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Best aero engine of WWII?

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by ysacres, Mar 7, 2003.

  1. ysacres

    ysacres Well-Known Member

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    jonkx
    Member
    Posts: 35
    (10/1/02 11:39:56 am)
    Reply Best aero engine of WWII?
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    THe way I see it there are two real choices, a slick one and an underappreciated one. My votes would go for the Rolls Royce Merlin or the Pratt & Whitney R 2800. If forced to pick one I would probably go with the big radial as it was tougher. What do you all think?

    1952Sniper
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 183
    (10/1/02 12:02:16 pm)
    Reply Re: Best aero engine of WWII?
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    In my mind there is no doubt the radials were the work horses of the war. The RR Merlin (or any in-line engine for that matter) were designed for less drag which equals more speed. That introduced the problem of airflow over the pistons which led to the requirement for water cooling etc. It had its place on smaller quicker planes like the P-51. But for pure brute power, the radial is far and away the most efficient design.

    The P&W R2800 would probably get my vote too. These things are just plain mean. They are loud and spray oil, but they were built to last. There are all kinds of stories about them coming back with bullets through pistons, even entire pistons missing, but the engine still ran. After all, with 18 cylinders, you got plenty of spares! The beauty of the design was that it didn't require tight tolerances like the in-line engines. And the radial design gives you a more direct linkage between piston and prop, meaning less moving parts, meaning fewer things to break. And you just can't beat the sound of a big radial engine flying overhead.
    Macht kaputt, was euch kaputt macht!

    Xracer
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 2819
    (10/1/02 3:21:25 pm)
    Reply Re: Best aero engine of WWII?
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    I also agree....however, I think that the Daimler-Benz 600 series (that powered the later Bf-109 and "longnose" FW-190) was probably the equal of the Merlin.

    During WWII, U.S. Navy Air was almost entirely radial powered (and mostly P&W) because of the rugged reliability of the radial engine. Many a Wildcat, Hellcat, and Turkey pilot made it back to the carrier with several cylinders shot away. They took a lickin' and kept on tickin'.

    jonkx
    Member
    Posts: 36
    (10/2/02 12:18:50 pm)
    Reply Re: Best aero engine of WWII?
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    The DB series was very good no doubt. But the Germans couldn't make the max benefit out of them as they never developed true high octane gasoline; the soldiered on with 87. In some cases they added chemicals to get it up to the mid 90s but these were caustic and damaged the engines after long use, and was no substitute for out 100 octane+.

    1952Sniper
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 194
    (10/2/02 12:31:35 pm)
    Reply Re: Best aero engine of WWII?
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    The fact that we were bombing the crap out of their refineries and fuel storage depots may have had something to do with that.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but both the Messerschmitt 109 and the Fock-Wulf 190 had boosters for short-term horsepower surges. I want to say it was a nitrous system. Until the late stages of the war, they were still kicking our butts in dogfights with this advantage.

    I'm also fairly certain that some our planes (like the P-47) had a water-injection system that did the same thing.

    Both systems were great for short bursts of speed but were pretty hard on the engines.
    Macht kaputt, was euch kaputt macht!

    jonkx
    Member
    Posts: 37
    (10/2/02 9:14:36 pm)
    Reply Re: Best aero engine of WWII?
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    1952, you are correct. I am not sure what the boost systems did mechanically but both sides used them. Nitrous Oxide, Methyl Water, Ethyl Glycerine, and a few other things were used as I recall. I believe they were injected directly into the turbocharger to force it to pump more air into the engine though as I say, I never have really heard what they did. And yes, the 109 (at least the bulk of them) and the "long nosed 190's" both used such systems, though the 190 used the Junkers Jumo 21X engine and the 109 the DB 60X engines. Such boosters were also used in the regular 190s with their BMW 800 series radials.

    I shudder to think what these planes could have done had they been designed to use high octane gasoline, or had Germany been able to match our output of airplanes.

    1952Sniper
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 196
    (10/4/02 7:20:23 am)
    Reply Re: Best aero engine of WWII?
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    One really cool thing about the 109 was the starter mechanism. I have a CD of recorded sounds from the last flying Me109. A guy would hand-crank the system (I think it was some type of inertial system). He would spin it as fast as he could, then the pilot would kick the starter and it would cough and sputter a few times then roar to life. It sure beat the heck out of hand-propping it. I've done that a few times with an old Piper J3 Cub, and lemme tell you... it gets old real quick. I don't think this starter technology was new by any means, but it was efficient.

    Also, back on the radial topic, you guys need to buy the Round Sounds CDs. They have sounds of all different types of radial WWII era planes (starting up, doing fly-bys, etc). It gives you goosebumps listening to it, especially with the volume all the way up.
    Macht kaputt, was euch kaputt macht!
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