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The plane that won the War in Europe

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by EagleSquadron12, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. EagleSquadron12

    EagleSquadron12 New Member

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    Now this is very controversial and there are many different opinions on what won the air war in Europe.

    Some will argue the B-17s won the War in the air, others will say the P-51. But the true hero ,or heroes I should say, of the European theatre is the Spitfire.

    Had it not been for the Spitfires in the Battle of Britain it is quite likely that Germany may have taken England. Meaning that there would have been no staging area for an invasion of France. This would mean that if the Americans and whatever British troops left would have to take the long way through Africa and Italy, this dragging the War on. This is why I consider the Spitfire variants to be the planes that one the War.

    Feel free to discuss your thoughts...id love to hear some opinions
     
  2. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    The Hurricanes were the backbone of the RAF in summer/autumn 1940. There were more of them and they shot down more enemies than the Spitfires.
    And the B-24 Liberator was as important as the B-17.
     
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  3. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    No. The B24 was far far more important strategically than the B17.

    The battle that the British could have most easily lost was the battle of the Atlantic. No safe passage to the UK = no second front or strategic air offensive against Germany. It was the campaign that Churchill said kept him awake at night. Until the very long range version of the B24 U boats could operate in the mid Atlantic gap. If there was one aircraft which made a unique strategic difference it was the B24.
     
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  4. green slime

    green slime Member

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    No, as the destruction of the RAF was only one part of the necessary equation for Operation Sealion. As discussed in several other threads elsewhere on this site, the presumption that with LW Air Supremacy the success of Operation Sealion was guaranteed is incredibly wrong. LW Air Supremacy was absolutely required in order to have a small chance at challenging the vastly superior RN in the Channel. It would still have been a very scarey undertaking, and caused enormous losses to the Germans. Basically, the KM could not secure the flanks of the operational area, and German aircraft could not have prevented the RN from interdicting the enormous quantities of supplies such an undertaking would've required.

    So while a great machine, it is an undeserved epitaph.

    No single plane won the war.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Exactly. To even suggest it is misleading.
     
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  6. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    No one aircraft. Period.

    Several different aircraft were the right aircraft for the right job at the right time.
     
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  7. EagleSquadron12

    EagleSquadron12 New Member

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    I guess what I really should of said is what was the best allied plan in the ET
     
  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I think we've had a thread or two on that. The problem becomes what do you mean by best? A P-51 isn't a very good bomber and a plane that was state of the art in say 1940 isn't going to be very competitive in 1945. Even if you narrow the definition considerably it can still be quite difficult to answer. For instance which is better a Lancaster, a B-24, a B-17, or a B-29? Each had advantages over the others and unless you use a very narrow definition it's not at all clear what the answer is.
     
  9. gusord

    gusord Member

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    SHELDRAKE

    The long range B 24s could not reach and patrol the mid atlantic gap called the black hole. Thats were the CVEs came in with their 20 or so aircraft

    to attack the U boats and later with escorts formed hunter killer groups.
     
  10. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    There are two terms in use. There was a black hole in the centre of the Atlantic. However, the B24 VLR aircraft could close the northern portion of what the British referred to as the "Mid Atlantic gap." This allowed the Allies to route convoys through the North Atlantic under protection of land based aircraft.

    It is true that this still left a black hole, only closed with the deployment of US ASW Carriers, but it wasn't the decisive impact of closing the mid Atlantic gap.
    [​IMG]

    http://www.cnrs-scrn.org/northern_mariner/vol15/tnm_15_4_19-41.pdf
     
  11. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    The reason why the B-17, the P-51 and the Spitfire are often overestimated: They were considered good looking.
    The B-24, the P-47 and the Hurricane weren't.

    I guess it's as simple as that.
     
  12. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    The Hurricane was a very conservative design and compared badly with other planes from its generation, it was "good enough" and that's what matters in war, but not "great". For the other two I would agree looks played a part, propaganda and advertising both prefer good looking subjects.
    No single plane won the war, though you could make a case for Enola Gay, looking at the various models we should not forget the key role played by the C47 on one side and the Ju 52 on the other.
     
