1. #1
    Slickun's Avatar Senior Member
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    Aerial Target's sig is:

    quote:
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    "The Mustang was a delight to fly, easier to maintain, cheaper to build and train pilots for, and had long legs. In those respects you can rightfully call it better, but it could not do anything better than a P-38 J-25 or L. Just remember who took the war to the enemy and held on under inconceivable odds. Enough of the ****."

    - Captain Arthur W. Heiden


    I'm assuming that the pilot quoted believed this, and you do as well.

    i believe this opinion about the P-39 matching the P-51 in everything to be in error. I covered this, extensively, in a previous thread titled something like "the uber P-38 thread".

    It's this. At speeds above about mach .65 the P-38 was threatened by a deadly compressability. Dive flaps enabled the P-38 pilot to dive at angles of 45 degrees or so and still pull out, but only increased actual dive speeds by a few mph. Mach .65 was placarded in the cockpit. They did NOT suddenly allow the P-38 to enter controllable dives anywhere near the speeds contemporary late 1944 early 1945 planes in the ETO/MTO could reach, either side.

    In fact, the P-38 had as low a top end as any plane in the ETO.

    The P-51 flew, dove, maneuverd, and operated at speeds impossible for any P-38. P-51's didn't begin to compress until about mach .80.

    What we have is a HUGE envelope of speed that the P-38 couldn't operate in, but that the P-51 was still deadly to the opposition in.

    An edited version of the above was put into the thread about "P-38 speed in game". Gibbage suggested I debate this in another thread. I have no idea if Gibbage has some sort of authority in this, but it is a good idea. I deleted the other post.

    Aerial Target, don't mean to call you out on this, or make you look bad. Just giving another take. The P-38 lates were fine airplanes, deserving to be put with the best planes of the war. But, the P-51 could dive at faster speeds.

    Forgive the thread title, but I wanted to make sure you saw all this.
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  2. #2
    AerialTarget's Avatar Banned
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    You make a valid argument. I disagree, however. I've read several pilot accounts which state that the P-38s with dive recovery flaps (what the game calls dive brakes) could dive with the Me-109s that used to split ess away. Now, a sustained dive is a dive that you can hold at the given angle from your ceiling to the minimum pullout altitude. I believe it also means full power. The manual does say that the maximum sustained dive angle is forty five degrees, but I believe that this is actually an attempt to get the pilots to err on the side of caution. Various aces exceeded the limits in sustained dives, one reporting six hundred miles per hour with no damage.

    The P-38's pilot handbook was written very conservatively. They said that you must never roll into a dead engine or exceed this pitch and this bank on one engine. However, this was proven to be overcautious when entire flights of P-38 pilots in training feathered engines and performed mock dogfights, complete with one engined rolls and loops. Likewise, by upping the landing gear and raising the flaps to the maneuver position, single engined go-arounds were possible, contrary to what the manual states.

    Although I cannot find a source now, I remember reading about two P-38s that actually hit the sound barrier. They both lost wings before doing so, and both were destroyed instantly when they did hit it, but one of the pilots ejected (this was post-war) when he saw the paint peel off, and survived. The P-51 Mustang, however, had a lower toleration of high speeds and gees, with tendency to shed wings (probably not as easily as in game, though).

    Lastly, I do not believe that Captain Heiden's statement is one hundred percent correct. According to the NACA chart which is well circulated here, the P-51 was faster than the P-38 L in a roughly fourteen thousand foot window, from one thousand feet to fifteen thousand feet. There is also the debateable issue which you have brought up.

    Captain Heiden tried to destroy the very pervasive, very false myth that the P-51 outclassed the P-38. I try to do so also.
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  3. #3
    I had noticed that quote too. I think there are a few points in that quote that are inaccurate but I don't really care to much about it. I look at it in a different way.

    All to often we take what pilots have said or say as gospel. These people were and are only human, prone to error and subjectivity. I've seen in other threads where people post what a pilot had said about a certain plane and it's characteristics to support the poster's argument about the FM.

    Many of these testimonies were made post war and sometimes 50 years after the fact. To be honest, I take what most WW2 pilots say with a grain of salt. What Heiden said is probably way off the mark and somewhat extremely inaccurate in comparison to what other pilots claim but I don't feel that what the majority are saying is worth banking on.

    I'd rather stick to the results achieved in testing by the manufacturers, military, and the military who had captured the enemy's plane but at the same time they each have there own agendas. The manufacturer must sell it to the mlitary. The military must sell it to the public. The enemy who captures it must make it less valuable then their own, fr their public's sake.

    I guess the best way is to sum up all the results and find the averages. This is the best we can do in my honest opinion. As for the pilots, I'll continue listening to it but it doesn't mean I'm buying it. This is in no way disrespect to the pilots who have served their countries. I'm simply realistic.

    Fritz
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  4. #4
    AerialTarget's Avatar Banned
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    People have already been taught falsely regarding the P-38 by those who misused the P-38 and then wrote it off as mediocre. Neither evidence nor pilot accounts from either side will change the minds of ninety nine point nine percent of them.

    As for pilots' memories, you have a point, one that is often made. However, I think I trust implicitly their memories of events and situations in which certain actions and aircraft abilities saved their lives. For example, I don't think anyone doubts a veteran's memory when he recalls that the P-51 was prone to a violent snap roll if stalled at high gees, while the P-38 was gentle and very controllable in the accelerated stall.
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  5. #5
    That's exactly my point Aerial Target; too much subjectivity. How many mediocre pilots have blamed their planes for their ineffectiveness as a pilot? How many aces praised their planes when really it was the pilot who was better than average? How many times were the questioned and interviewed after the war?

