Discussion in 'Alternate History' started by ww2archiver, Dec 31, 2017.
While I am a big fan of the 262, I also know that it was a terribly flawed weapon having little to do with it's weak engines and all of their restrictions as portrayed in the linked video! It was a terrible weapons platform. It's weapons were nearly worthless because of short effective range, incredibly fine and thus useless fragmentation and the third lowest MV in all of WW-II.
One point at a time.
First the controls were either too weak, or too strong. At slow speeds the pilot had to be very careful not to over control the plane. As speed increased, they became heavy and extremely hard to move, making the plane less maneuverable. Then there was the "P" effect of having two engines with the same direction of rotation which made a hard plane to point, much harder to point accurately.
Then there was the much vaunted "Mine Shell" whose shell walls were so thin that upon detonation they durned to dust and failed to damage any stronger part of the plane more than a few inches away, and then there was the super low MV which made it almost impossible to get hits on Enemy Aircraft at any significant range. The resultant trajectory was so curved that the difference in range from 1/6 of a single second's of the attacker's flight time closing a target would cause the shell following the one that missed low to pass over the target, missing it completely. In addition, the low MV required so much lead angle that the slower turning jet could not track the target. Shooting down an enemy fighter plane was so hard that even "Master Ace" pilots had great difficulty doing it. In a single battle where the Nazis shot down 12 of >1200 bombers, they only got a single P-51 out of >600, all for three jets lost. Out of over 1,000 Nazi jets to take to the air, they only shot down about 550 EA. Given the fact they were all piloted by "Experten" pilots, that is a very dismal record.
Havent watched the video yet...but in terms of the above it had 4x30mm cannons...for shooting down BOMBERS. Not a great weapon load for hitting fighters...if its job/function had been taking out fighters then the weapons would have been different. With 542 terminations to its name, it proved to be quite potent. This was a fighter that wasn't given the testing time it needed (unlike the meteor) wasn't given the materials (particularly heat resistant) it needed and was given multi roles (bomber recon etc) that it hadn't really been designed for. It remains "the most advanced aviation design in operational use during World War II". Just deal with it...
plus the fact that except for JV 44, many-if not most of 262 pilots were bomber pilots, NOT fighter experten!
Plus one of their best
Thought it was an excellent destroyer...
You are right, but it was not a better weapon to fight bombers with either. The curvature of the trajectory was so great that a one second burst of 40 shells fired starting at 1,000 meters range and ending at 500 meters range where the attacking pilot would have started his evasive maneuver, or risk collision with his target had a less than 9% chance of getting a single hit, let alone the four required on average to bring a B-17 down. That trajectory had 41 meters, or 134 feet of drop at 1000 meters making hits, even on a relatively huge bomber almost impossible from any direction but dead astern.
I think while it was very advanced, it was not the most advanced plane of the time. Many think the B-29 was much more advanced with many unique features for the time. As to the jet's pilot's being average in any way, this is simply rubbish. Even my landlord on my first tour in Germany, Walter Dahl, who was the third or fourth best 262 pilot, said it was suicide to do a pop-up attack in trail at a range where a one second burst might have a 50-50% chance to down the bomber because it only took the tail gunner half that time to shoot you down at twice your effective range. The Nazis knew of this glairing defect and had trailed a 262 version with two Mk-103s to give four times the range and 16 times the single pass Pk of the Mk-108 armed plane. Read W. Messerschmitt's book to get more details. As to 542 Victories Vs about 1000 combat losses to all causes does not sound like a great plane to me? Even EBH did not like the Mk-108 and preferred the Mk-151-20 for it's higher rate of fire, MV and accuracy to the 30 mm Mk-108. I think the word of the top Ace of all time, who also downed 9 planes in a single mission, or was it a day several times in his carrier caries more weight than that of political cats like Galland, or Molders? Personally, I would prefer the Me-109K-10 to any other Nazi plane as it had all the most important bits with little of the extraneous parts?
You are still talking weapons instead of the aircraft itself. My understanding is that the rocket equipped 262 was super deadly against bombers. The combat losses accounted for all aspects of the mission, so natural technical fails, escort hits - especially during take-off and landing - are included in this number, so its disingenuous to imply they were simple fails against bombers and their gunners. Galland flew the 262 himself:
So to dismiss his judgement is difficult to understand.
