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"What If No Mustang Thunderbolt or Corsair" Topic


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Heedless Horseman Supporting Member of TMP27 Aug 2021 10:20 p.m. PST

Just curious? What thoughts, if the 'war winners'… P51 Mustang, P47 Thunderbolt… Or the F4U Corsair… had NOT been developed?

emckinney27 Aug 2021 10:32 p.m. PST

The U.S. builds a h--- of a lot of Hellcats and wins the war.

It's easy to forget just how good the Hellcat was. There was little choose between it and the Corsair.

Thresher0128 Aug 2021 12:18 a.m. PST

Reverse Lend-lease Spitfires for the win!!!

advocate28 Aug 2021 12:29 a.m. PST

The war might have been longer if there weren't any good long range fighters.
But really the resources that the Allies had available meant that something would have been developed to fit the need. The fact that you had to discount three distinct aircraft tells you a lot.

Thresher0128 Aug 2021 2:03 a.m. PST

P-38s were pretty effective against the Luftwaffe too, and very long-legged.

BillyNM28 Aug 2021 2:13 a.m. PST

Mass (men & materiel) would still have won out.

JimDuncanUK28 Aug 2021 2:33 a.m. PST

Don't forget the Typhoon and the Tempest.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP28 Aug 2021 3:53 a.m. PST

I think advocate hit the nail on the head. Other planes would have been developed to fill the roles the three withdrawn planes filled, or existing designs would have been altered to make something similar. The US was extremely resource-rich and had a lot of aircraft companies pioneering a lot of designs.

- Ix

Fitzovich Supporting Member of TMP28 Aug 2021 10:24 a.m. PST

Something would have been created that would have filled the role of the long range fighter escort.

Personal logo Mister Tibbles Supporting Member of TMP28 Aug 2021 11:01 a.m. PST

This is kind of like saying, what if the Wright Bros hadn't invented airplanes? LoL

Spitfires taking off the decks of the Hornet, Enterprise, Yorktown, ect would have been awesome!

I still find it amazing how fast aviation advanced in just a few decades--sputtering biplanes to jets. Brilliant engineers.

troopwo Supporting Member of TMP28 Aug 2021 11:59 a.m. PST

P38 far more prominent than it eventually was.

P39 and P63 production out the ying yang and a proper appreciation of the aircraft actual strengths and weaknesses and how to best exploit them.

The development of amore streamlined successor to the P40.
Take a serious look at the early vs very late models of P40 and you can see the start at trying to streamline the aircraft to a more aerodynamic airflow with the least interruption of the production line. You even see the use of the Merlin engines in the airframes. If this is the level of development that went on while their were alternate designs like the P51 and P47 on the market, it makes you wonder what would have happened if they put some serious effort into it?

That is simply limiting it to the production aircraft. There were a lot of experimental and trials aircraft that would have filled the void too.

troopwo Supporting Member of TMP28 Aug 2021 12:01 p.m. PST

No love for the Republic P43 Lancer?

Andrew Walters28 Aug 2021 1:00 p.m. PST

The answer to all but one WW2 "what ifs" is you get an atomic bomb on Berlin in August. Everyone working on the Manhattan project expected it would be dropped on Berlin. Germany was out of fuel, out of healthy men of military age, out of important metals. Take away what you will from the allies, give the Germans anything except the bomb, and the war lasts longer. If it lasts until August, mushroom cloud over Berlin.

Similar answer in the Pacific. Force the allies to fight with the second best aircraft and things go a little slower, you take a few more casualties, maybe you even have to start Operation Olympic, but the bomb is always going to be the pivot. Everything else just adjusts timing. The Japanese had lost their veterans, were out of fuel, no single twist changes the outcome, just the date.

Augustus28 Aug 2021 1:22 p.m. PST

Simple. The USA ploughs their resources into the P38 Lightning, the Hellcat, Tigercat, and the British push along with Typhoons and Spitfires MK whatever and they still win the war.

Thank you.

Mic drop.

emckinney28 Aug 2021 7:05 p.m. PST

Spitfires off of carrier decks were terrible, and the Fleet Air Arm knew it. Remember, it was so unsuitable that they were even replacing it with the F4F, which has specifications that look completely inferior.

Curtiss tried building super P-40s, but none of them panned out. Part of that was that there was no point to introducing another fighter when you already had the P-51. Part of it was that Curtiss couldn't overcome all of the problems.

In many ways, the P-40 was a failure from the start. It started as a P-36 with an inline engine stuck on the front, which was supposed to cut drag so much that it would be blisteringly fast. It couldn't achieve the design speed and everyone agreed that it was inferior in (almost) all other ways. Worse maneuverability, harder to fly, worse visibility, etc. The P-36 was a very good aircraft across many dimensions, but the airframe was largely tapped out by 1940.

Zephyr128 Aug 2021 7:51 p.m. PST

The P-38. Especially after it got the dive flaps (a big advantage, something never developed for the German jets.)
Oh, and it was also the only Allied fighter that could make it back to base with one engine out… ;-)

JMcCarroll29 Aug 2021 12:38 p.m. PST

Ask Admiral Yamamoto what he thought of the P-38.
In the hands of an ace, the P-38 could take anything on the Axis had except the ME-262.

advocate30 Aug 2021 9:00 a.m. PST

"In the hands of an ace…" isn't a great measure; most pilots were average.

John the OFM30 Aug 2021 9:39 a.m. PST

The pilots who shot down Yamamoto were average. "Average" for American pilots at this time was pretty darn good. The very skilled Japanese pilots were wiped out by attrition and a brutal training regimen that discarded the "average" in favor of "elite".
American practice was to send back the veterans who survived to train more pilots.
Japanese practice was to use them up.
American practice was to sink their aircraft carriers, which also contributed to pilot attrition.

So, why were there few American "aces"?
Because they were training the "average" pilots who only shot down 2 or 3.

John the OFM30 Aug 2021 9:48 a.m. PST

And to answer the OP.
What is to prevent these "war winners" from being developed? A "what if" question always requires a reasonable justification.
So, if the P51 doesn't pan out in early testing, something else is always in the pipeline.
Notice how many different airplane manufacturers the USA had. Their prototypes were always in competition. That's the case today. If the P51 lost out in the competition, it's competitor would win and be produced. AND improved too.
All this testing is taking place in the Continental United States, far away from annoying enemy bombers.
Without the P51, something else, just as good, would have come along, produced by another manufacturer.

John the OFM30 Aug 2021 9:50 a.m. PST

The Brewster Buffalo was a famously terrible fighter in Allied hands.
But the Finns used a modified version of it to great effect.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP30 Aug 2021 11:14 a.m. PST

To piggy-back on John's post, this is who was churning out U.S. aircraft during WWII.

link

link

Even if great planes weren't developed, the amount of "okay" planes that could be built would suffice. As the saying goes, quantity has a quality all its own.

John the OFM30 Aug 2021 2:51 p.m. PST

Or, "The perfect is the enemy of the possible."

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