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Let's Make Fun of Nazi WW2 Aircraft (While recognizing a couple which were also kind of OK)

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Here at Sturgeon's House, it is our raison d'etre to bust the myth of Teutonic superiority surrounding German military equipment, industry, structure and strategy in World War 2 and beyond. As such, it surprised me that we didn't already have a thread devoted specifically to Nazi aviation. 

Until now.

For the time being, I intend to keep this introduction very short with only a short editorial on how it has always amazed me that Nazi Germany, with such a head start in terms of military spending prior to the start of hostilities, and with the entire resources of Europe at its disposal, lagged not only behind the United States in aircraft production and quality but also the island nation of Great Britain which spent the first third of the war under a U-boat blockade as well as the Soviet Union which either outright lost or had to move the preponderance of its factories, workers and manufacturing equipment. 

That is until one actually looks at how German industry worked.

This silent film shows the production of the Messerschmidt Bf 108 "Taifun", built in Bavaria, in the 1930s. And while Germany had not ratcheted up to wartime production and presumably more efficient manufacturing shortcuts were eventually adopted, there is little reason to doubt that the basic manufacturing techniques portrayed in this film were still used throughout the war. 

In the film you'll see the lack of a modern production line. Airplanes and their parts were built in place, often from the ground up. You'll see workers lazily wandering back and forth between parts bins as they lovingly, handcrafted these machines, fitting each part into place. Presumably skilled workers will finish installing a part and then stop what they are doing in order to physically pick up a part of the airplane in order to move it to another work station.

At the 1:20 mark, a worker uses a standard bandsaw to cut a part, using his Mark 1 eyeball as the only calibration instead of having a jig in place to make the cut.

At the 2:00 mark, superior Teutonic craftsman use sledgehammers of the like wielded by Thor himself to pound sheet metal body panels into shape.

Workers stoop and fetch pieces of sheet metal and push them on handcarts around the factory. Elsewhere, you'll see the same worker stop one project at a work station to jump to the next in order to accomplish a different task. Everywhere you see waste, inefficiency and sloth. The Bavarian Aircraft Factory more resembles a community college metal shop class than a plant meant to supply war machinery to the most powerful military on the planet at that time.

All in all, it is a wonder that the Germans were able to build as many planes as they did if this news footage is any indication of their manufacturing prowess.

 

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Why wasn't the BF 109 the first one to be dissed on. Just because of a few Nazi propaganda stars got lots of kills in it, it failed to be a good fighter, or interceptor after the F model.  it was also built for midgets it was so small, and the landing gear sucked. Daimler Benz V12s are super overrated. 

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11 minutes ago, Jeeps_Guns_Tanks said:

Why wasn't the BF 109 the first one to be dissed on. Just because of a few Nazi propaganda stars got lots of kills in it, it failed to be a good fighter, or interceptor after the F model.  it was also built for midgets it was so small, and the landing gear sucked. Daimler Benz V12s are super overrated. 

I guess it depends on how we rate it? I assumed that the standard opinion is that most variants were kinda OK.

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The standard opinion is the wehraboo opinion that it was some kind of super fighter, you know, cause it fought the whole war and the K was really fast with a wooden tail!!

 

It would have been like the US keeping pimped out version of the P-40 in front line units, except a pimped out P-40 would be a better plane. The FW-190 was a better plane, though it flew like a football. US kind. 

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This video, from the long-ago times when Discovery had stuff worth watching, shows some of the major drawbacks of the Bf 109:

 

The cramped cockpit didn't just make the pilot uncomfortable.  Back in the 1940s almost all aircraft controls were a bunch of Bowden cables running from the pilot's controls to the flight surfaces.  If an aircraft from that period had any hydraulics at all, it was usually just to raise and lower the landing gear.  In the 1940s, having too small a cockpit actually made the aircraft less maneuverable, as the pilot needed all the leverage he could get to manhandle the controls during combat maneuvering.

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My impression of the 109 was always that it was a great all-around aircraft in the late 1930's, a good interceptor in 1940-42 and very long in the tooth from then on.

The general consensus among sim pilots is that the 109-F2 is about the best of the lot. My view is that the automatic leading edge slats, automatic pitch control, automatic mixture control and automatic radiator control are huge advantages in terms of reducing workload on the pilot.

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1 hour ago, Jeeps_Guns_Tanks said:

The standard opinion is the wehraboo opinion that it was some kind of super fighter, you know, cause it fought the whole war and the K was really fast with a wooden tail!!

 

It would have been like the US keeping pimped out version of the P-40 in front line units, except a pimped out P-40 would be a better plane. The FW-190 was a better plane, though it flew like a football. US kind. 

The thing is, comparing German aircraft to American aircraft in WWII is comparing a midget to a giant. A German P-40 would have been one of their best aircraft of the war, and you know that they would have embraced the P-40Q approach in the same way that they did the 109K. Because they had no better options.

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6 minutes ago, Sturgeon said:

The P-40Q would have been far and away the Luftwaffe's best plane if it had been German.

