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Old 8th April 2005, 00:05
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Jim Oxley Jim Oxley is offline
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Japanese Loss Records - Fact Or Myth??

Although without documentated foundation as far as I can tell, there has always been the belief that the Japanese doctored their aircraft loss records.

The premise for this widely held belief seems to have it's origins in that the claims of aircraft destroyed made by both the USAAF and the USN differ widely with what has been found in those few Japanese records that survived the war. Ergo the Japanese could not stand to lose face to admit such losses, therefore their records must be wrong, and the American claims correct.

Now studies by many eminemt aviation historians have found over the years that claims, while made in good faith on the whole, are often very wide of the mark. Realitically by a factor of 2:1, and often by 3:1. There are many reasons for this eg Gun camera's were not common in the early years, and even when so equipped are not always accurate; in the frightful nightmare of combat the luxury of actually watching your victim crash to the ground/sea ot bail out was extremely rare; at the speeds combat occurred planes seperated very quickly from view; a plane diving away from an attack could just as easily be avoiding it as opposed to having been fatally damaged, to name just a few.

So I'm wondering just what the view here might be. And what would be the reasoning behind that view. Did the Japanese deliberatly downplay their losses? Which if you are a Commander and need reinforcements is a very silly thing to do. Or are the Japanese records correct and the Allied claims over-optimistic?
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