WW2 Fighters Compared

Post topics relating to fighters, bombers, ground attack aircraft, transports, powerplants, ordnance, armament, materials construction, design, secret weapons, flak, radar, ground equipment (e.g., autotreno 3000)
User avatar
Vincent Biondi
Generale di Divisone Aerea
Generale di Divisone Aerea
Posts: 391
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:48 am
Location: Niagara On The Lake, On. Canada

WW2 Fighters Compared

Post by Vincent Biondi » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:00 pm

Hello All,
Well, sooner or later, someone would write an article on comparing the various fighters of WW2.
The magazine is the September issue of AEROPLANE, published in the UK.
Five early war fighter planes, 1940-1941 are compared.
Hawker Hurricane, Mitsubishi A6M Zero, Macchi MC200, Curtis 75 Hawk and the Messerschmitt ME109.
I don't know who wrote the article, but this person must have gotten his information without proper research or he is just biased!
Even before I read the article, I had a suspicion that he would avert to the old WW2 stereotypes and sure enough, he did.
After a so called in depth study of each aircraft, he came to the conclusion that the ME 109 was the best, no argument there, but then, he puts the Hurricane as number 2, the Zero number 3, Curtis 75 number 4 and in last place the Macchi.
He based his conclusions on:
1. service and maintenance
2. armour
3. armament
4. pilot morale
5. pilot training
6. pilot visibility
7. radio
8. overall performance
9. tactics
10. command and control
When he describes each individual aircraft, it sounds like more of a personal view than a researched one, for when he is comparing the MC00, he uses such comments as "poorly trained pilots, low moral, and ugly aircraft.
Hmm...sounds to me like he is not being fair.
He actually put the Curtis Hawk in front of the Macchi and he put the Zero, in third place behind the Hurricane! He actually concluded that the Hurricane was better than a Zero!!
I can't believe what I read!
Based on the 10 points for each category, he gave the Macchi out of a possible 10:
1 out of 10 for armour, 5 for pilot moral, 2 for armament just to name a few. However, he gave much higher points to the Hurricane.
The only good points the Macchi received were pilot visibility and overall performance.
One thing that Italian pilots had in 1940-1941 was high moral , not low, like he describes. If that is part of his scoring, he is dead wrong on that point. Also, if the Macchi scored low on armament and armour, the Hurricane's was not any better, yet he scores those two categories high!
Its too bad, that there are still people out there in the year 2010, that cling on to old WW2 stereotypes and cannot do a fair and accurate study for once.
Based on my research, the list should have read:
1. ME109
2. A6M
3. MC200 and Hurricane tied (they were both pretty even on most accounts and last, the Curtis 75.
Any comments?

Vincent.

cavigi
Pilota
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:29 am
Location: Italy - Rome

Post by cavigi » Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:19 am

Hallo, Vincent
Your item give me the opportunity to write my first post on this forum.

I fully share your un-easiness about that AEROPLANE's article, which is otherwise a respectable magazine. My main reservation on the writer's approach is about selection of points on which aircrafts are judged: in fact is he judging the hardware (the aircrafts) or the air forces? training, tactics morale belongs to air forces (though admittedly tactics are often adjusted to exploit strong points and minimise weakeness of the hardware).

In order to judge the capabilities of the aircraft the question should be: R.A. would have performed better if had hurricanes and RAF had Macchis? As you I suspect the two aircraft were quite evenly matched, though the poor radio equipment of italian airplanes is a factor too often overlooked.

Then again is the question of morale. From what evidence they draw that conclusion? R.A. pilots may be rightly criticised for being too conservative in the tactical approach but I dont see evidence of lack in morale. On the contrary, those veteran i met (I served briefly in aeronautica militare) gave me a strong impression of leadership and decision.

In conclusion it a pity that history is not read more in depth, but after all that is why your forum comes useful

Cheers
Luigi

User avatar
Vincent Biondi
Generale di Divisone Aerea
Generale di Divisone Aerea
Posts: 391
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:48 am
Location: Niagara On The Lake, On. Canada

Post by Vincent Biondi » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:38 am

Hi Luigi,
Welcome to the forum.