"I would prefer the Me-109K-10 to any other Nazi plane" - Don't particularly like the term "nazi plane" - the Nazis did not design or build the 262 - And for the most part the Luftwaffe had no connection to the Nazi party or its attitudes. -This changed a little toward the end as brainwashed youth began filling the ranks.
And instead of the 109K I would be in a Dora or :
The aircraft is useless WO it's weapons, and the Mk-108 was worthless due to it's very low MV and worse BC. I note that Galland was not listed as a top jet ace, why should we put much weight on his opinion? Walter Dahl was on the other hand the top A2A pilot Vs fighters? IIRC! While the FW and TA look better on paper than the 109, they are in fact inferior. The far and away most effective fighter plane of all of WW-II was with out a doubt the Me-109 in all it's various guises! It, IIRC, gained about 80% of all Nazi victories. That is because the things that make it the best have little to nothing to do with the Placard performance numbers, but with less well known intangibles like, number one; small visual size, number two; a CL mounted cannon of very high efficiency and lastly; leading edge slats that made the small heavily loaded wing have both a higher Coefficient of Lift and a larger permissible Angle of Attack! None of which are traits of the FW-190D, or Ta-152H!
This last is very important because it gave the 109 the ability to shoot farther across the combat circle than any other mono-plane in the War! I note that the Me-262 also had LE Slats, but the MV/BC of it's guns was so low that it could not pull enough lead to aim at a maneuvering fighter plane to make the kill from any but the closest range.
Lastly, the Nazi's were in charge and everything that happened in the War was a direct result of commands they gave, so yes, Nazi is the correct term and should not be shied away from, but embraced as the historically correct term.
Those that do not remember history are doomed to repeat it!
Lastly, I like the ME-109 because it is easily the best single engine fighter plane of the War as a killing weapon, with roughly 37,000 victories, leaving less than 8,000 to be spread among all other Nazi types. If you want one that is much more survivable and has much higher performance, use a P-47! But like the 109, it is a hard plane to kill in. Harder than the 109 by far. But if you want to fly the easiest killer, most durable and best all around fighter plane of WW-II, use the P-38!
Reason for edit, typos and PS at the end.
Useless without weapons...you didn't comment on the rockets...and (to play devil's advocate) they can still be used as rammers and were!
We will have to agree to disagree with Galland's comments...Many Germans respected his views, doesn't mean everything he said was right of course.
As far as im concerned the (Me/Bf)109 was a 30s design so almost obsolete by the start of the war...it was a "light" fighter, the guns had to be in the nose as they wouldn't fit in the wings! Didn't even beat the He100 in trials, but due to a rationalisation Heinkel was given the bomber role. It was to be fair, a magnificent aircraft in its own right IMO. Would have done even better if constant heavier loads weren't placed on the light frame, she still soldiered on...a dip of the cap to Willy. *And again you talk about the weapons used...this is a different subject to the actual aircraft.
"the Nazi's were in charge and everything that happened in the War was a direct result of commands they gave, so yes, Nazi is the correct term"
- By that logic EVERYTHING German during the war can be described as NAZI. Not for me sorry. The Luftwaffe even refused to place the swastika on their tails in the beginning, but after the threat of being sent to the front, they obeyed.
PS: Nice arguing with you! : )
Only one main point; Me-109s shot down more planes than the next 6-8 types combined! Why was that if they were not the best fighter plane of the War? I do not like to think of this as an argument, but an education. I must ask the question, how do you think we should judge the "best" fighter plane of WW-II? All of the things I know to be important from years of working for the Major American aircraft concerns, hanging out with real live fighter pilots and decades more of being air plane buff of the first magnitude and more than a little stick time never seem to make anyone's list of important traits! Why is that? Seriously, I'd really like to know!
Have a look at the numbers made of the 109...theres your answer. Why so many? Not because it was so good but because it cost the least in war materials...they went for quantity over quality...many have said the airwar may have been different if production had been turned to the 190 instead...but fewer aircraft would have been fielded...you should know that much.
We are talking WW2...so the information is available to all...knowing how to fly (unless that is the question) is irrelevant. Working in the industry today is irrelevant.
