RAF flying 109E during 1940

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by The Basket, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    If the RAF flew the Bf 109 during the BoB and the Luftwaffe flew Hurricanes and Spitifires...would the outcome been different?

    I think the 109 was more suited to an interceptor role and the short range of the Spitfire and Hurricane would just also been limiting.

    Would the Bf 110 done any good flying as RAF in this role? Nice firepower but it would still not mix it with the single seaters.
     
  2. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    I don't think the outcome would have been different; the aircraft types made no difference. When discussing technical abilities of a machine you usually discuss it's characteristics in a one vs. one scenario. The fact of the matter is these scenarios are not only unrealistic but are always irrelevant when it comes to real war fighting.

    The Spitfire and Bf 109E were so close in terms of performance that it makes their abilities null and void. The Battle of Britain was won by descisions made by those individuals at the top of the command chain on either side, whether they were right or wrong.

    As a bomber destroyer the Bf 110 would have proven to be a useful (if not remarkable) design to the RAF in 1940. If the right decisions were made at the highest levels in how to use the aircraft the fact that it could not fight against a Spitfire (in this alternate history) one on one would be irrelevant. If the Bf 109 could maintain a position over the Bf 110 and allow them to enter the bomber formation then the heavy armament would have undoubtedly done more damage than the relatively weak guns of the Hurricane.

    The combinations would have been the same but the Luftwaffe would be lacking a long range heavy fighter; so in essence there would have been less targets for the RAF north of London (where, in reality, only Bf 110s and their bombers roamed).

    The outcome would have been the same; possibly with higher losses to either side (more German bombers, and more heavy RAF fighters).
     
  3. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Plan, great post!!

    Not much more to add than that.
     
  4. magnocain

    magnocain Member

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    I thought that the Spitfire had a longer range than the bf109.
     
  5. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Basket,

    >If the RAF flew the Bf 109 during the BoB and the Luftwaffe flew Hurricanes and Spitifires...would the outcome been different?

    The Luftwaffe would have taken heavier losses than they did historically.

    While Me 109 or Spitfire probably made no big difference, replacing the inferior Hurricane with the Me 109 would have eliminated an important weakness of the RAF, and assigning these same Hurricanes to the Luftwaffe would have weakened them, especially if they had made up the greater part of their fighter force.

    The Hurricane would probably have taken serious losses mainly because it would have had difficulties disengaging from the fight due to its low speed. In that regard, it would have been similar to the Me 110 which could defend itself if it kept up a defensive circle, but was unable to disengage from the fight without being mauled as it lacked the speed to get away.

    The Me 110 would have been much more effective for the RAF than it was for the Luftwaffe. One big advantage was its superior flight duration, meaning that the RAF wouldn't have to wait until the last possible moment before scrambling their fighters so that they often would meet the enemy with an altitude disadvantage. Due to the good endurance of the Me 110, it could have been scrambled and climbed to altitude fairly early, enabling it to attack the bombers with an altitude advantage so that it could break through the fighter cover by the means of speed.

    It would also be much easier for the Me 110 to disengage from enemy fighters if it were an RAF aircraft fighting over England - just diving at top speed while pointing the nose to the North West would disencourage any Luftwaffe pursuers immediately because their Hurricanes and Spitfires would have a similarly limited combat persistence as the Me 109 had historically, and chasing a fast destroyer going at top speed and low altitude in the opposite direction from home would be a very risky strategy. The Hurricanes were hardly fast enough to catch a running Me 110 anyway, and the Spitfire would have been the less numerous type in the Luftwaffe, too.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  6. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    Nice. The Hurricane would be out of sorts as an attacker as it couldn't take on the 109 and the Bf 110 could have used its strenghts to attack the bombers.

    The 20mm cannon would be well suited to bomber destroyer. Using speed the Bf fighters could run at the bombers and the Hurricanes which would be the bulk of the escorts could neither chase or catch.
     
  7. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Agree with Basket. Think putting the 109 in where the Spit and Hurricane were would've increased the bomber losses.

    The firepower of the 109 included 20mm cannons. Not available for the brits in 1940 beyond a testing squadron. Those weapons are best for attacking bombers. Add in the ability to dive away, higher climb rate (to get above the bombers faster) as well as advantages in serviceable ceiling and the 109 looks better than the Spitfire for that job. In fighter to fighter combat, the differences are less pronounced. But in Fighter V Bomber, it could be critical.

