P-38 (no turbo) vs. Fw-187 (with DB engines)

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Sep 12, 2014.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Two aircraft that never made it to combat. How much would've each of them added to their respective sides, in case such options were pursued? Where to build them (factories etc.); what not to build in order to have them? Suitability for tasks other than as pure heavy day fighters? Any other engines than ones usually considered, like radials? How would they stack against each other, year after year?
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Loaded Fw-187 with DB601 engines probably weighs about 12,000 lbs.
    Loaded P-38E weighs about 15,000 lbs.

    Engine power roughly similar for a given time period so Fw-187 has a considerable advantage in power to weight ratio.
    Despite being smaller Fw-187 actually carries more fuel (1,300 liters for production model Fw-187 vs 300 gallons for P-38)
     
  3. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    We need to subtract some 700-800 lbs worth of two turbos, intercolers and ducting from the P-38 weight.
    Ammo and armament weight is far more substantial on the P-38 - up to 1350 lbs total, when the belt-fed 20 mm was aboard (introduced with P-38H). How much for the 2 MG FF and 4 LMGs and their ammo; how much for, say, 2 MG-151 and 2 MG-131?
    P-38 carried more than 600 lbs worth of armor, BP glass and S.S. tanks (introduced with P-38D)- how much the Fw-187 (any version)? Without intercoolers, the P-38 can carry extra 110 US gals.

    Neither fighter was that small, wing area was about equal. The P-38E grossed just under 14500 lbs.
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Still need some sort of supercharger if you want the aircraft to operate above 10,000 feet.
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    #5 Shortround6, Sep 12, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2014
    10,000ft is a bit low. 15,000 ft was quite doable with non-turbo Allison engines.
    Like many of these "what if's" a lot depends on exactly which versions of which engine you choose to make the comparison with.

    Allison c-15 or F3 or later engine? Which super charger gear and which h WEP rating compared to which DB60-X engine?
     
  6. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    The Allison had a supercharger. Single speed and single stage.
     
  7. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    C'mon Dave, don't fall to that myth :) As noted by wuzak, there was an integral engine supercharger on all V-1710s.

    The C-15 and F3 engines should provide at least parity against the DB-601A and Aa engines. Once the DB-601N is there in sufficient quantities, both for needs of the Bf-109F1/F2 and Fw-187, the later will hold the edge above 12-15000 ft. Pushing the V-1710 in the war emergency power will give it an edge under 10000 ft. Not a loosing proposal for the needs of MTO from early/mid 1942 on?
    Arrival of the F20 engines (late 1942?) will level the playing field considerably vs. the Fw-187s with DB-601N engine, but we can expect the DB-601E/F and/or DB-605A (even with restrictions) will again push the Fw ahead when above 13-14000 ft.
    Installing the single stage Packard Merlin should again provide much of a parity against those Fw-187s - the P-38G with 1100 HP and no exhaust thrust was supposedly good (here)for 390 mph at 21000 ft, and the V-1650-1 should be able to add at least 10, if not 15 mph via exhaust thrust. A better thing to have, rather than Merlinized P-40F with it's 360+ mph?
     
  8. Koopernic

    Koopernic Active Member

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    The Fw 187 went through many variations: the basic single seat unit was the Fw 187A. This version would have been a world beater if equipped with the same engine as the Me 109. It then developed into the Fw 187B and Fw 187C gaining extra crew members and weight and such agglomerations as rear guns. The Fw 187 was developed to death, prevaricated upon, delayed for the sake of comparisons with delayed aircraft.

    In its basic form it would have been much faster than the Me 109 with the same engines but with much higher climb rate, 70% more range. This was irrespective of weather it had the steam cooling system using the DB601H (different to the Heinkel system) or ordinary radiators. It represents quite possibly the Luftwaffe's most significant procurement failure outside of He 177 affair. The aircraft that ended up being used such as the He 219, Me 410 were greatly delayed by their advanced engines and never reached their performance. That includes the Ta 154 Moskito, which for practical purposes failed to enter service and was in concept a slightly enlarged Fw 187 made of wood. While Galland dismissed the Ta 154 as incapable of defineding itself it attacked by Mosquito (this was the Jumo 211 engine version) the Jumo 213 engine version was able to easily shake an fighter ace flown Me 109 of its tail and get onto the 109's tail in turn. This validating the twin fighter concept.

