1940: ideal fighter for the Luftwaffe?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Okay, this time on the LW is to 'acquire' a super fighter :)
    Using the stuff historically produced in Germany, 1939/40, and the state of the art of the late 1930s, how would the ideal fighter for the Luftwaffe looked like if you were in charge? Production starts in January 1940, so the new fighter can be used vs. the Western European air forces when the time comes. The plane should have great performance for the day, along with other capabilities that make a great war plane. A single engined design. The growth potential should be there, too.

    Answers like 'produce the He-100' or the 'Bf-109F' are wholeheartedly discouraged ;)
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    1937.
    RLM gives DB603 engine program top priority for development and production.
    .....Reversal of historical decision to cancel DB603 funding during 1937.

    Autumn 1937. Historical event.
    RLM request for new fighter aircraft to supplement the Me-109.

    Late 1937 / early 1938.
    Dr Tank proposes new fighter aircraft design powered by the DB603 engine he historically preferred.

    1 June 1939. Fw-190 V1 prototype first flight.
    .....Historically with BMW 139 engine. In this scenerio it will fly with a DB603 prototype.

    31 Oct 1939. Fw-190 V2 prototype first flight.
    .....DB603 engine ILO the historical BMW 139.

    Historical Fw-190 development was delayed while waiting for a reliable engine. That's the case in this scenerio also. Our Fw-190 will enter mass production as soon as the DB603 engine passes a 100 hour endurance test. Should be NLT January 1941.
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I think a Fw-187 powered by DB601 engines qualifies as an Uber fighter during 1939 to 1942. Not single engine. However it's available earlier and you don't need to develop a new engine.

    Oct 1935. RLM provides 50 million RM for new DB601 engine factory.
    .....The original plan. Historically reduced to 20 million after an argument between Daimler-Benz management and RLM.

    1936. Historical.
    Fw-187 begins development as a private venture. Designed for DB601 engines.
    .....Full funding for Genshagen engine factory ensures there will be plenty of DB601 engines for this aircraft.

    1937. Historical.
    RLM request for new fighter aircraft.
    RLM request for new twin engine CAS aircraft armed with cannons.
    .....Variants of the Fw-187 can compete for both requirements.

    Spring 1937. Fw-187 prototye first flight.
    .....Historically RLM considered the Fw-187 only for the Zerstorer competition (vs Me-110). In this scenerio RLM will have enough DB601 engines that the Fw-187 can be considered for the day fighter competition.

    Historically the Zerstorer competition forced Focke Wulf to redesign the Fw-187 for a second crew member which delayed development for a year. No redesign in this scenerio so the Fw-187 single seat day fighter will be ready a year early.

    Feb 1938. Fw-187 A0 pre-production aircraft.
    .....A year ahead of historical development.

    Feb 1939. Fw-187A enters mass production.
    .....Single seat.
    .....Powered by two DB601A engines.
    .....4 x 20mm cannon mounted in fuselage sides.
    .....1,100 liters of internal fuel provide huge endurance for a 1939 fighter aircraft.

    Rechlin test pilot Heinrich Beauvais opinions concerning Fw-187.
    - Circled comparable to the Me-109.
    - Roll rate slightly less than the Me-109.
    - Top speed superior to the Me-109. ~30mph better.
    - Climb superior to the Me-109. ~300 feet per minute better.
    - Dive as good as the Me-109.
     
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  4. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I think the Messerschmitt Me 109 with all-round vision canopy, rudder trim, 50% more fuel, and inward-retracting landing gear.

    If I had to pcik an existing German plane to be developed, without modifications as suggested above, I'd say the Heinkel He 112 shoed great potential, but the RLM hated Ernst Heinkel. I WOULD say the he 100, but I don;t think the plane was ready for production or combat as it existed at the time. The He 112, on the other hand, coule EASILY have been ready and available if the proposed Me 109 improvement is not in the spirit of the post.
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Design a "bigger" fighter. around 210-220 sq ft of wing area. 500-600 liters of fuel internal. Inward retracting landing gear. Ditch the slats. The 109F was not a particularly low drag airframe for it's size and it was a huge step ahead of the 109E. It shouldn't be that hard to to get 109E performance with the bigger airframe even with the same engine.
    The bigger plane with the extra fuel will allow longer range/duration. It will operate from either worse air fields or have lower accidents. It may allow the carriage of more under wing/fuselage stores. It may offer more room in the wings for anti bomber armament in later models with better engines.
     
