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    Best American Fighter?

    Between the P-51D Mustang, P-47N Thunderbolt, F4U-4 Corsair, and the P-38J Lighthing. Which, would you pick to go to war with? (and why!)





    Scooter
  • GZYL
    Senior Member
    • Jan 2000
    • 1194

    #2
    RE: Best American Fighter?

    P-51D Mustang. Why? Well, it's fast, agile, it's got the punch, it's got the range. It's just great!!! All IMHO of course!!

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    • Guest's Avatar
      Guest

      #3
      RE: Best American Fighter?

      Good choice! Thought its not as fast as the Corsair. Nor is it as maneuverable or can it climb better. In short a F4U-4 Corsair can fly circles around a P-51D Mustang! The only advantage the Mustang has is alittle more range and a slight lead when it comes to max dive speed. (and only near the end of a dive)

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      • Ant.H
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Jan 2000
        • 3065

        #4
        RE: Best American Fighter?

        Best all round US fighter has to be the P38 Lightning,especially the late J or L models-out turns just about anything,packs a good punch with a 20mm canon and 4 .50's,not to mention the underwing stores,excellent dive acceleration,good range,good climb rate,good top speed,good roll rate and ofcourse the safety of two engines!
        "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease." Sergei Sikorsky

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        • kev35
          Terminally Bewildered
          • Jan 2000
          • 7375

          #5
          RE: Best American Fighter?

          I think the bomber crews of the 8th air force would probably go for the P-51. Then again, I suppose any friendly fighter was a more than welcome sight!!!

          As the boy in "Empire of the sun" says.......
          "P-51...Cadillac of the skies!"
          The Forums only '"blithering anorak" as endorsed by ZRX61

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          • neilly
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Jan 2000
            • 800

            #6
            RE: Best American Fighter?

            Ant,
            I have to disagree with you a little bit. I don't think the P-38 was as good as the P-51 or P-47. I bring to your attention- In late 1943 there were some unofficial tests at Boscombe Down, the aircraft tested were- P-47, P-51, P-38 (& dare I say it)the Mosquito. In these tests the P-38 performed well below the standards of the other three aircraft. Not my words Alexander McKee- who was there.
            Also: When Maj.Gen. Hap Arnold came to Britain with his USAAC he wanted to get rid of his P-38's in favour of the Mosquito, because it was so superior! He wanted 300 Mosquitoes (which he never got), the RAF were offered Vultee Vengence aeroplanes in exchange (big deal!!!),to replace the Mosquitoes.

            Neilly

            ps.
            My vote goes to the P-51 for the reasons given in other posts, but also- the sound of a Merlin just gives this aeroplane that little bit of something else! Not very scientific, but what the hell!!!

            N.

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            • GZYL
              Senior Member
              • Jan 2000
              • 1194

              #7
              RE: Best American Fighter?

              Did the P-38's poor performance have anything to do with the aircraft not being fitted with turbo-chargers. I remember the RAF testing a P-38 which performed badly because US policy didn't supply turbo-charged aircraft under Lend-Lease. That was probably before the tests you talk of though.

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              • Christer
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Jan 2000
                • 292

                #8
                RE: Best American Fighter?

                Guys,
                I would think that the laws of physics apply to fighters as well as anything else and I will generalize, not attaching names at all.

                An object travelling at a certain speed in a certain direction will keep on doing so until a force is applied to change things. The heavier and bigger the object is, the higher the force must be.
                This dictates that the manoeuvrability of a fighter is largely decided by its weight and size. The more light weight and smaller the fighter is the more manoeuvrable it is. The inherent inertia due to weight and, moment of inertia due to size, is the cause of the general difference between the smaller ones and the bigger ones.
                Inherent energy, however, is also a parameter to consider. The higher static energy of a higher weight fighter gives better acceleration in a dive when the static energy is converted to kinetic energy. The other way around the high kinetic energy at high speed gives a high weight fighter a better zoom climb.

                Then there are different airfoils. All airfoils are laminar flow, at least to some extent. When certain airfoils became known as laminar flow, they were optimized for low drag within a small range of angle of attack, sometimes known as the laminar bucket. This means that the laminar flow wings give the fighter low drag during cruising and in consequence higher speed. When the angle of attack is increased, either through climbing or turning, the drag increase of the laminar flow airfoils is much more dramatic and they bleed energy at a higher rate than the "old" airfoils.

