So who did it, the Jug or the Stang?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by airminded88, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. airminded88

    airminded88 Member

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    Hello guys.

    So I was reading yesterday a bit of the P-47's operational history in couple of websites, Wiki included (my way to observe its 70th anniversary of operational history :)); and came up to a very interesting paragraph in the Wiki entry.
    It basically states that during the first half of 1944, the P-47 got the most kills and therefore it says that 'Indeed, it was the P-47 that broke back of the Luftwaffe'.
    I am aware that the P-47 had a tremendous impact in the air war over Nazi-occupied Europe but I'm also aware it was notoriously short-ranged during 1943 and part of 1944 and eventually it was the P-51 that took primarily the duties of fighter escorts for the 8th Air Force heavies.
    It's my opinion that both machines deserve a varying amount of credit in the overall destruction of the LW; but I would like to know what percentage of credit should be attributed to each bird.

    This is the wiki entry if any of you want to take a look at it. Republic P-47 Thunderbolt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Thanks in advance guys.
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    20,000 Spitfires and 37,000 Yak fighter aircraft apparently had little impact on the European air war. :rolleyes:
     
  3. airminded88

    airminded88 Member

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    #3 airminded88, Mar 11, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
    I never said that davebender :)

    When I wrote "both machines deserve a varying amount of credit in the overall destruction of the LW" believe me, I had in mind the RAF, VVS, the numerous smaller European air forces, and the thousands upon thousands of a/c you might wish to throw into account.

    I'm well aware it took ALLIED air power to defeat Nazi Germany and its air power; for the time being, I'm trying to keep the subject within the context of the daylight air war between the USAAF 8th Air Force and German Luftwaffe in which no Yak fighters took part and the Spitfire's role was not as decisive as it was with the RAF and Commonwealth air forces.

    The Yak or the Spitfire, the RAF of the VVS. That should definitely make a pretty interesting thread all in its own. :D
     
  4. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #4 GregP, Mar 11, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
    He didn't ask about the Russian Front, he asked about the Western Front. There weren't many Yaks there.

    The Luftwaffe in the west was broken by combined efforts of Spitfires acting as air superiority fighters, P-51's acting as escorts and air superiority fighters, P-47's doing high altitude and ground attack work, Tempests, Typhoons, Hurricanes, P-38's, P-40's, etc.

    The WAR was won because the Soviet Union in the East was defending its own life and killing the Luftwaffe in doing so along with the Soviet Army tanks and troops. If all the German troops and equipment involved in the Eastern Front had been available to the efforts on the Western Front, the war might well have turned out differently ... but it didn't. The P-47 WAS important, but wasn't alone with the P-51. There were all the Allies in both Europe and the PTO to deal with. Most of the Spitfires, Hurricanes, Typhoons, Tempests, etc. were in Europe and did yeoman work along with all the other assets to make it all happen.

    The USA didn't win WWII alone. The USA combined with Great Britain, the Soviet Union and all the other Allies did. We probably produced more than the any of the rest on a monthly basis, but we also weren't under attack on a daily basis. it was a cooperative victory that included the French, the Soviet union, and lot of others. Many people never realize the Mexican Air Force fought in WWII. So did a lot of others including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, China, Belgium, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, Greece, India (as part of the British Empire), the Netherlands, Norway and Yugoslavia.
     
  5. airminded88

    airminded88 Member

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    I absolutely agree with you GregP.
    I don't know how much the term "United Nations" was used throughout the war, but it definitely meant just that: the United Nations fighting together.
    In my honest opinion anyone thinking that the US here or the USSR there won WWII without any help is just kidding himself.
    But that's quite another topic and I don't want to derail the thread so early. :)
     
  6. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #6 GregP, Mar 11, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
    Me neither .... just wanted to dispell the myth that the B-17, P-51, or P-47 won the war by themselves ... no Lancasters equals no victory ... in Europe at least. I'm a US citizen but realize WE didn't win the war alone. The Malays helped, the Chinese helped, etc. It is possible we were the ones to save New Calidonia alone (maybe not), but certainly not the whole war and our efforts, while they resulted in victory, didn't do so alone without help from interested parties; the British were primary but not alone.

    Peolpe may degrade the French for surrendering, but the resistance did a LOT to help the victory in France and the rest of Europe. They were indispensable and helped make the eventual victory possible with a lot of self sacrifice.

    Ditto for ALL the Allies who contributed.

    I love the USA, but we didn't do it alone and probably could not have done so, and the contributors need to be honored and remembered, from the CBI to the ETO and all other places where fighting took place. The Germans even had Naval battles in southeast Africa in rivers and South America outside the River Platte. All contributed to the eventual victory.
     