  6. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't there someone on the other side of the big river suggested Spitfires?
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Range is far too short.

    Steve
     
  8. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Hello, Dave,

    The plane should be a single engined job, and available in numbers in 1940 vs. the West :)

    I agree with SR6, a plane of, maybe, Spitfire's size would not be too much for the DB-601A, with fuel of some 130-140 US gals.
    What would I do is to make it an 8 LMG fighter, 4 MG-15s in the wing roots, 4 outboard of the prop disc (so it's similar to the FW-190 weaponry layout, 2 LMGs in lieu of 1 wing cannon, but no hull guns). Maybe 500 rounds per gun. All fuel going between pilot and engine, so the plane looks like Fiat G.55 in side elevation.
     
  9. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Did the RLM hate Ernst Heinkel? But at least head of RLM, Milch, heartly disliked Willy Messerschmitt ever since the M20 airliner crashes in late 20s. That was the main reason why Willy chose to make Bf 109 so radical, heavy wing loading for its time, slats etc. He knew that if his design wasn't clearly better Milch would have driven hard for selection of another competitor.

    Juha
     
  10. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    As a conservative I'd say that a Bf 109E with a drop tank possibility and Fw 187 single seater as an escort fighter if it had enough range. I'd have diverted most of Bf 110 production to Fw 187 and kept only Bf 110C recon version even if that would have complicated logistics.

    Juha
     
  11. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Me too. Introduce the E-7 earlier. It could easily have been done,it's a simple plumbing job. Who knows what difference that would have made in 1940.
    Steve
     
  12. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Member

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    #12 Gixxerman, Jul 18, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
    +1.

    I'd also look to push the FW190 program (insisting on the l/c DB601 in some early prototypes).
    I'm not sure you can rope an expanded engine program into this (re 601's/603's) but considering the number of prototypes sub-types the Germans indulged in it is a bit of a surprise we never see much of an early l/c engined FW190 or a bigger (bigger-winged) Me109.

    In fact as versitile adaptable as the Me109 was it is surprising to see how the contemporary Spitfire was developed compared, by the mk14 on almost into a new plane (and in fact in the Spiteful became one) .
    The philosophy of making the air-frame as tiny as possible was fine with trying to maximise capitalise on the engine power available in 1935/6 but it was doing the Me little favours 5yrs later when the design was probably close to the end of its substantive development (the impressive final hurrah in the K model aside).

    (on 2nd thoughts I suppose you could point to the Me 209, not the record breaker, as the upgrading of the Me 109)
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The Germans have a real problem in 1940 and it is with the guns. Drop tanks would help but they still need more fighters, It does little good to have fuel for 10-15minutes more combat if the wing guns are empty and the armament is down to the cowl 7.9mm machine guns. The 60 round drums for the MG/FF are too small. The Germans might need to relay fighters even with drop tanks to make sure that the escorts have enough ammo.

    This is a big part of the problem with a single seat Fw 187 in 1940. After 6-8 seconds the cannon are out of ammo. Not so bad on a point defense interceptor 30 minutes from base. Not so good on an escort fighter 90 minutes from base.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    You need an Uber engine also. I have presented two possible solutions to that issue.

    1. Build the DB601 in large numbers (i.e. similiar to Jumo 211) so Germany can afford to produce a twin engine day fighter.
    The Fw-187 is an obvious choice for that role.

    2. Provide full support for the DB603 engine program rather then cancelling it during 1937.
    Engine development time is difficult to predict. Daimler-Benz had a 1,500 hp prototype running at the time funding was cut off. It's entirely possible that engine will pass a 100 hour endurance test before 1940. Even if the original (1940) production model DB603 engine is good for only 1,500 hp that's still a big leap in performance over the 1,100 hp DB601A.

