WI:Mitsubishi A7M Reppu 1943-44

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by hasdrubal barca, Jun 27, 2015.

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  1. hasdrubal barca Well-Known Member

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    What if the Japanesse fielded the Mitsubishi A7M Reppu in 1943-44?

    How would the fighter have compared to Allied aircraft? Could it have had any impact on Philippines Sea or Leyte Gulf?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_A7M
     
  2. Saphroneth Just don't ask me to write a normal world Banned

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    The first question is how they could have. Since this is an aircraft being tested in June 1945 with first flight in early 1944, it has to be sped up by at least two years to be deployable in the timeframe you want.

    And the answer in that case is obvious. Of course it would - the Second World War was a period of such rapid development in aircraft that two years of upgrade gives you an incredible superiority.
    This is a war where some nations were using biplanes at the start (notably the Japanese and Italians) and by the end were using jets.
     
  3. hasdrubal barca Well-Known Member

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    "The specification for its production was actually issued in 1940 but only 9 prototypes and 1 production model were completed before the end of the war. This almost unbelievable delay was caused first by continual postponements of the project due to priority being given to other models and then by disputes between Horikoshi and the technical branch of the navy."
    The Rand McNally Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft

    Fixing these issues seems like it would be simple enough. 1943 might be pushing it but early 1944 seems doable.
     
  4. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    Still flown by pilots who are not that well trained:
     
  5. deathscompanion1 Eagle Baiter Banned

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    The priority projects were the fighters that were constantly getting butchered in two different aerial wars of attrition which the Japanese very much wanted to win.
     
  6. Scotty Well-Known Member

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    Its not that fast and it does'nt have a particularly impressive climb rate.

    I'm sure it turns like a bird ala most japanese planes but that was'nt the name of the game by 43-44

    I think Allied boom and zoom tactics will still chew it up and spit it out
     
  7. hasdrubal barca Well-Known Member

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    Partly i'm sure but there are a number of projects that could have been cancelled to make room for this. Mitsubishi for instance put a lot of effort into the J2M Raiden for no real gain.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2015
  8. deathscompanion1 Eagle Baiter Banned

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    Because they realised that the Americans were slowly closing into bombing range and they lacked a decent interceptor. The Raiden didn't work but it was the best the Japanese had and they needed something to plug that gap.
     
  9. hasdrubal barca Well-Known Member

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    Sure, but if the A7M is further along in development they can just use the interceptor version of this aircraft.

     
  10. Saphroneth Just don't ask me to write a normal world Banned

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    As wiki notes, the aircraft was not achievable until the engine came along for it.
    This is a perennial problem with aircraft design, especially with the Japanese.
     
  11. hasdrubal barca Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, they would probably have to go with a lesser engine at first. However even if its a slight improvement over Zero that's still something. Slightly more maneuverable aircraft equals slightly less Japanese pilots getting blown out of the sky in 1944.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2015
  12. Saphroneth Just don't ask me to write a normal world Banned

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    In which case it won't have the desired performance, and as such won't be the aircraft quoted.
    Basically you're proposing an aircraft about halfway between the Zero and this, and that is probably plausible providing the development time can be shaken loose.
    It's more likely they'd just upgrade the Zero though, as OTL there was quite a difference between the A6M0 and the A6M3.
     
  13. Crowbar Six Well-Known Member

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    And in the mean time, the US was preparing higher performance variants of the Mustang (P 51H), Thunderbolt (XP 47H/J) and of course there were various British Seafire marks and Hawker Sea Fury.

    As has been said Japanese fighters were all beautifully aerobatic, but very fragile and were notable for the absence of armour and self-sealing tanks.
     
  14. hasdrubal barca Well-Known Member

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    They would probably just opt for upgrading the Zero in this case unless the maneuverability was that much better. The Japanese aren't going to be able to match the US in speed so they need the most maneuverable aircraft possible.
     
  15. hasdrubal barca Well-Known Member

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    In regard to the engine for the A7M i think the Japanese screwed up on both ends.

    They first tried it with the Nakajima's NK9 (Ha-45), still under development, this leads to speeds similar to Zero. If they waited longer maybe they could have gotten speeds similar to the Ki-84 which uses the same engine.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakajima_Ki-84

    They then switch to trying the Mitsubishi's MK9 (Ha-43) which had its development delayed because they were focusing on the Ha-45.

    So they should have either stuck with the Ha-45 longer or never tried it.
     
  16. Andras Well-Known Member

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    The specs don't make it particularly fast, certainly not as fast as the P-51 or P-47N. Both US fighters have better service ceilings, and almost match the A7Ms sustained rate of climb (~100f/m difference). Both US fighters, being heavier and faster would carry more energy into a zoom climb and should out perform it in the short term.

    The A7M does have a loaded wing loading of 31lb/sf, so it's better then almost all of the allied fighters.

    The F6F is slower, but it does have a better rate of climb.
    the F8F might be rushed into production and service, which is faster and has a much better rate of climb.

    the F4U-1 is faster, but doesn't climb as fast.
    the F4U-4 is also faster and has a better rate of climb, and had fully equipped Naval squadrons before the end of the war.


    Basically it's yet another maneuverable IJN fighter, but not world shattering.
    All the Allied fighters can climb above it, and use the usual zoom and boom tactics.
     
  17. deathscompanion1 Eagle Baiter Banned

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    Do the planes really make that much of a difference by this point in the war? Because the Americans had more and better and if Midway and Coral sea are as OTL then the Japanese force is still broken and outnumbered and outweighed by 44 to the point that I can't really see any battle going much differently.
     
  18. hasdrubal barca Well-Known Member

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    The numbers of planes doesn't really matter. The Japanese lost 7,800 defending Okinawa:eek: Its about the quality of the pilots, the experienced navy pilots lost at Philippine Sea was a death blow. The battle was called the great turkey shoot for a reason.

    If Japan can get over this hump then perhaps they can be competitive at Leyte. Japan needs to keep its veteran pilots alive and keep its new pilots around long enough to become a competitive force. The A7M, with its very good maneuverability, at least gives them a chance to attempt this.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2015
  19. fred1451 Banned

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    So the Hellcats adopt the Thatch Weave too.
     
  20. Byzer Bob Well-Known Member

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    Result.......

    The Imperial Japanese Airforce and Navy use slightly better planes in Kamikaze attacks ( maybe marginally later say a week or two)
     
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