Bomber Destroyers

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by bob44, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    Which German aircraft was the most effective at shooting down heavy bombers?
    That is, what aircraft shot down the most B17, B24, Lancs?
     
  2. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    For the US aircraft you'd be looking at day fighters. I'm not sure off the top of my head which shot down the most but it stands to reason that a type specifically modified for that role,and available in considerable numbers,would be most successsful. That would be the Fw 190.

    For the British bomber it would be a nightfighter. I've had a quick and unscientific leaf through my Luftwaffe nightfighter claims and reckon that the Bf 110 comes out on top. The Ju 88 did okay as did some others like the He 219 but there were not enough of the latter.

    Steve
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    By 1943 all German fighter aircraft had plenty of firepower for the job. Even the inexpensive Me-109G which often carried three MG151/20 cannon. So it's a matter of having enough interceptors to blow through the bomber escorts. Only the Me-109 and Fw-190 were produced in numbers sufficient for the mission.

    Me-262 was a special case but that didn't come into large scale use until April 1945. Too late to make any difference. Nothing kills heavy bombers as efficiently as the Me-262.
     
  4. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Those are not really the same question. And there is a 3rd element.

    Using totally hypothetical numbers, say you had plane "A" and built 20,000 of them and they shot down 8,000 bombers. And you had plane "B" built to the tune of 10,000 planes but it shot down 5,000 bombers. Plane "B" is more effective than plane "A" even if Plane "A" shot down more bombers. The 3rd element comes in with the cost/s of plane "A" and "B". The cost to build the planes and the cost to operate. Operate includes fuel, maintenance and even losses from take-off and landing accidents. How much did plane "A" actually cost per bomber shot down vs how much did plane "B" cost per bomber shot down?

    Also please note that the number of bombers destroyed is not a good indicator of an air defense system. the goal of an air defense system is not to shoot down bombers but to prevent the bombers from hitting their targets. Bombers turned back,forced to jettison bomb loads or even hitting wide of the intended target are successes of varying degrees for an air defense system.
     
  5. delcyros

    delcyros Well-Known Member

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    From the example above,

    no. Plane "B" is less effective than plane "A". Effectivity is a measure related to the output (effect) irregardless of the ressources involved to achieve the result. The term which You probably had in mind was "efficiency", which relates the effect to the ressources involved to achieve said effect.
    Thus plane "B" is more efficient but less effective than plane "A" in Your hypothetical scenario.
    But since the question relates to the mot effective German aircraft at shooting down heavy bombers it´s most likely the Bf-110 and it´s many derivates.
     
  6. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    Ok. The Fw190 during the day and the 110 at night.
    This leads to my next interest.
     
  7. Grampa

    Grampa Member

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    FW 190 A8/R8 (Aka Sturmbock) for me.
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    If protected from bomber escorts the Me-110 killed bombers just fine during the daytime. Me-210/Me-410 were even better. Ju-88G would work too. But they won't work during the final two years of WWII under historical circumstances where Germany didn't have enough Me-109Gs with well trained pilots to keep Allied fighter pilots busy.
     
  9. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    US analysis of German gun cam footage reveals that the FW 190 up to five times as effective in scoring observable hits on heavy bombers than the Bf 109, depending on the angle of attack. The two fighters were about even in head-on attack effectiveness, but the FW 190 was much more likely to score more observable hits from the sides and behind. FW 190 attacks were also much more likely to start fires in targets.

    FW 190 pilots had more armament and armour, which meant that they tended to open fire closer, make longer firing runs (and therefore firing more rounds) and break off their engagements at shorter distances than Bf 109 pilots, meaning that they were more accurate.

    An average Bf 109 firing run on a heavy bomber was between about 5 and six seconds and was started at about 980 m, firing about 140-150 rounds. An average FW 190 firing run on a heavy bomber was between 8.5 and 11 seconds and was started at about 460 m, firing about 190-220 rounds.

