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sierra3tango
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:47 am

Probably the 'best' was the Gloster Meteor. Probably the first jet fighter (if not a very close second to the ME262) & better than the competition. Lasted in service well into the '50s, if only sparingly used in WW2 action; it did dispose of some V1s.
The other one not mentioned above is the Hawker Tempest / Typoon. Fastest prop fighter of its generation; both ground attack and fighter roles, fast enough to be able to engage the ME262, shot down hundreds of V1s being the only fighter fast enough (apart from the Meteor) to catch a V1 in the cruise.
Probably neither are the most well known but worth a mention.
 
Ugly51
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Thu Jul 28, 2016 3:36 pm

I always thought the De Haviland Mosquito was a wonderful looking aeroplane. Two RR Merlin engines it sounds wonderful. I seen one fly many years ago at the Prestwick air show, I was absolutely mesmerized. There were not many jobs the Mosquito could not do?
 
bilgerat
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:42 pm

Apologies if it's already been mentioned but the one man who is probably better qualified than any other to answer this question is Eric Brown.

When asked what the best fighter of WW2 was he said if he had a choice he would want to be flying either a Spitfire XIV or a Fw190D.
 
neutronstar73
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:18 am

For me, Corsair.. Hands down the best fighter of the war. One only has to look and see that it had the longest service life of all the fighters, even being used well into the jet age.
 
Ozair
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:30 am

Ugly51 wrote:
I always thought the De Haviland Mosquito was a wonderful looking aeroplane. Two RR Merlin engines it sounds wonderful. I seen one fly many years ago at the Prestwick air show, I was absolutely mesmerized. There were not many jobs the Mosquito could not do?

While I like the Mosquito I don't think it sits in the top 5 of best fighters of World War Two. It was a great night fighter, an excellent fighter bomber but for me as a pure fighter aircraft it doesn't rate in the top 5.
bilgerat wrote:
Apologies if it's already been mentioned but the one man who is probably better qualified than any other to answer this question is Eric Brown.

When asked what the best fighter of WW2 was he said if he had a choice he would want to be flying either a Spitfire XIV or a Fw190D.

Most of what I had read points to the Spitfire VIII being the pinnacle version as far as handling characteristics. I know Griffon engine variants were faster and higher climbers than Merlin engine aircraft but also suffered from shorter range.

neutronstar73 wrote:
For me, Corsair.. Hands down the best fighter of the war. One only has to look and see that it had the longest service life of all the fighters, even being used well into the jet age.

That might make it arguably the best fighter aircraft of it's generation but if we look at just World War Two then I don't think it served in enough theatres and for long enough to take that title.
 
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Kiwirob
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:57 am

Dutchy wrote:
I would say:

1. 262 by far.

For impact, I would say the Hurricane, the plane won the Battle of England, far outnumbered the sexy Spitfire.


Battle of Britain..
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:05 am

Kiwirob wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
I would say:

1. 262 by far.

For impact, I would say the Hurricane, the plane won the Battle of England, far outnumbered the sexy Spitfire.


Battle of Britain..


I stand corrected. ;-)
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tommy1808
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:21 pm

sierra3tango wrote:
Probably the 'best' was the Gloster Meteor. Probably the first jet fighter (if not a very close second to the ME262) & better than the competition.


The Me 262 flew about a year before the Meteor and had EIS about 3 month before it.

The other one not mentioned above is the Hawker Tempest / Typoon. Fastest prop fighter of its generation; both ground attack and fighter roles,


The TA-152 was equally fast, if not faster and the Do-335 was faster.

fast enough to be able to engage the ME262, shot down hundreds of V1s being the only fighter fast enough (apart from the Meteor) to catch a V1 in the cruise.
Probably neither are the most well known but worth a mention.


The V-1 wasn´t very fast, just about 400 miles (not knots) per hour.

best regards
Thomas
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Dutchy
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Mon Aug 01, 2016 2:19 pm

tommy1808 wrote:
sierra3tango wrote:
Probably the 'best' was the Gloster Meteor. Probably the first jet fighter (if not a very close second to the ME262) & better than the competition.


The Me 262 flew about a year before the Meteor and had EIS about 3 month before it.


Wasn't the Gloster Meteor inferior to the Me262? The Me262 had a modest swept wing, the Meteor didn't, it must have hindered the Meteor's performance didn't it?
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
sierra3tango
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:25 pm

tommy1808 wrote:
sierra3tango wrote:
Probably the 'best' was the Gloster Meteor. Probably the first jet fighter (if not a very close second to the ME262) & better than the competition.


