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Thread: Messerschmitt Bf 110 vs P-38 Lightning

  1. #61
    IP/Mech THE GREAT GAZOO FLYBOYJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAVIDICUS View Post
    FLYBOYJ and Soren, what do you think about a turn contest between a Bf-110 and P-38?
    On paper it seems the Bf 110 would out turn the P-38, but look at how many of the 110s were configured in the field - the lower gun pod and the night fighter version and I think all the extra equipment would have hampered its performance. I believe the P-38 probably accelerated and climbed better, especially the later J and L models.


  2. #62
    Senior Member Maximowitz's Avatar
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    I agree with FLYBOYJ, with rockets, gunpods and who knows what else the Bf 110 G series would have been far less agile than a P-38.

    However we're clearly talking 1943-1944 here so by then the main purpose of the Bf 110's and Me 410's used in daylight missions was that of bomber destroyer and would not be inclined to mix it with a P-38 or P-47's in the first place.

    Unless your name is Eduard Tratt.


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  3. #63
    Senior Member davebender's Avatar
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    look at how many of the 110s were configured in the field - the lower gun pod and the night fighter version and I think all the extra equipment would have hampered its performance.
    If the fight takes place at night, which will likely be the case during the fall of 1943, then all that specialized Me-110 night fighting equipment puts the P-38 at a huge disadvantage. Most likely the P-38 pilot will not even know where the Me-110 is until 3cm cannon shells start hitting his aircraft.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by davebender View Post
    If the fight takes place at night, which will likely be the case during the fall of 1943, then all that specialized Me-110 night fighting equipment puts the P-38 at a huge disadvantage. Most likely the P-38 pilot will not even know where the Me-110 is until 3cm cannon shells start hitting his aircraft.
    That's a given - we're talking about general aircraft performance. The Bf 110 by configuration was the perfect night fighter. Although the P-38M was developed in the end I believe the 110 was the better machine as it had the room to carry the "bolt on" equipment.

  5. #65
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    I must admit that I feel as if the Me 110 has a bit of a bad press when it coems to air to air combat. There can be no doubt that the Me110 would be at a significant disadvantage in a one to one against the P38. However, it is often forgotten that the Me110 performed well and met all expectations as a day fighter until the BOB.
    Until then, by using its superior speed and firepower it had performed well in air combat against all comers. It came unstuck when up against modified Hurricanes and Spitfires who matched or exceeded its speed and had the agility.
    The P38 was in a similar position. It performed well in the air to air combat largely by using those same advantages against the Japanese i.e. its higher speed and firepower. Had the Japanese replaced the Ki43 and Zero in 1943 with a true 400 mph fighter, the P38 may well have a similar epitaph as a day fighter and concentrated on strike missions.

  6. #66
    Senior Member davebender's Avatar
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    Had the Japanese replaced the Ki43

    Japan acquired a license to build the DB601 engine during 1938. Then set about modifying the engine and designing their own air frame. If they had simply built the Me-109F under license and without modification to either the engine or airframe the early model P-38s would have been in trouble.

  7. #67
    Senior Member Clay_Allison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davebender View Post
    Japan acquired a license to build the DB601 engine during 1938. Then set about modifying the engine and designing their own air frame. If they had simply built the Me-109F under license and without modification to either the engine or airframe the early model P-38s would have been in trouble.
    The Ki-61 wasn't a bad plane anyway. More emphasis on getting it in faster might have been bad news for us.
    It's always easy to find reasons why something shouldn't be done, the trick is to find ways to get it done. -- claidemore

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    Quote Originally Posted by davebender View Post
    Japan acquired a license to build the DB601 engine during 1938. Then set about modifying the engine and designing their own air frame. If they had simply built the Me-109F under license and without modification to either the engine or airframe the early model P-38s would have been in trouble.
    Not really

