Hawker Hurricane vs Morane-Saulnier M.S.406

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jenisch, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    What is your opinion in a comparison of the two planes?
     
  2. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Firepower - Morane has 1 x 20mm (60 rounds) plus 2 x 7.5mm mgs
    Hurricane 8 x 0.303in mg

    For a poorer trained pilot Id give a slight edge to the Hurricane

    Speed

    MS406 303mph at 16400 feet
    Hurricane Mk I 317mph @ 16500 feet


    Best Rate Of Climb

    Morane: 2560 ft/min (not sure if this is "best" though)
    Hurricane: 2965 feet per minute at 17500 feet

    Neither had armour or S/S tanks. Both used quite antiquated construction methods.

    I would give a very slight edge to the Hurricane
     
  3. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    Tough call.

    Maneuverability: close, edge MS.406
    Speed: almost identical up to about 15,000 feet, then a Watts Hurricane has a noticeable lead and a Rotol Hurricane has a healthy lead. With +12 boost the Hurricane is the clear winner at all heights.
    Climb: close, MS.406 beats a Watts Hurricane, but loses to a Rotol Hurricane
    Firepower: tough call, apples and oranges here. I say before the Hurricane gets incendiary VI rounds, edge goes to MS.406
    Protection: definite Hurricane win

    All told, close one, but after 100 octane fuel, 'De Wilde' rounds and a Rotol prop, I'd take a Hurricane.
     
  4. pattle

    pattle Member

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    I have read only a little about the Armee de la air in 1939/40 and a lot of it seems to be conflicting so I don't feel confident on this subject. From what I have read though the MS406 sounded like a very poor aircraft which was no match for the Me109 and struggled to catch even the German bombers. I have noticed that a lot people on this forum seem to consider the Hurricane a poor aircraft and even obsolete in 1940, but the Hurricane unlike the MS406 did well against the Me109E and I don't think there would have been many RAF pilots who would have swapped their Hurricanes for MS406's during The Battle of Britain.
    My vote goes for the Hurricane.
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    AS far as the firepower goes the Ms 406 may or may not have the edge for 6-7 seconds. For the next 10 seconds the Hurricane has a 4 to 1 advantage.

    And even with a Watts propeller it may depend on height. The MS 406 may have an edge down low (under 4000 meters) with the Hurricane having the edge ( and increasing ) above that height? FTH of the Merlin is about 1300-1500 meters higher than the Hispano and "service ceiling" of the Hurricane is 600-900 meters higher which means that operational ceiling is going to be that much higher than the MS 406.
     
  6. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    One thing perhaps worth considering was the "stretchability of the two designs. Both designs were somewhat dated by the time war broke out. What potential existed in each design to be stretched. The Swiss showed the morane to have considerable potential in this regard, but then so too did the British. In a sense this is looking at each design as a measure of its value for money. How long could each design be kept relatively competitive. W hich design would reach the point of obsolesence first
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    To some degree that depends on power plant.

    It also depends on how far you "stretch" the initial design. The later versions of the MS. (especially the Swiss ones) switching to an all metal monocoque fuselage instead of the plymax covered aluminium tube fuselage of the 406. There were some changes in fuselage configuration, not sure if the wings ever changed.

    it also depends on the jobs it was given. With a wing about 70-72% the size of the one on a Hurricane the ability of the MS design/family to carry under wing loads was more limited.
     
  8. Greyman

    Greyman Active Member

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    I imagine some Finnish sources would be good to look for here, as they operated early Hurricanes as well as MS.406s.
    I'm sure there's an anecdote from a Polish pilot or two out there as well ...
     
  9. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #9 Jenisch, Jul 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013
    The Hurricane really did not have self-sealing fuel tanks and armour? Also, the Morane could not have received updates like the Hurricane's boost?

    BTW, by the end of the French campaign the D.520 was being produced at a rate of 300 per month. IIRC, there were more than 500 delivered by the time of the armistice. The French AF and the RAF seems to have been in a similar situations as for planes types.
     
  10. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #10 Jenisch, Jul 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013
    THE FRENCH AIR FORCE

    If the Germans suffered a good part of those air casualities by French fighters, the Morane has the lion's share here.
     
