Fw 190 vs P-51 Mustang

Discussion in 'Flight Test Data' started by DerGiLLster, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. DerGiLLster

    DerGiLLster Member

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    Why did the Fw 190 sink compared to a battle to the P-51 Mustang? What was that made the P-51 Mustang superior to the FW 190? Was there any attempts or any versions that would have made the FW 190 more combat ready to the P-51 Mustang?
     
  2. Hardrada55

    Hardrada55 Member

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    #2 Hardrada55, Feb 13, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
    The Fw-190A really didn't stink compared to the P-51 Mustang. The Fw-190 was second to no plane at a roll. It dove well. The Fw-190A-5 could make about 422mph at near 20,000 feet and climb there at 2100 feet per minute. The Mustang at 20,000 feet had a top speed of 424 mph and climbed at about 2900 feet per minute. The Fw-190's best performance was at or below 20,000 feet, while the Mustang just kept getting better, up to about 28,000 feet. The Mustang's top speed at 28,000 was 441 mph. The Fw-190A made 394mph at 28,000 feet. The Mustang could just do so many things so well. And the Mustang was a newer airplane. The Fw-190A entered combat in the fall of 1941, the Merlin powered Mustang in December 1943, so the Mustang was about 2 years newer than the Fw-190A. In 1944, the Germans sent their Me-109s after the escorting Mustangs and the Fw-190A's with the four 20mm cannons after the 4 engine bombers. Even then, the Germans fighters were outnumbered by the escorting Mustangs 6 or 8 to 1. That's 6 or 8 Mustangs for every German fighter. Being out numbered so badly is probably the real reason the Fw-190A fared so badly in comparison to the Mustang. The Luftwaffe did experiment with lightening the Fw-190A by taking off some of the armor and all but two of the 20mm cannons, and lengthening the wings. Speed improved a little at a slightly higher altitude and the turn radius improved, but nothing revolutionary. And we haven't even mentioned the Fw-190D...
     
  3. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I think the original question is too simple. It is too broad of a question, and there are so many variables.
     
  4. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    By the time the P-51D showed up over Europe, the quality of the Fw190's pilots was falling short due to attrition.

    However, if a P-51D were to engage an experienced Fw190 pilot at lower altitudes, the P-51's pilot would find himself in trouble.

    You can pull up data sheets and make comparisons all day long, but in the end, it's the pilot that makes the machine what it is.
     
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  5. Hardrada55

    Hardrada55 Member

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    #5 Hardrada55, Feb 14, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
    The one who posed the original question didn't ask about pilots he asked about planes and this forum is "Flight Test Data" after all. American pilots were very well trained and significantly outnumbered their Luftwaffe counterparts. The Luftwaffe basically had to replace every single one of it's fighter pilots in the West during 1944. No comparison between the combat skills of the average German pilot and the average American pilot....to say nothing of the 8 to one advantage in numbers.
     
  6. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    And the question was still to simplistic. Too many variables.

    At what altitude is this "fight" going to take place?
     
  7. Hardrada55

    Hardrada55 Member

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    Agreed, the question is simple....He asked, "Why did the Fw 190 sink compared to a battle to the P-51 Mustang?"
     
  8. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    And the answer to that question is simple too...:D

    Did it really stink?
     
  9. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    This forum is about WW2 aircraft and I would imagine that this would encompass all aspects of a WW2 aircraft, from it's inception, to the operational history of the various types - and of the men who flew them.

    The question is simple but the answer is complex.

    At what altitude did the Fw190 engage the P-51?

    What was the weather conditions?

    What was the condition of either aircraft - fresh, war weary, combat damage to control surfaces or skin?

    What variant is the Fw190...an A-8, A-5 or a D-9?

    What variant is the P-51...was it a B, C or D?

    Was the Fw190 pilot an veteran or rookie?

    Was the P-51 pilot a veteran or rookie?

    Or was the original (and generic) question actually about post-war testing between types?
     
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  10. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    IMHO the true max speed of the Fw 190A-5 was 656 km/h (407/408 mph), 422 mph was the max speed without compression correction. And at least to the late summer 44 the escorting fighters didn't escort the bombers all the way but worked in relays, so e.g. if there were 600 fighters for escort an 8th AF bomber attack the bombers had only say 200 escorts at any given time. And the USAAF bomber formations were huge so the escorts had to be divided to protect different parts of the bomber stream. Even if US planners tried to optimize the fighter escort position by putting strongest fighter formation to the area they thought the LW was most likely to attack the LW could chooce the time and place of their attack so not even the all 200 escorts protecting the bombers at the time of the attack would be able to engage.

    But the main problem for the 190s was that US heavy bombers operated above the optimum altitude for the 190A. Against the lower flying Allied medium bombers and their escorts 190 was more effective. And as the others have written pilot skill and tactical situation were usually more important than the paper figures.
     
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  11. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    #11 pbehn, Feb 14, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
    The Fw 190 and P51 were not sent to fight each other. The FW had to attack bombers and carried armour to protect against return fire from them, it was also operating higher than its optimum altitude. The P 51 was there to stop Fw190s and Bf109s getting at bombers. If the LW had only indulged in dog fights with escorts Goering would have the pilots court martialed and/or Hitler would have them all grounded and given a rifle.
     
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  12. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    The RAF thought it stank so badly they stopped going over to France to avoid the smell for a while, after studying its various odours they eventually managed to develop perfumes to match it.
     
