Best armed fighter

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by renrich, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    The early war fighters such as Hurricane and Spitfire were armed with rifle caliber MGs which offered a high rate of fire but not great hitting power. They also had a rather limited supply of ammo. The German and Japanese armed with a mixture of cannon(with explosive shell) and rifle caliber MGs. The cannon had not a lot of ammo but the MGs had impressive amounts of ammo. As the war wore on fighters carried more cannon and heavier MGs. Considering the enemy likely to be encountered what was the best armed piston fighter that served in WW2.
     
  2. Kurfürst

    Kurfürst Banned

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    The Focke Wulf 190 without doubt. Plenty of guns, four of them cannons, most of them close to the centerline, and with lots of ammuntion - IIRC some 1800 rounds of 7.92mm and 500 to 750 rounds of 20mm is a hulluva lot of firepower. In fact the outer cannons were often removed, the inner two with 500 rounds of cannon were generally enough to deal with most enemy aircraft. And if not - well, just put back those cannons again!
     
  3. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I do not think there is a 100% correct answer to this question. It depends on what mission the aircraft was used for.

    For fighter to fighter the .50 Cal was eneogh but for bomber killing the German aircraft were typically armed better.

    I think it has to be broken down into more catagories.
     
  4. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    The Fw 190A-8 with its 4 MG 151/20's and 2 MG 131 has got this pegged....

    For a fighter verses fighter comparison....

    If we are talking on ANY air to air mission, the Me 262 has to be the winner, with those 4 30mm Mk 108 cannon loaded with minen rounds...... Second place goes to the 190A-8/R8 with 2x 30mm, 2x 20mm and 2x 13mm....

    Some may argue the Tempest and its 4x Hispano Mk. V 20mm, but the extra 13mm's on the A-8 makes it tops...
     
  5. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    The Fw 190 also had a lot more ammo in the inboard cannons and though the MG 151/20 fired a less powerful cartridge, it made use of the high capacity shells. (with the HE(M) shells having roughly double the capacity of the Hispano HE/I shells)

    And the the 13mm and inboard 20mm's were on the centerline, concentrated and without a convergence zone. (albeit rate of fire was reduced somewhat due to synchronization)
     
  6. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    The Bristol Beaufighter was the most heavily armed fighter wasn't it? with 6 .303's and 4 20mm hispanos.
     
  7. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    I'd say FW 190 from A-6 onwards, Me 262 was a jet, and Tempest Mk V. 4 Hispanos were surely enough against targets Tempests met, single-engined and twin engined almost exclusively, incl lot of V1s. MG 131 wasn't very powerful HMG, if 4 MG 151s were not enough the MG 131s didn't add much firepower and if one run out MG 151 ammo the two MG 131 didn't give much firepower on 44/45 standards. Mitsumishi J2M3 had also 4 20mm as had N1K2-J, in fact also N1K1-J.

    Juha
     
  8. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    As for night fighters, four 20mm was enough and because LW bombers were lighter so Mossie NF or Beau NF or P-61, Japanese bombers were not ultra tough. Ju 88G's 4 20mm was also clearly enough and those upward firing 20mm gave extra flexibility. In the end I'd say Ju 88G (4*20mm forwards + 2*20mm upwards + one MG 131 flexible dorsal) Do 217 NFs had 4 MG 17s more but I'd say they didn't matter.

    Juha
     
  9. Grampa

    Grampa Member

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  10. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Going by Adlers comments ..... for air-to-air, I would say the 8x.50's of the P47 or 4x.50's of the P38 were quite devastating.
     
  11. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget the P-38's 20mm cannon. Desipite the reliability problems with the US Hispano, I rember reading that pilots apreciated the added firepower of the cannon.

    ANd the ammo capacity of the .50's was pretty high at 500 rpg.
     
  12. magnocain

    magnocain Member

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    One could argue that is was the B-25h or B25j with .50x10+75mm or .50x14MGs firing forward.
    But they weren't really fighters, now were they...
    I would not like to face the Hurricane's .30x12 either.
     
  13. Kurfürst

    Kurfürst Banned

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    Fritz Hahn makes a pretty interesting comparison between the 12 x 7,7mm (.303) configuration vs 2 x 20mm on the FW 190A-4/U8.

    [​IMG]

    In brief, at equal installation weight, the two 20mm cannons deliver almost double the weight of fire (4,92 kg/sec vs 2,77 kg/sec), and 0,89 kg of explosives to the target per second.
     
  14. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    One consideration in judging armament would be the chances of getting hits because of variables such as rate of fire, trajectory and projectile dispersion. It would seem that the P38, with all guns mounted in the nose would have a good concentration of fire. Another factor to consider would be the effect that guns firing through the propellor arc might have a slower rate of fire. Chris is right about the mission having an impact on judging armament which is why I said "considering the enemy to be encountered."
     
  15. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    I agree, Renrich
    that's why I didn't mentioned He 219, IIRC many LW NF aces didn't like 30mm cannons, they were too effective. At night there were not much joy on the long range of MK 103, on the other hand it was heavy. Because when using forward firing armament the best approach was from behind and below, both MKs had too powerful shells, risk of hitting debris was rather high. And as upward firing weapon MK 108 increased the risk that the target lost its wing and plumbed onto attacker, that's why many aces prefered MG FF as upward firing weapon, its shells had enough destructive power but were not overkill.

    Juha
     
  16. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    How was a P-38, with 5 guns, one of which was a 20mm cannon, better armed that a Beaufighter with 10 guns, four of which were 20mm cannon?
     
  17. 109ROAMING

    109ROAMING Active Member

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    I agree with Adler

    To have the best armed fighter depends solely on the mission

    For taking on bombers I think The Fw-190 A-8 sounds good ,canons have good destruction properties

    Fighter to fighter I think 6*.50 sounds good as of the P-51 ,High rate of fire

    Air to ground ,Well that depends on what your wanting to take out but most likely you'd want something powerful eg 4* 20mm as of the Typhoon/Tempest

    my 2cents anyway
     
  18. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Because the Beaufighter wasn't a true fighter.
     
  19. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    But the P47 had eight of them. And while the P38 only has four, there are no convergence issues.
     
  20. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    On paper, the Beaufighter, with 10 guns, four of them 20MM, would be very formidable, especially against enemy bombers, if it could get into firing position. However, the six 303s would perhaps not be all that effective against the tougher airplanes. Against enemy fighters, because of performance issues, the P38 might be better armed because the four 50s concentrated in the nose and with the P38 performance perhaps would give the P38 the edge with the 20MM being the icing on the cake. I am certainly not postulating the P38 as the best armed piston fighter but rather speculating about how all the armament clustered in the nose might give it more hitting power than similarly armed AC with wing mounted guns. Were the 303s on the Beaufighter wing mounted?
     
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