Air combat over Darwin

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Dec 18, 2015.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Not to clog the other thread, this topic desreves more. If peolpe have some good and relevant info, please shere it here :) Should cover the air battles over Northern Australia, Darwin in particular, in ww2.
     
  2. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    i remember we talked about it time ago, both Spitfire and P-40 vs Zero
    JoeB and Nikademus give the numbers
    JoeB numbers
    174 P-40 sorties vs 221 Zero sorties with 19 P-40 losses and 8 Zero losses (The P-40 get also 12 bombers and 1 recce)
    242 Spitfire sorties vs 201 Zero sorties with 28 Spitfir losses and 4 Zero losse, plus 3 Spitfire losses for a Ki 43 loss (The Spit get also 9 bombers)
     
  3. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    #3 Wildcat, Dec 18, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
    From an earlier thread I started a couple of years ago..

    Spitfire units –
    54 RAF
    452 RAAF
    457 RAAF

    IJNAF units
    202Ku Zero’s
    753AG Betty’s
    934Ku Jake Rufe floatplanes

    IJAAF
    59th Sentai Oscar
    61st Sentai Helen bombers
    75th Sentai Lily bomber
    70th DCS Dinah

    During the 1943 campaign No1FW claimed 70 enemy aircraft destroyed – 34 fighters, 29 bombers, 7 recon aircraft. From various sources I’ve compiled the following actual losses –
    6 Feb 43 – 1 Ki-46 destroyed (Lt Kurasuki Setaguti Lt Fumio Mori 70th DCS) 54RAF

    7 Mar 43 - 1 Ki-46 destroyed (Lt Yutaka Tonoi Lt Chokiti Orihara 70th DCS) 457RAAF

    15 Mar 43 - 1 Zero destroyed (PO2c Seiji Tajiri (a/c 6540) Ku202) – F/O Mawer RAAF 54RAF
    8 Betty’s damaged (753Ku)

    2 May 43 – 7 Zero’s damaged, 7 Betty’s damaged

    10 May 43 - 1 Zero destroyed (PO1c Kunio Sakai Ku202) – F/Sgt Watson – 457RAAF
    1 Zero destroyed (CPO Tadao Yamanaka Ku202) – P/O Morse – 457RAAF

    23 May 43 – 1 Ki-46 damaged 54RAF

    28 May 43 – 2 Betty’s destroyed (753Ku) 457RAAF
    1 Betty crash landed (753Ku) 457RAAF

    20 Jun 43 - 1 Oscar destroyed (1LT Shigeto Kawata 59th Sentai)
    1 Helen destroyed (LT Kenjiro Matsuhara 61st Sentai)
    1 Helen destroyed (Capt Katsuhiro Ohta 61st Sentai (a/c 174))
    1 Helen crash landed (1/Lt Yoshio Kawamura 3KIA 61st Sentai)
    1 Lily force landed (1/Lt Masakatsu Yamazaki 75th Sentai)
    1 Lily force landed (WO Shinzo Miura 75th Sentai)

    28 Jun 43 – 1 Betty crash landed (753Ku)
    1 Betty 3 zero’s damaged

    30 Jun 43 – 1 Betty crash landed (753Ku)

    6 Jul 43 - 1 Betty destroyed (FCPO Masao Kobayashi 753 Ku (a/c 3677))
    2 Betty’s crash landed (753Ku)
    2 Zero’s damaged

    18 Jul 43 - 1 Ki-46 destroyed (Capt Shunji Sasaki (70th DCS CO) Lt Akira Eguchi 70th DCS (a/c 2414)) – S/Ldr James 457RAAF

    10 Aug 43 - 1 Jake destroyed (PO/3 Ishiwata, WO Nagano PO/2 Takagami 934th Ku) – F/O Young P/O Coombes – 452 RAAF
    1 Rufe damaged (LT Toshiharu Ikeda CO 934th Ku) as above

    17 Aug 43 - 1 Ki-46 destroyed (Lt Kyuichi Okomoto Lt Yasuro Yamamoto (a/c2250) 70th DCS) – F/L Watson – 457RAAF
    1 Ki-46 destroyed (Lt Saburo Shinohara Lt Hideo Ura (a/c2273) 70th DCS) – F/Sgt Jenkins F/Sgt Watson – 457RAAF
    1 Ki-46 destroyed (Lt Shir-Ichi Matsu-ura Lt Kyotoshi Shiraki (a/c2237) 70th DCS) – S/L James – 457RAAF
    1 Ki-46 destroyed (Sgt Tomihiko Tanaka Sgt Kinji Kawahara Ku202) – W/C Caldwell – No1 FW

