字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント Outnumbered American fighter pilots battle marauding Japanese airmen to control the skies over a sweltering Pacific Island called Guadalcanal. During a grueling 6 month slug (?)fest, their combat in the sky will help decide the course of the Pacific War. Through state of the art computer animation, you're in the cockpit as America's rugged F4F Wildcats face off against lethal Japanese Zero and Oscar fighters. Experience the battle. Dissect the tactics. Relive the dogfights of Guadalcanal. August 30, 1942, a formation of US Marine Corps F4F Wildcats and Army P400 Air Cobras patronal the skies of Guadalcanal. Their mission: stop Japanese bombers and fighters threatening the American detail. Leading the flight is Marine Captain John L. Smith The P400s have no oxygen equipment and level off by 12,000 ft. But Smith pushes his Wildcats above the slower and more vulnerable P400s. Smith scans the sky for enemy aircraft but spots nothing. Then his radio crackles to life. Captain Smith receives a frantic radio call from one of the P400s whose tally on(?) enemy fighters are inbound. Japanese Zeros. A swarm of more than 20 Zeros threaten the Army Air Cobra from the rear. The P400s are here. The Zeros are here attacking the P400s from behind. Smith and the Wildcats are here, 3,000 feet above. The Zeros don't see them. I wouldn't say they used P400s as a bait. But the P400s normally would get in trouble and the Marines would come down and shoot Zeros off the tails of the 400s. The Marines dive to rescue the P400s. Captain Smith closes fast on a unsuspected Zero and takes aim. What they found is if they can aim just after the canopy, towards the wing root where the wings join the fuselage of Japanese Zero That's right about the fuel tanks are. If they can execute a direct hit at that point, Japanese Zero immediately burns and oftentimes the wings fall off. Catching the Zero in a shallow left turn, he opens fire. It's Smith's 6th kill of the war. But there's no time to celebrate. The skies are still filled with Zeros. And Smith and his men are heading into 6 months of legendary dogfights, battling for the most important location in the Pacific in 1942, a green speck of land called Guadalcanal. 3 months earlier, Allied reconnaissance discovered that the Japanese were building an airfield on Guadalcanal, a 90 mile long jungle island at the southern end of the Solomon Island chain. If the Japanese can control Guadalcanal, they'll sever the vital supply line from the US to the South Pacific. Australia and New Zealand will be open to invasion and conquest. The Allies have to act. Depending upon who controlled that airstrip, had an enormous effect on Japanese and American fortunes in that area. August 7 1942, America launches its first amphibious assault of WWII. Over 11,000 US Marines storm ashore at Guadalcanal. The marines quickly gain a foothold on the island. By the 2nd day, they take the Japanese airstrip, renaming it Henderson Field. The Japanese bring in thousands of fresh troops to Guadalcanal and attack the Americans relentlessly, trying to drive them off the island. The Marines fight off attacks while desperately trying to prepare Henderson Field for operations. Japanese tractors and equipment are commandeered to improve the small, crushed coral runway. Bomb damage is repaired, and PSP, perforated steel planking is hurriedly laid down. After two weeks, they finish the airstrip and fly in 19 F4F Wildcat fighters and 12 SBD Dauntless dive bombers. It was only because of the ability of the Americans to place aircraft on Henderson Field to protect the supply ships bringing in reinforcements and supplies to the Marines on Guadalcanal that the island could be held. Because the Allied code name for Guadalcanal is "Cactus," Henderson Field becomes the home of the tiny Cactus Air Force, at first consisting of just 43 pilots and ground crew. The men of Henderson Field soon discover it isn't just the enemy making their lives hell. The island was a fly-infested, dirty, stinking, blood-soaked damned island that was just dangerous to even walk on the beaches because there was so much unexploded ammunition around. The pilots and ground crew live in mud-floored tents. The latrine is a trench with a log seat, and the bathtub is the Lunga River --complete with crocodiles and leeches. The flyers of the Cactus Air Force are outnumbered and short on supplies. Their fighters, the F4F Wildcat, can't match the agility of the enemy Zero. But a big advantage for the Cactus Air Force is that they are commanded by a born leader in 27-year-old John Smith. Smith's an aggressive dogfighter and skilled tactician. He always preached and devised his tactics around have to pay your strength, against the enemy's weakness. And that is as true today as it ever was since the first airplane ever flew in combat. Now on August 30, 1942, Captain John Smith and his men are protecting Guadalcanal from approaching bombers and fighters. In his eight days on the island, Smith has already scored five kills, making him an ace. Today, he's racked up one more. Then he spots another Zero below, breaking from a cloud. The Zero is here. Smith is here, high above him. He plans to use the Wildcat's diving speed to try and drop behind the Japanese plane. Smith first rolls inverted, then dives. This creates positive G-force instead of negative Gs. If you roll on your back, pull aft on the stick, and pull positive Gs so you're pushed into your seat, You're gonna be able to pull more Gs, which means you can pull your nose downhill faster. The maneuver works. Smith rolls back over... then levels out behind the Zero... and fires. The Wildcat's 6 .50-caliber guns deliver 200 rounds in a 4-second burst. White-hot, phosphorous-filled incendiary bullets ignite the Zero's fuel tank. But as Smith arcs away from s second victim, the predator becomes the prey. A Japanese Zero closes in on Smith from dead ahead. High