FW 190 Where's the love ?

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by hkruss, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. hkruss

    hkruss Active Member

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    It seems the Me-109 is better known (and certainly much more discussed) than the FW-190. How did the two aircraft compare? Was the 109 a superior fighter? Were there just more of them than 190 s? Is that why the 109 gets talked up more?
    Lets hear from the guys in the know.
    (by the way, I dont know which was better, but I like the looks of the 190 better. Thoughts?)
  2. Millwright

    Millwright Active Member

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    The FW 190 was an excellent design by Kurt Tank that addressed many of the "faults" of the Me 109.

    The Me 109 dated back to the early thirties and low hp engines. To compensate the design maximized weight savings and drag reduction. In consequence the 109 design had a weak main gear with a narrow track prone to landing/takeoff accidents. The 109's thin wing prevented gun installation and was prone to catastrophic failure under high G loading. Nor could it carry much in the way of stores.

    The FW 190 addressed all of these shortcomings. Its wings were thicker in form permitting a wide track landing gear, wing-mounted guns and stores. Its cockpit/canopy location gave a better view out. It was as fast as the 109, with decent handling characteristics. It was also easier to build.

    Despite all of this, a lot of highly successful Luftwaffe veterans stayed in the 109 until the end because they preferred it........ And then there's the political aspects of Messerschmidt vs the rest of the German aircraft industry. Messerschmidt usually won. >MW
  3. 17thfabn

    17thfabn New Member

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    The 109 served through out the entire war, the 190 was a mid war addition. The 109 served in much larger numbers. It was the main German fighter at the time of the battle of Britton. I believe it was the most produced fighter in history.

    The 190 was probably a better plane technicaly, but the 109 is more famous due to it's much larger role in history.
  4. The 190 also closely resembled the P-47 Thunderbolt in the heat of combat, 17th, or so I have read. That factor often made for difficulties in recognition and identification in a dogfight.

    The 109 was a superior aircraft design . . . in 1939-40. But by mid war it was outclassed by Allied designs, particularly the P-51 and the Marine Spit.
  5. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    Anyone interested in WW2 aircraft should watch out for a TV series called 'Dogfights'. They examine air battles and the aircraft involved weighing one against the other, speed, rate of climb, turning circle etc.

    I have seen several episodes including WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Israel and the first Gulf. They also interview the pilots involved which is the best way to get the facts. 'Hell they were there'. (Sorry Mr Keith). :)

    Saw one once, disappointing really. High up, pop pop pop with the occasional pretty countermeasures. There was a moment when one came down, passing close over our heads, the earth moved. Mirage i think.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2008
  6. I've watched that series religiously, Tranter. It is shown on the Military Channel here. It is indeed very good.
  7. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    I just watched a program about the Spitfire. Apparently it was up graded and improved many times throughout the war, also being the only allied fighter to serve throughout WW2. Anyhow the thing is a FW190 landed by mistake on a British airfield, so we had a chance to check it out. Improvements were then made the Spit so it might be better able to combat the FW. Among other things the Spit was given two cannon to supplement the .303 MGs and finished the war 100 mph faster than when it started in 39. It was also able to fly higher.

    Another odd fact about the Spitfire, and I read this one, is that it was originally adopted as a temporary stop gap fighter, never intended for a major front line role. Go figure.

    I also remember seeing an interview with a RAF officer who visited Germany just before WW2. Apparently he was shown the ME109 and told 'this is a real fighter, not like your Spitfire, nice looking but not a plane for war like this one' Ha in your face. (Last bits from me).
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2008
  8. Interesting you should being up the Spit, Tranter. A very fine aircraft it was indeed, due in large part I would argue, to that extraordinary Merlin engine you folks invented. They later fitted that Merlin to the US P-51 fighter, which transformed it from a rather mediocre performer, into arguably the best prop-driven fighter of the war.

    I've always found it rather ironic, however, that when most folks think about the Battle of Britain the first aircraft that comes to mind is the Spit, when in reality that is not completely accurate. Yes, the Spit did do excellent duty during that epic struggle, but there were very limited numbers of them in service at the time. The preponderance of the fighting in the skies over southern England during the summer and autumn of 1940 was borne by the venerable old Hurricane rather than the Spit.
  9. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    Thats correct Pistol, and a very fine fighter the Hurricane was. In particular I seem to remember reading it could take a great deal of damage and stay in the fight. My maths teacher at school had been a pilot in the battle. I would sometimes look at him and imagine him in the cockpit taking on the Nazi raiders. Then he would look my way and throw chalk at me for day dreaming. :D
  10. I agree; survivability was, and remains, a most critical issue when it comes to air combat, Tranter. There is an interesting story concerning the P-47 fighter when it was first introduced during the air war over the Continent. The Brits all said the fighter would never make it in combat with the German 109s and 190s. It was simply too big and heavy. That assessment proved to be quite in error. The old "jug" did a fabulous job and earned the respect of those who flew it, largely because of its speed in both climb and dive, it's enormous firepower (8 .50s!), and because of its tremendous ability to take punishment and still remain in the air. There were several occasions, Robert S. Johnson experienced one of them, when a Kraut fighter shot through its entire ammunition supply and was still unable to shoot down the 47! When the P-51 was introduced, the 47 went on to do yeoman duty as a ground attack fighter.
  11. Millwright

    Millwright Active Member

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    All of this is very interesting and entertaining. Still, ultimately, like gun comparisons, it comes down to the man at the controls. The USAAF got a rude shock when they entered the Continent. They met experienced veterans in aircraft with comparable capabilities. As the war progressed the Axis tired and lost experienced pilots while the Allies - the US - could field increasing numbers of fresh pilots trained on what to expect.

