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Comparing two twin-engined fighters from WWII, the Lockheed P-38J and the Messerschmitt Bf 110C-4
Mix & Match collections. I've always been facinated by the twin-engined fighters of WWII. Almost every nation made an effort to design one or more, and almost all the designs either failed to meet their original goals or were eventually successful in some new, unplanned role.

It's possible that the
Lockheed P-38 was the only twin-engined design that lived up to its pre-war promise, though at least two other designs may have been more successful had they been given enough time. While the P-38 struggled to do combat with single-engine fighters in the European theater, it was more successful over the Pacific. That success was due to the P-38's firepower, its ability to fly very high, its range, its ability to absorb damage, and its high speed. By and large Japanese types weren't as fast and weren't able to absorb the lethel firepower of the P-38.

Bf 110 showed initial promise in combat with less capable fighters from the less developed nations attacked by Germany in 1939 and
1940. Combat with more advanced British types proved its undoing as a day fighter. However, the design made a successful transition to the nightfighter roll as soon as British bombers began attacking German-occupied territories.

In this photo study, it was surprising to find that the Bf 110 was smaller and less bulky than the P-38, though the Messerschmitt had a larger wing area.

The two twin-engined fighters that might have made a name for themselves, but arrived too late in the war, were the
Grumman F7F Tigercat and the beautiful Mitsubishi Ki-83 two-seat escort fighter. The Tigercat was capable of speeds up to 435 mph, and had a 51 ft 6 in wingspan. The Ki-83 could reach 438 mph, and had a 50 ft 10 in wingspan. The following comment is from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War by Rene J. Francillon: "Had the war lasted longer, the Ki-83 would have been a formidable weapon as its performance compared favourably with that of the contemporary Grumman F7F Tigercat..."

Photographs Copyright © Collin Riley 2005-2014  

Copyright © Collin Riley 2005-2014 Email Diecast Airplanes & Waterline Ships
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