    End result (as already posted by others above), Higher Luftwaffe losses. Probably about the same losses for the RAF. Tougher call on the RAF.

    Keep the 110 out of it. Just can't play in that Sandbox. Like the Defiant, it would end up being withdrawn.
     
  8. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    I think the max range of the Spit I was just under 100 mi more than the 109E. (both without external racks/tanks)

    Going on memory but I think the Spit's max combat range was just shy of 500 mi. the Hurricane was 460-480 mi. and the 109E was ~420 mi.

    the increase in range would have helped, but it still was insufficient. What they needed was something with at least a 250 mi combat radius with 30 min combat. Drop tank carrying 109E-7's should have been sufficient. (though I don't have figures for their range)


    But I wasn't just the lack of escort range, but many tactical and strategic blunders by Germany and some good decisions and planning by the Brits that won the battle. (poor intelligence data, hesitation, lack of viable escorts, change in targets, close escort strategy, failure to ramp up aircraft production, not understanding the Brit's radar system, among other things on the German side)
     
  9. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Koolkitty,

    >Going on memory but I think the Spit's max combat range was just shy of 500 mi. the Hurricane was 460-480 mi. and the 109E was ~420 mi.

    Hm, how about digging up some manuals and doing a comparison for an identical mission profile? Micdrow has posted an awful lot of great stuff over in the technical forum.

    "Going on memory" really is of no use here, if you want to contribute something you should rather sit down and do some research.

    >But I wasn't just the lack of escort range, but many tactical and strategic blunders by Germany and some good decisions and planning by the Brits that won the battle.

    It was the Royal Navy that won the Battle. Much of what the British categorized as blunders were actually sensible moves not matching the British expectations of what the Battle was about. The only serious blunder was to assume that the British could be bombed into negotiating for peace in order to free up the German forces for the planned invasion of the Soviet Union.

    I recommend Stephen Bungay's "The Most Dangerous Enemy" for a good insight in the background of the Battle.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  10. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Tim,

    >Keep the 110 out of it. Just can't play in that Sandbox.

    Hm, I'd say I disagree. Remember that some two thirds of the Luftwaffe forces would comprise of Hurricanes, which are not as hot as the Spitfire, while the fuel situation greatly improves the Me 110's chances of getting away after an attack even if jumped by Luftwaffe fighters.

    Hit-and-run attacks are pretty difficult to counter if your fuel keeps you from giving chase, and the Hurricane does not have the speed to catch up with a Me 110 that drops in from above. The Spitfire has, but chasing a Me 110 at full throttle - guzzling fuel at a frightening rate - with a limited overtaking speed is not a good idea. If the Spitfire is not in a position to catch up quickly, it's likely that it will never catch up at all.

    It's also worth noting that the Me 110 had some success historically with defensive circle tactics. Over enemy territory, the defensive circle has the big disadvantage that the defenders don't go anywhere while slowly running out of fuel so that they have to break up the circle - a very dangerous moment. Over one own's territory, the defensive circle will be much safer as it will be the enemy single seaters that are about to run out of fuel, and rather quickly at that.

    In the bottom line, the Me 110 in RAF service will enjoy quite a number of advantages that it didn't enjoy historically, and these advantages will make it a much more effective weapon than its history would seem to suggest at first sight.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  11. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    I agree that the Bf 110 could have been a hammer in RAF service during this time frame.

    The Defiant comparison doesn't work for me as the Defiant was lower performance and poorly armed.

    The 110 could have done CAPs over Kent and dived on the bombers with its cannon and gone before the escorts knew it. Also the 109s would have done its job too.

    hmm...the 110 a success? Well in the bomber destroyer role it was and it was faster than the Hurricane without trying to dogfight.
     
  12. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    I see your points as the 110 on slashing attacks against Lufwaffe bombers. Not sure I agree for several reasons.

    A slashing attack would have to allow for the ability to (1.) Climb to the perch in the first place and (2.) get back up there with a zoom climb afterwards, relying on power of the machine to take you back up. As the enemy escorts are up there as well, you are looking down the barrel of their gun getting up there. The 109 had a much better chance of getting up there in time to pull off slashing attacks (and, think the arguement for said attacks being used would be much better for the 109 than the 110).