  7. stug3

    stug3 Active Member

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    The range of the Mustang, along with the high performance characteristics also found in other American fighters like the P-47 F4U, made it the most important U.S. fighter of the war.
     
  8. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    All that was said about the united effort by the allied nations is very true and understood. Cannot be argued.

    I will touch on the question at hand however. In as far as the U.S participation, and the 8th AF is concerned in its battle against the Luftwaffe. (How was that for politically correct?)

    Pretty much regardless of the campaign, I have a increased degree of respect or love for the men and the aircraft that were there from the outset.

    In a possibly poor analogy. Like in the U.S. football game. Its the ball carriers (P-51), running backs in this instance, that get the acclaim. Yet without the blockers (P-47) the ball carrier can do little.

    The P-47 is incredibly important in that it hit the Luftwaffe first. Through trial and error, it became effective and began to defeat the enemy....where it could come face to face. (range) The P-51 came on line and was able to continue this on into the "backfield" and ensure the victory. IF the P-51 was there from the very start it may be a different story. But in my opinion without the P-47 the war in Europe may have been much longer.
     
  9. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Pretty intersting analogy Mike.

    I believe the British planes were far more involved and were far more responsible for the eventual victory, but can't argue from the US side at all. It WAS a team effort in the war. It's just that the team consisted of several nationalitites concurrently. None were "premier." The British weren't and we weren't. Neither were the Soviets. We needed ALL participants working in concert to make the victory happen. Everyone, mentioned herein or otherwise, were needed to win.
     
  10. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Maybe you could say that the P-51 was also the benificiary of the experience gained using the aircraft that had come before it - P-40s, P-38s and P-47. As could be expected for an unblooded airforce with lagely untested aircraft taking up the fight against arguably the best equipped and trained enemy in the world, the USAF learned some hard lessons over Africa and Europe in 1942 -43. The P-51 arrived to find experienced pilots and an organisation that had graduated from the school of hard knocks.
     
  11. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    #11 drgondog, Mar 12, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
    Simply stated - Wiki is incorrect with statement that P-47s destroyed more LW aircraft in the air than P-51s in the ETO during the first half of 1944. The P51B/C destroyed specifically 401 more than the P-47C/D.

    In fact, the P-51B/C destroyed the same amount of LW aircraft in the air during the first six months of 1944 as ALL the P-47 victory credits in the ETO, including all 9th and 8th AF P-47s from its inception into combat operations in Europe (March 1943)... and nearly double on the ground. In the same time period (Jan1-June 30, 1944) the P-51 flew about 1/3 the number of sorties.

    Specifically, the Mustang air victory credits dating from January 1, 1944 exceeded the P-47 air victory credits on or about March 8-March 16, 1944. By June 30, 1944 the Mustang air victory credits were 1361 and the P-47 credits were 1069... with approximately 34% of the sorties (Gross estimate assuming 48 fighters per group per mission - but the Mustang didn't achieve anywhere near that average until late 1944/early1945)

    I'll have to dig more for the ground scores but the Mustang had more than 2X.

    Summary

    1942 1943 1943
    Total Q1 Q2/Q3 Q4 Total Q1 Q2
    Spitf 9 6 0 0 6 0 0
    P-38 1 0 0 28 28 88 90
    P-47 0 0 167 235 402 560 409
    P-51 0 0 0 9 9 389 972
    P-61 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    7432.55 10 6 167 271 444 1038 1471





    I pulled these stats from my book, can't get them organized properly here...
     
  12. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    #12 drgondog, Mar 12, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
    In the context of doing battle with the LW over Germany, neither the Spit nor Yak were engaged - which I believe was the question posed for this thread.
     
  13. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Code:
            1942	 1943	 1943	1943    1943    1944    1944
            Total	 Q1	Q2/Q3	Q4	Total	Q1	Q2
    Spitf	9	6	0	0	6	0	0
    P-38	1	0	0	28	28	88	90
    P-47	0	0	167	235	402	560	409
    P-51	0	0	0	9	9	389	972
    P-61	0	0	0	0	0	0	0
    Total	10	6	167	271	444	1038	1471
    
    O/A total 7432.55
    Is this the table Bill?
     
  14. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #14 tomo pauk, Mar 12, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
    Maybe thiis layout is more convinient, Bill?
    Code:
               1942         1943:              1943 (Total)       1944:   
                     Q1   Q2/Q3       Q4                         Q1    Q2
     Spitf       9   6       0         0                6         0     0
     P-38        1   0       0        28               28        88    90
     P-47        0   0     167       235              402       560   409
     P-51        0   0       0         9                9       389   972
     P-61        0   0       0         0                0         0     0
    _______________________________________________________________________
     Total       10  6      167      271               444       1038 1471
    I'm not sure where this:
    goes?

