Saburo Sakai Zero vs Bf-109

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Chiron, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. Chiron

    Chiron Member

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    The famous Japanese ace, Saburo Sakai , once stated that if Germany had Zeros instead of Bf-109, the outcome of Battle of Britain would be very different. He believed Zero's superior range will enable Germans to strike deep into the interior of Britain.

    Whats your opinions on that?
     
  2. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    For range at the time, the Zero was the king. But I question that it would have been a huge difference. The Zero was more fragile than the 109 and could not have absorbed as much damage.
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I think that would be correct and we also have to look at tactics. I think the Germans were better tacticly than the Japanese. We couild argue all day about Battle of Britian aircraft perfomances, but in reality much of Germany's earily successes were due to tactics...
     
  4. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Good point there, FBJ
     
  5. Chiron

    Chiron Member

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    "I think the Germans were better tacticly than the Japanese"

    What do you mean? I dont think its fair to say that Germans were "superior" in terms of training and tactics. In terms of individual dogfight and discipline, Japanese were among the best.

    Also, it is really important to consider in a strategic sense rather than a tactic.

    In 13th century, Mongols swept the Euro-Asian kingdoms. Their way of conduct warfare were admired gretaly even among WW2 Germans. Mongols relied on not heavy fire power, armour, but edurance, discipline, and stamina. Mongol calvary equiped with merely leather armours, and their primary weapon was composite bows. With merely less than a milion people, they conquered the world largest land empire ever. Even, China, the world most populated (over 100 millions people in 11th century) and technological state at that time, was unable to change their fate after unbelievable military resistance of 50 years against Mongols.

    What Germans needed during the Battle of Britain, as Saburo Sakai said, was a fighter with enough fuel to carry their missions. I recalled a Discovery channel on the Battle of Britian, many German fighters were forced to withdraw from fight in two hours after they reached their destination, because there were no fuel left to return.

    The strategic goal for German air force was to eliminate and bombard British resistance.To carrying out a successful bomardment, a long range fighter, such as P-51, was needed to accompnay the bombers.

    Why Japan lost was not because of its technological inferiority (a Japanese man was credited of designed one of first military radar in the world, and Japanese scientists contribution in atomic theory, and bomb), but because its failure of calculating its strategic outcome in China. With almost no natural resources, Japan was vulnerable in a long aggressive war. Zeros were clearly a product of Japanese military doctrine, which air force was intended to support the army. Zeros were able to strike deep into enemy territory with a duration of 12 hours. Time, time, has always been valued among great capitals, Napoleon, Alenander, and Sun Tzu. Technology deterrance was not prominent and privotal factor until the invention of Atomic Bomb by US.
     
  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    "In terms of individual dogfight and discipline, Japanese were among the best."

    This is where I disagree with you! When the US entered the war tactics were developed that eventually tore the Japanese to ribbons. Yes, they were dogfighters in the traditional sense, but took their lumps tactically. Proof of the pudding was when folks like Cmdr. Thach who developed tactics that enabled F4F pilots to achieve like an 8 to 1 kill ratio over the Zero. And lets not forget those Flying Tiger guys in China!
     
  7. Chiron

    Chiron Member

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    "This is where I disagree with you! "

    So, are you trying to say Americans are better than Japanese in every way?
    I said Japanese airmen were among the best, but it didnot say they were superior to Americans.
     
  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    What I am saying is the USAAF and USN figured out how to exploit the Zero's weaknesses, as well as other Japanese aircraft like the "Oscar" for example. As a result by 1943 the Zero's days as a supreme fighter were well over. As pilots, the Japanese were initially "among the best" but because they didn't substantially improve equipment, logistics, tactics, and training they eventually lost air superiority over the pacific.
     
  9. Chiron

    Chiron Member

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    "For range at the time, the Zero was the king. But I question that it would "have been a huge difference. The Zero was more fragile than the 109 and could not have absorbed as much damage."

    Well, Zeros were very effective against Australian/British Spitfire
     
  10. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    An hour or two over Britain in a Zero as opposed to 20 minutes in the 109 - I think that would of made a big difference although that might of also been an extra hour or two worth of targets for the Brits - remember, they were fighting for their lives over their own country. Things work a little different when you're put in that situation. Look at the Finns!

    Again, the Zero did well against Australian/ British Spitfires because the Aussies and Brits tried to "dance" around with the Zero and had their butts handed to them. They under estimated their enemy and made little or no changes to their tactics when they fought the Zero.

    Understand, and respect your enemy, exploit his weakness with patience, courage and determination and you have half the battle won!
     
