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Thread: Which was better? BF109 or FW190

  1. #1
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    Default Which was better? BF109 or FW190

    Hypothetical question for our aviation experts. You are a pilot in a P-51 Mustang. Which German plane do you fear more, the BF109 or the FW190?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Which was better? BF109 or FW190

    There is a lot of stuff on the net about this, including a Quora question I'll post a link to, although I haven't yet read it. I'm by no means an expert on Luftwaffe individual aircraft, but from what I've read it seems a lot/most of the Jadgwaffe "Expertin" pilots seemed to fly the Me109. Why? Perhaps because it preceded the FW190 and the pilots got to know the Me109's strengths and weaknesses and their comfort level was well established? The highest scoring ace pilot (of all time?) was Erich Hartmann who flew on the Eastern Front in a Me109 and was extremely proficient in it. So much so he even hesitated to transition to fly jet fighters although he would eventually fly the Me262...

    One opinion from the link above:

    The Bf-109 was generally more maneuverable in the horizontal pane, especially the F series. The Fw-190 had higher climb rate, speed and acceleration. It could dive or climb away from opponents weapon parameters and approach from the rear or above, where a slower opponent is unable turn his weapons.

    The shorter wings generate less drag and improve roll rate. This is important because in a defensive scenario the pilot is unlikely to out-turn his pursuer, instead uses abrupt changes in flight direction; left to right, up and down, also known as “scissors”. Followed by a smooth evasive drive or climb to acquire the pursuer from a higher perch.

    Illustration of the “scissor” maneuver

    This made it the better of the two because it was thought better to out do Allied fighters like the Spitfire and Yak through higher speed and climb rate, than through maneuverability; they were already quite agile. Plus German bombers can cruise at altitudes where climb rate advantage is more apparent. However the Bf 109G series equipped with DB605 engines had higher ceiling of 12,000 meters and better high altitude performance than the A series.

    Which aircraft is better though does depend on the opposing force. The Fw-190 fares better against low level fighters due to obvious energy advantage. But against opponents with similar or better climb rates like the later Merlin powered Spitfire, Yak-9 and La-7, the Fw-190 is less maneuverable and a heavily armed but otherwise easy target.

    BMW 801 D-2 engine which powered the Fw-190 A series

    Which aircraft is better though does depend on the opposing force. The Fw-190 fares better against low level fighters due to obvious energy advantage. But against opponents with similar or better climb rates like the later Merlin powered Spitfire, Yak-9 and La-7, the Fw-190 is less maneuverable and a heavily armed but otherwise easy target.

    BMW 801 D-2 engine which powered the Fw-190 A series

    Against high altitude fighters like the P-51D, P-47D and Lavochkin La-5FN equipped with a specialized supercharger, it actually has a speed disadvantage in addition to being less maneuverable. Thus the Bf-109, which doesn’t depend on advantage of energy as heavily, would fare better. This is partly the reason why top scoring Luftwaffe aces preferred it over the Fw-190.

    --David Trapp, former Turbine Engine Specialist
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 1 Week Ago at 01:43 PM.

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