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Duel: Nakajima Ki-84 vs. Vought F4U Corsair

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#21 Ricky



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Posted 08 January 2017 - 08:04 PM

An ace in a mediocre fighter can generally best a mediocre pilot in an ace aeroplane



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Posted 08 January 2017 - 08:44 PM


     You are correct. There is NO SUBSTATUTE for EXPERIENCE and a great aircraft does not

make a pilot great. A great aircraft does give a great pilot more to work with though. A war vested

pilot in a F2A Buffalo has the advantage over a novice in a Zero under equal terms as long as he

uses his knowledge properly.

     This train of thought brings to mind Thomas McGuire's duel against Warrant Officer Akira

Sugimoto. Tommy was flying a P-38L and Akira was piloting a Ki.43. I am not sure which model

of Ki.43 Akira was flying at that time but you can bet that that P-38 had about a 50 mph. speed

advantage at any altitude. Tommy did not use his war hardened knowledge, he became greedy.

On 7 January 1945 he did not eject his external fuel tanks when he went into combat. He figured

the kill would be easy because of the diminishing quality of Japanese pilots and if he kept his

external tank a little longer he might be able to exceed Richard Bong's 40 kill record. Tommy did

not follow his own doctrine of combat. He might have been OK 90% of the time that late in the war

except he was now up against Akira Sugimoto and his 3000+ flight hours of experience. Tom allowed

his Lightning to slow down and play the Japanese pilot's game. That was always a wrong move

with a bigger heavier aircraft.

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#23 Kutscha


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Posted 09 January 2017 - 12:21 AM

To play the devils advocate, the USAAF should have dumped the P-47 and flown F4Us/ FGs.

#24 GregP


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Posted 09 January 2017 - 04:22 AM

Probably wouldn't go over too well with the P-47 fanclub, huh?


Also not too sure Vought could have delivered that many, but maybe.



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Posted 09 January 2017 - 10:43 AM

Never happen,  the P-47 was about 20 mph. faster way up in the sky over Europe.

Edited by CORSNING, 09 January 2017 - 08:35 PM.



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Posted 09 January 2017 - 08:10 PM

The Hayate's range is pegged at 1347 miles (2168 km.) and the Corsair's at 1015 miles (1633 km.)

The Ki.84 was capable of 1,025 mls. on internal fuel. The F4U-1D was capable of 980 mls.

The Ki.84 was capable of 1,810 mls. on max. external. The F4U-1D was capable of 1,895 mls.

     Was there a point to your statement?

#27 bearoutwest


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Posted 10 January 2017 - 04:16 AM

Hello Fellahs.

This potentially interesting discussion seems to be running the logical case of concluding that pilot experience is the key factor between a Hayate v Corsair scenario.


So let’s tweak history a little so that the Battle of Midway is fought between F4Us and Ki-84s as the opposing fighters.


Setting the scene with a tweaked global history.

a. Japan in China/Nomanhan

  • Pearl Harbor doesn’t take place in 1941.
  • In mid-late 1941, Japan initiates Nomanhan Phase 2.  Advances 200 km into Soviet territory and stops – wishing to avoid a second China front.
  • Soviets come to peace talks – agree to truce in exchange for oil supplies to Japan from Vladivostok. Soviets agree so that they can send 50% of their Siberian divisions to hold Moscow.
  • American 1st AVG (P-40s) and eventually 2nd AVG (A-29 Hudsons) become operational over southern China, stabilizing Japanese expansion into China.


b. European Theatre/Middle East

  • Moscow is held by Soviets with the Siberian reinforcements; but at only 50-ish % of those reserves are available, Germans are not pushed back far.  Instead Moscow is in Soviet hands but besieged.
  • Desert war is at a stalemate at the conclusion of Gazala Battles.  Neither British Commonwealth troops or Afrika Corps receive sufficient new equipment to continue any offensive action.
  • The European/Middle East enters a prolonged 2nd Phoney War.


c. USA

  • No Pearl Harbor/Philippines losses at end of 1941, means no massive ramping up of armaments development – so no massive new carrier fleets or new aircraft like F6F Hellcats.
  • Aircraft developments progresses with modest updates of existing aircraft only
    - USN replaces F2A with F4F-3, replaces F4F with F4U, replaces Devestator TB with TBF Avengers, SBD Dauntlesses soldier on.
  • USAAF operate B-17Es, B-25Cs, some B-26As.  Pursuit aircraft are P-40E, P-47B (in small numbers) and P-38E (in smaller numbers)
  • Liberator II/ B-24 equivalent production is lend-lease for RAF
  • P-39 production is lend-lease to USSR
  • Some P-40E and all Mustang I production is for RAF lend-lease



