Germany's ideal late war fighter

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wiking85, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    What would be the best fighter for Germany to focus on for daylight operations during 1944-5?
     
  2. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    Me 262. Engine reliability sucks and it wasn't a great dogfighter but it would've been (and WAS) the bane of Allied bomber formations, could run on lower quality fuel that grounded piston engine fighters by the end of the war, and carried a decent bombload (about 2000 lbs worth in A-2a model). Also had great potential as a night fighter. If the LW had equipped wings with sufficient numbers the Allies might've had to field the Meteor or maybe even rush early P-80's into the ETO to have anything comparable.
     
  3. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    #3 riacrato, Sep 13, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
    I don't think there is one ideal fighter, there almost never was.

    But Me 262 + Fw 190 D seem to me the almost ideal combination. Me 262 to go after the bombers and the Fw 190 D (and C) against the fighters and as a fighter-bomber. I choose the Fw 190 D and C over the Ta 152 family simply because they are basically moderate conversions of an existing airframe, so production transition is easier. Maybe it is worthwhile to continue Fw 190 D production while slowly transitioning to the Ta 152 (as historically happened), but it's a close call.

    Realistically, given the circumstances, a continued production of the Me 109 airframe/DB 605 combination is necessary though. So a decently sized number of Me 109 G-14AS, G-10 and K-4 (whatever is easiest for the factory in question, but K-4 being the optimum) will accompany the transition.

    Contrary to popular believe, I think they got it mostly right in the end, planning wise. It only took them too long to figure it out and the war was over (thank god). I can see the reasoning behind a He 162 and I think it's a worthwhile stop-gap, but would (of course) not have gone for it given the hindsight that the war was to be ended 6 months after the order was placed. The Do 335 should've been shelved, even though it pains me to say that because it's such a cool aircraft.:D
     
  4. zoomar

    zoomar Member

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    I'd go with the Fw-190D/Ta-152 as the main priority to crank out as many as possible. At least equal to the best allied piston-engined fighters, reliable, rugged, and versatile. Also of far greater use on the Eastern front than any jet. Second would be the Me-262 to serve as the chief bomber destroyer. High speed and fantastically well armed for the task. As noted by others, the 262 was not overwhelming in fighter vs fighter combat, it was much more succeptable to battle damage, and the jumo 004s were very unreliable. I don't get the reason for the He-162 other than to make Heinkel happy and satisfy Nazis who wanted to see Hitlerjugend die the martyr's death. In capable hands, the 162 might have been slightly better in fighter-vs-fighter combat than the 262, butcapable hands would not have been behind the wheel. As a bomber destroyer capable of eluding escorts in quick, straight passes thru the formation, maybe poorly trained kids could do this, but its two 20mms lacked the punch to do much damage.
     
  5. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Cheap,quick and easy to build,largely from "non-strategic" materials. That and desperation.
    Steve
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Cheap, effective and reliable enough for the final year of WWII. However you need to start design work during 1943. Any aircraft program which begins 10 September 1944 is going to be too little too late.
     
  7. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    #7 ShVAK, Sep 13, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
    I think the 262 would've been mostly fine if it simply ignored the fighters and focused on making passes on the bomber formations as it did historically. Fast in, fast out. If the 262 got into a protracted turning match with any of the late-war fighters it would've been toast, but with a speed advantage in excess of 100 mph it didn't much matter if the plan was interception.

    With dive brakes (as Eric Brown recommended) the 262 would've been more effective in its attack runs, being able to use the gunsights and not simply spraying 30mm shells in the general direction of a B-17 would've helped kill ratios, could've improved low speed maneuverability as well assuming it didn't put a lot of stress on the airframe. A little more armor might've helped too but at the cost of performance and materiel. The point was to simply avoid dogfights at all costs with a 262 (or any early jet v. a piston-engine fighter), just like the USN Hellcat/Corsair pilots avoided mixing it up with Zeros at low speed.

    The Jumo 004 on the other hand was always going to be a problem, but reliability was an issue with all of the early jets and compensated by the ability to use less refined fuel. If the German planners had any sense they would've been cranking out as many 262's and engines as possible by early '44 abandoning piston engine fighters (or at least the Bf 109) for all but the most specific roles, and they might've figured out how to correct the 004's foibles or at least mitigate them by then. Thank god they didn't.

    The Ta-152 was a good fighter, no doubt, and certainly more useful than the 262 fighting the VVS but seeing as most dogfights on the Eastern Front started at 20K altitude and lower and the Ta was optimized as a high altitude fighter its extra performance over the D-series Fw190 and late war Bf 109's would've been of little benefit. Now if it can carry more bombs than an F-series Fw190 and still maintain an edge than it would've been worth it.
     
  8. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    The problem with any engine, piston or jet, is that by late in the war Germany had lost access to at least one critical link. With piston engines the weak link was quality fuel. With jets it was high temperature alloys, i.e. tungsten and such. By the time the Jumo 004 was called upon, alloying metals –I think Sweden was the prior source- were no longer available.