  11. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    WOW, from the same link above:

    God, if the LW already felt the pressure with just 26% of the French fighters, imagine if all of them were deployed? Unfornately for the French, their Army messed up the whole thing.
     
  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    It depends on the timing. in 1939 few, if any Hurricanes had self sealing tanks or armor. In the summer of 1940 most did.

    The MS 406 probably could NOT operate at higher boost even if better fuel was available. It was 36 liter engine, just a bit smaller than a RR Griffon and larger than either a DB 601 or Jumo 211 yet it weighed about 700lbs less than single stage Griffon and around 300lbs less than early DB or Jumo engines. It's strength is to stand up to higher boost is seriously questionable. It also used a 7 to 1 compression ratio which will limit top boost. Perhaps not as big a problem trying to reach 6lbs to 9lbs of boost.

    You could put later model engines in the old airframes but that is a lot more trouble and expense. It is what the Finns did with the Mörkö-Morane where they put captured 1100hp Klimov M-105P engines in the MS 406 but even with an improved cowl/radiator that got them to 326mph.
     
  13. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    Uhmm.

    Anyone knows what was the production rate of Bf 109s in the time of the BoF? I ask this, because the D.520 managed to attain a 300 plane per month production rate while the BoF developed.
     
  14. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    apparently it was not a case of lack of aircraft but lack of pilots, ground staff and spares leaving a large percentage of the French force on the ground.
     
  15. l'Omnivore Sobriquet

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    #15 l'Omnivore Sobriquet, Jul 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013
    The MS 406 did put a good show during the Phoney War, against Bf-109 Ds.
    In somewhat occasional but repeated along these months, 'chivalerous skirmishes' and honour laden encounters, duels, above the static frontier line generally in Alsace.
    A few patroling MS 406s sometimes met a few patroling Bf 109Ds, and off they went. Generally starting at altitude, and quickly set downwards to hard turning dogfights, lasting sometimes quite long.
    In these events the records were even.
    Power did not speak a lot, altitude-consumming did most of the job. A few kills for each sides, along the months, but more often some opponents wounded or 'tired out' (short on fuel and ammunitions) that managed to flee towards their respective countries. French pilots were quite good, and a well handled Morane was an exciting machine. As long as a climbing game towards some hight and fast target was out of the matter...

    This was not the case in those 'patrollers' fights', and the Bf109Ds, lovely fighters' machines in their own right (!), were not yet bound to the Hit and run tactics that their later comrades, Bf 109 Es this time, would stick to. With their two guns and their DB601. and so and so., in the summer 1940.

    The Morane was one of these planes that was both agile, tight-turning, and stable as a shooting platform (the P-51 would be of this kind.) Some say that a touch of instability is better for a 'nervous' fighter (like the Spit, perhaps the Bearcat and certainly most typically the Dewoitine D520), but just give it a good pilot and a good shooter, to negate much of this...

    Against the Bf-109D, in these 'easy' circumtances (yet very deadly!) that fit it well, but also made a very good basis for a serious comparison of the two types and their fighting's abilities, close to 'academic mock combats' so often called for in this forum, the MS 406 did well.
    Against the 'D' it certainly had a weapon advantage, and was a good mount to exploit it. Impossible to shake him off your tail, too..

    German pilots were not bad either, even if most of them were fighting in Poland or 'resting' a bit from it : their standard level was simply very good.

    As for a comparison with the Hurricane, the British certainly deserves its aura of superiority against the French. Quite bigger, more powerfull, more potent.
    Yet the Morane would be a nasty opponant in a fair confrontation, and even a pure power gameplay from the Hawker jockey might not set him free.

    However Morane 406 in the BoB, in place of the Hurricane would have been... euh.. well... it is a good question after all...

    Given some early warning and a clever direction from the ground control. Then let the guns speak, then the fight for escape : it would have gained a different reputation, that's one thing certain !
     
  16. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    In fact in MS 406 the lower fuel tank was sel-sealing, the upper not, so like in Spitfire. Finnish pilots tended to like the MS 406 as a flying machine, it had very light and effective controls but was not a good weapon platform and didn't have powerful enough engine. Finns equipped their MS 406s with pilot's back armour.

