Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

The Planes That WON the War in the Pacific

Discussion in 'Air War in the Pacific' started by EagleSquadron12, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    6,720
    Likes Received:
    494
    EH21, guessing you have never been married...lol...ww2f will embolden you.
    Never be afraid to post, it is not your bad. Chin up, mate.
    Good thread.
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,750
    Likes Received:
    1,123
    Location:
    Michigan
  3. green slime

    green slime Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,091
    Likes Received:
    543
    You old traditionalist, you.
     
  4. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,247
    Likes Received:
    132
    Has everyone had a brain fart concerning the PI, Malaya, DEI, Wake, Indonesia, Darwin, etc? Up till Midway really, the Japanese had the distinct edge in the air.
     
  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,360
    Likes Received:
    1,501
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    The Japanese did not have a distinct edge at Coral Sea.

    The 17 G4M Betty bombers that attacked USS Lexington as she attempted to attack Rabaul were slaughtered. Only two survived the initial attacks, and one of those would crash land on the way back to base.

    Of course, when you are facing little opposition, things tend to go your own way...Such as the early American carrier raids.
    http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar//USN/USN-CN-Raids/index.html#CONT
     
    USS Washington likes this.
  6. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    447
    An unescorted bomber strike is more an exception to the rule, they usually fared badly, though there were exceptions, especially against the poorly armed Italian and Japanese fighters, when it comes to shooting down bombers firepower is all important and only the A6M, of all early war Japanese fighters, had a decent armament (and IIRC very much by chance as the factory that was originally planned to produce the 20mm for it was taken over by the Army). Up to mid 1942 the Japanese could achieve local air superiority, then they got involved in an attrition campaign that required their planes to fly at the limit of their endurance and things turned against them a they could not sustain that sort of losses..
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,750
    Likes Received:
    1,123
    Location:
    Michigan
    Or not. At Wake they faced a few Buffalos and ended still ended up with more aircraft shot down or damaged than the Marines lost, although FLAK played a big role in that.

    Also consider that the conversation to date was focused on the IJN vs the USN and in particular whether the F4F was inferior to the A6M2. The actions you list above don't have a very large USN presence do they? How many F4Fs were involved in those actions?
     
  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,360
    Likes Received:
    1,501
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    At Wake, the Marines had 12 F4F-3 Wildcats. The Buffalos were at Midway, as well as, a small contingent(7 aircraft) of F4F Wildcats.

    AFAIK, the Japanese lost some 24 aircraft at Wake, to the Marines 12, but don't quote me on those losses.

    Considering the fact that the Japanese G3M Nell bombers destroyed 8 of Wake's F4Fs on the ground on December 8th, and it was only the four remaining Wildcats that did the fighting. Not bad, not bad at all.
     
    USS Washington and lwd like this.
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,750
    Likes Received:
    1,123
    Location:
    Michigan
    Thanks for the correction and additional details. Japanese losses at Wake are rather indeterminate from what I've read. In both cases they were rather outnumbered and still gave a decent account of themselves from what I remember reading though.
     
  10. ResearcherAtLarge

    ResearcherAtLarge Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    60
    Actually, the F4F was replaced by the F4U. It took the Hellcat a bit longer to make it in theater. And really, that's a simplistic view because the Wildcat was used throughout the entire war, serving on CVEs.

    Also, the B-29 did far more than just drop atomic bombs, I would recommend reading "Mines away" for a better understanding.
     
  11. DT1991

    DT1991 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2014
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    2
    But the Hellcat saw much wider use by the US Navy until around early 1945. The only carrier based Corsair squadron to actually see major combat before then was Fighting Squadron 17 of the USS Bunker Hill's original air group, and even then it was replaced by a Hellcat squadron, and the "Jolly Rogers" ended up on land for most of their tour.
     
  12. ResearcherAtLarge

    ResearcherAtLarge Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    60
    Who says the US Navy was the only one fighting in the Pacific?
     
  13. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    447
    At Wake Nagumo detached Hiryu and Soryu to support the second (successful) effort after the initial failure, before then the IJN force had no air element except unescorted bombers that to get there had to turn themselves into flying gas tanks if they got hit they were unlikely to survive.
     
  14. NavyLT

    NavyLT New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2018
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    1
    Definitely a tough call to say any one platform other factor won the war in the Pacific. I think most would agree, however, that the F6F played such a significant, central, roll winning the war. One would never want to take away anything from the troops who made the landings that secured the island hopping campaign all the way to Saipan and Okinawa...that made long range bombing possible. The decimation of Truk is notable as well, but so many battles were reliant to air superiority...and the F6F was the lead in clearing the skies for the venerable bombers of carrier air groups. In short, if you took away the Hellcats, what would the war have looked like? It would have been won, but it might have taken much longer. If you cannot pick one plane, you would have to have the F6F Dash 3s and 5s on a very short list of key factors. Yes, USN tactics were a huge factor to their success as was IJN's lack of experience by 1944 onward, And remember, Hellcats did considerable damage to ground targets too; "ace-counts" don't measure that contribution. Hellcats did it ALL (except torpedoes, of course); CAS, CAP, bombing, strafing, reconnaissance, and were the true key to air superiority that allows the rest (troop and ship movements) to happen.

