2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (Full Version)

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Feinder -> 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 3:48:22 PM)

It seems like 2-engine heavy fighters were a bit of a toss-up in WW2.
Some winners and some... well... not-so-winners.

What made the winners excel, and what made the not-so-winners become such liabilities?
What could have "fixed" the losers?

P-38 series. I'm guessing we can call these guys winners. Even against other 1-engine fighters, these guys do well. End up with good recon version, and even a light bomber version (altho I expect the utility of light bomber is probably "not worth the effort" - there are plenty of other light bombers that excel at their job, why bother converting a bunch of P-38s IMO).

Bf-110: I personally think it looks sharp (and I have a certain fondness for it - I was primarily a pig-driver in my days in WW2O). But historically, it ends up being just another target when engaged by a "real" fighter. As a night-fighter, it's finds usefulness. You can add a radar set, and have a big platform to dump extra guns on to take down bombers. Also at night, you don't have to worry about those annoying (real) fighter escorts that would kill you in daylight.

So what solves the "you suck" problem for not-so-winner 2-engine fighters?

Well, IMO, the same thing that solves most problem - put a bigger engine (or two).

Other 2-e fighters? Winners or Losers?
What makes the winners win, and the losers suck?

Over-all, do 2-e fighters prove their worth?

-F-




mike scholl 1 -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 3:50:49 PM)

Well, the Me-262 and the Mosquito were pretty good...




castor troy -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 3:52:58 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: mike scholl 1

Well, the Me-262 and the Mosquito were pretty good...



the Messerschmitt sure was but I always thought the Mosquito was a fighter bomber, not a fighter [&:]




fodder -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 3:58:05 PM)

Wasn't the P-38 a big flop in europe and I think the Mosquito was used as everything at one time or another.




The Gnome -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 4:13:08 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Feinder
Bf-110: I personally think it looks sharp (and I have a certain fondness for it - I was primarily a pig-driver in my days in WW2O). But historically, it ends up being just another target when engaged by a "real" fighter. As a night-fighter, it's finds usefulness. You can add a radar set, and have a big platform to dump extra guns on to take down bombers. Also at night, you don't have to worry about those annoying (real) fighter escorts that would kill you in daylight.



Holy carp, that's where I remember your name from! Played ww2ol for quite some time, and still hop on now and again to check out progress. That game had so much potential and still have some of my deepest game memories from it. I mostly played the ground game and remember you flying top cover for us quite a bit.

As to the original question of twin engined fighters, only the P-38 stands out to me as a true success as a piston engine day fighter, although P-61 was a successful night fighter, as were many 2-engine fighters. The ME-262 as Mike Scholl points out was an amazing two engine interceptor.

Fodder, I remember reading the germans had a very healthy respect for the P-38 and it could hold its own against most german fighters. The USAF was looking for a fighter that could do more than hold its own of course. I believe I got that out of "P-51, Bomber Escort" from Ballantine Books. Not exactly a definitive source, but it's something.




Dixie -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 4:17:39 PM)

Westland Whirlwind.

Probably falls into the loser category through problems with the engines rather than any issues with the airframe side of the design.


Regarding the entire 'species' it's a close call thing, in either case the 2E fighter (for my money) is probably only just inside either category. Depending on how we are defining the term fighter depends on the success or otherwise of the type. If we're including nightfighters and FB then the P-38, Mosquito, Beufighter, Bf-110 and P-61 push the genre towards success. If we're talking basic fighters then the Whirlwind, Bf-110 and Me-210 push us back into failure territory.

They're a success if you want the reassurance and redundancy that two engines provide or if you need to lug a lot of gear around.




Nikademus -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 4:48:33 PM)

Bf-110 was a better plane than it is credited for generally. Was it a full match for a modern 1E? Not totally unless it could fight in it's environment, which was essentially the same for all 2E's....energy tactics, preferably with altitude advantage. As technology developed, one was able to see a 2E that could compete in the maneuverability dept credibly as well. The P-38 shared similar weaknesses to the 110 until the definitive J version with powered airleons made it remarkably maneuverable as well as fast. the 38's design was more attuned to traditional fighter tactics vs. the older 110 which tried to counter it's own weight with a rear gunner of marginal effectiveness. The Lightning excelled in the Pacific mainly because of it's superchargers which allowed it superior high altitude performance. (in Europe the colder harsher weather caused some issues) The preferred tactic of Lightnings in the Pacific was diving slashing attacks followed by a zoom climb back up to altitude which made it very hard for Zeros to counter. The 110 eventually found 2nd life as an excellent fighter bomber and night fighter. It faced similar disadvantages as a fighter in Russia vs. nimble Russian planes. Ki-45 from what i've read was a bit of an indifferent performer which made it not so good vs. 1E's. It could at least carry a heavy armament for anti bomber work.

