Periodic inspections, repairs, overhauls and even routine servicing fell off because of maintenance shortfalls. Here, a few of WWII’s deadliest fighter pilots, and the lives they lived beyond the frontlines. These attacks also inflicted significant damage and chaos on the logistical side. When flying unit ground crews arrived and reported that Buin was unfit for operations, Admiral Ugaki, rather than arranging for construction assets to properly complete the field, groused to his diary: “How weak-minded they are! Cannon, Gary Marshal. The result was a schism that drained the country’s limited resources and overly-extended industrial capacities. Although a nucleus of well-trained army and navy maintenance men and armorers followed their aircraft south, maintenance units lagged behind during the early advances and were too few even when they caught up with the flying units. When the Japanese navy flew its first nine fighters into the Philippine airport of Legaspi in December 1941, two of them were totally wrecked upon landing. Exchange of secrets and experiences, the common use of airplanes and other instruments, could not even be thought of.”. Another limitation was that Home Island flight instructors were faced with too many students to train them effectively. Even its short-lived lead in aerial tactics collapsed once the Guadalcanal campaign began. Important aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War IIwere: Fighters: 1. Japan’s army had developed its air forces for continental warfare with the Soviets. The military used native laborers wherever it could, paid them poorly and fed them little or nothing. Absent such construction units, the air force would have to use captured bases. The aircraft repair system became less extended. Ground crews became nervous and irritable from lack of sleep. Food at Japanese airfields was bad. For further reading, he recommends: The Army Air Forces in World War II, Vol. ("Gale") was a single-seat fighter used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force in World War II. A writer for the Smithsonian, Tagaya’s father was an officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), so he should know. As more experienced ones died out, that left inexperienced ones who were forced to do kamikaze missions. Before and during World War II, Japan did not have three branches in its military; rather, the army and the navy each had their own air service. And while Japan was the first to develop aircraft carriers, their focus was on combat missions. During the advance southward, Japanese pilots fought from unimproved airstrips, most of them small and unpaved. The field’s maintenance effort had collapsed. They wear M98 field service uniforms and carry bolt-action 6.5mm Ariska rifles. The reported losses on these initial attacks vary, but the 1970s Soviet official history states the loss of 800 aircraft destroyed on the ground and a total loss of 1200 aircraft. “Nothing is more urgently needed than new ideas and devices,” Rear Adm. Matome Ugaki, chief of staff of the Combined Fleet, wrote in July 1942. For example, 18 Aichi D3A1 dive bombers were ditched into the sea in the first two days of the campaign when they ran out of gas. Since they worked independently of each other, the Japanese army and navy created separate air forces suited to their specific needs. Another 30 percent of the flotilla’s aircraft wore out and had to be scrapped. Mechanics buried tools in no discernable pattern. The army’s main aircraft repair base at Halmahera, 1,000 miles from the front lines, never functioned adequately because it lacked equipment and mechanics. Japan, although seemingly advanced in aerial tactics, entered the war with a narrow aerial doctrine, insufficient numbers of aircraft and those of generally poor design (excluding the Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero, of course), too few aircrews and inadequate logistics for a war of attrition. “Hardly a day passed when fire engines and ambulances did not race down the runways, sirens shrieking, to dig one or more pilots out of the plane they had wrecked on a clumsy takeoff or landing.” The decision to press for quantity over quality meant that poorly trained fliers graduated to combat units. Nakajima Ki-44 中島 キ44 二式単座戦闘機 鍾馗(Type 2 Single seat Fighter "Shōki"?) The Fourth Air Army’s heavy equipment for engine changes and major structural repair on New Guinea, for instance, was poor. HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Historynet LLC, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. The Second Sino-Japanese War began on 7 July 1937 with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in the Republic of China. Yes and no. There was no independent Japanese air force. They were hidden underneath houses, rice mills, shacks and public buildings. DURING WW2 . They worked more than 2,500 Javanese to death while building a field on Noemfoor Island. Although there had always been shortages of trained mechanics, commanders showed little interest in sending their men to the ordnance school in Japan. The Pearl Harbor attack was only a “failure” because the US aircraft carriers (their main targets) were on a training exercise and not on the base. Huge numbers of parts such as carburetors, fuel pumps, generators and propellers were likewise scattered in fields and under houses, and also buried. If military watches used on the Western front are more or less known by collectors, Japanese watches are a lot less notorious. Hundreds of aircraft sat grounded with only minor problems. A writer for the Smithsonian, Tagaya’s father was an officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), so he should know. The Japanese military also failed to master the supply, maintenance and medical problems that arose once their aerial units reached tropical zones far from their main depots. When 27 Zeroes of the Tainan Kokutai (air group) flew into Tarakan Field — one of the worst in the East Indies — on Borneo in January 1942, two aircraft overshot the runway and were demolished. Veteran instructors, including others on permanent limited duty and those recovering from wounds, began to leave their training duties to rejoin combat units. There were no laundry facilities, and men washed themselves in rivers, or under water-filled cans. Oscar 3. Whether a base had been captured or built, however, it was nearly useless if seaborne supplies could not reach it. According to Osamu Tagaya, Japan was doomed to lose WWII. An American intelligence officer who examined Clark after its capture reported, “It is impossible to describe the situation as a whole beyond saying that everywhere is evidence of disorganization and general shambles.” The Americans found 200 new aircraft engines at a village near Clark, most still in shipping crates. The Japanese were hard-pressed to manage normal maintenance, let alone spare men and equipment for unauthorized field expedient modifications. Manpower became critical with no tractors, and ground crews wore themselves out pushing aircraft around fields. Army air forces were doctrinally anachronistic. When the fuel shortage finally hit, it generally had no immediate or widespread effect on combat operations, but it had an adverse effect on training programs. The more mobile a maintenance unit is, the less it can do without heavy equipment. This meant that Japan depended on manpower to construct airfields. Worse, the vast majority of prewar and even 1942-43 veterans were dead or wounded, and their replacements had none of the veterans’ experience. So while Japan was among the first to develop combat aircraft, they were mostly designed for a land war against the Soviets, not for long range operations in the South Pacific. They worked at night to avoid Allied air attacks, only to fall victim to the malaria mosquito, which was most active at night. Even in 1943 the commitment in China still amounted to 25 infantry divisions, 1 armored division, 11 mixed brigades, 1 cavalry brigade and 1 flying division – a total of 620,000 men and 14,000 vehicles. The Japanese failed to construct ferry sites and auxiliary airfields between Rabaul and Guadalcanal, 675 miles away, when they had the time. Nor did commanders establish schools or training programs at tactical units or in geographic army areas. 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