Jump to content

  • Log in with Twitter Log in with Windows Live Log In with Steam Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account

Photo
- - - - -

Best (Allied) Fighter-Bomber of WW2


  • Please log in to reply
66 replies to this topic

Poll: Best Allied Fighter-Bomber (32 member(s) have cast votes)

Best Allied Fighter-Bomber

  1. Hawker Typhoon (8 votes [24.24%])

    Percentage of vote: 24.24%

  2. Republic P-47 Thunderbolt (10 votes [30.30%])

    Percentage of vote: 30.30%

  3. Lockheed P-38 Lightning (4 votes [12.12%])

    Percentage of vote: 12.12%

  4. Vought F4U Corsair (2 votes [6.06%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.06%

  5. de Havilland Mosquito FBVI (5 votes [15.15%])

    Percentage of vote: 15.15%

  6. Other (4 votes [12.12%])

    Percentage of vote: 12.12%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#11 Groggy

Groggy

    Regular Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 679 posts
  • Joined 11 Years, 9 Months and 8 Days
  • 82 topics

Posted 19 March 2010 - 04:01 PM

Hi ERYN,



Welcome, and thanks for the kind words. Now its your turn to share your ideas and thoughts with us. Don't be shy. We all will enjoy hearing from you.

Regards,

Lightning

P.S.
Did you vote for your favorite fighter bomber?


Hawker Tempest? Rechlin test pilots considered it the best piston engine aircraft they had tested.

#12 Red Admiral

Red Admiral

    Regular Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 795 posts
  • Joined 12 Years, 1 Month and 16 Days
  • 31 topics

Posted 20 March 2010 - 09:54 AM

Hawker Tempest? Rechlin test pilots considered it the best piston engine aircraft they had tested.


I think so too. You've got probably the best low level fighter of WWII, but it's robust enough to mount heavy armament, lot's of bombs/rockets and have a half decent range. Only thing better would be the Hawker Fury.

#13 PMN1

PMN1

    Forum Guru

  • Forum Guru
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,197 posts
  • Joined 13 Years, 3 Months and 13 Days
  • 234 topics

Posted 28 March 2010 - 12:09 AM

The standard load on a Typhoon was two 1,000lbers or 8 RP's, was any attempt made at increasing this load in the same way the Corsair took increasing loads?

#14 Johnny .45

Johnny .45

    Regular Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 271 posts
  • Joined 6 Years, 11 Months and 25 Days
  • 30 topics

