Just How Superior

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Ghostdancer, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. Ghostdancer

    Ghostdancer Member

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    For years I've heard and read how the P-51 Mustang was so superior to the best German fighters (except for the ME-262 jet) meaning the ME-109 and FW-190, but just how true is this? Now, what I read and hear about suggests that this superiority isn't as great as has been stated over the years.
     
  2. Watanbe

    Watanbe Member

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    Well its hard to argue the fact that the P51 was a fabulous and very effective plane, however it is definately an overated plane. While obviously there are many more factors than just the plane I dont necessarily think that the plane itself was that superior. The Germans had some excellent designs. It is hard to truly decide if it was entirely superior because the Germans didnt have the numbers of aircraft and trained pilots that the US did when the Mustange was dominating the skies of Europe.

    I personally do not consider the Mustang the best fighter of WW2. I think it was an excellent long range fighter which was integral to the war effort though. Its range being its major drawcard compared to other planes.
     
  3. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    The main thing the P-51D had going for it was its long range. It was the fighter that took the war to the Germans. That is undisputed.

    I too think the P-51D is overated but not because it was not a good plane. It was one hell of a plane. The reason I think it is overated is because when someone says what is the best plane ever buit and automatically the majority of people go "P-51 Mustang!". :lol:

    You have to look at it this way. Each aircraft had ist point where it was operating at maximum efficiency and ability. Some aircraft that was at high alltitude and some it was at lower alltitudes.

    The P-51D would be superior at certain altitudes to other aircraft and not superior at other altitudes.

    The P-51D I believe however was superior at the altitudes it needed to operate at and that was where the bombers were. Dont quote me on this though. :lol:
     
  4. Konigstiger205

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    Like many of you already said the major fact for the greatness of the P51 was its long range...
     
  5. delcyros

    delcyros Well-Known Member

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    ...and it´s comparably high altitude cruise speed. While other planes had to climb to altitude at low speeds, the Mustang in it´s escort role already possessed altitude and a very high cruise speed there, enabling them to take basic advantage in combat.
     
  6. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Yes, that is completely true. Like Adler said, it wasn't the best fighter plane of WW2 simply because there is no such thing as the best. Beside the range there were other things which made it the success it was. American pilots were the best trained in the world. Couple that with optimized tactics for aggressive boom and zoom fighting. And it's true that certain planes are better at certain altitudes but that wasn't the case for the Mustang as it was faster than German planes at any altitude. And speed was its main weapon. Being able to outpace any adversary means you always have the initiative. Put all that together with excellent tactics and a flying range which allows you to roam all over Germany for hours and you've got yourself a devestating weapon.

    Kris
     
  7. glennasher

    glennasher Member

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    One other thing, NUMBERS, there were a heckuva lot of Mustangs flying around, with fairly well-trained pilots, while Germany's numbers of pilots, fuel, and aircraft were dwindling. I think it's a beautiful aircraft though, and it's still my favorite, but "facts is facts".
     
  8. Ghostdancer

    Ghostdancer Member

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    Years ago I was at the museum in Mesa, Arizona which had a collection of WWII fighters (These are now at the Museum of Flight in Seattle) which included an FW-190. One of the guides was taking a group of visitors through and he stated that some believe the FW-190 to have been the best fighter of the war.

    The quality of piloting was mentioned. It should be remembered that at the outbreak of WWII the P-40 and F4F Wildcat were the best fighters in the US arsenal at that time and were technically inferior to the Japanese Zero and yet these planes in the hands of skilled pilots held their own against the Zero.
     
  9. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    That pretty well sums it up Chris... the key comment is that it was superior at bomber escort altitudes 600 miles away from home..
     
  10. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    That particular Fw190 was a 190D-9 and the crown jewel of Doug Champlin's collection at the American Fighter Aces Museum..the only 'flyable' one in the US.

    The Fw190D was the first piston engine German fighter that legitimately was the equal (or better) of the P-51 B/C/D at all altitudes.. pilot skill and tactical advantage were keys in which one won a one on one fight.
     
  11. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Glen - there weren't a 'heckuva lot of Mustangs flying around' in the first 5 months of its operational history from late Dec 1943- early May 1944 - when the critical battles were being fought for control of the air... and the Groups that had them were spread out to cover Target Escort for three separate and large Bomb Divisions over different targets.

    The Germans were smart and tough - they did their best to attack when they were able to position for local air superiority... and we perhaps have exhausted this particular subject over that last four months in other threads.

    Regards,

    Bill
     
  12. Ghostdancer

    Ghostdancer Member

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    And it is one of the few WWII planes that is not in the Seattle Museum's Red Barn which is the newer section dedicated to WWII. That FW-190 is in the main area with aircraft from different eras.

    If I'm not mistaken when the Museum is Mesa was dedicated among those present were Erich "Hartmann, Adolf Galland and Saburo Sakai, not sure about that though.
     
  13. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    When the American Fighter Aces had their first meeting there in 1984 or 5 (CRS) Rall, Galland, Krupinski, Goehrke and maybe Stigler were there. Neither Hartmann nor Sakai were at that particular re-union.. I posted pics of that somewhere in the Aviation section back in August.
     
  14. Ghostdancer

    Ghostdancer Member

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    Wouldn't it be great to meet and talk with these guys. Their own knowledge and experience would be so interesting to hear.
     
  15. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/aviation/fighter-aces-german-visitors-1984-a-9215.html

    It was and helped shape my own thoughts about the big picture contribution of the Mustang over ETO. Galland and Rall were very helpful in my research and Ray Toliver was key in making the introductions.
     
  16. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    Good posts Bill Adler, I can only agree.

    But remember there weren't a heck of a lot of German aircraft around either, esp. not dedicated fighters which were hugely out-numbered.
     
  17. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    How about the best looking post war 'executive' aircraft?:|

    [​IMG]
     
  18. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    Two issues as I see it. Was the Mustang better than its German or Italian rivals. Was the Mustang better than its allied rivals.

    That is some mighty company.

    A Yak 3 would eat a Mustang D at low altitude in a dogfight. Mustang better at altitude and range of course. On a ground attack mission, I would rather be in a Jug.

    I could buy the argument that the Mustang was the most versatile and all round capable fighter of its type. But I would rather say the Spitfire 14 was a better dogfighter and interceptor. Useless range of course.
     
  19. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    The best fighter of WW2 is undoubtedly the Me-262A-1a, but unreliable engines, low fuel supply the few numbers available made sure it didn't have a chance to turn the tide of the war.

    In terms of piston engined fighters the Ta-152H-1 takes the prize hands down, but again low fuel numbers also made sure this baby didn't seriously affect the war.

    Next comes the FW-190 Dora-9 which IMO was the best series produced fighter of WW2, featuring much better maneuverability than the P-51, P-47 P-38, its main rivals over Germany, as-well as being faster at most altitudes. But yet again it was out-numbered in the air and fuel was low.

    Even so the only aircraft which could've turned the tide in favor of the Germans was the Me-262, had it been available in numbers by the beginning of 1944 as-well as granted the fighter-role by the Führer by this time then it could've turned the tide. Could it have won the war for the Germans ? No I don't believe so, esp. not with Hitler in command, but it would've prolonged the war to a point where an invasion of Germany would've proven way too costly and other more drastic measures had to be taken - so lets consider ourselves lucky that didn't happen.
     
  20. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    The P-51 was a average performer until it dumped the Alison engine and installed twin 20 mm gattlin guns under the wings and a rear firing 40mm .

    Some models had Electromagnetic Pulse capability.

    Other models had a flamethrower and tail gunner
     
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