Allied Aircraft to forstall Japanese early Success in Far Eastern campaign, 1941-1942

Discussion in 'Polls' started by oldcrowcv63, Feb 5, 2012.

?

select an allied fighter to forestall Japanese success in Far East, 1941-1942

  1. Hurricane Mark I

    1 vote(s)
    3.2%
  2. Curtiss P-40E/Hawk 81

    12 vote(s)
    38.7%
  3. Curtiss P-36/Hawk 75

    1 vote(s)
    3.2%
  4. Brewster B339/439

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Marlet /F4F-3

    8 vote(s)
    25.8%
  6. Vultee P-66

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Spitfire Mark I

    7 vote(s)
    22.6%
  8. None of the above

    2 vote(s)
    6.5%
  1. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #1 oldcrowcv63, Feb 5, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
    Allied resistance to Japan collapsed in a matter of about 3 months (December 8, 1941 - March 3, 1942), probably due to a number of factors including intellectual or spiritual inertia to the state of war, inadequate pilot training, logistical inadequacies, and substandard equipment. If it was possible to equip all allied aviation units with but one aircraft to resist the Japanese onslaught, what might have proved most effective in delaying the inevitable? I've listed only contemporary aircraft loosely in theater in some numbers. Assume decisions made well prior to the commencement of hostilities allowed for production of all the necessary replacement aircraft. Probably shouldn't have included the Spitfire but couldn't resist.

    Ooops, forgot to list the Curtiss Wright CW-21 Demon!
     
  2. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    Spitfire I was never sent overseas, the Spit V operated from Australia in 1943, too late for your timeline.
    The P-66 was used over China in '43
     
  3. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Yep, wrt spit,
    But P-66 production deliveries began in September 1941, so concievably might have played a role with different decision tree. Although you are right I probably shouldn't have realistically included it either.
     
  4. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    It wasn't purely an aircraft issue. As you point out, there were other significant factors including intelligence, early warning, tactical experience, air gunnery proficiency and leadership mindset. It could be argued that, had these deficiencies been rectified prior to hostilities with Japan, the air campaign in Dec 41 and into early 42 might have been very different even with the obsolete/obsolescent aircraft available to the Allies.
     
  5. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    It didn't matter what they had if they were going to miss use them. I wonder if even P-51D's wouldn't have given enough of a advantage to make up for the debacle of the first few days of the war.
     
  6. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    All the militaries were short of aircrew and well trained aircrew were definately at a premium
     
  7. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    With regard to the P-66, Wiki had this to say
    "The Chinese received the assembled fighters via India by late 1942; Chinese Vanguards had USAAF insignia and serials as well as Chinese markings and Vultee serials on factory models. The undistinguished combat record of the Vanguard in China was due to problems that began in transit where a number of Vanguards were destroyed during tests in India and others lost while en route to China. Assembled P-66s were deemed unairworthy and abandoned at Karachi resulting in only 12 Vanguards on station at Kunming with the 74th Fighter Squadron of the 23rd Fighter Group, but this unit saw little action. Two Chinese squadrons from the 3rd Group and the 5th Group based at An-Su saw combat action with the Vanguard from August 1943 onward. However, many P-66s were destroyed on the ground during Japanese attacks while several were shot down in error when they were mistaken for the Nakajima Nakajima Ki-43 "Oscar" and Ki-44 "Tojo". Although the Vanguard possessed a top speed of 340 mph (550 km/h), it was no match for the agile Japanese fighters in high-g maneuvers and relied on hit-and-run tactics against the Japanese'
     
  8. futuredogfight

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    The P-36 is a great aircraft beating the Mk. 1 Spit in many respects.
     
  9. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #9 oldcrowcv63, Feb 6, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
    I should have broken out the P-40B and P-40E as separate options in this thread due to their different ceiling and climb rate. The poll was prompted by reading Bartsch's account of the Java campaign and the difficulty encountered by the P-40Es of USAAF Provisional Pursuit Squadron 17 based at the secret Ngoro airfield south of Surobaya. They were based there for about 5 weeks to defend the city and the larger airfields at Singosari and Perak. They managed to destroy only about 12 Japanese aircraft (despite continuous almost daily raids) primarily due to the P-40E's comparatively low ceiling (27-29,000 ft) and its slow climb rate. It took a P-40E about 40 minutes to reach intercept alititude, but Java Air Defense Command was typically only able to give about 30 minutes warning). They usually only obtained visual contact after the raid had occurred and the escorted bombers were returning to base; rarely before it.

    During that period, the squadron, consisting of fairly well trained pilots, was ably led by Phillipine vet Bud Sprague. The aircraft had better maintenance support than was available in the PI, had the ammo and oxygen it needed to fight. The Dutch were fighting (and also the RAF, RAAF and RNZAF, I believe) with a mix of aircraft including some P-36s and B339/439s and CW-21Bs. There were evidently a few RAF Hurricanes available from those that had been delivered to Singapore before its fall.
     
  10. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    The P36 was for lack of words a backwater fighter , in the CBI theatre it was a secondary fighter , after reading Mohawks over Burma its main forte was strafing barges on the Irrawaddy
     
  11. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    I believe it had a higher ceiling than the P-40E (what didn't?) but don't know how its climb rate stacked up against the other candidates. I think interceptors able to boom and zoom (IJN IJA) escorts would have been necessary to achieve more success during the Java campaign.
     
