Fw187 could have been German P-38?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wiking85, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/fw-187-german-51-a-38757.html?highlight=
    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/av...-ground-attack-aircraft-40741.html?highlight=

    I've sort of broached this comparison before with other aircraft, but the more I read about the P-38 it seems that the Fw187 would have been much more like the P-38 in just about every way. They were very similar in dimensions, but the P-38 ended up being much heavier, though the developed Fw187 probably would have been just as heavy as time went on. What are your thoughts on the comparison?
     
  2. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    in what role? bomber escort or as a bomber itself. i was going to suggest it might phase out the 110 but i see you already did that discussion before. i think the engines could have been better used scrapping TE ac and making more SE fighters.
     
  3. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Both in fact. The only thing it couldn't do well was be a night fighter without cavity magnetron centimetric radar.
    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/bmw-801-build-fighter-34155.html
    187_801_web.jpg
     
  4. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #4 GregP, Jan 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
    The P-38 was a standout twin-engine fighter with a good war record. It was the twin-engined fighter with the best war record for air-to-air combat and was adpated to VERY many roles successfully. Fewer perhaps than the Mosquito, but a good many.

    The Fw 187 wasn't selected for production by the Luftwaffe. They had their reasons, but it was an also-ran as far as the German staff was concerned.

    I would not predict it would jump from being not-selected-for-service to being comparable with one of the top twin-engin fighters ever built. Could it have been good? Probably, but maybe not. It depends on what weakness all the "Fw 187 promoterb" are ignoring. Some of these may not be overly written about in print, but the test pilots who flew it are probably WELL aware of them ... if it HAD weaknesses, that is.

    Maybe it COULD and WOULD have been one of the best, but it wasn't selected for production.

    I daresay there are a good many opther potentially good-to-great planes out there that were also not selected for production. I wonder why they don't get the same amount of attention in this regard as the Fw 187 that was virtually ignored by the German high command.

    Focke-Wulf DID produce the Ta 152, if you can call about 43 aircraft production (I don't). Potentially it was a winner and maybe one of the best ever built. In fact, it had a very mediocre war record with not many victories against a few losses, VERY mediocre. In my mind, the issue with the Ta 152 was NOT the performance potential or the quality of the pilots. The issue was the fact that it was a NEW aircraft, without spares in the system, being flown into battle by pilots largely untrained on it, being maintained by mechanics also untrained on it, at a time when small numbers of German aircraft were going up against very large numbers of Allied fighters and bombers. In other words, the actual war record of the Ta 152 was a product of the was situation in early 1945 from the German side coupled with a new plane having no spare parts coming down the pike, low fuel avialbility, few pilots, and a LOT of Allied planes overhead all the time. It is NOTHING against the Ta 152, it is a product of the real war situation.

    I fail to see how the same fate would not await the Fw 187, had it been produced. It might have been thrown into the fray earlier than the Ta 152 when the German was situation ws MUCH better, and that might make the difference that would push the Fw 187 over the hump of a bad war situation, I can't say. What I CAN say is that the Fw 187 with DB engines, should have performed better than the Bf 110, He 219, Me 410, or the He 335. Whether or not it could have DONE anything with this better potential is another discussion that runs into fantasy of imagination. In THAT theater of operations, anything is possible. In the real world, reality takes over and things are not so simple.

    Had the Germans introduced the Fw 187 as a fighter as soon as possible, who is to say the Allies would not have come up with an equally impressive response and so would have been ready for it? I can't say and neither can anyone else out there who isn't pushing 90 years old. The WWII vets KNOW when the tide of war turned in their mind's eye and might have a few things to say about it.
     
  5. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Greg we've discussed this topic many times on the subject and I agree with what you've written here, I was just curious if it would have stacked up in terms of potential to the P-38 as they were so similar in role and size. Both were not well suited for night fighting, but were otherwise seemingly cousins in terms of roles and potential. Of course we will never know, I was just curious if the Fw187 could have done all that the P-38 did just on the other side of the hill.
     
  6. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #6 GregP, Jan 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
    I think the actual airframe performance may have been quite similar, maybe with the Fw 187 having an edge in places, maybe not. Without a detainled look at it, flinging an opinion from the cuff is fraught with a slap in the face. But it certainly would have been a better FIGHTER than the Bf 110. I daresay it could probably have held its own against some single-seaters and maybe have outrun some of them.

    The question in my mind is WHEN the Fw 187 production version could have been available in numbers comparable to the Bf 110, with a supply chain in place, trained mechanics in place, and suitable pilots in the cockpits. I'm SURE it could have been a good thing for the Luftwaffe, just NOT sure of what they could have done with it or even if they would have done anything offensive with it at all. They didn't seem to be much inclined to take the offensive after the Battle of Britain, which happened WELL before any volume of Fw 187's could have been deployed. So what could have been the effect?

