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Best Japanese fighter?


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#1 Poppy

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 12:51 AM

Maybe the Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate "Frank" ? If it had enough resources to keep it in fighting trim, the best? Nice looking plane.

#2 lwd

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 09:00 PM

What do you mean by "best"? Is carrier capability required? How important is range? How do you weight interception missions vs dog fighting? etc.

#3 Poppy

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 09:38 PM

Mmmm, if you suddenly found yourself in a dog fight 1944. No worries about getting home 'cause you'll wake up soon.

#4 brndirt1

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 10:09 PM

Mmmm, if you suddenly found yourself in a dog fight 1944. No worries about getting home 'cause you'll wake up soon.


The problem here is that the Japanese fighters were only good in "dogfights" because of their light construction, and that didn't change much to the dismay of the Japanese pilots. The "Frank" and "Oscar" weren't bad dogfighters, just not great airframes.

In this case (1944 and later) I might chose the Mitsubishi J2M5 "Jack", it was reasonably powerful (1,820 hp) good range, good climb to about 36,000 feet, fair armament (combination of cannon and machine guns), and a decent "look". Only their limited production run made this model a "non-factor" for the allies.

But then again, knowing the low quality of the later Japanese aircraft it might be pretty tough to find one a guy is really "comfortable" with by 1944 when the resources were long gone.

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Edited by brndirt1, 28 June 2010 - 10:18 PM.

Happy Trails,
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#5 syscom3

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 10:42 PM

I vote for the "Frank".

#6 Takao

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 11:35 PM

I was always partial to the N1K2 Shiden Kai aka "George" myself.

#7 Poppy

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 12:28 AM

Frank lc had 2-20mm and 2-30mm!... George with the 4- 20mm and had the auto combat flaps controlled by "manometer". .... Tony is cool. Looking kinda Macchi / Messerschmitt.

#8 ArcticWolf

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 12:44 AM

If playing IL2 flight sim I'll mostly use the KI 100 or the KI 61 Tony as I like to fly high alt. Although they are rice paper and burn easily with the right pilot they are all deadly :)
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Germans surrendering to the South Alberta Regiment St Lambert sur Dives Aug 1944

#9 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 01:49 AM

I'd say it is probably the Ki 84 Hayate (Frank) with the N1K2 Shiden Kai (George II) a close second. Post war in limited flight testing the Frank proved more than capable of out dogfighting the P-51D and P-47N at Wright Field Ohio.

The J2M5 had some serious issues with it. The engine cooling was always a problem. Controls proved less coordinated and heavier than expected. The cannon armament suffered from jamming.

#10 Dcazz7606

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 10:37 PM

Some years ago I read that the Franks best speed during the war was around 390 mph. After the surrender the plane was tested by US pilots and using the hi octane US gas, the US pilots were amazed at speeds of arounf 425 mph. Can't remember the origin of the article or book.

Maybe the Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate "Frank" ? If it had enough resources to keep it in fighting trim, the best? Nice looking plane.



#11 Spartanroller

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 10:57 PM

Best Fighter Planes of WWII

426mph with a full load at just over 20,000ft

near the bottom.

good article all through though :)
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Cheers, Nigel :)

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#12 Gromit801

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 04:42 PM

Love to have seen what the A7M Reppu might have done with development. As for those that did get in the air and fight, I'd go with the George.
"I love deadlines. I love the 'Whooshing' noise they make when they go by." - Doug Adams

#13 mac_bolan00

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 01:13 AM

shiden? not so bought on the idea. nothing beats the zero in a fight below 10,000 feet.

#14 syscom3

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 03:38 AM

shiden? not so bought on the idea. nothing beats the zero in a fight below 10,000 feet.


In a turning fight only. Keep up your speed above 300 knots and the Zero isn't so invincible.

#15 mac_bolan00

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 04:50 AM

well, maneuverability is a basically a defensive feature. but it'll help you shoot down someone who insists on turning with you.

#16 Takao

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 04:53 AM

I'd go with the Shiden-Kai. Yes, by all accounts the high octane aviation gasoline made an incredible difference to the Japanese aircraft.

In the book "Genda's Blade: Japan's Squadron of Aces", the authors tell of postwar testing in Japan of three Shiden-Kais shortly after the war, and with the American AvGas, they were able to race Marine Corsairs. Although no top speed or altitude is given, the Shidens gave good account of themselves against the Corsairs speedwise.

#17 mac_bolan00

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 05:05 AM

heavy, hard to master flying, shorter range.

#18 Bryan Zero

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 01:51 AM

I'll have to think about it.....

#19 ickysdad

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 04:08 AM

Best Fighter Planes of WWII

426mph with a full load at just over 20,000ft

near the bottom.

good article all through though :)


I'm thinking that was an estimation not an actual attained speed. It was discussed over on J-Aircraft.com a couple of years ago. I remember getting some info about it. I'll see if I can find it.
Here's a link to the discussion over on J-Aircraft.

http://www.j-aircraf...hp?topic=9515.0

Edited by ickysdad, 14 May 2011 - 04:16 AM.


