P-47 Dogfighting tactics.

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by DSR T-888, Dec 1, 2015.

  1. DSR T-888

    DSR T-888 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2013
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Canada, Ontario, Toronto
    What tactics did the pilots that flew the P-47 use to fight the Luftwaffe? I ask this question because the ideal fighter would have good maneuverability, tight turn, good acceleration and good rate of climb. But the P-47 had 0 of these attributes. The only advantages the P-47 had was sometimes top speed, dive and rate of roll. So why did the 56FG that only flew P-47s yield the greatest American aces in the European theater? How could a plane that was only really known for its ground attack capabilities proved to be such a great fight in the hands of the 56FG?

    Thanks.
     
  2. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,201
    Likes Received:
    2,037
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Public Safety Automotive Technician
    Location:
    Redding, California
    Home Page:
    Who says that the P-47 lacked performance?

    It's R-2800 radial was producing 2,600 hp (1,938kw) and allowed it exceptional performance, especially at high altitude. It had a good rate of climb: 3,180 feet per minute (16.15 mps), nothing could out-dive it and with a good pilot in the office, it could turn with the best of the enemy. In the end, the P-47 even claimed 20 Me262s and intercepted 4 Ar234s.

    Sure, the razorbacks had some problems, but those were ironed out with the introduction of the D. It was a beast and could take terrible punishment and remain airborne and anything that was downrange of it's 8 .50s was ripped to shreds.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    7,526
    Likes Received:
    947
    Trophy Points:
    113
    #3 stona, Dec 1, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2015
    If you go to Nigel Julian's excellent 56th FG site here

    56th Fighter Group in World War II

    and click the 'reports' tab you can access about 300 encounter reports which will let you know, from first hand accounts, exactly how the pilots of the P-47 fought the Luftwaffe. Read them and draw your own conclusions.

    In my opinion they support what graugeist has written above. There was certainly no performance gap between the P-47 and contemporary German aircraft. The US pilots were usually much better trained and often more experienced than their adversaries and were able to fight to the strengths of their aircraft whilst exploiting the weaknesses of the enemy's.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    7,995
    Likes Received:
    438
    Trophy Points:
    83
    The speed was maybe the most important, and in 1943-44 P-47 was some 30 mph faster than the main opponent, the Fw 190A. We can say that Zero have had all the bolded abilities, and Allied AFs have found the way to beat it while using high speed. The Zero also lacked protection ( another important thing in a combat aircraf; it never acquired self-sealing tanks) thus making easy for bursts that hit it to became instant kill.
    Another important thing was that P-47 was outfitted with 8 HMGs, perhaps the best anti-fighter weaponry widespread in the ww2.
    The current doctrine of the LW in the ETO was also to blame - the bombers were slated as prime targets, thus lending the initiative to the P-47s if those can be flown far enough (300-375 miles from England in second half of 1943).

    Another major thing for a fighter is combat range.

    Steve (stona) kindly provided some interesting documents here on how helpless the Fw 190 drivers felt when the P-47 was around in second half of 1943. This is when 'only' 2000 HP was available.
     
  5. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    2,234
    Likes Received:
    411
    Trophy Points:
    83
    I think the P 47s biggest drawback is that it just looks too big. From all I have read it performed better than it looks like it could.
     
  6. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    7,995
    Likes Received:
    438
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Size (necessitated by fuel, armament ammo carried, plus the turbo it's plumbing) was a disadvantage - it will be easier to spot it by a Fw 190 or a Bf 109 driver, than vice-versa. Bigger size means also a bigger target.
    BTW, the size of P-47s wing was smaller than of the Corsair, Hellcat or, just by a tad, Tempest.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Messages:
    5,906
    Likes Received:
    853
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Electrical Engineer, Aircraft Restoration
    Location:
    Rancho Cucamonga, California, U.S.A.
    Most people don't realize why the fuselage is so large. The bottom 1/3 of the entire fuselage was nothing but ducting. Since the turbocharger was behind the pilot (for C.G. reasons), you had to get the fresh air back to the turbo from the cowling intake, the exhaust to the turbo, the compressed air to the intercooler, and the cooled compressed air back to the carburetor. There are two tunnels along the lower fuselage where the hot exhaust flows back that are Dzused on all along the side.

    Ducting isn't really all that heavy compared with other types of equipment. According to pilot reports, it turned pretty well, too. In the air it doesn't take second place to very many piston aircraft, at least by enough to matter. It won't win a climbing fight against a Spitfire but, then again, nothing else in WWII would, either.

    Once it got the paddle-blade prop, it would out-climb most Axis fighters except the Bf 109 at lower altitudes. And it got better the higher it went. At 30,000+ feet it was one of the best fighter aircraft of the war, and the ETO was generally a high-altitude theater, probably due to European weather. A LOT of the fall, winter and spring in the ETO area are IFR at lower altitudes in and around mountains. That likely accounts for the generally higher operations in the ETO, though there may be other factors in there, too.

    I heard one WWII vet get asked which fighter was his favorite. He had flown P-51s, P-38s, and P-47s. His answer was classic. He said it depended on whether he was the shooter or being shot at. If he was the shooter he wanted a P-51, but not by a wide margin. If he was being shot at, he wanted to be in a P-47 by a huge margin. He said that when you were straffing and saw one hit a tree and still fly home, it went from looking like a jug to something beautiful to contemplate flying. He claimed to have seen that more than once, but perhaps he was embellishing a bit, I can't say for sure. The P-47 could take punishment better than most other fighters according to reports, but I make no specific claims.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,201
    Likes Received:
    2,037
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Public Safety Automotive Technician
    Location:
    Redding, California
    Home Page:
    No, you're right, Greg...the P-47 was about as rugged as the B-17 in it's ability to absorbe punishment.

