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WWII fighters

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    Posted: 26 Nov 2009 at 12:05

Before switching to the new forum there have been a lot of topics about airplanes. Most of these were about which is the best of them or something alike. Actually, if I remember well, I first ran into AE looking for something about the Spitfire.

So, here is what I propose, a topic about WWII fighters where we discuss every month about an  airplane. Something like the all battles project. What I would like is too see some opinions of our members, if they are interested, regrading the airplane that is voted to be discussed every month. The are two conditions for an airplane to qualify:
1) The bird must have been used in combat during WWII.
2) The airplane must have been used in a fighter role to a significant extent.
 
For example, the Gloster Meteor, altough developed and even used during the war, does not qualify. On the other hand the Ju88, although designed as a bomber, was extensively used in a fighter role so it can be dsicussed.
 
OK, if there are interested people, I propose my favourite for the next month: the Focke Wulf FW-190 A (although we might talk about the F, G and even the D)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2009 at 13:16
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by a 'fighter'. English and US usage at the time differed in this respect (and I think usage now is different from what it was then).
 
Do you mean what the RAF would have called fighters (and the USAAF 'pursuit' planes) or ground-attack aircraft, which tend to be called 'fighters' nowadays, particularly in the US? And will you include genuine multi-role aircraft like the DH Mosquito?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Nov 2009 at 05:57
Favorite piston engine fighters of WWII




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Nov 2009 at 08:02
Gcle, what I meant by "fighters" are aircraft that were used in this role (engaging other aircraft offensively*) which actually is also the bassically the same nowadays. Used, not just designed. And multi-role aircraft fit into this category (I did mentioned the Ju88 which can be considered the German Mosquito). Even the Il-2 could get in since there were attempts to use it as a fighter by the Soviets and there were a few sorties with Sturmoviks as fighters.
The idea of this thread is to view some opinions regarding aircraft. Since there were a lot of aircraft used in WWII I limited the discussion pool to "fighters" only. But if there is interest in this discussion and the participants would like to consider other categories of aircraft then there's no problem. We can do that.
 
*mission profile: CAP, Fighter sweep, Interception, Interdiction, Escort.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Nov 2009 at 08:19
Seko, your post is not very clear to me. Are you proposing those aircraft to be discussed?
If so, then we are at this point:
1 Focke Wulf  190 - 2  (mine was the A but the D-9 in your picture is OK too)
2 Vickers Supermarine Spitfire - 1  (your picture looks like a Mk IXc to me)
3 Vought F4U - Corsair - 1 (looks like an F4U - 1D)
4 North American P51 Mustang - 1 (looks like two D's or H's and a B)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Nov 2009 at 22:07
Yeah, I like the later generation planes since most of the bugs got worked out. I would love to read your summary of the 190 (A or D Long-nose). 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SPQR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Nov 2009 at 20:56
watched a show recently where a Horton HO-229 was recreated, turns out there are a few still around, and they actually could fly I thought they were a failed project.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 2009 at 10:58
The Horten 229 saw no combat in WWII so it would not qualify.
OK, it looks like I'm to go with the 190. I'll make my post the next day since today I'm celebrating.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 2009 at 13:25

The Focke Wulf  - FW 190

 

While WWI was the beginning of the airpower WWII had shown that without airpower there can be no victory. The beligerants built a lot of aircraft for various purposes. Among these, the German FW 190, an aircraft which, with it’s sidekick, the Bf 109 (or Me109), were the main weapons of the Luftwaffe.

There are a lot of articles on the net regarding the “Butcher Bird” but I’m not very found of quoting. This post is rather my personal review of the aircraft. Although the purpose of this topic is not to establish a hierarchy of the fighters, it obvious that comparing the aircraft with other ones is necessary in order to make some points. After all, there was a war, aircraft were not just lonely flying around.

First of all, I think that since there were around 20.000 FW 190’s built during the war, it might be important to decide if there was a good idea to built the FW190 and not keep up with the 109. Well, the fact is that it’s project was a pre-war one. And while the 109 was a good fighter, it lacked the multi-role capability that made the FW190 so valuable. Germany was fighting a war in which essential resources were scarce. Therefore, a lot of aircraft designs was out of the question. What was needed were cheap, reliable, easy to fly and maintain aircraft. As the war went on the multi-role concept gained more and more ground since it meant eventually that less aircraft were needed to do a job.