Very much so. Which, again, is kind of my point - the 109 isn't bad, but it isn't a super fighter. It just looks like a super fighter when compared to the lineup of unmitigated failures that the Germans were running with for a lot of the war. The P-40 looks mediocre because the US in WWII had some sort of pact with the powers of flight itself.

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6 minutes ago, Sturgeon said:

The P-40Q would have been far and away the Luftwaffe's best plane if it had been German.

Very much so. Which, again, is kind of my point - the 109 isn't bad, but it isn't a super fighter. It just looks like a super fighter when compared to the lineup of unmitigated failures that the Germans were running with for a lot of the war. The P-40 looks mediocre because the US in WWII had some sort of pact with the power of flight itself.

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Agreed on the P-40 Warhawk. And I love how the US was able to churn out the P-40s and equip its Allies in North Africa, Burma, Australia, China, Russia and a variety of other smaller theaters with these planes which were also relatively affordable and did so without any real adverse effects to its primary fighter plane production. 

If the US were run along the same lines as Nazi Germany, the Curtiss airplane company would be bribing officials to cut off funding to the Lockheed and North American airplane companies.

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I started writing a list of US aircraft that the Germans would have loved to have, but it's a long list.

So instead I'll just list the things I think the Germans got right:

  • Decent instruments
  • Average-to-good cockpit layouts
  • Fuel injection from the start
  • A focus on automated engine/prop management
  • Reasonably good airframe technology (at least until late-war production messed things up)
  • Decent engine technology (ie: better than the Italians and Japanese, on par with the USSR)
  • Decent armament options

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5 hours ago, Collimatrix said:

This video, from the long-ago times when Discovery had stuff worth watching, shows some of the major drawbacks of the Bf 109:

 

The cramped cockpit didn't just make the pilot uncomfortable.  Back in the 1940s almost all aircraft controls were a bunch of Bowden cables running from the pilot's controls to the flight surfaces.  If an aircraft from that period had any hydraulics at all, it was usually just to raise and lower the landing gear.  In the 1940s, having too small a cockpit actually made the aircraft less maneuverable, as the pilot needed all the leverage he could get to manhandle the controls during combat maneuvering.

Watch this, then watch it again keeping in mind that that dude isn't wearing a parachute or anything.

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The G is interesting looking, a lot of people think all the bulges make it ugly, but it's always been my favorite looking 109. 

 

The 109 was also a really bad plane to hand over to a poorly trained pilot, and that's about all Germany had left by 44. 

 

The 110 was an even bigger turd.  The B-25 points and laughs at the HE-111, and who supplied a bunch of heroin to the fat clown, Goering to get the stuka produced, talk about a death trap, it was so ugly it's amazing it could get off the ground. 

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I got into an argument on Fb where I mercilessly clubbed a wehraboo who was arguing that the Ho-229 was this magical plane that would make the allies fall out of the sky in great numbers if the Germans had had it a year or two earlier.  That was fun.  Clubbing every single point he made with ease

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1 hour ago, Belesarius said:

Pretty much.  I mean a aircraft with lateral stability issues and engines with a lifespan of 12 hours or so is gonna do soooo much to alter the outcome of the war

This thing is 'entertaining' to fly in sim. Sim pilots also know the pain of trying to get a German jet off the runway without lighting an engine on fire, as well as the joy of your engine/s melting because you got yourself low and slow and dared to throttle the engines past 70%.

Lord knows how many real 262s burned up on the taxiway because the pilot was a bit too rough with the throttle lever...

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I have to say, Me-410 best plane. It just looks amazing.

The Me-210 was a massive pile of shit though, lemme just quote Wikipedia here:

Quote

Stability was bad in turns, and it tended to oscillate even while flying level. At first, the designers concentrated on the twin-rudder arrangement that had been taken from the 110, and replaced it with a new and much larger single vertical stabilizer. This had almost no effect, and the plane continued to "snake". The Me 210 also suffered from terrible stalls. With the nose up or in a turn, the stalls whipped into spins when the automatic leading-edge slats opened. The second prototype, Me 210 V2, was lost this way in September 1940, when the pilot could not get out of the resulting spin and had to abandon the aircraft. The chief test pilot commented that the Me 210 had "all the least desirable attributes an aeroplane could possess." It took 16 prototypes and 94 pre-production examples to try to resolve the many problems. Nevertheless, the RLM was desperate to replace the Bf 110s currently in service, and ordered full production in early 1941. The type exhibited grossly inadequate handling characteristics, and a result, several elements of the airframe were redesigned, including lengthening the rear section of the fuselage by 92 cm (36-1/4 inches), designated as lang ("long").

 

58 minutes ago, Toxn said:

This thing is 'entertaining' to fly in sim. Sim pilots also know the pain of trying to get a German jet off the runway without lighting an engine on fire, as well as the joy of your engine/s melting because you got yourself low and slow and dared to throttle the engines past 70%.

Lord knows how many real 262s burned up on the taxiway because the pilot was a bit too rough with the throttle lever...

Oh yeah that was fun in IL-2.

>Fly German jet
>Get someone on your six
>Slam power

*boooom*

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