IJAAF/IJNAF vs. Soviets: who would have the edge?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The air forces of two major ww2 players - how do they stack up one against the other, in 1941-45 time frame? Was there a time frame when one side have had the technological, tactical, strategical advantage? How much the balance is changed when we subtract LL component from VVS? The Japanese have the edge in carrier warfare, there should not be any discussion about that. OTOH, VVS would be in better shape to assist it's ground forces vs. the enemy well equipped with light AAA.
    Other categories being less clear cut? We can toss in the electronics AAA here.
     
  2. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    For the Soviets, does this include Lend Lease equipment (British, US, etc)?
     
  3. alejandro_

    alejandro_ Member

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    I would put my money on the Soviets. Not because their designs were much better but because they had better powerplants, armament, reliability and protection features. Japan struggled to field a reliable fighter with +1500HP engine while the Soviet Union was able to deploy thousands of Yak-9U and La-5/7.

    In terms of production, the USSR would have overwhelmed Japan. This was one of the lesons of Khakil Gol.
     
  4. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    I belive that if the Japanese attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, with the IJN helping, the Zeros would shoot down an incredible large number of Soviet planes and greatly assist the IJA in the ground.
     
  5. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    But there's always the problem of where would Japan get the oil to fight a conflict with the USSR.

    Plus the IJA and IJN had a terrible record of interservice co-operation, possibly the worse of any the WW2 combatants.
    There'd be no IJN helping the IJA.
     
  6. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    Well, yes, there was the problem of the oil.

    As for the IJA/IJN cooperation, it happened in China.

    Anyway, the Zero would be very good for operate in Russia. The Japanese bombers would be able to hit very distant targets with fighter escort.
     
  7. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Can you give some examples of IJN and IJA co-operation in China ?
     
  8. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Tomo
    IMHO Khalkhin gol showed that in a long run better armed and armoured Soviet planes backed by better resources prevailed even if at the beginning Japanese held the upper hand.

    Juha
     
  9. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    They were operating together there. This is my point.
     
  10. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #10 tomo pauk, Mar 1, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
    The OP states both situations, ie. LL and no LL.

    The only Soviet engines in 1500+ category worth speaking about (= numbers produced, reliability) were the ASh-82 series, and it took some time for the Soviets to perfect the ASh-82FN*. The peformance figures (from Wikipedia):
    M-82FN with direct fuel injection:
    -1,650 hp (1,230 kW) at 2,400 RPM for take-off (Dry), boost rated at 1.55 Atm (46.3")
    -1,430 hp (1,067 kW) at 2,400 RPM at 16,404 ft (5,000 m)

    The Japanese did have a contender there, the Mitsubishi Kasei. Data from Wikipedia, engine in Mitsubishi Raiden:
    MK4R [Ha-32] 23 - Water-injection
    -1,820 horsepower (1,360 kW), 2600 rpm at takeoff
    -1,600 horsepower (1,200 kW), 2500 rpm at 1,300 metres (4,300 ft)
    -1,520 horsepower (1,130 kW), 2500 rpm at 4,100 metres (13,500 ft)

    The Yak-9U was not fielded in thousands, the unreliable engine being the major hurdle. The Japanese did have the Nakajima Homare in fighters, not the most reliable engine, but aganin not that troublesome as the late Klimov engines.

    Agreed about the USSR having the edge in production. I disagree that Khalkin Gol taught the Soviets that lesson, they were mass producing the T-26s, BTs and Polikarpov fighters already.

    Contrary to almost thousand fighters LW had, along with thousands of bombers, Japanese were fielding far less Zeros Oscars. The main fighter force being Nates and Claudes (= planes with fixed UC), their bomber force being weaker than that of LW. The Zero and Oscar did not enjoy the performance advantage vs. VVS modern fightes, the opposite was true.

    *a part of multi-page article about tha ASh-82 (here) states the numerous instances of faulty engines, even in early 1945, when Soviet war situation was far more favorable than Japanese.
     
