FW 190A vs Hellcat and Corsair

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Mar 11, 2007
Hi Gents,

I had a little discussion with my friends in a german navy Forum about german aircrafts on Carriers.
The LW had successful tests with the FW 190 as a torpedo bomber in 1942.
This could be very efficient because you have a torpedo bomber and a very good fighter at the same time when the aircraft drops the torpedo!

I think at sea or carrier fights it's more important to have good fighter at low altitudes because if you want to attack a carrier in ww2 you must go down at low altitudes.

The Fw 190A was optimized for low and medium altitudes, The aircraft had problems higher than 5500 - 6000 meters. Higher than 6000 meters I think it was no match for the Hellcat and the Corsair, they were superior to a FW 190A.

Now the question is if the FW 190A can match with a Hellcat and Corsair at low and medium altitudes as a fighter?
I have had similar thoughts re :Hellcat v FW190

especially F/B variants optimized for Mid/low altitude

carry on/over

might wanna include the FW 190 F/G
@ Jackson

very good idea.

But all (accept some Prototyps) FW 190 with the BMW 801 engine were optimized for low and medium altitudes because of the Bosch enginesystem
Data from Aeroweb[59]

General characteristics
Crew: 1 pilot
Length: 33 ft 4 in (10.1 m)
Wingspan: 41 ft 0 in (12.5 m)
Height: 16 ft 1 in (4.90 m)
Wing area: 314 ft² (29.17 m²)
Empty weight: 8,982 lb (4,073 kg)
Loaded weight: 14,000 lb (6,300 kg)
Powerplant: 1× Pratt Whitney R-2800-8 radial engine, 2,000 hp (1,500 kW)
Maximum speed: 417 mph (362 knots, 671 km/h)
Range: 1,015 mi (882 nm, 1,634 km)
Service ceiling: 36,900 ft (11,200 m)
Rate of climb: 2,890 ft/min (14.7 m/s)

Data from Aeroweb[60]

General characteristics
Crew: 1 pilot
Length: 33 ft 8 in (10.2 m)
Wingspan: 41 ft 0 in (12.5 m)
Height: 14 ft 9 in (4.50 m)
Empty weight: 9,205 lb (4,174 kg)
Loaded weight: 14,669 lb (6,653 kg)
Powerplant: 1× Pratt Whitney R-2800-18W radial engine, 2,100 hp (1,565 kW)
Maximum speed: 446 mph (388 knots, 718 km/h)
Range: 1,005 mi (873 nm, 1,618 km)
Service ceiling: 41,500 ft (12,649 m)
Rate of climb: 3,870 ft/min (19.7 m/s)


General characteristics
Crew: One
Length: 9.00 m (29 ft 0 in)
Wingspan: 10.51 m (34 ft 5 in)
Height: 3.95 m (12 ft 12 in)
Wing area: 18,30 m² (196.99 ft²)
Empty weight: 3,200 kg (7,060 lb)
Loaded weight: 4,417 kg (9,735 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 4,900 kg (10,800 lb)
Powerplant: 1× BMW 801D-2 radial engine, 1,272 kW (1,730 hp); 1,471 kW (2,000 hp) with boost
Maximum speed: 656 km/h at 4,800 m, 685 km/h with boost, up to 750 km/h in a dive (408 mph at 15,750 ft, 428 mph with boost, 466 mph in a dive)
Range: 800 km (500 miles)
Service ceiling: 11,410 m (37,430 ft)
Rate of climb: 13 m/s (2560 feet/min)
Wing loading: 241 kg/m² (57 lb/ft²)
Power/mass: 0.29 - 0.33 kW/kg (0.18 - 0.21 hp/lb)
For a reference we can choose this report!

F4U-1D, F6F-3, and FW190-A5 Comparison Report

It shows the the FW 190A had some advantages at climbing and speeding but the the Hellcat and the Corsair were superior in maneuverability and turning.
I think the apraisals from the pilots about the FW 190A5 were a bit subjective.

What the heck I don't understand, everebody says the Spit was the best fighter in maneuverability and turning but the FW 190A had played "cat and mouse" with the Spit during 1942-1943 at low and medium altitudes.

Is this Report near the truth or not? Or were the tactics from german pilots others than turn fights?

General characteristics
Crew: 1
Length: 33 ft 7 in (10.24 m)
Wingspan: 42 ft 10 in (13.06 m)
Height: 13 ft 1 in (3.99 m)
Wing area: 334 ft² (31 m²)
Airfoil: NACA 23015.6 mod root; NACA 23009 tip
Empty weight: 9,238 lb (4,190 kg)
Loaded weight: 12,598 lb (5,714 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 15,415 lb (6,990 kg)
Powerplant: 1× Pratt Whitney R-2800-10W "Double Wasp" two-row radial engine with a two-speed two-stage supercharger, 2,000 hp (1,500 kW)
Propellers: 3-blade Hamilton Standard
Propeller diameter: 13 ft 1 in (4.0 m)
Fuel capacity: 250 US gal (946 L) internal; up to 3x 150 US gal (568 L) external drop tanks
Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0211
Drag area: 7.05 ft² (0.65 m²)
Aspect ratio: 5.5
Maximum speed: 330 knots (380 mph, 610 km/h)
Stall speed: 73 knots (84 mph, 135 km/h)
Combat radius: 820 nm (945 mi, 1,520 km)
Ferry range: 1,330 nm (1,530 mi, 2,460 km)
Service ceiling: 37,300 ft (11,370 m)
Rate of climb: 3,500 ft/min (17.8 m/s)
Wing loading: 37.7 lb/ft² (184 kg/m²)
Power/mass: 0.16 hp/lb (260 W/kg)
Time-to-altitude: 7.7 min to 20,000 ft (6,100 m)
Lift-to-drag ratio: 12.2
Takeoff roll: 799 ft (244 m)

I don't know, the Spit was pretty maneuverable..

