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Thread: The Real-Life Y-Wing Equivalent

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    Registered User Ash DuQuennes's Avatar
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    Default The Real-Life Y-Wing Equivalent

    Anyone who knows me knows that I am an ardent Y-Wing fan. I don't dislike the other fighters; they all have their pros & cons, both aesthetically and functionally (within the bounds of the various versions available in the various game systems).

    But the moment I clapped eyes on the Y-Wing back in '77, it was (and will remain) my favorite.

    The reason for this (beyond aesthetics, of course) lies in my personality. I'm a "bigger hammer" type of quasi-militarist; it's why I joined the U.S. Army many years ago, and chose 19K as my MOS. For those unfamiliar with U.S. Army MOS's, 19K is "M1 Abrams Armored Vehicle Crewman." I did that for just shy of six years (I was allowed early release from my service, with an Honorable Discharge, due to the Army's "downsizing," and my having met time-in-service/time-in-grade criteria), including an eight month long trip to the Middle East during our first contretemps with Saddam Hussein.

    So the Y-Wing's designated role as an "attack fighter/light bomber" suits my personality to a T; I like blowing stuff up; and the bigger boom it makes when it goes, the better.

    Now, most of you are probably aware the George Lucas patterned his starfighter sequences from WWII aerial combat footage (in some cases, transposing directly from stock footage from gun cameras!); as such, it's not unreasonable to assume that the fighters themselves were also patterned after WWII fighters; the X-Wing easily fits the bill as, say, a P-51 Mustang, F4U Corsair, or the Supermarine Spitfire. That is, tough, fast, maneuverable, air superiority aircraft.

    The T.I.E. fighter could be equivalent to say, the A6M Zero; fast and maneuverable, reasonably well armed, but not as tough or rugged as the Allied counterparts.

    That leaves us with a question: what WWII-era fighter/light bomber does the Y-Wing equate to? Note that I am not limiting the possibilities solely to Allied aircraft. The aircraft I think fit the bill are all a little too light to be true bombers, yet a little too heavy to be considered fighters, yet had the performance and handling characteristics to still be dangerous to their faster, more agile fighter adversaries.

    With the twin-engine/twin-boom configuration, several possibilities come to mind, like the P-38 Lightning. But the P-38 was first and foremost a high-speed fighter, not an attack craft; as such, I don't think that the Y-Wing comparison fits the bill.

    Perhaps a Douglas A-20 Havoc?

    Or maybe a Messerschmitt Bf 110?

    Or a Junkers Ju 88?

    One of the lesser know aircraft (from a U.S. perspective, at least) is the Russian Petlyakov Pe-2; while it had some "teething problems" in earlier variants (name a WWII-era aircraft that didn't, to some extent), later models saw significant improvements, and earned the ungrudging respect of it's German adversaries.

    Though it is only a single-engine fighter, the Japanese Aichi B7A Ryusei ("Shooting Star") compares favorably, I think, when considered from a doctrinal standpoint; an outstanding craft, it came "too little, too late" in the war to make any significant impact on the Japanese warfighting capability.

    Considering that, in Star Wars canon, the Y-Wing is an older design craft, a favorable comparison might be made to the Douglas A-1 Skyraider. Yet another single-engine design, it had a long service life due to its performance and versatility, surviving from late WWII up to and through the Vietnam War.

    So what say you, Holonetters? What WWII-era aircraft do you all think compares most favorably with the Y-Wing?
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    Why not go with the P-38 Lightning!
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    Moderator: Roleplaying Forum coldskier0320's Avatar
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    I'm thinking along the lines of a P-47...heavy, not the most maneuverable thing in the sky, but durable and tough as nails...and one of them can carry more than half the boomers of a B-17.
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    Registered User Ash DuQuennes's Avatar
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    I've restricted (myself, mostly) to disallowing anything with a "P" designator; that's a Pursuit aircraft.

    Although in fairness, many a "P" and "F" designed-and-designated aircraft also excelled in the "A" and "B" missions.

    So I may have been hasty in dismissing the P-38; after all, it first flew in January 1939, making it one of the "older" aircraft designs by war's end. And, despite its size, it was a rather nimble aircraft; and in the same category, speed-wise, as later designs like the F4U and P-51.

    As well, it's nose-mounted armament (4 .50 cal machineguns and a 20mm autocannon) is analogous to the Y-Wing's weapons configuration, too.

