Most Significant Aircraft of WWII

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    Xracer
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    (5/17/02 7:35:37 am)
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    What was the most significant aircraft of WWII.....and why?

    A6M? P-51? Bf-109? B-17? Spitfire? B-29? Me-262? C-47? Or.......????

    rayra
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    (5/19/02 12:59:15 am)
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    P-51 + droptanks for Bomber Escort / Destruction of the Luftwaffe - but I have no hard figures, just a 'gut' feeling.

    or

    C-47, Logistics being the core of everything.

    Xracer
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    (5/19/02 8:17:49 am)
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    I made two picks......one for the ETO, and one for the Pacific.

    ETO.....The Hawker Hurricane. Far outnumbering the more glamorous Spitfire, it was the Hurricane that won the Battle of Britain, denied the Luftwaffe air superiority over the Channel, causing the cancellation of Operation Sea Lion (the invasion of Britain).....and saved Great Britain to be the staging area for the invasions of both North Africa and the Continent.

    Pacific Theatre....The unlovely and obsolete SBD....turned back the Jap carriers at the Coral Sea and destroyed the heart of Japanese naval avaition at Midway, thus setting the stage for America's advance thru the Pacific.

    OK, guys & gals.....let's have your picks.

    Polish......where are you?

    mausermania
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    (5/19/02 5:32:35 pm)
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    I would have to say

    1) The P-51 with the Rolls Royce engine for dogfighting and bonber escort.It could go the distance

    2) P47 D,aka The JUG. Shoulda been named Timex. It could take a lickin' and keep tickin'. Pilots loved 'em because the '47 got their butt home

    3) F4U-1A Corsair. This plane starred in "Black Sheep" w/Robert Conrad. He played "Pappy" Boyington. In real life ,the Japs hated the plane,and with good reason. In air to air combat I believe it was 11 japs shot down per 1 Corsair. The japs named the plane "whistling death". Top speed was 405mph (1st variant) to 446mph. Horsepower started at 1800 (1st version) up to 2100 ,and 2450(war emergency power) A prototype made near the end of the war made 3000 HP.

    cointoss 2
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    (5/19/02 7:23:38 pm)
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    C-47 would be my first choice; followed by the Flying fortress B-17; and if I could add one, it would be the Superfortress B-29.
    cointoss2

    17th FA Bn
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    (5/19/02 7:24:41 pm)
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    I'd pick the P-47. It was the best close air support plane of the war, and one of the best air to air fighters. It's chief down fall was lack of range.

    Edited by: 17th FA Bn at: 5/22/02 12:12:35 pm

    polishshooter
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    (5/19/02 11:27:28 pm)
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    In the Pacific it's easy. The honors are shared by the F4F Wildcat and the P40 Warhawk. They "won" the war.

    While outnumbered, and in some cases outclassed, they went up day after day in the worst conditions, with the worst maintenance, in the darkest times when the outcome of the war was in doubt, and ended up destroying most of the Japanese Army and Navy Air forces ability to be effective, mainly by killing almost EVERY experienced Japanese fighter pilot they had, so that by the time the "superior" F6F, F4U, and even the P38, (in numbers) got in theater, they were facing mainly "turkeys..."

    The Wildcat just might make the all time list too, seeing action in all theaters, shooting down BF109s over Norway, Dewoitine 520s over Africa, and as the FM2 flying off the escort carriers against the Uboats, Condors, German naval bases right up to the end of the war. And off the "Taffys" at Leyte Gulf hitting Kurita even with no ammo left, close support against ground forces, and still shooting down Kamikazes, again, right to the end of the war....



    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    kdub01
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    (5/20/02 7:04:47 pm)
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    Bombers never contributed a tinker's dam to the ending of the war, except their bombing of the Polesti oilfields and refineries.

    The darling of the USAAF, the P-51D Mustang, probably had the largest contribution for it's aforesaid ability to provide long range escort and to go one on one with the ME-109 and BF-190.

