IJAAF, IJN, and Naval aviation in general

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Salim, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. Salim

    Salim Member

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    Good day again.

    I was reading up on the Japanese Naval and Army air services during the second world war and I what I read was generally interesting. The IJN was definately the best trained and most efficent air arm in the world at the time, though their lack of planning for a long war and other shortsighted policies (as well as lack of resources and industrial capacity) would definately lead to its demise towards the end.

    So after I had read enough about the IJN, I decided to move on to its army counter-part, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force (or service, whichever you perfer) and so far I didn't do that much reading up, but I will be doing so soon. Anyhow, I do have some questions about the IJAAF, if you people care to answer.

    1: The pilots of the IJN were very well trained and the navy was very strict when it came to choosing who could be an aviator or not. That being said, how did the IJAAF compare in this regard? Did they have a strict system of selection and training as well? (I should mention that it normally took an IJN pilot 50 to 64 months to complete training under pre-war conditions).

    2: Just how considerable were the IJAAF pilots were against their allied enemies? I know that the IJAAF pilots didn't rack up as impressive a victory count as the IJN, but that was due to the major differences between the policies of the two services, plus give what responsibilities the IJAAF had, anyway.

    I think that's it for now, anyway, I do have one other question about naval aviation as well.

    I know that the purpose of naval aviators is basically to bomb targets and not achieve air superiority. But under what conditions would it normally take for naval aviators to see a lot of air-to-air action? Bomber pilots make history, and fighter jocks make movies, I know, but if fighter jocks don't protect their bomber friends, they won't be able to achieve their history making.

    I suppose that the reason why the USN and IJN had so many aerial shoot downs is because of the uniqueness of the pacific war, and the vast oceans that made extensive use of carriers necessary (land-based aircraft were used, of course, but the long ranges and smallness of the islands were obviously a hinderance, hence the need for floating airbases...). During the Korean war, the USN only had one ace, but I'm fairly certain they shot down quite a bit of aircraft, the big issue there must have been the fact the USN didn't operate in areas were there was plenty of enemy air activity (the USAF were the ones who went 'mig alley' often, I guess). During the Vietnam conflict, they only had one ace as well, but so did the USAF, and this was because of poor training on part of ALL US military pilots, the folks in charge of making the aircraft and training the pilots made plenty of mistakes and by the time a new training program was set up (Top gun for the Navy and Red Flag for the Air Force) the conflict in Vietnam was coming to a close and most of the fighting was pretty much over.

    Of course, the lack of targets over Vietnam did have a large deal to do with it, but that's another issue.

    So guys, any answers and comments? If so, then don't hesitate to voice them. :)
     
  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Dont forget that from the end of the Guadalcanal campaign in Jan 1943 through the end of the battles over Rabaul (March 1944), nearly all aerial battles in the PTO were fought from land based fighters.

    in 1943, once the allied airfield building program in the SW Pacific was in full swing, there were plenty of airfields being built. Some large, some small.
     
  3. Salim

    Salim Member

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    Ahh, yes, I know about the south and southwest pacific. But you need to remember the central pacific (Marshall and Gilbert islands, anyone?) as well as the Marianas and various other opening battles in the Philipines area and Formosa (Taiwan) and of course, towards the end of the war, US and British carriers were wreaking havok on the Japanese mainland from their carrier-based fighter bombers. They did this to supplement strategic bombing from the Marianas.

    Edit: Oh, and one thing I need to mention. You refer to Guadalcanal and Indonesia, but I was refering to the smaller atolls. The Solomons and Indonesia/New Guniea were very large islands and had the capacity to fit a great many airbases and load them with many squadrons.
     
  4. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The island hopping began in Nov 1943 with the invasion of Tarawa, and followed through with Kwajelein and Eniwetok in early 1944.

    Aside from the big carrier strike on Truk, the IJN air force was not in a position to contest it, as most of the pilots and planes were busy in the Solomons.

    The IJAAF was on Papua New Guinie at that time.

    Thanks to the allied efforts in the Solomons and Papua New Guinie, the Japanese air forces were depleted or commited to these area's and were in no position to intercept the carrier task forces.
     
  5. Twitch

    Twitch Member

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    Well the IJN was THE military force in Japan as the Royal Navy had always been to GB, both island nations, by the way. So it was natural that those naval services would get the lion's share of funding and importance. Being that the Japanese built an oceanic empire aside from the Asian continent suppression it makes sense that there were actually more IJN aircraft than those of the Air Force and Army. The Navy was the thrusting samurai sword of the nation.
     
  6. Salim

    Salim Member

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    Not just that, but after the massive carrier battles of 1942, the IJN didn't want to risk any of its carriers in such duels again until it was strong enough once more. Of course, by 1943 the American Essex class fleet carriers and Independance light carriers were operational, making things even harder for the IJN.

    That makes sense, but I think that in the case of GB, the RN was so large to the outstretchedness of the British Empire (even now, GB has the 2nd strongest navy in the world), but just one little nitpick, though. Imperial Japan never had an 'air force' per se, the Army and Navy maintained seperate air arms, but there was no seperate air service dedicated for air operations.
     
  7. Smokey

    Smokey Member

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    It seems that the leaders of the Japanese military were hoping that Hitler would defeat Stalin, which would make the Axis situation ever so slightly safer.