    The Luftwaffe Technicshes ampt initially denied the Fw 187 use of capable engines, forcing it to use the small and weak Jumo 210 it then developed it to death into zerstoer concept and then endlessly delayed it in the hopes of having more versatile multipurpose aircraft such as the Me 210/410, He 219 etc, Do 335. These aircraft either never matured as their powerful engines came too late to mass produce or they were too big and heavy. Even as a twin seater it had exceptional performance.

    One version known as the Fw 187H was proposed as an high altitude fighters alternative to the Ta 152H and using a modified DB601A engine using C3 fuel was estimated to have a service ceiling of 13300m (44000ft) or 13500m(45000ft) with the DB628.

    I don;t know much about this engine but Dietmar Hermann reproduces much primary documentation on this fighter in his book. I would imagine that it was either an DB605A with a high compression engine so that there was more reserve for boost at high altitude (as used in German WW1 fighters) or essentially the DB605AS.

    The Fw 187 with DB605ASM or DB/DC probably would have made over 750kmh (463 mph). It certainly was no mosquito as a bomber but in terms of its speed it should have been as fast or faster. Operating as a recon might have been as hard to catch as a recon as the Mosquito was and it might have been as effective a night fighter due to its speed, able to threaten Bomber Commands pathfinders Mosquitos.

    The Fw 187 was I believe a more practical concept than the P-38 and could have offered the same performance with an earlier service date due to its lower complexity but was destroyed by restrictions and endless modification cycle without commitment. The P-38 also suffered from bureaucratic silliness such as the USAAF supplying and specifying the turbo chargers without allowing Lockheed or Allison to take charge of integration but far less than the Fw 187 which had no bad handing or dive behaviours.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Just another way of telling Focke Wulf his aircraft had no chance of production as Jumo 210 production ended (replaced by Jumo 211) around 1938.

    If RLM were serious about Fw-187 production they might have forced it to use Jumo 211 engine. Which in turn might have prodded Junkers to develop a more fighter friendly variant of Jumo 211. Alternatively RLM might have funded expansion of DB601 engine production during 1938, two years faster then historical.
     
  10. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    It never was, which is where the comparisons end for all intents and purposes. Thousands of P-38s (must be around 10,000, but I haven't checked) against a handful of Fw 187s.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The initial single seat FW 187 prototypes carried two, count them, TWO 7.9 mm MGs. Great performance but hardly a worthwhile payload for a pair of Jumo 210s let alone DB engines.
    Fans of the plane whine and complain about the rear seat but let's accept a dose of reality. The reason the bf 110 could be used as a long range fighter was the guy in back was operating a larger, heavier and more complicated radio than was used in single seat aircraft. It had much more range. The 2nd crewman was also part of the loading system for the 20mms guns. He changed the drums and tripled the firing time of the 20mms guns in the 110.
    Single seat 187? Even with the SAME armament as the 2 seater it is using two engines to carry only 2 more 7.9 MGs and ammo than a 109E, no more cannon ammo. It can't contact base any further away than the 109 can. Rather restricts it to short range interceptor/escort regardless of fuel capacity.
    The MG 151 doesn't show up until spring of 1941 to solve the armament problem.
    Once you have a rear seater, giving him a single 7.9 MG isn't that big a deal.
     
  12. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    How well was the Fw-187 protected - armor, self sealing fuel tanks etc?
     
  13. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Where are you getting your info? The Fw187 had four 7.92mm MGs and 2 MG FF 20mm cannons.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focke-Wulf_Fw_187#Specifications_.28Fw_187_A-0.29
     
  14. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    #14 Juha, Sep 13, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2014
  15. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    A single seat Fw 187 had the potential to be developed into a very good aeroplane...but it never was.

    The early 'no turbo' P-38 had the potential to be developed into a very good aeroplane...and it was.

    That's the difference in a nut shell :)

    Cheers

    Steve
     
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  16. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Again, what's your source on that?
     