Posted 17 June 2010 - 11:45 PM

Hmm...I never agreed with the idea of there actually being a "best" plane at anything. Although some had better performance than others, that didn't necessarily dictate the actual success rate it achieved, and the rate PER A/C and the TOTAL contribution the type made were largely dependent on how they were deployed, and who was in charge, etc.
That said, I also wish there were more choices. You never heard ME say this, but it seems like the P-51 ought to be on the list too! I probably wouldn't vote for it, but it still ought to be there if the P-38 and P-47 are. And there's no doubt it made an effective fighter-bomber, just not the best. I've never been a real fan of the Mustang, but that's more because it's such an obvious choice and I never like to "go with the crowd" than because it doesn't have merit. I've came to my OWN independent conclusion that the P-51 WAS indeed the best all-around fighter of the war. It may not have been THE best at everything, but it scored well up the list in just about every imaginable category. If the USAAF or even the Allies as a whole had been forced to depend on one fighter type alone, I think the Mustang is the only plane that actually COULD do all of the jobs there was to do. It was a compromise, but not one that sacrificed much in any one category. So I have to give the P-51 credit for that.
But, as for the poll and the best FB of the war, my vote goes to the P-47 without much hesitation. There wasn't much it was lacking in that role, and it is undoubtedly where it really shines. The air-cooled engine was much ruggeder than a liquid cooled engine, the airframe was very strong, and I suspect that all that ductwork inside the fuselage was part of why it was so resistant to enemy fire. It was very thin metal, but it was enough to slow a bullet or detonate a cannon shell before it reached anything vital, and we've all most likely heard tales of the mighty R-2800 and it's adamant refusal to die, even after suffering catastrophic damage that would have wrecked any liquid cooled engine in moments.
It's huge size and power meant that it was very capable in terms of hauling heavy weapon and fuel loads, kind of like how modern fighters evolved bigger and bigger with every generation (in most cases) to give them larger fuel fractions and more ordnance options. If a lightweight Spitfire (late-model) could carry a 500lb bomb that was 1/10th of it's own empty weight, it makes sense that a plane twice it's weight (but with the same size pilot and radio, etc) could easily carry twice the bomb load, and often more. The landing gear and structure were already stressed to cope with the heavy weight of the plane itself, so a pair of 500lb-er's hanging under the plane didn't stress the plane or effect performance as much as a single bomb would a smaller plane.
The gun armament, in my own opinion, was ideal for ground strafing. There is still heated debate over whether the .50cal or 20mm was king of WWII aircraft guns, but for your general-purpose ground strafing, I think the .50 was the ideal gun. For air combat, the explosive cannon shells were usually superior, since it was essential to do the maximum damage to the enemy plane in the shortest time. But a ground target is relatively stationary, so it is much easier to line up an hit it with a good burst...and with eight .50cals, it put a lot of lead on target, spread evenly over a large area. I don't remember exactly, but I think the AN/M2 fired at like 700-800RPM, which is something like 13 rounds a second. Times that by 8 guns, you get 104 rounds per one-second-burst. I remember being bored one day, and just for the hell of it I drew a cluster of 104 "bullet holes" (one dot=one hole). Quite impressive for one second of fire, especially when you consider that they are 700-grain API rounds, not "powerful" 150-grain .30-06 bullets. Considering the whallop my M1903A3 gives the target (and my shoulder!), I'd rather not be on the receiving end of a P-47 strafing run. Although, to be honest I wouldn't want to be strafed by a Spitfire Mk II with "only" .303 Brownings, either!
Anyway, the .50cal is capable of dealing with MOST ground targets, especially in that kind of volume. An experienced pilot could even destroy armored targets, shooting from the right angles, or by using the "ricochet into the belly" trick. In some ways bigger planes like the B-25 and A-26 armed with the eight-gun solid noses were even more effective, since there was no convergence issues, but it seems like it could be useful to a pilot to be able to choose the tightness of his pattern...shoot from the zeroed-in range, and get a nice tight pattern, or from a bit closer and get a "shotgun effect". It only takes one .50cal bullet to kill or maim an infantryman, so if your hitting a dispersed target, you might as well spread out the hits a little. No sense in putting all 104 rounds into a single man! The 20mm was certainly effective as a strafing weapon, and the British used it to good effect in their Mk IIC "Hurri-bombers" in North Africa, destroying lots of enemy armor, and the blast effect and fragments were good on "soft" targets too. But for shooting-up enemy supply columns, or hitting ground positions, the .50cal seems a better weapon, with a better ammo supply.
And the P-47 could fight back as a fighter, too. Sure, so could the P-38, but the Mosquito was too big, more like a small bomber, and the Typhoon was only good at lower altitudes. It is useful to have a FB that can go up and fight as a fighter at 30,000ft, or blast enemy ground forces. The P-38 was at even more of a disadvantage at low altitudes than the Thunderbolt, and it's four-.50cal, one 20mm gun mix was better at "sniping" or cutting up enemy fighters. The "brute-force" eight-gun approach was more effective for shooting up a supply convoy.
In any case, those are the reasons that I vote for the P-47, although like most of these debates it's kind of pointless. It's not that the P-47 was far more capable than any other the others, just that it had the fewest DIS-advantages in the low-level mission. It seemed to fit the role like it was made for it. Even though it probably didn't NEED to lug around that whole turbo-charger system 95% of the time, it was nice to know that it could fight as a FIGHTER-bomber, all the way from 50ft up to 35,000ft, not just a bomber that could also fly fast and strafe targets on the ground.
That's my 2 bucks on the subject, anyway. I'd rather fly the P-38 myself, but there's no real reason for that, just that I like the P-38 a lot. If I had to rate them all, in an arbitrary kind of way, I'd say:

#1.) The P-47D (or better yet, 'P-47N') Thunderbolt, radial, rugged, big, powerful, heavy .50cal armament. Excellent performance at high level, decent at low levels. Probably more fighter than bomber, but it is always spoken of with respect as an attack plane. Like the P-38, it was no joke as a fighter, but it really shone as a FB.

