Head to Head-4/17/11----'Batting Zero"

JOHN THURSTON is back and eager to discuss Western Martial Arts, especially relating to its history.


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Head to Head-4/17/11----'Batting Zero"


Well, i think in this case I can save a lot of time by stating the basic realities of the Fighter war in the Pacific and CBI theaters.

The Zero had Good Speed as noted and superb manueverabilty. But even Japan's Ace of Aces=Saburu Sakai (180+ KILLS, many against pre P-types such as the Chinese Flown Seversky/Republic P-35s) was fought to a Standstill but a young hotshot over Gaudalcanal in an F4F Wildcat in 1942. I apologize for forgetting the name of the Pilot of the F4F.

Both the Japanese Army and Navy used the Zero for the entire war until the Bi Ji Ni Ku Raids called for the crash development or new interceptors such as the "Raiden" and Shiden"-both radically different in concept to the Zero.

Therefore, since the Zero managed to make 'mince pie" out of even the vaunted Spitfire over Singapore, and the Spit was more maneuverable than most of its 1941-42-counterparts in American or German Service.

So, given the higher level of "ability" to take punches inherent in contemporary American designs- the advice was simple (as put in a USAAF training film starring Ronald Reagan) don't try to dogfight a Zero.

This advice might have been slightly less important to a P-51 driver (or any other Allied aircraft if you can back your opinion up on the type) or Hellcat pilot, but generally remained : attack in raptor fashion from above, use your superior speed as abetted by superior diving qualities of most american opponents. Trying to dive a Zero after a P-51, P-38, Hellcat etc. would be like trying to push a 'feather" after the proverbial speeding bullet.

The simple straightforward 4-6 .50 BMG's (4 in the nose plus 20mm in the center nacelle in the case of a P-38) when 2-3 hits from one .50 cal (recall 750 grain .5 in slugs at 2700 fps) a formula which worked right through Korea, would shred a Zero---more or less. We will not. beat the reader about the lack of armor and self sealing fuel tanks in the Zero.

Also, the 2 nose mounted 7.7mm of the Zeke were obsolecent in 1941 and the 20mm of the Zeke's cannon had to be weighed against the different ballistic problems of any fighter (such as the Mig-15 in Korea) that had armament with different performance.

Consider the fact that 6 50s presented an American pilot with the same ballistic performance from all his weapons and I am sure that even the shortest burst would, on target, "poof" the Zeke.

The exception to this were, of course, the 20mm .50 inch package in the P-38 and the varying 4-20mms or 6 50's in various armaments package in the F4Us.

More later. Please argue with me, and I suggest looking at the Shiden and Raiden vis a vis LeMays Change in his inherited bombing tactics against the Japanese mainlandd.

"All Enlightenment Gratefully Accepted"
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