    My most favorite - the P-38J Lightning, used for long range fighter, bomber and recon. The most strikingly beautiful plane developed in the WWII era (INMHO)!

    polishshooter
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    (5/20/02 11:05:30 pm)
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    Hey Kdub! That's pretty cynical, you musta read the Strategic Bombing Surveys...

    I assume you mean HEAVY bombers, because I'd have to say SBDs contributed slightly more than a tinkers damn at Midway, and the A20, B25s and 26s did a pretty good job at interdiction and anti-shipping in all theaters...and as far as heavies go, the B29 did it's share pretty well, even if you DON'T think the A-bomb ended the war...

    Yeah, while the entire strategic bombing against Germany pretty much failed to produce as advertised, hell, all German industrial production EXCEPT oil rose during the whole bombing campaign right to the end of the war, it still wasn't a failure...

    When they hit the marshalling yards and railroads, they kept what little oil and war materiel from reaching factories and fronts, and because the German tanks sucked at road marches and were designed to be transported to the front by rail, they directly affected outcomes of battles...and it was the heavies pounding the bridges and roads and railroads in Normandy weeks before DDay (Granted, even if against the wishes of the bomber Generals, who had to be overridden by Ike...) that hampered the Germans the most in responding to DDay with armor...I read somewhere that there was not ONE bridge still spanning a major river within 100 miles or so from the beaches on the morning of 6 June, and it was done mainly with heavies....(I don't think the AF quit bitching about using heavies for tactical missions until the Gulf War!)

    ...one thing the Bomber offensive did was totally destroy the Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe put all their efforts into stopping the raids, forsaking all else, and lost their whole Air Power doing it...if it WASN'T for the heavy bombers, the P51, and maybe the P47 and P38, might not even have been produced...and all those German Planes would have been used over the fronts for ground support and local air superiority like they were used in 39-41....and all those Luftwaffe troops manning the 88s, and the 88s themselves would have made an impact on the actual fronts....

    So the bomber campaign DID help end the war, just not like Eaker and Doolittle and the others thought it would...

    Those tens of thousands of aircrews that died did NOT die in vain....
    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    Different name
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    (5/21/02 1:08:53 pm)
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    ezSupporter
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    The P-51 Mustang!

    Won the war in Germany --- no germans left --- but there
    wasn't any planes either...

    He was a "Ace" Fighter Pilot 8th Army Airforce.
    Retired as 1 Star. Lives in D.C.

    I'll try and get some of his pictures and put them on for you all.
    Charlie D

    kdub01
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    (5/21/02 10:46:12 pm)
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    Well, Gee - Polish!

    Yes, ANY thing with wings on it probably helped to some degree. The heavy bombers being Fokker fodder to wear down the german fighter capabilities would certainly have been one way they contributed - rough way to accomplish it, tho! The British blind night saturation bombing and the supposed "precision" day bombing by the US scattered a lot of iron and airplane parts around Germany, not to mention the body parts of crewmen, with little to no effect on the industrial capability of the Master Race.

    I think most of the locomotive. truck and tank damage was done by fighter-bomber planes, if memory serves.

    Yes, the dropping of the atomic bombs by the B-29's certainly saved at least l.5mm allied troops, not to mention Japanese casualties, and was a significent contribution. I'll grant that one. The B-29 was a troubled platform that never really got the bugs worked out until well into the late 40's, tho.

    The Pacific campaign was fought in a different style than the European one, and the fighter-bomber and medium bomber played important roles. Guess I'll have to lump the SBD's into the light/medium bomber group here. As you well know, a lot of the medium bombers were adapted to become almost fighters - certainly effective strafer's with all sorts of forward firing machine guns and cannons.

    My favorite uncle served on B-25's and B-26's out of Africa and Sicily in WWII. Even he admitted they didn't seem to have much effect most of the time.

    polishshooter
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    (5/21/02 11:37:40 pm)
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    Yeah, Kdub, I always thought it was funny, that at least in the 15th AF, they sent the B25s and 26s out after targets considered "too heavily defended" for the 17s and 24s, I never figured THAT one out...