    The timing of Pearl Harbour was really bad. There was a grudge against the UK and the US for using military power to force Japan to open for trade in the 1800s and resentment of the European/US 'possesions' in the Far East, which lead to strong support for the Pearl harbour plan. Thankfully Hitler was a military fool and his interference in Barbarossa meant that his armies were being turned back from Moscow in December 1941.

    If the military leaders of Japan had waited just a month or so then the true situation on the Eastern front would have become known to many and the attack on Pearl Harbour probably would not have taken place.

    Problems with engines such as the Homare, due to the Allied blockades and bombing and the relatively small size of the industry in Japan, plus reliance on Hitler defeating Stalin, doomed the military of Japan in WW2.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakajima_Homare
     
  8. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Japan had to strike when it did as it was on borrowed time with the allied oil embargo in place.

    Japan needed to get at the oil fields in SE Asia quickly. The attack on Pearl was timed with the invasions of the PI and Malaya as to block any attempt by the US to interfere. Getting the US carriers was also an objective, but it wasnt going to be a show stopper.
     
  9. DAVIDICUS

    DAVIDICUS Member

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    "even now, GB has the 2nd strongest navy in the world"

    Salim, I believe the Navies of Russia, China and France would presently all rank as superior in force projection.
     
  10. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The Russian navy?

    The Chinese navy?

    :lol: :lol: :lol:

    French navy?

    :lol: :lol:
     
  11. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    The Chinese Navy isn't "Blue water" Navy either. Sure, they could probably go across the straits to Taiwan, but they don't have the projection for a show of force too far away. The Russian Navy, while quite experience, is in a bit of disarray thanks to money problems.
     
  12. Jank

    Jank Member

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    I think the Royal navy is second in rank as far as raw tonnage The French Navy is larger in personnel though. I would think that the Russian Navy could project greater force via its nuclear sub fleet than the Royal Navy and would put Russia as second in ability to project death and destruction from vessels.

    China. Hmmm. How do you define a blue water navy? The Chinese currently have 6 destroyers, 22 frigates, four subs and are currently refurbishing the 67,500ton Varyag (Russian aircraft carrier). Those are all blue water vessels. Their operations are not limited to coastal patrols either. There is news that they are building a 78,000 ton aircraft carrier slated to go on line in 2010. Bottom line is that they are still smaller than Russia, Britian and France.

    I think that in terms of power projection, the Russians would still rank over the Royal Navy. France would come in after England and China, at its current military growth rate, will one day be one of the great navies.
     
  13. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The Russian fleet is usually tied up at dock, rusting away. Having ships at anchor means their crews arent at sea training and gaining experience. Their nuke fleet is almost irrelevant in power projection as they can only do one thing, and thats wipe out cities.

    The Chinese fleet is for coastal defense. They cant sustain operations too far from shore as they have no logistics base, at sea resupply or enough ships to make up a task force.
    The Japanese navy is far superior to the Chinese fleet.

    Its the same thing with the French. A few ships and nothing else.
     
  14. Jank

    Jank Member

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    The French Navy is the second largest Western European navy in tonnage after the Royal Navy and includes a Nuclear aircraft carrier and subs.

    While it is certainly not the USN, it is also hardly, "A few ships and nothing else." as you say.
     
  15. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Its a few ships and nothing else. The French cannot project any power outside of the North Atlantic or Med.
     
  16. Jank

    Jank Member

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    The French cannot project any power outside of the North Atlantic or Med.

    I think you're being a little silly now. The French would presently be no less capable of projecting force anywhere across the globe than the British were of projecting force outside of the "North Atlantic" in the Falklands crisis.

    You and I may quibble on the quality of that projection but your assertion that they cannot project any power outside of the North Atlantic or Med. is wrong. Similarly, your assertion that their navy consists of just a few ships and nothing else is equally wrong.

    They have a nuclear aircraft carrier (41,000 tons), two helicopter / amphibious assault projection vessels (21,000 tons each), a helicopter cruiser (12,000 tons), six nuclear attack subs, four conventional subs, 15 destroyers, 11 Frigates, 9 high sea escorts, 4 landing platform ships for off loading armored regiments (12,000 tons), and a bunch more suppor, transport and landing craft ships.
     
  17. Sal Monella

    Sal Monella Member

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    Isn't the French navy the one where crews abandon ship while still at dock?

    Seriously though, I think the french navy would easily qualify as one of the five most powerful navies in the world. They have more than twice the power as the Italian navy. They are more powerful than Australia's and Canada's navies too.
     
  18. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The current Japanese navy dwarfs the French navy. They have 53 destroyers and frigates, plus 16 subs.

    Now back to the topic of The IJAAF and IJN in WW2
     
  19. Salim

    Salim Member

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    And Naval Aviation in general. :)
     
  20. Jank

    Jank Member

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    Japan has no ability to project force, nuclear or otherwise.
    They have no aircraft carriers and no helicopter assault ships, thus, no ability to project air power at a distance. They have no naval support structure for operations away from home.

    The whole point of a navy is the perojection of force abroad.

    The Japanese Navy does not add one iota of force projection capabilty to Japan that cannot be achieved from land based operations on the Japanese mainland itself. The name of the Japanese navy pretty much sums it up.

    "Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force"

    The Japanese navy does not "dwarf" the French navy in capability any more than the fact that the French navy has more personnel than the Royal navy means that the French Navy is larger or otherwise greater than the Royal Navy.
     
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