Do we have any encounters of P51s with A6Ms?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by VBF-13, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    I think there were. What would be the "when" and "where" of these? I mean, if there were. Of course, lol.
     
  2. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I would think so. drgndg or Syscom might know....
     
  3. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Check the P-51 Pacific aces for their claims.
     
  4. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  5. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    so thinking outside the box put him in it instead...
     
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  6. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #6 GregP, Jan 21, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014
    I occasionally had the same thought, but never proceeded with it.
     
  7. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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  8. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The IJN was using Zero's right to the end of the war.
     
  9. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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  10. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Lumping the Ki-43 in as a "zero" 9something it was frequently mistaken for) there were encounters in Burma 1944-5, over Thailand 1945, in China 1944-5 and over japan (1945). There was one encounter in China, early 1945, allegedly against Zekes, in which 10 zekes were claimed for no loss.

    Over Burma, the Ki 43 was not able to damage the P-51 much, but then the P-51, ranged against surviving veteran pilots of the JAAF, had a surpisingly hard time bringing many Oscars down

    P-51s over thailand

    On November 11, 1944 , nine P-51 Mustangs from the 25 th FS and eight P-38 Lightnings flew an offensive reconnaissance mission over northern Thailand . Their targets included the railway line between Chiang Mai and the Ban Dara bridge, as well as the airfields in the area. A locomotive was attacked, and damaged, and the American fighters also attacked Lampang airfield, destroying a single-engined aircraft on the runway.

    The Thai defences had been alerted to the raid, and scrambled five Ki-27bs from Foong Bin 16. After the Lightnings and Mustangs had completed their strafing run, the RTAF fighters were bounced by the US pilots. Although the Otas were more nimble than the P-38s and P-51s, they could not match the speed and arnament of the US fighters. During the rather one-sided melee, the Thais claimed one P-38 as shot down, but in turn lost all of their Ki-27bs. The five RTAF fighters split into two sections, with Pilot Officer Kamrop Bleangkam and Chief Warrant Officer Chuladit Detkanchorn attacking the Lightnings. P/O Kamrop claimed one P-38 before his own aircraft was badly hit, and he was forced to crash land. The P-38s shot down Chief W/O Chuladit as well. As the other three Thai pilots tried to fend off the P-51s, all of them were shot down. Flight Lieutenant Chalermkiats Ota was hit in the engine. He made a forced landing, after which his Ki-27b was strafed and destroyed by one of the Mustangs. Of the other two Thai pilots, Chief W/O Nat Thara Kaimuk crashed nine miles from Lampang, while Chief W/O Nat Sunthorn was the only Thai pilot killed. All the other Thai pilots were injured, though. The USAAF lost one aircraft, most probably the P-38 claimed by P/O Kamrop. According to Thai sources, three Mustangs were damaged during the dogfight, two of which crashed in northern Thailand and the last in the Shan states.

    Againt Ki43s, there were numerous clashes between RTAF Ki-43s and P-51s, as well as IJAAF Ki43s, and in some reports A6mS. In one such raid, on April 7, 1945 , Don Muang was attacked by USAAF P-51 Mustangs. In this attack alone, the RTAF lost seven aircraft destroyed and seven personnel killed. During another raid on Don Muang two days later, two RTAF Ki-43s attempted to intercept about 40 USAAF P-51 Mustangs. Both Ki-43s were damaged, and the Thai pilots had to force land their Hayabusas. The strafing attack cost the RTAF yet another four aircraft, including one Ki-30. Several IJAAF aircraft were claimed as destroyed or damaged as well.

    I might say that the records of encounters between the RTAF and US forces in SE Asia are incomplete.
     
  11. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Parsifal. I guess my main takeaway from this is these were very lopsided encounters and certainly not what one would call a fair fight.
     
  12. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    definately not a fair fight. however in the hands of a good pilot, a Ki43 or an A6M could present itself as a hard target. It was similar to the TAFs experiences in the desert in 1940, against the RAs CR 42s and CR32s. these aircraft were dangerously manouverable, but underarmed and slow. They had no chance of achieving air superiority let alone air supremacy because of that. Nevertheless, the RAF had a very hard time with them, as the RA pilots were all very well trained and extracted the very best out of their mounts
     
  13. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    That's actually what kind of led me to ask the question. The P51s had a lot on these flyweight A6Ms. But how well did that translate into P51 victories in an even square-off? It's too bad the disparity in pilot skills at that late stage in the War is a factor that can't be ignored, but that's just how it is. Still, I'd think, under 30,000 feet, these A6Ms are going to be trouble for these bigger and badder machines, if only because, they're going to turn inside them, virtually at will, and virtually every time. The same goes as regards the F6Fs and F4Us. Neither could those dogfight these A6Ms. An N2S would have a better chance. Well, maybe that's pushing it a little, lol.
     
