Spitfire mk VB/Seafire vs Zero

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Major, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. Major

    Major New Member

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    Spitfire mk VB/Seafire mk IB/Seafire mk IIc/Seafire F mk IIIb vs Zero

    Spitfire mk Vb/Seafire mk IB

    Crew: one pilot
    Length: 29 ft 11 in (9.12 m)
    Wingspan: 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m)
    Height: 11 ft 5 in (3.86 m)
    Wing area: 242.1 ft² (22.48 m²)
    Empty weight: 5,090 lb (2,309 kg)
    Loaded weight: 6,622 lb (3,000 kg)
    Max takeoff weight: 6,770 lb (3,071 kg)
    Powerplant: 1× Rolls-Royce Merlin 45, Merlin 46, Merlin 50 (spitfire only), or Merlin 55 (spitfire only)

    Seafire mk IIIb:

    Role: Single-seat Shipboard Fighter-bomber
    Engine(s): 1x Rolls-Royce Merlin 50, Merlin 55, or Merlin 55M
    Armament: 2x 20 mm Hispano cannon with 120 rpg and 4x .303 cal Browning machine guns with 350 rpg
    Ordnance: 1x 500 lb or 2x 250 lb bombs
    Maximum Speeds: Maximum speed 352 mph at 12,250 ft, maximum cruising speed 310 mph at 20,000 ft
    Service Ceiling: 33,800 ft
    Range: 725 miles
    Empty Weight: 5,400 lb
    Normal Weight: 7,100 lb
    Wingspan: 36 ft 10 in
    Length: 30 ft 3 in
    Height: 11 ft 2 in at airscrew
    Wing Area: 242 sq ft

    Zero (A6M2)

    Crew: 1
    Length: 9.06 m (29 ft 9 in)
    Wingspan: 12.0 m (39 ft 4 in)
    Height: 3.05 m (10 ft 0 in)
    Wing area: 22.44 m² (241.5 ft²)
    Empty weight: 1,680 kg (3,704 lb)
    Loaded weight: 2,410 kg (5,313 lb)
    Max takeoff weight: kg (lb)
    Powerplant: 1× Nakajima Sakae 12 radial engine, 709 kW (950 hp)

    Sooo, who would win??

    Note: The Seafire was tested against against the Zero, and it outmanuvered it at low speeds.
     
  2. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    The zero Mk 2 had the following statistics

    Specification of A6M2 Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 21:
    One Nakajima NK1C Sakae 12 fourteen cylinder air-cooled radial, rated at 940 hp for takeoff, 950 hp at 13,780 feet.
    Performance: Maximum speed 331 mph at 14,930 feet. Cruising speed 207 mph. Initial climb rate 4517 feet per minute. Climb to 19,685 feet in 7 minutes 27 seconds. Service ceiling 32,810 feet. Normal range 1160 miles. Maximum range 1930 miles. Radius of turn with entry speed of 230 mph was 1118 feet. Entering a 180 degree steep turn with an entry speed of 230 mph, the fighter could complete the turn in 5.62 seconds, with an exit speed from the turn of 189 mph. At slower speeds, the turning radius was 612 feet. Normal positive g-load factor was 7g, with a safety factor of an additional 1.8g. Normal negative g-load factor was 3.5g, with a safety factor of an extra 1.8g.
    Dimensions: Wingspan 39 feet 4 7/16 inches, length 29 feet 8 11/16 inches, height 10 feet 0 1/16 inches, wing area 241.5 square feet. Weights: 3704 pounds empty, 5313 pounds loaded, 6164 pounds maximum. Fuel capacity: Internal fuel capacity was 114 Imp gall. One 72.6 Imp. gall drop tank could be carried underneath the fuselage. Armament: Two 7.7-mm Type 97 machine guns in the fuselage decking and two 20-mm Type 99 cannon in the wings. Two 132-pound bombs could be carried on underwing racks


    I dont have figures for the radious of turn for the either the Sppitfire, ir the Seafire. Do you have them,so that we can compare. I assume your claim "the Spit can outmanouvre the zero at low speeds is a claim that they can ou turn the zero....seems a bit unbelivable, but would like to see your figures first.