#2.) The Hawker Typhoon (or Tempest), inline H-24 liquid-cooled engine, vulnerable, unreliable but powerful. Large airplane, good weapons-load, heavy 4-gun 20mm armament with large ammo supply. Exceptional low-altitude performance, but lacking at higher levels. Lacking in range as well.

#3.) The P-38 Lightning, #3 on the list, even though it would be my second choice after the Thunder-Jug. No, it doesn't make much sense, but there ya have it! Twin-engines for safety, good load-carrying capacity (approx. 1/2 again what the others could handle...2x 2,000lb bombs!) Very long-range, excellent high-level performance. "Buzz-saw" armament with both HMG's and a 20mm cannon. At a disadvantage against enemy fighters at low levels, more so than the P-47 or Typhoon. It's unfortunate that the P-38 seems caught in a corner compared to the other US types...it was an excellent fighter, AND an excellent FB, but it is overshadowed by the P-51 and the P-47. Kind of odd how both of the US's turbo-charged types ended up being the FB-kings, while the supercharged Mustang is remembered as the high-altitude wonderkind.

#4.) Tough call, but I'm going to take the Mosquito as #4 over the Corsair...the Mosquito was more bomber than fighter, while the Corsair really shined the most at air combat. Since this isn't about the best FIGHTER or the best BOMBER, but the the best FIGHTER-BOMBER, I think this is the right choice. As a fighter, the Mossie was lacking (except the NF versions), but as a fast-bomber it was one of the most important planes of the entire war. It was a terror to enemy shipping, and it had heavier armament than the Typhoon even, with 4x 20mm's and 4x .303 MG's (although I'd prefer 4x .50cals, like the P-61...like a P-47 with 4 of the HMG's replaced with cannon!). And the .303 Browning wasn't a BAD gun...it seems odd to us Americans with our big ol' .50's, but there are certain targets that don't need such powerful guns, and the .303's are far lighter and hold more ammo. For tough targets, use the cannon, and for ground strafing "soft" targets, I suppose a .303 works almost as well as a .50 does, as long as the cannon's are there if you need 'em. The Mossie had a decent bomb load (although it seems as if it could have carried more, being as big as it is), and for attack-versatility it was outstanding...bombs, torpedoes, rockets, depth charges, 6-pounder cannons, cameras, flares, you name it, the Mossie carried it. Although that's not JUST the FB version, so that might be a bit unfair.

#5.) The F4U Corsair...a perfectly good plane, capable as a FB, but it was more important as a fighter than a FB. It had lot's of speed but could be tricky to fly, especially the earlier ones. Obviously, it gained a lot of capability by the time the last versions were made (like the F4U-7, etc), but it's only fair to stick with the WWII ones. As a fighter it was very capable, but it was just that...a fighter with attack capabilities. I suppose on paper the Corsair is a better choice as a fighter-bomber than the Thunderbolt...they used the same engine, both were rugged as hell, and the fact that the whole P-47 was designed as a high-altitude fighter around a big-ass turbocharger seems to lean towards the F4U as a better attack plane. Part of the reason that everyone votes for the P-47 may be that it is most famous as a FB...but part of the reason it was devoted to ground attack by the end of the war is that the Army had other more capable planes to use as fighters, so they took the less capable ones like the P-38 and P-47 and used them as attack planes. (Not a LOT less capable, so please don't kill me, P-38 and -47 fans!) But the Navy/Marines in the Pacific had only the Hellcat and Corsair, plus they were limited by the small space on carriers and the supply difficulties of working off of small, remote air strips. So it was a lot wiser to use a single type that could do both missions equally well, since they couldn't easily use one type as a fighter and one as a FB. But as an attack plane, the six .50cals's just didn't have the punch of the eight the P-47 carried. I imagine that it seemed pretty much the same to those on the receiving end, but that's 130% of the Corsairs volume of fire from the P-47.

