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  • Originally posted by Michele View Post
    Of course I qualify my stance as being related to the Battle of Britain. There are plenty of other strategic and tactical issues that influenced the outcome and that have nothing to do with the performance of the two aircraft models. The Germans had not enough fuel; the British had radars; the Germans had sound tactical doctrine; the British had the home advantage; the Germans had initial numerical superiority; and so on and so forth. Indeed, if we needed a proof that these things do matter, above and beyond technical performance data, in the 1941 fights over French territory, the British fighters were defeated. So yes, I'm talking about the performance of the fighters in this specific campaign.

    That said, the Spitfire was remarkably better than the Bf 109. At most altitudes it managed to package a (small) speed advantage with a (serious) maneuverability advantage. The Bf 109's wing load was too high, there is no way around it, which made it harder to pilot, more liable to high-speed stalls, and as mentioned less maneuverable. Additionally, the firepower configuration of the Bf 109 might have been better to fire at a bomber, but it was inferior to that of the two British fighters when firing at a smaller target, say a fighter.
    I agree with almost everything you have posted on this thread. However, taken overall (and this is only my opinion), I do not think the Spitfires of July-October 1940 were superior to the Bf 109s of the same period. If anything, for pure fighter combat I would give a slight edge to the 109 at this particular stage of the war. But like I said, just my opinion and it is certainly debateable. I think the only thing that isn't debateable is that the Bf 109 and the Spitfire were a fairly close match for each other at this time. So close that in most situations, any disparity in performance will not be the biggest factor.
    "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
    Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Michele View Post
      No, my dear boy. It's a falsehood. The first of the two capitals to be bombed was London. On the night of 24-25 August.
      Get a book, get some facts, then take to the keyboard. You'll avoid this kind of loss of face.
      And yes, speaking for myslef, I do get flustered when I see falsehoods being peddled as historical truths. This is a history forum. Try to peddle a false coin on a coin collector forum and you'll see a similar reaction. It's what you can expect.
      Get your history right.
      Walle's statement is correct. The German bombing of London on the night of 24-25 August was an accident that took place when some He-111s bombed residential areas of London by mistake (their assigned target was a military one). The first intentional German bombings of London took place on 7 September, and were in retaliation for two British bombing raids on Berlin (both of which were in retaliation for the accidental German bombing on 24-25 August).
      Sgt.
      Last edited by Sgt. Saunders; 10 Apr 13, 09:17.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Michele View Post
        That said, the Spitfire was remarkably better than the Bf 109. At most altitudes it managed to package a (small) speed advantage with a (serious) maneuverability advantage. The Bf 109's wing load was too high, there is no way around it, which made it harder to pilot, more liable to high-speed stalls, and as mentioned less maneuverable.
        I really thought this old myth had been long dispelled, eventhough I long believed it to be true myself.

        First of all, yes, the 109 did have a higher wing loading than the Spitfire, but that doesn't really tell us much. No, what really matters is how much lift the wing generates compared to the weight of the aircraft; and something as simple as wing loading makes us non the wiser on that subject.

        To figure this one out you'll have to look at how efficient each wing was at generating lift, and in this department the 109 actually had several advantages that evened out the Spitfire's superficial one of a lower wing loading.

        First of all the 109 had leading edge slats, which helped increase the lift generated by the wings by as much as 20%. Secondly the 109's wings were slightly thicker and the planform was of a higher aspect ratio, again increasing the overall lift generated pr. surface area. Finally the 109 enjoyed a higher power to weight ratio than the Spitfire as-well, and as anyone familiar with basic aeronautics will tell you, one of the most deciding factors to how well an aircraft will hold its' turn is the amount of excess thrust available.

        In the end all of these factors help even out the advantage that the Spitfire has over the 109 in terms of wing loading, and we now know today that these two aircraft were and are in fact quite close when it comes to turning circles, as-well as in overall performance. That having been said I would still give the Spitfire a slight edge in terms of overall maneuverability, it being easier to master and not quite as heavy on the controls at high speed as the 109, but they were really close, so close that pilot ability would be the deciding factor.

