Was Operation Pedestal a greater Axis air attack than any faced by the USN in 1942?

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Wild_Bill_Kelso

Senior Master Sergeant
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Mar 18, 2022
And did the Sea Hurricane successfully defend the convoy against this air armada which was more fearsome than that of the IJN at Coral Sea, Midway, the Battle of Guadalcanal, the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, and every other engagement by the USN in 1942?

Because that is what RCAFson is claiming right here
 
One attack alone included 37 'outdated' JU-88's escorted by 21 '1930's' ME-109F's.

Those are modern aircraft, without a doubt. Problem for the Germans was that a lot of the fighting either wasn't within the (quite short) range of the Bf 109 or was far enough into it that they couldn't stick around for long.

Before that on the same day at noon 50 Italian SM.84 and SM.79 torpedo bombers attacked with 8 CR-42 biplanes
and 38 '1940' CR.202 and RE.2001 fighters. All seen off with one merchant ship hit.

The Axis forces had at their disposal over 750 combat aircraft including 353 Stuka and JU-88 bombers - all 1930's vintage so
nothing to worry about of course. Add in 94 medium bombers of other types and 90 torpedo bombers plus 247 fighters for
escort while you are at it.

So like I said, I've been through all this in detail before, and I am not going to conceal the fact that I consider it an utterly absurd proposition. But I'm ready to dive down into the details again.
When you say 750 combat aircraft and "353 Stuka and Ju 88" bombers for example, I think we need to take a closer look at that ;)

SM 79 was a converted 1930s airliner that nevertheless made a pretty good torpedo bomber. Did it compare to say, a G4M? I don't think so. But we can get into that.
SM 84 was supposed to be a more modern replacement for the SM 79 but was a dismal failure in action with many design flaws that were never fully worked out.
CR 42 was not such an old design, but it was ... a biplane, and completely obsolete compared to say, an A6M. By the time of Pedestal they were rarely being used as fighters in land based engagements any more, having been relegated to use as light fighter-bombers (and even then rather rarely in action).
MC. 202 (I think that is what you mean here) was also short ranged and wasn't involved in many of the sorties. Re 2001 is good enough but they didn't make many of them and again, not that involved in the action during Pedestal.

You didn't mention al lot of the other colorful array of aircraft that get counted into various totals for Pedestal. But I will.

The air cover fighters for the convoy - 74 Hurricanes, Martlets, and Fulmars.

So no land based Allied fighters from anywhere in range at any part of the fight eh?

Rumour has it that Malta received over 35 more Spitfires plus supplies to keep going due to the convoy which was a strategic win
for the Allied cause. Logistic and strategic wins beat tactical wins every time - a definite fail for the axis - or so rumour has it.

I would indeed consider Pedestal a Strategic victory, because they got the Ohio into port and kept Malta and managed to revive the beleaguered defenders there. But it was a very close run thing, and the tactical battle was such a disaster that it was right on the edge of being a Strategic failure. Just a handful more ships would have done it. Nor was this the only convoy that got chopped up like that. If the Germans had mustered the kind of modern force the Japanese had at Midway the convoy wouldn't have made it.

The real question for Pedestal vs say Coral Sea, Midway, or some of the other Pacific battles, is how many modern aircraft, and in particular fighters, actually participated in the battle, and in what percentage of it (how many days of the fighting for example). And how many aircraft, even the obsolete ones and the odd ducks, were actually engaged at any one time (as opposed to theoretically available in Theater). How many of them were engaged at all.

We can also look at some other air + naval engagements between the RN and the Japanese for a bit of perspective.

But I'll dig into that later as it's 2:00 am here.
 
Well perhaps it would be a good idea if you yourself read up a bit on Operation Pedestal first before asking others to research the subject for you. Then you might be better informed to participate in the discussion. Plenty has been written about it over the years.

