Fw 190: the good, the bad and the ugly

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Jun 1, 2015.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The formidable fighter should have it's own thread, rather to share it with a Me 209 ;)

    The G.55 and Re.2005 offered more 'stretch' than Bf 109, I will agree with that. Unfortunately, without late DB 605 versions (or Jumo 213 or DB 603), they will not be able to compete vs. the best the West can throw in the battle. Against the 109, they cannot be produced fast enough, and Axis was also outproduced as early as 1941.
    The Fw 190, however, also offered more stretch than Bf 109, it is in volume production from multiple factories, it is already proven as a tough opponent (despite the initial problems with reliability) and it got only praise from Allied AFs.

    I'd ask you for sources that would back up the claim that young pilots were loosing control in 1942 with Fw 190. As for hi-alt capabilities - it depends what other fighter is compared with the 190, and when the comparison was made. It also depends whether the BMW 801C was run on 2550 or 2700 rpm in second s/c gear - 660 km/h at 5.7-6 km, for the 190A-1 without polishing, 10-15 km/h more with polished aircraft (link, check out also the PDF), for 2 cannons aboard. The 190A-2 incorporated the MG FFM, meaning 4 cannons are installed altogether; the BMW 801C was to be run on B4 fuel.
    The Fw 190A with BMW 801D was capable for 670-680 km/h at 7 km with external intakes, and around 690 km/h with 'only' 2 cannons worth of armament and those intakes - compared with 640-650 km/h for the MC.205V with 2 HMGs.

    The La-7 and Ki 84 were offering in 1944/45 what Fw 190 was offering in 1941/42, that is half of how much the ww2 lasted in Europe. The P-47 was every bit an excellent air superiority fighter, and it was tough; the F4U was also tough and it was very good fighter. The engine of the Fw 190 was heavy powerful, armament was heavy, it carried plenty of fuel compared with many European fighters - it will not come out light.

    Yep, 250 kg should be a good number.
    The weights from Guidonia tests give 3700 kg for take off weight of the G.55 (wing loading 175 kg/sqm), and 3560 kg for the Re.2005 (w.l. of 174.5 kg/sqm); 2550 kg for the MC.205N (187 kg/sqm) that also has only 3/4 of the range of what G.55 and Re. 2005 had, also 1/4 of the firepower. The wing loading for the "DB 190" would be 200 kg/sqm for 3700 kg - 15% greater that for the G.55 and Re.2005, 7% greater than MC.205, but also 7-10% more favorable than "BMW 190".

    It probably would (bar level speed), unless we try to find the place for the MW 50 tank, as the G.55 (and G.56?) already have a fuel tank behind the pilot.

    Thanks - do you have more info on this interesting (al least to me) subject?

    Probably - I've seen the pictures of post war 2-seaters (G.58?) with 2 drop tanks.
     
  2. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Only a partially OT note, IMHO it is interesting that while at least the British pilots thought that 190 was clearly more dangerous opponent than 109 most Soviet pilots thought that the 'Messer' was clearly more dangerous opponent that the 'Fokker' even if one would think that the combats in the East, where most combats were low altitude ones, should have suited better for 190 than 109.
     
  3. SpicyJuan11

    SpicyJuan11 Member

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    Interesting, any idea why?
     
  4. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    No, only the partial explanation that many 190s in the eastern front were GA types but that is IMHO only a partial explanation, one other might be that before La-5F and -FN almost all VVS fighters were rather low-powered and lightly built so the very good roc of the 109s had a big impact and the fairly light armament of the basic 109 didn't matter in fighter combats. In the ETO also many the Spits climbed very well and as all-metal planes could take more damage than the Soviet ones.
     
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  5. SpicyJuan11

    SpicyJuan11 Member

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    Ok, thanks.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Good.
    Airframe in general with good handling and few bad flying habits. Inexpensive to mass produce too.
    Wide track landing gear.
    Bubble canopy.
    540 liters of internal fuel (140 more then Me-109).
    F and G variants made surprisingly good attack aircraft while still retaining decent low altitude self defense capability.
    Massive firepower even if it was wing mounted.