  11. VinceReeves

    VinceReeves Member

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    Russian armour is the crucial factor here. The Japanese don't have any credible GA aircraft until the last couple of months of the war, and we don't know how they would have fared as they weren't really committed to combat.

    Assuming the battle is in China/Manchuria/Korea/Siberia, it's Russian combined operations versus relatively static Japanese ground forces with less co-ordinated air support.

    So we have the Russian air armies supporting the assault with Sturmoviks etc. with the Japanese fighters having to attempt to stem the attacks and also work as FB's as best they can. Japanese bombers would be tasked with interdiction, possibly without escort.

    I imagine the Japanese air elements continually having to abandon bases ahead of the Russian advance, probably while under air attack.

    I suspect the whole thing will be over fairly quickly.
     
  12. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Having seen a Zero very frequently since we operate one, I question that it would be suitable for operation in Russia.

    In good weather, certainly. But while tough, it is nothing like "rugged." Harsh winter and spring conditions would seem to be something it couldn't handle.

    Just my own impression, and Jenish could well be correct in his assertion. I'd love to see any information on Zeros operated in harsh conditions, but have only personal observations and my own assumptions.
     
  13. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #13 Jenisch, Mar 1, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
    Ok, I will let to be a Japanese fanboy for a momment. :lol:

    What was constated in Khalkhin Gol, was that the Ki-27 was structurally weaker than the I-16 from the Type 10 onwards. The Soviets fielded a good number of those more modern I-16s in the conflict. Only at the start there were Type 5 and 6 models which were inferior to the Ki-27. They were flown by poorly trained pilots, against which the Japanese reckoned many kills. Later the Soviet pilotos, specially the experienced ones from the Spanish Civil War, constated that this weakness in the structure of the Nate could be explored simply by using energy tactics. As soon as the Soviets started to use this kind of tactic in group, together with the armor protection those I-16s had (it was effectivs against the two .30 cal from the Ki-27), the situation started to become difficult for IJAAF fighters, and pilot losses started to increase, and it was becoming difficult to substitute pilots. Even relatively inexperience Soviet pilots could gain experience more easily against the Japanese planes due to the forgiviness of the structure of the Ki-27 (in the Eastern Front, the 109 or 190 would catch them in the dive easily, and they also could outdive them).

    In this scenario, like Tomo Pauk said, the Japanese did not changed much in terms of aircraft. They had a small number of Zeroes, while the Soviets had a similar number of modern fighters based in the Far East by 1941. For the the VVS, that was aware of the Ki-27 weakness, and already have gained experience against the A5M (they also had acess and test flown both fighters), would probably test the structural strenght of the Zero in combat to see if the Japanese learned the lesson, and soon they would find that they didn't learned. With the Oscar the situation would be similar. A surprise would occur with the Ki-44 however.

    As for the ground war, yes. Japanese artillery proved outclassed in Khalkhin Gol, and while the Japanese destroyed a good number of Soviets tanks by molotov cocktails (they didn't have much AT guns), the irony was that the Soviets had tanks to lost, the opposite of the Japanese who the majority of their tanks in Khalkhin Gol and already during to the conflict had to remove their tank contingent in order to not have it totally destroyed). The guns of the Soviet tanks, specially the 45mm of the BT's, were much better than the ones of the Japanese tanks. I remember of a passage from Alvin Coox's excellent book Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, 1939, where a Japanese officers says that compared to the Soviets, the guns of the Japanese tanks were like a penis of a boy. :lol:

    The Japanese logistics was also poor.

    In overall, the Japanese learned many lessons from Khalkhin Gol, but surprisingly, they didn't implemented most of them. :shock:

    Frankly, I also think the Japanese offensive would grind to a halt, and despite what some Army officers belived, the decision to not attack the Soviet Union was a correct and logical one. The Japanese already commited themselfs to expand to the Pacific, and this occured before KG. The Americans were also becoming increasingly hostile to Japan, and an embargo of oil was a realistical possibility. If the Japanese attacked the USSR, it would be very possible that the Americans would cut their oil. If the Americans cut their oil, and the Japanese get boged down in Russia, Japan would be finished. Vladivostok was only 800 km from Tokyo, and targets in Honshu were all avaliable to Soviets and American bombers, which would could have operated from the Soviet soil. This would brings desastrous consequences to the Empire.