#6.) Other...there were many, many types of craft used in WWII, and most of them made a valuable contribution, even the "outdated" ones in many cases. Like the Swordfish that wrecked the Italian Navy at Taranto and crippled the Bismarck, or the obsolete TBD Devastators that were massacred at Midway, but were directly responsible for the final victory by drawing the defending Zeroes off. There were many old and uncommon types that no-one speaks much about, but performed great feats, and there were ultra-capable planes that didn't actually do much in the long run. I know it's not as a FB, but to me the F4F Wildcat probably deserves more credit than the Hellcat does. It was facing a superior opponent, yet held on and even won at times for well over a year. The Hellcat might "have the numbers" on paper, but it's less impressive to see it racking up victories by the hundreds over inferior Japanese types than it is to see a few Wildcats holding their own against the whole IJN.
In any case, the whole debate is always interesting, but rarely has much to do with any actual measure of merit. That's why I choose my favorite planes for all sorts of reasons, absolute performance being way down on the list of important things. Let's say the Spitfire Mk II was totally obsolete by the end of the war, with it's carburetor and RCMG's. It was much slower than 1945 fighters, and lacked the protection or power, but it will always be THE classic Spitfire to me, as the one that helped win the Battle of Britain. Of course, the Hurricane holds a similar place in my heart...it was obsolete by the time the war started, and yet somehow made very valuable contributions. I always saw the Wildcat as the USN's Hurricane, in a way. Except we didn't have a USN Spitfire equivalent to help out! But if nothing else, the Hurricane should be remembered both for it's gallant fight in 1941, and for the fact that Hurricanes destroyed more enemy planes than ALL OTHER English types combined. And that includes the Spitfire!

#15 Lightning

Lightning

    Forum Guru

  • Forum Guru
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,725 posts
  • Joined 13 Years, 4 Months and 9 Days
  • 46 topics

Posted 23 June 2010 - 04:59 PM

Hi Johnny .45,

I've came to my OWN independent conclusion that the P-51 WAS indeed the best all-around fighter of the war. It may not have been THE best at everything, but it scored well up the list in just about every imaginable category. If the USAAF or even the Allies as a whole had been forced to depend on one fighter type alone, I think the Mustang is the only plane that actually COULD do all of the jobs there was to do.


I have to disagree with you about the P-51 being all-around fighter of the war. Actually, the P-51 gained its well-deserved fame mainly for one role: that of long-range fighter escort.

As a fighter-bomber, it was not all that good. It could only carry a moderate bombload. Its armament of six (P-51B/C only four) .50 cal guns could not be considered as being "heavy," and it was made even less effective because of the need to converge wing guns.

The Mustang was also very vulnerable to ground fire because of its liquid cooling system. Even a well-placed small-arms bullet could bring it down.

As far as its greatest asset--range--was concerned, that went out the window when the plane was loaded up with its heavier bombloads.

As a photo-recon fighter, the Mustang was ok, but not great. It could not carry an impressive array of cameras, and those it could carry were not that efficiently located.

Of course, I am a bit biased, but my choice for the best "all-around" fighter--the best choice if only one fighter was available with which to fight the war--is the P-38 Lightning.

It was an excellent fighter-bomber. It could carry far-greater bombloads than the P-51, and it could carry them further. It's battery of guns, which included a 20 mm cannon and four .50 cal machine guns, all concentrated in the nose, were effective from the muzzles out to their maximum range, without the need for convergence. It, too, had liquid-cooled engines, but two engines had to be knocked out compared to the P-51's one.

As a long-range escort, the P-38 was a close second to the Mustang, and then not in all cases. On long, over-water missions, the Lightning was preferred over the P-51 because of its two-engine reliability.

No fighter in WWII was the equal of the Lightning when it came to the photo-recon role. Its combination of speed, high altitude, range, twin-engine reliability, and nose-mounted versatile camera array were matched by no other fighter--least-of-all the Mustang.