    That leaves the issue of the canopy mounted ion cannons; it's one of the reasons I initially went with heavier "A" designated craft, like the A-20 and Pe-2.
    Last edited by Ash DuQuennes; 8 December 2016 at 12:00 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldskier0320 View Post
    I'm thinking along the lines of a P-47...heavy, not the most maneuverable thing in the sky, but durable and tough as nails...and one of them can carry more than half the boomers of a B-17.
    Doctrinally and performance-wise, the P-47 fits the bill; and even though I threw up two single-engine examples myself, I'm thinking twin-engined craft are more appropriate. At least for now. ;-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ash DuQuennes View Post
    Doctrinally and performance-wise, the P-47 fits the bill; and even though I threw up two single-engine examples myself, I'm thinking twin-engined craft are more appropriate. At least for now. ;-)
    After I did a bit of reading (thanks for spurring that, btw), I generally seemed to feel that the SW analogues to most of the twin engine craft would be things like the Skipray Blastboat, Assault Gunboat, and even stuff like the Millenium Falcon: a ship that can travel at near-starfighter speeds, but incorporates a small 2-5 man crew, with dedicated gunners in battle. Even a B-wing might fall into this category as well...basically ships that can dogfight, but aren't well suited for it.

    I didn't really weigh the 1 vs 2 engine thing heavily in my comparison, since the Y-wing is a 2 engine...but so is the tiny A-wing, and the X-wing has 4.

    In purely hypothetical terms, I think that an attacking squadron of Y-wings would be defeated by a similarly sized group of TIE/ln fighters, let alone interceptors...but in a 1940's analogous situation, I think that a dozen Zeroes would absolutely shred up a similar number of most of these twin engine planes being tossed around. I think that, given the Y-wing's track record in heads-up air-to-air engagements, it's performance falls more in line with the lighter, more agile, single engined fighter-bombers. From the reading I did, it seems that the twin-engine planes could be fairly easily out-maneuvered by interceptors, who could engage at their leisure and pretty easily stay out from under the guns of the bigger planes...I see the SW analogues as taking the threat posed by Y-wings as less serious than, say, and X-wing or TIE, but certainly something to respect. While a Y-wing's primary strength was at the squadron level, being a far faster, more maneuverable delivery method for a dose of explosives than anything capable of delivering it in a single ship, it was also quite capable in more traditional fighter roles as well.

    Crew is an interesting situation, as it depends on whether you consider the astromech as "crew" or "equipment". If the former, then you have a standard 3 person crew, which lends credence to the 2-engine plane analogue. If the latter, you have a ship with a crew of 2, with a 1 crew variant...which, from what I've seen, would suggest a single engine analogue.

    That said, in the world of twin-engine planes, I'd say it's most similar to the Ju 88, Pe-2, or de Haviland Mosquito.
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    Yeah, I actually had the Mosquito floating around in my head. It seems coldskier beat me to mentioning it.

    The JU-88 could also fit the bill. Slow. Has a mighty punch when it has time to do its thing. And if a fighter got on it's tail, it's a goner.
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    Default Narrowing the Field...

    Quote Originally Posted by coldskier0320 View Post
    After I did a bit of reading (thanks for spurring that, btw), I generally seemed to feel that the SW analogues to most of the twin engine craft would be things like the Skipray Blastboat, Assault Gunboat, and even stuff like the Millenium Falcon: a ship that can travel at near-starfighter speeds, but incorporates a small 2-5 man crew, with dedicated gunners in battle. Even a B-wing might fall into this category as well...basically ships that can dogfight, but aren't well suited for it.
    Perhaps so; craft like the A-20, A-26 seem to fit this category better.

    Quote Originally Posted by coldskier0320 View Post
    I didn't really weigh the 1 vs 2 engine thing heavily in my comparison, since the Y-wing is a 2 engine...but so is the tiny A-wing, and the X-wing has 4.
    You're entirely correct about actual numbers of engines not being particularly relevant to the comparison. But, having said that, the Y-Wing's twin-nacelle configuration, coupled with roles of the twin-engined fighters of WWII (Lightning, Mosquito), probably had me more "hung up" on a twin-engined configuration than is strictly necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by coldskier0320 View Post
    In purely hypothetical terms, I think that an attacking squadron of Y-wings would be defeated by a similarly sized group of TIE/ln fighters, let alone interceptors...but in a 1940's analogous situation, I think that a dozen Zeroes would absolutely shred up a similar number of most of these twin engine planes being tossed around.
    I think that would be more mission dependent than craft-dependent; any craft acting in an attack/ground support role, be it an "A," "B," "P," or "F" configuration (and the lines blurred between these to considerable extent) is going to be vulnerable to interdiction without covering fighters. Otherwise, they have to abandon their attack/ground support mission until and as such time as enemy fighter presence is reduced to acceptable levels as to allow them to carry on with their support role.

