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Thread: P38 vs P47 vs 109 and 190

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    P38 vs P47 vs 109 and 190

    I was reading some very old post tonight and I began to notice a patern. When asked about P38 vs P47 most people picked the P38 including the die hard German guys. Now, it is, as far as evreything I have ever read, generally accepted that the P47 broke the back off the Luftwaffe. BUT, when the same people are asked about P38 vs either a 109 or 190 it invariably comes back that the P38 will loose every time. From all the posts I read, a P38 couldnt shoot down a 109 or 190 if the German planes were out of gas, filled with concrete and the pilots were on vacation. Add to that was the reasoning that a P38 simply couldnt turn well enough to ever shoot down a 109 or 190. One wonders after reading the posts if a P38 EVER actually shot down a single engine German fighter. YET, history records the P47 crushed the Luftwaffe despite the fact that it cant outturn anything and it sure cant outclimg anything either, except for the zoom climb. (I know, the paddle blade prop to)



    Anybody want to explain the alleged discrepensies here?

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    Creator of Interesting Threads tomo pauk's Avatar
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    Claiming that my favourite plane, the P-47, broke Luftwaffe's back is redicioulus. It took many years of air war to destroy Luftwaffe, and the list of the planes that took part is a long one.

    Back to the Jug, he didn't need to out-turn any opponent, since it was 'B-N-Z' fighter. Diving form altitude, firing at opponent, than climbing back was the game.
    Last edited by tomo pauk; 11-05-2009 at 06:59 AM.

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    Senior Member davebender's Avatar
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    Diving form altitude

    Any aircraft can make a high speed pass if they are lucky enough to start with an altitude advantage. Even an otherwise slow speed clunker like the F4F. A great Boom & Zoom fighter must have a superior rate of climb so it can easily reach that superior altitude.

    Concerning the P-38...
    The P-38 was very expensive to produce. Leaving that fact aside it was a good aircraft on paper. However in the real world it was plagued by problems which reduced performance and mechanical reliability at high altitude. Assuming it doesn't malfunction I would prefer a P-38 over a P-47 from the same time period.

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    I understand that the Jug was a B & Z fighter, but the P38 can B & Z also. The P38 can also easily turn inside the P47. It was only about 10 mph slower than the P47, depending on whose top speed stats you look at, and was a much better low altitude fighter than the P47 and also easily outclimbed it also. BUT, regardless of that, almost everyone picked the P38 over the JUG in a head to head comparison, but then most people were saying that the P38 was "easy meat" for any German single engine fighter. Yet, it was the P47 that made the biggest impact in the fight from 43 until the P51 arrived. No one here would say the P47 was easy meat for any German fighter, but they say that about the P38, yet, most people pick the P38 over the Jug in a head to head contest. I'm just wanting someone to explain their own posts. When you read them all, they dont make sense.

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    The P-47 is a better boom and zoom fighter than the P-38. In Europe that was crucial. If you are an escort fighter in 1943-44 you will more often than not start combat with an altitude advantage. If you play that card well in a P-47 there is not so much any Bf 109 or FW 190 can do. For a P-38 it will be harder to follow any of the two German fighters even if you got an energy advantage. The P-47 may not be a great roller or turner but it's still better in that area than most if not all models of the P-38.

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    Creator of Interesting Threads tomo pauk's Avatar
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    Wanted to add something about P-47 already having the needed height, but riarcato just beat me to it.

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    Senior Member drgondog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinsog View Post
    I was reading some very old post tonight and I began to notice a patern. When asked about P38 vs P47 most people picked the P38 including the die hard German guys. Now, it is, as far as evreything I have ever read, generally accepted that the P47 broke the back off the Luftwaffe. BUT, when the same people are asked about P38 vs either a 109 or 190 it invariably comes back that the P38 will loose every time. From all the posts I read, a P38 couldnt shoot down a 109 or 190 if the German planes were out of gas, filled with concrete and the pilots were on vacation. Add to that was the reasoning that a P38 simply couldnt turn well enough to ever shoot down a 109 or 190. One wonders after reading the posts if a P38 EVER actually shot down a single engine German fighter. YET, history records the P47 crushed the Luftwaffe despite the fact that it cant outturn anything and it sure cant outclimg anything either, except for the zoom climb. (I know, the paddle blade prop to)

    Anybody want to explain the alleged discrepensies here?
    It is silly for anyone to claim that a P-38 will always lose or even lose most of the time. Secondly you need to define which model because the manuever flaps and improved intercooler and boosted ailerons made the P-38J-25 and above a very fine fighter.

    The bigger problem for the P-38 was its very large wingspan and size. It was easy to spot it before being spotted yourself if you were in a 109 or 190. Seeing the other a/c first gave one an immeditae advantage tactically.

    Now, define 'broke the back' of the Luftwaffe.

    My personal key component of that definition is rendering the LW impotent with respect to air superiority, and in particular over Germany. Many fighter types contributed to pushing the LW back to German borders. Only one type took the battle the rest of the way... actually two - but the P-38 maxed out with four Groups and two converted in May-June.

    The Spit and the P-47 were important over France and Holland and Italy. The P-38 was a very good fighter in the MTO.

