Relative Aircraft Toughness

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Col Hajj, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. Col Hajj

    Col Hajj New Member

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    I have been doing some research on the relative toughness of different aircraft compared to each other for a game. After reading several threads on this site, I thought I would ask for insight from your collective knowledge.

    I would like to fit these aircraft, P-38, P-51, P-47, F4UF, F6F, and Fw-190 in to the list of aircraft below. The list is ordered from least to greatest in terms of toughness (according to the game) and color coded to be in the same toughness "class":

    Dewoitine D.520
    Mitsubishi A6M2 Reisen

    Aichi D3A1 Val
    Curtiss P-40B Warhawk
    Grummann F4F-3 Wildcat
    Hawker Hurricane Mk.I
    Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3
    Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I

    Bell P-39D Airacobra
    Junkers Ju.87R-2 Stuka

    Douglas A-24B Banshee
    Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless


    I would like your opinion as to where those planes fit in in relation to the ones that have already been assigned a toughness in the game.

    Thank you for your help,

    Col. Hajj
     
  2. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    afaij the Zero was a toughness plane the trouble was the armour less (almost in early variant)
     
  3. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    The F4U and P-47 were extremely rugged aircraft. From toughest to weakest, I would order them like this.

    P-47
    F4U
    F6F
    Fw-190
    P-38
    P-51

    The only reason I put the P-38 above the P-51 is it has two engines.
     
  4. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
    Staff Member Moderator

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    What do you consider toughness? The ability to resist damage or the aircraft's structural strength when air loads are applied to it?

    Also keep in mind that one aircraft may be "tougher" in one area when compared to another, but may suffer a weakness in another area.

    You could generalize off your list but there's a lot of dynamics that have to be considered for an accurate comparison.
     
  5. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    I agree but I'd put the F6F above the F4U only cause of the Corsairs vulnerable oil cooler.
     
  6. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    Without analytical data any such list is arbitrary.
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Pilot protection is most important. Do we have any data concerning cockpit armor for WWII fighter aircraft?

    Self sealing fuel tanks are probably second in importance. Without them you run out of fuel even if the aircraft does not catch fire.

    I suspect other aircraft features don't matter too much if the enemy is firing 20mm cannon. Any hits will cause extensive sheet metal damage.
     
  8. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I agree w/Joe- what metrics do you want to use?

    Second point - if failure due to engine failure is a measure, the radial will in general be tougher than in-line.

    Third point - the higher the performance, the most care exerted in stripping airframe weight - subjectively reducing 'toughness'

    Last point - the older (design) the aircraft, the more likely it has more redundant load paths in the design.

    Thor - to your point about P-38. It had twin engines but 2x as many vulnerabilties for an engine fire that can't be stopped, particularly with the intercoolers. The experience in ETO seemed to prove this out as the 38 had more loses per sortie than the 51. Pacific Theatre was a different case due to less intensity fighting, and less severe atmospheric conditions to stress the engines.

    It would be hard to make judgments about 'toughness absent a lot of relevant and normalized data for losses. The oft discussed USN reports on F6F and F4U are the closest to a scientific study and it isn't erfect,
     
  9. Col Hajj

    Col Hajj New Member

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    Thanks for the quick response guys. By toughness, I mean being able to take damage from enemy fire. I'm afraid the game does use a very generalized assumption for damage values. While things like self sealing tanks are specifically added to the toughness value, they are incorporated in to the overall value.

    In the list that I posted, the brown planes are listed at a toughness (or hit points if you will) of 16, the blue at 17, the green at 18 and finally the purple at 19.

    I think I would put these three planes, P-47, F4U, and F6F in to the same group, say 21 (or 20 if neither of the remaining planes would rate at a 20).

    Thorlifter, your list is very helpful and about what I was thinking for them. Could you speculate where each of them would fall into the main list I provided? Feel free to just color code the listed planes for the group they belong in, no need to actually rank them between planes of the same group.
     
  10. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Interesting question. I'd give the radial engined birds the edge with regards to ability of the engine to resist damage only due to the plumbing of inlines.
     
  11. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    I would say the Wildcat needs to be higher up on your list. It was known for it's toughness and ability to take damage. That is one advantage it had over the Japanese planes in the early part of the war.
     
  12. Col Hajj

    Col Hajj New Member

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    The main list I provided is already set by the game, so I can't make any changes there. As you can tell from the list, they use a pretty broad scale as to what is "equivalent". It actually works out quite well in the game its self though.
     
  13. Demetrious

    Demetrious Member

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    Well if you want a ranking based on overall structural ability to absorb damage, then your current rankings are WAY off. Grouping these planes roughly in terms of durabilty:

    Mitsubishi A6M2 Reisen
    Aichi D3A1 Val

    Dewoitine D.520
    Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3
    Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I

    Bell P-39D Airacobra
    Junkers Ju.87R-2 Stuka

    Curtiss P-40B Warhawk
    Grummann F4F-3 Wildcat
    Hawker Hurricane Mk.I

    Douglas A-24B Banshee
    Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless

    This is where I would put them. The P-40 was legendary for it's ability to soak up damage; one Soviet pilot destroyed two German Me-109s by ramming them with his wingtip, the wingtip took only minimal damage. There's a picture of a Kittyhawk that returned to base missing 25% of one wing. The F4F Wildcat had a similar reputation. The Hawker Hurricane was notably tougher then the Spitfire, because of it's simple hollow-tube metal construction that cannon shells were less effective against. The Dauntlesses, being 1. typically gigantic beastly American planes and 2. being bombers, were extremely durable.

    Japanese aircraft had very light construction making them fragile in every sense of the term. The Spitfire and Me-109 were both built to be light and nimble, but this sacrificed some structural strength. They weren't deathtraps, but they were on the delicate side of the equation.
     
  14. Col Hajj

    Col Hajj New Member

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    Again, I can't re-rank the planes that are already in the game. I just have to try and place the ones that are not in it "in line" with them.
     
  15. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I think that the points made about the P38 and it's two engines are well made from a vulnerability standpoint. A two engined aircraft is twice as likely to have engine trouble as a single engined aircraft. Plus when one thinks about how hard it was in WW2 to get hits in air to air combat, the P38 was a big airplane with a lot of vulnerable areas. I would postulate that a P38 was almost twice as likely to be hit in air to air combat as a P51.
     
  16. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    All kinds of things to consider, but for me the list is a bit illogical anyway. Eithout having thought too much abouyt it, I would change your list to the following:

    Brown Group
    Mitsubishi A6M2 Reisen
    Aichi D3A1 Val

    Blue group
    Junkers Ju.87R-2 Stuka
    Dewoitine D.520
    Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3
    Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I
    Curtiss P-40B Warhawk
    Hawker Hurricane Mk.I



    Green Group
    Bell P-39D Airacobra
    Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat


    Purple Group
    Douglas A-24B Banshee
    Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless
     
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