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Game changers!

Aviation Discuss Game changers! in the World War II - Aviation forums; Whilst we all love to debate the merits of favourite planes, few can be regarded as being designs that changed ...

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    Game changers!

    Whilst we all love to debate the merits of favourite planes, few can be regarded as being designs that changed the way the war was fought in Europe.
    for instance whilst the Spitfire and Me109 were capable aircraft neither was a "game changer" that forced rapid development or change of tactics on the enemy.

    off the top of my head I can think of four that did:-

    the FW190,
    It's appearance on the western front put the Luftwaffe in a position of technical superiority over the MkV Spit and drove development of newer and faster Spits, along with more powerfull designs.
    as far as I know it was over six months before the MkIX Spit came into service that resored the balance.
    In many of the memoirs of fighter pilots I have seen mentions of the overnight change of attitude of the Luftwaffe pilots, I believe it was Al Deere who stated "it was suprising to see the way the FW pilots stayed around and got stuck into the fight when hunched behind the controls of a 190, a marked difference to the one pass and dive away tactics of the 109's, sound tactics when fighting spits in a 109"

    The Mosquito
    This fast light bomber and fighter bomber gave the Allies an ability to take the fight to the enemy and had the speed to survive in hostile skies, a marked contrast to earlier designs.
    it's performance led to Goering commenting on allied technical superiority in the air and the forming of a unit dedicated to intercepting these aircraft.



    P51,
    At last the Allies fielded a highly capable aircraft that had the range to escort the bomber all the way to Berlin, we can spend all day debating the relative strengths and weaknesses of differing types but the ability to fly an advanced escort fighter that distance made a considerable change to losses and morale on both sides.

    ME262
    the nail in the piston engined aircrafts coffin, it may have been no dog fighter but that was irrelevant as the bomber is the true instrument of air power and these aircraft were the perfect answer to the bomber, if enough of these could have been produced, pilots trained and fuel produced, the air war could have been tipped on its head as the threat they would have meant to the daylight bombing campaign would no doubt have prolonged the war, probably the biggest game changer of them all.

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    Senior Member fastmongrel's Avatar
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    Agree with all the above but can I add 1 more the VLR (very long range) Liberators that closed the Atlantic gap and neutered the U boat threat. No Liberators, possibly no D Day or at least a much later one.

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    thats a good one, strategically very important!

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    Senior Member buffnut453's Avatar
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    How about the Zero? The B-29? To be a bit different, I'd also add the early radar-equipped nightfighter Blenheims.

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    Senior Member Thorlifter's Avatar
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    I would throw in the appearance of the Corsair and Hellcat in the pacific. Until then, the Wildcat and P-40 were taking on the Japanese and had a kill ratio of, at best, 3-1. The Corsair had a 12-1 and the Hellcat was 15-1 kill ratio (if memory serves, please correct me if I'm wrong).

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    Senior Member drgondog's Avatar
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    Kryten - I wouldn't modify your list. Each entry did in fact change the game and force a specific new set of tactics and development in an attempt to offset.
    "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits." - Albert Einstein

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    Senior Member krieghund's Avatar
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    I agree with the list for Europe

    However, to a much larger magnitude was the paradigm shift in the Pacific of the Zero-sen fighter. The current western thought of the agrarian culture of Japan is that they were incapable of producing any technology that could match up to what the west could produce and thus we were confident that behind our technology we were safe and could not be challenged. Even after being engaged the western powers had to invent stories that they just copied our technology to justify our paradigm of technical superiority.

    It was the Japanese leader's confidence in their new weapons that gave them the courage to take on the world. A few screw ups on their part enabled us to have the time to surpass and then out produce them.

    Thus I believe the Zero was a game changer.

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    Senior Member pbfoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fastmongrel View Post
    Agree with all the above but can I add 1 more the VLR (very long range) Liberators that closed the Atlantic gap and neutered the U boat threat. No Liberators, possibly no D Day or at least a much later one.
    Of all the aircraft I would choose the B24 as the biggest game changer as for the reasons set out above . An often forgotten part of the war is how the 24 changed ASW

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    Senior Member renrich's Avatar
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    I believe that Krieghund hit the nail on the head. The A6M could be places no other fighter in the world could be and when it got there was better than any other fighter it would encounter. As far as fighters go, it was better in 1941-42 than the F2A, F4F, P40, P39, Hurricane and Spitfire, to name a few. Overall it outperformed all of those in ACM and none of it's prey could come close to matching it's range. It would have been extremely difficult for the Japanese strategy in the first six months of the war to have been successful without the Zeke. On top of that, as I pointed out the other day in another thread. The Zeke I saw landing at our airport two Mondays ago was one beautiful fighter. Way ahead of it's time in looks with the exception of the 109 and Spit.

