FIGHTER COMBAT COMPARISON No.2: Bf109E-3 vs Spitfire MkI

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by krieghund, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL

    Well here is my Christmas present to the forum. It took me a long time to track down this document since I began looking for it in 1976.

    Remember as you read it the author composed this in 1973 when some data on the Bf109E wasn’t so readily available. I believe this is a good product considering the time period it was composed. Computers weren’t readily accessible (I built my Heathkit H89 in 1979) and neither were good calculators and they weren’t inexpensive either. (I paid $127 for my Ti-10 in 1974)
    At the end of the booklet are some letters to the author about future comparisons which looked comprehensive but he only published the P40C vs A6M2 in that series and in later years started a new series with the F6F-5 v J2M3 but never completed any more.

    I do of course have my observations which are;

    Lack of references to support certain statements.

    Stall warning comments between 109 and Spit on pg 10.

    Stated engine installation in the 109 being the DB601Aa….I think there is enough data out on the web to indicate this should be a DB601A. The 601A would have given the 109 a slightly higher critical altitude but less power below the critical altitude. Pg10.

    Showing the 109 have three MG/FF cannon instead of only the wing installation. Pg12.

    Another criticism about evaluating weapons is that everyone looks at weight of fire and explosive effects but I don’t think enough words are devoted to the number of rounds shot in a 3 second burst. The 109 shoots a total of 35 20mm and 102 7.9mm for a total of 137 projectiles in a three second burst. The Spit shoots a total of 540 projectiles in three seconds. This gives the Spitfire pilot 4 times the chance to obtain hits over the Bf109.

    Another issue overlooked is in a turning deflection shot the 109 pilot won’t be able to obtain hits with all his guns due to the very different ballistics between the slow 20mm MG/FF and the faster velocity 7.9 MG17 rounds.

    Of course there will be those who will deride the performance numbers and conclusion offered but the author used the DB601Aa so that will taint the results somewhat. Unless of course you want to compare an export Bf109E instead of a BoB Luftwaffe Bf109E.
     

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  2. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    #2 Aozora, Dec 25, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
    Other problems with the report:

    a) All frontline Spitfires were using C.S propellers by early July 1940, and 100 octane fuel from early 1940 - I seem to remember seeing a thread about this a couple of years ago here it is. The constant speed props made a big difference in Spitfire climb performance and acceleration at all altitudes, while 100 octane and +12 lbs boost completely eliminated any 109 speed advantage or instantaneous turn capability at low altitudes, particularly below c. 10,000 ft. A disadvantage was that +12 lbs boost was only available for five minutes at a time, but 5 minutes is a very long time in a combat situation.

    b) the performance figures used for the Spitfire Ia are for a pre-war aircraft equipped with a two-speed prop and without armour, iff equipment etc. While the top speeds for a fully equipped B of B era Spitfire were lower, again, the C.S props made a big difference.
     
  3. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    Agreed, also I should have stated that in 1973 not all the data of the Spitfire was out in the open either. I think plenty of cyberspace has been devoted to prove the 100 octane issue. Also the author does not speak to the issue of armor and self sealing tanks. Both types started as naked as a Zero but the Spitfire matured quicker than the 109 in this regard. The 109 really didn't get a proper leak proof tank until after the battle and the some Spits still had one fuselage tank unprotected. Of course there was a difference between the Spitire's in the field fuel tank mod and the proper tanks being installed on the assembly line.
     
  4. Neil Stirling

    Neil Stirling Member

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    Thank you.

    Neil.
     
  5. Tante Ju

    Tante Ju Banned

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    #5 Tante Ju, Dec 25, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
    601Aa was used in LW Emils, it was not only for export.

    I agree that this report ommits some information, and repeats some old misinformation (like Emil engine cannons) that has become known since 70s. But still overall its an even handed and very through and professional approach seldom seen.

    One interesting thing was that .303 Brownings were 7 inch shorter than 7,92 mm Rheinmetall-Borsig guns. So I wonder, if Brownings would fit into the 109 wings without much fuss (German guns lenght dictated that they reached just beyond the main spar, which had to be holed because of this).
     
  6. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    I find it unfortunate the author did complete the other comparisons. I had wrote to him after the F6F vs J2M3 booklet and he claimed he had received too many bad reviews in the aviation media that he decided to just enjoy his retirement doing other stuff. The reviewers complained about not enough pictures and such. He had lots of data on all sorts of aircraft but I lost track of him.
     
  7. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Krieghund for posting. Very interesting read.
     
  8. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Thanks for the file Wardog!!
     
  9. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for posting!
     
  10. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    thanks for posting...will have to read it when i have time....
     
