Allied Fighter vs Fighter: Is it really necessary ???

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by timmy, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. timmy

    timmy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    8
    #1 timmy, Aug 28, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
    Long time reader first time poster to this forum.
    Great site by the way, I'm amazed how many posters here really know their subject matter
    Anyhow back to the Question...

    Reading through this forum and finding many great Allied Fighter vs Fighter comparisons, which I admit is fun.
    But doesn't it really miss the point, what really WAS the allies real strength of ww2 over the axis ?

    I mean our real strength I think was that we didn't just have one or two great fighters like the Germans
    But we had many numerous types of great fighters that where well suited to a particular role
    For example

    Mustang- Great long range escort fighter
    Spitfire- Great short range interceptor
    Thunderbolt- Tough allrounder well suited for ground attack
    Lightning- Perfectly suited for the pacific theatre duties
    Corsair- Great island based fighter
    Hellcat- Perfect Carrier based fighter
    Mosquito- Great allrounder

    So while comparing say a P51D mustang with say P47D Thunderbolt is fun
    Could we really have won the war with one but not the other. Maybe, but it would have been a lot harder.
    We would have been short of a particular aircraft that was strongly suited for a specific role

    The Germans would have killed to have so many fighters that where so strong in one specific role
    Kind of why I think they lost. Not that the 109/190 weren't great. They just couldn't perform all the duties
    the large variety types of fighters the allied had at their disposal

    Just my 2 cents timmy :)
     
  2. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Messages:
    7,359
    Likes Received:
    561
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Executive, Consulting
    Location:
    Scurry, Texas
    Timmy - the Germans correctly determined that they didn't have the resources to design, manufacture and maintain so many variations.

    In another sense they were somewhat handicapped by doctrine. They had one view of airpower - dominate the battlefield in concert with their armies, they were prohibited from naval build up by Treaty. The US had a different vison for airpower both at sea and land based - and it was different from USSR and Great Britain.

    So, independently many aviation 'trees and branches' were grown by the Allies and evolved to suit the campaigns and strategic/tactical requirements of winng the war.

    We had so many successes simply because we had the resources to try many different things - and the US R&D was shielded from invasion and attack by two great oceans.
     
  3. renrich

    renrich Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    4,542
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    real estate
    Location:
    Montrose, Colorado
    #3 renrich, Aug 28, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
    Timmy, enjoyed your post. This discussion has been had before in kind of reverse fashion. To me, the US would have been better served if it had concentrated it's resources on fewer fighter designs and improving those models they selected. For instance, I believe the US in 1940-41 could have shelved the P47 and P38 and concentrated on the F4U1 and would have had a fighter with enough range and performance to escort bombers in 1942-43, until the Mustang with the Merlin engine had come along. The early F4U carried 361 gallons of fuel internally and could have carried a 175 gallon drop tank which would have given it a combat radius of perhaps as much as 500 miles. The early bugs in the Corsair which handicapped it for carrier duty would not have mattered much as a land based fighter and if Republic and Lockheed had been helping in the development stage, the Corsair could have been in production sooner than it ultimately was. Vought was a relatively small company. If, in addition Grumman had been involved in the Corsair project, the Corsair would have been carrier ready much sooner than it was and the Hellcat would have not been needed at all.

    Looking at the Mustang, in hindsight, if Lockheed or Curtiss had been helping in the Mustang program, the Merlin might have been installed a little earlier and Mustangs would have been pouring off the assembly lines faster and in greater quantity. If instead of Packard being the only US producer of Merlin engines, Allison had built them also instead of producing engines for P38s and P40s, then more Merlins would have been available for Mustangs and Lancasters.

    Bottom line to me is that if someone had had an infallible crystal ball the US could have gotten along very nicely with only the two designs, the Corsair as an early escort fighter and later as THE fighter bomber and the Mustang as the great escort fighter it ulitmately became.

    Those would have been cost effective measures and would have simplified the logistics problems significantly.
     
  4. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,708
    Likes Received:
    29
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Sales for Karl Performance
    Location:
    Ankeny, Iowa
    Home Page:
    Interesting point renrich.
     
  5. renrich

    renrich Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    4,542
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    real estate
    Location:
    Montrose, Colorado
    Thanks Messy, the fly in the ointment, as far as the Corsair deal is concerned, is that even if the potential of the Corsair had been recognised in 1940 when it first flew, the AAF would have to have been dragged kicking and screaming into a situation for a fighter designed as a shipboard fighter to have become a mainstay as a landbased airplane for the AAF.

    The somewhat extended gestation period for the Corsair was the result of the extensive redesign of the prototype and then the testing which had to be done when the production model F4U1 emerged. Vought only had one main test pilot for the Corsair project and if Grumman and Republic had been involved the evolution must have been much faster.

    The availability of Merlin engines had to be a significant impact on Mustang production and if Allison built Merlins and Lockheed and Curiss had built Mustangs instead of P40s and P38s, Merlin Mustangs would have been available in every theatre of the war and the unit cost would have been lower. Likewise for the Corsair.
     