    As with so many things, Germany had no workable solution.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    On the other hand Jumo 004Bs were dirt cheap to produce and designed for rapid engine change. So change engine(s) after each mission. Send used engines back to depot for inspection and repair.
     
  10. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Was the Me 262 a good bomber killer? Flying very fast relative to the targets and carrying large calibre weapons with a slow rate of fire made actually hitting the target tricky to say the least. It had very bad acceleration so slowing down simply made it vulnerable by robbing it of the one advantage it had,speed. It's most effective anti-bomber weapon may have been the R4M rockets,I'm thinking of examples like the March 18th operation by III./JG 7 when 37 Me 262s claimed a dozen of the 1000 or so attacking bombers using the rockets.

    The Luftwaffe needed a good bomber killer and a good air superiority fighter and I'm not sure that the Me 262,remarkable though it was,fits either bill. Our view of it has been skewed by Galland's opinion to a large extent.

    I think they already had the aircraft in their inventory in the Fw 190 D stop gap which would give way to the Ta 152 and late series Bf 109s and Fw 190 As. What they didn't have was the experienced combat pilots to fly them.

    Steve
     
  11. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    Mk 108 was not a slow rate of fire weapon 600+ rpm is not few for a 30mm
     
  12. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    You are right,but it is relatively slow. The chances of hitting the target are not good. This thread is not about the armament but a slow rate of fire,low muzzle velocity and all the associated problems, compounded by the limited time that the pilot had to aim and fire made it difficult for a fast moving Me 262 to get an accurate shot at a bomber.

    Maybe that's amongst the reasons for the German attempts to develop systems involving rockets and aerial mortars.

    Other Luftwaffe options could engage at a lower speed being far more manoeuverable and having much better rates of acceleration to escape.
    There's plenty of gun camera footage showing these types of attack,excluding the head on attacks which were also extremely difficult to execute.

    Steve
     
  13. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Fw-190D production began during August 1944. Like the historical He-162 which began production during January 1945 that's too late to matter.

    Dare I suggest the Fw-187 powered by DB605 engines and armed with four MG151/20 cannon as a bomber interceptor? The aircraft (powered by DB601 engines) could have been operational during 1940.
     
  14. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    At a time when fuel supplys are low, that's exactly what the Luftwaffe needs, a fighter that burns twice as much high octane gas per mission.
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    They will get a lot lower if the Luftwaffe fail to protect hydrogenation plants from Allied bombers during the spring of 1944.

    With the possible exception of Me-262 powered by Jumo 004A engines I can scarcely think of a better German bomber interceptor (than Fw-187) that could be in service by January 1944.
     
  16. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Original question.

    "What would be the best fighter for Germany to focus on for daylight operations during 1944-5?"

    So through '44 I'd focus on the latest versions of the Fw 190 A and Bf 109 G,into '45 the Fw 190 D/Ta 152 and Bf 109 K.

    The Me 262 is an obvious contender along with other aircraft in development like the Do 335. Noone seems too keen on rocket powered interceptors and I don't blame them.

    I'm assuming the original poster was after realistic options not pie in the sky stuff about an aircraft cancelled years previously. The Luftwaffe was hardly going to focus on it in 1944. Your beloved Fw 187 may or may not have been the universal panacea the Luftwaffe needed or it may have been a donkey.We'll never know because it never went into series production .

    Steve
     
  17. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Galland wanted (in early 1944) all Fw 190A and follow on D as well as Me 262 for 1944 focus. I can't fault his logic in concentrating on two types at that stage of the war. The primary challenge to the FW 190A series in early/mid 1944 is that they were forced to compete at altitudes above their critical altitudes while the Allied fighters were perfectly suited to 25K operations to accompany 8th and 15th AF daylight missions.
     
  18. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    Capable pilots were the LW’s greatest deficiency late in the war. Me 262s were very effective in the Jagdgeschwader 44 where Galland had collected many of the remaining veteren elite pilots. This group would have done well with piston or jet versions of the already-mentioned fighter.
     
  19. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    This problem was caused by aviation fuel shortage which was made much worse by destruction of hydrogenation plants during 1944.

    It's a vicious cycle. If the Luftwaffe want to remain effective they must protect their hydrogenation plants from both day and night bombers. Otherwise it makes little difference what aircraft types they produce.
     
  20. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    I like to think about what could have been within Germany.
    Germany's best late war fighters, probably the Me262, Do335, and the Ta152.
    But like everyone has stated, lack of fuel, pilots, building materials was a big factor. Also, from what I have read, infighting between the aircraft manufactures and within the high commands, put a wrench in the works.
    I believe, even if Germany would have concentrated on developing these aircraft in numbers, early enough in the war, the Allies would have countered with their better aircraft in greater numbers. Might have prolonged the war, but ultimately, Germany would loose by attrition.
     
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