A6M and Ki-43 vs early war Allied fighters with energy tactics

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jenisch, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #1 Jenisch, Nov 19, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011
    Those Japanese planes were really hopeless after the Allies started to use energy tactics against them, or they could still be competitive? I think that while the Japanese did commited mistakes in aircraft design (like everyone else), I found hard to belive they could be so relaxed to ignore the Allies could simply change their tactics and they would not be able to compete anymore, like many sources claim...
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Energy tactics require speed, climb and firepower. Prior to mid 1943 most Allied fighter aircraft in the Pacific were inferior in all three characteristics. After mid 1943 it hardly mattered as the USA had such a large numerical advantage.
     
  3. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #3 Jenisch, Nov 19, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011
    The P-39 and the P-40 were already not capable?
     
  4. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #4 Jenisch, Nov 19, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011
    I also want to bring some considerations here;

    When I see people criticizen the Japanese for their obcession with dogfigth, I notice a little of hypocrisy in the air (literally), because the Allies were also a little obcessed with dogfigth, since they tried a lot to dogfigth with the Japanese planes in the first 6 months of the Pacific War. Therefore, I think we cannot say the Japanese were SO wrong with their aircraft design philosophy at start of the war. Many Allied planes didn't have or were just having self sealing fuel tanks at the beginning as well. Also, one needs to considerate another thing for their lack of self sealings: they need planes with long range for their offensive doctrine, and self sealing fuel tanks would kill a lot of the range.

    The Japanese didn't ignored self sealing fuel tanks, armor and firepower. The concepts for aircraft like the Ki-84 and the A7M were already in the IJNAF/IJNAF minds before the war started. In my view, the problem was that Japan was in need to place emphasis in the production of it's avaliable models, while not having much resources to accelerate the development of new aircraft; with with a very demanding war in China, another in the Pacific, and an extremely expensive Navy. This don't change the fact they lost the war, but I belive we must considerate the Japanese conditions before make critics to their aircraft philosophy. Specially against the US and it's GDP.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Apparently not as P-40s got creamed in the Philippines, East Indies and New Guinea. The older Ki-27 was the primary IJA fighter aircraft in the Philippines and even it did well against the Far East Air Force.
     
  6. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #6 Jenisch, Nov 19, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011
    That's my point. They did well because they fought a lot according with the Japanese emphasis in dogfigth, which apparently was not only a Japanese thinking as often claimed. The Japanese were also in the offensive, and this presented another advantages for them.

    A question: the Allies used much radar to bounce the Japanese planes? If yes, again, the Ki-43 and the Zero were designed before the radar, as well as most of the Allied planes. One can blame the Japanese for their poor radar systems, but not for the planes. Also, radar is more a defensive mean. And I do not doubt the Japanese would be capable of conduct a capable air defense like the AVG one. When you are defending and have an early warning system to put the planes in the right time and place, things can change dramatically.
     
  7. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #7 FLYBOYJ, Nov 20, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
    Not really true. These aircraft did hold their own until the P-38 came into service. During the summer of 42' there was close to a 1 to 1 kill loss ratio against IJNAF and JAAF units in the area. Look at the unit history of the 35th and 49th FGs for example during that period and I believe this is also mentioned in "Bloody Shambles." The AAF definitely wasn't dominating but they weren't getting "creamed," especially P-40 units by no means. The first P-38 units started flying missions at the end of 42 and the face of combat greatly changed.

    As far as energy tactics - defiently used. There's an old 5th AF pamphlet that was floating around the Internet that had the top fighter pilots of the time giving tips on dealing with trying to maneuver with the more nimble Japanese aircraft. I'll try to find it.
     
  8. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Now where is JoeB when we want a good IJA/IJN vs. Western AFs discussion :)
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I'm sure he"ll chime in on this when he gets a chance.
     
  10. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    I think Jenisch makes a valid point about allied pilots trying to dogfight Japanese fighters. Prior to Dec 41, no western air force had any combat experience fighting Japanese aircraft - all they had to go on were intelligence evaluations and, in the case of the AVG, Chennault's experiences in China. For RAF pilots used to flying against the Me109, turning combat was one effective means of throwing off the adversary. Unfortunately, those tactics when applied in the Far East played straight to the strengths of the Japanese fighters.

    As for radar, Jenisch is equally correct that it was, at that time, largely a defensive technology. Unfortunately, Allied fighter defences in the Far East didn't really have a robust early warning network (again, the AVG was an exception for their operations in China). Consequently, the attacking Japanese forces were able to select the time and location of their assaults with relatively little risk of early detection. This situation continued throughout most of 1942 in Burma/India - it's much easier to concentrate decisive force when you're on the offensive and can choose the time and location of your attack than it is to concentrate defensive forces to meet that attack.

    However, it should be noted that not all Allied pilots attempted to dogfight the Japanese, indeed even in Singapore Commonwealth Buffalo pilots learned that the use of energy in combat was a more effective way of staying alive than seeking to turn with the Japanese fighters.
     
  11. Arossihman

    Arossihman Member

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    First of all it is my belief that japanese arrogance and shortsightedness lost them the war. The zero was a great fighter no doubt but as i stated in another post is that every pilot screws up enough sooner or later to take a few hits. If you have ever seen the special called dogfights on the history channel there was a dauntless pilot that went against multiple zeros in a turning fight and the dauntless came out on top. The dauntless took a few hits but shrugged them off and kept fighting. Not true with the zeros. A few well placed.50 or even .30 hits would send a zero into a flaming death spiral if they didnt just explode right away. To understand jap fighters you have to understand their warrior code. There was no honor in being captured....they didnt even fly with parachutes! So to them it didnt make sense to armor their aircraft seeing how it was a great dishonor to survive a dogfight to be captured. We wanted our guys to live to fight another day so we built heavy,armored,powerful aircraft that were capable of bringing our boys home! And yes...p-40's held their own against the jap fighters!
     