    IMO the Fw-190 airframe is the obvious choice for the DB603 engine as it's the engine Dr Tank always wanted. However you could use this powerful engine in any airframe large enough to hold it. If Messerschmitt has confidence that RLM supports the DB603 engine they could design something similiar to the Me-309 to make use of it.
     
  15. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    #15 riacrato, Jul 18, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
    If I had free choice of engine I'd say 190 with a DB601 and annular radiator. Switch to DB603 in 1942 should be rather smooth given the fighter gets priority for that engine.

    Other than that Germany had a good fighter for 1940-42 and a good one in the pipe for 1942-43, even with BMW801 (which gets far too worse credit than it deserves). The failure to follow on with a decent medium-to-high altitude, 1750+ PS engine for 1943-1945 was their problem.

    As for armament: Who had a really good armament for 1940? Certainly not the RAF and the VVS not really either. It was a period where everyone realized rifle calibre mgs are not a great option for a fighter aircraft and Germany arguably had one of the best solutions in the pipe with the MG151.
     
  16. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Member

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    The DB 603 was about 75% more weight compared to the DB 601.....and nearly a full meter longer.
    It's never going to be an easy conversion from DB 601 to DB 603 in a fighter, surely?

    By all means use it in the much later Ta152 or multi-engined aircraft etc but surely in this time-scale it is more realistic to imagine a much more lightly modified early FW190 with a DB 601N or E IMO.
     
  17. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    A decent airframe sure helps. The Japanese Ki 61 shows some of what could be done. bit slower than a 109 in climb it is faster on the level than a 109E, carries more fuel, has a higher ceiling. While not a huge advantage in any one area it offers more scope for improvement before flying qualities go in the toilet, With a reliable 1500hp engine one wonders what it could do let alone getting one of the UBER 605 engines.

    1500hp from a 2000lb engine doesn't offer a lot to a fighter designer over 1100-1200hp from a 1300-1400lb engine. Actual installed powerplant weight may be worse than the dry weight comparison. you may need 20-25 sq ft more wing area to keep the same wing loading as the smaller engine. Bigger engines are better but they have to have a power to weight ratio as good as the smaller engine for a fighter, not worse.
     
  18. cimmex

    cimmex Member

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    Here is a pic of a Fw190 with DB605
    cimmex messerfocke.jpg
     
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  19. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree.

    If Dr. Tank designs the Fw-190 for a DB601/DB605 engine then it should be smaller and lighter in weight. If the Fw-190 is designed for a DB603 engine then you end up with something similiar to the historical Fw-190D9. The Me-109 already provides an excellent light weight fighter so my preference would be for a heavy fighter powered by the DB603 engine or else the Fw-187 powered by two DB601 engines.

    Fw-187 provides the best firepower (4 x centerline mounted cannon) plus outstanding endurance. A tempting choice even if the aircraft is a bit more expensive. An aircraft with endurance that good would not need to fly multiple sorties per day and it can project combat power to distances the Me-109 can never achieve even with drop tanks. Fw-187s could loiter over enemy air fields similiar to what P-51s accomplished over Germany during the final year of WWII.
     
  20. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    #20 riacrato, Jul 18, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
    Griffon was also significantly heavier than Merlin, still Spitfire-airframes could cope with it.

    The Fw 190 airframe took the DB603 easily, that's been proven historically by the Fw 190 C prototypes.
    05.jpg

    I am not suggesting a lightened or slimmer Fw 190, keep it as it was historically. Even if it's a tad slower with the DB601, climbs worse and accelerates worse too, it is a worthwhile addition to the Bf 109 with heavier armament and more forgiving landing gear. The difference to the historical early Fw 190 will be about 200 PS, but it'll also be less draggy.
    The point is, getting a fighter close to Fw 190 performance and with decent product lifecycle in 1940. Which was the aim of the thread, to my understanding.
     
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