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View Full Version : what most common altitude hunting/dogfight?



italianofalco
04-16-2010, 06:16 PM
Hi calling to all good WWII aviation experts here I would like to know some good report about what where the altitude were dogfights had take actions knowing (obviously) that they had been done depending also from that type of aircraft involved eg. I presume during last year of WWII large formation of B17/b25 escorted by P51 had hunted storms of bf 109 AT may be 5.000 / 7.000 meters or that on pacific area during 1st stage of war dogfights had been between (may be) A6m2 and p39 at 1.000 (?) /2.000 meters on guadalcanal.. so please if anyone want to post under here some good historical information about the "common" right altitude for dogfights selected by planes/geographical area/WWII period of time.
Thank you for your contribute may be a good reference information library to collect here for good knowledge for all folk here too other than me I hope http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

R_Target
04-16-2010, 06:28 PM
High altitude engagements were not rare in the PTO. P-39 and P-40 would fight lower out of necessity, but Zeke and Betty were regularly fought at 6000m-8000m, sometimes 10,000m by other allied planes.

TinyTim
04-16-2010, 06:46 PM
Lions share of air combat in second world war was undoubtedly contributed by Eastern front. Low and medium altitudes mostly, since it was a clash of tactical air forces, not strategic ones like on the West and Pacific.

VW-IceFire
04-16-2010, 06:52 PM
It's a real mix. I guess the average altitude if you count all of the activity in the war would be around 10,000 feet/3000ish meters. Depends a lot on the theater but even then it gets a bit murky.

Take Western Europe where the fights were happening all the way down from 30,000 feet to pretty much the deck. Mustangs would go in escorting high and then drop down on the return and strafe whatever they wanted to. Once the war became tactical then you had Spitfires, Typhoons and Tempests all working at much lower altitudes in the last months.

The Eastern Front was a mostly lower altitude affair with fewer high altitude activity. The performance for the Russians simply wasn't there most of the time and for both sides the war was so tactical and the battle lines on the ground were so important that the combat stayed down there (quite unlike Western Europe in say 1943 where it was quite a bit of a bomber/escort fighter/intercepting fighter affair).

TinyTim
04-16-2010, 07:18 PM
Let's not forget VVS had about 1000 MiG-3s operational at the time Germany invaded in the summer of 1941. MiG-3 at that time was the fastest operational fighter in the world, reaching 640kph at 7.200m (!), which was considerably more than both SpitV and 109F, making it probably the best high altitude fighter fielded in large numbers by any country. Contrary to popular belief, at the beginning of the war Russians lacked modern low to medium altitude fighters that could take on Germans on equal terms - high altitude was their grounds.

The nature of the combat however forced them to produce low/med altitude fighters since there simply was no need for high alt ones. They were however developing high altitude engines and fighter prototypes, which could be put in the production if need be.

It was not a lack of capacity or technology. It was a lack of need.

BillSwagger
04-16-2010, 07:22 PM
Its generally perceived that the Pac and MTO as well as the Eastern front theaters were fought at lower altitudes but from some reading, "lower" could still be as high as 20,000ft. You also have to consider the nature and the roll of the aircraft. You have "fighter sweeps" which are lower altitude missions, generally aimed at hitting any aircraft attempting to climb above the clouds, and possible targets of opportunity like bridges and convoys. This happened in every theater of war, which means a dogfight could really be at any altitude.

The higher altitude escort missions are best remembered by the day time raids conducted by the USAAF, and was more common practice in the Western front as well as later in the MTO from southern Italy to Romania. This doesn't exclude high altitude missions utilized by the Axis powers especially by Japan over the Pacific and into China/Burma.
Come to think of it, the Darwin raid took place above 30,000ft.



Bill

VXB77016
04-17-2010, 02:39 AM
Even in WWI fighters would stack up as high as they could, they were basically limited by the bends in terms of the potential E they could carry into the fight, otherwise they would have flown higher. WWI altitudes are nothing less than astounding--and then you consider the fact that they (for the most part) didn't have O2 masks.

Fighter pilots are very fond of E, so I'd take the term "low altitude front" with a boulder of salt. Think about it, when was the last time you decided to go in on the deck, just for poops and giggles? Now imagine if your life was on the line.

The big exception to this rule, is the Eastern front where the journals of Soviet pilots repeatedly record their frustration at being attacked by high flying German planes employing classic BNZ tactics. Some of these journals also tacitly suggest that regulations lashed the Soviet pilots to lower than desired altitudes, and hint at the fact that higher altitudes were preferred (or normally/sometimes/occassionally?) flown. While reading these sources, one gets the feeling that the VVS was familiar with the frustration the Luftwaffe felt during the BoB, when they were eventually shackled to the bombers.

Left to their own devices, pilots will climb as high as possible. You're likely familiar with this rule, it's the first and most fundamental rule a sim pilot ever learns.

thefruitbat
04-17-2010, 05:08 AM
Originally posted by VXB77016:
Even in WWI fighters would stack up as high as they could, they were basically limited by the bends in terms of the potential E they could carry into the fight, otherwise they would have flown higher. WWI altitudes are nothing less than astounding--and then you consider the fact that they (for the most part) didn't have O2 masks.

Fighter pilots are very fond of E, so I'd take the term "low altitude front" with a boulder of salt. Think about it, when was the last time you decided to go in on the deck, just for poops and giggles? Now imagine if your life was on the line.

The big exception to this rule, is the Eastern front where the journals of Soviet pilots repeatedly record their frustration at being attacked by high flying German planes employing classic BNZ tactics. Some of these journals also tacitly suggest that regulations lashed the Soviet pilots to lower than desired altitudes, and hint at the fact that higher altitudes were preferred (or normally/sometimes/occassionally?) flown. While reading these sources, one gets the feeling that the VVS was familiar with the frustration the Luftwaffe felt during the BoB, when they were eventually shackled to the bombers.