The most recent title
Amazon product ASIN 0008364982
View: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Operation-Pedestal-Times-Book-Year/dp/0008364982/ref=sr_1_1?crid=VHVQIKRO1Z9T&keywords=Operation+pedestal&qid=1676274839&s=books&sprefix=operation+pedestal%2Cstripbooks%2C138&sr=1-1
This one is good
Amazon product ASIN 1907730192
View: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Operation-Pedestal-Story-Convoy-August/dp/1907730192/ref=sr_1_4?crid=VHVQIKRO1Z9T&keywords=Operation+pedestal&qid=1676274897&s=books&sprefix=operation+pedestal%2Cstripbooks%2C138&sr=1-4
Amazon product ASIN 0907579191
View: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pedestal-Convoy-That-Saved-Malta/dp/0907579191/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1YSGO7GNUBHBF&keywords=Operation+pedestal+by+Peter+Smith&qid=1676275041&s=books&sprefix=operation+pedestal+by+peter+smith%2Cstripbooks%2C117&sr=1-1
Short article on it here

Even this will provide a summary of the air operations for you.


Note particularly how many of the merchant ships were sunk after the carriers withdrew to avoid the narrow waters of the Sicilian Channel which was heavily mined.

And remember the mix of fighters at the very start of the Operation

Sea Hurricanes - 46 + 4 reserves
Fulmars - 20 (less 4 w/o in the practice Operation Beserk)
F4F - 11 (less 1 w/o in the practice Operation Beserk)
 
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Lets start by looking at the IJN aircraft and comparing them to Axis ETO aircraft at Pedestal.

IJN Val - Aichi D3A1: 550lb + 2 x 130lb bomb load, no armour, no self sealing fuel tanks, 240mph at 10K ft.
IJN Kate - Nakajima B5N2 + 1 x 1800lb torpedo or bomb load to 1800lb, no armour, no self sealing fuel tanks. 235 mph at 12K ft.
IJN Zero - A6M2 Model 21: + 1 x 500lb bomb or drop tank, no armour, no self sealing fuel tanks. 2 x 20mm guns and 2 x 7.7mm MGs, 332mph at 15K ft.

IJN Betty - Mitsubishi G4M1 - 2200lb bomb load or one torpedo, no armour, no self sealing fuel tanks, 266mph at 14K ft.

Luftwaffe:
JU87D - 4000lb bomb load, armoured, self sealing tanks, 254mph at 15K ft
HE111H - 4400 bomb load or two torpedoes, armoured, self sealing tanks, 270mph at 20K ft
Ju88A/C/D - 2200ln bomb load or a torpedo, armoured, self sealing tanks, 295mph at ~18K ft. Was capable of dive bombing.
ME109F 550lb bomb or drop tank, armoured, self sealing tanks, ~400mph at ~20K ft.
ME110C various bombs and/or drop tanks, armoured, self sealing tanks, ~340mph at 20K ft.


RAI
SM79 - 2700lb bombs or 1/2 torpedoes. 270-290MPH at 13K ft
SM84 - 2700lb bombs or 1/2 torpedoes. 290MPH at 17K ft
Re2001 - 550lb bombs, 339mph
MC202 - 370mph at 18K ft
CR42 - 275mph at 20K ft.


This is the USN's own summary of the situation:

ENEMY TACTICS AND EQUIPMENT

German

German air attacks against our surface forces were more effective than those of the Japanese, prior to the latter's use of suicide tactics, for the following reasons:

  1. German aircraft were superior.
  2. German pilots possessed greater skill.
  3. German attacks were more highly co ordinated.
  4. Our own air defense was weaker.
  5. Our surface forces were not as modern or heavily armed as those in the Pacific.
Early German attacks were conducted against convoys en route to Murmansk, USSR, by way of North Cape, and many merchant ships were lost from hits by bombs and torpedoes.

During the North African campaign dusk and night attacks were made by flare-dropping twin-engined bombers against shipping congregated in harbors.

At Sicily, Salerno, and Anzio the enemy launched heavy attacks against shipping at the beachheads. Dive- and high-level bombing and strafing tactics were employed. In the summer of 1943 the Germans began to use glider and rocket bombs. These pilotless, radio-controlled bombs were released from parent planes, and were directed chiefly against convoy escort ships.

During the invasion of Normandy the Germans changed their tactics, resorting almost exclusively to aerial mining. Many ships were sunk and damaged by mines, and the new German tactic is believed to have been their most effective use of air power against surface vessels. The invasion of Southern France was lightly opposed from the air.