                I think it would be fair to conclude that a fighter designed with fighter bomber qualities in mind became heavier and larger, and is not as good an interceptor fighter as those designed for that role only. The other way around, converting an interceptor fighter to a fighter bomber was not a good idea either, it was too small to take the additional load.

                The design of an aircraft is always a compromise to reach a sensible solution to suite the purpose.
                Finally, aircraft have one thing in common with women, they are both compromizes and if you really do love them, then they are the best!?

                Regards,
                Christer

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                • Guest's Avatar
                  Guest

                  #9
                  RE: Best American Fighter?

                  the boys from the "Empire of the Sun" also said Corsair.....Whistling Death!

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                  • Guest's Avatar
                    Guest

                    #10
                    RE: Best American Fighter?

                    The P-38 had many good qualities! I think it was very under estimated? It flew in every theater and had many high scoring aces including the two highest scoring American Aces. Thought, I would still pick the Corsair!

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                    • neilly
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • Jan 2000
                      • 800

                      #11
                      RE: Best American Fighter?

                      Christer, I don't disagree with anything you've said. However, you seem to have forgotten about wing area & wing loading. Just because something is big & heavy doesn't mean it cannot have reasonable turning capabilities. I'm thinking of the Lancaster & corkscrew turning to out turn the enemy night fighters.
                      There are also other little tecniques to help turn certain aeroplanes quicker. The Mosquito could increase it's turn rate by opening the radiator flaps, (a sort of early vectored thrust).

                      Regards,
                      Neilly

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                      • Christer
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Jan 2000
                        • 292

                        #12
                        RE: Best American Fighter?

                        [updated:LAST EDITED ON 05-12-01 AT 01:18 PM (GMT)]Neilly,
                        thanks for responding to a technical/scientifical nutter!
                        Actually, I thought about discussing wingloading as well as other aspects such as "combat flap settings", closely related to "opening the radiator flaps", but decided that my post would be long enough without indulging too deeply.
                        About the Lancaster out turning night fighters, well, the fighter pilot had his face stuck in a boot staring into a radar screen. I believe that it didnt require much manoeuvering on the part of the Lanc to get "out of sight". During daytime, with visual contact, it never happened!?

                        In my opinion you cant judge the qualities of a fighter by the number of kills. This number depends on many more factors, such as the tactical situation and, above all, the skills of the jockey.
                        I mean, even if the allies and the germans swapped hardware, Victory Europe would have gone the way it did anyway.
                        One specific type has been very highly appraised and I regard that as some kind of a wartime propaganda lie to satisfy home opinion of the war effort. If you take the time to read various reports youll find that it didnt excel in any aspect apart from range and endurance.
                        (Ill probably get tared and fethered for this but, what the heck, its my opinion!)

                        I also think that the largest proportion of the credit for victory should go to the jockeys, they were the deciding factor!

                        Regards,
                        Christer

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                        • P9306
                          Member
                          • Jan 2000
                          • 77

                          #13
                          RE: Best American Fighter?

                          I was wondering when the Mosquito would enter into this argument.......AGAIN !

                          Why is it that Scooter has asked several times about SINGLE ENGINED FIGHTERS......and people turn round and talk about TWIN ENGINED MOSQUITOS ?

                          I know how you must feel Scooter, because I have asked SPECIFIC questions before on several forums, and got the same kind of replies......but you at least seem to be doing better this time round :-)

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                          • Guest's Avatar
                            Guest

                            #14
                            RE: Best American Fighter?

                            P9306- Well what can I say! I didn't realize that the Mosquito was so popular in the U.K. I thought I would hear the word Spitfire much more than I have. That said, I understand. In the states you hear Mustang over and over again. I have a idea! If, I really want to get people going.......All I have to do is post a question regarding the Mosquito and I'll get a hundred hits!

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                            • Christer
                              Rank 5 Registered User
                              • Jan 2000
                              • 292

                              #15
                              RE: Best American Fighter?

                              Guys,
                              didnt Neilly mention the Mossie simply because it was included in a test that was referred to? Then she got carried away with the anecdote about Hap Arnold!
                              The question was about specified AMERICAN fighters and neither the Mossie nor the Spit falls into that cathegory, and to my knowledge none of them has ever been voted for as the best AMERICAN fighter.
                              My reply was of a technical/scientifical nature held in general terms and since there was no comment by Scooter I take it that it was of no interest whatsoever to him!?
                              I doubt that Ill bother the next time?!

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                              • Guest's Avatar
                                Guest

                                #16
                                RE: Best American Fighter?

