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I’m just an aviation buff, not a pilot nor an aeronautical engineer, but my understanding of comparisons of P-40E Warhawk vs. F4F-3 Wildcat vs. A6M2 Zero vs. Ki.43 Hayabusa is:

The Allison liquid-cooled engine in the P-40 lacked a turbo-charger, so performance fell off badly at altitude, and the Warhawk couldn’t fight effectively above c. 15,000 feet. The Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp in the F4F-3 had a two-stage super-charger, so the plane performed better at altitude. Most simple wargames present a fighter’s best performance at any altitude, so a Warhawk looks little different than a Wildcat, but really it is.

The A6M2 and the Ki.43 were both very light-weight designs. The  P-40 and F4F could both out-dive Japanese fighters. Claire Chenault trained his Flying Tiger pilots to dive into combat, make one firing pass and continue the dive to escape, then yo-yo back up and do it again if possible. Japanese fighters couldn’t follow a P-40 in a dive, but a Warhawk that tried to dogfight Japanese fighters often came to grief.

Performance envelopes of the Ki.43 and the A6M2 were similar, both climbed and turned well, rolled and dived poorly, but the Zero was a much more dangerous opponent than the Haybusa because it was more heavily armed. The Hayabusa had only two 7.7mm MGs, just like Snoopy and the Red Baron, while the Zero had those and two 20mm cannon in its wings. American fighters with self-sealing fuel tanks and pilot armor could often survive a raking from two 7.7mm MGs, but a hit or two from 20mm cannon could bring them down.

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by zippyfusenet.
  • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by zippyfusenet.
  • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by zippyfusenet.

You'll shoot your eye out, kid!