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leitmotiv
09-12-2006, 05:55 AM
Read the last quote in the list from Saburo Sakai the great ace---almost all his shoot downs were made using the A6M2 Model 21 Zero. This is from the j-aircraft website:

http://www.j-aircraft.com/research/quotes/A6M.html

Recall his main opponents were well-protected early war fighters, the P-39 and P-40, operating from Port Moresby.

Feathered_IV
09-12-2006, 06:11 AM
Yeah, I remember reading that a while back. He should know eh? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

leitmotiv
09-12-2006, 07:12 AM
gormstruck http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

Feathered_IV
09-12-2006, 07:20 AM
Arr! Its all in the teeth. Tis a conundrum of the highest incontinence.

leitmotiv
09-12-2006, 07:24 AM
Of the verrrrry highest incontinence---arrrrr!

Chuck_Older
09-12-2006, 07:52 AM
I think there is a big misunderstanding about US aircraft from WWII

We read things like €œthe heavily armed and armored€ US aircraft did X Y and Z, and we start doing some assuming I think

What €˜heavily armed€ meant is that they used heavy machine guns, ie: .50 brownings. Now I know that lots of things have been posted about how poor a weapon these were compared to other aerial weapons, but the fact remains that they had great range and hitting power

What €˜heavily armored€ means was that fuel tanks were internally self-sealing (in most cases), that the pilot had an armored windscreen, and that he had an armor plate seatback and usually an armored firewall (bulkhead between the engine and cockpit). It does *not* mean that the engines, fuel lines, canopy, etc, etc, etc were armored. US engines such as the Alison were €˜close cowled€ which means a tight cowl fit for aerodynamics. Not a lot of room for armor in there. US radial engines were tougher by far, but P-38s and P-40s didn€t enjoy this advantage. In €43, a CO of the 31st took an armored seatback out of a wrecked spitfire, set up a .303 machinegun about 200 yards away, and fired the rifle-caliber .303 rounds through the armored seatback. He naturally did not tell his pilots

US aircraft were not flying tanks. They were however considered well armored for the time. This doesn€t mean a guy like Sakai could not be expected to put rounds through a canopy (the Japanese were excellent shots in deflection) or into an engine. You don€t need to carry 4 20mms to do this. It shouldn€t be a shocker that Sakai was an excellent pilot and a talented marksman, or that he choose to fire at areas of the enemy€s aircraft that were vulnerable. This whole thing is not a comment on frail US aircraft, it is a comment on the phenomenal ability of Saburo Sakai

joeap
09-12-2006, 08:05 AM
Originally posted by Chuck_Older:
This whole thing is not a comment on frail US aircraft, it is a comment on the phenomenal ability of Saburo Sakai

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif Really the point, marksmanship was even more important than piloting in the war.

R_Target
09-12-2006, 08:12 AM
It doesn't surprise me. Sakai was a natural.

Haigotron
09-12-2006, 09:17 AM
sakai for president i would have said before 2001

super71957
09-12-2006, 03:39 PM
Just yesterday I was watching a video about a wicked dogfight over Guadacanal.It was an American pilot named,IIRC ,James Sunderland vs. Saburo Sakai.Sakai stated that the Grumman Sunderland was flying was very,very tough.Sakai put many rounds into Sunderland"s
Wildcat to no avail.When Sunderland manage to get on Sakai six his guns would not fire due to a few damaged rounds on his ammo belt.Due to a previous engagment with E/A bombers.
Anyway,Grumman did build a heckuva fighter,very tough to shoot down,right from the man"s mouth himself,Saburo Sakai.
Ever get a chance to see this story it is fascinating,I believe it was made for Discovery Channel.

Craig http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

Treetop64
09-12-2006, 03:45 PM
Originally posted by Chuck_Older:
US aircraft were not flying tanks. They were however considered well armored for the time. This doesn€t mean a guy like Sakai could not be expected to put rounds through a canopy (the Japanese were excellent shots in deflection) or into an engine. You don€t need to carry 4 20mms to do this. It shouldn€t be a shocker that Sakai was an excellent pilot and a talented marksman, or that he choose to fire at areas of the enemy€s aircraft that were vulnerable. This whole thing is not a comment on frail US aircraft, it is a comment on the phenomenal ability of Saburo Sakai

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif

LEBillfish
09-12-2006, 04:19 PM
Originally posted by Chuck_Older:
I think there is a big misunderstanding about US aircraft from WWII

We read things like €œthe heavily armed and armored€ US aircraft did X Y and Z, and we start doing some assuming I think........

Actually, though the A6M was slightly slower to shift to the .50 caliber, and many models of planes started out in earlier developments with Type89/Type97 (Army/Navy) 7.7mm/.30cal. Mg's. (as 12.7mm/.50cal. Ho-103/Type 3 13.2mm were prone to jam)....Very quickly all were using .50cal or better.

Trouble is, and can check if you need, I believe the Japanese round though being higher in mass used less of a charge (which affects long range force and trajectory)..........Yet most of all instead of say 6-8 Mg's working together, were in pairs, either one in each wing or 2 in the nose......2 rounds heading down range having less of a chance then 8 even if slow firing cannon. Hence "lightly armed" though I don't know that I'd call 2-4 20-30mm (or larger up to 75mm) lightly armed....(think they called FW-190's or even Bf109's lightly armed?)

