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The Making of a Modern Prop Fighter

Posted by tdcoish on December 9, 2019

GUNS ONLY

The romantic image of WW2 involves two fighters weaving around each other, each desperate to bring guns to bear. The reality of WW2 combat is that successful engagements were typically hit and run. As WW2 ace Erich Hartmann said, “I would attack only if I had 2000 meters of clearance above them, then I would come down with great speed…”. This was true of combat between all factions, and was especially prevalent amongst American and Japanese engagements, where later war American fighters massive speed advantage made them near untouchable against the Japanese fighters.

And it’s not particularly hard to understand why. If you are in a much faster plane, should you not like a certain engagement, you can just fly away. You can dive down and make attacks on your terms and, again, just fly away. The effective range of even 50 cals in the air is pretty short, and disorientated and surprised enemy pilots are going to have a tough time getting a return shot in. 

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