The Ta-152.... The Best High Altitude Fighter?????

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Westland Welkin: Twin Engined High altitude fighter just entering service towards the end of the war. It looks pretty similar to the Whirlwind and although its perfomance wasnt quite so good as the Ta-152, It was probably a lot tougher. Ill have to do some research on it later and post more.
Yup, and to think we doubted its existance...

Ever notice how I say ill do stuff and then dont? Well, I will get some more info on this tomorrow, cos im sure it was developed especially to combat high altitude fighters like the Ta-152 and im sure it saw service...
Something around 150 TA-152 airframes were started. Of these, about 80 were completed, and less than 50 were delivered, and as best I've been able to find, it seems likely only about 30-40 of these were deployed. Those that were deployed only flew a very few sorties, and little is known about how they would have fared in combat had the type been in any substantial amount of combat.

The TA-152H had a very strange wing design. It was twisted, with the inner wing having more attack than near the tips. This was done to allow it to stall fight at very high altitudes. When the plane is in a climb and starts to stall, theoretically part of the wing will still have airflow and provide some roll control. The price for this would clearly be buffeting at high speeds, especially at lower altitudes. General roll performance was also not up to FW190 standards (the best). Finally, the SEP system on this plane was an odd setup that could be used for fast climbs and maybe to exit combat, but it was not something that would be very likely to be useful in combat. The engine has to be at the right RPM to engage it, and the load on the prop has to be sufficient to prevent the engine from reving up from there, the pitch being increased as the power comes on.

The few sucesses this plane had (and some of these are dubious) really do not tell us much, because the TA-152 pilots had a very good idea of the capabilities of the planes they were fighting, where the Allied pilots had never seen or even heard of a TA-152. Until a plane like this is proven in battle over a reasonable period of time, you just don't know if it was really any good or not.


Westland Welkin.

The Welkin was a twin-engine heavy fighter from the Westland Aircraft company, designed to fight at extremely high altitudes in the stratosphere. It was created in response to the arrival of modified Junkers Ju 86 bombers flying reconnaissance missions which suggested the Luftwaffe might attempt to re-open bombing of England at high altitudes. In the end this threat never materialized, and the Welkin was produced only in small numbers.

The Welkin was essentially a modified Whirlwind, fitted with a much larger wing, new engines in the form of Rolls Royce Merlin 76/77's, and a pressurized cockpit. The last item required the majority of the effort in designing the Welkin. After extensive development a new cockpit was developed that was built out of heavy-gauge duraluminum bolted directly to the front of the main spar. The cockpit hood used an internal layer of thick perspex to hold the pressure, and an outer thin layer to form a smooth line. Heated air was blown between the two to keep the canopy clear of frost.

When the pressurization system was driven by a Rotol supercharger attached to the left-hand engine, providing a constant pressure of 3.5 lb/in² (24 kPa) over the exterior pressure. This resulted in an apparent altitude of 24,000 ft (7,300 m) when the plane was operating at its design altitude of 45,000 ft (13,700 m). This apparent altitude is still too high for normal breathing, the pilot still had to wear an oxygen mask during flight. A rubber gasket filled with the pressurized air sealed the canopy when the system was turned on, and a valve ensured the pressure was controlled automatically.

Other than that, changes were minor. The wings were so large that the Fowler flaps used on the Whirlwind weren't needed, and were replaced by a simple split-flap. The extra wing area also required more stability, so the tail was lengthened to provide more arm.

By the time the plane was complete and rolling off the line, it was apparent that the Germans had lost interest in the high-altitude mission, due largely to successful interceptions by specially modified Supermarine Spitfires. In the end only 75 Welkins were produced. A two seat version known as the Welkin Mk. II was produced in only two examples.

Role - High altitude heavy fighter
Crew - 1
First Flight - NA
Entered Service - NA
Manufacturer - Westland

Length - 32 ft 3 in
Wingspan - 70 ft
Height - 16 ft
Wing Area - 250 ft²

Empty - 8,310 lb
Loaded - NA
Maximum Takeoff - 11,410 lb
Capacity - NA

Engines - 2 x Rolls-Royce Merlin 76
Power - NA

Maximum Speed - 385 mph
Combat Range - NA
Ferry Range - 1,500 miles
Service Ceiling - 45,000 ft
Rate of Climb - NA
Wing Loading - 38 lb/ft²
Thrust/Weight - NA
Power/Mass - NA

Guns - 4 x 20 mm cannons
Bombs - NA
Missiles - NA
Rockets - NA
Other - NA

So It appears that it was much earlier in the war than I thought and not designed to take on German high-altitude fighters...shame it never made it, I think this could have been a great plane.
lesofprimus said:
Captured planes tell a different story..... It was better than any piston driven plane in WWII.... Americans and Brits alike agreed....

All I'm aware of is one ferry flight where the pilot said he liked the plane, but did not put it through any extreme manuvers or push the engine. Would you care to provide some sources, I'm open to new info.


That the allied pilots did not know of the Ta 152 means virtually nothing regarding the quality of the German fighter. Furthermore, the Ta 152 combat record coudl be called everything but dubious.

The Ta 152 made more than a ferry flight seeing the pilot leaving the cockpit reporting the plane is a very cool toy.

The Ta152 went through extensive testing and it was proved it made a superb aircraft. Not a perfect plane, though. No aircraft, from any of the combatant nations, was perfect. Yet, the Ta 152 was a superb machine, superior in many departments to the P-51, the latest Spitfire and the P-47.

Conceived as an extremely high altitude fighter with a service ceiling of nearly 16 kilometers -well beyond the reach of the P-51- it did not see service for the role it was originally intended.

Right, only a few dozens of Ta 152´s saw combat. Right, the period of combat exposure of those few dozens was indeed brief.

Such arguments, while being true, can never be enough to tell the Ta 152´s real capabilities remain uncertain. The extreme bureaucracy and politics in the Reich ensured the Ta 152 did not reach the fronts in important numbers. Still, the brutal fuel shortages would certainly ground most of the new fighters.

Even with the few dozens which saw combat service, the Ta 152 left recorded and confirmed kills over Yaks and Tupolevs in the final weeks of the war.

The Ta 152, intended for very high altitude combat, scored kills against the Yak-9´s, one of the very best low altitude fighters of the war (stab JG/301). The soviet pilots were not precisely of top quality, yet the late Yak fighter was excellent.

There was a confirmed and recorded kill of Willi Reschke flying a Ta152 over a Tempest in the final days of the war as well.

A brief period of time in service, only a few dozens of them Ta152´s, yet the capabilities and quality of the German fighter were proved.

Read Griehl Dressel for further input.
The Ta-152 was considered to be superior to anything the allies had at high alltitude. At low alltitudes obviously not, but it was a great aircraft and was very capable.
Stab/JG 301 kills are all confirmed nothing is dubious.........

it was the master of high altitude and even at mid range it could perform as seen in other threads of this one.

Few numbers indeed but it was the mode of the future if there had been a future for the Luftwaffe

lets not go back into the what if please. No Ta 152's were downed in combat.

everyone because I feel some will start pulling out that it was not any good because of few numbers and that it never was in combat with P-51 escorts..................oh well. Dang, I wish J. Crandall would get his book out on JG 301 and then the proof will be in print for everyone to see not just my opinions.

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