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Messerschmitt Bf 109 Vs North American P-51 Mustang

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Both are beautyfull aircraft. The P-51 for it's size and elegant lines and the 109 for it's sleek and stream lined fuselage and hard edged cockpit :)

 

In my opinion the P-51 B is prettier than the D though.

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I agree and the P-51 was a remarkable aircraft (I personally don't think it was the best "pure" fighter in WWII), but as we all know later in the war, the sheer numbers advantage that the Allied air forces had over the Luftwaffe was a major contributing factor.

The only reason the Mustang was seen as a "poor" dogfighter was that they compare late German planes running at the highest power setting to Mustang at full fuel and running at the lowest power setting of 67"hg. P51D running at 81"hg and at similar fuel load with the BF 109(105 US Gals) had a wing loadings of 183km/m2, and a powerloading of 0.51hp/kg. More than capable of outmaneuvering any late war German fighters at any speed.

 

It also certainly wasn't a bad climber seeing as running at 75"hg, at typical combat fuel load of 185"hg(aka fuselage tank empty) the Mustang had a rate of climb of 22m/s at SL and reached 6km in 5 minutes. With the above configuration (running at 81"hg, having the same 105 US Gal fuel load as the 109), it might have very well been able climb as good as the BF 109 K4 running at the highest power setting of 1.98 ata.

Edited by GrapeJam
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Back to square 1 with Mustang being the best ww2 fighter?

The only reason the Mustang was seen as a "poor" dogfighter - because it was. Never mind the fuel load, it was heavier. 

And sure it could stand its ground in a dogfight, but for reasons that are not directly tied to its abilities. Numbers and tactics and training win again.

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Back to square 1 with Mustang being the best ww2 fighter?

The only reason the Mustang was seen as a "poor" dogfighter - because it was. Never mind the fuel load, it was heavier. 

And sure it could stand its ground in a dogfight, but for reasons that are not directly tied to its abilities. Numbers and tactics and training win again.

Depends what a dogfight for you. If thats only turning and tight maneuvering, then I guess A6M Zero is the best plane of the war.

 

It had very long range and even fully loaded could outturn 109 and 190 no problem. Does that make Zero better dogfighter?

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Back to square 1 with Mustang being the best ww2 fighter?

The only reason the Mustang was seen as a "poor" dogfighter - because it was. Never mind the fuel load, it was heavier. 

And sure it could stand its ground in a dogfight, but for reasons that are not directly tied to its abilities. Numbers and tactics and training win again.

 

Depends what a dogfight for you. If thats only turning and tight maneuvering, then I guess A6M Zero is the best plane of the war.

 

It had very long range and even fully loaded could outturn 109 and 190 no problem. Does that make Zero better dogfighter?

 

The numbers game was all important. The Zero and other Japanese fighter aircraft where completely dominated by the likes of the F4U, with an absolutely astonishing kill to loss ratio.

 

When talking about the best fighter aircraft of WWII as it's already been said, it's almost impossible to say. Towards the end of the war the Luftwaffe were utterly outnumbered.

 

The big six for me in no particular order are the :

 

The P-51, the 109, The Spit, the Yak the Zero and the 190.

 

They are all very different aircraft tasked with doing one thing, to shoot down the opposition (or to bomb them) and the all did it clinically well considering the damage and loss of life these machines caused. 

 

Folks will still be having this debate in a 100 years from now and still won't agree which was "the best".

 

Hell, I'm throwing in two more:

 

The F4U and the de Havilland Mosquito!

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The F4U and the de Havilland Mosquito!

Mosssie doesn't fit at all, twin engined night fighters are a separate niche.

 

Corsair does have a good claim.

Very powerful and fast and yet with huge wings for turning. Endurance almost like Mustang and ruggedness as bonus.

 

Speaking of kill ratios, I believe F6F Hellcat is best with 19:1 and Corsair is second with 12:1. Either poor Japanese got their asses kicked hard or navy pilots are very good liars

 

 

 

Depends what a dogfight for you

A battle between fighters that is anything more than hit and run. Something that makes 109 a good dogfighter and 110 a horrible one.

Edited by [BTEAM]Shifty_

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Speaking of kill ratios, I believe F6F Hellcat is best with 19:1 and Corsair is second with 12:1. Either poor Japanese got their asses kicked hard or navy pilots are very good liars

 

Probably both.

