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Pacific Theatre of WW2 Megathread

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  • #61
    Originally posted by TheKiwi View Post
    That's because USN AA techniques had made conventional formation attacks far too costly to be continued with. 5" prox. fuzing made formations very vulnerable.
    It was also the efficiency of the radar directed CAGs. Whatever the reason the the kamikaze attacks were actually more effective for less cost than conventional strikes, particularly given the number of experienced aviators Japan had left at the time. So while they were an act of desperation, from a high command point of view they were a lot less strategically questionable than they appear at first glance, given they were producing more hits for less aircraft and aircrews lost.

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    • #62
      The inability of poorly trained pilots to hold the formations deemed necessary to acheive hits played a pretty big part in the switch too. And I'd note that most of the effective strikes against the USN even in the era of Kaimakaze were still carried out by the remaining core of professional pilots (c.f. for example the loss of the USS Princeton).

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      • #63
        Originally posted by TheKiwi View Post
        The inability of poorly trained pilots to hold the formations deemed necessary to acheive hits played a pretty big part in the switch too. And I'd note that most of the effective strikes against the USN even in the era of Kaimakaze were still carried out by the remaining core of professional pilots (c.f. for example the loss of the USS Princeton).
        x2 they came to the conclussion that more could be achieved with less sacrifice. At the end of the war decission was ti throw 30 kamikazes and manage to get 2 hits on enemy ships. Or throwing than 50 planes on an attack sortie and having everyone shotdown, with no hits on the enemy ships. Economy of sacrifice?? Situation was hopeless for the japanese, but they had it coming.

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        • #64
          Originally posted by TheKiwi View Post
          The inability of poorly trained pilots to hold the formations deemed necessary to acheive hits played a pretty big part in the switch too. And I'd note that most of the effective strikes against the USN even in the era of Kaimakaze were still carried out by the remaining core of professional pilots (c.f. for example the loss of the USS Princeton).
          Knocked out by one bomb, given the quality of US damage control at that stage of the war it was a pretty miraculous strike.

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          • #65
            One could also mention the USS Franklin which was also the result of a 'professionals' attack. In fact the Kaimakaze's were a lot better at hitting random things than useful targets.

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            • #66
              Oh yeah I don't for a second think anyone would claim that Kamikazes were more effective than well trained and experienced aircrews who managed to successfully press home a strike without being shot to bits by the CAP and anti aircraft fire, or that they had any potential to change the outcome of the war, but in the context of Japan bleeding trained pilots at an unsustainable rate and the strikes it could mount being increasingly costly, they were a way of hitting the US fleet and making it hurt a bit, albeit from an entirely spiteful "from hells heart I stab at thee" strategic position.

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              • #67
                Kamikaze's rarely hit anything of even the vaguest of importance to the war. Had Japan run a proper pilot training program akin to that of the USN then I doubt that their aerial tactics would have changed that much.

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by TheKiwi View Post
                  Kamikaze's rarely hit anything of even the vaguest of importance to the war. Had Japan run a proper pilot training program akin to that of the USN then I doubt that their aerial tactics would have changed that much.
                  I'm not sure about the former, they sank a few (escort?) carriers, and damaged several more, although many of them did waste their lives smashing into destroyers or minesweepers. Problem was at that stage of the war the USN could absorb pretty much any casualties the Japanese inflicted with minimal effect on their ability to prosecute the battle.

                  Could Japan even afford the fuel to run such a program?

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                  • #69
                    Spending the fuel on a proper training regime was a better use than spending it on one-way trips. The return on 'investment' for the Kamikaze's was very poor. A typical 800+ aircraft attack of Okinawa had a return of one or two Destroyers badly enough damaged that they'd be sunk (or scuttled), four or five badly enough damaged that they'd be withdrawn for repairs and one or two larger ships damaged (usually not enough to withdraw before their scheduled return date).

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                    • #70
                      In an ideal world yes, but by the time Japan resorted to Kamikaze strikes they had neither the time nor the fuel to maintain a substantial cadre of trained pilots. By that stage of the war Japan was just delaying the inevitable and making the price the US and allies paid as high as it could, in that position I can accept kamikaze strikes were a marginally more destructive option strategically than poorly executed attacks by insufficently trained crews.

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                      • #71
                        Having 250 pilots as well trained as (say) the RAF's fighter pilots entering service during the Battle of Britain - with 30 to 40 hours of training - strikes me as a better bargain than 800 pilots who know how to take off, fly in a straight line and that's about it.

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                        • #72
                          I don't have time right at the moment to cite some sources, but I think that the effect of the Kamikaze cannot be underestimated. The dread and foreboding that Allied forces had when attacking Japanese strongholds, near home island and home island targets is very palpable when you read historical accounts and the later compendiums.

                          Anti-kamikaze picket ships, specially-augmented ships such as old battleships being turned into flak-heavy escorts, later cruisers being redesigned with single stack/mast configurations to improve AA arcs. Check out the later heavy cruisers, the two battle cruisers and the Midway class carriers: the number of 40-mm quads and 1 and 2 gun 5-inch turrets is amazing.

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