F8F Bearcat vs. Fw 190D/Ta 152C vs. Spitfire Mk 21

Best dogfighter?


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    36

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spicmart

Staff Sergeant
907
189
May 11, 2008
Who would be the favorite in a dogfight? The Bearcat is said to have set new standards in manoeuverability and climb rate, the Fw 190Ds and Spits have always been known for their agility.
Say let's take the best performing versions of them, F8F-2, Fw 190D-13 (or maybe Ta 152C with half the fuel?) or Spitfire Mk 21. Would be nice if you could go into detail with the pros and cons for the contenders.

regards
 
Who would be the favorite in a dogfight? The Bearcat is said to have set new standards in manoeuverability and climb rate, the Fw 190Ds and Spits have always been known for their agility.
Say let's take the best performing versions of them, F8F-2, Fw 190D-13 (or maybe Ta 152C with half the fuel?) or Spitfire Mk 21. Would be nice if you could go into detail with the pros and cons for the contenders.

regards

Much depends on the altitude you want these aircraft to dogfight at.

The FW190D-13/Ta-152 and Spitfire 21 are going to have an increasing performance advantage over the F8F above about 22-24,000 feet. Over roughly 36,000 feet, the Ta-152 is going to be just about untouchable.

Pure numbers alone don't tell the story – dogfighting is more than just wing-loading and speed and rate of roll, its also about how an aircraft responds to being thrown around, how it informs its pilot of the approach of the stall, how it behaves during a partial stall and how good of a gun platform the aircraft is.

The Spitfire 21 was not particularly known for its agility. Compared to the earlier Spitfires, it was not the nice handling aircraft it used to be, due to adjustments to the wing positioning, structure and shape. The aircraft's nose hunted around at lower speeds and it had some problems with longitudinal stability, until the introduction of the Spiteful type tail. Rate of turn was worse than the Mk XIV and the aircraft had a tendency to tighten up through turns, making deflection shooting difficult.

The Ta-152 also had some problems with lateral stability and its longitudinal stability was barely neutral, particularly with full rear fuselage tanks. There were also some problems with precise rudder control – the rudder had a tendency to float and side-slip the aircraft - which is not exactly conducive to accurate shooting. Rate of roll was down on earlier FW-190 sub-types and stick forces had increased as well.

The F8F will probably be the fastest climbing below 20,000 ft, and probably about equal with the D-13/152 in terms of speed and rate of roll. The Spitfire 21 will be a fair bit behind at lower altitudes at war-time levels of boost (+18 or even +21), and slower in terms of rate of roll (although better than earlier non-clipped wing mks). Post-war, it was cleared for +25, which will pep up performance a bit.
 
The Spitfire 21 was more manoeuverable than the XIV in the high speed realm due to its sturdier wings. And air combat got faster and faster with the progression of the war. Let's call it the late mark Spitfires in general.... is it possible to edit the poll?
 
Why do you think that the rate of roll should be equal? The Bearcat has as much wing area as the Spitfire which does not roll as well the Focke Wulfs.
 
The Spitfire 21 was in service a few months before the F8F-1, and over 2 years before the F8F-2 saw service.

The Spitfire 21 had some handling difficulties which required a lot of debugging, delaying its service introduction. It was quickly superseded by the Mk22, which just missed WW2, and the Mk24.
 
An amusing story about Bearcats and Spitfires from "80 knots to Mach 2" by Linnekin. In the early post war period USS Kearsarge with VBF-3 flying Bearcats was on a Med cruise and eight of the Bearcats got into it with eight Spitfires out of Malta. The author says that it was a wonder that no one got killed. That same day, the RAF sent out two Vampires and the author and another pilot, being forewarned were waiting at 10000 feet. Anticipating a higher altitude mixup they were in high blower at exactly the threshold for the supercharger. At about three miles they spotted the Vampires making a low altitude run on the carrier. The two Bearcats firewalled the throttles and dived for the Vampires and having an angle actually closed on them. As long as the Bearcats were diving they continued to close and they crossed the flight deck at a very low altitude-Vampire, Bearcat, Vampire, Bearcat. Then the Brits pitched up and the jets pulled away. Linnekin says that he had no idea what his manifold pressure was but that "overboost was not a question, but a fact." One Bearcat pilot had a slight problem during a practise bombing run near Malta and was sent to Malta to have the poblem attended to. During lunch with the Brit pilots, who had never seen a Bearcat and after a few adult beverages, the Navy pilot bet the Brits that, "From a standing start-we both go together-I can make a run on you before you can get that thing off the ground." Later a rule modification was decided on to make sure that the contest was about the plane and not the pilot. The Brit was to fly the Bearcat and the USN pilot was to fly the Spit. Cooler heads prevailed and the contest was canceled. Later, Linnekin's engine became unhappy and had to be changed out. The power plants chief gave him a short lecture about engine operation and maintenance.
 