"....Then again is the question of morale. From what evidence do they draw that conclusion? R.A. pilots may be rightly criticized for being too conservative in the tactical approach but I dont see evidence of lack in morale. On the contrary, those veterans I met (I served briefly in aeronautica militare) gave me a strong impression of leadership and decision...."

You are absolutely right on this account!

Vincent.

Editor
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1763
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2003 3:53 pm
Location: Calgary, AB, CANADA
Contact:

Post by Editor » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:33 am

Ciao cavigi, welcome to Stormo! Great post.
Vince Tassone

gianni
Comandante di Squadriglia
Comandante di Squadriglia
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 10:51 am

Post by gianni » Fri Sep 17, 2010 4:43 am

Just few words about: 1) if you compare the machines, why you take into account such a thing like morale or training? 2) lucky enough, a lot of SERIOUS people wrote about this item, and Macchi C 200 isn't the last in the row at all! Reported flight experience of british pilots with captured Macchi says that the italian machine was at least at the same level of Hurricane, and perhaps first Spitfire too. Very manouvrable, even more fast in certain conditions, and strong enough to survive to a lot of damages. Apart from firearms number and size on board....C 200 were good airplanes, as long as new entries made them obsolete.

It's a pity there are people still using wartime propaganda for their job....

Gianfranco Pesola

User avatar
Vincent Biondi
Generale di Divisone Aerea
Generale di Divisone Aerea
Posts: 391
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:48 am
Location: Niagara On The Lake, On. Canada

Post by Vincent Biondi » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:18 am

Hi Gianfranco,
You're right, its truly a pity there are people still using wartime propaganda to do their job.
I think one of the biggest obstacles that Anglo historians face is that they almost never, ever consult Italian Historians, veterans or Italian aviation publications before they print articles.
Instead, they continue to use figures and opinions based on wartime propaganda as well as personal, biased views.
Its time to stop this once and for all.
I hope that the respected Italian Aviation Historians and others, start the ball rolling like getting in contact with the author of that article and setting the record straight!


Vincent.

Editor
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1763
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2003 3:53 pm
Location: Calgary, AB, CANADA
Contact:

Post by Editor » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:36 am

Vince, I agree. As I mentioned in the past, this is not an untypical English view and it will not change anytime time soon, not matter what the facts maybe.

I'm surprised the MC.200 made it into the comparison in the first place and I think this is a step forward. Placing a Hurricane ahead of the Zero tells you everything you need to know about this magazine, its a waste of money.

I once listened to an English politician lecture Muslims (in general) to quit teaching their kids vitriolic anti-western views (to which I agree); I think the English (historians) need to take this advice in-hand and stop teaching their kids distortions about the Italian WWII solider and the technology - there's an underlying tone of hatred contained in these histories, if you read between the lines.
Vince Tassone

pante11
Comandante di Squadriglia
Comandante di Squadriglia
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:26 pm
Location: piacenza italy

Post by pante11 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:14 pm

Hi Vince
The only thing I can say is that how has written that aeticle ...needs to change his pusher!!!! :D :D

As already somebody noticed, if you are comparing the airplanes why you are considering taining and moral of tha pilots...

I'm a pilot myself and I can assure that a well motivated and trained pilot can do a lot..but as I said this is another subjet.. either you compare the pilots (trainig ,moral, equipmets and so on) or you compare the planes
Ciao
Fredi "pante11"

User avatar
veltro54
Comandante di Gruppo
Comandante di Gruppo
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 10:32 am

Post by veltro54 » Fri Sep 17, 2010 4:02 pm

Hello Vince,
Its pretty sad to know the Brits still need to do this, perhaps they do it because they're embarassed they were on the winning side. I wish they'd stop it too.

