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Most adaptable - Spitfire vs Bf109


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Poll: Which was most adaptable? (21 member(s) have cast votes)

Which was most adaptable?

  1. Supermarine Spitfire (17 votes [73.91%])

    Percentage of vote: 73.91%

  2. Messerschmitt Bf 109 (6 votes [26.09%])

    Percentage of vote: 26.09%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 Ricky

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 02:50 PM

This is y third attempt at making a poll - poor Taglia has to keep deleting them because I'm doing it wrong! Third time lucky, and here is hoping we have a good discussion.

Which was the most adaptable design? By adaptable I mean both the ability to be effectively upgraded and the ability to undertake multiple roles (with or without alterations)

#2 Lightning

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 03:38 PM

Hi Ricky,

I voted for the Spitfire with reservations. The Spit certainly carried out a variety of roles but not without an extensive array of modifications. Without going into detail, there were a number of different wings and wing planforms used to acheive its variety of mission profiles. There were also at least two engine types (not variants of the same engine) used. In fact, the later spitfire variants bore little resemblance to the earlier types; they really should never have been called "Spitfire" in the first place.

The Bf 109, on the other hand, retained its basic configuration throughout the war while also serving in a multitude of roles. Yes, there were many modifications in power and armament, but there was no mistaking the strong resemblance between the the earliest and the latest versions and all intervening variants. It remained the basic airplane whereas the Spitfire did not.

Regards,
Lightning

#3 Kutscha

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 05:46 PM

The 109 went through 5 different engines. Roll-Royce Kestrel > DB600 and Jumo 210 > DB 601 > DB605.

The wing of the Bf109E was different than the wing of the Bf109F. The nose of the Bf109A was different than the nose of the Bf109E which was different than the nose of the Bf109F.

Not hard to tell that these 3 different Mks (IX, XVI, XIX) are Spitfires.

http://www.airshows....spitfires_0.jpg

A Mk V and Mk IX.

http://www.deroeck.c...ir-(277)-03.jpg

A Mk V and a Mk XVIII.

http://www.deroeck.c...itfire-Pair(294

The Spitfire kept the same wing platform from the Mk I to the Mk XIX. Wing tip changes were a 5 minute job. The universal wing allowed various gun installations as well has hanging bombs from.

#4 gruad

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 11:59 AM

If anyone wants to answer this

In the UK Daily Mail today Page 86 Answers to Correspondents: "Which was overall the best fighter aircraft of WWII the Fw 190, P51 or Spitfire."

email [email protected]

Personally I think it has to be the Mustang because without it D-Day would not have been possible.

#5 Ricky

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 01:23 PM

Oh gosh, we have a 40+ page topic on that somewhere:)

#6 Lightning

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 03:36 PM

The 109 went through 5 different engines. Roll-Royce Kestrel > DB600 and Jumo 210 > DB 601 > DB605.

The wing of the Bf109E was different than the wing of the Bf109F. The nose of the Bf109A was different than the nose of the Bf109E which was different than the nose of the Bf109F.

Not hard to tell that these 3 different Mks (IX, XVI, XIX) are Spitfires.

http://www.airshows....spitfires_0.jpg

A Mk V and Mk IX.

http://www.deroeck.c...ir-(277)-03.jpg

A Mk V and a Mk XVIII.

http://www.deroeck.c...itfire-Pair(294

The Spitfire kept the same wing platform from the Mk I to the Mk XIX. Wing tip changes were a 5 minute job. The universal wing allowed various gun installations as well has hanging bombs from.


Re: Bf 109 Engines:

The Kestrel was only used as a stand-in for the as-yet unavailable Jumo 210 so that development could proceed. This is a similar situation to that of the prototype Me 262 jet fighter that used a Jumo 210 piston engine installed in its nose when the planned-for jet engine was not yet available. In neither case was the stand-in engine ever even considered for use in the production fighter.

In all, the Kestrel/Jumo-powered '109s comprised early-development models through the Bf 109D (a very few of the "D" models were powered by the DB 600) . These models accounted for only about 650 aircraft out of a total of around 33,000!

Some of the Jumo-powered fighters were used in the Spanish Civil war, more as a development program than a use of combat-ready aircraft. They were only sent there because they would face obsolete/obsolescent opponents.

All operational Bf 109s during WWII used the DB 601/605 series engines. The DB 605 was a development of the DB 601-- not not a completely different engine as was the case with the Merlin vs Griffon engines used in the Spitfire.


Lets compare the changes during the evolution of the Bf 109 with those of the Spitfire:

Fuselage

The changes in the fuselage configuration of the Bf 109 were not all that great over the life of the aircraft. The basic lines remained relatively constant, variant-to-variant. The most noticeable changes were: introduction of a retractable tail wheel, removal of the external bracing for the horizontal stabilizer, and deletion of the large air intake under the nose (and this very early with the final change to the wartime DB 600 series engines). There were other changes, to be sure, but they had minimal effect on the fuselage's lines.

