Certainly, every little bit helps, but man, losing five fighters and the Japanese losing none means the job gets progressively harder for future fights, as the Japanese will still have all theirs, but now I don’t. So I guess that’s another aspect of the ‘get the bombers’ approach that I may not have explained as well as I could.
The chances of running the other side out of bombers is pretty damn difficult, as, they’re starting with 18 of them! But losing all your fighters, or the enemy losing all his fighters, is a very real possibility. If you shoot down all the bombers in one mission, but he shoots down all your fighters, you’re the one in big trouble for the rest of the campaign, not him, as there will be more bombers to come in, but the chances of you entering the fight at a significant disadvantage (going 4 vs 4, instead of 6 vs 4, for example, or worse) is more likely, and it snowballs from there.