P47 Thunderbolt: Just how effective was it in air-to-air combat against 109 and 190?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by pinsog, May 24, 2012.

  1. pinsog

    pinsog Member

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    The P47 has always been one of my favorite fighters and I always considered it one of the best. After being on this forum for some time now, I would like to ask your opinion of the P47. I want a no BS debate of what it was really capable of and what it actually achieved.
     
  2. pinsog

    pinsog Member

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    I would like to get past any pro-American propaganda related to the aircraft and just gets down to the nuts and bolts of how it faired against the 109 and 190. I always thought it did very well, but alot of things I "knew" before this forum turned out to be incorrect. I am looking forward to a spirited debate on the subject. I will probably either keep quiet or just ask questions. Here to learn on this thread....
     
  3. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    very, next question?
     
  4. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    A rugged, heavily armed fighter. It excelled at altitudes above 25000 feet because of it's turbo supercharged engine. It was big and heavy with a high wing loading. Early models did not have a lot of range and did not climb well. It did not excel in performance at low altitudes. It could go down hill in a hurry and had a good roll rate. A pilot who knew it's strengths and weaknesses could do well in it. Certainly not a dogfighter but good at energy tactics.
     
  5. pinsog

    pinsog Member

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    So how many claims did it have compaired to other allied fighters such as the Spitfire, Mustang, P38, P40?
     
  6. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    In the ETO, the P47 had 2686 kills credited to it. The P51 had 4239. I don't have numbers for the Brit fighters but since the Spit was in the war longer it probably had lots of kill credited. In the ETO the P38 had 497 kills credited. All of the premier fighters in the war were formidable if well piloted. If not flown well none were head and shoulders above the others.
     
  7. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Renrich - a rollup decomposed from USAF85 for all ETO air credits (8th and 9th AF - June 1943 to May 1945) is 452 for P-38, 2658 for P-47 and 4179 for P-51 - does not include RAF totals. My own studies arrive at (8th AF only) P-47 = 1562:214; P-38 = 281:101: P-51 = 3313: 322 (air credits in USAF 85 8th AF ETO to air combat losses, known and probable causes)
     
  8. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Having said that, the P-47 credit (air) to All Losses - ALL Ops ranged from 4:1 for 56th to 2:1 for 353rd to 1.5:1 for 356th FG. For All ops the Mustang groups were as follows for dominantly Mustang group ops: 4th 2:1, 339th 2.5:1, 357th 4;1, 352nd 4;1, 355th 2.2;1, for the P-38 groups 20th 3:1, 55th 4:3, 364th 2:1, 479th 1.5:1.

    For the Mustang Groups, the difference in air to air versus air credits to all losses are that the lower ratio'd groups had high ground credits (and losses to flak)
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    No doubt about that. However P-47s performed a lot of low altitude CAS missions. That had to be dangerous vs Me-109Gs and Fw-190As.
     
  10. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    #10 Juha, May 25, 2012
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
    Out of curiorisety I made a list on top (150+ kills) LW aces killed or knocked out of the war by enemy action, list might be incomplete and OK, if Schmidt really was shot down by an Hungarian, that was a "friendly" fire case, P-47s seems to have got 3 out of 14.

    Günther Rall 275 WIA 12 May 44 by P-47s

    Otto Kittel 267 KIA 14 Feb 45 hit by return fire from Il-2s

    Walter Nowotny 258 KIA 8 Nov 44 by P-51s

    Hermann Graf 212 29 March 44 rammed a P-51 and was badly injured

    Hans Philipp 206 KIA 8 Oct 43 by P-47s

    Anton Hafner 204 KIA 17 Oct 44 hit a tree during a low-level dogfight with Yaks

    Max Stotz 189 MIA, shot down by Yaks 19 Aug 1943

    Joachim Kirschner 188 PoW 17 December 1943 after shot down by P-47s, executed shortly
    afterwads by partisans

    Kurt Brändle 180 KIA 3 Nov 43 by Spitfires

    Emil Lang 173 KIA 3 Sept 44 shot down by P-51s or by Spitfires

    Heinz Schmidt 173 MIA 5 Sep 43 possible shot down by an Hungarian Bf 109 in error

    Horst Ademeit 166 7 Aug 44 pursued a Russian Il-2 eastwards over Russian lines near Dünaburg
    however he failed to return from this mission and is considered MIA since

    Wolf-Dietrich Wilcke 162 KIA 23 March 44 by P-51s

    Hans Beißwenger 152 6 March 43, MIA after air combat with LaGG-3s
     
  11. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    The P47 did fly a lot of air to ground missions and did well because of its heavy armament, survivability and load carrying ability. However, to be caught at low level by German fighters, especially the FW must have been tough for the pilot of a P47. Being at low altitude took away it's ability to dive away from trouble and it was not very speedy at low altitude and it's lack of maneuverability at low altitudes must have been real handicaps. USN and Marine pilots in Corsairs loved to tangle with P47s below 20000 feet but not very much above that. Fortunately, I believe that a lot of the CAS missions the Jug flew were where the LW was not very prevelant. They were too busy trying to deal with 4-engined bombers.
     
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