• Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Allied pilots soon found the only reliable way of dealing with the jets, as with the even faster Me 163 Komet rocket fighters, was to attack them on the ground and during takeoff or landing. Luftwaffe airfields identified as jet bases were frequently bombed by medium bombers, and Allied fighters patrolled over the fields to attack jets trying to land.

    Grumbles

    Spawn Campers…

  • Moderator 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    221B Baker Street: fantastic post.
    Best I have read in a while.
    Thank you.


  • Wittman,

    To add to my previous post, consider the role of the Thatch weave fighter tactic in the Pacific:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thach_Weave

    This short article is well worth reading, I’ll just provide one quote from it:

    Marines flying Wildcats from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal also adopted the Thach Weave. The Japanese Zero pilots flying out of Rabaul were initially confounded by the tactic.
    Saburō Sakai, the famous Japanese ace, relates their reaction to the Thach Weave when they encountered Guadalcanal Wildcats using it:[1]
    For the first time Lt. Commander Tadashi Nakajima encountered what was to become a famous double-team maneuver on the part of the enemy. Two Wildcats jumped on the commander’s plane. He had no trouble in getting on the tail of an enemy fighter, but never had a chance to fire before the Grumman’s team-mate roared at him from the side. Nakajima was raging when he got back to Rabaul; he had been forced to dive and run for safety.

    Here, a simple tactical change resulted in the Japanese zero being the superior fighter (due to its speed and manuverability) to being immediately inferior (due to its inability to sustain damage - the very thing that gave it speed) to the slower and less manuverable (but very durable) American fighters.


  • Thought part of the problem with Japan aircraft was that they had small numbers of ‘expert’ pilots whereas the US rotated their pilots back to training schools so we had a large number of ‘good’ pilots.

    So when the ‘expert’ Japanese pilots were shot down they were replaced by ‘newbies’ that could not compete with the scores of ‘good’ US pilots.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Speaking of ‘expert’ Japanese pilots

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroyoshi_Nishizawa

    Hiroyoshi_Nishizawa, arguably the best Japanese Pilot of the war, was shot down as a passenger on a transport plane!


  • Japan postion in the late 1930 and early 40’s demanded light weight planes.

    In the 30’s the best Japanese engines could generate 800 horsepower. To build a fighter able to compete with the West any item that added weight and drag was scrappped from the drawing board. The Zero was clever designers attempt to compensate for economic disadvantages.

    Being the the most basic figher plane in WWII, it was the easiest to fly, but the most dangerous to go into battle with.


  • How about the allied landing craft as underrated weapon of war? If I have to get specific, I’d have to say the LCVP or Higgins boat; but LCAs, LCIs, LCM, LSTs, etc also played integral parts in winning the war. Over 20,000 Higgins boats were built during the war and they were the work horses of the allied landing operations over the course of the war.

    No less an authority than the Supreme Allied Commander, Dwight Eisenhower, declared the Higgins boat to have been crucial to the Allied victory on the European Western Front and the previous fighting in North Africa and Italy:
    Andrew Higgins … is the man who won the war for us. … If Higgins had not designed and built those LCVPs, we never could have landed over an open beach. The whole strategy of the war would have been different.[2][3][4]
    The Higgins Boat was used for many amphibious landings, including Operation Overlord on D-Day in Nazi German occupied Normandy, and previously Operation Torch in North Africa, the Allied invasion of Sicily, Operation Shingle and Operation Avalanche in Italy, Operation Dragoon and of course the Pacific Theatre at the Battle of Guadalcanal, the Battle of Tarawa, the Battle of the Philippines, the Battle of Iwo Jima and the Battle of Okinawa.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgins_Boat

    The invasions of North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Normandy, and numerous Pacific campaign landings would not have been possible without the plethora of landing craft designed for the purpose. Not only were they crucial in landing the assault forces right on the beaches, they were capable of bringing in much needed supplies to sustain the invasion and evacuated countless casualties to hospital ships. Hitler and German high command did not believe that the allies could supply a large invasion force over an open beach, they were wrong. Despite not possessing a sizable port in Normandy, the allies were able to not only sustain their forces ashore but also buildup men, equipment, and supplies for the breakout as well. Heck, you know it was crucial to the war effort when no less than Eisenhower sings it’s praises.

  • '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @BJCard:

    Thought part of the problem with Japan aircraft was that they had small numbers of ‘expert’ pilots whereas the US rotated their pilots back to training schools so we had a large number of ‘good’ pilots.  So when the ‘expert’ Japanese pilots were shot down they were replaced by ‘newbies’ that could not compete with the scores of ‘good’ US pilots.

    Yes, and this situation was compounded by the fact that the US Navy put a lot of effort into searching for and rescuing downed pilots.  US surface ships, submarines, and particularly PBY Catalina flying boats picked up a great many downed flyers in this way.  This allowed these valuable, highly trained men to return to combat and/or to serve as flight instructors back in the States.  It was also good for the morale of pilots going into combat, since they knew that they had a fair chance of being rescued if they were shot down.  The Japanese, by contrast, placed less importance on the rescue of downed pilots (and/or had fewer resources to devote to this activity).


  • Spies

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Dare I say… “Identifiable Minority Groups”? lol…


  • The Red Air Force is underrated.

  • '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    @rjpeters70:

    … half truck.

    …half trucks and armored fighting vehicles…
    Yes, I would also say that!


  • The guy who set up Hitlers microphone. No way would Germany have started or kept fighting without him.


  • bacon


  • Tokyo Rose and Lord Haw-Haw

  • '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Here’s a weapon which could more properly be described as “low-profile” rather than underrated: the proximity-fused anti-aircraft artillery shell.  Proximity fuses were essentially miniature radar sets, built small enough to fit in a shell and tough enough to withstand the tremendous kick of being fired from a gun.  They were quite a technical achievement and they increased the chance that a shell would bring down an airplane even if it didn’t hit it directly.  The Americans kept the proximity fuse very hush-hush; if I recall correctly, it was restricted to being used at sea, where unexploded shells couldn’t be recovered by the enemy and studied for their secrets.

    Another effective weapon whose details were kept secret from the American public was the shaped-charge warhead.  I own a laminated WWII magazine advertisement page which tells Americans about a revolutionary new anti-armour weapon called the bazooka; it makes the point that GIs are finding it very effective against German tanks, but it adds that the exact details of how it works and what it looks like can’t be revealed.  As it happens, the Germans knew all about the Munroe Effect (discovered as far back as the 19th century) and had their own shaped-charge anti-tank weapon: the Panzerfaust.  An amusing example of the public on your side being kept in the dark more than the military people on the enemy side.

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