Italian fighter airframes better than Messerschmitt 109

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Luftwaffe air units and general discussions on the Luftwaffe.
User avatar
Tim Smith
Member
Posts: 6177
Joined: 19 Aug 2002 12:15
Location: UK

Italian fighter airframes better than Messerschmitt 109

Post by Tim Smith » 31 Oct 2003 08:58

The Italians had a knack for building good fighter airframes in WWII - but their problem was building powerful engines for them. But when the German Daimler-Benz V12 inverted-V engine (powerplant of the Me109) was married to Italian airframes, the results were generally outstanding.

The Macchi MC202 Folgore was a MC200 Saetta re-engined with a 1175hp DB601A-1 engine. This was the engine used in the Me109E. Let's compare the maximum speeds of the two:

Me109E-4 - 352 mph. MC202 Folgore on same engine - 372 mph.

The MC202 was more lightly armed than the Me109E, with 2 x 12.7mm mgs and 2 x 7.7mm mgs, but in all other respects it was superior. The Italian fighter had a lighter wing loading than the Me109, and was more maneuverable. See:
http://www.comandosupremo.com/Mc202.html


The Macchi MC205 Veltro was a redesigned MC202 with a 1475hp DB605A engine - same engine as the Me109G-6. Maximum speeds were:

Me109G-6 - 385 mph. MC205V Veltro on same engine - 399 mph. (MC205N - 395 mph - MC205N-2 - 389 mph).

The MC205 had far better handling and maneuverability than the Me109G-6, and better performance. The MC205V was lightly armed (same as the MC202, above) but the MC205N was much better with 1 20mm MG151 cannon and 4 x 12.7mm mgs. The heavily armed MC205N-2 went further with 3 x 20mm MG151 cannon and 2 x 12.7mm mgs. The Me109G-6 had 1 20mm MG151 and 2 x 13mm mgs.

See: http://www.comandosupremo.com/Mc205.html

Imagine what the MC205 could have done with the 1800hp DB605D of the Me109G-10! The Me109G-10 reached 426 mph - the MC205 with the same engine would have done better, certainly over 430 mph! That's almost as fast as a P-51.

The Fiat G.55 Centauro was also an outstanding fighter with the same engine as the MC205. It had the same top speed as the Me109G-6 at 386 mph, but like the Macchi was very maneuverable compared to the 109. The first version had 1 x 20mm cannon and 4 x 12.7mm mgs, the second had 3 x 20mm cannon and 2 x 12.7mm mgs, so it was better armed than the 109G-6.
See: http://www.comandosupremo.com/Mc202.html


The Germans actually would have done better to build the Macchi MC205 or Fiat G.55 themselves instead of the compromised Me109G! Instead of sacrificing maneuverability for speed as in the Me109G, the Germans could have had both speed and maneuverability with license-built Italian designs.

Vinnie O
Member
Posts: 52
Joined: 26 Jun 2003 21:16
Location: Washington, DC, USA

A ton less

Post by Vinnie O » 31 Oct 2003 19:23

The Macchi 202 weighed something like 2,000 lb. less than a Bf 109G-6, so I'm not surprised it performed better.

I can't say offhand what the Germans were doing with the extra ton of airplane. Perhaps more armor?

But perhaps it was just that the 109 was an old design.

The Americans attempted to produce an improved version of the P-40 (XP-40Q, XP-60) with a bubble canopy, fully retracting wheels, and a supercharged engine. Even after the airframe had been lightened, and the armament reduced to 4 x .50-cal., the P-40 still performed worse than a P-51 and the projects were cancelled.

gabriel pagliarani
Member
Posts: 1583
Joined: 01 Aug 2002 03:11
Location: ITALY

Re: A ton less

Post by gabriel pagliarani » 31 Oct 2003 20:23

Vinnie O wrote:The Macchi 202 weighed something like 2,000 lb. less than a Bf 109G-6, so I'm not surprised it performed better.

I can't say offhand what the Germans were doing with the extra ton of airplane. Perhaps more armor?

But perhaps it was just that the 109 was an old design.