    7 Sep 43 - 1 Zero destroyed (PO1c Yoshio Terai Ku202)

    6 Nov 43 – 1 Ki-46 damaged 457RAAF

    11/12 Nov 43 - 1 Betty destroyed (Cdr Michio Horii XO, Lt Takeji Fujiwara wing leader 753 Ku) – F/O Smithson – 457RAAF night time interception.

    From this I get 5 fighters destroyed, 6 bombers destroyed 8 force/crash landed (on Japanese held Islands) and 7 recce 1 floatplane destroyed.
    How many of these crash landed bomber never flew again, I don't know. The two Lily's were finished off by a RAAF Beaufighter strike a few days later. The above is wide open to corrections and additions.
     
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  4. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    #4 Aozora, Dec 19, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2015
    Attached are some RAAF reports on the Spitfire VC's performance (VC code-named "Capstan" in Aussie reports) and on combating the A6M3 "Zeke"
     

    Attached Files:

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  5. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    those papers are awesome....thanks for posting
     
  6. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Spitfire MkVIII kills over Darwin 1944

    12 Jun 44 - 1 Ki-46 destroyed (Lt Katsutoshi Tsutsui Lt Keisuke Shimazaki 70th DCS) – F/O Gamble, F/O O’Loughlin P/O Beaton – 452 Sqn RAAF

    20 Jul 44 - 1 Ki-46 destroyed (Lt Kyoshi Iizuka Lt Hisao Ito 70th DCS (a/c1059)) – F/L Meakin F/L Gossland – 54 Sqn RAF
     
  7. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    This the thumbnail of operations for the Darwin air battle

    On 19 February 1942, 188 planes were launched against Darwin whose harbour was full of ships. Eight ships were sunk, two were beached and later refloated and many of the other 35 ships in the harbour were damaged by bomb or machine gun fire. Darwin town and the RAAF aerodrome were also heavily damaged by the raid. A second raid of 54 bombers was launched two hours later on the same day. The raids on 19 February were the first two of sixty-four raids against the Darwin area and its nearby airfields, which bore the brunt of Japanese attacks on mainland Australia.

    The raids were the first and largest of almost 100 air raids against Australia during 1942–43. Despite Darwin's strategic importance to the defence of Australia, the city was poorly defended. The Australian Army's AA defences comprised 16 QF 3.7 inch AA guns and two 3-inch AA guns to counter aircraft flying at high altitude and a small number of Lewis Guns for use against low-flying raiders. The crews of these guns had conducted little recent training due to ammunition shortages. The air forces stationed in and near the town comprised No. 12 Sqn, which was equipped with CAC Wirraway advanced trainers (which had been pressed into service as fighters), and No. 13 Sqn which operated Lockheed Hudson light bombers. Six Hudsons, 3 from No. 2 Sqn and 3 from No. 13 Sqn also arrived at Darwin on 19 February after having been evacuated from Timor. None of the six Wirraways at Darwin on the day of the raid were serviceable. At the time of the event, there were no radars functioning to provide early warning of air raids, and the town's civil defences were dysfunctional. The Lowe Commission, which was appointed to investigate the raids shortly after they occurred, was informed that the Australian military estimated that Darwin would have needed 36 HAA guns and 250 fighter aircraft to defend it against a raid of the scale which occurred on 19 February. In addition to the Australian forces, 10 USAAC Curtiss P-40 Warhawks were passing through Darwin en route to Java on the day of the attack. The P-40 pilots had little experience with these aircraft and had not previously seen combat.

