Too Much Performance for the job?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Rufus123, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    This is going to sound like a silly question but I wonder.

    I know speed can help in many ways, getting to where needed faster, chasing down a target that has a lead on you, getting out of harms way and so on but I wonder if in some situations having more performance than you have makes it harder to fight certain targets.

    Here is what I am getting at.

    I wonder if it would be easier to shoot down a bi-plane with a Hurricane than a Spitfire or P-47.

    What got me wondering about this was seeing the ratio that the F6 had. I wonder if it was at the right performance level to dominate the naval planes it was up against. Fast enough to dominate, not so fast that it had to worry about stall speeds as much as something with higher performance.

    I can imagine it would be hard to hit a slow flyer with a modern jet fighter if replaced the sights with WW2 era sighting equipment and made it gun only.

    I guess what I am asking is is it remotely possible that it might be easier to fight a Zero with a Hellcat than a Corsair. The Hellcat is supposed to be easy to fly and has several performance advantages over the Zero. The Corsair has even greater performance advantages over the Zero but maybe too much of a good thing?
     
  2. OldSkeptic

    OldSkeptic Active Member

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    #2 OldSkeptic, Sep 29, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
    Yes that could and did happen. When the Luftwaffe started firing V1s from Heinkel bombers, who flew very low and slow to launch. The night fighter Mosquitos had lots of trouble, having to do things like full flaps and drop the under carriage to get slow enough to shoot them down, and at about 50ft above the water no less ... hairy is not the word.

    Interestingly it was that tactic that created the need for the world's first AWAC, Wellingtons with radar and controllers to guide the Mossies in.

    As for a modern jet fighter vs a WW2 one,. The RAF trialed that with a EE Lightning vs a Spit XIX (Price has a chapter on this in his Spitfire book) and found it was a lot harder than they originally thought, the tactics they finally worked out was to attack from below, if they missed climb out of range, dive and repeat. The opposite of the normal 'boom and zoom'. Not so easy if it was on the deck of course.

    They also found that the IR missiles of the time had problems getting a lock, even now I suspect it would be not to easy if the WW2 aircraft was well handled and used clever tactics. Of course if it also had IR missiles then life could get interesting for the fast jet.
    For an example of what that combat could look like then you don't have to go any further than the Falkland's war, with sub-sonic (but highly manoeuvrable) Harriers vs the Argentinian Mirages.
     
  3. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    #3 Rufus123, Sep 29, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
    I know at time you have to keep developing for threats the other side was developing but to the Hellcat vs Zero. Is it possible the Hellcat was better at tackling Zero's than and higher performance aircraft that was coming out late in the war? Maybe a case where the Corsair would have been better than the Hellcat against a 190, 109, or George but the Hellcat might be easier to kill a Zero from then a Corsair?

    That is also interesting that the Mosquitos had to to work to get slow for their mission against the Heinkels. Sounds like for this job a lower performance plane would help but maybe a lower performance place would be hard to get to where it was needed fast enough.
     
  4. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I think you might have hit the nail on the head, no point sending a slow aircraft if it gets there a minute late. I would imagine the number of pilots who wished for a slower aircraft can be numbered in the range of zero to zero. The Olympic motto Citius -Altius - Fortius. (Faster - Higher- Stronger) is also probably the unofficial motto of all pilots.
     
  5. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    #5 Rufus123, Sep 29, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
    I understood the Hellcat had a better exchange rate than the Corsair. Was it the situation, different training, and so on?

    Once you get on the tail of a slower aircraft do you ever want to slow a little to avoid an overshoot? I guess this is to ask if a lower stall speed under top speed handling is something that helps like Oldsceptic mentioned.

    Once you are 50mph faster than your opponent in WW2 do you still want even more speed or is it better put towards other qualities?
     
  6. pattle

    pattle Member

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    Both Gladiators and CR42's were known to be difficult planes to deal with by the pilots of more modern fighters, but in the end it was the more modern fighters that came out on top.
     
  7. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    I understand that more modern will lead the way, I was wondering about special cases.

    Would the Blenheim been a little better against the low level bombers launching V1's?

    The Hellcat supposedly had a 19:1 kill ratio while the Corsair was at 11:1. Was it the situation or other factors or was it possibly the Hellcat was a better tool against Japanese naval aircraft at the time?
     
  8. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    By the time you have loaded the Blenheim with modern air interception radar, 4x20mm cannon, flame damping exhausts and other night fighting equipment those poor old Mercury engines will have a job catching a loaded He111
     
  9. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    That is an interesting problem. The Mosquitos near stall speed and the Blenheim too slow.
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The difference in speed between the F6F and F4U ( 20mph ?) is not going to make a difference in the claimed kill ratios.