The Me 262 flew about a year before the Meteor and had EIS about 3 month before it.

The other one not mentioned above is the Hawker Tempest / Typoon. Fastest prop fighter of its generation; both ground attack and fighter roles,


The TA-152 was equally fast, if not faster and the Do-335 was faster.

fast enough to be able to engage the ME262, shot down hundreds of V1s being the only fighter fast enough (apart from the Meteor) to catch a V1 in the cruise.
Probably neither are the most well known but worth a mention.


The V-1 wasn´t very fast, just about 400 miles (not knots) per hour.

best regards
Thomas


So the Meteor was a close second - quite amazing that 2 nations engaged in total war came up with 2 such like aircraft with power plants that were used the same modus operandi. The Meteor was a bit faster across all models but history doesn't relate as to whether it was in 1944, on service entry.

My point about the Tempest was that it was capable of intercepting a V1 (which cruised at approx 3 to 3500ft) at about 350mph, quite a few Allied (& I expect Axis) fighters could theoretically exceed this speed but not without diving to intercept at such a low altitude; maybe the TA-152 & Do-335 could have. Neither were delivered in significant quantities. The TA-152 bears quite a resemblance to later versions of the Tempest.

The post was written with the intention of injecting a bit of variety to (an admittedly 10+ year old) thread, to which you have added 2 new variants
 
WIederling
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Tue Aug 02, 2016 2:24 pm

The Me262 (~870 km/h) was quite a bit faster than the Meteor (~660 km/h) at their introduction.
Meteor then seems to have ~ doubled thrust going from the initial Welland to the Derwent on into the Mk1.2.3... elevator.
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tommy1808
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Tue Aug 02, 2016 3:28 pm

sierra3tango wrote:
So the Meteor was a close second - quite amazing that 2 nations engaged in total war came up with 2 such like aircraft with power plants that were used the same modus operandi. The Meteor was a bit faster across all models but history doesn't relate as to whether it was in 1944, on service entry.


Their Engines did work fairly different though. The Me-262 engines already had a axial design, the Derwents main compressor was radial.

My point about the Tempest was that it was capable of intercepting a V1 (which cruised at approx 3 to 3500ft) at about 350mph, quite a few Allied (& I expect Axis) fighters could theoretically exceed this speed but not without diving to intercept at such a low altitude;


I think their may have been other contributing factors aside of speed, but very possible.

Neither were delivered in significant quantities.


And even if they had, not enough fuel...

The TA-152 bears quite a resemblance to later versions of the Tempest.


Well, more with the FW-190D "long nose". But, when the FW-190 showed up in the fights, the "New German Aircraft" was dismissed and assumed the Pilots had must misidentified Typhoon .....

Dutchy wrote:
The Me262 had a modest swept wing, the Meteor didn't, it must have hindered the Meteor's performance didn't it?


The wing sweep of the Me262 wasn´t big enough to make much of a difference and only existed accidentally to counter the moved center of gravity of the engines.

best regards
Thomas
Well, there is prophecy in the bible after all: 2 Timothy 3:1-6
 
WIederling
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Tue Aug 02, 2016 3:35 pm

"Their Engines did work fairly different though. The Me-262 engines already had a axial design, the Derwents main compressor was radial."
To note: the next gen of German turbojets would have sported a ... radial compressor stage afair.

Quite a wide range of features found in engines was invented/introduced on the high temp alloy availability hampered German engines like hollow blades and bleed air used for cooling the turbine.
GE early postwar turbine manufacture was managed by a former Junkers man. :-)
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epten
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:25 pm

There's no ONE best fighter.

At low altitudes: La7 and Merlin powered Spitfire. Get low with them and you're dead.

At medium altitudes: FW190D and P47. Excellent energy retention, very fast. Between 3000 and 6000 meters - you don't really stand a chance.

At high altitudes: Ta152 and P47. They will dance around you while you barely maintain level flight.

Over oceans: P38. Will drain your fuel while you unsuccessfully try to catch this fast bird. Then you're bingo and very easy prey. Two engines = no torque steer. This + weapons in the nose = it will snipe you from a very long distance.

Long range escorting: P51. By the time you reach his altitude - which he had literally hours to build - he's already boomin'n'zoomin on you. He saw you first. Run for your life.

