P-51 against the 109

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jenisch, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #1 Jenisch, Mar 1, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b69pO7538sE

    I'm a little skeptical by what is told in this video. It seems that according to him the Mustang was outclassed by the Bf 109, and totally hopeless in combat (yeah, history disagree). While the 109 definately had a better power to weight ratio; and was significantly superior in a turning an/or constant vertical combat, I think that factors such as altitude advantage, group tactics and specially energy tactics were the most important features in the air engagements. It seems to me that the guy was talking like a conservative officer of the Japanese Air Force in WWII, obcessed in dogfight.

    What are your views about this?
     
  2. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    well thats a Buchon for a start with a much lighter merlin in the nose, so it's going to have somewhat different characteristics to a DB powered aircraft.
    I always believe the critical factor in air combat goes pilot-situation-plane, and unless theres a considerable performance difference between the combatants the above will decide the fight, to say you can fight a handfull of Mustangs in a 109 suggests pretty poor pilots in the Mustang!
     
  3. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Pilots playing at dogfighting isn't the same as a real encounter where can live or die.
     
  4. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The man puts a great emphasis at turning fight ("it can turn on a dime"), so it really sounds like a Japanese, Soviet or Italian pre-ww2 thinking. The I-16 was also been said that it could turn on a dime, yet nobody would say that it was better than Bf-109 once DB was installed in the 109. He neglects the fact that Merlin P-51 was way faster during 1944. Also neglects the great field of view offered by P-51D.
    The Bf-109 could sell a trick or two to the cocky Mustang pilot, not so much if the Mustang is well handled (=pilot knows the planes strong and weak sides and flies accordingly). The Bf-109s with DB-605 ASM/D should climb faster.

    The Merlin was not lighter than DB-601/605, engines of same year?
     
  5. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #5 GregP, Mar 1, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
    I'd say there is a tremendous amount of opinion that runs counter to what was said. The Bf / Me 109 is a 1936 design and the P-51 is abot 5 years newer, but that doesn't mean a great deal. What does is that the performance of the P-51 and the Me 109 are fairly well knowm. The Me 109 is supposed to turn hrizontally about like a P-40 from everything I have read, and the P-51 can definitely outclass a P-40 in a turning dogfight, though the P-40 will certainly out-roll both the Me 109 and the P-51.

    On the other hand, I see and read the Me 109 being run down as an average fighter, yet it shot down an amazing number of enemy aircraft in WWII ... how bad can it have been?

    I am left with an overwhelming impression that the pilot was of more importance than his mount. I have sat many times in the cockpit of an Hispano Ha.1112 (we are restoring one) and also in the cockpit of a P-51. I can definitely see better out of the P-51, but the P-51 is WAY better at anything over 320 mph and the Me 109 is right in its element at 250 - 280 mph. Common doctrine in WWII for Mustang pilots was to keep it fast and win.

    So I think whether one or the other is better depends on the situation and the two pilots. If they start head on at the same altitude at 270 mph, the Me 109 might have an advantage. If they start head on at 350 mph, I'd think P-51. If either had an advantage, then the odds might swing his way, one-on-one. In reality, in autumn of 1944 forward, any P-51 the Me 109 pilot encountered was probably in the company of 7 or more others and the Me 109's were out numbered. So if the Me 109 had the advantage, it probably tried to escape while taking a shot in passing as 8+ Mustangs all tried to maneuver for a return shot ... and the chase was on with the Me 109 being vastly in the disadvantage since he probably only had 1/2 hour or so of fuel to fight with.

    If the P-51's closed in, the Me 109 pilot probably went vertical and tried to climb away unless the P-51's had top cover flying along waiting for just such a maneuver.

    The point is the Me 109 pilots in the last 8 months of the war were hunted by packs of Allied fighters ... not by singles out prowling around looking for a dogfight.

    The guy in this film clip has his own opinion, but he also probably can't sell the Buchon for a decent price and may be trying to get somebody to want it. The pilots who have flown OUR Ha.1112 are not very impressed with it. They include many rather well-known pilots. The last owner disliked it so much he gave it to the Museum!

    Let him tell his story. If we had a real Me 109 (and we do ... an Me 109G-6) and if we flew it (we don't since we only have the one engine that is in it), we might have something to talk about. At the Planes of Fame, we don't fly anything that we don't have at least two engines for. When they break down away from home, you have to fix them and fly them home. I'd love to get another DB so we could fly our 109, but they are rather scarce and getting one would be as expensive as another flying aircraft, no doubt.
     
  6. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    51.jpg

    This is from the book Luftwaffe Test Pilot: Flying Captured Allied Aircraft in the Second World War. The author was a higly experienced Luftwaffe pilot in WWII.
     
  7. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The P-51s with V-1650-3 were even faster between 25-30000 ft, circa 440 mph. The P-51s with V-1650-7 were just under 440 mph, at 25000 ft.
     
  8. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    It is the eternal debate - but the statistics when considering the first five months of 1944 show that the P-51B pounded the me 109G-6 and most of the battles in that timeframe were strongly in favor of the LW with respect to numbers in a given space.

    The reasons are 1.) the average skill of each US pilot was greater than the average skill of the German fighter pilot (ignore the old timer Experten in this debate - his wingmen and replacement pilots were on the decline with respect to average skill); 2.) the 51 was a Lot faster while maintaining near parity in manuever; 3.) the German tactics were badly flawed and gutted the natural aggressiveness of the LW fighter pilots, giving time to introduce and reinforce confidence by the American pilot; 4.) the 51 had RANGE - giving it tremendous tactical footprint and options in combat that the 109 didn't have.

    The Net? It is debatable that the LW Fighter Command could have altered any outcome even if the 190D had been introduced in the summer of 1944 (IMO) - simply because of the disparity between fighter pilot skills and aggragate experience would not have permitted the LW to significantly improve their tactical situation.
     
