Blame the equipment?

One thing I’ve learned in studying military history: be skeptical when you hear someone lost a battle because of bad equipment.  e.g. you hear a lot about how obsolete the Devastator was and how this lousy plane caused us to lose so many people at Midway.  The same people sing the praises of the Fairly Swordfish, even though the Devastator was obviously the better plane.  Yes the Avenger was an improvement, but a few Avengers were around at Midway and they got shot down too.  The problem was flying torpedo bombers into a hornet’s nest of Zeros, not the airplane.  I also here nonsense about the P-36 being such a terrible obsolete plane fighting against Zeros when French pilots fighting against Me-109’s are on record praising the same airplane.  Yeager notes that pilot quality is a key factor in dogfights, odds are a lot of the problems attributed to aircraft issues are really problems caused by inexperienced pilots having to fight veterans.

That’s not to say that equipment is never an issue.  e.g. the Sherman tank wasn’t upgraded properly and that did cause problems late in the war.  Just be skeptical when you hear someone blame the equipment.  Look around, did anyone else use that equipment successfully?  Does a history writer not want to blame the troops?  Double check.

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