    Again, so many other planes that kicked A$$ in the Pacific, but the Hellcat has the numbers. It did so many missions, and it did it everywhere including Tokyo itself. To me, on that short list of key factors, apart from the American solider, sailor, airmen and marine, the F6F Hellcat is atop that list.
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,750
    Likes Received:
    1,123
    Location:
    Michigan
    The F4F was what won the critical battles in 42 by the time the F6F came along the Japanese were already behind the power curve and if the F6F hadn't been built then the Navy and Marines could have just used the F4U.
     
  16. NavyLT

    NavyLT New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2018
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    1
    I wholly agree the F4Fs of Guadalcanal and Midway held the line, as did the attack aircraft. And, yes, 1944 onward saw a greatly weakened IJN pilot corps...as well as aircraft not being updated quickly enough. I would disagree that the Navy could have relied on land-based F4Us however, thereby marginalizing the contributions of carrier aviation post F4F-era. That domain was critical and credit to the F6F. Fact is, you'd be right if saying so, the F4F probably would have been more and more effective against the IJN Zekes and Army fighters too. Fact is, however, the F6F replaced it and did that job. The F6F replaced it because the F4F was dated.

    At any rate, you make a good point. I just don't agree with the Navy reliance on land-based (F4U) fighters to protect the fleet, or for that matter, attack the IJN...which the Hellcat did with increasing frequency and effectiveness with the "dash 5" variant in late '44 and '45. For this thread question, my vote still goes to the F6F-3/5.
     
  17. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    715
    Likes Received:
    410
    Location:
    The Old Dominion
    Except the F4F -> F6F line was a technological dead end. Grumman was already preparing to end F6F production and ramp up the next 'cat, the F8F. VF-19, fully equipped with F8Fs, was working up at NAS Kahului and ready to deploy when the war ended. VBF-19. while they trained in F3As (my, that's a scary thought), was being equipped with F4U-4s when the end came. The whole business wraps around the Navy's desire to air groups with a fast climbing, point, fleet defense fighter, and a fighter bomber. With the F8F/F4U concept they got their wish. With the last 8 months of the war F6F/F4U combination they had two planes that could do both, though neither could climb as fast as the F8F, but were sufficient for the job at hand. Of course, not all air groups had the VF F6F / VBF F4U combination, some were pure F6F VF & VBF and some were pure F4U VF & VBF. What is always amusing is the oft raised theory that F4Us were assigned to VBF squadrons because they were better bombers than the F6F. Demonstrably untrue, in fact the F4U has some serious problems as a mud mover.

    The simple math of it was that USMC, mostly, F4Us chalked a very large percentage of the bomb tonnage dropped by naval (note naval, not Navy, the Marines are part of the naval establishment) forces in the Pacific simply because that was how they were employed once they ran out of Japanese aerial opposition. More tonnage doesn't mean better bomber, it means more employment bombing. Just as the F6F drivers racked up some pretty impressive air to air numbers, simply because the CV TFs were the pointy end of the stick. More air to air victories does not mean it was a better fighter than the F4U, it simply means more opportunities than the F4U.

    The plan was to replace F6Fs with F8Fs and push the F6Fs down to the CVEs. You can see a lot of this implemented in the 1946-1948 era organizational tables; F6Fs are found mostly in reserve units ashore, CVs and CVBs are carrying F8Fs and F4Us.
     
  18. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2017
    Messages:
    1,350
    Likes Received:
    411
    Location:
    Arizona U.S.A
    An aircraft, like all machines, is only as good as it's master. The IJN and IJA had plenty of great modern aircraft in the A6M, Ki-61, K-84, N1K, and others. The U.S had the luck and capability of training pilots in a timely and efficient manner while also giving the pilots basically all the info they needed to be successful, minus combat experience. The Japanese (like the Germans) slowly lost their best pilots, and did not replace them with just as experienced and skilled pilots. That factor is probably the main reason why the Japanese were completely and wholly obliterated in the air from 43' to 45'. They had the right aircraft to do the job, but they didn't have the pilots. To further backup my point, the Finns used the obsolete and unwanted aircraft the U.S gave them, and they used them usually to great effect against their Russian enemies. The Russians in the beginning of the war didn't have a plethora of well trained or experienced pilots, whereas the Finns had time to train, and had experience immediately after the Winter war of 39' and 40' that they used against the less experienced, less trained Russians, in some cases with superior aircraft and almost always outnumbering the Finns as well. Regardless of that, I believe that the Wildcat despite it's many flaws, was crucial in helping the Americans fight off the Japanese at Coral Sea, Midway, Guadalcanal, and other place. It did it's job, and did a generally good job at taking damage and protecting the pilot. The Hellcat also should be considered simply because of the destruction it brought against Japanese aircraft. I would also agree that the SBD had a big role in the U.S's initial success, but I also believe that the Grumman Avenger played a massive role in supporting troops in the island hopping campaigns and devastating Japanese shipping and submarine activity, the same goes for the B-25.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  19. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    5,445
    Likes Received:
    742
    Whilst the Japanese were beginning to field some good aircraft, the best were withdrawn for "island defence" of the homeland...and those in the field were not being maintained to optimum...some airstrips/ports were very rudimentary and thanks to the US Navy supplies weren't getting through, leaving many aircraft just sitting...
     
  20. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,750
    Likes Received:
    1,123
    Location:
    Michigan
    But the F4U wasn't strickly land based and in the absence of the F6F would likely have been carrier certified earlier.

    By the same token the F6F could have done as good of or at least close to as good of job as the F4U if the latter wasn't available. Overall I don't see one as having that much of an edge over the other.
     

Share This Page