    There were two raids on the 19 feb. After the massive 19 February 1942 Japanese raid, the Northern Territory and parts of Western Australia's north were bombed 62 more times between 4 March 1942 and 12 November 1943. One of the heaviest attacks took place on 16 June 1942 when a large Japanese force set fire to the oil fuel tanks around the harbour and inflicted severe damage to the vacant banks, stores and railway yards. The Allied navies largely abandoned the naval base at Darwin after the initial 19 February attack, dispersing most of their forces to Brisbane, Fremantle, and other smaller seaports. Conversely, Allied air commanders launched a major build-up in the Darwin area, building more airfields and deploying many squadrons

    In January 1943, No.1 Fighter Wing, RAF moved to the Darwin area with three Spitfire sqns, No. 54 RAF at Darwin, No.452 RAAF at Strauss and No.457 RAAF at Livingstone. The Spitfires had major clashes with the Japanese on 2 and 15 March 1943. On 20 June 1943, the Spitfires intercepted the formation of 21 bombers and 21 fighters, shooting down nine bombers and five fighters. This was the most successful encounter by the RAAF over Darwin, during which the Group Captain Caldwell, an ace from the European theatre, shot down his fifth Japanese aircraft. The final air raid on Darwin took place on 12 November 1943.

    Even today there is a lot of dispute over losses. here is my best understanding of what happened with the 1st Fighter Wing.

    Post war, confirmed records show the Japanese lost 65 aircraft over Darwin. They shot down 16 Spitfires.

    After Darwin was bombed repeatedly in 1942 the British Prime Minister dispatched a Wing of Spitfires to defend the city. The squadrons became known as the 'Churchill Wing', although they were mostly Australians. They benefited from experience gained over Britain, France, Malta and North Africa, and counted a number of aces in their number. The difficulties inherent in getting 54 modern, high performance aircraft, aircrew and supplies operational on the other side of the world, 10,500 miles away, were considerable. It would be February 1943 before they went into action.

    On the 6th Feb '43 they drew first blood, shooting down a Ki-46 Dinah recce bomber, but it was to be the 2nd Mar that they first faced Zeros. 21 A6Ms of the 202nd Kokutai escorted 9 G4M Bettys of the 753rd on a raid against Darwin. 20 miles off the coast, low on fuel, a flight of 6, 54 squadron Mk Vc Spitfires caught the raiders. A swift, confused, 8 minute dogfight ensued. Both sides claimed to have shot down several enemy, but in fact only one Spitfire and two Zeros were damaged.

    Wg Cdr Caldwell noted that in tight, 160 mph turns, the Zero didn't get dangerously close until after the Spitfires' speed had begun to wash off after the second turn. He "easily evaded" the Zero with a downward break. On the 15th Mar '43, returning from night ops and with their oxygen supply depleted, 452 sqn attacked a force of 50 Japanese aircraft, split evenly between fighters and bombers. Four Spitfires were lost, but four Zeros were shot down, three of the bombers destroyed and a further seven Japanese aircraft were damaged. It was a cold comfort, two of the Spitfire pilots downed were killed, including seven 'kill' ace Sqn Ldr Thorold-Smith, 452s CO.

    Worse was to come. On the 2nd May'43 another 50 'plane Japanese raid was met by all 33 of the Wings operational fighters. In a gruelling twenty five minute running battle the Spitfires had five of their number shot down, but took ten enemy aircraft in return, with many more damaged. However, a further ten Spitfires were lost to fuel shortages and mechanical failures, and these are often included in the Japanese tallies whereas Japanese similar losses are not recorded! The press release from Gen. MacArthurs office stated they had suffered a "severe reverse". With no way of knowing how many of their damaged foes made it back to base there was no way to refute the report. Mud sticks. When the air war over Darwin is mentioned today, the loss of 15 Spitfires for just 10 enemy aircraft inevitably surfaces. Usually with a snide comment about the accuracy of the 10 claimed by the Australians.

    On 9th May '43 Spitfires operating out of a satellite field destroyed two Zeros and damaged a third. The victory was marred when they lost a Spitfire in a landing accident.

    28 May '43 six Spitfires met thirteen Japanese aircraft. They lost two fighters, but shot down two bombers and damaged a third.

    20th June '43 the JAAF decided to try their luck. 30 bombers and 22 Ki-43 Oscars were met by 46 Spitfires. 9 bombers were destroyed, 8 more damaged, 5 fighters were shot down, 2 damaged without the Wing losing a single Spitfire.

    28 June '43 a mixed bag of 18 Zeros and Bettys were bounced by 457 sqn. 3 Zeros were destroyed, 2 bombers probably joined them, for no Australian loss.

    30 June '43 Fenton, the base of the USAAF 380th BG, was attacked by 27 Bettys and 20 Zeros. 4 bombers were destroyed, 4 more probably destroyed, 3 Zeros were destroyed with 6 probables, for no Spitfires lost.

