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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Military/History Related Hobbies > Alternate Timelines

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Alternate Timelines The plausible "what if's" of military history.

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  #16  
Old 16 Sep 17, 18:44
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The thing about the Spitfire in WW2 I couldn't understand was the fact the Fleet Air Arm developed a carrier based variant when they already had more capable fighters such as the Corsair and Hellcat.
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  #17  
Old 16 Sep 17, 19:06
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merkava188 View Post
The thing about the Spitfire in WW2 I couldn't understand was the fact the Fleet Air Arm developed a carrier based variant when they already had more capable fighters such as the Corsair and Hellcat.
More importantly, the FAA could have developed good carrier planes in house and in a timely fashion except for having idiotic requirements tacked on, like requiring all aircraft to have a navigator meaning a two-man crew at a minimum.

Two examples of this are the Fairey Firefly and Blackburn Firebrand.

The former of those, was in development starting in 1939 and drug on through mid 1943 when the first few became operational. By then, the Firefly I was an obsolescent machine with a top speed of 316 mph.

The Firebrand began development in mid 1940 and began carrier trials in February 1943 when the Admiralty decided it'd make a great torpedo fighter and the whole project got redirected. The Firebrand I (fighter) got terminated in favor of the Firebrand II torpedo fighter. But the major modifications (like adding 18 inches to the wing center section) took several months to complete.
Thus, the Firebrand II only began to see service in late 1944.

The Centaurus powered Firebrand III and IV didn't see wartime service even though the early ones were simply re-engined Firebrand I / II's.

Thus, the FAA was stuck with converted Spitfires, Hurricanes, or US designs.
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  #18  
Old 16 Sep 17, 19:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazsa View Post
The 'Spitfire Legend' is far greater than the aircraft itself.

From the adulation the Spitfire receives one might expect a more capable aircraft. The fact is the Spitfire was nothing special when compared to its peers. It was lavished with admiration from the population of UK because it was their only show in town in the first half of the war.
Nah! I see you know nothing of what you post. The later models from the Mk IX (1942) and Mk XIV (1943) were supreme fighters. You are either trolling or 'like I suspect', have scant knowledge of the subject.

You should also look at how the Spitfire affected the North African air war as well as the defence of Malta.

Quote:
It's funny how its reputation was born out of the Battle of Britain even though it's older stablemate, the Hurricane, did the majority of the fighting.
Well you would expect that seeing as there were 33 squadrons of Hurricanes opposed to only 19 Spitfire Squadrons during the battle. that historians 'in the main' concentrate on that battle compared to what went on between then and 1945 is not the fault of the aircrafts reputation.

The best bet is to not just read opinions of the likes of me and others on the forums you frequent, but instead you should do lots of research and especially take note of all those 'horses mouth' appraisals from the pilots of many, many nations who actually used it and flew against it in combat.

Quote:
It's got a cool name and a wing shape that makes it easily recognisable to the average Joe.
Hmm! You are quite correct there 'Joe'

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  #19  
Old 16 Sep 17, 19:31
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The Spitfire continued throughout the war to be an excellent interceptor-type fighter. The problem it had was lack of range.

The USAAF had to build aircraft that could operate not just in Europe, but around the world often in very harsh or different conditions. Britain had no particular need to design planes that would work in conditions found in Alaska for example.
The Pacific demanded range above almost everything. The Japanese knew that too.
Basing short-range fighters on Iceland did nothing really useful as the primary target of such aircraft would have been Luftwaffe bombers operating well out into the Atlantic unescorted. That called for a long-range fighter.
When Sicily was to be invaded, the US Army had to build airfields on Gozo next to Malta as the Spitfire lacked the range to operate from North Africa against the island.
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  #20  
Old 16 Sep 17, 20:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merkava188 View Post
The thing about the Spitfire in WW2 I couldn't understand was the fact the Fleet Air Arm developed a carrier based variant when they already had more capable fighters such as the Corsair and Hellcat.
As TAG says. They faffed about (after being caught on the hop without a viable long range carrier fighter) dithering with designs foistered upon them through panic and looking for an ideal stop-gap solution which was to them, to go with an altogether unsuitable land based fighter to fill the need. We have to remember that there wasn't much alternative earlier in the war until the Wild/Hellcats were delivered in numbers. The Corsair wouldn't be operated from carriers until a method of landing safely was pioneered by the FAA, and even then it would'nt be till 1944 that operations with this classic could truely begin. So early in the war, it was really only a pick of either Sea Gladiators, Fulmars, Hurricanes or Spitfires. Which in a way, the RN had no choice other than to go with the best, if not the most ideal.

