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Mustang vs. FW 190

Discussion in 'Air Warfare' started by Commando, Oct 5, 2007.

  1. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    But there are always the imponderables involved in air combat: Pilot skill, mechanical problems, sheer dumb luck, etc. Aircraft performance is vital in such situations, but so much else can influence the outcome of a dogfight.
     
  2. Commando

    Commando recruit

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    How many guns did the FW190 have?
     
  3. sinissa

    sinissa New Member

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    4 20mm guns if i remember good.
     
  4. Commando

    Commando recruit

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    Not nearly as good as the Hellcat or Corsair, although they were mostly used in the Pacific theater. If I recall correctly the Hellcat had four 50 millimeter guns.
     
  5. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    As with most fighter aircraft it varied throughout its career. The Fw190A-0 carried a decidedly underarmed 4x 7.92mm machine guns, the A-8 IIRC carried 4x 20mm cannon and 2x 13mm HMGs, plus could be outfitted with Rutstatz (Sp?) field conversion kits adding various fits of additional cannon, I'm not too certain on the exact layouts, but I believe options included 2x 30mm cannon or up to 4 additional 20mm cannon in underwing gondolas.
     
  6. Commando

    Commando recruit

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    Thats interesting. I never knew they carried cannons. Thanks.
     
  7. Ome_Joop

    Ome_Joop New Member

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    You mean .50 caliber (12,7mm)?
    And it carried 6 of those!
     
  8. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    Cannon were an increasingly common armament for fighter aircraft throughout the war. The RAF as a whole first trialed them for widespread frontline service during the Battle of Britain, Germany had them from the outset with the Bf109E carrying a couple of MG-FFs in the wings, the Soviets also had the excellent ShVAK and the Japanese had cannon in widespread service from the introduction of the Zero IIRC.

    The US largely stuck with the .50 cal Browning throughout since it was pretty good for the opposition they were facing but began to use cannon more after the war.

    Edit, I missed out on what else you were saying. Sorry, but 20mm cannon are far and away superior air to air weapons than .50 cal (Not 50mm as Ome Joop has already corrected) and 4 20mm cannon I believe are more destructive on their own than even 6 .50 cals. The Mustang B and C carried 4 .50s, the Ds and later carried 6, the Thunderbolt carried 8 in most versions. Hellcat and Corsair 6 each, along with later Wildcats although early Wildcats carried only 4.

    Sorry to burst your bubble here but US fighters were not particularly heavily armed, the .50 cal was a decent enough weapon in fighter to fighter combat but not particularly destructive compared to 20mm cannon that were popular in most other airforces and nowhere near the league of the Luftwaffe's 30mm cannon in destructive capabilities.

    I doubt any US production single engine single seater could come close the the firepower of a stock Fw190A-8.
     
  9. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Well, I know that I wouldn't want to get hit by six .50s (or eight in the case of the P-47). Cannon might hit harder, but the .50 got the job done; the number of kills by the MG armed USAAF fighters proves thast, IMHO.

    It should be mentioned that the P-38 Lightning mounted a 20-mm cannon and 4 .50s, while the P-39 Airacobra mounted a 37-mm cannon and (depending on the variant) four to six MGs. Interestingly enough, the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver Navy dive bomber mounted, IIRC, four 20-mm cannons in the wings.
     
  10. Hubsu

    Hubsu New Member

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    The choice for fighter armament is pretty much up to what the fighters were tasked to do. US fighters with escort missions, where their opposition is only other fighters, needs armament that's able to put out a barrage of bullets out fast in order to increase the hit chance against nimble and easily destroyed targets: hence the machine guns.

    German Luftwaffe's mission was to defend the reich against bombers, hence they had armament that was able to knock the big bombers out of the sky. Sturmbocke FW-190s with 2*30mm, 2*20 mm cannons and 2*12.7 mm MGs were pretty much the heaviest armament you could pump into a piston engined fighter. (useless trivia: it took around 20 20mm shells to bring a 4 engined bomber down, while only 4 30mm was sufficient enough to destroy one) The rustsacke 20*mm gondolas were designed for just that, bringing down bombers. No German gruppe with a task to fight against fighters would fly with them since they hampered maneuverability and performance too much. Also, at the eastern front, you didn't need fighters with a heavy armament, thus the gun gondolas weren't used at all.