    Bf 110 was also better than the Bf 109 when attacking heavy bombers. Bf 110 pilots generally started firing about 400 m out and their firing runs lasted about 10 seconds, firing about 220 rounds.



    Any statistical data supporting this? Just interested to see how much more effective jets were than props at actually shooting down aircraft.
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That's a very long range for a fighter aircraft which did not have a gyro stabilized gunsite.
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    It is a very long range even for a gyro stabilized gunsite, however the British found that their pilots sometimes fired from that distance at target sleeves in practice when flying planes armed with .303s. Pilots estimates of range were none to good, especially for green pilots. Throw in the stress of actual combat and things get worse.

    Something in those numbers doesn't add up though. Even assuming a closing speed of 100mph, (Bomber doing 180 and fighter doing 280 and coming from 6 o'clock) the fighter is gaining at just under 45 meters a second. In 8.5 seconds it will gain 378 meters leaving about 80 meters to pull out and avoid collision. Change speeds and things get even stranger.
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Must have been poorly trained or perhaps it was their first time on an aerial gunnery range.

    If Luftwaffe pilots were shooting at 980 meters then the problem was in the cockpit. It makes little difference what fighter type they were flying.
     
  13. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    The RAF was shocked to discover from its early gun camera footage that some pilots were opening fire with their .303 machine guns at 1500 yards. Almost all pilots were underestimating deflection by at least 50%.

    You are right that it doesn't matter what you are flying or what it is armed with if you can't properly aim or estimate range.It was a problem that plagued all combatant Air Forces throughout the war. How many pilots developed really effective techniques for engaging aerial targets of the thousands that flew? We know most of their names.

    Steve
    Steve
     
  14. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Ground troops were probably no better.
    A problem that continues today.
     
  15. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    Typical Luftwaffe engagement distances against heavy bombers in 1942 was 260-400 m.

    In 1944, it was between 400 m, for the Bf-110 and 1000 m, for the Bf-109.

    There are a couple of reasons for this:

    The defensive armament for bombers in 1942 was much lighter than in 1944.

    The fighter armament in 1942 was generally much lower velocity and/or lighter caliber (MG17/MGFF/MG151-15/20 compared to MK 103/MK 108/MG 151-20 and MG131). To shoot effectively IN 1942, fighters had to be at closer range.

    Finally, training in 1944 emphasized tactics in larger formations, particularly for Zerstroyers, which generally fired from longer range with heavy calibers.
     
  16. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    the handbook for the bomber killers in 44 described getting within 600 m not 1000 m for any type of crate both S/E and T/E. the cannons and visualization of the LW pilots was too great by summer of 44 attacks were from the rear and the attacks closed within 400 m range usually 200m and closer to insure a downing. we have covered this in the past with the Fw 190 Sturmgruppen and it's creation and effectiveness
     
  17. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    I'm just going to bet that by the time those P-51s got into the act most of those bombers that went down did so not by virtue of the Luftwwaffe but by virtue of the anti-aircraft fire, as those P-51s kept those fighters pretty busy.
     
  18. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    sorry but you'd lose the bet .........
     
  19. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    Are we talking any real meaningful differences, though, when we're factoring out the capacity of the aircraft to subdue the fighter cover? The Junkers Ju 88 rates on par with the Luftwaffe fighter aircraft if it goes in unimpeded. What differentiates these aircraft as "bomber destroyers" is their capacity to fight off or otherwise duck the fighter cover, as well. We throw out that attribute and as a practical matter we're talking virtually any fighter-type aircraft as a formidable "bomber destroyer." The ones that could mix it up the best with the fighter cover would rate as the best "bomber destroyers," I'd think. You boys would know better than I which ones those were.
     
  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    IMO the best bomber destroyer is the one RLM chose not to place into mass production.
    fw-187.jpg
    Excellent acceleration and climb.
    Fast enough to outrun most fighter aircraft.
    Can carry four nose mounted cannon.
    Excellent endurance so it can follow bombers all the way across Germany and back (or until it runs out of ammunition).
     
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