We all know that the main problem with the Spitfire was its woefully 'unstable for carrier' undercarriage and 'again' its range. That it was good as a carrier defence fighter, it couldn't do much else unless the carriers were within range of the land based targets in which the Spitfire could be used, whereas the Corsair and Hellcats were excellent in the fighter and fighter-bomber roll. The right place for the Spitfire was (as with the P51) as a land based fighter. at least 'unlike the other land fighters, it served at sea and served 'pretty' well.

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Last edited by Dibble201Bty; 16 Sep 17 at 21:17..
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  #21  
Old 16 Sep 17, 21:03
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One thing Britain could have done early on is refit the Buffaloes they got for naval operations. This likely could have been done in-house by Britain with the US supplying many of the components necessary for this to happen.
The Belgian B-239's they got could have been ready by late 1940, and the B-339's they ordered could have had the equipment fitted from the factory.

This would have given the FAA a decent fighter for operations where the RN didn't expect much fighter opposition and an aircraft at least equal to a Fulmar in performance. It would have made transitioning to the F4F easier as well when the Wildcat became available.

Instead, they used the Buffalo as a land based fighter in secondary theaters to no real effect, in essence tossing them away.
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  #22  
Old 17 Sep 17, 01:16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dibble201Bty View Post
Nah! I see you know nothing of what you post. The later models from the Mk IX (1942) and Mk XIV (1943) were supreme fighters. You are either trolling or 'like I suspect', have scant knowledge of the subject.

You should also look at how the Spitfire affected the North African air war as well as the defence of Malta.



Well you would expect that seeing as there were 33 squadrons of Hurricanes opposed to only 19 Spitfire Squadrons during the battle. that historians 'in the main' concentrate on that battle compared to what went on between then and 1945 is not the fault of the aircrafts reputation.

The best bet is to not just read opinions of the likes of me and others on the forums you frequent, but instead you should do lots of research and especially take note of all those 'horses mouth' appraisals from the pilots of many, many nations who actually used it and flew against it in combat.



Hmm! You are quite correct there 'Joe'

Paul

I agree that the spitfire was indeed an excellent aircraft that performed it's roles very well.

But the Spitfire was no super weapon nor was it 'supreme'. The ME109 remained more or less competitive with it throughout the war. Now I'm by no means suggesting the ME109 was superior, heaven forbid, but the 109 was never completely outmatched.

With regards to the North African campaign and the defence of Malta I see no special praise to be given to the Spitfire. If you were to remove the Spitfire and replace it with any other frontline interceptor (like a 109) of the period I very much doubt the results would change in any measurable fashion.

Ask 100 average British people what aircraft won the Battle of Britain and I guarantee 90 of them will say the Spitfire. Despite the fact that throughout the battle there were always roughly twice as many Hurricanes available compared to the Spitfire. Hurricanes scored the highest number of RAF victories, accounting for 1,593 out of the 2,739 total claimed.

What 'special powers' do you think the Spitfire possessed?
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  #23  
Old 17 Sep 17, 05:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazsa View Post
I agree that the spitfire was indeed an excellent aircraft that performed it's roles very well.

But the Spitfire was no super weapon nor was it 'supreme'. The ME109 remained more or less competitive with it throughout the war. Now I'm by no means suggesting the ME109 was superior, heaven forbid, but the 109 was never completely outmatched.
Only one way for you to find out.

Quote:
With regards to the North African campaign and the defence of Malta I see no special praise to be given to the Spitfire. If you were to remove the Spitfire and replace it with any other frontline interceptor (like a 109) of the period I very much doubt the results would change in any measurable fashion.
And the same with this....

Quote:
Ask 100 average British people what aircraft won the Battle of Britain and I guarantee 90 of them will say the Spitfire. Despite the fact that throughout the battle there were always roughly twice as many Hurricanes available compared to the Spitfire. Hurricanes scored the highest number of RAF victories, accounting for 1,593 out of the 2,739 total claimed.

What 'special powers' do you think the Spitfire possessed?
"Powers"?.....

I've already done lots and lots of posts on this site pertaining the Spitfire, and I have also told you to do some research. Don't expect me to do it for you. The only way to gain knowledge is to work for it.

Both your posts confirms what I stated about the sources you have used. Believe me when I say, they are woefully inadequate

Paul
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  #24  
Old 17 Sep 17, 14:32
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Found this with some pictures of Spitfires in US service.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...nated-RAF.html
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  #25  
Old 17 Sep 17, 16:37
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In every book I've read, fighter pilots LURVED the Spit to bits because of it's hyper sensitivity on the controls which was the prime requisite for any fighter.
Its only drawback was that it didn't have the range to escort bombers deep into Germany, whereas the US fighters did.
(I keep meaning to research why the Brits didn't simply fit longrange tanks to the Spit, anybody know?)