  11. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I am not saying they weren't effective, what I am saying is that they were more vulnerable to fire than the German fighters. It poses an interesting what if. There is also the question of the tactics involved and a number of other variables.
     
  12. Chiron

    Chiron Member

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    I just asked a German who is also a fan of Luftwaffe, and he does agree on what Saburo Sakai said:

    "..the outcome of the BoB would be yery different, if the Luftwaffe wouldn´t have this stupid idiot göring, who orderd that the german fighters had to escort the bombers as far as possible to their limit of range, so many many fighters were going down by runing out of fuel on their way home.

    So i agree with u"
     
  13. wmaxt

    wmaxt Active Member

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    You'r right. Tactics are the main point I think. The F4F was outclassed by the Zero but with a change of tactics became very compettitive. the Japanese never did.
    1) they fought like Samuri - singly
    2) Poor group coordination - discriptions were gaggle and swarm, no orginization.
    3) They didn't cover each other giving the Allies clear shots.

    German tactics were much better but were handicapped by their choices of equipment the bf-109s were to fuel limitted and the bf-110 was not quite compettitive with it's competition.

    The Zero with self sealing tanks and a little armor would have helped a lot.
     
  14. delcyros

    delcyros Well-Known Member

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    :lol:
    Well, I digged in Karakorum (Dshingis Khans lately discovered palace in Mongolia) for a month last year and I can disprove that the Mongolians were around a single million, only. Beside this pure numerical strength and special horse tactics proved to be the succes for a very shortliving empire. We can discuss this if needed.
    Zeros would be fine at BoB. But german pilots would need different tactics for fighting in a Zero (no dive out, no burn and zoom and so on). Range and time over Britain are one thing, survivability is another one. I think even a Hurricane would be a very good match at BoB... But still interesting.
    Personally I think that simple drop tanks could enlenghten the duration of a Bf-109 E considerably at BoB. It would be the easiest solution, too.
     
  15. Chiron

    Chiron Member

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    "Again, the Zero did well against Australian/ British Spitfires because the Aussies and Brits tried to "dance" around with the Zero and had their butts handed to them. They under estimated their enemy and made little or no changes to their tactics when they fought the Zero."

    Actually, Zero did prove superior to Spitfire not only in tactic but also in technical design. Several sources alread indicate this.

    Here is one:

    "It was in operations in defence of Darwin that Spitfire pilots first became aware of the exceptional maneuverability of the Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero. In their many European actions with the Luftwaffe's fighters Spitfire pilots had always enjoyed superior maneuverability - at least as regards their aircraft's rate-of-turn in level flight. It was a shock to the Allied
    air forces to discover that the Zero could easily out-turn their own fighters, and combat tactics had to be revised.
    Indefensive operations based on Australia in 1942-43 the Spitfire generally suffered from a higher loss rate than the other Allied fighters involved. This was largely so because of its poor operational range - Spitfires often being drawn too far away from their base and consequently running out of fuel over the sea."

    from--http://www.odyssey.dircon.co.uk/pacspitfire.htm


    If you can prove Spitfire is much superior to Zero, please post your argument with your sources.
     
  16. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    "If you can prove Spitfire is much superior to Zero, please post your argument with your sources"

    I won't, but I'm willing to bet if the Brits and Austrailians fought the Zero like the Flying Tigers or the US Navy did, they would have faired much better. See the two post prior to mine, wmaxt and delcyros hit the nail on the head!
     
  17. Chiron

    Chiron Member

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    I just got reply from other forum, and some people replied that

    "Versus the Me109 - As posted already, the Japanese were familiar with the 109 and they didn't like it (different needs/philosophy)"

    I am waiting his reply for further info. on that. However, it show that Japanese already knew Me 109, and did compare it with their indigenous Zero, but found out it wasnt suitable to them
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Yea, the Zero was suitable to the Japanese Navy until 1943, where after that it suffered sadly :cry:
     
  19. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Of course the Japanese would not be interested in the short-range 109. They had vast expanses of water to fly over.
     
  20. Chiron

    Chiron Member

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    Zeros were still deadly in the hands of aces..but thats another issue......

    Another point should mentioned is that the total output of Zeros were far smaller than that of Allies. Only merely 12,000 were produced, the production of Zeros were even far smaller than German Bf-109 (over 33,000 produced).
    Few tactical blunders, such as in the case of Battle of Midway, the lost of few air carriers and airmen proven devastated to Japanese, who never recovered from the losses.
    Clearly, weak in industrial production in compariosn with numerious US fighters was probably the major factor that doom the Japanese Navy.
     
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