In the end it comes down to role. 2E's make good bomber interceptors and in some cases, with powerful enough engines can compete with 1E's with the added benefit of range. This was largely negated however by the advent of long range 1E fighters that could do the job more cheaply. (P-51 with drop tanks for example.) The 262 was the ultimate interceptor of WWII......but you wouldn't want to get into a turning fight with it, especially as all first generation jets tended to bleed off speed quickly.





crsutton -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 5:08:54 PM)

Well, with a 2E aircraft speed was a very important factor since they generally sacrificed maneuverability. I think then that the most sucessful would be considered the P38, and perhaps the mosquito but it was more a light bomber. If you consider dual purposes than many more could be considered successful aircraft. (ME 110, beaufighter, and the JU88 come to mind.) The biggest problem with 2E fighters or fighter bombers was the cost and extra service required. WWII was a war of economics as much as anything else and the most cost effective fighters were single engine.

Probably the culmination of the 2E piston type fighters was the F7F. A very good plane with monster speed and great rate of climb. But none saw active combat in the war.




GreyJoy -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 5:30:20 PM)

For what it's worth, my long experience with IL2 Sturmovick (and all its successors) in online gaming (full real servers) tells me that none of the 2Es really could be called "fighters", in the dogfighting meaning of that terms.
Even the P-38 (which was clearly a good plane) couldn't stand a chance against contemporary axis fighters.
Put a P-38F(or even J) against any kind of FW190 (from A-2 to A9, doesn't matter) and it will lose, hands down, in every kind of engagements (energy fighting, boom&zoom, turning fighting...whatever).
Put it against a Me109 of the same period (say the 109G-2 or later variants of the G series) and it will lose (try to dive in a P-38 in order to follow a 109...and you're gonna see how those aleirons don't work at high speed).
Even the A6M2, if the pilot knows what to do (say: don't follow the P-38 in its up&downs) could place a couple of 20mm rounds on its strange tail...
Not to talk about the K1K1(2)...or other 3 generation jap fighters...

The Bf110 it's even worse (it's also older to say the truth)... over the Channell even the Hurricanes can get you. I remember when i flew the 110 that i always tried a frontal attack against spits or early hurri (those with the 303cal) cause it was more or less my only chance of getting out of the fight alive.
The 110 could be usefull only if you fly with a good wingman...scissors with the boost of the tail gunners can be devastating for a chasing spit... but again, that's tactic, not plane's strenght




Shark7 -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 5:33:25 PM)

The one big thing about the 2E fighters was the 2 engines. Even 1 engine got shot out, you could still fly home, unlike a single engine fighter that can only glide as long as it has the altitude to trade for airspeed.




AndyDuke -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 5:35:41 PM)

Check out the de Havlland Hornet, unfortunately introduced too late for the war. 470mph, 3000 mile range, 4 x 20mm cannon etc high on my want list.




Dili -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 5:39:57 PM)

They were more or less a failure, what advantage P38 had over a Mustang? i will also add the concept of medium bomber to the failures for those airforces that thought it could be a decisive weapon: Luftwaffe, French AF, Regia Aeronautica...




dr.hal -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 6:43:35 PM)

In relation to the game (is that part of the original question?) the fault I find is that 2 engine birds is that they seem to have a very unacceptable "service rating" usually 4. I am assuming that the designers of the game have looked into real world concerns over these fighters and concluded they were a pain to keep operational!




KenchiSulla -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 7:30:39 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: GreyJoy

For what it's worth, my long experience with IL2 Sturmovick (and all its successors) in online gaming (full real servers) tells me that none of the 2Es really could be called "fighters", in the dogfighting meaning of that terms.
Even the P-38 (which was clearly a good plane) couldn't stand a chance against contemporary axis fighters.
Put a P-38F(or even J) against any kind of FW190 (from A-2 to A9, doesn't matter) and it will lose, hands down, in every kind of engagements (energy fighting, boom&zoom, turning fighting...whatever).
Put it against a Me109 of the same period (say the 109G-2 or later variants of the G series) and it will lose (try to dive in a P-38 in order to follow a 109...and you're gonna see how those aleirons don't work at high speed).
Even the A6M2, if the pilot knows what to do (say: don't follow the P-38 in its up&downs) could place a couple of 20mm rounds on its strange tail...
Not to talk about the K1K1(2)...or other 3 generation jap fighters...

The Bf110 it's even worse (it's also older to say the truth)... over the Channell even the Hurricanes can get you. I remember when i flew the 110 that i always tried a frontal attack against spits or early hurri (those with the 303cal) cause it was more or less my only chance of getting out of the fight alive.
The 110 could be usefull only if you fly with a good wingman...scissors with the boost of the tail gunners can be devastating for a chasing spit... but again, that's tactic, not plane's strenght


The problem with comparing real life with a flight sim lies not only with modeling, but also with realistic tactics. There was not a lot of fancy manoeuvring in world war two. It was all about teamwork, speed (energy), survivability and good guns.