        Additionally, the firepower configuration of the Bf 109 might have been better to fire at a bomber, but it was inferior to that of the two British fighters when firing at a smaller target, say a fighter.
        Once again I must disagree, quite simply because the cannon armament of the 109 had a much longer effective range and usually caused a lot of damage in the case of a hit. By comparison the .303 rifle caliber was completely inadequate for the role of shooting down aircraft, lacking both in terms of hitting power and effective range, and sometimes a hit caused no damage at all.
        Last edited by Charles C; 10 Apr 13, 09:51. Reason: Fixed the small typo pointed out by Panther3485

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Charles C View Post
          " ... Finally the 109 enjoyed a lower power to weight ratio than the Spitfire as-well, and as anyone familiar with basic aeronautics will tell you, one of the most deciding factors to how well an aircraft will hold its' turn is the amount of excess thrust available."
          You mean, the 109 had a higher power-to-weight ratio, right?


          Originally posted by Charles C View Post
          " ... In the end all of these factors help even out the advantage that the Spitfire has over the 109 in terms of wing loading, and we now know today that these two aircraft were and are in fact quite close when it comes to turning circles, as-well as in overall performance."
          Do not forget also, that the fuel-injected engine of the Bf 109 delivered its power more smoothly, steadily and reliably; regardless of G-forces. At this early stage in the war (1940) the Rolls-Royce Merlin engines of the Hurricane and Spitfire with their carburetors - wonderful as they were - would cough and splutter under negative 'G' forces, such as an attempt by the pilot to 'bunt' (dive sharply downwards). If negative G was sustained more than just briefly, it was possible for the engine to cut out. This is not something you want happening in the middle of a dogfight! To avoid this problem, the British pilots had to roll over on their backs if they needed to dive sharply or suddenly, in order to sustain positive G and keep their engines running properly. This might not seem like much, but it did somewhat impair the Hurricane or Spitfire pilot - compared to his German counterpart - for the purpose of some maneuvers. German test pilot reports of captured British fighters of the 1940 period comment on this quite acidly.

          The problem was eventually remedied for the British; initially by an adapter orifice modification to the carburettors of the RR engines, and later by proper carburettor re-design; but IIRC these improvements were not introduced until after the Battle of Britain.


          Originally posted by Charles C View Post
          "Once again I can't say I agree, quite simply because the cannon armament of the 109 had a much longer effective range and usually caused a lot of damage in the case of a hit. By comparison the .303 rifle caliber was completely inadequate for the role of shooting down aircraft, lacking both in terms of hitting power and effective range.
          I think both armaments had certain advantages and disadvantages, although there is no denying that the British saw cannon armament as the way forward and introduced it themselves. At least with the 8 x .303 of the 1940 British fighters, there was a better chance of less experienced pilots scoring at least some hits on an enemy aircraft; although the effects of those hits would be widely variable of course. And the more highly skilled British pilots, who set their guns to 'harmonize' (converge) at a closer range than standard, could hit a German bomber with a devastating concentration of fire (at or near the tip of the 'cone') under the right conditions.

          Of course, hits with cannon shells tended to be much more destructive than a 'random' spray of .303 but the smaller 'spread' of fire of the German fighter placed greater emphasis on skill of marksmanship.

          As an aside, the gun layout of the Hurricane tended to be somewhat more effective than that of the Spitfire; especially against German bombers, and the Hurricane was a steadier gun platform for that type of work.
          Last edited by panther3485; 10 Apr 13, 09:56.
          "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
          Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by panther3485 View Post
            You mean, the 109 had a higher power-to-weight ratio, right?
            Ofcourse, thank you for the heads up, it has been corrected

            Do not forget also, that the fuel-injected engine of the Bf 109 delivered its power more smoothly, steadily and reliably; regardless of G-forces. At this early stage in the war (1940) the Rolls-Royce Merlin engines of the Hurricane and Spitfire with their carburetors - wonderful as they were - would cough and splutter under negative 'G' forces, such as an attempt by the pilot to 'bunt' (dive sharply downwards). If negative G was sustained more than just briefly, it was possible for the engine to cut out. This is not something you want happening in the middle of a dogfight! To avoid this problem, the British pilots had to roll over on their backs if they needed to dive sharply or suddenly, in order to sustain positive G and keep their engines running properly. This might not seem like much, but it did somewhat impair the Hurricane or Spitfire pilot - compared to his German counterpart - for the purpose of some maneuvers. German test pilot reports of captured British fighters of the 1940 period comment on this quite acidly.