    Also, dogfights are relatively unusual events. More often, the attacks are slashing attacks. Quick shot and then a break to cover your tail. A chase situation, while it did happen, was not the rule but more the exception. Slashing attack, break, avoid attack, another slashing attack followed by another break is more common. Hence the need for heavy firepower in fighters.

    Back to the 110. The tactics of a slashing attack would work for the 110 if they came from 12 Group and were defending over London. Over the fighter fields in Southern England, you are looking at climb, speed and manuverability being the keys. In two of the those points the 110 does not have it. The last, speed, it is on the bottom end of the curve but still viable.

    If the 110 is used as a fighter, it would be in much the same way the Luftwaffe successfully used it. Not as a day fighter with other single seat fighters around, but as a night intruder/heavy fighter over deep targets.

    Given the inability to stay with the Hurricane and Spitfire, the 110 was a turkey in such a fight, even given lufberry circling and the like. The fact that it ended the BOB requiring an escort of 109s pretty much says it all.
     
  13. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Tim,

    >I see your points as the 110 on slashing attacks against Lufwaffe bombers.

    Not bombers exclusively - everything that get in the way! :)

    >A slashing attack would have to allow for the ability to (1.) Climb to the perch in the first place

    True, but that's why I pointed out the Me 110's longer endurance that made it possible to launch it early and have it loiter at a good altitiude instead of scrambling at the last possible moment and meet the enemy while still climbing, as it often happened with the fuel-limited single-engine fighters.

    The Me 110 would not climb as fast as the single-seaters, but their extra fuel bought them the time to get there anyway - in fact, maybe even more reliably than the faster-climbing singles.

    >(2.) get back up there with a zoom climb afterwards, relying on power of the machine to take you back up. As the enemy escorts are up there as well, you are looking down the barrel of their gun getting up there.

    No problem to disengage first and climb back up to altitude out of sight of the enemy. Combat persistance helps again. The bomber formation could probably met a bit later as easily as a bit sooner in most cases.

    >Also, dogfights are relatively unusual events.

    Hm, I've not seen any statistics on that. I think there were plenty of dogfights and tail-chases both, with one often leading to the other.

    >A chase situation, while it did happen, was not the rule but more the exception.

    You could provoke it if it helped your tactics, though. In modern terms, you might consider it extending while relying on mutual support to clear one other's tails.

    >Over the fighter fields in Southern England, you are looking at climb, speed and manuverability being the keys. In two of the those points the 110 does not have it.

    Historical tactics are not the only possible tactics, especially not if the set-up is changed as we did with our assumption of Luftwaffe and RAF switching aircraft types :) Of course, you have to fly the Me 110 to suit its strengths, and if climb and manoeuvrability are not its strengths - don't even try to rely on them.

    >Given the inability to stay with the Hurricane and Spitfire, the 110 was a turkey in such a fight, even given lufberry circling and the like.

    Oh, it was fairly evenly matched with the Hurricane most of the time, and anyway - I'm not suggesting that it should stay with the Luftwaffe fighters but rather that it should hit-and-run them :)

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  14. Schwarze_13

    Schwarze_13 New Member

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    Hi all,

    I wonder if Galland would still have requested (sardonically) a staffel of Messerschmitts from Göring, instead of Spitfires?

    I agree with HoHun - anyone seriously interested in the Battle of Britain would be doing themselves an immense disservice by not reading this excellent book! You won't find a better account and analysis of the battle than this and it's full of anecdotes too...
     
  15. slaterat

    slaterat Member

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    Well I'm going to disagree with everyone here and say that if the RAF had the 09 in 1940 aand the Luftwaffe the spit and Hurri , it would be a crushing defeat for the RAF. Both the spit and the Hurri have a significant range advantage over the 109, in the context off a cross channel battle. 575 miles for the spit(+15 min combat allowance) 600 miles for the Hurri and only 412 for the 109. This alone could seriously tip the scales in the German favour.

    Also the attackers almost always have the advantage of altitude which would help the Hurricane overcome the 109s 25 mph speed advantage.

