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Messerschmitt Bf 109 vs. Supermarine Spitfire

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Poll Question: Which was the superior aircraft?
Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
4 [33.33%]
8 [66.67%]
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Zagros View Drop Down
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    Posted: 16 Dec 2010 at 05:40
These were the most famous Blitzkrieg protagonists on opposing sides. Please click impulsively without doing research.  Just wondering what people think.

Edited by Zagros - 16 Dec 2010 at 05:40
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2010 at 05:43
Ooh that is a good one between two heavyweights of the war. I went along with the Spit (and it was an impulsive decision per your request) cause it looks cool, saved the Brits from Luftwaffe droppings, had decent longevity and did I say it looks cool? Smile Though later iterations of the 109 was nothing to trifle with nor take lightly. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2010 at 05:53
Much the same reaction as Seko. The Spitfire may be the most beautiful small warplane ever designed. The 109 in all variations was ugly.
 
Also the Spitfire was first built only about a mile and a half from where I was born.
 
I think the Hurricane was the most effective of the fighter aircraft of that generation though.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2010 at 06:20
Spitfire is the most romantic British fighter of the period. Look at any modern flying movie of the period today. If you got RAF flying, they're in a Spitfire. The 109 was a good solid aircraft, although a bit tricky to fly. The Spit had a slight edge over it. The Hurricane was not in the same class as the Spit or 109 although it was the workhorse fighter of the RAF during the early years of the war. Hurricane's were not even supercharged, but they were easy to fly.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2010 at 06:24
Hurricane was always my favourite, but mainly because of its name and cannons.  Spitfire for form Hurricane for function.

Spitfire


Bf 109


I am pleased to have you guys straight in with your choices.

Hurricane




Edited by Zagros - 16 Dec 2010 at 06:27
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2010 at 06:25
Originally posted by Birddog Birddog wrote:

Spitfire is the most romantic British fighter of the period. 


Totally true.  And I would add the most romantic fighter of the war.

"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2010 at 11:29
Mind you, during the Battle of Britian the Hurri and Spit had the same armament of 8 Browning 303 machineguns. Cannons were added to both planes later in the war.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2010 at 12:39
For those of you interested here is a web site I heartily recommend:
 
 
It has a darn good overview of the "Messie" and how the original prototype had a Rolls Royce engine while the Brits were fooling around with Heinkels...
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2010 at 12:47
Hey! I didn't vote in this poll. Why can't i vote? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2010 at 17:12
Good God that plane looks beautiful!
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2010 at 23:01
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Hey! I didn't vote in this poll. Why can't i vote? 


give it a go now Panzer Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2010 at 05:55
Zagos, I'm 90% sure that the photo of the Hurricane is a Spitfire. Hurricane's did not have pointed wings or bubble cockpits. The Hurricane had a slightly huched back look, and while the wings while rounded were very simlar to the 109's. In fact many a Hurricane got shot at by keen pilots thinking they wre 109's.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2010 at 06:01
You're 100% right, that is a spitfire. That's not the same picture I picked up on google images. I didn't even bother to check after posting the edit - my apologies.

Now, what if I was to say that the 109 was superior to the Spitfire (and Hurricane) in every way except form:  Speed, reliability, manoeuvrability and armaments?  Would it surprise or shock anyone?


Edited by Zagros - 17 Dec 2010 at 06:03
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2010 at 06:24
Are you saying the 109 was superior to the Spitfire despite the fact that the 109 wasn't as fast, couldn't turn as sharply, didn't have the firepower and was not as a reliable an aircraft? I'm intrested.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2010 at 09:03
The issue whether the Spitfire or Bf109 was "better" would have been solved by the experts ages ago if it was solveable in the first place, so I won't even bother trying. I have, however, never seen a more beautiful plane than the Spitfire so it gets my vote.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2010 at 09:09
That's a common misconception.  Or such was claimed during http://www.bbc.co.uk/tv/seasons/battle-of-britain-season/ - particularly this programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00txmkk. I was pretty surprised too and that's why I created this thread having seen the programme initially in September or October.

Amongst the revelations were that the reason why the 109s never fulfilled their potential was because of Goering insisting that they be used as bomber escorts.  For example, they had to travel so slowly that they struggled to maintain stability and made for easy prey.

Additionally revealed were recently declassified/discovered transcripts from secret service eavesdropping on downed German pilots amongst which there were conversations about which plane they thought were superior and the consensus was that their own were.

Interviews with Spitfire pilots also suggested a great deal of frustration with Spitfire "pea shooters" vs the cannons on the 109.  Additionally, the agility of the Meserschmitts was a great cause of concern.
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2010 at 10:50
Well, Zagros, you are essentially correct because it all depends at just which historical point  commands the exact nature of the Messie you are addressing the 109E or the F or the G! If you read the memoirs of Galland you will discover he had a definite distaste for the F (which was a streamlined and lighter-armed aircraft that removed the wing root guns) and did his utmost, as did other German fighter pilots, to rearm the aircraft and such resulted in the 109G which went into full production in 1942 and saw its initial deployment in Russia and North Africa. With its cannon and two machine guns, the craft then became the standard fighter throughout Europe.
 