  11. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Krieghund! Apologies if I came across as being critical without recognising your dogged ('scus the pun) determination in finding this and posting it for us - it was the end of a long, hectic, but otherwise enjoyable day. :D
     
  12. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    #12 krieghund, Dec 26, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
    Not a prob The Holidays are alway fraut with family antics. Now trying to find time to scan in a MiG-15 vs F-86 comparison that I happened to come into possession of.
     
  13. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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  14. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    interesting , few errors as noted, for instance the Mk1a spit was not the last eight gun spit, that was the Va, also using losses to emphasise the superiority of either aircraft is futile unless you take ten of each at the same speed and alt and shout go!
    ten spits bouncing and shooting down a 109 heading home does'nt show a spits superiority any more than a 109 shooting down a spit attacking a bomber, it simply shows the tactical situation at the time!
    I find the notion of trying to prove the superiority of either aircraft absurd when they were obviously so closely matched, put a rookie in a 109G10 and hes going to get beaten by an ace in a hurricane!
     
  15. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    #15 krieghund, Jan 1, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
    Yes I agree so many authors fall into that but fail to take into account all the variables that control the outcome. However I do like his idea of converting the aircraft performance numbers down to the ACM attributes of the types. Then about all you can say is "well if pilot A can fly plane x to its max it will beat pilot b in plane z in this circumstance" I got heavy into this when I was at Nellis assigned to the Aggressor Squadron. Time and time again our guys would breeze into debrief in front of the F15 or F16 pilots they just hosed just cause they knew their aircraft like the back of their hand. Our F-5E's were totally austere. No RWR, and tinker toy radar and just yer instruments, oh yeah and an ACMI pod so the F15 or F16 guys couldn't talk their way out of it.
     
  16. silence

    silence Active Member

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    heh - I love stories like that!
     
  17. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Interesting that the author seems to think the 109's wing slats gave it more preditictable stall characteristics than the Spitfire - the great preponderance of anecdotes for pilots who flew the machines indicate the opposite; that it was the 109 that had to be treated cartefully while the Spitfire was (once off the ground) very forgiving and easy to fly. In fact this harmony of control, much commented on but almost immpossible to quatify, seems to have been the British fighter's graetest asset. I have also read that the 109s slats had a tendancy to ruin the pilots aim in turing combat, as they would open suddenly and without warning.
    One thing I would suggest is that, seen over the entire course of the war, the Spitfire proved the better design due to its capacity for development. Come 1945 the spitfire was still at the cutting edge of piston engine fighter performance, while the 109 had become more and more difficult to handle
     
  18. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    #18 bobbysocks, Jan 1, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
    there was an old story that in those early days the pilots in the f 5s used "fuzz busters" in some way....that probably ought to go into the myths thread.


    i had heard this remark before. the author claimed that while fixated on a target in a turning battle the 109 pilot knew he was close to stalling speed when his slats extended. he went on further to say that while the spit could out turn the 109 many pilots were reluctant to get into that tight of a turn for fear of stalling. i can sort of understand that but the plane should give you other indicators....start to shutter, etc.
     
  19. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    Unfortunately a few WWII aircraft exhibited sharp stall characteristics which are further exasperated in the accelerated stall. One example that comes to mind is the D520. Many stories relate to the pilot's of the D520 that failed to get the most out of their mount by not taking to the edge for fear of its harsh stall charactistics and recovery.
     
  20. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Some planes stall was relatively benign, they just sort of mushed out of the turn or lost altitude on an even keel if flying level.
    Others dropped one wing before the other and even that was at different rates. Some planes wanted to flip over on their backs when one wing stalled before the other. Some planes would go into a spin very quickly when stalled and others just mushed on in a forward direction. A few of the ones that wanted to go inverted also wanted to go into inverted spins.

    Some planes gave a warning (vibration in tail, aileron buffeting or something) a few MPH above stall, others 5-10mph above stall. HOW MUCH warning and how BAD the stall was could make a lot of difference as to how hard the pilots pushed their aircraft. Please remember that in a hard turn the pilot was already on the verge of blacking out at times. Having the plane flip on it's back and go into an inverted spin with the pilot blacked out was probably not a good thing.

    The 109s slats gave warning and extended the ability of the ailerons to exert control in a stall or near stall condition making recovery or management of the stall much easier. They may have ruined the aim at times but helped prevent the aircraft from "departing from controlled flight". How much of an expert you were might affect your judgement of their effectiveness.

    Early Spitfires had TOO much elevator authority and in a turn could easily tighten up too much and go into a stall, This was soon "fixed" with bob weights and/or alterations to the control runs/adjustments. Again please remember that service pilots were trying to handle the controls (like the stick) while under 3-6 "G"s in a turn.
     
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