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 Post subject: Re: The F-35
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:43 pm 
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The problem for the Japanese was that they assumed far too much in superiority on a ship for ship, man for man basis. It was an ideological dogma that foolishly became part of their operational assumptions. They never the edge on the USN that they imagined they had. Likewise with ground combat units.


this.

Japanese air combat training was centered around a man vs man doctrine that attempted to use their fighters superiorities in a hypothetical 1 on 1 duel. They had terrible formation discipline and a "wingman" was almost nonexistent 3 minutes into any battle. The green American pilots followed their training and remained in combat formations better.

In aerial combat you don't get shot down by the person you're in a dogfight with. You get shot down by their wingman that maintained their positional discipline. Just as a Japanese pilot would push his plane to a zero energy state in an attempt to kill their dogfight opponent, The wingman or a following team would be there to take advantage of their weak position and kill them.

That combined with the near suicidal mindset of Japanese pilots. If you are "willing to die" for the emperor in an aerial combat hairball you can be pretty sure you will. Safe disciplined tactics are designed to prevent you from doing that.

Air combat victories are all about teamwork... not which individual plane can turn inside another one.

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 Post subject: Re: The F-35
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:12 pm 
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Yes, that's what got "Maverick" in trouble. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: The F-35
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:43 pm 
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Sub launched emily bomber takes out panama it's game over 8-)

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 Post subject: Re: The F-35
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:47 pm 
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C_S wrote:
Sub launched emily bomber takes out panama it's game over 8-)


Very gamey. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: The F-35
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 5:32 pm 
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mdiehl wrote:
Does that mean that you will start a public veneration process if you decide that I am correct? 8-)


I think you are correct...for the most part because I feel uncomfortable to start a public veneration process... :lol:

I started digging into the books I got, plus I found from their bibliography the official naval aviation combat statistics: For those of you who are interested in the Pacific war, perhaps you would like to cite this source next time you start an argument about fighter combat effectiveness in the pacific. However, even though I think the source is quite credible, it would b a mistake to assume that it is 100% accurate, especially for the year 1942, when the difference in combat losses (on air) between carrier based fighters and Japanese ones is quite narrow. In addition, the same source mentions somewhere that in the first years, intelligence officers were more prone to record exaggerated claims. Obviously, the Japanese had this problem too, and perhaps to a greater degree since they tended to underestimate in the beginning their opponent pilots and planes. Still, when the margin is too narrow (in 1942), we cannot ignore the lack of information we have with respect to the accuracy of claims from both sides. Anyway, here is the online source with the official Pacific War statistics. 130 pages full of tables

http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/virtual ... S/NASC.PDF

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 Post subject: Re: The F-35
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 5:59 pm 
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As a general rule, to know how many allied a.c. were shot down in an engagement, consult a unit history written by someone from that unit, or an other official military source such as an aar, It would be NICE if the Japanese sources had retained any of that information for their own units, but they did not reliably or always do that. Lundstrom had to dig deeply to come up with accurate records for the KB units and the Guadalcanal campaign, and in some cases he still was left wondering why some Japanese pilots vanished without explanation from a roster.

One thing you can be certain will be inaccurate and inauthoritative are Japanese "confirmed kill" claims concocted by Japanese intel or air unit sources. Alot of that was speculative and in many cases padded in order to bolster unit morale.

American confirmed kills of Japanese planes written at the time are only somewhat more reliable because the US planes all had gun cameras. Most Japanese planes did not have them. So an intel officer could look at footage from four US fighters, note that they're all shooting at the same plane in various instances, and reduce the number of confirmed down from the number claimed, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: The F-35
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 7:33 pm 
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There is also another issue for which I have not found any good answer yet. It came to my mind when we were talking about the extreme ranges that Japanese pilots had to fly to reach Guadalcanal. I do believe that these extreme ranges reduce the effectiveness of fighters in many ways. It is not only that damaged planes will probably become lost during the long flight back to base. It is also the tactical disadvantage these pilots have by the fact that they have less loiter time and they will be the ones who most probably will have to break contact first to return back to base. This can put them on the defense quite easily. In addition, less loiter time gives less time to experienced pilots to bump up their scores against the enemy. And we do know, that it is a quite small percentage of elite pilots who are responsible for the majority of the victory claims.

Not to mention other advantages, such as, help of friendly radar and interception sections or restrictions that escorted fighter often have in speed and altitude when they want to be close to the escorted bombers which can give additional advantages to a defender fighter force (This was typical in the case of the Battle of Britain)

All this made me wonder if I could find some hint, official account or study to quantify or even indicate the existence of a potential advantage of the defender fighter force over an attacking one (just as we accept in land combat with the abused indeed concept of 3:1 rule advantage for the defender). I have not found a clear answer, but it is interesting that from sources I have there is a big change in loss ratios between the Battle of Britain, when RAF was defending the homeland, and during the next following months up to 1942 when it started raids, including fighter sweeps above the French coasts at a time when the best German pilots had been sent to the East. And still, these British pilots who won in the summer of 1941 with very good loss ratios, performed terribly in fighter vs fighter engagements over France. The loss ratio there was horrible!

I tried to see if there was some type of information in the Pacific theater to hint a similar advantage, but there is not enough evidence. Still, it is interesting though that macroscopically, when the data compare overall offensive sorties (all types) and associated losses vs overall defensive sorties and associated losses, it is shown that offensive sorties were more costly in general (and that is AFTER excluding from the total the losses to AA fire). But as I said, the data are not specific enough for much analysis.