  12. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #12 Jenisch, Nov 20, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
    I think there were conservative officers in the IJAAF/IJNAF who were against armor. But most of them were already underestanding this was a necessity when the war started. Fact is the Ki-84 and A7M specifications placed before or just after the war started demanded armor protection, firepower and a sturdy construction.

    I belive the main problem for those features and new aircraft not be quickly implemented, was Japan's situation; Japan, in it's conditions, could not solve mistakes committed in aircraft design and modernization as quick as the Allies, specially the Americans. Even so, the Ki-43 II prototype with protection for the pilot and the fuel tanks flown in February 1942, while the Navy installed armor on the Zeros once new engines arrived and it became clear the aircraft would need it. The new planes simply had to wait, and in the end only arrived too late...
     
  13. Arossihman

    Arossihman Member

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    Jenisch i agree with you about the ki-43 but my observation of japanese shortsightedness goes back to the beginning of ww2. They did not have the industry or oil to sustain a prolonged war. They thought they could cripple the u.s. with one swift blow but to me that was shortsighted. Which admiral said we have awakened a sleeping giant? Can't remember the name right now but he had foresight. At that time they were a culture that believed a divine wind would save them from all attackers. They were arrogant enough to believe that we and other nations were of a lesser breed....they thought we would not have the stomach to fight back if we were attacked....boy were they wrong!
     
  14. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #14 Jenisch, Nov 20, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
    Yes, I also think that attack the US was an insanity. Still, their plan was not to defeat the US in industrial strenght, which obviously would be impossible, but to destroy their fleet and create a vast defensive perimeter to induce the Americans think the war would be too a much bloodly to continue, and sign peace leaving them with their conquests. The problem is that even this they achived.

    I also agreed the Japanese overestimated themselfs. As already mentioned, the introduction of new aircraft in my view was lack of resources. And this lack of resources was just because the overestimation of their capabilities: they had a very demanding war in China, and other in the Pacific, together with the necessity of an extremely expensive Navy. Japan simply could not cover all the holes. The IJA was not having the necessary attention and was largely outdated because the lack of resources employed in the war in China and development of the IJN. They simply could not have safety and correct eventual mistakes quickly in this way.
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  16. Arossihman

    Arossihman Member

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    Thats great info flyboyj....guess i should specify the zeke when i discuss light armor and roman candle fuel tanks! I do stand by my observation of the samurai mentality of death before capture or surrender. They thought us weak and inferior if we surrendered to them and became POW's. A lot of POW's were beheaded by disgusted sword weilding japanese captors. I realize the kamikaze was disputed by some in jap high command and was implemented out of desperation but they still thought that more honorable than surrender. What really tweaks me is the civilians on saipan that lept to their deaths over being captured by G.I.'s. They really believed we would torture them!
     
  17. Rivet

    Rivet Member

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    I believe the name you are looking for is Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. The entire opening moves of WWII in the Pacific were the work of him and Count General Hisachi Terauchi. Two men planned all operations for the first two months of operations, agreeing to the plans at a Joint-Session meeting of the IJN and IJA on November 3, 1941 at Misawa on the Inland Sea, further agreements regarding the operational planning on November 18.

    Recall that a primary requirement of the Japanese for their aircraft was range. Bushido death wishes aside, the reason the airframes were built as they were was range.

    The hammering the Japanese airfields in the Solomons, Dutch Territory and the Bismarks took in early 1944 were the preamble to the U.S. turning off the Japanese petrolrum tap by the massive bombing of the Island of Borneo's petroleum refining and treatment facilities. No amount of superior equipment is going to matter without fuel, or pilots.

    Nuts as it may sound, both planners of the attack on British, Dutch and American turf held to the contention that the best time frame of success they could envision was slightly longer than one year before American productive capability became a factor in the conflict. These guys knew they were facing losing.

    Regards
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The "samurai mentality" was not necessarily held by many of the Japanese fighter pilots, especially from 1943 on. Those who survived till the end of the war did just that - survive. Read about Saburo Sakai or Hiroyoshi Nishizawa, gallant warriors but hardly to the strict samurai code you elude to. The atrocities of the Japanese is apples and oranges when discussing personnel who flew for either the JAAF or the IJNAF and belongs in a political discussion, something not happening in this forum.
     
  19. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    #19 bobbysocks, Nov 20, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
    in the beginning the AVG had an intricate early warning system...basically a telephone or radio. they had layered "rings" of defensive spotters set up and once a flight of jap ac would pass over one...they would call or radio THAT position....then the next one would do the same and so forth. within a few calls they basically had the course and altitude of the attacking japs and would go to meet them. I do remember Tex Hill commenting that the other allied forces that also used the P40s lost a large % because they tried to dogfight the oscars and zeros. because the AVG used hit and run tactics they lost far less....
     
  20. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    In 'Vee's for victory' is stated that AVG in Burma enjoyed 20 min warning; if a P-40 could be readied within 15 min, they would get it airborne. If not (previously damaged, or lacking an important part), it was to be hidden/camouflaged.
     
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