    Quote Originally Posted by coldskier0320 View Post
    I think that, given the Y-wing's track record in heads-up air-to-air engagements, it's performance falls more in line with the lighter, more agile, single engined fighter-bombers. From the reading I did, it seems that the twin-engine planes could be fairly easily out-maneuvered by interceptors, who could engage at their leisure and pretty easily stay out from under the guns of the bigger planes...I see the SW analogues as taking the threat posed by Y-wings as less serious than, say, and X-wing or TIE, but certainly something to respect. While a Y-wing's primary strength was at the squadron level, being a far faster, more maneuverable delivery method for a dose of explosives than anything capable of delivering it in a single ship, it was also quite capable in more traditional fighter roles as well.
    True enough, which is why I'm coming around to the P-38 and Mosquito. Your prior example of the P-47 is well taken, too; I had to re-read up on it, but yeah, I see it.

    Quote Originally Posted by coldskier0320 View Post
    Crew is an interesting situation, as it depends on whether you consider the astromech as "crew" or "equipment". If the former, then you have a standard 3 person crew, which lends credence to the 2-engine plane analogue. If the latter, you have a ship with a crew of 2, with a 1 crew variant...which, from what I've seen, would suggest a single engine analogue.
    Well, that depends upon the astromech...and the GM! Bog-standard off-the-shelf R2 units are fairly capable, but compared to long-service droids like R2-D2, they're little more than clever appliances. IOW: R2-D2 is definitely a "crew member;" a standard R2 is not.

    Quote Originally Posted by coldskier0320 View Post
    That said, in the world of twin-engine planes, I'd say it's most similar to the Ju 88, Pe-2, or de Haviland Mosquito.
    For twin-engine configurations, I'd say Bf-110, Pe-2, or Mosquito, with the P-38 being an "outlier," performance wise, but otherwise an acceptable candidate, too.
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    I think that would be more mission dependent than craft-dependent; any craft acting in an attack/ground support role, be it an "A," "B," "P," or "F" configuration (and the lines blurred between these to considerable extent) is going to be vulnerable to interdiction without covering fighters. Otherwise, they have to abandon their attack/ground support mission until and as such time as enemy fighter presence is reduced to acceptable levels as to allow them to carry on with their support role.
    Oh yeah, I wasn't suggesting a mission aside from a straight up fight. 12 Y-wings stacked up against 12 TIE/ln fighters...normalizing pilot skill across all 24 elements, I think it's very close...with the speed and agility advantage of the TIEs being more or less cancelled out by shields, torps, and a turret gun on the Y-wing. It's really close, but I'd have to give a slight edge to the TIE group in that situation, given that they can dictate the terms of the engagement with their better speed: if things aren't favorable, they have the luxury of breaking off until that changes. If things ARE favorable for the TIEs, their opponents can't simply choose not to engage.

    So in that case, I see it as a *very* close thing. That said, going to the WW2 analogues, for most of the craft you're considering, encountering a similarly sized group of TIE analogues, I think many of the units you're considering get absolutely devastated by the bandits...which is why I was more inclined to go to the single engine craft, which would seem to fare much better in a straight up dogfight.

    For twin-engine configurations, I'd say Bf-110, Pe-2, or Mosquito, with the P-38 being an "outlier," performance wise, but otherwise an acceptable candidate, too.
    I think (and have thought since seeing it, that the ARC-170 is a P-38 analogue...but I might be way off there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldskier0320 View Post
    I think (and have thought since seeing it, that the ARC-170 is a P-38 analogue...but I might be way off there.
    Didn't the ARC-170 have a three-man crew, though? Making it more analogous to, say, the P-61? In which case, heh, the P-61 (in configuration, if not in concept or operational history) is a lot more like the Y-Wing; reading up on the P-61, it seems it had a lot of potential that wasn't developed until too late in the war to have any real effect on its outcome. Additionally, by that time, there were other, more capable (or at least better developed) aircraft on-hand and operational, and upgrading or further developing the P-61 was unwarranted.