  6. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,708
    Likes Received:
    29
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Sales for Karl Performance
    Location:
    Ankeny, Iowa
    Home Page:
    #6 Messy1, Aug 28, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
    Would a dedicated land based fighter version of the Corsair have a performance advantage over a dedicated naval plane? I would assume a dedicated land based plane would not need the folding wing mechanism, nor the added weight. Would the design have been taken that far to offer a different land and sea based fighter.
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,418
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    The Fw-190 series was a high performance but relativley expensive fighter. The Me-109 was dirt cheap yet still had acceptable performance. I don't know if it was accidental or intentional but Germany adopted the High-Low doctrine used by the modern day U.S.A.F. This gives you the most bang for the buck.

    Fw-190 equates to F-15
    Me-109 equates to F-16
     
  8. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Messages:
    3,541
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Engineer and overgrown schoolboy
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Theoretically, yes
    additional torsional rigidity where there is no requirement for a folding wing and a lower AUW minus the structural strengthening and the tail hook assembly. We should note however that the late-mark F4Us rolled as well as anything and they were navalised.

    Interesting question, carrier-based to land-based being the reverse of the Spitfire's story. Putting a land-based aircraft on a carrier will involve very obvious modifications and in the case of the Spitfire, once the Seafire had 'taken root' it did go off on a divergent path to its land-based forebear.

    I would argue yes, if the F4U started to experience big demand from the 8th AF then I can't imagine the USAAF fighter pilots being happy with the extra weight or any penalty, however small, in the rolling plane as a result of reduced torsional rigidity from a feature they didn't need. Heeding this, Chance-Vought would very likely look upon the USAAF as a potential BIG customer.

    In my opinion, sat side by side, you would see the similarities and differences of the F4U and its land-based variant in just the same way as you would looking at a Spitfire F24 and a Seafire FR47 sat side by side.
     
  9. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Messages:
    2,934
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    retired avionics engineer
    Location:
    Southern California
    If an F4U version had been built from the ground up, performance advantages could have been designed in. However, a customized F4U provided only a limited amount of weight savings in the removal of the wing fold and arrester hook, and maybe lightening of the gear. The FG-1 was a Goodyear built F4U with fixed wings. In general the F4U had such good performance the customizing was not really needed.

    I don't think there is such a thing as a dedicated Naval fighter.

    renrich's argument is sound argument. Unfortunately, Service competition, politics, greed, and slew of other factors including uncertainty of fast evolving technology, prevented a uniform analysis of wartime needs. I would guess that six months could have been shaved off the war if a most efficient mix had been pursued.
     
  10. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Messages:
    3,541
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Engineer and overgrown schoolboy
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    As evidenced
    by the early use of F4Us from land-based strips. They may not be dedicated Dave, but they're certainly specialised - how long do you think un-navalised P-51s or P-47s would last bouncing in on a carrier?
     
  11. al49

    al49 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2009
    Messages:
    1,267
    Likes Received:
    73
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    retired
    Location:
    Milan, Italy
    Hi,
    in my opinion a comparison between aircraft, being them Allies or Axis, is a nice exercise if we want to asses a rating among machines.
    But, still in my opinion, what made the difference and heavily influenced the outcome of the air war, was manpower.
    In 1944 German industry was still able to produce thousand of fighters per month and an expert German pilot was indeed able to shot down a P47 or a P51.
    But, besides a few "experten" still alive, most of the German pilots were sent to operational units with less then 80 hours flying time, with very high possibilities to be killed during their first combat flight. In the mean time American and British had their pilots fully trained in USA or Canada.
    Cheers
    Alberto
     
  12. tail end charlie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Messages:
    615
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Navalising an aeroplane is not just about strengthening for takeoff and landing and increasing range. Salt water is very corrosive for many alloy materials so navalising makes a plane more expensive to make without any increase in performance
     
  13. renrich

    renrich Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    4,542
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    real estate
    Location:
    Montrose, Colorado
    #13 renrich, Aug 28, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
    I have to believe that if, for instance, Republic was given the basic Corsair design and told to redesign where possible to improve performance by lightening the air frame, at least a few hundred pounds could have been saved. A possibility might have been, since the landing gear did not have to be as robust for a strictly land based fighter, the inverted gull wing might have been eliminated. That casting for the gull was complicated and heavy. The drag penalty might have offset the weight savings, though.

    Actually there is an example of a shiboard fighter design being adopted by the Air Force because it was superior to anything else available and oddly enough it was an F4 also. The F4 Phantom was designed as a shipboard fighter for the USN. And even more oddly it had an inverted gull wing also, kinda!

    Fortunately for the world, money and industrial capacity was not a problem for the US so the war went the Allies' way. A few 8th Air Force crewman's lives would have been saved though if a long range escort fighter like the F4U1 had been available in 42-43.
     