During the final phase of the war the Germans employed V-l and V-2 bombs. These were directed chiefly against land targets, but ships had experience with them in the English Channel, in the Thames at London, and in the Harbor at Antwerp, Belgium.
 
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I certainly don't think considering whether Pedestal was a greater axis air attack than any in the pacific in 1942 is silly, but it is hard to compare the fighting. And just considering the axis attack out of context really ignores, well, context.

I think it can become an informative argument, but rather than piling into that, I want to briefly consider the apples to oranges problem.

In pedestal the important objective was the merchant ships, the war ships were irrelevant to the strategic win. Especially at Midway, it was all about the warships.

Attackers in Pedestal were land based with advantages and disadvantages compared to planes based on moving vessels.

An offspring of this was that both sides in the pasific had to be both offensive and defensive at the same time. Sinking your opponents carriers while protecting your own. In Pedestal it was more a one side attacks, the other defends thing.

One could argue that the battles in connection with Guadalcanal was about the Island and not the fleets. However, from memory and that may mislead me, the carrier battles around Guadalcanal was largely the distant cowering forces clashing. Of course Henderson field does add an element of land based air power into the equation. As doers Midway, but somehow i don't see the comparison becoming simpler by that.

In the Pacific you could dodge around on the largest Sea on the globe making predicting the position of the enemy difficult. In the Med a convoy with an obvious target wes channelled through narrow straits.

That said, I look forward to following the discussion, and hope it will develop in a way that don't neccessitate the thread being closed prematurely.
 
Well perhaps it would be a good idea if you yourself read up a bit on Operation Pedestal first before asking others to research the subject for you. Then you might be better informed to participate in the discussion.

What makes you think I haven't :rolleyes: :p? You seem to be going out on quite a limb here based on a thinly sourced guess. Not a real good sign in terms of your thinking processes...

Plenty has been written about it over the years.

The most recent title
Amazon product ASIN 0008364982
View: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Operation-Pedestal-Times-Book-Year/dp/0008364982/ref=sr_1_1?crid=VHVQIKRO1Z9T&keywords=Operation+pedestal&qid=1676274839&s=books&sprefix=operation+pedestal%2Cstripbooks%2C138&sr=1-1
This one is good
Amazon product ASIN 1907730192
View: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Operation-Pedestal-Story-Convoy-August/dp/1907730192/ref=sr_1_4?crid=VHVQIKRO1Z9T&keywords=Operation+pedestal&qid=1676274897&s=books&sprefix=operation+pedestal%2Cstripbooks%2C138&sr=1-4
Amazon product ASIN 0907579191
View: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pedestal-Convoy-That-Saved-Malta/dp/0907579191/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1YSGO7GNUBHBF&keywords=Operation+pedestal+by+Peter+Smith&qid=1676275041&s=books&sprefix=operation+pedestal+by+peter+smith%2Cstripbooks%2C117&sr=1-1
Short article on it here

Even this will provide a summary of the air operations for you.


Note particularly how many of the merchant ships were sunk after the carriers withdrew to avoid the narrow waters of the Sicilian Channel which was heavily mined.

And remember the mix of fighters at the very start of the Operation

Sea Hurricanes - 46 + 4 reserves
Fulmars - 20 (less 4 w/o in the practice Operation Beserk)
F4F - 11 (less 1 w/o in the practice Operation Beserk)

Like I said, I do have sources on this, with detailed data. I have gone into the weeds on it before. Day by day, sortie by sortie. I just finished a big project and have a little more time to focus on these now. Stand by.
 
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I certainly don't think considering whether Pedestal was a greater axis air attack than any in the pacific in 1942 is silly, but it is hard to compare the fighting. And just considering the axis attack out of context really ignores, well, context.

I think it can become an informative argument, but rather than piling into that, I want to briefly consider the apples to oranges problem.

In pedestal the important objective was the merchant ships, the war ships were irrelevant to the strategic win. Especially at Midway, it was all about the warships.