Another drawback of the Spit was that its 8 MG's lacked enough punch against Jerry bombers in 1940, but that was soon remedied by adding cannons to the mix for the rest of the war.
Bob Stanford-Tuck says in this vid at 41:25-
"We finally decided we had to fit cannons because the Germans were fitting armour plate to their bombers and fighters quite appreciably, and we were finding at one stage that we were firing 303 machine guns up behind and they were taking an awful lot of punishment before you could shoot them down"
https://youtu.be/vDzZnCkbxgs

And Johnnie Johnson says in the same vid at 43:05-
"The best Spitfire of the war years was the Spitfire IX"

PS- A minor mystery is why most US fighters stuck with MG's instead of cannons throughout the war, e.g. P-51, P-47, P-40, anybody know?
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  #26  
Old 17 Sep 17, 17:29
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Quote:
F Mk XIVs had a total of 109.5 gal of fuel consisting of 84 gal in two main tanks and a 12.5 imp gal fuel tank in each leading edge wing tank; other 30, 45, 50 or 90 gal drop tanks could be carried. The fighter's maximum range was just a little over 460 miles (740 km) on internal fuel, since the new Griffon engine consumed much more fuel per hour than the original Merlin engine of earlier variants. By late 1944, Spitfire XIVs were fitted with an extra 33 gal in a rear fuselage fuel tank, extending the fighter's range to about 850 miles (1,370 km) on internal fuel and a 90 gal drop tank. Mk XIVs with "tear-drop" canopies had 64 gal. As a result, F and FR Mk XIVEs had a range that was increased to over 610 miles (980 km), or 960 miles (1,540 km) with a 90 gal drop tank.
Spitfire The History by Morgan and Shacklady p420


https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....4,203,200_.jpg

These planes were flying from airbases in the west of Britain to Switzerland and back, looking for trouble along the way. While this was not as great as a Mustang, it belies the notion that the Spitfire was only suitable as a point defence interceptor.
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  #27  
Old 17 Sep 17, 18:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
PS- A minor mystery is why most US fighters stuck with MG's instead of cannons throughout the war, e.g. P-51, P-47, P-40, anybody know?
A number of US Fighters had a cannon onboard. The P-38, P-39 and P-64 come readily to mind. Besides, the US Fighter had moved on to the 50 Caliber Machine Gun which was considered adequate until we encountered the MiG 15 in Korea. The Ma Deuce had a much greater range and destructive effect over the 303 and 30 Caliber weapons. A mystery to many Americans is why the British did not go to the Browning 50 Caliber. I hear about 20 millimeter cannon on Corsairs but have yet to run into a model using them.

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Old 17 Sep 17, 18:51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
A number of US Fighters had a cannon onboard. The P-38, P-39 and P-64 come readily to mind. Besides, the US Fighter had moved on to the 50 Caliber Machine Gun which was considered adequate until we encountered the MiG 15 in Korea. The Ma Deuce had a much greater range and destructive effect over the 303 and 30 Caliber weapons. A mystery to many Americans is why the British did not go to the Browning 50 Caliber. I hear about 20 millimeter cannon on Corsairs but have yet to run into a model using them.

Pruitt
They did. Most later model Spitfires have 2 20mm cannon and 2 .50 machineguns in what was called the "E" wing.
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  #29  
Old 17 Sep 17, 21:28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
A number of US Fighters had a cannon onboard. The P-38, P-39 and P-64 come readily to mind. Besides, the US Fighter had moved on to the 50 Caliber Machine Gun which was considered adequate until we encountered the MiG 15 in Korea. The Ma Deuce had a much greater range and destructive effect over the 303 and 30 Caliber weapons. A mystery to many Americans is why the British did not go to the Browning 50 Caliber. I hear about 20 millimeter cannon on Corsairs but have yet to run into a model using them.

Pruitt
The F4U1-C was armed with 4 20mm cannons. VMF-311, 441 and 314 as well as two navy squadrons VF 84 and 85 used the model during Operation Iceberg. This was the only cannon armed Corsair model used during WW 2
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  #30  
Old 17 Sep 17, 22:53
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Real Name: Paul B
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
They did. Most later model Spitfires have 2 20mm cannon and 2 .50 machineguns in what was called the "E" wing.
Some Spitfires were arned with 2 X 20mm cannons (B wing) during the battle of Britain but suffered from jamming and feed problems. By November things had improved and Spitfirs were cannon armed (unless you still preffered tha older 8 X .303 machine gun armed type. 'Bader carried on with this set-up')

The later 'C wing' could accomodate either 4 x 20mm, 2 x 20mm + 4 x.303.

The 'E wing came even later which was the same setup as the 'C wing' with the addition of the 2 X 20mm + 2 X .50's.

So from November 1940 to the end of the war, the Spitfire was an effective cannon and machine-gun armed fighter.

Paul
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