  9. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    I ask: how? The P-51 was much heavier and had a symmetrical wing. It had more power, but it don't seems to me that it would be enough to achive parity with the P-40.
     
  10. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Have you guys considered contacting the Messerschmitt Stiftung in Manching, Germany? They are controlled by EADS. They restore original Bf 109s, as well as convert Buchons to normal 109 configuration with original DB engines.
     
  11. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #11 GregP, Mar 2, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
    Hi Drgondog,

    Let's say you and I disagree ... that's a shock, isn't it? My opinions come from pilots who were there and did it and present at the Museum every month. I wasn't there and neither were you, but THEY were. Doesn't mean you're wrong; means they disagree with you, too ... more than 20 or so, and I believe them. You are free to not do so.

    Hi DerCrewChief ... Yeah, we contacted Germany and they want a LOT of bucks to even THINK about doing anything. So we do it ourselves and look for bargain stuff. We fly more planes than they do, but not German except for a Flugwerk Fw 190 with an R-2800 for power and soon an Ha.1112. It flew in the 2000 movie "Pearl Harbor" and is being restored after a brake failure and resulting groundloop
     
  12. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Greg, I think DrgonDog has some pretty accurate inside information on the P-51 (all models) so I'd listen to what he has to offer :)
     
  13. jim

    jim Banned

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    There are two opinions on the subject
    On one hand there is the opinion of modern american researchers that LW outnunbered (!) P51s and accordingh to Mr drgondong badly(!!!) outnumbered them
    On the other hand are the opinion of the german pilots that flew at the time period. They met american fighters at take off, at forming formations, at approaching the bombers, during the attack, at disengange, at landing,at taxing
    They speak of countless fighters at every part of the mission
    They speak at their memories being continiously bounced from above . They speak of american fighters ahead of the formations to prevent head on attacks. They speak of escort fighters above the bombers . They speak of so many escort fighters that followed them back at their bases
    Finally we have the order of battle of both opponents to form an opinion.
    Also the american researchers claim that P51 could run cycles around Bf109 ,while keeping more than manouvering parity . Amazing , considering the worse powerloading and the low drag wing of the P51
    On the other hand Lipfert says that he never had problem outmanouvering a mustung and the main problem was the great numbers of the P51 formatons. He never met small number of P51s
    To use Lipferts own words, for a B17 interception over Rumania in June 1944 " there were so many escort fighters high above the bombers ,that i did not dare to look at them!" Thats a statement by a 3 year veteran experte ! That was common for him to fight at 1:10 against the rusiians
    Now, anyone can choose the opinion that looks more logical
     
  14. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Jim
    it's easy, just check how many P-51s were around the hundreds of km long bomber stream at the time xx or xxx LW fighters intercepted the USAAF formations.

    Juha
     
  15. cimmex

    cimmex Member

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    “around the hundreds of km long bomber stream”, surely not for US daylight bombing in close combat formation, maybe for BC night bombing.
    cimmex
     
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Unless the Americans were fudging the operational reports (or they were modified later) the numbers of American aircraft involved on any given mission/day should be available to researchers. If the operational reports are detailed they should tell which groups/units were assigned to which "legs" of the bomber mission or if any failed to make or turned back early. Luftwaffe records may or may not be available.
    There was no good reason to "fudge" records at the time and trying to change them now is going to hard without getting found out, changing the originals would be difficult.
     
  17. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    #17 Juha, Mar 2, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
    Now for example on 11 Jan 44 attack on Halberstadt and Oschersleben, there were 3 task forces of bombers (5, 4 and 3 bomber wings respectively) There was a gap of 9 miles between wings and 72 miles between TFs. After 3 P-47 FGs (56FG/A and /B [both 3 x 12 a/c formations] and one which I cannot identify instantly) turned away there was a gap without escort but then max. 44 P-51s of 354FG took took over and escorted part of one of the TFs (1st) during its attack on Halberstadt, other bombers were unescorted until 2 P-38 FGs (altogether max. 49 P-38s) arrived after bombing and after the formations had turned from NNW leg to West and home. That according to Price's Battle over the Reich and Freeman's The Mighty Eight War Diary.

    Juha
     
  18. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    The P-40 would initially (very slightly based on W/L) out turn the P-51, relative load outs being equal. If comparing Allison -39 to -39, etc, the P-40 and P-51 had nearly identical wing area and Basic Weight. The P-51A (and B and D) had 70% of the drag of the P-40 and lost energy at a lower weight.
     
  19. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    How many flew both airplanes Greg - at a time when the USAAF didn't restrict the flying.

    My father, Billy Hovde, John (Moon) Elder, Bud Fortier and Jim Duffy - all air aces - flew the Fw 190D-9, the two seat Me 109G-10(?) and two seater Fw 190 and the 109K in rat races against the 51B and D, when my father was Group CO of the 355th at Gablingen during the occupation - and had access to LW mechanics to keep the a/c in good shape. I have not only expressed the opinions based on historical narratives from both sides but also from those that flew both top line US fighters against top line LW fighters and vice versa.

    Having said that my father had only approximately 50 hours flight time combined in the 190D and the 109(s).

    Kit carson also had the same opportunity and wrote about it. Al White, also of 355th FG and future NAA Test pilot was there and participated.

    What I passed on was what was passed on to me. Take what you want and leave the rest.

    So, go back to your 20 and see how many flew both and to what degree? Come back and report what you hear from those that flew both.
     
  20. Tante Ju

    Tante Ju Banned

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    I kinda doubt that given the Soviets measured about 18 secs for their P-40s and about 23 secs for their Allison Mustangs (from memory)...
     
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