Left to their own devices, pilots will climb as high as possible. You're likely familiar with this rule, it's the first and most fundamental rule a sim pilot ever learns.

no point of being at 8000m, if the ground attack planes your escorting are 500m...

VXB77016
04-17-2010, 08:26 AM
Right, but as the WWI pilots quickly figured out, to get a single recon flight over the trenches, you need to stack your coverage, three or more layers high. Up to the limits of human physiology.

The hammer may fall at tree level, but to get it there requires a massive surpluss of E.

I used to be a hardcore Havoc/DB7 CAS pilot in WWIIonline, so I certainly understand where you're coming from. My squadron mates used to have to stack the deck up to 30k feet to clear the air for my six-pack of bombers to get in at tree top level.

JtD
04-17-2010, 11:02 AM
There's lots of info on Luftwaffe kill claims, many of which also list the altitude of the kill. So for the Luftwaffe, you can go here (http://www.lesbutler.ip3.co.uk/tony/tonywood.htm), go through the pdfs and do some counting and come back with a pretty good result.

BillSwagger
04-17-2010, 01:58 PM
Originally posted by VXB77016:

The hammer may fall at tree level, but to get it there requires a massive surpluss of E.



Tactically that makes sense, where a mission might involve a ground attack, there needs to be top cover to protect those fighters/bombers, and additional cover to protect the top cover, and additional cover......as high as they could get. It is not the roll or the task of a fighter at 8000m to protect or advance on fighters at 500m.

In the context of the eastern front, as well as the MTO, the German planes had a climb advantage as well as a ceiling advantage. An interview with a Russian pilot revealed that tactically the Germans avoided a fight unless they had the altitude advantage. This is frustrating for a pilot when your enemy has the speed to escape and the ability to climb away and then come back with in a few minutes with a height advantage. Such tactics on trying to beat the 109 to an altitude advantage would fail, so it wouldn't surprise me if the altitudes were kept lower so that planes could successfully stack against a 109s.


This of course goes with the notion that attacking is coordinated with units on the ground, as well as advantages that are related to the weather, and angle of sunlight or lack there of. Russia advanced more heavily with tanks so sending in air support would require lower altitude operations to combat counter offensives with enemy tanks, troops, etc. They probably operated more successfully when it was overcast and with the sun at their backs.

The battle of the bulge dealt with the same fervor, where most of the war was on the ground and air support was needed to combat against counter offensives from the enemy. The idea being that the attack is coordinated, air units are put in place so they can drop bombs on the opposition where necessary. An example would be P-47s that would circle the area with bombs at just under the vapor altitude, and await orders on where to drop them as troops advanced and met opposition, or if they were retreating and needed air support.

DKoor
04-17-2010, 02:09 PM
Originally posted by TinyTim:
Let's not forget VVS had about 1000 MiG-3s operational at the time Germany invaded in the summer of 1941. MiG-3 at that time was the fastest operational fighter in the world, reaching 640kph at 7.200m (!), which was considerably more than both SpitV and 109F, making it probably the best high altitude fighter fielded in large numbers by any country. Contrary to popular belief, at the beginning of the war Russians lacked modern low to medium altitude fighters that could take on Germans on equal terms - high altitude was their grounds.

The nature of the combat however forced them to produce low/med altitude fighters since there simply was no need for high alt ones. They were however developing high altitude engines and fighter prototypes, which could be put in the production if need be.

It was not a lack of capacity or technology. It was a lack of need.

I tend to agree with this.

Almost as a rule all Russian airplanes have their best performance at lower altitudes where they needed to escort Sturmoviks, do a recon missions, intercept Stukas, Henschels & Junkers' 88s... if Germans ever produced a dedicated Eastern Front fighter there is little doubt in my mind that they would try to secure low alt supremacy in performance more than anything else.
Focke partially enabled them just that.

K_Freddie
04-17-2010, 04:51 PM
I think you can look at all altitudes.

If you're looking at how to 'fly' the game, you'd find most online server action at low altitudes (5000m-) with a few people up on the ceiling. It's a good idea to practice at all altitudes.
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

K_Freddie
04-17-2010, 05:08 PM
As for online game hunting.. if anything I hunt in a FW at zero feet - very effective and efficient. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

thefruitbat
04-17-2010, 05:20 PM
Originally posted by VXB77016:
Right, but as the WWI pilots quickly figured out, to get a single recon flight over the trenches, you need to stack your coverage, three or more layers high. Up to the limits of human physiology.

The hammer may fall at tree level, but to get it there requires a massive surpluss of E.

I used to be a hardcore Havoc/DB7 CAS pilot in WWIIonline, so I certainly understand where you're coming from. My squadron mates used to have to stack the deck up to 30k feet to clear the air for my six-pack of bombers to get in at tree top level.

i guess its a question of resources. What you say is completly correct if you've got the resources, and is the ideal setup to mount a ground attack for sure. This wasn't a luxery that was always afforded though, especially for the russians early on. But yes, i certainly agree with you if its possible http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

thefruitbat
04-17-2010, 05:24 PM
Originally posted by JtD:
There's lots of info on Luftwaffe kill claims, many of which also list the altitude of the kill. So for the Luftwaffe, you can go here (http://www.lesbutler.ip3.co.uk/tony/tonywood.htm), go through the pdfs and do some counting and come back with a pretty good result.

Great link, thank you JTDhttp://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

just had a quick look at a random 1942 eastern front list, and i guess rougly 90% of the kills are below 2000m, a lot well below that. Saw a couple at @5000m but very few that high.