Attackers in Pedestal were land based with advantages and disadvantages compared to planes based on moving vessels.

An offspring of this was that both sides in the pasific had to be both offensive and defensive at the same time. Sinking your opponents carriers while protecting your own. In Pedestal it was more a one side attacks, the other defends thing.

One could argue that the battles in connection with Guadalcanal was about the Island and not the fleets. However, from memory and that may mislead me, the carrier battles around Guadalcanal was largely the distant cowering forces clashing. Of course Henderson field does add an element of land based air power into the equation. As doers Midway, but somehow i don't see the comparison becoming simpler by that.

In the Pacific you could dodge around on the largest Sea on the globe making predicting the position of the enemy difficult. In the Med a convoy with an obvious target wes channelled through narrow straits.

That said, I look forward to following the discussion, and hope it will develop in a way that don't neccessitate the thread being closed prematurely.
I think you have framed the discussion perfectly.
 
I certainly don't think considering whether Pedestal was a greater axis air attack than any in the pacific in 1942 is silly, but it is hard to compare the fighting. And just considering the axis attack out of context really ignores, well, context.

I think it can become an informative argument, but rather than piling into that, I want to briefly consider the apples to oranges problem.

In pedestal the important objective was the merchant ships, the war ships were irrelevant to the strategic win. Especially at Midway, it was all about the warships.

Attackers in Pedestal were land based with advantages and disadvantages compared to planes based on moving vessels.

An offspring of this was that both sides in the pasific had to be both offensive and defensive at the same time. Sinking your opponents carriers while protecting your own. In Pedestal it was more a one side attacks, the other defends thing.

One could argue that the battles in connection with Guadalcanal was about the Island and not the fleets. However, from memory and that may mislead me, the carrier battles around Guadalcanal was largely the distant cowering forces clashing. Of course Henderson field does add an element of land based air power into the equation. As doers Midway, but somehow i don't see the comparison becoming simpler by that.

In the Pacific you could dodge around on the largest Sea on the globe making predicting the position of the enemy difficult. In the Med a convoy with an obvious target wes channelled through narrow straits.

That said, I look forward to following the discussion, and hope it will develop in a way that don't neccessitate the thread being closed prematurely.

This is a quite good and fair analysis. I would break it down slightly differently though.

First, not all the Pacific battles were like Midway, with carrier groups stalking each other (more or less, the Japanese actually wanted to neutralize Midway island as an airbase, but that was partly a ruse to draw the US carriers into a fight).

But at Coral Sea, Guadalcanal, and several smaller but also quite important engagements, it was really troops and supplies that were the target, with the carriers still a big factor / target, but somewhat secondary. Coral Sea was considered a strategic victory because the Japanese transports were stopped.

So it's a different balance. Land based air power was a factor in several of these on both sides, just as it was in Malta (more on that in another post shortly).

But you make a fair point that in the Med all the Axis aircraft were land based, whereas in the Pacific the Japanese had both land based and naval aircraft in the mix. All of the convoy fights were like that (in the North Sea / Atlantic as well)
 
Well perhaps it would be a good idea if you yourself read up a bit on Operation Pedestal first before asking others to research the subject for you. Then you might be better informed to participate in the discussion. Plenty has been written about it over the years.

The most recent title
Amazon product ASIN 0008364982
View: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Operation-Pedestal-Times-Book-Year/dp/0008364982/ref=sr_1_1?crid=VHVQIKRO1Z9T&keywords=Operation+pedestal&qid=1676274839&s=books&sprefix=operation+pedestal%2Cstripbooks%2C138&sr=1-1
This one is good
Amazon product ASIN 1907730192
View: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Operation-Pedestal-Story-Convoy-August/dp/1907730192/ref=sr_1_4?crid=VHVQIKRO1Z9T&keywords=Operation+pedestal&qid=1676274897&s=books&sprefix=operation+pedestal%2Cstripbooks%2C138&sr=1-4
Amazon product ASIN 0907579191
View: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pedestal-Convoy-That-Saved-Malta/dp/0907579191/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1YSGO7GNUBHBF&keywords=Operation+pedestal+by+Peter+Smith&qid=1676275041&s=books&sprefix=operation+pedestal+by+peter+smith%2Cstripbooks%2C117&sr=1-1
Short article on it here

Even this will provide a summary of the air operations for you.