Point defense: Bf109G/K. Climbs like a goddamn rocket. Stay the f away from it if you wanna live. Avoid their bases like plague: ALL he needs to do is simply climb. That's it. Engage in combat and you'll be lucky to stay alive.

Close turning dogfight: Zero. Don't even think about dogfighting the Zero. Run as fast as you can and if you have enough fuel - boom'n'zoom it. NEVER lose your airspeed.
 
epten
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:36 pm

neutronstar73 wrote:
For me, Corsair.. Hands down the best fighter of the war. One only has to look and see that it had the longest service life of all the fighters, even being used well into the jet age.


The Mustang (and it's derivatives) was used until 80s:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_PA-48_Enforcer
 
WIederling
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:02 am

Enforcer : 4 built. That did not go anywhere. :-)
There is a lot of (super)annuated stuff in the US kept in the loop for decades ( and decades to come too like the B52 ) :-)
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cjg225
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Thu Aug 25, 2016 3:10 pm

Wow. A 14-year-old thread necroed. Impressive.
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B777LRF
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:02 pm

Il-2 Sturmosomething. Could absorb the equivalent of it's own weight in enemy lead, yet still keep it's crew safe and make it back in time for tea and medals. All this high-level faffing about has always been a bit of a romanticised sideshow; the real action took place below 1000ft AGL, chasing Panzers. And nothing killed Panzers like the Il-2.

If we're to stay with more lofty types, my vote goes to the FW-190, specifically the Kurt Tank designed Ta 152 development. More armour than you could shake a stick at, mighty big donk up front, a pair of superior wings and loads of fire spitting nastiness.

But, above all else is the Do-335 'Pfeil'. Luckily for us, both it and the Ta 152 came much too late and in much too small numbers to make a difference.

There is a reason why the US, UK and USSR fought bitterly over who could capture the most German brains towards the end of the war, particularly in the fields of rocketry, aerodynamics and atomics. Their ideology was certainly sicker than sick, but you can't take away the huge technological advances and innovation, nowhere more so than in the aeronautical fields.
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Revelation
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:39 pm

B777LRF wrote:
Il-2 Sturmosomething. Could absorb the equivalent of it's own weight in enemy lead, yet still keep it's crew safe and make it back in time for tea and medals.


I suppose, yet we read:

While the Il-2 was a deadly air-to-ground weapon, and even a fairly effective interceptor against slow bombers and transport aircraft, heavy losses resulted from its vulnerability to fighter attack. Losses were very high, the highest of all types of Soviet aircraft, though given the numbers in service this is only to be expected. Shturmovik losses (including Il-10 type), in 1941-1945, were of 10,762 aircraft (533 in 1941, 1,676 in 1942, 3,515 in 1943, 3,347 in 1944 and 1,691 in 1945).[37] The main defensive tactic was flying low and power down as the fighters closed in to let the fighter overshoot and fly into the Il-2's firing range.


Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilyushin_Il-2
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94717
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:09 am

Most prewar constructions of new jetfighters was if not copies of german drawings very influenced. Luftwaffe version 1947 could had been a major headache.

For example the design of SAAB J29 is a case.
 
SCAT15F
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:45 pm

I'd cast votes for the F7F Tigercat, Do-335 and P-51H
 
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Gurantosan
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:21 am

It depends on many things what the 'best' fighter was, and to get the most out of comparisons you need to go deeper than individual types, but look into mark numbers; for example - the Spitfire I was no match in performance for the Fw 190D, as it was initially fitted with a wooden fixed pitch prop at the outbreak of the war (these were field modified with a variable pitch de Havilland prop).
The Spitfire XIV however was a match for the Fw 190D, and, in fact almost every other fighter during WW2, with the possible exception of the jets, which we'll return to later. Overall, if you are looking at all out performance, you can't go much further than the Spitfire XIV; it had excellent altitude capability and turn of speed and could accelerate faster than the P-51D, Bf 109G and Fw 190D. At low altitude, the Hawker Tempest was rated as probably the best low/medium altitude fighter, although a very close second was the Spitfire XIV below 15,000 ft. Above that height, the Spitfire reigned supreme. This information is based on actual trials by the RAF during the war when pitting the Spitfire XIV against the Spitfire IX, Tempest, Bf 109G, P-51C and Fw 190A and calculations based on performance figures available for the Dora. I can't remember the official document's name, but I have a copy stashed away somewhere.

