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F4U Corsair vs. P-51 Mustang

Discussion in 'Aircraft' started by Nathan S., Jun 4, 2003.

  1. the_diego

    the_diego Active Member

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    I'll take your word for it. It's just that I saw somewhere that the F4U reached optimal engine performance at 20,000 feet, unlike the P47 or P51 who do it higher. But then, even a zero was able to shoot down a B-29 at high alt so it probably isn't that much of an issue. More of loitering time at high altitude and have enough performance to both shoot down heavy bomber and engage bomber escorts.

    So, my last question: Who will win above 30,000 feet?
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Well, between the F4U-1/-1A & P-51B, it would be the -51B.

    Between the F4U-4/-5 & P-51D/51H, it would probably be the F4U, but mostly it would be dependent on the pilot's skill.
     
  3. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    That distinction is held by the Antonov An-2 (produced from 1946-present, if you count license production in China), or the Beechcraft Bonanza (1947 - present).
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I believe he meant to post that it had the longest production run of all piston engined US fighters. But, the Mustang was a close 2nd.

    Although, to be fair, the USAAF/USAF had moved on to jets, meanwhile the USN's early jets proved problematical on carriers.

    Also, in all fairness, the last F4Us(AU-1/F4U-6 and F4U-7 were dedicated "mud movers".
     
  5. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    That's likely what he meant but that isn't what typed (hence me mentioning it :D).

    Out of curiosity, how much longer did the Corsair remain in production compared to the Mustang? It is hardly an authoritative source but the wikipedia page "List of most-produced aircraft" indicates that both had 11 year production runs.
     
  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Technically, it is correct. The F4U remained in production only a few months after the P-51.

    Some sources say the last F4U was completed in December, 1952, while some others say it ended in 1953 with no month given.

    However, the Mustang's long production run is thanks to the Australians, they continued to produce the Mustang(CAC CA-18 Mark 23) into 1952. US production essentially ended in 1945, with North American moving on to produce the Twin Mustang in 1946, and the F-86 sabre in 1947.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019
  7. jalistair

    jalistair New Member

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    According to the internet both planes have a ceiling over 30,000ft. From what I have heard the P-51 would outperform the Corsair in high altitude. At lower altitude the Corsair would have a tighter turn radius. The reality is that neither would intercept a B-17 or B-29 so that argument would be invalid.
     
  8. jalistair

    jalistair New Member

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    Well clearly given the choice between the P-51 or the F4U the F-86 would be the best choice ;)
     
  9. Dawncaster

    Dawncaster New Member

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    Chance Vought F4U Corsair vs North American P-51 Mustang, Usually this type of comparison is for the most used models. It's late dash one Corsair that raised cabin equipped type, and Merlin engined Mustang. and also tend to focus purely on their ability as air superiority fighters. If only consider flight performance for air combat in this comparison, and pick the advantages of both models one by one, the Merlin Mustang has the speed and the dash one Corsair has the maneuverability. since both aircraft were on the same side in reality, the comparison is largely a scenario.

    The dash one Corsair was considered also a fast aircraft, but a bit slower at most altitude than the Merlin Mustangs. according to curves of USAAF and USN reports, dash one Corsair faster than some Merlin Mustangs at medium altitude that supercharger shift altitude of the V-1650. But most all-out situations, Merlin Mustang was obviously faster and especially it could use 150 grade fuel as first class ETO fighter. It proved better performer in anything involving speed.

    Whereas, Corsair had excellent handling and combat abilities at combat speed. due to boost tabs on control surfaces with light stick force, non-deformable stiff and light plywood ailerons and tougher airframe that 7.5G limit load factor for 12,000 lbs which equivalent to full overload fighter condition, making it was great machine in high-speed air combat. and Corsair was not a just high-speed fighter, It was basically better turner than many land based fighters and capable of deal with to tight turn fighting with low stall speed and effective NACA slotted type combat flaps. Corsair proved out-maneuver the Mustang in various contact, despite Mustang had good maneuverability in army fighters.

