Allied vs Japanese losses

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Morai_Milo, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. Morai_Milo

    Morai_Milo Banned

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    When the war in the Pacific started til the end of 1942, it is said the Allies suffered terrible air losses at the hands of the Japanese.

    Is this a myth or was the losses more even?
     
  2. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    Like most claims as these it is slightly exaggerated as eventhough the USN was dealt serious blows it didn't do as badly as some say. The Wildcats for example did a reasonable job against the AM6 Zero, eventhough the results definitely favors the Zero.
     
  3. twoeagles

    twoeagles Member

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    Remember also the Japanese pilots had been flying in conflict since the mid-1930's; the US Navy's pilots had not yet fired a shot in anger and so there was definitely a painful learning curve in 1942. One the Navy rapidly climbed after the initial shock of meeting the A6M...
     
  4. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't that have something to do with not only were the defending islands air defenses outdated, (F4F's, Buffalo's, etc) they were also overwhelmed by superior numbers? In some cases the islands had no air defenses, and we all know what can happen when you control the air.

    I would associate it to what the Mustang did against the Luftwaffe. Was the Mustang that much better than the FW-190? (I'm not stealing the thread with a new debate, this is just to make a point) :) Probably not. But when the Luftwaffe takes off and they are pounced on by overwhelming numbers, you don't stand much of a chance.

    Yeah, the allies had bad losses early on, until better tactics, better planes, and superior numbers were introduced.
     
  5. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    According to USAAF statistics - by late summer 1942 FEAFs had about a 1.45 to 1 kill ratio over the Japanese. Mind you you're dealing with very convoluted "claims" on both sides but it did seem the USAAF was holding its own. During Coral Sea and later Midway the USN went from a 1 to 2 to a 2 to 1 ratio, again this was based on loose claims. Although not accurate, these claims can somewhat be substantiated by the offensive actions by attack and bomber aircraft in the same theaters. Sure, there were many US losses but not to the extent many would be made to believe. Check out this link...

    Army Air Forces in World War II

    Army Air Forces in World War II

    According those tables the worse month for the USAAF in the FEAF was Feb 1942 were 44 fighter aircraft were reported destroyed in combat - I question the accuracy of this but this information was taken from offical USAAF records....
     
  6. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    The first and second halves of 1942 in the Pacific War differ in many basic ways, not just air combat. From Dec '41 to June '42 the Japanese were agressively on the offensive over a very wide area. There was much more varied wide ranging air combat against many opponents By the second half of the year much more focus of the war was localized to one smaller campaign: the struggle for Guadalcanal. And the Japanese pretty completely destroyed several of their air opponents in first 1/2 '42: the Dutch, all the units the Brits and US had in PI and DEI, etc.; in general they met the Brits and USAAF relatively less in the second 1/2 of '42 and USN and USMC much more.

    So breaking down to 1st 1/2 and 2nd 1/2; the statement is true for 1st 1/2. There's no basic mystery about it, well researched books using both sides loss records have given a consistent picture. We're injecting artificial "uncertainty" to go back to quoting claims, or to point out that claims don't agree with recorded losses of the other side, pardon me: duh. Read Shores "Bloody Shambles", 2 vols all laid out day by day each sub theater: consistent Japanese fighter dominance in the Japanese offensives of 1942. Web links to wartime claims don't refute that book IMHO, are not a serious response to it.

    Info from that book quoting an earlier post about Feb '42:
    "As long as analyzing Feb '42, 24 of those P-40's were downed in the air by Japanese fighters (all Navy, all A6M, no loss in one engagement v. JAAF Nates, and 2 losses were to bomber defensive fire, rest to enemy a/c on the ground or aboard ship). In turn the P-40's downed 2 A6M's and a Ki-27 for sure; they claimed 15 A6M's and 4 Ki-27's among Japanese fighters"
    [24:3 based on losses, that's pretty dominant]

    A little later, not in Bloody Shambles but comparing "Pacific Sweep" by Rust to "Winged Samurai" by Sakaida, P-39's spring 1942 in New Guinea:
    "stats from Apr 30-June 1 '42, 45 e/a claimed, 37 of them Zeroes, for 26 P-39's (13 pilots) lost in air combat. The Tainan Kokutai lost 11 pilots in this period, w/ the 8th the only Allied fighter unit it faced after May 3..The JNAF didn't use parachutes in this period but still lost more planes than pilots in other known cases; I've never seen a comprehensive accounting of this period though. Anyway ball park of 2:1 against the P-39's in planes..[though] close to even in pilots...The USAAF P-40's defending Darwin same period also went ~1:2 v. A6M's [49th FG v 3rd Kokutai compare AJ Press "3rd/202nd Kokutai" and Rust]. The RAAF P-40's at Port Moresby before the P-39's lost 12 pilots while causing the loss of 3 A6M pilots but were often heavily outnumbered which the US units generally weren't."

