Jump to content

Retry: Could the Spitfire turn with the Zero?


GrungyMonkey

Recommended Posts

My previous post was a bit of a mess, so I'll try to make my points clear and accurate this time.

A common refrain is that experienced Spitfire pilots tried to turn fight Zeroes and were trampled. This is in reference to the Darwin Spitfires.

The first problem is the 'experienced pilots' part. The pilots sent to Darwin were mostly new, and once the battle took place they were still described as 'inexperienced with their aircraft.' As I understand it, these pilots were facing veteran Japanese pilots.

The second problem is the claim that they were hopelessly outmatched in a turn-fight.

In my previous post I argued that the Spitfire V would likely be equal to the A6M5 in a turn. However they didn't face A6M5s, so that was a non sequitur. 

The A6M2s that they did face at Darwin definitely would have had a turning advantage, but not an overwhelming one.

Importantly, the squad that was tasked with engaging the Zeros shot down between 6 and 10, for 5 Spitfires shot down.

@Boom suggested there might have been overclaiming, but I can't really speak to that. The Wikipedia page lists 6-10, but I don't know if those were just claims, or confirmed wreckage.

Two big misunderstandings commenters had were that I was saying the Darwin incident wasn't a disaster, and that I was saying the Spitfire wasn't outmatched.

The Darwin incident WAS a disaster, and Spitfires WERE outmatched, just not by turn performance, as is often claimed. 

The devastating losses the Spitfires sustained weren't from being outmatched in turning competitions, but from being hopelessly outmatched in range. 5 had to ditch because they ran out of fuel.

(This post is about performance, so I'm not gonna go into tactics and skill)

This was the real reason they were banned from dogfighting. Not because they couldn't hold their own, but because they just didn't have the fuel supply for it.

The biggest misunderstanding about my first post was that I was overestimating the importance of turn performance. Nothing could be further from the the truth. If there's anything to take away from this post, it's this: between roughly equal fighters, RANGE is most important.

Whenever you go to repeat the story about Darwin, don't misunderstand it as a matter of turn performance. Remember that, putting aside strategy and pilot skill, it was the Zero's range that really showed up the Spitfire.

Source: Wikipedia because I'm an idiot and you can't stop me.

Screenshot_20231004_060301_DuckDuckGo.thumb.jpg.1f06fe7c4714fe813d8d061fc1d5a941.jpg

Edited by GrungyMonkey
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It’s an interesting match-up in any case that I historically ignore/brush aside due to my Guadalcanal/Solomons fixation. That’s not about to change mind you, but interesting to think on for a minute. 🙂

The Spit V has a great, visceral feel to it that makes a great possibility for future inclusion here…after the Solomons aircraft set of course. 😀

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, GrungyMonkey said:

To be fair, flight simmers talking about their Guadalcanal fixation is a bit like normal people talking about their oxygen fixation.

Similar to the Spit or Hurri choir as well M8?  🙂   But we've some sim's for those already.  Looking forward to the enlisting in the Cactus Air Force one day.

Great post with the historical background, thanks!

  • Like 3

MSI MAG Z790 Carbon, i9-13900k, NH-D15 cooler, 64 GB CL40 6000mhz RAM, MSI RTX4090, Yamaha 5.1 A/V Receiver, 4x 2TB Samsung 980 Pro NVMe, 1x 2TB Samsung 870 EVO SSD, Win 11 Pro, TM Warthog, Virpil WarBRD, MFG Crosswinds, 43" Samsung 4K TV, 21.5 Acer VT touchscreen, TrackIR, Varjo Aero, Wheel Stand Pro Super Warthog, Phanteks Enthoo Pro2 Full Tower Case, Seasonic GX-1200 ATX3 PSU, PointCTRL, Buttkicker 2, K-51 Helicopter Collective Control

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The really odd thing about the Imperial Japanese air arms is that they were not unaware of the trends in fighter development in the West.  They had access to Bf 109Es and had Luftwaffe pilots give demonstrations on flying them against their own aircraft, yet they insisted on sticking with the old mano a mano WW1 type dogfight tactics

So strange.

