Game changers!

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Kryten, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    Whilst we all love to debate the merits of favourite planes, few can be regarded as being designs that changed the way the war was fought in Europe.
    for instance whilst the Spitfire and Me109 were capable aircraft neither was a "game changer" that forced rapid development or change of tactics on the enemy.

    off the top of my head I can think of four that did:-

    the FW190,
    It's appearance on the western front put the Luftwaffe in a position of technical superiority over the MkV Spit and drove development of newer and faster Spits, along with more powerfull designs.
    as far as I know it was over six months before the MkIX Spit came into service that resored the balance.
    In many of the memoirs of fighter pilots I have seen mentions of the overnight change of attitude of the Luftwaffe pilots, I believe it was Al Deere who stated "it was suprising to see the way the FW pilots stayed around and got stuck into the fight when hunched behind the controls of a 190, a marked difference to the one pass and dive away tactics of the 109's, sound tactics when fighting spits in a 109"

    The Mosquito
    This fast light bomber and fighter bomber gave the Allies an ability to take the fight to the enemy and had the speed to survive in hostile skies, a marked contrast to earlier designs.
    it's performance led to Goering commenting on allied technical superiority in the air and the forming of a unit dedicated to intercepting these aircraft.

    P51,
    At last the Allies fielded a highly capable aircraft that had the range to escort the bomber all the way to Berlin, we can spend all day debating the relative strengths and weaknesses of differing types but the ability to fly an advanced escort fighter that distance made a considerable change to losses and morale on both sides.

    ME262
    the nail in the piston engined aircrafts coffin, it may have been no dog fighter but that was irrelevant as the bomber is the true instrument of air power and these aircraft were the perfect answer to the bomber, if enough of these could have been produced, pilots trained and fuel produced, the air war could have been tipped on its head as the threat they would have meant to the daylight bombing campaign would no doubt have prolonged the war, probably the biggest game changer of them all.
     
  2. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Agree with all the above but can I add 1 more the VLR (very long range) Liberators that closed the Atlantic gap and neutered the U boat threat. No Liberators, possibly no D Day or at least a much later one.
     
  3. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    thats a good one, strategically very important!
     
  4. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    How about the Zero? The B-29? To be a bit different, I'd also add the early radar-equipped nightfighter Blenheims.
     
  5. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I would throw in the appearance of the Corsair and Hellcat in the pacific. Until then, the Wildcat and P-40 were taking on the Japanese and had a kill ratio of, at best, 3-1. The Corsair had a 12-1 and the Hellcat was 15-1 kill ratio (if memory serves, please correct me if I'm wrong).
     
  6. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Kryten - I wouldn't modify your list. Each entry did in fact change the game and force a specific new set of tactics and development in an attempt to offset.
     
  7. krieghund

    krieghund Member

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    I agree with the list for Europe

    However, to a much larger magnitude was the paradigm shift in the Pacific of the Zero-sen fighter. The current western thought of the agrarian culture of Japan is that they were incapable of producing any technology that could match up to what the west could produce and thus we were confident that behind our technology we were safe and could not be challenged. Even after being engaged the western powers had to invent stories that they just copied our technology to justify our paradigm of technical superiority.

    It was the Japanese leader's confidence in their new weapons that gave them the courage to take on the world. A few screw ups on their part enabled us to have the time to surpass and then out produce them.

    Thus I believe the Zero was a game changer.
     
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  8. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Of all the aircraft I would choose the B24 as the biggest game changer as for the reasons set out above . An often forgotten part of the war is how the 24 changed ASW
     
  9. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I believe that Krieghund hit the nail on the head. The A6M could be places no other fighter in the world could be and when it got there was better than any other fighter it would encounter. As far as fighters go, it was better in 1941-42 than the F2A, F4F, P40, P39, Hurricane and Spitfire, to name a few. Overall it outperformed all of those in ACM and none of it's prey could come close to matching it's range. It would have been extremely difficult for the Japanese strategy in the first six months of the war to have been successful without the Zeke. On top of that, as I pointed out the other day in another thread. The Zeke I saw landing at our airport two Mondays ago was one beautiful fighter. Way ahead of it's time in looks with the exception of the 109 and Spit.
     
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  10. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Although in terms of Japan's strategic objectives, the much-forgotten Ki-43 did more damage than the Zero. It was the Ki-43 that won air superiority over Malaya that ultimately enabled Japanese victory over Singapore and the onward assault into the Dutch East Indies. That said, I already added the Zero in my earlier post.
     
  11. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    #11 renrich, Oct 21, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011
    The KI43 was a formidable opponent and instrumental in the early Japanese success and it did all that with only two 12.7 MGs. However, the Zeke was unique in the world in that it had a combat radius of 300 miles off a carrier. That was twice that of the F4F.

    Thorlifter, I doubt the F4F or P40 ever had a kill ratio of 3-1 over the Zeke. Lundstrom, whose books are heavily researched says that the F4F in November, 1942 had a roughly even ratio with A6Ms, which was chiefly due to superior tactics by USN pilots. I doubt the P40 did as well. The FM2s later in the war may have done a little better as the quality of the IJN pilots declined.
     
  12. TheMustangRider

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    The B-29, in my opinion, was a game changer towards the end of the war.
    It enable the USAAF to bomb Japanese soil from bases as far as India and China and helped to put pressure on the Japanese while B-29 crews and the B-29s themselves evolved and became more proficient during the campaign.
    The Superfort devastated Japanese cities, destroyed a great percentage of its war industries, cut off the home islands from their remaining maritime supply lines and by delivering the world's first nuclear weapons, it set the rules for American air power in the looming Cold War.
     