    Brits with their interceptors were the middle ground. When they figured out that the pre-war designs with 8 small caliber machine guns was not enough to pretty much anything, they took the middle ground with their 2*20mm and 2*12.7mm route. Only the ground attack fighters packed a bigger punch.
     
  11. Hoosier phpbb3

    Hoosier phpbb3 New Member

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    The Curtis Helldiver in my model collection has one 20mm cannon in each wing and a pair of .30 caliber guns for the rear gunner.

    Various armaments were utilized in different versions of the P-51 Mustang. Early variants--P-51 Mk1A and F6A--had four long-barreled 20mm Hispano MkII cannon. (Two in each wing.)
    One variant of Mustang (Mk1?) had a pair of .50 calibers mounted under the engine and firing through the prop if I recall. These were all Allison-engined, low altitude Mustangs.
    Later variants utilized Browning .50 caliber machine-guns exclusively. In many circles, the .50 caliber BMG round was considered light artillery. There is a BIG difference in the destructive power between a .30 caliber Browning and the .50 caliber version.

    Also keep in mind, in the later years of the war, the Germans were on the defensive and their efforts were concentrated on shooting-down heavy bombers. USAAF aircraft had no trouble destroying Luftwaffe fighters with the combined striking power of 4-6-8 .50 caliber Brownings.

    Tim
     
  12. Commando

    Commando recruit

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    There is a guy here in Australia called Colin Pay, who owns the only Spitfire in the country. It has two 20mm Hispano cannons.
     
  13. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    Spitfires again carried various armament fits but I'm not aware if any carried just two cannon (Maybe a PR version but IIRC they were mainly unarmed), the vast majority of cannon armed Spitfire fighters carried an additional 4 .303 Brownings (2 in each wing for the "B" fit) or in the "E" wing fit (Mainly the MkXIV IIRC) a .50 Browning outboard of each cannon.
     
  14. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    I wouldn't want to be flying something hit by even weapons in the .303/7.92mm range, as IAR-80s demonstrated over Ploesti even such a relatively weak armament was capable of causing heavy casualties even among heavy bombers. But I'd rather be taking fire from 6 .50s than 4 20s, I believe all things being equal you'd be far more likely to still be flying after a burst from the former than the latter.

    I wasn't disputing that the .50 got the job done, I make the point in my post that it was pretty good at the task in hand, neither was I claiming that the US made no usage of cannon (Although the 37mm cannon in the P-39 was a dismal air to air weapon and not really an effective fighter-fighter armament) simply that the US largely stuck with the .50 cal and it was the main if not only type of weapon for the majority of US fighters.

    I would suggest that whilst the .50 was perfectly good for fighter-to-fighter work the 20mm cannon was a better and more effective choice, and in any case the USN was going down that route late in the war (Corsairs at least replacing 6 50s with 4 20s), and the USAF later in the postwar period adopting cannon armament over HMG.

    What I was disputing however was the suggestion made by Commando that the Fw190's had a less powerful armament than the .50 cal carrying Hellcat or Corsair, we could discuss the various merits of .50 vs 20mm however I don't think you could seriously suggest that 6x .50s represent heavier firepower than the stock armament of an Fw190A-8 before Rutstatz of 4x 20mm cannon and 2 13mm MGs, much less the 4x .50s that Commando believed were the more potent.
     
  15. Commando

    Commando recruit

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    This Aussie Spitfire had the usual armament as well.
     
  16. Hoosier phpbb3

    Hoosier phpbb3 New Member

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    Simon:
    I think we're in complete agreement here.
    :wink:

    Tim
     
  17. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    The very first Spitfire mark to carry cannon, the Mk Ib, which entered service in June 1940 was only fitted with 2 cannon, but the installation wasn't a success, due to reliability problems with the ammo feed, and they were withdrawn. They were returned to service in November 40, but by then 4 LMG's had been added
     
  18. Commando

    Commando recruit

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    This Spit was a Mk4
     
  19. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    I doubt it. The MkIV was the prototype Griffon engined Spitfire and IIRC does not survive and the PRIV was an unarmed photo-recon plane. Infact a quick Google has been unable to find a MkIV or PRIV among the lists of surviving Spitfires.
     
  20. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    I've no reason to doubt you but do you have a source for this? I was always under the impression the MkIBs replaced the two middle .303s in each wing with a 20mm Hispano and that most were retro-fitted back to MkIA standard after initial results with the cannon proved unsatisfactory, although googling for further information has given indirect references to what you've described.
     

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