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Shifty_' timestamp='1426516927' post='243830'] Mosssie doesn't fit at all, twin engined night fighters are a separate niche.
  Point taken, but I just had to include that wonderful aircraft because she could literally do anything ;)

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In terms of K/D, the B239 is the best fighter of the war.

you may have a point If you are referring purely to the first phase of the continuation war where the kill ratio was about 30 to 1 but in every other theatre it was obsolete and hopelessly outmatched.

Edited by OriginalCustard

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you may have a point If you are referring purely to the first phase of the continuation war where the kill ratio was about 30 to 1 but in every other theatre it was obsolete and hopelessly outmatched.

 

Well, the B-239 was quite different than a "regular" Buffalo, so it's not quite fair to lump all of them in together. 

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Well, the B-239 was quite different than a "regular" Buffalo, so it's not quite fair to lump all of them in together. 

You of course are right, it's unfair to lump the various types of Buffalo that were produced into one single statement about this plane. History does tells us though that the only theatre where these aircraft (de-navalized F2A-1s) had any real success was in the earlier phase of the continuation war.  With a production run only from 1938–1941 a huge amount ended their days transferred as advanced trainers. As much as I like this little aircraft, I personally don't think it can be compared in the same league as the 109, P-51 or the Zero.

Edited by OriginalCustard

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When looking for beauty.....

Spit%202_zpslhem0sxh.jpg

 

this bird gets me every time ;)   

:) They are indeed a beautiful plane. Mitchell was a brilliant man. It’s a shame he never witnessed his spits in combat. These planes most defiantly have a place in my heart :salute:

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:) They are indeed a beautiful plane. Mitchell was a brilliant man. It’s a shame he never witnessed his spits in combat. These planes most defiantly have a place in my heart :salute:

yes Indeed  :salute:

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A battle between fighters that is anything more than hit and run. Something that makes 109 a good dogfighter and 110 a horrible one.

Speed and climb allowed the 109 to be better at hit and run than the 110, and if my memory serves me right, it was the 110 that could be found flying in circles, mostly for defensive reasons. Like the British in the desert or the Japanese later in the war, they did this because they were too slow to run and too poor climbers to gain the initiative within the combat zone.

Edited by JtD

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Speed and climb allowed the 109 to be better at hit and run than the 110, and if my memory serves me right, it was the 110 that could be found flying in circles, mostly for defensive reasons. Like the British in the desert or the Japanese later in the war, they did this because they were too slow to run and too poor climbers to gain the initiative within the combat zone.

 

Too bad at turning to be a dogfighter, to bad at climbing to be an energy fighter. The speed was OK though, and it worked well as an bomber destroyer.

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Speed and climb allowed the 109 to be better at hit and run than the 110
Thats irrelevant, because hit and run does not constitute dogdight by any means.

BnZ and energy fight and turn and burn. Realm of single-engine high power-to weight fighters.

 

 

 

And the Lightning.

 

 

 

 

Which was awesome.

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Too bad at turning to be a dogfighter, to bad at climbing to be an energy fighter. The speed was OK though, and it worked well as an bomber destroyer.

So the Zero was the best dogfighter of the war? What is dogfighting to you? Turning in circles? If so then maybe I-153 is the best dogfighter of the war.

 

Tell me how Bf109 can dogfight at 700kph? It can't! It is stiff. Spitfire? Ailerons are stiff in Spit...

 

Why do you think Fw190 was always seen by experts as the better fighter than Bf109? I would argue that B&Z is dogfighting too Both parties are trying to out do the other. 

 

According to wiki:

"The first written reference to the modern day usage of the word comes from Fly Papers, by A. E. Illingworth, in 1919, “The battle develops into a ‘dog-fight’, small groups of machines engaging each other in a fight to the death.”"

 

There is no definition that states that both planes need to turn or fly on the edge of their stalling performance.

Edited by =LD=Solty

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Back to square 1 with Mustang being the best ww2 fighter?

The only reason the Mustang was seen as a "poor" dogfighter - because it was. Never mind the fuel load, it was heavier. 

 

Since when is heavier=poorer dogfighter?

 

Take for example the F8F bearcat it as at least one ton heavier than the heaviest BF 109, yet it will kick the [Edited] out of any version of BF 109 in a dogfight.

 

And then the list goes on, both F6F and F4U were two tons heavier, the P38 was 5 tons heavier. Yet I dare any BF 109 to dogfight with them.