    Sure Mitchell's Spitfire was a beauty - but difficult to build and service. Camm's Hurricane was simpler, stronger and more plentiful. Didn't stop the Luftwaffe from suffering from "Spitfire snobbery", though - hence Adolph Galand's remark to Goering about wanting a squadron of Spitfires.

    The early models of the Jug were capable ships - if flown to take advantage of its assets - but range limited. Later paddle blade props and water/alky injection, plus drop tanks - and experience made a world of difference. BTW, the Jug was another fighter experiencing compressibility problems at altitude.

    The early 51's, aka Apache (?), were good ships and excellent diver bombers, but altitude limited. Adding the superlative RR Merlin plus more internal fuel made it a whole different airplane. One that could catch out a green pilot so foolish as to commit to high G manuvers with the aft tank full.....

    So it all comes back to the man in the cockpit. Even the Bell P-39 handed the Japs - and the Germans - its share of whuppin's when they ventured into its performance envelope. >MW
  12. swanshot

    swanshot New Member

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    Flew the 190 on my flight simulator. I'm tellin ya, dont stall it, you'll never get it out.
  13. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    Thats the truth.
  14. Exactly so, Mill. Perhaps the greatest advantage the US held throughout most of World War II and Korea was the quality of our trained pilots. Yes, at the beginning of the war, our boys were at a distinct disadvantage when they went up against seasoned German and Japanese pilots, but as the war progressed that changed. The reason, I think, was the American practice of pulling pilots out of combat after a set number of missions and using them to train new pilots. Neither the Germans nor the Japanese did this. A pilot flew until either the war ended or he was shot down and killed. It is interesting to note that all three of our highest scoring fighter pilots--Bong, Gabraski, and Johnson--all survived their wartime combat experiences.
  15. 44-40 Willy

    44-40 Willy New Member

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    We lost our #2, McGuire (38 kills), in combat.
  16. Millwright

    Millwright Active Member

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    Unlike the U.S. and British, who used combat kills to measure a pilot's skills, the Germans selected their "Experten" more by the way they flew, than their kills. They also had a couple of the most outstanding pilots to ever crack a throttle.

    Jannes Jochim Marseilles, called the "Star of Africa" was perhaps the finest deflection shot to ever fly. He so frequentlly shot down multiple EAs in an encounter his wingman was known as the "flying adding machine"..... Erich, "Bubbi" Hartmann ended the war with 352 credited kills. Both were noted first for their flying skills and marksmanship, then for their success. Both flew 109's.

    Both McGuire and Bong flew the P-38. Accounts by those flying with both have McGuire the better pilot in using the capabilities of his aircraft to the fullest. He wrote a well-received tactics manual for in-theater pilot training. Both pilots were excellent shots. Both probably had more kills than credited due to distance, remoteness and water. For a time they flew together. There is some pretty credible evidence McGuire had more kills than Bong at the time of his death.

    My personal favorite of the PTO was Bill Shomo. Flying a photo-recon mission in a modified Mustang he shot down 7 EA in seven passes in the Phillipene campaign. >MW
  17. Sailormilan2

    Sailormilan2 New Member

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    Regarding the Bf-109. Earlier versions, those around the time of the Battle of Britian had armament in the wings. E-1s had 7.92mm machine guns, the E-3s and E-4s had 20mm Oerlichon(sp??) cannons.
    One of the biggest problems the Bf-109 had was its cramped cockpit with short control stick. The short control stick did not give enough leverage to move the aelerons quckly. At speeds under 250 - 300 mph, it was quite nice and easy to fly. However, once speeds exceded 300 mph, controls got heavy and once over 400 mph, it took almost two hands to move the controls.
    If one is to compare the guns of the Spitfire vs those on the Messerschmitt, while the Spitfire had more guns, due to its thin wings, it carried about 1/2 the ammo per gun that the Messerschmitt did.
    As for Johnson's comments regarding the strength of the P-47. Johnson was flying a wounded P-47 back home and got jumped by a FW 190 that had run out of cannon ammo. All he had was his 2 machine guns, which he did empty into Johnson's P-47. Earlier versions of the FW-190 used the standard German machine gun round, the 7.92mmx57.............which the Germans themselves would derisively name the "door knocker" due to its poor penetration.
    The later machine guns were the 13mm, bigger, but still not in the same class as our 50 cal.
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