  14. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Messages:
    3,541
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Engineer and overgrown schoolboy
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #14 Colin1, Aug 28, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
    Which would reinforce my point surely?

    ...but out of interest
    what was the WWII difference between US land-based and carrier-based fighter anti-corrosion measures? As far as I'm aware, both were treated with zinc-chromate primer. Did the USN use any additional inhibitors?
     
  15. tail end charlie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Messages:
    615
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18

    Timmy, of the aircraft you mentioned only the Spitfire Lightening and Hellcat were designed for the roles they became noted for. The role of long range escort didnt exist until the need was seen, everyone thought bombers could defend themselves. The thunderbolt was a great high altitude fighter but didnt have the range for long range escort work. The Corsair was designed to be a carrier fighter/fighter bomber but in its early days was a problem to land on a carrier so was used from land bases then later from carriers. The mosquito was designed as a bomber but was at first rejected because it didnt have guns and was first ordered for reconnaissance.

    With regard to the war in Europe the advantage of the allies was overwhelming resources of men materials production capacity and also maybe ideas. On the subject of fighters only, whereas huge numbers of Me 109s and FW190s were produced when measured against the numbers of mustangs thunderbolts tomahawks lightenings spitfires hurricanes typhoons defiants whirlwinds tempest Mig and Yak fighters as well as various others from Poland France etc which may have been obsolete but still caused losses the luftwaffe lost it on numbers.

    By 1942/43 America and USSR could produce planes tanks etc unmolested while in Britain there was little problem from bombers so by 1944 Germany was on the edge of collapse.

    Things such as Radar, Sonar, Ultra and the Nuclear bomb and others were a huge international effort.Ultra was given a huge boost by Czech (and other mathematicians) continued in UK and then in USA and ended up producing what we now know as a computer.
    At the time of their design the U Boat and the Luftwaffe had the resources to achieve their aims. Without sonar and centrimetric radar the atlantic convoys would have been destroyed, they suffered badly even with sonar. Similarly without Radar I doubt the RAF could have survived more than a month. The LW claimed they would wipe the RAF out in a week, in fact they did what they wanted in plane numbers (it took more than a week) but they didnt think that the planes and pilots could be replaced.

    For example the Mustang, it was an American design to a British request then fitted with a Britsh designed engine and gunsight and produced with americam mass production techniques. It was eventually fitted with canons which started as a french design. In the end Germany was overwhelmed by the weight of weapons men materials and and technologies ranged against it a similar story in the far east with Japan.
     
  16. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Take away comparisons and what ifs and this forum is out of a job!
     
  17. tail end charlie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Messages:
    615
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Colin

    I was just pointing out a phenomena I wasnt contradicting you.

    All I know is that

    1 Navalising the harrier involved a lot of measures to reduce the effects of salt water ingress
    2 My motorcycles alloy parts used to get eaten alive when I rode it in winter
    3 when working in a stainless steel factory snow was a nightmare because you couldnt use salt.

    Having seen pictures of carriers with planes strapped to decks in bad weather covered in spray, measures must have been taken to prevent salt corrosion and it all costs money with regard to a land only 'plane. As far as measures taken by the US Navy I dont know, but many European US planes were flown with polished finish only I havn't seen any picture of an unpainted carrier plane
     
  18. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Messages:
    2,342
    Likes Received:
    408
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Motor Mechanic
    Location:
    Lancashire
    Concentrating on just the Corsair would be fine if you knew for definite it wouldnt turn out to be a dog. Even today with computer modelling aircraft dont always turn out just like the designer expected. For example I bet Boeing wished they hadnt been so confident and taken all those pre-orders for the Dreamliner.

    I have always wondered how the Hellcat would have worked as a land based fighter/bomber. Its my favourite fighter of WWII and to me always looks like anything short of an 88mm round would just bounce off without scratching the bodywork:lol:
     
  19. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Messages:
    3,541
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Engineer and overgrown schoolboy
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    I was careful to stipulate the 'WWII difference', by the time we got to the Harrier I'm sure we'd learned a trick or two.

    I've no doubt they knew about saltwater corrosion but what steps did they take in terms of inhibitors for sea-going aircraft? Carrier ops weren't long out of their infancy in WWII and there is also the throw-away nature of WWII combat aircraft who could, best case, look forward to an operational life of around ten months.

    I'm not being contrary, I just don't know the answer - anyone?
     
  20. tail end charlie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2010
    Messages:
    615
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    #20 tail end charlie, Aug 28, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
    I agree, for example the RAF had 3 british designed frontline bombers with 4 engines (stirling halifax and lancaster) but only the Stirling was actually designed to be with 4 engines the other 2 were supposed to use the RR Vulture. The Stirling was screwed from the start with restrictions on wingspan and a supposed need to launch with a tow rope, the manchester was a failure but was a success as the lancaster. Similarly the defiant fulfilled every part of its spec as a turret fighter except the idea of a turret fighter was completely flawed.
     
Loading...

Share This Page