Edited by Bearcat
Profanity

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Since when is heavier=poorer dogfighter?

 

Take for example the F8F bearcat it as at least one ton heavier than the heaviest BF 109, yet it will kick the [Edited] out of any version of BF 109 in a dogfight.

 

And then the list goes on, both F6F and F4U were two tons heavier, the P38 was 5 tons heavier. Yet I dare any BF 109 to dogfight with them.

Or rather turn fight them.

 

 

Dogfight=/=Turnfight

 

Dogfight is a term descrbing fight between planes that want to kill each other. How they do it is another story.

Edited by Bearcat

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Thats irrelevant, because hit and run does not constitute dogdight by any means.

BnZ and energy fight and turn and burn. Realm of single-engine high power-to weight fighters.

Well, you picked these two. I was merely pointing out the most significant difference. If you think the 109 is a great dogfighter where the 110 isn't, maybe you need to rethink your requirements? You either limit everything to turning, making the Fokker Dr.I the best dogfighter ever, or you include vertical manoeuvres into your dogfight definition, and the P-51, which you so easily dismissed, would be one of the top contenders.

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The Zero and other Japanese fighter aircraft where completely dominated by the likes of the F4U, with an absolutely astonishing kill to loss ratio.

 

As a matter of fact they were not. The introduction of the Corsair and Lightning definitely shifted the balance and gave Americans finally the greater speed advantage, along with acceleration advantage in case of P-38. However, the Japanese pilots and their machines proved to be capable of fighting even under such circumstances and kept 1 : 1 ratio, throughout the first half of the 1943. Later however the high losses suffered in 1942 and 1943 began to take a toll and in second half of 1943 Americans started gaining air superiority. 

 

In March 1943 Lt. Cdr Mitsuo Kofukuda after fighting with 204th Kokutai returned to Japan and issued a report in regard to necessary upgrades for the Zero :

- introduction of 13 mm machine guns (was done in early 1944 with A6M5b when Type 2 13.2 mm machine gun was mounted)

- bulletproof fuel tanks ( 8 months later in A6M5 the automatic fire extinguishers were introduced, reducing the chances of machine to burn. Few months later finally a proper rubber coatings for oil and fuel tanks were introduced).

 

But coming back to main case, a combat reports of both sides indicate that first half of 1943 was more or less even. This are the reviewed post fighter combat reports and claims in them from the area near Guadalcanal :

a) April 1st -  42 American fighters (P-38's, F4F-4s and F4Us) are sent over the Russell Islands to intercept Japanese enroute to Tulagi / Guadalcanal, and the incomplete airstrips in the Russells. A large IJN strike force from the 204th, 251st and 582st Kokutai co-ordinates the attack. This contains Aichi D3A carrier based dive-bombers, with Mitsubishi A6M2 Type 0 carrier fighter, Model 21s (Zeke) from the IJN Carrier Division Two. The air battle lasted for nearly 3 hours.

Claims fighters - Japanese 40 and Allied 18,

Actual loss - Japanese 9 and Allied 6.

 

b) May 13th - 34 P-38's, P-39's, and P-40's, along with 62 Navy and Marine fighters and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-40's, intercept 20+ airplanes over the Russells-Tulagi area. 

Claims - Japanese 28 and Allies 16,

Actual loss - Japanese 4 and Allies 5.

 

c) June 7th - P-38's and P-40's, along with Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-40's and Navy and Marine fighters, intercept a large force of fighter-escorted dive bombers on a mission against Allied shipping off Guadalcanal. Fighters from the newly-opened Banika Island bases initiate the interception. A running fight develops and extends down to Guadalcanal.

Claims - Japanese 33 and Allies 23,

Actual loss - Japanese 9 and Allies 9.

 

d) June 12th -  USAAF fighters, along with Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), US Navy, and US Marine Corps fighters, claim over 30 aircraft shot down during the interception of an enemy strike on Guadalcanal Island, Solomon Islands. 8 Allied fighters are lost, including four F4Fs, one F4U and one RNZAF P-40 (pilot KIA).

Claims - Japanese 25 and Allies 31,

Actual loss - Japanese 7 and Allies 8.