As to armor you're very correct it pretty much worthless if a good shot against anything with two exceptions......1. the Japanese explosive rounds tended to go off on impact, litterally much reducing their effectiveness (goes off almost blowing itself off the skin)......Self sealing tanks as well were a standard for the IJA, the IJN eventually giving in to it and fire supression systems in IJA planes were quite advanced.

berg417448
09-12-2006, 04:19 PM
Originally posted by super71957:
Just yesterday I was watching a video about a wicked dogfight over Guadacanal.It was an American pilot named,IIRC ,James Sunderland vs. Saburo Sakai.Sakai stated that the Grumman Sunderland was flying was very,very tough.Sakai put many rounds into Sunderland"s
Wildcat to no avail.When Sunderland manage to get on Sakai six his guns would not fire due to a few damaged rounds on his ammo belt.Due to a previous engagment with E/A bombers.
Anyway,Grumman did build a heckuva fighter,very tough to shoot down,right from the man"s mouth himself,Saburo Sakai.
Ever get a chance to see this story it is fascinating,I believe it was made for Discovery Channel.

Craig http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif


His name was Southerland.

http://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/f4f/5192.html


Many years after WWII Southerland's crashed F4F was located and a piece of it was presented to Sakai.

VW-IceFire
09-12-2006, 04:41 PM
I believe the Japanese generally considered the 6 gunned .50cal armed US fighters to be "heavily armed" because of the range in head on encounters that they could successfully damage the Japanese fighters and the AP potential of the bullets which would do all sorts of internal damage. The Japanese fighters on the other hand generally had two light machine guns and two 20mm cannon. The Type 99 cannon are good hitter in close but not able to do as much damage further out.

super71957
09-12-2006, 04:41 PM
Thank"s Berg.
Was not sure about that.
Sakai did say Southerland was an excellent pilot.
As,of course,Sakai was.
By the way I watched this on Google Video

TC_Stele
09-12-2006, 04:49 PM
"Saburo Sakai disliked the 20mm wing cannons because of the small ammunition load and the low initial velocity."

Nice find on Sakai, his book "Samurai" is simply awesome. In game I've almost never been able to get a full fledged kill just alone without the canons, but he mentioned that he got a majority of his kills with the 7.7s. Very interesting, though.

PBNA-Boosher
09-12-2006, 05:22 PM
I have gotten kills before with just the MG's. The trick is persistance. Wait until you have the perfect shot. Don't keep blasting away at your target, as it gives him an excellent idea of where you are. Instead, maneuver with him and wait for targets of opportunity to present themselves. Wing roots, engine blocks, and cockpits are generally the best places to hit. However, if you can put a lot of rounds into ONE wingtip it may weaken the lift on that wing enough to severely cripple his ability to fight.

Most of the 7.7mm gun kills I've gotten were because I took short bursts at opportune times. One tactic I've found that works well is to rip a lot of holes in one particular place, and if that doesn't destroy the ability of that plane to fight, a quick snapshot with the cannon into that damaged area can usually put them out of comission.

MucusG
09-12-2006, 05:34 PM
We shouldn't forget that in this game we like to see structural failures and nice fireballs where the enemy aircraft used to be. This is not necessary to down an enemy. In this game we fight on with smoking engine etc till the bitter end because our lives don't depend on it. If you put some 7.7's into the engine/fuel tanks and wait the EA is likley to go down on the way back to base. Of course then the kill stealers come in http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-mad.gif

We may have to get used to low callibre weapons and there use in BoB!!

S`
WTE_MucusG

Feathered_IV
09-12-2006, 06:26 PM
Originally posted by super71957:
Just yesterday I was watching a video about a wicked dogfight over Guadacanal.It was an American pilot named,IIRC ,James Sunderland vs. Saburo Sakai.Sakai stated that the Grumman Sunderland was flying was very,very tough.Sakai put many rounds into Sunderland"s
Wildcat to no avail.When Sunderland manage to get on Sakai six his guns would not fire due to a few damaged rounds on his ammo belt.Due to a previous engagment with E/A bombers.
Anyway,Grumman did build a heckuva fighter,very tough to shoot down,right from the man"s mouth himself,Saburo Sakai.
Ever get a chance to see this story it is fascinating,I believe it was made for Discovery Channel.

Craig http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

If I remember, Sakai said the US pilot was mostly manouvering so he always presented a dead six target. Letting most of the machine gun rounds be absorbed by the back armour.

berg417448
09-12-2006, 06:33 PM
Originally posted by Feathered_IV:




If I remember, Sakai said the US pilot was mostly manouvering so he always presented a dead six target. Letting most of the machine gun rounds be absorbed by the back armour.



He makes no mention of that here:

Dogfight with James Southerland flying F4F Wildcat 5192
An excert from Saburo Sakai's book Samurai! Saburo Sakai pages 160-162

"...The Wildcat was clinging grimly to the tail of a Zero, its tracers chewing up the wings and tail. In desperation, I snapped out a burst. At once the Grumman snapped away in a roll to the right, clawed around in a tight turn, and ended up in a climb straight at my own plane. Never before had I seen an enemy plane move so quickly or gracefully before, and every second his guns were moving closer to the belly of my fighter. I snap-rolled in an effort to throw him off. He would not be shaken. He was using my favorite tactics, coming up from under.

