View Poll Results: Hawker Hurricane Mk IIC vs. A6M2 Zero

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  • Hawker Hurricane Mk IIC

    5 6.10%
  • A6M2 Zero

    41 50.00%
  • It depends on the pilots

    36 43.90%
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Hurricane Mk IIC vs. A6M2 Zero

Polls Discuss Hurricane Mk IIC vs. A6M2 Zero in the World War II - Aviation forums; Which of them do you think would win in a fight?...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Soundbreaker Welch?'s Avatar
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    Hurricane Mk IIC vs. A6M2 Zero

    Which of them do you think would win in a fight?

    Last edited by Soundbreaker Welch?; 05-28-2009 at 10:29 PM.
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    Senior Member renrich's Avatar
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    I voted for depends on pilots. It would be a difficult fight for the Hurricane, however, with the Zeke having all the performance advantages. The Hurricane would have some advantage in survivability and firepower but if the IJN pilot was experienced, the Hurricane may never have a chance to get any hits in.

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    The Hurricane IIC seems to have a speed advantage, it just doesn't look big enough to be a decisive one, with little choice but to try and make a fight of it, the A6M2 will be all over the Hurricane.

    A6M2 :Name: Hurricane IIC
    3,704lbs (1,680Kgs) :Empty Weight: 5,785lbs (2,624Kgs)
    5,313lbs (2,410Kgs) :Take-off Weight: 8,710lbs (3,951Kgs)
    316mph (509Km/h) :Max Speed: 328mph (528Km/h)

    The Hurricane's giving away over 3,000lbs (1,361Kgs) to the A6M2 loaded for take-off, that's going to hurt in a furball.

    Zeke
    Last edited by Colin1; 05-29-2009 at 07:10 PM.

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    Senior Member Vassili Zaitzev's Avatar
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    I have to say the zero. The hurricane may have the better firepower and survivability, but the zero has the greater maneuverability, and in a dogfight that matters more. Now, if the hurricane would use defensive team tactics, like the Thach weave(beam defense maneuver), then the hurricane would have to edge.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Doughboy's Avatar
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    Zero..Maneuverability means alot in a dogfight(as said above^)
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    Senior Member claidemore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doughboy View Post
    Zero..Maneuverability means alot in a dogfight(as said above^)
    The Zero would have a maneuverability advantage at low speed, the Hurricane would be more manueverable at higher speeds.

    Hurricane IIC was 10 mph faster than A6M2, and 50 mph faster in a dive. It weighed 2000 lbs more than the Zero did empty (heavier construction = tougher?), overall climb rate was only 300 ft/min less, and ceiling was 3000 ft higher.

    Basically the same things that worked historically in the case of the Wildcat vs Zero could be used in this hypothetical matchup of Hurricane vs Zero. So it boils down to the pilots.
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    An experienced Hurricane fighter would have know better than to get dragged into a dogfight with a Zeke. Unfortunately it took some time before this was realised, specially by former battle of Brittain pilots who opted to use the same tactics agains the Japanese as they had so succesfuly used against the Germans

  8. #8
    Senior Member Demetrious's Avatar
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    I almost voted "depends on the pilots-" simply because the Hurricane can, like anything else, out-roll a Zero easily and thus defeat it in the scissors handily. (Which gives it a badly-needed ace against a plane that can out-climb, out-turn, and out-accelerate it.) However, I ended up saying "Hurricane" when I remembered that old anecdote about a Zero being superior to a Wildcat in 1v1, but inferior in a team dogfight. War is won in numbers, and with a wingman watching your back and working with you, you can force the enemy to engage you more on your terms. The Thatch Weave is one example, but when your enemy is only just slightly faster or as fast as you, you can usually extend to about a mile away before they manage to reverse, and thus roar back in for another head-on pass. (A smart Zero driver would climb swiftly to a high perch and then wait for you to do something stupid, like trying that again.)

    Then there's also the fact that air combat is about winning, not about dueling. That's how Erich Hartmann scored so many kills- by ambushing enemies, then running like hell. Classic boom-and-zoom. And the higher operational ceiling, dive speed, and general sturdiness of the Hurricane enabled tactics like that.

    In this respect, I'd say that it has less to do with individual pilots and more to do with their higher-up commanders setting the overall strategy and doctrine.

