From: Alien spacecraft
Well, a pretty plane but not fantastic. Built for the previous war. In the end speed and firepower won out over agility in a combat plane. Against the faster more durable fighters, even a good pilot in an Oscar could only use the assets of the plane to keep alive, not to kill. No way you can dictate the course of an engagement in a slow undergunned aircraft. Only against the rawest of pilots could you prevail. I don't think many Japanese pilots thought too highly of the Oscar.
Japanese pilots thought very highly of their Falcons, esp after conversion to the improved Ki-43II but recognized it's weaknesses as well as it's strengths. The light armament 'was' recognized as a weak point and the veterans attempted to compensate for it by targeting vulnerable sections of enemy planes, for example the radiators of Hurricanes. The centerline armament and upgrade to 12.7mm helped in this. Energy tactics were used and the bounce was sought naturally, to which the Falcon's ability to quickly change it's alt and energy state was a boon. Diving as mentioned was weaker than than the enemy and could be utilized if spotted early enough.
In Burma, where the majority of Oscars flew regularily, they scored an impressive 5:1 ratio over the Hurricane, to the consternation of the RAF. When the Spitfire VIII arrived, the Japanese managed to compete with it for a brief period, neither side being able to establish air superiority, but as Allied resources expanded, Japanese resources stayed static or shrank as other Theaters took priority. Arrival of additional 2nd generation aircraft in increasing numbers added to the burden....as with the Zero, the Ki-43II, despite modest improvements in speed and protection could not compete in full. By latewar, they were reduced to cagey hit and run raids, bouncing from airfield to airfield to thwart Allied attempts to catch them on the ground since shooting them out of the air proved so difficult. The Allies worked hard to try to catch the JAAF at vulnerable times, (landing/taking off etc) and eventually gained successes after their resources peaked and they could put planes over Burma virtually 24/7 outside of the Monsoon season. The Japanese countered with reduced operations and conversion of Ki-43's, esp new Ki-43III to fighter bomber roles for tiny hit and run ops.
It was against the heavies that the Ki-43 had it's toughest time. Still, they managed to shoot down 22 x B-24's and a B-29. In return however they lost 18 planes shot down by return fire from the Liberators. An interceptor like the Ki-44 would have been better but the one time they tried to deploy a Sentai in Burma it had the worst luck....almost cursed luck and was withdrawn quickly. Ki-43 remained the staple fighter in the Theater throughout the war, with only a handful of more advanced Ki-61's and Ki-84's arriving
< Message edited by Nikademus -- 12/29/2009 3:43:34 PM >