Best Japanese Fighter Late WWII

Discussions on all aspects of the Japanese Empire, from the capture of Taiwan until the end of the Second World War.
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David C. Clarke
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Best Japanese Fighter Late WWII

Post by David C. Clarke » 29 Apr 2005 02:51

Okay Guys, I'm on my Imperial Japan kick and I love this question:

Best Japanese Fighter of Late WWII?

I narrow it down to four contenders--feel free to show I'm wrong:

Raiden
Shiden-Kai
Ki-84
Ki-100

Two Navy and two Army, but only one of which was built in substantial numbers, the Ki-84. Personally, I'm a Raiden Guy, because getting up and shooting down B-29s is what every Imperial Fighter Pilot should aspire to do!!

Banzai!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Akira Ushijima (formerly known as Commissar D, the EviL)

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 29 Apr 2005 15:40

Akira,

According to William Green,Famous Fighters of the Second World War,on the Shiden-Kai:
Unique among land-based fighters of the Second World war in beginning its life as a floatplane,the Shiden was more than a competent fighter:it was exceptional.Had large numbers of Shidens been available to the Japanese Navy during the air battles of 1944-45,their outcome might well have been different and the war in the Far East lengthened.
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http://www.combinedfleet.com/ijna/n1k-jpic.gif

Best regards,
Peter

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 29 Apr 2005 15:49

Green also on the Ki-84:
"Forget it,it's a Frank".This comment was made frequently by USAAF Mustang pilots....on Okinawa during the closing weeks of the Pacific War---American pilots knew that they would be wasting their time in attempting to catch this outstanding Japanese warplane!
Also here:
Hayate1 codenamed 'Frank' by the Allies is generally regarded as the best Japanese fighter of the World War II period. Though Hayate was primarily used as a fighter it served in bomber capacity as well. Due to it's advanced direct-injection engine Hayate was able to outmaneuver and outclimb it's American counterparts, the P-47N Thunderbolt and the P-51H Mustang.

Ki-84 was not without problems. Due to the war time shortages and increasingly poorer quality control meant that Japanese pilots never knew how their plane was going to behave. For instance poor treatment of the high-strength steel meant that the landing gear could simply snap upon landing.

Several advanced models were introduced. Ki-84-II and Ki-106 were attempts to build the Hyate using wood as the steel shortages were extreme during the war. Ha-45 and Ha-44 were fitted with a 2,000 and 2,500 HP engine.

A total of 3,514 Hayates were produced. Used over China and Phillipines, in 1944-1945.
http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1041681

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http://perso.wanadoo.fr/christophe.arri ... ki84-2.jpg

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 29 Apr 2005 15:56

Green on the Ki-100:
The Type 5 was probably the best fighter to reach operational staus with the Army:and although it came into existence in record time,its history really dated back several years--it was actually a re-engined verson of the Ki-61.
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Post by David C. Clarke » 29 Apr 2005 16:03

Hi Peter, great picture of the Hayate!!! The thing oozes power!! Notice how small the Ki-100 seems in comparison?

Best,
~Akira

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Post by Peter H » 29 Apr 2005 16:07

Akira,
Green doesn't mention the Raiden. :)

I'll check my other resources.

This though:

http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~pettypi/elevon/b ... r/j2m.html
The Mitsubishi J2M Raiden (Thunderbolt) land-based fighter used by the Japanese Navy was the first Japanese fighter to be designed from the outset for the interception role, with emphasis being placed on speed and climb rather than on maneuverability. Its good performance, powerful armament, and adequate armor protection made it perhaps the most effective bomber destroyer used against the B-29 by the Japanese during the Pacific War. However, the Raiden was persistently plagued by technical difficulties and production snags throughout its entire life, and only 476 of these excellent interceptors were built, too few and too late to affect the outcome of the war.

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http://www.studenten.net/customasp/axl/ ... arked_.jpg

Sayonara,
Peter

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David C. Clarke
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Post by David C. Clarke » 30 Apr 2005 00:53

Thanks Peter! I don't want to forget the Shiden-Kai:

Image
Kawanishi's "Model X-1" fighter had a fully-retractable tailwheel undercarriage, a more powerful engine(an early Nakajima Homare 11(NK9A or NK9K) rated at 1825 hp. and no floats. It retained the N1K1's mid-wing layout(that is, the wings emerged from the fuselage midway up, not from its bottom, like most aircraft of the time). This required a complex dual retraction system for the undercarriage, which was about 13 inches longer extended than when it was retracted. The fighter was somewhat slower than had been hoped and the prototypes which followed this "X-1" used the more powerful Homare 21(NK9H). This brought the maximum speed up a bit, to 362 mph at 21,000 feet, but rather less than the 350 knots(400 mph) that had been hoped for.

About 1,000 N1K1-Js were built and most models had four 20-mm cannon(one in each wing and one under each wing in a "gondola" attached to its underside) plus two 13-mm machine guns directly in front of the cockpit.

Despite piecemeal deployment, an impossible tactical situation and novice fighter pilots, the N1K1-J performed rather well against Allied fighters and it was one of the few Axis types capable of posing a serious hazard to a P-51D or a Vought Corsair. It debuted in October, 1944, during the battle for the Philipines and fought until the end of the war. The dreaded Grumman Hellcat was outclassed by the George, but piloting and fighting skills of the Japanese pilots were inferior to those of most American pilots, so the N1K1-J did little or nothing to stop the Allied advance on Japan.