For some reason, the links don't seem to be working. Armorecarriers is a good site it's what i was referring to in another thread which was objected to, and sparked the creation of this one and one other.
Note particularly how many of the merchant ships were sunk after the carriers withdrew to avoid the narrow waters of the Sicilian Channel which was heavily mined.

And remember the mix of fighters at the very start of the Operation

Sea Hurricanes - 46 + 4 reserves
Fulmars - 20 (less 4 w/o in the practice Operation Beserk)
F4F - 11 (less 1 w/o in the practice Operation Beserk)

You left out the land based fighters at Malta and North Africa, but I'll get into that shortly.
 
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Pedestal can be broken into two stages:

Stage 1 was the 2 days where the warships and Convoy's only air protection was provided by the FAA carriers. This is the only phase that need concern us.

Stage 2 was the air and sea battle against the Convoy after the FAA carriers had to turn back. This phase of the battle is irrelevant to the discussion.


In simplest terms:

The Axis threw:

36 attack sorties against Pedestal on Aug 11 (and sank the carrier Eagle via submarine).

~210 attack sorties against Pedestal on Aug 12.
-----
= ~246 attack sorties

The primary air defense of Pedestal fell onto the:

SH1B which numbered about 36 on the morning of Aug 12.
Fulmar II which numbered about 16 "" "".
Martlet II which numbered about 10 "" "".
246 attack sorties is about the same as that thrown against the USN carrier TFs at Coral Sea (51), Midway (28), Eastern Solomons (54) and Santa Cruz (~140), combined which was ~273.


A graphical summary:


map30.jpg
 
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I don't agree that the part of the battle after the carrier left doesn't count, because these battles (both Pedestal and the various USN battles in the Pacific in 1942) involved both land based and carrier based strike aircraft. I think it's better we initially at least lay out the actual TO&E on both sides and then we can decide what should or shouldn't be left out for whatever reasons.
 
I don't agree that the part of the battle after the carrier left doesn't count, because these battles (both Pedestal and the various USN battles in the Pacific in 1942) involved both land based and carrier based strike aircraft. I think it's better we initially at least lay out the actual TO&E on both sides and then we can decide what should or shouldn't be left out for whatever reasons.
I stated pretty clearly that I was talking about Pedestal and it's defense by the HS1B vs the USN's carrier battles in 1942. The parts of Pedestal that don't involve FAA carrier fighters aren't relevant.
 
This isn't just about the Sea Hurricane, it's about Pedestal compared to USN battles in 1942, to understand the differences in the wars in the Med and the South Pacific. And the role of the Sea Hurricane will be abundantly clear.

In fact, I believe it will be clearer when we look at the whole battle. I'm not going to slice and dice Coral Sea, Midway, or Eastern Solomons either.

As a general rule for history, I believe it is very important to include at least some context when discussing any historical event or battle. Things like weapon systems, commanders, armies, don't exist in a vacuum. They exist in their historical context. Which in this case at the very least means the whole air and sea battle during Pedestal.
 
This isn't just about the Sea Hurricane, it's about Pedestal compared to USN battles in 1942, to understand the differences in the wars in the Med and the South Pacific. And the role of the Sea Hurricane will be abundantly clear.

In fact, I believe it will be clearer when we look at the whole battle. I'm not going to slice and dice Coral Sea, Midway, or Eastern Solomons either.

As a general rule for history, I believe it is very important to include at least some context when discussing any historical event or battle. Things like weapon systems, commanders, armies, don't exist in a vacuum. They exist in their historical context. Which in this case at the very least means the whole air and sea battle during Pedestal.
Your first post in this thread seems to focus on the Sea Hurricane, but it seems that you now want to cut it out of the discussion?
 
Your first post in this thread seems to focus on the Sea Hurricane, but it seems that you now want to cut it out of the discussion?

Where precisely did I ever suggest removing the Sea Hurricane from the conversation? In what way does including the TO&E and combat history of the entire battle 'cut out' anything?

