Luftwaffe NFs revisited: strong points, shortcomings, paths not taken

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    A call for a discussion about the German night fighters and intruders, their strong points and shortcomings, next-gen NFs (He-219, Ta-154 etc).
     
  2. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    one particularly strong point was the way they were organized. The structure and usage of the available resources was very innovative and very effective. Their passive detection systems are also worth taking note of.
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Entire Luftwaffe suffered significantly from fuel shortages during 1943 to 1945. German night fighter units were no exception.
     
  4. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    The He 219 was too heavy and lacked a defensive MG. The high wing loading with full tanks was often criticized by their crews as it limited the climb speed and acheivable alt. The 219 never used the 4x MK 103 gun armament offered as an option - way too heavy and way overpowered for a NF. Most 219 just had 2x MG 151 in the belly weapons bay. Once some fuel was burned the handling was supposed to improve although some crews still felt it lacked power, especially at alt. Alt performance improved with 603AA engines introduced with A-2.
    The Do 217N suffered from the same problems, being based on a rather big medium bomber it was too heavy with a high wing loading + it also had speed issues (too slow). AFAIR they did not use the larger wings employed on the missile cariers.

    The Ta 154 could have been a good aircraft but the production problems of the partially wooden aircraft were never fully worked out until the program stoppage.
     
  5. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I think that around the autumn of 1943, as the He 219 entered limited production, it was the best bet the Luftwaffe had. You have to go with what you've got, not some pie in the sky 'uber' fighter which probably won't work.
    The He 219 was highly regarded. Von Lossberg went on the record with his opinion that it was much superior to the Ju 88 G and the Ta 154.

    Ludicrous decisions were taken, for example the DB 603 E was not made available for the He 219, being reserved for the He 177 and Do 335, both of which turned out to be a complete waste of resources. Even Galland supported the effort to at least get the DB 603 engines with the G supercharger diverted to the He 219 as a stop gap.

    The RLM and the German aircraft industry was plagued by indecision, in fighting and competition of the most unhelpful character throughout the war. The lack of decision making and the resultant moving goal posts for all concerned resulted in the well known debacles which afflicted aircraft production throughout this period, debacles which they could ill afford. The Me 210/410 fiasco may stand head and shoulders above the rest, but it is by no means an isolated case.The truly remarkable thing is that they managed to produce some of the superb aircraft which they did.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  6. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    careful Steve, if Erich sees you praising the He 219, it might get ugly.

    For the record,i agree, the He 219 seems like a formidable aircraft, and for the limited numbers deplyed, seems to have achieved good results
     
  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #7 stona, Oct 28, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014
    It could have been the back bone of a formidable night fighter force. It's another 'what if'. In this case it would have depended on the RLM/Luftwaffe/aviation industry getting their acts together.

    The fate of the Mark III Spitfire and the emergence of the Mark V is an illustrative point. It all starts with the manufacturer being honest enough to admit to the Air Ministry that it couldn't fulfil the order for the Mk III in time. The Air Ministry, MAP, Supermarine and RAF then seek a solution, come up with the idea of a Mk V, test it and see that it is good, cancel the Mk III and start conversion to/production of the Mk V, all in a short period of time.
    The German aviation organisation as a whole seems to have been incapable of this kind of decision making. Even the first step seems impossible. Generally the German manufacturers claimed to be able to do things and produce things which they patently could not :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
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  8. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    The DB 603E was only available in very late 1944 at which time the He 177 was not produced anymore and the Do 335 barely reached serial production. The DB 603G never entered production, that's why they used the 603AA on the He 219 A-2 and the 603E on the 219 A-7 starting in 12/44.
    The He 219 was also not the cheapest aircraft to produce, it suffered both from RLM/Milch fighting with Heinkel and from too many changes to satisfy demands for multiple weapon/equipment options.
     
  9. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Precisely my point. A lack of focus and an inability for anyone or any one organisation to take control and make the hard decisions which needed to be made. This plagued almost every German project throughout the war.

    The DB 603 E was supposed to start production in June 1944. As early as February 1944 it's use for the He 219 was ruled out at a meeting at the RLM.

    200 engines (603 A) with the G supercharger were expected around the same time and it was in May 1944 that Galland asked for some of them to be supplied for an He 219 Gruppe.

    As late as June 1944 considerable effort was being wasted on the He 177. The He 219 might not have been the cheapest aircraft to produce, but compared to the resources wasted on the He 177 that pales somewhat. Von Lossberg wanted to bin the He 177 and concentrate on the Ju 188 and He 219. No one was listening which was lucky for Bomber Command.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  10. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Why wouldn't/couldn't a lightened Ju-88 perform similarly?
     