    If you are referring to dive speeds, roll rate (above 300 knots) and combat after October 1942, when new tactics against the zero had been worked out, almost certainly you are correct. But difficult to accept if the combat is early 1942, using the tactics of the time
    Before I make any conclusions, however, would like to see your source, and the figures you have
     
  3. Major

    Major New Member

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  4. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Parsifal,

    >I assume your claim "the Spit can outmanouvre the zero at low speeds is a claim that they can ou turn the zero....seems a bit unbelivable, but would like to see your figures first.

    I wondered about this bit too, but I guess Major's "it outmanuvered it" can be read either way, and he probably meant that the Zero outmaneouvred the Spitfire like we expect.

    Alfred Price's "Spitfire - A Complete Fighting History" quotes Patuxent River trials of a captured A6M5 against a Seafire LIIC, and the A6M5 was found to be superior in low-speed turns at all altitudes. Somewhat surprisingly, the A6M5 also held a speed advantage at high altitudes over the Seafire LIIC, owed to the former's two-speed supercharger providing better altitude power than the latter's single-speed, low-altitude optimized supercharger.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  5. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Characteristics for the Spit IX

    Spit IX Performance
    Turn Performance
    300mph 1,000ft 5,000ft 10,000ft 15,000ft
    One 360 12.5s 12.9s 14.0s 16.0s
    Two 360s 27.7s 28.9s 32.3s 36.7s
    250mph
    One 360 12.5s 13.5s 15.5s 16.6s
    Two 360s 28.9s 30.8s 34.1s 38.1s
    Sustained
    No Flaps 16.3s 18.1s 19.7s 23.2s
    Full Flaps 16.9s 18.4s 20.4s 23.3s
    Best Flap none none none full
    Speed/best 150mph 145mph 140mph 105mph
    Corner Speed and Radii (1,000ft):
    Speed: 270mph
    Radius: 531ft
    Sustained Turn Speed: 160mph
    Sustained Turn Radius: 609ft
    Full Flaps Speed: 120mph
    Full Flaps Radius: 473ft
    Corner Times 1,000ft 5,000ft 10,000ft 15,000ft
    180 degrees 6.2s 6.6s 7.2s 8.0s
    360 degrees 13.8s 14.6s 16.2s 18.1s
    Roll Rate:
    150mph: 5.0s
    200mph: 3.7s
    250mph: 4.2s
    300mph: 5.4s
    350mph: 7.9s
    400mph: 11.4s
    Minimum Full-Flaps Full-Power Split-S altitude:
    150mph: 900ft
    200mph: 1000ft
    250mph: 1500ft
    300mph: 1800ft


    The way I read those figures, the Spit IX could indeed turn inside a Zero, but its entry and exit speed, and time taken to complete the manaouvre were so slow, and so much time taken, that the zero would basically be behind the Spit IX in next to no time....remeber, this is for speeds below 300 knots. Would not apply for anything above that

    Spit V was better in a turn, but I dont yet have the details
     
  6. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Hi HoHun Major

    I have posted the performance arcs for the Spit IX, which is all i could find at short notice. These figurres suggest to me that in order to ou-turn the Zero, the Spit would need to bleed an awful lot of speed to do it.. It appears to me that the Zero would have completed its turn a second or two faster, and have a lot more airspeed remaining at the completion of that manouvre, than its Spitfire opponent. The slightly smaller turn radius is only achieved, if the Spitfire is carrying out the manouever very slowly. Moreover the turn radii given for the zero are for what might be termed "normal dogfight speeds", ie around the 250-300 knot range, so it may in fact be thye case that the turn radius of the Spit is actually greater, at dogfight speed.

    So my conclusion on this bit of information is that whilst the Spit may (and its only a "may") turn more tightly than a zero, it does it so slowly and awkwardly as to render itself a sitting duck in the air.