Editor
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1763
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2003 3:53 pm
Location: Calgary, AB, CANADA
Contact:

Post by Editor » Fri Sep 17, 2010 5:18 pm

In my opinion the C.200 was a better plane than the Hurricane. The C.200 could out-climb, out-dive and out-turn the Hurricane and did not bleed speed while in a tight turn. The C.200 had about the same straight line speed as the Hurricane and the C.200 had larger caliber guns that had twice the effective range of the Hurricane's guns. In fact the Hurricane is not even in the same class as the C.200. The C.200 had built-in development potential that allowed it to continue to be used as a frontline fighter until the wars end in the form of the C.202 and the C.205. When the C.200 was given the same horsepower as the Hurricane in the C.202, there was no comparison between the two planes. The C.200 should be compared to the Bf.109E and the Spitfire Mk.I. Similarly, the C.202 should be compared to the Bf.109F and the Spitfire Mk.V and the C.205 to the Bf.109G6 and Spitfire Mk.IX. I think this is a better comparison. When I examine the records, I don't see many claims made by Hurricane pilots against C.200s, but the opposite is true. A better comparison would be the Hurricane to the G.50. The main shortcoming of all Italian planes throughout the war was that not enough were produced. It would have been a far different story had there been 20,000 - 30,000 Macchis produced in WWII.
Vince Tassone

User avatar
Vincent Biondi
Generale di Divisone Aerea
Generale di Divisone Aerea
Posts: 391
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 8:48 am
Location: Niagara On The Lake, On. Canada

Post by Vincent Biondi » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:30 pm

Hello All,
As I mentioned earlier, I like to compare apples to apples, when I do research on aviation history.

Here is something that I found, written by notable authors and historians:

1. written by Gunston, Bill. The Illustrated Directory of Fighting Aircraft of World War II. London: Salamander Books Limited, 1988. ISBN 1-84065-092-3.
...In combat with the less manoueverable Hurricane, it proved effective, with outstanding dogfight performance and no vices...

2. written by Ken Wynn, Flight Lieutenant Owen Vincent Tracey, New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum.
...On 8 December 1941, Macchi MC.200s of the 153° Gruppo engaged Hurricanes from 94 Squadron. A violent dogfight developed with the commanding officer, Squadron Leader Linnard attempting to intercept a Macchi attacking a Hurricane. Both aircraft were making steep turns and losing height, but Linnard was too late and the Macchi, turning inside the Hurricane, had already hit the cockpit area. The stricken aircraft turned over at low level and dived into the ground, bursting into flames. Its pilot, the New Zealand born RAF "ace" (six enemy aircraft destroyed and many more probably destroyed) Flight Lieutenant Owen Vincent Tracey was killed...

3. written by Duma, Antonio. Quelli del Cavallino Rampante – Storia del 4° Stormo Caccia Francesco Baracca (Italian). Roma: Aeronautica Militare – Ufficio Storico, 2007. NO ISBN.
...On 6 February 1941, the elite unit 4° Stormo received C.200s from 54° Stormo. With the autorotation problems solved, the Macchis were regarded as "very good machines, fast, manoeuvrable and strong" by Italian pilots...

4. written by Cattaneo, Gianni. Aer. Macchi C.200 (Ali d’Italia n°8) (in Italian/English). Torino, Italy: La Bancarella Aeronautica, 1997 (reprinted 2000).
...The Saetta with its sturdy construction, and its agility permitted skilled pilots to effectively fight against designs like the British Hawker Hurricane and the American Curtiss P-40.

Amazing!
Written above are four authors, two Italian, one from New Zealand and two, yes remarkably two from the UK who all give non biased, factual events and correct statistics on the Macchi 200 compared to the Hawker Hurricane!!

Was any of this information even considered by the author of the Comparisons article?
If so, he might have written a different article.

