Ki-43-I or A6M2 as AVG opponent

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jerry W. Loper, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. Jerry W. Loper

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    Aviation buffs who know anything about the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) know that the Japanese fighters the AVG faced were mostly Nakajima Ki-27 Nates with fixed landing gear and a few Ki-43 Oscars, but the popular opinion is that the AVG fought and conquered the Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero. Which Japanese fighter, overall, would have been a more formidable foe for the AVG, the Oscar or the Zero? On the plus side, the Ki-43 was even more maneuverable than the Zero (and maneuverability was the main advantage either Japanese fighter would have over the Curtiss P-40C), but on the minus side it was flimsier, a bit slower, and less well armed (the Ki-43-Ia was armed just with a couple of 7.7-mm. machine guns).
     
  2. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    The AVG never faught the Zero, the Ki-43 was sometimes referred to (mitakenly) as a "Zero."

    And the AVG didn't use P-40C's they had Tomahawk IIB's (Brit P-40C designation) converted to the Tomahawk IIA (P-40B) configuration. So for all intents and purposes they were P-40B's. (which were lighter and better performing than the P-40C) Their engines were also not standard and had up to 220 hp more than a normal V-1710-33. This allowed them to reach speeds of 370 mph (nearly 20 mph faster than a P-40B) and also had better climb. (probably about equal with the Ki-43-II)

    See: The Last Curtiss P-40C
     
  3. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Even still, the AVG rarely engaged in dog fighting. Because they were so out numbered, they did hit and run tactics. And because of this, the zero's great advange of manuverability would have been negated.

    However, to answer your question......the A6M would have been it's most dangerous opponent. While the Zero was less manuverable, it was tougher, faster, and much more heavily armed than the KI-43.
     
  4. Flyboy2

    Flyboy2 Member

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    I was reading Claire Chennault's autobiography and it defienatly seemed as though the AVG encountered Ki-43's alot more than A6M's. Correct me if I'm wrong, but would this be because most of the A6M's were on carriers patrolling the Pacific and the AVG mostly fought over land?
     
  5. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    The IJN had land based Zeros as well...

    The AVG did't meet Zeros but the subseqent 23rd FG (keeping the Fling Tigers name) would probably have come up against them though. Albeit with different model P-40s...
     
  6. R Pope

    R Pope Member

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    15 Zeroes were sent to China in July 1940, and Chennault definitely knew about them. He sent a report to the US warning them of this new warplane, where it was totally ignored, allowing the Zero to come as a total surprise at Pearl Harbor.
    I have read flight tests of the Oscar, where it was credited with being the most maneuverable monoplane ever made! However, it was slow, and fell apart under fire. It was fighting a war that it wasn't designed for.
     
  7. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    They did have landbased Zeroes; China is where the Zero started operations in 1940 as was mentioned. But, the JNAF removed all their Zero units from China before the Pacific War started, to deploy them against targets like the Philippines, briefly in Malaya, later Dutch East Indies etc. So the AVG met none at all (in Burma either) and the 23rd apparently didn't either, when flying P-40's.

    Much later, 1944, Zeroes based on the Chinese island of Hainan, mainly to cover convoys against raiding USAAF bombers, did fly some missions inland over China and met P-40's of the 51st FG. And the 23rd FG met Zeroes on a few occasions in late '44 and '45 when flying P-51's, ranging farther to, for example, meet JNAF units stationed around Shanghai. But the overwhelming % of encounters by both AVG and USAAF in CBI theater was with Japanese Army fighters, throughout the Pacific War.

    This was in contrast to 1937-41 war, when the Japanese Navy (w/ biplanes, then Type 96 'Claudes' then Zeroes) was the more active of the two Japanese air arms v the Chinese and their allies (Soviets, Western volunteers, etc.)

    Joe
     
  8. kool kitty89

    kool kitty89 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info.
     
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