Then there were roles for which the P-38 was suited that the P-51 could not perform at all. The Lightning demonstrated its ability to carry and launch torpedoes. It was used as a flying ambulance. It was used as a pathfinder aircraft for bombing-through-overcast (BTO) missions. It was used as a strategic bomber in its "Droopsnoot" version.

There are those who will argue whether the Lightning was, or was not, the best fighter-bomber of the war, but as to being the most versatile fighter, the P-38 stands alone at the top.

Regards,

Lightning

#16 Johnny .45

Johnny .45

    Regular Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 271 posts
  • Joined 6 Years, 11 Months and 25 Days
  • 30 topics

Posted 23 June 2010 - 10:07 PM

I'd have to admit that the P-38 is my personal favorite, or as close as I have to a "favorite" fighter, but I still can't agree with you entirely. Like I said, the Mustang was by no means perfect in all roles, but it was capable in all roles. I resisted favoring the Mustang for a long time just because it is overrated by so many people, but after a lot of thought, I figured that it could do all the jobs at least decently.
I suppose there are several fighters that COULD have won the war, but the question is "at what cost?". Maybe the war could have been won using any one of the "Great Planes", but not as efficiently, and at a higher loss rate. But tactics can make up for a lot, as the Wildcat vs the Zero proved...let's say, the US MAYBE could have won the Pacific War using their brains and the F4F, but it would have been difficult, and the losses much higher. I'd have to limit the ETO competition to the P-51 and P-38, since they were the only ones who had the long-range capacity, but a P-51 can do just about anything a P-38 can, plus a bit more. The P-51 might be more vulnerable to ground fire, but that's offset by the P-38's disadvantage in dogfights. I mean, we're talking a small difference, but I'd still have to say that I'd choose the P-51. (as my one-fighter-type, not the one I'd choose to fly myself!)
I don't think I've ever heard of a P-38 carrying a torpedo OPERATIONALLY. The fact that it COULD doesn't really help it in the "Best Fighter" category, since it never did so any more than the Mustang did...let the Beaufighters and Avengers do their jobs, let the fighters do theirs.
I dunno, I guess the whole question is pointless, and even if I'm right that the Mustang was the best at the most things, it wasn't by an awful lot. It was downright beaten by the P-38 (and others) in many areas, and I guess any planes disadvantages can be overcome with tactics, etc. If the USAAF had been stuck with the P-47 in the ETO, I'll bet they could have made it work, one way or another. Let's say the Russians put many types that we considered "unsatisfactory" to good use, although a lot of those types were really only doomed because they didn't have the high-altitude capabilities that the ETO demanded. Lot's of planes are a bit unfairly judged simply because they couldn't reach altitude, yet are really quite excellent planes in other respects. Like the P-51A, or the P-39. I guess it helped that the Russians didn't seem to mind taking losses as much as we did! As long as they were hurting the enemy.
And it would depend on exactly how you define "the War"...one has to consider the other theatres besides the ETO. The P-38 was at a definite disadvantage at lower altitudes, while the P-51 was much less so. Most operations in MTO, and CBI were at lower heights than ETO. The P-38 shone the most as a fighter at over 25,000ft, but the Mustang was just as good at these heights, and was better than the Lightning at lower altitudes.
And of course, if you define "the only fighter' strictly, that means that we're including the Navy too. Obviously neither the P-38 nor the P-51 are anything NEAR ideal for carrier-born operations, but they'd do that better than a Hellcat could escort bombers to Berlin. If it came to flying from a flat-top, it seems that the large twin would be a pain-in-the-ass, and would be hard to fit aboard ship, or onto the elevators, etc. Not to mention that a Lightning must use more fuel for the same range than a single-engine type. You get the same range from either plane, but the P-38 has to carry more total fuel load to do it. And supplies are limited onboard a carrier, or on a island strip.
Of course, the twin is a nice thing to have while you're over water, since loosing an engine isn't always fatal, but I have to assume that the P-51 would adapt to carrier flight better.
So, the P-51 is a better dogfighter is close combat. It's a better escort fighter than the P-38, which does it's best as an aggressor, hunting enemies and making dive-and-climb attacks, not "tied-down" to a bomber formation. It has high-altitude performance as good as the P-38, and better down low. It has slightly better range for less total fuel useage. It would fit into a carrier better than a P-38, and even used less metals, etc to build. It had a better roll rate (although not as good sustained turn), and didn't have the issues with compressibility that the Lightning had. Of course, the Lightning DID have many advantages, but it went both ways.
But, it's not worth the debate since it's over and done with, and it's far better to have BOTH types to work with. And, like I said, the P-38 is my personal favorite. If I was a pilot in WWII, I'd choose it for a lot of reasons, even besides the fact that she was such a looker! And Mustang fans annoy me usually, so I hate to write so much to defend it. But that's my honest conclusion, that despite all the advantages you listed, and even if I was inaccurate in saying that the P-51 was the ONLY type who could do it all, I still say that it could do most things a bit more efficiently than the P-38 can. We could have won the war flying P-47's, but more pilots would have died, and we would have had to improvise with tactics, and even strategy in the long run.
But, the Lightning is STILL my favorite, from a sentimental standpoint.