    One reason that pilots (and air forces) want more speed is that while if there is too great a difference in speed (Mustang vs CR 42 ?) the Mustang may have a hard time killing the Cr 42, the CR 42 has NO HOPE of forcing the Mustang into a fight or preventing the Mustang from doing what ever it wants to do ( recon, ground strafe, bomber escort, etc)

    Air wars are not won by kill ratios but by completing mission objectives, that is getting recon photos, bombing factories, bombing ships, bombing bridges supply dumps, strafing ground troops, etc. The fighter "kill" ratios are a very loose indicator of which side contolled the air to allow all the rest of the mission to go on.

    Slow maneuverable fighters make very bad interceptors for fast bombers.
     
  11. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    I think people are missing the question.

    Are there individual cases were a plane that handles better at a slightly slower speed and has a slightly lower stall speed the better choice. Not is it over all a better plane.
     
  12. pattle

    pattle Member

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    #12 pattle, Sep 29, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
    Shortround6, yes basically a faster plane can always fly away from a slower one and there is no chance of CR42 stopping a Hurricane or a Spitfire from doing what it wants to do unless that it is, the Hurricane or Spitfire is either attacking slow moving bombers protected by CR42s as in the Battle of Britain or protecting slow moving bombers against CR42's as over Albaniain in 1941, on occasions such as these a the CR42 was an obstacle. But really in the above I am just splitting hairs because nobody could win a war against Hurricanes and Spitfires with only CR42's.
    Looking back at the original question tackling CR42's was found to be easier in Hurricanes than it was in Gladiators and easier still in Spitfires than it was in Hurricanes. So long as the Hurricane and Spitfire pilots used their superior speed, were careful not to overshoot their target and didn't get involved in actual dogfights there were pretty much invulnerable.
     
  13. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    Hold on.

    I am not talking about picking the slower plane.

    The question is more if the enemy aircraft is 300mph are there times when the plane sent against it traveling 350mph might have an easier time taking the also plane down than one traveling 375mph. Both planes are faster than the opponent.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Only if the Spitfire pilot is poorly trained. Otherwise the Spitfire pilot will use his speed, acceleration, climb and firepower to attack from a position of advantage, then kill with a single diving pass. Just like Erich Hartmann and other such Boom Zoom specialists did.
     
  15. Elmas

    Elmas Active Member

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    And if the biplane pilot is even less trained, there are 10 biplanes against 24 spitfires and a GC puts the Spitfires 2000 ft higher with the sun behind is easier still...
    But if the biplame pilot has a swivel neck, good eyesight and is perfectly trained?
    This book has very interesting pages about the matter

    51GzJraetuL._SL500_.jpg
     
  16. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    #16 Rufus123, Sep 29, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
    I guess I am searching for a possible explanation for why the Hellcat has a better kill ratio than the Corsair yet the Corsair is considered a better plane.

    It was the only thing I could grasp onto. I find it confusing that the Hellcat is 19:1 vs the Corsair with 11:1. That is a huge difference in %'s.
     
  17. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    different circumstances.

    You are also comparing claimed kill/loss ratios.

    The Finish flown Brewster Buffaloes had the best kill/loss ratio of the entire war at about 26:1.

    Nobody is claiming the Early Brewster Buffalo was the best fighter of the war.
     
  18. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    Just curious, what where the difference in circumstances with the Hellcat and Corsair?
     
  19. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    One answer: The Corsair was mostly land based until comparatively late in the war, whereas the Hellcat was able to follow the major combat zones through being carrier based and mobile right through its operational career. The Corsair's most intense periods of air to air combat were early on in its career during the Solomons campaign and later, once it was cleared for full carrier use, over Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Japan. Essentially the Hellcats had more opportunity to engage in air to air combat.

    Another answer was the Corsair became more of a fighter-bomber, so it carried out more diverse roles, while the Hellcat was essentially a fighter until the advent of late F6F-3s and F6F-5s which had provision to carry bombs rockets.
     
  20. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    During the Marianas Turkey Shoot, the Hellcat also benefitted from excellent (some would say unprecedented) tactical SIGINT support. The IJNAF employed airborne tactical commanders (Fuchida was the lead for the Pearl Harbor raid) who directed their formations to meet the tactical situation. During the fighting over the Marianas Islands, tactical SIGINT provided early notice of intended attack paths, formation compositions and other tactical changes being implemented by the Japanese airborne tactical commander. The USN fleet was therefore able to position its fighters to the optimal position to intercept IJNAF formations and hence inflict maximum casualties on their enemy. The Corsair never had a similar opportunity because it was primarily employed from land bases until relatively late in the war.
     
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