I agree with FLYBOYJ, with rockets, gunpods and who knows what else the Bf 110 G series would have been far less agile than a P-38.
However we're clearly talking 1943-1944 here so by then the main purpose of the Bf 110's and Me 410's used in daylight missions was that of bomber destroyer and would not be inclined to mix it with a P-38 or P-47's in the first place.
Unless your name is Eduard Tratt.
If the fight takes place at night, which will likely be the case during the fall of 1943, then all that specialized Me-110 night fighting equipment puts the P-38 at a huge disadvantage. Most likely the P-38 pilot will not even know where the Me-110 is until 3cm cannon shells start hitting his aircraft.look at how many of the 110s were configured in the field - the lower gun pod and the night fighter version and I think all the extra equipment would have hampered its performance.
I must admit that I feel as if the Me 110 has a bit of a bad press when it coems to air to air combat. There can be no doubt that the Me110 would be at a significant disadvantage in a one to one against the P38. However, it is often forgotten that the Me110 performed well and met all expectations as a day fighter until the BOB.
Until then, by using its superior speed and firepower it had performed well in air combat against all comers. It came unstuck when up against modified Hurricanes and Spitfires who matched or exceeded its speed and had the agility.
The P38 was in a similar position. It performed well in the air to air combat largely by using those same advantages against the Japanese i.e. its higher speed and firepower. Had the Japanese replaced the Ki43 and Zero in 1943 with a true 400 mph fighter, the P38 may well have a similar epitaph as a day fighter and concentrated on strike missions.
Japan acquired a license to build the DB601 engine during 1938. Then set about modifying the engine and designing their own air frame. If they had simply built the Me-109F under license and without modification to either the engine or airframe the early model P-38s would have been in trouble.
It lacked range - a major factor in the Pacific. More maneuverable, it wasn't going to "boom and zoom" with the P-38. Additionally tactics would have also put is at a disadvantage. Lastly I question the quality of a licensed built German aircraft by the Japanese. As the war went on the production quality of their aircraft got worse and worse - part interchangeability was almost non-existent.
Great minds think alike so they say.
I've looked around some for solid info on the P-38's turn rate, but no luck...So I'll just go with what I've read in numerous accounts of the later model P-38's (G model onward) ability to mix it up with most single engine fighters in turning battles. The combination of the boosted ailerons and manoeuvering flaps gave the Lightning a good rate of turn,both instantaneous and sustained, esp at lower altitudes. To my knowledge, none of the Bf 110 variants were capable of manoeuvering with any of the common Allied or Axis single-engine fighters, despite the fact that it's wing loading was nominally lower than the P-38's.
Complex machines like combat aircraft cannot be reduced to mere numbers, and the large number of aerodynamic variables involved in ACM render conclusions based on calculations from a small number of specs less than compelling. A well-handled P-38 was a formidable adversary for any single-engine fighter of the war. The same cannot be said for the Bf 110. It was an utter failure as a day fighter, and it's continued use by the Luftwaffe in other less demanding roles, was merely a consequence of the failure of it's planned successors.They used it because they had it, not because it was a great combat a/c.
Many of the problems that the P-38 encountered in the ETO were a result of engine failures due to inappropriate fuel. One can hardly blame the a/c if it's required to use fuel it was not designed for...
Other problems, such as compressibility, inadequate heating, etc, were remedied by simple modifications for the most part. And these modifications could have been carried out much sooner but for the USAAF's demand that Lockheed not allow production to be halted for the necessary tooling changes. The Bf 110, OTOH, was inherently obsolete as a day fighter by '41.
As for the night fighter role, the P-38 could have handled that at least as well as the Bf 110, even minus the Schrage Musik armament. It had better performance, comparable range, and better load carrying capacity. It also had the room to carry 3 20 mm in the nose, if needed. But it wasn't needed, because the USAAF had no urgent requirement for a high performance nightfighter, whereas they did want all the P-38 day fighter-bombers that they could get.
Last edited by Butters; 07-21-2009 at 07:04 PM. Reason: typos
On the comment about the Me 110 vs P38 I have a quote from Capt Maurice McLary 55th FS/20th FG
On the encounters that I have had with the enemy's twin engined aircraft, I have found that they can turn much shorter than I had anticipated. I've also had trouble in staying behind them - the tendancy being to overrun them. They usually try to outturn you and in so doing put their tail gunner in a good position. I learned this the hard way- by having an engine shot out by an Me110 tail gunner.
On another occaision I believe his fuel transfer system was shot up by a rear gunner in a turn and he flew back with two inches of fuel in the bottom of his cockpit.
I don't want anybody to put to much into a single comment but its the only one I can find relating to an Me110 and a P38 in combat. However there can be little doubt that the rear gunner can spoil the day of a P38 tryng to turn inside an Me110.