The most important Aircraft for any given country!

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Watanbe, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. Watanbe

    Watanbe Member

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    We have dicussed the best fighter, the best bomber, the best nightfighter, our 10 favourite planes so why not name the most important combat aircraft for respective countries. Each country has a plane which they used extensively with a degree of success, some indigenous designs, some not. Which aircraft played the most vital role for any given country. Lets avoid transport aircraft. Feel free to include minor nations as well.

    UK: The Hurricane takes the cake for me. It gave a good account of itself against the Germans in France, guaranteed the security of the country in the Battle of Britain where it was the workhorse. It also served as a NF. After it was deemed obsolete as a front line fighter it achieved considerable success in Africa as a fighter-bomber and tankbuster where it was vital to an ultimately successful campaign. It also saw considerable action in Burma where it served honourable against the Japanese. It took the hits and did the bulk of the hard work when Britain was in dire straits until superior British designs entered combat in numbers.

    Honourable mention to the Spitfire, survived a huge amount of upgrades and was at the pinnacle of fighter development from the start of the war to the finish. It was always a feared opponent.

    Germany: The Me109 remained a competent fighter from the start of the war till the finish. It was produced in more numbers (over 33,000) than the FW-190 and entered combat 2 years earlier. It gained air superiority for Germany in the early years of the war and enabled a swift invasion of mainland Europe. It performed in the Battle of Britain over enemy soil and in Africa where for sometime it was the dominant fighter in the theatre. On the Eastern Front it proved dominant over early Soviet designs and was a key part of the campaign. In the final years of the war, where many argue its airframe was stretched to far it continue to be a integral instrument in the defense of German cities.

    A close second is the JU-88 for its effectiveness in a variety of roles, bomber, NF, recon, anti-shipping.

    USSR: The IL-2 it wasn't a fancy plane or a pretty plane but it was built in more numbers that any other aircraft and it was rugged and bloody effective. It was a vital cog in the Soviet war machine and its destruction of German armour was decisive. It became a symbol of the defence of the USSR. It was fitted with a variety of weapons and excelled in the role for which it was designed.

    Honourable mention to the Yak 9. A simple plane in construction, pumped out in huge numbers which was a truly competitive performer with its German counterparts.

    Japan: The Zero, it was the beacon of Japanese invincibility in the early years of the Pacific war and it was produced in larger numbers than any other Japanese plane. It carried the fight on admirably even after its design flaws became clear. It had a myth about its abilities in the early stages of the war and dictated the development of the Hellcat.

    USA: Its hard to pick, it depends on what you consider more important the Pacific or Europe theatre. In the interests of defense of the US it is the pacific theatre. In the Pacific it was the Hellcat that did the damage. It shot down a staggering number of Japanese planes and enabled the US to achieve air superiority in the Pacific. It was by no means the best fighter in the theatre, but it was numerous, and carrier capable. It allowed B24's and B29's to pummel Japanese cities into submission. In the Western theatre it was clear that bombers had to be escorted if strategic bombing was to be sustained. The P51 was the plane for the job and could fight the Germans on level terms in their own sky. I'm not a huge P51 fan, but the results speak for themselves, the sheer numbers available destroyed the luftwaffe and saved the lives of many American bomber crews.

    Australia: The Bristol Beaufort, the Australians were able to use this bomber very effectively in the light bomber, anti-shipping and close support role. It served with distinction in the Pacific. It fulfilled a desperate need that Australia had for a versatile light bomber and was available in numbers when it was badly needed. It was also locally manufactured by the DAP and paved the way for the production of the Beaufighter and Mosquito.

    Close second to the Beaufighter which was a vital anti-shipping, long range fighter and close support aircraft. Its range and firepower were used effectively by the Australians to ensure its coastline was protected from Japanese shipping.
     
  2. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Germany - Me-109 (for all the reasons Watanbe said)

    Japan - A6M Zero.

    England - I think I'll go with the Hurricane as well. The Spitfire may have been the poster of the BoB, but the Hurricane did most of the work.

    USA - B-17.

    Russia - tough call for me, but I'll pick the Yak-9

    Italy - Macchi C.205. Although it only had 6 months of operation, it proved itself to be all the allies could handle. Honorable mention to the C.202.
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Germany - Bf 109
    Japan - Zero
    Italy; SM 79

    Allies;

    C-47

    END OF DISCUSSION
     
  4. Watanbe

    Watanbe Member

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    #4 Watanbe, Jul 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2009
    Ahh yes but I was clever to avoid this answer. I said lets avoid transport aircraft. There is no doubt the C-47 was the most important aircraft of the war, but lets have some fun!
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp905.pdf
    The Me-109 program takes 2nd place at the beginning of WWII with multiple industrial complexes tooling up to produce this fighter aircraft.

    The remainder of the Luftwaffe production effort got crumbs during 1939. It's no exaggeration to say that the Luftwaffe staked their future on only two aircraft programs.
     
  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I missed that!:oops:
     
  7. lingo

    lingo Member

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    For the UK I would suggest the Mosquito, once known as Freemans Folly. The only unarmed bomber in the entire war. The fastest aircraft in the sky for much of it. Unequalled at photo-recce. Used successfully as a night fighter as well as a day fighter bomber.
     
