't know much about bikes, but they make a cool sound!
The early P-51Bs at 67” boost on 100 octane fuel was faster than the Fw-190A-5 and much faster than the Bf-109G from sea level to ceiling. In addition, it could out climb the Fw from 5k ft. to ceiling and the Bf-109 above 20k ft. It could probably out dive the two and also out turn them. Not many tools for the German flying these two aircraft against the P-51 one-on-one. Post May, ’44, with the advent of higher octane fuel and 75” boost, the P-51B is significantly faster than either German aircraft, much better climbing than either. Not until the advent of the late model aircraft such as the Fw-190D-9 and Bf-109G-10+ and K in the fall of 1944, did Germany have planes that could realistically challenge the P-51 and by then it was way too late.post spring 44 109s and 190s
The F4U-1D was a powerful fighter which had similar performance as the 67” boost P-51 up to 20k ft but would need to have the wing tanks added back in to be a long range escort., F4U
So, add to this range and speed, climb, dive and turning, and you can understand the success the P-51 had over Germany.,. True its package of exceptional range , high speed in horizontal flight, good communication equipment was very valuable.
Had the opportunity to briefly speak with Eric a few years back; asked and what he thought of the Mosquito and it's later stablemate the Hornet. He thought very highly of both commenting on their " well harmonized controls". I then asked him about the He219....... His eyes opened a bit and said " now that was a good aircraft........"
It's hard not to like the man. He is unassuming, listens to those around him and ever so willing to talk to anyone about his favorite subject.......... Airplanes.
My hat off to him...........
I have "Duels in the Sky" in my library and have read it several times. Eric Brown is highly biased in his appraisal of the many airplanes in the book. His comparison of the Corsair II and F6F3 versus the FW190 makes no sense at all when compared to actual tests run by the USN on the three aircraft and the subsequent choice of the Corsair over the Hellcat as the fleet's fighter.
Brown was associated quite a lot with Marion Carl after the war. I wonder if they engaged in debates about the relative merits of fighters? Carl was a big advocate of the Corsair and he had much combat experience. Brown had little.
As a test pilot where I am dedicated to flying one aircraft after another to determine the good and not so good characteristics, I am concerned about a.) how does this beast fly, b.) does it generally or specifically meet the specifications for which it was designed, c.) what are potential killer flaws with respect to normal activities (takeoff, landing, spin, stall/warning/behavior, aerobatics, for twin-what are single engine behaviors below blue line or on final approach, etc)d,) how is the cockpit layed out, trim requirements at different speeds, control harmony, etc)... in the US kind of like Edwards AFB for USAF.
At Eglin AFB, they wring the a/c out to try to determine combat capabilities, maintenance issues at 40 below, fire control systems, all weather flying, ACM, etc.
"How it Flys"
I've always perceived the talented and experienced WC Brown as the former - very much like Bob Hoover and Tony LaVier.. whereas I viewed Al and Bob White and Chuck Yeager as 'test pilots' with a serious fabric of combat ops behind the eyes. The engineering theory for context, testing at Edwards for how does it handle, rat races for proof of what it can do when pushed to limit in ACM.
"What it can Do"
Just a thought.
I think the presence of the P51 in German airspace forced the luftwaffe to retreat a large part of their fighter force from France to Germany. Pretty hard to fight of an allied invasion if there are no planes in the neighborhood