    With the reading I've been doing, it's looking more-and-more like the P-47, performance-wise, is fitting the bill.
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    I believe everyone's skipped past the Vought F4U Corsair which could pack a 1-ton bomb down the center & a 1/2-ton bomb on each wing. Coupled with the 6 .50 cal (12.7mm) guns, that's a lotta hurtpower for a plane much better known as a Fighter/Interceptor.


    I do tend to agree, the P-47 Thunderbolt 1 is a better fit given its slower relative speed & somewhat better firepower (8 .50's vs. 4 in the P-51C & 6 in the P-51D) than the F/P Fighter/Interceptors, along with Legendary durability.

    The History Channel produced a series titled Dogfights, one episode focused on the P47 "Jug" and included one engagement (and IIRC surviving pilot interview) where a German pilot in a Messerschmitt Bf-109 tried to shoot down a Thundrbolt 1 & wound up breaking off the engagement after running out of ammo while the P47 stubbornly kept flying.


    I think the P-38 Lighting or DeHavilland Mosquito isn't a good fit. The P-38 normally mounted 2 .50 cal MG & 1 20mm cannon in the nose with no wing guns while the Mosquito was known the be surprisingly fast & maneuverable for a bomber (as well as having an unintentionally low radar signature due to its largely wooden construction). The Gunship Variant of the Mosquito packed in a 6-Pounder (57mm antitank) artillery piece, leaning more to the B-Wing range of Snubbies IMHO.



    BTW, the "Whole Nine Yards" is a reference to the P-51D, whose ammo belts per gun was slightly short 27ft per gun, or about 54 yards of ammo total. Giving The Whole Nine Yards originally meant putting almost 1900 .50 cal rounds into a target.

    The Thunderbolt 2 is much more commonly known as the A-10 "Warthog", while the F-35 Lightning 2 Joint Strike Fighter hasn't really entered service AFAIK.
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    Didn't the ARC-170 have a three-man crew, though? Making it more analogous to, say, the P-61?
    I was speaking more in terms of battlefield role than the nuts and bolts of operation, but yes, you're absolutely right in everything you said.
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    Sorry for the delay in getting back; I was on my "3-days on" rotation at work, and a 12-hour shift don't leave a lot of time on my 12-hours off for 'net gabbin'.

    So...it seems like a consensus is emerging wrt the P-47. At 433 mph/29,000 ft, it was hardly slow; the P-51D clocks at ~440 mph/25,000 ft, the F4U-4 is 440 mph/26,200 ft.

    Given the number built (15,000+), its ubiquity may also lend credence to the Y-Wing comparison.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ash DuQuennes View Post
    Sorry for the delay in getting back; I was on my "3-days on" rotation at work, and a 12-hour shift don't leave a lot of time on my 12-hours off for 'net gabbin'.

    So...it seems like a consensus is emerging wrt the P-47. At 433 mph/29,000 ft, it was hardly slow; the P-51D clocks at ~440 mph/25,000 ft, the F4U-4 is 440 mph/26,200 ft.

    Given the number built (15,000+), its ubiquity may also lend credence to the Y-Wing comparison.
    IIRC you've expressed that the AC2 X-Wing has a slight speed advantage over the S3 Y-Wing. Your numbers show the P51 possesses a slight speed advantage over the P47, though I expect range and maneuverability to be a "difference in spades".


    Fun Fact: According to pilots who flew the P51 in WW2, the drop tanks were made in England & pretty much Papier Mache.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Vanger Chevane View Post
    IIRC you've expressed that the AC2 X-Wing has a slight speed advantage over the S3 Y-Wing. Your numbers show the P51 possesses a slight speed advantage over the P47, though I expect range and maneuverability to be a "difference in spades".
    Well, the WEG d6 2ed. has the T-65B X-Wing and BTL-S3 Y-Wing (what the Rebels had at the battle of Yavin) at Space 8/Maneuverability 3D and Space 7/Maneuverability 2D, respectively. The WotC d20 2ed/Revised Core Rule Book drops the Maneuverability score, and puts them as Maximum Speed in Space at Ramming/10 and Attack/8, respectively.