    6 July '43 saw 26 bombers and 21 fighters being engaged by the Wing. 9 Japanese aircraft were destroyed, 2 Spitfires were shot down, but 6 more were lost to mechanical defects and fuel running out.

    The Japanese had finally had enough. They switched to night bombing. The Spitfires, almost 11,000 miles from their supporting factories, often heavily outnumbered and suffering from conditions that their desert fighters were never designed to cope with, had achieved the task Churchill set them. Far from being defeated by the Zeros, they doggedly ground them down until they could no longer support further attacks. They might not have been the magic bullet an adoring public wanted, but skill, courage and a superb fighter carried the day.
     
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  8. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    #8 Aozora, Dec 20, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2015
    Attached are some official reports detailing 1 Wing's actions during various air raids, including two reports by 1's Wingco, Clive Caldwell. Note: some of the pages are a little hard to read.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. bakters

    bakters Member

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    So there is no mystery to Spits' defeat, after all. Hap was a better plane. Both pilots thought it outclassed the Spit. Neither Hap nor Zeke were unmaneuverable at high speeds, it's just that under those conditions pilot's tolerance for Gs is a limiting factor, not airplane's capabilities.

    Worth noting - Spitfire was able to outturn the Hap at high speed, because the pilot was not blacking out, and that happened because he wore a cotton G-suit.

    Finally, worth noting that when they write about high speed maneuvers, the context is obvious and it's done in a dive. The maximum TAS for the Spit is 365mph, which translates to 250mph IAS, with maybe some change, at altitude.

    Do we know anything about the pilots? I mean, can we safely assume that Japanese pilots were very good, pre-war good? I think I read somewhere, that they were.

    Thanks for those documents. Incredible read!
     
  10. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I dont see how you can reach the conclusion that you do, namely that the spitfire was defeated, on the basis of the information that we have here so far.

    There would be some that have contributed to these discussions in the past that might support that notion, but so far they have not made such a call.

    Darwin was not a blazing beacon of success for the Spitfires that fought there, but neither was it a defeat by any stretch, in my opinion. In numbers, it shot down more aircraft than it lost, it was flying in an environment that was not to its advantage. For some time in the early part of 1943, the wrong tactics were being employed that failed to take advantage of its strengths viz the Zeke or the Hamp. Importantly, 1 Ftr Wing inherited a situation at the beginning of 1943 where Darwin was almost untenable as an advanced base for the allies, in which the japanese could attack it almost at will. Within 10 months they had made the place secure, with the Japanese abandoning daylight raids and Darwin serving as the main base from which a highly successful air mining campaign by long range bombers was undertaken in 1944. It was never a main front for the allies, but it succeeded in carrying out some very successful diversionary attacks

    In the turning fight, Caldwell is on record as saying that there was little problem keeping the Zeke at bay in turns in which airspeed was over 150 mph, after the first turn the Spit could always dive away.

    I dont think your claim that the Hap was a better plane is supported here at all, and the claim that the Spits were defeated is even less supportable. .

    202 Kokutai was substantially an intact formation in 1943, so its pilots will be veterans as Joe B has pointed out in previous discussions.
     
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  11. bakters

    bakters Member

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    Very few enemy planes were destroyed at quite a cost. Japanese could withstand those losses, while Australians were hard pressed to supply their operations, begging for replacement parts all the time.

    I would call it defeat all right. (BTW - I love Spits. And I take care to not use this very word when referring to any other plane.)

    How? Going by Wildcat's numbers, 5 fighers, 8 bombers and 7 recc. planes and 1 floatplane. Not all of that can be attributed to Spits, as far as I understand?

    While Spit losses were above 30 machines. Do I miss something important?

    Well,long supply chain, mainly. But not really that long, considering that it took probably as near as makes no difference the same amount of time to supply Darwin and North Africa. In both cases ships had to travel around Capetown.

    Which were very few... Pilots agreed that the Spit is outclassed below 17 000 feet.

    I read that the Japanese simply gave up, because they were hard pressed in the Solomons. If you look at the losses, it seems they could keep on going.

    It's hardly a turning fight if you dive after just one. ;)

    Pilots agreed it was better. You could outturn it in a diving spiral, as long as one guy wore a cotton G-suit and the other didn't. The Spit could do B&Z from above 20 000, and it was a bit faster, but if it tried to use its speed it ran out of fuel.