    Bad.
    BMW801 engine.
    .....Long development to achieve acceptable reliability. Even then it required high octane fuel to produce decent power.
    .....Radial design precluded use of hub cannon.
    .....High altitude performance was never as good as contemporary V-12 engines.

    Ugly.
    Only thing I can think of is RLM forcing Focke Wulf to use BMW801 engine rather then allowing Dr. Tank to power his airframe with Daimler Benz V12 as he wanted.
     
  7. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #7 GregP, Jun 1, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
    The La-7 was much better than early Fw 190's. If was faster, climber better, was as good in roll, and had cannons of it's own that were as good or better than the German cannons.

    I have the La-7 at between 402 and 411 mph at 2,000 meters. No early Fw 190 did that. an d I have it as between 4,460 and 4,760 feet per minute best initial rate of climb (no Fw 190 ever came near that). Those data are from state tests of service La-7's at WER.

    That being said, I like the Fw 190 and think they should have dropped the Bf 109 in favor of it. I really like the Italian planes and it might have been well worth it to take an M.C.202/205. Re.2005, and Fiat G.55 and hand them to a German designer and ask him to make it produceable while chaning as little as possible. The result might have been outstanding and would have been available when needed ... and in numbers. Of course, the reuslt might alos have been not worth the effort, but that's already what happened with the myriad prototypes the Germans produced and they would be no worse off than they were.

    I didn't need hindsight to go with the Fw 190, that was obvious to me from when I first read about it and SHOULD have been obvious to the Luftwaffe, too. If they had done that, they could have asked the Itlians to concentrate on jet airframe development while they produced piston fighters.

    Just an option ... that never happened. I don't mind a lot of things, but extending the war or having the outcome the other way are not two of them, so I am happy it happened just as it did and didn't drag out any longer or, worse, reverse the outcome. Shorter would have been nice, with fewer casualties on all sides. No war would have been a LOT better.

    I'm not so sure we would have gone to war if he had just taken back the land lost, stopped all payments, and said Germany would join the rest of the world power as an equal or there could be war again. War MIGHT have started ... but had he done that and stayed in Germany, perhaps not. The question is was that possible? I, for one, doubt it ... but it might have been interesting at what point war WOULD start without a surprise Blitzkreig to give a good, sound push.
     
  8. SpicyJuan11

    SpicyJuan11 Member

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    Interesting. Are there any drawings, pictures of what that FW would have looked like? Performance estimates would also be nice.
     
  9. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    I have always had the impression that the Fw190 was a better flying machine than the Me109.
    But don't forget the 109E and 109F were arguably the greatest fighters ever made. And were around when called upon. And that counts for a lot. The 109 was plenty good enough and the counter argument would be why need the Fw190 in the first place?
     
  10. grampi

    grampi Member

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    Even the word "arguably" doesn't make this statement true...
     
  11. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #11 GregP, Jun 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
    The Bf 109 was a superb fighter in and around 180 - 290 mph or so. It had a benign stall, good roll and exceptional climb, coupled with decent armament. The great climb was developed at low airspeed and high deck angle. The visibility forward and to the left or right left some room for improvement and it had a nasty tendency to swing on takeoff, particularly on hard surfaces ... not so much on grass and softer runways. Pilots familiar with the Bf 109 knew it's good and bad points VERY well and could use both to their advantage from sheer familiarity.

