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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)

Hurricanes against Japanese planes

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PainRack
PostPosted: 2010-08-16 01:07am 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2002-07-07 03:03am
Posts: 7136
Location: Singapura
Hi, would any kind soul be able to educate me the advantages/deficiencies the Hawker Hurricane faced against the Japanese Zero and Ki fighters?

The historical accounts of the Battle of Singapore, Sumatra and Ceylon would probably be quite unrealistic given the huge number disparity between them and their Japanese counterparts, yet, they supposedly performed quite well for Singapore given the hurried nature of their reinforcements.
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Sea Skimmer
PostPosted: 2010-08-16 01:43am 

Yankee Capitalist Air Pirate


Joined: 2002-07-03 11:49pm
Posts: 35421
Location: Passchendaele City, HAB
The Japanese had very few Zeros in this theater of the war. Most IJN air units quickly moved south and west to support other operations; very few ever saw action over Burma. The first air raid on Rangoon for example had just four Zeros in the escort force, everything else was IJA. The Hurricane seems to be about equal or often far superior to the Ki-27 and Ki-43 in every single way except turning agility and perhaps rate of climb in some situations. It is for example about 70mph faster then the Ki-27 which is enough to allow the Hurricane to easily disengage.

Problems for the British were one not just of inferior numbers, but of a total lack of an effective air defense system. They had few radar sets, few ground observers and no decent trained system of air defense command centers and plotting rooms to track the information they could gather. So it was very difficult to employ fighters on defensive intercepts. It does you no good to be climbing off the runway when the IJA bombers are already releasing bombs on your airfield. RAF tactics were also simply not well suited to fighting highly agile fighters, they didn't train for that. In the end the campaigns were lost on the ground, the lack of air superiority alone should not have prevented an effective defense of Malay and Burma. The lack of sea superiority doomed the islands of the Dutch East Indies.
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Stuart
PostPosted: 2010-08-16 10:52am 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2004-10-26 09:23am
Posts: 2935
Location: The military-industrial complex
PainRack wrote:
Hi, would any kind soul be able to educate me the advantages/deficiencies the Hawker Hurricane faced against the Japanese Zero and Ki fighters? The historical accounts of the Battle of Singapore, Sumatra and Ceylon would probably be quite unrealistic given the huge number disparity between them and their Japanese counterparts, yet, they supposedly performed quite well for Singapore given the hurried nature of their reinforcements.


On paper, the Hurricane actually compares very well with most of the opposition. What's especially useful (ironically enough) is the eight .30 cal machine gun armament (12 machine guns on later versions). Japanes aircraft were unarmored so peppering them with .30 caliber bullets was a very good way of bringing them down (the old principle, the more bullets that fill a specific piece of sky, the more likely it is that one of them will hit something critical like the pilot). The Hurricane was also rugged, easy to maintain and docile plus it was a very good, stable gun platform. (It's worth noting the last Hurricane was built in October 1944).

What killed it off in the early days of FEAF was that it had no ground control/early warning network so it got caught on the ground all too often and its pilots were poorly trained. It wasn't just they were trained to fight the Luftwaffe, more like they weren't trained to fight anybody. All the top-rank pilots were kept in Europe, FEAF got what was left over (ie the Pilot Officer Prunes). A lot of them still had the pre-war mind-set of fighting in rigid formations and so on (failure to adapt being one reason why they weren't top-rank). So, it was more their lack of ability than any deficiencies in their aircraft that caused the problems.
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PainRack
PostPosted: 2010-08-18 09:05am 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2002-07-07 03:03am
Posts: 7136
Location: Singapura
Any comments on the.... accuracy of this book?
http://www.amazon.com/Hurricanes-Over-S ... 1904010806

I'm inclined to dismiss it due to the constant claims of Zero fighters, despite the fact that the IJN was only involved in the strike against the PoW and Repulse, with naval bombers being assigned to the air battle over Singapore relatively late.
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Dendrobius
PostPosted: 2010-08-19 05:51am 

Mecha Fanboy


Joined: 2002-11-25 02:04am
Posts: 317
Location: Sydney, Australia
I know this probably isn't quite what you're looking for, but it's reasonably close. In October 1944 there was a comparative performance trial held at the US Naval Air Station in Patuxent River, Maryland between a Seafire LIIC and a Zeke 52 (A6M5). Taken from Price, A 1974, 'Spitfire at War', Ian Allan Limited, Surrey, England



Results of Trials
The peak speeds of the two aircraft are:
Seafire LIIc - 338mph at 5,500ft
Zeke 52 - 335mph at 18,000ft

The comparative speeds in miles per hour are:

Height / Seafire LIIc / Zeke 52
Sea Level / 316 / 292
5,000ft / 337 / 313
10,000ft / 337 / 319
15,000ft / 335 / 327
20,000ft / 328 / 333
25,000ft / 317 / 327
30,000ft / - / 317

Climb
The Zeke 52 climbs at a very steep angle and gives the impression of a very high rate of climb. The Seafire LIIc, however, has a much better initial climb and remains slightly superior up to 25,000ft. The climb of the Seafire is at a higher speed, but at a more shallow angle. The best indicated climbing speeds of the Zeke and Seafire are 120mph and 160 mph respectively.

Manoeuverability
Turning plane - the Zeke 52 can turn inside the Seafire LIIc at all heights. The Zeke 52 turns tighter to the left than to the right.

Rolling plane - the rate of roll of the two aircraft is similar at speeds below 180mph IAS, but above that the aileron stick forces of the Zeke increase tremendously, and the Seafire becomes progressively superior.

Dive
The Seafire is superior in the dive although initial acceleration is similar. The Zeke is a most unpleasant aircraft in the dive, due to heavy stick forces and excessive vibration.

Tactics - Never dogfight with the Zeke 52 - it is too maneuverable
At low altitudes where the Seafire is at its best, it should make use of its superior rate of climb and speed to obtain a height advantage before attacking. If jumped, the Seafire should evade by using superior rate of roll. The Zeke cannot follow high speed rolls and aileron turns.

Conclusions
The Seafire LIIc is 24mph faster at sea level, this difference decreasing to parity between 15,000 and 20,000ft. The Zeke 52 is 10mph faster at 25,000ft.
The Seafire can out-climb the Zeke up to 25,000ft.
The Zeke is very manoeuvrable and can turn inside the Seafire at all altitudes.
The Zeke fights best between 115 and 180mph IAS.
The rate of roll of the Seafire is better than that of the Zeke above 180mph IAS.



Now keep in mind the Seafire LIIC is the low altitude variant with a Merlin 32 giving around 1500hp, which means it's pretty much equivalent to a Spitfire MkV, which is outright superior to any Hurricane variant ever produced. Also, when you speak of the Zero, you're talking of a huge family of aircraft here, ranging from the A6M1 to the A6M8. The growth in engine power was 780hp all the way to 1560hp, not quite as obscene as some other WWII aircraft (cough Spitfire ~1030hp to 2120hp cough), but significant nevertheless.

Since you're looking at Singapore, you'd be talking about the Hurricane MkIIA vs the A6M2 or A6M3. The general picture presented here should be reasonably close to the situation. Basically the Hurricane needs to stick to boom n' zoom tactics and keep its speed up, otherwise the Zero will eat its breakfast for it. However, a well flown Hurricane would be unpursuable by a Zero given that the Zero sucks balls diving and rolling at speed, AND the Hurricane more likely than not will outclimb it as well.
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