Hellcat and Corsair vs. Messerschmidt 109 and FockWulf 190

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Ghostdancer, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. Ghostdancer

    Ghostdancer Member

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    The Hellcat and Corsair which saw service in the Pacific - as far as I know. How would these have matched up to the German Messerschmidt 109 and FW-190. Always wondered about this.
     
  2. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Which version of each aircraft is involved in the comparison?
     
  3. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    Gotta have the specifics, as well as the roles ur trying to compare.... Pacific vs ETO is not a good means of comparision...
     
  4. Ghostdancer

    Ghostdancer Member

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    Whichever versions were the most advanced late in the war I guess, in air to air combat.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The Hellcat and Corsair entered combat in quantity during mid 1943. So I think that's a good starting point for this discussion.

    Me-109G6
    Fw-190A5. Fw-190A6.

    The Hellcat and Corsar will be early models.
    F6F-3 (I think this was the first production model)
    F4U-1.
     
  6. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    I would say that the Hellcat and Corsair would match up well with the Focke Wulf. The Hellcat would have a speed disadvantage vs the FW 190. I think the F4U and Fw 190 are about a close as two completely different planes could be. I think any fight between these would be pilot vs pilot for sure.

    The Me 109 would have some advantages at higher altitudes than all 3 other aircraft, all owning to the better altitude capability of the Daimler engine. This fight would be dictated by altitude at which the fight begins. As altitude is lost, the Hellcat and Corsair become stronger.
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this. However I think the F6F would be outclassed by the Me-109G in most situations. In fact even the late war F6F-5 would have a tough time vs the 1943 Me-109G6.

    F6F-5.
    F6F Hellcat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    380 mph max speed.
    Me-109F4 and later have a speed advantage.

    3,500 ft/min climb.
    The Me-109F4 and later have an advantage.

    6 x .50cal MG.
    All Me-109G (with 3cm prop cannon) have a firepower advantage.

    .16 hp / lb.
    The Me-109F4 and later have a superior power to weight ratio. That translates into superior acceleration.

    Wing loading is roughly equal. Both should be good in stall fight.

    The F6F is more rugged by virtue of being twice as heavy. There is more metal to shoot away. However ruggedness doesn't count for much when the opponent is firing 3cm mine shells (Me-109G) or 4 x MG151/20 with mine shells (Fw-190).
     
  8. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Late war F4U4 would be slightly to decidedly superior at altitudes where most combat took place to any FW190 or ME109. The F6F5 would not have much if any edge on late model DWs or MEs. If combat took place very far from base, both German fighters would be severely handicapped.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That holds true for any fighter aircraft. The defender gets ground (or ship) based radar assistance and the pilot is not fatigued by several hours of flying. Not to mention the defender has a nearly fully tank of fuel while the attacker must keep one eye on the fuel guage.
     
  10. claidemore

    claidemore Member

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  11. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    #11 renrich, Mar 17, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2010
    The point is, Dave, that the Corsair and Hellcat could fight much further from base than could the two German fighters.

    The F4U4 was a horse of an different color than the F4U1 in the comparison, Claidemore. It was a real upgrade in performance over the earlier Corsairs.
     
  12. zoomar

    zoomar Member

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    Which why it is hard to compare two German land-based interceptors used in Europe with two long-range naval fighters primarily used in the Pacific. Both German planes had to be armed with cannon to bring down well-protected multi-engined heavy bombers as well as fighters. The US planes could do with their paltry six .50 cal MGs because they were primarly facing lightly constructed Japanese fighters and poorly protected bombers such as the Ki-21 and G4M.

    Aren't there numerous instances of FAA Hellcats engaging FW190s and Bf109s in the ETO?
     
  13. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Zoomar, those "paltry" six fifties or four or eight shot down many, many enemy aircraft of all descriptions in the PTO and ETO and for that matter, in the Korean War. To say that you underestimate the 50 BMG perhaps is an understatement. Only a few encounters between FAA Hellcats and LW fighters occurred.
    The fact is that in an encounter between two fighters, six fifties would arguably be more effective than cannon.
     
  14. zoomar

    zoomar Member

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    I knew "paltry" would get a rise out of somebody.

    You do have a point that six .50s work against Luftwaffe fighters. I've seen enough gun camera footage to know that. I've also seen a lot of footage where those.50 cals are peppering away at an Fw-190 or Bf-110 for what seems like forever before the German turns over and heads down. This tells me that, to get a kill with just MGs , it works best if the shooter is an experienced pilot who can stay on an enemy's tail for a long time and the shootee is a rookie who can barely fly his Fw190 in a straight line, let alone dodge his way out of Chuck Yeager's line of sight. Given pilots of equal experience and skill, I'd take an Fw190 with four 20mm cannon or a Bf-109 with a couple of 15mm cannon and a 30mm gun in the propellor hub anytime. I suspect most USAAF pilots would say the same thing.
     
  15. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    You suspect?
    That's quite a leap of faith.
    For my part, I'd imagine that 'most USAAF pilots' would baulk at the prospect of trying to harmonise the assimilar trajectory paths and muzzle velocities of the two cannon calibres you mention. In your 'pilots of equal experience and skill' scenario, who's going to have the biggest headache putting a solution on his opponent, considering that they're highly likely to be executing high-g evasive combat manoeuvres to stay out of harm's way?

    They might also be worried about the limited ammunition supply, especially as they're the ones playing away from home.

    You're not the first who's come on here and under-estimated the destructive power of 6 x .50s or even 4 x .50s in fighter vs fighter combat. If you have any documental evidence of USAAF pilots complaining about their armament over that of the Axis fighters they were facing, we'd like to see it.
     
  16. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Zoomar, I have personally seen what a single 50 BMG will do to targets on the ground like trucks and Light armored vehicles. I also know what a fighter plane from WW2 looks like as well as once worked in a factory building rear fuselages of F101s. I feel sure cannon were more useful against slow big targets like four engined heavy bombers but I wonder if some LW pilots would have liked to have had six 13 mm MGs instead of the cannon against a fast small target like the P51?
     
  17. zoomar

    zoomar Member

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    I really can't disagree that mixed MG and cannon armament carries with it poor ballistic consistency. Also, if the main opponent of the Luftwaffe were fighters and not 4-engined bombers, may pilots may have wished for 6 heavy MGs rather than a single 30mm cannon and 2 15mm. That takes me back to my original point that you really can't compare the armament of the F4U/F6F with the Bf109/Fw190 without considering the nature of their main opponents. The main opponent for the US navy planes were lightly built Japanese aircraft, while the German fighters' main opponents were heavy bombers.

    However, the fact remains that the USAAF was virtually alone in retaining machine guns after all other nations switched to a mixture of cannon and MG's, or as the British did, to four 20mm cannon. Personally, I'd consider the armament scheme of the Tempest virtually ideal for a mid-late WW2 multipurpose fighter: four relatively fast firing guns with the same ballistics and explosive shells.
     
  18. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Quite a few Hellcats were armed with mixed cannon and mgs and a number of Corsairs were all cannon armed. Apparently the six 50 mgs was more suitable. However the F4U5 which was roughly contemperaneous with the Sea Fury was all cannon armed. The F8F was originally armed with four MGs but later was switched to cannon.
     
  19. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    ...and if they didn't work for them, they wouldn't have retained them either; fighter vs fighter, 6 x .50s was a big punch.
     
  20. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    People who are not familiar with the 50 BMG, I believe shortchange it. It is not nearly the same animal as a rifle caliber, not even magnums and elephant rifles. I can only imagine what six-fifties would do converging on the target having seen what a single will do.
     
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