    Especially when they bombed at about 15-20000 feet, just about the optimum range for German flak....

    But Kinney and his B25 Gunships and "parafrags" was a helluva invention...

    Hey, I was just funnin' ya, Kdub, I agree with you kind of anyway about the bomber campaign, while I can give the US an "A" just for the effort to hit a target, "Bomber Harris" probably should have been tried for war crimes...especially when his "Area Bombing" campaign was really just a political attempt to keep "his" bombers from being transferred to Coastal Command to be used to patrol against Uboats...where they MIGHT have accomplished something. And that's not even considering the fact he was lying for most of the war on his ability to even hit a CITY at night...

    But then again, I read a bunch about night fighters last year, I didn't know that so much time and effort was spent on both sides, especially the Germans specifically, so even that took up fuel and resources they really needed elsewhere.

    But figure it out, 10% losses on a raid was considered "acceptable..." On a typical US daylight 600 plane raid, just considering the bombers, that's 60 planes lost. 600 men.

    HOW many regimental commanders would have kept their jobs on the front if they lost a WHOLE BATTALION of Infantry every DAY?????? And they called the British Generals in WWI "Donkeys..."

    There should have been some USAAF Generals courtmartialed over that....even IF they would have achieved their obectives, when they actually didn't even come close.

    But it still amazes me that we found so many airmen who VOLUNTEERED to keep flying those missions...it's a touchy thing, those airmen and pilots were certified heroes just to FLY a mission, even a "milk run," and none of them want to hear that they sacrificed so much in vain. They get REALLY touchy if you even insinuate it was a waste, usually, and I understand where they are coming from.

    But it still begs the question about the biggest paradox of the airwar...how can everyone pick the P51 as the best plane of the war, IF strategic bombing was so ineffective?

    Without Strategic Bombing, we might not have even DEVELOPED the P51 past the first A36 divebomber version...after all, the P47 was good at air superiority AND a better FighterBomber...the only reason we really needed the 51 was for it's RANGE...the 47 would have been adequate for the whole war if it only needed to fight over the "front," just like it did the whole war, after it was based in France after the front moved towards Germany, it could have served for a lot longer than it did....

    ...and we all would be claiming today that the 47 was the "best" plane of the war instead of the 51...AND if that happened, and the 47 was still front line in 1950 instead of the 51, would we have lost all those P51s on the close support missions it was used for in Korea, that it was NEVER designed for? Not even considering that the 47 would have been more effective and survivable for that mission, but it was already phased out by then, because the 51 was so much "better..." In an age of JETS...go figure....


    Maybe we CAN have it both ways....



    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    Edited by: polishshooter at: 5/22/02 12:46:53 am

    17th FA Bn
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    (5/22/02 10:45:51 pm)
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    They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over when it doesn't work! ( I call that stupidity). Mission after mission our bombers were losing 10% of the aircraft sent in, when they had no fighter escort. Until long range escort was available the heavy bombers should have been sent on missions were existing fighters could cover them.

    In hind sight we would have been better off not putting so much emphasis on the B-17, early in the war.

    From what I have read the bombing against Japan was much more effective than that against Germany. The Japanese cities were much more tightly packed, and flammable.

    jonkx
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    (5/23/02 6:46:23 pm)
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    I kinda want to split this question into early and late war... for early war, I gotta go with the JU87 or Bf109 as they were responsible for the success of the German conquest of Europe. Late war, the C-47; though not a combat machine, if not for the Gooney bird, only God knows how the war machine woudl have moved foward. I suppose the C-46 could have done the job, but since it was there and never came off as well, who knows?

    I can't say the Mustang because, great though it was, the USAAF could have soldiered on with the 47's and 38's, with no protection on the longest range targets, and still have won, albeit at higher cost.

    I would also nominate the B29 as it ended the war, but that was more chance than anything else; a Lancaster, B32, tricked out B24... a lot of planes could had done the job.