  14. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The later model Zero's had increased weight which negated some of their vaunted maneuverability. Regardless, the Zero was lacking in top speed at any altitude, dive capability and armourment. And it still burned rather easily.

    The only time a Zero could get a kill was if the allied pilot made a huge mistake.
     
  15. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    There will be people in this place that know this better than me, and to which i will defer in an instant, but my understanding that the first units in the pacific to receive p-51s in a combat area were the 47FS of the 15 FG of the VII Fighter Command. 82 P-51s for this FS (including spares and reserves) arrived on the CVE aircraft trasport Sitkoh Bay November 1944. the three squadrons of this group were probably amongst the most experienced in the AAF, being formed initially over Hawaii, with contingents having fought at Tarawa, and the Marianas. it was pretty standard for AAF fighters to trasport with the MAF and get a strip up and running as soon as was practical. Land based air could offer more direct and immediate support than assets that were carrier based. Extraordinary efforts by the Navy minimised this disadvantage, but carrier based support always had that millstone of being primarily concerned with fleet protection over CAS.

    During 1943-4, the 15th had operated a number of different types, P-39, P-40, P-38 and then, from early 1944, P-47D. From late 1944 it began to re-equip with P-51D. Froom early March 1945, the 47th FS began to deploy to the newly occupied base at Iwo Juma, More units were to follow. 21FG, the other main combat element of VII fighter command was a few weeks behind the 15th, its 46th FS began receiving P-51 from late November, and the 46th tansferred to the Iwo Base on or about the 22 March . The first Long Range missions to japan commenced 7 April, with a total of 108 P-51s sent to escort just over 103 B-29s of the 73BW. There is an account from maj Tapps section of a particulalr combat in that raid, that left one B-29 burning and going down (shared kill with Japanese flak), in exchange Tapp is credited with four kills, though one is really just a probabl. A Ki45, Ki61 and Ki43 were all observed to go down, whilst a fourth, an A6M was a tleast damaged, but listed as a kill for some reason. I get the distinct impression the Americans were in a hurry to get some of their people now flying the AAFs premier fighter to ace status as quickly as they could. Five days later Tapp was credited with another zeke, though this one is even more problematic, But the 15th had their first Mustang ace....
     
  16. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    The F6F could turn with and even out-turn an A6M at anything above 250 mph or so. The A6M was slightly quicker in roll, but the F6F only had to avoid a turning fight at slow speeds. Most Zero pilots, when asked about the F6F after the was, including Saburo Sakai, remarked on how fast the F6F was in both speed and acceleration versus the A6M. So if the F6F pilot DID get a bit slow, all he had to do was unload, accelerate, and he could thenh turn back into the fight.
     
  17. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    I thought I might have been a little careless in that statement, Greg, so I just did a little checking. Ya got me, pal, ya got me. ;)
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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  19. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure there were some P-51 - A6M encounters, too. Unliked the ETO, most of the combats in the PTO were with small numbers of planes, with the great majority being of the 4 - 8 Allied versus 4 - 8 Japanese ... with some being essentially 1 on 1 and 2 on 2. So we would not have seen the same degree of overclaiming, and the mistakes would be there but should be fewer. The P-51 routinely cruised at about 260 - 280 mph and no doubt would have had time to accelerate to 320 - 340 mph by the time combat was joined, putting the P-51 in the driver's seat as far as being in the combat envelope.

    I'd expect the great majority of such cases to be decided in favor of the P-51's given the disparity in training late in the war coupled with knowledge of how NOT to fight a Zero plus the advantage the P-51 had over the Zero. It would be interesting to see some actual statistics on P-51 versus A6M combats, but I'm not even sure where to LOOK for it since the P-51's would not show up in Naval data and the USAAF data doesn't seem to break out the data into anything that has fields for what type aircraft was flown and what type aircraft was attacked or got attacked.

    If anyone knows where to find it, please tell us! Thanks!
     
  20. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #20 FLYBOYJ, Jan 23, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014
    I found this on that site I posted.

    Aug. 3, 1945

    "The 15th 506th Group was assigned the area east and northeast of Tokyo and was briefed to sweep the area northwest of Tokyo for worthwhile targets, three specific airfields in the area being singled out for special attention. Ishioka East airfield was strafed by two squadrons and three enemy aircraft were destroyed. Hyakurigahara airfield was next attacked with rockets and strafed with resultant heavy damage in the hangar and building area. Rocket and strafing attacks were also marshalling yards, railroad shops, etc.... at Kawagoc, Omiya, Hashimoto and Numozu. Four aircraft of this group, while covering a submarine which was heading into Sagami Bay to pick up a survivor (Captain Ed H Mikes Jr, story below), were attacked by an estimated six Zekes from up sun. The enemy had altitude and speed advantage and shot down one P-51 which crashed with its pilot. Two Zekes are claimed as probably destroyed and one damaged. Aircraft escorting the photo planes completed the mission without incident."

    More...

    http://www.506thfightergroup.org/missionaug3mikes.asp
     
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