 

Source: Exploding Fuel Tanks - Saga of Technology That Changed the Course of the Pacific Air War by Richard L. Dunn from the University of Maryland

Kodachosho for the mentioned days - http://www.jacar.go.jp/ 

 

Despite the fact that these combats occurred close to American bases on Guadalcanal and the Russell Islands and up to 300 miles from the Japanese bases at Buin the results were roughly a draw with the Japanese losing 29 Zeros and the Allies losing 30 fighters (According to documents 3 other machines were damaged beyond repair). Allied losses included eleven newest F4U and P-38 fighters.

In one case those combat losses were uneven - the Allies lost only 7 pilots killed or missing with few others wounded. Japanese lost over 20 pilots, either killed in combat or those who died drifting on the ocean after ditching their machines. The fatality rate among Japanese pilots was over 70 % while the fatality rate among American pilots was less than 25 %.

 

In the second half of 1943 the tactical situation confronting the Japanese rapidly began to change for the worse. Allied numerical superiority grown on all fronts, the tempo of operations was increased and technological advances were made. In August 1943 last F4F Wildcats were replaced in Marine fighter squadrons by Corsairs. Navy squadrons were equipped with new F6F Hellcats. In New Guinea the number of P-38 squadrons rose to six by June 1943. By August 1943 three squadrons of P-47s were in action too. Old models of P-39s and P-40s were replaced by newer P-40N and P-39N.

 

For example on 17th July 1943 a heavy raid on Buin by multiple types of American aircraft, totaling 78 bombers and 114 fighters caught the Japanese off guard. Forty-six zeros intercepted. Many climbed up from the Kahili airfield to give a battle only to be caught by Corsairs that swooped down and attacked them in their climbs. Nine Zeros were shot down and seven pilots killed. 

None the less a fair number of zeros maanged to get into combat and shot down five American planes, including two P-38s and one F4U.

 

On July 18th 56 bombers and 134 fighters returned to Buin area to bomb the airfield and shipping. Forty Zeros scrambled, about 25 engaged 28 F4Fs providing cover for 18 SBDs. Others attacked 21 B-24s and primarily engaged their escorts of P-38, P-40s and F4us. Six F4Fs and three F4Us were shot down along with one TBF. Japanese lost two Zeros. But even such events were not enough for the Japanese to change anything. Both sides lost about 5% of their engaged force. Japanese had to outscore the Allies by a considerable numerical margin just to remain even on a percentage basis to fight next day.

And that was not possible.

 

The post war United States Strategic Bombing Survey for the combat losses over Solomon Islands in July 1943 indicates that Allies lost 57 machines and Japanese 52, which makes it even. The claims for each side for enemy aircraft destroyed were grossly exaggerated - Americans claimed 295 machines destroyed, Japanese 218. Further, Japanese lost at least 30 fighter pilots while Allies lost 35. The Allies began July with 258 fighter aircraft and for the entire month had an average daily availability of 280 fighters and 300 pilots. 

Japanese began the month in the area with 83 Zeros. Japanese received some reinforcements and shuffled fighter units between Rabaul and the Solomons but data still indicate that they maintained about 70 Zeros in the Solomons during the month with up to 60 being serviceable. 

 

In October 1943 Japanese naval fighters were driven out of the Buin airbase from which they had fought Allies over the Solomon Islands for a year. Concentrated at Rabaul the Zeros immediately found themselves in combat with General George Kenney's 5th Air Force. As first campaign against Rabaul was a failure and cause some losses, particularly to P-38s a second was launched in middle of December. 

 

On January 3, 1944, 56 American fighters were scheduled for a fighter sweep over Rapopo airfield near Rabaul. For various reasons only 38 Marine F4Us and Navy F6Fs made it to Rapopo. Japanese scrambled 70 Zeros but only part engaged the Americans, initally only about 20. Leading Americans was Major Gregory Boyington. He fired on a Zero whose pilot bailed out just before the aircraft burst into flames. It was his 26th Victory. Boyington and his wingman became then separated from the rest of his flight. Boyington claimed than two more Zeros and also one for his wingman, but his wingman was soon shot down in flames. Boyington was shot down too, also in flames.

In combat Japanese lost two Zeross, only American losses were the two F4Us flow by Boyington and his wingman. At least one Zero was shot down in flames and according to Boyington both F4Us went down in flames too.

