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The Planes That WON the War in the Pacific

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

  1. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Actually, it was a Ki-43 "Oscar" that the Wirraway shot down, but this was only confirmed post-war.

    But, the premise is the same, a lot was sacrificed to achieve maneuverability & range in the early Japanese aircraft(Navy & Army).

    That is not just "Rookie" pilots, but any pilot. Famed Japanese ace, Saburo Sakai, led his flight of Zeroes to ambush what he took to be a flight of F4Fs from the rear. However, they were SBDs, and a rear gunner put a .30 caliber round into Sakai's skull, causing the loss of one of Sakai's eyeballs.

    Another Japanese ace, who's name I forget, engaged a newly operational F6F. The Japanese pilot thought it was a F4F, and engaged in the same tactics. The F6F shot the Japanese ace down at the top of a loop. The F4F would have stalled out, but the F6F had plenty of power to stay with the Zero. The Japanese Ace thought he had an easy kill, and paid for his mistake with his life.
     
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  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Corsair aboard USS Antietam during the Korean War, probably dated 1952.
     
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  3. ARWR

    ARWR Active Member

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    Even aces can make mistakes but rookies make many more and the vulnerability of Japanese aircraft did not allow enough to survive their mistakes to become aces
     
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  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Not just vulnerability, but also very limited Japanese SAR operations. Once a Japanese pilot was shot down, there was little chance of his being recovered and returned to action. Whereas American pilots who were shot down had much better odds of recovery.
     
  5. Half Track

    Half Track Well-Known Member

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    You are a wonderful world of information on here.
     
  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Only if it concerns naval matters or the war in the Pacific, although R. Leonard surpasses my knowledge in these areas.
     
  7. ARWR

    ARWR Active Member

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    And pilots had to be formally ordered from the top to wear their parachutes and use them. This probably reflects a long term cultural attitude to being captured. In 1904/5 the Japanese treated their Russian POWs very well but sent to Coventry returning Japanese POWS. Bailing out made one liable to capture.
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    You know your war , man
     
  9. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    I'll go with the SBD. Essentially broke the back of KdB at Midway, helped sink a couple of other carriers and many other vessels in the Solomons and elsewhere in theater.

    The Hellcat was clearly better than the F4F, but the latter had already inflicted serious wounds on IJN pilot and plane availability. I don't think the F6F won the war as much as it sealed the deal.

    The P-40 was a workhorse in the SWPac and should not be derogated. It didn't win the war, but it surely played a useful part in the theater. Like the Wildcat, with suitable tactics it could hold its own again Japanese combatants.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
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  10. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    B-29.
     
  11. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    Aristotle's four causes comes to mind. Without the SBD, would the CenPac campaign have given the 29s those bases?
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Did the planes win the war? I always thought it was a bit of luck and a big piece of tactics.
     
  13. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    I think in the Pacific they did. Given the distances involved. Of course no war is won without troops on the ground, but in CenPac, how do they get there without air support?

    Of course the same question can be levied against any other front, but the importance of airpower was highlighted in the Pacific. Soldiers ain't swimming those distances, and ships ain't crossing them without air superiority.

    Obviously different proportions in ETO and MTO. But in PTO, projection of power was the be-all, I think, and that's where air both opened and closed it out.
     
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  14. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Slightly off topic. But if we are asking which service was more important in the PTO to winning the war, I would say the ground forces. Then the Navy, then the Air force.
    The Japanese held areas against allied bombing and allied bombardment from shipping...they would go to ground and come up when it was over. It took men on the ground to route these troops...without them all the bombing and bombardment wouldn't have done much and they would have held those islands IMO.
     
  15. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    Of course it required teamwork. But the grunts ain't hitting the beach without air clearing the seas for the boats to bring them there.

    Without air, I don't think the car starts.
     
  16. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Agreed, it needs all three to work.
     
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  17. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Did any country win a war without boots on the ground?
     
  18. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    not many at all...what about NATO in Bosnia? ground troops there, but did they do much? not a win, but it says strategic victory
    Operation Deliberate Force - Wikipedia
     
  19. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    Did any country win a battle, much less a war, without shepherding their troops safely to the combat zone?

    Who did that in the Pacific? That's right: naval air power.
     
  20. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    But shepherding anything safely doesn't win anything...it facilitates...
     

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