In terms of range, the Mustang certainly takes the biscuit, although the Japanese were getting very impressive endurance out of their fighters owing to judicious mixture leaning, but overall, the Mustang, with it's extraordinary unrefuelled range comes out on top. The remarkable aspect of the Mustang was that it was able to match the performance of aircraft with larger capacity engines, like the Tempest and its big 2,800 hp 36 lt Napier Sabre, and the Fw 190D with its 2,000 hp (with water injection) 35 lt Junkers Jumo 213, but it was powered by a smaller capacity 1,600 hp 27 lt Packard Merlin, which says a lot for its aerodynamics.

Outright performance wise, other types had greater performance, the Do 335 and although it had an impressive top speed, it was available in tiny numbers and did not reach full squadron service before the war's end. The P-51H did, but its use was limited to the very last months of the war and was not available in any numbers. The same goes for the P-47H, which was used in the Pacific in combat, but again, it was introduced very late in proceedings, so it's impact was minimal.

The F4U Corsair was a match for almost all the in service fighters of the day; it had good speed and altitude performance and so must rank as one of the best of the war. If we are going to examine the types overall, including length of post-war service and variety of marks, most of the top of the line fighters of the war underwent extensive modification and re-engining in order to remain current; the Spitfire and Bf 109 are examples of this, but the Mustang also did, as did the Fw 190 and since few Axis types saw lengthy post war service it's difficult to incorporate this into the discussion - the Bf 109 being an exception, however.

So, the answer to what was the 'best' is hard to ascertain; the Spitfire underwent much modification and remained frontline equipment throughout the war. it was the only Allied fighter in production before and after the war's end, but even later marks of the Spitfire, the Mk.22 and 24 could be outmatched in performance by the likes of the P-51H. The Bf 109 underwent as great modification and variance as the Spitfire, but by the time the 'K models appeared, which managed to match the performance of Allied fighters, it was too little, too late as the Gustav had easily been overtaken by Spit XIVs and P-51C and D models in performance. The Fw 190 was exceptional from its introduction to the end of the war; there was little that it could not do that was thrown at it. It was a superb interceptor, dog fighter and ground attack aircraft. When introduced in late 1941 it wrested air superiority over the continent from the Allies and could easily outperform the Spitfire V, but the balance was redressed with the Spitfire IX and its 60 Series Merlin.

And this is the rub; the battle for air supremacy during WW2 was a war between engine manufacturers as it was between airframes. The drive for increases in performance saw engine manufacturers come up with different ways of boosting their products' abilities, such as nitrous injection, water meth, improved supercharging - the use of two speed, two stage superchargers dramatically improved the performance of the Merlin and Griffon to extraordinary levels, for example, and gave their respective fighters an edge over their contemporaries, turbo-superchargers, in the likes of the P-38 and P-47 gave these fighters superb altitude capability, etc.

So, from recip engines to gas turbines and this is where it gets muddy. The Me 262 is widely regarded as perhaps the most formidable fighter of WW2 (Eric 'Winkle' Brown quote), but was loaded with the ills of the German industry at the time and its failing qualities - it was introduced into service prematurely before all the bugs had been ironed out and its engines were made of poor quality materials to the extent that you couldn't get much more than 25 hours out of them before they required overhaul or the engines were irreparably cooked. The Meteor was easily a match for the Me 262 in terms of performance, although the German had a better turn of speed, but the Meat Boxes' engines were far more reliable and more resistant to the harsh realities of air to air combat - the German pilots had to be very careful with the Jumo 004 as it was very sensitive to sudden power changes and would flame out at any time, requiring a restart, which took up precious seconds in combat. This usually resulted in a dead aircraft. Another aircraft worth adding to the mix was the P-80 Shooting Star, which did see introduction into service during the war, but not combat, although it was combat ready, or as ready as early jets were at that time. They faced handling issues like snaking, which upset gun aiming, poor endurance and other deficiencies, which required solving, but weren't at the time owing to the pressures of war.

So, overall, it's not simple to ascertain which type was the best, as each of the top performers had their qualities that set them apart from the others and put them at the top of the food chain - and I haven't even mentioned night fighters!
 
