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Japanese and Allied Air Forces in the Far East Please use this forum to discuss the Air War in the Far East.

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  #11  
Old 27th August 2019, 21:29
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Japanese pilot opinions on the J2M

Re visibility, there's the same answer as above. It depends upon what you are used to. The USN was very late to respond to the value of all-round vision, and the British had no such types in the far East until postwar. Even the USAAF had a majority of high-back types in the Pacific war, until the very end. When you're winning, what you aren't used to you little miss. Whereas the Japanese pilots were almost entirely used to 360 degrees of view, barring a small minority from Ki.61/early Ki.100 aircraft, so can only be expected to notice the shortcomings of the high-back Raiden in this respect..
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  #12  
Old 28th August 2019, 17:54
Orwell1984 Orwell1984 is offline
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Re: Japanese pilot opinions on the J2M

Osprey books are very hit and miss but they do often cover topics not well represented in the English language market. For this thread, it may be worthwhile to look at the following title:



Yasuho Izawa has done some excellent work on Japanese aircraft and for this title he has talked with a number of veterans. Opinions on the J2M from combat and test pilots are included as is the Allied report on the aircraft. Development of the type and its teething troubles are also examined.


The Raiden was a "hot" aircraft that required extensive training to fly well. Lt. Takeo Kurosawa who oversaw the transition of 381st Kokutai found the type to "be better than the A6Ms he had previously flown in combat. However he quickly realised that it would take time for his less experienced charges to master the J2M" (Izawa p 25).


From page 28, Ensign Akio Matsuba's [301 Kokutai Sento 601st Hikotai) experience with the J2M: " The engine in his brand new fighter suffered a sudden loss of oil pressure and then seized during a test flight from Suzuka, forcing Matsuba to conduct a high speed forced landing with the fighter's undercarriage retracted. Not a fan of the Raiden before this incident, Matsuba (who claimed the J2M was "difficult to fly') duly reverted to flying an A6M5 whenever possible"
Another view on page 31 from Ens Chitoshi Isozaki (302 then 343 Kokutai): "He thought that the J2M was inferior to the A6M in horizontal manoeuvrability, however, although its greater speed and rate of climb made it a better bomber interceptor"


From the book it appears teething troubles with the J2M soured many pilots on it and for others, the fact it faired better at dive and zoom techniques as opposed to the more dogfight, twist and turn style of the A6M meant many veteran pilots had to adjust their technique. As Graham has pointed out, often how an aircraft is viewed can be traced to what pilots are comfortable (the old open versus closed cockpit debate of the early war years for example) with and what flying style and fighting techniques they prefer (aerobatic dogfighting versus boom and zoom attacks).
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  #13  
Old 28th August 2019, 21:35
Jukka Juutinen Jukka Juutinen is offline
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Re: Japanese pilot opinions on the J2M

The above is the reason it would be essential to have original test reports written by test pilots as they should be able to offer a more balanced review.
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  #14  
Old 29th August 2019, 15:41
Graham Boak Graham Boak is offline
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Re: Japanese pilot opinions on the J2M

Not if the test pilot had been trained in the old ways (as of course they had). He would display precisely the same bias in his opinions, whatever he might express publicly that might upset the management! Something that would not concern service pilots encountering the type. It is to be expected that he would also report on the advantages of the type, but the truth is that the Raiden did not have so good a view as earlier IJN fighters, and wasn't as agile either. The emphasis placed on the importance of these matters compared with its advantages (when the engine was working properly) is something for the type's supporters to stress, but with all the advantages of distance we should be able to recognise both sides of the matter.
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Old 2nd September 2019, 13:08
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
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Re: Japanese pilot opinions on the J2M

Perhaps not entirely relevant here, but to back track a bit. Did Sakai actually fly the J2M? Without re-reading Caidin's book I have no recollection he did.

I also recall he was very critical with regard to the Shiden as well. I think I read an interview somewhere on the 'net where he more or less claimed it was useless.

So perhaps Sakai's views on both types, being an A6M man to the end, is not a very good start to try and evaluate the J2M at all?

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Stig
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  #16  
Old 6th September 2019, 14:26
taly01 taly01 is offline
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Re: Japanese pilot opinions on the J2M

Japan wiki gives a good summary of the Raiden. https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%9B...A9%BA%E6%A9%9F) Google Chrome browser has auto translate.

In summary the Raiden had many development problems that slowed its acceptance (planes and pilots lost) and by the time it was "ready" the competitor Kawanishi N1K1-J Shiden had superiority in dogfighting and range.

Unfortunately the N1K1-J was a "P.O.S." as Sakai and Honda says!

see at 3:28min
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H_9iR7zvMk&t=434s
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