    It lacked range - a major factor in the Pacific. More maneuverable, it wasn't going to "boom and zoom" with the P-38. Additionally tactics would have also put is at a disadvantage. Lastly I question the quality of a licensed built German aircraft by the Japanese. As the war went on the production quality of their aircraft got worse and worse - part interchangeability was almost non-existent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FLYBOYJ View Post
    Not really

    It lacked range - a major factor in the Pacific. More maneuverable, it wasn't going to "boom and zoom" with the P-38. Additionally tactics would have also put is at a disadvantage. Lastly I question the quality of a licensed built German aircraft by the Japanese. As the war went on the production quality of their aircraft got worse and worse - part interchangeability was almost non-existent.
    All good points plus its worth remembering that the Japanese found the engine difficult to build and they had a large number of airframes awaiting engines. This was the driver for the Ki100, a much more effective aircraft.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glider View Post
    All good points plus its worth remembering that the Japanese found the engine difficult to build and they had a large number of airframes awaiting engines. This was the driver for the Ki100, a much more effective aircraft.
    Was getting ready to mention that!

  11. #71
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    Great minds think alike so they say.

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  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurfürst View Post
    Top speed of the G-2 version was 595 kph at 6100 m (see Mankau). I guess the lower speeds quoted refer to nightfighters with extra equipment (gunpods, flame dampers, antenna).
    combat or take off setting? imho in combat

  14. #74
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    I've looked around some for solid info on the P-38's turn rate, but no luck...So I'll just go with what I've read in numerous accounts of the later model P-38's (G model onward) ability to mix it up with most single engine fighters in turning battles. The combination of the boosted ailerons and manoeuvering flaps gave the Lightning a good rate of turn,both instantaneous and sustained, esp at lower altitudes. To my knowledge, none of the Bf 110 variants were capable of manoeuvering with any of the common Allied or Axis single-engine fighters, despite the fact that it's wing loading was nominally lower than the P-38's.

    Complex machines like combat aircraft cannot be reduced to mere numbers, and the large number of aerodynamic variables involved in ACM render conclusions based on calculations from a small number of specs less than compelling. A well-handled P-38 was a formidable adversary for any single-engine fighter of the war. The same cannot be said for the Bf 110. It was an utter failure as a day fighter, and it's continued use by the Luftwaffe in other less demanding roles, was merely a consequence of the failure of it's planned successors.They used it because they had it, not because it was a great combat a/c.

    Many of the problems that the P-38 encountered in the ETO were a result of engine failures due to inappropriate fuel. One can hardly blame the a/c if it's required to use fuel it was not designed for...

    Other problems, such as compressibility, inadequate heating, etc, were remedied by simple modifications for the most part. And these modifications could have been carried out much sooner but for the USAAF's demand that Lockheed not allow production to be halted for the necessary tooling changes. The Bf 110, OTOH, was inherently obsolete as a day fighter by '41.

    As for the night fighter role, the P-38 could have handled that at least as well as the Bf 110, even minus the Schrage Musik armament. It had better performance, comparable range, and better load carrying capacity. It also had the room to carry 3 20 mm in the nose, if needed. But it wasn't needed, because the USAAF had no urgent requirement for a high performance nightfighter, whereas they did want all the P-38 day fighter-bombers that they could get.

    JL
    Last edited by Butters; 07-21-2009 at 06:04 PM. Reason: typos

  15. #75
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    On the comment about the Me 110 vs P38 I have a quote from Capt Maurice McLary 55th FS/20th FG

    On the encounters that I have had with the enemy's twin engined aircraft, I have found that they can turn much shorter than I had anticipated. I've also had trouble in staying behind them - the tendancy being to overrun them. They usually try to outturn you and in so doing put their tail gunner in a good position. I learned this the hard way- by having an engine shot out by an Me110 tail gunner.
    On another occaision I believe his fuel transfer system was shot up by a rear gunner in a turn and he flew back with two inches of fuel in the bottom of his cockpit.

    I don't want anybody to put to much into a single comment but its the only one I can find relating to an Me110 and a P38 in combat. However there can be little doubt that the rear gunner can spoil the day of a P38 tryng to turn inside an Me110.

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