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Kukkudrill
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Sun Oct 09, 2016 3:21 pm

Gurantosan wrote:
IThe Spitfire XIV however was a match for the Fw 190D, and, in fact almost every other fighter during WW2, with the possible exception of the jets, which we'll return to later. Overall, if you are looking at all out performance, you can't go much further than the Spitfire XIV; it had excellent altitude capability and turn of speed and could accelerate faster than the P-51D, Bf 109G and Fw 190D. At low altitude, the Hawker Tempest was rated as probably the best low/medium altitude fighter, although a very close second was the Spitfire XIV below 15,000 ft. Above that height, the Spitfire reigned supreme. This information is based on actual trials by the RAF during the war when pitting the Spitfire XIV against the Spitfire IX, Tempest, Bf 109G, P-51C and Fw 190A and calculations based on performance figures available for the Dora. I can't remember the official document's name, but I have a copy stashed away somewhere.


I have a book on the Spitfire by Alfred Price which reproduces the document I think you're referring to. The Tempest V was just 20mph faster than the Spitfire XIV below 10,000ft but above 22,000ft the Spit XIV was some 30 to 40mph faster.

The document compares the Spitfire XIV with the Mustang III (P-51B/C?). Maximum speeds were practically identical - which, as you say, is a testament to the Mustang's design since it used the same engine as the earlier Spitfire IX. The Spitfire had a much better rate of climb while the Mustang could outdive the Spitfire. The Mustang's main advantage over the Spitfire was of course its range.

As for the Fw 190A, the Spitfire XIV had a speed advantage ranging from 20 to 60mph depending on altitude. The Spitfire could outclimb the Fw190A but the two were roughly equal in the dive. The Spitfire was estimated to be equal to the Fw190D in speed at all heights but superior in rate of climb.

The most interesting part of these trials, for me, was manoeuvrability. The Spitfire XIV was much heavier and less agile than earlier versions of the Spitfire, but still it could pull tighter turns than all three other types. The Tempest had a better rate of roll above 350mph, and the Fw190 could easily outroll the Spit, but the Mustang was inferior to the Spit in both turning circle and rate of roll. In an all-things-being-equal fight between a Spitfire XIV and a Mustang, the Mustang's only option would be to dive to safety.
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epten
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Fri Oct 14, 2016 6:59 am

The Mustang has better energy retention than the Spitfire. This attribute, if used in a tactically correct way, makes the Mustang untouchable. Evade the Spit easily and simply boom'n'zoom it until he's dead. As long as the Mustang manages to stay out of a turning fight, it will be okay.
 
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Kukkudrill
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:01 pm

How do you boom and zoom an aircraft with a better rate of climb?
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epten
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:41 pm

Kukkudrill wrote:
How do you boom and zoom an aircraft with a better rate of climb?


By being smart and avoiding confrontation untill (and if) you gain an altitude advantage, while never engaging in turning fight?

Or use your better energy retention for better zoom climbs while your opponent, while having better sustained climb rate, cannot possibly follow you?

Ask USN pilots fighting in PTO. They never had a fighter that climbed better than the Zero, yet they boomed'n'zoomed them all the time afaik.

Spitfire climbed better... up to which altitude? I'm pretty sure above 8000 m there are many fighters that climbed and performed better, Mustang being one of them.

At the end of the day, as far as aircraft performance in fighter vs fighter battles is concerned, only one thing counted - average speed in level flight. If you can maintain better speed on average (and if you're not an idiot or a rookie) then you choose whether and how to fight.
 
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Kukkudrill
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Re: Best World War II Fighter

Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:48 pm

epten wrote:
By being smart and avoiding confrontation untill (and if) you gain an altitude advantage, while never engaging in turning fight?


Against an aircraft with a superior rate of climb, that practically translates into "never fight".

epten wrote:
Or use your better energy retention for better zoom climbs while your opponent, while having better sustained climb rate, cannot possibly follow you?


Do you have any sources to back up your claim that the Mustang had better energy retention (whatever that means) than the Spitfire XIV? Or is this just wishful thinking?

epten wrote:
Ask USN pilots fighting in PTO. They never had a fighter that climbed better than the Zero, yet they boomed'n'zoomed them all the time afaik.


That's because the Hellcat and Corsair were a lot faster than the Zero. As you say, the faster aircraft dictates the fight. But it's worth noting that both the Hellcat and the Corsair - especially the Corsair - could outclimb the Zero. It would be strange if they couldn't, given their speed advantage.

epten wrote:
Spitfire climbed better... up to which altitude? I'm pretty sure above 8000 m there are many fighters that climbed and performed better, Mustang being one of them.


Again, sources?
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