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Grumman F4F3s vs A6M2 Zeroes

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Beta Tester
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While zeros were excellent, fast and highly maneuverable in skilled hands, they lacked firepower, self sealing fuel tanks and any structural integrity that could withstand more than a few bullets. If it were up to me, I'd take the Wildcat any day, and in squadrons using the thatch weave tactic, they were pretty deadly

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I knew a WWII fighter pilot but he flew P-40 Kittyhawks for the RAAF and USACC.  He said you didn't mess about with a Zero and the only way they could fight them was zoom and boom.  This was an F4F tactic.  He felt very safe with 20 mm armour plate behind his seat and self sealing tanks.  He didn't talk about combat much but he did say 50 cal rounds into Japanese aircraft was like lighting them with a cigarette lighter.

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[CLAY]
Alpha Tester
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One very important thing missing from most A6M2. radio, pretty sure only CO planes carried them, but not the others which used hand signals instead.

So squadron of Wildcats have the advantage of communication and that tends to be priceless.

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Beta Tester
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Whats up with the "-3"? The difference between F4F-3 and F4F-4 is marginal.

F-3 had 4 .50 MG with ~350-360 Rounds; While the F-4 had 6 with 240 Rounds each - And in fact many pilots like the F-3 better, oddly enough.

 

There's also FM-1 - they are manufactured by General Motors and Eastern Aircrafts - Same configuration to F4F-4

They also come up with the FM-2, which is an improved version designed individually by GM - Main feature being having a Taller Tail and the 1350HP PW R1820-56 (150HP more than the Original 1200 HP PW R1830) - was used mostly for the smaller Escort Carrier as they are easy to take off/and and operate than even the F6F-3/5.

The Wildcat is actually not as "good" (As if it's already not struggling) as people describe it.

It's diving performance is not that good - it accelerate pretty slowly although it can withstand higher speed than the Zero, but even the Zero can catch up before it needs to pulls out.

The only real advantage is the Self-sealing Fuel Tanks and all that armor protection. And of course the infamous .50 with Incendiary lighting the poorly armored Zeroes up.

 

Zero, in theory is simply a Better aircraft - BUT it cannot take any beating - which the Americans excels at; more often or not the F4Fs can withstand 1 or 2 20mm cannon hits if it's not critical, and not to mention the basically useless 7.7 MG.

They Literally cannot hurt the Wildcat - Saburo Sakai actually wrote about this in his book - His Squad once chase a B-17E but the 20mm ammo runs out, and they literally just shoot it for minutes with the 7.7 and it just will not go down - LOL.

 

But when the .50 hits (1 hit will do!), even it's not a AP round, the Zero just catches fire instantly as there's fuel tanks everywhere and it's not self-sealing.

Saburo himself was shot down by some SBDs, and he's lucky those are 7.62mms self defense MG.

 

Pilots are also an important factor. Before 1943 IJN/IJA still had an edge in terms of pilots, but Definitely not after 1943.

The thing is, US like to send their Ace pilots Back to Training Camps to train Newbies - and let those newbies take up the Ace's position. Yes they may not be the best, but there are a lot of them and eventually some of them will grow to be another Boyington/Foss - And Repeat. The US Planes are durable as well , and even the newbies take some hits, they may still survive thus teaching them a lesson and make them get better, eventually to an ace maybe.

 

IJN, on the other hand don't do this. They just let the Ace stay out there and fight, but no matter how good they are they eventually will get unlucky once - And considering how fragile the Zeroes are, Many of them just died after Battle after Battle after Battle.

 

But the appearance of the Hellcats completely change it. With the change of tactic (B&Z), Zeroes just cannot keep up with it.

Not to mention the Legendary F4U Corsair (My Favorite Aircraft of all time BTW :P) is starting to deploy on CVs (They're already in Pacific in 1942, just that they are operated by the Marines), Zero stand Absolutely no chance by then.

Edited by Alvin1020

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Beta Tester
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Zeroes lacked firepower? You mean only when they run out of cannon ammo that is?

 

You must not have heard how Appaling the Earlier Model of the 20mm on the A6M1/2/3s.

 

They have extremely poor velocity and the shell don't really fly at a straight line, more like "throwing a ball".

 

Many Ace, in fact liked to use the 7.7 more (Hence why many of the IJA fighters are poorly armed before 1944 - IJN was no better but they have the cannons there at the start, so...)