I chopped the throttle back and the Zero shuddered as its speed fell. It worked; his timing off the enemy pilot pulled back in a turn. I slammed the throttle forward again, rolling to the left. Three times I rolled the Zero, then dropped in a spin, and came out in a left vertical spiral. The Wildcat matched me turn for turn. Our left wings pointed at a right angle to the sea below us, the right wing at the sky.
Neither of us could gain the advantage. We held to the spiral, tremendous G pressures pushing us down in our seats with every passing second. My heart pounded wildly, and my head felt as if it weighed a ton. A gray film seemed to be clouding my eyes. I gritted my teeth; if the enemy pilot could take it, so could I. The man who failed first and turned in any other direction to ease the pressure would be finished.
On the fifth spiral, the Wildcat skidded slightly, I had him, I though. But the Grumman dropped his nose, gained speed, and the pilot again had his plane in full control. There was a terrific man behind that stick.

He made his error, however, in the next moment. Instead of swing back to go into a sixth spiral, he fed power to his engine, broke away at an angle, and looped. That was the decisive split second. I went right after him, cutting inside the Grumman's arc, and came out on his tail. I had him. He kept flying loops, trying to narrow the distance of each arc. Every time he went up and around I cut inside his arc and lessened the distance between our two planes. The Zero could out fly any fighter in the world in this kind of maneuver.

When I was only fifty yards away, the Wildcat broke out of his loop and astonished me by flying straight and level. At this distance I would not need the cannon; I pumped 200 rounds into the Grumman's cockpit, watching the bullets chewing up the thin metal skin and shattering the glass.
I could not believe what I saw; the Wildcat continued flying almost as if nothing had happened. A Zero which had taken that many bullets into its vital cockpit would have been a ball of fire by now. I could not understand it. I slammed the throttle forward and closed in to the American plane, just as the enemy fighter lost speed. In a moment I was ten yards ahead of the Wildcat, trying to slow down. I hunched my shoulders, prepared for the onslaught of his guns, I was trapped.

No bullets came. The Wildcat's guns remained silent. The entire situation was unbelievable. I dropped my speed until our planes were flying wing-to-wing formation. I opened my cockpit window and stared out. The Wildcat's cockpit canopy was already back, and I could see the pilot clearly. He was a big man, with a round face. He wore a light khaki uniform. He appeared to be middle-aged, not as young as I had expected.

For several seconds, we flew along in our bizarre formation, our eyes meting across the narrow space between the two planes. The Wildcat was a shambles. Bullet holes had cut the fuselage and wings up from one end to the other. The skin of the rudder was gone, and the metal ribs stuck out like a skeleton. Now I understood his horizontal flight, and also why the pilot had not fired. Blood stained his right shoulder, and I saw the dark patch moving downwards over his chest. It was incredible that his plane was still in the air.

But this was no way to kill a man! Not with him flying helplessly, wounded, his plane a wreck. I raised my left hand and shook my fist at him shouting uselessly, I knew, for him to fight instead of flying along like a clay pigeon. The American looked startled; he raised his right hand weakly and waved.

I had never felt so strange before. I had killed many Americans in the air, but this was the first time a man had weakened in such a fashion directly before my eyes, and from the wounds I had inflicted upon him. I honestly, didn't know whether or not I should try and finish him off. Such thoughts were stupid, of course. Wounded or not, he was the enemy, and he had almost taken three of my own men a few minutes before. However, there was no reason to aim for the pilot again. I wanted the plane, not the man.
I dropped back and came again in on his tail. Somehow the American called upon a reserve of strength and the Wildcat jerked into a loop. That was it. His nose started up. I aimed carefully at the engine, and barely touched the cannon trigger. A burst of flame and smoke explode outward from the engine. The Wildcat rolled and the pilot bailed out. Far below me, almost directly over the Guadalcanal coast, his parachute opened. The pilot did not grasp the shroud lines, but hung limply in his chute. The last I saw of him he was drifting in towards the beach..."

Sakai 's autobiography ӝzora no samurai (Japanese language) originally published in 1957.



I'll check further (I have Southerland's version saved somewhere) to see if Southerland's version of this incident mentions deliberately using that tactic.


EDIT:

Ok..I checked Southerland's account and Southerland does mention using that tactic earlier in the fight prior to the time that Sakai joined the dogfight. He specifically mentions using it when going against first 3 Zeros (flown by Yamazaki, Kakimoto and Uto).

Divine-Wind
09-12-2006, 06:50 PM
So, did Southerland perish in that engagement? I suppose I could do a search, but I'm too busy fighting a sniffling nose and a throat quickly becoming itchier.

berg417448
09-12-2006, 06:59 PM
Originally posted by Divine-Wind:
So, did Southerland perish in that engagement? I suppose I could do a search, but I'm too busy fighting a sniffling nose and a throat quickly becoming itchier.


No. He survived...went on to become an ace...died in a plane crash after the war.