    according to October 1944 Report of Joint Fighter Conference, Among the US production model fighter aircrafts, Merlin Mustang was voted best all-around fighter below 25k with 29% of total 51 voters, and directly behind, dash one Corsair 2nd place with 27%. It was a difference of only one vote. but above 25k, Mustang was clearly superior to dash one Corsair. For handling and maneuverability, Corsair showed superior to Mustang and other USAAF fighters in most case, It showed nicest harmonization of control forces, best elevator, 2nd aileron for both test speed(100 and 350 mph) and best control and stability in dive. Mustang showed best aileron at 350 mph and out-turn other USAAF fighters except King Cobra, but Corsair out-turn them. evaluated in an AAF pilot, Corsair was a tough competitor in anything involving maneuvering. and some British pilots who tested American Planes, seemed like the Corsair than Mustang and other army fighters for it's excellent high speed handling and combat ability. One thing I think should be noted about JFC is that Army planes were predominantly tested by Navy pilots, and vice-versa; with contractors getting to check out the competition. Due to the composition of the participants, the Mustang was given more evaluation and voting opportunities than the Corsair, which may have influenced the results. The response rate was 75%(38/51 = Army-1; Navy-19; British-3; Contractors-15) for Mustang and 55%(28/51 = Army-13; Navy-4; British-3; Contractors-8) for Corsair. The largest percentage of contractors was Vought.

    The content of the TAIC report also draws the smiliar conclusion. according to TAIC report No.17 and No.38 for comparison with captured A6M Zeke, Merlin Mustang showed again it's superior speed to Corsair and other USN fighters. in turning comparison, Zeke caught the advantage or firing position with a just one turn for Mustang and other army fighters at 10000 ft and 25000 ft. but against Corsair, three and one-half turns were needed at 10000 ft, and at 30000 ft, there was only a slight margin in turn performance between Corsair and Zeke. in addition, with combat flaps, only the Corsair could stay with Zeke in turn until 150 knots in the report.

    Other evaluators were RNZAF and RAAF, according to Pacific scrapbook 1943-1947 by Bryan Cox, After the war, there's three Commonwealth squadron deployed southern japan. They quickly became bored and began to hunt each other. Aussie's Merlin Mustang was proved it's superior speed and engage or disengage at will and Kiwi's dash one Corsair showed out-turn the Mustang and could evade it's attack. The two aircraft were reguarded as being fairly equal.

    Like many great fighters, the Corsair sometimes reversed an totally adverse situation in real combat. considering Corsair's high speed handling and maneuverability, it's no surprise that two retreating VBF-10 dash one Corsairs separated from their squadrons, have won over then powerful 343 kokutai's ten Shiden-Kais that around them. The Japanese pilots were overwhelming in altitude and number, confirming the situational superiority and diving to attack. But the Corsair's pilot pull up sharply and shot down a Shiden-Kai at once. It was a violently maneuver that put him in a blackout for a while, even with a G-suit. The Corsairs keep their sharpness, covered each other and shot down two more Shiden-Kais without any damage and returned. In the racing situation, their speed would have remained high, and that seemed to be the key to their success. Also, because they engaged without wasting time for misidentification and could not miss the initiative. unlike Marine Corsairs that day. according to USN action report of VBF-10 and Genda's blade by Henry Sakaida and Takaki Koji, it was 19 March 1945.

    The dash one Corsair was a different type of aircraft than any German or Japanese fighter the Mustang fought. It's worse than the Merlin Mustang but also fast, and advantage of the high-speed maneuverability that the Mustang enjoyed against axis fighters is limited for Corsair. There were fighters like Zeke out-turn the Mustang, but Mustang could handle it without problems with superior speed and high-speed maneuverability. However against dash one Corsair, it would not be so easy. If not carefully, Mustang's attacks could be exposed to unexpected counterattacks by fairly maneuverable speedy target which also g-suite equipped as Mustang. The war-time Mustang had a limit load factor of 6.7 at 9500 lbs combat weight(8.0G for 8,000 lbs design weight) and an increase in stick force due to bobweight, seems hard for violent pitching like the Corsair which had boost tab equipped elevator. But of course, engagement is determined by the Mustang pilot's intention, so the tactical advantage is firmly in Mustang overall.