The Spitfire's fuselage, on the other hand, underwent very noticeable changes over time--many due to the change from the Merlin to the Griffon engine. There were significant changes to the lines of the nose, and some variants had their fuselages lengthend to accommodate greater power. Later models had their rear fuselages cut down with the introduction of the teardrop canopy. Also, as with the '109, the tail wheel was made retractable.

Tail Surfaces

The configuration of the Bf 109's tail surfaces remained almost unchanged throughout its evolution. Not so the Spitfire.

The Spitfire had its vertical fin/rudder changed a great deal in both shape and size. They became much larger, and some rudders had pointed tips. The size of the horizontal stabilizer was also changed on some models.

Wings

The only obvious change to the Bf 109's wing planform was a change from squared to rounded wing tips. The span and shape remained virtually unchanged from beginning to end.

The Spitfire wing's planform underwent significant changes. Some were clipped, others were extended and had pointed wing tips. The span difference between these extremes was 7.8 feet! The clipped wing was 4.3 feet shorter than the regular wing and had a squared tip while the extended wing was 3.5 feet longer and had a pointed tip. The elliptical shape itself was lost on later variants.

As to the tips being field-interchangeable, it really doesn't matter once the plane is in the air. In flight, it has one planform or the other, regardless of whether the wing tip configuration is permanent or field installed. The pilot certainly has no control over this. And, in any case, the clipped wing was permanently configured at the factory.

Propellers

The earliest versions of the Bf 109 used a two-bladed propeller, but all major variants used, and remained with, a three-bladed propeller throughout the war.

The Spitfire started out with a two-bladed prop and then progressed through three-, four-, five-, and six-blades. The latter was a contra-rotating propeller with three blades turning in each direction.

Cockpit Canopy

The Bf 109 retained the same basic canopy design throughout its life. There were changes in construction features such as the gauge of the metal frame, but these did not appreciably alter the overall configuration.

The Spitfire went through considerable canopy changes, from the earliest framed type to the Malcomb Hood to the teardrop, or bubble, versions.


As I stated earlier, with all the many changes to the Spitfire over the war years (and later), it is questionable whether the name "Spitfire" should have been retained for the later versions. The Mk XIV had so many changes that a new name would have been justified. The Mk 21 was actually initially referred to as the "Victor." It is quite possible that national pride and morale played a part in the retention of the name of the airplane that became famous in the Battle of Britain.

If there is any doubt as to the extent of the changes to the Spitfire over time, one has only to look at a series of photographs, in chronological order, of the numerous variants. The same exercise will also confirm that the basic configuration of the Bf 109 remained relatively constant throughout the life of the airplane.

It should be said here that the extensive changes to the Spitfire over the years certainly demonstrate the flexibility and development potential of the design, but adaptibility to development is not the same as adaptibility to role. A single, unchanging design can be very adaptible to different roles whereas another design can undergo extensive development in its primary role without being adaptible to many others.

#7 Kutscha

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 06:11 PM

What was the poll question?

Which was the most adaptable design? By adaptable I mean both the ability to be effectively upgraded and the ability to undertake multiple roles (with or without alterations)

#8 Kutscha

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 06:26 PM

All operational Bf 109s during WWII used the DB 601/605 series engines.

Nope. 109Ds were used in the assault on Poland in Sept 1939. 109Ds were used in the Battles of Low Counties and France.

#9 Lightning

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 03:10 PM

What was the poll question?

Which was the most adaptable design? By adaptable I mean both the ability to be effectively upgraded and the ability to undertake multiple roles (with or without alterations)


The poll heading was : "Most Adaptable - Spitfire vs Bf109"

The question asked in the "View Poll Results" was: "Which was Most Adaptable?"

The word "design" appears in neither case. Had it, your above quote would have had some merrit. Without it, the final statement in my posting of 9/25/08 stands.

#10 Kutscha

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 03:51 PM

The poll heading was : "Most Adaptable - Spitfire vs Bf109"

The question asked in the "View Poll Results" was: "Which was Most Adaptable?"

The word "design" appears in neither case. Had it, your above quote would have had some merrit. Without it, the final statement in my posting of 9/25/08 stands.



Ricky stated

This is y third attempt at making a poll - poor Taglia has to keep deleting them because I'm doing it wrong! Third time lucky, and here is hoping we have a good discussion.

Which was the most adaptable design? By adaptable I mean both the ability to be effectively upgraded and the ability to undertake multiple roles (with or without alterations)


Which was the most adaptable design?

Pays to read the post that accompanies the poll question. ;)




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