    Thanks. So another problem here.
     
  12. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    #12 parsifal, Dec 21, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
    Wildcats numbers are the a/c he has been able to confirm. The Japanese own records state that the overall losses over Darwin at this time amounted to 65 a/c. There are many gaps in the japanese records as a/c damaged that failed to return are not recorded in the squadron histories a/c that were scrapped due to dmage were not included either. The loss records for 1 FW include all those numbers.

    The Japanese could not withstand the losses actually. After 5 months of combat against 1 FW they discontinued daylight raids over Darwin. Because of the losses on other fronts the Japanese were very hard pressed to replace their losses in this TO. The Australians were at the end of a very long supply line, and this did make replacement of spare parts difficult, but not really much more than in other areas of the SW Pacific. There were times when serviceability rates of similar sized formations over New Guinea got as low as 20%. That was the nature of fighting in the whole area. Fighting was done on strained logistics.

    Wildcats numbers are what can be confirmed, but against that the Japanese themselves admit to the loss of 65 a/c. Pinning the losses is a difficult excercise. Moreover the 30 Spitfires include both combat and noncombat related losses, whilst the figures for the japanese are combat only. They really cant be used to make the comparisons you are doing and are not really comparable to each other as a result.

    So yes you are missing a lot. Every campaign Ive ever studied has this problem. Losses in a sustained campaign like this often have disjointed and incomplete losses like this. it often gets down to when a loss is recorded as a loss. There were 16 combat losses suffered by 1FW in that time period, not 30 btw.

    .

    Your reply to my statement is non-sequitur (a conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement). The supply issue is one thing, but once in the pointy business end of things doesnt really change things. In battle, the Spitfire laboured under conditions for which it was not suited. Its lack of range was its main problem and many spits were lost simply to running out of fuel. The tactics that were employed up until the end of May were the wrong tactics against the Zeke, but once this was realized, things improved markedly.

    But returning to the supply issue. You do realize that there was no rail or road links to Darwin at this time (the road, an unsealed one) was not completed until 1943. Australia is a nation almost as big as Europe, so getting parts and other spares is like transporting them from Sicily to North cape.....without a rail line and without adequate road linkages.
     
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  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Tactics, tactics, tactics...
     
  14. Hiromachi

    Hiromachi Active Member

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    Very nice indeed Parsifal, though I have, based on my knowledge and readings, reservations.
    First, it would be nice if you'd also include sources for the given numbers :)


    On June 20th according to A. Cooper in his book "Darwin Spitfires" Japanese lost at least 2 Ki-43 fighters (and 1 pilot, other survived) from 59th Sentai, 4 Ki-49 bombers from 61st Sentai (3 of the bombers went down with crews) and 1-3 Ki-48 bombers from 75th Sentai.

    This is however further argued by Bernard Baeza, author of "Soleil Levant sur l'Australie" on j-aircraft boards
    J-aircraft discussion

    This would substantially reduce the Japanese losses to 1 fighter and 3 bombers shot down over Darwin, with further 3 crash landing on Timor. In this case I'd rather stick to Japanese combat reports, since they know exactly what flew and what returned, unlike Allied pilots who rarely had opportunity to follow the target they were shooting before.

    And by no means Spitfires came out of it without a scratch or loss, Anthony Cooper here credits 59th Sentai pilots with 2 Spitfires shot down and caused another one to belly-land back at base with some damage. Furthermore Cooper credits bomber crews with 1 Spitfire shot down and 3 other damaged. That makes 3 Spitfires shot down, 1 crash landed due to combat damage and 3 damaged.

    65 aircraft lost when ? During 1943 ? Or for the whole 1942-1943 combat ?
    In latter case that would be fair to add losses of P-40s, Beaufighters and so on.

    The Spitfire losses to combat are higher, at least according to A. Cooper :
    http://www.darwinspitfires.com/index.php?page=5-spitfire-losses-to-enemy-action
    30 aircraft lost, 5 are doubtful due to CSU-failures, or crashing due to combat damage.