Just like the Wermacht, the Luftwaffe fought on two different fronts. And the luxury of designing and producing aircraft to fit both wars was denied to Germany. The FW190 is an example of a great achievement with limited resources. When it emerged in 1942, it was a nasty surprise for the Allies. USAAF was not yet quite ready and the British Spitfire V was mainly inferior to the first A’s. On the Eastern Front, the VVS still had less capable aircraft. As the war went on, new aircraft emerged and eventually the FW190 A was surclassed. The D apeared (and the Ta 152 which is irrelevant in terms of combat record) and it was quite a match to any enemy fighter. In many instances I have noticed that people focus only on the figures regarding the performances of an airplane and forget about the actual context in which that airplane operated. Roughly, the 190 was a fast, tough, maneouvrable and very powerful aircraft. What it lacked mainly was range. Also it was not performing well at high altitudes. Let’s look a little closer at qualities and deficiencies:

1.      Speed. No doubt the 190 was a fast plane. Later models of enemy fighers were a little faster but it accelerated better. Maybe the Tempest could do that better and certainly the 109.

2.      Manoeuvrability. The FW190 used properly could outmanoeuver almost all of its enemies by rolling, diving, climbing, diving or sidesliping. Off course, every type of action was suited to the proper enemy so the pilot quality was the real issue. I’ll get to that later. The point is that the 190 was higly manoeuvrable by all standards.

3.      Toughness.  The armor protection on the aircraft was one of the best. Also, being a rather small airplane, it was a rather difficult target therefore it was hard to hit. A really tough little guy.

4.      Power. As in firepower because engine power is translated in speed and acceleration. Well, I guess no other single prop fighter packed the punch of the “Butcher Bird”. When thrown against bombers, some A8’s were carrying as much as eight cannons and two HMG’s. Even with the minimal weaponry of two guns and two machine guns the 190 was something no fighter pilot would have liked on his 6. Any fighter was no match for the weapons of the 190.

5.      Range. Well, there’s a problem here but since Luftwaffe’s doctrine called for tactical fighters only  they saw it as no great problem. The 190 had a better range than the 109 though. But the problem with range became critical when the Mustangs began to fly fighter sweeps over the Third Reich. It became impossible for the Germans to fly long enough in order to deal with the fighters and the bombers. And to run to safety. But in the end range was not the critical problem of the 190.

6.      High altitude performance. This was not a problem on the Eastern front but it became a really big one in the West. Since the beginning of the war all combatants were competing for the high position in aerial combat. The advantages of being higher than the enemy are obvious therefore I will not elaborate on them. The high altitude performance of the 190 was shared with the 109 and it was mainly due to technological limitations of which two are relevant: fuel and high quality alloys. Luftwaffe’s contest for getting high in the sky was doomed from the beginning. Allied bomber formations were usually flying at some 6500-7000 m. While the escorts could be as high as 12000. The 190’s and 109 had little chance of getting to the bombers without being jumped by enemy fighters. Also, the 190A was better that the escorters at altitudes below 4500m. The D was good at high altitude but by the time it appeared it was too late for Germany. And the Me262 was already operational so the 190D was relegated to guard duty, protecting the Scwalbe's at take-off and landing.

 

As one can see, the FW 190 was not the best aircraft but it was a very good one. Technically it could match anything the enemy could throw at him. So what happened? Well, numbers do count. And circumstances too.Germany was fighting against enemies that outnumbered her. And while the quality of the German flying machines was high, the enemy was also developing better aircraft.

For example, in the West, Allied fighters and bombers flew higher and higher. In the East, while initially quantity was the issue, the La’s and Yak’s became more than a nuissance, they grew into tough oponents which quality alone could not bring down. And quality was getting worse. It seems that after 1941 there can be no more talking about  the average quality of Luftwaffe pilots. There were only the “expereten”, getting fewer and fewer, and rookies, never enough to supply the war requests. Confronted with the RAF and USAAF, wich placed a great emphasis on training their pilots, and with a reborn VVS that did the same, there was no chance for the Luftwaffe pilots to make the best of their machines. Eventually, they were gone in accidents or were shot down before gathering enough experience to give them a chance. Mybe one thing that mattered too was that the Luftwaffe was the least nazified arm of the German Military. Never the request for new pilots was sustained by the party like with the Waffen SS or the Hitle Jugend.Therefore, recruiting for the Heer and the U-boats were boosted with little left for the airforces. And another importand factor was that there was no tour of duty. A pilot flew until he could no more. Which usually meant being killed or cripled. So the experience of seasoned veterans was wasted.   