  9. #9
    Member Hollywood's Avatar
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    If you'r comparing airplanes purely one to one the Zero wins. That's why I voted for it. In a dogfight it depends on pilot quality/experence and who saw who first.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rank amateur View Post
    An experienced Hurricane fighter would have know better than to get dragged into a dogfight with a Zeke. Unfortunately it took some time before this was realised, specially by former battle of Brittain pilots who opted to use the same tactics agains the Japanese as they had so succesfuly used against the Germans
    In the right circumstances Hurricanes might have been able to compete on even terms with Zeroes, but it was never demonstrated in action. Hurricanes and Zeroes met in combat 6 times for which both sides' losses are known (and only another 1 or 2 more where both sides' losses aren't known). The score in those combats was 6:38 in favor of the Zero, and the Zeroes won every combat. 5 in 1942 over Malaya, DEI and Ceylon, one other 5 December 1943 in the JAAF/JNAF combined raid on Calcutta, 0:3; Army Type 1 fighters downed or force the crash landings of another 6 Hurricanes in that raid also without loss to themselves (the Hurricanes downed 1 Army bomber).

    Even using the Type 1 as proxy for the Zero, probably an optimistic assumption from the Hurricane's POV, the Hurricane's record v the Type 1 was also disastrous in the opening campaigns of 1942 and even as of late 1943 the Type 1's in Burma were at least holding their own in actual outcomes v Hurricanes, outscoring them more often than not, though by then there were at least some cases of combats actually won by Hurricanes v Type 1's (needless to say, measuring by British claims the Hurricane was pretty successful v the Type 1 by then, measuring by Japanese claims the Type 1 was overwhelmingly successful).

    'Depends on pilots', of course that's the correct answer for almost any match up unless completely one sided, but there's no actual operational evidence of the Hurricane performing well against the Zero in combat, or even v the Type 1 on a consistent basis. The much better record of the F4F v the Zero is not proof IMO that the Hurricane would have done as well even with the same pilots and situation, because it neglects the real possibility that less tangible performance factors put the Hurricane at more of a relative disadvantage than in appears to be on paper.

    Joe

  11. #11
    Senior Member renrich's Avatar
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    JB, your posts, to me, raise a very interesting question. Most of the time, an attitude(among our members but also among most historians) seems to be prevelant that the air war in the ETO in the early going as well as later was where the "First Teams" were operating and what was going on in the Pacific was happening with, at least, inferior air craft, and probably overall with inferior pilots. Is it possible, in the 41-42 period that the aircraft in use in the PTO as well as the pilots were at least equal to those in the ETO and possibly superior?(pardon the compound sentences, sometimes I feel like Cormac McCarthy, without his talent)

  12. #12
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    ren, that view may, possibly, stem from the RAF's early stance, taken up after testing types like the Buffalo and P-40, and regarding certain homegrown types like the Wellesley, to get them 'out of harms way' during 1939-40. The quite decent P-40 going to the ME to fight the Italians and the Buffalo going to Singapore where there was (at that time) nobody to fight. Later on of course with Mk Viii Spits, Beaufighters and top class US types in theatre that had all changed, but as they say, mud sticks, so the out of date view could have persisted until long after it was no longer true?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waynos View Post
    ren, that view may, possibly, stem from the RAF's early stance, taken up after testing types like the Buffalo and P-40, and regarding certain homegrown types like the Wellesley, to get them 'out of harms way' during 1939-40. The quite decent P-40 going to the ME to fight the Italians and the Buffalo going to Singapore where there was (at that time) nobody to fight. Later on of course with Mk Viii Spits, Beaufighters and top class US types in theatre that had all changed, but as they say, mud sticks, so the out of date view could have persisted until long after it was no longer true?
    Late war Allied types had generally good success in the Pacific but that was late war . Ca. 1942 the Hurricane wasn't the best British fighter, but the best British fighter of that time, the Spit V, had plenty of problems of its own against Japanese fighters in 1943; its combat exchange ratio v the Zero in 1943 was no better than that of the Hurricane in 1942-43. The Beaufighter actually also had quite a mixed air-air record in the Far East, it suffered a 1:2 kill ratio even against float Zeroes when flying from Australia v the Japanese float plane bases in the DEI in 1943. I wouldn't assume that just any Spitfire units replacing Hurricanes in 1942 in the Far East in 41-42 would have done much better. Using the proven best units or assembling some kind of 'all star team', maybe.