    What would make them break out the tactics they used historically? I don't know, but an air arm made up of the Bf 109, Fw 190, and Fw 187 would have been formidable, assuming everything else was as it was. That part of the assumption is not necessarily true ... had the Fw 187 been a production reality, the Allies would have addressed it specifically, at least in my mind they would have.

    I'm sort of caught here. I LIKE the Ta 152 a lot but it didn't perform well when it counted and had the chance to do so. I LIKE the Fw 187, but have no idea how it would have stacked up in the real world of wartime operations. I don't KNOW the true operational issues the prototypes suffered, if any ... but, if it didn't, why did they waffle around so much with engines and cooling systems?

    So I'm caught in a sort of mental tug of war. The Germans HAD great equipment, they HAD a technologial advantage, they HAD surprise in many cases, and they achieved great initital success. But they had no plan at all to fight a protracted war, no pilot-training plan of any consequence, and very poor leadership. The actual troops themselves were as good or better than any others in the world. But the German high command would sacrifice them in large numbers just to say, "hold at any cost, down to the last man!" And they did just that on occasion. What country can survive poor leadership, poor training for replacements, and a six-year war ... all at the very same time?

    No country in history has done so yet. They can survive a short war, but a long one needs good leadership that the high command will listen to. Hitler wasn't very good at listening, even to sound advice from experienced battlefield commanders. A man less capable than Hermann Goering of planning and exceuting a world-class Luftwaffe can hardly be imagined. The results are farily predictable.

    Had they listened to Erhard Milch instead of what really happened, we all might be speaking German ...
     
  7. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The Fw-187 have had the necessities to be a fine heavy/LR fighter, with engines better than Jumo 210, of course. Unlike the P-38, it was a 'classic twin', that saves plenty of weight and production time. Instead of second crew member, one can envision a more comfortable space for the single crew member. Don't know the wing profile thickness, does not seem it was a thick one (feedback is welcomed).
    Compared to the Whirlwind, it was not of a prohibitively small size (wing area 30.6 sq m vs. 23.2; the P-38 was at 30.43), so installation of engines heavier than Jumo 210 was feasible, and it was undertaken. Compared to the Bf-110/210/Beaufighter, it was much smaller, hence the performance on same power was bound to be greater. The 110/210 should make better NFs, though. The historical Fw-187 on Jumo 210 was as fast as the Bf-110 on DB-601A engines, or the Hurricane I.

    As alternative power-plants for the Fw-187 we might include the HS-12Y engines (erstwhile the ones produced in Czechoslovakia, then the French ones) - 850-1000 HP at altitude vs. ~650 for the Jumo 210; the Jumo 211; the G&R 14N. Plus the obvious DB-601/605 series.
     
  8. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Or the classic what if: Walter Wever living past 1936. He wanted the Fw187 along with Richthofen, its original proponent, but died and Richthofen left the development department thereafter. Wever was the man that built the LW, Goering the man then that ran it into the ground.
     
  9. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    So basically it had the features and 'stretch' to be a P-38 if actually adopted?
     
  10. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    It seems to have all the requirements to be versatile and they DID fit DB6xx engines to it, so it COULD have been built around the DB 605 at some point. I believe it had the making of a fine fighter.

    I wonder why the Luftwaffe didn't think it was worth development? They developed myriad other useless planes, so why not one that could do the job?
     
  11. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Doctrine. Goering pushed the Bf110 for the role and Wever tried pushing back along with Richthofen, but upon Wever's death and Richthofen leaving the development department all support for the Fw187 ended and Goering stacked the LW with his stooges, especially the Technical Branch, side lining Milch in the process, and elevating Ernst Udet to overall decision maker in terms of aircraft production and development, which really meant Goering's will be done when he said so. So the Bf110 was firmly chosen and the Fw187 became Kurt Tanks passion project that never was. It was a critical missed opportunity, but given the repeated **** ups of the LW after Wever's death its just one of many (Me210 fiasco, He177 problems, the Ta-154 waste, the Ju288 debacle, etc.).
     
  12. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    I believe so.
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The P-38 had the fortune to go into service 1 1/2 -2 years after the FW 187 would have gone into service if it was to have any real chance of success.

    This allowed service versions to go into action with pretty much a working weapons system, working engines (although still needing some work) and such.

    A 1940 Fw 187 has some severe problems with it's weapons system/s. A 1941 FW 187 may have a number of the problems solved and 1942 version may have all the problems solved, but are the Germans going to tool up for the Fw 187 in 1941 to have them in numbers in 1942?