I see the FW as a workhorse..

good as a utility bird

heavier bomb load, better at dive bombing, built out to attack bombers with lots of armament, good at ground attack,

Until the MkV was replaced by the MkIX the Brits had a lot of worries

The the Dora came along and the Brits came up with the Mk XIV

ping pong


not necessarily in that order re Mk XIV ?

similar time frames, I guess
@ Jackson

no, this is a discussion about F6F, Corsair and FW 190A
(not D9 or anything else)!

We have a Comparison Report between this "birds" from USA!

And now I'm a bit on the german side, everybody tells the Spit was the pure fighter (as well the MK V), but the FW 190A was far superior to the MK V at low and medium altitudes!

Now what's your opinion Jackson: Can the FW 190A match with the Hellcat and the Corsair?
The the Dora came along and the Brits came up with the Mk XIV

ping pong


not necessarily in that order re Mk XIV ?

similar time frames, I guess

Spitfire XIV service entry: January 1944
First combat: March, 1944

FW-190D9 service entry: September 1944
First combat: October, 1944

The 190D9 got into service later than the Mk XIV, but made up for it with the rapidity to which the JGs converted to it.

The Mk XIV was introduced reasonably slowly, by the time the D9 began service, there were 8 operational Mk XIV squadrons (out of a total of 56 RAF Spitfire squadrons in the ETO).

Another four Mk XIV squadrons became operational before the end of the war, as well as some squadrons half converting to FR Mk XIVEs, which had bubble canopy, a 33 imp gal rear fuselage tank and a removable oblique camera in the rear fuselage. They were used in co-operation with Mustang II or Mustang IIIs, depending on the squadron, for tactical reconnisance, which essentially meant low level recon, ground straffing, jumping anything in the sky that hadn't seen you first and running away from anything that had.

We are talking about a ("what if") navalized based on a carrier.

But I think there is no difference in performance from a land based.
Yes, if he plays it smart..

You have to consider the workload and pilot fatigue factors..

It is an American test, so there is most likely some bias..

The FW roll rate was of course tops and the climb better.

That was a good read, thanks

The FW could carry some heavy armament.

The Hell at could handle battle damage just because it was a Grumman, ( think Tiger Tank)

I would have thought the Corsair would have shown a higher top speed.
Great match up.
I think a Boom and Zoom match would favor the FW 190 because its 20mm cannons would be more effective in the quick shots. The US planes would need a bit more time firing the 6x 50cals at the thoroughly armored FW.

The Hellcat (maybe F4U?) is more maneuverable. But just the same, the Hellcat may have a slight speed disadvantage.
I think the Hellcat matches up better due to dogfight ability. A P-47 is a better choice to try to Boom n Zoom the FW. The Corsair matches the FW more evenly, with the FW having the firepower advantage.
@ Jackson

I think we have the same opinion......

Of course the pilot is the main factor in this game............ but I think the
FW 190A had played well as a multirole carrier aircraft and would be a close match to the US carrier aircrafts!
We can all be glad that the Japanese didn't want the FW190A!:oops:

Because with the FW 190A on japanese carrier there would be much more problems for the american pilots as with the Zero!
Lets not jump to conclusions about the FW being able to just be dropped in for crrier operations without some significant structural modifications. That alone could add several hundred pounds of weight to the airframe.

Also look at the wing. Could it handle low takeoff speeds with a usefull payload? And landing. Could it handle the low speed handling needed for carrier ops?
@ syscom3

Which significant structural modifications?

On the Graf Zeppelin Carrier were catapults for take offs!
The FW 190 had a very robust landing gear, and the aircraft was overall very robust.

Supermarine Seafire

Finally, in September 1941 the Admiralty placed an order for 250 Spitfire Mk Va and Vb aircraft. They had, however, yet to decide on what modifications had to take place in order to make the aircraft suited to carrier operations. The land-based Spitfire V were then modified and renamed the Seafire II. The first Seafires were actually hooked Spitfires. The RAF loaned 110 Mk Va and Vb and three Mk II b's to the FAA for training purposes of which 59, including the II b's, had been fitted with arrester hooks. The modifications of the Spitfire did change the Seafire's characteristics somewhat. Approaches were difficult, visibility was limited at best, landing gear collapses were commonplace, and, the arrester hooks had a tendency to miss and bounce back into the fuselage frames which buckled the airframe. More were lost to breaking their landing gear in hard landings than to all enemy causes. As a low-level fleet defence interceptor, the Seafire was supreme, but it paid a price with its fragility.
Two of the ex-RAF Spitfire V aircraft were sent to the factory for full naval conversion. HMS Illustrious saw the first landing of Seafire on 10 February 1942. Eventually 163 ex-RAF aircraft were converted to the Seafire Mk Ib standard by the addition of arrester hooks, strengthened rear fuselages, slinging points, and Naval radios.
That's no surprise for me.

In Germany we had a lot of discussions between FW 190A and ME 109 and the Me 109 is very close to the Spit( from aircraft to aircraft). The ME 109 had very big problems with the landing gear because it was very fragile. All Pilots which flew both planes said the same; the FW 190A was far far far superioir in stability than the ME 109 at the landing gear! In Russia were a lot of airfields with a very bad alley and you can bet; every pilot that must be landing on that bad alley with a ME 109 wished he had a FW 190A!

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