  13. royalflyingcorp

    royalflyingcorp New Member

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    The Spitfire was indeed a great aircraft when you consider it started and finished the war as good as any other fighter of that period. But i agree with a lot of the posts here. I dont see how anyone can say one specific plane won the war in Europe. And my first reaction was what about the Hurricane too....
    It annoys me incredibly when i hear people talk about the B.O.B and say that it was only won because of the Spit. The Hurricane in many respects was a better aircraft for that operation. IE: Destroying bombers while holding its own against a slightly superior fighter in the Bf 109 E. And besides the B.O.B was not really a win or a defeat for either side. I would say on the part of Germany it was a complete waste of time and aircraft. As already stated here, even if Germany had gained air supremacy it probably would have made little difference. The German navy was in no way equipped for a major sea landing against England and the Royal Navy would have caused enormous losses of men and supply ships. If the British evacuation of Dunkirk was anything to go by the number of Royal Navy ships sunk by German aircraft would have been minimal against the time it would have taken the Royal Navy to smash any landing attempt.
     
  14. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I have a soft spot for the P-47. It wasn't sexy like some other fighters, but it was enormous and could take more punishment than any other allied fighter or fighter-bomber of the war. It performed credibly as a fighter, even though it had less maneuverability. The plane could take so much punishment that it often was able to keep fighting when other planes would have already spiraled into the dirt. As a fighter-bomber, it's size and steadiness made it more accurate than lighter planes delivering bombs or rockets in close support. There are plenty of YouTube camera vids of various fighter/bombers shooting up a train or other target. You can tell the difference between a P-47 attack and say, a P-51, simply because the P-51 begins jerking all over the place when the guns or rockets begin firing, while the P-47 stays right on target.

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    I think it's worth remembering that the Battle of Britain was a defeat - in that Germany failed to achieve its' military objective ie the subjugation of the British Isles by the use of air power. War isn't necessarily a zero-sum game - the Russians suffered more casualties than did the Germans at Kursk, for instance - but no-one denies that it was a Russian victory.
     
  16. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Kieth and Martin and anyone interested....slightly off topic question but i will forget it if I do not ask. The P 47 weighted in excess of 10,000 pounds. The 4 blade propeller must have produced tremendous torque. Would it take considerable effort to fly in combat, especiall dogfights ? Given it's speed it would seem , to turn the rudder or raise a flat againt the force of wind would seem difficult compared to the Spitfires, Hurricanes and 109's mentioned above.

    This is not remotely a criticism of the "Jug" a hugely versatile fighter, fighter- bomber, rocket platform, etc produced in huge numbers, I find it an exceptional aircraft but am curious if it took considerable strength and stamina to fly ? My Yay 9 owning find said he thought not but has not flown one.
     
  17. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Sure the P47 was bigger than other fighters, but not as big as the medium or heavy bombers, none of which had any power controls. Some aircraft would need frequent re-trimming during the flight. Bomber command veterans say that flying a Lancaster or Halifax was physically very hard work. German test pilot Hannah Reich wrote about the hard work it took for a slight woman to fly a Me 323. It is amazing to controls could be trimmed to balance the control surfaces of these very heavy aircraft and fighters under the g forces of combat man-oeuvres.
     
  18. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    From http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/p-47/p-47.html



    ARMY AIR FORCES
    PROVING GROUND COMMAND
    Eglin Field, Florida
    TACTICAL SUITABILITY OF THE P-47C-1 TYPE AIRCRAFT
    18 December 1942



    Conclusions



    a. The P-47C-1 is the best high altitude fighter aircraft now in production with regard to high speed, stability, pilot comfort, height and armament.
    b. The rate of climb is not as good as desired, which fact limits its suitability as a medium altitude fighter and as an interceptor.
    c. All weight in the structure and accessories not vital to operational use should be eliminated.
    d. The aircraft is pleasant and easy to fly. New pilots should have no trouble being checked out in it.
    e. The rate of aileron roll is the best found in any type of American fighter.
    f. The view over the nose is not great enough to allow desired deflection shooting.



    This report was from late '42, but the statements regarding its roll rate and high altitude abilities remained valid. Hub Zemke flew both the P-51 and P-47 in combat (as well as the P-38). His opinion was that the P-51 was the best overall fighter, but the P-47 was the best above 25,000 feet.
     
  19. brianw

    brianw Member

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    I once heard it said of the P-47 Thunderbolt that it was so big the pilot could get out of his seat and run about in the fuselage to dodge the bullets! :D
     
  20. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Another story, a P-47 landed at an airfield in Australia that had not seen them before, the pilot got out, and one of the ground staff asked where were the rest of the crew?
     

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