Britain receives two A6Ms in Oct 1940

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by MatthewB, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. MatthewB Banned

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    On November 26, 1941 two Japanese Mitsubishi A6M2B Zero fighters became disoriented and landed on a beach in China and were captured. One aircraft was badly damaged but V-172 serial 3372, built October 21, 1941 only had minor damage. It was taken away, repaired, painted and marked as P-5016 of the Chinese Air Force. This was the first intact Zero captured by Chinese forces. Later the aircraft was transported to the U.S.” http://www.aikensairplanes.com/a6m2-zero-sen-zeke-chinese-air-force-p-5016-china-1942-captured/

    Let’s have those two Zeros be captured by the Chinese in Sept. 1940. The Chinese kill the pilots and hand the aircraft over to the British in October, with both aircraft loaded onto HMS Hermes at Hong Kong and spirited off to England, arriving in early November 1940. Japan accuses Britain of taking their aircraft and demand their return. Enroute Hermes mechanics work to repair the aircraft to give the restoration and evaluation teams back in Britain a head start.

    Now what?
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  2. PorkNuggets Active Member

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    I don't think much changes, by the 1st of November 1940 the Spitfire has already proven itself a winner in the Battle of Britain and the Mosquito is 3 weeks away from it's maiden flight. That's where British aviation's focus is going to be, and where it's future lies. On the other hand, if the Americans get thier eyes on a Zero a full year before Pearl Harbor that might change something.
     
  3. Alanith Well-Known Member

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    Probably very little. As mentioned, the Spitfire is already in full production, and the Zero basically got its performance from cutting every corner possible. Now if they were handed over to the Americans... as mentioned, THAT might see some changes.
     
  4. MatthewB Banned

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    I’d like to think Britain will share their find with the US, especially with Britain’s first Martlets arriving shortly.

    As for timing, I agree it’s a little late to change a lot, but the FAA would likely test it’s new Fulmar fighter, entered service that May against the Zero. Given that Japan has only a few weeks earlier invaded FIC, some in Britain will hopefully be interested to know what they’re up against (not that much interest in or respect for Japanese warplanes was shown in either UK or US).

    [​IMG]

    I imagine Sydney Camm, then working on his large 8,840 lb (empty) 2,200 hp Typhoon fighter will be surprised by the lack of armour protection, 3,700 lbs (empty) weight and low 950 hp of the A6M, only slightly heavier than the takeoff weight of Camm’s Hawker Nimrod of two generations back. An unarmoured, single mg armed and empty Miles Master trainer weighs significantly more, 4,293 lbs.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  5. Paul_Sussex Well-Known Member

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    I don't imagine there would be a sudden race to produce British A6M's...but comparative trials would be useful?
     
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  6. Ramontxo Believes San Mames is Heaven Donor

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    Yes the Fulmar is a zoom, fire and dive away fighter anyway so a POD that make them have mock fights against the Zero could teach the British the right tactics against it
     
  7. MatthewB Banned

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    I agree. Perhaps this will push for expedited Seafire instead of Sea Hurricane. With foresight this is likely the wrong decision, as the latter has the robust undercarriage and near immediate availability that the former lacks.
    I'd like to think that would occur before Indomitable and her Fulmars sail for Singapore in November. Not that the carrier will arrive in time to do anything to save Singapore and Force Z is already dead, but Indomitable's CAG will be better prepared for Nagumo's raid in April 1942.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
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  8. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

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    Not really. The U.S. was still in its transition. At best you get an order for more F4F, although at the time there was limited production capacity.

    Folks tend to forget that the F4F had a POSITIVE win:loss ratio against the A6M (Lundstrom, The First Team).

    Another possibility is that the Fleet puts more emphasis on the F4U. Maybe they can figure out how to deck qualify the Corsair without the FAA leading the way (wouldn't seem like taking a curved glide path was that hard to figure out, but it just shows how the simplest solutions can be the hardest to find).
     
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  9. MatthewB Banned

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    Outside of the Buffalo, doesn't nearly every single seat, closed canopy, retractable undercarriage, monoplane fighter have positive stats against the A6M? If Wildcat beats it, forget about Hellcat and Corsair. What about AVG Warhawks or RAF/FAA Spitfire/Seafire (once the surprise of Darwin combat is behind them)? In Malaya IDK if the Hurricane fought the A6M much, since IIRC most Japanese fighters were IJA.
     
  10. pjmidd Well-Known Member

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    Well the IJA's best at the time of Pearl Harbor is the Ki-43, "Oscar", very similar looking to the Zero and has most of the same characteristics , very maneuverable , very light , very little protection. Tactics that work against a Zero are the same ones that work against an Oscar. Indeed throughout the war Allied pilots had a habit of getting confused between the two and kept reporting Zero's when they could only be fighting Oscars.
     
