Desperate War of Japan in the Pacific|
Aircraft was the most important weapon in the WWII. UK was in time to enforce RAF against Luftwaffe. Although RAF trained 1,600 air crews per year conventionally, RAF trained 20,000 air crews till 1942. IJN and USN competed air superior in the Pacific. IJN had 3,500 air crews at breaking the war. In 1938, USAAF planned to increase 300 trainees to 90,000 per year till the end of 1941. USN seemed to be half of USAAF.
IJN air bases in November 1941
IJN hurried up building air bases for land-based aircraft in the Pacific. IJN built them in Saipan and Tinian where 80 land-based bombers and 48 fighters were able to deploy. Palau, Taroa, Wotje and Ruote were able to deploy 144 land-based bombers and 48 fighters. Truk were only 24 land-based and figters. Minami Torishima were able to deploy 48 land-based bombers and 24 fighters.
IJN had seaplane bases in the Pacific. Saipan, Truk, Palau were able to deploy 24 seaboats. Wotje and Imije were able to deploy 34 seaboats and 36 each.
After all, Air forces of aircraft carries were necessary to protect these bases and the air bases were to supply with merchant ships which were to run in safe with no fear of US submarines. See my page about airstrips of the air bases.
Japanese air force in September 1943
Japan planned Zettai Kokubou-ken (Absolute defense zone) in September 1943.
IJN deployed 630 aircraft of land-based forces in the south east Pacific, 340 aircarft in the south west, 200 aircraft in the north east and 230 (17%) aircraft in the Mid Pacific. The total land-based air force were 1,400 aircraft.
While IJA had 183 squadrons (1,800 aircraft) totally. They deplyed 36 squadrons in Japan mainland, 51 squadrons (28%) in Manchuria, 24 squadrons in China, 38 (21%) squadrons in the South east Pacific, and 34 squadrons (18%) in the South west.
IJN air force in July 1945
IJN aircraft numbers on 15 Jul 1945
(1)include seaplane fighter, (2)land-based
In the end of the Pacific War, IJN was enforced only within Japan main land. How was the air force of IJN? The table "IJN aircraft numbers on 15 Jul 1945" shows working numbers of IJN aircraft. The working ratio of land based fighters was extremly low 38.8%. IJN had only 107 working land based fighters which had fighting power against USN F6F, F4U fighters at least. They were Raiden, Shiden and Shidenkai. Shidenkai was equipped with a engine Ha-45. The Ha-45 engine did not work well. IJA adopted Ha-45 for Ki-84, though IJA and IJN always had developed engine, gun and AI radar seperately. Other fighters could intercept USN bombers or USAAF medium bombers only. The working fighter's ratio to bombers was 800 : 620. IJA and IJN could not cooperate with air defense over Japan. IJN controlled their intercepters independent. IJN insisted on independence for defense of their ports. IJN thought of attacks against US fleet even in the end of the Pacific War. In order to intercept the enemy fleet, IJN made a lot of miserable manned weapon, Ouka, Kaien and Shinyo. UK had RAF which controlled the sky over Britain.
|Fighter(1)||Land-based||Night fighter||Fighting bomber||Sub total|
|Bomber||Torpedo plane||Land-based||Torpedo plane(2)||Sub total|
IJN lost a lot of pilots in Solomon Islands. IJN could not feed new trained pilots as well as USN. The new pilots of IJN were not skilled to attack torpedos and dive and release bombs in accuracy. And they often did not return because of poorly armored aircraft and no self-sealed fuel tanks. A few air commanders thought sucide attacks are more effective and reasonable. So IJN instantly was to grow up a lot of young birds. IJN had established an air elementary training troop. The age of the applicant was 15 at least. Volunteered students learned Japanese, mathematics, physics, chemistry and English in high school for a year to 2 and half years. They got up 6:00 in winter and slept at 21:00. They learned actual flying in the next training troop. While USN trained 1,100 aviators per month in 1940s.|
Naval Air Station Pensacola
IJN air elementary training troops
The ratios of killed in action were over 50%. Because IJN fought with air force of China before the Pacific War. Killed ratio of volunteered students in 1938 were 80%. It shows that 80% of them were killed till 22 years old. Volunteered students in 1944 were trained as crews for manned torpedoes and suicide boats. And they were to build defense positions for ground battle in Japan main land. 19,098 boys were killed in action totally, who volunteered IJN air elementary troops.
Tbl.2 IJN aviator flight training hours [h]
Although IJN aviators had 700 flight hours in average at breaking the Pacific War, The average flight hour of the aviators decreased 500 hours in January 1944 and 100 hours in the end of the war. Tbl.2 shows a program of training flight hours and terms of IJN aviators at War. After all, IJN was late for 2 years against USN, as Yamamoto was afraid of shortage of aviators and aircraft just before the Pacific War. He wrote it to Navy Minister. Navigation Bureau of IJN found the shortage after the Coral Sea Battle. Other IJN bureaus resisted increase of reserve cadets, because officers of air field overwhelmed conventional gun, torpedo, submarine section and would have power in IJN. And they said, "We had to fire extra officers after the Japanese-Russo War." Certainly Japanese government have securified officers' lives including public jobs till 55 years old since Meiji era. I knew that California State fired 15,000 school teachers. It is unbelievable in Japan.
4 to 6 months
|Naval Academy||Trainer 60||100||150||310|
|Elementary Trainning troops||Trainer 44||60||150||254|
Tbl.1 Flying FEA aircraft on 10 August 1945
While US Congress had approved production of 10,000 USN aircraft in May 1940. How USN trained aviators? USN gathered a huge reserve cadets. USN could instruct them fast. I think a lot of instructors and systematic training were important. A lot of experienced pilots of IJN were lost without teaching their real combat tactics. USN sent a few dozen aviators to Britain to get air combat experience in the Battle of Britain. Chinese Air Force had fought IJA and IJN already for a long time. Experience of US Flying Tigers did not seem no value to USAF and USN, because they did not know Zero when the Pacific War broke.
|39||P-51||Air cover over|
Kumamoto and Oita
|40||B-25||Vessels during a shipping sweep|
between Kyushu and Korea
Gunzo, p2-9 No67
Japanese Air Power, p125, p129
Kaigun yobi gakusei
Carriers aircraft of USN and RN were 5,012. While IJN were 1,747. The parity of aircraft was 0.35. Prime Minister, Minister of FOA and IJN decided to stop the war, but Minister of IJA law, education, internal, etc disagreed and hoped to fight in Japan main land.
FEA (Far East Air Force)
US Army FEA flew over Kyushu after occuping Okinawa in August 1945. FEA flew 150 P-47 and A-26 against Miyakonojo on 6 August. FEA flew 170 B-24, B-25 and P-47 against Kagoshima. FEA flew 60 B-25 and P-51. The total 380 aircraft flew in the north on 6 August. FEA flew 200 P-47 and P-51 against Shikoku and Kyushu. Tbl.1 shows flying FEA aircraft numer on 10 August. B-25s attacked ships in the Tushima Strait. It meant Japan lost air superior over the strait, as B-25 was easier than B-24 to shoot down for Japanese fighters. How many crews were over Kyushu on the day? 259 P-47, P-38 and P-51 were single crew. 100 B-24s were 1,000 crews. 158 B-25s were 948 crews. So the total 2,207 crews were over Kyushu.
Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces, August 1945
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