So, the Focke Wulf 190 is an iconic representative of the aircraft that were used in combat during WWII. With virtually no limits to the roles it played, it performed excellent and I think it is OK to say that it is one of the best warbirds ever flown.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 2009 at 18:29
During the latter stages of the war the F-190 had ability to climb to higher elevations (D model). Still shooting down B-17's with Mustang escort was a difficult job to handle. Otherwise, for aerial dogfights at lower altitude the FW was worth its meddle and a formidable plane.

The US had to paint the tail end of her P-47s white to keep from being shot down by friendly fire. The Fockewulf and Thunderbolt looked quite similar.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DukeC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Dec 2009 at 18:41

I'm not to sure about the Fw-190, Galland thought the Bf-109 was a superior gun platform and by 1944 it was outclassed by the P-51 at the altitudes where the bombers were in the west and by the late model Yak-9s and especially the Yak-3s which all German fighter pilots were advised to avoid in the mid-low altitude battlespace in the east.

Because of the bizarre command structure in Germany( Hitler thought it was best to let his underlings set up their own little empires then fight for control) it often meant that the best designs didn't even make it to production stage. Heinkel was probably one of the best design firms for fast lightweight fighters in the late 1930s but it was kept out of production because of politics. It had fewer insiders in the Nazi power structure.
 
The Fw-190 was a good allround design like the P-47, but it was too heavy to dominate in the air-air role.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Dec 2009 at 13:19
Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:

During the latter stages of the war the F-190 had ability to climb to higher elevations (D model). Still shooting down B-17's with Mustang escort was a difficult job to handle. Otherwise, for aerial dogfights at lower altitude the FW was worth its meddle and a formidable plane.
The fact is that not many D's saw combat and when they did they were mainly engaging fighters. The Sturmbock tactic was obsolete when the Dora became operational. There wasn't enough fuel and methanol to make good use of the MW50 installlation. There weren't enough pilots (the D was a bit harder to fly than the A). Since the 262 could attack the bombers almost with impunity, the D's were relocated to protect them at take-off and landings. Therefore, the high altitude performance of the plane was no more quite relevant. The Allied fighters trying to get near the airfields from where the 262's were operating were in for a nasty surprise because at medium altitude the Dora's would give them a handful

Quote The US had to paint the tail end of her P-47s white to keep from being shot down by friendly fire. The Fockewulf and Thunderbolt looked quite similar.
The P-47 was the only radial engine fighter the Allies used extensively. But that big bully was not so often mistaken with the FW (maybe by the trigger happy bomber crews but I guess they would have shot first and ask later). The La-5 and 7 would have been probably harder to diferentiate from the FW-190.
There was actually an aircraft that was constantly mistaken with the FW-190: the IAR-80.
I'd like to definitely say that there were no FW-190's ever used by the Romanian Air Force. RRAF only used the pre-war aquisitions, the IAR-80/81 and the Me-109 as fighters. For ground attack the only fighter used was the IAR-81.
There were negotiations with Germany for the license oft the BMW engine on the FW in order to upgrade the IAR.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Dec 2009 at 13:46
Originally posted by DukeC DukeC wrote:

I'm not to sure about the Fw-190, Galland thought the Bf-109 was a superior gun platform and by 1944 it was outclassed by the P-51 at the altitudes where the bombers were in the west and by the late model Yak-9s and especially the Yak-3s which all German fighter pilots were advised to avoid in the mid-low altitude battlespace in the east.
Both German fighters were outclassed in 1944. The 109 was a better fighter killer but the 190 was a better allround airplane. If you are tailing a P-47 flying in a 109 you might spend all your ammo and the "jug" will still fly. With the firepower of an A-8 it will go down. The P-51 is another thing but both the 109 and the 190 would face the same problem with the Mustang. Still, you can always go for a head-on with the FW.
The Russians did had some very good little fighters like the La-5 and & and the Yak series. But there isn't much difference in handling them if you fly a 109 or a 190. Just don't get into a turning fight.
Quote
Because of the bizarre command structure in Germany( Hitler thought it was best to let his underlings set up their own little empires then fight for control) it often meant that the best designs didn't even make it to production stage. Heinkel was probably one of the best design firms for fast lightweight fighters in the late 1930s but it was kept out of production because of politics. It had fewer insiders in the Nazi power structure.
I don't know about that, after all the He-111 was the mainstay onf the Luftwaffe bomber fleet throughout the war. And what about the Salamander? Maybe the Heinkel designs were not that good. The He-100 is probably the best example.
Quote The Fw-190 was a good allround design like the P-47, but it was too heavy to dominate in the air-air role.
Too heavy? In terms of weight, it's quite hard to think that the two airplanes even get close. The Thunderbolt has almost twice the weight of the Wurger. Even the P-51 is heavier.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Dec 2009 at 20:40
Good topic, welcome back Cezar. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DukeC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Dec 2009 at 21:01

In the flight sims I've played the Yak-3 is one of the best in a dogfight, it holds it's energy well in a turning fight, is hard to stall, has good acceleration and not too bad firepower. If you get down low and slow in the Fw-190 you have to be careful not to stall and crash into the ground, the heavy armament does shred anything you hit though. That's a sim though and not the real world.

You're right about the weights, I thought the Fw-190 was heavier for some reason, the Jug was massive, the largest single-engine fighter of the war.
 
The He-100 probably would have turned out to be first class fighter if it had been put into large scale production. It held the world speed record briefly in 1939 and had a low drag design that gave it longer range than the Bf-109 and not much shorter than the twin engine Bf-110. Heinkel lacked the friends in the air ministry that Messerschmitt and Focke Wulf had and was told to stick to building bombers and stay out of the fighter business which it never really did as can be seen with the He-162 Volksjager(Salamander).
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Dec 2009 at 15:10
Originally posted by DukeC DukeC wrote:

In the flight sims I've played the Yak-3 is one of the best in a dogfight, it holds it's energy well in a turning fight, is hard to stall, has good acceleration and not too bad firepower. If you get down low and slow in the Fw-190 you have to be careful not to stall and crash into the ground, the heavy armament does shred anything you hit though. That's a sim though and not the real world.

Well, I'm playing almost weekly Il-2 Sturmovik and you're about right regarding the behaviour of those aircraft. The sim world is not the real world, certainly, but Il-2 is considered a quite realistic simulator, although "reality" is very much altered by the settings of the virtual world.

Quote You're right about the weights, I thought the Fw-190 was heavier for some reason, the Jug was massive, the largest single-engine fighter of the war.
No doubt about that, but since you brought up the subject I think it s very important to estimate the effect on the airplane of the weaponry. Remember, the Soviets installed big guns on the Yak's and the pilots were advised to fire short bursts otherwise it was just waste of ammo.
Let's suppose we have a Thunderbolt firing it's eight M2's. How does that affect flying? To make it simple the Jug is flying straight and level at maximum engine power. Let's see:
Weight:6000 kg *that would be an acceptable value for a Thunderbolt to enter combat after dropping tanks and being fully loaded with ammo, I think.
Speed: 700 km/h *quite an acceptable speed for an attacking Jug
Engine power output: 1890 Kw *he's going in full throttle
The power of the eight .50 firing is 1835 kW/s.
That would mean that it has almost no effect. Therefore a higly stable gun platform. If this ugly individual has you in it's sight it can ire very accurate bursts and that means trouble with about 100/s round.
Let's look at a Yak-3:
Weight: 2400 kg
Speed: 700 km/h
Engine power output: 1120 kw
 the power of 1xShVAK + 1xBerezin firing: 703 kw/s
Again, the aicraft is stable and since the two weapons are centered ther's little to no effect. Considering the high quality of the guns that would mean trouble to any target. Too bad the sights were not up to date, but that's another issue.
And finnaly, a FW 190A-8 Sturmbock (A8/R8):
Weight: 4300 kg
Speed: 650 km/h
Engine power output: 1471 kw
The power of 2xMg17+2xMg151/20+2xMk108:1630 Kw/s!!!
Ouch! that meant trouble especially with the Mk108 being placed on the outer position on the wing. So it was some kind of spray and pray. And with the poor balistics of the 108 the best way was probably to press the trigger once and hope for the best. This is a sharpshooter's plane.