Edited by BlitzPig_EL
  • Like 3

Pacific Sig.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, BlitzPig_EL said:

The really odd thing about the Imperial Japanese air arms is that they were not unaware of the trends in fighter development in the West.  They had access to Bf 109Es and had Luftwaffe pilots give demonstrations on flying them against their own aircraft, yet they insisted on sticking with the old mano a mano WW1 type dogfight tactics

So strange.

I actually disagree. As resident weeb I'll give my take on what was going on.

The brainless turnfighters we picture are from the late-war, where they were literally drafted, untrained teenagers.

Their veteran, trained pilots would dogfight if it made sense, but historically preferred to use slashing attacks in the vertical.

About the 109: When the Zero came onto the scene, it was the fastest navy fighter in the world, and not too much slower than the Spitfire and 109.

Even when it was new, the Zero had substandard horsepower. It released rated for 940 horsepower. At that very same time the Spitfire 1 was rated for 1,310.

They pulled all the tricks up their sleeves to get the performance they did, but Japan's inability to keep up with the Western powers' rapidly increasing horsepower inevitably caught up to them.

We Americans mistakenly believe we surprised the Japanese by winning the war, but in reality they knew well that they couldn't win a prolonged war with us.

The Japanese plan was to scare America into surrender as fast as possible. I think having a miracle plane with no real growth potential must have played into that strategy on some level.

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/7/2023 at 10:58 AM, GrungyMonkey said:

 

They pulled all the tricks up their sleeves to get the performance they did, but Japan's inability to keep up with the Western powers' rapidly increasing horsepower inevitably caught up with them.

It was philosophy from the get go. To the west a fighter was a gun platform, to the Japanese it was a sword. It was Japan having a foot in the 18th century still that that was among their many problems, and this is what caught up with them…along with those many other things. The Zero was designed as a Samurai sword, to be wielded by Samurai.

 

 

Edited by Gambit21
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Precisely.  Japan was held back by their slavish adherence to the Bushido code, and the slow development of their industrial base.  They had some brilliant designers, and designs that in the end were not enough to overcome their outdated tactical doctrine, and insufficient manufacturing capability.

Edited by BlitzPig_EL
  • Like 3

Pacific Sig.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They were also lucky up till 44, FDR and crew had disdain for them and really didn't take them seriously as a threat, never committing over 20% in manpower or war materials to the Pacific right up to January 44, they were solely focused on Europe.  It was only the political action movements on the home front from groups such as the Son's of Bataan who were moving to defeat FDR by crushing his reputation, combined with the revelations of stark Japanese brutality finally breaking into the news cycles by escaped POW fighter pilot William Dyess severally threatened his next election cycle, that forced an increased more toward an all out effort.   It didn't help none FDR was threatening newspaper publishers with incarceration for revealing the truth either, he got busted and likely would have lost had death not beat him to the polls.  After 43 ended they were in for a seriously rough ride, the gloves came off.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The (early, or lightly loaded) Hurricane stalls at 60 mph, identical to the A6M5 and it also has a tighter turning circle than the Spitfire V. Also, using that shotgung vs. the tin can should be fun. Singapore gives us what we need.

  • Like 1

When you don’t understand how anything works, everything is a miracle or a conspiracy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, ZachariasX said:

The (early, or lightly loaded) Hurricane stalls at 60 mph, identical to the A6M5 and it also has a tighter turning circle than the Spitfire V. Also, using that shotgung vs. the tin can should be fun. Singapore gives us what we need.

Where did you find the A6M5's stall speed?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, BlitzPig_EL said:

Precisely.  Japan was held back by their slavish adherence to the Bushido code, and the slow development of their industrial base.

It's actually worse than that. The historical Bushido Code was quite admirable, but Imperial Japan warped it in some major ways:

1. The Bushido Code only applied to the Samurai class. Imperial Japan applied it to all soldiers, and even civilians.

2. While Samurai were supposed to be willing to die for their cause, it was acceptable to retreat or surrender if tactically beneficial. Imperial Japan warped this into their 'never surrender' mentality, and turned 'preparedness to die' to 'desire for heroic death'.

3. The Bushido Code emphasized mercy and compassion. Imperial Japan literally scrubbed all of that from the transcriptions soldiers would be given.