    (Continued to next post)
     
  10. Dawncaster

    Dawncaster New Member

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    Another type of comparison is a comparison between final models during a war. In this case, the dash four Corsair comes up. according to VMF-223 action report and F4U Corsair vs Ki-84 Frank by Edward M. Young, it showed superior performance to Ki-84s of 47th Hiko Sentai and outclassed them. dash four could also surpass the war-time Mustangs by improved speed and high altitude performance for last few months of the war to new Mustang's full military service start. The new 'H' Mustang was produced during the war with a new airframe and engine, but they did not combat ready for until war was over, although some have deployed to the PTO. It's seems water injection in V-1650-9 was troublesome, according to T-2 Report on Frank-1(Ki-84), November 1946, P-51H was still considered non-water injected and showed out-climbed by war-time Japanese plane and only slight faster than that. Of course, the water injected P(F)-51H, which was later revealed in SAC, was much better.

    The last type of comparison is to compare each using the best production models. my old post can be used for this.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    according to the F-51H SAC, F4U-4 SAC and F4U-5 performance summary and flight test data curves, all clean conditions with full internal loads.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    F4U-4
    gross weight : 12480 lbs
    supercharger : 2 stage 2 speed
    engine ratings : 2800 BHP for 70"hg, 2100 BHP for 54.5"hg
    water supply : 12 minutes for combat power

    F4U-5
    gross weight : 12901 lbs
    supercharger : 2 stage variable speed sidewheel type
    engine ratings : 2760 BHP for 70"hg and 2380 BHP for 64"hg
    water supply : 12 minutes for combat power

    F-51H
    gross weight : 9430 lbs
    supercharger : 2 stage 2 speed
    engine ratings : 2270 BHP for 90"hg, 1520 BHP for 67"hg
    water supply : 7 minutes for combat power

    as you can see, the F-51H does not have a one-sided advantage over Corsair.

    Corsairs have much lower stall speed and boost tabs in ailerons and elevator both(F4U-5 had boost tab in rudder also), It is considered to be a better dogfighter.

    In terms of performance,

    F4U-4 was better climber for most altitudes and slight faster at medium altitude.

    F4U-5 also slight faster at medium altitude and above 25k, it shows advantages for speed and climb both.

    and except for those, the F-51H.

    each fighter has its own advantages, so it can not be said that which is simply better.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Interestingly, in the final models, the superiority of both models based on below and above 25k was reversed that compared to first comparison, and in conclusion, Corsair seems well matched with last Mustang in overall performance. then now let's go beyond just comparing flight performance. the Corsair's improvements for flight performances were useful in comparison with other propeller driven aircrafts, including the Mustang, but don't seem to fit the jet age. The propeller driven aircrafts of this period were given valueas low altitude emergency interceptor, mud carriers and night fighters etc. This is evident from the fact that AU-1 the Corsair's ground attack variant and F4U-5NL night fighter got a new production contract in the 50s. Anyway, since they were not the primary planes of the 50s Korean War, let's go back to World War II.

    The Merlin Mustang was far more influential than the dash one Corsair. It was because it had the performance that was really needed at the time. high performance which is maintained even above 25k, and long range to escort bombers. The Corsair was powerful and versatile, but didn't meet the performance it needed most when it needed it. -- all around carrier stability. Many pilots praised the Corsair's outstanding combat capacity, but the influence of the Corsair tied to the shore base was limited. as spear-head, forward deployed marine Corsair squadrons deny all enemy activity in their range, helped to secure control area. It had a reputation as a fighter-bomber because it could take off from rough, short airfields, had a good range and high payload. When the airfield was well prepared, army planes, including the Mustang, deployed. then the Mustang takes a long shot than Corsair. according to Mustang's tactical chart, Corsair's ACP and british aircraft cards for both models, Corsair's range was about 90% of early type Merlin Mustang which have no auxiliary tank in fuselage and could use only 75 gal drop tanks. but only about 50% compared to late Merlin Mustang with auxiliary fuselage tank and 150 gal drop tanks. Corsair could only do such a long shot with the help of an carrier fleets -- mobile base for tactical advantage, after the begun operations on aircraft carriers. Of course, the Corsair wsn't such a short range fighter like many ETO fighters, just Mustang was so great.