    Tank commanderA24
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    (5/23/02 11:32:09 pm)
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    Well it wasn't a war winner but it was a leader and no other plane could touch it in combat if flown well. Yes the Me.262,
    the first jet fighter used in air to air combat. To late and not enough to make a difference but it could have been a world beater.

    Part of the problem was the strategic bombing it didn't destroy the factories but did disrupt the railroads and distibution system. They made over 1500 Me.262s but only ever got about 200 in service at any one time. They couldn't get them to the troops.

    In the hands of an ace the P51s couldn't touch them. one or two hits from their 30mms would bring down a bomber.

    We couldn't match it until 46 to 47 when the P80 got a better engine.

    I pick the Me.262 not for what it did but for its ground breaking role pointing to the future of combat aircraft.

    PS the Corsair is my absolute favorite though.

    TCA24
    Armor Rules

    Edited by: Tank commanderA24 at: 5/24/02 12:35:35 am

    17th FA Bn
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    (5/25/02 7:53:31 pm)
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    I wonder what plane had the most damage done to the enemy for the amount of losses sustained.

    The B-17 according to after war assessment did very little damage, for the great losses they suffered. Especially when you factor in that each plane had 9 or 10 men on it.

    The dauntless dive bomber inflicted very heavy losses on the Japanese navy at Midway and many other battles.

    The ju87 "stuka" dive bomber had a very big impact in the early campaigns early on in Europe. One stuka pilot was credited with destroying a battle ship, a destroyer, and over 500 tanks during the war.

    The U.S. P-47 thunderbolts destroyed thousands of German tanks, hundreds of locomotive engines, and multitudes of enemy trucks, wagons, bicycles, and wheel barrows. And I remember seeing some where they had a very low (relative) loss rate.

    I agree with what was said before, other planes could have delivered the A-bomb so the B-29 just happened to be the plane chosen.

    Edited by: 17th FA Bn at: 5/25/02 9:50:28 pm

    polishshooter
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    (5/26/02 7:57:00 pm)
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    Naw, definitely NOT the Stuka! The Stuka was ONLY effective against undefended targets, and even the Germans knew that after 1940.

    The ONLY time it was arguably effective at all was as a Tank Buster with the cannons under the wings, but by then the Germans had better purpose built attack planes. They really were just trying to find a use for it, after it was withdrawn from it's bombing role because of unacceptable losses.

    The highest scoring German "Tank Buster" ace flew a Stuka, it's true, but he liked it more because he liked a stable gun platform, and that he had alot of hours in one so was used to it, not for anything else.

    The Stuka was obsolete when the war started, too big and slow for the minimal bombload it carried, too short range, and not particularly accurate as a dive-bomber either, compared to contemporary designs.

    The ONLY success the Stuka enjoyed was due to German ARMORED doctrine...NOBODY else at the time was using ANY planes for close support of their armored forces in the attack...it's USE was revolutionary and significant, but as a plane it was NOT a good representative sample of "German Engineering Superiority," if there was such a thing. About the only thing "revolutionary" about it was the sirens...I maintain ANY bomber used in that role against ANY opponent who is unprepared for those armored tactics would have been as effective....if the BRITISH had listened to Fuller, Liddell-Hart and others, developed decent tanks and used similar tactics in 1939 AGAINST the Germans, the Fairy Battle may have been as effective as the Stuka was against them...




    Now the BF109 was another story...it MAY rate as the "best" fighter" of the war...at the very least, it rates consideration in my book, as I only consider planes that fought the ENTIRE war for that honor...

    And considering it was designed in 1934, it was still viable in the hands of a good pilot in 1945...and was still shooting down Spitfires in 1948...

    (If ONLY it had any kind of usable range....)