R_Target
09-12-2006, 07:07 PM
Pug Southerland's Wildcat wreckage (http://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/f4f/5192.html)

leitmotiv
09-12-2006, 07:22 PM
See Henry Sakaida's WINGED SAMURAI---Sakaida, a Californian, became good friends with Sakai in the 1980s, and wrote WINGED SAMURAI with Sakai's close assistance. Sakai disavows Caiden's SAMURAI. Billfish got it right---considering Japanese Navy 7.7mm ammunition, it's a ruddy miracle he did the work with his machine guns! He must have shot right into the unprotected canopy hoods. Either that or there is some ace pilot braggadocio here (a not uncommon phenomenon).

Feathered_IV
09-12-2006, 09:37 PM
Thanks Berg for the correction and going to the trouble of digging out all the information http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif

SeaFireLIV
09-13-2006, 04:25 AM
Originally posted by berg417448:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Feathered_IV:


For several seconds, we flew along in our bizarre formation, our eyes meting across the narrow space between the two planes. The Wildcat was a shambles. Bullet holes had cut the fuselage and wings up from one end to the other. The skin of the rudder was gone, and the metal ribs stuck out like a skeleton. Now I understood his horizontal flight, and also why the pilot had not fired. Blood stained his right shoulder, and I saw the dark patch moving downwards over his chest. It was incredible that his plane was still in the air.

But this was no way to kill a man! Not with him flying helplessly, wounded, his plane a wreck. I raised my left hand and shook my fist at him shouting uselessly, I knew, for him to fight instead of flying along like a clay pigeon. The American looked startled; he raised his right hand weakly and waved.

I had never felt so strange before. I had killed many Americans in the air, but this was the first time a man had weakened in such a fashion directly before my eyes, and from the wounds I had inflicted upon him. I honestly, didn't know whether or not I should try and finish him off. Such thoughts were stupid, of course. Wounded or not, he was the enemy, and he had almost taken three of my own men a few minutes before. However, there was no reason to aim for the pilot again. I wanted the plane, not the man.
I dropped back and came again in on his tail. Somehow the American called upon a reserve of strength and the Wildcat jerked into a loop. That was it. His nose started up. I aimed carefully at the engine, and barely touched the cannon trigger. A burst of flame and smoke explode outward from the engine. The Wildcat rolled and the pilot bailed out. Far below me, almost directly over the Guadalcanal coast, his parachute opened. The pilot did not grasp the shroud lines, but hung limply in his chute. The last I saw of him he was drifting in towards the beach..."

Sakai 's autobiography ӝzora no samurai (Japanese language) originally published in 1957.


.

Wow. Amazing. Fought to a stop. But to just fly still like that while his plane was still functional. the American pilot must have blacked out or just weary from pain and exhaustion and perhaps even (for a moment), given up his fight for life. Always interesting and refreshing to hear things from the japanese side.

Does the US pilot have his version of events?

Feathered_IV
09-13-2006, 08:58 AM
I think the the Osprey Wildcat Aces volume has Southerlands account. Also a magazine called Flightpath down here had an account of it when the covered the rediscovery of his aircraft a few years back.

berg417448
09-13-2006, 09:06 AM
Here is a description of the fight from Southerland's perspective that I originally found on this site: http://www.pacificwrecks.com/history/tainan-ku.html


The link seems non functional now.

The story:

Saburo Sakai was among the Zeros which had mixed with SCARLET EIGHT. Afterwards he rejoined Chutai leader Sasai, but in the process had lost his two wingmen, the very ones he had exhorted to stay with him at all times. He finally saw them, or at least thought he did, as two of three Zeros battling a lone Grumman well below. Incredulously, it appeared that the enemy pilot was actually chasing the Japanese by turning into them all the time. Ichirobei Yamazaki had latched his Zero onto the Grumman 's tail at about 11,000 feet, and could be seen loosing shot bursts from behind and above. Sakai drew closer to Sasai and signalled for permission to dive into the fray below.

It was Southerland which flew the hunted Grumman. Worst of all, his guns had stopped firing, so he manually tried to recharge them, hoping they had jammed rather than run dry. With self preservation in mind he also lowered the seat to take refuge behind the Armour plate slab behind. He observed that a Zero was attacking at this time from my starboard quarter so I pushed over as though trying to escape him, then pulled out immediately, cracking my flaps and whacking off my throttle. He overran as I 'd hoped and made a climbing turn to the left. I turned inside easily and had the aviator 's dream -- a Zero at close range perfectly lined up in my sights for about a quarter deflection shot. However, I pressed my trigger without result and realized sadly that I 'd have to fight the rest of the battle without guns. Southerland knew that the enemy were land based Zeros, perfectly capable of running circles around me as I soon discovered.

Whilst Southerland tried to duck Yamazaki 's guns, the latter was joined by Kakimoto and Uto to lengthen the odds to three to one. The three Mitsubishis set up attacks from each side, taking turns when necessary. Sakai dived to join his comrades, making a fourth adversary for the troubled American flyer.

