Why the Japanese Air Forces failed in World War 2


Short overview on the major shortcomings of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) Air Arm and the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) in World War 2. Taking a look at the initial situation and the various errors committed by its leadership.

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Tagaya, Osamu: The Imperial Japanese Air Forces, In: Higham & Harris: Why Air Forces Fail
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–Websites & Links–
William D. O’Neil: Military Transformation as a Competitive Systemic Process: The Case of Japan and the United States Between the World Wars

Ethan Meixsell – Demilitarized Zone (the Irony :D)


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29 Responses

  1. Outstanding!! Well Done.

  2. RNG_ Lord says:

    Something that compounded the lack of quality pilot training for the Japanese was when they did introduce the Shiden it proved to be difficult to handle for inexperienced pilots.

  3. Elgiad 936 says:

    Come on man, this all falls under RESOURCES: picking up downed pilots using a designated submarine unit. Only a rich country with industrial capacity could dedicate a navel unit to picking up downed pilots like George Herbert Walker Bush who was picked up;— narrowly escaping a cannibalistic unit who were rowing out to get him…

  4. TheTimmyd54 says:

    well presented – might be worth pointing out that when assessing the reasons behind Japan's defeat, those Japanese problems high-lighted in  this video are, in one  aspect,  far more significant than the generally accepted reason for their failure – namely, negligible relevant natural resources and a vastly inferior manufacturing capability. Although the lack  of a unified military command prevented a the development of a clear, comprehensive objective shared by all elements of the military, there was nonetheless a general consensus that  even if the U.S. were ultimately unbeatable, were they to suffer the rapid destruction of the Pacific fleet and the loss of American bases and territories in the region, then they would very likely be willing to negotiate a peace whose term would greatly favor Japan's interests. Seen in this light, the resource and manufacturing disparity have little bearing on Japan's failure in a war which was lost on the day it began; Japan's  poor communications which led to an attack prior to declaration of war caused such public outrage that it was already extremely unlikely that the U.S. would ever stop short of Japan's unconditional surrender, with a treaty favorable to Japan now utterly impossible.  Still, many Japanese clung to the hope that, given Roosevelt's promise to Churchill (that America's war effort would have as its priority the defeat of Germany), then surely if the Pacific fleet's carriers could be destroyed before U.S. manufacturing was in up to speed, there still might be a chance the U.S. might prefer a treaty that would return Hawaii and it's 400,000 residents (assuming the destruction of the fleet would make the occupation of Hawaii trivial) and save the U.S. the cost of materials and lives better spent in Europe. So for those  who didn't see  Pearl Harbour as the beginning of the end, the war was unquestionably lost at Midway, due to the issues raised in this video, not because of America's superior resources and manufacturing, which by MIdway had not yet become a factor.

  5. Wykletypl says:

    Quote: The A7M Reppu failed…"
    Could You be a little more specific on that one? Since from what I heard it was continued against all odds, and had it enter the war, it was equivalent to Hellcat and Corsair. While N1K1 Shiden still lacked in speed to fight with them.

  6. Ruka Erika says:

    The Japanese military brass became complacent because of their overwhelming victory in Manchuria.

  7. Yeah I was about to say because at first we Americans didn't know how to counter the zero. it took I think a year before we came up with tactics to beat the zero.

  8. I love these videos. Your approach of just preventing hard data with very little unsubstantiated opinion is a joy. And no, this Birt doesn't find your accent at all hard to understand!

  9. TommyTwobats says:

    Didn't the US also have competing air corps and designs. Also I think the US had a lot of redundancy in aircraft.

  10. 22steve5150 says:

    What a confused nation. The army was determined to commit suicide via Soviet Steamroller, the Navy was determined to commit suicide via American Airpower. They were screwed either way.

  11. vh90278 says:

    in both the case of Germany and Japan, the allies were able to crack cryptographic communications, this resulted in the wins at Midway and destruction of Germay's U-boat fleet; arguable that a lead in computer technology resulted in allied victories

  12. Hi, I'd like to ask whether the Philippines was able to keep a successful guerrilla tactic against the Japanese army which disabled them from having tight grip in the provinces? Also if the Philippines was able to hold out for a little longer do you think the US Navy would've been able to send in reinforcement?

  13. Good points all.
    However, IMO, the overriding reason the Allies Air Forces defeated Japan and Germany was that niether Germany or Japan were able to significantly add new combat aircraft.
    Look at the dizzying array of aircraft that came from the US during the war. P-51s, B-24s, B26's, P-39, Dakota's, Corsairs, Hellcats, and more. Britain was able to also develop new aircraft, most notably, the Mosquito. (Arguably the best aircraft of WW2. Too bad it wasn't made in the US.)
    Japan used the Zero until the end, and Germany used the M109 until the end.

  14. Prior to the Meiji Restoration, Japan was dominated by clans of whom the Shogun was the main representative. With the abolition of the Shogunate, the clans moved into the military and the Navy & the Army were led by rival clans, which was why co-ordination became extremely problematic. Both arms failed catastrophically in being wiped out by US submarines & Russian tanks.

  15. About the land force I have no idea what they were thinking going against the US in their shitty chi has, without even starting on their India "invasion"

  16. Well explained, good job.

  17. binaway says:

    Spitfire production lasted the entire war because of continuing development and upgrading of the existing air-frame, engine and weapons. The 109 could have equaled Spitfire development if not for the lack of resources by 1944/45. Replacing an existing design on the production line with another took 12 weeks. Upgrading allowed production to continue. The loss of a quarter of a years production was not acceptable.

  18. Mr.Giggles says:

    The "A7M Reppu" sounds like the Japanese were just adding insult to injury to The Chinese

  19. binaway says:

    It took about 3 months to change a factories production from one type of aircraft to a new type. Numbers were important considering Japans industrial capacity at the time was much less than even Britain's. The loss of a quarter of a years production from a factory would have been hard to justify

  20. unknown user says:

    i didnt understand nothing u just sayed put subs pls

  21. I have loved all of your videos so far, i look forward to more excellent material. Personally i would like some more medieval videos but i dont have any more ideas for you.

  22. rawdawg15 says:

    Could you do the wars with the Barbary Pirates?

  23. Armed Wombat says:

    Another problem was the japanese disregard for parachutes. They were seen as cowardice, similar to the dislike the ground forces felt about the concept of surrendering. So most pilots died when their planes got shot down, few got to learn from their mistakes and as a result they had an even harder time replacing experienced pilots.

  24. 100forks says:

    What I like about Military History Visualized, is that he starts the discussion, by presenting the major aspects and then a vast number of military historians, in their comments, fill in an enormous amount of additional material. Hence by viewing, then reading the comments, one gains so much knowledge in a short period of time.

  25. It took significantly longer for the Japanese to train new pilots than it did the USA. When the war started the Japanese AF had well trained veteran pilots. Our school was shorter as we felt it was better to have a lot of trained pilots so we could replace our loses quicker. Japan ran out of well trained pilots which resulted in the turkey shoot in the Philippines. Kamikaze pilots did not require much training and they shifted to that type pf strategy.

  26. Could you do a video on the Nakajima Kika fighter jet? Thanks in advance

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