1. #1
    Bearcat99's Avatar Senior Member
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    These are exerpts from an interview with Saburo Sakai before his death in 2000.

    Q:What was your first combat like?

    A:The wing commander at Kiukang did not want new pilots flying fighter sweeps , so we all flew ground support missions........
    We flew the Mitsubishi A5M4 Type 96, with fixed landing gear and an open cockpit. We flew over Hankow airfield at @ 10,000 feet and I saw 3 enemy planes coming up to meet us. I was slow to react and perhaps this was because we had flown at that altitude for 90 minutes without oxygen-we carried it but there was only two hours of oxygen, so we used it only part time. I almost forgot to drop my external fuel tank, but I remembered to stay on my leader's tail. I then saw the enemy, Russian built Polykarpov I-16. I tried to fire, but I had forgotten to release the safety! I did manage to shoot down one but my squadron covered me and allowed me to score the kill. When I was on the ground my ground commander called me an idiot and yelled at me. I would never make that mistake again.

    Q:Is there truth to the stories that Japanese pilots were not allowed to carry parachutes?

    A:That was never true. Some commanders ordered pilots to take them, although most of our battles were over enemy territory and we would have never considered being captured. I flew with the thing as a seat cushion if at all since the straps reduced range of motion in the cockpit.

    .............................................

    Q:What was your most memorable combat while at Lae?

    A:I would say May 27,1842, when I chased a Bell P-39 Aircobra through the Owen Stanley Mountains. This man was at treetop level, hugging the narrow valley walls, trying to shake me. but finally the mountain wall came to him. He half rolled to avoid the top but he did not quite make it and he crashed. I barely cleared the ridge, and I was soaked in my own sweat after the 10 minute chase. It is hard to explain how tireing aerial combat is, with the adrenaline and blood pumping through your body, your mind always thinkinf, your eyes always looking, your muscles reacting to every thought and circumstance.

    ................................................

    Q:Have you anything to say on the air battle over Java, as described in your book?

    A:This was what took away the aircover for the Allied fleet and allowed us to take the East Indies by March. The enemy fighters were Curtiss P-40s, Curtiss P-36s, Brewstr F2A Buffalos and even Hawker Hurricaines I think. On the morning of February 19, we had 23 Zeroes taking off to attack the Allied base 430 miles away. We approached at 16,000 ft. over Surabaya, and more than 50 enemy planes greeted us at 10,00ft over Surabaya. I snapped onto the tail of a P-36 and ripped his wing off in a burst. The pilot did not get out. Our pathfinder plane had 3 dutch P-36s on him but one of our pilots shot down all 3 within 20 seconds. Another P-36 passed over my plane, and I pulled up and rolled away, I hit rudder,slipped into his roll, and fired a burst but he rolled out of it. I pulled up and rolled again, hit left rudder and was within 50 ft of him in a left deflection shot. I fired 3 times and flamed him.

    ............................................

    Q:When did your fighting over Guadalcanal begin?

    A:On August 7,1942. This ws the longest range fighter mission we had ever conducted. I saw my first American amphibious operation, hundreds of ships. Then we were jumped by thee first of 6 Gtumman F4F-4 Wildcats i had ever seen. They went after the bombers, but they failed to score against them.I saw a single F4 chasing 3 Zeroes, which was suicide. But the American rolled away from thier fire and managed to invert,roll,dive and climb into a counterattack posture. This Wildcat pilot was scoring hits on every plane, and he finally caught the tail of one Zero. I came down 1,500 feet to help, then the American snaprolled, turned into me and forced me to roll away. On the fifth spiral and inverted roll I thought I had him, but he turned away and rolled underme. I rolled over and cut power, forcing him to overshoot. He pulled an Immelmann and ended up on my tail! Then he tried to flee, perhaps low on fuel or out of ammunition. I cut inside his turn, and fired inside the cockpit, then I made a mistake and overshot, but nothing happened and I knew he was out of ammunition. I slid my canopy back, and we stared at each other. He was an older man, which explained his skill. His plane had lost much of it's skinand the rudder was a skeleton. I could see that he was wounded in the chest.

    Q:Did you finish him off?

    A:Killing him like that, wounded and unable to defend himself would have been dishonorable. I fired into the engine, which caught fire, and he got out of the plane. The paracghute opened and he drifted to the beach.


    ...............................................

    Sakai's opponent in the F4 James J. Sutherland II of the carrier Saratoga's VF-5 survived.

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  2. #2
    Bearcat99's Avatar Senior Member
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    These are exerpts from an interview with Saburo Sakai before his death in 2000.

    Q:What was your first combat like?

    A:The wing commander at Kiukang did not want new pilots flying fighter sweeps , so we all flew ground support missions........
    We flew the Mitsubishi A5M4 Type 96, with fixed landing gear and an open cockpit. We flew over Hankow airfield at @ 10,000 feet and I saw 3 enemy planes coming up to meet us. I was slow to react and perhaps this was because we had flown at that altitude for 90 minutes without oxygen-we carried it but there was only two hours of oxygen, so we used it only part time. I almost forgot to drop my external fuel tank, but I remembered to stay on my leader's tail. I then saw the enemy, Russian built Polykarpov I-16. I tried to fire, but I had forgotten to release the safety! I did manage to shoot down one but my squadron covered me and allowed me to score the kill. When I was on the ground my ground commander called me an idiot and yelled at me. I would never make that mistake again.