The Gnome -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 7:35:48 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dili

They were more or less a failure, what advantage P38 had over a Mustang?


The advantage was there were P-38's in the sky flying missions before the Mustang was even on the drawing board. I know you mean that Mustang was a superior aircraft, that's clear, but it's also a generation later in technology.




Chickenboy -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 7:48:27 PM)

From readings on the P-38 in the PTO, it was a very good fit for the theatre.  The distance between bases and duration of the mission really spoke to the value of a 2e airframe.  Having that 'extra' engine get you back home was prized by its pilots.  As stability for a gun platform, it was unparalleled too-the counter-rotating propellers and centerline gun positioning ensured zero problems with a collumnated cone of fire.  Pilots could (and did) get off distance shots that were quite accurate.

It's not an accident that the top two USAAF aces were "fork-tailed devil" drivers.




Nikademus -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 8:09:24 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: The Gnome

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dili

They were more or less a failure, what advantage P38 had over a Mustang?


The advantage was there were P-38's in the sky flying missions before the Mustang was even on the drawing board. I know you mean that Mustang was a superior aircraft, that's clear, but it's also a generation later in technology.



I wouldn't say "generation" The original idea behind the 2E fighter was increased range. A common trait of typical 1E fighter and fighter prototypes in the late 30's was short range of which the Spitfire, Hurricane and 109 are prime examples. To solve the problem, designers explored 2E heavy fighter designs as LR Escorts. The Japanese were the first ones on the other hand to produce a viable 1E fighter with long range thus becoming the world's first strategic fighter. The P-38 came first, but the P51, with drop tanks and the P-47, with drop tanks were not far behind.

Whatever the technical merits and arguments of the mature versions of the P-38 vs. those other fighters....in the end a 1E was cheaper to build en-mass so its not suprising that the Allies went with the P-51.




pmelheck1 -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 8:24:58 PM)

something to keep in mind is that one must soldier on with the weapons on hand not what is coming in weeks to months. The P-51 might have been vastly superior in every way but that doesn't matter if you don't have any P-51s but you do have P-38s that do fill the role for which they are deployed. The p-38 is far superior to the P-51 if the P-51 isn't deployed.




JocMeister -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 9:35:44 PM)

I´m drawing all this from my memory so don´t hesitate to correct me!

But wasn´t the BF-110 suffering from the same "illness" as all German fighter were during the BoB? They were stuck doing a mission they wasn´t designed to do. I think the germans had a BF110 Zerstörergeschwader of highly trained pilots that was very successfully used to knock out a radar station. IE being used more as an attack bomber. They were very successful in that single mission. But the Germans failed to realise just how well they did and continued to use them for escorts.

I can see how the BF110 could have worked as a low level attack bomber taking out the radar stations and whatnot.

Can´t remember were I read this! The mighty 8th by Astor?




pharmy -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 9:45:57 PM)

The P38's Achilles heal was its roll rate - this was remedied somewhat by adding a combat flat (fowler flaps on one side activated I think), but obviously this came at the cost of adding drag. The L version had hydraulically powered ailerons and that did improve the roll rate and was used pretty successfully in the Med. In the pacific it certainly had no problems, it could out-climb most Japanese fighters and actually could out turn them at high speeds. It couldn't dive for some reason though.
Edit: But if the war lasted longer, then I think the Tigercat and Ki-83 would have easily been the best fighters of the war - speed was by far the most important attribute and this was recognized in these two excellent designs. I think from the Triplane in WW1 to the Tigercat represents the 180 degree change in thought for piston engined fighters (I hated the Triplane in Red Baron 3D , sure I could outturn anybody, but I couldnt run away)




Nikademus -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 9:48:07 PM)

The Germans envisioned the role of the Zerstorer as a heavy fighter suitible for long range escort to complement the short ranged Bf-109 also in development. The Luftwaffe was aware that Goering's 'baby' wasn't "all that" so to speak, even after Poland where the 110 seemed to do well enough but those in the know were worried about meeting determined modern 1E opposition. The 110 did well enough when it flew high top cover......but once it lost that advantage it couldn't match the new Spitifire. It was not appreciably faster than it and if it lost it's head of steam it was virtually helpless in a dogfight, the only recourse being to form a defensive circle with other 110's so that the tail gunners could guard each other's sixes. Luftflotte 5's one major foray into Northern England with an all 110 escort was a disaster.