The Americans attempted to produce an improved version of the P-40 (XP-40Q, XP-60) with a bubble canopy, fully retracting wheels, and a supercharged engine. Even after the airframe had been lightened, and the armament reduced to 4 x .50-cal., the P-40 still performed worse than a P-51 and the projects were cancelled.
Sorry, but I don't agree with you both. Max linear speed is relatively not as much relevant as many other useful performances like manouvrability, dive speed, capacity to store kinetik energy after sudden derapages and dives, climb rate, fire power, roll-rate speed, resistance and armour effectiveness. Climb rate of Mc 202 was fantastic (6000 mt.celing in less than 6 minutes! During 1942 no other interceptor was able to do this.) but it had a poor fire power. At the contrary Mc 205 had more fire power but a lower climb-rate ect.ect. But it was the only Axis fighter able to tighten an "Immelmann's loop" inside the same evolution of a Spit IX as reported many times while dogfighting over Malta, Tunisia, Sicily and Sardinia. All this stuff to say that any comparison between WW2 fighters must be locked to the skilness of the crews and to the tactical situations. If the "chassis" of italian fighters was outstanding, the poor quality level of main subsistems reduced this weak superiority. The power of the engine was only a small part of this equation. About P-40 it was superseeded by P-51 not by cause of the famous RAF comparative evaluation held in 1940 but by mean of the whole time of production: a P-51 " combat ready"out of line in 40% time less P-40 in a General Motors timing performance evaluation test. But the time to produce a Bf-109 was very close to it...this is the reason why 33000 Bfs were built and less than 500 Mc 202 or only 350 Mc 205. Italian fighters were not studied to be mass produced: only Fiat G55 and Reggiane Re2005 were suitable for mass production. (Re 2005 was the most exploiting among those: during a dogfight over Gulf of Naples in July 1943 a whole wing of 3 Re-2005 fighters of 351° Squadriglia from Ciampino broke the sound barrier... the P-39s escorting a close box of B-17s reported about these supersonic divers as "untouchables"..) After Sep 8th 1943 Germans tried several times to transfer those production lines in the Reich with no result.
P.S.
"..What germans did with the extra ton"...nothing. Probably a large amount of this extra lead-weight due to extra "nuts & bolts" joints instead of TIG soldering structural parts. The rest due to extra-riveting "not working" aluminum stretched coverings of the wings and fuselage.
Last edited by gabriel pagliarani on 04 Nov 2003 18:55, edited 1 time in total.

Alternative Scenario
Member
Posts: 113
Joined: 12 May 2003 20:52
Location: UK

Post by Alternative Scenario » 02 Nov 2003 23:45

One problem about the Germans making Italian fighters (in Germany) after 1943 was that such a transfer of equipment and men would have been difficult to achieve in the circumstances pertaining to that time! Also building them in Italy would have also difficult, lack of raw materials and labour (but they did build quite a lot of SM 82s I seem to remember).

I am also sure that there was a natural reluctance of German engineers to admit that the Italians despite less resources had produced a comparable fighter(s) and this would also have been an issue?

The real mistake was in the lack of joint work between the Italian-German aircraft industries both pre war and in the period 1939-41. The Italians would have been able to produced world class aircraft with a bit of help (engines!) for operational duty in 1940. Also Italian aircraft production could have been a useful adjunct to the Germans own. All Luftwaffe units fighting in the Med could have been re-equipped with Mc 202 or G55 if they had been available earlier - reducing the problems of maintaining Luftwaffe aircraft in North Africa. Italian built aircraft sold to the Hungarians and Rumanians would also have been of a much higher quality and had more value on the Eastern front!

User avatar
PanzerKing
Member
Posts: 1244
Joined: 28 Feb 2003 02:26
Location: Texas USA

Post by PanzerKing » 03 Nov 2003 00:59

Another reason the Axis lost, lack or cooperation!

gabriel pagliarani
Member
Posts: 1583
Joined: 01 Aug 2002 03:11
Location: ITALY

Post by gabriel pagliarani » 03 Nov 2003 10:57

Alternative Scenario wrote:..I am also sure that there was a natural reluctance of German engineers to admit that the Italians despite less resources had produced a comparable fighter(s) and this would also have been an issue?..
Psyco troubles in German Engineer's mind towards Italy? Ferdinand Porsche went in Italy after WW2 and produced his own masterpiece "Cisitalia"... 8O No, your theory is unbelievable. There were a lot of technical problems: Italians during 30's developed in cooperations with USA TIG soldering techology and the light-joint among Aluminum stretched structural parts was hand-made by TIG soldering.(Tungsten electrodes+ inert gas+AC high voltage electric "plasma arc") Only few super-skilled italian workmanship was able to effort such a technology: not only but Tungsten was bought in Mexico till 1932 only. After 1935 the Society of Nations embargoed such a strategical raw material and Italian industry was cut off from massive aeronautical production. And Tungsten is only 1/200 of the whole raw materials embargoed by SoN... another link to Saddam's Irak.Savoia Marchetti trimotors had wooden fuselages and wings: this is the reason of their high number. Not only: using the right quality of alloies italian stellar engines could have the same power an reliability of the american ones: the design of any Piaggio engine was "buddy-buddy" with Wasps, Double Wasps, Cyclones and Double Cyclones. But without using stellite, carborundum, widia ect.ect. is impossible to achieve the same performances. What about fluids? Brake fluids, engine oil, skydrol were simply out of the reach of Italy. Premium gasoline was 80 octanes unleaded, in the while Allies had an astonishing Avio 140 octanes unleaded. What a difference! The truth in the fact that italian aeronautical industry was 100% complementary to US industry till WW1.

