What's new

The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Zero

Dai Toruko

FULL MEMBER
Mar 14, 2017
1,960
-2
2,270
Country
Turkey
Location
Turkey
The Zero was definitely an awesome design but it also had glaring weaknesses. It was fragile and flammable, the machine guns were ineffectual while the cannons, especially the early models, had limited ammo and low rate of fire and velocity so only the most skilled pilots could hit opposing fighters. The most glaring weakness though was the fact that the ailerons stiffened up at high speed to the point where they were nearly ineffectual at speeds over @300mph. American fighters were actually more maneuverable, especially in rate of roll, at high speeds and once they figured that out even the P-40 and F4F had very good kill ratios against the Zero.

The main reason for it's early success against American fighters was the skill of Japanese pilots compared to Americans at the beginning of the war. Plus, as the aggressor, the Japanese took advantage of greater preparation and the shock of American forces. Once USA got over the initial shock and took advantage of their greater manpower, production capacity, and logistical superiority the Japanese never had a chance. Keep in mind; the Japanese never produced a more modern carrier fighter and the later land-based fighters were only produced in limited number, suffered from production problems that meant few could achieve their design goals, and there were virtually no experienced pilots left to take advantage of the better performing planes.
 

Tai Hai Chen

BANNED
Oct 15, 2017
18,601
-16
8,676
Country
Canada
Location
Canada
A6M was a match for F4F. But when F6F appeared in 1943 it was out matched. A6M had 1000 hp engine. F6F had 2000 hp engine. F6F had both speed and armor. A6M lacked both compared to F6F. If A7M was deployed it would have been a fair fight between A7M and F6F. A7M has 2000 hp engine.
 

dexter

SENIOR MEMBER
Apr 17, 2009
5,344
24
22,356
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
The Zero was definitely an awesome design but it also had glaring weaknesses. It was fragile and flammable, the machine guns were ineffectual while the cannons, especially the early models, had limited ammo and low rate of fire and velocity so only the most skilled pilots could hit opposing fighters. The most glaring weakness though was the fact that the ailerons stiffened up at high speed to the point where they were nearly ineffectual at speeds over @300mph. American fighters were actually more maneuverable, especially in rate of roll, at high speeds and once they figured that out even the P-40 and F4F had very good kill ratios against the Zero.

The main reason for it's early success against American fighters was the skill of Japanese pilots compared to Americans at the beginning of the war. Plus, as the aggressor, the Japanese took advantage of greater preparation and the shock of American forces. Once USA got over the initial shock and took advantage of their greater manpower, production capacity, and logistical superiority the Japanese never had a chance. Keep in mind; the Japanese never produced a more modern carrier fighter and the later land-based fighters were only produced in limited number, suffered from production problems that meant few could achieve their design goals, and there were virtually no experienced pilots left to take advantage of the better performing planes.
Battle of Midway is one of the main reasons why Japan not only lost its power to challenge US Navy but also the skilled pilots of Zero.
 

Michael Corleone

ELITE MEMBER
Oct 27, 2014
9,381
-5
9,274
Country
Bangladesh
Location
Ukraine
It had good many innovation at the time but being a first of its kind, back then japan lacked experience in building anything that flew... they resorted to extreme to get it light enough... trade off was a bullet that hit the tail could have easily sent splinters in the cockpit killing the pilot... this happened a couple of times during the war where the plane was fly able but pilot killed because it was too thin
 

Gomig-21

SENIOR MEMBER
Oct 16, 2016
4,813
10
9,194
Country
Egypt
Location
United States
Battle of Midway is one of the main reasons why Japan not only lost its power to challenge US Navy but also the skilled pilots of Zero.
That was pretty much it. Japan went into Midway on June 4th 1942 with 4 of its 6 mighty carriers that 6 months earlier, had pummeled Pearl Harbor. They operated 248 aircraft from their best A6m Zero pilots that were essentially tasked as protecting fighters and Val & Kate torpedo bombers. Even if luck played a small percentage in the US' victory in the battle, it was credit to the US pilots who flew the great Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless dive bombers that destroyed all 4 carriers in a remarkably short period.

So Japan lost all 248 aircraft and all the best pilots flying those Zeros and Vals and all its classic Nakajima B5N Kate torpedo bombers and not just them, people don't realize how essential all the aircraft carrier personnel were whom also perished in the carriers being blown up by the Dauntless'. In all, Japan lost all 4 carriers and about 3060 killed in action to the US' 310 and only 1 carrier.

After that, the US' technological prowess and might was way too powerful and not only recovered the much lesser losses in no time, but they introduced the Essex Class carriers by the end of 1942 which gave them much more naval power and stretch while Japan couldn't come close to effectively replacing any of its losses. So it was all downhill from there. Basically Midway, Solomon islands and Guadalcanal were it.

Funny this topic happens to be on here as I was talking about this exact thing with a very good friend of mine this past weekend and he made a great point that often gets washed in all the heroic action over the Pacific and that is the amazing US intelligence and cryptographers who were able to decipher the Japanese code for Midway but more importantly is how undermined the Japanese intelligence was. This gets lost in all the other stuff too because when the US intel picked up the Japanese code "AF" but weren't 100% sure that AF stood for Midway, they set up the Japanese by sending a fake message that the water is not working at Midway and what do the Japanese do? They respond in kind by sending a message telling the naval fleet that there is a problem with the water at AF! I was telling my friend how incredibly neglectful and unintelligent that was of the Japanese because that right there, gave all the surprise effect to the US. Shamefully incompetent and credit the US naval intelligence.
 

zestokryl

FULL MEMBER
Apr 1, 2015
395
0
424
Country
Serbia
Location
Serbia
Even, if Japan have had took over Midway, that wouldnt mean anything, since Japan was doomed to face soaring american forces on the battlefield, weapons and war materials output and determination, sooner or later

They were no match for America in terms of whole chain of war industry, Japan was lagging behind in a aircraft engine department, rendering inability to build better fighters and strategic bombers until it was too late. They failed to recognize significance of deploying radars across the battlefleet. Japan was dependant in raw material import, while America had everything within the country, Tide of american supremacy would had crushed them, it was a matter of time
 

Tai Hai Chen

BANNED
Oct 15, 2017
18,601
-16
8,676
Country
Canada
Location
Canada
Zero had weak engine compared to F6F Hellcat, only 1000 hp compared to 2000 hp. Which means it was slow, lacked armor, had light armament. Zero also had inferior radio equipment compared to F6F. F6F ate Zero alive for breakfast, lunch, dinner.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 1, Members: 0, Guests: 1)


Top Bottom