    Now backing to the Japanese aviation: the Japanese, despite everything, were learning, perhaps also by watching the aircraft development in other countries, specially Germany (they received a Bf 109 and a Fw 190 for evaluation purposes). The Ki-61 already departed from the traditional sense, as well as the Ki-44, and the Ki-84 and the A7M also. Bombers like the Ki-67 were already in the right direction as well. Actually, late in the war the Japanese were proving to be able to produce planes which at least in theory were very good, like the Ki-84 and the G8N. The problem for Japan was a too much conservative military. In aviation, it can be easily constated that the Japanese planes were not so bad, they were just almost always one geration behind. :p
     
  14. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Jenisch
    IMHO otherwisw very good Ki-67 lacked the good loadcarrying ability. And Japanese underutilised the reliable Mitsubishi Kinsei/Ha-112 engine, potentially they could have made A6M8s and Ki-100s earlier, which, even if not stellar performers, would have been combatible fighters with reliable powerplants.

    Juha
     
  15. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #15 tomo pauk, Mar 1, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
    The Japanese might strap 2 x 20 mm at Ki-44 and they got a capable fighter?

    The nonsense at Wikipedia (Mitsubishi J2M - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) will mis-educate many:

    Neither the Raiden was primarily designed to defend against B-29s, neither it lacked supercharger on the engine.

    The claimed speeds of ~600 km/h are way out of reality IMO.
     
  16. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    The bomb load was adequated, it was similar to the B-26. What was not "adequated" was the plane enter in service only in 1944.
     
  17. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #17 Jenisch, Mar 1, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
    Now to the topic's subject: the Soviets had indisputable advantage over the Japanese in aircraft development and production during WWII. While the Japanese were starting to produce the Ki-84 in 1944, the Soviets already had thousands of Lavochkins, which was a similar plane. They also already had much more Yaks, the Yaks 1 and 7 were better than the Zero and the Ki-43, and the Yak-3 and the 9U (perhaps the 9D also), were equal or superior to the Ki-84 (actually in theory, the Ki-84 was one plane in theory, other in practice due to it's engine problems). In terms of interceptors, I think the Mig-3 was comparable to the Ki-44, while the J2M was superior to both of them. In terms of strike aircraft total Soviet advantage, the IL2 cannot be compared to the Ki-51. In terms of bombers, the Soviets had a much larger quantity of modern bombers produced. The Pe-2 was a very good bomber, and it also could dive bombing, it was an aircraft that would give the Japanese fighters a lot of troube if they had to deal with it. The P1Y was comparable to the Pe-2, but arrive too much late. The Tu-2 had the Ki-67 as a comparable Japanese model, but in terms of production the Tu-2 surpassed the Japanese plane.

    The Japanese had adequated personal and technology to have better planes. Unfornately for them, their senior officers prevented the country to have projects in the same level as the ones from the West and Russia in adequated time.
     
  18. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    IIRC the max bomb load for Ki-67 was 800kg, but it could carry a 1074kg torpedo. The max bomb load of late-production B-26B/C was 2300+kg but usually restricted to 1814kg.

    Juha
     
  19. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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  20. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Yet it is still Wiki, at least Green's Famous Bombers of the Second World War; "Masterpiece to Manned Missile...Mitsubishi's Final Bomber". Air International, July 1983, Vol. 25 No. 1. pp. 25–33, 47. ISSN 0306-5634; Francillon, Ph.D., René J. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. London: Putnam, 1987 ISBN 0 85177 801 1; Weal, Weal and Barker Combat Aircraft of World War Two and The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft, Blitz Edition agree with my info.

    Juha
     
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