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World War II
Discuss WWII and the era directly before and after the war from 1935-1949.
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REVIEW
American Aces Against the Kamikaze
Mecenas
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Katowice, Poland
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Posted: Monday, December 31, 2012 - 11:04 PM UTC
This is a review of the Osprey Publishing LTD book "American Aces Against the Kamikaze" by author Edward M. Young and illustrator Mark Styling, cover illustrator artist Mark Postlewaite and series editor Tony Holmes.

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If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
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Tennessee, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, January 02, 2013 - 04:30 AM UTC
Nice job, Randy. This is a very interesting title. It reminds me that after the war the Pentagon released a finding that the aerial Kamikaze was the most effective offensive weapon the Japanese fielded.

Two things struck me, one contemporary, the other post-war in the analysis of aces and kills.

One is Jimmy Thatch stating that the Kamikaze was the world's only guided missile. In reality, the US had been operating a guided missile, the TDR-1, in the Solomons before the first Kamikaze attacks. The Germans had Fritz X.

The other is the debate about huge Luftwaffe pilot scores on the Eastern Front. I think our pilots against the Kamikaze shows that had they fought day in and day out for months, against a Japan with the industrial capacity of the Soviets, that we would have had pilots with 100s of individual kills.
HARV
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Wyoming, United States
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Posted: Monday, January 07, 2013 - 04:14 PM UTC
Thank you Fred, I appreciate the kind words as always.

That really shows a person's dedication to his country and to the Emperor. It would have taken a lot of nerve to do what they did.

Thanks,
Randy
ebergerud
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California, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 03:37 PM UTC
Couple of things:

I interviewed Ted Crosby who was an "ace in a day" (and later head of Fighter Aces as I recall) and he was a little apologetic that his kills were "only Kamikazes." I told him that US sailors off Guadalcanal would have disagreed.

There were two reasons the LW had such astronomic kill levels beyond over-counting which was done by every country. First, their tactical system had the wingman serving as cover for the lead pilot - lead was supposed to do the killing. It was rarely this tidy in a big engagement but there were plenty of LW pilots that never scored. More importantly, they were living in a "target rich" environment. There were very few periods in the war when a LW unit did not have an opportunity to pick a fight. The Western allies rotated their pilots and for most of the war had a big edge in numbers - pickings were simply fewer. But some of our aces that were in the extremely intense battles over the Reich picked up 20+ kills in very short order. (And if they got shot down it was a trip to the Stalag. Erich Hartmann was downed six times - and I'd guess every German "experten" was on the ground at least once but they got back into their planes. Joe Foss got 26 kills at Guadalcanal in about six weeks. That was a target rich environment to put it mildly and if a pilot had kept up that rate of kills they would have been the war's greatest ace in four years. (And Foss was flying over friendly territory. He had a dead stick landing once: that would have been trouble over Rabaul.) In his second tour flying off Emiru - he didn't see a Japanese plane. So, yes, the LW had some uber-aces but if you look at a list of their top 100 pilots and very number were KIA. By mid-44 LW rookies were dogmeat for the infinitely better trained US and RAF pilots.