 

On January 6th Americans planned a fighter sweep with 76 fighters but only 16 P-38s and 8 F4Us got to Rabaul. As in the previous sweep, among the American pilots were leading aces such as Robert Westbrook and Coatsworth B. Head. Japanese put up 33 Zeros. Most of the combat took place at about 15,000 feet, the P-38s claimed nine kills and the Corsairs added another but only two Zeros were shot down actually. Capt. Head spared with an enemy fighter that had what appeared to be 50 caliber and 20 mm hits in fuselage but was still very much in the fight. Japanese claimed six certain victories but actual Allied losses were two P-38s, also Capt. Head returned with a 20 mm hit and other damage to his P-38.

 

On January 14th the Allies lost eleven planes including six Corsairs while the Japanese reports admit only the loss of the three fighters. On January 17th it was the P-38s that were hard hit with eight of twelve losses being Lightnings. Japanese reported no planes lost but few damaged.

 

But Japanese also suffered heavy losses, when on January 26th the Zero model 21s of the newly arrived fighter units of the 2nd Carrier Division got into action and lost ten fighters with six pilots killed.

 

The combats of this period suggest that given reasonable numerical odds and by avoiding unfavorable tactical situations Japanese fighter units had a fair chance of holding their own even against high performance Allied fighters. However, a pilot who was unwary and caught by surprise or inexperienced and unable to get the most from his aircraft could end up on the receiving end of devastating firepower of Allied aircraft.

In many combats the Japanese were still breaking even or better but their personnel casualties per aircraft lost were higher than among the Allies. This had been going for the entire year of 1943 and had fatal consequences in 1944.

 

Sources :

1) Marine Aircraft Group Twelve, Record of events, Fighter Command, Guadalcanal, February 1, 1943 to July 25, 1943.

2) U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, Campaigns of the Pacific War.

3) Kodachosho 

 

 

Speaking of kill ratios, I believe F6F Hellcat is best with 19:1 and Corsair is second with 12:1. Either poor Japanese got their asses kicked hard or navy pilots are very good liars

 

Its not about liars but claims. When in combat, under stress and with few wingman the unit can claim the same fighter being shot down - one loss claimed multiple times. Also often pilots did not follow damaged plane all the way down, which leave the room for damaged warbird pilot to recover and return to base. Sometimes pilots saw hits and claimed machine which in fact was almost undamaged ... 

Those are seconds and really I can completely understand the overclaiming.

 

But coming to kill ratios. As far as I'm aware they are based on Confirmed claims (which were not verified with Japanese reports, leaving a lot of room for lower losses) versus the own Reported Losses. Its also general claim for all war, not really indicating the changes of pilot quality, numerical superiority of Allies or others. Far better would be developing the kill ratios for time periods - like for 3 or 6 months, depending what one wants to see. 

This way you could see all the way changes.

 

And as MiloMorai said, it includes all types of warbirds. From fighters, through bombers and attackers, up to recce planes such as F1M biplanes. And it also includes Kamikaze, which pose no threat to intercepting machines. 

 

 

So the Zero was the best dogfighter of the war? What is dogfighting to you? Turning in circles?

 

Just to say, Japanese pilots used as much as they could altitude advantage and vertical maneuvers. This is when eventually the Hineri-Komi maneuver was developed. 

 

 

 

Ps. Forgive me if the posts may look too long from my side but I'm not aeronautics specialist, rather historian and passionate and its much easier to explain for me the changes and situations this way.

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As a matter of fact they were not. The introduction of the Corsair and Lightning definitely shifted the balance and gave Americans finally the greater speed advantage, along with acceleration advantage in case of P-38. However, the Japanese pilots and their machines proved to be capable of fighting even under such circumstances and kept 1 : 1 ratio, throughout the first half of the 1943. Later however the high losses suffered in 1942 and 1943 began to take a toll and in second half of 1943 Americans started gaining air superiority.

  The US navy in the Pacific claimed that from April 1944 till the end of the war, that the F4U shot down 2,140 aircraft for the loss of just 189 of their own aircraft. This of course could be and probably is an exaggerated figure. I did state in an earlier post that it was late in the war and mitigating circumstances had to be taken into effect. Taking nothing away from the Zero, which was an outstanding aircraft, I believe there is little doubt that the F4U was probably the finest carrier-based fighter of WWII.

Edited by OriginalCustard

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You know what Hiromachi - while that was a long post, it was still interesting. Because it wasn't lecturing, but educating. For a bigger picture - do you have figures for 1943 other than July ready? And for a more accurate picture - is it possible to break down losses to causes? I don't know the USSBS by heart, but I recall a lot of losses in the Pacific was due to AAA.