Southerland was aware that his major contribution to the day was now to draw the four Zeros away from the bombers they were meant to protect, and he had determined how best to endure their methodical aggression, this consisted merely of determining which of the two Zeros, attacking almost simultaneously on either quarter, was about to open fire first, and turning sharply toward him as he opened up. This gave him a full deflection shot so he invariably under led me, riddling my fuselage aft but doing little serious damage. This quick turn also placed the second plane directly behind me so that I was well protected by my armor plate. When runs were not exactly simultaneous, I would rely chiefly on my armor, placing the attackers directly aft in succession as they made their runs. Southerland now had a clear objective to reach Red Beach where he could bail out within the sanctity of friendly lines. Essentially he was now engaged in a race of time versus risk. The Wildcat took more hits almost every time the Zeros made a pass, the 7.7mm slugs making the loudest sound when they impacted against the armor plate directly behind him. Sometimes a Mitsubishi would overrun and pull out ahead, adding to the frustration of defective guns, but then through his shattered goggles Southerland noticed a fourth Zero join the fight, which led in a burst at long range. Sakai had arrived.

As opposed to the mechanical tactics of his three counterparts, Sakai was determined to latch himself onto the Wildcat 's tail using the design advantages of Mitsubishi 's fighter. The enemy kept turning into him, but Sakai gradually lessened the distance with the belligerent Grumman, then at last held onto its tail. In the battle of turns the Grumman had gradually run out of altitude and options. Sakai had full confidence in his Zero 's ability to destroy the quarry using only his machine guns. He double checked that his 20mm cannon was switched off and moved closer. The Wildcat crossed the coast just West of the Bonegi River, still eighteen arduous miles short of Red Beach, but at least over land. Unbeknown to Sakai, his rival had reached the reasoned judgment that it was time to bail out. Sakai was taken by surprise when the Grumman snapped into straight and level flight. He checked his own tail, then closed in. Now closer than he had ever been to a Wildcat, its appearance and the moment moved him sufficiently that he groped for his beloved Leica camera and in a grand example of eccentricity, savored this moment by taking a photograph for his private collection. Sakai discarded the camera to the side of the cockpit, closed to fifty metres, and fired a stream of 7.7mm projectiles at the Grumman, by his estimate between five to six hundred rounds. Incredibly they had no apparent effect. Sakai at this stage thought it astounding at how a Zero, if subjected to similar punishment, would by now be a ball of flame. He contemplated the Wildcat 's rudder, ripped to shreds, looking like an old torn piece of rag. The steadfast nature of the pursuit and the opportunity to witness a formidable enemy at such close distance briefly lulled the Japanese ace into complacency. He fire walled the Mitsubishi 's throttle to get closer, but was startled to find that his eagerness had lurched him ahead of the Grumman. Sakai cringed knowing he had placed himself cleanly in front of six Brownings. But nothing happened and Sakai then realized that at this critical moment that this had been a one"sided combat " his opponent for whatever reason lacked teeth. He dropped back, this time falling into formation slightly left of the straight"and"level Grumman. He had previously savored the luxury of taking a photograph, now he would go a step further and examine the man in the machine.

Ahead, Southerland methodically worked through the Navy checklist for bailout " electrical switches off, disconnect microphone and transmitter cords, undo safety harness, open canopy. Alongside flew Sakai, consumed with curiosity and watching Southerland go through his paces. Southerland had time to assess the state of his mount; my plane was in bad shape but still performing nicely in low blower, full throttle, and full low pitch. Flaps and radio had been put out of commission . . . the after part of my fuselage was like a sieve. She was still smoking from incendiary but not on fire. All of the ammunition box covers on my left wing were gone and 20mm explosives had torn gaping holes in its upper surface . . . my instrument panel was badly shot up, goggles on my forehead had been shattered, my rear view mirror was broken, my Plexiglas windshield was riddled. The leak"proof tanks had apparently been punctured many times as some fuel had leaked down into the bottom of the cockpit even though there was no steady leakage. My oil tank had been punctured and oil was pouring down my right leg.

Sakai purposefully wound back his canopy and stared into the Grumman 's open cockpit. There he saw a man with a round face who he estimated was about seven or eight years older. He watched the American flier, in bloodstained flight suit, apparently undo his harness. Sakai observed that the Grumman was a shambles. Bullet holes had cut the fuselage and wings up from one end to another. The skin of the rudder was gone . . . it was incredible that his plane was still in the air. Lifting his goggles, Sakai had the impression that the man was huddled over in prayer, and thought he even tried to wave. For the first time in combat, the Imperial Navy graduate felt a conflicting empathy for the crouched figure, a contrasting emotion brought on due to the worthy nature of his enemy, but this was no way to kill a man! Not with him flying helplessly, wounded, his plane a wreck. I raised my left hand and shook my fist at him, shouting uselessly, I wished him to fight instead of just flying along like a clay pigeon. The American looked startled. I had never felt so strange before. I had killed many Americans in the air, but this was the first time a man had weakened in such a fashion directly before my eyes, and from wounds I had inflicted upon him. I honestly didn€t 't know whether or not I should try to finish him off. Such thoughts were stupid of course. Wounded or not, he was the enemy, and he had taken on three of my men a few minutes ago. However, there was no reason to aim for the pilot again. I wanted the airplane, not the man. Time, a decisive indulgence in any combat, was drawing to its limits. Sakai fell in behind to finish off the Grumman. He released the cannon safety switch, aimed for its engine, and gently squeezed the firing button. Several cannon rounds impacted into the top cowl where they flashed as they exploded, cleanly removing two cylinders in the process. It was approximately half"past one on a hot Guadalcanal afternoon.