    Took some 10 minutes, editing here is b!tch :)
    wuzak beat me to it :)

    Bill, that would be kills, not claims?
     
  15. airminded88

    airminded88 Member

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    #15 airminded88, Mar 12, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
    Fine gentlemen, thank you so much for your great contributions so far. :D

    While we all agree that it definitely took much more than a couple of a/c types to win a world war (a misunderstanding created by my rather poor usage of words :oops:); let’s leave that little misunderstanding aside and let’s jump into the subject at hand.

    Drgondog, I must say I’m intrigued by the statistics kindly posted by you and other members pointing to the conclusion that P-47s were equaled and surpassed in terms of air/ground victories by P-51s early in 1944 while flying less sorties when, as far as I know, just a couple of P-51 FGs where available; whereas P-47 FGs had longer time operating from England and their autonomy was being gradually enhanced and much improved by Jan-Jun 1944.

    I must inquire if these numbers are a direct result of varying performance between the two fighter types (for example the P-51 having an edge on performance VS the early P-47) or attributed solely to the initial longer range of the P-51 that enabled these fighters much more opportunities to encounter, engage and claim Luftwaffe interceptors.

    If any of you have data as to when the P-47 acquired a combat-radius range comparable to that of the P-51, I would be most grateful and eager to take a look at it.

    Once again many thanks.
     
  16. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    The P-51 did make a unique contribution. But that did not involve singlehandedly breaking the back of the LW. Rather it first enable deep penetration daylight bombing that forced the LW to defend against. Since the LW’s object was to defend against the bombers, the P-51 had a tactical advantage and, with the LW’s fraying pilot capabilities, took the heart out of the LE home defense –at least Hitler thought it necessary to deemphasize fighters and rely on flak.

    The P-47 eventually gained long-range capabilities and also took the brunt of the brutal CAS for the USAAF. Both planes deserve much credit as do the accomplishments of other air efforts of the allies. It was a very big effort and there’s room for credit all around.
     
  17. dobbie

    dobbie Member

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    Dont know how much it would figure in to the discussion, but when Gen Doolittle took command of the 8th AF, one of the first things he did was change the way the escort fighters behaved.
    Instead of essing to stay with the bombers all the way to the target and back, a lot were cut loose to fly ahead of the bomber formations, breaking up enemy fighters in the process of forming up for an attack.
    I guess you could call that "best defense is a good offense".
    And on the way back, the fighters were free and encouraged to beat up targets of opportunity such as enemy airfields, trains, convoys and troop formations.

    I would think the mustang would have the advantage in air to air plus its range, with the thunderbolt more suitable for going in low.
     
  18. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Many incorrect claims made without looking at the data. Some conclusions vary even with the data.
     
  19. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    #19 davebender, Mar 12, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
    I don't think U.S. 8th Airforce was decisive and in any case they didn't arrive in strength until the war was over half over.

    IMO Germany lost the air war because they couldn't produce enough aviation gasoline for operations and training. Consequently the 12,807 Me-109s and 7,488 Fw-190 fighter aircraft produced during 1944 were far less effective then they should have been. Forcing Germany to consume more fuel then they could produce was a group effort. They were steamrolled.

    Aviation gasoline production. Monthly average.
    80,000 tons. January 1941.
    …..Germany produced 9,322 aircraft during 1941 (per Wikipedia).
    166,000 tons. January 1944.
    …..Germany produced 35,076 aircraft during 1944 (per Wikipedia).

    Between 1941 and 1944 German aircraft production quadrupled. During the same period aviation fuel production doubled. Hence each aircraft had about half as much fuel during 1944 as during 1941. Fewer sorties per combat aircraft and fewer training hours for new pilots.
     
  20. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Ah, Dave - it all depends on allocations doesn't it. You don't have the combination of German Industrial Directives and month by month changes to planning to make any of the assertions regarding fuel priorities.

    Ditto on German aircraft production in how you trade assets and capacity.

    German industry was never producing to capacity in 1942 or 1943. In late 1943/1944 capacity was being disrupted by both airpower and de-centralization but, by virtue of slave labor, and re-allocation and increase in repair facilities output continued to keep pace with replacement.. Speer got the breathing room and produced more fighters at the expense of bombers but Goering couldn't keep pace with attrition on pilots.

    Yes we know fuel was a strategic bottleneck - but nobody except RAF and US were doing anything about it until mid 1944 when the Russians over ran the Ploesti complex - which had already been bombed nearly into oblivion. USSTAF (8th and 15th) were decisive. The outcome of the war was already set, but a lot more more Allied lives were lost because of Chemical and Fuel shortages throttled the German Mobile Forces (air and land).
     
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