Eli5: Why was Japan so strong during ww2…

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Why were they such a huge power compared to the neighbours in the beginning of ww2?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

I can at least speak about aviation on this front.

There was a long period of time where their technically inferior planes were insanely effective. They were all in on maneuverability and turning radius. The infamous “Zero” could outturn anyone in the skies.

With wings still made of paper it didn’t matter how much bigger the american guns were if they couldn’t hit them.

Believe it or not it was the tactics that cost the americans in the skies. It was until a group of pilots NOT flying under the rules of american pilots that things changed.

For an american pilot, you could be *court martialed* for “running from a fight.” That is to say, you had to engage in a dogfight with the superior turn radius of the japanese planes. A group of volunteer pilots squared off with the japanese while using older allied equipment. They scored many victories. While the americans were getting spanked in the skies, how was this ragtag group of volunteers pulling it off?

See the volunteer pilots figured out they cannot outturn the japanese planes, so they didn’t try. Instead they would take advantage of the fact that they were faster. They did the equivalent of hit and run in the skies. Instead of hanging around for 1 v 1 dogfight you stay as high and fast as possible. The japanese pilots could do nothing but defend. Bleed energy until completely helpless at lower altitude.

As soon as the Japanese enemies updated their outdated doctrine from WW1, the tides turned.

Now all the biggest guns and engines didnt matter if you couldn’t score victories. Air superiority is important. In this specific area the japanese had the better planes for turn-fighting… and it took almost 2 years for people to figure out that you didn’t have to play by those rules of dogfighting.

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