Messerschmitt Bf109F vs North American P-51N

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by CobberKane, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    #1 CobberKane, Aug 13, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
    The Luftwaffe's excellent Bf109F has been getting some attention lately. I've always been under the impression that of all it's rivals - Yaks, P-40s, Hurricanes - only the Spit V could match it, and even then not at low altitude. But it occurs to me that there is one other contender: in 1942 the RAF began using the Allison powered P-51A, or Mustang Mk 1, for tactical recon sweeps over Europe. Inevitably there must have been interceptions by the 109F, at just the altitude where the Mustang shone. Are there records of such combats, and could this have been the first - and for some time only- case of an entirely American fighter bettering the famous 109?
     
  2. pattle

    pattle Member

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    I thought these were P51A's or just P51's?
     
  3. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Sorry, typo - I've corrected the post. Maybe it would be most accurate to call them Mustang Is as the RAF did.
     
  4. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #4 nuuumannn, Aug 13, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
    I'm sure everyone knows what you mean, Cobber, but for the sake of pedantism the Mustang I is more accurate, but the P-51 was different in armament and minor details to the basic NA-73, which was the RAF Mustang I; The P-51 was the NA-91, which became the Mustang IA in RAF service. Following on from the A-36, which the British never used was the P-51A with USAAC/F, which became the RAF Mustang II.
     
  5. OldSkeptic

    OldSkeptic Active Member

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    Nuumann I think the Mustang II was the 4x20mm cannon version of the Mustang 1 ... now there is some decent firepower.

    As for Mustang I&II fights definitely happened, though nearly all were allocated to Army Coordination Command (precursor to the TAF) and pilots were trained to avoid one on ones, not the least because many of their missions (low level tactical recon) were as single aircraft, where they would almost certainly be facing 2 or more opponents.

    The advantages a Mustang driver would have (especially under 10,000ft) over just about any 109 were immense at the lower altitudes, better in everything except contineous climb. People forget what a hot plane the Mustang I was at low altitudes, the British used them right up until they had none left..... Plus it's handling was much sweeter than the later Merlin ones.

    Personally I think it would be cases of 'targets of opportunity', where the Mustang would pick if it wanted to engage if it had a clear tactical advantage. If it didn't it just would avoid (easily) the opposing 109 or a 190.

    I'm sure someone here has some info on actual combat cases.
     
  6. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #6 nuuumannn, Aug 13, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
    No, that's not right, the Mustang II (and P-51A) had four .050s in the wings. The Mustang IA had the four 20 mm cannon, like the P-51. The P-51 was ordered for the USAAF to an order of 150 aircraft, 93 of these were diverted to the RAF and became Mustang IAs.
     
  7. OldSkeptic

    OldSkeptic Active Member

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    Thanks Nuuumann, got my nomenclature mixed up.
     
  8. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    No worries Old Skeptic, P-51/Mustang designations are easy to get confused!
     
  9. Ivan1GFP

    Ivan1GFP Member

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    My vote is for the P-51A / Mustang Mk.II which was a very hot fighter below about 15,000 feet.
    It was even faster than the later Merlin Mustangs below about 15,000 feet, but only about 300 were ever built and they came rather late into the game.

    - Ivan.
     
  10. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Mustang Mk II was faster at low level but 109F was better turner and probably climbed better and probably would have been usually the one with height advance when the combat would have been initiated. The problem is that there probably wasn't any more 109Fs in first-line units in France or in Benelux countries when Mk IIs began their combat service.
     
  11. Ivan1GFP

    Ivan1GFP Member

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    The thing that always bothered me about any version of the 109 is the increasing control forces at high speed.
    Given a choice, I would prefer the P-51A over the 109F, but agree they are not really contemporaries and also that the P-51A never really had any effect.

    - Ivan.
     
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