From: The Big Nowhere
Well Sakai, Saburo was one of the best of the Japanese Aces.
In WiTP:AE....his inferior aircraft would have doomed him. In real life his skill, experience and determination saved him.
Just another way the game can't emulate real life.
It was not skill. Not alone, and not as a primary attribute.
Saburo Sakai was one of those guys in WWII who combined high skill with an unbelievable, immense, ammount of luck. Such guys
were few on the side of Axis powers, because they usually needed to luck out several times in very critical situations
to be able to survive the war.
Erich "Bubi" Hartmann is another good example. The top scoring ace of all times, 350 kills on the list. Many guys as good as himself fell
to their death after few combat missions. Hartmann had his first encounter with death in March ´42, before he even shot down his first
"I was showing off, buzzing the airfield and was sentenced to house arrest. Ironically my roommate flew the same aircraft I had
been in and it developed a technical problem, and he was killed in the crash. That was ironic."
To get this clear: had it been Hartmann in this plane, no person alive in the 21st century would have ever known this guy.
He would be a number of all German pilots killed from 1939-1945.
Hartmann was shot down several times, often in situations where veterans died the same way geen pilots did, he always survived.
The same is true for Sakai. He stated himself several times - because of his mentality and Japanese codex of honour or because
it was really true I don´t know - that he personally knew pilots much more skilled than himself, who all died in the war. In inferior planes against a
numerous enemy. He caught the bullet with his name on it just inches away from death, he survived an unreal flight home, he fought successfully
against 15 Hellcats piloted by USN flyers who probably had not seen an experienced Japanese opponent in their whole life, until that very moment.
He was very very very lucky.
WitP AE displayes this well. You simply cannot choose a pilot and say: this will be a lucky pilot who will survive the war and become an ace.
Thats not how AE or reality works.
But if you go through your squads and tracom in ´45, there is a high chance you will find one or the other pilot who raked a high number
of kills and is not KIA/MIA. These pilots are the Saburo Sakais of hindsight.
I will certainly agree that he had some luck. That is not a bad thing, but he also had something inside of him that simply wouldn't let him give up...that is what got him back to Rabual after being injured over the Solomons. Call it determination, call it tenacity...whatever you call it, Sakai (and I would bet Hartmann as well) had it in abundance.
And luck does run out. Without the skill and the determination, luck is just another factor that may or may not influence the outcome. It takes a combination.
I would present to you that there were lots of pilots that were lucky that still didn't make it home. You need the whole package to go from day 1 to the final day.
Distant Worlds Fan
'When in doubt...attack!'