The "best fighter engine in the world"

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wuzak, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    #1 wuzak, Aug 31, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
    I have been reading through Rolls-Royce and the Mustang, by David Birch for the RRHT when I found an interesting statement made by Ernest Hives to Wilfred Freeman in correspondence date 28th June 1942:

    He goes on to dump on Supermarines about their Griffon powered Spitfire (presumably the XII) and its lack of progress. He described it as "a mock up" as it used the standard Spitfire wings.

    So, was the Griffon 61 the best fighter engine in the world in mid-late 1942? Of course it didn't reach operational status until late 1943/early 1944, was it the best fighter engine in the world then?

    If not, what was the best fighter engine? What was the best in the periods 1939-1941, 1942-1943, 1944-1945?
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    You may want to adjust the time periods a bit and qualify when an engine was available. As in the Griffon example, best fighter engine in 1942 on the test stand for future fighters or best fighter engine in squadron service, even if only one squadron.

    Maybe you would want to change the first time period to 1939-41 as 1942 would include the 60 Series Merlin and perhaps the R-2800?
     
  3. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    That better?

    I think Hives was just being proud of his company's efforts.

    I think we should stipulate engines in squadron service.
     
  4. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Well, it evens things up a bit. The two stage R-1830 wasn't much ahead (if any) of some of the better single stage engines at the end of 1941 for power at altitude.

    The 1939-1941 period sees the:

    Merlin 45 and XX engines.
    The P&W R-1830
    Allison
    DB 601

    The French don't have anything and neither do the Russians or Italians. Japanese have the Sakae?
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    How many Griffon engines were produced prior to May 1945?
     
  6. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    6-7000, maybe more.
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    How is that possible?

    Per Wikipedia 8,108 Griffon engines were built and that includes production right up to the late 1950s.
     
  8. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    #8 evangilder, Aug 31, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
    If you look at Griffon powered Spitfires alone, there were 1688 of them before the war ended:

    Griffin Spitfire Mk-------#......First flown
    F Mk XII---------------100...Oct 1942
    F Mk XIV, FR Mk XIV----957...Oct 1943
    PR Mk XIX--------------224...May 1944
    F Mk 21----------------120...Jan 1944
    F Mk 22----------------287...Mar 1945
    ----------------------------
    1688
     
  9. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Because production wasn't as high a priority post war.

    Maybe 6000 is on the high side, but 5000 should certainly be possible.

    Griffon 61 - 1134 between 1942 1945
    Griffon 64 - 200 in 1945
    Griffon 65 - 1475 1943-1948
    Griffon 66 - 360 1944-1945
    Griffon 67 - 150 in 1945
    Griffon 69 - 160 in 1945
    Griffon 85 - 100 in 1945
    Griffon 87 - 74 in 1945

    Those are the 2 stage Griffons built mosty during WW2.

    Data from Lumsden.
     
  10. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    the 957 Spit XIV was built until december '45 so the war time production was less
     
  11. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Do we take the reliability into account?
     
  12. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    There was also about 700 Fireflys produced prior to VJ day (including 658 Mk 1) and about 400 Griffon powered Seafires, mostly the Mk XV.
     
  13. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    It appears the RN had priority for Griffon engines.
     
  14. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    true there were also the Fireflys with Griffon engine afail all Mk 1 production is 678 and ended after the war. the Seafire XV production until april '45 was 74 when i've time i see on spitfires.ukf.net for the others months
     
  15. ShVAK

    ShVAK Member

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    #15 ShVAK, Aug 31, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
    My vote is as follows:

    1939: Daimler-Benz 601N
    1940: Rolls-Royce Merlin XX
    1941: BMW 801 C-2
    1942: Rolls-Royce Merlin 61
    1943: P&W R-2800-10 or -59
    1944: Napier Sabre V at low altitude, Rolls-Royce Griffon 65 anywhere else
    1945: Tie between P&W R-2800-34W, Junkers Jumo 213E, Rolls-Royce Griffon 61
     
  16. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    From 1939-41: DB-601
    1942-43. Merlin
    1944-45: Griffon
     
  17. NeilStirling

    NeilStirling New Member

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    UK Griffon total supplies through to Feb 1945 from AVIA 38/887 The National Archive Kew UK.

    Griffon VI,36,II, and XII total supplies 993

    Griffon 61,65,66 and 69 total supplies 1,821.

    Neil.
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    IMO those production numbers are surprisingly small. Germany produced more DB603 and Jumo 213 engines during the same time frame while being bombed relentlessly.
     
  19. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    And if the British really felt that they needed more Griffons what could they have done?

    The 1942 Merlin 61 was operating at 14-15lbs of boost I believe. Later changed to 18lbs with an improved supercharger drive and then to 25lbs with the coming of 150 PN fuel.

    Had the improved fuel not shown up (first tested late 1943?) or some mechanical defect prevented the Merlin running at 25lbs boost then the British were in a position to change to more Griffons. With the Merlin providing "most" of the power needed/wanted there was no reason to greatly disrupt production.

    British also had the Sabre to handle big engine duties.
     
  20. Tante Ju

    Tante Ju Banned

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    I guess the biggest problems the British faced in changing over the overall Better Griffon engines were the relative unreliability and short life span of the Griffon, and, Bomber Command's apetite for Merlins. If you can't afford 5000 engine production lost... then RR factories won't retool for another engine.
     
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