            The problem was eventually remedied for the British; initially by an adapter orifice modification to the carburettors of the RR engines, and later by proper carburettor re-design; but IIRC these improvements were not introduced until after the Battle of Britain.
            Quite correct.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Sgt. Saunders View Post
              Walle's statement is correct.
              Uh, no.

              The German bombing of London on the night of 24-25 August was an accident that took place when some He-111s bombed residential areas of London by mistake (their assigned target was a military one). The first intentional German bombings of London didn't took place until 7 September, and were in retaliation for two British bombing raids on Berlin (both of which were in retaliation for the accidental German bombing on 24-25 August).
              Sgt.
              So if he had claimed that the first intentional bombing of London had been a retaliation, he might have made an arguably correct statement. He state nothing about intentionality.

              Naturally, even if we do not argue with the issue of intentionality, the fact remains that it would be very very much more accurate to state that the first bombardment of Berlin - by Bomber Command - had been a retaliation.

              That said, I have my doubts that that German bombing of London that night can be elegantly filed away as a mistake.

              I am not claiming that the Germans deliberately bombed London and then put out a lie about a mistake, no. It's more complicated than that.

              1. The Luftwaffe had already perfected, by that time, an unstated policy that can be summed up as: bomb a legitimate military target, but make sure it has morale effects. Or in other words - Walle's words, when it comes to Allied bombings, mind you - a terror bombing.
              2. We see the textbook example in the Rotterdam bombing. We have bulletproof evidence of that, because we can read all about it through Cajus Bekker's account. He can be accused of some things, but not of being unsympathetic to the Luftwaffe. In his account, his main point is to restore the Luftwaffe's reputation, ruined by wartime propaganda. So he gives ample details concerning the German ultimatum (and how the Dutch surrender failed to be timely notified to the attacking bombers). But the ultimatum can be paraphrased as: "dear Dutch commander, we're in a hurry, so surrender Rotterdam. If you don't, we'll bomb it. It's filled with your troops, so it's a legitimate target. Naturally, we can't see the exact position of your troops from the air, and even if we did, they are close to the roads and bridges we'd prefer to capture not strewn with rubble or destroyed. So we'll bomb another legitimate target, the port. In so doing, we'll also unfortunately flatten the city. So be duly terrorized and surrender now".
              3. That's the gist of the German bombing of the Thameshaven oil terminal near London. Yes, that was the official target. Yes, that was a legitimate target. And yes, it happened to be close enough to London. It wouldn't result in London being flattened, but it would result - and it did - in sirens blaring in the night, sending Londoners to the shelters. That was the real objective. Carrying out a legitimate attack - that also happened to yield morale - or, in Walle's words, terrorist - dividends.
              4. Naturally, even a man like Goering should have known the likely accuracy of a night bombing in 1940. By choosing a target very close to a big sprawling city, the Germans accepted the very real risk of some bombs straying onto residential areas. And they happily accepted that risk.
              5. Whence, the "mistake" was indeed an actual, technical mistake - on one level. On another, it was the consequence of what the Germans had wanted - frightening the British.

              But if this makes you happier, the British bombings of Berlin in the following nights also had targets as legitimate as the oil terminal. The enormous Siemens plant area, and such like.

              Naturally, the fact that Berlin had been bombed demanded a political response, a political decision, and that was predictably made. But it's not as if the Luftwaffe itself had not already been pushing for that. They had seen that they were not achieving anything worth the price they were paying, by bombing the air bases.