    When the later versions of the Jug entered combat ops with fuel cells and wing pylons their range was extended well into Germany but that was essentially after Normandy campaign. By that time the 51 was (and had been) performing target escort - and continued to do so because most of the P-47 Groups in 8th FC had converted to 51's. The 356th, 353rd, 56th and 78th were only P-47 groups remaining during Operation Market Garden - the other 11 were Mustangs.

    The P-47 was very important in getting the 8th and 15th AF to the borders of Germany but only the Mustang and P-38 enabled target escort and fighting LW over Germany.

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    Senior Member Watanbe's Avatar
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    The P38 offers the piece of mind of a twin engine and a great set of nose guns, otherwise I would pick the P-47. Its tough as nails, fast and good at high altitude.

    Edit: As said above, the advantage of the P-38 was the range it offered over the P-47. It was an escort in the traditional sense.

    Also says something of the Mustangs capabilities to have the range that it did and remain a competitive fighter.
    Last edited by Watanbe; 11-05-2009 at 10:16 AM.

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    Senior Member davebender's Avatar
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    No one here would say the P47 was easy meat for any German fighter
    Do we have statistics which show the average number of sorties performed before each aircraft type is lost?

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    Personally, I liked both the P38 and the P47, and I think under 15 or 20 thousand feet the P38 would beat a 109 and do ok with the 190. No one argues what the 47 did. I know the Mustang was a great fighter, but I have never liked it for some reason. Probably because everyone else does. I like the Corsair the best myself, but I digress.
    I didnt think the Spitfire had a huge strategic effect on the war due to its short range. I knew it was an excellent, fast climbing short range interceptor but it had difficulty taking the fight to the enemy because of its short legs. Dont want to offend the Spit fans out there, this is merely my perception from what I have always read.
    When I said the 47 broke the Luftwaffes back, I have read that more than one place. I guess if I were to define that, I would say it was in the fight when the Luftwaffe was the strongest and still had a well trained experienced group of pilots, took the fight to them(because of longer range) and caused them serious losses. By the time the Mustang arrived on the scene in numbers, the Luftwaffe had been seriously roughed up and had lost alot of experienced people that were being replaced by MUCH less experienced pilots. Not to say that they werent still a potent fighting force, but they werent what they were when the 47 first started escort duty. Just my opinion right now, I could still be swayed one way or another.

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    Senior Member drgondog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davebender View Post
    Do we have statistics which show the average number of sorties performed before each aircraft type is lost?
    Not precisely but I could get within perhaps 10% for 8th AF by assuming certain operational strengths over time.

    The next problem is putting losses in context. For example losses due to mechanical failure are probably higher for the Mustang simply because it was in the air far longer per mission than a Spitfire or P-47.

    Ditto wrt flak. Mustangs were shooting up far more airfields in Germany while the Jug was restricted to France/Holland/Western Germany.

    Ditto wrt air to air. In Mar-44 through April 1945 far fewer air to air fights were engaged by P-47s than Mustangs, so losses per sortie would be discounted but air to air credits vs losses would favor Mustangs by 50%

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    Senior Member drgondog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinsog View Post
    Personally, I liked both the P38 and the P47, and I think under 15 or 20 thousand feet the P38 would beat a 109 and do ok with the 190. No one argues what the 47 did. I know the Mustang was a great fighter, but I have never liked it for some reason. Probably because everyone else does. I like the Corsair the best myself, but I digress.
    I didnt think the Spitfire had a huge strategic effect on the war due to its short range. I knew it was an excellent, fast climbing short range interceptor but it had difficulty taking the fight to the enemy because of its short legs. Dont want to offend the Spit fans out there, this is merely my perception from what I have always read.
    When I said the 47 broke the Luftwaffes back, I have read that more than one place. I guess if I were to define that, I would say it was in the fight when the Luftwaffe was the strongest and still had a well trained experienced group of pilots, took the fight to them(because of longer range) and caused them serious losses. By the time the Mustang arrived on the scene in numbers, the Luftwaffe had been seriously roughed up and had lost alot of experienced people that were being replaced by MUCH less experienced pilots. Not to say that they werent still a potent fighting force, but they werent what they were when the 47 first started escort duty. Just my opinion right now, I could still be swayed one way or another.
    Not trying to sway you but the LW was losing about 1000 pilots a month in the west in march-may mostly due to the Mustang - their losses in 1943 were far lower.

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    Senior Member Watanbe's Avatar
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    If you want the plane that broke the back of the Luftwaffe it was the P51.

    Don't forget pinsog the Spitfire did its business in the Battle of Britain and the MET, areas of strategic importance, particularly from the British point of view.

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    Senior Member davebender's Avatar
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    Mostly due to the Mustang

    What percentage?

    Combat accounts I have read suggest quite a few German fighters were lost to bomber gunners. You put 100,000 or so .50cal bullets in the air and one will accidently hit something. In addition to hitting German fighters I think the bomber gunners also scored a considerable number of hits on friendly aircraft. Spray and pray works both ways....

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    IP/Mech THE GREAT GAZOO FLYBOYJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davebender View Post
    What percentage?

    Combat accounts I have read suggest quite a few German fighters were lost to bomber gunners. You put 100,000 or so .50cal bullets in the air and one will accidently hit something. In addition to hitting German fighters I think the bomber gunners also scored a considerable number of hits on friendly aircraft. Spray and pray works both ways....
    Keep in mind that fighter claims from bombers were overclaimed by as much as 60%.

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