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Burma Hump and Flying Tigers

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The Kunming City Museum (昆明市博物馆) currently has an excellent exhibit about the CNAC (China National Aviation Company,) the Burma Hump aviators, and the Flying Tigers. It was put together by the son of one of the pilots. Definitely worth a look if you are in the area and are interested in such things. This is not the big Yunnan Provincial Museum. It's the smaller Kunming City Museum, located at 71 Tuodong Lu (拓东路.)It's on the Number 1 city bus route and their phone number, in case you get lost, is 0871-3153359. It will be on until sometime in March.

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bhchao

Claire Chennault was from Texas :)

Bureaucrats in Washington largely ignored his theories on aviation tactics. Chennault emphasized agility and firepower for fighter planes, while his superiors emphasized heavy bombers. These disagreements forced his retirement before Madame Chiang finally recruited him to China.

Madame Chiang saw Chennault's emphasis on fighter firepower as beneficial to China's situation at the time. The Japanese had air superiority over China, and fighter firepower is exactly what was needed. The Zero had a big weakness. It was extremely maneuverable and light, but lacked speed and armor plating. Pump the Zero with a few bullets and it becomes toast.

In warfare, exploit the enemy's weaknesses and avoid fighting against the strengths. The Flying Tigers did that by concentrating on speed and firepower.

Today you see the same kind of manufacturing design in Japanese and American cars. The former is light with a small engine, but can be crushed like a tin can in accidents. The latter has protective plating and designed for fast speeds, yet lacks fuel efficiency.

The American design was right for WWII warfare, while the Japanese design is more suitable for car manufacturing.

Each Flying Tiger was paid $500 for every Japanese plane they shot down. That was far more money than a night's stay at the most expensive hotel in Manhattan then.

Edited by bhchao

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YuehanHao

I agree with the previous post that, particularly early in the war, the American air corps, as well as those of other Allied powers, were overly fixated on theories from Douhet that came from the WWI era and were outdated by the time of the second world war.

But in my opinion, the Zero was one of the most successful fighters in the first half of the war. The main problems of the Japanese air force later in the war were that little improvement was made to the original Zero design during the course of the war, while the U.S., with its greater economic power, eventually introduced capable new models (replacing older planes used at the beginning of the war such as the Brewster Buffalo "flying coffins") and design improvements; and that attrition (in part due to the design of the plane) resulted in the loss of the most experienced Japanese fighter pilots.

Yet, even with the points made about tactics (which the U.S. could typically dictate from Midway onward), it isn't hard for me to see an improved version of a Zero-type fighter having been a match or more of a match for the next generation of American planes like the Hellcat.

约翰好

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bhchao
But in my opinion, the Zero was one of the most successful fighters in the first half of the war. The main problems of the Japanese air force later in the war were that little improvement was made to the original Zero design during the course of the war, while the U.S., with its greater economic power, eventually introduced capable new models (replacing older planes used at the beginning of the war such as the Brewster Buffalo "flying coffins") and design improvements; and that attrition (in part due to the design of the plane) resulted in the loss of the most experienced Japanese fighter pilots.

Yet, even with the points made about tactics (which the U.S. could typically dictate from Midway onward), it isn't hard for me to see an improved version of a Zero-type fighter having been a match or more of a match for the next generation of American planes like the Hellcat.

The US also had the good fortune of capturing an intact Zero in the Aleutians when the Japanese bombed Dutch Harbor. The plane was shipped to the States where it was thoroughly examined for strengths and weaknesses. The capture of this single Zero provided valuable insight for American manufacturers on how to beat the Japanese in the air.

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ximeng8
it isn't hard for me to see an improved version of a Zero-type fighter having been a match or more of a match for the next generation of American planes like the Hellcat.

Well, the Japanese made the N1K2 Shiden-Kai, which was probably better than the late war American F6F's and F4U's, being faster, more manueverable, more heavily armed, and having armor just like the American planes (which means it didn't blow to pieces right away after being hit a bit too much like the Zero). US test pilots were quite impressed by captured examples, and actually did prefer them to their own planes. Experienced Japanese pilots could take down several American fighters whenever they met if they were flying N1K2's. Unfortunately for the Japanese, they made too few, too late, and with too little experienced pilots left.

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