So the 109's ended up escorting the 110's along with the bombers and they didn't have the range to get 'er done. As a fighter bomber/ground attack plane it excelled due to it's heavy firepower and load capacity.




borner -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 10:29:46 PM)

p-38 was designed as a single seat fighter. ME110 was a 3 seat plane and the desire to try and fit multiplule roles into the airframe cost it. Mosquito was a good plane, but it had the advantage of twin merlin engines and I still do not think was as good of a straight fighter as a p-38. It would have been very intersting to see how good the p-38 could have been if someone had tried to put merlins on it. Late war as others have mentioned there were some very interesting twin engine designs showing up




Chickenboy -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 10:32:09 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: mullk

something to keep in mind is that one must soldier on with the weapons on hand not what is coming in weeks to months. The P-51 might have been vastly superior in every way but that doesn't matter if you don't have any P-51s but you do have P-38s that do fill the role for which they are deployed. The p-38 is far superior to the P-51 if the P-51 isn't deployed.


Yes. And not all P-51s were "war winners" too. The P-51D and later models really were stellar. But the P-51B/C versions were somewhat finicky. Not until the gun jamming and rearward vision problems with the canopy were corrected in the D models did you have a real gem. The P-51D had its first test flight in November 1943 and was fielded in numbers in March 1944.

You couldn't have won the war in Europe by waiting for the uber-aircraft. You dance with who brung ya.




Commander Stormwolf -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/11/2012 11:39:13 PM)


Best thing about the typical 2 engined fighters was

a) survivability (lose 1 engine, still fly)

b) gunpower (accurate on the centerline, and the extra weight has less impact on performance)


remember the early 2-engined fighters carried a lot of fuel that added extra weight and reduced speed / mvr


all depends on the airframe and how it was configured
probably the best arrangement was two inline engines in a single fuselage

strange that a mid 1930s italian seaplane was able to reach 440 mph,
while 1940 era fighters flew 300-350 mph

after all, this one (Ki-64) could have been among the best fighters of the war



[image]local://upfiles/28382/C47775AF641541928A55CCC60B91E08C.jpg[/image]




Feinder -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/12/2012 12:15:08 AM)

Cool. I'm rather enjoying (and learning) from the discussion. Keep it up!

"I mostly played the ground game and remember you flying top cover for us quite a bit. " - Gnome
You must been one of those poor sots on the ground shaking their fist at me, "Hey bone-head, you're supposed to pickle the heavy explodey things on the bad guys! Hm. He'll figure out that he's got a Dew lining up on him in 3... 2... 1..."

[;)]

-F-




The Gnome -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/12/2012 12:53:54 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Feinder

Cool. I'm rather enjoying (and learning) from the discussion. Keep it up!

"I mostly played the ground game and remember you flying top cover for us quite a bit. " - Gnome
You must been one of those poor sots on the ground shaking their fist at me, "Hey bone-head, you're supposed to pickle the heavy explodey things on the bad guys! Hm. He'll figure out that he's got a Dew lining up on him in 3... 2... 1..."

[;)]

-F-


HAH! No I was more the "I can't believe I got killed before getting off the damn truck (again)" guy. [:D] Might have to give that another try on the next free weekend.




TSCofield -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/12/2012 3:17:00 AM)

The Bf110 was something of a strange duck. It got something of a bad reputation during the Battle of Britain but in all honesty it was used improperly. Like many heavy fighters it had relatively poor acceleration but its overall speed wasn't that much different than the Spitfire and it was faster than the Hurricane. Unfortunately it was tasked with close escort duties and not for the high altitude boom and zoom type of attacks that would have made if more effective. In Russia it was much more effective in the early parts of the war. It was outclassed later on but it was never really upgraded like the Bf109 series. If you compare the P-38E to the J/L series you will see there was a pretty big difference between the marks. the C/G series Bf110s weren't that much different overall since the 110 went from being an air dominance fighter to a night fighter/jabo aircraft.





Commander Stormwolf -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/12/2012 3:44:44 AM)


best thing for those 2E fighters to do is provide CAP and tear apart enemy strike packages

with all those funny 37mm or 4x20mm guns you can mount on them




Nikademus -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/12/2012 5:38:26 AM)

i've always had a soft spot for the Zerstorer......probably in part because the word Zerstorer sounds so cool. Like wearing a Fez and traveling in a Blue Box. I also fly one better in EAW. 109's i'm always Lawn Darting. [:D]




Banzan -> RE: 2-engine fighters, hit or miss? (7/12/2012 9:17:20 AM)

The BF/ME 110 was changed (as many german planes) during the construction time over and over again. Heavy fighter/escort, bombs, no bombs, bombs again etc. In the end, germany had a 2E fighter being more a medium bomber/attack bomber with enough speed to match many 1E fighters as the war startet, but mainly because many enemy 1E fighters during that time were early pre-war designs. Once they got against new design fighters, they were in trouble. Due germanys lack of high power engines and lack of ressources for more R&D, the 2E designs fall back more and more.
The P-38 had the advantage of being planned about 5 (i think) years after the 110 which is quite o lot for that time. And i guess without that many role changes during R&D as the Bf110. [;)]





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