Mitsubishi A7M Versus Grumman F6F

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Sputnik 1, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. MatthewB Banned

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    Which is near useless when your opponent won't fight your rules. If a 10,000 lb. Hellcat is diving at me, I want armour and escape speed.
     
  2. eltf177 Well-Known Member

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    Besides the lack of trained pilots the other serious factor is limited amounts of fuel, and poor quality fuel at that. This is going to have a serious effect on reliability...
     
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  3. MattII Well-Known Member

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    Can we assume that these are going to be taking off from prepared strips, since I think that by this point Japan has a distinct lack of carriers in play?
     
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  4. MatthewB Banned

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    Really the A7M should have been specified in early 1941 and entering service for Midway in summer 1942. The IJN only had to look at Europe and see the rapid advancement in fighter aircraft from early 1939 when the A6M prototype flew to 1941 to know the Wallies were not sitting still. I wonder if the Japanese were themselves stuck in the Wallies’ mentality of the Zero’s invincibility.
     
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  5. Stardude82 Member

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    Germany was similarly in a design funk from 1941 until 1944. Neither Germany or Japan in 1941 was planning for a long war after all.

    OTOH, the IJAAF fielded more competitive designs throughout the war, so maybe it was navy arrogance.
     
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  6. MatthewB Banned

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    I suppose one could argue that Britain and Germany’s primary fighter from 1939 to 1945 was the Spitfire and Bf-109. So, perhaps I’m being unfair criticizing the IJN for keeping A6M for so long without a replacement. However, a Sptifire or Bf-109 in 1945 was vastly different than one in 1939, with even the 1941-43 models advancing significantly. Was a A6M in 1943 better than one in 1941?
     
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  7. Stardude82 Member

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    Yes, the A6M underwent many revisions. From what I've read, the general problem was developing and producing more powerful engines that scaled with the size limitations impressed on them by carrier operations.

    The F4F Wildcat had a similar development story. It was kept in services because it was able to be deployed from escort carriers, but didn't see much development past a late 1942 engine upgrade with the FM-2.
     
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  8. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

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    IIRC, and I may be way off, the Wildcat was originally going to be replaced by Hellcats even on the escort carriers. But the Hellcat grew and got heavier during design and ended up being too large for the Jeep Carriers.
     
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  9. MatthewB Banned

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    The Avenger/Tarpon operated from CVEs. I’d think the Hellcat would be fine.



    Interestingly, the FAA didn’t operate Corsairs from its CVEs, IIrC.
     
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  10. Stardude82 Member

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    The stall speed of a TBD Avenger is 66 MPH and FM-2 is 67 MPH while the F6F-3 is 86 MPH and 89 MPH on the F4U. I think it's pretty clear why you didn't operate the latter from tiny CVE flight decks
     
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  11. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    The Royal Navy operated Hellcats from escort carriers and the USN operated Corsairs off escort carriers off Korea.
     
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  12. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    One thing about newer Japanese planes is that they were increasingly harder to build and maintain and newer designs stressed their industrial capacity. They had to restart Kate production after it was halted because they had so many problems with the Jill.

    Eric Bergurud's book Fire in the Sky covers this issue in detail and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the topic.
     
  13. Stardude82 Member

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    Looks like I was looking at the Marines's version of the F4U... Post war F4U-5 has a much more reasonable 71MPH landing stall speed. Likewise, the Grumman was able to get the F6F-3 landing stall speeds down to 75 MPH by May 1944.

    Edit: But did the F6F need JATO to deploy safely? I see a lot of examples of F6Fs taking off with them.
    Double edit: It does look like many CVEs did in fact have catapults, so never mind.
     
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  14. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    The Wildcat was also smaller so I'm sure it was easier to operate off a jeep carrier and with a massively expanded pool of pilots, your benchmark is Ensign Bob Smith, USNR, not somebody who graduated from Annapolis in 1936 and has gone through a much longer gestation period. I also think this is a big part of the argument in favor of the Hellcat over the Corsair.
     
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  15. MatthewB Banned

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    The Wildcat is the ideal carrier fighter for the RN. Compact for tight hangars of the early light carriers (Hermes, Eagle, Argus) and tough for the rest. They really should have been license building them in 1940.

    Look at how poorly the Hurricanes use Argus’ hangar, compared to folding Swordfish. This hangar was made for the Martlet/Wildcat.

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  16. MatthewB Banned

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    Getting back to A7M, why no folding wings? Surely Midway showed them that they needed faster CAG turnaround and more aircraft.
     
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  17. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

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    Folding wings add weight and complexity to an airframe. Fixed wings give you slightly improved performance, faster build times and less maintenance.
     
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  18. Scafcom Well-Known Member

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    Outer parts of the wing folded, much like the Zero. Not like USN fighters, but it was something.
     
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  19. Stardude82 Member

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    Folding wing Wildcats weren't ready to fly until late 1941.
     
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  20. MatthewB Banned

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    License-built ones could have started with folding wings from the onset. I’m sure Grumman has technical drawings for the wing fold that would have been provided to the British.
     
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