 

This is another advantage the .50 have. They can still maintain good velocity and arc to around 1000 yards - and not to mention the Sheer amount of MGs the US fighters have (F6F/F4U/P-51 have 6 of them; The Thunderbolt had 8; The Lightening and some version of the F4U and F6F had 20mm cannons too, although earlier model tends to freeze up when the attitude gone too high)

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Beta Tester
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Is this still world of warships forum....?:amazed:

 

For a minute, I thought he was serious. I mean, there's no way he can be talking about those swarmy / bat like things that spawn of our floating derp logs here in game.

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Pilots are also an important factor. Before 1943 IJN/IJA still had an edge in terms of pilots, but Definitely not after 1943.

The thing is, US like to send their Ace pilots Back to Training Camps to train Newbies - and let those newbies take up the Ace's position. Yes they may not be the best, but there are a lot of them and eventually some of them will grow to be another Boyington/Foss - And Repeat. The US Planes are durable as well , and even the newbies take some hits, they may still survive thus teaching them a lesson and make them get better, eventually to an ace maybe.

 

We can look back and speculate what the IJN could have done better, but once you think about the actual numbers (IJN VS. US) and Japan's depth (or lack there of) of human and industrial capacity in 1942, it becomes apparent that many things (like rotating pilots back home to train new pilots) was simply impossible.  Japan was a backwards feudal sword waving country at the turn of the century. Building the most advanced naval air force in the world with the the worlds best pilots in 40 years was an enormous achievement. The trouble was that force ~ the Kido Butai, was it.  No reserve. No backup. 

1500 pilots, maybe 400 zero pilots*.  That's less than a graduating class from an American high school.  If they sent 50 back to train new pilots that's over 10% of the force lost (otherwise known as decimation).

Not that it would have been possible ~ they were mostly dead by Midway, just 6 months after Pearl Harbor.  Most of the elite Kido Butai pilots probably never even finished a tour of duty fighting against the US. 

Even if they did get home to train new pilots, the quality of new recruits would have been terrible, with a mere 50 years of industrialized history, the pool of sufficiently educated talent just wasn't there.

 

Would be like the SAS going up against the entire US Army today.  Would be interesting.... for about 5 minutes.

 

*Read this somewhere but couldn't find source. Could be wrong

 

 

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Talking purely Aircraft, you have 2 comparisons:
Both Aircraft piloted by Aces

Both Aircraft piloted by 'Average' pilot.

 

Average pilot - F4 wins

Ace - A6M2 wins

 

A6M2 would win an 'Olympics', F4 would win the war.

 

A6M2 were quick

F4 survived.

 

End of the day it's moot point. IJN/IJA were cutting edge at the start of the war, best BBs, best CAs, quality everything backed by veteran troops. By about 1943, the US had overtaken them (maybe not particular individual ships/planes/troops) but overall quality of armed forces and size...

 

Japan would always lose a war with the US, best they could hope for was to stall US Navy and take out everything else.

 

Japan would have fared differently if it had gone for the Soviet Far East rather than South East Asia - but then again even if Germany/Japan took out Russia, US would probably have won in the end. That industry - - - -
 

Edited by S4pp3R

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Beta Tester
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Play War Thunder and your questions will be answered 

 

Ohhhhhhh My Bro..... You must not know how Gaijn hate US Tanks, and their Aviation is no better.

 

In THAT game the right way is to use the Stalium made Yaks and the Leninium 37mm Machine "Gun" (As they fire incredibly fast as well).

 

WG is less bias already, put it this way.

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Ohhhhhhh My Bro..... You must not know how Gaijn hate US Tanks, and their Aviation is no better.

 

In THAT game the right way is to use the Stalium made Yaks and the Leninium 37mm Machine "Gun" (As they fire incredibly fast as well).

 

WG is less bias already, put it this way.

 

Gaijin also hate the IJN planes as much as the US planes so it's a fair match. US vehicles from tier 4 are fantastic though 

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Did a good article on this about a year ago so only Alphas will remember.

Zero vs US plane early war 1:1 kill ratio

Last two years of the war 10:1 kill ratio by the US planes.

Boom and Zoom tactics were never able to be overcome by Japanese forces.

Meeting Japanese planes was often referred to as a "turkey shoot"by US forces.

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