Killertomato wrote:There's truth to all the stories about Japanese pilot training basically Ranger School + added sadism, then?
I haven't read up on Japanese pilot training in quite a while, so my memory is fuzzy, but yeah. It was a rather arduous training program before they dumbed it down to comical levels in the "oh sweet Jesus, we need pilots" panic as attrition began to mount up. However in terms of practical flight experience and the like, the Japanese were not above and beyond what was pretty standard. Where they made the program harder was just stupid stuff that wasn't really practical. One random example of a practice they discontinued (I can't remember exactly when for the life of me) was forcing potential IJNAS officers to go through regular IJN officer training. That was idiotic. They spent months learning how to be a naval officer before they could be considered to become an air service officer, cause understanding things like surface torpedo warfare and naval gunnery was somehow relevant to being a carrier pilot.
Due to the lack of a sufficient reserve, the Japanese went far in the other direction in a desperate attempt to keep air crew numbers up. By 1944, you had IJNAS carrier pilots entering combat with less than 200 flight hours, which was comically low. That was also the definition of flight
hours, not combat training, which many late-war Japanese pilots lacked entirely. You really see that shine through in the laughable performance of Japanese air crews at the Battle of the Philippine Sea. There were lots of reports of Japanese fighter cover milling around in the back of engagements, seemingly afraid of American fighters, allowing the torpedo/dive bombers they were supposed to be escorting to get massacred. The torpedo/dive bomber crews would break discipline, drop their ordnance into the sea, and flee. Ones that did try to attack an actual target typically hit low-value ships (DDs and such) in the outermost defensive ring of USN formations, lacking the discipline to push through to the juicy CVs in the centre. Etc. Etc. You can see how, even before American skill (which, by 1944, was considerable) was factored in, Japanese aerial attacks would crumble under the weight of their own problems.
Darkmil wrote:As soon as I saw the title I knew it was yours ! It's a great thing to have your thesis exposed like this as well !
Thanks! Hahaha, it was rather intimidating when he messaged me with an offer to do that kind of talk. It is a blessing and a curse, as anyone who has done an MA thesis can attest (Madmat
). MA theses are typically far from perfect, so it is pretty daunting to have mine out there far more than most. I do look forward to doing the video chat on the air power side as, in my opinion, there are more interesting things going on. It is a case study in how preconceived notions, confirmation bias and groupthink can really screw over intelligence assessment.