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(1939-1945) WWII
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17thfabn
Ohio
OH USA
Posts: 77
U.S. B-29s shooting it out with Japanese Fighters
Posted on: 3/28/2020 9:50:39 PM

How did U.S. B-29s fare against Japanese fighter aircraft.

The B-29 had an advance fire control system for its machine guns.

Latter in the war the B-29s flew their missions at night, loaded mostly with incendiary munitions with most of their defensive guns removed.

But earlier there would be plenty of opportunities for the B-29s to shoot it out with Japanese fighters.

I can't find much on these battles.

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Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre
PA USA
Posts: 1135
U.S. B-29s shooting it out with Japanese Fighters
Posted on: 3/28/2020 10:49:11 PM

17th,

I remember reading that only 80 to 100 were shot down. Maybe in "Army Air Forces in World War II." But didn't the Zero suck at high altitude? They has to come up with alternatives and when they did the US switched to night bombing although not to escape the fighters.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
Nick Spencer
IOW,United kingdom
 UK
Posts: 196
U.S. B-29s shooting it out with Japanese Fighters
Posted on: 3/29/2020 12:15:31 PM

Quote:
How did U.S. B-29s fare against Japanese fighter aircraft.

The B-29 had an advance fire control system for its machine guns.

Latter in the war the B-29s flew their missions at night, loaded mostly with incendiary munitions with most of their defensive guns removed.

But earlier there would be plenty of opportunities for the B-29s to shoot it out with Japanese fighters.

I can't find much on these battles.



Did you look here? https://ww2aircraft.net/forum/threads/best-japanese-b-29-killer.5939/
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Killroy63
Pinson
AL USA
Posts: 496
U.S. B-29s shooting it out with Japanese Fighters
Posted on: 3/29/2020 12:23:14 PM

I've got a few books on WW2 aircraft that deal, to one extent or another, with this topic.

By the time the B-29s appeared over Japan, that country was already deeply suffering from shortages of all sorts of raw materials that went into the construction of modern fighter aircraft. Moreover, by mid- to late-1944, they suffered from an even more acute shortage of well-trained pilots who could get the most out of the (relative) handful of new aircraft being produced.

Japan did continue to try to further develop the Zero, but that plane was (brilliantly) designed for agility and range over armament and the ability to absorb battle damage. About all the Japanese aircraft designers could do was to shoehorn ever-larger and more powerful engines into the airframe, with the resultant loss of range and agility. And John is correct: high altitude capability was never the Zero's strong suit.

But Japan did develop a few innovative and capable aircraft late in the war, such as the Kawanishi Shiden (Allied code name: George") which had a ceiling of over 40,000 feet and up to four 20mm cannon, the Mitsubishi Raiden ("Jack") with a high ceiling and 4x20mm cannon, and, probably the best of them all, the Nakajima Hayate ("Frank") with 2x20mm cannon and 2 heavy machine guns, good speed and decent altitude. But all of these airplanes were, to varying degrees, quite demanding of their pilots and pilot training was perhaps the single greatest shortcoming of the Japanese military by this time. More than a few of the limited number of these planes were destroyed during training, with the loss of many of the pilot trainees. Also, the strangulation of Japan's industrial capability via submarines, mining and air attacks was making the importation of raw materials from what was left of the Japanese Empire very problematic, to the extent that some of the Nakajima Hayate were produced with wooden rear fuselage sections because the factories lacked the alloys necessary for metal fabrication.

The decision to change bombing tactics from high-altitude precision bombing to low-level incendiary saturation bombing was done for several reasons. The B-29's engines were tempermental under the best of circumstances, and the strain of long-duration missions at high-altitude only made that worse. Bombing accuracy at altitude suffered because the planes were flying in the lowest levels of the "jet stream" without knowing it. We knew that nighttime defense over Japan was next to nonexistent, and that, given the fact that much of Japan's city centers were very lightly constructed of wood, paper and other highly-inflammable substances, far more damage could be inflicted on not only the actual production facilities but also to the homes of the workers (and it should be noted that Japan had diversified their production facilities by moving smaller ones into residential neighborhoods) by changing to low-level, nighttime incendiary bombing of population centers.

Years ago, my wife and I traveled to Memphis, Tennessee and. among the sites we took in was the B-17 "Memphis Belle", which was then displayed under an open-air dome on an island (Mud Island) in the middle of the Mississippi River. There was an older gentleman wearing a "WW2 Veteran- USAAF" hat speaking about the Belle and answering questions. A young 'un asked if he flew on the Belle. He replied that, no, he had not, but that he served in the Pacific later in the war. It turned out that he was the lead navigator with the first attack by B-29s on Japan from the Marianas. Talk about "living history"!
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RichTO90
Bremerton
WA USA
Posts: 564
U.S. B-29s shooting it out with Japanese Fighters
Posted on: 3/29/2020 12:35:28 PM

For the period 1 June 1944 to 31 August 1945, the Twentieth Air Force recorded the loss of 414 B-29, 74 to enemy aircraft, 54 to antiaircraft, 19 to a combination of the two, and 267 to other causes (mechanical failure and unknown).
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17thfabn
Ohio
OH USA
Posts: 77
U.S. B-29s shooting it out with Japanese Fighters
Posted on: 10/25/2020 10:22:38 PM

Quote:
For the period 1 June 1944 to 31 August 1945, the Twentieth Air Force recorded the loss of 414 B-29, 74 to enemy aircraft, 54 to antiaircraft, 19 to a combination of the two, and 267 to other causes (mechanical failure and unknown).


Light losses compared to Europe.
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Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
DT509er
Santa Rosa
CA USA
Posts: 916
U.S. B-29s shooting it out with Japanese Fighters
Posted on: 10/28/2020 12:40:08 AM

Those are telling numbers indeed; 74 B-29's credited to enemy a/c!

Japan just did not have the production capabilities to match fighters against the B-29's. While the Ki-100 "Tony" was by far the best bet Japan had, it required an engine upgrade/modification, was too late into the war and were too few in numbers.

While I do not have the complete numbers, I believe there were at least two Japanese pilots who were B-29 "Aces", one had 5 or 6 kills, the other 5 kills and, there was even one pilot who had 3 B-29 kills, two of which he rammed!


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"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..." “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford
Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3301
U.S. B-29s shooting it out with Japanese Fighters
Posted on: 10/28/2020 8:44:38 PM

Thanks, all, for some insightful information. I’m a relative virgin when talking about PTO, and your numbers fascinate me! I guess that’s an understatement.

Am I reading it correctly? Total B-29 losses = 74? I’m thinking 60 USAAF bombers lost in a single raid against Schweinfurt on 14 Oct 1943. That was 10% of the 600 bomber attacking force.

I know ETO and PTO were very different. l believe that Curtis LeMay brought his experience in the ETO to his role in PTO, and that evolving policies for gutting Japanese cities were in part determined by the RAF/USAAF increasing destruction of European cities to dubious ends.

So, again. Thanks for a broad-ranging discussion and a bunch of information I did not know.

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G.
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
RichTO90
Bremerton
WA USA
Posts: 564
U.S. B-29s shooting it out with Japanese Fighters
Posted on: 10/28/2020 9:22:32 PM

Quote:
Am I reading it correctly? Total B-29 losses = 74?
Brian G.


Nope, 414. Known losses attributed to enemy aircraft was 74.
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