 

The post war United States Strategic Bombing Survey for the combat losses over Solomon Islands in July 1943 indicates that Allies lost 57 machines and Japanese 52, which makes it even.

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 I believe there is little doubt that the F4U was probably the finest carrier-based fighter of WWII.

 

It's horribly ugly, but if IL21046 is anything to go by it was an amazing machine. The cannon armament really let it shine though.

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It's horribly ugly, but if IL21046 is anything to go by it was an amazing machine. The cannon armament really let it shine though.

True, It's not going to win any beauty contests! :salute: But just listen to her sing! 

Edited by OriginalCustard

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You know what Hiromachi - while that was a long post, it was still interesting. Because it wasn't lecturing, but educating. For a bigger picture - do you have figures for 1943 other than July ready?  

 

Thank you JtD. Well, I sometimes sound lecturing but that is often because I'm confident about the nature of things I'm talking about. But will try to put more emphasis on the education part :)

 

The problem is that some of the figures I have ready for some campaigns, but for other no. I based my post on book and archive for details :

a)  http://explodingfueltanks.com/ - this one I highly recommend to any researcher, it changes a view on many things and except of details in regard to protection it also reviews most of the combat details, such as the presented above combat losses and provides the explanation for such and not other losses ratio. 

b) http://www.jacar.go.jp/  - The combat reports known as Kodachosho are there, and its a matter of finding a unit by its number and then browsing to find exact date one wishes to review. Here is an example from the Kodachosho of 3rd Kokutai fighting over Australia.

Combat on 30 July 1942 : 

TKdTU2.png

 

You can read how many fighters unit deployed, on the right side there is a section with time and progress of the mission (showing that 3rd Kokutai was on a mission to escort 27 Takao Kokutai bombers over Darwin. Unit fought with P-40s and claimed some of them

Japanese report revealed loss of one machine, it belonged to pilot Kakimoto. Other machine, belonging to pilot Takemoto was hit 8 times by .50 caliber rounds (in table marked as 13 mm, but that's usual case that Japanese Navy pilots reported 13 mm hits) but he returned to airfield safely and his machine was operational. It even shows on the next page (where names of all pilots are presented along with shirt description of each action) amount of expended ammunition ...

 

So by riding through Kodachosho to review Japanese Navy losses and claims and to compare with American losses and claims it takes enormous amount of time. Thats why I'm waiting for  this two positions :

http://www.avions-bateaux.com/produit/souscriptions/1958

http://www.avions-bateaux.com/produit/souscriptions/2271

 

Bernard did amazing job through couple of years by researching both sides situation over Guadalcanal. But as said its for Gudalcanal only and as such its building bigger view from fragments. I have his book about Darwin, I have books about the Tainan Kokutai which beautifully presents the combat over New Guinea from April to November 1942, presenting the losses and claims for both sides, each with the name of pilot or crewman. This is really detailed book ( http://www.tainanbooks.com/ ).

 

 

 

I don't know the USSBS by heart, but I recall a lot of losses in the Pacific was due to AAA.

I dont know the exact methodology of the USSBS.

 

 

 

And for a more accurate picture - is it possible to break down losses to causes?

Often it would be possible to present even the names and ranks of all participating pilots. But its a matter of doing enormous research for both sides.

 

 

 

For a bigger picture - do you have figures for 1943 other than July ready?
 

So to try to reply to this ... no, I still have a fragmentary data only - many combat reports from various operations, not enough to build complete view. I believe that to make a bigger picture for 1943 it will take a couple years more just to research all the areas of operation. 

I have data for 1943 Air operations over Australia, I have fragmentary data for Solomon Islands for the time which I wish to expand as soon as Bernard books about Guadalcanal will be available in ... lower price, which I could afford. 

  • Upvote 1

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When dogs fight, dogfight, they tend to circle and roll. I think the general interpretation and the quote above indicate a dogfight is what we commonly refer to as a furball. BnZ is a great tactic but it isn't really a dogfighting in the classic sense. Personally, I like Molders theory dogfights should be avoided as much as possible.

 

Even in the game the dogfighters are often 1:1 K/D or fail to bring their crate home even when carrying 5 or 6 kills. Chuck Yeager said he was a little uneasy about having his name on a game where it was considered OK to get killed because in real life you didn't just jump back into another aircraft and do it again.