 

As they were modernizing, Japan looked to the West to find ways of improving. For a time, the idea was floated of introducing Christianity as the state-endorsed religion, since they believed it had furthered Western moral development. They saw the British reverence of knighthood and chivalry, and found their own equivalent in Bushido. This is why, in the late 19th century Japanese writers like Inazo Nitobe emphasized the similarities between the two.

This soon changed though. Japan's slights on the international stage, and racism they received from the Western powers fermented hostility against Caucasians. For Japan, at least, World War 2 was literally a race war. They became increasingly averse to taking any inspiration from the West, or admitting the influence they'd already taken. As Japan radicalized in the lead-up to World War 2, they discarded the Geneva Convention as a coward's treaty, and Christianity as a coward's religion (This curiously mirrors Hitler's private hatred of the Christian ethical system as a rebellion against the natural law.). Chivalry, too, was derided as 'woman worship'. They no longer wanted a Bushido Code that preached of compassion the weak, and kindness to your inferiors. That would have been very incompatible with the military practice of disrespect, and routine physical violence to those lower in rank.

@Gambit21 mentioned Japan having a "foot in the 18th century", but that's not really true. The Imperial Japanese government had little genuine respect for Tradition or Conservatism. They had their own brutal goals and ethics, and dressing it up as Tradition was pure opportunism.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, GrungyMonkey said:

Where did you find the A6M5's stall speed?

It is commonly quoted if you google for it. If it is a bogus circle quote, that might me (there are many of those), but I'd say it is on the plausible side of things. The Hurricane stall speed reference is quoting people who are actually flying the aircraft. Loadout surely has an influence, but I assume those values come from normal T/O weight. (Whatever that is, given circumstances.)

Either way, the Hurricane turns (or: can be forced in a turn that is) considerably tighter than the Spit. And if the Spit is a good match, then this looks promising for the Hurricane, as oposed to the Brewster that has a higher wing loading and considerably higher stall speed.

It is of note that with excess speed, alomost any aircraft can turn inside the other. The question is just, how fast does it bleed speed doing so? Tight turns equal slamming the brakes. Span loading usually becomes the determining factor in this moment in deciding how hard you brake (vs. the other), before the stall speed contest is started.

On the other hand, how good of a rate fighter you have would depend on the (turbo charging of) the engine and is usually then also a question of altitude when comparing aircraft. Hence, the Hurricane II with a Merlin XX can surely a pest for any Zero encountering it at 6000 m altitude...

  • Like 1

When you don’t understand how anything works, everything is a miracle or a conspiracy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, ZachariasX said:

It is commonly quoted if you google for it. If it is a bogus circle quote, that might me (there are many of those), but I'd say it is on the plausible side of things. 

Plausible yes, but I can't confirm it. Wikipedia says about the A6M2: "Combined with its light weight, this resulted in a very low stalling speed of well below 60 kn (110 km/h; 69 mph)."

But the A6M5 had smaller wings and was over 500 pounds heavier.

The only source I can find for the A6M5 was War Thunder (I know, I know...), which put its stall speed at 75 mph with flaps. That should be the same as the Spit V flaps down if Gavrick is right.

Screenshot_20231009_153618_Chrome.thumb.jpg.8702cfe2629e182180f46db0a8c1b8dd.jpg

What I really want are high quality sources, but those are bit of a pain to track down.

7 hours ago, ZachariasX said:

It is of note that with excess speed, almost any aircraft can turn inside the other. The question is just, how fast does it bleed speed doing so?

There's no way this is true, right? Speed lets you rate better, but it shouldn't improve turning circle significantly. Unless you meant that the faster aircraft turns worse than the slower one?

Edit: I have no idea how to fix the fonts

Edited by GrungyMonkey
I have not any idea how it might be proper to fix the fonts
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Sea Serpent said:

This is How..ard.Cosell..  Tonight the mighty.Zeroes. Take On.  The. Spitfires.  Oh.  What. A Pleasant night it is here. In. Darwin.

My Mom used to go on about how much she couldn’t stand him…and also Robert Conrad. I think the battery commercial got her worked up.