The N1K2-J was a more refined development of the N1K1-J. A cleaner, neater oval engine cowl made the fuselage nose more aerodynamic and the wing was dropped to a conventional "low-wing" location. The fuselage guns were dropped and all four 20 mm cannon were placed inside the wing, 2 in each wing. With a low wing layout, the unreliable and intricate dual retraction system was no longer needed.

The worst feature of this design, though, was the Nakajima NK9K engine, which powered both the N1K1-J and the N1K2-J. It was frightfully temperamental. In addition, when I saw one in a Ki.84 in 1966, it seemed to be a beautifully aerodynamic package, but one designed without sufficient regard for either repair or maintenance.
http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny.edu/specs/ ... /n1k2j.htm

Best Regards,
Akira

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Post by Peter H » 30 Apr 2005 02:10

Akira,
Photo from Combat Aircraft of the World,John Taylor.

Postwar--RAF marked Raidens being test flown....one of the best high-attitude interceptors encountered by Allied bombers in the final year of the war.


Only one survives to this day:

http://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/j2m3/3014.html

Best regards,
Peter
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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 30 Apr 2005 02:25

Taylor gives the following production figures:

Ki-100--99 aircraft
Ki-84---3,513 arcraft
Raiden--476 aircraft
Shiden-Kai--1,440 aircraft

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David C. Clarke
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Post by David C. Clarke » 30 Apr 2005 02:34

Hi Peter, thanks!
From Francillon "Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War":

Raiden--476+ an unknown amount built by Koza Naval Arsenal
Shiden Kai and Shiden--1,435
Ki-100--396
Ki-84--3,514 (including derivatives)

Best,
~Akira

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Post by David C. Clarke » 30 Apr 2005 21:14

Well, we've got the airplanes--Now where are the opinions???

I swear, sometimes the shyness of folks on this site is annoying!!!

Hey out there!!! Vote for the Emperor's Best Aircraft if you have an occidental pair!!!!
(I can't believe we actually lost that War!!!!)

BANZAI!!! BANZAI!!! BANZAI!!!!!!

~Akira Ushijima

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Post by Michael Emrys » 01 May 2005 00:15

If William Green likes the Shiden Kai, that's good enough for me!

;)

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Post by Volklin » 01 May 2005 02:55

Japanese had a very good strato-force as i like to call it, they needed for their field of amphibious lands to the west, and vast land to the west.

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Post by David C. Clarke » 01 May 2005 03:40

Hi Volkin, yes, I agree. One of the things I've learned is that the need to defend over such huge distances dictated the design of their aircraft, particularly the sacrifice of armor for range. Which is why I like the Raiden, which was built uncompromisingly for intercepting bombers.

Banzai!!!

~Akira

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Post by Peter H » 01 May 2005 04:10

Akira,
Any idea how many B-29s it shot down?

A USAAF assessment:
In February of 1945, an American technical intelligence team discovered a single Raiden abandoned among the trees alongside the Dewey Boulevard on the outskirts of Manila. It was disassembled and transferred to Clark Field, where it was repaired by the Technical Air Intelligence Command (TAIC) and test flown. A senior test pilot attached to TAIC rated the Raiden as being the best Japanese fighter he had flown, offering a good performance, good stability, good stalling characteristics, and good takeoff and landing qualities. It had a steep climbing angle and a rapid climb rate. Handling and control were good, but the ailerons became rather heavy at speeds above 325 mph. Stalling characteristics were exceptional. Even though there was relatively little stall warning, the recovery from the stall was extremely rapid, with very little altitude being lost. There was no tendency to spin, the aircraft being exceptionally stable. The maneuvering flaps were rated as being very effective. On the negative side, the brakes and rudder brake action were poor, the ailerons were heavy which made the maneuverability fall off at high speeds, the mechanical reliability was poor, and the range was short.

The Raiden was available too late and in insufficient numbers to affect the outcome of the war. It is indeed fortunate for the B-29 crews that more of these capable interceptors were not deployed by the Japanese in the last year of the war.


http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~pettypi/elevon/b ... r/j2m.html

The Japanese ace,Sadaaki Akamatsu,shot down ten P-51s and five B-29s flying a J2M.
It was less maneuverable than most Japanese fighters, being built specifically for greater speed and higher climb rate. This made it a good B-29 interceptor. It was fairly unpopular with many Japanese pilots, because they were accustomed to more maneuverability in fighters, but a few of them did very well with it and got to like it. The most famous Raiden ace was Lt.(Jg) Sadaaki Akamatsu. An extremely unconventional man, Akamatsu was a hell-raiser, a drinker, a womanizer, and a rebel against military discipline. His great talent for shooting down enemy aircraft kept him from getting kicked out of the JNAF! He once made a lone attack on a formation of 75 P-51 Mustangs, shot down two of them, and lived to tell the tale. Akamatsu was flying a Zero on that occasion. One of the American pilots involved in the combat said that if Akamatsu had been an American he would have rated a Congressional Medal of Honour for carrying out that attack.
http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny.edu/specs/ ... s/j2m3.htm

Regards,
Peter

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