Now it's time to P*** off the Brits

Vrenn

Platinum Member
Feb 24, 2021
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This is comparing 2 British Fighters head to head and explaining why one made a bigger impact on winning the war.

Let's compare the Hawker Hurricane with the Supermarine Spitfire.


Hurricane
Performance
  • Maximum speed: 340 mph (550 km/h, 300 kn) at 21,000 ft (6,400 m)
  • Range: 600 mi (970 km, 520 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 36,000 ft (11,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 2,780 ft/min (14.1 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 29.8 lb/sq ft (145 kg/m2)
  • Power/mass: 0.15 hp/lb (0.25 kW/kg)

Spitfire
Performance
  • Maximum speed: 370 mph (600 km/h, 320 kn)
  • Range: 479 mi (771 km, 416 nmi)
  • Combat range: 248 mi (399 km, 216 nmi)
  • Ferry range: 1,100 mi (1,800 km, 960 nmi) with fuel tank
  • Service ceiling: 36,500 ft (11,100 m)
  • Rate of climb: 2,600 ft/min (13 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 27.35 lb/sq ft (133.5 kg/m2)
  • Power/mass: 0.22 hp/lb (0.36 kW/kg)
BF109
Performance
  • Maximum speed: 530 km/h (330 mph, 290 kn) at sea level
588 km/h (365 mph; 317 kn) at 4,000 m (13,000 ft)642 km/h (399 mph; 347 kn) at 6,300 m (20,700 ft)[87]622 km/h (386 mph; 336 kn) at 8,000 m (26,000 ft)[88]
  • Cruise speed: 590 km/h (370 mph, 320 kn) at 6,000 m (20,000 ft)
  • Range: 880–1,144 km (547–711 mi, 475–618 nmi)
  • Combat range: 440–572 km (273–355 mi, 238–309 nmi) 440-572 km to the front and back home
  • Ferry range: 1,144–1,994 km (711–1,239 mi, 618–1,077 nmi) 1144 without and 1994 with droptank
  • Service ceiling: 12,000 m (39,000 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 20.1 m/s (3,960 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 196 kg/m2 (40 lb/sq ft)
  • Power/mass: 0.344 kW/kg (0.209 hp/lb)

During the Battle of Britain, MOST of the downed German Aircraft was done by the Hurricane. While the makeup of British Fighters were about 60/40 in favor of the Hurricane, the real reason that the kill rate was higher was the fact the rearming of a Spitfire too 26 minutes while the Hurricane averaged 9 minutes. The Hurricane made more than twice the flights due to this. As you can see, the Spitfire and the ME109s stats are very, very close but the 109 does edge the Spit out just a bit. It was close enough that the real deciding factor was the Pilot, not the Aircraft.


Another reason was the range. The Hurricane had almost twice the range as the Spitfire. 600 miles versus 479. Paris is 279 miles from London. Meaning, the Spit wouldn't have enough range even with drop tanks to fight it's way to Paris and expect to get back. The Hurricane could make the flight and fight. The ONLY reason the 109 could reach London is if they were launched near the coast of France. Like the Spit, the 109 didn't have the range to go from Paris to London and back. Hence the Hurricane being used in all fronts while the Spit was not.

Then there is the turning rate. The Spit was about equal to the 109. Both were so evenly matched that I won't bother to tell you which one was best. Meanwhile, the underpowered and draggy Hurricane could turn inside both of them. When the Luftwaffe changed it's strategy for the fighters to remain with the bombers during the 2nd half of the BoB, the Hurricane could jump a 109 and bag him. You see, the 109 would fly in a formation at the same speed as the bombers and would have to spool up to get the performance. Meanwhile the Hurricane was already in it's element. The top speed of the
Spit was 370 mph as was the 109. The Hurricane's top speed was only 340 mph. And you don't fight at your highest top speed. That meant that the Hurricane could and did bag the majority of the Luftwaffen Aircraft during the BoB.

The only real thing that the Hurricane got upgraded was going to the Merlin 1 to the Merlin 2 and 3. I see all the pictures of the Hurricane with a 3 bladed prop but that just wasn't so. The early models only had a 2 blade but were upgraded as the engine power went up. I have a feeling that the Hurricane got the same treatment as the P-38 for upgrading where it was so badly needed that they couldn't stop production long enough to retool. Meanwhile, the shot ranged Spit had the luxury of some pretty good upgrades until it surpassed the 109 in performance but it still was strictly short ranged Interceptor.

My ruling is, the Brits would have won the BoB without the Spit but the Hurricane did the heavy lifting. And in North Africa. the Spit didn't nearly have the range to do the missions that the Hurricane did. The Spitfire was a national treasure but Britain could have done better building more Hurricanes (and improving them).
 

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