By Sam McGowan Common wisdom has long held that Japanese pilots and aircraft, particularly their fighters, were superior to the American, Australian, and British counterparts they faced in combat in the Philippines and Southeast Asia in the opening months of U.S. involvement in World War II. While it is true that some Japanese fighters, particularly the famous Mitsubishi-built Zeros, had achieved considerable success in China, they were not actually superior airplanes. These Japanese fighters

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