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US Military History: the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot

Owsi68

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On June 19, 1944 the largest and last major carrier v carrier battle of the WWII Pacific theater began with the Japanese launching a 68-plane strike group towards US naval forces off the coast of Saipan.

At the conclusion of the 2-day battle the American forces prevailed. The most notable losses experienced by Imperial Japanese forces were 3 fleet carriers sunk and the loss of approximately 400 carrier-based aircraft and 200 land-based aircraft. in comparison the American forces lost no carriers and 123 aircraft. Of the 123 aircraft lost 80 were attributed to night landing difficulties or ditching due to running out of fuel.

A US Navy pilot based on the USS Lexington is credited with coining the phrase 'Turkey Shoot' to describe the air portion of the battle. In a debriefing he remarked "Why, hell, it was just like an old-time turkey shoot down home!"

A number of factors gave the US pilots the advantage but the most significant factors were likely a combination of improved technological changes with equipment and better trained pilots.

Timeline of the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot (June 19th - 20th, 1945)
Battle of the Philippine Sea - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Moonglow

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The Japanese did not further their aircraft technology and relied upon planes designed in the 1930's.
With air craft carriers, they just didn't have the industrial capacity to make air craft carriers as fast as the US did...
After Midway, the Japanese lost a good portion of their veteran pilots...
 
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Owsi68

Owsi68

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The Japanese did not further their aircraft technology and relied upon planes designed in the 1930's.
With air craft carriers, they just didn't have the industrial capacity to make air craft carriers as fast as the US did...
After Midway, the Japanese lost a good portion of their veteran pilots...
The biggest failures of both the German and Japanese air forces during WWII was that they didn't cycle their experienced pilots back home to train new pilots.
 

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