  8. proton45

    proton45 Member

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    USA: P-40
     
  9. Butters

    Butters Member

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    I think that the NA T-6 and its variants has a reasonable claim as one of the most important Allied a/c. Combat aircraft are useless without people who can fly them.

    I know that over 15,000 were built (not all during the war). Does anyone know how many Allied pilots were trained on them?

    JL
     
  10. Watanbe

    Watanbe Member

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    I strongly considered the Mossie, however the pressing issues of Britain security and the fight in the desert were basically decided by the time the Mossie entered the fray. A fantastic plane nonetheless.

    By the way. Butters is my nickname :p that my mates call me!
     
  11. Butters

    Butters Member

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  12. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    #12 Waynos, Jul 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2009
    The UK point is interesting (at least for me) Hurricane? All the points raised by Watanbe are perfectly valid so I'll give no effort to try to refute them.

    Spitfire? Maybe it steals it?

    The kill ratio for the Spit in the BoB is roughly the same as the Hurricanes, but more aircraft in service equals more kills overall for the latter, and you can't dismiss that. However the Spitfire, as well as being brilliant and being the most developed fighter of the entire war etc etc also provided something less tangible. It was a rallying point for the British, in a way that no other aeroplane has ever been for any country. It was a symbol of hope and survival and ultimate victory. The plane itself became a national hero, in the way that The Duke of Wellington or Francis Drake had been in the past. That Inspiration it gave to the nation probably makes it Britain's most vital ever aeroplane, not just in WW2.
     
  13. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    I've been mulling over the UK entry for most of the afternoon too

    The Hurricane certainly got the lion's share of the kills, more than all other means put together including AA defences/balloons/rocket-launched cables/whatever. Unfortunately, it didn't secure our survival on its own and I doubt it could have done - Hurricanes trying to intercept Bf109 raiding parties? They'd have had a torrid time going at the bombers too, Bf109s again.

    The Spitfire wasn't around in sufficient numbers to carry the fight on its own so I doubt that would have secured our survival either.

    The Hurricane and Spitfire were a tag team, extraordinarily difficult to give it to one, over the other.
     
  14. Tzaw1

    Tzaw1 Member

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    USSR: P-63 and Boston
     
  15. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    I agree, which why I eventually chose the Spitfire as 'most vital' for its 'spiritual' extra :D
     
  16. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "... USSR: P-63 and Boston"

    :) :)

    Soviet comrades are not going to be amused by that post, Tzaw 1

    MM
     
  17. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    #17 Marcel, Jul 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2009
    I believe for England and all of the allies fighting in Europe, the most important a/c would be the Sunderland or any other a/c from coastal command for bombing the hell out of the u-boats. Without it they would never have survived, lacking supplies form the US.

    For Germany: Ju-87. Without it, all the early victories (and they were many) were not possible. They would never have come so far in the first place.

    US: P51, for without it, the 8th airforce would have suffered so much that public opinion probably would have turned against the war, or at least the bomber campaign. Another contender would be the F6F for clearing the skies of Japanese.

    For Japan: the A6m zero, not the a/c, but it's reputation.

    USSR: Il-2 or Pe-2? I really don't know.

    Italy: SM79

    As for small countries:
    The Netherlands: Eh...... hmm, I would say the C.X being the most effective, did extremely well while the sky was controlled by the mighty luftwaffe. But it didn't matter, did it...
    Denmark: Eh......
    Poland: Also a big eh... maybe the PZL.11?
    Finnland: B239
    Belgium: Fairly Fox, but also after much thinking.
    France P.36/H75, the only capable fighter
    Romania: IAR 80/81
    Hungaria: Me109

    I can go on with many more...
     
  18. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Germany-BF109, without the air supremecy it furnished, it is a different war.
    Britain- Spitfire, the BOB was not decisive so the Hurricane's success does not outweigh the same type of job the 109 did for Germany.
    United States-P51, without the P51, the Strategic Bombing Offensive would have been much more costly.
    Japan-Zeke, the early success of the Japanese offensive in the Pacific was based largely on the Zeke's performance.
     
  19. trackend

    trackend Active Member

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    USA P51 win in Europe Japans defeat is unavoidable and the Mustang was the plane that enabled 24 hour industrial bombing of Germany

    UK Id say the Hurricane being the main stay of the RAF fighters although IMO the switching of targets by Goering did as much in defeating the Luftwaffa in the BOB as the RAF fighters.

    Japan definately the Zero biggest shock the allies had in the air war when this first came on the scene.

    Germany I pick the stuka it was the close support plane that push blitzkrieg across most of europe and Russia.

    France Curtiss-Wright H-75 Hawk During the invasion of France it had by far the biggest kill ratio of any French airforce plane

    I'll have to think about the others
     
  20. imalko

    imalko Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'm not Russian but I'm not amused either... :angry3:

    My list:

    Bf 109 for Germany
    Il-2 for USSR
    B-17 for USA
    Spitfire for UK
    Zero for Japan
    SM.79 for Italy
     
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