Speaker Topic

Basics of World War II Dogfighting

There are many misconceptions about how the dogfight in World War II evolved after what we call today the “merge.” By definition, the merge is when two (or more) airplanes from opposing sides begin to maneuver in close proximity to shoot the other side down. 

In the days before air-to-air missiles, to shoot down the enemy, you had to maneuver your airplane to point the nose of your airplane so your forward-firing guns could hit your enemy. This meant you had to lead the target, compensate for bullet drop and dispersion, and constantly changing relative motion and airspeed. It is a very dynamic, three-dimensional fight in which flying skill, experience in the air, and in the airplane being flown combined with tactics will carry the day.

Back then, the best fighters had power (or thrust) to weight ratios of less than 1 to 1. This means that, even at full military power, as soon as the pilot rolls into a bank, the fighter slows. Increase g’s which increases the effective wight of the airplane and/or angle of bank and the airplane slows faster.

So in this video, you’ll learn about the difference between radius of turn and rate of turn and why the difference is important. You’ll also understand how the Thatch Weave works, how it came about and why it is still used today. All of this and more in this video. Enjoy watching.

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