              That the first subsequent bombings of London were not just a retaliation of a retaliation is made abundantly clear by the quite important fact that they took place in daylight. If the point had been, you come in the night and bomb Berliners in their beds, we'll do the same to Londoners, then the bombings could have been of token size and taking place at night.
              That was not the case, initially. The Germans did try to make the bombing of London a part of their attempt to destroy the British fighter arm, i.e. they attacked it in daylight.
              And failed utterly, like they had failed when they had tried to achieve that by attacking the air fields.

              Once that was made abundantly clear, the Luftwaffe had no choice than to fully switch to night bombing. It saved some face (mostly with ignorant people, of course), and it developed into a siege-like approach to the british enemy, featuring those bombings and the U-Boot blockade and peripheral action.
              Michele

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Michele View Post
                So if he had claimed that the first intentional bombing of London had been a retaliation, he might have made an arguably correct statement. He state nothing about intentionality.
                Instead of twisting things around in a wall of text why not admit that you were wrong?

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Michele View Post
                  Uh, no.



                  So if he had claimed that the first intentional bombing of London had been a retaliation, he might have made an arguably correct statement. He state nothing about intentionality.

                  Naturally, even if we do not argue with the issue of intentionality, the fact remains that it would be very very much more accurate to state that the first bombardment of Berlin - by Bomber Command - had been a retaliation.

                  That said, I have my doubts that that German bombing of London that night can be elegantly filed away as a mistake.

                  I am not claiming that the Germans deliberately bombed London and then put out a lie about a mistake, no. It's more complicated than that.

                  1. The Luftwaffe had already perfected, by that time, an unstated policy that can be summed up as: bomb a legitimate military target, but make sure it has morale effects. Or in other words - Walle's words, when it comes to Allied bombings, mind you - a terror bombing.
                  2. We see the textbook example in the Rotterdam bombing. We have bulletproof evidence of that, because we can read all about it through Cajus Bekker's account. He can be accused of some things, but not of being unsympathetic to the Luftwaffe. In his account, his main point is to restore the Luftwaffe's reputation, ruined by wartime propaganda. So he gives ample details concerning the German ultimatum (and how the Dutch surrender failed to be timely notified to the attacking bombers). But the ultimatum can be paraphrased as: "dear Dutch commander, we're in a hurry, so surrender Rotterdam. If you don't, we'll bomb it. It's filled with your troops, so it's a legitimate target. Naturally, we can't see the exact position of your troops from the air, and even if we did, they are close to the roads and bridges we'd prefer to capture not strewn with rubble or destroyed. So we'll bomb another legitimate target, the port. In so doing, we'll also unfortunately flatten the city. So be duly terrorized and surrender now".
                  3. That's the gist of the German bombing of the Thameshaven oil terminal near London. Yes, that was the official target. Yes, that was a legitimate target. And yes, it happened to be close enough to London. It wouldn't result in London being flattened, but it would result - and it did - in sirens blaring in the night, sending Londoners to the shelters. That was the real objective. Carrying out a legitimate attack - that also happened to yield morale - or, in Walle's words, terrorist - dividends.
                  4. Naturally, even a man like Goering should have known the likely accuracy of a night bombing in 1940. By choosing a target very close to a big sprawling city, the Germans accepted the very real risk of some bombs straying onto residential areas. And they happily accepted that risk.
                  5. Whence, the "mistake" was indeed an actual, technical mistake - on one level. On another, it was the consequence of what the Germans had wanted - frightening the British.

                  But if this makes you happier, the British bombings of Berlin in the following nights also had targets as legitimate as the oil terminal. The enormous Siemens plant area, and such like.

                  Naturally, the fact that Berlin had been bombed demanded a political response, a political decision, and that was predictably made. But it's not as if the Luftwaffe itself had not already been pushing for that. They had seen that they were not achieving anything worth the price they were paying, by bombing the air bases.

                  That the first subsequent bombings of London were not just a retaliation of a retaliation is made abundantly clear by the quite important fact that they took place in daylight. If the point had been, you come in the night and bomb Berliners in their beds, we'll do the same to Londoners, then the bombings could have been of token size and taking place at night.
                  That was not the case, initially. The Germans did try to make the bombing of London a part of their attempt to destroy the British fighter arm, i.e. they attacked it in daylight.
                  And failed utterly, like they had failed when they had tried to achieve that by attacking the air fields.