    Juha
     
  17. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Thats not as spectacular as it sounds. Most nations operated large reserves of aircraft, ideally about 3 months supply. the only significant exception to this was the germans, whoo ran a veritable hand to mouth existence for most of the war, until 1944 as a matter of fact.

    Admittedly for the french the rapid ramping up of air force strength in the opening months of 1940 produced a disproportionalty skewed growth. The air force simply did not keep pace with the the mad expansion of airframe supply.

    On top of that the french went crazy with hoarding aircraft. The French army was expecting another "miracle of the Marne, and wanted the reserves in all categories to exploit that expected turn around of fortunes. They were doing the same thing with their tanks and various items of small arms. No-one could believe that the germans would not run out of steam as they had in 1914.
     
  18. pattle

    pattle Member

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    Didn't the Hurricane and MS406 face each other over Syria 1941? I have a feeling that they did but then the Allied invasion of Vichy held Syria was such a brief affair that perhaps nothing can be learnt from it.
     
  19. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I beieve the French deployed GC1-7 which was equipped with the Morane. CW forces fielded significant forces in the campaign, but these were mostly equipped with P-40 Tomahawks. Im not sure about the RAF

    Allied air streength at the beginning of the campaign was about 100. Two Fleet Air Arm squadrons provided the naval components. The Royal Air Force units, under L. O. Brown, now an Air Commodore and A.O.C. Palestine and Transjordan, at the outset consisted of two-and-a-half squadrons of fighters (one Australian, No3), two of bombers (including a squadron still operating from Iraq), and tactical reconnaissance flight.6 Their total strength was about sixty aircraft, against which the Vichy Air Force could muster nearly a hundred, but which was rapidly receiving reinfocements to the tune of 270 a/c.

    Before the campaign in Iraq was over, the Allies decided to attack Vichy forces in Syria and Lebanon and occupy those countries. The Vichy French air force was relatively strong at the start of the campaign. In 1940, many of the aircraft stationed in Syria and Lebanon had been sent back to France. This left the Vichy French with only a number of obsolete models. However, alarmed by the growing threat of invasion, Vichy dispatched a fighter group from Algeria. Once the fighting began, three more groups were flown from France and from North Africa. This brought the strength of the Vichy French air force in Lebanon and Syria up to 289 aircraft, including about 35 Dewoitine D.520 fighters and some new, US-built Glenn Martin 167 light bombers. This initially gave the Vichy French a numerical advantage over the Allied air units.

    The invasion began on 8 June 1941. RAF and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) squadrons launched direct attacks on Vichy airfields, destroying many French aircraft on the ground. D.520s of GC III/6, II/3 and naval escadrille 1AC faced the Allies in air to air combat, where they claimed 31 kills over British and Australian planes, while losing 11 of their own in air combat and 24 to AA fire, accidents, and attacks on their airfields. However, No. 3 Squadron RAAF — which had just converted to the new P-40 Tomahawk I — claimed five D.520s destroyed for the loss of one P-40 in air combat. In all 179 Vichy aircraft were lost during the campaign, most having been destroyed on the ground. In mid-July 1941, after heavily losses, Vichy French forces surrendered Syria and Lebanon to the Allies.
     
  20. H_K

    H_K New Member

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    #20 H_K, Jul 31, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
    By that time (late summer '40), the Morane 410 retrofit would have been available. This might have given it a real (though temporary) edge over the Hurricane:

    - 25mph speed increase (more reliable streamlined radiator, exhaust pipes)
    - Much improved armament (4 belt-fed, heated machine guns in a new wing - no more jams, double the firepower, more ammo per gun)
    - Adjustable Ratier prop as standard (already installed on late-production-run MS 406s)
    - New reflective gunsight
    - Drop tanks

    Quite the new lease of life, though the Bf109E would still have been a tough opponent. The plan was to upgrade ~600 MS 406s to MS 410 standard - 100 new wing sets had already been produced by the Armistice, despite production disruptions, but only a handful of MS 410s flew.
     
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