    The T-65C-A2 X-Wing is mentioned in passing in the WEG d6 Rebel Alliance Sourcebook, 2ed., but as far as I know, was never officially "statted" for either the d6 system or the d20. I used the fan-based "net guide" by Jim Williams for its stats in The Departed. Reading over Mr. William's stats for the various models of X-Wings, they represent, IMO, a reasonable and gradual improvement with each successive model of X-Wing. The T-65C-A2 was ostensibly the standard Rebel X-Wing at the Battle of Endor. The T-65C-A3 has only a slight improvement in Hull over the -A2; it is otherwise identical to the -A2 in performance and armament. The -A3 is the standard New Republic X-Wing in The Departed, and has largely supplanted the -A2, freeing them up for surplus sales.

    I likewise used a net guide for the Y-Wing in The Departed, this one by Urban Lundqvist. He essentially "postulated" a "Y-Wing, mk. II" series of craft, such as the BTL-A6 "Longprobe II" and BTL-S7 Y-Wing II, the successor to the BTL-S3. Again, Mr. Lundqvist, like Mr. Williams, used an incremental progression to his improvements. Ostensibly, according to Mr. Lundqvist, the Y-Wing II began replacing the earlier model Y-Wings in the Rebel arsenal after the Battle of Yavin.

    In any case, this puts the T-65C-A2 at Maximum Speed in Space Ramming/10, and the BTL-S7 Y-Wing II at Ramming/9 (all ships get a +1 "speed bump" when porting stats over from d6 to d20). Other improvements between the models closes the "Maneuverability" gap, with the T-65-series holding at 3D/+9, while the BTL-S7 goes from 2D to 2D+2/+8.

    On a side note, with regards to "Maneuverability" ratings in d20, I was the one to re-introduce the d6 Maneuverability ratings to ALL starships in The Departed, for several reasons. One, it gave everyone a quick-and-easy reference to gauge the reltive maneuverability of any craft, for easy comparisons. Two, it gave player-pilots a "bump" on the various piloting skill checks, whether for performing Stunts (as detailed in the various d20 sourcebooks), as well as for opposed pilot checks.


    Now I've seen the argument made right here on the HoloNet that the Y-Wing, being an "older" craft, was essentially beyond any more improvements, that its basic design was "too old" to be modernized. The reasoning behind this argument was that, since none of the EU novelists had chosen to do any such thing, then it must be true; in other words, "absence of evidence is evidence."

    My counter to such drivel (yes, you can tell exactly what I thought, and still think, of that particular postulate) is that many WWII-era aircraft had 20+ year service lives, including the P-51, F-4U, A-1, and the P-47. The United State's Navy and Air Force flew A-1's, introduced in 1945, in combat in Vietnam thirty years later!

    The F-15 Eagle, designed in 1967, first flown in July, 1972, is still one of the premiere fighters of the U.S.A.F and its allies to this very day. So, an almost 40 year-old design, with almost 35 years of operational history, including upgraded variants, is still in front-line operation.

    We know from the Clone Wars that the Y-Wing may (depending upon how "canon" the animated series is with Disney) have been around for about two decades, give-or-take a few years. Given the ruggedness and versatility of the Y-Wing, I don't think it's an unreasonable supposition that the old bird would still be flyin' and fightin' two decades later, perhaps even with improvements.

    IF we accept that the P-47 is the real-life equivalent to the Y-Wing, then the latter EU novels are so far off the mark as to be ludicrous; it seemed to me that each successive EU novelist downgraded the Y-Wing's "speed" until, in the latter novels, it would be hard pressed to outrun or outmaneuver an AT-AT!

    This is not in keeping with either the on-screen performance of the Y-Wing in the movies, the production notes of/from the movies, or the published stats from the various game systems. And as such, I felt that the margins of difference between an X- and Y-Wing are nowhere near as profound as some people like to believe they are.

    Finally, wrt to EU "canon," Lucasfilm (and now I suppose Disney, too) always maintained the right to reject, refuse, or outright contradict anything and everything written in the EU, at their sole convenience. Basically, anything the EU novelists had written was subject to the whims of George Lucas in his later works.

    GAH! Did not mean to go into "rant mode;" sorry.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vanger Chevane View Post
    Fun Fact: According to pilots who flew the P51 in WW2, the drop tanks were made in England & pretty much Papier Mache.
    Neat! I had always assumed that they were aluminum. Given the price and difficulty to process Bauxite ore into aluminum in the WWII-era. that would have made aluminum drop tanks an expensive proposition.
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