  11. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #11 stona, Oct 28, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2014
    The design had reached its limits. It was considerably slower than the He 219 for example (I mean a G series Ju 88 ). It's one of the reasons von Lossberg was keen to push on with the Ju 188.

    I think of the Ju 88 much as I do of its contemporary Bf 110. They were both good mid 1930s designs which were kept in production for the want of something better. They were capable of being produced for so long because they were originally well designed airframes.

    For the reasons why nothing better was produced and both stayed in production until 1945 see above!

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  12. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The appeal of the Ta-154 was that it was of a modest size, so it was able to perform well even with widely available engines, just like it was the case with Mosquito. The shortcoming was that it was not made from metal :)

    Anybody knows a bit more about this performance chart - the Ta-154 with Jumo 211F, polished ('glatter Anstrich')? armed, with flame damped exhausts, but without antennae able to top the 620 km/h mark? Considerably better than He-219 with DB-603 engines?

    154.JPG
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Both the Bf 110 and Ju 88 were good airframes but as Stona says, they got dated. Very few 1938/39 airframes lasted until 1944 in multiple first line roles. At least not without help from the opposition in the form of failing to develop new aircraft of their own.
     
  14. dedalos

    dedalos Member

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    #14 dedalos, Oct 29, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2014
     
  15. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I can tell you that at a meeting at the RLM on 9th June 1944 von Lossberg said that the Ju 88 G was 40 Km/h slower than the He 219 and also suffered from poor visibility from the cockpit.

    He was a man intimately involved in the development of Germany's night fighter force and an active pilot who flew the aircraft himself. In 1943 he famously flew a Ju 188 against Werner Streib in an He 219, a flight that convinced both men of the superiority of the Heinkel.

    You can look at all the paper charts and theoretical projections of aircraft performance available, but those are the figures that the men at the RLM were basing their decision on.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  16. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    ...but it is interesting the He 219 did not prove itself superior to the Ju 88G-6 for a number of reasons and that only I./NJG 1 flew the Uhu operationaly as well as several in stab of NJGr 10.

    the Uhu had great potential but it appears that the Lw stayed with tried and true designs just updating old crates like the Bf 110G-4 and Ju 88 with more modern radar and weapons sytems, they really should of gone all out on the He 219 but too many variants to test and literally too much on the drawing boards; what awaste of time, expense and energies.
     
  17. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    That is a very good way of putting the counter argument erich, and theres a lot I agree with there as well.
     
  18. dedalos

    dedalos Member

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    By just saying "Ju 88G" is just unacceptable. We can not discuss when you just wright ju88G. G-1 or G-6? G-1 had 1600ps BMW 801, the G-6 had 1750 ps Jumo 213A and later plus MW 50. Not exactly the same aircraft.
    I will help you. Judging by the date, 9/6/44, he was refering almost certainly to ju 88G-1 that entered service very late 43/early 44
    The ju 88 could recieve the Morgensten low drug Antenna and later the berlin radar without exterior antennas
    While the cocpit design of the heinkel was excellent, the NF crews were requesting 3 crew members and a defentive MG131. ju 88 provided this. Heinkel had to modify the 219 to satisfy this requirement. A modification which, of course, would decrease performance.
    JU 88G6 also had somewhat lower wing loading. Eric Brown said the he 219 A-2 as decidedly underpowered, and generaly did not like the aircraft. On the other hand loved all vertions of ju88. He managed 644km/h with a G-6.Not in theory as you mention. in test flight. Without radar antennas but also without MW50.
    JU 88G6/7 (and the ju388J) was better all around performer than He219 A , not to mention cheaper to produce as well. The only piston engined NF that was offering clearly better performance than the ju 88G6/7 was the Do335
    Now how the men at the RLM were taking their decisions is another story.
     
  19. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    Ju 88G-1 had 1700 PS BMW 801G-2 engines, without checking my sources I have no idea how much of a speed difference was between a G-1 and G-6.
    MW-50 was projected for the Ju 88G-7, don't know if this was used in G-6.
    I assume the He 219 was also capable of receiving an enlarged nose housing the Morgenstein FuG 220 or the Berlin although space may have been more limited than in a Ju 88.
     
  20. dedalos

    dedalos Member

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    As far as i know the BMW 801 when used on 2 engine aircrafts ( bombers ,nfs) did not use C3 fuel and thus had a lower output
    Look at a cut away of He219. Because of the position of the pilots legs and the nose landing gear there was little space in the nose of the aircraft
     
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