Centauro fighter

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by ralphwiggum, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. ralphwiggum

    ralphwiggum Member

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    If the Luftwaffe had LOTS of Fiat G55 Centauro fighters (as well as FW's and 109's) to defend Germany against the 8th A.F. bombers what effect would they have? :druid
     
  2. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Who would be flying them?

    Are there enough spare pilots to fly yet more planes?
     
  3. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #3 GregP, Jun 7, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012
    If the Germans had won, then they would have won.

    They didn't and there were not hordes of Centauros. It was a good fighter, but they needed pilots, propellers, and gasoline more than more aircraft.

    A large number of otherwise serviceable aircraft were left on the ground due to no pilots, no propellers, and/or no gasoline or, sometimes, oil. We captured some of them intact, put in gas and oil, fitted a prop and flew it to a depot for evaluation. In some cases, German pilots were enlisted to fly them to depots, sometimes with escorts ... sometimes not since the war was over and there was really no place they could go. All you had to do to ensure a correct path was to give the aircraft only the fuel required.

    So, a herd of Centauros would not have made any difference without the ways and means to employ them. If they HAD the ways and means, it would have made a difference ...

    If I had my choice of Italian fighters, I'd take Re-2005's ... just becasue I like it so much.
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    There was nothing wrong with German Me-109s and Fw-190s. All they needed was an adequate fuel supply for operational sorties and pilot training.
     
  5. cimmex

    cimmex Member

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    #5 cimmex, Jun 7, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2012
    Never heard about lack of propellers in WWII Germany. Do you have a source for this claim?
    Cimmex
     
  6. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Davbe,

    The Luftwaffe had LOTS of G.55"s? When"

    They only built 105 total.

    I suppose that is lots if you are stationed ona small airfield with a complement of 6 - 8 aircraft, but its not very many in WWII. We had single mission with 10 times than many bombers.
     
  7. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Greg, I believe he was only responding what was said in the OP.

    But the OP also prefaced that with "IF".
     
  8. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I certaily agree that the Luftwaffee needed more fuel and better trained pilots than additional aircraft but to be fair the G55 had one advantage over the Me109, it carried three 20mm guns as standard and this made it a much better aircraft for taking on bombers. The 109 could carry three but as is well known it had a severe effect on its performance and handling
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Kurfürst - Flugleistungen Me 109G - Baureihen
    IMO 8 kph is not a severe performance loss.

    Even with 215kg additional weight the Me-109G still had a better power to weight ratio then most contemporary fighter aircraft.
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    You are quite correct, 8 kph is not a severe performance loss.

    Now lets find the loss in climb rate, roll response, and turning ability at altitude.

    A few numbers from the Hawker Hurricane may help illustrate this. A IIA (eight .303s, 7014lbs) topped out at 340mph at 21,500ft had a max climb rate of 3150fpm, climb to 20,000ft of 7 min and a service ceiling of 41,000ft (?). The IIB (twelve .303 guns, 7,440lbs) had the same top speed but dropped to 2950fpm climb, took 7.5 minutes to hit 20,000ft and had a service ceiling of 40,000ft. The IIC ( four 20mm cannon,7,670lbs) speed dropped to 334mph (10kph?) but climb dropped to 2780fpm, time to 20,000ft was 7.6 minutes and service ceiling was 36,000ft.

    Figures are from 1946 Janes and may need revision but do give an idea. Service ceiling is also the altitude at which the plane could still climb 100fpm. Operational ceiling is several thousand feet lower and is the altitude at which the average plane could still climb at 500fpm and was considered the altitude at which a formation of planes could operate together. Combat ceiling is even lower.

    What looks like a rather minor increase in drag and weight can make a big difference at 25,000ft and above. a 400fpm difference in climb at sea level tends to push the curve over on the chart so it is also a roughly 400fpm loss at 20,000f and roughly 400fpm loos (if not a bit more) at 30,000ft. At an altitude were the lighter plane could climb at 1200fpm the heavier plane is climbing at 800fpm. a 33% reduction in climb even if the speed isn't affected that much.
     