Vincent.

gianni
Comandante di Squadriglia
Comandante di Squadriglia
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 10:51 am

Post by gianni » Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:05 am

Hi Vincent, you put at best what I mean. Lucky enough, Brits have a lot of SERIOUS historians, I belive the most part of them.
I also think italians have a big fault: for so many years, history was left to anglo-american historians, telling us their "truth". For years the WW II was seen a big, sad mistake of Mussolini and some high General; so everything connected with that age was to be forgotten. In Italy, at school, you can study about Roman Empire or Risorgimento and the birth of Italy as an indipendent State at best, but very often just few words are said about WW II. Morever, it was difficult for historians too to find, study and save documents, archives or materials: for example, most part of italian surviving airplanes of wartime period are in some museum abroad, the few left in Italy were very often destroyed!
In Italy was almost forbidden to speak about feeling like Nation, State, Honour....you were immediately seen as a fascist! At best, you could speak about Resistenza (resistance) and partisans, cleaning up about their mistakes and faults...
With this spirit, it's not so strange that "certain legends" about italian soldiers could survive... I still remember when italians started to take part to missions of "peacekeeping" abroad, the were seen with suspect from their NATO allied too!!

I just hope this way of describing the "truth" can end soon, and we can remember and honour our pilots and soldiers like all the remaining world.

Bye
Gianfranco Pesola (nepew of Capt. Giuseppe Pesola, 1° Stormo 6° Gruppo 79^ Sq.)

User avatar
Aeroal
Comandante di Stormo
Comandante di Stormo
Posts: 100
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2006 2:05 pm
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Aeroplane Monthly Comparative Article.

Post by Aeroal » Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:22 am

Vince, Gentlemen,

I have been buying Aeroplane Monthly (established 1911), continuously since 1974. Indeed, it is the only magazine of the five aviation related titles I purchase each month, to which I subscribe. It is my view that Aeroplane Monthly is the most prestigious, and authoritative title on historical aviation in general, and British aviation in particular, which one can buy in the U.K. I will continue to do so, without qualm, as it is a vertitable goldmine of information on the history of the flying machine.

All of which makes it more of a mystery as to why the esteemed editor passed this article for publication without querying some of the points made. I was really looking forward to reading the piece, but upon perusal, some of the statements made seemed to me to be flippant in their criticism of particular aircraft. At the end of it, my conclusion was that I had not learned anything of critical value inasmuch as the author had yet again quoted cliched stereotypes which probably owe more to WWII propaganda than objectivity. As we all know, history is inevitably written by the victor. No attempt was made to qualify these comments. I therefore did not take the article seriously, treating it merely as the author's personal opinion. Also, bringing pilot training, morale, numbers and tactics into contention means we are straying into a potential minefield of contrasting opinion.

To comment briefly on the relative positions of the Hurricane and the Macchi, I accept that they were not far apart, each having different merits from the other. I consider that the Hurricane actually acquitted itself well inasmuch as it was a generation behind the Macchi in its technology. Do not forget that there was a massive difference in aeronautical technological advancement between 1936 and 1940. We are talking about the metal framed, fabric covered wood and stringer monoplane version of the early 1930's Hawker Fury biplane, against the modern all metal monocoque Macchi. Indeed the early Mk.I Hurricanes even had fabric covered wings.

The apparent unquestioning use of so many 'facts' in relation to all of the aircraft types mentioned, gives me great difficulty in reconciling the author's conjecture. I can only suggest that sadly, this was not one of the best considered hypotheses in the magazine's recent past, especially when it concerns such an emotive subject.

Kind regards to all,

Aeroal.

Editor
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1763
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2003 3:53 pm
Location: Calgary, AB, CANADA
Contact:

Post by Editor » Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:49 pm

Thanks Aeroal. Aeroplane Monthly would be better served by having you do their articles - I hope someone on their Editoral board picks this up.
Vince Tassone

User avatar
two-o-five
Comandante di Squadriglia
Comandante di Squadriglia
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: United States

Post by two-o-five » Sat Sep 18, 2010 9:23 pm

Excellent comments by all.

The article states in the heading that this is "... the first part of a major new Aeroplane series ...". Are all the articles in the series going to be this poorly researched and based on irrelevant criteria?

I'd like to see Aeroal's post submitted to the magazine as a letter to the editor. It needs to be brought to their attention that they really dropped the ball, and that the readers expect better of them.

Jay

Post Reply