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  #1  
Old 24 Jul 11, 01:18
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Best Fighter Planes of WWII

What fighter plane in World War 2 was the best? I know a lot of people say the P-51 Mustang but I am sure there are other planes that were just as good if not better than the Mustang.
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  #2  
Old 24 Jul 11, 01:32
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Mustang or Corsair...the Me262 arrived on the scene too late to make a major impact, but it did perform well when it entered service.

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Old 24 Jul 11, 01:58
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As this one's reared its ugly head yet again, the Supermarine Spitfire.

While a little short on range, it did the job it was intended to do from the first false alarms (and kills) in 1939, to Tokyo Bay in '45.

Honourable mention to the Hawker Hurricane, without which, that little skirmish in '40 would've been very different.
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Old 24 Jul 11, 02:36
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The nature of a "what was the best" thread is that the focus immediately falls on the final product, and thus ignores a candidate for "best of the month". With aircraft I'd plump for a "plane of the month" simply because this was the one area where design evolution can allow for momentary greatness followed by joining the queue for noteworthy targets.
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Old 24 Jul 11, 02:55
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Spitfire is right up there, however my vote goes with the 'Jug'.
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Old 24 Jul 11, 03:14
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Old 24 Jul 11, 07:51
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I would also point out Fiat G.55 Centauro,probably one of,if not the best Axis fighter in Europe.There were plans in Germany to unite production into single fighter type in Germany and Italy,however due to fact that BF-109 needed only 5.000 man-hours to produce in confront with minimal 9.000 man-hours of G.55 sealed the fate of this fantastical fighter.

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Old 24 Jul 11, 07:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Checkertail20 View Post
What fighter plane in World War 2 was the best? I know a lot of people say the P-51 Mustang but I am sure there are other planes that were just as good if not better than the Mustang.
Welcome to ACG, Checkertail20.

As usual with all of these "what was the best ----- of World War 2" (insert fighter plane, bomber, tank, or whatever else) it depends on your criteria. In other words, what 'yardsticks' are you going to use to measure a fighter plane. Or, to put it yet another way, what methods of evaluation are you going to use?

Just to start with, we have the matter of the various 'periods' of WW2, with some fighters being 'top dog' in one period but falling behind in others. A further complication is the different theatres of war. Would a fighter that served in all theatres be more worthy than another that only served in one? And what about duration of service? For example, is a fighter type that was in first-line squadron service from September 1939 to September 1945, and was still competitive with its opposition at the end, more worthy of the crown than one that only shot to stardom in the last year or two of a six-year conflict? Then we have the balance of attributes. Is range of such importance as to be worth sacrificing a portion of your agility and climb rate? Or is razor-sharp dogfighting ability going to be more important than long range? Or a balance in between? Surely, the answers to these questions depend on the intended role for the fighter? So intended roles become another factor to balance in to the evaluation.

There are so many different ways you can juggle the various factors and often it comes down to which ones we consider to be most important.

At the end of the day though, no matter what criteria you use, it remains nigh on impossible to single out just one fighter type as the best of the whole war and get an informed consensus of agreement on it. You can narrow the field down to perhaps 8-10 finalists that most of us would agree on without too much difficulty; but to then pick just one winner? Very difficult indeed.

But good luck with your question.
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Old 24 Jul 11, 10:01
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The P-51 and the Corsair were advanced enough for their time to serve with distinction in the Korean war. I think if a WWII prop fighter was good enough to continue soldiering in Korea you can make a safe bet it's one of the top contenders. French naval Corsairs (shown below in French markings) fought at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and did excellent service there.

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Old 24 Jul 11, 10:50
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  #11  
Old 24 Jul 11, 11:42
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I would put forward three candidates in no order;-

1. Mustang for its impact on the war.
2. Me 262-- 'first' and very effective frontline jet fighter.
3. The Spitfire because ,as has already been pointed out, it served in the frontline throughout the war and was able to be continuously up dated.
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Old 24 Jul 11, 12:05
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I woiuld put forward three candidates in no order;-
1. Mustang for its impact on the war
2. Me 262-- 'first' and very effective frontline jet fighter
3. The Spitfire because ,as has already been pointed out, it served in the frontline throughout the war and was able to be continuously up dated.
I agree with Kevin's list.
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Old 24 Jul 11, 20:55
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I'd like to add a fourth and fifth:

4. Corsair due to its armor and self-sealing tanks.
5. Zero for its performance over China...for the longest time no fighter in its operations theater could equal it.

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Old 25 Jul 11, 00:38
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5. Zero for its performance over China...for the longest time no fighter in its operations theater could equal it.

Not only China but the entire Pacific. Even in the late war in capable hands the Zero was a handful to take down.
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Old 25 Jul 11, 01:01
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Very true, but once a Corsair got on its tail...boom.

-Matt
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