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How come that the F8F-2 had such a high climb rate?
 
An amusing story about Bearcats and Spitfires from "80 knots to Mach 2" by Linnekin. In the early post war period USS Kearsarge with VBF-3 flying Bearcats was on a Med cruise and eight of the Bearcats got into it with eight Spitfires out of Malta. The author says that it was a wonder that no one got killed. That same day, the RAF sent out two Vampires and the author and another pilot, being forewarned were waiting at 10000 feet. Anticipating a higher altitude mixup they were in high blower at exactly the threshold for the supercharger. At about three miles they spotted the Vampires making a low altitude run on the carrier. The two Bearcats firewalled the throttles and dived for the Vampires and having an angle actually closed on them. As long as the Bearcats were diving they continued to close and they crossed the flight deck at a very low altitude-Vampire, Bearcat, Vampire, Bearcat. Then the Brits pitched up and the jets pulled away. Linnekin says that he had no idea what his manifold pressure was but that "overboost was not a question, but a fact." One Bearcat pilot had a slight problem during a practise bombing run near Malta and was sent to Malta to have the poblem attended to. During lunch with the Brit pilots, who had never seen a Bearcat and after a few adult beverages, the Navy pilot bet the Brits that, "From a standing start-we both go together-I can make a run on you before you can get that thing off the ground." Later a rule modification was decided on to make sure that the contest was about the plane and not the pilot. The Brit was to fly the Bearcat and the USN pilot was to fly the Spit. Cooler heads prevailed and the contest was canceled. Later, Linnekin's engine became unhappy and had to be changed out. The power plants chief gave him a short lecture about engine operation and maintenance.
Sounds like the story you dismissed as crap in which the Hurricanes beat the Wildcats in Torbay
 
Light weight and a lot of power.


some of the late war Spits and Me 109 had similar power to weight ratios yet have not this extreme RoC. Must be the wing design I guess.
 
Pb, I remember that story and also remember that a number of sources discounted that story as being false. In your haste you may not have thoroughly read what I posted from Linnekin's book. He never said and I never said that Bearcats ever bested any Spitfires. All he said was they had an eight on eight and it was a wonder someone did not get killed. I expect he meant that in the melee it was a wonder no one had a collision. As far as the USN pilot and his claim about making a run before the Spit could get off the ground, that was just big talk and was never proven. As far as the Vampires are concerned, they came in low and level and the Bearcats, in a dive and with an angle were able to close but as soon as the Vampires began to pitch up, it was good bye Vampires. So what! I feel sure that Richard Linnekin's book "80 knots to Mach Two" is available used a or maybe even in your library. If you want to learn about what a graduate from Canoe U, a veteran pilot witha an aeronautical engineering degree and a former test pilot as well as a veteran of the Korean War has to say about the period of time when recips disappeared and jets came aboard, it is a great read. He tells what it was like to fly the N2S, SNJ, Hellcat, Bearcat, Corsair, Panther, Cougar, Skyraider, Crusader, Banshee, Skynight, Skyhawk, Phantom and a number of general aviation light planes. He even mentions Bill Leonard and his strength. His son is I believe on this forum. The Bearcat could from a standing start, on the runway, go to 10000 feet in around 1.5 minutes and the F8F1 was an honest 440-450 mph airplane at low altitudes, according to Linnekin.
 
Pb, I remember that story and also remember that a number of sources discounted that story as being false. .
I believe the only thing that proved as false was the name of the ship but being wartime that could've been a security concern. did the crew wear ship names on uniforms back then or did the crew use the name to seem more worldly , if I knew USN ship movements for the period it might've been another ship. It could have been the US Naval base in Argentia.
 
I believe the bearcat to be the victor over the spit because of radial versus in-line,coolant laden engines versus air cooled radials. I believe it to be the victor over the focke wolfe because of performance.
 
I got the impression that the Bearcat and the Yak-3 might have been the most agile piston engined fighters...
 
US Warplanes
The F8F-2 was produced during 1948. Are we supposed to predict what a 1948 version of the Ta-152 would look like? Otherwise we need to stick with the F8F-1 that was produced during 1945.

F8F-1.
1 x 2,100 hp R2800 radial engine.
9,600 lb Loaded weight.
4 x .50cal MG (only 100 aircraft had 20mm cannons).


Ta-152 H-1 (the only production version).
1 x 2,050 hp Jumo 213E engine.
10,470 lb Loaded weight.
1 x 3cm Mk108 hub cannon. 2 x MG151/20 wing cannon.
R4M FF rockets optional.

F8F has a slight edge in power to weight ratio.
F8F has very weak firepower for a 1945 fighter aircraft.
 
Sea Fury and F4U5 had similar performance with the Corsair having the edge. The F8F was really a tough opponent as far as ACM is concerned but above 20000 feet it began to falter. Down low it could do stuff no other piston engined fighter could do. Not a good muti role fighter like the Sea Fury and Corsair.
 

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