Looking at the whole battle is very important to any discussion of this sort for the reasons I have already stated. And that is enough. More specifically, it will allow us to look at the performance of friendly and enemy aircraft and ships in the battle, as well as battle losses, with and without carrier air support.

You don't have to agree what I should include or excise, you post whatever you think is germane and I'll do the same.
 
Lets start by looking at the IJN aircraft and comparing them to Axis ETO aircraft at Pedestal.

IJN Val - Aichi D3A1: 550lb + 2 x 130lb bomb load, no armour, no self sealing fuel tanks, 240mph at 10K ft.

Lets look a bit closer at the Axis aircraft in each Theater in 1942.

Japanese Recon
E8N - (Navy) obsolete biplane scout aircraft flown from a few battleships,. Range 558 miles, 190 mph, 2 x LMG
F1M - (Navy) an obsolete but apparently quite scrappy biplane floatplane scout / fighter, flown off of Battleships and Cruisers. Range 460 miles. 230 mph, 2 x offensive LMG, 1 x defensive
A6M2-N - (Navy) Floatplane fighter. Top speed 270 mph. Range 730 miles. Armament 2 x LMG, 2 x 20mm.
H6K - (Navy) Big, somewhat obsolescent flying boat. Speed 210 mph. Range 2900 miles. Armament 4 x LMG and 1 x 20mm. Can carry two torpedoes or 2,200 lb bombs.
H8K - (Navy) Big state of the art four engine flying boat. Speed 290 mph. Range 4000 miles. Armament 5 x 20mm and 4 x LMG. 2 x torpedoes or 4,400 lbs bombs
E13 - (Navy) Standard Japanese float plane scout flying from Cruisers. Speed 234 mph, range 1,200 miles. One defensive LMG.
Ki-15 - (Army and Navy - C5M to the IJN) Obsolescent early-war land based scout plane, used in the Solomons. Speed 300 mph, range 1,500 miles. One defensive LMG
Ki-30 - (Army) Obsolete early war land based scout plane. 263 mph, range 1,100 miles. 1 offensive and one defensive LMG
Ki-46 - (Army) Standard high speed twin engine recon plane. Speed 375 mph, range 1,500 miles. One defensive LMG.

Japanese Fighters
Ki-27 - (Army) Obsolete fixed undercarriage Army fighter. Speed 290 mph. Range 390 miles. 2 x LMG or 1 x LMG and 1 x HMG. "Hypermaneuverable"
A5M2 - Navy) Obsolete fixed undercarriage Navy fighter. Speed 270 mph. Range 746 miles. 2 x LMG. "Hypermaneuverable"
A6M2 - (Navy) One of the best fighters of the world in 1942. Speed 331 mph. Range 1,160 miles. 2 x 20mm cannon (60 rounds) and 2 x LMG. No armor. "Hypermaneuverable"
A6M3 - (Navy) Similar to A6M2, slightly shorter. Speed 346 mph. Range 925 miles. 2 x 20mm canon (100 rounds) and 2 X LMG. No armor. "Hypermaneuverable"
Ki-43 - (Army) Main Army fighter. Speed 330 mph. Range 1,090 miles. 1 x LMG 1 x HMG, or 2 x HMG. No armor. "Hypermaneuverable"
Ki-61 - (Army) New Army fighter. Speed 360 mph. Range 683 miles. 2 x HMG, 2 x LMG. Armor and SS tanks.
Ki-44 - (Army) New Army interceptor. Speed 376 mph. Range 750 miles. 4 x HMG or 2 x HMG and 2 x LMG. Armor and SS tanks.
Ki-45 - (Army) Obsolescent Army heavy fighter.. Speed 340 mph. Range 1,200 miles. 1 x 37mm, 1 x 20mm offensive, 1 x LMG defensive.

