Best twin engine dogfighter

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Thorlifter, May 11, 2013.

  1. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Excluding the P-38, what was the best twin engine dog fighter of WWII? By best, I mean what twin engine plane would stand the best chance against a single engined fighter? Planes that come to mind are:

    Bristol Beaufighter
    de Havilland Mosquito
    Dornier Do-215
    Dornier Do-217
    Douglas P-70 Havoc
    Heinkel He-219
    Junkers Ju-88
    Kawasaki Ki-45
    Messerschmitt Bf 110
    Messerschmitt Me 210
    Messerschmitt Me 410
    Nakajima J1N Gekko
    Northrop P-61 Black Widow
    Petlyakov Pe-3

    Any others you can think of that are better than those listed?
     
  2. OldSkeptic

    OldSkeptic Active Member

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    Ignoring being able to do a surprise attack on the single engined fighter (which nearly all of them could do and did at some point or another) then really the only one was the P-38.
    In good hands it could hold its own, depending on what model of P-38, the flight regime (height, speed, etc) and what it was up against (eg it was much faster at high altitude vs a 190A).

    Don't forget also that the 110s shot down a lot of RAF fighters in the BoB (a heck of a lot more of them got shot down though).

    None of the rest were in the P-38s class as a dogfighter.

    That being said though, reading about the Banff strike wing in 44/45 they had many dogfights in their Mossies vs 109s and 190s.
    At very low level the Mossies could sort of hold their own (and yes they did shoot down some planes with the 57mm Molins gun).
    Their loss/kill rate probably was around about 0.8:1, maybe a bit lower, they were not an easy target by any means. That heavy firepower meant you crossed the nose of a Mossie at your peril. And though their roll rate was low they could turn pretty well. Bob Braham once took on a Fw-190 in a turning fight .. and beat it.

    But for the Banff wing that was all at very low level, where the difference in performance between the Mossies and (particularly) the 109s was quite low (the Mossie might have been quicker in fact). Do that at even 15,000ft and they would have been shot out of the air in a proper dogfight unless they could escape (which they could usually do of course).

    The others in your list weren't really in that class in speed and/or agility and/or firepower. While they might meet the Mossie in one of those area (eg the Beau also had 4x20mm in the nose) they couldn't in the others.
    So if a Mossie could just about hold its own at low level (and a much poorer chance at a higher one) then the others would have little chance, except in a surprise attack.

    There is also a story in the Banff book where they came across a bunch of Ju-88s (might have been 188s by that time) and the Mossies were getting in they way of each other shooting the 88s down .. a total slaughter. Like putting a bunch of goldfish in a piranha tank.

    Not bad for something designed as a unarmed bomber.
     
  3. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #3 GregP, May 11, 2013
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
    For WWII, I'll go out on a limb and say the Hornet, which first flew in 1944. It didn't make the war, but flew during the war. About the same for the F7F Tigercat. Flew in 1944 and delivered to the Navy before war's end, but didn't make the conflict in combat. Of the two, I'd take the Tigercat. Personal preference, not nationalism. I have SEEN a Tigercat doing hard aerobatics but have never seen a Hornet fly.

    If it had to make the war, which seems likely, I'd say the Mosquito, Do 335, or the P-61. I'd probably give the nod to the Mosquito fighter versions during the day and the P-61 at night, based on maneuverability.

    If I could look at the post-war Zenith pistons, I'd say the FMA I.Ae.30 Namcu was the best, but it didn't fly until 1950 (Merlins). 460 mph and six 20 mm cannons! Unfortunately the entire population was 1, so it really doesn't count!

    Go Tigercat or Mosquito. If it had to make the fray, Mosquito, possibly a cluex.
     
  4. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    I don't know how manoeuvrable they were - but the Potez 631, Fokker G1 and Westland Whirlwind were potentially quite agile for twin-engine aircraft.
     
  5. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Pretty good choices, The G-1 was quite manruverable and was seriously underrated by most.
     
  6. OldSkeptic

    OldSkeptic Active Member

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    Oh yes, the Hornet was in a class by itself. If that had been operational in 44 it would have shot down a heck of a lot of single engined Luftwaffe fighters. Far faster (470+mph) , pretty good roll rate, incredible climb rate ... and on. About the closest prop job ever built to be an 'unber' all round fighter

    I'd give it a bit of an edge over the Tigercat (also a very good plane) on speed, climb and range (the chart I have is 5,500ft/min up to about 6,000ft and 4,800 ft/min to 20,000ft) and comfortably do loops on a single engine.
     
  7. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I have about the same parameters for it and think it was pretty good, but would LOVE tro see one flying.

    The Namcu was also pretty amazing, but didn't make the war. Devastating armament, though, and dazzling performance, right there with the Hornet. Just included it as a lasp-gasp piston.
     
  8. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Of operational types I'd say the Mossie or Ju 88, preferably the Mossie given the choice.
     
  9. delcyros

    delcyros Well-Known Member

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    I am surprised that nobody yet has mentioned jets in this context.
     
  10. OldSkeptic

    OldSkeptic Active Member

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    Yes, when Ju-88s met Mossies (day or night) they nearly always came off 2nd best.
     
  11. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    For me it has to be the Whirlwind. No problem dogfighting the Luftwaffe of it's day and Petter had reams of potential developments to extend it's life throughout the war. Including a jet version.
     
  12. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Guess it depends onnwhat you mean by 'dogfighting'. If that means being effective in air to air combat, and excluding the P-38, probably the Mossie. But having said that, purely in the fighter role I'd say none of them really cut the mustard, and even the P-38 was really a qualified success. Twin engine fighters cost more than single engine fighters so they really had to offer more, and they seldom did. The Hornet and Tigercat might have changed that, but they were too late.
     
  13. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    The P-61 was very agile but of the ones listed the F7F was by far the best and should have been better than the P-38. I didn't see the Meteor and Me 262 but assumed piston engined.
     
  14. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    It's either the P38 or Westland Whirlwind, purely on a dogfight scenario, low down probably the Whirlwind, light fast, excellent visibility, big punch and good handling. higher up the P38, the Mossie great as it was had no advantages over either in a brawl?
     
  15. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Another for the Whirlwind.

    The Fw 187 showed potential but we'll never know.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  16. R Pope

    R Pope Member

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    Having known an old Whirlwind driver, I must say that was one of the biggest "missed opportunities" of the war. That, and the FW187 Falke.
     
  17. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    How agile was the Do 335?
     
  18. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Not very, but then it was huge.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  19. OldSkeptic

    OldSkeptic Active Member

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    Like a brick.
     
  20. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    :lol: Well I guess that answers that question.
     
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