    Q:Is there truth to the stories that Japanese pilots were not allowed to carry parachutes?

    A:That was never true. Some commanders ordered pilots to take them, although most of our battles were over enemy territory and we would have never considered being captured. I flew with the thing as a seat cushion if at all since the straps reduced range of motion in the cockpit.

    .............................................

    Q:What was your most memorable combat while at Lae?

    A:I would say May 27,1842, when I chased a Bell P-39 Aircobra through the Owen Stanley Mountains. This man was at treetop level, hugging the narrow valley walls, trying to shake me. but finally the mountain wall came to him. He half rolled to avoid the top but he did not quite make it and he crashed. I barely cleared the ridge, and I was soaked in my own sweat after the 10 minute chase. It is hard to explain how tireing aerial combat is, with the adrenaline and blood pumping through your body, your mind always thinkinf, your eyes always looking, your muscles reacting to every thought and circumstance.

    ................................................

    Q:Have you anything to say on the air battle over Java, as described in your book?

    A:This was what took away the aircover for the Allied fleet and allowed us to take the East Indies by March. The enemy fighters were Curtiss P-40s, Curtiss P-36s, Brewstr F2A Buffalos and even Hawker Hurricaines I think. On the morning of February 19, we had 23 Zeroes taking off to attack the Allied base 430 miles away. We approached at 16,000 ft. over Surabaya, and more than 50 enemy planes greeted us at 10,00ft over Surabaya. I snapped onto the tail of a P-36 and ripped his wing off in a burst. The pilot did not get out. Our pathfinder plane had 3 dutch P-36s on him but one of our pilots shot down all 3 within 20 seconds. Another P-36 passed over my plane, and I pulled up and rolled away, I hit rudder,slipped into his roll, and fired a burst but he rolled out of it. I pulled up and rolled again, hit left rudder and was within 50 ft of him in a left deflection shot. I fired 3 times and flamed him.

    ............................................

    Q:When did your fighting over Guadalcanal begin?

    A:On August 7,1942. This ws the longest range fighter mission we had ever conducted. I saw my first American amphibious operation, hundreds of ships. Then we were jumped by thee first of 6 Gtumman F4F-4 Wildcats i had ever seen. They went after the bombers, but they failed to score against them.I saw a single F4 chasing 3 Zeroes, which was suicide. But the American rolled away from thier fire and managed to invert,roll,dive and climb into a counterattack posture. This Wildcat pilot was scoring hits on every plane, and he finally caught the tail of one Zero. I came down 1,500 feet to help, then the American snaprolled, turned into me and forced me to roll away. On the fifth spiral and inverted roll I thought I had him, but he turned away and rolled underme. I rolled over and cut power, forcing him to overshoot. He pulled an Immelmann and ended up on my tail! Then he tried to flee, perhaps low on fuel or out of ammunition. I cut inside his turn, and fired inside the cockpit, then I made a mistake and overshot, but nothing happened and I knew he was out of ammunition. I slid my canopy back, and we stared at each other. He was an older man, which explained his skill. His plane had lost much of it's skinand the rudder was a skeleton. I could see that he was wounded in the chest.

    Q:Did you finish him off?

    A:Killing him like that, wounded and unable to defend himself would have been dishonorable. I fired into the engine, which caught fire, and he got out of the plane. The paracghute opened and he drifted to the beach.


    ...............................................

    Sakai's opponent in the F4 James J. Sutherland II of the carrier Saratoga's VF-5 survived.

    <UL TYPE=SQUARE> [/list]<UL TYPE=SQUARE>vflyer@comcast.net[/list]<UL TYPE=SQUARE>99thPursuit Squadron IL2 Forgotten Battles[/list]
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  3. #3
    Zen--'s Avatar Senior Member
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    Wow BC that was a nice read, especially the last part against Sutherland. Very interesting

    -Zen-
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  4. #4
    Very good stuff Bear! Thnx for posting

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  5. #5
    Udidtoo's Avatar Senior Member
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    Its pretty humbiling, considering the way we tend to rip on each other here over borders, politics and such to read something like that.

    A man with every reason and chance to kill not only an actual enemy but one who had just shown ability and skill.

    He didn't because of......honor..S'!

    ..............................
    I always have just enough fuel to arrive at the scene of my crash.
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  6. #6
    p1ngu666's Avatar Senior Member
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    yeah good read, thanks bearcat


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  7. #7
    Hi Bearcat,Excellent read, who said chivalry was dead.Thanks
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  8. #8
    Arcadeace's Avatar Senior Member
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    I always enjoy accounts when the enemy shows honor - he was a real man - thanks Bear.

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  9. #9
    Again...Kudo's Bear. Thanks

    btw: What were these exerpts taken from? Book? article? video?



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  10. #10
    LeadSpitter_'s Avatar Banned
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    great read bearcat99, now only if some of these other people in the forums would make some interesting posts like yours, this place wouldnt be so bad

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