    Another very important factor that no one has mentioned is the critical pilot shortage faced by the RAF during the BoB. Pilots were thrown into action with as little as 8 hours of flying time in the Hurricane or spit. Both of these planes, especially the hurricane, were considered far easier to fly and land than the 109.

    Slaterat
     
  16. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    The 110 could dive shoot and run north. Doesn't have to do multiple attacks. It did have better performance than the Hurricane so it could run.

    The 109 would be perfect in the interceptor role. Galland prefered the 109 but said that when he had to close escort the bombers at their speeds the Spitfire was better suited.

    Remember the bulk of RAF fighters were Hurricanes and they were outperformed at all atitudes by the Emil.
     
  17. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Think Slaterat has a good point. Nobody every said flying the 109 was easy. Difficult bird by all accounts compared to the British fighters. Good point to be taken into consideration.

    Back to the 110. The more I think of it, the more I think it just wasn't going to live long up there. Manuverability and climb were just insufficient. Firepower was excellent, speed was acceptable. Not enough going for it in the rough and tumble of 1940 England.

    To illustrate my point further, look at when the two sides reversed almost exactly a year later. Then, you had British bombers being escorted by Spits and Hurricanes and attacked by 109s. 110s were nowhere to be seen. For good reason, the Luftwaffe knew they weren't going to survive up there. Even a tactical advantage of a diving pass (if it could be setup) left too many variables. The 110 as an effective dayfighter against other dayfighters had it's day by the BOB. Tactics couldn't improve what was essentially a flawed concept (the heavy fighter, daylight bombing, precision bombing, all being examples where theories of how to fight an airwar ran contrary to what acutally happened).

    I could see using the 110 in the same situation as the Brits later used the Whirlwind. Namely, low level daylight intruder missions. Attacking Luftwaffe airbases to stress the fighter force (make it spend more time covering it's bases and force it to adapt/increase standing patrols). The firepower, speed and bomb load would benefit it in this instance. It would be playing to it's strengths.
     
  18. claidemore

    claidemore Member

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    Don't forget the fuel. The RAF 109s would have 100 octane available and presumably that availability would have led them to have the Db601s approved for it. Ditto for the 110.
    The Spitfires and Hurricanes would be lumbering along with 87 octane. That should give near speed parity to the 110 and Hurri, and a considerable speed advantage for the 109 over the Spitfire.

    Plus the Brits would have given the 109 a more appropriate name (can't call it Emil, a very non-anglo name). Whistletrigger Mk V comes to mind. :D
    Maybe Twin Whistletrigger for the 110?

    I was going to argue in favor of the 110 as a bomber destroyer, but then remembered that they tried exactly that with the Me 410 as a daylight bomber destroyer, with terrible losses. If the 410 couldn't do it, I doubt the 110/Twin Whistletrigger could. It's a plausible theory that just didn't work.
     
  19. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    True but the Me 410 was at aperformance disadvantage over the Yank fighters while the 110 did have an advantage over the Hurricane.

    wasn't the 110 taken out of production and wouldn't the bulk be involved in Barbarossa? In 41?

    The 110 was a proven bomber destroyer and proven that it outperformed the Hurricane. So I still hold my view. It would go for the bombers while the 109 would go for the fighters.

    The Emil was not as bad as the Gustav was so although harder to fly...it was still probably only fractionally worse than a Spit.
     
  20. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    The twin engine heavy fighter concept wasn't necessarily flawed, though the German "destroyer" concept was.

    The Fw 187 was designed a a single seat high performance long range twin and proved to be a capable design at that, but was not well suited for the destroyer adaptation. (though performance was still much better than the 110 with the same engines and offensive armament)


    The Fw 187, P-38, and Whirlwind all leaned tward the interceptor role, but they all would have made adequate fighters as well. (as the P-38 showed in skilled hands, though all would be at a roll disadvantage, the Fw 187 had fairly low wingloading as well and all had the twin propwash over thing wings which helped maneuverability as well) And the Fw 187 and Whirlwind should have proven capable multirole fighters (particularly long range/interceptors) as well if they'd been fully developed. (though with the early carbureted Merlins I'd immagine the Whirlwind would have had cut-out problems when rolling quickly due to the -G loads on one outboard engine)
     
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