    The Spit would be far better to dive or roll in which case it has the inherent advantage.

    I wanted to know your opinions, however, about the so called Zeroes agility. I have seen this statement allover the place. I assume that by saying the zero was "agile" they meant it had good accelaration, ie recovery of airspeed in level flight. But is this necessarily a true statement....if you look at the power to weight, of say the A6M2, which had a 950 hp engine, to pull around 5300 lbs of weight. This gives a power to weight ratio of 0.18:1. Compare this to the Spit, which has a loaded weight of about 7000 lbs (depending on which mark, and for a Spit V about 1475 hp, this gives a power to weight ratio of 0.21:1. If I assume similar drag co-efficients for the two aircraft (very suspect, but i just dont know what they are) for the zero and Spit, does this mean the Spit will regain airspeed at the rate of 21/18 compared to the Zero??? I have not taken into account the performance arcs or altitude in this very crude comparison
     
  7. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Parsifal,

    >The slightly smaller turn radius is only achieved, if the Spitfire is carrying out the manouever very slowly.

    From a look at weights and wing areas, I don't think the Spitfire would be able to match the smallest turning radius of the A6M.

    However, it might be possible for a Spitfire to match the fastest turn rate of an A6M at a larger radius. This really depends on the exact flying weight of the Spitfire, the engine type it's using, and the boost pressure that can be used with the engine.

    An early tropicalized Spitfire V at +9 lbs/sqin would be much inferior to the "temperate" Spitfire V at +16 lbs/sqin as it was later used against the Fw 190 menace. Likewise, the Seafire variants were pretty heavy due to the carrier equipment they carried, but if they had a low-altitude engine, that might have compensated for some of the extra weight in a sea level fight.

    >I wanted to know your opinions, however, about the so called Zeroes agility. I have seen this statement allover the place. I assume that by saying the zero was "agile" they meant it had good accelaration, ie recovery of airspeed in level flight.

    Something not often mentioned is that the A6M also had a good roll rate at low speed. This would enable it to change the direction of its turn quickly, which is an important aspect of agility, too.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  8. claidemore

    claidemore Member

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    From the australian trials of Spit MkV vs "Hap" (A6M3 Model 32).

    This report gives some very good suggestions for tactics of Spitfire vs Zekes and Haps (Zeros). Basically they recomendation was to use high speed tactics, loops, climbing turns etc against the Zero, and to avoid low speed fighting completely.

    Claidemore
     

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  9. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Claidemore,

    >From the australian trials of Spit MkV vs "Hap" (A6M3 Model 32).

    Do you know the engine type used in that Spitfire (and ideally weight, boost and ejector type as well)?

    I've just prepared a comparison for a number of fighters including the Seafire LIIc with a Merlin 32 engine (because I found good data for that variant here: Seafire L Mk. IIC Trials ).

    The result is interesting because it shows that the Seafire LIIc with the Merlin 32 running at +18 lbs/sqin can almost match the A6M2's turn rate at sea level. There is some uncertainty about the maximum lift coefficients, and that of the Seafire might be a little higher than shown but not high enough to reach the A6M2 turn rate as indicated in the graph.

    However, this is at low altitude where the Merlin 32 is at its best. At 5 km and at 10 km, the Seafire really loses a lot of ground to the other types in that graph.

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     

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  10. claidemore

    claidemore Member

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    HoHun,

    Those trials were done in July and August of 1943, and the only info on the Spit is that it was a 'regular' Mark VC, normal combat weight without drop tanks.

    One high altitude trial was done with a 'special' Spitfire, which I would guess would be a high alt version, possibly even a PR MKIV?
     
  11. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    maybe there is some truth to the claim that the spit could out-turn the Zero in certain low speed situations???? I am not so sure now...
     
  12. Flyboy2

    Flyboy2 Member

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    I think we could look at the combat record. It is my understanding that the Spitfire pilots where ordered to dive in on a Zero and not engage in a turning engagement. As much as I love the Spit, the Zero was one of the most manuveurable planes in World War II and if anybody consults a variety of sources, they will come up with the same results.
     