Johnny .45

#17 Johnny .45

Johnny .45

    Regular Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 271 posts
  • Joined 6 Years, 11 Months and 25 Days
  • 30 topics

Posted 24 June 2010 - 10:14 PM

Hmm...I just was thinking...since this thread is about the "best fighter-bomber" maybe what you said is appropriate. The Lightning WAS a far better FB than the Mustang. But what I said was that the Mustang was the best all around FIGHTER of the war...the P-38 was a better FB, but the Mustang was a better fighter. And that's more important...a fighter can take over a limited bomber role, but it doesn't go the other way. A bomber can't be used as a fighter, not really. So to choose a single fighter type since it's a better FB wouldn't be wise...I'd rather just use Mosquitos, or a dedicated ground attack type like the Il-2 for FB duties, and let the Mustangs be pure fighters. To choose an inferior fighter just because it makes a better bomber...I dunno.
Of course, the P-38 isn't THAT much an inferior fighter, but it was only good at certain types of air combat...dive and climb mostly.
So that's my real point in choosing the Mustang...a fighter can be used to do other jobs in an inefficient way, but other planes can't make good fighter. To choose one fighter for the whole war, then choose a FIGHTER.

Johnny .45

#18 Lightning

Lightning

    Forum Guru

  • Forum Guru
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,725 posts
  • Joined 13 Years, 4 Months and 9 Days
  • 46 topics

Posted 29 June 2010 - 06:59 PM

Hi Johnny,

I don't think I've ever heard of a P-38 carrying a torpedo OPERATIONALLY. The fact that it COULD doesn't really help it in the "Best Fighter" category, since it never did so....



If you are evaluating an airplane, you have to take into account everything it can do. Whether it is ever called upon to do it, is beside the point. The Avro Lancaster never dropped an atomic bomb, but it sure could have, and the ability alone made for a formidable threat towards the end of the war.


The P-38 was at a definite disadvantage at lower altitudes, while the P-51 was much less so. Most operations in MTO, and CBI were at lower heights than ETO. The P-38 shone the most as a fighter at over 25,000ft, but the Mustang was just as good at these heights, and was better than the Lightning at lower altitudes.


Actually, the Lightning was very good at low altitude. Quoting famous Vietnam-War ace Robin Olds, who flew P-38s in WWII, "The P-38 was a marvelous airplane. You could whip anything down low."

At low altitude, the compressibility problem was non-existent. At lower speeds, the use of maneuvering flaps and asymetrical engine thrust made it competetive with the single-engine fighters--and superior to some. It was even said to give a Zero a hard time in a dogfight under these conditions.

In the following roles, the P-38 was superior to the P-51:

Fighter bomber

Dive bomber

Interceptor

Photo-recon

Nightfighter (P-38M)

Stike fighter and anti-shipping attack plane

In the following roles, the P-38 was effective whereas the P-51 could not carry them out at all:

Strategic bombing ("Droopsnoot"). (One modification equipped a P-38 to control radio-guided bombs by a "bombardier" using electronic equipment mounted in a transparent nose.)

