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Best Nightfighters of WWII

Discussion in 'Aircraft' started by Gromit801, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. JagdtigerI

    JagdtigerI Ace

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    Hi Erich, just curious could you explain this further?
     
  2. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Yes, that was Herr Otto Fries who was very positive indeed about his experience of the 'Uhu', only bemoaning the fact that insufficient time was availble for serious development. But as Erich so rightly says, nearly all pilots will stoutly defend 'their' aircraft......;)
     
  3. uksubs

    uksubs Member

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    When Eric brown test flow Uhu he said it was very under powered
     
  4. tattyteddy

    tattyteddy Member

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    the mosquito was defantly the best night fighter. but it is not my favorite which is one not so often talked about which is the Boulton Paul Defiant. ok it didnt do as well as the mossie but it was a good concept to have. the defiant was made before its time i think if i had been produced later in the war it would have done better.
     
  5. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    The Bf 110 performed very well as a night-fighter, probably its best role, although it was mostly its unsuitability for its designed roles and hence its availability that made it so widely used. As Jerry Scutts notes in German Night Fighter Aces of World War 2:

    "...Mersserschmitt's Zerstörer more than lived up to its name during the hours of darkness. Discredited ever since in the 'popular press' following its poor showing in the Battle of Britain, the Bf 110 avenged any humiliation it suffered over the Channel in 1940 many-fold as it went on to become, in terms of aerial kills, the most successful night fighter of all time."

    However, most planes that ended up in the "nightfighter" role were fighters/interceptors or fast bombers which were adapted to the role. The Mosquito Mk II is a fine example of an adaptation rather than a purpose built nightfighter. Only the P-61 Black Widow from Northrop was purpose designed as a nightfighter, and it served well for the limited time it was used.

    The Black Widow did not rack up an impressive list of kills since its entry into the war was relatively late, at a time when the Allies had already established almost complete control of the air, enemy aircraft were at this time relatively few and far between, especially at night.
     
  6. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    That's true but I think we have to keep in mind variances between individual aircraft and also the fact that some of the aircraft captured by the Allies at the end of the war had suffered from poor, or lack, of regular maintenance. This was one of the few questions that I remembered :)o) to ask Herr Fries and he was quite insistent that when he flew the aircraft operationally, he felt that the performance was totally adequate for his needs.....
     
  7. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    as Martin has stated after chatting with Herr Fries the Uhu did what it had to do it was an improvement over the defunct Bf 110G-4. sadly all the bugs did not go away from the oversized a/c, yes underpowered has been mentioned in texts, the ejection seat system at times was fatal to the crew, the non standard use of rear warning radar caused the demise of important crews as well, no rear gunner and yes it could and di make a difference although experimentation in other variants was to include one. limited nose ara for any future radar systems, some thing the Ju 88G-6 had. two crew members was not to be the norm for 1945 when Mossies were about the LW NF crews needed the extra sets of eyes for self-preservation. Initially the frontal armament of cannon was insanely overburdened to the a/c and the I./NJG 1 crews kept the wing root 2cm and dispensed in nearly all cases though operational missions and kept just two 2cm in the lower belly and removed the inner two.
     
  8. Hufflepuff

    Hufflepuff Semi-Frightening Mountain Goat

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    My favorites are the P-61 Blackbird and the He-219 Owl; I just love both of them :)
     
  9. MVHAGEY

    MVHAGEY Member

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    I wouldn't necessarily say that. In the book Death Traps, American infantry could sleep well at night because the 109's and 190's wouldn't go out at night because of the P-61. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  10. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    ok I will correct you then........... NSGr 1 and 2 were very effective at low level bombing and strafing on US and British columns at night. flying the Ju 87D-3 and D-5's. other NSGr's in Germany flew the Fw 190F at night and NSGr 20 even flew the Bf 109G's late marks though these were more regulated to night defense work against BC heavies while serving in NJGr 10 and NJG 11.

    I have full story coverage for my future book from 9th AF P-61 crews and the probs they faced in trying to handle the Ju 87D's at night.......being part of the US NF association has helped of course. As for the original statement about US infantry sleeping at night it has to be the conclusion as to where in Germany in 45.

    As to luving on the Uhu and Blk. Widow it must certainly be the way in which the A/C looked. heck I thought the same as a kid in the 50's. nothing has changed in that respect
     
  11. surfersami

    surfersami Member

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    The NF crews in the Pacific were slow to warm to the P-61 because they too underestimated the performance because it was "too big". A test pilot was sent on a tour of the NF bases, and showed what the aircraft could do. I live next door to a Vet who flew the P-61, and he also said it would turn with single engine fighters. The point of it's statistics in the war is kind of mute, it arrived so late in the ETO that there wasn't much left to shoot at. In the Pacific it was cleaning up leftovers also.
    But when it's radar lit up a train on a moonless night, you could kiss that train good bye.
    The only way to make a fair comparison would be to have the Mossie and the P-61 based at the same place, at the same time of the war, with the same number of available targets.
    Remember, the F-15 is a big airplane, but it can turn and dog fight with the best of them. Don't underestimate the turning performance of big fighters. Many 109 and 190 pilots died trying to turn with the P-47 at the wrong speed and altitude!
     
  12. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    the P-61 did not arrive too late in the ETO that is a fact and yes I have interviewed and known several pilots including C.O. of the 425th nfs and I was a member of the US NF assoc. for several years.............there were many LW NF's to tangle with BC command crews knew this along with the poor chaps flying BC heavies. the crate could not turn with single seaters except in the PTO. the unfamilairty of US 9th NFS crews with German a/c at night was suspect as always , too bad two RAF a/c were shot down by P-61's by mistake due to ID theft. If anyone ever has chance to find the microfishce of the 422nd and 425th nfs two that I own it would be enlightening reading to really find out how ill the crews were at night, what they did mangae was shooting up MT's and night the highlight so to speak of both units and even the 414th when supplied in a small band to the 422nd nfs in Germany. prime was not trains but train connections-railyards were splattered in number and the use of naphalm well how could one really miss.
     

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