Southerland would report, at this time a Zero making a run from the port quarter put a burst in just under the left wing root and good old F12 finally exploded. I think the explosion occurred from gasoline vapor. The flash was below and forward of my left foot. I was ready for it . . . consequently I dove over the right side just aft of the starboard wing root, head first. My .45 holster caught on the hood track, but I got rid of it immediately, though I don 't remember how. I fervently asked God to let me live and pulled the ring just as my head was passing below the starboard wing. The plane did a chandelle to the right and went down in a dive, passing about 15-20 feet ahead of me.

Caught in this unreal moment, Southerland still had the senses to reflect, the ring came out so easily in my hand that I immediately assumed my ripcord had been severed by gunfire. All aviators who bail out want to save the ring. This flashed through my mind as I reluctantly hurled it away and started clawing frantically into the webbing trying to locate the release end of the ripcord. At this point the parachute opened and I was floating comfortably about 100-150 feet above the trees. Chunky yet substantial pieces of his Wildcat tumbled from the sky and into a steep jungle ravine, grown over with dense foliage and large trees. The engine came to rest in a creek bed, whilst the rest of the debris fell through solid foliage, scattered over a length of more than three hundred meters. There they would lie undiscovered to history for nearly fifty-six years, save passing curiosity by a native hunter.

Southerland fell through trees relatively unscathed and, fearful of being strafed, hit the ground prepared to ditch his chute harness by loosening the straps. He grabbed the upwind shroud and spilled what air he could from the chute, allowing it to fill just above the trees. When he landed his first thought was the trailing Japanese would find his chute an attractive target, so he ran, 100 yards away in 9 seconds flat. My first grateful thought was to thank God that I was alive. I can guarantee that this was a wholly unexpected outcome of the battle. Under cover of nearby trees he counted eleven wounds, including three holes in his right calf, flash burns to his arms and a gaping hole in his right foot, the most painful of all. There was some consolation " the parachute fall through the trees had given him but minor abrasions to the left leg. Southerland next sized up the geography and figured he had touched down about ten miles east of Cape Esperance, four miles inland from the beach.

Sakai noted that in the Grumman 's last seconds it rolled away, directly over the coast and headed inland. The last he saw of the pilot was him hanging limply in his chute, then lost him to view. He considered that in the process of conducting his fifty"ninth kill that his Mitsubishi had flown much too low for safety. He climbed to rejoin his cheerful companions, Uto, Yamazaki and Kakimoto, and briefly removed his scarf to identify himself. Together the four eased control sticks back for the climb. The Tainan fraternity had just destroyed five of eight VF"5 Wildcats dispatched that morning.
As the four enemy Zeros which had stalked him banked away and climbed, Southerland took stock of his lonely situation. He was in low rolling hills, covered with thick kunai grass, difficult to traverse. It was sharp too, not to mention the degree to which it made the skin itch. He realized he could not try for friendly lines in a straight line as the undergrowth and jungle in the valleys was too impassable. His best alternative lay with getting to the coast, then following its sandy littoral. Descending down hillcrests would be easiest, but this would not always be desirable as the enemy could more easily spot him against such an open background. His right shoe was full of oil, blood and dirt. He removed it and stuffed the oily black sock into the wound to minimize bleeding. Knowing he was in enemy territory and that his bail"out would probably have been seen, the downed flier 's foremost certitude lay with vacating the area. With these thoughts he cautiously hobbled off, fettered by discomfort and injury. €œ

leitmotiv
09-13-2006, 10:10 AM
Full analysis of the Sakai-Southerland combat is in John Lundstrom's FIRST TEAM AND THE GUADALCANAL CAMPAIGN: NAVAL FIGHTER COMBAT FROM AUGUST TO NOVEMBER 1942---the second volume of the definitive study of USN-IJN fighter combat in 1942 published by the U.S. Naval Institute.

SeaFireLIV
09-13-2006, 10:10 AM
Thanks, berg417448.

This changes things a bit at least from the US side. So Southerland was out of ammo and chased by 3 zeros with Sakai coming in later to finish things. I assumed he was just too shattered to fight back!

Strange how the Southerland decides to straighten up in the midst of a dogfight to prepare for bail...

There are some inconsistencies, but I reckon this partly due to meory and perhaps embarrasment/politeness on both sides.

Fascinating anyway. If there`s one thing that`s better than hearing one side of the story, it`s hearing BOTH sides! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

R_Target
09-13-2006, 10:27 AM
From an interview with Sakai by Colin Heaton and Jeffery Ethell:


