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1911A takes down a Zero ?

Discussion in 'Air War in the Pacific' started by Ken The Kanuck, Dec 16, 2015.

  1. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Far, far less than that. I regularly shoot targets at 100 yards with a pistol, though granted that's a stationary target. On the other hand, a plane coming in towards you is damned near a stationary target so while (if it happened), it probably involved both luck and skill I don't see it as being far beyond shooting skeet with a handgun which lots of people do. Remember too, if the story happened as told, he had four shots spread out over several hundred yards as the plane approached. Time to mentally adjust - hold higher, bang, lead him a bit, bang, not so much lead, bang, hold lower, bang...

    As an ex-coastie we had/have lots of guys that can put a slug through a go-fast motor from a vibrating helo while the go-fast is jumping through chop at high speed. Now, that's with a rifle, but that's not even consider luck - he's supposed to be able to do that, every time, on the first shot, and they do.

    Anyway, I have no reason to doubt the story is true, though I have no way of proving it's true. I do think it's entirely plausible.
     
  2. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I don't think you're factoring in the vertical descent variable. One problem with judging how fast you're falling is you have no frame of reference until you're close to the ground so you perceive you're dropping slowly when its actually probably close to 30 feet per second. If as you suggested he engaged on approach at 100 yards and continued through a 100 yards of egress at most you'd have a max of about 4 seconds for the whole thing to transpire. That's assuming the aircraft came directly towards him, and directly away from him. If he passed in a straight line, parallel but close enough for the wingtip to almost touch the parachutist as he passed him (the A6M2 had a wingspan of right at 40 ft so about 20 ft from the shooter to the cockpit), then you decrease the amount of time he was in range even further, and again that's if the parachutist was stationary not descending about 120 feet during the 4 seconds, then how about the horizontal drift? Are we to assume still air, zero wind? Then how is the shooter to determine the strike of his rounds in order to adjust? No tracer, no bullet splash, no hole in a target.
    If it did happen its sheer good luck on the shooters part or bad luck on the pilots part.

    I agree with Takao:

    and I'd say he's being generous.
     
  3. Ken The Kanuck

    Ken The Kanuck Member

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    I like to think of "what is the chance of that happening" often in my every day life, An example is a leaf falling off a tree and hitting me in the head. That has probably happened to all of us. But what are the odds? You think about all the things that need to happen, you have to be there at that time, the leaf need to rot off it's stem at precisely the right second, etc. etc.

    Don't even get me started about the odds of catching a fish. :eek:

    KTK
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Improve your odds dramatically...Use explosives.
     
  5. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    We used to fill our smoker on Attu with red (sockeye) shot through the gill with .22 pistols. The water refracts so you'd hold low in holes and when fish came near the surface pop them, and let people in the fast water below scoop up the dying fish with their hands. That's not really applicable to shooting an aircraft except that people who don't shot handguns much underestimate what they are capable of in trained hands.
     
  6. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Possibly not the best examples...The tree has many leaves and are falling regularly...plus the vibrations of your feet and the wind generated by your passing could be enough to dislodge a leaf thats about to go...you have effected the area, so increase the chances.
    The fishing is an even worse example of "chance" - nobody would fish if it was about "chance"...Modern fishermen make sure the fish has almost no "chance"...they may aswell lob a grenade in these days.
    "You make your own luck" - "Luck favours the brave" - You do things that increase the "chances" of a favourable outcome...you do nothing (dont effect the area) and it IS just chance.
     
  7. Otto

    Otto Made of plastic. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Smells very fishy. Agree with others that while technically/mathematically possible, it's but not at all plausible. What really makes me question the story is the pilot's unscathed body being thrown clear of the air wreck, with the bullet hole in his head being identified as the killing wound. That's about as unlikely as the supposed shot itself. Much too fishy.
     
  8. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Remember Aussies shot the Red Baron from the ground and him in his aircraft...much slower, and probably closer too...plus .303 rilfes and Lewis guns...
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Consider that the pilot wouldn't want to get his wings or prop into the chute if he really wanted a close look he would fly under the guy in the chute. How fast he's falling isn't all that important either. What's important are the relative velocities in all 3 dimensions between the plane and the guy in the chute. If the pilot is trying to fly under him there may well be very little difference in vertical velocity and if he's coming more or less straight in not much of a difference in perpendicular to the line of approach. There was a an add (for an insurance company I think) some time ago where a basketball player (Wilt Chamberlin?) was sitting in a chair some considerable distance from a hoop. The line he was suppose to use was something like, "I missed but you won't with ...". To everyone's surprise it went through the hoop without touching anything but net and the player was quick enough to change the message to work follow what happened. Supposedly he tried to repeat the shot numerous times and wasn't able to. It may or may not have happened but it was possible if very unlikely.
     