    The Fw 190 flew very well and had fantastic roll response from 200 - 350 mph or so, after which it slowed down in roll if faster to the point where it could be out-rolled by Allied fighters at 420 - 450 mph and above. The stall happened without aerodynamic warning and pulling into a maximum performance turn could put you into an almost-instant inverted spin. The means pilots were very reluctant to pull hard down low near the ground where there is no room for recovery, unless they were quite experienced in the Fw 190. Of course, that took some time in the pilot's seat. Up at 4,000 - 22,000 feet or so, they could pull pretty hard since entering an inverted spin would get them out of the line of fire anyway if they were being chased, and they had time and altitude to recover should it happen. If they were the chaser instead, they could quickly release back pressure, after some experience, and avoid the spin at the cost of losing sight picture. If they were being chased, doing that would more or less center them in the enemy's crosshairs for some small period of time, say several seconds. Eventually, they knew how hard to pull and it wasn't as much of a concern down lower. Fw 190 pilots got better flying lower and turning harder with experience in type.

    To a nimble turner like the Yak-3/9, a good low-altitude turning fight was right where they wanted to be. Down at low-to-medium altitudes, where the Soviets fought, the Yak-3/9 could also out-climb the Fw 190 whereas the Bf 109's good climb rate was developed at low airspeed and high deck angle, making it harder to follw in an abrupt climb. The Yak-3's good climb rate was not at quite so steep of a deck angle.

    Speaking only personally, I think the Bf 109 and Fw 190 were among the best 1-2 offensive fighters in the world at the time, in no particular order. They were a bit handicapped on the Russian Front since Soviet doctrine was for the aircraft to support the ground troops. So the Soviet pilots flew low, ignored the high-flying Luftwaffe pilots, and proceeded to kill the ground troops in large numbers. This forced the German pilots to come down and fight or simply lose the ground war by default. That put the fighters right in the best-performance envelope of the Yaks and Lavochkins.

    In Europe, it was a much higher-altitude war, with forays into low to medium altitude fighting being present, but to a lesser degree. They tended to be either high or low, straffing on the way home, with fewer encounters at medium altitudes. Since the bombers were always high, most of the fighting took place there, with MOST of the low to medium altitude fighting being due to ground attack missions.

    There are few, if any, absolutes in aerial warfare and there were exceptions to the circumstances above on both fronts ... it's just where things tended to be, not how all the fighting happened.

    If I were recalling anything, it would be the fact that the three greatest fighters pilots of all time, Hartmann, Barkhorn, and Rall ... all flew the Bf 109 for almost their entire careers. So calling the Bf 109 less than a top contended is to go against the always-right weight of historic fact. Those three guys, amoung tham, accounted for almost 1,000 victims.

    Again just speaking just for myself, I'd observe, "Since the Bf 109 was the mount of choice for the top three aces of all times, how bad a fighter can it have been?" My own answer is that it cannot have been a bad fighter in any sense of the word, and richly deserves a place at or very near the top of the heap, at LEAST for effectiveness.
     
  12. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Why? The technical advancements in many technical fields will inevitably mean that the expected German adversaries will try and field better aircraft as time passes, so it's better to have a back up in the pipeline, rather than to panic once the proverbial hits the fan.
    Fw 190 was devoid of some things that troubled the 109, like the U/C gear, pilot's field of view, it possessed great rate of roll, bigger internal space meant more fuel, guns and ammo can be carried, capacity to have more powerful engines installed. Going for the radial engine also meant an insurance against the current V-12 engines having this or that set of problems.
     
  13. dedalos

    dedalos Member

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    Greq P you keep repeating this statement over and over again. Simply is wrong
    If you fly low and ignore higher flying enemy planes , you dont Force them down. You just make yourself a perfect target for them and YOU DIE.
    The enemy ,in the scenario that you describe does not come down to fight, he just bounces you over and over again until YOU DIE
     
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  14. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #14 GregP, Jun 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
    Hi Dedalos,

    The outcome of the Russian Front proves you as wrong as it is possible to be. By late 1944 there weren't many German planes that could live in a Soviet sky. Early on, the main culprit was obsolete Soviet types and poorly-prepared Soviet pilots. Once the Yak-3's and La-5's got there, together with some combat pilot seasoning, the tide of the aerial war reversed quite effectively. If flying low and concentrating on ground support was such wrong tactic, and if they DIED asa result, why did Germany conclusively lose that Front from about late 1943 to mid-1944 onward?