  17. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Dressel and Griehl: The Luftwaffe Album and Smith: Focke-Wulf. An a/c album
     
  18. Koopernic

    Koopernic Active Member

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    Apart from the initial 2 seat night fighter variant the zerstorer variants these evolved into were engineered with a raised canopy and Me 410 cheek guns, the Fw 187C also was to have fixed rear armament aimed by periscope. Rear arament shows up repeatedly in various proposals and engineering mock ups illustrated or photographed in the Dietmar Hermann book. Hermann is not your average aviation author and tries to show relevant technical detail, he interviewed Hans Sander, who was a test pilot on the program.

    Despite this the Fw 187 was always lighter and much faster than it competitors and it did so on engines that were actually available and reasonably well developed. Some 26000 hours of direct engineering time from some of Germanies finest engineers went into this aircraft for no result. Repeated modification requests attempted to turn it into a sort of multi role combat aircrsft loaded with equipment.

    This was a failure of doctrine or procurement or managment. The aircraft that ended up doing the role of the Fw 187 were the Ta 154, Do 335, He 219 and to an extent the Me 410. All needed not only new large engine but developed versions of these engines that provided around 2200hp rather than the 1750hp the Jumo 213 and Db603 entered service with. Granted the were available in mid/late 1944 but by then couldn't be put into mass production and further delays resulted from C3 fuel shortages.
     
  19. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Obviously there was no reason it couldn't be uparmed as it was with the later prototypes. Also understand that most first prototypes had no armament installed, so its odd that it had any guns at all.
     
  20. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    A few old books by Green ( although he gets a few other things wrong) and

    "FW 187 an Illustrated History" by Herman and Petrick"
    Focke-Wulf Fw 187: An Illustrated History - $45.00 : Schiffer Publishing

    This book does have picture of one plane fitted with an MG 81 in the rear cockpit. I believe I have seen a photo of the rear cockpit with a gun mount and slot in the rear canopy but gun not not fitted. Gun as fitted could only traverse each way 30 degrees and elevation was from PLUS 15 degrees to Plus 60 degrees.

    There are also photos of Fw 187 A-0s with both a single MG 17 per side and two MG 17s per side. I don't know if they rebuilt the two MG plane/s into four MG plane/s.

    There is NO photo of a single seat version with more than two gun ports.

    The book has a page (#61) devoted to the armament of the "Zero Series" which list 3 different armament set ups. All include the the rear firing MG 81 with 1000 round of ammo. However at least one of the combinations listed IMHO should be viewed with a rather large degree of skepticism.
    I......2 MG 17s (1000rpg), 2 MG FF (60rpg)and 1 MG 81 (1000rpg)

    II.....2 MG 17s (1,000rpg), 2 MG 151 (280rpg) and 1 MG 81 (1,000)

    III... 4 MG 17s (1000rpg), 2 MG 151 (600rpg) and 1 MG 81 (1000rpg)

    Trouble with this is that according to the same book the third and last of the A-0 series first flew Sept, 1939. The MG 81 entered service when? the MG 151 entered service when?

    Next problem, 1200 rounds of even the lightest 15mm MG 151 ammo weighs 181KG, without belt links. 1200 rounds of "standard" MG 151 20mm ammo (no mine shells) weighs 246kg no links.

    The V4 prototype may have been one of the ones with ony 2 MG 17 MG and Two MG FF cannon (please note that by the BoB the Luftwaffe was changing to the MG FF/M cannon).

    This is part of the problem with trying to evaluate the FW 187. Even books dedicated to it seem to mix up proposed armament schemes with actual fitted equipment and test flight results vs calculated figures for different loads ( Nice page of specs for the V4 at 5000kg but no mention of armament carried? )
    There is little doubt by any rational person that a DB 601 powered version would have had much superior performance to the Jumo 210 powered models even with a normal cooling system. However given the differences in the cooling system, differences in operational equipment and differences in some of these armament schemes it seems doubtful that performance would have reached the levels claimed by some partisans.
    And if these armament schemes depend on guns that were not yet in service or delayed in entering service where does that leave the Fw 187?
     
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