  13. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The 1940 German invasion of Norway would have been impossible without it. So would the 1941 invasion of Crete. Without the Ju-52 transport the 1942 Demyansk Pocket becomes a German defeat instead of a German victory. Probably quite a few other encirclement battles also. Ju-52 transports were crucial in allowing Luftwaffe fighter and bomber units to rapidly relocate to other airfields, allowing CAS to keep pace with Heer units on the move.

    The USA took these lessons to heart, producing a massive C-47 fleet to support both themselves and Britain. But it was the Ju-52 that got there first.
     
  14. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    The B-29 Superfortress, but not just for the reasons mentioned elsewhere; the impact I'm talking about was felt largely post-war, but it is important nevertheless. During the war the Russians had requested B-29s but were denied them. Three landed in Russian soil during the war and by a miracle of patient examining and analysis (not to mention the pressure of the NKVD on their backs), the Tupolev engineers reverse engineered what was one of the most complex aircraft that existed in the world at that time. The impact of the B-29 on Russian (Soviet) aviation was astounding; new methods and materials were developed from it in the manufacture of aircraft and components, quality control was essential for the close tolerace fits of many of the components, the automated gunnery systems - extraordinarily sophisticated, the pressurisation system, and more.

    Every big bomber and transport that appeared in the post-war Soviet Union benefitted enormously from the work that Tupolev did in reverse engineering the B-29. Yeah, we can write them off as copy cats, but Russia was a nation of farmers and tractor builders, but with fine engineering expertise at their availability; they were an industrially backward nation by comparison to the USA (largely thanks to the Soviets and their terrible collectivisation farming programs and Stalin's purges - but we won't go into that here), so, technologically the Tu-4 was a massive step forward for them. You could argue that it directly led to an escalation in the cold war with Curtis Le May's perceived 'Bomber Gap'. Game changer indeed.
     
  15. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I thought so, but since I was shooting from the hip, I couldn't remember exactly. I was actually thinking 1:1 or 2:1. Thanks for the input, but that further enforces my belief that the F4U and F6F were game changers to the benefit of the American's as the Zero was to the Japanese.
     
  16. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    There was front in WW2 that lasted from 39-45 and that was the Battle of the Atlantic and for the first 4 years there was ahuge hole in the centre that lacked air cover , they placed Catalinas , Canso, wellingtons Sunderlands and all sorts of sundry aircraft from Iceland , Newfoundland the Orlneys and all possible points in between to try and plug this hole where U-boats could safely surface, gather and set up unhindered for attacks on convoys and along came the Liberator and its use certainly helped put a nail in the Uboats coffin
     
  17. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    The Yak-9 was a game changer for the VVS as it epitomises the period where Soviets matched contemporary Me-109 performance with general issue fighters (frontal aviation), the position shared by the La-5 which matches or exceeds Fw-190A performance.
    Their other game changer would be the Il2 of course, unlike any other tactical bomber force they stood up penetrating enemy controlled airspace to perform routine missions, around Smolensk they became known as Black Death according to the Russians, despite air cover when they approached all your vehicles and installations were about to go up in black smoke.
     
  18. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Not strictly the same, but I put forward aircraft equipped with the cavity magnetron - or at least centimetric radar. Over the North Atlantic RAF aircraft fitted with ASV (Air to Surface Vessel) radar (this is what really tipped the balance in favour of the Allies against the U-boats) were able to intecept U-boats long before the U-boat was aware it was being stalked. Over Enemy territory, British heavy bombers equipped with H2S ground mapping radar were able to make their way to their targets and bomb them more accurately than before, British night fighters fitted with AI (Air Interception) Mk.IV radar had the advantage over German bombers over the UK, and last but not least, post-war, the humble mcrowave oven - melted cheese on soggy bread, anyone?
     
  19. vanir

    vanir Banned

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    One of my favourite warbirds, the unsung Arado Ar196A-3 was a nice little gamechanger for the Kriegsmarine. Germany didn't have any dedicated maritime air force which should've terribly disadvantaged them, but a combination of specialised Luftwaffe maritime formations and the little Ar196 in Kriegsmarine hands made a pretty good combination, whilst not on the same footing as Allied naval air forces, at least competent in the midwar period for limited operations.

    So I'll put the Ar-196A-3 forward as another game changer, the Kriegsmarine had a slit throat without them.
     
  20. Siegfried

    Siegfried Banned

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    #20 Siegfried, Oct 22, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011

    The increased attrition that occurred in 1943 to u-boats has several causes:
    1 Breaking of the 4 rotor enigma shark code in December 1942.
    2 Introduction of ASV Mk.III centimetric PPI radar in march 43 (though metric Mk II was also effective).
    3 The curtailing of the German microwave program in December 1942 with many personnel drafted into the army. This greatly muted the German response since they had to be recalled from duty nevertheless they had radar warning detectors in service by September 43 only 6 months after ASV.III first use. The Germans own microwave program was producing 25kW pulses at 18cm from magnetrons and could produced microwaves down to 20cm from the LD6 triode and a little bit latter down to 11cm at 12kW from the LD7 triode. General Martini, who headed German counter measures effort had in fact protested the shutdown and tried to get it reopened in Jan 43 "inorder to be prepared for the enemy". Two weeks latter the H2S was recovered from a shot down Stirling near Rotterdam Holland.

    The continuation of u-boat losses after the introduction of radar warning receivers reflects partially the success of code breaking but also the time it took to develop u-boats equipped with all the other features needed: masthead stealth, snorkels and I think most importantly a u-boat that can stay down for days at speed.

    There were also other improvements such as long range aircraft, better depth charges, hedgehog etc.

    It think even with the earlier ASV.II the u-boast were in trouble to the extent that they could not have operated on the surface.
     
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