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Sea Serpent said:

This is How..ard.Cosell..  Tonight the mighty.Zeroes. Take On.  The. Spitfires.  Oh.  What. A Pleasant night it is here. In. Darwin.

Rope a dope.... 😁

  • Thanks 1

MSI MAG Z790 Carbon, i9-13900k, NH-D15 cooler, 64 GB CL40 6000mhz RAM, MSI RTX4090, Yamaha 5.1 A/V Receiver, 4x 2TB Samsung 980 Pro NVMe, 1x 2TB Samsung 870 EVO SSD, Win 11 Pro, TM Warthog, Virpil WarBRD, MFG Crosswinds, 43" Samsung 4K TV, 21.5 Acer VT touchscreen, TrackIR, Varjo Aero, Wheel Stand Pro Super Warthog, Phanteks Enthoo Pro2 Full Tower Case, Seasonic GX-1200 ATX3 PSU, PointCTRL, Buttkicker 2, K-51 Helicopter Collective Control

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Gambit21 said:

My Mom used to go on about how much she couldn’t stand him…and also Robert Conrad. I think the battery commercial got her worked up.

ha, I remember his commercial.  Putting the battery on his shoulder and daring you to knock it off. 

  • Like 1

MSI MAG Z790 Carbon, i9-13900k, NH-D15 cooler, 64 GB CL40 6000mhz RAM, MSI RTX4090, Yamaha 5.1 A/V Receiver, 4x 2TB Samsung 980 Pro NVMe, 1x 2TB Samsung 870 EVO SSD, Win 11 Pro, TM Warthog, Virpil WarBRD, MFG Crosswinds, 43" Samsung 4K TV, 21.5 Acer VT touchscreen, TrackIR, Varjo Aero, Wheel Stand Pro Super Warthog, Phanteks Enthoo Pro2 Full Tower Case, Seasonic GX-1200 ATX3 PSU, PointCTRL, Buttkicker 2, K-51 Helicopter Collective Control

Link to comment
Share on other sites


 

4 minutes ago, Gambit21 said:

My Mom used to go on about how much she couldn’t stand him…and also Robert Conrad. I think the battery commercial got her worked up.

I fight about Robert Conrad every Saturday, when Baa Baa Blacksheep is on, and I insist on watching it,  because she thinks he is just a chauvinist pig.  Meanwhile, I’m playing my “Red West” drinking game so, I don’t give damn!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Sea Serpent said:


 

I fight about Robert Conrad every Saturday, when Baa Baa Blacksheep is on, and I insist on watching it,  because she thinks he is just a chauvinist pig.  Meanwhile, I’m playing my “Red West” drinking game so, I don’t give damn!

Yeah that sounds like what my Dad and I listened to every time Baa Baa Blacksheep was on…or the battery commercial.

 

 

  • Haha 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, Sea Serpent said:


 

I fight about Robert Conrad every Saturday, when Baa Baa Blacksheep is on, and I insist on watching it,  because she thinks he is just a chauvinist pig.  Meanwhile, I’m playing my “Red West” drinking game so, I don’t give damn!

Ha, nice!

when that series first came out, I was glued to the boob tube.  I read Pappy's book at least twice. 

MSI MAG Z790 Carbon, i9-13900k, NH-D15 cooler, 64 GB CL40 6000mhz RAM, MSI RTX4090, Yamaha 5.1 A/V Receiver, 4x 2TB Samsung 980 Pro NVMe, 1x 2TB Samsung 870 EVO SSD, Win 11 Pro, TM Warthog, Virpil WarBRD, MFG Crosswinds, 43" Samsung 4K TV, 21.5 Acer VT touchscreen, TrackIR, Varjo Aero, Wheel Stand Pro Super Warthog, Phanteks Enthoo Pro2 Full Tower Case, Seasonic GX-1200 ATX3 PSU, PointCTRL, Buttkicker 2, K-51 Helicopter Collective Control

Link to comment
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, javelina said:

Ha, nice!

when that series first came out, I was glued to the boob tube.  I read Pappy's book at least twice. 

Read Bruce Gamble’s book on the Blacksheep. He sets the record straight.

He also wrote Blacksheep One”

image.thumb.jpeg.86607f8a18e6813248af8ae1abda5af2.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gambit21
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...