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 Post subject: Re: The F-35
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 8:19 pm 
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It depends on the model of the a.c. The A6M2s out of Rabaul had lots of loiter time. Something like 15 min to 1/2 hour. More than their USN counterparts had at either Midway or Coral Sea (which was on the order of one or two minutes). The Zero's problem wasn't range or aerial endurance. It was the lack of physical durability and an emphasis on the wrong things in pilot training.

Fighters' vulnerability was linked to their mission. Flying "close" escort to bombers could suck if it meant you were so tethered that you could not attack targets of opportunity or maneuver for advantage. Likewise, if defenders were suffering under orders to "get the bombers" then fixation on the bombers could cost the defenders alot to enemy escorts.

In the ETO the USAAF found that dedicating units to loose escort and others to free-ranging attack was the best way to protect bombers without losing many fighters. Per force, neither the USN nor the IJN had that kind of numerical luxury in 1942. Similarly, tactics that would work one day would fail the next. The Japanese for example attempted fighter sweeps untethered from the bombers on one days, with great success over Guadalcanal, and has their asses chewed the second time they tried it.

Person for person, plane for plane, the Japanese weaknesses were particularly vulnerable to USN strengths.

American pilots fought in pairs. Japanese cohesion, in contrast, tended to fall apart quickly. Part of that was doctrine. Americans were trained to fight in pairs, IJN pilots sort of agreed that it was desirable sometimes but not a necessity. American planes had radios that generally worked reasonably well. Japanese fighter planes didn't have radios most of the time. When they did, the radios were quite often crap.

The Zero was optimized to carry a bunch of rifle caliber MG ammo and a small amount of crappy low-velocity 25mm ammo with a decent bursting charge. Against unarmored planes those were good enough. Against armored a.c. with radial engines, it often was not enough. So they had to hang around pouring fire into, for example, an SBD or an F4F in order to do enough damage to shoot down the target. That meant multiple firing passes.

The problem with multiple passes is that, particularly facing the F4F, an American wingman might get you. Worse, American USN and USMC aviators were vastly superior to all other pilots in the world at deflection shooting. So an American wingman could come at you accurately from a lousy angle and put hits into you. That was a big problem for Japanese a.c. because American fighter a.c. carried .50cal... far more lethal than the rifle caliber MGs of Axis and British planes. So the combination of the .50 cal's relatively massive damage, and high rof, along with the Americans' superiority at deflection shooting, and the vulnerable construction of the Zeros, meant that a few hits from an odd angle could easily do for a Zero.

In Lundstrom, one of the common mistakes of veteran Zero drivers was to make a firing pass at a Wildcat, not shoot it down, overtake it and zoom climb without opening enough distance from the Wildcat driver. The Wildcat would then put in an effective deflection shot, and that's it for the Zeke. The Japanese didn't expect good deflection shooting because they did not train their pilots at it intensively, and their Russian and RAF and Chinese opfor did not emphasize it either. The figured they were safe as long as no one was in their six o clock. They figured wrong.

Likewise, they tended to attack from six because of their lack of emphasis on deflection shooting. That was how Sakai almost bought the farm. He mistook a trio of Dauntlesses for TBDs and got a snootfull of .50cal from the SBDs rear-gunners.

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 Post subject: Re: The F-35
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 8:35 pm 
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Quote:
It depends on the model of the a.c. The A6M2s out of Rabaul had lots of loiter time. Something like 15 min to 1/2 hour. More than their USN counterparts at either Midway or Coral Sea (


I am not trying to compare the US disadvantage on the offense to the Japan disadvantage in Guadalcanal. I try to compare and estimate the disadvantage (if it exists) between two fighters when one has less loiter time than the other. Now, you may say that the 1 minute loiter time of the Americans in offensive sorties in Midway gave them a much worse handicap than the one the Japanese had in Guadalcanal IF such a handicap exists. That is true, but right now I have not even found a study to quantify any particular defensive advantage in an air engagements. On the other hand, the literature is full of studies talking in specific terms and even quantifying the defender's advantage in land actions. This is the problem I try to solve. There must be a handicap, but it is not clear if it is a big handicap or not.

To put it somewhat differently. Assume that there are American clones and planes (same material same human skills) engaging each other at a place where one side operates at almost its maximum range. How much would you expect to see the loss ration being affected in this environment? Will the defender clones have a decisive advantage over the offender ones?

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 Post subject: Re: The F-35
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 10:08 pm 
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My main point stands. There was no particular advantage to the defender or the attacker. The advantage or disadvantage was linked to missions. When fighters basically are allowed to let the bombers take care of themselves, the fighters are usually able to do better. But if fighters are told they have to stick close to the bombers as escorts, or if defending fighters are told they must get the bombers and ignore the fighters, then the fighters' effectiveness both at shooting down enemy fighters and at defending themselves from enemy fighters is reduced.

That's an opinion by the way. It's based on things I have read about USAAF operations in Europe and USN/USMC operations in the Pacific. Some of those things include information about debates within U.S. 8thAF about that particular question. And I've read most everything published about the Pacific. But I've not gone so far as to try to enumerate that on a mission by mission basis, focusing on operational orders for each mission. It'd be an interesting study if someone wanted to do that.

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