Mark V
Financial supporter
Posts: 3925
Joined: 22 May 2002 09:41
Location: Suomi Finland

Re: A ton less

Post by Mark V » 03 Nov 2003 19:44

gabriel pagliarani wrote:Max linear speed is relatively not as much relevant as many other useful performances like manouvrability, dive speed, capacity to store kinetik energy after sudden derapages and dives, climb rate, fire power, roll-rate speed, resistance and armour effectiveness.
gabriel pagliarani wrote:All this stuff to say that any comparison between WW2 fighters must be locked to the skilness of the crews and to the tactical situations. If the "chassis" of italian fighters was outstanding, the poor quality level of main subsistems reduced this weak superiority. The power of the engine was only a small part of this equation..
Hi,

For once: I agree 100 % with you Gabriel.


Regards, Mark V


BTW. Italian 80/87 octane fuel was not unleaded though. About the difficulties of obtaining high-octane avgas and good lubricants -> absolutely true. And he/she who claims that Italians hadn't extremely high competence on combustion piston engine engine development is nutcase... nothing has changed since those times... only Italians can make engineering to be an art. :D

Witch-King of Angmar
Member
Posts: 915
Joined: 28 Feb 2003 20:40
Location: Europe

Re: A ton less

Post by Witch-King of Angmar » 03 Nov 2003 21:18

Mark V wrote:And he/she who claims that Italians hadn't extremely high competence on combustion piston engine engine development is nutcase... nothing has changed since those times... only Italians can make engineering to be an art. :D
He/she who claims that Italians hadn't extremely high competence of combustion piston engines development obviously never heard of a few guys like Vittorio Jano(Alfa Romeo 6C 1500/1750, 8C 2300/2600/2900, 6C 2300/2500), Giuseppe Merosi(Alfa Romeo RL/RM), Gioacchino Colombo, the six Maserati brothers and last but not least.... Enzo Ferrari :P :D

~The Witch King of Angmar

gabriel pagliarani
Member
Posts: 1583
Joined: 01 Aug 2002 03:11
Location: ITALY

Post by gabriel pagliarani » 03 Nov 2003 22:26

MarkV & Witch,
mmmhhh... :? have you tasted and tested a Ducati 999 recently? Too much enthusiast both...a probable back-draft of an adrenalin overdose. 8) But I still prefer jap engines. Banzai!

Mark V
Financial supporter
Posts: 3925
Joined: 22 May 2002 09:41
Location: Suomi Finland

Post by Mark V » 04 Nov 2003 21:38

gabriel pagliarani wrote:MarkV & Witch,
mmmhhh... :? have you tasted and tested a Ducati 999 recently? Too much enthusiast both...a probable back-draft of an adrenalin overdose. 8) But I still prefer jap engines. Banzai!
The most impressive example of Italian engineering to me have been the roar of 5.2 litre Lambo V-12 - you can't beat that intake sound of Weber carbs - and the whining of the engine in high revs....

It is work of an artist - plain engineer can't design anything even remotely resembling such.

Huohh... wish i owned one.... :roll: (Countach i mean)

Mark V

PS. Back to the timeframe of our forum. There was indeed serious problems with development resources and acquiring adequate materials. Still, Italian Isotta-Fraschini marine engines were the best in the world at that time (turn of 30s to 40s) if gasoline engines are talked about. Did you know that even Brits used them in their new build MTBs up to the time when Italy joined the war and supply of engines dried ?? ... and were forced to settle for poor domestic substitutes (Hall-Scott) until the equally powerfull and reliable US-build Packard engines were available in sufficient numbers.

RN does not use foreign designs - unless it is overwhelmingly superior to anything build in homeland....

gabriel pagliarani
Member
Posts: 1583
Joined: 01 Aug 2002 03:11
Location: ITALY

Post by gabriel pagliarani » 05 Nov 2003 15:41

Mark V wrote:...The most impressive example of Italian engineering to me have been the roar of 5.2 litre Lambo V-12 - you can't beat that intake sound of Weber carbs - and the whining of the engine in high revs....
It is work of an artist - plain engineer can't design anything even remotely resembling such.
Huohh... wish i owned one.... :roll: (Countach i mean)....
Perhaps the basement and crankshaft of Lambo 5 liters was originally a U.S. Chrysler, but this is another funny story. As funny the meaning of the word "Countach": a farmer was pissing on one side of the country-road that the testers usually run every day between Modena and Ferrara. When that incredible roaring prototype shocked him, the poor man still pissing on his own shoes turned 90° in the direction of the outcoming beast shouting "Countach..". When the still laughing pilot was back in the factory, he asked to his own mechanics what kind of word had to shout him that poor farmer. The answer was "countach" which meaning in that impossible slang was "suck..." :lol:

Return to “Luftwaffe air units and Luftwaffe in general”