    And there was also a limit on payload, Corsair known for showed 4,000 lbs payload, but it was not practical. because in many cases the weight ratio of the drop tank was large due to lack of range for PTO. according to VF/VMF action reports, some Carrier based navy Corsair squadrons often used a combination of 500lbs bomb, 150gal drop tank and 8 x HVAR rockets which external payload of about 2,700 lbs over. but as you can see, with a drop tank of 1090 lbs, bomb load is only about 1,600 lbs. High bomb load of over 2,000 lbs was mainly used by Marine Corsair squadrons, they sometimes used 3 x 1,000 lbs bombs or combination of 2 x 1,000 lbs bombs and 8 x rockets but lack of range. as land based fighter-bomber with 2 x 1,000 lbs bombs and centerline drop tank, Corsair's range seems about 600 miles and fuel remained about 140 gal after returned because theres no air threat, considering that it took 155 gallons to take off, climb to 20k, combat power for 15 minutes, and cruise at 2k for 20 minutes, there seems to be enough fuel for air combat. however, it doesn't look very attractive considering that the late Merlin Mustang was able to fly 1200 miles in fighter-bomber mission with 2 x 500 lbs bombs, including 15 minutes for combat power, even more so, considering that the Mustang can carry 2 x 1,000 lbs bombs.

    In my opinion, to conclude overall, The Corsair was obviously one of the best reciprop fighter that was powerful in many respects and had its own uniqe advantage, but overall it didn't seem to be as effective as the Mustang. of course there were fundamental irreplaceable advantages for carrier based naval fighter and land based long range escort fighter each, but the Corsair was ground based fighter in many case, and the Navy considered buying a carrier-based variant of the Mustang. If want to win a single aerial combat or In the rough stages of battle, looking for a squadron to be forward-deployed as an spearhead with short and unfinished frontline airfield, Corsair would be good choice. But will need the Mustang to 'closed' on enemy from above and ensure the safety of the bombers that will destroy the enemy's heart for the final victory of the war. and the speed and range of the Mustang allow it to truly 'dominate' the sky. Enemy air activity will be attacked at every stage. so lastly, to express my impression in one sentence : Corsair could win the combat, but the Mustang won the war.

    ps. Unfortunately, the case for the "Soccer war" was intentionally excluded. It's some sort of last legend and great victory, but as mentioned in the above, the comparison method what used in post was between the most used or the latest model in the war, or the best of all models. So I didn't mention the Birdcage Corsair and Allison Mustang, or the gap between the models is not match for comparison method because this is 'vs' thread.

    ps2. Another excluded example is the modern comparison between the Goodyear's dash one Corsair and the D Mustang(+Thunderbolt and Hellcat), in 1989 by STEP. It was excluded because it was not a military condition, but the conclusion was similar. The Corsair got the "weapon of choice" title with best air combat capacity against rivals in test, but based on various considerations, the 'BEST' was the Mustang for overall, so it's similar to many other evaluations. Interestingly, in this comparison, the Mustang and Corsair had seems practical weight(equivalent to 50% ammo and internal fuel excpet auxiliary tank - unoffical emergency interceptor condition?) even compared to military condition, but others was not, they seems much lighter than any combat loading condition offical or not. It caused me, to wonder about the restoration or modernization process for old warbirds.

    ps3. There is a book that is often mentioned. Francis H. Dean's Americas Hundred Thousand, which borrowed a lot from Joint Fighter Conference figures. the book described the Corsair as less capable of turning than the Mustang, Lightning and Thunderbolt, because calculation using IAS - without PEC or any corrected speed. It's a good book to recommend, and the examples of US fighters are well introduced, but it's important to note that this kind of self-calculation has errors. as explained above, the actual result was the opposite.
     
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  11. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I dunno much about fighter aircraft capabilities, but I love the look of the Corsair, and also the P-47 Thunderbolt. They're so totally American in their concept; big, heavy planes, both using the enormous Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine plants. They are the aerial equivalent of big Detroit muscle cars that some greasy kid builds in their dad's garage out of a junk 1972 Mustang. P-47s were damned near bullet-proof and could take an enormous amount of punishment before going down. I suspect the Corsair had similar qualities.

    .
     
  12. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Yeah...A Camaro vs a Porche
    Its not written about much but the Germans have a long standing relationship with Italy when it comes to their "machines". The Germans can design and build awesome machines but they then go to the Italians to make it look "sexy" - Ferrari and Lamborgini are great examples of Italian sexiness.
    upload_2019-11-21_8-53-30.jpeg
     
  13. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Eggzackly!

    .
     

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