  11. Logan2879 Logan2879

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    My own opinion is that the british will see a comparison with this fighter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloster_F.5/34

    Seeing this maybe the Gloster will be build for Australia and Canada, maybe India or better fighters.
     
  12. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

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    The Ki-43-I was actually a much worse fighter than the A6M against contemporary Western designs insofar as it lacked the 20mm cannon that equipped the Zero. As the war progressed the Oscar was given armament upgrades, with one version finally receiving 2x 20mm cannon, the IJA, however, preferred HE as opposed to AP rounds, limiting the utility of the cannon.
     
  13. nbcman Donor

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    While it may not change British or US production, would it change consideration of fleet / aircraft deployment when the British figure out the Japanese A6Ms have a combat range which is 50% higher than the Japanese A5Ms and that Japan can project front line fighter coverage out from air bases / carriers much further than was anticipated in December 1941? Or would it get ignored due to the racist ideas of the time such as the inability for Asiatics to do precision bombing attacks.
     
  14. yulzari Well-Known Member

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    From October 1940 the most that can change is a better appreciation of Japanese air quality and appropriate tactics. It may also raise the bar for the quality of RAF and RAAF aircrew, aeroplanes and training and increase the tempo and depth of the air defence of Burma and Malaya. Possibly with newer types than IOTL and the OTL old stuff passed on to the Dutch.

    Certainly there is not enough time for it to change UK production or foreign procurement. Anything that means better aeroplanes for Burma and Malaya means that they are taken away from somewhere else. Good fighting aeroplanes are not standing around doing nothing and production is still the same AOTL.
     
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  15. WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

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    Many Ki-43s were only equipped with a single 7.7mm MG and a 12.7mm MG which fired explosive ammunition. Adding lightness was paramount for Japanese fighters. I was surprised to find out a A5M or Ki-27 weighs less than a compact CUV.
     
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  16. Hammerbolt Well-Known Member

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    Now the IJN orders a "de-cursing kit" for the Zero, cause loosing 2 brand new fighters into the hands of the enemy within weeks of getting them into battle... :cool:

    As others stated, 1v1 the Zero was not that stunning, vs the top dogs of western design; the Hurricane and it's generation might be in trouble, but not a well flown Spit or Me-109.

    The biggest influence I see happening is in strategic thinking, specifically western views on japanese industry. Here was proof positive that Japan could design and build modern fighters. Not only that, but a modern naval fighter that could compete vs land-based aircraft, something many at the time did not think possible. I'd see the FAA trying to switch to single-seat fighters faster ("Seafire now please!"), as well as trying to acelerate the delivery of modern naval US types.
     
  17. MatthewB Banned

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    No, not a chance. This is late 1940, with the Typhoon and Spitfire Mk. V in advanced development and the Meteor prototypes on order. There's no way the Air Ministry is going back to a 1935/36 design. To start a new aircraft requires thousands of hours of drawings and design-work, production tooling, etc., even before you can allocate an otherwise idle factory.

    Besides, I expect the Air Ministry's evaluation will conclude that there is very little in the A6M design that they would want to emulate. Not that Captain Brown wasn't impressed, but there's just too much compromise to get the performance Brown refers to.

    Captain Eric Brown, the Chief Naval Test Pilot of the Royal Navy, recalled being impressed by the Zero during tests of captured aircraft. "I don't think I have ever flown a fighter that could match the rate of turn of the Zero. The Zero had ruled the roost totally and was the finest fighter in the world until mid-1943."[4]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_A6M_Zero
     
  18. MatthewB Banned

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    I saw a Ki-43 last weekend. Click below to see my pic. The Spitfire and Bf-109 next to the Oscar looked huge, nevermind the P-47!

    https://www.alternatehistory.com/fo...te-indian-ocean.305957/page-373#post-19301858

    An unarmoured Miles Master trainer weighs more.
     
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  19. Jellico Well-Known Member

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    Really? European aircraft are getting the maneuverability with protection, fighting at higher altitude. The main stand out is the range. In a lot of ways it confirms the racist stereotypes. "Look at the corners they have to cut to get a decent fighter."

    IMHO the Allies learn the tactics earlier (which they are already using in Europe) and to be aware at longer ranges (if the fighters can do it the bombers probably can too).
     
  20. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

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    More accurately the Fulmar in the Pacific was a zoom, fire, and die fighter. Pretty much that way against most true single seat fighters. It is one of the few monoplane fighters built after 1930 that was markedly inferior to the F2A.
     
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