    Your statement does not hold up under the light of really happened and if you disagree, that's just fine. Make your own case instead of attacking mine; form you own theory and lay it out for us. Exactly how DID the Germans lose the aerial war so conclusively, especially with such men as Hartmann, Barkhorn, and Rall leading the way? Huh?

    Show me where the error is ... it isn't by accident that the tide turned when the Soviet VVS got aircraft with good performance and good armament. That changed the equipment superiority the Luftwaffe had from the start, and then things started to turn around. The Soviets were also operating in conditions that grouded the rest of the world, but they STILL operated a low-to-medium altitudes in support of ground forces. That is acording to world and Soviet history, not according to Greg.

    Maybe you should read up on this front before speaking up?
     
  15. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Hopefully this will go into more calm waters, and on-topic if posible :)
     
  16. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    The war was supposed to last months not years and the 109...Spitfire excepted...was better than any other fighter it met in the first few years and the 109 could turn better than 190 and had better high altitude performance than the early Antons.
     
  17. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Like the US and GB, the qualitative equivalence was accompanied by numbers for the VVS.

    The VVS preferred to fight in the Horizontal from the deck to 15,000 feet. With extremely low wing loading' low power fighters until La 7, Yak 3 - the VVS tuned those attributes in their combat doctrine. On the deck the 109 had superior rates of climb and near equal turn and better quality fighter pilots through 1943. The P-39 did Reasonably well in this envelope against both the 109 but like all Soviet fighters, did not have a deep (altitude wise) envelope to match either to 190 Or the 109 until Yak-3 and La 7 and 9.

    IMO for point attack/defense the Spitfire variants, period to period, were the greatest piston engine fighters when compared to any other Axis or Allied fighter developed and improved from 1939 through EOW (Yes dears I favor the Mustang for its important contribution for ANY mission requiring Range AND Performance) but for interceptor and local air superiority I favor the Spit.

    Pilot skill was more important than period performance when discussing La 7, La 9 Yak 3 Yak 9, P-51B/B, FW 190, Spit IX and XIV in 1944 and 1945. Numbers helped but they blur the discussion.
     
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  18. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Pilot skill remains arguably the most important factor of all. I was under the impression we covered that so heavily in the past that it was a given in any post, but I see your point in including it, Bill.

    In agree with the Spitfire in terms of outright flight performance, but I think the Bf 109 was way more effective in terms of what was accomplished over the period of the war. It easily shot down many more enemy planes than the Spitfire and so was VERY effective as employed, but the Spitifre would be a top choice for any air-to-air mission for which it had the range.

    The Spitfire was probably not an optimum choice for ground attack. Though it could certainly dish out a good deal of firepower, it was also somewhat fragile for that mission along with several other premier air-to-air specalist fighters.

    So much of this comes down to the mission and the pilot!
     
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  19. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    I have one word for you: opportunity.

    The LW pilots racked up huge scores, particularly on the Eastern Front, because the opportunities afforded them. The opportunity was in numbers and the quality of the opposition.

    Hartmann was credited with 352 victories. He was in aerial combat 825 times, and flew a total of 1404 combat missions.

    Erich Hartmann - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Of his 352 victories, 345 came against the Soviets. How many were against non-fighters?
     
  20. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    Of course been a later design the Fw190 could take advantage of more powerful engines and new ideas. More growth potential whereas the Me 109 was lumbered with its small light airframe which can be taken so far.
    I would wager that the cannon armed 109E/F were better point interceptors than the equivalent Spitfire I armed with 303s. I would easily compare Spitfire to 109 until the Spitfire 9 appeared.
    I think the fear of the Fw 190 in its first appearance by the RAF was more novel as the 109F had similar performance and was seemingly less deadly
     
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