  • Success of AVG combat tactics over China, and heavy losses of Ki-27 and Ki-43 fighters over Nomonhan II dictate change in aircraft design philosophy within IJAAF and IJNAF operational planning.
  • Ki-27/Ki-43 replaced by Ki-44 and Ki-61 fighters in IJAAF.
  • A6M-2 Zero is replaced by alternate aircraft – more likely the improved, armoured and more heavily armed A6M8 version of the Zero (in actual history only 1 prototype built in 1945) but we can assume Ki-84 co-operatively built by Mitsubishi/Nakajima and navalised.


E. Tweaked Battle of Midway

  • Occurs in May 1944, following Pearl Harbor and Philippines attacks in December 1943.
  • Assume for operational reasons – the same 4 Japanese carriers and 3 US carriers meet at Midway.


Japanese Strength:

These numbers are from the Japanese carrier airfleet strengths at the Battle of Philippines Sea (real history) and are for comparison of aircraft numbers based on larger aircraft (though possibly also affected by reduced availability of aircrews)

  • 1st Carrier Division (Big Fleet Carriers: Shokaku, Taiho and Zuikaku)
    81 A6M5, 54 B6N (Jill), 90 D4Y/22 (Judy)
  • 2nd Carrier Division (Small Fleet Carriers: Hiyo, Junyo, Ryuho)
    81 A6M5, 27 B6N, 27 D3A (Val), 9 D4Y/22

(If we put them onto 4 Fleet carriers at full strength, perhaps can assume similar total numbers?)


USN Strength (Yorktown, Enterprise, and Hornet)

  • I’m away on holidays, so don’t have ready access to my books.
  • Can we substitute F4U for F4F, TBF for Devestators, and keep SBDs?
  • Small reduction in numbers of F4Us and TBFs as they are bigger.


Given the superb flight and shooting training of the IJN and USN fleet fliers at the “real” Midway; how do people think a “tweaked” Midway with upgraded aircraft might have turned out.


Do the TBFs get slaughtered as badly as the Devestators?

Do the USN torpedoes work any better with an extra 2 years of development?

Are the F4Us able to outfight the Ki-84s?

Are the Ki-84s able to dispatch the TBFs faster, and actually climb high enough to disrupt the SBD attack (partially or completely)?


Is this giving you guys more meat in the burger for a robust discussion?


#28 Romantic Technofreak

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 07:53 AM

In a sense Kutscha just said it all. 

No Sir, he didn't!


The Kawanishi N1K was built to JNAF specifications and theNakajima Ki.84 was built to JAAF specifications. I'm sure each branch of the service thought they had

 the better aircraft.

That's what I don't believe. I can imagine that at Nakajima's the construction team that worked for the army was not allowed to talk to navy representatives and vice versa. The service branches completely ignored the other one's aircraft. A typically Axis failure of planning and communication. Quoting Francillon, the N1K was not even built to specifications. Kawanishi had leftover resources due to lack of demand for the Kyofu floatplane fighter.


I did look through my new book again and I did not see any reference to the JNAF

other than for the use of the same engines.

Thank you for looking! :)


During the first days of the German invasion of Poland in 1939, some Polish pilots in Pz.11 biplanes managed to shoot down Bf-109's simply because the German flyers were inexperienced. 

That doesn't make much sense. Polish pilots were inexperienced as well. German pilots might have had an experience advantage because the could have fought already in the Spanish Civil War. Don't know if there were many Polish volunteers there (and if, I mean they probably would have chosen the Franco side as well for their authoritarian system at home and their catholicism, btw, the Pz. 11 is a high-wing plane, not a biplane, we can be a picky bunch, as Kutscha uses to state).


And sorry Geoff for not yet agreeing to your scenario, it is way too complicated for a quick answer.


Regards, RT

#29 bearoutwest


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Posted 10 January 2017 - 09:58 AM

Hello RT,


No, not complicated....relevant stuff is from point (E) onwards.  The preamble points (A) to (D) are just background flavour to paint a scenario where carrier based Ki-84s and F4Us might have met with sufficient experienced air crews and carrier commanders to have not ended in a Mariannas Turkey Shoot style slaughter.


I suspect the long term war results are not going to end too dissimilarly to "real" history, but the "tweaked" Battles of Midway, Eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz might have ended slightly differently.






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Posted 10 January 2017 - 08:59 PM

No Sir, he didn't!


He answered it good enough for me. :D

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