Spit or P51 in mid 43

Discussion in 'Polls' started by pbfoot, Jun 9, 2011.

?

P51 or Spit in 1943

  1. P51

    53.8%
  2. Spitfire

    46.2%
  1. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,636
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    niagara falls
    #1 pbfoot, Jun 9, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
    Given a choice between a Spit or P51 in mid 43 for a all round fighter for RAF service which would you choose
     
  2. marshall

    marshall Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Messages:
    308
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Given the options in the poll I guess that I can't choose a combination of both types?
     
  3. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Messages:
    1,090
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Teacher
    Location:
    Japan
    I'm a Spitfire fan, but the P-51 was simply the more effective type if you want to win a war.

    The better climb/intercept and dogfight performance of the Spitfire is more than offset by the strategic flexibility that the P-51's range offers, as well as its superior speed. P-51 equipped RAF units had many more opportunities to score than Spitfire equipped units.

    As the RAAF concluded when it took delivery of its first P-51s, the Spitfire was a nicer aircraft (easier to fly and better behaved in most flight regimes) but the combination of speed and range made the P-51 a better weapon.

    If I was in charge of the RAF, I'd take a the P-51C, outfit it with the Merlin 66 and arm it with 4 Hispanos.
     
  4. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Messages:
    4,184
    Likes Received:
    167
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Hobart Tasmania
    Mid 1943 gets you a Spitfire XIV. And they did have the capability of extended range with increased tankage, as per XVIII.
     
  5. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,160
    Likes Received:
    128
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Consellor
    Location:
    Lincolnshire
    Guess what, if defending Spitfire, attacking P51.
     
  6. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Messages:
    7,359
    Likes Received:
    561
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Executive, Consulting
    Location:
    Scurry, Texas
    I think that sums it up. If you want a very large footprint over enemy soil - the mustang. If you wish to defend with greatest vertical performance envelope - spitfire
     
  7. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,636
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    niagara falls
    This is the point I'm trying to make , the LW was no longer a force able to brimg weight to bear on the UK so why did they continue to build a defensive fighter when an offensive weapon was available in the 51. As everyone knows the best defence is a good offence
     
  8. Hop

    Hop Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    624
    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    18
    It's based on a false assumption.

    The 8th AF needed long range fighters to escort their bombers. Attacking the Luftwaffe across the channel didn't need much range.

    In 1941 the Germans could withdraw most of their forces from Western Europe because they knew there was nothing Britain could really do to hurt them. In 1943 that was no longer the case.

    In 1943 there were plenty of targets in France, Belgium and the Netherlands the Luftwaffe had to defend. The invasion defences, V-1 and V-2 launch infrastructure, their own airfields (which would be essential when the invasion came), the road and rail links they would need to bring troops to the front.

    In 1943 the Luftwaffe were in the same position the RAF were in in 1940. They had to defend against an enemy air force based 20 miles across the water. That doesn't require long range on the part of the attacker.
     
  9. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,160
    Likes Received:
    128
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Consellor
    Location:
    Lincolnshire
    If we are working on the basis that they are going to fight each other and I had to sit in one of them, then the Spit gets my vote. The choice of a P51 over a Spitfire is a strategic one not a tactical one. So if I were a Senior Officer then its the P51, if I had to fly the thing, its the Spitfire.
     
  10. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    Messages:
    7,359
    Likes Received:
    561
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Executive, Consulting
    Location:
    Scurry, Texas
    #10 drgondog, Jun 13, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
    If I was an RAF/RCAF fighter pilot in England 1943-1944 and I wanted to 'have a go - and go often' against Jerry I want the ship that will take me over their home skies. I have listened to more than a few RAF vets who desparately wanted a piece of continued escort of 8th AF when they migrated from France/Holland to Germany targeting.

    RCAF Flt Lt Warren Peglar scored all his victories (4 air/1 ground in six weeks) with 355th and loved the Spit - but saw no Germans in the Spit - so he loved the Mustang and in particular the P-51B w/malcolm hood. He flew over 400 (zero air, 3 ground) missions with Spit and Tempest, 15 with Mustang.

    Comment - the RAF wasn't doing long range escort - but even TAC operations with a 51 makes more sense than a Spit because range/combined with load IS a factor, it is a factor for recon and while the 51 wasn't quite as nimble a dog fighter it would done just fine against the 190 and 109.

    The Brits also had quite a few mediums making daylight tactical strikes, particularly in MTO - and those ranges could have been extended with good protection had the RAF been equipped with Mustangs.
     
  11. renrich

    renrich Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    4,542
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    real estate
    Location:
    Montrose, Colorado
    I voted, assuming that the P51 had the Merlin engine. I have read that the early P51 with the Allison was a nicer flying bird than the Merlin Mustang but it's altitude capabilities or lack thereof would make me go for the Spitfire. I think that one reason the Brits continued to built the Spit was plain and simple, money. I question how many of us realise how close Britain was to the end of their rope when WW2 ended. John Keegan, my favorite British historian and who is in his late 70s, just like me, told about how scarce even food was in the period just after the war in Britain. I believe that the British had little money or even manpower to try to develop a long range escort fighter, especially after the Mustang arrived. After two world wars with the cost in blood and gold and with the empire disentegrating, those were tough times for the British Lion.
     
