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Which was better?Zero./P38 Lightning


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#11 Ricky

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Posted 15 December 2016 - 02:41 PM

The altitude of an airbattle aren't laid by any law, agreement or common rules. It is caused by the possibilities and willingness of the participants and as both the Zero and the Wildcat could manage 33000ft I can't see any reason why it shouldn't have been btought to the top and I've noticed that a try on outclimbing the Zero was a death trap as the Wildcat would stall before the persuing Zero, hence read between the lines: The fight above the Pacific was(!) done above medium height!


But in practice... not so much.
Carrier warfare was typically fought below 20,000ft. The Japanese strikes at Midway, for example, came in at 12,000ft and 5,000ft.

The only high-altitude missions in the PTO were recon (love that Dinah) and the B-29 raids on Japan (and we know the trouble the Japanese had intercepting them)

#12 Armand

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Posted 15 December 2016 - 08:46 PM

But in practice... not so much.
Carrier warfare was typically fought below 20,000ft. The Japanese strikes at Midway, for example, came in at 12,000ft and 5,000ft.
The only high-altitude missions in the PTO were recon (love that Dinah) and the B-29 raids on Japan (and we know the trouble the Japanese had intercepting them)


But IJN didnt expect Midway to provide much battle and certainly not in the air, hence there was probably not taken much considerations of being atop of the defenders :-/
However, at wich altitude did the USN aircraft scout for the enemy navy? And wich altitude was used by the US defenders, who would prefer to be above the attackers?!

#13 Heräkulman Ruhtinas

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Posted 15 December 2016 - 10:07 PM

Tactical considerations.

 

In Europe, they bombed mainly cities and other stationary targets, and tried to keep above of some AAA (88mm FLAK could shoot up to 9km though).

 

Before starting to raze down the Japanese cities, most of the action was against small sized and/or moving targets like ships. For that you need to keep lower to even attempt to hit something. So no much need to be in so high up for anyone.


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#14 CORSNING

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Posted 16 December 2016 - 09:18 PM

Just some of the advantages of the P-38.

 

The concentrated firepower in the nose of the P-38 could saw any Zero in half, if it

wouldn't have kept blowing it up first. :)  :rolleyes:

 

The maximum speed of the Lightning (any) was just too much for any version of the

Zero to overcome as long as the P-38 kept its speed up.

 

Two engine dependability. Yes the P-38 could fly on one engine (once in the air).

 

When comparing utilizations, the Zero had one HUGE advantage over the P-38. It 

was an excellent carrier born fighter up until 1944.



#15 Rick65

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 05:17 AM

The Zero could only outclimb the P-38 at steeper angles of attack.

In shallower climbs the P-38 could climb at a speed that the Zero could not match.

In combination with greater speed and greater diving speed this could allow the P-38 to control a combat if (as previously stated) the speed was kept high and no effort was made to maneouvre with the Zero.

The turbocharged P-38 also had the advantage at altitude as the Zero gained it's altiitude performance from its large wing area/light weight rather than from having an engine that was efficient at altitude.



#16 Armand

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 06:59 PM

The Zero could only outclimb the P-38 at steeper angles of attack....
.

This surprises me as the naked numbers says the Zero have 6,5lb for each hp to manage, where the P-38 only have 5,5lb for each hp (weight being normal loaded weight according to Wikipedia).
Additional is the turbo-charging of the P-38 to expect an increase of this advance with the altitude.

#17 flying kiwi

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 08:50 PM

Wikipedia (groan) says that the A6M2 has 126 kg/m^2 weight/wing area. For the P-38L, it gives 190.6 kg/m^2. Both are at loaded weights. Given equal airfoils and drag profiles, I would expect the Zero to climb faster at equal speed. I would expect that the Lightning would need to be travelling faster to generate more lift, so that the ability to climb faster in a shallow climb at higher speed is consistent with this rough analysis. At a given speed, the Zero should be able to climb faster, until it could not match the Lightning's speed. 

 

Of course, this is very rough and I haven't compared airfoils or drag coefficients at all.



#18 CORSNING

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 09:03 PM

The power loadings for the following aircraft are in interceptor/air superiority mode.

In other words, clean condition (pounds per horse power).

A6M2: 5.82

A6M3: 5.54

A6M5: 4.98

P-38J: 5.15

     Rick65's statement is somewhat correct. The Zero (all version) climbed at a

much steeper angle than all US fighter at their best climbing for altitude speeds.

     The P-38J could climb at 4,000 fpm/160 mph. and the A6M5 could climb at

3,500 fpm/135 mph. at sea level. BUT if the P-38 pilot decided to try to climb at

the A6M5's best angle of climb its speed and climb rate would fall off considerably.



#19 CORSNING

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 09:13 PM

 I would expect the Zero to climb faster at equal speed.

 

     At higher angles only. There comes an angle of degree where the P-38 would match the Zero.

Below that given angle all the P-38 pilot has to do is increase speed and outdistance the A6M. 

     That is exactly how P-39 and P-40 pilots gained altitude on the Zero early in the war.



#20 flying kiwi

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 10:45 PM

I tried to say that, Corsning  :)

"At a given speed, the Zero should be able to climb faster, until it could not match the Lightning's speed. "






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