From: USA Me-FL-DC-Guam-WS-NE-IL-?
ORIGINAL: Mike Scholl
ORIGINAL: Mike Scholl
Steve. You certainly weren't annoying or offending me. You provided a good opening for a discussion of the "forest vs. the trees" type thinking that occured during the war. You are focusing on the "trees" aspect..., best trained/equipped being able to deal with greater numbers of more poorly trained and equipped folks. And having a Saburo Sakai or a Michael Wittman in a Zero or a Tiger is certainly an advantage.
I've been taking the "forest" approach...., or the "quantity has a quality all it's own" viewpoint. The Axis focused on extra high quality, the Allies focused more on "good enough..., and LOTS of it." Extra high quality is a wasting asset..., eventually your Sakai's get shot down or crack up or burn out---or your Wittman's get hammered by a fighter-bomber. And you just can't replace those people in the middle of a war...., especially as the hordes of "decent" pilots on the other side keep getting better (and getting better equipped as well).
By the time the Axis powers came to grips with this fact, they simply couldn't catch up. To get the numbers they had to cut training to the bone, which left them with inferior pilots trying to deal with an overwhelming force of better trained ones. Even with some excellent equipment, they were novices facing veterans..., and well trained veterans as well. I'm not knocking your point of view..., having superior athletes on the playing field is always good. But War isn't a sporting event. You might be putting the 11 finest players in the world into play..., but if the other side can put 100 good players out there, you are in big trouble.
You raise some good classic arguments. But isn't a forrest mostly trees. I've seen trees without forrests , but never a forrest without trees. Here is my point. I've heard on this thread 100 to 11 or that 1v1 is wwI thinking. But seriuosly, have we ever seen more than two aircraft firing at one at a time ?(And please understand that I mean fighter aircraft , not a formation of bombers). It always comes down to 1v1. Even when there are two attacking fighters , the wing man is supposed to cover the leaders (attacking fighter) rear. I suppose in modern times , 100 fighters could all launch missiles at the same prey , but I'm guessing that probably won't set too well with the people paying for said missiles. The AVG is probably my best case. The pilots had average skills when they arrived in theatre. Chennault imparted his several years of experimenting with tactics, theory and doctrine. He didn't let them fly combat for several months , drilling them in his doctrine , giving the a "post graduate " education as it were. At one point he thought he was getting Buffalos . I have to feel that had he received p-39s , or even p-400's he would have created approriate tactics , and today he would admire what he and the AVG did with those "Shark-nosed p-39's".
Are you speaking of the GAME? Or of REALITY? The game necessarily runs a one on one sequence in it's programming and certainly favors your individual "tree". In reality, a "furball" has folks all over the place snapping off shots whenever they get the opportunity, which favors the "forest" (every time your ace gets on someone's tail, three other enemy planes start heading for his). The real problem for the Japanese was that in the time it took their system to turn out a "75", the Americans had turned out a dozen "60's"...., and were putting them in better aircraft.
Actually , I'm speaking of the game and reality. "60" and "75" are not that tremendously different, and yes the aircraft factor will make a difference. What I've said is an exceptional pilot in a crap air plane will generally find a way to defeat a crap pilot in an exceptional airplane. A furball consists of many dog fights. A individual fight may last only seconds , and may consist of a "snap shot", but at that precise moment , it's 1v1. Maybe the wing man may take a shot , but that's poaching , and won't win him any favor from his squadron mates. His job is to set up his leaders shot and cover his six. You might have sixteen planes hanging on hoping for their chance , BUT that is where the 1v1 comes in again.
At the time the p-39 (early 1942). was a major player (and the original subject of this thread) , the US wasn't producing "75"s (yet).. And Japan had lots of aviators who were considerably better than "60". What you had were "fair" pilots in a "fair" plane against really good pilots in a pretty good plane. Good pilots would look at the p-39 and use it's strong points- such as very heavy firepower (a 20mm or 37mm gun, plus 50 cals). Heavy weight like the p-40 , which would suggest diving hit and run tactics , and good low level manueverability. To me , the dream situation would be low level in mountain passes against fighters , or high altitute stooping hawk attacks against bombers. A better tactic would be to use p-40's to tangle with the escorts while p-39's clawed the bombers ( such as the spitefire -hurricane arrangements in the battle of Britan.) Instead , with the exception of the AVG , American fighter pilots used the tactics they learned as air cadets in flight school. They tried to turn with the Zero , and climb with the Zero. And they died.
By the time the US pilots were largely better than the Japanese , you had , with a few exceptions, pretty good pilots with really good planes. We really never had (again with a few exceptions) really good pilots with fair (or crappy planes). So my contention is that we don't know , and never really will ever know what the results of American p-39s with really good pilots and approriate tactics against the INJ pilots of 1942 would have been. All we can do is speculate. And here we are.