    I can easily imagine after 3 years of flying the 109 and suddenly having it replaced with a 190 and complaining my new plane is ****. I know this because I and others in IL2 do this all the time. It's human nature to express ourselves but it's not human nature to be 100% accurate all the time.

    Fritz
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  6. #6
    Originally posted by AerialTarget:

    I don't think anyone doubts a veteran's memory when he recalls that the P-51 was prone to a violent snap roll if stalled at high gees, while the P-38 was gentle and very controllable in the accelerated stall.
    I'd call that a "given" simply because many pilots have said the same thing. That's easy to take in. Essentially, it's just summing up the testimonies and finding an average but we have to have multiple testimonies to sum up in order to find an average. Sometimes it's only one opinion, or testimony.

    BTW, since we are on the topic of the P-38, what was it good for? It's nice to fly in the sim and it looks good but I've found it's not good for d-fighting and likewise , online and offline, I've found it's pretty easy to defeat. What was it's design purpose and where did it shine when used in wartime?

    Fritz
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  7. #7
    JG7_Rall's Avatar Banned
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    Originally posted by Pirschjaeger:
    That's exactly my point Aerial Target; too much subjectivity. How many mediocre pilots have blamed their planes for their ineffectiveness as a pilot? How many aces praised their planes when really it was the pilot who was better than average? How many times were the questioned and interviewed after the war?

    I can easily imagine after 3 years of flying the 109 and suddenly having it replaced with a 190 and complaining my new plane is ****. I know this because I and others in IL2 do this all the time. It's human nature to express ourselves but it's not human nature to be 100% accurate all the time.

    Fritz
    Great post. I wholeheartedly agree!

    People have already been taught falsely regarding the P-38 by those who misused the P-38 and then wrote it off as mediocre. Neither evidence nor pilot accounts from either side will change the minds of ninety nine point nine percent of them.
    Maybe it's because I'm American, but I've never been "falsely taught" that the P-38 was mediocre in any way. In Europe the impression that I get is that it was a decent machine, but nowhere near as stellar as it was in the Pacific. I think any bad reputation it has received has honestly been because of IL2. I think the "Late" varient is an incredible plane and represents the 38 series much better. I also agree with your opinion that people think that because it's "as big as a boat that it must fly like one". I'm really happy that it's a great plane now because it's much more fun to fight against on WC; whereas before, I felt bad shooting one down because I felt like I was discouraging a dedicated pilot from flying their dream plane and encouraging them to switch to something like a spit in order to get kills.
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  8. #8
    Slickun's Avatar Senior Member
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    I'm keeping this discussion in a narrow focus. The man's statement is erroneous.

    So. The P-38 can dive at mach 1.0? Forgive me, but baloney. At around mach .84-.87 or so a prop became a dive brake and WW2 era planes couldn't go any faster.

    The P-38 can dive with the P-51 and P-47, huh? All three had very rapid acceleration, reaching a rather slow mach .65 in seconds. Difference was, the P-38 pilot should have already had the dive recovery flaps out to ensure he didn't go much faster. The Jug and Pony wave bye bye, out of range in seconds continuing their dives to MUCH greater speeds. The P-51 still controllable up to its terminal speed somewhere around mach .80 or beyond. This is a no-brainer, a wipeout, a no contest.


    I have no idea terminal velocity in the P-38, but much over mach .65 it went into compressability, became uncontrollable, tucked under, and crashed. The P-51 stayed controllable, out of compression, up to about mach .80. They were recovered from dives after reaching mach .83, 605 mph TAS, and were STILL controllable up to that point. No dive recovery flaps, no 45 degree restriction. Point it down and go, Boy. Discussions about weak wings etc are not pertinent. P-51's dove flat out, caught 109's and 190's all war long.

    The dive brakes/recovery flaps were put in so that pilots could recover from dives near the .65 limit safely, not go faster. The pilots manual apparently wasn't that conservative, exceede much over mach .65 and you died. There was very little room to fudge, or push the envelope. Compression hit very early, froze the controls, and you lost control. Compression was a constant compasnion of the P-38, throughout its lifetime.

    There really isn't much to argue about. Speeds above about mach .65 were unavailable to the P-38, one of the lowest top ends of a late war fighter plane.

    Think of the implications.
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  9. #9
    tatistics from WWII

    total enemy aircraft destroyed in the air in order of most destroyed first

    P-51 5,944
    F6F 5,168
    P-38 3,785
    P-47 3,661
    F4U 2,140
    P-40 1,993

    partial break down, the F6F destroyed more aircraft in the PTO than the P-51 did in the ETO

    P-51 ETO 4,239 e/a destroyed air
    F6F PTO 5,168 this figure is for both carrier and land based units

    the big 3 usaaf fighters in the MTO

    2,697 for the three types

    P-38 1,431 53%
    P-51 1,063 39%
    P-47 203 8%

    the big 3 usaaf army fighters in the PTO

    2683 total enemy aircraft destroyed in the air

    P-38 1,708 64%
    P-47 696 26%
    P-51 279 10%

    Pulling those kind of numbers takes more then a mediocre aircraft, be sure! Its clear it did not do as well in ETO as in other theaters, but the cards were stacked against the P-38 in the ETO.
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  10. #10
    Slickun's Avatar Senior Member
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    Aerial Target wrote:

    The P-38's pilot handbook was written very conservatively. They said that you must never roll into a dead engine or exceed this pitch and this bank on one engine. However, this was proven to be overcautious when entire flights of P-38 pilots in training feathered engines and performed mock dogfights, complete with one engined rolls and loops. Likewise, by upping the landing gear and raising the flaps to the maneuver position, single engined go-arounds were possible, contrary to what the manual states.
    What has this got to do with critical mach numbers? My take is that .65 was pretty much set in stone. Else why dive recovery flaps?
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