  10. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    Highly unlikely but not totally impossible; If you're really really good or the Gods happen to be watching over you stranger things have happened.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfuDAq7TxFk
     
  11. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    Straight out of the comic books.
     
  12. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    good call... that's what I like and say...realistic thinking....yes, try to imagine the actual, realistic physical events.....not the movies, etc....I see the ''unreal'',-and as you say--highly unlikely, near impossible thinking in many comments in news stories everyday...ie ''if I would've been there, I would've done this or that''......bravo sierra
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Think of it more along the lines of the cartoon where the mouse is giving a final gesture to the hawk. Shooting a pistol from a parachute at an opposing plane is a gesture of defiance and/or desperation. The best you hope for is the pilot gives up, if you have the right powers watching over you though you willingly accept their help.
     
  14. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    In early WWI, before planes were mounted with guns, spotters often shot at each other with handguns and were quite often successful. I don't see why this would be much different.

    I think there may be a disconnect between people who shoot handguns a lot and those who don't. There's a misconception that a pistol is inaccurate and incapable of such a shot, but with a little patience and practice you can do amazing things with a handgun. Just search through YouTube for Trick Shots and the like.

    To me, the story has a couple of holes, most notably the Japanese guard confiding in a prisoner which makes it sound like more of morale story passed around in the camp than a verified event. I doubt a Japanese guard would confide sucha thing, and if they knew the story the pilot would have been promptly shot. Still, I have no doubt the pilot shot at the Zero and so would anyone here in such a situation. Whether he made the shot is in question - absolutely plausible, but not verifiable.
     
  15. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    There's a huge difference between someone sitting in a fabric covered biplane shooting at another fabric covered biplane, tootling along at 80-100 mph, and some guy swaying in a parachute popping away at a metal aircraft flying at 200+ mph with a lower velocity M1911.
     
  16. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    I've fired the 1911A1 mucho, mucho....to hit center mass, even with practice it takes mucho mucho discipline...the trick shot is exactly that--tricks..they practice the same shot over and over......like your video..the target is at about the same level and same area all the time....the tricksters have been shooting pistols a long time...key words same same...they don't just hit a zooming clay target on first shot first time
    ..we are talking quick draw quick shots
    I fired expert pistol and rifle--with firm grip, firm stance....I fired the 1911A1 for qualification and competition...I will say my best shooting was not timed shooting but when we had less time to aim or think about it....but it was not quick draw quick shots.....
    when we went to the M9, we fired at 7 yard distant targets..very hard to hit at 7 yards....you will miss 10 out of 10 unless you have a good grip, good stance ---which a shooting chutist doesn't have...
    I'll say it again the effective range of the 1911A1 is 50m...after that, forget it......
    let me reiterate--even with the tricksters, experienced shooters, etc, that would be a very, very difficult shot....no firm stance, no firm grip, plane moving faster than clay targets, chutist falling, swaying, etc...it would be luck if they hit.....not great shooting.....
    a little practice? amazing things?? like what?

    caps for emphasis only
     
  17. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    Add the adrenaline rush of having just escaped death seconds before.
     
  18. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    good call Dave...exactly....
    let me add....I don't want to sound like an egotist...please forgive...but I was one of the best shooters in my company....I thought it was an easy to understand formula---sight picture, breathe, stop breath, shoot...etc...how simple!!!....I asked and ask myself, how could not others shoot expert?? but a lot did not....yes, it does take patience, but I don't think a little...it takes a lot of patience and discipline....
    I see a lot of people at my work that can't make parts on ''target''...I do...I can't stand when one of my parts is just slightly wrong, but within tolerance.....IMO, a lot of people do not have the self discipline to be on ''target''...and you can't easily ''teach'' them self discipline....
     
  19. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    A friend of mine has had his mother out practicing on a number of occasions. If she takes a standard stance and careful aim she can't hit anything. Firing from the hip she's a crack shot. I've seen people take snap shots and hit things they can't repeat on a number of occasions. Sometimes you get lucky whether it really happened on this occasion is a good question. I haven't ever parachuted much less with a WWII chute. Does anyone here have any experience with them? Just how stable would you be?
     
  20. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    [​IMG]

    Bronk, fifty meters is nothing. The reason people don't make long shots with handguns is because they never try. With common military rounds the drop doesn't even become a factor until you get out to 100 yards or so. I shoot at 100 yards often, and as likely as not get the hits.

    Of course, I'm not dangling from a parachute, but the other factors - an approaching plane, which is almost a stationary target, and four shots make the story plausible. Somebody above said the speed would be 200 mph, but the other key aspect in that story is that the pilot was making a slow pass with the canopy back to make sure his target is dead, which he of course would not do at 200 mph - possibly 80 or 90 mph, but that's hardly a factor since the plane is approaching.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUZr2ekNFe8
     

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