Hellcat vs Spitfire - which would you take?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wuzak, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Inspired by the discussion in the other thread - given the choice, would you take the Hellcat or Spitfire as a pure fighter?

    In the other thread it was suggested that the Hellcat's performance was similar to the Spitfire Mk V. Which of those would be your preference?

    Of course the F6F's real Spitfire contemporaries are the IX, VIII and XII. Are the later model Spitfires more able than the early production Hellcats?

    The main performance advantage for the Hellcat is range. How much of a factor is that in your decision process?
     
  2. redcoat

    redcoat Active Member

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    As a pure fighter the Spitfire IX has a clear edge, but without question the Hellcat was the better carrier aircraft.
    So if I was flying off a carrier I would choose the Hellcat, but if it was merely about which I would rather go into combat in, it would have to be the Spitfire.
     
  3. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    Let me put it this way. Both these planes are flying on fumes while the P51 is going right by them and as a fighter the P51 could do virtually anything these could do.
     
  4. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    I would choose the Spitfire - probably even if I were to fly from a carrier. Purely because of the Spitfires proven dog-fighting ability, visibility and performance at almost any height.
    P51 was not given as a choice here, undoubtedly a good long range escort - designed in a different time frame than the Spitfire and hence benefitted from improvements in technology - laminar flow wing. Was probably not even as good as a Seafire when used from a carrier - had really poor low speed handling.
     
  5. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    In the context of the original question I'd take the Spitfire. It was simply a better air superiority fighter.

    It's a no brainer that the Hellcat was a better carrier aircraft and a formidable fighter in its own right, but that wasn't the question.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
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  6. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Yep. Spitty. Wouldn't it make more sense to compare the Seafire with the Hellcat or are we still going on about the latter's potential use in Europe?
     
  7. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I would take a Spitfire as homeland defence. A Seafire as CAP against Kamikazes and a Hellcat everywhere else.
     
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  8. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I'd take the Hellcat if operating from a carrier or for any misson, regardless of base, outside the range of the Spirtfire, plus any ground attack mission regardless of base or range.

    For land-based, non-ground attack mssions within the range of a Spitfire, I'd take the Spitifre.
     
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  9. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    I'd take an me262. :D
     
  10. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    I'd take a Spitfire - it's waaaaayyy prettier!

    (It's just as good a reason as anyone else's!) :twisted:
     
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  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    So does Me-109G and quite a few other 1943 fighter aircraft. F6F would be preferrable only for CV operations.

    Offer the F4U and we could have a serious contest vs 1943 European fighter aircraft.
     
  12. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    i'd take the spit. i know of a mustang pilot who while coming back from a mission over the channel saw a spit on patrol and decided to play with the guy and bounced him. the spit ended up playing with him instead. he walked away with a little more humility and a lot more respect for that plane.
     
  13. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    Sure it is. But that son-of-a-gun didn't pay 19:1. :)
     
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  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    F6F didn't pay 19:1 either while fighting world class opponents.
     
  15. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    neither did the F6f. weve covered this many times
     
  16. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    #16 parsifal, Apr 24, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013
    This is a hard question. Spitfire was available from 1939, and was competitive throughout the war. it was not much of a ground attack aircraft either, with some unforgiving flight characteristics. As a carrier plane, its debut was pretty por, but by 1945 it was the best CAP fighter of either Navy, and with one of the lowest operational loss rates in the BPF, and indeed for both Navies. By 1945, however the decisive carrier fights had been won. In terms of "stretchability", the Spifire was capable of more development, and remained in service as a frontline aircraft for a lot longer

    Hellcat was just what was needed in the midwar period. it was tough, fairly fast, heavily armed, and protected, good at carrier operations, possessed good range and made a meal out of it enemies, though not the 19:1 being claimed (they are the claims made for it, and especially annoying is the totally spurious claim that it achieved 19:1 against the zero...it was more like 4:1 against the zero in the air...still good, but not the fantastic ans spurious claims that are so often t4rotted out to promote it as some kind of uber fighter) .....nevertheless its combat record is undoubtedly very high....and it wasnt against an enemy that was second rate......it did well against the Germans when ranged against them as well).

    I think you have to give a qualified answer here. For the Pacific, its the Hellcat....availability, the right package, an effective combat sysatem. In Europe, where carrier operations in the last half of the war were not as important, the Spit was probably more valuable. It contributed to the early defensive victories, and remained competititve against the opposition to the end.
     
  17. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    Just busting chops, guys. That's what that smiley-face was for. The claim that thoroughbred paid anywhere from $40.00 to $41.80 should really be reserved for its own thread.

    PS: I'm equidistant on either of these as a fighter, that's why I can't decide.
     
  18. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Well, what are the advantages of each.

    Spitfire V and F6F similar in speed. Climb? Spitfire outturns F6F?

    Spitfire XII climbs better at low altitudes, is faster than the V and F6F and turns just as well as V.

    Spitfire IX is faster then the V, XII and F6F, has better climb and still turns like its brothers.

    Spiftries all come with 2 x 20mm + 4 x 0.303" - though 4 x 20mm was an option (rarely used). F6F has 6 x 0.50". I guess tha answer to which has better firepower lies in one of many threads strewn about the place....
     
  19. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    The closest direct contemporaries are the Spitfire Mk VIII and the F6F-3.

    Spitfire VIII first entered service in Nov 1942, but didn't get into actual combat until June 1943
    The F6F-3 first entered service in April 1943, but didn't get into combat until the end of August 1943.

    The Spitfire VIII is basically a Mk IX with a few aerodynamic refinements, 40% more internal fuel and a bit more weight. Compared to the Hellcat, it has a minor speed advantage at all altitudes, significant advantage in climb and a significant disadvantage in range. The Hellcat has better armour and is generall more rugged, better control harmony and better view over the nose. Armament is a bit of a wash.

    Cut out some of the beef and granite needed for the Hellcat to make it a carrier fighter and I'd put the two aircraft at level pegging. As it stands, I'd prefer the Spitfire VIII for any land based mission apart from ground straffing/bombing. I'd prefer the Hellcat for all carrier based missions apart from point defence.
     
  20. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Early Seafires were based on Spitfire Vs. They had much teh same attributes, but were slower. Seafires skipped the whole 2 stage Merlin thing and went for teh Griffon - in teh XV. But that was later in the war.
     
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