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U.S. B-29 air battles against Japanese Fighter aircraft.

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  • U.S. B-29 air battles against Japanese Fighter aircraft.

    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.
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
    Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

  • #2
    My "top of the head" recollection was that advantage went to the B-29s, but there were a variety of factors involved. Some web-searching produced this, a post or two from another forum that I'll copy-paste and link;
    ...........
    11th August 2005, 07:11
    Jim Oxley

    Senior Member
    Join Date: Mar 2005
    Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia
    Posts: 520
    Japanese Effectiveness Against B-29 Raids

    Have just finished reading two fascinating books on the B-29 raids over Japan - Birds From Hell by Wilbur Morrison and the excellent Blankets Of Fire by Kenneth Werrell.

    Twenty Air Force lost a total of 414 B-29's in combat: 148 to enemy action, 151 to operational causes and 115 to causes unknown. The actual loss rate was a low 2.78% overall, much lower than that suffered by the 8th AF or 15th AF in Europe.

    What struck me throughout both books were the very poor results obtained by both the IJAAF and the IJNAF. Of the two the IJAAF was the more effective but even so, the great majority of B-29's lost to Japanese aircraft action were a result of ramming (111 known ramming attacks) rather than shoot down's. By far the greatest danger seemed to be flying the massively overloaded B-29 itself.

    Granted daylight operations/intercepts took place high in the jetstream at around 9000m to 10,000m. And that the Japanese fighters were not well suited to high altitude fighting. Also the B-29 was a technical marvel, very fast, armoured and well protected by defensive fire. And was escorted by P-47N and P-51D's from April onwards. Nevertheless one can't help comparing unfavourably the Japanese efforts against the 20th AF to the Luftwaffe's efforts against the 8th and 15th AF.
    Nor wondering if the Luftwaffe would have done any better against the B-29.
    ...................

    http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=2173
    There's some further and interesting posts there ....

    Comment


    • #3
      Here's another interesting post and a source to consider (which might be on-line by now)
      13th August 2005, 03:57
      ArtieBob

      Senior Member
      Join Date: Dec 2004
      Location: Sharps Chapel, TN USA
      Posts: 383
      Re: Japanese Effectiveness Against B-29 Raids

      Rather than wander through speculation, try locating the Japanese section of the USSBS (United States Strategic Bombing Survey). There are some well documented analysis of most of the questions one might pose on the bombing campaign against the Japanese homeland.


      Best regards

      Artie Bob

      Comment


      • #4
        One more of interest ....
        5th January 2006, 23:16
        drgondog

        Senior Member
        Join Date: Dec 2005
        Location: Texas
        Posts: 892
        Re: Japanese Effectiveness Against B-29 Raids

        A couple of factors were different.
        First the Japanese really didn't have fighters fast enough or high altitude capability to really threaten the B-29 daylight ops until the Shiden and Raiden fighters came into production.

        When the B-29's went low as Curtis LeMay decided to do in March 1945, he did so for five reasons:
        1. The Japanese had neither night fighters nor adequate radar directed anti-aircraft
        2. Much of Japanese industry was scattered/distributed within the cities and surrounded by wood dwellings and very susceptible to fire
        3. The B-29's could take bigger loads when they weren't required to climb to 25-30,000 feet.
        4. LeMay did not believe that the Fire defense capabilities were adequate to control fire raids.
        5. Until the Battle of Iwo Jima was over (March 26,1945), the USAAF did not have an adequate capability to support P-51/P-47 escorts over Japan in daylight.

        The truly amazing aspect of B-29 operations were:
        1. They were relatively ineffective at high altitude in context of precision attacks despite being the most advanced bomber in the world
        2. The guy that decided to 'go low' was the very same guy who was the key leader in the development of 8th AF combat formation structure, lead crew doctrine to improve day to day performance, and the mandate to let the lead crews take control during the bomb run(i.e not take evasive action to improve Norden performance).. in a very different 'hostile' environment defended by the Luftwaffe. LeMay truly 'thought out of the box'
        3. The B-29's virtually wiped out Japanese industry doing low level attacks at night..
        4. With the advent of fighter escort from Iwo, the B-29's during daylight ops dropped to 20-25K range and improved daylight results with HE, when HE was required.

        Interesting how the Luftwaffe and JAF (Navy and Army) had serious blind spots that cost them dearly. The GAF didn't believe and never reall developed Heavy Bombers. The JAF didn't focus on high altitude performance and stuck with the Zero too long.

        The USAAF wasn't well prepared either and didn't develop a long range escort by design until reality over Europe reared its ugly head (the P-38 was originally designed as an Interceptor, and really wasn't effective as an escort until dive brakes were factory installed on the P-38J)

        Comment


        • #5
          Another book lead ...
          8th August 2006, 20:31
          rauhbautz

          Junior Member
          Join Date: Jan 2005
          Posts: 7
          Re: Japanese Effectiveness Against B-29 Raids

          An additional book, if you can find it, is SKY GIANTS over Japan by Chester Marshall. Sub title is A Diary of a B-29 Combat Crew in WWII
          Regards,
          Bob

          Comment


          • #6
            BTW, more insight on effectiveness of the B-29 gun turret defense system but come from use in Korean Conflict.

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            • #7
              BTW, this forum may be of interest to some, and looks to be active with posts made today ...
              http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/index.php

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              • #8
                For general reference, the Wiki on the B-29;
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_B-29_Superfortress

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                • #9
                  41u544JFjwL._SX369_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg41O4G42NFPL._SX366_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
                  51oUp1KCuDL._SX369_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg.

                  Osprey Publishing has some decent short works looking at the subject. The last book in particular is excellent for the Japanese POV

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                  • #10
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UDLnjh9Y0M

                    A video about the b-29.
                    Credo quia absurdum.


                    Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd! - Richard Feynman

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by G David Bock View Post
                      Interesting how the Luftwaffe and JAF (Navy and Army) had serious blind spots that cost them dearly. The GAF didn't believe and never reall developed Heavy Bombers. The JAF didn't focus on high altitude performance and stuck with the Zero too long.

                      The USAAF wasn't well prepared either and didn't develop a long range escort by design until reality over Europe reared its ugly head (the P-38 was originally designed as an Interceptor, and really wasn't effective as an escort until dive brakes were factory installed on the P-38J)[/TD]
                      [/TR]
                      [/TABLE]
                      The IJN stuck with the Zero because its replacement the A7M Reppu was a failure mostly because the engine was a pos.



                      The two successes were the J2M Raden-- once the bugs were worked out-- and the N1K1 / K2 Shiden. Both showed up late in the war mostly due to Japan's overall development time for aircraft.

                      The IJAAF had the Ki 44 and Ki 84 Hayate as the two planes that were at least somewhat capable of intercepting a B-29. The older Ki 61 Hein was also decent at altitude as it used a licensed version of the German DB 601 engine. But, its armament was hardly up to the task of shooting down a B-29.

                      The reason the P-38 didn't see more service in the ETO was mainly on of choice by the USAAF's generals commanding that theater. They chose the P-47 then P-51 as their preferred aircraft so the P-38 got relegated to the MTO and then to the Pacific.

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