*This: http://users.skynet.be/Emmanuel.Gustin/fgun/fgun-in.html is a place where there's a lot regarading this peculiar subject.

Quote The He-100 probably would have turned out to be first class fighter if it had been put into large scale production. It held the world speed record briefly in 1939 and had a low drag design that gave it longer range than the Bf-109 and not much shorter than the twin engine Bf-110. Heinkel lacked the friends in the air ministry that Messerschmitt and Focke Wulf had and was told to stick to building bombers and stay out of the fighter business which it never really did as can be seen with the He-162 Volksjager(Salamander).

I think that maybe the He-100 design was not that good. The Russians were not very happy with it. See here:http://www.airpages.ru/eng/ru/he100_2.shtml
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DukeC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Dec 2009 at 17:19
The Yak-9T and Yak-9K were also unstable during sustained fire. I think I made a kill on an He-111 once at about 1km with a Yak-9K and its 45mm gun playing Il-2 but usually if your first few rounds don't go home with those aircraft the rest are going all over the sky.
 
The He-100 was never really completed as a combat aircraft, the cooling system was experimental, but I think the airframe was sound.
 
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Edited by DukeC - 04 Dec 2009 at 17:40
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Dec 2009 at 18:36
I always loved this one, the P-38 lightning:


Edited by Al Jassas - 04 Dec 2009 at 18:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DukeC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 2009 at 20:42
Yah, the Lighting was one of the most versatile fighters the US had in the war.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SPQR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Dec 2009 at 05:29
there was a P-51 model that had 2 P-51s literally put together... I forget the name of the model.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Dec 2009 at 08:06
Yeah, well, we're discussing the FW-190 guys. Let's wait until the 20'th of December before proposing other aircraft.
Or, if you wish, we can cut it short and have a weekly discussion. If so, those who are interested should be so kind and wait until Wednesday to name te next aircraft.

I don't know about the P-51 SPQR, but the 190 was used operationally in combinations. You shoul look for the Mistel. It didn't prove to be effective but it was an odd looking contraption.

The P-38 was a good plane. But again, if we are to pit it with te 190, I think that the Wurger wins. Te advantages of the Lightning lie in it's capability of flying high, fast and long. Engaging the 190 is best using zoom attacks and breaking off the battle to reengage. And never get bellow 4500 m because at medium/low alltitude the P-38 is inferior to the 190 especially since it would not accelerate fast enough for a successful breakout. And if they are sent in a ground attack mission, better provide some capable escort otherwise it's the 10'th of June 1944 again.
The Lightning was the king of the Pacific, the Luftwaffe neede more than the P-38 to be vanquished.
The 190 and the 109 were a little bit too tough for the P-38. On the other hand, the 110's, 210's, 410's and the Ju88's that the Luftwaffe was using against bomber formation were easy prey.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SPQR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Dec 2009 at 19:15
oh ummm I'm sorry but the topic is WWII fighters and there were other fighter planes besides the FW-190...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Dec 2009 at 07:57
Originally posted by SPQR SPQR wrote:

oh ummm I'm sorry but the topic is WWII fighters and there were other fighter planes besides the FW-190...
No doubt SPQR, but I think that since I've started the topic the discussion should follow the rules I've established in the beginning. There are other fighters and we can talk about them, the idea is to have one at a time otherwise I think the thread could become confusing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Dec 2009 at 10:42
OK, Christmas is gone, new year ahead, let's try some other warbirds. My candidate this time is a legendary fighter, tough less spectacular: Polikarpov I-16.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Two Tail Lion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Aug 2010 at 08:25
Avia B-135 - Czechoslovak fighter, possible killer of Bf-109 in 1938.

Czechoslovak army was disbanded after Munich agreement but Germans tested this wonderful plane after they aquired Czechoslovakia and they said, this plane was even better than their own Bf-109.

Pitty this plane never got a chance to beat Germans.

Avia B-135 - pics of not a well known plane









Edited by Two Tail Lion - 28 Aug 2010 at 08:32
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote banna32 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2013 at 18:11
P-82 Twin Mustang p82 4 favret prop airplane
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote banna32 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jul 2013 at 03:07

hay look at coll planes at mitary factroy.com

 

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