 

Back to the OP. I think it's mostly a draw and comes down to the pilot, skill, and tactics. At least in a 1 v 1 encounter.

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Thank you JtD. Well, I sometimes sound lecturing but that is often because I'm confident about the nature of things I'm talking about. But will try to put more emphasis on the education part :)

Well, I'm quite confident about what I say as well, so I might be a little over-sensitive when people want to "correct" me. I'm totally open to different opinions, points of view or differently weighed assessments. Or additional information.

 

Anyway, thanks for your reply and the explanation of the Kodachosho. I took a short look yesterday and realized it would be an enormous load of work to gather a complete picture from the original documents, in particular if you're not familiar with the language and the structure. It really makes one appreciate the effort some of the authors spend on making the information accessible to a wider audience. I just thought that since you so easily quoted the July figure, you might have come across more info, but it looks that we'll have to wait for that a little bit longer (or invest a couple of years ourselves).

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I took a short look yesterday and realized it would be an enormous load of work to gather a complete picture from the original documents, in particular if you're not familiar with the language and the structure.
 

Its even worse. The language used in the documents is not same as modern, a current Japanese is simplified and somehow easier to handle for foreigners. But Showa Japanese was very different. I can only say that my best friend from Japan told me he has trouble reading some of it as some symbols are simply unknown to this generation.

 

And there is other thing, Kodachosho covers only the Navy. Japanese Army had similar reports, known as Sento shoho. And those were not digitized as far as I'm aware, they are available in archives in Tokyo.

 

 

 

It really makes one appreciate the effort some of the authors spend on making the information accessible to a wider audience.

Yes, I even stopped being surprised with the price of those books. Its incredible what those gentleman do. 

 

 

 

I just thought that since you so easily quoted the July figure, you might have come across more info, but it looks that we'll have to wait for that a little bit longer (or invest a couple of years ourselves).

No, I had a few elements of the big puzzle.

 

I'm doing both if time and money allow me.  And personally I'm waiting for a good Pacific simulation game eventually. Maybe one day we will have Battle of New Guinea :)

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Its even worse. The language used in the documents is not same as modern, a current Japanese is simplified and somehow easier to handle for foreigners. But Showa Japanese was very different. I can only say that my best friend from Japan told me he has trouble reading some of it as some symbols are simply unknown to this generation.

Yes, I know. I can read and given a good dictionary translate Hiragana and Katakana, but Kanji are completely lost on me - even modern ones. Unfortunately, handwritten old Kanji is fairly common in documents of the era, and even their use is not consistent (differences between Army and Navy, for instance, or even different manufacturers).

 

Yes, I even stopped being surprised with the price of those books. Its incredible what those gentleman do.

They don't sell a lot - who besides a very few nerds are interested in that detail? I sometimes wonder how they can make a living out of their research. I guess a lot simply don't.

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So the Zero was the best dogfighter of the war? What is dogfighting to you? Turning in circles?

 

 

HerrMurf explains it a bit more eloquently than me:

 

When dogs fight, dogfight, they tend to circle and roll. I think the general interpretation and the quote above indicate a dogfight is what we commonly refer to as a furball. BnZ is a great tactic but it isn't really a dogfighting in the classic sense.

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I would say that BNZ is a combat tactic if it is a surprise attack.

In prolonged combat where the attacking fighting is swooping over and over again, I would call that a dog fight (one started with an energy advantage and maintained it, the other is fighting for their life, and trying to find a way to either swing the balance by causing the opponent to loose discipline, or to extradite themselves from the situation).

The difference is that when attacked by surprise (and shot down) there was never a fight, there was a battle but not a 2 sided fight.

Whereas I would interpret "dogfight" to mean 2 or more "fighting to the death"
 

In regards to the "measuring contest" going on in regards to the best plane, a few things need to be remembered esp when reading combat reports.

Firstly, a great weapon being handled by someone who has no idea how to use it is useless.

Secondly the condition the weapon is in.

Combat accounts when taken at face value can tell you that every fighter was the best, however you have to learn to see the context to be able to see the big picture.


My own personal favorite is the 109, when I was younger I liked the Spitfire (pretty much grew up watching "The Battle of Britain"), I do still like them...... they taste delicious ;)

Edited by novicebutdeadly

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