Pathfinder and radar "bomb-through-overcast (BTO) aircraft.

Flying ambulance and personnel transport

Torpedo bomber (two torpedoes)

Of course the P-51 was superior to the P-38 in some roles, but there is not one which it could do that a P-38 could not. The only one in which it could come close would have been as a carrier fighter, but there is no reason to believe that the Lightning could not have been adapted to that also.

The P-51's main claim to fame was as an escort fighter, which it was the best. That was the role which most needed to be performed during the bombing campaign in the ETO. When you disregard that role, the P-38 and P-47 were more instrumental in the overall destruction of the Axis war machine

The P-38 had range competitive with the P-51. It could carry far greater loads. It had superior firepower and gun location. It was less vulnerable to ground fire. It had two-engine reliability over water and rough terrain. It had a higher service ceiling. It was superior in sustained climb. It accelerated faster.

I have to stand by my assertion that the P-38 was far more versatile than the Mustang, and was therefore more able to take the fight to the enemy if only one type was available with which to fight the war.

Regards,

Lightning

#19 Ricky

Ricky

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2,958 posts
  • Joined 14 Years, 3 Months and 6 Days
  • 138 topics

Posted 30 June 2010 - 07:32 AM

When put like that, the only real advantage a P-51 had was price.

#20 Johnny .45

Johnny .45

    Regular Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 271 posts
  • Joined 6 Years, 11 Months and 25 Days
  • 30 topics

Posted 30 June 2010 - 06:24 PM

LOL, alright, you win. It's not like I needed a lot of convincing to like the P-38 better in any case...I'm far happier to vote for the Lightning than for the Mustang. I guess the dreaded P-51 Propaganda Club finally got to me after all ;)
So it probably IS a better fighter than the Mustang, and definitely a better fighter-bomber, which is what this whole thread was about anyway. I can't say that the P-38 isn't without it's disadvantages in certain areas, but I guess it's advantages more than make up for it.
Speaking of which, what do you mean by "range competitive with the P-51"? I thought the Mustang was the first fighter that could actually make it all the way to Berlin and back? I know the P-38 was in much demand as an escort, but there weren't many of them in theater, and the ones that were had all those reliability issues. That and the first pilots to try cruising at altitude ended up with frostbite! Or so I hear, anyway.
If it didn't have that much range, than that does have to be taken into account in measuring it's overall value. It depends on how much importance one attributes to long-range bomber escorts in the long run. Some people would say that was THE most important role of the war, and even if the Mustang was only a winner in that category, it would still place it high in the lists. IF it was the only plane capable of escorting bombers that far, that is...if you're right and the P-38 had the same reach, then that changes things. And it also depends on how important you consider the bombing campaign
I had also been under the impression that it wasn't entirely successful in fighting off the single-engined German types, mostly due to it's slow-ish rate of roll, and the Mustang did better at that. But I suppose that might just be the PPC's insipid influence talking!
As for low level fighting...that's the first time I've ever heard the P-38 described as a superior low-altitude fighter. I thought that in terms of power and speed, the P-38 didn't come into it's own until you got up to higher levels, where the turbo really came into play. It was faster at 25,000ft than at 5,000ft, right? It could turn very tightly, but it took a better than average pilot to use the whole "feather one prop into the turn" trick, and the rate of roll was still kind of sluggish.
Maybe I'm wrong, and I'm just full of a lot of misconceptions. It wouldn't be the first time, and I won't be so optimistic as to hope it might be the last either. On the whole, I can't honestly argue that I think the P-51 is a better plane, but the P-38 wasn't exactly top of the class in everything. Just pretty close!
I actually just read last night that even by late 1944, when the Mustang was well into the game, that in a poll of fighter pilot trainees the P-38 was STILL the "most hoped-for mount" of the majority of students. She certainly has "The Look" about her!

Johnny .45




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users