They flashed passed our fighters and went after the bombers, but they failed to score against them, and they avoided us. Apparently they were just interested in keeping our bombers away from the ships, which was working. One thing I did see was a single F4F chasing three Zeros, which was suicide. But the American managed to avoid having our planes turn inside him, and he rolled away from their fire and managed to invert, roll, dive and climb into a counterattacking posture, keeping these three Zeros at bay. This was the most incredible display of flying skill I had ever seen, and this pilot earned our respect. I wish I knew who he was; I would congratulate him on his skill and bravery. This Wildcat pilot was scoring hits on every plane, and he finally caught the tail one Zero and was scoring good hits. I saw this. I came down 1,500 feet to help, then this American snap rolled over and turned into me, firing and forced me to roll away. I knew I could turn inside him, so I tried. But then he turned inside me, which was impossible, but I saw it and so had the others! On the fifth spiral and inverted roll I thought I had him, but no, he turned away and rolled under me. I rolled over and cut power, forcing him to overshoot and I was on his tail. I knew I had him again, but somehow he looped and rolled, pulling an Immelman, and then he somehow ended up on my tail! This was the most impossible thing in the world! The he made a mistake. He applied power and tried to flee, perhaps low on fuel or out of ammunition. I raked him, and I saw that his aircraft was already a wreck; full of gaping holes and pieces hanging off of it. If that had been a Zero it would have been a fireball long before this. The fact that he was still flying, let alone flying amazed me. This was a true Samurai warrior, this American! I cut inside his arcing turn and fired into the cockpit, but he kept flying! But then I made a mistake, and I overshot the enemy plane. I knew that I was done for since he was right behind me. But then nothing happened, and I knew he was out of ammunition. I slid my canopy back, and we stared at each other. He was an older man, not young as I would have thought, which explained his flying skill. He was an old veteran. His plane had lost much of its skin; the frame was visible, and the rudder was a skeleton. From cowl to tail there was not an area larger than the size of a grown man€s hand that was without a bullet hole, and he still flew. I could see that he was wounded on the right side of his chest. His fight was over.

leitmotiv
09-13-2006, 11:30 AM
The Lundstrom analysis is on pages 53 through 55 of his book I cited in an earlier post in his thread. Note: he used his cannon on Southerland's Wildcat.

R_Target
09-13-2006, 11:44 AM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
The Lundstrom analysis is on pages 53 through 55 of his book I cited in an earlier post in his thread. Note: he used his cannon on Southerland's Wildcat.

Cool. I think that's gonna be my next purchase. I really need Shattered Sword too.

DmdSeeker
09-13-2006, 12:41 PM
"I knew I could turn inside him, so I tried. But then he turned inside me, which was impossible, but I saw it and so had the others!"

It's the pilot, not the plane!

horseback
09-13-2006, 01:15 PM
Pug Southerland was considered a pretty good Naval Aviator amongst the pre-war trained community. His score was limited by opportunity and his wounds, not his abilities.

Like many of his pre-war trained contemporaries such as Jimmie Thach and Dave McCampbell, his talents were sufficiently valuable that once the immediate need for his skills in combat was ended, he was set to work training the next generations of carrier pilots before his next combat assignment, in Hellcats, where he easily made ace once he'd made contact.

About Sakai's account; he makes specific mention that this was his first encounter with USN pilots. He fully expected them to be much better than the land-based pilots he'd previously faced, just not that good.

If Southerland had been flying an F4F-3, which was a bit lighter, quicker, more maneuverable, and had more firing time, things could have been a bit different.

cheers

horseback

Xiolablu3
09-13-2006, 01:32 PM
On the subject of the Armoured seat back, I htink firing an MG straight at the thing, and a bullet passing thru the planes skin and onto the seat back would be very different things.

The pass thru the skin or canopy would make the bullet 'tumble' and mean it lost a LOT of its power.

Possibly this was intended and in the mind of the designers when they made the armoured seat backs.

mortoma1958
09-13-2006, 01:43 PM
Ummmm, did you see the part where the dude talked about catching P-38s with ease?? In game the P-38 is way faster than any of the Zeros. Of course we have only late war P-38s too. Were the earlier P-38 E and F models a lot slower than the ones we have in game??

horseback
09-13-2006, 02:44 PM
Not particularly. However, this was when the 38 was very new to the theater and the pilots flying them had yet to learn some of the lessons of operating in combat. Flying around the combat zone at medium altitudes/economical cruise was one of the first practices people learned to avoid.

Some people simply didn't get much chance to learn that lesson.

Also, you have to bear in mind that the Japanese pilots, even the top aces, tended to grossly overestimate their own effectiveness in combat. Most of the time, where the encounter can be documented from both sides, the Japanese tended to claim seven victories for each actual e/a actually lost (and a significant portion of the losses had to have been due to pilot error or mechanical problems). Because they apparently had no system of analyzing combat reports, the Japanese pilots had no means of developing a critical eye about what they were actually achieving. Knowing how many hits it would take to disable their own aircraft, they appear to me to have applied that standard to the much more heavily constructed Allied planes.

Thus, for the most part, they tended to believe that they had done far more damage than they had.

cheers

horseback

R_Target
09-13-2006, 03:45 PM
Originally posted by horseback:
Not particularly. However, this was when the 38 was very new to the theater and the pilots flying them had yet to learn some of the lessons of operating in combat. Flying around the combat zone at medium altitudes/economical cruise was one of the first practices people learned to avoid.

