The Buzz

Could This Japanese Jet Fighter Have Won the Pacific War?

With an even worse fuel and raw-materials situation than Germany, Japan probably would have fared no better. The Kikka would have been overwhelmed by the massive U.S. land-based and carrier-based formations that roamed over Japan in the last days of the war. If it had been fielded earlier, perhaps it could have made some difference over battlefields such as the 1944 U.S. invasion of the Philippines. Yet even there, the Kikka's short range would have rendered it unsuitable for the long-distance flying that characterized the Pacific War. The Kikka might have been relegated to a defensive role over the home islands, intercepting daytime B-29 raids—except the Americans eventually switched the B-29s from day raids to night, when the radar-less Kikka could not fly.

Like its big brother the Me-262, the Kikka was too little, too late.

Suggested Reading: Japanese Secret Projects 1: Experimental Aircraft of the IJA & IJN 1939-1945, by Edwin Dyer.

Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Image: Wikimedia Commons