                  Once that was made abundantly clear, the Luftwaffe had no choice than to fully switch to night bombing. It saved some face (mostly with ignorant people, of course), and it developed into a siege-like approach to the british enemy, featuring those bombings and the U-Boot blockade and peripheral action.
                  Walle stated that:
                  "My point was that the bombings of London was retaliation for the bombings of Berlin. And that is a fact." This statement of his was correct.

                  You claimed that:
                  "...It's a falsehood. The first of the two capitals to be bombed was London. On the night of 24-25 August..."

                  The details which you insert are fluff and don't change the historical record one iota.

                  However, no person can properly accuse the British of being the first to deliberately bomb civilians. Not that it matters in regard to Walle's statement.
                  Sgt.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Charles C View Post
                    I really thought this old myth had been long dispelled, eventhough I long believed it to be true myself.
                    Maybe it wasn't dispelled because it's not a myth.

                    First of all, yes, the 109 did have a higher wing loading than the Spitfire, but that doesn't really tell us much.
                    Not alone, no. But several of the Bf 109's shortcomings are generated by this, and as mentioned there is no way around it.

                    No, what really matters is how much lift the wing generates compared to the weight of the aircraft; and something as simple as wing loading makes us non the wiser on that subject.

                    To figure this one out you'll have to look at how efficient each wing was at generating lift, and in this department the 109 actually had several advantages that evened out the Spitfire's superficial one of a lower wing loading.

                    First of all the 109 had leading edge slats, which helped increase the lift generated by the wings by as much as 20%. Secondly the 109's wings were slightly thicker and the planform was of a higher aspect ratio, again increasing the overall lift generated pr. surface area.
                    Yes. That can be filed under "dangerous gimmicks". The leading edge slats opened automatically, and were one of the reasons of this difficult aircraft's tendency to high-speed stalls. Naturally it gave better lift at low speeds, which is useful if you fear a stall while you are not engaging an enemy fighter, which usually takes place at high speed.

                    The Bf 109 included several other details that were all intended to run around the problem that it was conceived as an aircraft as small as possible for its powerful engine. While most of those details did work, they had drawbacks, such as the one mentioned, or such as its dangerous take-off and landing features, or such as its terrible ergonomics. Finally add that the more clever contraptions you add, the more likely it is that one of them will break down.

                    Finally the 109 enjoyed a higher power to weight ratio than the Spitfire as-well, and as anyone familiar with basic aeronautics will tell you, one of the most deciding factors to how well an aircraft will hold its' turn is the amount of excess thrust available.
                    And yet at most altitudes the Spitfire could run circles inside the Bf 109's turn.

                    In the end all of these factors help even out the advantage that the Spitfire has over the 109 in terms of wing loading, and we now know today that these two aircraft were and are in fact quite close when it comes to turning circles, as-well as in overall performance.
                    No, we don't.


                    Once again I must disagree, quite simply because the cannon armament of the 109 had a much longer effective range and usually caused a lot of damage in the case of a hit. By comparison the .303 rifle caliber was completely inadequate for the role of shooting down aircraft, lacking both in terms of hitting power and effective range, and sometimes a hit caused no damage at all.
                    Sure. The other side of the coin is that a hit at "longer effective range" in air combat is essentially a random hazard, probably not more likely that hitting a flight of geese. And that in one second, a Spitfire or Hurricane could put out some 160 rounds. Yes, small rounds, but the number means high chance of achieving multiple hits. The Bf 109, in one second, could put out just 10 20mm rounds plus 40 MG rounds. Sure, if you placed a 20mm round into a small aircraft as a fighter, it would count. But with 10 rounds per second, chances are dismal.
                    Some have calculated that of the ammo fired in air combat in WWII, no more than 2% ever hit. That would mean, on a 3-second (long!) burst, that a Spirfire or Hurricane lodges 9.6 small rounds. The Bf 109 lodges 1.2 small rounds and... 0.6 big rounds.
                    Assuming that half of the MG caliber rounds are too small to do damage, the British fighter is down to 4.8 effective rounds, the German fighter is down to 0.6 effective MG rounds and 0.6 always-effective cannon rounds. Who's better off?
                    Michele

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Sgt. Saunders View Post
                      Walle stated that:
                      "My point was that the bombings of London was retaliation for the bombings of Berlin. And that is a fact." This statement of his was correct.