That sounds like the same thing Tanimizu said:


"P-38s were not difficult to fight",Tanimizu explained. "In 1942, the Americans lost many dogfights because their pilots did not fully utilize the capabilities of this fighter. They attempted to dogfight us and lost. At low altitudes, they were easy prey because they were not very fast. Later, their pilots got smart and stayed up where we couldn't reach them. They would swoop down like hawks, make their pass and then climb for altitude."

woofiedog
09-13-2006, 11:08 PM
Sorry for the mess below... but a bit short of time to straighten things out better. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

http://www.pacificghosts.com/photos/wrecks/f4f/guad/flap.jpg
F4F-4 Wildcat
Bureau Number 5192
Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
First US loss on Guadalcanal
"Pug" Southerland's fighter

Wreckage Today
The wreckage lies in a jungle ravine and subsequently most parts have been well preserved by thick foliage protection. Black stenciling is visible on both sides of the fin "NAVY 5192", and a stencil on the inside of a cowl flap "5192". Parts of the left elevator still had intact camouflaged fabric on them. Three Browning .5 caliber machine guns were located, as was the engine, with two cylinders cleanly removed through combat damage, and bullet holes in the prop.

F4F-4 Wildcat
Pilot "Pug" Southerland of VF-5 is credited with shooting down the first Japanese aircraft loss of the Guadalcanal campaign. Immediately afterwards, he became the first American aircraft loss of the campaign, being shot down by legendary Japanese Ace Saburo Sakai, who from his own logbook confirmed he was flying Tainan Kokutai A6M2 Zero V-128 that day

Arguably the most historic wreck in the Pacific, the story of both pilots and this monumental mission is certainly one of the most exciting aerial dogfights of the Second World War because both pilots survived, and were able to recount their sides of the story. This they did in great detail. In 1996 Michael also interviewed the Solomon Islander who led Southerland to safety.

Link: http://www.pacificghosts.com/aircraft/f4f/5192/wreck/index.html

http://www.pacificghosts.com/photos/wrecks/f4f/guad/prop.jpg
F4F-4 Wildcat Bureau Number 5192 On Guadalcanal
First US loss on Guadalcanal Piloted by James "Pug" Southerland


SECRETS OF THE DEAD

Part detective story, part true-life drama, SECRETS OF THE DEAD has spent the last five seasons delving into some of the most puzzling mysteries of our time, using modern investigative techniques to debunk myths and poke holes in long-held theories about memorable events from the past. Below, executive producer Jared Lipworth answers a few questions about upcoming programs:

Q: This season, SECRETS has a documentary that will really appeal to World War II buffs. Please tell us about it.

A: Dogfight over Guadalcanal is an investigation of a World War II dogfight between an American pilot in a Wildcat and a Japanese pilot in a Zero. The film breaks down every detail of the spectacular dogfight, explores the advantages and disadvantages of the two planes, and even does a forensic analysis of the American plane, which was recently found in the jungles of Guadalcanal. The film reveals how the American pilot, "Pug" Southerland, was shot down behind enemy lines, and how the Japanese pilot, Saburo Sakai, was critically injured on his return to base. Both men survived and wrote detailed memoirs about the dogfight, and the film pulls from these first-hand accounts to rebuild a second-by-second timeline. Amazingly, even after all these decades, the wreck of Pug's plane also reveals some incredible clues. Bullet holes in the engine and propeller corroborate Sakai's accounts of how he hit the Wildcat, and even more amazing, the team finds damaged bullets from Pug's guns that leave no doubt that at least one of his guns was no longer working during the dogfight.

http://hsfeatures.com/images/a6m2brf_1.jpg
On 7 August, 1942 PO1c Sakai Saburo, with the Tainan Air Group from Rabaul, while flying escort for 27 Type 1 land attack aircraft (BETTY) engaged in an 'epic' air-battle with Lt. James J."Pug" Southerland of VF-5. Having already modeled "Pug's" F4F-4 Wildcat I decided to turn my attention to the other protagonist's aircraft, Sakai's a6m2b type O, model 21 carrier fighter.
I used Hasegawa's 1/48 kit #jT131, 'Tainan Flying Group' which conveniently included markings for Sakai's Zero as well as markings to replicate most of the aircraft for the 'Tainan' Group.

http://www.microsoft.com/games/combatfs2/img/saburo_sakai.gif

Link with interview of An Interview with Saburo Sakai: http://www.microsoft.com/games/combatfs2/articles_sakai.asp

http://www.pacificwrecks.com/restore/usa/nimitz/sakai-helmet-frontview-mid.jpg
Saburo Sakai Goggles and Helmet
Displayed at the Nimitz Museum, this flight helmet and goggles was worn by Sakai on August 7, 1942 mission to Guadalcanal. On this mission he was wounded in his eye when bullets three SBDs he attacked from the rear hit his plane. Wounded and flying a damaged fighter, he flew all the way back to Rabaul alone and landed safely. Also displayed is a silver belt buckle with a tiger given to Sakai as a good luck gift. Sakai donated these items to the museum when he passed away in 2000.

leitmotiv
09-14-2006, 12:39 AM
Great Sakai interview, woofiedog. Did not know about the airliner sparing story. Obviously he was not like the soldiers who committed the atrocities in Nanking or massacred the Commonwealth soldiers in Singapore hospitals. He was a true Samurai. RIP

Feathered_IV
09-14-2006, 03:41 AM
I'd love to know what became of all his photographs http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

leitmotiv
09-14-2006, 04:29 AM
Yes, that's a genuine mystery.

SeaFireLIV
09-14-2006, 05:14 AM
Originally posted by Feathered_IV:
I'd love to know what became of all his photographs http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

Agreed. It`s not often you get photos of the enemy from the Japanese point of view. For all we know they may be sitting in his family`s home in a little private box of warrior treasure`s...