  12. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    F4F-3/Martlet is my choice here, IIRC people that flew it also praised it.
     
  13. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #13 oldcrowcv63, Feb 6, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
    Martlet seems a good option: suitable ceiling, good dive speed and good range with solid robustness somewhat offseting low top speed and anemic climb rate. Not sure how its climb speed stacks up vs P-40E. Much as I like the F4F-3 (and I really do!), it's unfortunately almost as much a fantasy as a choice as the Spitfire Mark I. :cry:
     
  14. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    Probably the F4F-3 was the right choice, i'm not sure if this variant get martlet name
     
  15. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #15 oldcrowcv63, Feb 6, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
    Once again Vincenzo you are correct! USN F4F-3 didn't get a Martlet Mark. The 'Martlet Mark I' was delivered to Britain in mid 1940, but, with its Wright Cyclone engine and single stage superharger, not as sharp at altitude as its F4F-3 USN cousin. The Mark II had folding wings and so was heavier than the Mrk I (and also had a single stage supercharger I believe) the Mrk III (USN F4F-3A) also sported the single stage supercharger. The F4F-3 would have been the best performer of the lot.
     
  16. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I would go for the Spitfire. It might not have been sent overseas but it was in my mind the right aircraft to stop the early Jap advances. It lacked only range but the early JAAF fighters didn't have long legs either
     
  17. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Someone commented that if we were to consider Spitfires, we should at least consider the Spit Mk V. Spit Is had been out of production for more than a year by December 1941. They were never used extensively outside of Western Euriope, unlike the Hurricane I which was deployed extensively to the Middle and far eastern TOs. Spit Is were too short ranged, and too demanding in terms of their airfield requirements to undertake sustained operationsd from the rough strips found in the non-european TOs. even the Spit marks that were deployed to the Far East, tended to need well established, well maintained strips that were often used in the Pacific

    As point defence fighters the RAF aircraft were fullty the equal of the US types. What they lacked was range. to that for the Spit, must be added a certain fragility that simply rules it out of contention. hurricanes were rugged enough, but still lacked an effective range.

    In my mind, the best all round contender would be the P-40E, but even this type as a fighter was outclassed by the Japanese Ki-43s and A6Ms then in service.

    I agree with Buffnut. equipment was not really the main problem for the allies. Their pilots organization, support were simply not up to the task. More importanly the mindset was wrong
     
  18. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #18 oldcrowcv63, Feb 6, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
    I have to agree, and would add poor leadership to the list of deficiencies. However, in the defense of Java, at least one squadron consisted of relatively high time P-40E flyers well salted vith vets of the PI campaign. The dutch had a perhaps flawed but still operative non-RADAR based early warning system and an Air Defense Command something akin to that of the AVG. In contrast, the AVG was flying the P-40B, apparently higher performing than its successor P-40E and if I understand correctly doing a better job of countering air raids than did USAAF Pursuit Squadron 17. The pilots of the participating RAF/RAAF and Dutch squadrons by that time were also better seasoned than in the first disastrous month of the war and if I understand correctly, were doing better than one might expect from the lowly Buff. I don't know how well or poorly the Hurricane's performed in theater. Was hoping someone in the forum could shed some light.

    Pars, I agree, but the Spit I predated the campaign and existed in significant numbers and I thought too interesting a what if option to ignore. I think the Hurricane was indeed better suited to the defense of Java but suffered due to its short legs. With its high ceiling, a reasonably good climber, robust and sturdy, I would expect it to be fairly successful, but of course actual numbers were low.

    The dutch were apparently very happy to receive the P-40Es (apparently somewhat pleased with their Hawk 75s) the retreating americans willed them but the fact remains that while it was probably the best general fighter in that area, it couldn't reach the altitude of the bombers continually raiding the island and it couldn't get alititude superiority over the bomber's escorts, although that may have been a problem for any of the realistic (non-Spitfire) options listed except the Hurricane (?).

    Things did go to hell awfully fast, and it's probably true that very little could have been done to reverse the ultimate result. There were no replacement engines available for the P-40E high time allisons and no time to have them overhauled even if the facilities had been available. Although I get the impression that Java had more aviation maintenance support than available in either the PI or in Malaya. PS-17s secret Ngoro airfield base was a marvelous bit of work and apparently but one of a number distributed about the island.
     
  19. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    No contest-the F4F3 and the record proves it. It's only problem was that there were not enough of them.
     
  20. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    I suppose the only real choices would be the Hurricane, P-40E, Hawk75 and B339/439 and maybe CW-21B. Hurricane has the altitude advantage but not the legs.
    P-40E can't get to adequate altitude, but has legs and dive speed
    B-339/439 seems to have legs and maybe altitude capability but can't get out of its own way.
    Hawks75 has altitude, legs and are fairly manueverable with decent dive speed.
    CW-21B have no armor and can't sustain an attrition battle and their climbing advantage over the zero is less than imagined to nonexistent.

    Hurricane or Hawk75 seems to be the best realistic option. P-40B would be probably be great but not sure there is a ready supply at this stage.
     
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