    A 1940 single seat FW 187 has two more 7.9mm Mgs than a 109E and no more ammo per gun. A rather severe limitation for an escort fighter or deep penetration fighter. You also have the radio problem. German radios for the single seat fighters were crap in 1940 (in part because some of the Spanish veterans didn't believe they needed radios of any sort) and long range escort fighters that cannot talk to either their base or the bomber formation/s they are supposed to escort are in rather deep fertilizer.

    Now perhaps the Germans could have rigged bigger drums on the cannon or some other solution. (a 1940 or early 41 P-38 would have had some serious gun problems too) but this is where we also wind up with the Fw 187 discussions. We not only have a plane that was never flown in the configuration people are calling for, they also want to arm it with guns from a different time. Early availability of the MG 151 and/or MG 131s would have made a single seat FW 187 a much more viable project in 1939/40 but the guns were not ready.
     
  14. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The Fw-187 would be a fully viable LR fighter with 8x MG 17s, 500-600 rpg. Even the historical Fw 187, with 4 LMGs and two cannons, was in better shape (armament-wise) than Bf 109 once the cannon ammo is gone. The radio installed in the Bf-109 was the least of it's problems.
    Germans need to tool up for the Fw 187 if they want a viable LR fighter in 1940.
     
  15. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    #15 wiking85, Jan 13, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
    It had the same armament as the BF110C of 1940-41. The Bf110 could reload its 20mm FF drum mags though in flight, which the Fw187 could not. The 1942 version supposedly had a bigger fuselage for more fuel and room for the pilot, which when coupled with the later MGs/MKs were extremely potent. For 1940 it would have had a mighty punch though.
    Messerschmitt Bf 110 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Focke-Wulf Fw 187 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Messerschmitt Bf 109 – Wikipedia
     
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The radio may not have been a big problem for the 109 but if you are planing to penetrate enemy air space by another several hundred kilometers beyond what the 109 could do the radio/s become increasingly important.
    Four 7.9 mgs are certainly better than two but the often lambasted 110 carried 3 times the 20mm ammo per gun, at the cost of a second crewman. But then that is what the 2nd crewman in the first 400 Beaufighters did, change drums on the cannon, except he had four cannon to try to keep running (often an impossible task).
     
  17. l'Omnivore Sobriquet

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    #17 l'Omnivore Sobriquet, Jan 13, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
    Ah I'm glad another thread on the Fw-187 appearing...

    Great aircraft certainly.
    A bit of a sport kite, granturissmo if you preffer, I love it.

    For those many what-if options concerning this Ferrari, I would bend for the early '43 viermot schützer, with just what it takes of overall armour, to keep the chivalrous teutonic flyer confident until etwas mid-range into the American boxes.., one single [brand new] Mk-103 under belly for efficiency along with a pair of 20mils in the wing roots (out of propellers rings), with ample munitions, a little wing aera increase and the latest Daimler 605s.
    A good compromise .
    And most welcome for the Lufwaff's busy year.
    Could even compete with high-flying Thunderbolts escorts in Italy.

    I'm not fond of what-if Fw-187 early 1940 things, because I think in that time the Zestörer concept (Bf-110) had to have its show. The sport-kite 187 was by then too... selfish.

    But by mid-42, especially with the Me-210 industrial accident, there had to be an opportunity for men of decision...
     
  18. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    In terms of the Me210, not having that would save some 2000 aircraft, not to mention economies of scale and efficiency by not having to switch over to a new type in 1941, so from 1939 when they would enter production to the end of the war there would not be a major type disruption in that category.

    Now as to the 1940 version the radio made no difference historically AFAIK. But in terms of ground attacks the lack of 20mm ammo relative to the Bf110 would be an issue, however a bomb rack equipped version would be pretty damn good at dive bombing and delivering pretty serious ordnance on to targets (IIRC being able to carry 6x 250kg bombs with the DB605, but probably even 4x 250kg bombs with the Db601).
     
  19. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The P-38F -G were able to take off a 2x2000 lbs worth of extra fuel under the wings, or two 2000 lb torpedoes; 2x1325 HP for take off. The Fw-187 with Jumo 211F/J, or DB-601E/605A should be able to equal that payload. Such aircraft itself would've weighted less than P-38F/G/H.
     
  20. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    True, Tomo, but we also don't know if the size and wing area would have changed when the Fw 187 gained the inevitable weight and went from Ferrari prototype to production workhorse with bigger, heavier engines and armament.

    If it HAD gotten bigger, I feel it STILL would have been better than the 110, but I don't know by how much. One things I am sure of, the speed would NOT have been as good as the prototypes once in production ... it never is once everything is added and the producion fit finish are present, but it could sure start from a good point!
     
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