However, what is the ultimate factor that would determine the outcome of an encounter between a Spitfire and Messerschmitt, if not the keen agility of the pilot?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2010 at 12:46
Thanks Seko!Smile

Something i kept in mind for the sake of comparison is that the two were locked in a fierce competition for air superiority of European skies and going through extensive upgrades and remodeling over five six year period. The Spitfire modifications started with the Mk I and followed by Mk V, Mk IXC, Mk IX, Mk XII, and Mk XIV,. While the  Bf 109 began with original design  followed with Bf 109E, Bf 109 K-4, Bf 109 K, Bf 109 F/G and Bf 109 G-6/R6. Picking which one was superior over all is hard i think, leaving it to the pilot in deciding which plane was the superior one at the end of each successive day or at any given time until about late 43' early 44'. 

Thinking of that and i think it is dang hard to quantify this, but i would have to give the qualitative edge to the Germans at the beginning of the war for the obvious reasons and subsequently losing that edge mid point of the war to not only the Spitfire but also to the higher quality of the British airmen that the German's severely lacked at the end. With that said when did technology and skill between the two contestants reach an equilibrium? My guess would be about 43'-44' time period with it going ultimately to the Spitfire Mk XII - Mk XIV and as well as the British blitz pilots that served as the backbone in helping to train new recruits and as well taking the aerial fight the Germans on the own home turf.

Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:



Hurricane




That looks like and has the characteristics of the Seafire.

My source for this information is from "The complete book of World War II Combat Aircrat, by Enzo Angelucci - Paolo Matricardi - Pierluigi Pinto.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2010 at 17:46
The fact the the 1940 109's were armed with cannon was a major issue with the RAF pilots during the Battle of Britian. It was very difficult to shoot down an aircraft with rifle bullets. But's just punch holes.  With a cannon you can blow chunks out of the enemy aircraft.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2010 at 20:56
Yes, let's keep the focus on the Battle of Britain models.  I recommend that documentary btw, if you can get it. 
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Dec 2010 at 05:15
Now that we have first impressions are out of the way some details are in order. Earlier variants of the Spitfire had carburetors and occasionally stalled in a climb. Another pitfall, in comparison to the 109, is that it did not have the altitude capability initially, at least till pressurized cabins came along. Two speed Merlin engines and increased wing area eventually helped in the matter.

cool site:  http://spitfiresite.com/

Zagster, how about another of one these dueling banjo threads? Something along the lines of Meet The Fockers versus The Thunderbolts or Me 262 vs P51


Edited by Seko - 18 Dec 2010 at 05:18
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Dec 2010 at 06:39
Meet the Fockers!
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Dec 2010 at 07:08

The Spitfire got its reputation from the battle of Britain however there were other equality good planes that simply lacked the publicity and were as good if not better than the Spit, three come to mind, the MiG-3, the Mitsubishi Zero and the Nakajima Ki-84 (an aeronautics engineer friend of mine called it the best WWII fighter).

Even in Britain there were fighters that were probably better like the Mosquito and Typhoon.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Dec 2010 at 08:06
Wasn't the Mosquito a bomber and Typhoon came into service in 1944/5 IIRC?
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Dec 2010 at 08:23
The mosquito was a fighter-bomber (because of its size) and was the backbone of British tactical airforces wrecking havoc both on ground troops (killing a german Marshal and several generals) as well as enemy fighters (as a long range bomber escort).
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Dec 2010 at 10:12
I just remember the Mosquito from Dam Busters - are there any examples of it in an aerial dogfight?
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Dec 2010 at 21:13
I had thought of mentioning the Mosquito. It must have been the most successful all-round multi-role aircraft of its generation. Another plane that might be n the running for a similar title turned out to be the P-51 Mustang.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2011 at 00:57
I believe, that if you look at the numbers, the most famous fighter in Great Britain was the Hawker Hurricane.  It was this aircraft that actually won the "Battle of Britain", and no other.
 
 
"Often underrated in favor of the Spitfire , the Hurricane was the main victor of the Battle of Britain. The Royal Air Force had at that time 32 Hurricane squadrons, compared with 19 Spitfire squadrons. This meant that 620 Hurricane and Spitfire fighters (with another 84 assorted fighters like the Gloster Gladiator) had to face the German air threat of 3,500 bombers and fighters. During the "Battle of Britain", along with the Spitfire , it helped to force the Luftwaffe to use the Bf 109 to protect the poor performing twin engine Bf 110 escort fighter."
 
 

"August 1940 brought what has become the Hurricane's shining moment in history: The Battle of Britain. RAF Hurricanes accounted for more enemy aircraft kills than all other defences combined, including all aircraft and ground defences. Later in the war, the Hurricane served admirably in North Africa, Burma, Malta, and nearly every other theatre in which the RAF participated."

 
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Edited by opuslola - 17 Mar 2011 at 01:00
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2011 at 06:08
Opuslola, I think your getting the word famous mixed up with numerous.
 Yes the Hurricane was the most numerous fighter in the RAF in 1940. It was the workhorse of the RAF.
The Spitfire in 1940 was the latest model, the beez-kness and the mutts-nuts of the RAF, the most advanced fighter in the RAF. As I said earlier a romantic image built up around the Spitfire's and the men who flew them. They were the fighter pilots of the most advanced RAF fighter. The Hurricane pilots were the guy's who flew the older airplane 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2011 at 06:17
Older, yes!  More numerous, Yes!  More reliable and durable, yes!   And, it seems you missed this quote from above;
 
"August 1940 brought what has become the Hurricane's shining moment in history: The Battle of Britain. RAF Hurricanes accounted for more enemy aircraft kills than all other defences combined, including all aircraft and ground defences."
 
And possibly a better killer?
 
Thanks for your response.
 
Ron
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