    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    93confirmedkills
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    (5/28/02 9:50:08 pm)
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    I'll agree with the P-51 mustang. Although, when originally produced without the Rolls-Royce Engine it was no match for the Germans. After fitting with the latter engine it was incredible.

    gewehr44
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    (5/29/02 1:37:51 am)
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    Maybe not most significant, but it was a better plane than the ME-109. Faster, better design, no narrow landing gear to collapse (ME-109 & ME-262). I read a report that Kurt Tank (designer of the FW-190) was flying a prototype of a new version (towards the end of the war) & was bounced by a flight of P-51's. His prototype was fast enough that he was able to "walk" away from the 51's.

    The 262 was definately the plane that had the most effect after the war.

    The bombing campaign including the P-51 was critical to destroying the Luftwaffe and the oil refining & production of Germany. After the Battle of the Bulge, they barely had any fuel to run equipment, even though production was still very high.

    kdub01
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    (5/29/02 7:10:02 pm)
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    I'd boil it down to this -

    The ME-109, the P-51, the Spitfire.

    All others soldiered on thru WWII with great results. The above mentioned continued after and into the 50's with telling results. Just about every country in the world (especially the middleast) made use of the 3 mentioned to build up their airforces until and after the jets became common place.

    The P-51 was mounted on a common spar, such as the P-38, and used in Korea with telling effect. Think it was called the F-81, or some such. Had dual cockpits. Let me tell ya - when that baby came in for ground support with those big 8' dia props swinging just a few feet off the ground and the ordnance dripping off the wing pylons, the ground would shake like an earthquake with vibrations from the twin merlins! They had the range and fuel to loiter a long time, compared to the jets, which never really made it as doggie support platforms. We loved 'em!!!

    Tank commanderA24
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    (5/29/02 7:58:08 pm)
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    Kdub01 it was the F82 Twin Mustang, It used Allison engines and was actually a new design. It was also a night fighter and got the first kill of the Korean War. The F4U Corsair also soldiered on through Korea and was still in production after the Mustang was finished.

    The Corsair started development in 1940 and was built until 55 I believe. It could also take hits that would put a Mustang into the dirt. the radial engine could take alot more punishment then a liquid cooled one.

    I don't know if it contributed more than another plane but for looks and performance and one I love to build models of I'll take the Corsair.

    TCA24

    Xracer
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    (5/30/02 8:19:52 am)
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    Kdub.....actually, the WWII aircraft that had the longest service lives after the war were the B-26 (A-26 in WWII) and the C-47 (in Vietnam as the AC-47...."Puff The Magic Dragon").

    Both were used in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

    TC and gewehr.....I disagree about the 262. Even had it never existed, prop fighters were doomed to obsolescence. Remember, the Gloster Meteor was also in production at the end of WWII.....and was within a few weeks of deployment.

    gewehr..... that Kurt Tank prototype was the TA-152.

    Tank commanderA24
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    (5/30/02 10:20:54 am)
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    Xracer, though it is true that the Meteor was pointing the way for the Allies the 262 outclassed it. There's nothing like the enemy having a vastly superior weapon to get the creative juices flowing for the boys in the lab.

    I like the looks of both planes but the 262 had a much greater combat role with actual aircraft kills. The Brits were afraid to let the Meteor into combat over German airspace for fear of losing one to German evaluation. Until they found out the Germans had a better jet.

    The Meteor F1 was barely able to perform with a Typhoon.

    Props were on the way out but the 262 lead the way.

    TCA24


    Armor Rules

    kdub01
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    (5/30/02 7:36:14 pm)
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    Yup, well aware of the roles of the A-26 (Korea, Bay of Pigs, VN) and still see the occassional C-47 flying around here. Also, see the odd P-5l, AT-6, B-25, A-26, HE-111 and B-17! (Confederate Air Force has facilities here!)

    Yes, the MC-262 had profound influence on planes after WWII. The first swept wing jet fighter that led to the MIG-15 and the F-86, not to mention the B-49 and others.

    Did anyone consider the P-47 and the F6F, both designs which led to to the AD-1 Skyraider?

