F4U Corsair versus A6M Zero-sen: Rabaul and the Solomons 1943–44 (Duel) (Paperback)
The aerial clashes between the iconic Corsair and Zero-sen translated into a contest of speed and altitude for the former, versus the latter's outstanding agility and range.
Whilst the F4U Corsair eventually proved to be a superior fighter in Pacific operations, its introduction into combat in this theatre initially demonstrated its weaknesses. Indeed, the 'Saint Valentine's Day Massacre' debacle showcased exemplary Zero-sen fighter tactics, and American losses were of sufficient magnitude that further daylight missions toward Bougainville were discontinued until Allied fighter tactics could be improved. As a result, for the next two months the Corsair's combat results were much subdued. Indeed, the F4U only became a superb fighter when both its pilots and their commanders worked out how to deploy the gull-wing design effectively. Optimum circumstances for effective engagement did not always occur, and the Zero-sen remained effective against the Corsair until February 1944 in the South Pacific, after which all IJNAF fighter units vacated Rabaul. This book closely examines these two different fighters in the Solomons/Rabaul theatre, and the unique geographic conditions which shaped their deployment and effectiveness. It contains rare photographs and digital artwork that accurately showcases and aligns combats of both types in-theatre with unprecedented accuracy. Both sides vastly over-claimed. With full access to IJNAF and US Navy/US Marine Corps records, these numbers will be presented accurately.
Jim Laurier is a native of New England and lives in New Hampshire. He attended Paier School of Art in Hamden, Connecticut, from 1974–78, and since graduating with Honours, he has been working professionally in the field of Fine Art and Illustration. He has been commissioned to paint for the US Air Force and has aviation paintings on permanent display at the Pentagon.
Gareth Hector is a digital artist of international standing as well as an aviation history enthusiast. He lives in Perthshire, UK.