    Japanese unit combat reports for the 1943 actions indicate following :
    - 202 Kokutai lost 3 Zeros with pilots, 1 Zero ditched but pilot survived and 15 other machines were damaged to a various degrees
    - 753 Kokutai lost 11 G4M1 bombers
    - 59th Sentai lost 1 Ki-43
    - 61st Sentai lost 3 Ki-49
    - 75th Sentai lost 2 Ki-48
    - 6 Japanese recce aircraft were lost during that period of 1943 (either Ki-46 or else)

    Sources from jacar.go.jp :
    a) Tactical operation records from March to April 1943, Flying Squad, 202nd Air Unit
    b) Tactical operation records from January to April 1943, Flying Squad, 753rd Air Unit


    That gives more or less 1 : 1 combat ratio for this period, which is neither surprising nor unusual. Zeros definitely achieved in this combat superiority over their competitors, but failed to provide sufficient escort. On the other hand Spitfire pilots having various experience (some had fought since the beginning of the war, some had no previous experience) fought bravely against Japanese and against their technical odds - very often failing Hispano cannons, overstressed engines and so on.


    This is 100% correct, Hihara Hiroyuki was hit 3 times and Tsuda Goro hit twice. Both planes were repairable :)

    Japanese report for this indicates loss of only 1 Zero with his pilot, Seiji Takjiri. No other loss or damage was confirmed. Japanese records also indicate that eight bombers returned to Timor damaged, but that none were shot down.

    202 Kokutai Kodachosho does not indicate that. Actually 202nd Kokutai didn't lose any plane, only Noda Teruomi’s aircraft was hit 7 times but returned to base and plane was repairable.
    http://imageshack.us/a/img191/18/q71i.png
    http://imageshack.us/a/img5/7295/j9e7.png

    9th ? On 9th May 1943 there was only a bombing of Millingimbi carried by 7 G4M, that was intercepted on the way out by Dave Delaporte in his Beaufighter. The Beaufighter claimed one bomber damaged, but all seven ofthe enemy machines got back to Babo safely.

    There was a combat on 10th May 1943 however, when 9 Zeroes went to Stewart Field on strafing mission. Japanese losses were for this time quite substantial as pilot Sakai Kunio went missing ( he actually crashed on Stewart field), pilot Yamanaka Tadao ditched - his fighter was hit and due to fuel leak he couldn't reach his base, Yoshida aircraft was hit once and the leader Miyaguchi Morio’s aircraft had a fire but put it out and after landing was assigned as repairable.

    Allies also lost on that day Beaufighter, furthermore two Spitfires had been holed but remained serviceable - Hamilton's
    ZP-X on the ground and Batchelor's ZP-M in the air.
     
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  15. Hiromachi

    Hiromachi Active Member

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    To add, 18 crewmen were killed that day in 753rd Kokutai.

    In this case 457th pilots were really lucky, they were caught by surprise and bounced. Overall combat proven that allied pilots did not fully understand the two-plane element and did not use it as intended.

    On the other hand none of the Zeros was shot down. 3 Japanese fighters were damaged - CPO Noda’s machine was hit once, Okubo Noto 6 times and Hasegawa Shujiro 10 times. Two aircraft were classed as "medium damage, use possible".
    753rd Kokutai records indicate that two bombers were indeed hit: one had a burning engine, but the engine bay fire extinguisher succeeded in putting the fire out so that it limped back to base; another had attempted a forced landing at Lautem airfield in Timor, but crash-landed in the attempt.
    http://imagizer.imageshack.us/a/img7/1759/pw8h.png
    http://imageshack.us/a/img585/4083/38sj.png

    Actually there were 27 Zeros under the Lt. Commander Suzuki. Three B-24Ds burned at the accurately bombed airfield, several others sustained major and minor damage. Japanese records indicate that one bomber was lost due to crash-landing on Timor and was subsequently written off, while two others made it back to Penfui being heavily damaged, and most likely they were never repaired.