above the green jungle canopy of Guadalcanal, the planes converge at over 600 miles per hour. the Zero opens up with his 20-millimeter cannon. Smith answers with his 50 caliber machine guns. It's basically a slugfest all the way to the merge. Who's going to flinch first? Or who's going to blow up first? Both planes are taking hits. But Smith's Wildcat has thicker armor, and he's withstanding the blows. And then the overwhelming firepower of the Navy airplane cut this guy into ribbons. He exploded. And then what Smith did is dump the nose over very hard, very abruptly, and flew underneath the debris field and escaped. The Zero has made a fatal error. He fought the Wildcat's fight. Built by Grumman Aircraft, the Wildcat is first flown in 1937. The rugged plane features cockpit armor and self-sealing fuel tanks. These tanks are coated with layers of rubber that expand and reseal if they're punctured. The Wildcat faces the most famous of all Japanese aircraft, the deadly Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero. The lightweight Zero can out-turn and out-climb the Wildcat --a lethal advantage in a dogfight. But its thin armor protection and lack of self-sealing fuel tanks means it can't survive a slugging match with the tougher Wildcat. The Zero is faster, more maneuverable, and can out-climb the Wildcat, while the Grumman is tougher, more heavily armed, and can out-dive the Zero. Wildcat pilots, in general, would want to avoid the turning fight with the Zero. That would not be their fight. The Wildcat, with its six .50-cal machine guns, heavy body armor, heavy armor around the engine cowling, preferred head-on attacks, frontal attacks. And it would just basically plow through that Zero. The air battle of August 30 is a resounding victory for Smith and his pilots. They shoot down 14 of the 22 attacking Zeros. The Japanese bombers the Zeros were protecting retreat before reaching Guadalcanal. Believing the engagement is over, Smith sets course for Henderson Field. But there are two more deadly Zeros just ahead. August 30, 1942. 3 weeks into the battle for Guadalcanal. Japanese aircraft are on the attack. Marine fighter pilot John L. Smith has killed three enemy Zeros. Captain smith is RTB, returning to base from his mission, thinking the mission's over, and he gains tally of two Zeros that have just strafed Henderson Field. So strafing his home. So the natural pilot tendency-- What does he do? He's going to roll in and attack those guys that just attacked his home. Smith is outnumbered once again, but he's high above the Zeros, and they haven't spotted him yet. The Zeros are here. Smith is here, 800 feet above the enemy. He's hoping a steep diving turn will put him on the Zeros' tail before they can react. Smith rolls inverted and dives towards the enemy. He levels out at six o'clock low, below and behind the trailing Zero, positioned perfectly for the kill. The Zero takes evasive action. He breaks hard left. But Smith has anticipated the move. He stays right with him, raking the enemy with his .50-cals. Cutting his speed and breaking back right, the Japanese pilot hopes to make Smith overshoot. But Smith chops power and stays in trail. The Zero is directly in the sights of a Marine ace. A final burst from Smith's Wildcat seals his fourth kill of the day. It's a victory for Captain Smith and inspiration to his men. He led by example. He would be the first one to roll in on a Zero formation. And his guys would follow him to the gates of hell because of that, because they knew he was putting his tail on the line every time. Smith and the Cactus Air Force have delivered a staggering blow in what is becoming a drawn-out brawl. The American pilots can only fly by day. They lack the radar and navigation aids that enable night fighting. The Japanese Navy had perfected night fighting in the 1930s, using powerful optics and range finders. Crews were trained to work in total darkness. The Guadalcanal campaign developed into this extraordinary situation for the change of sea control every 12 hours. The Americans controlled in daylight, thanks to their aircraft in Henderson Field. But every time the sun went down, the Japanese ruled the waters off Guadalcanal. After dark, the Japanese Navy controls "The Slot," a wide channel that runs from Guadalcanal to the Japanese base on Rabaul. The Japanese supply ships arrive with such regularity that the Marines nickname them "The Tokyo Express." By early September, a month into the campaign, the Japanese have landed over 20,000 new ground troops on Guadalcanal, deployed against 23,000 U.S. Marines and Army soldiers. The Allied forces advance slowly across the mountainous island. But the Japanese launch large-scale counterattacks, supported by air and naval bombardment. While Japanese ground assaults can't stop the pilots at Henderson Field, constant air combat, primitive conditions and rampant disease take their toll. They were constantly having to refurbish the airfield in order to be able to operate out of it. Constantly fending off attacks. They had malaria, dry rot. Jungle conditions, which wreaks havoc on aircraft and maintenance. Old hands like John L. Smith are eventually rotated out. But before he leaves Guadalcanal, Smith scores 19 kills and is awarded the Medal of Honor. Many of the new Cactus Air Force pilots are green replacements, like Marine Second Lieutenant Jefferson De Blanc. The 21-year-old Cajun from Lockport, Louisiana enters combat not long after his first flight in an F4F Wildcat. I had less than 10 hours of flying time in the fighter I was going to fight with against the Japanese. January 31, 1943, 6 months into the battle for Guadalcanal, Jeff De Blanc will get an accelerated course in air-to-air combat. He's about to launch into one of the most famous dogfights of the campaign. De Blanc leads a flight of 8 Wildcats escorting 12 SBD Dauntless dive bombers. The Douglas SBD Dauntless is the Navy's frontline carrier-based dive bomber.