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Old 13th August 2019, 12:26
Jukka Juutinen Jukka Juutinen is offline
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Japanese pilot opinions on the J2M

In Aeroplane issue July 2019 there was an article on the J2M. The article was a fine example of the low quality of the current Aeroplane for it was far less detailed than the J2M article published in Air International /Air Enthusiast some 40 years ago! At the end of the article there was the usual claim that Japanese pilots considered it heavy and ponderous. Yet, neither does this article nor any other source (in English) claiming that provide any solid evidence, i.e. pilots' names and their actual personal accounts.
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Old 23rd August 2019, 06:07
Ryann1k2j Ryann1k2j is offline
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Re: Japanese pilot opinions on the J2M

In Saburo Sakai's "Samurai", he* writes, "It was well suited to bomber attack but, like the Shiden, demanded high skill from its pilots. The overemphasis on speed and armament made the plane logy in aerobatics. Compared to the Zero in this respect, it flew like a truck. We suffered appalling losses in training. Later, when the Hellcats and Mustangs roamed over Japan proper, those pilots in Raidens who opposed the enemy fighters discovered all too late the airplane's inability to maneuver."

Later, "Where the Raiden shone against the B-29, it was helpless before the swifter, more maneuverable Mustang", and, in giving a pocket description of Sadaaki (Teimei) Akamatsu he writes "Akamatsu shot down no less than ten of these excellent enemy planes [F6F & P-51] while flying the Raiden, a feat most other pilots considered to be impossible."


*He or Martin Caidin,who had a heavy hand in the eventual translation.
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Old 24th August 2019, 15:09
Jukka Juutinen Jukka Juutinen is offline
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Re: Japanese pilot opinions on the J2M

Hmm, Allied test report describes it as easy to fly with good turning aided by Fowler flaps. So I wonder how reliable are Sakai's comments.
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Old 25th August 2019, 23:46
JBL1177 JBL1177 is offline
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Re: Japanese pilot opinions on the J2M

It is absolutely necessary to be careful with portions of Caiden's "Samurai" because of his ignorance of Japanese technical vocabulary and his editorial additions. For example, Caiden initiated the confusion over the type of USN carrier planes Sakai attacked on 7 August 1942 and which wounded him. Caiden didn't understand that the term "kanbaku" (carrier bomber) meant dive bomber, while "kanko" (carrier attack plane) was torpedo bomber. Sakai wrote that he attacked kanbaku, actually SBD Dauntless dive bombers, which Caiden wrongly assumed were TBF Avenger torpedo planes. There was never any confusion in Japan. For example the motion picture on Sakai depicted his opponents as SBDs.

Best wishes,
John
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