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  13. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    :lol:
     
  14. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    Happily for American Bomber crews the Germans never thought about a Bouchon which could scythe down P51s at a 6-1 loss rate. I really dont know where some of these ideas are given birth. Did any WWII P51 or P47 pilot say the FW190 "Stank"?
     
  15. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    :lol:

    I highly doubt they did...
     
  16. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    some of the problem arose from the tactics the LW were forced to adopt. At least for a while they were ordered to ignore the escorts and go after the bombers. This was a recipe asking for high attrition amongst the German defenders. In reality there was no solution to the problem thrown at the Lw in 1944. Do you, ignore the fighters, get your backside tanned to shoot down a few more bombers, or, ignore the bombers, go for the fighters and let your ground installations factories and the like get an even worse pasting than they suffered historically?
     
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  17. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Simple question - simple answer, No.

    While the FW 190 (period model to model i.e. P-51B/D vs FW 190A-7/8 and D-9) was slightly slower below 20,000 feet it was nearly uncatchable on the deck until 150 octane fuel arrived for 8th FC in June 1944.

    The P-51B/D was marginally faster, climbed slightly better, turned about even but in a turning fight with equal pilots the roll rate of the FW 190 was superior to the P-51 under 350mph TAS, giving the 190 more agility in initiating the turn or roll reversals. Above 20,000 feet however the performance gap opened up in favor of the Mustang. As altitude increased the better performance of the 1650 (both -3 and -7) gave the Mustang a bigger performance delta in climb, speed and acceleration. In a dive the P-51 pilot experienced less controllability issues due to better critical Mach - but if the 190 got a head start it didn't matter. They were close enough.

    The FW 190D gave better speed and climb performance than the FW 190A and for all intents was the equal of the P-51, although still inferior above 22000 feet - but less so.

    What mattered is that the battles took place dominantly from 28,000 to 20,000 feet - and the quality gap between the average US fighter pilot and the average LW pilot increased dramatically between November 1943 and D-Day for several reasons. First was that Primary through advanced pilot training was more thorough and lengthy with respect to stick hours, navigation, aerobatics, formation flying. Second, the original 8th AF pilots and replacements were not hurt by LW when an early approach to attacking fighters may have paid dividends. The US pilots quickly gained combat experience, developed leaders and tactics and extended lessons learned rapidly. As a result, Third reason, the attrition on LW day S/E fighters was rapid and thorough through D-Day.

    To earlier remarks that the P-51 had a 'six to one advantage'. Not true. Juha already hit the point but I will get back on the soapbox to address one of the common 'folklore falsehood'. True the Allies (RAF, 8th and 9th AF FC) had an overwhelming numerical superiority even before the P-51B-1 started combat ops on December 1, 1943. That said, the advantage stopped at the German border when all RAF fighters capable of escort ran out of range. The P-47s of 8th and 9th AF were gradually able to extend from German border to Hannover/Stuttgart by March 1944, leaving the P-38 and P-51B as sole long range escort. The P-38J added LE kits (3 FG's) to enable Berlin to Leipzig and Friedrichshafen. Only the P-51B/C/D with 85 gallon tanks installed performed target escort to Munich, Prague, Posnan, Stettin - or in the case of the FRANTIC missions - to the Ukraine.

    Simple math of Fighter Group conversions and subsequent combat operations from December 1, 1943 through June 5. 1944 (window for 'destruction of LW' per Combined Bomber Offensive and POINTBLANK) saw the P-51B/C target escort capability grow from one to six 8th AF and two 9th AF FG - each depending on mechanical issues putting 30 to 50 'effectives per group - to escort 30 to 35 8th AF Bomb groups. Combine the few fighters relatively speaking, per BG, 8th AF mission planning most frequently spread many targets to many Bomb wings within a bomb division. Result - a 100 mile procession broke up into as many as five task forces bombing hundreds of miles apart leaving fighter groups the responsibility to escort two or three combat wings over a 20 mile span (if everybody on time at R/V)

    The LW had approximately 500 s/e day fighters in LuftFlotte Reich based out of range of P-47s but positioned to put up as many as 400 in a concentrated attack. Net - an attack by LW on April 24, 1944 by 250+ day fighters from Ulm to Erding, around Munich and back to Oberpfaffenhofen could only be defensed by the 355th and 357th FG. The LW destroyed (or chased to Switzerland) 27 B-17s of 1st TF plus six P-51s - but lost 34 109Gs, 10 Me 110s and 1 FW 190A to the 355th and 357th. 250 LW vs 88 P-51s is an example of how Germany could achieve local superiority - and did so, often.
     
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  18. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    Great post, on the face of it in fighters 250 v 88 giving losses of 45 and 6 respectively but that ignores the fact that they weren't actually fighting each other as such.
     
  19. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I suspect that Bill could break that down further, by type to give a closer idea of the engagement, as the Bf110 would have been targeting the bombers and not the fighters. I suspect that the Fw190 fighters (perhaps Fw190A-8) may have been also primarily engaging the bombers as well.

    The Bf109s would have been the "top cover" for the interceptors, tasked with drawing off and engaging the Allied escorts.

    So the question is how many Bf109Gs engaged the 88 P-51s directly?
     
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  20. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    I am sure he could, he posts excellent info. The point I was making was that the escorts job is to minimise losses of bombers while maximising losses of enemy fighters if practicable. An unescorted bomber formation inflicted about 10% losses on the LW which at the time were mainly twin engined fighters. However the LW inflicted heavy losses on the bombers. I was just commenting on the general nature of the combat.
     
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