Focke-Wulf FW-190 vs P-51 Mustang – Which was better?


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Focke-Wulf FW-190 vs P-51 Mustang - Which was better?



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The FW-190 and P-51 Mustang are regarded by many as in the very top tier of fighter aircraft used in WW2, both had started off with more lowly expectations but through good design and upgrades by the end of the war, they were at the top of their respective airforces but was there a clear winner, in this video we try to find out.

Written, researched and presented by Paul Shillito
Images and footage: USAAF, RAF, German Ministry of Defence, NAA, Rolls Royce

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36 Comments

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  1. Tank never wanted to use an inferior Radial…when the RLM gave him some 2100 Plus Cubic Inch DB605s We Have an Underpowered 1650 Ancient Merlin, Carbureted, with 12.6 mm MGs located out on the Wings VS a 2100 with 15 mm MGs and 20 MM Kanon, all Centrally located—you shoot what you see…this was the D-9 and with a 30 MM Kanon added, the Ta 152. Which plane was better? The TA Ran a Jumo 213 E & F, service ceiling 45000 for the H….425 straight & level.

  2. Given the reputation of the Merlin engine I was surprised to find out that the Messerschmitt 109 actually had the more powerful motor.
    The Merlin upgrade really helped the P-51 though.

  3. I'll have to vote for the P-51D if for no other reason than it was the best looking plane to ever have been built. It reminds me of a Corvette with wings.

  4. Great vid, but to be pedantic at 13:49 you pronounced Kurts name as BuliNJen, There is no N in "Buhligen" & the G would be a hard G not a soft G as in J, oh & you forgot to pronounce the umlaut on the U. 🙂
    So it should be Kurt BoolyGen

  5. I kind of gravitate towards the testing the Americans did with a 190 vs the Corsair and Hellcat. Both US planes were significantly more maneuverable. Even the P47 could easily outturn the 190.
    The 190 was a bit faster in certain situations, and could climb slightly faster from certain speeds. The Corsair rolled better.
    Both US fighters were deemed to be more desirable to go into combat with, was the end conclusion.
    Same conclusion would be reached for the P51 as well, since tests against the F4U were essentially a dead heat.

  6. "Best"? In what respect? The last "true" Mustang (single engine, the P-51H) was never tested in combat. It may have turned out to be a nightmare for the few surviving German pilots but we will never know. Best as in "best return for the investment?"… no contest there. Mustangs flew in several wars following WWII. not so the FW-190. Best in a dogfight? I would venture that the Merlin engined Mustang had the edge over the earlier radial engined FW-190 at medium to high altitudes (the later FW-190 variants, FW-190D, Ta-152, were another thing entirely but still not invulnerable) but the real deciding factor was the skill of the pilot and finding yourself in the right place at the right time. Not saying that the Mustang was a super-weapon (they could be shot down too!). Each aircraft had its weaknesses and strengths. Who was best? Well, the FW-190 and its derivatives, as good as they were, could not save the Thousand Year Reich. Best isn't worth a damn if you lose the war.

  7. I grew up near mustang pilot and triple ace bud Anderson. I asked him a version of this question one day. I’m paraphrasing but he said “the planes don’t fly themselves”.

  8. VERY DIFFICULT TO MAKE AN ACCURATE COMPARISON BETWEEN THE TWO. THE FW-190 WAS REALLY USED FOR BOMBER INTERCEPT THE GREAT MAJORITY OF THE TIME; NOT DUELING WITH OTHER FIGHTERS. (THE USE OF 20 MM CANNON WAS NOT AN ACCIDENT; THE INTENT WAS TO INFLICT AS MUCH DAMAGE AS POSSIBLE ON BOMBER SQUADRONS). THIS EXTRA WEIGHT OF THE CANNON AMMO HADS A SIGNIFICANT EFFECT ON ITS SPEED AND HENCE ABILITY TO ENGAGE OTHER FIGHTERS.

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  10. While both planes were great planes, in a combat situation with both pilots being really good, the P 51 would win 90% of the time! I don't give it 100% because some things can change in a dogfight but the P 51 was the better airplane! In fact, it was the best fighter in WWII! You can love your 190's, 109's, Spitfires, and P47s but the P51 was the best!

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  12. And comparing aircraft when Allied aircraft had predominance since 1944 is also foolish. Try it 10-10 who would win?
    Better pilots would win!
    Recall the attack of the US pilots on the Mustangs who mistaken the La-7 for the Fw190A.
    Kozedub defended the US bombers with his group and stayed longer in battle, and these fools who did not cover their bombers paid for it! Kozedub also matched the Mustang's dominance of what they had done to him He cover your live and shot down 2 Mustangs
    So much for how good the Mustang was !!

    The US pilots mistaken La-7 and La5FN. This is confirmed by Czech and Slovak pilots in Slovakia
    when American bombers flew from Italy

  13. "Which was the better plane…hard to say"
    Great, so I watched all the way through all that filler that I already knew decades ago as well as two commercials to hear that.