F6F Hellcat vs. P-47 Thunderbolt

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Clay_Allison, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    The most unromantic successful plane of the war versus the most polarizing.

    No one talks about the F6F but it (IIRC) killed more enemy planes than any other American fighter.

    People eaither love the P-47 (like me) gushing about its toughness, firepower, number of kills, number of sorties (most in Europe), realiability (mission ready %), and dive speed. Or they hate it because it was no dogfighter, turning like a city bus and only fit for the climb and dive.

    The P-47 killed more planes (I think) than the P-51 but was overshadowed by it. The F6F was similarly overshadowed by the F4U Corsair though it definitely killed far more enemy aircraft, though many would say this would not have been the case that the F4U not been only barely carrier capable due to dangerous landing qualities.
     
  2. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    The F-3 or F-5 and the M or N version of the Hellcat and Thunderbolt? Of the two, my guess is the P-47, aren't they both in somewhat similar size btw?
     
  3. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    I think an F6F would handle the P-47 anywhere but at very high altitudes.
     
  4. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    I agree Mike. I think it was more maneuverable. And Jan, the Thunderbolt and Hellcat were 1 and 2 respectively in regards to biggest single engined fighters (at least for the US, I know the Jug was the biggest period).
     
  5. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    Talk about a slug fest though, two brutes, heavy weights, with tremendous firepower and the ability to take a pounding.
     
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  6. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

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    I would have to go with the F6f5 myself. Manueverability being the key issue.
     
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  7. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    P-47 is my bird here.
    Not only because it could take it on the V-1 if needed.
     
  8. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    P47 for high altitude performance (for which it was designed).

    P47 for fighter bomber role.

    F6F for low and middle altitudes (for which it was designed).

    P47 had the payload, range and speed. F6F had the handling and low altitude performance.

    When you think of it though, they're two different fighters for two totally different roles. Its hard to compare the two without having to factor in what the mission requirements were.
     
  9. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    they did have a ton of similarities though. Same engine, similar philosophy, I don't think you could find two much more alike at first glance.
     
  10. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    I wouldn't say the F6F had "Tremendous" firepower.

    I would have liked to seen a land based version of the F6F w/o the extra weight needed for carrier operations.

    Like any similar planes, it would come down to the pilot, chance and like SYS mentioned, the altitude of the scrap.

    Pretty cool duel!... if I had to choose... I'd go for the Hellcat

    .
     
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  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The P-47 did not have tremendous firepower either. By 1943 most fighter aircraft had firepower superior to the 8 x .50cal MGs carried by the P-47.
     
  12. TheMustangRider

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    By European standards the P-47 armament was not the greatest, but for air-to-air combat against fighters 8 .50 caliber machine guns were more than enough and remained apropiate for the rest of the war.
     
  13. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    The Mustang killed nearly as many in the air as the P-47 and P-38 combined, nearly as many as the F6F in the air but far more on the ground.

    Combined air and ground the P-51 destroyed over 9,000 aircraft... most of any allied fighter, and arguably against a much more dangerous opponent than the F6F
     
  14. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    very good summation. For the USN, the F6F was the right airplane at the right time. IIRC it shot down more Japanese aircraft than all the USAAF and USN and USMC aircraft combined in the PTO. Its performance matched the prime mission against the Japanese aircraft extremely well.

    While I believe it would have accounted itself well for several mission profiles it would have had a much tougher role escorting in the ETO and would have been evenly matched and probably outperformed by the 109G-6 and Fw 190A7 which would have been their initial foes in ETO in late 1943.

    IMHO the F6F was superior in PTO and inferior in the ETO/MTO
     
  15. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    Then I am misinformed. I had thought the longer time and more sorties by the P-47 had made up for the P-51's superiority.
     
  16. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Clay - you are right about the huge sortie disparity but that didn't come close to closing the gap against the LW.

    The P-47 had nearly 2x the sorties but the difference between the two, - particularly in the ETO, was that the P-47 was basically second team in 8th AF after March 1944 - until their shorter range was no longer a huge disadvantage during the Normandy campaign, then back to second team again untiul the Bulge - at which time only the 56th had Jugs..

    The P-47 basically flew Penetration and Withdrawal Support, leaving and picking up the bombers from Munster to Stuttgart and the 51's picked up the heavy lifting against the Luftwaffe from Central Germany through Poland and Czechoslovakia and Austria.

    The P-38 wings briefly numbered 3, then 4, before they started conversions to 51s in July, 1944 - and they simply were not very effective until the late J and early L's which did not start to show up until June. Only the 479th FG (38s) and 56th (47s)had a high air to air ratio comparable to the Mustangs.

    I am not yet 100% with the below numbers for 8th AF, but here they are:
    Air to air--------------------------Ground
    A/c -----Dest------Lost*****Dest****Lost
    Spit-------2-------- 3 *******0******0
    P-47-----1550------214*****739*****200
    P-38------278------101*****161*****109
    P-51-----3328------326****4113*****839

    The 'ground losses' in these columns are a/c that went down while strafing, whether flak or collisions. The 'air losses' are those that were seen to be shot down, or MIA to unknown causes returning from a fight, or simply MIA when German aircraft were seen in same area.

    The air awards are from USAF Study 85 with cross reference to Olynyk. The ground awards are from USAAF 8th AF Victory Credits Board.

    All the above are solely 8th AF and do not include for example the 354th FG Mustang/P-47 scores nor any of the 9th/12th or 15th AF totals.

    Note an interesting point considering the 'vulnerability' of the Mustang. Both the air to air ratios and the strafing ratios for the Mustang are better than the P-47 and P-38. The twin engine P-38 was the worst of all for losses while strafing (ratio)
     
  17. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    With my preliminary data I would select the P-47D-25 over the F6F-5, both contemporaries. At SL, both aircraft have similar airspeed and climb. As altitude increases, the P-47 exhibits an increasing advantage in both air speed and climb, at 10k, P-47 airspeed is 395 mph to 375 mph for the F6F, climb for the P-47 is 3260 ft/min to the F6F's 2800 ft/min. The advantage increases as the altitude goes up. Add to that a better diving speed and faster roll rate, and the P-47 just has more tools to work with.
     
  18. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I agree with everything you said Dave. I do like the 2x 20mm/4 x .50 firepower of some of the F6F-5's but I'm not sure how many saw combat.

    The F6F-5 could probably out-turn the Jug below 20K but turn is highly over rated when outperformed in climb, dive, roll and raw speed.
     
  19. fly boy

    fly boy Member

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    that would be one big fight
     
  20. Marshall_Stack

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    I feel the need for speed. I would take the P-47 for its speed if nothing else over the F6F.
     
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