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    Senior Member buffnut453's Avatar
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    Although in terms of Japan's strategic objectives, the much-forgotten Ki-43 did more damage than the Zero. It was the Ki-43 that won air superiority over Malaya that ultimately enabled Japanese victory over Singapore and the onward assault into the Dutch East Indies. That said, I already added the Zero in my earlier post.

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    Senior Member renrich's Avatar
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    The KI43 was a formidable opponent and instrumental in the early Japanese success and it did all that with only two 12.7 MGs. However, the Zeke was unique in the world in that it had a combat radius of 300 miles off a carrier. That was twice that of the F4F.

    Thorlifter, I doubt the F4F or P40 ever had a kill ratio of 3-1 over the Zeke. Lundstrom, whose books are heavily researched says that the F4F in November, 1942 had a roughly even ratio with A6Ms, which was chiefly due to superior tactics by USN pilots. I doubt the P40 did as well. The FM2s later in the war may have done a little better as the quality of the IJN pilots declined.
    Last edited by renrich; 10-21-2011 at 01:28 PM.

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    Senior Member TheMustangRider's Avatar
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    The B-29, in my opinion, was a game changer towards the end of the war.
    It enable the USAAF to bomb Japanese soil from bases as far as India and China and helped to put pressure on the Japanese while B-29 crews and the B-29s themselves evolved and became more proficient during the campaign.
    The Superfort devastated Japanese cities, destroyed a great percentage of its war industries, cut off the home islands from their remaining maritime supply lines and by delivering the world's first nuclear weapons, it set the rules for American air power in the looming Cold War.

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    Senior Member davebender's Avatar
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    Ju-52 transport

    The 1940 German invasion of Norway would have been impossible without it. So would the 1941 invasion of Crete. Without the Ju-52 transport the 1942 Demyansk Pocket becomes a German defeat instead of a German victory. Probably quite a few other encirclement battles also. Ju-52 transports were crucial in allowing Luftwaffe fighter and bomber units to rapidly relocate to other airfields, allowing CAS to keep pace with Heer units on the move.

    The USA took these lessons to heart, producing a massive C-47 fleet to support both themselves and Britain. But it was the Ju-52 that got there first.

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    The B-29 Superfortress, but not just for the reasons mentioned elsewhere; the impact I'm talking about was felt largely post-war, but it is important nevertheless. During the war the Russians had requested B-29s but were denied them. Three landed in Russian soil during the war and by a miracle of patient examining and analysis (not to mention the pressure of the NKVD on their backs), the Tupolev engineers reverse engineered what was one of the most complex aircraft that existed in the world at that time. The impact of the B-29 on Russian (Soviet) aviation was astounding; new methods and materials were developed from it in the manufacture of aircraft and components, quality control was essential for the close tolerace fits of many of the components, the automated gunnery systems - extraordinarily sophisticated, the pressurisation system, and more.

    Every big bomber and transport that appeared in the post-war Soviet Union benefitted enormously from the work that Tupolev did in reverse engineering the B-29. Yeah, we can write them off as copy cats, but Russia was a nation of farmers and tractor builders, but with fine engineering expertise at their availability; they were an industrially backward nation by comparison to the USA (largely thanks to the Soviets and their terrible collectivisation farming programs and Stalin's purges - but we won't go into that here), so, technologically the Tu-4 was a massive step forward for them. You could argue that it directly led to an escalation in the cold war with Curtis Le May's perceived 'Bomber Gap'. Game changer indeed.

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    Senior Member Thorlifter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by renrich View Post
    The KI43 was a formidable opponent and instrumental in the early Japanese success and it did all that with only two 12.7 MGs. However, the Zeke was unique in the world in that it had a combat radius of 300 miles off a carrier. That was twice that of the F4F.

    Thorlifter, I doubt the F4F or P40 ever had a kill ratio of 3-1 over the Zeke. Lundstrom, whose books are heavily researched says that the F4F in November, 1942 had a roughly even ratio with A6Ms, which was chiefly due to superior tactics by USN pilots. I doubt the P40 did as well. The FM2s later in the war may have done a little better as the quality of the IJN pilots declined.
    I thought so, but since I was shooting from the hip, I couldn't remember exactly. I was actually thinking 1:1 or 2:1. Thanks for the input, but that further enforces my belief that the F4U and F6F were game changers to the benefit of the American's as the Zero was to the Japanese.

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