    There are cases where the Jug made it back to Britain with part of it's engine shot away or flying through trees that produced damage such as compacting it's cowling, buckling the wing's leading edges and folding back the props...and yet, remained airborne to make it back to base or in some cases, aloft long enough for the pilot to find a safe place to set down.

    Like I said before, it was a beast.
     
  9. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    7,995
    Likes Received:
    438
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Agreed with most of what you've said Greg. Some disagreements, though.
    The turbocharger was behind the pilot probably because it would keep it away from temperature peaks from hot exhaust gasses. Basically, Seversky/Republic got it right with the layout of the turbocharger with P-43 and P-47, while the Curtiss and Bell got it wrong with XP-37 and XP-39.

    Paddle blade prop coupled with ADI really meant something for the P-47. The engine power got to 2300 HP, than quickly to 2600 HP, than with 150 oct fuel 2800 HP - all before the D-day.
    For the USAF, the high alt operations were due to having bombers capable to fly at 25000 ft, initially beacause it was thought that on that altitude they will be out of the reach of enemy AAA (USAF almost got that right) and fighters (USAF got that wrong) where the heavy defensive power will help out (wrong).
     
  10. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Messages:
    23,202
    Likes Received:
    786
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Aircraft Maintenance Manager/ Flight Instructor
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    And what do you base that on?!?!?
     
  11. soulezoo

    soulezoo Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2014
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    39
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Left coast
    In various "what if" threads questions abound differing acft and whether something else was needed.

    "What if" P-47N was available Jan 1943... what other acft built would not be needed by allies?

    In keeping with the OP, would the P-47N change dogfighting tactics to an extent that it obviates other acft made?
     
  12. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    2,234
    Likes Received:
    411
    Trophy Points:
    83
    It doesnt look like it could.
     
  13. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Messages:
    7,359
    Likes Received:
    561
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Executive, Consulting
    Location:
    Scurry, Texas
    In the 1944 Joint Fighter Conference, attended by 150 US, Brit, USAAF, USN, USMC pilots and civilian test pilots - the attributes of visibility, cockpit layout, landing speed, bombing capability, maneuverability, performance (roll, acceleration, speed, climb, dive, turn), handling, stability, controllability, dive recovery, trimability, takeoff, ground handling, etc for Seafire, FM-2, XF8F-1,F4U-1C/D , F6F-5, P-47D-25/N/M, P-51D-15, F7F-1,FG-1/-1A,P-38L-5, YP-59, P-61A, P-63, Firefly and Mosquito.

    There were many categories for rankings best to worst - but the Best All Around Fighter Under 25,000 feet was P-51D, and the BEST All Around Fighter Above 25000 Feet was the P-47D.
     
  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Messages:
    23,202
    Likes Received:
    786
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Aircraft Maintenance Manager/ Flight Instructor
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    you're right, so it probably can't! :evil4:
     
  15. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,201
    Likes Received:
    2,037
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Public Safety Automotive Technician
    Location:
    Redding, California
    Home Page:
    There were quite a few Luftwaffe pilots that would tell you that looks can be deceiving...including this Me163 pilot. :lol:

    P-47_guncam_Me163.jpg
     
    • Like Like x 3
  16. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    2,234
    Likes Received:
    411
    Trophy Points:
    83
    That seems to be the basis of most opinion on it, alongside a spitfire Me109 or P51 it is big so "obviously" it cant turn or climb, regardless of the fact that it could.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  17. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Messages:
    7,359
    Likes Received:
    561
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Executive, Consulting
    Location:
    Scurry, Texas
    Why change? - it might be less effective at low altitudes but better than P47D when no fuel remains in the wings so it will be evenly matched in maueverability (or slight disadvantage with lower roll and turn rates) by 109s and 190s while still being much faster. At high altitudes it would be without peer while using speed and dive and zoom climb tactics - as the P-47.

    The point is that if it isn't started early enough (including advanced development on R-2800 engine) to design and build the P-47N, AND break ground on at least five huge manufacturing centers, train the people, build the tooling - all by 1942, there will never be enough P-47Ns to 'replace' anything except in series. (i.e. Replace the P-40 as P-39s are still wanted by the USSR, then replace the P-39, then replace the P-38s (more expensive, higher training costs, higher operating costs), then Maybe replace the P-51.

    Conversely if you back up the timeline for Packard and Merlin Mustang by one year and convert Curtis and Bell facilities to gradually re-tool, the P-39/63 and P-40 airplanes will go away starting in 1943 - but probably not the P-47D and P-38 as equally valuable multi role US Fighters. You don't convert Lockheed with the P-80 in the pipeline.. P-59 was obsolete when it first flew but might hold a small section of Bell mfg capacity through 1944.
     
  18. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,201
    Likes Received:
    2,037
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Public Safety Automotive Technician
    Location:
    Redding, California
    Home Page:
    It should be pointed out, though, that the P-47 (and several other types) could run into serious trouble against an Fw190 at lower altitudes IF the Fw190 had an experienced pilot behind the stick.

    But late in the war, this became the exception rather than the rule.
     
  19. ChrisMcD

    ChrisMcD New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2015
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    #19 ChrisMcD, Dec 1, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2015
     
  20. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    7,995
    Likes Received:
    438
    Trophy Points:
    83
    The P-47N will probably be flown like the 'usual' P-47D - at big altitude and big speed, to make the best of the boom'n'zoom tactics, since it was even heavier than the P-47D. The P-47N in Jan 1943 makes P-38, P-51, P-63 and P-82 redundant (let alone P-39 or -40), but those would be produced anyway.
     
Loading...

Share This Page