Japanese Navy air service, 1938-45, with hindsight?

tomo pauk

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Time frame should cover gearing-up to the Pacific war and the war itself.
What should've they specified differently for industry to make vs. what was made historically, in order to put up a better fight against the 'West', or mostly against the USN/USMC/USAAF? Not to make a host of designs that were produced in handful quantities each, like the numerous floatplanes? A more timely follow-up for the Zero? A much improved Zero for the mid-war, or an 'alternative Zero' from day one? Peek a bit better at German tech plans and operational experiences? Earlier introduction of protection both for crews and fuel tanks?
The ww2 still unfolds as it did historically until some time of 1942 here. Engine choice is more or less same as historical, make some tweaks or economizatios as you please. Guns - tad of the tweaking of what was historically available to Japan.
 

tomo pauk

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This one got a lot of traction :)

Anyway. Cut the bespoke floatplanes' designs past 1939. Need a fighter on floats? Do what was done with the Zero: install the floats so there is a Rufe. Need a 2-/3-seater with floats? Install the floats on the Val or Kate or whatever.
That leaves Kawanishi and Aichi to mass-produce something of worth instead of wasting the time - a most precious commodity. Granted, Aichi's Val dive bomber was very useful, so press on with it, too.
 

NOMISYRRUC

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All I can think of is... in the period between 1st January 1938 (the point of departure) and 8th December 1941:
  • Train more aircrew, especially pilots;
  • Train more ground crew, especially mechanics;
  • Build more aircraft; and...
  • Create a larger stock of aviation fuel.
Whether any of the above is possible is another matter.

For example...

As I understand it the IJNAF's excessive emphasis of quality over quantity resulted in many trainee pilots who would have become aces in any other aviation service being failed by their instructors.

If that's true the trainees that failed their training courses in the "real world" should be allowed to complete their training in "this version of history". They would be a reserve which would be used first to bring the IJNAF to its War Establishment on mobilisation, replace losses in the early campaigns and the remainder would become instructors.
 
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Dilandu

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Train more aircrew, especially pilots;
Exactly how? Japanese air training program was multi-year ones, because before starting the pilot training, they need firstly to train candidates in basics. Let's not forget, Japan was still very agrarian country. A lot of wannabe-pilots never ever drive a car in their whole lives, and have zero clues how internal combustion engine worked. They need to get a most basic training before they could be trained to actually fly a plane.
 

NOMISYRRUC

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Japanese air training program was multi-year...
The point of departure is 1st January 1938 that's three full years and 93.70% of a fourth year before Japan enters World War II.

According to Guy Robbins on Page 215 of The Aircraft Carrier Story 1908-45...
The enlisted pilots were given a 30-month educational course before undergoing eight months of flying training (divided between basic and operational) of more than 100 hours, plus ground school which gave them a wider knowledge of the theory of flight and engine design than their American counterparts. The officers were selected after at least two years at sea and therefore did not need any general education, but they did have a two-month ground course before a ten-month flying course (150-175 hours).
That's 38 months to train an enlisted man and 10 months to train an officer.

With a start of 1st January 1938 there's enough time to train two classes of extra enlisted men (1938 and 1940) by the end of February 1942 and the extra men in the 1940 Class to complete their training in February 1943. That is each class begins on 1st January and ends at the end of February.

With the same starting date there's enough time to train 4 classes of officers (1938 to 1941) by the end of 1941. I.e. each of the four classes begins on 1st January and finishes on 31st December.

It aught to go without saying that an earlier point of departure would allow more time to train more pilots and as the number of pilots increased some of the extra pilots can be used to increase the number of pilots under training. That is subject to the availability of ground infrastructure, ground crew, aircraft and fuel - all of which should go without saying as well.

Quote from the Wikipaedia page on the Washington Treaty...
On December 29, 1934, the Japanese government gave formal notice that it intended to terminate the treaty. Its provisions remained in force formally until the end of 1936 and were not renewed.
@tomo pauk I think that this date (29th December 1934) is a better point of departure for the thread than the beginning of 1938. What do you think?
 

NOMISYRRUC

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A lot of wannabe-pilots never ever drive [drove] a car in their whole lives, and have [had] zero clues [clue about] how [an] internal combustion engine worked. They need needed to get receive a most [an extremely] basic training before they could be trained to actually fly a [an] plane [aeroplane].
A lot the of wannabe-pilots that enlisted in the RAF hadn't driven a car before they "joined up" too. I very much doubt that many of them learned how an internal combustion engine worked when they were at public school or grammar school. I suspect that they also required extremely basic training before they could be trained to fly an aeroplane.

The above applies to the wannabe-pilots from the British upper and middle classes.

Hardly any of the wannabe-pilots from the working class would have driven the car before they enlisted. They would have known how an internal combustion engine worked. However, that's because the were "Trenchard Brats" (e.g. Frank Whittle) who had trained to be mechanics at Halton where they finished top of their classes and thus qualified for officer & pilot training at Cranwell.

In spite of these handicaps the RAF was able to quadruple its size from 30,000 regular personnel in 1934 (when expansion began) to 118,000 in the original 1939-40 Air Estimates (i.e. 5 years only one year more than is available to the IJNAF in the Opening Post). Plus it was able to train several thousand RAF Volunteer Reserve pilots between 1936 and the outbreak of World War II (which is one year less than the time available to the IJNAF in the Opening Post.)
 

tomo pauk

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@tomo pauk I think that this date (29th December 1934) is a better point of departure for the thread than the beginning of 1938. What do you think?

Better for Japanese, since it gives them extra 3 years. OTOH - extending all of this to 7 years would've diluted the thread I'm afraid.
There is a lot to change for the IJN air service in 4 years, eg. Japanese can start shrinking the pilot training program towards 15-20 months, so they have a bigger pool of pilots for 1940 and on. They have a 'luxury' of having the pilots flying combat missions in the late 1930s, so the novices can gain experience.
The most valuable pool of well trained and experienced pilots need to be protected. Mandatory use of parachutes, installation of protection both for crewmen and fuel tanks, a reliable rescue service... Need for protection to be installed also means earlier emphasis on more powerful engines, like the Ha-41/-109, Kasei and Kinsei, that in turn might mean that by 1942-43 IJN aircraft are on more even terms vs. what West was making, while being crewed by reasonably capable men.
 
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