    On this reckoning, 1 Fighter Wing had lost the fighter versus fighter combat badly, with three losses (Sgt Laundy, F/Sgt Harker and P/O Wellsman who did not survive) to no victories.
    Furthermore Sgt Holmes was shot down by bomber return fire. Despite the 202nd Kokutai miserable performance in protecting the bombers from fighter attack, 1st Fighter Wing's intelligence officer reported that "pilots concerned in the engagement were unanimous in their opinion of the high order of airmanship shown by their opponents".
    http://imageshack.us/a/img838/9623/ozat.png
    http://imageshack.us/a/img842/1433/liz3.png

    There were actually 26 A6Ms led by Lt. Takeo Shizura. Despite massive claims Japanese losses were light. Japanese records indicate that only two bombers were shot down: one on the way into the target, and one on the way out; in addition, two more crash-landed after limping back across the Timor Sea with battle damage. A total of 13 bombers returned to base damaged, bringing with them five dead men and three wounded. 202nd Kokutai reported no loss, few aircraft were hit - Hayashi Takeshi was hit 4 times, Sakaguchi Otojiro was hit once.
    http://imageshack.us/a/img835/2665/wzbh.png
    http://imageshack.us/a/img853/9209/lhsg.png


    Against the four Japanese bomber airframes and two bomber crews, the wing had lost the unusually high number of five Spitfires shot down and three pilots killed - P/O McDowell, F/O Robinson, F/O Hamilton, F/Sgt Wickman, F/O Lloyd. 1 more Spitfire was damaged but later on machine was repaired.


    1st Wing actually also had enough, briefly only but still. With these latest combat losses, the wing had reached a nadir of aircraft availability:
    54 complained that it had so few aircraft left that it would be 'flat out raising a flight'. On 6 July, 452's line-up of serviceable aircraft had dropped in one hour from 15 to ten.

    And I'd not go as far as "often outnumbered", Clive Caldwell tried to apply his tactic of Big Wing and as often as possible whole formation of Spitfires was climbing up. But it takes time to get there, position, form to attack ...

    They certainly did not ground the Zeros down, it was in fact the 753rd G4M losses that prevented further operations. 202nd Kokutai continued operations, in September it flew raid over Darwin, one over Drysdale, and one over Merauke on the southern shore of Dutch New Guinea. It basically maintained the same tempo of operations as before, only the targets changed. So at the end what was necessary was achieved, 23rd Air Flotilla's could not continue further operations as profit/loss equation indicated that bomber losses in this area of operations are too high. Of course compared to Guadalcanal campaign the losses were small, but at given time and place they were sufficient to prevent further daylight operations.
     
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  16. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Yup, just ask the AVG.
    They accomplished quite a bit with their P-40's.
     
  17. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The AVG have had performance edge over the IJA fighters, their P-40s were also much lighter than the sluggish P-40Es we will find in the USAF inventory.
     
  18. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    but they still didn't tangle the Japanese fighters head to head. and tried to educate the allied air wings not to do it but no one listened to them
     
  19. bakters

    bakters Member

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    Let's put it this way - I really wish you were right. Like I wrote I love Spits, but I doubt this number within this context nonetheless. 70 claimed and 65 actually lost? Unheard of.

    Spitfire was designed as a defensive fighter. If it failed at this task, that's because it wasn't faultless, not because the task was inappropriate.

    I have my doubts about it. First about pilots using wrong tactics. How long does it take to gather some basic info about the enemy which you know will try to kill you? People would have to be stupid not to nose around for it. I bet they did, and I bet they knew what to do, at least roughly.

    Then I doubt that this marked improvement actually happened. In war there is always some pressure on showing positive results. But of course it's possible that the pilots were taught what to do better, and figured out some better ways of fighting on their own too.

    But this reminds me, there were pilots fighting Japanese in Burma in Hurricanes with expectably poor results. High charge sent them a lecturer, to teach them how to do it properly. They listened to the lecture carefully, then kindly asked the lecturer to jump into the Hurricane and simply show them.

    People can learn mighty quick if their life depends on it. I doubt there was much the pilots didn't know already.

    People lived in Darwin, so there was a supply chain in action. Ships?
     
  20. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    how long? you would be surprised. like I said the AVG were successful in their tactics and when the US army and navy decided to take on the Japanese in these areas Claire Chennault tried to educate them but they did not listen and tried the same old tactics they were training in....and many allied pilot fell because of it. how long...how long did it take for the us air force to come to the realization that bombers are not capable of defending themselves sufficiently and need fighter escort? it took until catastrophe befell them to open their eyes in many cases. the tactics they took into the war were a far cry from the ones they used within a year or 2. yes people learn and things like the thatch weave are evidence of that....but it took a while before they devised and adopted it. soldiers and airmen can only do what their officers allow them to. if that officer is adhering to strict protocol.....may not be a good thing.

    and yes there were ships to Darwin...but if you do not have maritime or air superiority how vulnerable are those ships??
     
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