Which was the best night fighter?

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I used to think the P61 was the best purpose built night fighter, but it was kind of slow (by 1945 standards).

I would say the Mosquito's were better, simply cause they were faster.

Ive seen some figures for a two man P38 night fighter that was quite fast and had a radar intercept system that was quite effective.
Ju 88 G 6 and G7

Due to good speed, maneuvrability and shrage musik


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actually there was no 88 G-7 the last variant was the G-6 and there were no sub link G-6's like a b or c.

The G-6 was the best Germany had to offer in twin engine prop. P-61 was too bulky and could not turn and was popped on occassion by Bf 110G-4 and 88G-6's. The biggest fault was sadly to the crews, German bombers and their rear defences like th He 177 and the Ju 87D-5 at night.

overall the Mossie XIX and XXX was the best Allied craft, the best of the best was the Me 262A-1a in my opinion due to speed, firepower but adversely ineffective in long range running battles with RAF 4-eninge heavies, though this is why the twin seat radar equipped B-1/A-1a was developed and at a later date the B-2 would of entered to bring a new look at night warfare plus smooth nosed Ar-234's
Erich said:
.......P-61 was too bulky and could not turn and .....

Are you sure about that? The P61 used the zap flap setup and was surprisingly nimble for its size.

In 1944, there was an account of a 5th AF P61 out turning a Japanese "Dinah" in a night fight. That indeed is quite an acomplishment considering how nimble the Japanese aircraft were.
I was thinking more along the lines of meeting Axis night fighters. The P-61 in the Pacific did well, the guys in the ETO really had a problem with confirming ID of their prey, shooting down several Allied craft by mistake anf ailure of the enborne AI radar was very common in the 414th, 422nd and 425th nfs.

Although nimble and it was big for the time like the He 219 Uhu, it had the speed, but according to ETO crews it could not stop on a dime like previously thought when stalking Ju 87D's from the rear, though even a P-38 could not nor a Mossie ...........

there was a problem with glare as well since the canopy was multifaceted and during the 1945 low level crossing bombings many pilots were blinded for short periods of time with strange refelctions within the ****pit, not sure if this was ever reasoned out
ah I have stated elsewhere in older threads but ..........

He 219 a dog in sheeps clothing, totally non-supported by the Luftw high command. I./NJG 1 the only unit to fly the Uhu operationally. . . a few craft go to experten pilots of II./NJg 1 who found the craft standard and not up to par. Ju 88G-6 filled the bill ........... 1 to NJG 5 for tests, not impressed, I./NJG 3 towards wars end had a bout a dozen and were not impressed, 3./NJGr 10 the testing unit had two and both a/c had broken backs one of the problems with the bird besides it's front unercariage. Twin engines has been ill proven in combat and week powered. No defensive rear armament, non standard Schrägwaffen position, non standar rear warning radar which like the Bf 110G-4 made them Mossie fodder in 45. Limited nose section and could not house the FuG 218 Neptun nor Berlin 240- AI radar sets. cockpit standard and too similiar to the cramped Bf 110G-4 layout, limted space means limited optics. Ejection seats failed numerous times resulting in the deaths of fine crewmen of NJG 1.

wing mounted 2cm cannon caused eyesight problems with side blindness, the underweapons tray was sufficine as proven in the Ju 88G-1, I./NJG 1 crews removed excess 3cm weapons in favour for four 2cm weapons, one in each wing and 2 in the lower fusealge mounting ..........

the sucker in I./NJG 1 killed 12 Mossies and that was it, so much for the vaunted Mossie killer as it was not ..... Bf 109G-6/AS and G-14/AS besdies the Me 262A-1a did much more

a few thoughts
Mosquito NF.XXX. Although, I do reckon the Me 262 would have been superior in the night interceptor role had it been deployed in numbers.

What was the A-20 like at night? I know it was used, and I do have a picture of a A-20G in the 422nd NFS.
Plan :

Night ground attack work only, even with tests of using several forms of radar, the ordnance was different than it's cousins the P-61's in the same unit's

If the P-38M is considered, then so should the P-61C. At 430 mph and a ceiling of 41,000 ft, the P-61C was considerably faster and higher flying than the Mosquito and faster than the P-38M. However, its heavier design probably did impact manueverability. Apparently it did have speed brakes to prevent overshoots. From what I understand, neither the P-61C nor the P-38M performed any night fighter operations in WWII.
DerAdlerIstGelandet said:
I go for the Ju-88G-6 or the Mossie.

I don't think that I can argue against these being the best nightfighters in the war, however, they both would have shortcomings. It seems the main complaint against the P-61B was not manueverability, but was top speed, ceiling, climb rate, and speed brakes. The top speed of the P-61B was 366 mph, very comparable to the Mossie (378) and Ju-88G (around 356 - 390, I don't have top speed of the G-6 so the data shows G-1 and G-7). Ceiling of the P-61B was 33kft with both the Mossie and G-6 below at 28k and 29k respectively. So, some the very complaints against the P-61B (speed and ceiling), as pointed out as a concern in the Report on Joint Fighter Conference, would have also applied to the Mossie and Ju-88. Also, the sole reason for the P-61C was to correct these deficiencies so they were considered pretty significant. I think that nightfighters were for the most part compromises and that a really great nightfighter did not exist.
I don't think a lack manouverability would be a strike against a night fighter what you need is IMHO a steady platform so the AI or air intercept guy can get a target on his primitive display if you are flinging about the sky the AI is not going to be able to tune in his set . Playing with gains and such would require a steady platform .
I can't remember the test pilot that did it, but the demonstration pilot for the P-61 would take off, go vertical at the end of the runway, and pull through a loop and double back vertically at the opposite end of the runway to show off the capabilities of the Black Widow.

P-61 still gets my vote. Vote for skill of crew goes to the Germans, though...

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