Best Fighter in the Pacific and CBI Theaters in 1942

Discussion in 'Polls' started by syscom3, Apr 19, 2009.

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Best Fighter in the Pacific Theater in 1942

  1. Hawker Hurricane

    1.8%
  2. Curtis P40 Warhawk

    7.0%
  3. Bell P39/P400 Airacobra

    3.5%
  4. Grumman F4F Wildcat

    14.0%
  5. Mitsubishi "Zero"

    59.6%
  6. Nakajima "Oscar"

    3.5%
  7. Nakajima Ki-44 Shōki

    10.5%
  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I am using generic "names" rather than specific models for these aircraft, so as to include all of the models that WERE IN QUANTITY AND IN THEATER at any time from Nov 1941 to Dec 1942. I also consider the C-B-I to be part of the larger PTO. I am also omitting the clearly inferior types, as anyone who considers the "Buffalo" to be a great airplane is either delusional, simply fooling themselves, or a combination of both.

    As for giving the crown to an aircraft for "Best Fighter", it is patently unfair to compare models that were flying at the end of the war with the models that were flying at the beginning. Therefore we have to consider the aircraft that were flying within one of the several several phases of the war.

    For the purposes of this poll, consider "Phase 1" to be Nov 1941 and the AVG experiences, culminating with Dec 1942 with the winding down of the Guadalcanal campaign, the changing OOB in Papua and the influx of new types.

    I am specifically excluding the P38D E from this poll, as they were only available in limited numbers in Alaska, which was far from the main battle area's of the CBI and SW Pacific.
     
  2. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    Over all during that period, taking into all factors including range of the planes (including taking into consideration being able to land on a carrier or not). I will have to say the Zero. But it is close with the P-40 and Wildcat, which both were very solid planes.
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Great poll, syscom!

    Tough call between the P-40 and the F4F, but I went with the Wildcat because it shouldered a huge burden early in the war, and still delivered in spite of it's clear disadvantages.
     
  4. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    My opinion is the Zeke. It was the perfect combination of range, firepower, speed and agilty. In the hands of an experienced pilot it wasa very tough nut for the allies to deal with.

    It had its design faults, chief among them being its structural weakness, and its lack of armour and self sealing tanks. It relied on agilty as substitutes for that, which was okay in 1942, but dated soon thereafter
     
  5. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Syscom,

    Here is a performance comparison of the types you listed, plus the Ki-44-I as it might be relevant (and as it's certainly competitive).

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     

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  6. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    ...
     

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  7. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    ....
     

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  8. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    Saw the graphs, also if miss the airacobra, i'm for the 0.
     
  9. JAMF

    JAMF Member

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    My vote is for the P-39 (D?). When used right, it had the fight. With it's speed advantage, it could make slashing attacks and be out of range shortly after, extend and repeat. That was the tactic used then against the japanese fighters.
     
  10. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi JAMF,

    >My vote is for the P-39 (D?). When used right, it had the fight. With it's speed advantage, it could make slashing attacks and be out of range shortly after, extend and repeat. That was the tactic used then against the japanese fighters.

    I guess I'll have to add the P-39D to the diagram, as it had some of the qualities you describe.

    However, judging from what I heard from P-400 pilot MF Kirby, his outfit only planned on making one attack and then running for home. I'm not sure if it ever actually came to it - personally, he only fired his P-400's guns in anger at ground targets (or "at the trees of the New Guinean jungle", as he put it).

    Your summary of tactics is pretty much what Kirby's unit used with the P-38, which they thought gave them a decisive edge over the Japanese. Kirby certainly had no confidence in the fighting abilities of the P-400, though one has to consider that during the war, the limits of the A6M's capabilities were not very well known. (P-40 pilot Clay Tice even told me that he never heard about the results and conclusions from the US testing of the captured Akutan Zero.)

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  11. JAMF

    JAMF Member

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    What do you use for the diagrams? I check with IL2Compare with v4.07 data, but dunno if it's close to reality, as it is only what Oleg thinks is the closest approximation and added some "gameplay balancing".

    The P400 didn't have the extra power on tap as the P-39D had.
     
  12. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    I'm not 100% sure but i think that P-39 and 40 were available until K variant in '42
     
  13. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I forgot about the Ki-44. Man, what a blunder. Does anyone know if you can add things to a poll?

    Gaugreist, as for the Wildcat ....

    The P40 was also shouldering a lot of fighting. I would consider the F4F to be inferior to the P40 solely because it was a carrier aircraft that had to compromise a lot on its design in order to be carrier capable. A great naval aircraft sure doesnt necessarily mean its "the top dog".

    The P39 has some good atributes. Down low, its in its element. The 8th FG used it to good effect when they were stationed at Port Moresby. But Overall, I would put it as inferior to the Zero and Oscar (and Tojo). I'd even take a Hurricane over the P39.
     
  14. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

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    The P-40 for me. The "Zero" was a good a/c, but highly over rated in the early war, mostly due to the excellent caliber of pilots the Japanese had in the beginning. Once American pilots stopped using WW1 tactics and training then you can markedly see the improvement in use of the P-40. Chennaults' early fighter manual was right on target and should have been adhered to more widely. If it had it might have saved quite a few P-38's in 1943.

    The P-40 was a great aircraft for the PTO in 41-42 with its armor, .50 cals, good speed, and roll rate. And in the right hands could dominate.
     
  15. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    We many times tend to compare fighters in a fighter vs. fighter role.
    But how do they stand against other targets, eg. how successful would be a fighter against a B-25 type of target?
    From that point of view, Zero would have much more trouble then Hurricane II or P-40E, since the .50cals would've make minced meat out of it. The cannon that has lower performance even compared with MG/FF just emphasizes the issue.
     
  16. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I am going to have to go with the Zero here. I think that it was highly over rated and once aircraft such as the Hellcat and the Corsair were in service, she was obsolete.

    But in 1942 she held the advantage, even if ever so slight.
     
  17. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    In 1942, the Japanese were at a decided disadvantage against the B17. The 7mm machine guns were too puny to do much damage, and their 20MM wasn't fused correctly to cause the most amount of damage. Against the lightly armed B25's and B26's, the 20MM proved adequate to the task.

    Remember too though, the Japanese did score regularly against the allied bombers.
     
  18. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    In this time frame of 1942, would you consider the Zero to be decidedly better than the F4F and marginally better than the P40 (with pilot skill equal)?
     
  19. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I would consider the zero to be the most formidable (and feared) of the bunch in 1942... and at that time there still a lot of formidable IJN pilots to drive them. Independent of the performance the range was avery important factor. Much like the Mustang - it would 'do it' over our territory and do it well.
     
  20. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Agreed.
     
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