  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    9,773
    Likes Received:
    802
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    retired Firefighter
    Location:
    Central Florida Highlands
    What may not be satisfactorily explained is why the MK VIIIs went away from England and the MK IXs stayed in England. I can certainly understand the need in 1942 to get the MK IX into service as quick as possible. But one year later in the summer/fall of 1943 one would think that at least SOME UK based Spitifires could have had the 14gal leading edge tanks. By the Summer of 1944 having either NO Spitfires or darn few with the leading edge tanks doesn't seem right. Maybe I am missing something?

    The leading edge tanks certainly are NOT going to turn the Spitfire into a Berlin escort but an extra 100-150miles of radius ( the extra fuel is return home fuel after drop tank is dropped and combat) would have been quite useful.

    Surely Great Britain was not so hard up for fighters that some of the 5,600+ Mk IXs could not have been fitted with the leading edge tanks ( or contracts changed for less MK IXs and more MK VIIIs without tropical kit)?
     
  13. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Messages:
    1,090
    Likes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Teacher
    Location:
    Japan
    To fit Mk IXs with leading edge wing tanks needs a fairly significant rework of some parts of the wing structure. Not an easy thing to do.

    Mk VIIIs were sent to the Med and Eastern/Pacific theaters as it was recognised that the 200 miles extra range was much more needed in these theaters than in the ETO.

    The RAAF defence of Darwin and the RAF battles around India/Burma are cases in point. On some missions with Mk Vs, more fighters were lost due to running short of fuel than to enemy action. As a result, the RAAF imposed a 260 km (163 mile) operational radius, even when operating with 30 gal drop tanks.

    Some longer-ranged WERE available in the ETO: Mk VIIs, but just four squadrons worth at any one point.

    They performed SOME longer ranged escort missions: notably a 1944 daylight raid to La Pallice, which was a round trip of 690 miles, in just under three and a half hours. There were several other missions of more than 600 miles, but most were conducted in fairly paltry strength, at most about 18-24 aircraft and usually much less.

    The longest Spitfire escort mission was in the PTO: Seven RAAF Mk VIIIs performed escort duties for four B-25s, tasked with bombing Japanese targets in Timor, a round trip of 850 miles.

    Both long range missions are notable in that they largely took place over water, allowing the Spitfires to cruise at low speeds (~200 mph, rather than the usual 220-240 mph).

    There were two more simple solutions than the leading edge tanks: the PR style 29 gal rear fuselage tank and the enlarged lower nose tank with another 13 gal. Unfortunately, the air staff were reluctant to adopt such measures: rear fuselage tanks didn't start appearing on Mk IXs until mid-late 1944, and only late production Mk XIIs were fitted with the enlarged nose tanks.

    I've never been fully satisfied as to why the various options available were never seized upon by the RAF/Air Ministry/Air Staff. Quill and other test pilots certainly pushed for it, as did combat pilots in the squadrons.
     
  14. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,636
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    niagara falls
    I disagree , the Spit in its prime role as a point intreceptor was over . The war had changed directions and knocking down the LW should have been the prime role that the Commonwealth units were unable to perform with the same dash and elan as the US units it would take hundereds of spits to perform the same task as a group of 51's .
     
  15. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,930
    Likes Received:
    643
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Toronto
    Good thread, PB. :)

    MM
     
  16. Mustang nut

    Mustang nut Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    #16 Mustang nut, Jun 14, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
    deleted
     
  17. bada

    bada Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    8
    you got a bad time line i think. The Mark14 is a Mid44 plane and is not really a long range, as the G65 was a very thirsty engine compared to the M61 or M66.
    And the MKXVIII is a second half45 plane, never saw combat in WWII, the first beeing send to MU for reception in june45.

    I would rather go with the MK8 in mid43, but i'm still troubled by the fact that all of them have been send to the MTO (and few to India), ETO squadrons only receiving Mk9's with M66 .
     
  18. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,636
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    niagara falls
    If the RAF had opted for the 51 over the Spit the priduction lines used for the Spit probably could have been switched over to 51 comstruction in quick order
     
  19. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,160
    Likes Received:
    128
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Consellor
    Location:
    Lincolnshire
    At this stage its probably worth reminding everyone that in Oct 1944 the US equipped two Spits with 2 x 60 gallon drop tanks and they flew the atlantic. So there is little doubt in my mind that the Spit had the potential to be a decent long range fighter. I am NOT saying that it would have had the range of a P51 but sufficient so that the UK wouldn't have had to build P51's
     
  20. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,636
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    niagara falls
    I'm going to assume it wasn't a direct flight across the pond and if the Spit was capable of such flights why wouldn't they have done this earlier on the early 8th AF missions into Germany
     
Loading...

Share This Page