Spitfire VB v. FW 190A

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Master Sergeant
Nov 9, 2004
Bristol, UK
Inearly 1942 RAF fighters first encountered the Focke-Wulf 190 in numbers, and it became evident that the formidable German fighter was overwhelmingly superior in performance to the then current variant of Spitfire, the Mk VB. The Mark IX Spitfire was developed as an emergency response to this crisis.


The account below is taken from the comparative trial of the Spitfire VB with the [captured] Focke-Wulf 190, flown by the Air Fighting Development Unit at Duxford in July 1942.
The FW190 was compared with a Spitfire VB from an operational squadron, for speed and all-round manoeuvrability at heights up to 25,000 feet.

The FW 190 is superior in speed at all heights, and the approximate differences are as follows -

At 1,000 ft the FW 190 is 25-30 mph faster than the Spitfire VB
At 3,000 ft the FW 190 is 30-35 mph faster than the Spitfire VB
At 5,000 ft the FW 190 is 25 mph faster than the Spitfire VB
At 9,000 ft the FW 190 is 25-30 mph faster than the Spitfire VB
At 15,000 ft the FW 190 is 20 mph faster than the Spitfire VB
At 18,000 ft the FW 190 is 20 mph faster than the Spitfire VB
At 21,000 ft the FW 190 is 20-25 mph faster than the Spitfire VB

Climb:The climb of the FW 190 is superior to that of the Spitfire VB at all heights.

The best speeds for climbing are approximately the same, but the angle of the FW 190 is considerably steeper. Under maximum continuous climbing conditions the climb of the FW 190 is about 450 ft/min better up to 25,000'. With both aircraft flying at high cruising speed and then pulling up into a climb, the superior climb of the FW 190 is even more marked. When both aircraft are pulled up into a climb from a dive, the FW 190 draws away very rapidly and the pilot of the Spitfire has no hope of catching it.

Dive: Comparative dives between the two aircraft have shown that the FW 190 can leave the Spitfire with ease, particularly during the initial stages.

Manoeuvrability. The manoeuvrability of the FW 190 is better than that of the Spitfire VB except in turning circles, when the Spitfire can quite easily out-turn it. The FW 190 has better acceleration under all conditions
of flight and this must obviously be most useful during combat.

When the FW 190 was in a turn and was attacked by the Spitfire, the superior rate of roll enabled it to flick into a diving turn in the opposite direction. The pilot of the Spitfire found great difficulty in following this manoeuvre and even when prepared for it, was seldom able to allow the correct deflection. A dive from this manoeuvre enabled the FW 190 to draw away from the Spitfire which was then forced to break off the attack.
Several flights were carried out to ascertain the best evasive manoeuvres to adopt if 'bounced'. It was found that if the Spitfire was cruising at low speed and was 'bounced' by the FW 190, it was easily caught even if the FW 190 was sighted when well out of range, and the Spitfire was then forced to take avoiding action by using its superiority in turning circles. If on the other hand the Spitfire was flying at maximum continuous cruising and was 'bounced' under the same conditions, it had a reasonable chance of avoiding being caught by opening the throttle and going into a shallow dive, providing the FW 190 was seen in time. This forced the FW 190 into a stern chase, and although it eventually caught the Spitfire, it took some time and as a result was drawn a considerable distance away from its base. This is a particularly useful method of evasion for the Spitfire if it is 'bounced' when returning from a sweep. This manoeuvre has been carried out during recent operations and has been successful on several occasions.
Ifthe Spitfire VB is 'bounced' it is thought unwise to evade by diving steeply, as the FW 190 will have little difficulty in catching up owing to its superiority in the dive.

The above trials have shown that the Spitfire VB must cruise at high speed when in an area where enemy fighters can be expected. It will then, in addition to lessening the chances of being successfully 'bounced', have a better chance of catching the FW 190, particularly if it has the advantage of surprise.
I thought it was well known that the Spitfire Vb was inferior to the Fw-190A. In July 1941, when the Fw-190 was first met the RAF reported that the new fighter was the best thing in the skies over Europe.
The fw 190 was far greater and although a brit i feel that the fw190 should not have its credit taken away from it.
don't be, my last post there, i'd originally put those first 3 lines originally each in a different post, some phantom moderator come along, put them all in one post and added that last line :lol:

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