Italian / German Recon
Ro. 43 - Obsolescent Italian biplane scout. Range 500-930 miles. Speed 190 mph. Arms 2 x 7.7mm (I think one defensive)
Ro. 44 - Similar to Ro.43
AR-196 - Armed German float plane scout often flown from ships. Range 670 miles, speed 193 mph, 2 x 20 mm and 2 x LMG (defensive)
CANT Z.506 - Italian trimotor flying boat. Top speed 220 mph. Range 1,200 miles. 1 x HMG, 3 x LMG. Can carry one torpedo.
BV 138 - Weird (but well armed) little German trimotor flying boat. Speed 177 mph, range 760 miles, 2 x 20mm, 1 x HMG, up to 3 LMG. (small numbers)
FW 189 - Light twin engined German scout. 214 mph. 580 mile range. 2 x LMG, 2 x LMG (defensive) (small numbers)*
He 115 - Heavy twin engined German seaplane scout. 203 mph. 1,300 mile range. 1 x LMG, 1 x LMG (defensive) . One torpedo, mine or 2,700 lbs of bombs. (small numbers)
Caproni 310 - Light twin engined Italian scout. 227 mph, 1,050 mile range. 2 x LMG, 1 x LMG (defensive) (small numbers)
Caproni 313 - Light twin engined Italian Scout. 268 mph. 1050 mile range. 2 x LMG, 1 x LMG (defensive)
Fw 200 - German four engined maritime patrol. Speed 240 mph, range 2,200 miles, 1 x 20mm, 1 x HMG, 4 x LMG. (small numbers)
* not sure if those were used in Maritime role or not
Ju 86-r - German high alt recon. 260 mph. Range 1,090 miles. Apparently no armament.

Italian / German Fighters
Bf 109E-7- German obsolescent fighter. Speed 350 mph. Range 350 miles. 2 x 20mm, 2x LMG. Armor and SS tanks.
Bf 109F-2 - German top fighter. Speed 370 mph. Range 350 miles. 1 x 15mm, 2 x LMG. Armor and SS tanks. Superb performance.
Bf 109F-4 - German top fighter. Speed 390 mph. Range 530 miles (with drop tank?). 1 x 20mm, 2 x LMG. Armor and SS tanks. Superb performance.
Bf 110 (various) German heavy fighter. 336 mph. Range 481-680 (with / drop tanks). 2 x 20mm, 4 x LMG offensive. 1 x LMG defensive. Armor and SS tanks.
Fiat Cr.42 - Obsolete Italian fighter. 275 mph. Range 480 miles. 2 x HMG. Armor. Very maneuverable.
Fiat G.50 - Obsolescent Italian fighter. 290 mph. Range 277 miles. 2 x HMG. Armor.
Macchi MC.200 - Obsolescent Italian fighter. 313 mph. Range 350 miles. 2 x HMG. Armor and SS tanks.
Macchi MC.202 - Italian top fighter. Speed 370 mph. Range 475 miles. 2 x HMG, 2 x LMG. Armor and SS tanks. Superb performance.
Re 2000 - Very rare (only 5 used, but they fought near Malta and over Tunisia) Italian fighter. Speed 330 mph, Range 339 miles. 2 HMG. Some armor, no SS tanks.
Re 2001 - Rare but pretty good Italian fighter. Speed 337 mph, Range 680 miles. 2 x HMG, 2 x LMG. Armor and SS tanks (I think)

Japanese Strike
G3M - Japanese Navy twin-engined bomber - 233 mph,, 2,700 mile range, 1 x 20mm, 4 x LMG, 1 x torpedo or 1,800 lb bombs
G4M - Japanese Navy twin-engined bomber - 266 mph, 1,700 mile range, 1 x 20mm, 4 x LMG, 1 x torpedo or 2200 lb bombs
Ki-21 - Japanese Army twin-engined bomber - 300 mph, 1,700 mile range, 1 x HMG, 5 x LMG, 2200 lb bombs
Ki-48 - Japanese Army twin-engined bomber - 314 mph, 1,500 mile range, 3 x LMG, 1764 lbs of bombs
Ki-49 - Japanese Army twin-engined bomber - 306 mph, 1,200 mile range. 1 x 20mm and 3 x HMG, 2 x LMG. Armorand & self-sealing tanks. 2200 lb bombs.
B5N - Japanese torpedo bomber - Speed 235, range 978, 1 x torpedo
D3A - Japanese dive bomber - Speed 240 mph, 915 mile range, 550 / 870 lbs bombs
D4Y - Japanese dive bomber - Speed 340 mph, 910 mile range, 550 / 1100 lbs bombs

