By Ikuhiko Hata
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Additional resources for Japanese Army Air Force Units and Their Aces: 1931-1945
The training of Japanese fighter pilots before the wars in which they were to become involved, was thorough, and the discipline extremely harsh, both in the Army and Navy Air Forces. Rivalry between the two forces was pronounced, and there was to be little interservice co-operation and no joint procurment of equipment and aircraft, despite the use by both services of the same major manufacturers of aircraft. Only in the case of aero engines was there to be any duplication of acquisition. As with the Navy, when war broke out in each of the three theatres in which the Army was to to involved – China, Nomonhan, and the Pacific War – the aircraft with which the Japanese forces were equipped were a match in most respects for the best that they were to face, and in some respects were better.
By and large their pilots were better trained, and to a growing extent enjoyed the benefits of previous operational experience. Coupled with the advantages offered by the opportunity to concentrate strength as required and at critical points, and the far shorter lines of communication and supply enjoyed, it is not surprising in retrospect that the Japanese fighter pilots swept away all opposition before them. During the Nomonhan Incident, the vast industrial power and huge human resources of the Soviet Union eventually began to predominate however.
Within the eight Flying Rentais, the fighter contingent had become as follows:- 1st F Rentai – three chutais of Type 91 fighters 4th F Rentai – three chutais of Type 92 fighters 5th F Rentai – two chutais of Type 91 fighters 6th F Rentai – one chutai of Type 92 fighters 8th F Rentai – one chutai of Type 92 fighters Thereafter further reinforcement of this establishment continued, and by the end of 1934 the number of chutais had increased to 39 (15 fighter, 12 reconnaissance, six heavy bomber, six light bomber).