                      You claimed that:
                      "...It's a falsehood. The first of the two capitals to be bombed was London. On the night of 24-25 August..."

                      The details which you insert are fluff and don't change the historical record one iota.
                      The historical record still says that the bombing of London on the 24/25th was not a retaliation.
                      Therefore a statement like "the bombings of London was retaliation" remains a falsehood. At least one of them - the key one, since it spurred the British retaliation on Berlin - was not.
                      The fact that you deny what happened does not change the historical record one iota.

                      As to the details I added, I thought people visiting this place liked to know the context of historical facts. One often finds he can understand better what was going on if he has that general picture. But please accept my apologies for providing all of that.
                      Michele

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by walle View Post
                        Instead of twisting things around in a wall of text why not admit that you were wrong?
                        You have a problem with the facts. And you are the one who was wrong. The first bombing of London was not a retaliation for bombings on Berlin. Get over it. Your insistence on putting forth this particular piece of Nazi propaganda doesn't depose in favor of your good faith.
                        Michele

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Michele View Post
                          The historical record still says that the bombing of London on the 24/25th was not a retaliation.
                          This is correct' it was an accident.

                          Therefore a statement like "the bombings of London was retaliation" remains a falsehood.
                          You're wrong. The bombings of London were retaliation for the bombings of Berlin.

                          As to the details I added, I thought people visiting this place liked to know the context of historical facts. One often finds he can understand better what was going on if he has that general picture. But please accept my apologies for providing all of that.
                          No- the sole reason that you entered that fluff was because you tried to verbally pount the crap out of Walle over something that you turned out to be wrong about, and so you tried to skirt the issue.
                          Sgt.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Michele View Post
                            You have a problem with the facts. And you are the one who was wrong. The first bombing of London was not a retaliation for bombings on Berlin. Get over it. Your insistence on putting forth this particular piece of Nazi propaganda doesn't depose in favor of your good faith.
                            I have no problem with facts, you had a problem with my statement, and you proceeded to twist it around as to suggest that I had no argument in the first place, amongst a wall of text.
                            Last edited by walle; 10 Apr 13, 11:09.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Sgt. Saunders View Post
                              This is correct' it was an accident.
                              Yeah, but there was more to it. I know you don't want to hear about that, but the fact that you won't hear it does not make all that detail as if it did not exist.
                              I wonder if you and Walle have a problem with the additional information you have just been provided with just plain because you don't like its contents.

                              You're wrong. The bombings of London were retaliation for the bombings of Berlin.
                              Dude - I'll try to spell it clearly and slowly:

                              1. on the night between the 24th and 25th the Germans bombed London,

                              2. at that time, Berlin had not been bombed,

                              3. most people would understand that you can't retaliate for something that hasn't happened,

                              4. I can think of a few categories who wouldn't understand that, and none of those qualify as people whose messages I'd like to continue reading.

                              And, Walle, that applies to you too. So much so that one wonders.
                              Michele

                              Comment


                              • It does not matter a wit whether the Germans bombs that landed among the houses of London were there accidentally or not. They still fell on London. The British struck Berlin as a retaliation for that raid. What you are saying is that Germany retaliated for a retaliantion.

                                Its nonsense and pointless.

                                The Germans were going to switch targets to the cities in any case, all part of their strategy to defeat Britain prior to occupation. Hitler ranting about retaliation for Berlin is meaningless propaganda. It was a convenient excuse but it didn't change German plans an iota.
                                Last edited by The Purist; 10 Apr 13, 12:48.
                                The Purist

                                Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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