    Xracer
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    (5/31/02 8:21:38 am)
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    Speaking of old warhorses....I saw a PB4Y on TV a couple of weeks ago, being used as a waterbomber on that big fire out in New Mexico.

    Also, I believe there are still some PBYs being used on short passenger runs in the Caribbean.
  2. IBFrank

    IBFrank New Member

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    The ME 262 was a ROCKET plane, not a jet. It's range was very short because it burned up it's small tank of ROCKET fuel mostly on take-off, even though they had droppable booster rockets to help launch them. They were FAST compared to prop planes. They could be shot down, usually by flying INTO a spray of fighter plane gunfire. The most significant planes of WW II has to be the bombers, B-17s & B-24s, Lanchesters (pronounced "Lang-sters by the Brits like Worchestershire sauce is "Worstershire"), B-25s, and others.
    The P-51s came relatively late in the war. That's why we lost so many bombers, lack of long range escort. The P-47s were heavy and a handfull to fly. Spitfires were good but not so fast as the Hawker Hurricanes. Even the maligned Mosquito fighter/bombers were good at what they were made for. P-40s were slow compared to Jap (Mitsubishi, they make cars now) Zeros but the Zeros were easy to shoot down, being mostly fuel tank with thin skins. The F4U Corsairs....just lucky, I guess. Wildcats were pretty good as Pacific Carrier based planes.
    Personal opin; The B-17 was the most beautiful airplane ever designed, not to mention hardy. They could be badly shot up and still bring 'em home. There are more "miracle" stories about them than any other plane, big or small.
    The B-29s were late comers, too. They were very long range and used mostly to carpet and fire bomb Japan. Only 2 Atomic bombs were dropped and while that ended the Pacific war, the 29s were only marginal. They were the first presserized cabin, high altitude bombers and flew above most Jap fighters. And just before that, they dropped mission after mission of leaflets trying to warn the Japanese citizens of what was to come, humanitarian efforts to try to get them to evacuate the cities aforehand. That's why Enola Gay had no problem getting there; the Japs thought it was going to drop more leaflets.
    The Kamakazis (any and everything that could fly and be crashed into enemy ships) were flown by men determined to die in their efforts and made them most dangerous. An American officer once said "We can shoot them down, but it's alright, too, if they fly into the amassed fire."
    C-47s deserve a lot of credit. They hauled supplies, paratroops, and towed troop carrying gliders. I believe some are still being flown in Central and South America. Probably pretty ragged out by now.
    it's very sad that these fighters and bombers were dumped overboard or sold as scrap metal. How we all would love to have access to them to lovingly restore. A section of Lake Erie supposedly has hundreds if not thousands of dumped fighter planes deemed useless after the war. At least some soldiers could get war surplus Harleys. We should appreciate orgs like Confederate Air Force and Warbirds for their efforts to find and restore WW II planes.
    And lets not forget the torpedo/bomber/fighters and PBY recon/rescue seaplanes, the night fighters, multi-purpose planes like the A/B-26s, photo/reconaissance, tank busters, and on and on, and the brave men who flew in them.
  3. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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  4. Correct, X. The 163 was nearly as dangerous to the pilot flying it as it was to any allied aircraft. It was fueled by two hypogolic materials--C-stoff and T-stoff--that were corrosive separately and explosive when combined. The 262, on the other hand, was a true jet fighter, though crude in its design by modern standards.
  5. TTUshooter

    TTUshooter New Member

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    The B-29 is in my opinion... it completly changed history and opened up a new era of warfare. granted that may have been more for the bombs it dropped, but it is really the first true long range strategic bomber as we view it now
  6. White Hawk

    White Hawk New Member

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    Plus -prior to the A-bombs- the B-29s dropped so much Napalm that they almost completely destroyed several Japanese cities. The plane was so well known among the Japanese civilians due to the huge tail and the Hell the plane delivered upon them.

    I never seen any destruction/survival ratios for the B-29, but considering the altitude gap left by the Japanese anti-aircraft guns, it must've been pretty good.
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