                                Christer- Please, don't take my comment personally! Just after you hear the words Mosquito and Mustang so many times everyday. Well, it can get on your nerves! I am very busy and I look at the forum mostly from work. Which, I don't always have the time to reply. I like to post a topic and look at it later to hear everyones thoughts and ideas. I wish I had more time to reply back to everyone. I am fairly new to this forum. So, maybe I am doing something wrong. We are all friends here. (or I hope so?) We come from different parts of the world but, we all love military aviation. So, I hope I haven't offended you or anyone else?

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                                • P9306
                                  Member
                                  • Jan 2000
                                  • 77

                                  #17
                                  RE: Best American Fighter?

                                  Sorry Christer, no offence meant ! :-(
                                  I should actually have replied to Neilly.........but no offence to him either :-)

                                  My comments were more of a joke really....it always amazes me how when someone asks a specific question...some folks go off on a tangent talking about everything but the original question. :-)

                                  Of course it's happening again right now because I'm not even talking about which was the best American fighter....although I would say it was the Mustang.

                                  A little advice for Scooter if I may........If you want to talk about single engined fighters, or which was the best American fighter.....then ask a question about twin engined fighters, or maybe even four engined bombers (!), or which was the best fighter from every other nation except America...you should get all the answers you require then......:-)

                                  All in jest of course and no offence meant to anyone (in particular) ;-)

                                  TTFN
                                  Mick

                                  Comment

                                  • neilly
                                    Rank 5 Registered User
                                    • Jan 2000
                                    • 800

                                    #18
                                    RE: Best American Fighter?

                                    [updated:LAST EDITED ON 06-12-01 AT 11:21 AM (GMT)]Dear All,
                                    I make no apology for using the Mosquito to put across certain arguements! The problem is, I have alot of data on this aeroplane so it's easier for me to use as a 'role model'. I find the lack of hard data, coming from other parties, makes it difficult to have constructive discussions. I've already said as much in other posts!!! As regard the comments I made concerning Gen. Arnold, it was in the context, that even He did not rate the P-38 that highly & was prepared to get hold of better equipment for the USAAC! Even if it meant British aeroplanes, in his air force. The point I'm trying to make is, to judge how good a particular aeroplane is, you not only have to look at data, but what the pilots think of it, your Allies & more to the point your enemies, think of it! The question is "what is the best" not "what is your favourite", which at the end of the day, it always seems to come down too!
                                    As for the technical stuff- Bring on them Reynolds Numbers, Power/weight ratios, wing loads, aerofoil sections. Just make it interesting!
                                    The night fighter pilot would have been looking at what was happening in front of his aeroplane & relying on information from his radar operator for directions.

                                    OH! By the way SHE is a HE! Well I was last time I looked!

                                    Pedantically yours,
                                    Neilly

                                    ps I don't get upset ('cos I'm naturally bitter & twisted. Only joking)I do however like a good discussion. I think Keymags have done us proud with this site, which I feel is sometimes not used to it's full potential. There are exceptions & I think that Philo is doing a cracking job with his photos.
                                    Neilly

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                                    • Christer
                                      Rank 5 Registered User
                                      • Jan 2000
                                      • 292

                                      #19
                                      RE: Best American Fighter?

                                      Neilly,
                                      some posting Ive read expressed the joy of having a female member on the forum and I remembered it as beeing You, sorry about that, just be grateful that I didnt spam You with marriage proposals! :-)
                                      Regrettably Your profile is hidden so no indication to be gathered from that source. :-(
                                      Its my experience that a topic often doesnt end where it started, its easy to divert from the original subject. On the occasions when I do get technical I worry that Im overdoing it and am boring people in the process. You seem to like it however, and hopefully Youre not the only one, so Ill have my fits in the future as well!?
                                      About the night fighters, of course there were two seaters but, I was focussed on the single seat types being discussed. I do, however, strongly believe that in terms of handling qualities a Lanc never out manoeuvered any fighter. Maybe in darkness they could pull off a stunt or two but not in general terms.

                                      Regards,
                                      Christer

                                      Comment

                                      • Christer
                                        Rank 5 Registered User
                                        • Jan 2000
                                        • 292

                                        #20
                                        RE: Best American Fighter?

                                        Scot and Mick,
                                        I can assure You that I took no offence at all since I didnt name any fighter in my postings. I was of the opinion that you hit Neilly a little too hard and I simply expressed that view.
                                        Scot,
                                        the excuse "I don't always have the time to reply" really was lame since You found time to comment on other postings!
                                        Be that as it may, no hard feelings, no time for that!

                                        :-) Christer :-)

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