  11. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Of course, you also would not hang a lot of gun pods and extra weight onto a fighter that was assigned to a high-altitude mission.

    The thing to do was to tailor the loadout to the mission. You might well add a lot of weight in fuel if the intent was high altitude at the target, but i would think the better high-altitude performers would be assigned to that duty and the better performers at lower altitudes would do that duty.

    What do you say?
     
  12. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I agree that 8kph is a remarkably small reduction in top speed but handling, climb, acceleration, roll, performance at altitude and that unquatifiable feel took a beating.
     
  13. Elmas

    Elmas Active Member

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    Adolf Galland, in his memories, refers that he was very upset when he tested the 109 with the two gondolas.
     
  14. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    It is the loss of climb rate that affects things more than speed. The climb rate is an indicator of the planes ability to do sustained speed/altitude turns. At a given altitude and at a constant speed and radius of turn the climb rate will determine if the plane can climb, hold altitude or has to descend in order to hold speed.

    It also the power to weight ratio at combat altitudes that count. At 8000 meters a 109 with a DB 605A had about 74% of the power to weight ratio it had a 5800 meters. And that is using 1.42 Ata.

    Throw in the affect on rolling response ( not peak roll rates) and the overall capabilities of the plane, at the altitudes needed to engage turbo-charged bombers (like getting above them to dive through, even at a shallow angle) may show a much greater difference that the loss of straight line speed.
     
  15. Elmas

    Elmas Active Member

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    I agree.
    All the Italian WWII fighter pilots that I had the opportunity and the pleasure to interview told me exactly this.
    Climb rate it's more important than sheer speed.
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    So are roll and acceleration.

    The Me-109 had excellent acceleration and climb. I suspect it was still superior to most other aircraft even when carrying an additional 215kg.
     
  17. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Have to disagree with you on that. Its like saying that it could dogfight with an 215 kg bomb. In fact its worse as the weight is out on the wings well away form the COG.

    From Kurfursts site virtualpilots.fi: 109myths

    Me 109 G-6/R6:
    "- What about the Cannon Messerschmitt?
    Kössi (Karhila) said, "I can fly her, I take her." But I said, very well, I don't want... She was such an unwieldy one. I got in a dogfight flying one against (P-38) Lightnings and was unable even to climb up to them. They were a little higher, and I tried to climb to get at them but ran out of speed... I don't know how Kössi managed to fly her. He must have his own tricks or he had a different starting point. I had to fly one in battle only two or three times. If all the enemy planes had been Il-2s or bombers, I would have preferred her. It would have been another matter to engage them with three cannons."

    I learned to fly with the "Cannon-Mersu" (MT-461). I found that when fighter pilots got in a battle, they usually applied full power and then began to turn. In the same situation I used to decrease power, and with lower speed was able to turn equally well. I shot down at least one Mustang (on 4th July 1944) in turning fight. I was hanging behind one, but I could not get enough deflection. Then the pilot made an error: he pulled too much, and stalling, had to loosen his turn. That gave me the chance of getting deflection and shooting him down. It was not impossible to dogfight flying a three-cannon Messerschmitt."
    " When the enemy decreased power, I used to throttle back even more. In a high speed the turning radius is wider, using less speed I was able to out-turn him having a shorter turning radius. Then you got the deflection, unless the adversary did not spot me in time and for example banked below me. 250kmh seemed to be the optimal speed."- Kyösti Karhila, Finnish fighter ace. 32 victories

    So if you are willing to fly at 250 Kph you seem to have the best chance
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That holds true whether the Me-109 has wing cannon or not. The original Me-109 specification required a max level speed of 250mph and that's where the aircraft performed best.
     
  19. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    250 kph, is about 150 mph.
     
  20. Elmas

    Elmas Active Member

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    I agree.
     
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