    Re: what Renrich suggested, the fundamental difference between Japanese and British air arms in late 1941 was that one was basically a peacetime type force in having lots of high hour pilots, seasoned with some combat experience in China. But there hadn't been enough attrition and war time expansion to turn it into what British units typically were, full of relatively low hour mass produced war time pilots with a leavening of more (combat) experienced men. The Japanese combination of the best features of peace time (high hours) and combat experience was pretty close to optimal. Those units were hard to beat. It wasn't just a matter of simple shift of tactics against them and they'd turn into a pumpkin, that's IMO a long left over echo of Allied morale boosting propaganda during the war. What changed things was mainly attrition of the Japanese over time and their inferiority in building and expanding war time type air forces, related to which was more and more overwhelming Allied numerical superiority, and better Allied planes. It was helped along by tactics but the emphasis on tactics has its root I believe in the need to build the confidence of Allied pilots when things weren't going well, and is often over-emphasized today.

    A case in point is the 64th Sentai JAAF, which flew in Burma for most of the war. They actually suffered an unfavorable kill ratio v the AVG quite early in the war. But they learned from it, and were generally more successful against RAF fighter units in 1943 than they'd been against the AVG* in first half of '42. But ultimately the Japanese fighter contingent in Burma was just too heavily outnumbered to accomplish anything, and once the Allies became really active (the air war there was pretty slow placed for a lot of 42 and 43 after the initial intense combat in 42) such units were attrited down. And again the Allied a/c improved, and Japanese ones less so: the 64th mainly used improved versions of the Type 1 through the end of the war.

    *which did use tactics specifically intended against the Japanese, but which was also staffed by mainly quite senior ex-(or temporarily ex) US military pilots, even though almost none had previous combat experience. A cross section of AVG pilots didn't look much like a typical RAF 1942 unit, let alone a USAAF 1942 units which was typically war time mass produced pilots led by a few more experienced flyers who didn't even have combat experience. USN units didn't have any combat experience either, but their flying experience level was less diluted compared to peacetime than the RAF or USAAF in 1942. They somewhat more resembled the AVG, and it's probably a reason they also did relatively well against the Japanese. Their specialized anti-Zero tactics only became widespread in 1943, so that's less of an explanation for their success than the case of the AVG.

    Joe

  14. #14
    Senior Member Wildcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeB View Post
    The Beaufighter actually also had quite a mixed air-air record in the Far East, it suffered a 1:2 kill ratio even against float Zeroes when flying from Australia v the Japanese float plane bases in the DEI in 1943.
    Joe
    Joe, is it possible for you to post a list of Japanese losses v's Beaufighters in this theatre? Would love to compare data, as off the top of my head I didn't think RAAF Beaufighters suffered too greatly against Japanese floatplanes.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildcat View Post
    Joe, is it possible for you to post a list of Japanese losses v's Beaufighters in this theatre? Would love to compare data, as off the top of my head I didn't think RAAF Beaufighters suffered too greatly against Japanese floatplanes.
    The conclusive engagements by Beaufighters against 934th AG Type 2 Float Fighters ('Rufe' or 'float Zero') in DEI were:
    26 April '43: 1 Beau lost, no Type 2's
    24 July: 1 Beau lost, no Type 2's
    17 August: 1 Type 2 lost
    21 August: 2 Beaus lost 1 Type 2 lost (collision between Beaufighters)
    31 August: 1 Beau lost
    21 Nov: 1 Beau lost, 1 Type 2 lost

    Total 6 Beaufighters lost in combat v. Type 2's, 3 vice versa. Not heavy losses but lackluster performance v a not all that formidable opponent for single engine land plane fighters. Comparatives are P-40/P-39 v Type 2 in the Aleutians, 7:1 in favor of the landplanes, F4F/P-39 v Type 2 in the Solomons 1942, 14:0 (one F4F was downed by Type 0 obs seaplane, 'Pete' in one of those combats). Although P-38 v Type 2 in the Aleutians was also unfavorable to the twin, 2:5; it also included 2 P-38 losses to collision in air combat which I believe should generally be credited to the opposing fighters.

    Joe

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