Italian / German Strike
Fiat BR.20 - Obsolete Italian twin-engine bomber - Speed 270 mph, range 1,700 miles, 3 x HMG, bombs 3530 lb. Nor armor.
SM. 79 - Italian trimotor bomber - Speed 290 mph, range 1600 miles, 2 x HMG, 2 x LMG, bombs 2,645 lbs or 1 torpedo*. At least some armor.
SM. 84** - Italian trimotor bomber - Speed 290 mph, Range 1100 miles, 4 x HMG, bombs 2,000 lbs or 1 torpedo. Armor and SS tanks.
CANT 1007 - Italian trimotor bomber - Speed 285 mph , Range 1100, 2 x HMG, 2 x LMG, bombs 2,645 lbs / 4900 lbs or 2 x torpedoes
He 111 (various) - German twin-engined bomber - Speed 270 mph, Range 1,400 miles, 1 x 20mm, 1 x HMG, (up to) 7 x LMG, bombs 4400 / 7900 or one or two torpedoes
Ju-87B - German dive bomber - Speed 236 mph, range 370 miles, 2 x LMG, 1 x LMG (defensive), bombs 1100 lbs / 1540 lbs. Some armor
Ju-87D - German dive bomber - Speed 240 mph, range 683 miles , 2 x 20mm, 2 x LMG (defensive) bombs 1100 lbs / 1540 lbs. Armor and SS tanks.
Ju-87R - German dive bomber - Speed 220 mph, range 492 -700 miles, 2 x LMG, 2 x LMG (defensive), bombs 1100 lbs. Armor and SS. tanks.
Ju-88A - German 'schnellbomber' - Speed 290 mph, range, 1,100 miles, 5 x LMG, bombs 2000 lbs / 6660 lbs. Could dive bomb. Armor and SS tanks.

* they could carry two but in practice only carried one.
** apparently unusually vulnerable, quickly removed from service.

EDITED to include Ki-27, A5M, Re 2000 and Re 2001
 
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Japanese Fighters
A6M2 - (Navy) One of the best fighters of the world in 1942. Speed 331 mph. Range 1,160 miles. 2 x 20mm cannon (60 rounds) and 2 x LMG. No armor.
A6M3 - (Navy) Similar to A6M2, slightly shorter. Speed 346 mph. Range 925 miles. 2 x 20mm canon (100 rounds) and 2 X LMG. No armor.
Ki-43 - (Army) Main Army fighter. Speed 330 mph. Range 1,090 miles. 1 x LMG 1 x HMG, or 2 x HMG. No armor.
Ki-61 - (Army) New Army fighter. Speed 360 mph. Range 683 miles. 2 x HMG, 2 x LMG. Armor and SS tanks.
Ki-44 - (Army) New Army interceptor. Speed 376 mph. Range 750 miles. 4 x HMG or 2 x HMG and 2 x LMG. Armor and SS tanks.
Ki-45 - (Army) Obsolescent Army heavy fighter.. Speed 340 mph. Range 1,200 miles. 1 x 37mm, 1 x 20mm offensive, 1 x LMG defensive.
We can be a little less inclusive and not list anything that was flying.
Ki-61 for instance was produced in Sept in 3 aircraft, 5 more in Oct, 10 in Nov and 15 in Dec. These were the production version and not counting the dozen or so prototypes.
The Japanese only formed up the first operational training unit in Feb 1943.
They built 131 Ki-44s in 1942, 61 of them in Nov and Dec.

I kind of like the classification of the Macchi MC. 200 as obsolescent when it was so close in speed and climb to the Ki-43 that which plane had fresh spark plugs may have determined the winner. Yes the MC 200 was short ranged, on the other had it had two 12.7mm machine guns with more ammo. BTW the Japanese did not change over to the engines with the two speed superchargers until late spring or early fall of 1942 making the main combat type of the Ki-43 in 1942 the Ki-43-I.
 

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