#20 Gromit801

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 06:16 AM

And how might the The Kyūshū J7W1 Shinden have fared if properly developed. Top speed was 469 mph!
"I love deadlines. I love the 'Whooshing' noise they make when they go by." - Doug Adams

#21 Bryan Zero

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 12:18 PM

Although some of the aircrafts already mentioned have better specs than the Zero, I've alwas been impressed by thenfact that the Zero was such a formidable opponent for a lengthy time frame, without us being able to identify it's weakness during dogfights.

Only after we luckily found Koga's nearly intact Zero in the Aleutians, repaired it and flew it ourselves, did the tactics necessary to level the playing field with the Zeke reveal themselves. Was this as uncommon as it seems to me? Are there examples of another aircraft's shining success for a long length of time suddenly broken by similar circumstances, or a fighter's glowing success rate ended by something OTHER than the arrival of the next generation of aviation advancements? i.e. - the next bigger/faster/improved range fighter was inevitable, developed, and it alone could get the job done against the plane that had been kicking everyone's butts?

#22 ickysdad

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 04:14 PM

Although some of the aircrafts already mentioned have better specs than the Zero, I've alwas been impressed by thenfact that the Zero was such a formidable opponent for a lengthy time frame, without us being able to identify it's weakness during dogfights.

Only after we luckily found Koga's nearly intact Zero in the Aleutians, repaired it and flew it ourselves, did the tactics necessary to level the playing field with the Zeke reveal themselves. Was this as uncommon as it seems to me? Are there examples of another aircraft's shining success for a long length of time suddenly broken by similar circumstances, or a fighter's glowing success rate ended by something OTHER than the arrival of the next generation of aviation advancements? i.e. - the next bigger/faster/improved range fighter was inevitable, developed, and it alone could get the job done against the plane that had been kicking everyone's butts?


Actually it seems the USN managed to match the Zero with it's F4F's even before the discovery of Koga's Zero. The Thach Weave is brandied about as the cure for the Zero but it wasn't taught system wide till mid-1943. The USN/USMC and it's F4F's managed a 1-1 kill to loss ratio with the IJN/Zero during 1942 ,the only airforce to do so . Furthermore the Thach Weave was developed ,I think,pre-war it just wasn't taught system wide till almost mid-war.

#23 Bryan Zero

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 08:57 PM

Which makes me wonder if the powers that be truly believed the thatch weave was all that was needed to conquer the zero (or at least level the playing field). If so, every pilot in the Pacific theater would have changed his middle name to either thatch or weave... no? Instead, the tactic was not universally known or taught until much later.

Perhaps another indication that most had serious doubts about Japan's ability to engineer an aircraft with such high capabilities. "Sure the thatch and weave is nice, but it's just another Japanese fighter... We can just beat it!!"

#24 brndirt1

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 09:11 PM

Although some of the aircrafts already mentioned have better specs than the Zero, I've alwas been impressed by thenfact that the Zero was such a formidable opponent for a lengthy time frame, without us being able to identify it's weakness during dogfights.

Only after we luckily found Koga's nearly intact Zero in the Aleutians, repaired it and flew it ourselves, did the tactics necessary to level the playing field with the Zeke reveal themselves. Was this as uncommon as it seems to me? Are there examples of another aircraft's shining success for a long length of time suddenly broken by similar circumstances, or a fighter's glowing success rate ended by something OTHER than the arrival of the next generation of aviation advancements? i.e. - the next bigger/faster/improved range fighter was inevitable, developed, and it alone could get the job done against the plane that had been kicking everyone's butts?


Of course this opinion does sort of fly in the face of the fact the the "Hellcat" was already being readied for production before the "Zeke" was found, removed, and restored. And that Thach had started working on the idea of how to combat a more maneuverable, but light opponent before that happened as well.

"The summer of 1941, Thach's Fighting Three went ashore at NAS San Diego to reequip with Grumman F4F-3 Wildcats. This gave Thach much more opportunity to test new ideas. He liked to simulate various flying formations by laying out matchsticks on the kitchen table of his home in nearby Coronado--often a relaxing diversion before retiring for the night. The next day he would try his ideas in the the air. While he was at San Diego, information reached Thach from the Fleet Air Tactical Unit describing the new Japanese Zero carrier fighter.

The FATU Intelligence Bureau of 22 September 1941 gave the Zero a top speed of between 345 and 380mph, a cruise of between 210 and 250mph, and an armament of two 20mm cannons and two 7.7mm machineguns. Thach also may have seen other estimates, emanating from Claire Chennault in China. Chennault possessed firsthand experience in battling the Zero. He rated its top speed at 322mph, but more important, warned of the Mitsubishi's incredible manueverability and high climb rate. At at any rate, the estimates sketched a formidable opponent, if one gave any credence to them. Thach was inclined to credit the reports he saw, as he felt they appeared to have been written by a fighter pilot. It was not comforting that the potential energy (enemy) might already possess a fighter that could outperform the F4F-3s just reaching the squadron.


Goto:

Thach Weave
Happy Trails,
Clint.

#25 ickysdad

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 04:45 AM

per Lundstrom some USN pilots didn't want to go from the F4F-3 to F4F-4 simply because they felt the -3 was just about equal in speed & climb to the Zero whilst the -4 was going to be far more sluggish.




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