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Spitfire verses FW-190


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Comparison: Fw 190A and Spitfire V[edit]


The British were keen to test captured Fw 190As during the war. The performance of the German fighter series had caused concern to RAF Fighter Command. Against the Spitfire V, the Fw 190 was found to be better in all respects with the exception of turning radius. At 2,000 ft, the Fw 190 was 25 to 30 mph faster; at 3,000 ft it was 30 to 35 mph faster. Its lowest speed advantage was 20 mph faster at 15,000 ft. At all altitudes it remained the faster fighter. The Fw 190 was also faster in the climb. If a Fw 190 was engaged by a Spitfire V, it could use its superior roll rate to enter a dive in the opposite direction. Its dive speed would enable it to clear the Spitfire. In defensive mode, the Spitfire could only evade an attack if caught at low speed by using its advantage in turning circles. If travelling at maximum speed when engaged, the Spitfire could gain speed in the dive, forcing a longer chase, and the Fw 190 further away from its landing ground.[74]


Air Marshal Sholto Douglas expressed concerns that the Merlin-engine Spitfires were coming to the end of their developmental life, whereas the Fw 190 was only just beginning its career. At the time, he feared the enemy held the technological edge. Douglas determined that the Fw 190 was superior to the Spitfire V and also concluded that the Spitfire IX was also inferior in the climb and acceleration owing to negative G carburation. Douglas' fears would prove overly-pessimistic. The Spitfire IX would prove a clear match for the Fw 190A and the Griffon-engined Spitfire XIV would hold the edge on the type. In 1942 several tests were conducted by RAF pilots at the Royal Aircraft Establishment.[75]


Comparison: Fw 190A and Spitfire IX[edit]


The Spitfire IX restored parity in speed; the Spitfire had an 8 mph advantage at 8,000 ft; 5 mph faster at 15,000 ft; and a 5 to 7 mph advantage at 25,000 ft. The Fw 190 retained speed advantages at 2,000 ft and 18,000 ft where it held a lead of 7 to 8 and 3 mph respectively.[76] In the climb, they were equal, the Spitfire being slightly faster. However, once the 22,000 ft mark was reached, the Spitfire climbing rate increased, while the Fw 190s rapidly fell away. The Fw 190 was faster in the dive, particularly in the initial stages. The Spitfire had difficulty in following in the dive owing to the lack of negative G carburettor. The Fw 190 was more manoeuvrable, with the exception of turning circle. The conclusion was the Spitfire IX compared favourably with the Fw 190 provided the Spitfire had the initiative, it had "undoubtedly a good chance of shooting the Fw 190 down".[74]


Comparison: Fw 190A and Spitfire XII[edit]


A test carried out with the Fw 190A and Spitfire XII, with the Griffon engine, suggested the Spitfire had the "superior" acceleration and its speed was "appreciably" faster after brief flights at 1,000 and 2,000 feet. The other speed altitude tests were not carried through owing to weather conditions. Maneuverability was difficult to discern. The Spitfire could easily outturn the Fw 190, but the pilot of the German fighter was reluctant to stall the aircraft at low altitude. It is possible that the difference could have been less marked had the pilot made the effort to make a tighter turn. The cockpit was judged to be well laid out; controls were well harmonised and light; flying characteristics were rated as excellent and no trimming was required; initial acceleration was good in dive and climbs; and the aileron control enabled a rapid roll from one direction to the other. Limitations were; the rough running of the aircraft is disliked and can cause a lack of confidence in the engine. This is unpleasant when flying over water or hostile areas. The engine required long warmups to allow the oil temperature to reach safe levels. The view from the cockpit made taxiing difficult. It was judged that the aircraft was not suitable for quick takeoffs.[77]


Comparison: Fw 190A and Spitfire XIV[edit]


A short report indicated the Spitfire was only 20 mph (32 km/h) faster from 0 to 5,000 ft (0 to 1,525 m) and 15,000 ft to 20,000 ft (4,573 to 6,100 m). At all other heights, the Spitfire had a 60 mph (97 km/h) speed advantage over the Fw 190A. The Spitfire had a considerably faster rate of climb at all altitudes. In the dive the Fw 190A gains slightly in the initial stages. The Spitfire could outturn the Fw 190, though in a right-hand turn this was less pronounced. The Fw 190 was far faster in the roll. It was suggested that if a Spitfire XIV was in the defensive, it should use its fast maximum climb and turning circle to escape. In the offensive the Spitfire could "mix it", but should be aware of the Fw 190As fast roll rate and dive. If the Fw 190 was allowed to do this, the Spitfire probably would not close the range until the Fw 190 pilot has to pull out of the dive.[78]


Comparison: Fw 190D and Hawker Tempest[edit]


Shortly after the war the British became interested in the performance and evaluation of the advanced German Fw 190 D-13. While at Flensburg the British Disarmament Wing wanted to see how this fighter would perform against one of their best, a Hawker Tempest. Squadron Leader Evans approached Major Heinz Lange and asked him to fly a mock combat against one of their pilots. Lange accepted, even though he had only 10 flights in a D-9.[79] The mock dogfight was conducted at an altitude of 10,000 ft (3,000 m), with only enough fuel for the flight and no ammunition. In the end the machines were evenly matched. Major Lange assessed that the outcome of such a contest greatly depended on the skills of the individual pilot. At the time Lange was not aware that he was not flying a D-13 but rather a D-9. The same "Yellow 10" (Wk. Nr. 836017) that was previously assigned to Geschwaderkommodore Franz Götz was used in this evaluation. "Yellow 10" was further subjected to mock combat when on 25 June 1945 Oberleutnant Günther Josten was asked to fly a comparison flight against another Tempest.[79]

"Yeah, and though I work in the valley of Death, I will fear no Evil. For where there is one, there is always three. I preparest my aircraft to receive the Iron that will be delivered in the presence of my enemies. Thy ALCM and JDAM they comfort me. Power was given unto the aircrew to make peace upon the world by way of the sword. And when the call went out, Behold the "Sword of Stealth". And his name was Death. And Hell followed him. For the day of wrath has come and no mercy shall be given."

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