    The important exceptions to Japanese fighter dominance 1st half '42:
    -AVG P-40's even by mid 1942 established a clear ascendancy over the Japanese Army fighters it faced, mainly Ki-27 Nates but increasingly Ki-43 Oscars. Something like 3:1 in its favor, fighter-fighter, per recorded losses of each side ignoring each side's claims. See Dan Ford "The Flying Tigers"

    -USN/USMC fighters didn't come out far behind Japanese fighters even in their initial clashes of 1st half '42 (Wake, US carrier raids, Coral Sea, Midway); ahead if we count just F4F's, though not if we include F2A Buffaloes at Midway. See Lundstrom "The First Team"

    A lot of the second half of '42, in strategic importance, was Guadalcanal. There again USN/MC F4F's and Zeroes downed each other in about equal numbers. See Lundstrom's "The First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign" and Frank "Guadalcanal" both based on each side's records. The rest of 2nd half '42 was Burma where the JAAF still tended to have the upper hand (Shores "Air War for Burma"), limited fighting in New Guinea and China; in a few Aleutians combats US P-38's didn't consistently best *float* Zeroes according to loss records, but the P-38 and its use were immature. Anyway the key situation at Guadalcanal featured approximate parity in fighter air combat losses; heavier Japanese losses in fighter *pilots* and that situation obviously would lead to disaster eventually against a hugely larger industrial power than Japan. But consistent defeat for Japanese Navy fighters, fighter-fighter, in planes, according to each side's loss records, came about over the course of 1943 not in 1942.

    Joe
     
  7. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Are you saying the RAAF (75sqn) had a 3:1 ratio in their favour Joe? Do you have any figures for its 44 days in action? Off the top of my head, I've read many times they shot down roughly 36 for the loss of 12 or so pilots (22 odd a/c) Does this sound correct?
     
  8. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    It seems the ratio was against them, as typical in that period for Allied fighters v JNAF fighters. But in that case I don't know any source(s) from which to reconstruct the day by day details from both sides which I think is important to back up a particular exchange ratio number.

    The 75's claims are given in Sakaida, "Winged Samurai", as 18 in the air and 17 on the ground. His text says only they lost 12 pilots.

    I notice however now that on p.50 he reproduces an RAAF report (in very small print) that gives their plane losses as 8 shot down by enemy action, 4 missing, 5 "crashed on takeoffs and landings following damage sustained in combat" and 3 destroyed on the ground. So as many as 8+4+5=17 might be credited as aerial victories by the Zeroes (though perhaps a few by Japanese bombers or AA over Lae).

    The opposition in April-early May was the Tainan Air Group and they lost 3 pilots up to April 28 (the guy shot down that day, PO3c Yoshimitsu Maeda, was captured alive, very unusually). For the last several days of 75 sdn's tour the US 8th FG (P-39's) was also making claims and was more numerous. OTOH a fighter detachment of the Japanese 4th Air Group was at Lae in late March and the book doesn't cover that. So again without a day by day chronology of losses and claims of all units involved, at least a few other real victories over A6M's by 75sdn can't be ruled out. But, the Zeroes seem to have had the distinct upper hand in air combat, as they usually did in this period of the war.

    Joe
     
  9. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Joe, after having a quick squizz thru the 75 sqn ORB I came up with the following.

    The following figures are a summary of the period 21 March '42 - 8 May '42 as written in the ORB.

    75sqn claims
    18 destroyed in the air (bombers and fighters)
    17 destroyed on the ground

    4 probably destroyed in the air
    36 damaged in the air
    18 damaged on the ground

    Own losses (P40's)
    15 destroyed in the air
    2 destroyed on the ground
    5 written off in T/O and landing accidents

    Losses pilots
    11 KIA or missing
    1 Killed in landind accident
    note: SQDLDR Cresswell from 76sqn was KIA flying a 75sqn a/c, I'm not sure if he is counted in the 11.
     
  10. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Joe, here's what I could get out of the ORB regarding dates.
    75sqn claims
    1. 21 March 42- 1EA destroyed in the air
    2. 22 March 42- 2 Zeroes shot down, 3xB 9xF destroyed on the ground (Lae)
    3. 23 March 42- 1 Zero shot down by AA fire + 1 probable
    4. 24 March 42- 1 Bomber shot down, 1 Zero probably shot down
    5. 27 March 42- 1 Bomber shot down
    6. 28 March 42- 1xF probably shot down
    7. 31 March 42- 1 Bomber crashed due to loss of wing, seems like structural failure as no AA guns were firing and no P40 intercept
    8. 4 April 42- 4xB 3xF destroyed on ground, 7-8xB 3xF estimated badly damaged on ground
    9. 5 April 42- 1xB 1xF shot down
    10. 10 April 42- 2xB 1xF shot down
    11. 21 April 42- 1xB 1xF probably shot down

    As you can see Joe these figures don't match up with the Squadron's summary I posted above, however this might be because some of the pages from the ORB either weren't available on the net or have been lost or destroyed over the years.
     
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