BF109 was produced throughout the war. More than 29000 were produced over the 5½ years of the war, but it was also already in production prior to the war. In spite of it being clearly outclassed in 1944, the Germans still "produced" ca 12,800 in that year, i.e. nearly half the total production of the type. Why? Because they were desperate, and introducing new different models of aircraft, would produce fewer fighters. Their cities, their infrastructure, and their armies were getting destroyed. They needed numbers in the air to have any chance of defending.
Most of the BF109's victories came in the early days, when it was still comparable and competitive with the allied fighters, and the LW pilot had advantages in training and flight hours over many adversaries. Large volumes of BF109 fighters in 1944 being produced meant didley squat; not only was the plane an old design at a disadvantage against newer planes, LW pilot quality had plummeted.
Do-335; seven produced in 1944... 11 in total.
Ta-152; 24 produced in 1944... ca 150 in total.
FW190; ca 7,500 produced in 1944... ca 13,500 in total, but wasn't available at all until 1941, and then in so few numbers it didn't matter: it had missed the early years of easy prey.
BF109K (last version) ca 750 built in the last 6 months, with large numbers destroyed during attacks in conjunction with Operation Bodenplatte.
Very few LW aces made it out the other side of the war.
I'd take issue with this as well. There are quite a few criteria that can be invoked in defining what is the most effective fighter aircraft of the war. Enemy planes shot down isn't a particularly good one. In the case of the Me-109 the fact that it served as a front line fighter for the entire war is one reason for the number of kills. Looking at LER (Loss Exchange Ratio) would be a better one IMO. Roles it could fulfill might also be of some merit. Resources required to build could be a factor as well as could fuel economy.
Let's look at the total numbers of "fighter" variants produced:
BF109; more than 29,000
FW 190; ca 13,500
Ju-88 (night fighter / heavy fighter); ca 4,000
Bf 110 (night fighter / heavy fighter); ca 3,000
Me 262; ca 1,300
Me 410; ca 900
Me 163; ca 400
Do 217; ca 400
Me 210; 350
He 219; 260
He 162; 160
More Bf109's were produced, than all other fighter variants produced by Germany. Not because it was "best" as a fighter (a Bf 109 is not a better night fighter than a Bf 110), but because it was the best they could throw up into the air given their production limitations, with engine bottlenecks, retooling of machines, and factories, and their limited resources.
It would be shocking given the numbers, if the Bf109 didn't have "shot down more planes than the next 6-8 types combined!" because numerically, the Bf109 was 54% of the LW fighter strength of all fighter types over the entire war, and was there from the start to the bitter end, which very few of the other fighters were. It has 2½ years of easy going before the FW 190 even enters the fray.
Does anyone have a good handle on the LER for the various German fighters?
Shooter, I disagree on your comments re the in effectiveness of the Mk 108 as a weapon. None of the German accounts I have read agree with you. What they did say was that the huge increase in speed/closing rates of the 262 threw most of the German pilots off for a while until they could adjust. Once their reaction times got better they started getting closer to fire and "kills" followed. Some very experienced pilots couldn't make the adjustment but that isn't the weapons fault! Heinz Baer is credited with 16 victories with the jet-the second highest of all jet pilots ever.
The R4M rockets had about the same trajectory as the Mk 108 shells and one had to get just as close with them. However, it took just one hit to destroy a bomber.
I find myself disagreeing here. How easy a weapon is to use (and for that matter to make) is an important aspect of the weapon. A weapon where only a small subset of the users can actually use it isn't IMO a very good weapon.
What do numbers have to do with it? I mean how do you account for the fact that the top ~100 German aces shot down ~15,000 EA? The next batch who shot down 100-150 EA each another ~20,000 and the next bunch who shot down between 40-100 EA each another ~20,000 EA? All together the top Nazi Aces shot down ~45,000 EA, the vast majority in Me-109s? Please excuse the possible errors in the numbers as this is all from my admittedly raged memory! The Spitfire was also in production from before the War till after it, but >20,000 Spits were only able to shoot down ~4,000 EA. 20K/4K=0.2 Kills per plane for the Spit? Juggle the numbers any way you like, but the 109 is still clearly the top dog!
Where did the kills come from? Are they claimed or verified? How many kills did the Me-109's actually account for?
Most of the German victories came on the Eastern Front against mostly inexperienced Soviet pilots flying mostly inferior aircraft.
This certainly does not prove that the Bf-109 was "top dog." no more than shooting fish in a barrel makes you an expert marksman.