  13. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    Ki 43-II was even more maneuverable though, about equal at low speeds but it kept it better at high speeds. (demonstrated in HoHun's chart)
     
  14. claidemore

    claidemore Member

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    The big advantage of the Ki43 Hayabusa would be it's roll rate. It would get into the turn quicker than any of it's contemporaries, particularly at lower speeds. Concensus was that it was more manueverable than the Zero. Watching video of the 'nimble' Oscar, I'm always impressed by what an acrobatic little fighter it is.
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Heard the same thing - it had a split butterfly flap that enabled it to turn on a dime.
     
  16. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I have always believed that the two Japanese mainstays, the Zero, and the oscar, were the dogfighters par excellance. Even if there is some ultra specialized situation that a spit might out-turn the zero (which I seriously doubt anyway), by far the better option is to dive and roll. We all know that the lightweight zeroes and Oscars just cannot compete in those areas, so why risk a quaestionable turning manouvre against them
     
  17. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Parsifal,

    >maybe there is some truth to the claim that the spit could out-turn the Zero in certain low speed situations???? I am not so sure now...

    Actually, if you look at the graph you'll see that the Seafire reaches the same sustained turn rate as the A6M only at a higher speed, meaning that its turn will have a greater radius. However, in a real turning fight the speed would tend to decay rather quickly, and the planes would typically fly at the lowest possible speed - and that's where the Seafire can't match the turn rate of the A6M because it reaches the stall boundary.

    And there is another thing to consider - the fuel fraction of both types is quite different, with the A6M carrying relatively (and probably absolutely, too) more fuel than the Seafire. If you'd calculate the same set of graphs for a situation where both fighters have used 50% of their fuel, the A6M would fly at a lower percentage of its take-off weight than the Seafire, and that wold improve its turn rate markedly.

    The question really is what you'd like to consider a typical encounter profile - as long as the A6M is flying offensive operations at long range, the "50% fuel for both" case is probably not so far off.

    By the way, I suspect there might be one Spitfire that outturns even the low-altitude optimized Seafire LIIc, and that's the Spitfire V when boosted to +25 lbs/sqin :)

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  18. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Flyboyj,

    >Heard the same thing - it had a split butterfly flap that enabled it to turn on a dime.

    Do you know more about this butterfly flaps? I've read that they could be deployed very quickly by pushing a switch on the control column, and also that they could be deployed asymmatrically, but I'm not sure that this can be correct - I'm aware of no other WW2 fighter featuring anything similar.

    I figure that with the Ki-43 rebuilds done by Tischler's company, there should be enough hard information on the type to know the system's workings, if we could somehow tap this source ... :)

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  19. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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  20. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Hi Micdrow

    Have read the article, and it appears to conclusively solve the issue. Thanks very much for taking the time to send me the link. Excellent research btw

    As you probably are aware, RAAF experience with the Spit against the Zeke in the darwin area was quite mixed. I have attached an extract from one of my books (Parnell Lynch, Australian Air force Since 1911, JW Books 1976). Its not a primary source, and has errors, but it tends to corroborate what you say. One raid seems to indicate the loss of eight spits, to what I later found, tentatively, to be the loss of just 3 Zekes/Haps. Another dogfight later that month (May), saw the loss of three Zekes to just one Spit, but I have not researched the Zeke losses as thoroughly for this engagement, so they may just be claimed losses, and not confirmed losses.

    I believe the RAFF misused its Spits at this time, trying to dogfight the Spits against the zekes.This i also believe was due to the best employment of Spits in Europe against the LW was to aerobat the Spit against its opponents. The pilots flying the Spits at this time over Darwin were led by officers who had had experience over Europe. IMO they were applying the wrong lessons to the combats that they now found themselves in. The document you have found is dated 29 May,, a few weeks after the disasters earlier in the month (and before that as well). Perhaps the report was commissioned to drive the point home to the Darwin Wing....dont dogfight with Zekes....seems logical at any rate.
     

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